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Silver Street School, Edmonton,
North London: information & old photos

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For a set of pages on what it was like to be a pupil in the early 1900s, see Schools.
For photographs of the pupils and teachers, see Silver Street School: pupils & teachers
For how the pupils and staff lived, see the top menu.

Plaque commemorating the opening of Silver Street School in 1901

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.

My mother wrote a great deal about life in the school in its early years, including fascinating and insightful details such as extra-curricular activities, and less pleasant things like disciplinary matters.

The layout inside the school

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.]

Frank Clarke

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.

Peter Edrich

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?

an old and more modern photo of Silver Street school, Edmonton

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 boys' 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 school.

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 matured.

The following pictures show what I remember from the bus in my 1940s childhood when we visited relations in Edmonton.

A recent photograph of the building that was once Silver Street School, Edmonton, and is now part of the Gladys Aylward School

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.

   

A recent photograph of the building that was once Silver Street School, Edmonton, and is now part of the Gladys Aylward School
    

Photos of the pupils and teachers show parts of the school building as backgrounds, particularly the school hall with its parquet floor and gas lamps, and an original raked classroom.

school memorabilia from early 1900s

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.

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Memorabilia

    
Plaque commemorating the war dead from Silver Street School, Edmonton

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 family.

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.

Tom Wallace

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