Tag Archives: Lower Mitcham School

1966 : Star School – name is the same as a pub

The name’s the same as a pub

THE Star Junior and Infants’ Schools, Church Road, Mitcham, may be renamed — because the name also refers to a public house opposite.

Merton Council’s Primary Education Sub-Committee have recommended that the new name be the Benedict Junior and Infants’ School.

At a meeting on Monday Coun. R. A. Spalding moved that the recommendation be referred back.

He said : “I can see a case for changing the name but I’m not in favour of calling it Benedict. I would like to see it changed to the original name of the Lower Mitcham School. Benedict has a connection with monks.”

Coun. H. J. Clack, chairman, said : “The Star refers to a public house. We preferred the connection to be with monks rather than a public house.” The motion was defeated.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 14th January, 1966, page 1.

The school is currently known as Benedict Primary School. The Star pub was demolished in 2003.

1926 : Lower Mitcham Schoolboys’ Novel Jazz Band at Christmas


Schoolboys’ Novel Jazz Band.

“The Bath Road Symphony,” a musical medley descriptive of life in one of the poorest quarters of Mitcham, London, was publicly performed for the first time by Lower Mitcham schoolboys, whose instruments were made up of things found in the dustmen’s carts.

The boys were dressed as dustmen, and the instruments were old saucepans, knives and forks, combs, biscuit tins, pieces of bamboo, curtain rods cut into the form whistles, glass jam jars, and a bass drum made out of galvanised iron bath.

For Christmas Gifts.

The youthful conductor beat time with soup ladle, and, it is said, really excellent music was produced from the extraordinary assortment of instruments. The medley was arranged by Mr H. C. Toller, one of the masters.

Mr F. C. Stone, the headmaster, arranged the concert to provide Christmas cheer for the 350 boys school, of whom, he said, had never received a Christmas present in their lives.

In addition to the symphony orchestra, there was a boys’ mouth organ band, which played popular songs like experts, and bone duets by other boys.

Source: Dundee Evening Telegraph – Thursday 16 December 1926 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

Mr Noakes

Mr. Noakes was a teacher at the Lower Mitcham School, possibly 1920s to 1930s.

Arthur, pupil in the school from 1927 to 1933, said:

I was dared by others in Mr Noakes’s class one day to throw a wad of blotting paper, full of ink, at him. I used a ruler to flick it to him while he was writing on the blackboard and so facing away from the class. As I let go, someone yelled out, and Mr Noakes turned round. The blotting paper hit him right in the mooi (face). He therefore saw who had aimed this at him!

He ordered me to go and see the other four teachers and get three strokes of the cane from each of them. Actually the fourth teacher asked how many strokes I had had before him. I said nine, and so he let me off, saying that nine was enough.
Even so, it made me think twice before I did that again.

His nickname was ‘Blue Dot’, as he had a blue dot on the side of his face, from a war injury.

Mr Shaddock

Mr. Shaddock was a teacher at the Lower Mitcham School, possibly 1920s to 1930s.

Arthur, a pupil in the school from 1927 to 1933, said:

Mr Shaddock was a teacher who smacked our faces if we did anything wrong. If you were good and he thought you were okay, he would take you to the speedway at Wimbledon which cost 6d. each to go in. He would take about six of you at a time.

Some Wednesdays we had sparring boxing with him, until one day when Freddy Stevens hit Mr Shaddock hard on the nose, and made it bleed. He packed it up after that!

1910 Antipodean Visitors to Lower Mitcham School


Two interesting visitors on Tuesday were Councillor and Mrs. Walker, of Mitcham, in the State of Victoria, Australia, who came to have a look at the day schools and receive a Union Jack and a case of essences, with which they were officially presented on Empire Day. That ceremony was reported in the “Advertiser.” but it may be well to recall the principal facts. On that day the school children gathered at Park-place to welcome Mr. and Mrs. Walker, who came the authorised representatives the State school of Mitcham, Victoria, to present an Australian flag, a sprig of eucalyptus, and photographs to the managers. It was an interesting event, and the visitors were favourably impressed with what they saw. But they had no opportunity then of inspecting the schools with the children at work, and they were invited to return later on.

So it came about that on Tuesday morning they were met at Mitcham Junction Station by Mr. and Mrs. R. M. Chart, with whom they drove to the Lower Mitcham School, after short stay the way at the Roman Catholic School facing the Green. They arrived at lower Mitcham as the scholars were at play, and were able to see them under the most natural conditions. While Mr. Walker expressed himself as delighted with the discipline he could hardly fail to notice the miserable way many of the boys were shod. Several, in fact, were not shod at all, and were running about with bare feet and the most ragged of clothes.

At the end of play time the boys filed into the large hall of their department, where the headmaster, Mr. Clarke, introduced to them Mr. Walker and his wife, mentioning the circumstances under which they paid their previous visit.

Mr. Walker, in the course of a few words to the audience, said he was delighted to be present and to renew his acquaintance with the teachers and scholars. He was glad to find the school in such splendid condition, and the scholars with such a happy and healthy appearance. Particularly was he pleased to see them at play, and to notice the attention they paid to the headmaster’s whistle. As they grew up he hoped they would always be regardful in the same manner of the authority that they might serve. It was a credit to the headmaster to find them so well trained, as it was to the boys themselves. As he looked round he was inclined to think that they had not all equal opportunities, but during his journeys in England he had come to understand that everybody had an equal chance, and it depended upon them as to what they would do with the opportunities that were given to them. He knew what boys’ difficulties were and what they had to do; but now was the greatest opportunity of their lives, and they should make the most it. Then he told them that they belonged to a great Empire, and would have their place in it when they grew up; and, in conclusion, he wished them all happy future and hoped that the district would have reason to be proud to know that some of them had risen to fill high positions in the commercial and political world.

The boys responded to these sentiments with three ringing cheers.

Mr. Clarke declined to take himself all the credit for the discipline the school, which he said was largely due to his assistants. They thanked Mr. Walker very much for coming, and hoped that the boys would bear in mind something of what he had said.

Shortly afterwards the party left for the Singlegate Schools, where the Union Jack in an oak box and the case of distilled essences of lavender, peppermint, and other products of Mitcham, given by Mr. R. A. Bush’s firm, were presented to Mr. Walker. He and Mrs. Walker had lunch with Mr. R. M. Chart, and later in the day returned to London. They expect to leave for Australia next week by way of New York and Vancouver, arriving home at the beginning of December.

Source: Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 17 September 1910 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

Twin Towns


Compliments Between Surrey and Australian Communities.

The most interesting incident in the Empire Day celebrations at Mitcham was the breaking of a large Australian flag presented to the Surrey town by Mitcham, Australia.

The ceremony took place at Lower Mitcham School in the presence of a crowd that included visitors from the Commonwealth township. Telegrams were exchanged between the two places. Mitcham, Australia, was settled near Melbourne by a Surrey Mitchamite, named Slater, 40 years ago, and is now a thriving fruit-growing centre.

In 1908 Mitcham, Surrey, presented its namesake with a Union Jack, a cricket bat, and a bunch of lavender.

Source: Dundee Evening Telegraph – Tuesday 25 May 1920 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

Seaside Holiday for Explosion Children

26th April, 1933


Week’s Holiday at the Seaside Guests of Teachers

Sixty Mitcham children whose homes were destroyed in the recent explosion have had a joyous week at the seaside at Dovercourt, near Harwich. They were the guests of the National Union of Teachers and the Surrey County Teachers’ Association.

At Dovercourt they have revelled in the sand and the country; they have had trips to farmyards; and; wonder of wonders, a boat trip to Felixstowe.

Half-a-dozen teachers from the Lower Mitcham Schools and Nurse Elsmore took these homeless children to the first real holiday they have ever had in their lives.

“It has been marvellous,” said Miss White, one of the teachers, when she returned to London. “I did not think it was possible for children to enjoy themselves so much. Look at their little brown faces, and talk about eat! Some of them have gained nearly three pounds in weight.

Then (writes a correspondent) came the joyous cries of the children as they arrived. Thus said little Charley Fulton, who is about seven — “What a time we’ve had, but ain’t the sea cold! I went paddling, and it was grand. I don’t never want to come home now.”

Then Florrie Addaway, who is nine, said she had never seen the sea before. “Ain’t it just grand!” she said. “We ain’t ‘arf had a good time. I want to see my mummie again, but I would like to live by the sea and go round the farms. We went on a ship and it was wonderful.”

The 60 children were lined up on the station platform, checked and counterchecked by the teachers, and all found correct. Two by two they marched off mites of 3 1/2 and children of nine to the motor coach to take them to the Holborn Schools, where, till other homes can be found for them and their parents, they are being sheltered.

Source: Dundee Evening Telegraph – Wednesday 26 April 1933 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

For more details about the Explosion, see the Official Report.