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School memories and children’s homes in Kingston

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Warren Gate Nursery, Warren House, Dempster Nursery, Mendip Cottage, Rivermead

I read with interest the comments about Warren Gate Nursery. I worked there in 1964 and remember some of the children with affection and often wondered about them.I especially remember Fami and John Sweeney and Radakrishnan Ganesh as well as the 3 Jones children.The work was hard but fun too.I also think of the girls I worked with and how their life has turned out,I have now retired after 45 years nursing.I’m pleased to hear Mrs Jacobs is still alive and wish her well .Happy days remembered.

A few posts regarding Warren Gate Nursery on Kingston Hill have been brought to my attention.  My name is Judy and my mother, Mrs Jacobs,  was the matron there for over 25 years.  I personally left in 1965 when I got married but remember some of the people who have written in or been mentioned.  My mother continued on there for a few more years.  She is now 96 and still quite well and independent. She is still in touch with some people from there each Christmas.  Neither of us live in the Kingston area any longer.I remember several of the children and often wonder what became of them.  In particular a little boy called Danny and another called Keith. I believe that after she retired in the 1970’s the house ceased to exist as a nursery and I was told that executive homes were built on the site.  The house was beautiful and we couldn’t bear to return afterwards.

I worked at a residential children’s home in about 1965 on Kingston Hill called, I think, Warren House, looking after children from birth to 5 years whose parents couldn’t look after them. I was 18 and became very fond of a little Nigerian boy called Fami Oladele, I think, and when he was taken back to Nigeria I left the home but I have always promised myself I would do my best to find out how well he survived. I would love to hear from anyone who remembers anything at all about this home. Thanks Janie Humphreys

I was in children’s home in Kingston in 1973 (ish) – I was there from the age of 3- 5 with my sister Caroline.  I thought the home was called Dempster Nursery but I can find not evidence of it online- It looked very similar to Warren House from my memories – Can you help me?  Was this the same children’s home under a different name.I have fond memories of my time there and would love to trace some of the other children that were my friends there.

Dear long lived residents of Kingston.  In about 1973 (when i was three years old),  I was put into a childrens home in Kingston (as far as i know).  It was called Dempster Nursery and there was a childrens park near by and an old church (we used to go to sunday service there).  I can’t find any reference to this childrens home – It was in the most beautiful house with lovely gardens and a cellar.  Does anyone remember it?  I’m beginnig to think my childhood memories are not real.  I would love to see the old place (if it hasn’t been knocked down).  I would be very grateful for an addres if anyone does remember it.  If anyone reading this was there (staff or child)in the early 70’s that would be better still – please get in touch.   Janey (Hookwood, Surrey)

Regarding Dempster Children’s Home. You are not going mad, Jane – I lived in the home with my brother and sister in about 1978 or so. It was a lovely house, but I don’t remember the cellars. I understand that it doesn’t exist anymore.

My Mom is now 80. She used to be deputy matron at Dempster in the early 60s. Her colleague was staff nurse there too and remembers the place and children well. If you want to know more, she is willing to contact you.

I lived in the residential nursery known as Warren Gate on Kingston Hill. I remember Mrs. D. Jacobs the Matron and her daughter Judith, also a nurse known as Sally, Freda (known as Freddy) and cook Bridget. My name is Jean and my daughter is called Kim.  I may have left before you but I remember lots of faces of children not so much their names I know that sounds dreadful but I was preoccupied with studies at the time.

I am looking for any information on a childrens home called Mendip Cottage in Renfrew Road, Kingston Hill during the 1940’s.  I believe it was used temporarily during the war to accommodate babies and young children.

Did anyone go to, or know anything about the Gatehouse School in 1967? I was born in Kingston in 1949. As a kid I used to hop off school (The Mount junior school and then Fitzgeorge County Secondary School) and hang around Bentalls, Bradey’s Arcade, or go fishing a lot down the end of the alleyway next to the tannery, close to the bridge…. I still remember the smell from the tannery! I spent a lot of time playing along the banks of the Thames. I remember ‘Turk’s Boat Yard’ very well as, more or less on the opposite bank, close to the Sea Cadets building, my father had his little boat moored. I believe it was a 2nd WW landing craft converted into a small house boat and he lived there permanently. His name was Alfred Rowe and he was quite a character and very well known in most of the local pubs. I think that he spent a lot of time in the ‘Row Barge’… I would love to know if anyone remembers him or his boat. I have tried in vain to find photos of that area by the Sea Cadets and the rowing club from the 1950s, just in case my father’s boat could be seen in the background, but no luck at all so far.

I went to Rivermead primary school with my sister Elizabeth between 1957 to 1961. I also remember Miss Weller, I think she was the headteacher, I also remember Mrs Barretto.When I left in 1961, building work had already started on the new wing that would house the Rivermead secondary school. I was friends with a boy called Jimmy, he was also known as Sox. I think there was a girl called Linda Wheatley. I hope someone else can recall more. Robert Loewenthal (fred)

I went to Rivermead Primary School from 1954-60, i.e. the year before it closed to become Rivermead Secondary Boys. I certainly do remember Miss Weller. When I was about eight, me and my friends were caught talking when we had been told to stop just the once. As a punishment, we had to stand facing the wall against the radiators with our backs to the main entrance during all three breaks, including over an hour at lunchtimes, for a whole week! It was late spring and still very cold outside so every time the doors opened we were in a draught. We complained bitterly to our parents but they were not prepared to intervene. On the fourth day, when I broke down in tears, Mr Finch, the headmaster, intervened and over-ruled her.  She was very nice to me after that but I still loathed her, though I must admit she could draw very well. After 55 years the memory still hurts. Does anyone else remember the Cellar Club from around 1964-5. This was not a cellar but an old boathouse behind what had been the Odeon Cinema in the High Street, which was then a Bingo Hall. The Yardbirds with Eric Clapton used to play there every few weeks. One could see the river below through the floor boards and the floor used to vibrate in sympathy with the beat. The club was not licensed for alcohol and eventually it lost its licence to play music, why I’m not sure, but the owner seemed decidedly dodgy and I’m sure the place horrified the Council. Shirley.

Have only just seen this site.  I also remember Rivermead Primary School and Miss Evelyn Weller (and Mr Finch who preceded her).  I left when the school closed but would be interested to hear from anyone who was around at the same time.  I remember particularly Leonie & Linda, also Steve, Derek, Richard… I lived in Dysart Avenue.

Hi there, I was reading with interest the comments about the rivermead/tudor schools, I attended and left in 83’84 and was in 3rd year when it amalgamated with Bonner hill and reminded me of old friends that I am no longer in contact with. Is anyone out there that was in my year? I would love to reach out, I now live in the USA and have not been back in 12 years. I am assuming that everyone left Kingston for pastures new. New York USA: Andy O’Shea

Rivermead school became Tudor School in 1980, which I attended. Decision was made in about 1985 to close it down and move Tiffin Girls Grammar school into the facilities. Tudor was the only non-selective school in N. Kingston; Tiffins take the majority of pupils from out of the area.So many local kids had to go out of the borough.Now with more housing in the N.Kingston area, I would expect the lack of a school to be even more obvious, But then the council of the time saw fit to cater for the few rather than the many. (Gideon Soames, Kingston)

I atttended rivermead when it was a primary school from 1957 to 1961, when the foundations were being dug for the new ill fated south facing wing extention. does anyone remember Miss Weller, the head teacher.: Finchley: rob

l was at Rivermead Boys School from 1963 to 1969 and would like to hear from anybody who was there then.l now live in sunny Portugal.My name is Mickey Dunne. Portugal

Yes- I’ve still got my old Rivermead tie somewhere complete with a spot or two of custard on it! No way am I going to give it away or sell it. Its good to find some contact and reference to Rivermead. I was there from 1963 until 1969. It was a great school (not for results but plenty of laughs!). Pity to see the pictures of the building ablaze (reference Tiffin Girls Schools which now has the building).

Yea I still have my Rivermead tie & blazer (1963-69). I wouldn’t part with it though – sorry. It’s time there was an Old Rivermead Society. Worcester Park. Steve DD

Hi all.I  was born in 1944 in a 2 up 2 down house in Dickerage Lane which backed on to New Malden West as it was then before becoming Fitzgeorge . My entry to the school was over the wall at the bottom of my a garden as it backed on to the playground Mr Snelgrove. Mr Noon and !Miss Town are teachers I remember and I think MIss Rutter or Rutherford I was there from 1949 until 1955 playing in various teams cricket and athletics and football. We won the district schools cup final by beating St Paul’s Cobham 2-0 at Kingstonian   FC. In Richmond Road. Graham West Kenny Johnson. Raymond Watts  all played. I eventually ended up playing for the K,s for a couple of seasons under Tommy Dougall and then , Vince Burgess  Jack Goodchild anybody?  Now has a road named after him outside Kingsmeadow.

I went to Rivermead Primary School from 1954-60, i.e. the year before it closed to become Rivermead Secondary Boys. I certainly do remember Miss Weller. When I was about eight, me and my friends were caught talking when we had been told to stop just the once. As a punishment, we had to stand facing the wall against the radiators with our backs to the main entrance during all three breaks, including over an hour at lunchtimes, for a whole week! It was late spring and still very cold outside so every time the doors opened we were in a draught. We complained bitterly to our parents but they were not prepared to intervene. On the fourth day, when I broke down in tears, Mr Finch, the headmaster, intervened and over-ruled her.  She was very nice to me after that but I still loathed her, though I must admit she could draw very well. After 55 years the memory still hurts.

“My now deceased grandfather remembers going to a school in your area. He remembered wearing a hat with 3 fish on it. According to his father’s military papers that have a date of March 1918, my grandfather and his mother lived at 14 St. Andrews Square, Surbiton, Surrey. Would anyone be able to tell me the name of the school he might have attended? Thanks for your assistance,

The three fishes on your school badge are from the borough coat of arms. You are right when you say many schools in Kingston had and still have them on their badges.  I believe they are supposed to be salmon.  In the fifties and sixties, when the river was far more polluted than it is now, that was a bit of a joke, because it was many years since a salmon had been caught in the Thames. I remember watching the anglers fishing from the tow path many times as a child and only once did I see anybody catch anything – a fish about four inches long. But I have since read that salmon have returned to the river. Have any readers of this site ever seen or caught one?  There was also a pub called the Three Fishes but I can’t recall where it was, or if it is still there.

I also had 3 fishes on my school uniform cap and blazer.I went to Richmond Road primary school in Kingston.Was the late ’50’s,early ’60’s .I have a feeling that a lot of schools in the area had 3 fishes on their school badge………Tony Fowler

I remember my mother telling me of a mother and baby home (either next door or a few houses away) to where she and her parents lived in Richmond Park Road – no 54. That would have been in the early 1940s. Don’t know if this would be what you were looking for but it was nearby St Luke’s church, so possibly was run by Church of England.

I am looking for information about a residential children’s home in either Lovelace Gardens or Lovelace Road, Surbiton. If anyone knows the name, or was even one of the children `staying` there, I would love to hear from you. My nephew was there in the 1970’s and I am getting a book together for his upcoming 40th birthday. Many thanks Annie

I was born in a nursing home, later flats, on Avenue Elmers, down near the river; lived at my grandparents for a short time in Avenue South (Surbiton), then moved to The Ridings (Berrylands area) from 1950 or so until I came to Canada in 1972. Lots of the usual happy childhood memories and early schooldays – not so much my years at Tiffin Grammar!!! Greetings from BC.Chris Nice

My Mother was in a Church of England Mother and Baby Home in Kingston in 1937 when I was born. I don’t know where it was/is. Does anyone know anything about it, please?

I remember my mother telling me of a mother and baby home (either next door or a few houses away) to where she and her parents lived in Richmond Park Road – no 54. That would have been in the early 1940s. Don’t know if this would be what you were looking for but it was nearby St Luke’s church, so possibly was run by Church of England. I think I was born there too in 1954.  I dont know anything about it either but would like to know if you find anything out.

my mom is now 80 she was deputy matron at dempster during the early 60s she does remember a child named Denise. Oldbury west midlands. Nancy

I was in Kingston yesterday and sought out the Bearstead Memorial Nursing Home as I was born there in August 1946. It is now called Rotary Court and is just across from the Palace on Hampton Court Road. I spoke to a lady who said it is now a home run by a Housing Association for elderly people made up of bedsits.  Originally from East London the Bearstead was moved out to Kingston during the war.  My family lived in the East End of London and my mother was sent there for the birth of me her only child.  How my father visited I do not know!!!!

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