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Happy Birthday QE – 450 Years Old!

Date Posted: 24/04/2013 | Posted In: Latest news

This year, QE is celebrating its 450th birthday with a wide range of events to mark the College’s history and achievements.

One of the key occasions will be the official opening of the £3.8m building and refurbishment projects which have been completed over the last 18 months and include the new Stanhope Building with a superb dance studio, an extended and refurbished library, additional study areas on a mezzanine floor over the Atrium and new state of the art media rooms.

‘Project 450 ’ is also central to the celebrations with students striving to log at least 450 individual acts of volunteering within College and the wider community, culminating in an awards ceremony  to  recognise the efforts of those who have taken part. In addition, there will be a variety of sporting activities, some commemorating events of the past when grammar school boys took part in traditional sports afternoons involving such things as tug of war.  It is also hoped that the original Elizabethan Charter will be returned to the College and that there will be historical talks and tours linked to QE.  At present, in the local history room in the town’s Crown Street Library, there is an exhibition of memorabilia from the days when QE was a boys’ grammar school and this week the College’s History Club is hosting a visit from local historian Dennis Perkins who will talk about QE’s historical development.

 The official granting of the Royal Charter by Elizabeth 1 was in June 1563 and was the result of a petition from Henry Neville, Earl of Westmoreland and James Pilkington, Bishop of Durham. There had probably been a grammar school attached to St Cuthbert’s Church from the early 13th century but it had fallen into disrepair and was struggling financially. Hence, the petition and the Charter which led to the ‘free grammar school of Queen Elizabeth’ being established. Since then QE has gone from strength to strength, moving onto its present site in Stanhope Road in 1878 with its iconic building designed by George Hoskins. The boys’ grammar school came to an end in 1970 with the reorganisation of education in Darlington and the current Sixth Form College was then founded.

QE’s Principal, Tim Fisher, says:

‘We are proud to be celebrating 450 years of excellence and are delighted to be marking the founding of QE with such a wide variety of events. The College’s 450th birthday party is already underway with students taking a leading role, especially with their innovative ‘Project 450.’ While valuing the past, we are very much focussed on the success of current and future students. We hope as many people as possible will join in our celebrations.’

Details of celebration events will be posted on the College’s website: wqeliz.ac.uk and on our facebook page.