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News > School News > Old Girl Victoria Derbyshire visits BGS in the series, No Place Like Home

Old Girl Victoria Derbyshire visits BGS in the series, No Place Like Home

23 Jan 2023
School News

It was wonderful to watch Old Girl Victoria (Class of 1986) appear on Channel 5 in the series, No Place Like Home. Victoria, a journalist, and news broadcaster travelled back to her hometown and, during her stay, visited Bury Grammar School, her former school, to discover the history she never knew existed. The episode provided an interesting and insightful look into the history of Bury and Rochdale and a glimpse into some of the issues Victoria is clearly passionate about. 

It was a real pleasure to have Victoria back in school last year when she filmed the programme in our Roger Kay Hall. 

It was great to see Victoria retrace her footsteps to the Bury Grammar School entrance on Bridge Road where she remarked;  

“Here I am back at my old school, I have such happy memories of this time. I made some brilliant friends; I had a real laugh, and I had some gorgeous teachers” 

Upon entering School, the audience was given a insight and brief history of our school which was wonderful to see on screen! 

Bury Grammar School dates back to 1570 and at the time it was strictly for boys, however in 1729 that changed following the death of local historian, Anglican Reverend Roger Kay.  

Upon entering our historic and instantly recognisable Roger Kay Hall, Victoria was met by Kate Gibson a Social Historian of 18th century Britain to find out why Bury Grammar School has a controversial and radical history. 

Kate Gibson explained that:

“We actually know a lot about Roger Kay as he left his wishes for the School in his will and that is printed in this 19th century copy of the Book of Statues, and it says; 

“I order that 10 poor girls born or to be born in said town and parish, be sent to the free school (this school) and he says to make them perfect in reading the Bible and to teach them to write well and to be good accountants and to fit them to trades or to be good servants”

Kate went on to explain that... “Roger Kay had very specific views in mind for these girls and although it wasn’t unusual for girls at this time to have some educational provision that this increased a lot over the 18th century”, and it seems that Bury Grammar School was part of this huge societal change in recognising the importance of education for young girls and this is something to be very proud of.  

Victoria asked if change applied also to girls from low-income backgrounds, and Kate explained that “there was a big drive in the early 18th Century for everybody no matter how poor you were to have some primary level of education” 

The audience went on to learn about the religious backdrop of the time and how the industrial, educational, social, and economic developments taking place during the 18th Century played a huge role in the Northwest becoming part of radical transformation that helped to shape Britain during this period. 

This spirit of philanthropy from one of our Founders Reverend Roger Kay and the idea of moving towards a better future for future generations are still very much part of Bury Grammar School today.  

Mrs Anderson, Principal, commented ‘We were all thrilled to meet Victoria when she came back to her old school. She is even more engaging and impressive in person than on screen...and that is saying something. We are so proud that an Old Girl of Bury Grammar School should have enjoyed a stellar career and clearly has such a keen social conscience. When she talked about the northwest having had such progressive attitudes to education and being a ‘hotbed of radicalism,’ those ideas really resonated with us. While our School has a distinguished history, we also pride ourselves on being forward looking. Thank you for coming back to Bury Grammar School, Victoria!’ 

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Bury Grammar School
Tenterden Street, Bury
Lancashire, BL9 0HN

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