View Full Version : Plymouth College

22-03-2017, 6:05 AM

Is there anyone who could help me with information on Plymouth College?
I have contacted them directly but they do not hold any records.
My mother told me that my father Alfred John SERLE attended Plymouth College and that he was good at haockey and chemistry. That is not very much to go on. He was born in 1913 and I do not know at what age he would gone there. Also would it have been a boarding school? I think "day boarding" is a relatively new concept.
I would if possible like to find out what class he was in. who was the headmaster. What subjects he learnt.
It would be wonderful if there was any old photos or his school reports.

I have seen some old photos made into a montage that possibly date from that period on the south west archive. Who knows maybe they were dad's school friends?

Kind regards,


22-03-2017, 8:58 AM
Have you had a look at Plymouth College page on Wikipedia give a list of Former pupils.

Peter Goodey
22-03-2017, 9:30 AM
I have contacted them directly but they do not hold any records.

Not a very helpful answer! Did you contact the alumni people? You'd think they would know the whereabouts of any surviving archives.

Have you tried the local record offices?

Scanning the National Archives catalogue (which now incorporates A2A), there seem to be a good number of hits for files at Devon repositories.

A simple search term of "Plymouth College" produces too much stuff you presumably don't want (eg Plymouth College of Art). Try something like

("plymouth college") NOT (technology OR "further education" OR "art")

For the full picture you'll need to try the record offices themselves.

22-03-2017, 9:35 AM
Plymouth College Magazine "The Plymothian"


Click on "OPM Margazine Archive" and check out those for the 1920 period? Possibly your "rellie" was there forthe 50th Jubilee?

22-03-2017, 7:12 PM
Thank you all there is some useful info on the wikipage but sadly my father was not "famous" enough to be among those listed.
The Plymothonian magazine for Dec 1921 has a SEARLE A J listed which is interesting. At the time the spelling of our surname was SERLE. He did change the spelling by deed poll sometime after 1936 as when he was in the palestine police force it was definitely spelled SERLE. So is that him? The dates do seem to make it possible as he would have been 8 years old. More digging required!

31-03-2017, 7:45 AM
I have made contact with PWDRO and recieved this reply.
The surviving admission registers for Plymouth College are held by us but are subject to a restriction on access for a period of 100 years.
This means that registers which are over 30 years old but not yet 100 years old can only be viewed in our Public Search Room and no notes of any kind or photographs can be made of them.
I think that I will need to visit Plymouth at some point. I do not have a photographic memory and do wonder how much information I would be able to retain. Obviously this is about data protection and confidentiality as some people listed will still be living and I totally accept their right to privacy. In the meantime is anybody researching Plymouth College c1916 to 1931 ?
From info on Wikipedia and within the archived copies of "The plymothian" it seems that the Prep school took children from ages 3-11 and that the "Big school" from 11+ to 18. The Prep school had Divisions 1-5 written in roman numerals. I dont know how these were arranged. I'm guessing Div 1 would be the youngest equivalent to reception? and Div 5 to our year 6? Whilst "The Big School" seems to be arranged in years. Strangely there is a lower 4th and an upper 4th. I'm not sure how this works as if pupils could stay until aged 18 which form did they go into as there does not seem to be a sith or upper sixth? In 1921 there appears to have been only 3 houses. College House, South Town and North Town were these replicated in the Prep school and what were the house colours. Wikipedia states:
The school has four houses named after past influential masters and headmasters:
Sargents (green) Palmers (red) Dales (yellow) Chaytors (blue)
Two other houses used to exist but were dissolved and the pupils distributed between the existing ones. This was to increase the strength of the competition. The older houses were College (black) and Thompsons (purple). Before 1953, there were four houses: College (black), Palmers (white), Sargents (blue) and Thompsons (green). In 1953, two further houses were created: Chaytors (purple) and Dales (yellow). Up to at least 1981, the colours appeared only as the background to the badge on the school cap. It is not clear when the house changed from North Town and South Town.
As always I much appreciate any info, pointers or comments.

31-03-2017, 11:48 AM
British Newspaper Archive http://britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/search/advanced

Click on "Advanced search" and search FREE using the key "plymouth college" in "The phrase" - over 8,000 hits. It's a subscription/credit site but the snippets returned will give you a clue as to what's available.

The same range of newspapers can be viewed at FindMyPast.

Peter Goodey
31-03-2017, 2:41 PM
I have made contact with PWDRO and recieved this reply.

I'm not totally sure about this but I don't think they have provided full and helpful advice. You only want the records of one specific person, isn't that so?

My understanding is that if you have proof of his death and of your relationship to him (straightforward stuff), you can apply under Freedom of Information for a copy of his record.

01-07-2017, 8:36 AM
Hi Peter Thank you for this. I will follow it up.