Tag Archives: school

Postcard Album: The Schools, Framfield, Sussex

28 Oct

Many months ago I showed you a postcard of the school in Framfield, Sussex which was really the school building rather than todays postcard which hardly shows anything of the building, but instead shows the school in terms of the children that made up the school.

This really is a delightful postcard, admittedly the quality is not brilliant but what I really like is that this doesn’t have the formality of normal school photos, with children lined up in rows. Here we find the children all over the place, some in the road, some peering through the hedge and some even climbing in the hedge by the look of it.

The majority are standing, but there are some kneeling, one little boy on his hands and knees and a couple of boys lying in the road. If you look really closely it looks like four of the boys have bottles in their hands, one boy in the middle looks like he might be saluting, but I think he is probably taking a swig from his bottle. And not a teacher to be seen anywhere.

The sad thing of course is that we don’t know who any of these children are, although I feel sure that there must be several HEMSLEY children among this lot and probably a few other relatives. Unfortunately I don’t have any other photos to compare this against, but I would guess this dates from around 1910.

Interestingly when you compare this with the other postcard it also looks like the photograph has been flipped, the school building should be on the left hand side of the postcard. I wonder whether this was an accident or whether the publisher (A.H. Homewood of Burgess Hill, Sussex) thought it looked better this way?

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Picture Postcard Parade: The Schools, Framfield, Sussex

7 Mar

I bought this postcard over a month ago now and I am so pleased with it that I don’t know why I have shown you it until now. It still makes me smile every time I look at it.

This postcard was printed and published by The Mezzotint Co. of Brighton, Sussex. It was posted on the 5th October 1906 from Framfield itself, destined for a Mrs. Brooker in Battle, Sussex. Technically speaking because the card is printed the detail is not quite so sharp as on a photographic card, but it is still an excellent card in my opinion.

Several generations of my ancestors probably passed through that school, although I have yet to find the school admission registers to prove it. I wonder why the children are standing outside and why so few? Were they late for class or perhaps early? Who are the two older figures? I love the bicycle leaning against the hedge, almost taller than the girl standing next to it.

What was most surprising to me is that the building is still in use as a school. Despite a few changes to the buildings they are still recognisable, but fortunately there were no children standing in the road when the Google Street View car went past.

Picture Postcard Parade: The Main Road and Selsey Arms, West Dean.

8 Feb

Regular readers of my blog might recognize this view, I have featured similar views a couple of times before (here and here) and last week we were just up the road. It is of course the entrance to the ancestral village of West Dean (near Chichester), Sussex, with the school on the left and the Selsey Arms pub on the right.

The difference with this card is its age, this card is postmarked 16th August 1950, probably making it at least two or three decades later than the others, and it was published the well-known publisher Raphael Tuck and Sons, Ltd.

There are a couple of clues in the picture which hint at a more “modern” card. At the bottom of the card is the end of a white line in the middle of the road, according to Wikipedia the first white lines in the UK appeared in 1921. The other noticeable difference is the line of telegraph poles on the left hand side of the road, look at all those insulators on the nearest one.

The nearest pole also has a small sign attached to it, in fact it is probably two signs, one facing each way along the road. I believe that they have the word telephone on them (this printed postcard is not detailed enough to be able to tell for certain), indicating to passing motorists the presence of a telephone kiosk nearby. Last time I was wandering around West Dean there was a telephone box down the road on the right-hand side of the road, just before the pub.

I wish the card was more detailed because I think I can see a bus stop on the left-hand side of the road (for buses towards Midhurst, Sussex) beyond the pub. Today the bus stop is a bit closer, almost opposite the pub, and has a bus shelter for when it rains.

Picture Postcard Parade: West Dean school from the railway bridge

4 Feb

The postcard below is currently one of my favourite postcards (and one of my most recent purchases). It shows part of the village of West Dean (near Chichester), Sussex including the distinctive school building, which is the closest of the buildings on the left-hand side of the road.

I believe the wall in the bottom right-hand corner is part of the bridge where the road from Chichester to Midhurst crosses over the now disused railway which also ran from Chichester to Midhurst. I think that the bank in the bottom left-hand corner is part of the railway cutting. Google Street View clearly shows the bridge from the other side, but the view has been substantially altered by the presence of more trees.

This postcard was sent on the 8th August 1924, from West Dean to an address in Alton, Hampshire. It was produced by same person who was responsible for the postcard of West Dean Church I showed you last week. The style of the caption on that postcard is identical to this and at least one other in my collection. Unfortunately I don’t yet know who that person was.

When grandfather left school

2 Jul

Looking at the records for Southover School, Lewes, Sussex I picked up a couple of interesting facts that might be relevant to my grandfather’s move from Lewes to London.

My grandfather, Charles Percy GASSON, left school in Lewes on the 2nd November 1917 and the reason was given as “went to London”. Arthur Leonard JESSOP left the same school on the 2nd November 1917, and the reason he left was “returned to London”.

Connection or coincidence?

At first glance this seems like a good match, but of course there is a problem, I don’t have a single JESSOP in my family history. It may be that I just haven’t found them yet, or it may be that there was a different type of relationship. Perhaps my great-grandmother was a domestic servant for the JESSOP family, and if they moved she moved with them.

When I looked at the headmaster’s log book I discovered that there was some significance to the date of the 2nd November 1917, which may suggest it was a coincidence after all. The log book records that on the 2nd November the school was “closed until Wednesday morning for mid-term Holiday”.

The 2nd November 1917 was a Friday, so Wednesday was the 7th. They didn’t have much of a mid-term break, but if you were going to move your child out of school then the start of the holiday would be a good time to do it. So perhaps it was just a coincidence after all.

I think I need to find out more about Arthur Leonard JESSOP, his father’s name was Alfred and I have his date of birth (24th March 1910), so it shouldn’t be too difficult to put together some information on his parents and see if there is a connection somewhere.

Does any record of Morden Terrace School remain?

1 Jul

Despite my best efforts I have struggled to find any additional information on the school that my grandfather attended in the London Borough of Greenwich. The amount of information that has survived about this school seems to be minimal to say the least.

I’ve paid a visit to the Greenwich Heritage Centre, and despite the best efforts of the very helpful lady there, we were unable to find out much more. At least I have now confirmed that it did exist and have a map which shows where it was.

Morden Terrace School was on the north side of Albion Hill at the junction of Lewisham Road, in the borough of Greenwich. Having been destroyed by bombing during the Second World War, it appears that the site is now occupied by a modern school, Morden Mount Primary School, and Albion Hill has only partially survived as Quince Road.

I have been searching through the catalogues for the London Metropolitan Archives, and the only thing they seem to have is a set of plans for the school. I am sure they are very interesting, but what I really need to find out is whether there are any records of the pupils.

It does feature in directories of the area, but they provide virtually no more information, they don’t even mention who was the headmaster. There is no suggestion that it was a boarding school, the evidence is not conclusive, but this suggests that my grandfather was living in the area with someone.

I still need to spend some more time searching for the school records, just in case they have ended up somewhere else, or under another name. However it looks like I need to be trying to find a relation that spent some time in Greenwich, with whom my grandfather was living.

That is going to a rather large task, but I am wondering if I might have a sneaky short cut. My grandfather’s admission record for his time at school in Sussex notes that he left on the 2nd November 1917 with the reason being that he "went to London". Is there anyone else in that admission register that left at the same time to go to London?

What was my grandfather doing in Greenwich?

30 Jun

My grandfather, Charles Percy GASSON (1910-1992), spent some of the early years of his life in the London Borough of Greenwich.

That statement doesn’t really do justice to the mystery and challenges that this presents. For someone who was born, married and died in Sussex (and if asked would have almost certainly have called Sussex his home), how and why did he end up going to school in Greenwich.

The answer is probably tied in with the actions of his ‘parent or guardian’. I hate to use the term ‘parent or guardian’ but because he was illegitimate it probably best sums up the number of different people who could have been responsible for him at the time.

  • His mother (May GASSON).
  • His father (Charles William GEERING).
  • His ‘adopted’ parents (Horace and Margaret DUNFORD). Margaret was his mother’s sister.
  • His aunt and uncle (George and Mary Elizabeth RICHARDSON). Mary Elizabeth was his mother’s sister.
  • Any one of his eleven other aunts or uncles.

So far my research has failed to find evidence that any of the above people had any connection with Greenwich. I have very little evidence about his time in Greenwich, basically a letter from his headmaster in Greenwich and an entry in his school admission record from Lewes, Sussex.

What I am left with is a gap between when he left school in Lewes, Sussex on the 2nd November 1917, with the reason “went to London“, and when he married in Keymer, Sussex on the 5th December 1936, at which time he was living in Burgess Hill, Sussex.

The letter from his former headmaster indicates that he had been at Morden Terrace (B.) School, Lewisham Road, Greenwich for six years until he left on the 23rd July 1924. I know almost nothing about the Morden Terrace School, except that it was destroyed by enemy bombing during the blitz, supposedly destroying all the records in the process.

It has been suggested that the ‘B’ might stand for Boarding, and that raises even more questions. Who paid for him to attend a boarding school? Was he paid for by a charity?

After leaving school at the age of thirteen in 1924 did he head straight back for Sussex or did he remain in London? There are twelve years until he surfaces in Burgess Hill for his marriage in 1936, where was he during those years?

My first step is going to have to be to find out more about Morden Terrace School. If it was a boarding or charity school then that will radically affect where I go next. Otherwise I need to try and find a ‘parent or guardian’ who was living in Greenwich, which is going to be like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.

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