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Pupils and teachers at Silver Street School, Edmonton, North London, 1920-1939

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For a set of pages on what it was like to be a pupil in the early 1900s, see Schools.
For how the pupils and staff lived, see the top menu.


Little Miss Payne taught at Silver Street School around 1920 and eventually became Headmistress. She wore grey bloomers, that showed when she was on the rostrum and when she sat on the high chair at the front of the class. In fact she kept her handkerchief in a pocket in them. Despite her small stature Miss Payne used to terrify her pupils when she read with great expression: "Up the airy mountain and down the rushing glen, we daren't go a hunting for fear of little men". Nurse Faye was the nit nurse!

Phyllis Durbidge (born Phyllis Money)

I was at Silver Street School in the late 1930s and recall Miss Payne as the headmistress and her sister as one of the teachers. Both were not much taller than those in the top class. Miss Payne did indeed wear bloomers and each morning in assembly these would be on show whilst she removed her hankie from her knicker leg. We were then given instructions by her on "how to blow one's nose"! To show how small she was: One day a girl ran downstairs and jumped on the back of a girl standing at the bottom. Alas, it wasn't a pupil, but Miss Payne. The culprit was my next door neighbour - Ethel Wadham (born Ethel Watson).

Doreen Buckland, (born Doreen Buck)

In the early 1930s or possibly the late 1920s, the Headmaster was Mr Stevens. Other masters I remember were Big Willy (Mr Williams), History teacher, Little Willy (Mr Williams) Carpentry and Mr Ambler, Geography. Mr Fullerton, the Music teacher who could have been the W A Fullerton inscribed on the memorial tablet. He joined the RAF in 1939 and became a fighter pilot.

Frank Clarke

The rest of this page shows class year photos of pupils and teachers at Silver Street School, Edmonton, north London during the 1920s and 1930s. All have either been provided either by my relatives or by ex-pupils who have visited and enjoyed the companion pages on Silver Street School, the old Edmonton locality and, more generally, early 1900s school life.

Clicking on all but the first of these photos links to a larger one, from which you may be able to recognise individuals.

Class photo of the boys at Silver Street School, Edmonton, north London, 5th December 1923.

A class at Silver Street School on 5th December 1923. Photo courtesy of Eric Preedy who has no further information, as he bought the photo in a sale.

A class at Silver Street School, Edmonton, in 1925, thumbnail

A class at Silver Street School in 1925, courtesy of Chris Whitaker. His father, Herbert Whittaker, born 1912, is in it somewhere. Looking at it carefully, I believe that my uncle, Cyril Clarke, born 1912, is also in it, second row from the back, third from the right.

It is interesting to note how smart many of the boys look, wearing jackets and ties, although the ties were all different, so not school uniform. Clearly the boys dressed up for their photo.

The enlarged photo (seen by clicking this one) shows that the name of the class was written on an old-fashioned slate:


The meaning of STD as applied to Victorian and Edwardian school classes

The STD is an abbreviation of the word standard. At that time, in the junior classes at age 7, children were expected to reach a certain standard in each subject. One of my uncle's school reports gives his class name as 'Retained to Standard 3C.' Through lack of interest and effort whilst in the bottom ability group (C), he was retained to repeat the work there for another year. He was not allowed to leave school until he was 15, rather than 14, as he'd hoped because he fell behind. He was the 'black sheep' of the family and aimed to avoid being selected to go to the grammar school as his brothers had done and deliberately failed to reach the standard required to move up to Standard 4. It eventually dawned on him that this was a silly move as he just had to stay in his loathed school for an extra year. He ended up rising through the ranks of a local department store, though, and eventually earned more than those who had tried hard in school. Just goes to show, not everything is about exams and school leaving certificates!

Jenni Lowcock

If there is anyone still alive who can put names to faces from the enlarged photo or add more names to anyone in the following photos, I would be pleased to hear from them. New photos would be welcome.

Pat Cryer, webmaster

The following two photos were taken in a corner of the 2nd floor main hall of Silver Street School in 1936.

Note the parquet flooring, gas lamps and the radiator for heating. All floors were similar with classrooms running along one side.

A class in Silver Street School, Edmonton in the mid 1930s

Left to right:
Back Row: George Pocock, - Jack Nesbitt, Francis Hawes, - - Wilmott,- - - Atack (teacher)
Third Row: - Gardiner, Reg Wheatley, - - - - - Les Ratty, Leslie Dobson, Such
Second Row: - Dick Morley - - Alec Mattingly, Alfred Dearing,- Freddie Gibbons, Hugh McIntyre, - -
Front Row:- Dennis Duffield, - Field, Barnes, - Reg Calvert, Brian Rabin, Bill Harper, Peter Downie

Photo courtesy of Reginald Calvert

A class in Silver Street School, Edmonton in the mid 1930s

Photo courtesy of Desmond Dyer who is seated far right second row. Geoffrey Poole is at the far left at the back and Kenny Bridges also at the back second to the right of the master.

Photographer R. W. Crane, Bounds Green Studios, New Southgate N11.

Class at Silver Street school, Edmonton, c1936

Andrew Dickson, who supplied the photo, originally dated it as 1938 on the basis of the children looking about seven years old and his sister Jean Dixon (immediately in front of the teacher, wearing a dark blazer) having been born in 1931. However Desmond Dyer has pointed out that the above two photos and this one were probably taken at the same time by the same photographer. In fact the children do look nearer five than seven. So the revised date is 1936.

tiered / raked classroom at Silver Street School Edmonton, typical of classrooms 
in Victorian and Edwardian schools. Photo taken in 1937.

A 1937 photograph of a class at Silver Street School, courtesy of Peter Fletcher. His elder brother, Sidney, is in the middle of the front row.

The raked or tiered style classroom was probably modernised into a flat room later that year because Anne Cole, whose class photo of the following year is directly below, never knew tiered classrooms. My mother's recollections about schools in the early 1900s particularly mention the tiered classrooms.

Class at Silver Street School, Edmonton, July 1938, small image

Silver Street School, Edmonton, July 1938. Supplied by Anne Cole, now Anne Davey.

With the enlarged picture is a key to the names of the children, annotated by Anne's father.

Boys from Silver Street School, Edmonton, 1939 or1940

Can you name anyone?

Some boys from Silver Street School, about 1939, supplied by John Warner. John is the second from the left in the front row. He remembers that Wally Farrow is far left of the middle row, but cannot remember any more names. He would be pleased if you could put names to any other faces.

Evacuation day WW2 from Silver Street School, Edmonton

Evacuation day from Silver Street School, August 1939.
The railings of Pymmes Park can be seen on the right hand side of the picture. According to Richard Cole, they were later sawn off to provide iron for the War effort. He can only remember the stumps. The tall buildings in the background are North Middlesex hospital.

My aunt, Ena Cole, who was a former school teacher, responded to the call for women to help with the evacuation. She is third from the left (not counting the policeman). The whole school was evacuated on the same day and Ena's group (and possibly all the groups) went to Clacton. According to a previous Clacton at war website 421 infants and juniors from Silver Street School, Edmonton started lessons at the Great Clacton Primary School off London Road on the 18th September 1939. Older children went to either the Clacton County High School, or Pathfields School (Colbaynes). When no attacks occurred initially on London, some evacuees returned home.

Note that the meaning of 'infants' and 'juniors' changed since the school was built to Victorian specifications - see the labelling over the school entrance doors.

evacuation day, Silver Street School, Edmonton

This group are just about to cross Windmill Road into Silver Street.

Both photos provided by Cliff Raven. The identification of Mr Parry comes from Andrew Dickson.

The man on the left with glasses and his mac over his arm is teacher J H I Berriman. Mr Berriman had a long career at the school from 1934 to 1973. The teacher on the right hand side is probably Mr Parry.

Photographs from later years →.

For how the pupils and staff lived, see the top menu.

For photographs of the locality, see the side menu.

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This website Join me in the 1900s is a contribution to the social history of everyday life in 20th century Britain from the early 1900s to about 1960, seen through personal recollections and illustrations, with the emphasis on what it was like to live in those times.