Streatham And St. Helens School - a Memory of Streatham.

My family moved from Clapham to Streatham in the early fifties. My mother opened a Greengrocers shop in Sunnyhill Road and sent me to the local primary school which I did not like, so I then attended St. Helens School for Girls, walking there along Valley Road every morning. Miss Tarry and Miss Howling were the headmistresses. (Miss Howling was to me at that time very scary.)

I also remember many of my classmates including: Robin (who emigrated to New Zealand), Penelope, Beryl, Ann Bush?, Carol Burgess, Eve Gurney, Lynn Edwards and especially Jacqualine Wilson who became my best friend but unfortunately we lost touch. (she also had a sister Jill who was in the class below).

I did a lot of walking then being an only child, and explored the common with its ponds and Rookery. I also found the local riding school run by a Mr. Coleman.

'Jackie' and I often visited The Ice Rink and Odeon Cinema in our teens. Apart from exploring the High Street many times, I remember walking through St. Leonards Church Yard and on through to Tooting Bec Common where occasionally we rode the horses from Mr. Colemans riding School.

Living in Streatham at that time was good as even at a young age one could walk around safely, and although we moved to Norbury in about 1955-56 Streatham was still my haunt and the 49 bus took me to St. Helens (when I didn't walk across the Common!)

If anyone knows anything about Jacqualine Wilson, please get in touch!

Janet McEwen (Nee Hollingshead)

A memory shared by gemini_lass on Feb 10th, 2016. Send gemini_lass a message.

 Comments & Feedback

Fri Mar 18th 2016, at 7:38 pm
palmeab commented:
At the outbreak of the 1939-45 war I was a five year old living in Sherwood Park Road, Mitcham. My mother resisted her children ( me and my sister, Jill) being evacuated and whereas watching the unfolding Battle of Britain from Pollards Hill was great fun the authorities decided that enough was enough and sent Mum and children off to the safety and tranquility of Wiltshire in 1940. As has been well documented, the RAF forced a big of a rethink for our enemy and in 1942 it was deemed safe to return to London...although not to Mitcham but to Streatham. We lived at 171, Gleneldon Road and Jill & started school at Sunnyhill Road school. This was basically the first continuous period of education that we had received but just as we were getting used to the idea along came Doodlebugs and Rockets one of which landed in Grasmere Road and the blast from which made out home uninhabitable. A brief sojourn in Walton followed by an unhappy spell in Nottingham saw us through to VE Day in the Lace City and a glorious return to Streatham and a refurbished home. The continuous disruption to my education meant that, other than spelling my name correctly and an apparently unique ability to tell the time I had no academic skill and was assigned to Dunraven Secondary Modern school in Mount Earl Gardens. Disproving all modern theories these schools were excellent and after only two years the Headmaster, Mr Sevier, summoned my parents and suggested I take a common entrance examination yo transfer to Battersea Grammar School (BGS) in Abbotswood Road and a photograph of which appears in this section on Streatham. This was now 1947 and in addition to a growing keenness to play sports (an interest fostered by BGS being particularly good at games) I also discovered Streatham Ice Rink and a new fangled game called ice hockey. Soon I was fascinated by this great game and spent virtually every winter Wednesday night at the rink following the red, white and blues where my favourite players rubbed shoulders in my affection with more conventional greats like Jimmy Greaves and Denis Compton. My friends at the rink included the Glen sisters (Margaret and Brenda), their friend Heather and my BGS chums Geoff Brown, Alan French and Maurice Wright. Meanwhile, at school I graduated to the school football and cricket teams (got colours for cricket) and even as a school-boy started playing for the Old Grammarians at cricket. Bill Hart, Ian Smith, Graham Bawden, Derek Goddard and John Burrows became great, life-long friends starting at BGS. In addition to hockey some of the store mentioned also shared a love of jazz and, as reported by another member, the Swing Shop run by Dave Carey was a great treat. Jazz greats were to be seen at the Astoria and also the Davis Theatre in Croydon. You could find Ted Heath at he Wimbledon Palais and on some Sunday's at the Palladium in London. About now the need to do National Service intruded and basically split my love of Streaham in two: pre and post National Service. Some of my friends from Wellfield Road, Valley Road and Sunnyhill Road (Ken Barnes, Tony Eastway, Jean Kershaw, Kenneth Ware) were not around in 1955 when I returned and now employment replaced education as a primary day time occupation. This took me to the West End and the City and new friends not associated with Streatham...although I met a delightful girl from Killieser Avenue who decided that the lure of the USA just about exceeded my attentions. The magnet of the Astoria, the ABC and Gaumont were replaced by West End cinemas and dating tended to include restaurants in London rather than locally. By now hockey had ceased at the rink killed by the onset of TV from 1953 onwards and in 1960 the last senior team bearing the name STREATHAM skated at the famous old rink. During its time our local club had achieved the status of bring arguably he best team in Europe and the demise of this great sport was sad. That said, hockey is still played at the new rink and hockey of good quality is played across the country although, oddly, not in London. I left Streatham on my wedding day in 1967 and have returned only infrequently since. My mother and father stayed until dad's retirement in 1972 whereupon hey moved to the coast. Mum loved Streatham. Even as a girl she took a job in Brixton (Bon Marche) but always dreamed of a home in Streatham. The shops like Pratts, Tyrell's, the deli called Cordeaus, the smell from that coffee shop along The High. The fresh produce shops at Streatham Hill and The Dip. The ability to get anywhere because of the three mainline stations and more bus route than you can shake a stick at. The days when Streatham Hill theatre was a theatre with music-hall acts and top plays and revues. Streatham was an incredible place to live...a place that my parents felt was eventually made less attractive by the switch from Wandsworth Council. I cannot comment: I have not seen enough of my home town since I left it now nearly 50 years ago. I briefly became secretary of the hockey club in the early 80's and at the start of the new millennium I wrote an history of the club which can be read on the Internet (Eat 'em Raw - The Story of Streatham on your search engine). I also wrote an history of the ice rink for the Streatham Society.

Not a day passes without my recalling several recollections of it summer days on the Common, halcyon days at BGS, the last night of the trams in 1951, the Coffee Cabin along the High - or winter nights watching "Red" Stapleford's great teams either at The Rink or at Harringay or Wembley or Brighton. Such rich memories: how lucky have I been?

Allan Palmer - 18th March, 2016.
Tue Mar 29th 2016, at 4:47 pm
I was born in Norbury in 1946 and attended St Helen's Grammar school from 1951 to 1962. I must have been in the class just above Janet Hollingshead because I remember Lynne Edwards, her sister Jill was in the class above me. I am trying to remember the names of the girls in my class ffor a project I am working on (Miss Howlings wouldn't have approved of ending the sentence with a preposition - you are right - she was scary. This is how far I got: Hilary Boxshall, Ann Butcher, Frances Corke, Jacqueline Davis, Rosemary Dunn, somebody Edwards, Delia Farrar, Linda Floate, Barbara Godfrey, Ann Howard, Mary Lynn, Cheryl ?Ross, Cann Pennington, Deirdre Phillips, Cherylene Pringle, Janet Rhodes, Janet Spooner, Yvonne Ward and myself Wendy Whitfield. Can anyone fill in the gaps? I can also remember some of the teachers' names: Miss E Howlings, Miss R Tarry, Miss Gilbard history and biology, Mrs Drake maths, Mrs Wooster French, Miss Pettit gym and I think Music, Mrs Ritchie, Mrs Curl sport and I can't remember the name of the art teacher. Wendy Devonshire (nee Whitfield)
Sat Jul 28th 2018, at 12:27 pm
barbarino commented:
Hi Wendy. I believe you went to school with my mum Frances Corke. She is trying to get in contact with her old school friends but we are having limited luck. many of the people on your list she remembers very well. If you have an email address I would love to put her in contact with you. She left England in 1965 and now lives in Western Australia. Do you have contact with any of the other girls?? Barb Henderson

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