THE STRANGE CASE OF
|I was especially amused by your memories of the old busses. You may remember that they travelled a circular route, one way only. We had to walk to school from Larkshall Road but could get the bus home. There was a 'General' bus owned by what became the London Passenger Transport Board who charged a penny for the journey. I remember the 'Reliance' which only charged a ha'penny half for children. When you asked for your ticket the conductor invariably said "'Apenny 'arf to make you laugh' which at five I thought was very witty.|
Photo Tim Gregson
From David Branchflower
I believe South Chingford Primary School is now Larkswood School and locally is known as New Road School. My father attended in c 1908 when it was first built and he always referred to it as "Gratton's College". A Mr Gratton was the 1st head teacher.
Waltham Forest Council have plans to rebuild it but are being hindered by a conservation order being put on it.
From Lawrence Lustig <LAWRENCESIRLOLATaol.com>
The school still very much exists. However you will not find reference to it on the web as it has had two name changes since your time as a pupil.
Some time after you left, the school was transferred from the old L.C.C to the Essex County Council and was renamed New Road School and remained this way until the 1960s, when I was a pupil there. Further boundary changes saw the school transferred to the Waltham Forest Borough council and renamed Larkswood infants and junior school until last year, when it was renamed Larkswood Primary.
The school, with its original buildings, remains on its same site on New Road and would be pretty much as you would recall it.
The buildings are now 97 years old and there are plans to rebuild and although it will be sad to see the "old place" go, as a parent and Governor, I understand, if the plans are passed, it will be in the best interests of the children and staff who spend their days there.
I know the head Stephen Fisher enjoys receiving correspondence from former pupils and sharing their memories with the children. His e-mail is stephen.fisherAT...
Stephen Fisher <stephen.fisherATsch.lbwf.gov.uk> replied:
|The school does still stand, but not for much longer, I'm afraid. In May
2004 the builders will move on site (well, the demolition men, actually) and
begin the process of building a new Larkswood Primary School. We will be a
building site for two years - nobody is looking forward to that - but we
will have a fantastic facility at the end of it all.
The heritage decision was taken hastily and then overturned by the Dept for Culture, Media & Sport. The new school will be open before the 2007 Centenary, I think. I'll send you an invite from my garden shed on the building site!
Yours from sunny Chingford (7:45a.m. and 2 degrees but a blue sky).
|Larkswood (formerly South
Chingford) School, 2004.
Photo kindly taken specially for this e-book by David Branchflower.
I'm writing this story in Sydney, Australia, where I arrived with my parents and younger sister in 1929, after a six-week voyage from England. Our ship, SS Demosthenes (11,000 tons) passed between the two ends of the Harbour Bridge, then under construction. The sky was bright blue, the sun was shining, countless ferries and sailing boats ploughed white furrows through the sparkling blue water. Life was good.
Seventy-five years later, as I complete this story, life is still good. The temperature in sunny Sydney is 35 deg C.
SCHOOL SURVIVES TWO WORLD WARS
Here are edited extracts from a paper written by Leonard Davis in May 2000, published by the Chingford Historical Society: Chingford Notes, Volume 6, Extra No. 12.
LARKSWOOD JUNIOR SCHOOL, 1909 - 1947
World War I
The Log Book of the Boys' School shows that in 1917 attendances were low following the noise of gunfire aimed at hostile aircraft during the night, and in 1918 sometimes 10% of boys were absent because of the shortage of food. The boys used to go to Walthamstow to line up for margarine, sugar, tea etc.
Mr George H. Gratton remained headmaster and Mr A. Walker was Chief Assistant, but he acted when Mr Gratton was absent on war service. In 1918 many boys were absent because of the influenza epidemic.
World War II
The boys were evacuated to Fingringhoe, near Colchester, Dedham and Ramsey. Correspondence and tutorial classes commenced.
In 1940 there was a second evacuation and the school was occupied by refugees. Later it was bombed and closed. [Can anyone tell us the extent of the damage, and when the school reopened?]
We kids were greatly excited when the "pirate" drivers raced one another to be first to pick up passengers waiting at the next stop. Sometimes three or four vehicles, spurred on by our joyous shouts, would hurtle down the road in a perilous free-for-all.
Only last week, I read a note that June D. Troy, of St John's Wood, had written to TransportForAll.com, the magazine for London's disabled travellers: "I too remember the General Bus Company, and also what we children used to call pirate buses... We loved them. The driver had a seat that went the whole width of the bus, and he would let us children ride up front with him."
Ah, those were the days!
|Story first posted April 2004|
|Copyright © 2004||Eric Shackle|