The following memories have been
extracted from the Silver Jubilee edition of the Willesden County Grammar
School Magazine (1950), written by M. W. K.
It seems a very long while ago now,
since that hot autumn day when the long procession of snail-like forms,
with their possessions on their backs, wound its tortuous way to Willesden
Junction and evacuation. Rumours were rife as to our destination,
and there were doleful speculations about "John o'Groats" and "places off
the map" - so that we were pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be
Northampton, a friendly and lively town less than seventy miles from home.
The first pangs of uprooting and the
difficulties of settling in were smoothed by the marvellous weather, which
enabled us to use Abington park, around the lake, as our rallying ground
while some sort of school was found for us. For, you see, we were
rather a problem - Northampton, with no co-educational secondary school,
didn't know what to do with us! We were sad to have to split up, but
that had to be the first solution, with the Girls at Derngate High School
and the Boys at the Town and County. It was a topsy-turvy, "Alice
through the Looking Glass" sort of life, with mornings free and lessons
lasting into the evening; and the staff who to trudge between the two
schools had some bitter comments to make during that winter of two months
of snow! But we appreciated the fine Georgian house in Derngate,
with its pleasant terraced gardens, and the boys made full use of the
spacious playing fields in Billing Road.
The next phase came when, with the
return of many pupils, the girls joined Brondesbury and Kilburn High
School in sharing the Girls' Secondary School, while the boys linked up
with Kilburn Grammar. We couldn't expect to keep Mr. Wallis who,
with several of the Staff, had the difficult task of re-opening the home
school, but he came up to visit and encourage us when he could and we
found stimulation in working with our sister and brother schools and a
great deal of friendly help and good facilities in the schools of our
Our third and final metamorphosis was
when we became the "Middlesex Secondary School in Northampton" -
co-educational once again and housed in Vernon Terrace, in a building of
such grubby exterior that the boys' less polite version of its name was
really justifiable! But within this unprepossessing edifice the new
little school took shape - with high standards and a friendly team-spirit
which even seemed to gain in strength from the influx of pupils from
several other Middlesex grammar schools. First under Miss
Butterworth, of Kilburn and Brondesbury, and then our own Mr. Jenkins,
this school carried on until the end of the summer term in which the war
For those who experienced this
sojourn in the provinces there will be lots of special memories, some
undoubtedly grim but many happy - of fun and games at Barry Road social
evenings; of Youth House - founded by Kilburn Grammar School - which gave
us all so much friendly good fellowship; of the Boys' Hostel under Mr.
Parker's kindly eye with its lovely garden and tennis court; of the Girls'
Hostel with its dormitory feasts; of the successes of the Rugby and
Netball teams and the triumph of the tennis six in the Schools' County
Tournament; of the parties and the badminton at the Roadmender Club, of
the School Play - whose leading lady is now a star with the Young Vic; and
finally of the friendships with people in the town - which still bear
fruit in visits to foster-parents.
That is why we feel that this Jubilee
number of the School Magazine should carry this short account of the
adventures of the school during the war years - when its traditions stood
so successfully the tests of upheaval and of exile.
M. W. K.
School Magazine 1950