Surrey History

The Development of Schools in Surrey
1940 to 1950

Semiahmoo,Queen Elizabeth,Grosvenor Road,Fleetwood,David Brankin,General Montgomery,Crescent Park,Ray Shepherd,North Surrey,Harold Bishop,BridgeviewSunnyside,Latimer Road,Princess Margaret,Newton Junior


The need for new schools 1940 to 1950

Rapid population growth during the depression, the Second World War, and the Post–war Baby boom resulted in a rapid expansion in the number of schools throughout Surrey. The 1930s saw many people from the Prairies coming out to resettle in Surrey as a result to the Prairie drought. The opening of the Pattullo Bridge in 1937 and King George Highway in 1940 made access to Surrey easier. The war time 1940s saw many people relocating to Surrey, and especially White Rock, for the available, affordable housing. The war time housing shortages in Vancouver and New Westminster resulted in many families of service men looking for accommodation. The seasonal homes in White Rock and Crescent Beach provided the answer. The post–war baby boom saw a rapid expansion of population, especially young families, which put great pressure on Surrey's school facilities.


Some School Rules from the 1940s and 1950s


Semiahmoo 1940: Fir Street

Semiahmoo is named after the indigenous peoples who inhabited the area around Semiahmoo Bay prior to the arrival of Europeans. Until the fall of 1940, students from both White Rock and Surrey traveled to attend school in Cloverdale at Surrey High School or across the border to Blaine High School in Washington State.


This is the graduating class of 1941. The first graduating class from Semiahmoo.


Semiahmoo High School 1941


As the school population continued to grow, Surrey High School became very crowded. Petitions began to circulate locally to request a new high school. By 1940 students were temporarily housed in the basement of the White Rock Public School, and in the old Campbell River Saw Mill Office, until the school was finished.


Semiahmoo 1956

Semiahmoo was officially opened on November 29, 1940. It was a three storey wood frame building and it contained 14 classrooms, a library, an Industrial Education shop, and a gym. The gym was 50 by 80 feet and had a large stage at the south end.


Mr. Harley Abbott was the school's first principal. The school began as a grade 7 to 12 school, but by the early 1950's included grade 13. By 1945, the rapid growth in school population forced some of the grade sevens to remain in the neighbouring elementary schools.

Semiahmoo Staff 1955-56

By 1951, overcrowding had become a problem. By 1953 enrollment had climbed to 410 in a school designed to accommodate 330. In the 1958 a new six room Science wing was constructed on the east end of the school to meet the needs of the new experimental based sciences. In the 1960s an additional six room academic wing was built on the west side of the old building along with a new Industrial Education wing and a Band Room.


This is the Student Council from 1952 – 1953

Student Council 1952–53
Student Council names 1952–53

Picture and names courtesy of Ed Fader


With the opening of White Rock Junior High in 1958 the grades 8 to 10 attended there and Semiahmoo became a grade 11 to 13 school. The grade 13 class, which had begun in the early 1950s, ended in the June of 1969 as Douglas College had opened.


Semiahmoo 1989: 1785 – 148th Street

Semiahmoo officially merged with White Rock Junior in 1989 in a reconstructed and enlarged secondary school at the White Rock Junior site. The old Semiahmoo became part of the White Rock Elementary School that had expanded rapidly with the growth of French Immersion and a Fine Arts Program. The Old Semiahmoo was torn down in 2004.

Semiahmoo Secondary 2004

The present Semiahmoo, on 148th Street, has maintained a stable student population with the opening of: Earl Marriott 1973, and Elgin Park, 1993.


Queen Elizabeth 1940: 9457 136th Street

The completion of the Pattullo Bridge in 1937, and the opening of the King George Hwy in 1940 brought increased population growth to North Surrey. The bridge initially was a toll–bridge until 1952, but the cost of property and housing was very affordable compared to New Westminster and Vancouver.

Queen Elizabeth High School 1940
Queen Elizabeth Staff 1940

Queen Elizabeth was a sister school to Semiahmoo and was built on the same set of plans. It was built on the west side of King George Highway just south of 96th Avenue. These pictures are of the school in 1940 and the Staff of 1940. A number of the teachers had come over from Surrey High School in Cloverdale.


Queen Elizabeth like Semiahmoo contained 14 classrooms, a library, an Industrial Education shop, and a gym. However, the continued growth of the Whalley area resulted in a number of additions during the 1950s. A north end Science wing, a south end Academic wing, a second gymnasium, and a new Industrial Education wing helped meet the growth.

Queen Elizabeth 1965

Queen Elizabeth High School 1965

QE Staff 1965  

In 1940 Queen Elizabeth opened as a Junior–Senior High School. By the late 1940s it was very over crowded but the opening of North Surrey in 1949 and Princess Margaret in 1950 eased the situation. In 1959–60 Q.E. added a grade 13 class. By the late 1950s the opening of neighbouring Junior Secondary Schools reduced the pressure on Q.E.; West Whalley 1957, Mary Jane Shannon 1958, Johnston Heights 1958, William Beagle 1962, L.A. Matheson 1969, and Len Shepherd 1970. Q.E.'s lower grades were shifted to the new Junior Secondary Schools and by the Fall of 1958, grade 9 was the lowest grade. In addition, the opening of Douglas College in 1969 saw the removal of the Grade 13 program.


In 1958 the new addition, which was to become the north science wing, was late in opening for the beginning of the school year. For the first month or two the grade nines and tens were on shift, tens in the morning and nines in the afternoon. Another consequence of the delayed opening was as the new wing housed the Industrial Arts shops they were not open, and therefore, classes for woodwork and metalwork were bused to Princess Margaret on Bose Road (64th Avenue).


In the July of 1967, fire broke out in the Science Wing of Queen Elizabeth. That wing was completely destroyed and the original main building was so heavily damaged that it had to be demolished. The south end Academic wing, the two gyms and the Industrial Wing survived. The school went on shift the next September at Princess Margaret and North Surrey. The rebuilt Queen Elizabeth opened in November of 1969.

QE fire looking north
QE fire north wing

Pictures courtesy of Murray Lundberg.


In the 1990s Board policy resulted in the restructuring of schools so that all secondary schools enrolled grades 8 to 12. As the feeder Junior Secondary Schools became full secondary schools so Queen Elizabeth became an 8 to 12 school. As a result William Beagle Junior High was closed and reopened as David Brankin Elementary. Queen Elizabeth enrolled the William Beagle Students. West Whalley was demolished in August of 2002 and the replacement school opened in September 2002 as Kwantlen Park Secondary. Len Shepherd Secondary merged with Kwantlen Secondary, and the school reopened in September 2003 as Surrey Traditional School. Mary Jane Shannon became an elementary school in 1994 when Guildford Park Secondary opened. Johnston Heights was replaced in 1992 and reopened as a Secondary School. L.A Matheson became a Secondary School.

Queen Elizabeth Secondary 2004

This picture shows Queen Elizabeth Secondary School in 2004. Like other secondary schools in Surrey it now enrolls grades 8 to 12.


Grosvenor Road 1940: 13640 Hilton Road

The completion of the Patullo Bridge in 1937, and the opening of the King George Hwy in 1940 brought increased population growth to North Surrey and the need to provide elementary schools for the many young families moving into the Whalley area. Grosvenor Road was opened in 1940 with six rooms. An addition was added in 1948. Due to its location near the commercial core the building was sold, leased back and closed in the spring of 2000.

Grovenor Road Elementary

George Peebles provided a picture of his grade 5–6 Class in front of Grosvenor Road School. He believes the year was 1943 or 1944. The teacher is Miss Pedley. He could only recall the names of a few of the students. In the back row third from the left is "Red Dibble", his sister Helen is in the second row from the back, fourth from the left. Joan Salter is in the third row from the back, second from the left. George is sitting in the front row, sixth from the left.

I attended Grosvenor Road School in 1942 and 1943 along with my cousins. At the time we were living in a house along the King George Highway just south of Pringle;'s Hatchery. As I recall the classrooms were all doubled, that is grades 1–2, 3–4, 5–6 were together. Washrooms were out door biffies and drinking water was obtained from a well with a pump handle.
The teachers I had during that time were Miss Otto (not sure of the spelling) and Miss Pedle(which I thought most appropriate as she rode a bike to school everyday). It was wartime and in addition to the school subjects we learned to duck under our desk in case of an air-raid. Patriotic songs such as "Britannia Rules the Waves", "British Grenadiers", and "The Maple Leaf Forever" were often sung during class.
It was a memorable time as we witnessed Army Convoys driving past the house, swam in the slough across the Highway from the School, toured the vacated home of a Japanese family, and played at being soldiers. I don't think we really appreciated the significance of the things that were happening around us other then that we had family serving in the Armed Forces. Personal recollections by George Peebles

Fleetwood 1944: 15289 88th Avenue

Fleetwood Elementary
Fleetwood 2004

Fleetwood was another school opened in war time due to growing student numbers. It opened in 1944 as a four-room school with a basement. It was located on Davis Road near Johnston Road.


Fleetwood Elementary 2005


Fleetwood Elementary will close its doors as of June 30, 2009. Located in a growing commercial area with increased traffic from an expanded four lane Fraser Highway and a very busy 88th Avenue, access has been a continuing problem. Students will be accommodated in surrounding elementary schools


David Brankin 1945: 12772 88th Avenue, and 9160 128th Street.

David Brankin opened in January 1945 as a two-room school with electricity, outhouses and a well (no running water). It was located on the south–west corner of Sandell and Kennedy Roads (128th Street and 88th Avenue). This School was named after David Brankin, who was a member of the Surrey School Board from 1935 to 1944 and from 1946 to 1959 inclusive. An additional two rooms were added in the late 1940s. A gym was added in the 1960s.


In January 2000 The school moved into what had been William Beagle Junior Secondary. William Beagle had been a member of the Surrey School Board from 1954 to 1961, and from 1965 to 1972 inclusive. The original David Brankin at 12772 88th Avenue became a Student Services Centre.

David Brankin 2004

This school opened in 1962 as William Beagle Junior High School. It operated as a Junior High until December 1999 when it closed and the students were merged with those of Queen Elizabeth. In January 2000 the school reopened as David Brankin Elementary.


General Montgomery 1948: 12380 Ole Yale Road

The war time housing shortage brought many families into Surrey as housing was more affordable. General Montgomery was opened in 1948 as a four–room school with a basement and could accommodate up to 160 students. This School was named after General Montgomery, a General with the British Army during the 2nd World War. It was located at Old Yale Road and Liverpool Road. General Montgomery was closed in 1982, and sold in April 1996.


Crescent Park 1948: 2440 128th Street

The present Crescent Park Elementary opened in 1948 at Sunnyside and Stevenson Roads (128th St. and 24th Ave.). It began as a two–room school with the basement as girls and boys recreation rooms with washrooms. Over its 50+ years the school has been expanded seven times, the last in 1980. In 1955, three classrooms and a staff room were added. In 1963 two more classrooms were added and half the gym was built which also included a kitchen. In 1967 two more classrooms were added as well as the second half of the gym with office and change rooms. In 1970 two more classrooms were added near the office. In 1975 the basement was completely converted to classrooms. Washrooms were put in upstairs and the stairs were moved to the end of the building. In 1980 a Kindergarten room and music room were added. In the 1980's Crescent Park had 18 classes inside the school plus 12 portables. The development of other schools in the area resulted in the removal of most of the portables, Laronde 1982, Ocean Cliff 1990, Bayridge 1991, and Chantrell Creek 1992.

Crescent Park 2004

Crescent Park Elementary was the first of the post–war schools built in the south end of Surrey to alleviate the over crowding at Crescent School and White Rock Public School.


Ray Shepherd 1949: 1650 136th Street

Ray Shepherd School was named after John Ray Shepherd, who was a pioneer in the White Rock Area. He started and ran the Pioneer Meat Market and was a Surrey School Board member for 13 years between 1932, and 1952. The school began as a four room school with a full basement that was used as a girls and boys recreation area with washrooms. A kitchen was located in the basement at that time. By the 1960s the kitchen was being used as a grade 1 classroom, but this room later became a "special education" classroom. The Library was also located in the basement.


Ray Shepherd officially opened October 17th, 1949 for grades 1 to 7. This was the grade 7 class at Ray Shepherd the year it opened, 1949. The Principal is Guy Weston. The class was composed of students from White Rock, Sunnyside and Hall's Prairie. There were only four classes in the school at that time.

Ray Sheperd Grade 7 1949–50  

By 1966 two additional classrooms were added along with a new office, medical room and a gymnasium. A covered play area was created under the new offices. By 1975 four more classrooms were added along with a new library. By 1989 the school had 4 portables, but with the addition of two new classrooms by 2001 and the opening of new schools in the area growth has stabilized. Other schools built that reduced student pressure on Ray Shepherd were: H.T. Thrift 1958, Laronde 1982, Bayridge 1991, and Chantrell Creek 1992.

Ray Shepherd staff 1963

This is the staff of Ray Shepherd in the Spring of 1963. In the back row is Mr. Vic Webber, and Principal Mr. Stan Mills. In the front row is; Mrs. Carol Rutherford, Mrs. Lynda Brown, and Miss Ruth Teeple.


Ray Shepherd was built on a small site and in the early 1970s the District acquired approximately two acres from an adjoining property to allow for the provision of a full size soccer field.

Ray Shepherd 2004
Ray Shepherd 2004

These pictures show Ray Shepherd Elementary in 2004


North Surrey 1949: 15945 96th Avenue

North Surrey opened in 1949 as a result of the heavy population growth in Surrey's north end. Most surprising was for the first time a school was not located near a community focus. North Surrey was built "Out in the middle of nowhere!" The location was central to Port Kells, Tynehead, Fleetwood, and East Hjorth.


Construction began in 1948, but due to the post-war shortages the actual building was delayed. It was completed in the summer of 1949. Due to the delay students assigned to North Surrey were retained in the Lord Tweedsmuir and Queen Elizabeth Schools during the Spring of 1949.

North Surrey High School 1949

North Surrey was built along the lines of Queen Elizabeth with 14 classrooms, a library, an Industrial Education shop, and a gym. The school opened with one Grade 12 class, one Grade 11 class, two Grade 10 classes, three Grade 9 classes, four grade 8 classes, and four Grade 7 classes.


The official opening took place September 6, 1949. Dignitaries, parents, teachers and students attended. At the opening all classrooms were opened for inspection. As all the lights and stoves were turned on, the transformer could not bear the load and the school was put into darkness. Candles and lanterns were brought to give a minimum of light. Even if the opening was somewhat inconspicuous, the school got off to a good start.

North Surrey additions

North Surrey Additions

  1. The original Manual Training Wing
  2. New IE Wing built 1964
  3. Band Room built 1964
  4. Automotive Shop built 1972
  5. New Wing; Academic classrooms 1972
  6. Stage and Changing Rooms added to Gym. Stage moved 1972
  7. Cafeteria Addition; built on to back of Gym 1977
  8. End of the "Pit"; new name Cafeteria 1977

Early staff

In the late 1960s a Science wing was added as an eastern extension. The 1970s saw a new Industrial Wing with an Auto Shop and Metal Shop, and later a Band Room. In the winter of 1989-90 a fire broke out in the Industrial Wing causing minor damage. Due to its advanced age, maintenance cost, and seismic concerns the decision was made to replace North Surrey.

North Surrey 2004

A new North Surrey Secondary was built behind the old building and opened in 1993. The old building was demolished at that time and its location became the parking lot.


Harold Bishop 1949: 15670 104th Avenue

Harold Bishop 1957
Harold Bishop 2004

Harold Bishop opened in 1949 to service the area along Hjorth Road east of Johnston Road. The school was named after Harold Bishop who was a member of the Surrey Council from 1948 to 1951. The picture of the original Harold Bishop Elementary was taken in 1957 about the time when the schools seemed to be painted in "parfait colours".

Miss Eileen Main 1951–52
Class names 1951–52
Tom Russel's class
Names for Tom Russel's Class
Class of 1957–58
Class names 195–58
Grade 1 Pauline Marshall

Harold Bishop's grade one class with Miss Pauline Marshall


Bridgeview 1949: 11500 128th Street

The region near the Patullo Bridge was originally known as Brownsville. As ferry service developed the larger area around Brownsville was known as South Westminster. After the closing of Brownsville school students from the area were accommodated in South Westminster on the side of the hill on Hjorth Road (104th Avenue). With the opening of the Patullo Bridge in 1937 and King George Highway in 1940, crossing the busy highway became dangerous for pupils east of the highway. The Bridgeview Community petitioned for a school to be built. The District opened the new school in 1949. A local competition to name the school came up with Bridge View as it is within site of the Patullo Bridge. In time the words have been linked together.


The original school had classrooms along 128th Street. As population grew an addition was built which doubled the size of the school and provided a gym and office space.

Bridgview 2004

In 2002 a new Bridgeview Elementary School was opened and the old school demolished at that time.


Sunnyside 1949: 15250 28th Avenue

Sunnyside Elementary opened in 1949 at Oliver and Johnston Roads. It was a twin school to Ray Shepherd and built on the same plans. It began as a four-room school with a full basement that was used as a girls and boys recreation area with washrooms. A kitchen was located in the basement at that time. As the population grew two rooms and a gymnasium were added. By the 1970s it had grown to a 12 room school (8 rooms in the main building, and a 4 room portable annex) plus a library and gym. Initially Sunnyside was built on a small, approximately three acre site. In the 1970s as the school grounds expanded as the District acquired approximately two+ additional acres to enlarge the school grounds and provide a soccer field.

In 2009 the School Board is considering closing Sunnyside and relocating the students to a new school. With increased traffic on King George Highway and 152nd Street, access to the school is increasingly difficult. A new school is being planned just east of the school, on 160th Street at approximately 28th Avenue. The new Sunnyside Elementary will be located at 2828 – 159th Street and will open September 2013. The original school will close June 2013. Students west of Highway 99 will be relocated to either Semiahmoo Trail Elementary or Jessie Lee Elementary.

Sunnyside 2004

Sunnyside Elementary was one of the schools built in the late 1940s to alleviate the student growth pressure as a result of the post–war baby boom.


Latimer Road 1949: 19233 60th Avenue

Latimer Road Elementary was another of the post–war elementary schools to be built. It was named after its location on Latimer Road at Old McLellan Road (192nd Street and 60th Avenue). It was a four–room school built to accommodate 160 students.
Latimer Road grades 6–7 1949–50

Latimer Road Elementary, grades 6–7 1949–50

Latimer Road grade 6–7, 1950–51

Latimer Road grade 6–7, 1950–51
Pictures courtesy of Ernie Seaquist


Bottom Picture

Back Row: Ron Hoaglund, Unknown, Eldon Dainard, Unknown, Unknown, Girard Waters, Unknown, Dick Calkins, Unknown, Unknown.
Third Row: Charlie Waters, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Louise Affleck, Frank Aikenhead, Joe McGregor, Ian Mcnaughton, Unknown, Unknown.
Second Row: Unknown, Bill? Hodgins, Bobby Bidwell, Kieth Rogerson, Unknown,Unknown, Alannah Sullivan, Ernie Seaquist.
Front Row (left to right): Charlie Hoffman, Bob Nesbitt, Unknown, Unknown, Shirley Raaen, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Wayne Armstrong.

Latimer Road Elementary
Latimer Road Elementary

These pictures show the original 1949 Latimer Road School and the present school in 2004


Over the years it had a number of additions, but by the early 1990's parents were becoming concerned about the condition of the school. As a result a replacement school was built on the same site. The parking lot and playground is the location of the original school.

Latimer Road Elementary
Latimer Road Elementary

These pictures show the original 1949 Latimer Road School and the present school in 2004


Princess Margaret High School 1949, Newton Junior High School 1961:
Both occupied 13220 64th Avenue and 12870 72nd Avenue at different times.

Princess Margaret High School was built during 1949/50 and located at 13220 – 64th Avenue (Bose Road). This was just east of Bose Road Elementary School with which it shared the site. The school was named after H.R.H. Princess Margaret, the second daughter of Queen Elizabeth and King George VI. Newton Junior High School was built in 1958/59 on Newton Road near Roebuck Road and Sandell Road (12870 – 72nd Avenue). It opened to grade 7 to 9 students in September 1959. James Ardiel was the first Principal. In September 1961 students and teachers moved to the Princess Margaret site at 13220 64th Avenue. At the same time Princess Margaret students and teachers moved to the Newton Junior site at 12870 72nd Avenue. Newton Junior enrolled grades 8, 9 and 10. Princess Margaret Senior High School enrolled grades 11 and 12. However, depending on the growth in each school's catchment area the grade tens might be enrolled in either school.

Princess Margaret 1949

The Princess Margaret High School on Bose Road opened on Monday December 4th, 1950. Construction delays and material shortages meant that PM students had to remain a Queen Elizabeth during the fall and operate on double shifts. The school was built to accommodate 500 students in 14 classrooms, and provided a gymnasium, industrial arts shop, and cafeteria facilities.

Princess Margaret 1950

This picture of Princess Margaret High School was taken in 1950 just prior to the occupation of the school. The gymnasium was unique amongst Surrey schools in that it could be closed off entirely from the main body of the school, thus lending itself for use in evening functions. In September 1961 this school became Newton Junior High School.

Aerial 1971–72

In September 1961 Princess Margaret moved to 12870 – 72nd Avenue. This aerial shot of PM in 1971 shows the extensive additions made to the school. This building operated as a Secondary School until replaced in 1999.

Staff 1950–51

Princess Margaret's staff of 195–152


In 1961 the first year in the new Princess Margaret, saw North Delta students attend as the nearest Delta school was in Ladner. In 1967–68 when QE burned down PM accommodated half the school. QE students made up the morning shift and Princess Margaret operated on the afternoon shift. On November 26, 1967 Princess Margaret had a fire of its own. Fire broke out in the administrative offices and had been burning for considerable time when discovered. However, the columns and floors had been made of concrete and this had retarded the spread of the fire. Had the building been of frame construction the whole wing would have been destroyed. Students lost four days of school as a result of the fire.


The Princess Margaret site on 72nd Avenue also had a number of additions and renovations over the years. In the early 1990s Princess Margaret Secondary began to take in some of the grade 8, 9 and 10s from the Newton Junior catchment in the years that Tamanawis was being built. By 1994 it was a full Secondary School. However, with age, the cost of maintenance, and seismic concerns Princess Margaret was torn down and replaced with a new school in 1999. The new school was built on the running track and the site of the old school became the parking lot.

Princess Margaret 2004

This is the new Princess Margaret Secondary built on the same site as the original building.


Newton Junior High School

Newton Junior

This building held Princess Margaret from 1950 to June of 1961. It operated as Newton Junior from September 1961 until the June of 1994. In September 1994 it housed the Surrey Traditional School until June 2003. It was demolished in August 2003. This picture was taken in 1957.


The Newton Junior High School on 64th Avenue had a number of additions and renovations over the years. When Bose Road Elementary was demolished the property was incorporated into the Newton Junior site. Newton Junior Secondary was closed in the June of 1994. The building reopened in September 1994 as Surrey Traditional School. The Traditional School operated at this site until June of 2003, and then moved to the former Len Shepherd Secondary site at 13875 113th Avenue in September 2003. The old Newton Junior Secondary School on 64th Avenue was demolished in August 2003. A new school, Panorama Ridge has been built on the site.

Tamanawis 2004

In September 1993 Newton Junior allowed grade eleven students to attend the school during the1993-94 school year so that they did not have to move to Princess Margaret for that year and then move to Tamanawis for their final year. In the September of 1994, the teachers and students of Newton Junior moved to a new school at 12600 66th Avenue and took the new name Tamanawis Secondary. Grades 8, 9, 10, and 11 moved to the new school and future senior students were to be retained. The first graduating class from Tamanawis Secondary was the graduating class of 1995. These graduates had attended Newton Junior from 1990 to 1994 then moved to Tamanawis to finally graduate in 1995.




The history of Schools in Surrey has been difficult to trace. Students, Staff and Administration change and while most remember their particular years, few know the history of their school. If you have recollections of the history of any of the above schools that you would like to share, please e-mail the author at:

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