Exhibition puts Ralph’s story centre stage

The former Ralph Gardner High School.
The former Ralph Gardner High School.

Many people remember Ralph Gardner High School, but who was the man?

The new exhibition at the Old Low Light Heritage Centre, North Shields, puts his story centre stage as a key character in North Shields’ 600-year battle with Newcastle for rights to trade on the Tyne.

There are two talks related to the exhibition. On Saturday, from 11am, Tynemouth constituency MP Alan Campbell will give his views on the battles ahead for the town with a question and answer session.

On May 12, from 11am, Peter Coppack from the civil war re-enactment society The Sealed Knot will tell the story of the battles of King and Parliament in the North East.

The centre will also tell the story of the school.

It was built close to Gardner’s 17th century Chirton home and named after him.

It officially opened its doors on June 5, 1935, and finally closed on July 15, 1994, after six decades of teaching the town’s children.

Were you a pupil at the school? Do you have a story you can share? The Old Low Light wants to hear about the friendships you made there, the teachers who inspired you, your romantic crushes, embarrassments and your achievements.

It is offering free entry to the exhibition for ex-pupils in exchange for a memory – the usual entrance fee is £3.

The Old Low Light is working with the Linskill and North Tyneside Development Trust and with funds from The James Knott Trust, they are hoping to gather support to tell its history.

Visitors to the Shields v The Toon exhibition will also have the opportunity to view the two school films licensed to the exhibition by the North East Film Archive.