Tag Archives: lewisham road

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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