Orange Hill Girls Grammar School

A Memory of Burnt Oak

After passing the 11+ at St Johns School, Milton Road, West Hendon, I attended Orange Hill from 1947. I had quite a journey, having to take the trolleybus along the Edgware Road then a walk down the Watling Avenue which was always bustling with all the barrows lining each side of the road, and through the park. We had no playing fields so had a short walk down to the local park for our sports - this was quite embarrassing for girls of our age as we only wore a blouse and navy blue knickers (with a pocket for a hankie !!). Our swimming lessons took place at Mill Hill (now the garden centre) - I hated going as the water was always so freezing - no luxury of an indoor heated pool then - I managed to escape as many lessons as possible by writing an excuse note and never did learn to swim. We went by coach (but I can't remember where we played) for hockey. I always remember the awful smell of the geraniums on the window sills of the top floor of the school. It was many years before I could bring myself to grow them in my garden. Our music teacher, Miss Chilleystone (Chilly) had tight plaits wound round her ears and always wore the same style of home made dress. In assembly we would have to listen to some classical piece whilst she stood very stiff and unmoving. Miss Hartwell was our English teacher and woe betide you if your homework was incorrect. She would call you up to her desk and deliver a sharp smack on your hand for every word she uttered. My favourite teacher was Miss Bareham who took us for commercial work - unfortunately she had to leave in disgrace as she became pregnant before marrying (not at all acceptable in those days). A few of us bought her glass animals for her wedding present. She was always very smart, perfect make-up and painted nails. We were not allowed to talk to the boys in the adjacent school but enjoyed waiting on the stairs looking out of the window to see our favourites going past at home time then rushing out to walk behind them. We were all so naive and innocent in those days.

A memory shared by Ann Midson , on Mar 5th, 2010.

Comments & feedback

Sun Aug 21st 2016, at 10:22 pm

helenbellias commented:

I passed 11+ and it was decided that I should attend Orange Hill. We lived in Hendon and on the first day I walked down to Hendon Central station with a purple berret and uniform that felt very strange. There were very strict rules but teachers were really nice but the new regime was a new world from primary school. Miss Chilleystone was sweet if peculiar and our head mistress Miss Wood was dedicated and I saw her as a prime minister. I remember all our teachers and appreciated the excellent level of education. Compared with today's world , no one thought of designer clothes or holidays but we all knew Elvis. I left at sixth form and went onto London university and later earned a doctorate.

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