Hyde Park Infant School has great foundations, as it was built on the site of a house once lived in by Sir Francis Drake. It was, therefore only fitting that a school with such impressive roots had an equally impressive opening ceremony, which took place in June 1904. The school was declared open by His Worship Mayor of Plymouth, Mr. Henry Hurrell J.P and was attended by 1,000 guests to whose comfort "nothing ... was left unprovided"
Hyde Park School was originally designed as three schools, and was the only location for most children's schooling as it educated children until they were 12 years old, when they were considered ready for employment. There was an Infant School on the ground floor, a junior girl's school on the first floor and a junior boy's school on the top floor. This structure has been altered over the past 100 years in many ways, such as the amalgamation of the girl's and boy's junior schools, and an expansion of the infant school with two new classrooms built in the playground. Moreover, the education available has also experienced some major alterations. These include the closure of an original washroom, which taught girls the skill of washing clothes, and the basement classroom which once taught boys manual instruction
The first significant changes to Hyde Park School took place during World War I, when the building was transformed from a school into a hospital, equipped with its own morgue. As a result of this, children were marched to Laira Green School, carrying all their own books and equipment from March 1915 until September 1919!
Normal education resumed, until 1939 when a World War disrupted the education at Hyde Park once again. The school day was frequently interrupted by air raids and spells in the school's underground shelter. However a former pupil, Sylvia Cox explained the children "never seemed to be scared, it was all a big adventure and much better than sitting still in the classroom". War became more of a reality on 21st March 1941, when the school was bombed and students were educated in temporary venues such as Peverell Park Methodist Sunday School and Hyde Park Social Club. Major repairs were carried out by 1942, however they were not complete until 1950 and resulted in the silhouette of the school being altered forever.
Hyde Park Infant School's centenary was celebrated in great style in June 2004. The curriculum was adapted so children could achieve standards while learning about the history of their school. Pupils wrote reports about the school's history, interviewed past pupils and experienced school life as it would have been in a classroom from 1904. There is a lasting reminder of this day in Thorn Park, where every child helped plant an Ash tree, which we hope will be visited when Hyde Park Infant School celebrates bicentenary in 2104!