School of Navigation 1935-1938

The experimental period was extended and in 1935, it was decided with the support of the local educational, municipal and shipping authorities to place the school on a permanent basis. Capt. G.W.Wakeford was appointed Director in that year and was assisted by Capt. Brook-Williams. It was then known as the Department of Navigation of the University College of Southampton; it was re-organized and extended and obtained the recognition of the Board of Trade and the Board of Education. Mrs. Wakeford recorded in her diary "Monday 26 August. 1000 went to South Hill".

50 years later in 1985 Capt Wakeford wrote the following for publication in Newsletter No.4.
492 views (6 KB)
"So it all began. Namely to start in Southampton a Department of the University College Southampton, a department devoted to Navigation. For this purpose, I was allocated "South Hill" Bassett, a former small hall of residence for women undergraduate students. It was shabby, very little equipment and there was an elderly caretaker and his wife. It had been built as a home for a former Bishop of Southampton and stood in some four acres of ground. My appointment was that of Chief Instructor and I had an assistant a Captain Eric Brook Williams, MM Extra Master.

There was a proviso, namely that my wife and I must be prepared to come into residence as Warden, with my wife acting as Matron, if we managed to attract any students who wanted residence (hitherto, the School had day students only who were studying for Certificates of Competency). For this, we would pay £3.00p a week, less four shillings (20p) a week for each student resident. I was fortunate in my Assistant; they could not have picked a better man than Eric Brook-Williams. He had volunteered for the Army in 1917 (circa), giving a false age. He won the Military Medal. He then went to sea and we had both served together in Ellerman and Bucknall's. He was utterly reliable, loyal and hard working, a strong disciplinarian, fearless and frank. Moreover, he was full of ideas and not dismayed by the lack of equipment, test papers and everything that was necessary in navigation schools in those days.

We just worked night and day in our respective lodgings i.e. a bed sitting room. Our salaries were £400 and £250 a year. Our seagoing pay had been £180 a year."
  • On 2nd September 1935 the school re-opened with 6 Officers studying for Certificates of Competency.
  • On 11th September 1935 Civil Air Navigator's Classes started.
  • On 8th October 1935 Evening Classes started. On 14th January 1936 Correspondence Courses started.
  • On Saturday 14th April 1936 Captain and Mrs Wakeford moved into South Hill as Warden and Matron respectively.
  • 11th October 1937 Cadet Course (residential) started. With 3 residential Cadets and 1 day Cadet.
(Between 2nd September 1935 and 11th October 1937, there had been 8 day Cadets. As they had been put in the Second Mate's Class, it was unfortunately not possible to give them proper training.)