North Kensington Central School, St Mark’s Road, W10

The prefects of North Kensington Central School with the Head Teacher in 1927. My mother, Mary Horwood is in the back row with the long ringlets.

The prefects of North Kensington Central School with the Head Teacher in 1927. My mother, Mary Horwood is in the back row with the long ringlets.

A school play at North Kensington Central School in 1927.

A school play at North Kensington Central School in 1927.

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).

NK central report

Mary Horwood’s school report, 1926

Head Teacher Mr Dumville with a class, late 1920s

Head Teacher Mr Dumville with a class, late 1920s

north ken central

A class in the late 1920s

N.Ken Central form3B 1930 Miss

Form 3B with their teacher, Miss Fincham in 1930. Mary Osborn is the first girl on the left, in the row behind the boys.


An outing to perhaps the White City?

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. 

Girls in pink berets

Girls in pink berets




Image | This entry was posted in Schools, St Quintin Park, Streets and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to North Kensington Central School, St Mark’s Road, W10

  1. Mrs Diana Taylor, formerly Miss Diana Naughton says:

    I attended North Kensington Central School in Portobello Road from 1950 to 1955. The school curriculum still at that time offered office skills and technical drawing. I left and went to work in a city stockbrokers. The education I had received was of the highest quality. I failed my eleven plus and never made it to the local grammar schools. On reflection, I think I faired better than most children my age from poor backgrounds in the post war era.

  2. valerie Shaw Flynn says:

    I too attended N.K. Central from 1950 to 1956. Subsequently, I went to work for Longmans Green Publishers who were then in The Bond Street area. I did eventually become a Primary School teacher but found my Mathematic skills sorely lacking and needed pre-college basics. I wish the curriculum at N.Kensington had concentrated on bringing all students up to complete numeracy.
    Valerie Shaw [Flynn].

  3. Maureen Barnett says:

    Maureen Barnett (Moloney)
    I attended N. Ken Central for the last year it was open in 1957 I enjoyed the school very much until it was changed and we had to move schools I then went to Holland Park.

  4. Gwendoline Francis says:

    I did enjoy reading all posts regarding North Ken Central. I attended in the late forties after failing my eleven plus exams. My best friend passed her exam & went on to Burlington School, we were never close after that & I felt a bit inferior because I envied her obvious higher education.
    N. Ken was a good school with emphasis on shorthand typing classes for girls, I was doing quite well with those subjects, but my family moved to a council estate in Harrow in 1947, so I had to cut short those studies. I could have stayed on and commuted as some others in my class, instead I went to a school in Harrow Weald which were far behind N. Ken. I lost interest & was glad to leave school at the tender age of fifteen.

  5. mrs Barbara Young says:

    I went to North Kensington Central from 1954-1958 then went on to Holland Park for first year it opened. I vividly remember the headmaster a short chap Mr Davies who was welsh. and Miss Edwards was the deputy head mainly for the girl students. .Does anyone remember using the domestic science block in the playground ? The girls in my year that I remember were Jean Chappell ,Linda Murray .Pat Bagel. Doreen Woolfe .Eileen Moore. Janet King. Rosalin Cohen . Does anyone else know of the girls in the same year. Fond memories at North Ken.
    Barbara Young nee Pithers living in Exeter. Devon

  6. Maureen Phillips nee Kirkum says:

    l remember Linda Murray, Mr Davis and Miss Edwards,l was there when Solomon Wolfsson School closed down and the pupils moved to our school..remember Dorothea Franklyn, Gloria Mannering and Edwin Bennett my name the was Maureen Kirkum…so many memories flooding back. Where has the time gone? Also Mr Griswood the Art teacher.

    • barbara young nee Pithers says:

      Hello Maureen.
      Maureen did your family live in Walmer Road. ? I remember a Mr Mrs Kirkham that lived near Maybanks (Tiddy) the newsagent/confectioners and the Milk shop. I also remember Linda Murray she was in my year at North Kensington Central School in Lancaster Road opposite the Library. Also remember Miss Edwards the headmistress and Miss Edwards the geograohy/PE teacher. Do you remember Mr Hogan who had to use a walking stick to get around
      Have you read the two books that Alan Johnson’s the MP has written the first one is about when he lived in Walmer Road along by Berrimans the corner grocer store and the book names manyof the places around Walmer Road, Silchester Road.i

      Barbara Young nee Pithers

      • Pamela edwards says:

        Hi Barbara, I remember you. We were in the same class. I came up from Wales. Pamela Edwards.I have been trying to find out a bit about what happened to the school. I hope you are well.

      • Mrs Barbara Young ( nee Pithers ) says:

        Hi Pamela. Thankyou. Yes I do remember you. Didn’t your parents own a shoe shop in the Golborne Road? I have happy memories at NKCS. I went onto Holland Park (its first year) for my last year of schooling. I believe that NKCS became a boys only school after NKCS closed.
        Wouldn’t it be great if some of the “old girls” could meet up.
        Lovely to hear from you. Barbara

    • Gillian Kneebone nee Allum says:

      Hello Maureen. I have just come across the North Kensington Central School posts. I remember you as we were at the school at the same time. If my memory serves me right we were friends? I also remember Linda Murray and Gloria Mannering.I lived in Blechynden Street and moved from there when I was about 16 to Hounslow, to be near my Granny. I remember Mr Hogan. Don’t remember the headmistresses name but she had short cropped hair and always walked around the school with her hands behind her back, looking very menacing.
      Gillian Kneebone nee Allum

      • sandra dibble says:

        hello gillian i left ladbroke upper school 1960 the head mistress name was miss michall she was very strict at assembly she used to say good morning girls good morring teachers every day .sandra dibble re mills

    • Margaret Gall says:

      Dear Maureen,
      The horrible fire a couple of weeks ago started me thinking of my schooldays in the area, North Kensington Central 1953-58. My name was Margaret Geaney and I remember your name, Maureen Kirkham. I also remember Dorothea Franklyn, Gloria Mannering, Edwin Bennett, June Balcon, Cynthia Woolf. I also remember my particular friends June Cousins, Rosemary Mayes, Linda Jordan (from the Pie & Eel shop next door), and another Linda whose surname I sadly forget – but she lived really close to Portobello Road. Other remembered names are Violet Pugh (family were Coal Merchants), Denis Kelleher (very good at art), Michael and Robert Driver. Teachers: Mr. Griswood (Art), Mr. Wilcox (History), Mr. Hogan (English), Miss Boxall (English Grammar), Miss McIntosh (P.E.) & Mrs. Wilson (French), And I remember Mr. Davis (Headmaster) and Miss Edwards (Deputy Head). I would very much like to hear from June Cousins, if she picks up on this. Also, I remember Domestic Science in the building in the playground!

      • Doreen (Woolf) Keston says:

        Hi, I also attended North Kensington Central School at that time, and remember quite a few of the people mentioned. For my last year of school we were transferred to Holland Park Comprehensive, where the typewriters were all modern (I was in the Commercial Course learning Shorthand and Typiing)

  7. Gerald Wye says:

    Hi all you Girls from North Kensington Central in St Marks Rd, I thought that was a Girls only school, I do not ever recall boys coming out of there, I went to the Boys Catholic school round the corner Cardinal Manning, I met my wife while walking down to the park opposite your school, Linda Foxley a student from that school, does any one remember her.

    • Carole Linpow / Kesting says:

      Hi. Yes I only remember it being all girls. I was there in 1957. There were no boys. And unless I’m going total dooo laly, it was called St Quintin’s.

  8. Dear Gerald,
    What years are you referring to when your wife was at North Kensington Central?

  9. Wendy White (nee Pearce) says:

    I think my mum may have attended this school from the mid thirties through to the mid forties, her name was Eileen Ashford & her siblings were Jeanie, John & Roy, I would love to hear from anyone who knew her.

  10. Frances Peach says:

    Was the school ever called St. Mark’s school for girls in 1940-50?

    • Carole Linpow / Kesting says:

      I was there in 1957 But I always thought it was St Quintin’s. Guess I’m loosing the plot.

      • Frances Peach says:

        I went to that school in 1948-1952-3 and I’m sure it was called St.Marks school for girls. The headmistress was a mrs.snellgrove, and one of the teacher then was a Mrs.Steinke, you can well imagine what we called her. If anyone else remembers it called St.Marks, please let me know. I lived at 322 Latimer Road, W.10 with my father, brother and sister. My surname then was PAUL.

      • My name was Lillian Young I lived at 78 Chesterton Rd. N.Kensington and went to St Marks School in 1947-1950 and it was an all girls school then.

      • sandra dibble says:

        Hi Carole , my name was Sandra Mills. I went to St. Quintins when I was 11. It was just off of Golborne rd. Then we were sent to Labroke Lower School. Then Ladbroke Upper School which was opposite St Marks Park was an all girls school. All the time I was there we wore bottle green uniform. I left there in 1960 when I was 15. SANDRA

  11. John Allen says:

    I started at North Ken Central in 1955. I remember Frank Pugh but I didn’t know he had a sister. I remember going down to St Mary’s bay in Kent with Mr Williams and staying in an old army camp for two weeks each year I was at the school. I also remember going to Lancaster Rd baths first thing one morning each week and walking to school afterwards, which meant we missed assembly that day.

  12. Carole Linpow / Kesting says:

    I think I’m in that photo Pink berets. My memory says Patricia Pope, Linda Randal, I think Jean Kerr, Jeanette Wheeler. Be nice if they are still around.

  13. pauline v cyphers says:

    I remember going to St Marks school, from 1953-1957. The girls I remember are Brenda Page, Barbara Howe, Irene Stratton, Sylvia Clifford. My name was Pauline Hitch, I lived in the Suttons. It would be nice if they are still around. I have been living in Florida, US, since 1969.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s