Reunion for former Nautical School boys
A REUNION for boys who attended the National Nautical School in Portishead is being held in September.
It is being organised by Ron Thomas, a former pupil, who now lives in Redland, Bristol.
The Nautical School was a reformatory for boys, aged usually between 10 and 15-years-old and opened in 1906. Some were sent from courts, some were orphans and some volunteered to go there.
The Bristol training ship 'Formidable' opened in 1869 as an industrial school specialising in nautical training.
Several Bristol businessmen petitioned the Admiralty to lease them an ex Naval vessel to train young boys, for the training of young boys as seamen.
In 1906 the school moved into land premises at Portishead and the first boys moved in in May of that year.
As on the ship not all boys trained for sea went into the Royal Navy.
Some went into the Merchant Navy.
Mr Thomas said: "I was glad I went there and think many people you ask would say the same. It was a turning point for me.
"You went there and had a choice it was up to you where you went from there."
The school remained open until 1983 when the last boys moved out.
The site was then bought by a developer but because the building was Listed it couldn't be demolished.
It was instead converted into several luxury flats and apartments, known today as Fedden Village.
The first reunion was held about seven years ago and more and more people have attended every year.
This year's reunion is from Friday to Sunday, September 4-6.
The men will meet at the Premier Inn, in Wyndham Way, Portishead, before a day of reminiscing on the Saturday.
All those going to the reunion will meet at the church at the Old Nautical School for a 30 minute service on the Sunday before going to Fedden Village, which is sure to bring back many memories.
Do you have any stories about the National Nautical School? If so contact Trudi Bird on 0117 934 3003 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.