Placing the School in Coatham and Redcar, with its rail connections to East Cleveland and Teesside, gave it a new opportunity to flourish, which it did under its first two Headmasters, John Davey (1869-1884) and Arthur Pryce (1884-1919).
The school had boarders, but most pupils, “of good character and able to read and write”, and paying consistently modest fees, were drawn from local professional and trade families.
The Turner Foundation provided scholarships for worthy pupils from other local schools and after 1892 the North Riding County Council also provided scholarships, all creating a growing social mix.
The curriculum was broad, with science taking a major role alongside the traditional subjects. Most boys entered employment in local businesses and industry, often into white-collar roles, and in 1888 the first Coathamians went to university, beginning a long tradition.
Sports and other extra-curricular activities were part of school life, especially after about 1900. The school magazine, “The Coathamian”, dates from this time.
Good examination results and favourable Board of Education reports enhanced the school’s growing reputation, and an Old Boys Association attested to its popularity.
From 1912 to 1919 pupil numbers doubled to about 200, and permanent staff increased from 5 to 8, which included the appointment of female teachers during the War.
Some 350 Old Boys served in the First World War, and the names of the 48 who lost their lives are commemorated on a Celtic Cross War Memorial consecrated in 1922.