My mother Mary Horwood (born in 1911) attended Portobello Road School, which along with the other Board Schools in London provided education up to age fourteen. However at aged 11 she passed an exam that allowed her to move on to the Central School on St Mark’s Road (just north of the roundabout by St Helen’s Church). There, along with the usual academic subjects she was taught office skills, typing, shorthand and bookkeeping. The boys were taught technical drawing. The head teacher also made sure that they all learned to speak properly, without their London cockney accents. According to my mother, every day they all had to recite “Round the ragged rocks the ragged rascal ran the rural race” and “How now brown cow”. They were taught ballroom dancing and mixed dances were held monthly at the school. They were all being trained to work in the new offices that were opening up between the wars. Employers recruited the students directly from the school. My mother left aged sixteen to work as a bookkeeper in the City. She spent her first pay packet on cutting off her long old fashioned ringlets.
In the postwar years in the 1940s, North Kensington Central moved into the old Portobello Road School building (now the Isaac Newton Centre, entrance on Lancaster Road).
With thanks to A.Jones and E.Godin for the photos.
Sue Snyder 2013
The school building on St Mark’s Road continued to be used for education and in 1960 was known as St Quintin Park Secondary School.
Following are Barbara Tyrrell’s memories of the school in 1960 and its change to Ladbroke Upper.
The school was known as St Quintin Park Secondary School and was situated in St Marks Road opposite St Quintin Memorial Park and next door to St Charles hospital. It was an all girl’s school and I attended there in 1960. The uniform was lovely. It consisted of a pink and white striped blouse, a pink bow tie, pink beret along with a navy blue skirt or gymslip, navy blue blazer and a navy blue coat. The uniform must have been expensive, how my mother could afford it I will never know, as I was the eldest then of six children!
Unfortunately, the following year 1961 the school changed from St Quintin Park School to Ladbroke School. There were two school buildings one in Lancaster Road which became Ladbroke Lower School and the original school opposite St Quintin Park became Ladbroke Upper School. The uniform for this school was bottle green, ugh. Green beret, green blazer, green skirt white blouse and green and white striped tie.
I must say when I attended this school the education we received was good. Apart from the ordinary subjects of English, Maths, RE Art etc., we were taught Sewing, Cooking, Laundry, and Child Care. I didn’t have to do Child Care as I already knew how to feed and bath a baby, so they gave me Laundry classes instead.
Today this may seem quite sexist as we were being shown how to become future home makers for our future husbands. But for me personally, it did help me as I love to bake and sew. If you wanted to learn how to type, it was only for those who were staying at school until they were 16. I had to leave school at 15 and go out to work to help bring in some money to help my mum.