Rydal Penrhos Community
Former Headmaster Peter Watkinson makes special visit to Rydal Penrhos

Former Headmaster Peter Watkinson makes special visit to Rydal Penrhos

A former Headmaster at Rydal Penrhos has been speaking on his time at the school after a recent visit.

Peter Watkinson, who held the post at Rydal School for 23 years from 1968-1991, returned to the site on Thursday, May 18.

During the visit he spoke with current Headmaster Simon Smith, in addition to Alumni and Development Director Sarah Ritchie and a number of teachers who worked under him.

Mr Watkinson also sat down with Communications Assistant Dean Jones to talk about his fondest memories, the changes between now-and-then, while also giving an insight into the major projects he oversaw while at the helm.

He said: “I suppose in my 23 years the biggest change was that we moved to a co-educational school in the 1970’s.

“I remember the first ever girl was a the daughter of a surgeon working at Llandudno Hospital, and after the half term of that academic year we started to see more recruits.

“We originally didn’t have anywhere to house the new girl boarders so they had to stay at the houses of some of the teachers initially, which shows that it was a real team effort to get the project off the ground.”

The former Head also revealed that he fought hard to implement the Library at Rydal as he “was a big fans of them”, and his time was also marked by the

“Living in Nottinghamshire, looking back I feel very privileged to have worked somewhere with such a fantastic location, where there is beautiful sea views and mountains,” added Mr Watkinson.

“In those days people saw Rydal as somewhere they were only going to work for a short period, but they ended up staying a lifetime.

“Boarding pupils are generally less common now and schools are much more international, but you can see with things like the Swimming Pool and All-weather surface just how much grander things are now.”

Mr Watkinson also spoke about the huge fundraising campaign surrounding Rydal’s centenary in 1985, something which raised an incredible £400,000 which was a huge sum for the period.

He added: “I would find myself travelling across the country to speak with old boys at specially arranged meetings, which was very tiring but we managed to raise an exceptional amount for the time.

“Sitting in Little Chef’s at two o’clock in the morning was definitely worth it.”

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