Cary Park School

This school must have been the best ever.  All the memories are so special.

I absolutely loved Cary Park School. It was quite a relaxed atmosphere there, but the teachers were great and you wanted to learn. I was in touch with Mrs Butt for many years, but unfortunately I think she has passed over now. I remember the sports days at Walls Hill and our year put on an unrehearsed play to show the other classes to make money for charity!

Penny Fleming

I was at Cary Park school 1959 to 1963.  Mrs Butt picked me up at Kingskerswell in the morning and took me home after school.

My friends were Linda Slade, Sonja Gordon , Lynsey Aronld and my name was Gillian Ayres.

Gillian Purches

Cary Park School was started by my parents (Mr & Mrs Butt) and my grandparents on my mothers side (Mr & Mrs Kelly), in the 1950’s. My mother and her family grew up in Kalimpong, India, where my grandfather worked for Dr. Graham’s homes, returning to England during WWII. Amongst others they had contact with the Dalai Lama as well as the Bhutanese Royal family, so she has many fascinating tales of life in the Himalayas. My parents studied music at Dartington (and met each other come to think of it), at the time Imogen Holst was teaching there, and my father was given composition lessons by Benjamin Britten amongst others.

Kathleen Butt at Cary Park 1964
Kathleen Butt at Cary Park 1964


The earliest memories I have of the school were in the nursery class (this would have been around 1957), and particularly ‘music & movement’ and those little bottles of milk at eleven. My grandmother Mrs Kelly had an encyclopedic knowledge of history, a subject which she really enthused others with her natural way to story tell our past. Other teachers names are hazy in my memory, but Mrs Chambers and Mrs Hayward spring to mind. Not to forget Mr Widdecombe the caretaker. Later came events such as the trips to Kents Cavern and further afield to Longleat, or the day the classroom ceiling fell down on us when there was a dancing class going on on the floor above! Then there was watching the moon landings on a black and white television set which expired in a cloud of acrid smoke at the wrong moment, the pupils were also allowed to watch the investiture of Prince Charles when he was made Prince of Wales. Other enduring childhood memories are the smell in ‘Drowers’ hardware shop, and the sound of the cliff railway buzzing across the downs.  There was the fascination with the Tessier Gardens which was forbidden territory for children, but the stable classroom had a windows offering a tantalising glimpse into a corner of this mysterious place. We left Babbacombe when the school closed it’s doors for the last time in July 1971, and relocated to Suffolk.  However my mother continued teaching until retiring in 1995.

Jeremy Butt


Photo from Barbara Gissinger.


I was at Cary Park school in 1957/58, just for my 11+ year.  I remember Mr and Mrs Kelly and Mrs Butt and some shows we did including Alice Through the Looking Glass.  I remember Susan Wells-Brown and Pat Launder.  I was called Celia Boulton then.  In August 1958 we moved to Surrey so I lost contact with friends.  In my old age, I sometimes return to Torquay, staying at The Grand Hotel and visiting St Marychurch, Babbacombe and Plainmoor.

Celia Whiteside

Nursery class. Photo from Barbara Gissinger.


Best school ever!  Mr and Mrs Kelly and Mr and Mrs Butt, a great family of teachers.  I was always a bit afraid of Miss Battersby the science teacher.   I remember swimming at The Queens Hotel, Tennis at the local club and dear Mrs Radmore the cook.

Gillian Purches

Plenty of memories of Cary Park School in Babbacombe. It was a lovely friendly little school, I don’t think we were all that well behaved. I remember getting lines for not wearing my white gloves outside school and still in uniform. I remember going home after being told if I wanted to talk go home. Riding two on a bike between school and St. Annes Hall where we had dancing lessons. Answering the school telephone, and pretending not to speak English very well. I am only in touch with one other friend who went there. I was once in an advert for the school taken about 1964, holding a tennis racket, probably the worst tennis player in the school. I also remember the wonderful stories our headmistress used to tell us about her time in India, and how she would read to us even at the age of 15, which gave me a love of reading. And Yes I also remember Mr White the swimming instructor at the Palace Hotel.

Ann Davy

I was a pupil at Cary Park School from 1960 to 1963 and have very fond memories.  One of my highlights was performing in The Snow Queen at the Babbacombe Theatre.  Such a wonderful opportunity for all of us.

Jane Aldous

I went to Cary Park School in the ’60s and my teacher was a Miss Hufflemann, we had elocution lessons by pretending to speak with toffee in our mouths.  Deportment was with books on our heads walking around the playground.  The food was 4 star, incredible.  The cost of lunch….2 shillings and 6 pence a day!

Simon Kniveton


Malcolm or Michael Parsons. Photo from Glynis Castle Elliot


Mrs Richardson. Photo from Glynis Castle Elliot


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