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   Choir school 1869-1962

Many boys in the families of those attached to the church gladly gave their services to assist with the singing, but the requirements of daily choral Mattins and Evensong naturally clashed with educational and other arrangements. These boys long continued to be most useful on Sundays but the Precentor and Organist were determined to form the nucleus of a choir on a surer basis.

A house was taken in Alma Road, and there they went to reside themselves. They took in boys with good voices, and trained them, procuring besides the help of an efficient school-master. The Sacristan and his wife assisted in the attendance and the cooking until the school became further developed by the advent of Mr. Walter Smith from Oxford, bringing with him an additional number of scholars.

Nine All Saints Road, formerly the All Saints Choir School

During the time of Mr. Cedric Bucknall the school was housed in what is now the Parish Hall, and consisted of about thirty boys, all choristers except two. In 1884 a house in All Saints' Road was bought and here the school flourished for many years.

The number of pupils rose to approximately 160, all being day-boys. Those in the choir numbered about 15 and by a rota system they sang at Evensong on most weekdays, as well as for the two services on Sundays.

Regrettably, the school did not see its centenary. After increased financial hardship it was forced to close at the end of 1962. For about two years the number of boy choristers was maintained with outside help. This was not to last, however, and the Choir now consists of twelve Lay Clerks.

Extracted from The Clifton Sound, a booklet published by All Saints in the 1960s.

Read more in first-hand accounts by two of the former choir school boys. Roger Gilmour writes about his time at the All Saints Choir School in the 1930s, and Leslie Fox writes about his time as a boarder just after the Second World War.

All Saints Parish Church, Pembroke Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2HY.
Tel: +44 117 9741355
Email for parish office:
Vicar: Fr Kim Taplin
Tel: +44 117 3179467