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A Brief History of Pembroke School Farm
By Brynner J. Davies
In 1952-53 Pembrokeshie Education Authority decided that a new Grammar School was required and it purchased the Bush House estate. It consisted of the mansion, about 1 hectare of gardens, and 45 hectares of land.

The Chief Inspector of Schools in Wales, Dr.T.I.Davies, saw this as an excellent opportunity to establish an Agricultural Department as part of the new school. About 22 hectares were devoted to forestry, the tree planting being caried out by the Forestry Commission, some 6 hectares were transformed into playing fields, 17 hectares became the farming area, a new set of farm buildings were built and Bush House was modernised and adapted as a residential house for boarders.

The farm began to operate in 1954 and Mr.Jack Hunt was appointed bailiff. In early 1955 I was appointed Head of Department and commenced my duties in April 1955.

I spent most of the summer term organising the various activities of the farm and purchasing some Friesian heifers to establish the Wogan pedigee herd, some breeding ewes, and Welsh gilts for breeding.
For some years the main cash crop on the farm was early potatoes which was a very popular and profitable crop in the County at that time. Later on, laying hens were kept and turkeys were produced for the Christmas market. All these enterprises provided a variety of interests for the pupils following the course.

During the Autumn of 1955 Bush House was opened to its first pupils and the agricultural course commenced. It was attended by some local pupils and those from farther afield who resided at Bush House. Pupils who opted for the course followed a special “Biology through Agriculture” syllabus and agricultural science together with practical farming before or after school and on Saturday mornings. Later, farm proficiency courses and tests were introduced and proved to be very successful.

In the late 80’s an evening course in agricultural and farm machinery was introduced for young farmers and it proved to be very popular. Later, this course was extended to cover the whole of the county and separate staff were appointed. It was later to become part of the Technical College in Haverfordwest.

When the Department opened Mrs.Roblin was appointed secretary in the farm office. She retired after about five years to raise a family. She was followed by Mrs.Joan Payne who occupied the post for 18 years, only to be succeeded again by Mrs.Roblin. Both proved to be excellent secretaries.

Bush House - Formerly the Meryck Estate
(from an old postcard c.1920's)
Click on the images below to read two fascinating articles on memories of Bush House published in 'Pembrokeshire Life' magazine in October 2009 and January 2010. Our sincere thanks to Keith Johnson, Editor, for his kind permission to post the articles.
Pembrokeshire Life - October 2009
Pembrokeshire Life - January 2010
Pembrokeshire Life
October 2009
Pembrokeshire Life
January 2010
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Click on the graphic
In 1963 Mr. Hunt retired as bailiff and he was succeeded by Mr.Eric Bowen who had been promoted from the post of herdsman. Mr.Bowen was an excellent employee, totally reliable and skilful and responsible with the pupils. He was ably assisted by Mr.Fred Cole and both remained at the farm until it was closed.

In the early 70’s the authority decided to make the school a comprehensive school. Large extensions were added and the school population increased to about 1,800 pupils. This meant that there were many more pupils in the department and much greater use was made of the school gardens. Mr.Mike Evans assumed responsibilities for the gardening course and proved very successful in this respect.

In the late 80’s the number of boarders at Bush House decreased for various reasons and it was closed.

Due to the increasing costs of running the farm and the gardens, the Department was closed in 1990.

B.J. Davies
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