North End School
This document sets out to chart the history and development of North End School until its relocation in 1955, adjacent to the church of St Mary the Virgin, Windmill Lane, East Grinstead. This document also reveals the lives of some of the teachers associated with the school. This will be supported by the memories of some of the former pupils who attended North End School before its move.
The document will also cover the use of the North End School building since the relocation of the elementary/primary school, which is now in its 125th year.
History behind the founding of North End School
The school at North End was built to fill the need for a mixed school of up to one hundred pupils by Mary Stenning [see below] of Halsford House (now the site of The Stennings, The Timbers and Gwynne Gardens). The school was situated about two hundred yards north of her house and grounds on a plot of land that was formerly part of East Grinstead Common.
East Grinstead Common originally stretched from the vicinity of what is now McDonalds, at the bottom of the town ofEast Grinstead, down to Felbridge Water at the Star junction. The East Grinstead Common map of 1816 shows that by then the Common consisted of a small strip of land adjacent to the west of the main London road, finishing at what is now the Parade at Felbridge, with a larger section to the east of the road, covering the area from Lingfield Road to the county boundary and extending in a triangular shape to the Star junction. The whole of the Common had been divided into small plots, and by 1841, about twenty households resided between Halsford House and the Star junction, including the northern end of Imberhorne Lane. By 1861 this had risen to twenty-five households, by 1881 to forty-seven households and by 1891 to about sixty households.
From the census records it is obvious that North End greatly expanded between 1871 and 1891 with the construction of several groups of semi-detached properties. Some of these were constructed by the Blount family to house workers for their Imberhorne estate, some by private individuals and some by the Stenning family to house their workers. With this growing number of households came a growing number of children. However, it was not until 1880 that the education of children was made compulsory, even though the Elementary Education Act of 1876 had placed a duty on parents to ensure that their children received elementary instruction in reading, writing and arithmetic.
In the early years of the expansion of North End the educational needs of the children were covered by either attending the East Grinstead National School or Felbridge School (limited numbers only), although the census records show that in 1861 and 1871 Amelia Payne, a School Mistress, was living in Rose Cottage, Imberhorne Lane (the last plot on the north side of Imberhorne Lane abutting Felbridge Parade that is currently ear-marked to become a Wickes DIY Store). Unfortunately, it has not been possible to establish whether Amelia actually taught from Rose Cottage, although in the documented memories of Cecilia Carmichael, the grand-daughter of Ormond Meppem who owned Rose Cottage in the early part of the 20th century, it is noted that she had been led to believe that Rose Cottage had been a school at some time in its history.
By 1880 Baldwins Hill School had opened giving children living nearby in the North End area another school they could attend. These schools were also augmented by Sunday Schools which began as schools for poor children but by the mid 19th century were also often used as a means of education for adults as well. In 1884, the Zion Chapel of East Grinstead set up a Sunday School at North End that was attended by twenty-five children, and in 1885 Mary Stenning, as head of the Stenning family, founded theNorthEndSchool as an Anglican response to the Zion Chapel Sunday School. The Stenning family would also later finance the construction of the Church of St Mary the Virgin (St Mary’s); built in Windmill Lane in 1891/3.
The Stenning family
This is by no means the complete history of the Stenning family of East Grinstead but is included to put the family in context with regards to the development of North End and the School. The Stenning family of East Grinstead descend from John Stenning who was born in 1775 in Chailey, Sussex. He was the son of John Stenning (landlord of the Five Bells) and his wife Hannah née Day. John came to East Grinstead in 1792 where he set up a timber yard to the north of Windmill Lane adjoining the junction with London Road (now Mannings Close). In 1822 John bought Chantler’s Farm (now the site of Ashdown Gate, London Road) and later had Newlands built (now the site Newlands Crescent) off London Road, both properties standing on land formerly part of the East Grinstead Common.
In 1798 John married Sarah Lynn at St Swithun’s Church, East Grinstead, the daughter of William Lynn who held the land opposite the Stenning timber yard in Windmill Lane. John and Sarah had at least nine children including; Sarah born in 1799, Hannah born in 1801, John born in 1803, William born in 1805, Harriett born in 1808, George born in 1810, Eliza born in 1813, Helen born in 1816 and Charles born in 1818.
John went from strength to strength in East Grinstead and the 1861 census records him as a timber merchant employing seventy-two men, as well as a farmer of 402 acres, employing twenty-three men and four boys. By 1864 John had also accrued a considerable number of property holdings including; Chantler’s Farm and Newlands (as above) and an adjoining cottage, Gallows Croft (now the site of Felbridge Close), land at North End, on part of which his son William had Halsford House built (sometimes called Halsford Park), the site of the former timber yard, the site of the re-located timber yard (adjacent to The Broadway pub in East Grinstead), eight cottage or tenements in and around East Grinstead and Mill Place Farm at Kingscote.
Of John’s nine children it is the line descending from William of Halsford House, who were responsible for the construction and founding of North End School and financing the construction of Church of St Mary the Virgin. Prior to the construction of St Mary’s the Stenning family had first worshipped at St Swithun’s Church in East Grinstead, later switching to St John’s Church, Felbridge, after its construction in 1865. As a point of interest, at least two members of the Stenning family are buried at St John’s Church, as well as William’s mother-in-law, Mary Knox Joyner. There was also (until to the bombing of the church in August 1940) a stained glass window dedicated to two of William’s children, Walter and Adela both of whom died in 1859, and his father-in-law, John Cuthbert Joyner who died in 1857 [for further information see Handout, Stained Glass of St John the Divine, Felbridge, SJC 07/02ii].
William Stenning married Mary Child Joyner in about 1836, Mary’s father, John owned a long swathe of land from Felbridge Water up to the Blount’s estate of Imberhorne, including the site of Harts Hall (now Felbridge Court) and Mercer’s (now the site of the industrial estates off Imberhorne Lane), [for further information see Handout, Harts Hall, SJC 07/05]. William had Halsford House built on land that his father owned at the north end of East Grinstead Common. Set in fifty acres of parkland, Halsford House had seventeen bedrooms, a billiard room, stables, entrance lodge and various farm buildings, and was the home of William and Mary and their family until the property was sold in 1913. William and Mary’s family consisted of eleven children including; Fanny Augusta born in 1837, John Cuthbert born in 1839, George Covey born in 1840, Katherine Mary born in 1842, William Vicessimus Knox born in 1844, Fredrick Stoveld born in 1845, Charles Horace and Walter Kensden born in 1848, Isabella Lennox born in 1852, Alan Herbert born in 1856 and Adela Caroline born in 1859.
William Stenning died in 1874 and his wife continued as head of the family until her death in 1891 when their eldest daughter (Fanny) assumed the role.
The early years of North End School
North End School opened on 1st June 1885 in the presence of Rev. Sydney Parkyns Macartney, vicar of St John’s Church, Felbridge [for further information see Handout, St John the Divine, SJC 07/02i] and Miss Fanny Stenning of Halsford House, the Founder Manager of the school. At the time of opening it is recorded that Mrs Charlotte Huggett [see below] had been appointed as the first School Mistress and that there were fifty five pupils. On the 2nd June, a Monitress was appointed to teach the infant pupils (name not yet established as the School Log book is currently unavailable to view), leaving Charlotte Huggett free to teach just the junior pupils.
The school building was constructed in red brick under a tiled roof, and is set back from the main London road (A22) on an east/west orientation. There is a large gabled room with the front entrance through a double door with decorative iron strap hinges and an arched three-pane window above. There is also a side entrance on the north side of the main room. On the north side of the roof of the main room there is a chimney stack that served a coal/coke stove below. Adjacent to the large room, but set slightly back for the front wall, is a smaller gabled room with a large arched nine-pane window. Both gable ends had painted wooden, grid strut-work, the larger gable having two horizontal struts with four upright struts, whilst the smaller gable had one horizontal strut and three upright struts (both now removed). In the centre of the front gable, above the main door, is a carved stone plaque that reads ‘North End School A D 1865’.
The junior pupils were taught in the large room at the front whilst the infants had the use of the smaller room. When built, the school was set in a plot that was bounded by the main London road to the east, a laundry building that served the Blount’s Imberhorne estate to the north, and open land to the west (the site of the North End Allotments since 1923) and south (now a pair of semi-detached houses). The school, originally set in an ‘L’ shaped plot, had an open space at the front that was the width of the school building and an open space at the back that extended to the south to make the ‘L’ shape. This rear space was later reduced to the width of the school building, with a large oak tree in the centre at the back and served as the play-ground.
North End School would have been open to all the children in the immediate area and when it opened in 1885 would no doubt have been the school of choice for the children of those employed by the Stenning family that included: Arthur Harman of Halsford Lodge and later his siblings Percy, William and Flora Harman, Alice, Emily and Frederick White of Croft Cottages (before moving to Yaxley Cottages) and their siblings Arthur, Edith, Herbert, Beatrice, Thomas and Mable White, and Samuel Huggett (the School Mistress’ son) and his sisters Agnes and Mary before Charlotte resigned her post and the family moved to the southern side of East Grinstead town.
North End School after 1902
In 1902 the Balfour Education Act was passed to establish a national public system of education in England and Wales as it had been found by the Government that the education system was lagging far behind that of the rest of Europe and America. This national public system encompassed denominational schools including Catholic and Church of England schools,NorthEndSchoolbeing one of the latter category. The act abolished School Boards replacing them with Local Education Authorities based on county and borough councils. The act also laid the basis for a national system of secondary education whereby children from the age of eleven could leave elementary education and embark upon a four-year subject based course leading to a certificate in English language and literature, geography, history, a foreign language, mathematics, science, drawing, manual work, physical training and household crafts for girls. However, it was not until 1917 that this system was widely established with the introduction of the School Certificate. Under the new system of education, schools were regularly inspected by Local Education Authorities who sent in School Inspectors who spent a week observing each school. It is known that North End School received a visit in 1908 although the report has not survived but it did make certain recommendations which were picked up by the next visit in 1911 as not having been implemented.
A copy of this second report does survive and was carried out at North End School by His Majesty’s Inspector of Schools between 24th and 29th July 1911 in which he states that ‘Physical Exercise’ and ‘Singing’ within the school were ‘very fair’, but that singing and reading, in his opinion, would be improved by a course of ‘voice training’. The Inspector, Mr E A S Freeland, found that the girls answered ‘fairly well’ in history but they had retained little of the geography knowledge that had been taught the previous year and appeared uninterested in a geography lesson taught in his presence by the Head Teacher (Sarah Card). However, they paid a little more attention in arithmetic. The Inspector suggested that they should be encouraged more to bring in ‘home material’ for needlework lessons. He also noted that the older boys didn’t take much part in any of the subjects discussed during the inspection and that there were no facilities in the school for older children, especially for the older boys.
On an upbeat note the Inspector stated that the infants were ‘brightly managed and very carefully looked after by their teacher’ (Clara Draper) although the desks were ‘inconveniently arranged’.
As for the Head Teacher, she was reported to have been working ‘hard and conscientiously’ although the Inspector stated that she had ‘too much to do’. The Inspector also noted that the Monitress had left during his week-long visit and unfortunately for us it has not yet been possible to determine her name. The Inspector also reported that at the time of his visit the school had twenty seven children in the ‘upper division’ and eighteen in the ‘lower division’ and that the upper division should be split into two classes. A suggestion he put forward was that the Infant Teacher ‘might assist in the lower division for part of the day’, although he does not make it clear as to who would teach the infants in her absence.
Shortly after the 1911 school report, the area of North End saw another increase in housing beginning in 1919 with the developments known as Halsford Croft and Halsford Green that concluded in 1926. At the same time, the east side of the main London road was being developed. This increase in housing inevitably enlarged the catchment for North End School, although some of the children in the housing developments to the east of the main London road would have gone to Baldwins Hill School. The catchment for North End School was enlarged still further with the development of Stream Park that began in 1935 and concluded in the early 1950’s.
With the growing population of the North End School catchment area a move to larger premises was inevitable and North End School closed its doors for the last time on Friday 11th February 1955 relocating to its new site adjacent to St Mary’s Church in Wind Mill Lane.
Head Teachers at North End School
Mrs Charlotte Huggett 1885 – c1896
Charlotte Huggett was born Charlotte Jemima Blogg on 21st May 1862 in Brighton, the base daughter of Fanny Blogg. By the age of nine Charlotte was an ‘inmate’ at the Brighton Industrial School in Rottingdean, Sussex. The 1871 census records that Charlotte was a scholar at the Industrial School run by Alfred Gower and his wife Agnes. It is probably due to Charlotte’s birth status that she ended up in the school, although there were several other reasons why any child under the age of fourteen could be placed in an Industrial School, which included; begging, wandering, consorting with thieves or prostitutes, or simply because the parents deemed their child to be ‘uncontrollable’. The institution would have provided basic education for the inmates and taught them a trade such as shoemaking, tailoring, carpentry and farming for the boys, and cookery, laundry and household chores for the girls. In the case of Charlotte it would seem that she must have been a bright child as she was to leave Brighton Industrial School to take up employment as a School Mistress, in 1881 Charlotte was living at and working as the School Mistress at the Union Workhouse in Glen Vue Road [now Railway Approach] in East Grinstead. Within four years, Charlotte had married Alan Huggett in East Grinstead on 13th June 1885, twelve days after taking up her appointment as School Mistress at North End School.
Alan Huggett was born in Felbridge in about 1863, the youngest son of James and Ann. At the time of Alan’s birth, the Huggett family were living in The Gate House in Felbridge, where James was the working as the road man and toll collector. By the time that Charlotte had moved to East Grinstead the Huggett family had also moved there from Felbridge, living either at Glen Vue Road (1871) or Cemetery Road (1881), and Alan was working as a leather cutter’s currier. However, by 1891 Alan and Charlotte were living at 3, Yaxley Cottage, North End, Alan employed as a solicitor’s clerk. Yaxley Cottages, formerly Black Row, had been purchased by the Stenning family in 1880 and it is probable that Charlotte moved there at her appointment as School Mistress at North End School in 1885. Charlotte appears to have been a working mother as in 1891 she already had two children, Samuel Valentine born in 1886 and Agnes born in 1888, and a third, Mary Constance, was born in the summer of 1891. However, Charlotte had four children but it has not yet been possible to identify the name of the fourth child who had unfortunately died by 1911.
Using extracts from the North End School Log and the East Grinstead Post Office Directory entries it would appear that North End School had an average attendance of fifty-five pupils, the lowest number recorded as forty-six in 1890. The School also provided education for the older community as Alan Huggett set up a night school for adult men who wanted to learn.
Charlotte continued as School Mistress at North End School until about 1896 and by 1901 the Huggett family had moved to Cedar Villa, Portland Road, East Grinstead, James and their son Samuel employed as solicitor’s clerks, whilst Charlotte was not working, having been succeeded at North End School by Miss Jessie Hall. In 1911 Alan was recorded as the Clerk to Guardians of the Poor and Samuel was the Relieving Officer.
Miss Jessie Hall c1896 – c1901
Sadly Jessie Hall is conspicuous by her absence from any local records and as such it has been impossible to find out any personal information about her, apart from her appearance in the East Grinstead Post Office Directory of 1899 when she was listed as the School Mistress of North End School, having an average attendance of fifty pupils, and again in 1903 when the attendance figure had risen to sixty-five, although there is some evidence that the School Mistress in 1903 was actually Sarah Card [see below]. Perhaps one of Jessie’s lasting legacies to North End School was to over-see the introduction of PT (Physical Training) lessons in 1896 as recommended by HM Inspector of Schools.
Miss Sarah Ann Maria Card c1901 – 1929
Sarah Ann Maria Card was born in July 1864 in Fordcombe, Kent, one of two children of Thomas Card and his wife Eliza Ann née Crossingham. Sarah’s only sibling was a brother called Thomas who was born in 1868. Sarah’s father was a carpenter journeyman and in 1871 the Card family were living at Borden, Kent, moving to North Field, Speldhurst, Kent, by 1881 where Sarah, then aged sixteen, was working as a pupil teacher. By 1891 Sara had become a School Mistress, although it has not yet been possible to determine at which school as the census records her as a visitor to the Kenard household in South Lynn, Norfolk.
By 1901 Sarah, by then aged thirty-six, was appointed School Mistress of North End School, having succeeded Jessie Hall. In 1901 Sarah was living at 2, Yaxley Cottages, North End, and in 1911 Sarah had moved to 21, Station Road, East Grinstead, being recorded as Head Teacher (Elementary School). During her twenty-eight years at North End School Sarah taught the juniors, and was assisted by Clara Draper [see below], who taught the infants and (to begin with) Eleanor Leach, although Eleanor left before 1911 [see below] and it would appear that she was not replaced, although some memories talk of a pupil teacher for some of the time but unfortunately she is not named [see below].
Sarah’s time at North End School was not uneventful as she was at the helm during World War I, managing the upheaval of the closure of the School when it was commandeered for troop accommodation on the 11th and 12th September 1914, as well as the pupils’ excitement when troops were marched up the main London road. She also taught all the girls to knit so that they could help with the war effort by making garments for the troops at the Front, and it should be remembered that several former pupils would have been serving, including John Bonny and Sidney Burchett who were unfortunately both killed in action in 1915 and 1917 respectively [for further information see Handout, War Memorials of St John the Divine, Felbridge, SJC 07/02v].
Sarah Card remained at North End School for twenty eight years until 1929 when she retired at the age of sixty-five; she died in 1947 at the age of eighty-two.
From information in the St Mary’s School Centenary Magazine there is a gap of five years between the retirement of Sarah Card and the appointment of Emma Kerridge as the School Mistress at North End School in 1934 but without access to the Log Book the name of the intervening Head Teacher has not yet been established.
Miss Emma Elizabeth Kerridge 1934 – 1951
Emma Elizabeth Kerridge was born on 1st August 1886 in Cumdanddwe, Rhayader, Radnorshire,Wales, where her father Alfred was working as a domestic coachman. Emma would seem to have been an only child and in 1891 her parents, Alfred Rush Kerridge and his wife Ellen (Nellie) née Noble, were living at Llawrdderw, but Emma was not living with them and it has not yet been possible to determine where she was. However, in 1901 Emma is to be found back with her parents at 1, Old Field Road, Bromley, her father still working as a domestic coachman.
In 1911 Emma was living as a boarder with Elizabeth Thompson at 33, Jeune Street off Cowley Road in Oxford, and was working as a teacher at the County Council School. It has not yet been possible to establish Emma’s career path until 1934 when she took up the appointment of Head Mistress at North End School at the age of forty-eight.
In 1936, within two years of Emma’s appointment, she oversaw the introduction of swimming lessons at Brooklands Swimming Pool, East Grinstead. Emma was also very keen on country dancing and singing and several of her past pupils recall memories of various competitions they entered [see below]. It is also recalled by several former pupils that ‘Miss Kerridge’ was the one to administer any ‘discipline’ required within North End School.
Like Sarah Card before her, Emma also had to oversee the running of the school during the disruption of wartime, in her case World War II, including its closure in September 1939 to accommodate the reception of children from war zone areas. For the duration of the war the school had no shelters and pupils either hid under their desks or were sent home if they were within three minutes running distance from the school. The need for a shelter was experienced at first hand on 27th September 1940 when, just after the beginning of the school day, a German plane crash landed on North End Lodge, a house next to Simpson’s Garage [now the site of the Texaco Garage] almost opposite North End School [for further information see Handout, Wartime memories of Felbridge, SJC 11/05]. The other major event that would have had an impact on the pupils of North End School was the bombing of the Whitehall Cinema on 9th July 1943 [for further information see Handout, Wartime memories of Felbridge, SJC 11/05] when several hundred people were killed or injured, including; former pupils John Coomber and his wife Joyce née Still from 24, North End, and Molly Stiller, a fourteen year old usherette, who had recently left senior school and who lived at Sackville Gardens, all three died. Emma too suffered the loss of close neighbours, Ethel and Herbert Smith, who lived at 66, Dorset Avenue, diagonally opposite her home at 52, Dorset Avenue [formerly the Old Pest House on East Grinstead Common].
Emma remained at North End School until her retirement, aged sixty-five, in 1951 when she was succeeded by Mrs Desmond. Emma moved from the area and died at the age of eighty-eight in 1974.
Mrs Desmond, 1951 – 1954
From former pupils’ memories Mrs Desmond succeeded Emma Kerridge as Head Teacher when she retired but unfortunately this has not yet been confirmed and it has not been possible to find anything about her.
Miss Violet Gladys Emy 1954 – 1977
Violet Gladys Emy was born in the December quarter 1917 in Croydon, one of two children of Francis Emy (of French descent) and his wife Gladys Catherine née Pierce. Violet’s only sibling was a brother called Ernest who was born in 1916. Violet attended Old Palace School of John Whitgift in Croydon, where she attained the position of Head Girl in 1935 and later she attended the Central School of Speech and Drama in London.
Unfortunately it has not been possible to establish Violet’s career path between leaving the Old Place School of John Whitgift in 1935 and the commencement of her studies at the Central School of Speech and Drama, but on graduating with a certificate of Diction and Drama in 1954, Violet, then aged thirty-seven, was appointed Head Mistress at North End School the same year, the last Head Mistress to reside over the school in the old building at North End.
Violet, as the last Head Mistress of North End School, had the job of overseeing the closure of old school that had been providing education for the children of North End and the surrounding area for seventy years. It was Violet, as the first Head Mistress of the new school, who also had to supervise the relocation of the school to its new site at Windmill Lane in 1955.
Violet continued as Head Mistress of the new St Mary’s Church of England School until her retirement at the age of sixty in 1977. In the last years of her life, Violet lived at Horncastle House Care Home, Sharpthorne, Sussex, where she died, aged ninety-one, on 3rd February 2009.
Throughout the seventy years thatNorthEndSchoolwas open, all the School/Head Mistresses have been assisted by a succession of Pupil Teachers, Monitresses/Assistant Teachers and Supply Teachers. Some names are known and have been kept alive in the memories of their former pupils [see below] but unfortunately some have now been forgotten. The following outlines the lives of some of these teachers.
Assistant/Infant Teachers at North End School
Miss Eleanor Susan Leach c1901 – left by 1911
Eleanor Susan Leach was born in the September quarter 1880 in Walsoken, Norfolk, the daughter of Robert Leach and his wife Jane née Cott. In 1871 Robert was a pig dealer but by 1881, shortly after Eleanor was born, he was recorded as a cattle dealer, the Leach family living at Church Lane, Walsoken. Eleanor was one of seven children and her other siblings include; Emma Elizabeth born 1871, Rosanna born 1874, Fanny Jane born 1877, Francis Robert born 1880, Arthur born 1882 and Kate Louisa born 1884. In 1888, when Eleanor was just eight years old her father and in 1891 the Leach family were still living at Church Lane and Eleanor’s mother was recorded as a farmer, whilst Emma was working as a baker’s assistant and Rosanna as a tobacconist’s assistant.
By 1901 Eleanor had left home and makes a brief appearance in the census records as a School Teacher boarding with Arthur and Mary Cook at Grays Cottage, Imberhorne Lane, opposite Clara Draper [see below]. It has not yet been possible to establish when Eleanor arrived at North End School but she had moved on by 1911 as she was living at Battle in Sussex, working as an Assistant Teacher in a National School.
Miss Clara Draper (later Mrs Warner) c1901 – c1941
Clara Draper was born in the September quarter 1873 in East Grinstead, the daughter of Stephen Draper and his wife Anne (Annie) née Mitchell. Stephen moved to the East Grinstead area from Bagshot, Surrey, and by 1881 the Draper family were living at the Sussex Arms in West Street, where Stephen was the inn keeper. Clara was one of four children and her siblings include; Annie Lilia born in 1873, Arthur born in 1875 and George Searle born in 1878. In 1885 Stephen died and by 1891 the Draper family had moved to the Swan Inn, 4-6, London Road, East Grinstead, where Anne was the land-lady.
By 1891 Clara was working as a Monitress (assistant teacher), although it has not yet been possible to determine whether this was at North End School or not. However, by 1901 Clara had left home and was working as a School Teacher at North End School, boarding in the Warner household at 2, Imberhorne Lane Cottages. The Warner household included Elizabeth Warner and her son Harry, whom Clara later married.
Harry Warner had been born in 1864 being baptised on 10th June 1864 in Horsham. He was one of at least eight children born to Charles Warner and his wife Elizabeth née Allwork. Harry’s siblings include; Florence Lurline born in 1862, Charles Edward born in 1866, Mary Ann born in 1868, Thomas Frank born in 1872, Alfred born in 1874, Elizabeth Amelia born in 1877 and Ernest James born in 1879. The first four children were all baptised in Horsham whilst the last four were baptised in East Grinstead, the Warner family having moved to East Grinstead by 1871. Charles Warner senior was a confection maker and most of his children (including Harry) were, at some time in their life, confectioner’s assistants whilst living at home in Ship Street.
However, by 1899 Harry had changed career and had become a cycle maker working from 2, Moat Road, East Grinstead, later working for H J Pearson Cycle Makers at 75, High Street, East Grinstead, until his retirement.
By 1901 Harry had moved to 2, Imberhorne Lane Cottages, with his mother acting as housekeeper. Elizabeth was still married although her husband Charles was recorded as an inmate at the Union Workhouse in East Grinstead, dying two years later in 1903. By 1910 and until at least 1916, Clara and the Warner household were living at 34, North End.
In the summer of 1920 Clara and Harry married, Clara was by then aged forty-six and Harry was aged fifty-six, thus they had no family and one suspects she treated the pupils at North End School as her family. It is known that she would often bring coconut ice in for them [see below], and no doubt this followed one of the Warner confectionery recipes.
Clara retired from North End School in about 1941 having spent over forty-years as the infant school teacher there. Clara died in 1945 at the age of seventy-two and was buried at Mount Noddy Cemetery on 24th October in the same grave as her husband Harry who had died a few months earlier aged eighty-one, being buried on 7th March 1945.
Miss Beaumont c1941 – c1946
From former pupils’ memories Miss/Mrs Beaumont succeeded Clara Warner as assistant teacher when she retired but unfortunately this has not yet been confirmed and it has not been possible to find anything about her.
Miss Minnie Cummins Jeffels c1946 – c1950
Minnie Cummins Jeffels was born Minnie Cummins on 6th August 1887 in Westoe, South Shields; the base daughter of Clara Cummins who married William Jeffels on 5th September 1889. In 1891 the Jeffels family was living at 91, Dale Street, Westoe, William working as a barman. The census records (that apart from Minnie) there were two other children living with William and Clara, Elizabeth born about 1880 (William’s sister) and William and Clara’s daughter Clara Irene born in 1890. William and Clara would eventually have at least another three girls, Jennie Valentine born in 1894, Wilhelmina (Mina) born in 1898 and Elizabeth born in 1899.
In 1901 the Jeffels family was living at 46, Queen Street, South Shields, but absent from the household were William’s sister Elizabeth and Clara’s daughter Minnie. Elizabeth was visiting the Stephenson family at Thrift Street, Westoe, being recorded as ‘assistant at home’, whilst Minnie was boarding as a scholar at the Northern Counties Orphan Institution for Girls (Abbott Memorial), at Brandling Village, Jesmond, Northumberland.
The Northern Counties Orphan Institution for Girls was built in 1869 by the widow of industrialist John Abbott to board and educate orphaned girls. The red brick building has a plaque inscribed ‘Abbott Memorial’ dating to 1869 before becoming the Jane Philipson Orphanage in 1873 and the Northern Counties Orphanage by 1891. In 1901 it was run by Mackenzie Lillie who was the Matron of the Institution aided by four live-in members of staff including Frances Watson as school mistress.
It has not been possible to determine how long Minnie resided at the Northern Counties Orphan Institution for Girls or what she did with her life until 1911 when she is found boarding at the London County Council College for students training to become Elementary School Teachers at Avery Hill, Eltham. The college had been established in 1906 as a residential female teacher training college and had expanded in 1908 with the purchase of nearby Southwood House and a school building in Deansfield Road that were converted as hostels. Most of the students were between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one, came from London and had generally already worked as pupil teachers. On this basis, Minnie was an exception being twenty-three and coming from Northumberland. The syllabus included nature study, drawing, music and the theory of education as well as the more academic subjects such as arithmetic and later science, although that was not introduced until the 1930’s. Games included tennis, hockey, cricket and netball.
Again it has not been possible to determine any further details about Minnie’s life until her arrival at North End School around 1946 when she took up the appointment as the infant teacher, a position she held until her retirement, being succeeded by Miss Tomms. Whilst teaching at North End School, Minnie lived at 62, Dorset Avenue and remained there until her death, at the age of sixty-six, in 1953.
Memories of North End School from former pupils
Florence Agates, née Sinden, 1911 – 1915
My memories of Miss Card began when we moved to 16, North End in 1911. My father was a policeman and I had two brothers and two sisters and a third brother who came much later.
At this time there were no buses and Miss Card who was a quick walker did the journey from Station Road every morning and afternoon. She was a good teacher and there was no talking in class.
The vicar, the Rev Handford, and his curate, the Rev Bruce came one morning a week for an hour to give a scripture lesson. We knew this subject very well and we had to sing the hymns for litany and you know how long they are.
But the most dreaded time of all was when Miss [Fanny] Stenning, one of the Managers, came on Friday mornings to take us for dictation.
She was a little white haired lady and she sat on Miss Card’s high chair which had a foot rest. The dictation was hard for she brought The Times newspaper with her and dictated an article from that. There were no questions or repeats, it had to be right. After the lesson two of the older boys would take her home in a bath chair to Halsford Park House.
Miss Card was Headmistress and taught the older children, and Mrs Warner had the infant class. There was also a pupil teacher in the School. As a ten year old I loved composition and spelling.
Every Christmas a stage would be erected and we had a wonderful concert. We had Dicken’s Christmas Carol one year and I was Bob Crachet’s wife and we had a real Christmas pudding.
The room was always packed with people and all the children received a present from Miss Stenning. These were either black stockings, mittens, gloves or scarves, and no one missed out.
Then came the 1914 War and Miss Card was wonderful. There wasn’t a girl who couldn’t knit and we made socks, helmets, gloves and mittens, and we collected eggs to send to the wounded.
To this day I love knitting. One year Miss Card helped me win a needlework prize at the Flower Show which was held in Imberhorne Park. I made a Princess petticoat.
The School Managers would turn up unexpectedly and take over a class. Mr Hill[s] who was the Editor of the East Grinstead Observer was very fond of history and I still remember the poem he made us learn with all the names of the former Kings of England:
Willie, Willie, Harry Stee
Harry, Dick, John, Harry three;
One two three Neds, Richard two
Harry’s four five six ….then who?
Edwards four five, Dick the bad,
Harrys (twain), Ned six (the lad);
Mary, Bessie, James you ken,
Then Charlie, Charlie, James again.
Will and Mary, Anna Gloria.
Georges four, Will four, Victoria;
Edward seven next and then
Came George the fifth in nineteen ten.
[Today a couple more lines have been added as there has been a further three monarchs on the throne since 1910:]
Ned the eighth soon abdicated
Then George six was coronated;
After which Elizabeth
And that’s all folks until her death.
Mr and Mrs Hill[s] lived at St Fillans, now Australia House and she was a charming lady who often visited the School. [Australia House is now the site of Richmond Court, however, for most of their married life the Hills actually lived at Lansdowne House on the corner of Garland Road with London Road before moving to St Mary’s Cottage in Windmill Lane]
On Summer afternoons Miss Card would take the needlework class outside on the small lawn at the back of the School under a large oak tree. Our PT was done in the School playground in the front. On Empire days we marched round the flagpole singing patriotic songs.
When my younger brother was born I remember carrying him in his long clothes only a few days old into the School to show Miss Card.
Sadly I passed a Labour Examination and left School at 13. I regretted it afterwards as I had to work very hard.
From St Mary’s School Centenary Magazine, 1985
Olive ‘Tom’ Sharman née Hewitt, 1912 – 1923
North End Church School was small, it had one large room and one small, plus one lavatory each side of the back of the school. One for boys and on our side we had the cloakroom, with pegs for our coats and hats and a washroom with a sink with cold water always smelling of cold water and Primrose soap, a pure soap that came in bars and we cut it into blocks. Outside these little rooms was a small patch of grass and a large oak tree.
On fine days we often spent some time doing lessons or listening to ‘Governess’, as we called Miss Card. Mrs Warner was the infant teacher and the smaller schoolroom was for the younger children. When I first went, I was three and a half years. We had made lovely squeaks as we drew pictures on the slates. We never used paper to write on until we went into the big room which had wooden partitions to divide the classes. Our desks had ink wells and we had to be careful with our pens because of blots and still used slates for some things.
When I was at School and the Inspector came, we all roared with laughter when the Inspector walked through the classroom and opened the left-hand door and closed it. He was in the books’ cupboard. This man was laughing when he came out, but later on we had a very dull one, who called out ‘Tommie Hewitt’, so I stood up and he said ‘sit down girl’. Again he repeated it and of course I stood again and he was very cross. Then Miss Card explained I was always called Tom. He just hadn’t let me explain. Also he insisted I must have my Left hand tied to make me use the Right one. I did no writing for two days, I know it was pig-headed of me, but I’m still a South Paw or what country people called ‘cack-handed’. We were lucky with our teacher. Miss Card was so understanding and helpful and taught us, those who wanted to learn, many things that have helped me over the years and given me a love of Books, Poetry and Nature.
At school at Christmas, we would have a display of our best drawings and hand work and then an old lady who had an interest in North End Church School, Miss Stenning, presented us with mittens or woolly waistcoats in bright wool.
Sometimes the boys also got wool scarves. Although we attended this school in Sussex, we often went to church in Surrey on Sundays. This sounds queer, but my sister Grace, didn’t like the incense they used at St Mary’s at East Grinstead, Sussex.
In front of our school was a small playground. We girls were supposed to keep on the ‘girl’s side’ and the boys on the other side, but usually we played together. One day the Circus came to East Grinstead and the animals were brought through in cages, some drawn by the elephants. We were allowed to stay out in the playground and watch until the long trail of caravans had gone past.
Governess (our school teacher) took us all on many Nature walks and was interested in all the Flora and Fauna we found and brought to school. Frogs, flowers, branches of strange trees, pine cones, the earliest daffodils, tadpoles, even injured birds. She would also lend me books on poetry and stories of the land.
I always enjoyed school, especially after I got into the Big Room as we called it, but I did not like sewing. We (the girls) had to learn to mend, darn, patch, etc, while the boys did simple wood work, but I did make a rug for a friend of Miss Card’s. We often had a well behaved black dog in school. He belonged to the landlady where Miss Card lived. The three children came to our school but they never spoke or petted the dog during classes and he sat by the fireplace until dinner time, when he had a run and something to eat.
On Empire Day, we sang songs and played games in the playground and then had the afternoon free. On King George’s Birthday, we played Pinch-Punch if children had not brought an Oak leaf to school and on May Day we used to tie May blossoms and Hawthorne flowers onto wooden hoops and play dancing games. The boys hated this; they had iron hoops, so did I. I helped the old blacksmith at Felbridge and he made me one. On May Day afternoon, the younger ones went home.
You learn many things [at school] to help you in later life. I find now I remember things, essays, poetry, that I learned at school. The little two roomed, two teacher school. Many of us remember with pleasure the years gone by and how often we would love to be able to go back down the years to when we sat and learned our tables and spellings. Our nature walks, our talks on how to behave to our parents and older people, also to each other. The books I was lent and enjoyed and still remember.
Extracts from A Girl called ‘Tom’ and Avoiding The Slaughter
Violet Geary née Hewitt, 1913 – 1919
I left North End School in 1919 but I remember the children watching the soldiers in the 1914 to 1918 War marching up the London Road. I also remember an outing to Halsford Park House in the spring to see the gardens.
From St Mary’s School Centenary Magazine, 1985
Doris Dean née Hewitt, 1919 – 1929
I left School in 1929 at the time that Miss Card, who was the Headteacher but known as the Governess, retired. I remember a presentation was made to her and a special tea that followed.
From St Mary’s School Centenary Magazine, 1985
Ronald Gibb, 1919 – 1929
We had a small playground at the rear of the School with no sports field and no equipment. We played football, often with old socks sewn into a ball. A favourite game was Hot Rice which we played with a tennis ball [the ‘on’ person throws the tennis ball, trying to hit those playing on the leg below the knee].
On one side of the School grounds was a small orchard from which we often took apples! On the other side was a private laundry belonging to the Blount family and any balls going over there were confiscated by the laundress.
There was no such thing as School uniform and many boys wore hob-nailed boots, very few had shoes.
School plays were acted at St Mary’s Hall and a great success was ‘The Bells of St Mary’s’. The bride was played by Amy Rogers and the groom by Sidney Warner. All the props were made by the pupils and the teachers.
In handwork the boys made wool canvas rugs and the girls did needlework including making cushions. The boys had to de-thread rags for the stuffing of the cushions. The older boys went to the Town School (De La Warr School) for carpentry classes.
The School was heated from a stove in the middle and we were often cold in the winter and wore our coats in School. But the attendance was good and the teachers had their work cut out handling large classes.
From St Mary’s School Centenary Magazine, 1985
Cecelia Carmichael née Meppem, 1917-23
I lived at Rose Cottage in Imberhorne Lane and North End School was the school nearest to me. I remember when we had cookery lessons we had to go to Chequer Mead School which was Sackville or then became Sackville.
Documented memories, November 2010, FHA
Barbara Harnblow née Hewitt, 1931 – 1938
I remember we did Country Dancing for which the School became well known and we used to enter competitions that were held in the Dome in Brighton. We all had a great affection for both Miss Card and Mrs Warner and we all owe them so much. I remember some of my school mates were, Jean and Audrey Pentecost, Frank Prebble, Daphne White, Jean Pitt, Nigel Webber and Derek somebody, but I can’t remember his surname.
Documented memories, 2007, FHA
Audrey Howe née Laker, 1935 – 1941
When I went to North End School my Head Mistress was Miss Kerridge and Mrs Warner took the infants. We lived at 22, North End. When war broke out we had evacuees from the London area come down, I think they were from West Norwood School. We also had an evacuee from France stay with us, her name was Yvette, Yvette Murray I think. There were no shelters at North End School when I was there so when the siren went anyone who lived within 3 minutes run of the school was sent home with a classmate who lived further away. We were lucky as my father, who was a carpenter, and our neighbour Ted Burchett, who was a brick layer, built a shelter that both our families shared on land where the Burchett family lived, behind JB’s Stores.
I remember that every month (I think it was every month but might have been once a week) we had to walk to St Mary’s church for a service. The school was called St Mary’s when I was there. I also remember that Mrs Warner broke her leg or something and we had a supply teacher by the name of Mrs Moynihan.
Documented memories, November 2010, FHA
Tony Jones, 1936 - 1940
I went to North End School from the age of 5 when we were living at Stream Park and left about 1940 when we took a shop in Railway Approach and moved there. When I was at North End School our head teacher was Miss Kerridge who taught the older children and Mrs Warner was second in command and taught the younger children. Miss Kerridge was very strict; she’d be the one to administer the cane!
There were 2 rooms of mixed children, younger ones and older ones. We were taught reading, writing and arithmetic, and I seem to remember that every morning, or if not every morning every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, we’d walk up to St Mary’s church or church hall (I can’t remember which) for religious instruction. We’d spend half an hour there and then we’d walk back to North End School, all weathers, but this didn’t leave much time for lessons. We also did pantos at St Mary’s Church Hall at Christmas; I remember being a dwarf once and my beard was made out of an old bicycle inner tube with whiskers stuck on it that hooked over my ears. Also at Christmas we had a Christmas party held at the Southdown Buffet [now the site of the Premier Inn] at the Star in Felbridge.
There was a playground at the front of the school and a smaller one at the back. The one at the back had an enormous oak tree in the middle of it. As we did not have much ground I only remember playing stool-ball and doing Maypole dancing. We used to compete against other schools in the area with Maypole dancing.
I don’t think there was a school uniform as such, I used to wear grey trousers, a shirt and tie with a brown cardigan with leather buttons down the front. There were no school dinners, we all lived fairly close to the school and most of us went home to dinner.
From memory we started school at 9.00 and ended at 4.00. We entered the school via the side door, never through the front door. We sat at two-seater desks, boy, girl, boy, girl. I remember one activity involved the children all standing around the room in a large circle but can’t remember what we did.
There were allotments at the back of the school and I remember one day I took a marrow from an abandoned allotment and walked home with it trying to hide it from my mother as a surprise (it was so large that when I held it behind me the ends stuck out either side of me). My mother did not approve of my surprise and made me take it and put it back from where I’d got it.
I remember one of the pranks we used to get up to at school. The boy’s toilets were just a walled-off toilet with no roof. The walls were about 5-6 foot tall and along the outside of one was a row of dustbins. The girls often sat on these to eat their sandwiches at break. The boys would go into the toilet and try and wee over the wall onto the girls!
When the war started there was no air raid shelter so all the children had to run home when the sirens went. I remember the German plane coming down on the garage opposite the school.
Whilst I was at school the laundry was still being used next to the school.
Some of the children who went to the school when I was there were; Mike Smith and his sister,
Chris Strudwick and his brother (I think his name was Colin), Audrey Laker and her sister Chris, Eddie Pitt, Ann Murray, Des Durran, Doug Ashby, Les Butcher and his older brother Ron,
Betty Prebble and her brother Frank (I think there was another brother, and possibly 2 sisters as well), Leon Le Grys (he was French) and somebody Grossemilk.
Documented memories, June 2007, FHA
Angela Cole, 1939 - 1945
When I started at North End School I was aged 4 1/2. The infant’s teacher was Mrs Warner; I think her husband made the Doll’s House, Noah’s Ark and the other big toys on the shelf near the door in the infant’s room. When I was about 6, Mrs Warner retired and her place was taken by a rather quiet lady called Miss Beaumont.
Between the ages of 7 and 8 you would move into the junior room. The total number of pupils was about 55. The infants worked at tables, but the juniors had desks, in pairs, with lift-up lids. We all had milk halfway through the morning and went home to lunch at mid-day.
There was the infant playground at the front of the School. I remember using a board and chalk, and I got into trouble one day because I was enthusiastically putting heavy snowflakes on my drawing and did not realise how much noise I was making.
In the infant’s room there was a small statue of the Virgin Mary and in the junior’s room there was one of the Good Shepherd. The last duty before close of term was to put covers over them. [The Good Shepherd statue was presented to the school by Ethel Emily and Sarah Alice Marion Tovey in remembrance of their mother Emily Tovey who died on 4th May 1928 and the Madonna and Child statue was presented to the School by Miss Worge on 5th December 1934.]
Miss Kerridge was head, and the School Governor was called Mr Moon and he visited several times a year. He was always interested in Music Festivals. We also had visits from Father Howell, the vicar of St Mary’s Church.
The Music Festivals were held at Lewes and Haywards Heath, and we went by train to both. The morning of the Festivals was a competition and the Festival afternoons were conducted by an adult soloist cum demonstrator. Songs that we sang included ‘The Jolly Miller’, ‘The Road to the Isles’, ‘Flow Gently Sweet Afton’ and ‘The Red, the Green, the Yellow’. One of the songs I remember we had to sing was ‘Old Lady’ [‘Old Woman’], and to our great delight, we were asked to sing our own variation of the song. The following is a variation of the traditional song that we sang:
There was an old woman tossed up in a basket
Thirty times as high as the moon.
Where she was going I couldn’t but ask it
For in her hands she carried a broom.
Old woman, old woman, old woman, said I
Whither, oh whither, old woman so high?
To sweep the cobwebs out of the sky
And you can help me if you can fly.
I seem to have some recollection that we composed another verse to the song and the following is the St Mary’s version of ‘Old Lady’:
There was an old women tossed up in a basket
Thirty times as high as the sun.
Where she was going I couldn’t but ask it
For in her hands she carried a gun.
Old woman, old woman, old woman, said I
Whither, oh wither, old woman so high?
To shoot the Luftwaffe out of the sky
And you can help me if you can fly!
Some Thursday mornings we went to church at St Mary’s in Windmill Lane. We also had Holy Days, such as Ascension Day as holidays.
We did Country Dancing including Sword Dancing and Morris Dancing with thick short sticks. Music was provided by a wind-up gramophone playing 78 rpm records which used lots of needles. We would go to St Mary’s Fete to dance. On wet days we also did PE indoors in the larger infant’s room and sometimes the dancing was done indoors, but I don’t remember where the infants were while we danced or did PE in their room.
I remember one day when we doing PE outdoors, Miss Kerridge was standing on a bench and fell off it into the stream behind the playground.
Lessons included arithmetic, geography, history, reading, spelling and writing, among other things including sewing and knitting. Even the boys were taught to knit, gloves I seem to remember. I also remember doing raffia work. My brother made a Ration Book cover that my mother kept for years.
The School was heated by coke stoves, one in each room with a guard around each. By the stove in the junior’s classroom there was a weather chart and we took turns to check the wind direction and put it against the date. We used different colours for the weather, yellow for sunny etc. It was great if on your ‘day’ and you could add white for snow. I used to check the weathervane on the outbuildings of Halsford Park House on my way to school, taking an extra detour along Halsford Lane.
Friday afternoon was story-time. Miss Kerridge, the head, was very stern and a disciplinarian, but she had a good reading technique, and read the ‘Just So Stories’, ‘Doctor Do-Little’ etc. Miss Kerridge also always had digs at me because I was left handed.
There was a cupboard in the junior’s room that held all the supplies, pens, ink, etc., and there was a small library from which you could borrow books. I don’t remember much about this but I do recall ‘Punch Annuals’ which I think dated to before the war.
During the war we took part in the National Savings Scheme, when 1d a week was paid and when 6d had been paid we’d obtain a Savings Stamp.
The desks had inkwells, and someone had to fill them. The ‘11 Plusers’ had homework from the autumn term before the exam. This was generally some sums and a short English exercise, which might be identifying parts of a sentence, eg. nouns and verbs etc. Also, over the Christmas holidays before the ‘11 Plus’ day we had an old paper to answer the questions of.
In 1947 it was a very cold winter and just after Christmas the school’s pipes were frozen for a few days and only the ‘11 Plus’ takers went to school. We sat in our coats next to the stove to do some work. On ‘11 Plus’ day we (there were 7 of us) had the school to ourselves. We had an arithmetic paper, an English one, and an intelligence test.
Documented memories, October, 2008, FHA
Edwin Meppem, c1940
I was evacuated from Hastings up to relations at Rose Cottage, Imberhorne Lane, during the war. I went to North End School as it was the nearest school but I did not like it and after a couple of days I was moved to the Catholic school [Imberhorne School now St Peter’s] walking along the footpath from Imberhorne Lane (before the houses). One of my classmates at North End School was Peter Furminger who was a friend I made whilst staying at Rose Cottage. Unrelated to the school, I remember a Rag n Bone man, his name was Bill Gates and his horse was called Mollie.
Documented memories, November 2010, FHA
Brenda Prebble, 1940 – 1946
I remember Maypole dancing, I used to enjoy that and it was done on the [St Mary’s] Vicarage lawn. We also used to do Country Dancing.
I remember going to a singing festival at Lewes, I remember it very well as I was told to just stand there at the back and open and shut my mouth to look as though I was singing but not to make any sound as I could not sing! One of the songs we had to sing was ‘There was an old woman tossed up in a basket’. We also had to compose a couple of paragraphs about the Air Force and the Services.
I was at North End School during the war years and I remember hiding under the desks during air-raids. We also had an evacuee from Jersey or Guernsey, her name was Yvette and she lodged with the Laker family in North End.
My teachers were Miss Kerridge and Mrs Warner. Mrs Warner used to make coconut ice and give to us, but I can’t remember if she gave it to all of us or whether she gave it as a treat for doing something good.
I remember there was a small garden in the playground at North End School where we learned to garden and grow things.
There was also a big shoe that my father had made, I don’t remember what it was made for but it used to live on a shelf above the school door.
Documented memories, October, 2008, FHA
Chris Wood née Laker, 1941 – 1947
I have a terrible memory for events but I do remember we attended a couple of Music Festivals each year, one in Lewes and the other at the Grammar School in Windmill Lane [now the site of Imberhorne Lower School]. I also recall visits to the Dome at Brighton for dancing events and we used to go to the Grammar School for sports days. We also did Scottish Dancing but I don’t remember any competitions for it.
Miss Kerridge was at the helm for some years and I recall the Head being a stickler for correct grammar and the children knew she was cross because she flushed bright red.
Documented memories, June 08, FHA
Jean Farrer, née Prebble, 1942 – 1948
I was one of six children of the Prebble family, my sisters and brother being, Joyce, Frank, Betty, Stella and Brenda. We lived in Halsford Green and went to North End School between 1932 and 1948.
Mrs Warner was the infant teacher and she made coconut ice and gave it to the infant’s class. Mrs Pattenden was a Supply Teacher when I was at North End School; she lived at the top of Brooklands Way in East Grinstead. Mrs [Miss] Kerridge was the head teacher and there was also Mr Keest, and Mr Moon who was a School Governor.
We used to have to go to a 9 o’clock service at St Mary’s Church in Windmill Lane on Wednesdays. I can’t remember if it was weekly or monthly, but we also went on Saint’s Days. The vicar was Father Howell, and he also used to visit the School.
We used to do Maypole Dancing and Country Dancing at St Mary’s Summer Fetes. We also used to go the Dome Theatre in Brighton to do Country Dancing. I remember one time we went to the Dome Theatre with Miss Kerridge to do Country Dancing we all went down to the beach to have our lunch. Miss Kerridge, who was always very smartly turned out wore a pale coat. She had brought a bag of cherries to eat but unfortunately sat on the bag in her smart pale coat and had to spend the rest of the day with a big stain on her bottom!
I remember that dad made a big shoe for the School but I don’t remember what for.
One of the things we used to have to keep at School was a Weather Chart, and we had to visit the nearest weathervanes to record wind direction. There were two weathervanes quite near the School, one in Halsford Lane and one in Buckhurst Way.
I remember there was a statue of Mary and Joseph, or it may have been Mary and Jesus. These were held on the wall by brackets, one in the junior’s room and one in the infant’s room. I remember they were taken down, possibly at the end of the school year and had to be cleaned and put away. I also remember I had to do this job one year and was petrified that I might break one of them.
We used to walk to the swimming pool at Brookland’s Way and down the path to the pool. Mr Jennings used to walk with us. We only went swimming in the summer as it was a cold pool!
During the war time there was a metal shelter in the infant’s classroom which we all had to get under when the air siren went off. There was also a money saving scheme during the war. It was a squared chart with a picture of a Swastika on it and the amount of money that you brought into school was written into each square. Mind you, I don’t know what the money collected was used for.
I remember one day Miss Kerridge was standing on a form [bench] in the playground, I think she was talking to us or something, anyway, she fell off of it into the ditch behind. I do remember her saying ‘Well don’t just stand there then, help me out!!’
Some of my contemporaries were Eileen Garwood, Daphne Terry whose father was the chauffeur at Chartham, and Angela Cole.
Documented memories, October, 2008, FHA
Josephine Roffey née Jenner, 1946 – 1950
North End School was a small two classroom school, one for the infants, 5 – 8 year olds, and one classroom for the juniors, 8 – 11 year olds. The School itself was built in 1885, and there were two playgrounds, one at the front and one at the back, but it was the back one that was mainly used.
I attended North End School from January 1946 to July 1950. My friend was called Christine Stephens and her father was the gardener at ‘The Stream’ in Felbridge [now the site of Standen Close] for Mr and Mrs Douglas Stern.
My brother Gordon Jenner also attended North End School, from April 1939 to 1945. He was taught by a Mrs Warner, who lived in Queen’s Road in East Grinstead, and when she retired a Mrs Beaumont took over; she came from the Channel Isles.
I remember how cold the School was; only heated by a solid coke fuel fire. I also remember that the toilets for the school were outside, very cold in winter, in fact, often frozen up and unable to be used. The desks were the old type with bench seats. We were taught by one teacher for each class, Miss Jeffels taught all the infants and Miss Kerridge, the juniors.
My friend Christine and I used to go to tea with Miss Jeffels at her bungalow in Dorset Avenue, where she lived with her friend Miss Brown. In 1953 Miss Brown sent me a photograph of Miss Jeffels and told me she had died. The other teacher who taught me in the senior years, Miss Kerridge, also lived in Dorset Avenue. Her house was specifically built for her and it still remains in Dorset Avenue and is so different from any other property built in that road [the East Grinstead Directory for 1953 shows that Emma Kerridge was living at no. 52 which is actually the old Pest House for East Grinstead dating to the 18th century and is now a Grade II listed property].
I am not too sure when Miss Kerridge retired, I think it was about 1950, but when she did a Mrs Desmond took over as head teacher. Miss Kerridge was known for her Country Dancing; very light on her feet, and we took part in many Country Dancing competitions.
I remember that hot school meals were introduced when I was there. A small canteen building was put at the right-hand side of the school, like the Porter-cabin today.
The caretaker lived opposite the school, her name was Mrs Brooker and her daughter, Mrs Taylor, lived in Yew Lane right up until her death a few years ago. She raised much money for MS and Guide Dogs for the blind.
North End School finally closed in 1955 and moved to St Mary’s School in Windmill Lane, next to the church. It was a Church of England School that worked very closely with St Mary’s Church. In 1985 it held its 100th Birthday at St Mary’s School, and I have a souvenir mug that was produced specially for the occasion.
From St Mary’s School, North End, I moved in September 1952 to the Sackville Secondary School where the Chequer Mead Theatre now stands. My brother went to the East Grinstead Grammar School in Windmill Lane.
Today the North End School building is still there and from the outside looks just the same as it did when I started there all those years ago. At 116 years old, it has been used for Adult Education and today it is now a Nursery School for children and is called Fledglings.
Documented memories, April 2001, FHA
Anne Davis née Sloman, 1950 – 1955
Miss Emy was our Head Mistress, the one I remember best. She moved to St Mary’s with us when the school moved. The other teachers at St Mary’s were Miss Tomms and Miss Sabine, but I can’t remember if they were at North End School or not.
I remember the milk on the school door-step North End School and in winter when it froze it was brought in and stood round the stove to de-frost. There was also a board in the school on which your name appeared when you could tie your shoe laces.
When I left St Mary’s in 1957 and went to Sackville we had to go down to North End School for cookery lessons that were held in the old laundry building next to the school.
Documented memories, November 2010, FHA
Kathleen Weeks née Gladman, 1953 – 1955
I was the third generation of my family to go to North End School. My paternal grandfather, Otho Fitzgerald Alico Brooker who was born on 1st May 1907, attended from 1912 for about five years. My father, Percy Thomas John Gladman (known as Jack) was born on 9th April 1923, attended from 1928 for about two years. I was one of the last children to go to the North End School when I joined in September 1953, transferring to St Mary’s School in 1955 until I left in 1959.
I cannot remember the name of my first Head Mistress but I do remember Miss Emy who replaced her. She liked Country Dancing and took the children in their last school year; all the other pupils were taught in the large room by Miss Tomms.
I remember that sweets were given for points earned, less bad marks. I was hit by a car opposite Garland Road [East Grinstead] where I lived having been sent to shop for my mother who was unwell at the time. I knew the kerb drill but forgot not to stand behind a parked car. I broke both bones in my lower right leg and was in plaster for about 6 weeks. I missed the last few weeks of the summer term of 1954 so was sent a bag of sweets to cheer me up.
Two contemporaries of mine were Roy Wheeler, but he’s moved away, and Ann Sloman who still lives in East Grinstead, Ann was about to leave as I started and did the ‘meet and greet’.
Documented memories, October 2010, FHA
North End School after its closure in 1955
On Friday 11th February 1955, North End School closed having had 1,140 pupils through its doors in seventy years. The last pupil was Bryce Anderson Lines, who entered the school 24th January 1955 after leaving Chesterfield Road School in Sunderland, having moved to St George’s House, London Road [a boy’s home run by Mr Starr]. North End School moved to its new and current site in Windmill Lane permanently adopting the name of St Mary’s Church of England School, the school incorporated the old church hall that had been built for St Mary’s Church in 1924.
From the Admissions Register for the last five years of North End School a few statistics make interesting reading. Of the last thirty-four children to go to the school, four (11.8%) transferred to Halsford Park School when it opened in September 1958, two transferred to Lingfield Primary, one went to Lingfield Convent School (Notre Dame), one to Church Hospital School in Horsham, and two moved from the area. Of the remaining pupils, nine (26.5%) passed their 11+ and went on to the East Grinstead Grammar School in Windmill Lane, and fifteen (44.1%) pupils went to secondary modern schools of which the first seven (46.7%) went to Sackville School [on the site of the Chequer Mead Arts Centre and the car park opposite, also known as Chequer Mead or the ‘De La Warr School’ until 1951 when the senior school adopted the name of Sackville] and the last eight (53.3%) to Imberhorne Secondary Modern School, which opened in 1959. It is also possible that a proportion of the pupils from the North End area who had originally gone to Sackville from North End School were transferred as part of the five hundred students that moved when Imberhorne opened.
It is also interesting to note from the Admissions Register that by the 1950’s the catchment area for North End School had increased to include not only the immediate areas of Halsford, North End, Imberhorne Lane and Stream Park, but also Heathcote Drive and Manor Road on the newly built Imberhorne estate, as well as further afield including; Wellington Town Road, Garland Road, Grosvenor Road and Railway Approach near the East Grinstead town centre.
After closure of the North End School, the building was used for some years for carpentry lessons for students from the East Grinstead Grammar School, and the old laundry building adjacent was used for cookery lessons for students from Sackville School, quite ironic as twenty years earlier the children from North End School had to go to Sackville for their cookery lessons. However, in the 1970’s and 80’s the old school building was taken over as an Adult Education Centre offering a number of courses ranging from yoga to art, including pottery classes and Chinese painting. By the late 1980’s the Adult Education Centre re-located and North End School was closed until 1994 when it was purchased by Jan Jones, refurbished and opened as a day nursery and pre-school.
North End School Today
Today the old school building is still operating as an educational facility, run as Fledglings Day Nursery and Pre-School. The main, high ceilinged Victorian schoolroom is used for the pre-school children with its light, airy space, whilst the toddlers use the smaller room. Unlike the previous school days, the toilets are now inside accessed off the cloakroom at the main entrance at the side of the building. For the babies, Fledglings have converted the former laundry as ‘The Nest’ which has a central playroom, a sleep area with cots and kitchen/eating area. Food is available at the school, prepared on site in the kitchen providing interesting and healthy eating. Attached to The Nest is a small outdoor grassed area, whilst the main garden is accessed through the nursery or via a security gate and has a variety of surfaces including paved, all-weather and grass. The former playground at the front of the building is now used for parking and as a drop off and collection area.
Fledglings provides a curriculum to give each child a solid foundation for starting school, covering personal and social development, language and literacy, mathematics, knowledge and understanding of the world, physical development, and creative development including painting, drawing, arts and crafts and music, not unlike the education offered by North End School during its seventy years in existence.
St Mary’s School, East Grinstead, Centenary Magazine, 1985, FHA
E Grinstead PO Directory, 1885 – 1905
Kelly’s Directory, 1911 – 1915
Elementary School Report for North End C of E School, 1911, C/E/2/1, ESRO
Census records, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911
East Grinstead Common map, 1816, WSRO, 39454
Documented memories of Cecilia Carmichael née Meppem, FHA
A History of East Grinstead by M Leppard
Handout, Stained Glass of St John the Divine, Felbridge, SJC 07/02ii, FHWS
Handout, Harts Hall, SJC 07/05, FHWS
Handout, St John the Divine, SJC 07/02i, FHWS
Conveyance of Yaxley Cottages and Field, 1880, ESRO, AMSE/AMS 5430/5/1/136/1
Handout, War Memorials of St John the Divine, Felbridge, SJC 07/02v, FHWS
Handout, Wartime memories of Felbridge, SJC 11/05, FHWS
North End/St Mary’s School Admissions Register, 1950 to 1991, St. Mary’s School
A Girl called ‘Tom’, Ed. by Frank & Frances Sharman
Avoiding the Slaughter www.pasttimesproject.co.uk
Jupp photograph album, FHA
Brian Warner’s family tree, FHA
The Old Pest House, The Bulletin of the East Grinstead Society, no.41 p.5-6
Documented memories of; Cecilia Carmichael, Angela Cole, Anne Davis, Jean Farrer, Barbara Harnblow, Audrey Howe, Tony Jones, Edwin Meppem, Brenda Prebble, Olive Sharman, Josephine Roffey, Jean Starr, Kathleen Weeks, Chris Wood, FHA
My thanks are extended to the office staff and Mr R Towshend, current Head Teacher of St. Mary’s School, for help with research and for permission to quote from the St Mary’s School Centenary Magazine, in the absence of the old School Log.
Texts of all Handouts referred to in this document can be found on FHG website; www.felbridge.org.uk