Category Archives: Schools

Nine schools in big reshuffle in 1960

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 20th May, 1960, page 1.

NINE SCHOOLS IN BIG RESHUFFLE

A DEVELOPMENT plan to provide an academic stream in all Surrey secondary schools
will start next year. Nine Mitcham schools will be affected, five of which will be closed.

The scheme was due to be started early next year and completed by 1966, but too little
money was allocated by the Ministry of Education, and the completion date will not be for some years.

Top priority on the list is Gorringe Park Secondary Boys School. As the present building
is needed for the primary pupils, new premises will be built.

The boys from Rowan Road Secondary School, which is closing, will be transferred to the
new school, where it is planned to run one academic, one technical and two general courses.

TO BE ENLARGED

Rowan Road Secondary girls will have the entire school building, at the moment divided between the boys and girls school. They will have one academic, one home economics and two general courses.

Pollards Hill Secondary School will be enlarged. It Will take six instead of four entry classes each year and will have one academic, one commercial and four general courses.

Western Road Boys’ School will close and the girls will take over the entire building. With an academic and a commercial course there will be two general courses.

Singlegate Boys’ School will close, and open in a new building on a new site with one academic, one technical and two general courses.

Fortescue Girls’ and Links’ Girls’ schools will both be closed.

Merton Memories Photos
Fortescue Road School in 1925

Gorringe Park School (6 photos)

Pollards Hill School : Football coaching in 1955

Rowan Road School (10 photos)

Western Road School in 1954

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1966 : Star School – name is the same as a pub

The name’s the same as a pub

THE Star Junior and Infants’ Schools, Church Road, Mitcham, may be renamed — because the name also refers to a public house opposite.

Merton Council’s Primary Education Sub-Committee have recommended that the new name be the Benedict Junior and Infants’ School.

At a meeting on Monday Coun. R. A. Spalding moved that the recommendation be referred back.

He said : “I can see a case for changing the name but I’m not in favour of calling it Benedict. I would like to see it changed to the original name of the Lower Mitcham School. Benedict has a connection with monks.”

Coun. H. J. Clack, chairman, said : “The Star refers to a public house. We preferred the connection to be with monks rather than a public house.” The motion was defeated.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 14th January, 1966, page 1.

The school is currently known as Benedict Primary School. The Star pub was demolished in 2003.

1929 : Lonesome School teachers in car crash

MOTORING THRILL.

Mitcham Teachers in Fall Over Embankment.

Two young members of the teaching staff at Lonesome School, Mitcham, had an extraordinary adventure after leaving the school on Tuesday afternoon.

Shortly before five p.m. a Baby Austin saloon car in which they were riding crashed through the stout wooden fence on the eastern corner of the Bee Hive railway bridge and plunged down the very steep embankment on to the small plot of waste ground at the rear of the new houses in Spencer-road.

The car reached the bottom of the embankment, estimated to be seventeen feet in depth, right side up, fortunately.

The teachers were Miss Ivy Green, aged twenty-three, of 61, Elsted-street, Walworth, who was driving, and Miss Mary Runnacuss, aged twenty-one, of Defoe-road, Tooting. The car belonged to Miss Smythe, of 21, Tunney-road, East Dulwich, the well known and popular head mistress of Lonesome School, who was severely injured herself in a motor accident some time ago at Eastfields level crossing. She had lent her car to her two assistants for an hour while Miss Green was learning to drive. Miss Runnacuss was her instructress.
Neither of the girls was hurt in the least and scarcely suffered from shock. The only damage to the car was a smashed wind-screen.

Mr. George Mountain, of Smith’s Buildings, Commonside East, road foreman in the employ of the Urban Council, told the “Advertiser” that he saw the car crossing the bridge as a motor lorry was ascending from Grove-road. “The motorists,” he said, “evidently caught sight of the lorry as they turned into Grove-road, made a big swerve to avoid it and crashed through the fence doing so. If their car had struck the lamp-post inside the fence it must have turned turtle. I rushed to help the girls and thought they must certainly be seriously injured, but to my great astonishment both were calmly sitting in the car, and actually smiling! They displayed great nerve and coolness all through.”

Another witness said Miss Green remarked : ” I am glad the old ‘bus did not turn over at any rate.”

Half a dozen men, with Mr. Mountain, assisted the girls to get the car out of the “rough” into the narrow passage between the end house occupied-by Mr. and Mrs. Hayne, No. 1. Spencer-road, and the bottom of the embankment. The girls then drove it away. Miss Green gaily waving her hand to her helpers as she left!

A larger car could not have been got out of the well formed by the embankment and the houses, except with the aid of a crane.

Both teachers returned to duty at Lonesome School next morning, but the head mistress had to drive a motor cycle instead of her Austin seven.

Mitcham Advertiser, 17th October, 1929, page 6

Lonesome School staff

Lonesome School, Eastfields, erected in 1903 for 258 children.

Mentioned in directories:

1911 : Miss Maria MARLOW, mistress
1913 & 1918 : Miss Edith H. MAGEE, mistress

Mentioned in news articles:

17th October 1929 – a car crash involving two teachers

Miss Ivy GREEN, teacher, age 23
Miss Mary RUNNACUSS, teacher, age 21
Miss SMYTHE, head teacher

Alfred Henry Bailey

Alderman and mayor of Mitcham 1944-45. Born 1876, died 22nd May, 1959.

Mayor of Mitcham 1944-45. This clip is from Merton Memories photo 50641 copyright London Borough of Merton

Mayor of Mitcham 1944-45. This clip is from Merton Memories photo 50641 copyright London Borough of Merton

His obituary as reported in the local press:

Mr A.H. Bailey, former mayor, Boer War veteran and campaigner for a better Mitcham, died on Friday after a short illness. He was 82.

Throughout his long connection with Mitcham he fought for improvements. It is through his efforts that Mitcham was provided with two secondary schools.

In recent years, despite his age, Mr Bailey continued to play an active part in local organisations and affairs.

Mr Bailey came to the district in 1909. For several years until his death he lived in a bungalow at Glebe Court Estate, London Road.

Before he met his wife and settled down he was a roamer. He went to South Africa in 1895, and fought in the Boer War.

He joined an uitlander regiment and, as sergeant, took part in the battles preceding the relief of Ladysmith.

After being a member of Mitcham Urban District Council for six years he was elected chairman in 1926. Since then he has served the district in almost every civic capacity.

He became a member of the Borough Council in 1935, an alderman in 1937 and in 1944 he and his wife became Mayor and Mayoress.

His interests in Mitcham were many. He was president of the local boy scouts association for 17 years, a war-time deputy chief warden, founder member of the North Mitcham Improvement Association and founder member of the Anglo-Netherlands Association – now the All Nations’ Sports and Cultural Association.

Mr Bailey’s funeral was on Wednesday (27th May, 1959) at South London Crematorium.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 29th May 1959

More information on his life was given in a profile in the The South Warder, magazine of the South Mitcham Residents Association, volume 1 issue 1, November 1947.

Born in 1876 at Epsom, he attended the same primary school as Mr. Chuter Ede, the MP for Mitcham in 1923.

At the age of 12 he was apprenticed to a trade he disliked, and when in his ‘teens he emigrated to South Africa, ultimately settling in Pretoria, working in a shop for three years and becoming personally acquainted with the State Attorney (Field Marshal Smuts).

When hostilities broke out he found the lines to Cape Colony and Natal blocked, and had to escape through Portuguese territory (this route was later used by Winston Churchill). Joining a Uitiander Corps, he quickly became a sergeant and saw service at Colenso, Vaal Krantz, Spion Kop, and eventually taking part in the relief of Ladysmith; he was then invalided home to England with enteric fever.

On returning to civil life he entered the Post Office engineering service, retiring in 1936 at the age of 60.

He came to Mitcham in 1909 and was elected to the Council in 1920, and raised to the Aldermanic bench in 1937.

Mr. Bailey was very prominent in the formation of the Air Raid Precautions of the Borough and served throughout the War as a Deputy Chief Warden.

He served on many Committees of the Council and also on several outside bodies, such as School Managers, Boy Scouts, etc., where he was well known for his intelligent approach to the problems arising therein.

Perhaps the highlight in his long career was to be chosen as Mayor during V.E. year, when, in addition to his normal duties, he was seen at practically every street party held in Mitcham, accompanied and ably supported by the Mayoress, Mrs. Bailey.


In the 1911 census, Alfred Henry Bailey, inspector in the engineers department of post office telephones, is living at 48 Boscombe Road, with his wife Florence May, aged 34, and daughter Mary Alice, aged 1.

From a public family tree on Ancestry, his daughter Mary Alice married Alfred MacIntyre Rodhouse in 1938.

Alfred Henry Bailey died in 1959, as shown in his probate record, from Ancestry:

BAILEY Alfred Henry of 180 Glebe Court, London Road, Mitcham
Surrey, died 22nd May 1959 at St. Anthonys Hospital Cheam Surrey.

Probate London 9th July to Alfred MacIntyre Rodhouse quantity surveyor and Mary Alice Rodhouse (Wife of the said Alfred MacIntyre Rodhouse).

Effects £1886 13s. 8d.

Adjusted for inflation, this is worth around £40,000 in 2017 values.

Merton Memories Photos
1945
1946 visit to Hengelo
1958

1926 : Lower Mitcham Schoolboys’ Novel Jazz Band at Christmas

THE DUSTMEN’S CART SYMPHONY.

Schoolboys’ Novel Jazz Band.

“The Bath Road Symphony,” a musical medley descriptive of life in one of the poorest quarters of Mitcham, London, was publicly performed for the first time by Lower Mitcham schoolboys, whose instruments were made up of things found in the dustmen’s carts.

The boys were dressed as dustmen, and the instruments were old saucepans, knives and forks, combs, biscuit tins, pieces of bamboo, curtain rods cut into the form whistles, glass jam jars, and a bass drum made out of galvanised iron bath.

For Christmas Gifts.

The youthful conductor beat time with soup ladle, and, it is said, really excellent music was produced from the extraordinary assortment of instruments. The medley was arranged by Mr H. C. Toller, one of the masters.

Mr F. C. Stone, the headmaster, arranged the concert to provide Christmas cheer for the 350 boys school, of whom, he said, had never received a Christmas present in their lives.

In addition to the symphony orchestra, there was a boys’ mouth organ band, which played popular songs like experts, and bone duets by other boys.

Source: Dundee Evening Telegraph – Thursday 16 December 1926 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)