Plaque commemorating the opening of Silver Street School
in 1901, courtesy of John Cunningham. Click for a larger image with legible
text also showing details of the Middlesex county crest.
Silver Street School in Edmonton was built in 1900 and opened for pupils
in 1901, almost certainly to coincide with the surge of new housing on the
Huxley estate. The plaque commemorating
the opening is still displayed today (2009) - see the photo on the right.
I was at Silver Street School in the
late 1930s. Then the school was divided into three. The lower
floor was known as the Infants which was for boys and girls. The second
floor for the Junior Boys and the top floor for the Senior Boys. There were
no toilets in the building and it was necessary to make the long trip down
the stairs and up toward the end of the playground to the "Karzy"
as it was affectionately known. [There is a description of the
school lavatories in the early 1900s.]
Note that Frank Clarke's recollections show that
the terminology for the usage of the three floors changed since when the
school was built to Victorian specifications - see the labelling over
the school entrance doors.
When my sister and I started Silver Street School, she in 1948 and I a year later,
the ground floor was for infants and it was mixed boys and girls, the first floor
was primary and the second floor secondary - also known as juniors and seniors
respectively. These two floors were all boys because Hazelbury School for girls had opened in 1931. By the time my brother started school in
1954, Firs Farm Infant school had opened, and the first floor of Silver Street School
became primary and the other two floors secondary. If you passed the 11 plus you went
to one of the grammar schools in the area, but if you failed, you went to a secondary
school like Silver Street until 15 and then went to work. Sometime in the 1950s the name
was changed to Huxley County Secondary School, and RSA exams (Royal Society of Arts
I suppose) exams were introduced. They were a sort of downgraded version of O level
GCE so you could actually leave school with some kind of certificate.
I understand that Silver Street school closed in 1972, but can anyone confirm this? The school which services
the area now is the Gladys Aylward school in Windmill
Road and I understand that it still uses the old Silver
Street School building - but again, can anyone confirm this?
The left hand photo of Silver Street School is around 1910
and is from an old postcard, courtesy of Cliff Raven. The caretaker's house is on the left.
Note the two doorways which were the
infants' and girls' entrances and
the separate gateway leading to the boys' playground with its
entrance at the other end. Also note the three storeys and the bell
tower (back middle left) housing the bell which called the children to
The right hand photo is more recent photo and was taken by Cliff Raven in 2005,.
The building has
changed remarkably little. The bell tower has gone, what was the
caretaker's house has benefited from replacement windows; and two trees have
The following pictures show what I remember from the bus in my 1940s childhood when we
visited relations in Edmonton.
Views of the side of what was Silver Street School, taken further
along Silver Street
by Cliff Raven in 2005. He reports that the appearance of the building
from this viewpoint is almost entirely unchanged from the early 1900s. Exceptions include the conservatory addition
which went up when a new roof was put on in the 1970s. The bell tower
was removed at the same time, and the building was given a sandblast clean.
These two photos are of the school hall in the early years of the 20th century.
It is difficult to believe that the elaborate table decorations are for the children. The hall is probably to be used
for some civic event, it being the largest in Edmonton, but unfortunately even
the original does not show details of the table decorations. The photo is courtesy of Simon Benbow.
In the main hall was a glass case containing a small African spear.
It was given to me by my uncle who served in Africa during the WW2, and
I gave it to the school around 1946.
The earliest memorabilia I have of Silver Street School, courtesy of
Graham Hogg. This prize, the book 'The Swiss Family Robinson' was awarded
to his father Robert Hogg in 1909. On the right is a thumbnail of the inscription
on the inside cover. Click here for an enlargement.
Plaque displayed in the Aylward School, the successor to Silver Street School,
commemorating ex-pupils who died during the Second World War. The photo
was supplied by Andrew Dickson. His cousin Jim Brown from the Fleet Air
Arm is commemorated. He was 19 when he died.
The plaque also commemorates my uncle, Horace Clarke. I was too young
to remember him but he was often talked about in the Clarke household of
my father which suffered so badly in the
Second World War blitz of Edmonton.
The R. S. Cole named on the plaque was no relation of my mother's Cole