History of DSS and DGS
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The following paragraph in italics is a copy
charity school was erected first at
Palgrave, in Suffolk, in 1711, and
two years after removed hither. Mr.
Briars, rector of Diss, preached a
sermon, which was published at the
first meeting of the gentlemen and
clergy for encouraging this school,
which he dedicated to Charles Bishop
of Norwich, (whose chaplain he was,)
in which it appears that the rector
of Palgrave began it, at whose request
that parish set apart a large room
belonging to the town for that purpose,
and subscribed with him 10l. per annum
for its maintenance, the neighbouring
gentlemen and clergy had then subscribed
between 20 and 30l. besides casual
gifts, which then came to about 12l.
The school was opened the January before.
Ten boys of that parish were taught
and clothed, six more taught but not
clothed. This school is now 
kept at Diss, where the master hath
his dwelling in part of the late Gild-hall,
and keeps his school in another part:
there are now  ten boys clothed
grammar school is kept above, in the
same house, where the master hath lodgings,
and 10l. per annum; but this is at
the voluntary contribution of the parish.
Diss Secondary School (DSS) was preceded by
an establishment know as Robinson's
Ladies School. It was opened ca1850
and was run by Miss Elizabeth Robinson
and her sister Rose. At the time of
the 1881 census, Miss Elizabeth was
still in charge, at the age of 70,
but 2 years later her very much younger
sister Mary Ann had taken over†8. (?
more info needed, where was this school)
the pupillage varying from
was considered†8 (?) ?
A.H.Taylor †1 (?) in
adjacent to Aldrich's
factory †2. It
Miss Dixon was the Matron of 'Uplands',
a large house in the 1920s on Walcot
Road for boarders. Uplands Way is
one of the entrances to Diss High School,
the former secondary modern and comprehensive
was also used in those days for the
domestic science classes †6.
The Uplands was a hospital for
mentally disturbed German prisoners
of war during WWI.
6th forms. it
cricket pavilion constructed
In 1936 there were just over 200 pupils. The
school was co-educational and some
pupils paid fees. Most of the intake
came from the Church
School or Council School(?).
Uplands in 1939 was used for schooling
of evacuees †4,
8-11 year olds from Edmunton and Gravesend. Later
on it was used as a nursing home for
WWII injured personnel (?) and
an anti aircraft battery during (?).
In 1946/47 post The
1944 Education Act the school changed
its name from Diss Secondary School
to Diss Grammar
1949 hardcourts were established
between the tennis courts and the
Uplands in the 1950s was converted
into flats†9 for
teachers at the Secondary
Modern School that was constructed
during 1954 and 1955 †14. The
boys and girls schools both opened
on Tuesday, 26th April 1955.
a new classromm was added above the
boiler (furnace) room and in 1954
a new laboraory block was built adjacent
to the tennis courts.
the early 1960s there were still
about 200 pupils but in 1965, with
the closure of Eye Grammar School
the number rose to 350(citation
needed ?). Not all
Eye pupils came to Diss some went
to Stowmarket. A major extension
to the school was built, covering
the well-loved grassy area and adding
another two storey block and a covered
walkway to the original Victorian
style group of buildings. A new
grassy area to the south of the school
was purchased †11(?) and
this led to an escalation in detentions
for boys: 'stone picking '†6.
When the comprehensive school was formed,
the grammar school became an anachronism,
fell into disuse and was finally pulled
down to make way for 'up market' housing †10.
the 1980/81 school year pupils and
teachers started to transfer to the
now-renamed Diss High School or to
the Sixth Form College both in Walcot
Road. DHS operated on both sites for
existing pupils and the new 1st years
were the DHS proper. The old DGS buildings
were called 'Taylor Hall' for this
short period. According to current
anecdotal information the merger was
not easy †12.
DSS / DGS survived
for 70 years. Plans to turn the building
into a community centre came to nothing
and it was demolished in 1991. Amazingly
Grammar School buildings
still survives as the town's primary
†2 - Aldrich's
brush factory - remember
†3 - Louis
1929-35, The Old Dyssean, Issue 21,
Jul 2011 , Pg 6.
George Tilby, The Old Dyssean, Issue
2, July 2001, Pg 2.
†5 - Kath
Bass nee Pipe.
†6 - Seth
Reeder DGS 1962-67.
†7 - Majorie
Watts DGS 1921-21, The Old Dyssean,
Issue 3, Jan 2002, Pg 14.
The Old Dyssean, Issue 6, Aug 2003,
†9 - Sally
Lee (nee Pollard) DGS 1969-76,
lived there in the 1950s.
†10 - It's
true, the houses are north of the
This may have already still have
been owned by the education authority,
see 1950 overlay map below.
The Annual Speech Day programmes
for 1946/47 reflect this change.
Speech Day 26th Nov 1946 DGS
Speech Day 2nd Dec 1947
on images to view).
Diss Express, 22nd April 1955. (Click
on image to view).
thanks to all the contributors.
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Click on map to enlarge
The map opposite shows an actual
Diss Town map dated ca1950
laid over the Google Map 2011.
anyone has an old map of
the area to verify this
please contact the Webmaster.
The map opposite attempts to show
crudely the outline of the
school grounds in green and
the buildings in blue, just
The land to the north and east
of the water towers was the original
'well loved grassy area'.
This was needed for the school
extension to cater for the Eye
Grammar School merger in 1965.
More land was acquired to the south
of the lab blocks to replace the
lost grassy area.
on map to enlarge
is a map of the playing field to
the north of the school along Shelfanger
Louis Carr in his memories (see
above) refers to the boys building
a wooden pavilion. I suspect that
pavilion was still there in the
I can remember a green wooden building. The
pavilion shown opposite looks much
more substantial. The hard patch
to its south could be the site
of the original(?)
The playing field was used for
athletics, hockey, cricket, football,
softball, rounders and occasionally
touch rugby never rugby(?)
who were excused games because
of: injury, punishment or a note
from your mum, you probably spent
countless boring, cold, hours rolling
the cricket pitch, with Reggie
his whistle and bellowing from
afar 'Don't dig your heels in
" or stone-picking. Girls
played table tennis in the old
Tennis and basketball were reserved
for grass and hard courts in the
on map to enlarge
For more pictures
Secondary Modern School — April
Click on image to enlarge.
given in main gallery where
There is a 5 minute video of the school in
our Film Theatre taken
just before it was demolished in the 1990s.