History of Hungerford

         Hungerford School         


The main building of the school, originally called Hungerford Road School, was built in 1896 by the School Board for London to a design by Architect Bailey. Several schools were built to the same design although only one is known in Kennington Road/ Stannary Street SE11 not far from the Oval cricket ground, in more recent times this has been converted into flats.
Hungerford Road School was built on the site of 5 town houses and a Public House sited where the east wing of the school now stands. The building has 3 floors the Ground, 1st and 2nd floors follow a similar floor plan. The 3rd floor houses the Attic originally designed as a drawing room with North facing windows to provide even light.
The site has seen many developments the first being in 1902 when the East Wing was added indicated by a date plaque in the apex of the roof and the change in floor tile in the corridors. The original drawings also indicate that the exterior stair cases all originally exited parallel to the building however the main stair case now exits directly onto the playground, remains of the old stairs can still be seen.  Around 1911 two additional buildings were erected in the playground and an entrance in Goodinge Road was completed. The large “Building on Stilts” was designed to provide shelter during inclement weather break times downstairs. Upstairs it was arranged as a workshop for training boys in the use of machinery/woodwork. The other two-storey building was built to teach girls laundry and cookery.

sc1The school was originally 3 separate schools. The second floor housed the Girl’s School (believed to be school number 2320). On the 1st floor was the Boys school (No. 2319) and the ground floor the Infants (No. 2321) The Infants was coeducational (mixed gender). Each school had its own playground, entrance and staircases. Identified by a stone name label above the door/gate. Where staircases met heavy locked iron gates blocked access (only part of one of these gates remains).

A leather bound Roll of Honour is kept at the school detailing the names of all staff and ex-pupils who served in the Great War (The First World War). The names of the fallen are written in red; gallantry awards recorded in blue.

In 1933 a plot of land was acquired by the school. Old maps show that this had originally been part of a long garage for coaches and horses that ran from Corporation Street to the school and was used by visitors to the Caledonian Cattle Market. It had subsequently been converted into a formal garden before becoming part of the school playground. The original outside Boys’ toilet block was demolished and a new one erected in the new playground. The site of this new block is clearly visible today as a flower bed in our Foundation Stage Playground. For many years this was a space for playing football and cricket. At some point there were cricket nets installed. The brackets were removed when the playground was refurbished to accommodate the youngest children in the 1990’s.

Ship San VulfranoDuring the Second World War the school was largely evacuated. The Boys School’s Head Teacher log book of the time indicates that on return to full use, the upper floor operated with no light as the ceilings were down and an incendiary bomb had damaged the East Tower. The Log also indicates that there was some kind of school amalgamation between Holloway School, Brecknock School, Robert Blair School and Hungerford with skeleton classes being run across the sites. We know very little else about the WW2 years other than the fact that the school adopted a ship which was badly damaged during an attack and sailed backwards half way across the world to return to the UK for repairs. We believe this was made into a Black and White Film.
We have discovered that the tanker was called the San Vulfrano. It was built at Harland and Wolff’s yard in 1942 Tonnage 8167. A Tanker part of the Eagle Tanker Company (IMO no. 1168357). It was scrapped in 1960. There appears to be no record of it sailing backwards badly damaged but it did take part in a number of wartime convoys. The film may have lead to the myth and we apologies if we have dispelled this myth. However, significant numbers of ex-pupils believe the tale to be true so we must leave it as so. There were many pieces of memorabilia which were housed in a glass display cabinet and on the walls in the then library on the first floor. There was a model of the ship
itself; a set of Sharks teeth, set into a wooden base, the ‘saw’ from a sawfish, (approx. 1 meter long) and a wooden plaque bearing the ship’s name in brass lettering. All of these items appear to have disappeared in the late 1960’s. We also believe that in one of the halls, a large compass was painted on the ceiling indicating the direction of North.

Click below for some more details about the evacuation of local children to Thriplow School in Hertfordshire.
EVACUEES article from Journal
Notes on evacuees to Thriplow from School Log Book
Copy of Evacuees from school register

In the 1950’s/Early 60’s the ‘Building on Stilts’ became the home of the Welsh Class: an initiative of the then London County Council to attempt to save the Welsh Language. The initiative was spearheaded by the then Head of the Infants, Elizabeth James, herself a Welsh speaker. The link between Islington and North Wales was due to the Cattle Market opposite the school. Sheep from Wales were brought to Kings Cross and then walked up York Way to the meat market where they were slaughtered and sold. A significant number of Welsh families settled in the area and the class registers that exist indicate that there were in excess of 40 children in the Welsh Class (contemporary recollection from staff indicates that there were around 25 on roll at any given time and that the children came from a wider catchment area to that of the school). Most of the children shared similar surnames: Jones, Davis and Hughes being the most common. The teacher in charge was Mrs Haelwyn Lewis who was followed by Miss Annie Davies.  The Welsh class was officially part of the Infants School. The Welsh Schoolmoved to Waterloo in the late 1960’s and is still in existence.

At Christmas 1964 the Girl’s School was amalgamated with the Boy’s school to form Hungerford Junior MixedSchool (No.2319) The amalgamated school came into existence on 1st January 1965 and must have been one of the last schools to become ‘Mixed’.

At some point in the 1960’s (1966?) a girls’ toilet block was erected adjacent to the second Infants’ entrance.

In 1967 the Queen visited the school and was given a tour of the Infants by the then head teacher Betty Robbins. The Queen wore a turquoise outfit with a beret style close fitting hat. The children at the time asked the Queen why she was not wearing her crown!  The Queen left a signed photograph of herself wearing her state robes which now hangs in the entrance lobby of the main building.

In 1972 the outbuildings and rooms in the ground floor hall were used by the Educational Guidance Centre and the Home Tuition Centre. A doorway was made joining the rooms and the internal windows were glazed with frosted wired glass. This was bricked up in 2000 but can still be seen.

Play Centre occupied part of the space on the ground floor and had access to the ‘building on stilts’ then known as the Handicraft Centre. Play Centre was a resource which Hungerford was famous for during the 1960’s – 1990’s at one time it was providing holiday and evening provision for nearly 300 children per day at no cost to parents. It has fond memories for large numbers of ex-pupils.

Hungerford has a long tradition of providing services to the wider community. Since the early 2000s a Breakfast club has been providing early morning activities and a proper breakfast to pupils but this is no a modern initiative in the early 1970’the then Infant School was providing cereal and a glass of milk to pupils who were arriving early to school without having any breakfast by the Headteacher and a helper Mrs Stickley.

It is hard to believe now but when the school was built it was surrounded by houses on all sides. Along Goodinge Road were small cottage terrace houses, one of which was the School Keepers house with a side entrance onto the playground. (This is now the site of the Fred White Wild Garden) There were houses/shops all along York Waywith their backs to the school and another Public House and on North Road Factories. The only known factory was an Organ Works. Unfortunately during the Second World War the works and the houses on York Way were bombed and had to be demolished. There was a bombsite for several years and then the site was used to provide prefab houses until the late 1960’s when the families were moved from the Prefabs to the then new Market Estate. This allowed the new Infants’ school, kitchens and School Keepers bungalow to be built on the site and it was opened in the early 1971/2 to great acclaim by the local authority, the ILEA (Inner London Education Authority)

The Infants’ school prior to 1971 was housed in the Main Building and incorporated the outbuildings. There were 8 classes each with over 30 children and 2 nursery classes. The roll was 340 but in later years this started to fall as local residents were re-housed and the Welsh Class closed. In 1969 the staff were promised a new building that was to be forward thinking, light, airy and with windows low enough for the children to see the generous grassed, landscaped play area.

The new Infant’s Building was designed by ILEA architect Mr Barry Wilson (who also designed PimlicoSecondary School – made of glass – about the same time). The building was erected between 1970 and 1971, children moved in during July 1971 and the building was officially opened in June 1972 by ILEA officials and Mr George Cansdale (Zoologist and Broadcaster known to most young people at the time as “The Zoo Man”) who brought a tame python with him – which was greeted with mixed feelings by the children!

The new Infants’ building had been mired in confusion from the original conception; unfortunately no input to the design was invited from the educationalists that would use the new space with the result that the new building was extremely challenging initially with insufficient space and poor lines of sight. Each Bay was designed to house 80 children and 2 teachers but this proved impossible and was amended rapidly to 75 children and 3 teachers. Major improvements were made from 1972 onwards that took account of staff expertise. The entrance was enlarged to include the school library, a second nursery class was built, the toilets were enlarged and a partition wall removed from each bay to allow clear lines of sight. The quiet areas, 2 in each bay, were given just one entrance to allow the space to be contained and usable for teaching. In the playground “play tunnels” that had been installed were removed which reduced the number of accidents dramatically.

The modern Infants’ building heralded a change in teaching style. ‘Team teaching’, with two classes using the same space and no doors, required new thinking and collaboration between staff which was revolutionary at the time. The building was beautiful with large glass panels looking out onto park like surroundings. The school itself was surrounded by grass and trees. The Infants’ provision was regarded as a “Flagship” provision within the ILEA and for several years was visited by educationalists from all over the world who came to view the “Open Plan” teaching methods and the landscaped play space. The provision also attracted experienced and forward thinking staff eager to develop and to challenge traditional practice. However, the single glazed glass, thin walls and easy to open louvered windows made it difficult to work in during very hot or cold periods and vulnerable to unauthorised access out of school hours. On two occasions in the 1980’s the Infants’ school was forced to moved back into the Victorian building for considerable periods of time due to problems. In 1984 cracks in the roof required the building to be vacated for a year and in 1987 the ILEA scientific Advisor for the ILEA said that the roof might collapse during harsh weather, unfortunately the original building had been mainly built with Asbestos and due to damage it was considered unsafe for use. It looked as if there building would be abandoned however, a successful campaign led by the staff was mounted and the building was rebuilt and the school moved back into the “new” building in 1991.

The ‘building on stilts.’ during the second decamp of the Infants’ was considered to be unsafe as rust in the supporting girders was causing the bricks to push the walls out. The building was taken out of service for 15 years until it was completely rebuilt in 1999 at which time The Film and Video Workshop took up permanent residence.

In the mid 1980’s the Goodinge Road entrance was removed and the waste ground to the rear of the building was developed to build the community centre. At around the same time the ball space was provided (known as “The Cage”) a pond and wild area were developed and a small grassed area was also designed.

At the point in time that the ILEA was being disbanded and responsibility for running London’s education was being transferred to the Local London Boroughs. The towers on the roof were deemed to be unsafe, particularly the West Tower that had not been damaged during the 1939- 45 war but it is thought was struck by lightning which had also caused some damage to part of the roof – requiring urgent attention. There was a proposal to remove the towers as the cost to repair them was considerable. The building’s condition had also deteriorated due to the lack of resources held by the ILEA. English Heritage stepped in deeming the towers to be part of theLondon skyline visible from Hampstead Heath and the building was ‘Listed’ Grade II both internally and externally. The towers were saved and Islington and the ILEA were required to restore them to their former glory; a process which took a year to complete.

some childrenIn 1995 the Infant and Junior Schools were amalgamated and a new school – Hungerford Primary School – was created (School No. 2851). A process of moving the whole school back into the Victorian building was started. Due to the ‘Listed’ nature of the building the process was time consuming and detailed. A new Nursery and Reception class space was built, rooms were combined and panels moved but everything was kept and reused in the new build. New external doors were also fitted together with disabled access including a lift. The space which had originally housed the youngest children was converted into the main entrance, school office and Head teacher’s office.

The second two storey outbuilding which originally housed space for ‘Homecrafts’ has had a number of uses; an Educational Guidance Centre, an artists space for playground and school development; a home for Playcentre; a store for the school keeper; classroom space; a tuck shop and the original space for the Film and Video Workshop (the schools artist in residence). In 2005 the building was deemed to be the new Community Building of the Children’s Centre and was completely restored and extended to provide ‘Stay and Play’ space for young parents and their children under 5. The upstairs room was converted into a training room.

In 2005 The Infants Building was demolished along with the outside toilet blocks and the Primary Department of The Bridge School was built which opened January 2007.

In about 1975 the Goodinge Children’s Centre in Corporation Street was opened. This was a joint project between Islington Social Services and the ILEA. Betty Robins the Head of the Infants’ was appointed as Head of the off-site nursery class. The Centre took children sometimes from 6 weeks old, whose families had special needs. They could stay 8am – 6pm weekdays until they were aged 3. At 3 years they attended the nursery class for half a day, then returning to the social workers’ playgroups. At 3 ¾ to 4 years, they could attend the nursery class full time. The intake wa 50% allocated from the Goodinge Centre and 50% from the local community. At 4 ¾ the children were invited to enter Hungerford Infant School’s Reception Class. There was one class teacher with two nursery assistants in the off-site nursery who were obliged to attend staff meetings on the main site and meet as required for the Goodinge Centre.

In the late 1980’s the provision in Corporation Street was reorganised and Social Services took over responsibility for the site. Heads of Centres were appointed to organise the provision as a stand alone service. In 2006/7 the Goodinge Early Years Centre, as it was then known, was enlarged and a new wing built on the site of the car park housing a new parents room, staff room and Baby Room. In early 2008 the entrance lobby was also modified and the internal space rationalised to allow for a single room Toddlers space.

In April 2008 Goodinge Early Years Centre was amalgamated with Hungerford Primary School and part of the SureStart Hillmarton Children’s Centre to form Hungerford School and Children’s Centre.



Head Teachers:

This list is not complete and we would welcome any information that will allow us to have a complete history.

Boys School                                        Girls School
(Motto: “Live Pure, Speak Truth, Right Wrong”)

1943 Mr E.J Cole
1955 Mr W Pratten                              1943 Miss E Still
1964 Mr S.E.P. Hayes                         1947? – 1952? Miss MW Hulbert
? Elsie L Whiteling

Junior School                                                            Infants School

1964? – 1967? Mr Burton                                    1940 – Miss Anderson(visited evacuees in Thriplow School)
1954? – 1964 Mrs Elizabeth James
? – 1972 Mr J.H.Curtis                                        1964 – 1977 Miss Betty Robbins
1972 – 1973 Miss Rosemary Phelps (Acting)
1974 – 1993 Mr S.C. Ray                                    1978 – 1995 Miss Jenny Brice
Mrs B. Ryan (Acting) Short period in 1970’s
Mr B. Bench (Acting) Short period in 1980’s

Primary School

1993 -2003 Mr David Swales
2003-2005 Mr Brian Bench (Acting)
2005 – 2007 Mr Paul Larkey
2007 Mr Brian Bench (Children’s Centre added to the provision)

Deputy Heads (The Deputy Head is a relatively new role the information is not complete)

1943 – ? Mr C.S Cordwell (Assistant Head) (Boys) In 1940 he was one of the teachers of the Hungerford CLass at Thriplow School where children from Hungerford were evacuated.
1959 – 1964 Mrs Sheila Chapman (Infants)
1964 – 1968 Mrs Ann Lutman (Infants)
1968 – 1970 Miss Jenny Brice (Infants)
? – 76 Miss Rosemary Phelps (Juniors)
1971 – 1972 Miss Sarah Simmonds (Infants)
1976 – 79 Mr W.E (Bill) Smith (Juniors)
1972 – 1977 Miss Jenny Brice (Infants)
1978 – 1980 Mrs Sandra Smidt (Infants)
1979 – 84 Mrs Penny DeVal (Juniors)
1980 – 82 Mrs Victoria Plotkin (Infants)
1982 – 85 Mr David Marsh (Infants)
1984 – 86 Mrs Pam Jones (Juniors)
1985 – 1986 Mrs Barbara Lary (Infants)
1987 Mrs Fiona Hope (Juniors)
1987 Ms Jude Patton (Infants)
1987 – 1989 Mrs Elizabeth Speck (Infants)
1989 – 1995 Mrs Mira Saha (Infants)
1987 – 2007 Mr Brian Bench (Juniors/Primary)
2007 – to date Mrs Jo Lambert (Primary/Children’s Centre)

Goodinge Managers:

1975 – 85  Jane ?
1985? – 1987?  Claudette ?
1987? – 1989? Carol Byam (Acting)
1989? – 1996? Nancy Young
2005 – 2006 Jane Fulton
2006  Gyles Shewell (Acting)
2006 – 2008 Ben Hassan
2012 – 2014 Ms Terry Haslam
2014- 2015  Dee Irish (Acting)
2015 – Elisha Crawford – Webley

School Keepers:

Mr Barry 1954 – 1970?
Roy Veal 1971 – 1998
Ernie Johnson 1989? – 92? (Assistant)
Frank Edmead 1999 – to date

We are always looking to add to this History and to fill in the missing names of the Head teachers etc. If you have any details or memorabilia, please contact the school directly we would be delighted to hear from you.

 Hungerford Primary School & Children’s Centre