Mar 13 2011

Welldon Park School 1910-1985 Celebration (Part III)

Part three in our ongoing series on Welldon Park School…


By April 1910 the population had increased sufficiently for the Council to open a temporary school to serve the locality. There being no other suitable building, the South Harrow School, as it was at first called, began in the Baptist Mission Church (or the Old Tin Chapel as it was fondly called) opposite Valentine’s Road.

The first Headmistress was Miss Agnes Davy, appointed when she was only twenty nine years old. She had two assistants and there were 98 children on roll. Children of those days had to sit up straight with their hands behind their back. The girls wore starched white pinafores over their dresses and black stockings and shoes. The boys wore knee breeches and Eton collars. Slates were often used for writing but there were books too.

On reaching the age of ten children transferred to the senior school at Roxeth. The School Log records that at times numbers were very low due to the occurrence of mumps, diphtheria and scarlet fever. In March 1911 and on several other occasions the School was closed by the School Medical Officer because of epidemics. Ringworm was fairly common and children were regularly examined at School by Dr Tate. Some children were excluded. Mothers dealt with the epidemic as best they could; some shaved their children’s heads; others painstakingly combed the hair and treated the scalp for hours each day until the infection had cleared. A former pupil recalls that Miss Davy sent books home to her when she was excluded so that she should not fall behind with her work.

Conditions at the Baptist Hall were far from ideal. In winter temperatures were below freezing and in summer the heat became no unbearable that it was impossible to work. The Log also records that, “Owing to the small space for children’s playground, the recreation time for each class has had to be arranged separately.”

Even so, when Mr Winn, Her Majesty’s Inspector, inspected the School on 15 September 1911 his report was as follows:-

‘Middlesex Local Education Authority, Harrow. South Harrow Temporary Council School.


Creditable work has been accomplished under adverse conditions. Reading has been well taught; the children show considerable resource in attacking unfamiliar words. Manual dexterity and ingenuity have been produced by clay modelling and other occupational.”

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