Clarendon Preparatory School, Mitcham Park

Private school that was at 17 Mitcham Park until 1973.

From the Official Guide to Mitcham in 1938:

Clarendon Preparatory School with Kindergarten is situated in the particularly healthy suburb at 17 Mitcham Park, Mitcham, within easy reach of railway stations and buses.

The house is large, bright and airy and has a nice garden. The School
provides a modern, thorough education for girls and boys from 4 to 16 years, with preparation for Higher Examinations. The health capabilities of every pupil are carefully studied. The School Staff are child lovers and keen pyschologists.

Curriculum of the School includes Religious Knowledge, English Language,
Literature and Composition, History, Geography, Arithmetic, Drawing, Physical Training and Tennis.

One of the features of the School has been the Dramatic, Art and Elocution Tuition open to girls and boys from 4 to 16 years at a very moderate fee. The pupils of the School derive great pleasure from these courses and public concerts are given during the year.

There is also a very successful Dancing Class, Ballroom and Musical Comedy being given.

ad from the 1938 Official Guide to Mitcham

The school closed at the end of 1973 due to the ill health of the headmistress, as told in this article from the 21st December 1973 issue of the Mitcham News & Mercury:

Goodbye Mrs Chips –
head retires and her
school closes too

It’s goodbye Mrs Chips and the end of an educational era with going home time for good at Clarendon, Mitcham’s only private school.

Mrs Nellie Barker, who has reigned for 37 years as headmistress, closed the school last week. She is retiring and selling the building in Mitcham Park.

“I honestly think it would be very difficult to sell it as a school. I am very sad about it but times have changed. I have been ill and my husband has wanted me to give it up for a long time. But I couldn’t, it had become part of my life, but now I really mist,: she said.

Mrs Barker took over Clarendon in 1936 after first helping out and then being asked to become its headmistress. But it was a private school for the education of the children of Mitcham’s business and professional families long before then.

And now, as the surrounding villas in Mitcham Park have become slightly less exclusive and slightly more converted into flats, Clarendon too has fallen to the onslaught of progress.

The school’s 70 children have now gone to other private schools or local state schools.

“Many of our parents are very upset about this. There are still many parents who value our way of teaching where the emphasis is on learning and which is not afraid of discipline when necessary, she said.

“I don’t think any of my children could have held my belief in discipline against me because when they have left and grown up they often come and see me. And many have sent their own children along.

“At times I have had school inspectors here who have told me that there should be allowed more time for play. But I believe in learning – the children were allowed time for play but if modern day educationalists had their way they would be playing all day!”

Mrs Barker is to go and live in Cheam and is to spend more time on her hobby – writing children’s plays.

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