Welcome to Parkstone STS

If you were at any of the three Barnardo Sea Schools, Parkstone Sea Training School (1949-1964), Russell Cotes Nautical School (1919-1949) or Watts Naval Training School (1903-1949), then this web-site may help you to recall and share your memories with friends and families of old boys across the world. This new site replaces that of the Sea Schools Association and tribute must be paid to all the retiring SSA committee members for the sterling work they have put in over the years, especially with organising the reunions. I am indebted to Frank Cooke (ex Goldings) for some of the content of this site and for his help and advice. This site has been constructed by my nephew, Mat Searle of Creation Web Design and I am deeply grateful for his expertise and patience.These pages are dedicated to all those boys who, for whatever reasons, were placed in these establishments and endured the discipline and rigours of a naval life, in particular, my friend the late John Wallace (Howard House No.38: 1954-1957) for the original idea of a web-site to record memories and photos of old boys.

Richard Eastwood,(Previously Richard Goble) Broughton House No.58: 1955-1958.

N.B. This site is not connected to or sanctioned by Barnardo's, it is privately funded and run and is free to all who wish to peruse it.


Homepage Image

This photo was taken during the visit of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh to PSTS , 25th April, 1955, and shows some of the boys of Broughton House. 

At the rear P.O. boy  Whinney. Back row, left to right: Crabb / Millard / Goble (now Eastwood) / Carson / Carvell. Mid row, left to right: Stuckey/ Cochrane/ Hough. Duke of Edinburgh /  Charlie Wood / Capt Felton. Front row, left to right: Bennett?/ M. Smith / Kynaston / Busswell / ??? Any corrections or additions would be gratefully received.

If you click on this link, you can view a brief film of the Duke's visit.  www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id-63496

Two more brief film clips can be found at www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=13982

and www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=7084

Another film clip is of WNTS in 1934 "Hoisting the Flag" http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=5045


At Parkstone (Dorset) there was a sea-training establishment of the then Dr. Barnardo's Homes. To be accepted the boys had to have a keen desire for a healthy open-air life on the sea, If this was their wish they were sent to Parkstone where they were given nautical training to fit them for this special calling. The routine, the discipline and the training were all planned on Naval lines to familiarise the boys with the elements of a seafaring life.


Parkstone Sea Training School came into existence officially in 1951. Prior to this date the home had been known as Russell Cotes Nautical School  which had been formed in 1919. The land and funds had come from Sir Merton and Lady Russell-Cotes who had been involved with charity work along with overseeing development of property for the Shaftesbury Society. Dr. Barnardo's had formed RCNS to train boys for a career in the Merchant Navy. The home was officially opened in 1922.


The first Barnardo sea school, "Watts Naval Training School", had been opened in 1903 under the watchful eye of Thomas John Barnardo but was not formally opened until 1906. WNTS  housed about 300 boys, it stood on high ground at North Elmham in Norfolk, about fifteen miles from Norwich and twelve miles from the sea. The whole estate covered some 54 acres  and was bounded to the west by the river Wensum, the School was officially recognised by the Admiralty.


Over the years WNTS and RCNS  successfully turned out many young men who chose a career with the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy but after 1945, the council of Dr. Barnardo's had noticed the drop in numbers of suitable candidates for nautical training to fill both RCNS and WNTS, Barnardo's decided therefore to amalgamate the two schools in one location.  Russell Cotes Nautical School was chosen for this purpose as being the more modern and suitably situated school and in 1951,was renamed Parkstone Sea Training School.


The amalgamation took place in October 1949, when WNTS  sent their nautical instructors to Parkstone in order to augment the staff. Altogether 107 boys were moved south from Elmham, while it is recorded, twenty-four boys did not want to continue nautical training, they were sent from PSTS to what was to be called the new Watts School, that took family groups from the age of 3 to 15 years old from  January 1950. WNTS  finally closed as a Dr Barnardo home in December 1953.


The new sea school at Parkstone would need to expand, to this end "Danecourt", previously a private house, was taken over as one of the school houses. PSTS now had some 160 boys and had a healthy waiting list of lads who wanted to pursue nautical training, these were transferred from Elmham as vacancies occurred. The boys from WNTS  had a friendly reception when they arrived and soon settled down. In order to standardise the uniform it was decided that all boys would wear Royal Navy "Square Rig" uniform as their "No. 1s", with jerseys, and shorts as working rig.

The boys were eventually accommodated in four houses, Broughton, Johnston, Howard and Arranmore and in c1956 the Lady Russell Cotes House was converted to be the fifth house.


The five houses together with the Mess Deck, Galley, Staff Mess, Gymnasium and Chapel are still there and are being used by Bournemouth and Poole Technical College but sadly the old school buildings and Shaftesbury House have been demolished and the area is now a housing estate with roads bearing the names "Felton" and "Woolven".


From THE GUILD MESSENGER ,October 1964

At 4 p.m. on Monday, 27th July 1964, the bugles rang out for the last time at Parkstone as the moving and solemn service of "Ceremonial Sunset" took place at the closing of the school through which many of our boys have passed over the years.

The service was conducted by the padre, The Rev. G. C. Anthony, the parade was under the command of the first officer, Lieut.-Cmdr. Woolven, and the band, which played beautifully, was directed by Bandmaster J. ChaIlis. Friends of the school, staff, and boys were all there, and representing the Homes were Lieut.-Gen. Sir Arthur Smith, Chairman of the Committee of Management, and Mr. J. D. Knight, R.E.O.  The Captain and Lady Supt., Cmdr. and Mrs. A. G. Luxton, and Mr. R. E. Wheeler, Headmaster, completed the party.

This ceremony was the culminating point of many months of anxious thought and consideration on the part of all those connected with our school during which the decision to close had been reluctantly taken. For several years the numbers of boys at the school had been going down and fewer and fewer had been coming forward to join. So much so that it was not only becoming more difficult to maintain a comprehensive curriculum but the cost of running was prohibitively high.

The Council of Dr. Barnardo's are very conscious of the good work which has been done at the school for so many boys, and are actively engaged in considering some establishment in which similarly adventurous and valuable training can be given. This will not be at Parkstone, the site of which will probably be sold, but our work will carry on in the district in some other form.