All the Headmasters, from Reverend E. G. Hawkins through
to Mr J. S. Morris, have influenced the development and
direction of the School, both academically and culturally.

Despite the many social and economic upheavals over the years,
including two World Wars, each Headmaster has guided the School
and its pupils forward in their own unique way. However, without
doubt it was C. J. Blackburn who was the founding father of the
School. In 1899, at the foundation of the School, he was a
master and finally, for some 33 years, the Headmaster.

Reverend E. G. HAWKINS MA 1899-1912

Born in 1857, after Ordination he became a Curate at
Willingdon and established a small private school in
Eastbourne before planning with the Town Clerk the
establishment of a Municipal Boy’s School in Eastbourne.
This anticipated the 1902 Education Act which allowed
Borough Councils to spend money on post-elementary
education. He became the first Headmaster assisted at
first by one full time master and as numbers increased
appointed other staff, who were not especially academic
but could help develop the corporate life of the School.

Under his direction the School became less of a copy of
prevailing prep schools to become a mix of fee paying
and scholarship pupils. He organised the move from
Grove Hall to the Technical Institute in 1904 and finally
retired to return
to Church work in 1912.

He held livings at Hampden Park, Wilmington and died in 1944
aged 88 at Willingdon where he was an Assistant in the Parish
Church. He retained a lively interest in the School becoming
President of the Old Boys. As Head he was described as “the
scholarly type, a rigid disciplinarian to both Staff and pupils and
the high standard of work, tone and discipline of the School were
the result of his rule”
.

C. J. BLACKBURN MA 1912-1945

First appointed as an Assistant Master in 1904, his was the major
influence on the development of the School. His appointment as
Head was welcomed by the Schoolboy Editor of the School Magazine
who wrote “for hard work in classroom, or football or cricket field
he was hard to beat and his promotion was well merited”
.

He was spared participation in the Great War by a
medical condition and
was thus able to direct, in spite
of many staff changes a considerable growth in pupil
numbers. He taught Mathematics scorning rote in
favour of understanding and explored social issues in
special ‘Scripture’ lessons with the senior pupils
seeking thereby to develop independence of thought.

His aim ‘to develop an education for life not
work'
was forward looking in the difficult economic
times of the 20’s and 30’s. As early as 1920 he was
urging parents of likely boys to allow them to stay on
until 18 as preparation for University and successfully
lobbyed the Borough Council to obtain more
Scholarships; he believed that the mix of fee paying
and Scholarship boys provided the best recipe for
success. In 1928, against opposition, he obtained a
change of name from Municipal to Grammar believing
that the new name best described the education
offered. Thus Eastbourne established one of the first
Municipal Grammar Schools.

Old Boys remember his aura even when he was singing a popular
song at School Concerts and particularly when he was striding the
corridors giving warning of his approach with his unique cough
“usually advisory but sometimes minatory”!

His influence on the young is still evident for a Trust Fund set up by
Old Boys on his retirement still offers Scholarships to enable present
students to extend their education.

H. CLOKE MA (left) 1945-1947
C. J. BOYDEN MA
(right) 1948-1951

Both these Headmasters soon left for similar
positions elsewhere. It is suggested that
both found the influence of C. J. Blackburn
too great, for on retirement he was
appointed a Governor where his opinions
and suggestions would have been received
with great deference.

Mr Cloke introduced Rugby to the School; he is remembered as
encouraging full participation by pushing boys into the mud!
Mr Boyden “had a scholarly dignity and showed a calm,
unhurried leadership”
.


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