While Robert Russ Conway, husband of Bertha Pinwill, was Headmaster at Weymouth College, he commissioned a substantial piece of work from V. Pinwill for the chapel there. In April 1940 Weymouth College became the first public school in England to fall victim to wartime economic problems and was forced to close its doors (Western Gazette, 1940). It was fortuitous that a new church was being built nearby for the growing population of the area. This was St Aldhelm and it was decided that the north aisle would be put at the disposal of the School for the reception of furniture from the chapel there (Anon, 1949). In addition, new pieces were later commissioned for the church.
War Memorial Panelling, Choir Stalls & Seat – Photograph (PWDRO 116/94); 1921 and 1949
Three identical photographs at PWDRO show panelling on which are carved the names of 84 old boys of Weymouth School who died in WWI and a border of oak leaves, birds, lizards and other wildlife. Visible in front of the panelling are choir stalls that formed part of the memorial, designed by H. W. Crickmay of Weymouth (Kernot, 1927). The ensemble also included a seat presented by Mrs Ritson in memory of her husband Francis, designed by Basil Stallybrass of Plymouth. A service of commemoration, during which the memorial was unveilded and dedicated, was held on 25 July 1921 (Western Gazette, 1921). The memorial panelling and furniture were transferred to St Aldhelm’s church when Weymouth College closed in 1940. By 1949 the names of those who died in WWII were added to the panelling by V. Pinwill and a service of dedication held on October 8th (Anon, 1949).
Desk for Visitor’s Book – Anon (1949); 1949
A booklet produced for the dedication service provides the information that as well as additions to the memorial, V. Pinwill was commissioned to make a desk for a visitor’s book bound in blue calf and presented by Mrs Score. The desk was also designed to house books of remembrance. The new visitor’s book was used at the dedication service and the first entries are R. R. Conway and B. C. Conway, followed soon after by C. A. G. Ward and L. S. Ward (their daughter and son-in-law).
Parclose Screen – Anon (1952); 1952
Weymouth College was again commemorated at St Aldhelm’s in 1952 by the installation of a parclose screen, dedicated to the memory of all the headmasters, including Robert Russ Conway, who had died two years previously. It features a border with the traditional motif of grapevine and birds. A service of dedication for the screen and for the books of remembrance mentioned above was held on 1st June.
Anon (1949) Dedication of the War Memorial Panelling and Memorial Windows Transferred from Weymouth College Chapel to the North Aisle of St Aldhelm’s Church Radipole, Weymouth. St Aldhelm’s Church.
Anon (1952) Dedication of the Carved Oak Parclose Screen in Memory of the Headmasters of Weymouth College and of the Books of Remembrance. St Aldhelm’s Church.
Kernot, C. F. (1927) British Public Schools War Memorials. Roberts & Newton, London.
PWDRO 116/94 Photograph. Weymouth St Aldhelm. Memorial Panelling.
Western Gazette (1921) Weymouth College and the War. Memorial Unveiled. 29 July p. 9.
Western Gazette (1940) Weymouth College Closes. Bishop of Salisbury at Farewell Service. 29 March p. 9.