St Luke's School is a striking building in St Luke's Terrace, located in the Queen's Park area of Brighton. It was built in 1903 to the design of prestigious local architect for the Brighton and Preston School Board, Thomas Simpson.
On the morning of 20th July 1903 the impressive school opened its doors for the first time. The pupils arrived from the nearby Finsbury Road School, marched in procession along St Luke's Terrace with their books and belongings. Kathleen Back, pupil at the school from 1908, recalls her mother talking about the event, where the streets surrounding the school were full of people cheering and welcoming the pupils.
At this time, the juniors were educated separately; the Girls' Department was housed on the middle corridor, with Miss Thomas as the Headmistress and the Boys' Department was located on the top corridor overseen by their Headmaster, Mr Dewdney. They were aged between 7-14 years. The infant classes however, were co-educational and positioned on the ground floor of the school and they had as they do today, their own Head, separate entrance and playground.
During the First World War, the school was closed for a short while to serve as a hospital for Indian soldiers injured in the fighting. Fred Tester, who was at the school from 1912, remembers being sent to Elm Grove School during this time.
In 1928, the Boys Department became St Luke's Terrace Senior Boys' Council School for boys aged 11-14 years, with Mr Dewdney remaining as their Headmaster. The Girls' Department became St Luke's Terrace Junior Mixed School for pupils aged 7-11 years old, presided over by a new Headmistress, Miss Dutton-Briant.
When the junior girls reached eleven years old they then left to attend Elm Grove Senior Girls (unless they passed the Scholarship). The junior boys however, were able to move up to the top corridor at the age of eleven and join St Luke's Senior Boys, unless they too passed the Scholarship.
In 1956, the Senior Boys left the top corridor of St Luke's and returned to Finsbury Road School, although they retained the name of St Luke's Senior Boys. Also at this time, the junior classes from Finsbury Road School joined together with those from St Luke's and the school became known, as it is today, St Luke's Junior School.