American High School

Warrington, Lancashire, England

In September 1950, near the industrial town of Warrington on the River Mersey in the county of Lancashire in northern England, the Burtonwood American High School held its first classes. Each year the curriculum became more varied. Pupils played football, baseball, basketball, and soccer; produced plays and programs; formed clubs and traveled upon sponsored tours from Burtonwood, not only to local points of interest but also to more distant parts of the United Kingdom and to seven Continental countries to become acquainted with the land about them.

In 1887, the school grounds were meadow and farmlands, George Stephensonís Rocket had made its trial run over fifty years before upon the railway only a few miles away. A few half-timbered, "black and white" homes had been landmarks for centuries. Over six hundred years before, in 1257, records showed an owner of Burton wood, a meadowland with wooded streams and the home of red deer. The Saxon churches built about the time of King Alfred the Great were crumbling with age but were being rebuilt by the Normans.

In 257 A. D., Warrington in Roman Britain was Veritanium. Manchester was Mancunium and Chester was Deva, an old port on the River Dee and headquarters of the Roman XX Legion Valeria Victrix for four hundred years. Upon Chesterís walls where Burtonwood pupils walked, the Roman legionaries kept watch. Along a road, which served as a highway for over one thousand years, marched ranks of soldiers on their way through Warrington to Lancaster, later associated with Lancelot of the King Arthur stories, but then a northern outpost of the Roman Empire.

The Manchester Ship Canal is now crowded with ocean-going vessels as were the Dee and the Mersey with Roman galleys then.

To Burtonwood students, the mingling of the past and the present was one of the facets of This England.

Excerpted from 1957 Vapor Trails yearbook

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