THE CEREMONY of the official opening of the Technical College and Secondary School, East Ham, took place on Saturday, 18h March, 1905. Having opened the building with a Gold Master Key, His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, K.G., accompanied by Her Royal Highness, The Princess of Wales (later King George Vth and Queen Mary), then proceeded to the School Assembly Hall and declared the building open.
Just previously, in a gathering at the Town Hall, His Worship the Mayor (Alderman J. H. Bethell), in an address of welcome to the royal visitors, referred to the "phenomenal development of the Borough, without parallel in the history of the United Kingdom". He recalled the "country lanes of ten years ago", the jump in population from 6,000 to 115,00 in thirty years, necessitating the building of the College for the provision of Higher Education.
Shortly afterward, to the strains of "God Bless the Prince of Wales", the royal visitors departed, and East Ham was left to get on with its educational task, a task which it had already begun, since the school had actually opened its doors to 250 boys and girls on 16th January of that same year.
Half a century has passed, with its many changes in every sphere of life. Two World Wars made their marks in many ways on this district; the Grammar Schools played their parts and paid the price - a heavy one. This booklet, a special edition of "The Esthameian" the magazine of the East Ham Grammar School for Boys, celebrates the first fifty years of work and play.
It is not intended to be a definitive history of the School, but rather a series of glimpses into the past, random recollections and reflections as they occurred to various people - old pupils, staff and members of the Authority.
Grammar School boys and girls soon become Old Boy, and Old Girls; generation succeeds generation. It is significant that as far back as 1907 an Old Collegians' Association was formed. The story of the Old Esthameians' Society, as it came to be known, is told in detail, rightly so, in these pages. We express the hope that, in view of plans and changes now in hand, the Education Committee will foster the aims and aspirations of the Old E's Society, realising that the Society is the natural development of the life in school.
The story of the Grammar Schools of this country is also outlined in this booklet; our school is in many ways typical of the growth of a great idea, and its work is, let us say it, in its later period, typical of some of the best work of the best Grammar Schools. Its Rolls of Honour stand side by side with its Lists of Honours.
We salute the many nameless ones who have passed this way; we extend the hand of friendship to those whom the Centenary Of 2005 will commemorate.