Copthall School, Mill Hill: the
history of the name and site
In some ways Copthall must have been typical of many girls grammar schools,
but it was particularly known in the north London area for its excellence.
The history of the wider site
THE OLD HOUSE OF COPT HALL IN THE EARLY 1800s
Page Street is the name bestowed on a small hamlet
which lies in a valley between Mill-Hill and the church of Hendon. The most
conspicuous object here is Copt Hall, the residence of Thomas Nicoll, Esq.
the representative of an ancient family which has possessed considerable
landed property in this parish from a very early period.
This house was built by Randall Nicoll, an ancestor
of its present possessor, in 1637. The front, which remains unaltered, and
which looks upon an extensive lawn, skirted by ornamental plantations, and
shaded with venerable trees, is a fine specimen of the domestic architecture
of that age.
An historical, commercial, and descriptive
survey of the metropolis of Great-Britain, Volume 4, Edward Wedlake
Brayley, James Norris Brewer, Joseph Nightingale, printed by W. Wilson,
for Vernor, Hood, and Sharpe, 1816.
Copt Hall, the residence of Thomas Nicholl, Esq.
stands conspicuous. It is an old mansion, and the front looks upon an extensive
lawn, skirted by plantations and shaded by venerable trees.
The new British traveller, James Dugdale,
Copt Hall house in Page Street, which was added
to the Nicholls' lands in 1603 and had been rebuilt between 1624 and 1637,
[was] greatly altered in the mid 19th century and later converted into flats.
[It]was demolished in 1959.
Hampstead & District Ramblers
Whether or not Copthall School was built in the grounds of the old 17th Century
manor house of Copt Hall, I do not know. The house was certainly close, and
must have given the school its name.
The old house was
at the top of the hill on the left of the aerial photograph on the
buildings page. It was
still there in my time in the 1950s, as I vaguely remember a dark and somewhat
eerie edifice behind large dark trees. However, it was not on my route home,
so I never investigated, which is something I now very much regret.
The house was demolished in 1959, shortly after I left Copthall, and
flats were built on its site.
The old House of Copt Hall, 1868, demolished 1959. Image reproduced courtesy of Ms Jane Beaumont, Head teacher of Copthall School.
Click the thumbnail to enlarge.
The school crest/badge for Copthall County Grammar School, taken from the1957
year book - courtesy of Christine Tolton, formerly Christine Culley.
Enamelled prefect's badge showing the school crest in colour - courtesy
of Christine Tolton, formerly Christine Culley.
The school badge was based on the crest of the Nicoll family.
My great grandparents lived in Ivy Cottage on the corner of Page Street and Bunns Lane and they worked at Copthall. Great grandfather was a coachman and later head gardener at the
Copt Hall house. At least one of their six children also worked at the House for a while.
Ivy Cottage was knocked down and replaced by an office block of John Laing's
[there in my time in the 1950s - Pat Cryer] which in turn was demolished for
a housing estate.
When I roamed the are in the 1950s, the old house was said to be haunted, but I guess it was really homeless men who frequently inhabited such buildings and frightened children off.
If you can shed more light on the old house of Copt Hall, in Mill Hill, north London, I would be pleased to hear from you.