Oakover School

Mate’s Illustrated Burnham Guide (1903)  informs us that this school had been established about 15 years previously (i.e. about 1888) under the name of ‘The High School’. It says that the school had recently taken over the adjoining house as accommodation had been found insufficient.

“While the fees are moderate, nothing is spared to ensure the health, comfort and mental development of the pupils; and many successes in various examinations have lately been won. There is an adequate staff of qualified teachers, so that the pupils are divided into small classes.”

Notes on the history of Burnham schools by Walter Strickland indicate that Burnham College (High St/ Pier St) amalgamated with Oakover when its own premises changed to a hotel. It appears that at some point  it also became associated with St Margaret’s.

Advert from 1942:

School magazine & photo 1957:

School trip 1960:



11 thoughts on “Oakover School”

  1. Hello all.
    I’m visiting England for the very first time. My grandmother Florence Yates was Headmistress of Oakover in the 40s.
    She left England in 1950 for New Zealand to look after her eldest son Ralph’s (dad) 3 young boys. It’s taken me a while to get here as I was about 6 when she came.
    I will be staying in Banwell 9-28th July 2022 and visiting Burnham sometime then. If anyone is able to fill in details for me and perhaps catch up, I’d appreciate it.

    1. Hello John,

      I will make a note of the dates you are in Banwell and get back to you via your’s and mine email addresses to see if I can meet up with you.
      Thanks for this information and should you have any images about your grandmother’s time here and you are willing to share them for this site it would be much appreciated.

  2. Hi John
    My memories of the town aren’t vivid – mainly due to my age at the time. The town does still have a wonderful fascination for me and my brother. I visit quite regularly from Bristol where I live, mainly to walk on the wonderful beach by the iconic lighthouse. My brother who attended Oakover and has lived in the USA for almost 50 years, always insists on visiting Burnham when in England. I remember weekly trips to the cinema – it seemed quite a way from the school at the time – after having bought our sweets from Maynards opposite. Also very popular were trips to Fortes Ice Cream Parlour; now a thriving cafe. The main street was an exciting place to visit for boys of my age. We would visit Woolworths, the garage by Maynards,who would regularly give us metal badges advertising BP or Shell or something else connected with motoring. There was also a bookshop/stationers (I can’t remember the name) where we would go to buy packets of stamps to add to our collections. This hobby drove my interest in geography. We were taken to St Andrews Church every Sunday morning. I was asked to leave on one occasion for continually sniffing – a traumatic occasion as I would have been about 6 or 7! It’s wonderful to recall a childhood from a different era. I was allowed into town or to the beach at a very young age without any concerns or fear. If I can recall anything else that might be of interest I will contact you again.

    Kind regards


    1. I lived in Charlestone Road briefly. Oakover was on the corner, although I didn’t attend that school. I also used to go the Ritz matinées and get sweets from Maynards, whose wine gums were very high on my list of preferences. Unfortunately “Maynard’s Original Winegums” as they are now sold in Zambia where I live don’t have the tastiest colour, which was white – but I still like them. The newsagents just past the garage was called Jeffery’s. On Saturdays they would shut at six o-clock and leave a pile of Pink ‘uns or Green ‘uns (football and racing results papers) on a stand in the shop doorway. People would come and take a paper and leave the money on top of the remaining papers. I didn’t buy stamps from them – the best shop for stamps was Roymars in College street near the sea front. He also had a very good selection of sweets, and used to stock up on small presents around Christmas time.

      1. Hello Tony,

        Thanks for sharing your memories. I have lived in Burnham for the 74 years. I remember the sweet shop opposite the Ritz and also Jeffery’s. I do also remember ROYMARS but I think this was in the High Street opposite what was Woolworths. The owner used to make his own vanilla or strawberry ice cream which which was full of flavour but also quite course but very nice . Perhaps there were two shops of this name ?
        Thanks again for your posting.

  3. Thank you Tony for sharing your memories of your school days there. Do you have any of Burnham itself during this time ?
    Thanks again and I hope some of the people who you mentioned get in touch.

  4. Hello Anthony & John

    My name is Tony Hammond and I was a boarder at Oakover between 1949 &1955 as was my older brother Alan. Anthony, you’re correct about the names of the teachers, Mr Langhorne became headmaster and his wife was matron. They had two daughters Jenny & Penny – who were also pupils at the school. Other names that spring to mind are Leslie Davies, Gordon Sarson and Roberta (Bobbie) Mannion who were my brother’s age. Anthony & Alan Godfrey, Michael Pidding, Lester Moon, Jacqueline Moon, Eru Monk, Jimmy Broome, Alex Tout, Anne White & Alan Scarrott. Several I have seen in the last 20 years although none in the last 10 or so. Jackie Moon tried to arrange a reunion in Bristol (where many pupils came from) about 12 years ago but but was poorly attended, only three people turned up! Of the teachers I only remember ‘Steve’ (Mr Stevenson) bald with spectacles.

  5. Hello John, nice of you to reply so quickly. I’m desperately trying to remember people from Oakover days. I left Burnham in 1957 to join the RAF so my memories are rather cloudy today.
    There was Bob Nicholson who lived at a bakery in the High Street somewhere. He ran the radio/TV shop on the corner of College Street for a time. Then there was Robert King who lived in Adam Street, and Colin Morris of Hurleys. Of the girls, I can only remember Cynthia Lee whom I ran into several years later where she was a nurse at the local hospital.
    I remember the Bertorellis who had the fish and chip shop in Abingdon Street. The wife of one of the sons was German and she acted as interpreter at our wedding in 1965 (my good lady of 55 years is German).

    I’ll write again if something else comes to mind

    kind regards

    Anthony Hitchcock

    1. Hello again Anthony.
      It lovely to hear some of these names. I was born in Burnham in 1949 so some of the names I remember. Colin Morris still runs his Hurley’s shop and i will pass on your name to him when buying my next newspaper. We have the Bertorellis listed under our people heading. A group of us are researching more about the schools in Burnham and hope to find more about your school.
      Thanks for sharing your memories and should you remember more we would love to read them.
      Thanks again,

  6. At last I have found mention of my old school. I was a pupil there from ( from 1949 (I think) to 1952, when I got a scholarship to Dr. Morgan´s in Bridgwater. If my memory serves me rightly the headmaster was a Mr.Lance and his deputy a Mr. Langhorn. My teacher was a Miss Beak. I remember that music was considered important, hence my love of classical music. Sports (especially hockey) were played on the beach (tide permitting!) The school had its own tennis courts and there were also cricket nets and a netball corner. The food was awful but these were the immediate post-war years, so it was probably the same for everyone.

    Anthony Hitchcock

    1. Hello Anthony and thank you for posting your memories of this school.
      History tells us that Burnham had many schools in the past.
      Unfortunately most have gone and their locations do not survive but luckily
      your school building is still extant. We hope to be putting more information on
      this site soon so please keep and eye for updates. Also if you can remember names
      of any of your colleagues and post them here then you might make contact again.
      Do you have any other memories of Burnham in your school days?
      Thanks for your posting,

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