The author of My Mother’s School, an historical account of creation of The Firs School in Chester, is holding a book signing event in Waterstones on Thursday, November 20, at 5.30pm.

The book celebrates the life and adventures of the school founder Florence Longman and is written by her son Ted Longman.

The event coincides with the Christmas lights switch on and all sales proceeds will go to the Firs School Bursary Fund. Former and current pupils, and their families are most welcome to come along to join Ted and the school at the book store on the Rows.

Ted’s mother was born in New Zealand in 1904 and set off in 1927 to travel the world and to see where her ancestors had come from. Florence met distant relatives in England, taught at the Ecole Berlitz in Paris, France, and spent some time as a buyer for a large department store in New York, USA, where she met and married Robert Longman, from Salisbury, England.

The book tells the story of Florence’s journey and her adventures across three continents that led to the origins of The Firs School.

In 1945, Florence rented a small room in 15 Abbey Street, opposite the cathedral and took on her first full time pupil. Gradually the numbers grew to about ten children and the school moved around several locations in Chester. In 1950, she rented the disused army married quarters on the Firs estate, off Wealstone Lane, and was in a position to take on additional staff.

In 1962 the school moved next door to its present location, a former secondary school building.

Ted was persuaded to write the book after telling his late mother’s story at The Firs School’s thanksgiving service held at the end of term in 2012.

He said: “I was able to put the story together in what I hope makes an enjoyable and enlightening read with help from my wife Ruth, my family and others, including staff members who knew my mother. My mother had a heart for children and she wanted each one of them who came to the school to flourish and grow. She could communicate with them and her sheer determination meant her achievements for the school were significant and lasting.”

Edward Timpson, MP for Crewe and Nantwich and children and families minister wrote the foreword to the book. It reads: “The Firs has been synonymous with the Longman family for as long as most of us can remember. This book brings that relationship to life, detailing the history of Florence Longman’s journey from the other side of the world to Chester in the late 1930s and her subsequent establishment of the school that remains a firm feature of Cestrian education to this day.”

All proceeds from the book My Mother’s School will go to the Firs School Bursary Fund and a copy of this book can also be obtained from The Firs School Office, by contacting 01244 322443 or email