K14: Coombe Girls Schools

k14

Coombe Girls’ School, originally Coombe County Secondary Girls’ School pre-1965, opened in 1955. It is listed under both Clarence Avenue and Darley Drive in Kingston’s planning database (the later is a bus blind destination for when the 213 is running a shortened route). The Planning Record shows that movable classrooms were added in 1966, the caretaker’s flat in 1972, garages in 1975, a portable double classroom in 1993, a three storey extenstion in 1998, a new sixth form centre 2001, extensions in 2003 and 2009, the refurbishment of a lab in 2004, Sports Hall and Music & Drama suites in 2004, and GP surgery 2004. This shows how the demands on the school have changed and increased over time to accommodate more and more students and to offer a wider curriculum.

A guide to Secondary Education at Kingston History Centre dated 1971 includes a page on Coombe Girls’ School, written by the then Headmistress Mrs A P Taylor.  It mentions route 213A in the second line! Accommodation at the time included 3 Housecraft Rooms, 2 Needlework Rooms, 3 Art Rooms, 5 Science Laboratories, a Language Laboratory, Main Library and 6th Form Reference Library, Gymnasium and Redgra Hockey Pitch. The general course in the first 3 years included Modern Mathematics, Nuffield Science, French, Geography, History, Religious Education, Housecraft, Needlework, Art, Music and Physical Education. English teaching included speech and drama. After that, English, Maths and French were compulsory but otherwise pupils could choose their courses. It was expected that all pupils complete 6 or 7 ‘O’ Levels. At the time, there were 1000 pupils, 100 in the 6th form which offered various  ‘A’ levels, a Commercial Course (shorthand, typing and an ‘A’ level in Economics) and supplementary ‘O’ Levels. Out of school activities included a guitar club, Christian Union and Trampolining. All girls were expected to do homework and to wear school uniform.

Plans to build a sports centre in 2000 had 300 strong resident opposition. An Ofsted report in 1999 said the school had “unsatisfactory” physical education, music and drama facilities. Community use for new facilities was part of the lottery funding, set to be open 9am until 10pm weekdays and 9am until 5pm weekends. Neighbours were against the increase in noise, parking and traffic problems which a new facility might bring and formed an action group in October 1999 to fight the proposals. At the time, 1200 pupils were using the original 1950s sports hall which has been built to accommodate 600, and spending valuable time travelling to facilities at Kingsmeadow and the Malden Centre for lessons. Residents felt that the nature of the area as primarily residential was under threat. The community use of new facilities (eventually built in 2004) doesn’t seem to have happened, although Kingston Adult Education did’ provide tennis courses at the Coombe Evening Centre’, based at the School on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings for a time.

The Girls’ School now forms part of an Academy Trust alongside Coombe Boys’, Coombe Sixth Form and Knollmead Primary.

 

 

Selective Secondary Education in Kingston

On the formation of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames in 1965, the Council ran its own schools, further and higher education. It was responsible for around 17,500 pupils, in 39 primary and 15 secondary schools. In 1966, 1700 11 year olds would transfer to secondary education and participate in “A procedure… used to select those pupils who appear to be capable of benefiting from a more intensive academic course”, i.e. the selection process to enter Grammar education which only 20% pupils would be offered.

The test was open to any resident or pupil currently attending school in the borough, and the guidance says that “nothing is lost by unsuitable candidates not taking the  tests” which is certainly an exercise in understanding double negatives. The tests were 3 papers in English, Mathematics and Verbal Reasoning, taken in January 1966, plus an essay submitted at some point during the preceding term; results were adjusted for the age of the pupil. After the results, parents were able to select a first and second choice of school, “organised on a neighbourhood basis” with each school serving its locality. At this time, Coombe Girls School had Grammar places available alongside standard secondary education, i.e. it was mixed stream school.

“Every effort is made to select at eleven years all those pupils who will be suitable for a full course leading to GCE ‘A’ Level but there will be some pupils whose capacity for advanced study does not become apparent until later”.

If you went to a comprehensive and achieved 4 passes at O-Level then you may still be considered for 6th form at a Grammar School, dependent on an entry interview/assessment process.

In 1967, national government promoted and began to enforce comprehensive education rather than the academic selection process of grammars.

I went to a mixed, none-selective state high school and personally don’t think that it is appropriate to judge a child’s ability at the age of 11 years old. I value my time at school as it allowed me to interact with many different types of people and to appreciate that not all knowledge is academic. To limit somebody’s options as a child is to limit the contribution they can make as an adult and I am an advocate for access to an education at any age when a person shows the inclination for it.

 

Sources:

 

Advertisements

Bus to Nowhere

wp_20161008_17_13_21_pro

This rather forlorn figure sits outside the Tate Modern on Southbank. It makes me feel really sad, because someone has decided to make a bin look like a bus. But then they’ve made the front of the bus face a lamppost. This bus is a Bus to Nowhere. Why do this?!  N.B. beginning to think I have an unhealthy emotional relationship with buses, this just doesn’t seem right!

 

K13: Oak Road

K13.jpgOak Road, Clarence Avenue and the surrounding area was developed by EG & LW Berg Limited, of Hinchley Surrey. The development, approved in 1932, was completed 1934(ish), although pipes had been laid out in 1926 with permission of the land owner, the Duke of Cambridge. The layout of roads was agreed with the Urban District Council (UDC) of Maldens and Coombe on 11th July 1933, with the first houses completed by August 1933. Properties were added to land registry in 1953.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So why might people move to Clarence Avenue? Throughout the first half of the 20th century, all three areas of Kingston, Surbiton and Malden were producing Official Guides as a means of advertising their local area. As Malden’s Official Guide of 1933 states, its aim was ‘to outline, briefly, some of the chief attractions and advantages which have gained for the high-class residential and sports area of the Maldens and Coombe a premier position among the rising towns and districts south-west of the Metropolis’. Certainly a mouthful of a sentence, but indicative of the marketing language of the day. At that time, the UDC were planning to accommodate 70,o00 inhabitants and aiming for a total rateable value of £256,959, how money has changed! They state that valuable estates were being developed ‘along considered lines’. In 1933, the UDC were granted an Act to acquire the ‘Coombe Lands’ (including Coombe Hill and Coombe Wood golf courses) and also purchased land at Malden Green, adding 205 acres of green open space to municipal ownership in one year alone, and providing valuable local amenities which continue to make the Maldens desirable to this day.

Sources:

  • H.M. Land Registry ‘Application for an Official Search’ for Plot 207, Clarence Avenue
  • Letter from Surveyor’s Department of The Maldens & Coombe Urban District Council, Re: New building at Plot 207, Clarence Avenue (31st July 1933)
  • Malden & Coombe Official Guide, 1933
  • Ordnance Survey County of Surrey Sheet Vii-13, 1:2500 revisions of 1911, 1933, 1940
  • Surrey Comet, 19th July 1933, p.5, 8, 10
  • Surrey Comet, 22nd July 1933, p.3, 7
  • Surrey Comet, 29th July 1933, p.16

Project Update: Autumn 2016

Dear Readers,

Just wanted to drop a line to say that the format of the blog is going to change a little bit – in an effort to get to the end of the route this side of the 2020s, I’ve decided to write shorter blogs and also not to always update immediately with the fancy graphics and images I like to create. These take a lot of time and also I think some of my blogs have been far too long, and am shocked if anyone is reaching to the end of them.

Hope this makes sense – PLEASE help me with the project – if you’d like to take on a bus stop, I can help you research its history at Kingston History Centre and we can make this a collaborative effort. I’m not even a third of the way to Sutton yet. I think this might be the longest bus journey I’ve ever taken!

All the best, and thanks for reading,

Amy

 

K12: The Triangle

K12.jpgThe area of Norbiton/New Malden now occupied by Kenley Road and Clarence Avenue was once land forming Dickerage Farm, the farm buildings being located towards the north end of present-day Dickerage Lane.

The Triangle was constructed in the mid-1930s to provide local shops and amenities for the new Coombe Berg estate of Clarence Avenue and surrounding roads. It is first listed in the Kelly’s street directory of 1938. Original shops on both sides included: Job dairymen at No.1, Bettawear Drapers at No.4, Triangle Wine Store at No.7, The Triangle Household Store hardware merchants at No.9 and Coombe Fisheries at No.12. There was also a newsagent, butcher and baker.

The planning record for No.12 shows that a shop and flat were completed on 19th March 1936. Later records show a covered way and a fish curing chamber/smoke house added when the property was taken on by the fisheries business. It later became a general grocery store.

Brewster Public House

Completed in December 1955 at No.15 The Triangle, permission for The Brewster was granted in 1951 to Courage Breweries. Renamed the Hungry Horse in the 1990s then The Brewster again, it became the Willow Tree in 2002 and a Korean restaurant in 2005. A small alleyway called Brewster Place links Arundel Road and Dickerage Road behind the pub building.

Today, in 2016, a Tesco occupies Nos. 11,12 & 14.

 

 

Sources:

  • Holmes, R (undated) Pubs Inns and Taverns of Surbiton and Malden with Tolworth Hook and Chessington Echo Library Fairfield, Glos
  • Kelly’s Street Directories for Kingston and District: 1938, 1939, 1948, 1960, 1971 [Available at Kingston History Centre]
  • Malden and Coombe Official Guide, 1960-1961
  • Ordnance Survey map of the Triangle, TQ2069SW for 1952
  • Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames Planning department Building Control site: https://www.kingston.gov.uk/info/200156/building_control/580/your_property_history