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A Memory of Hainault Forest School

...There were no buses and Lottie had to walk several miles to school and back at Collier Row (opposite the City Limits). Whalebone Lane or the “cement road”, as Lottie calls it, hadn’t been built at that time so the walk was twice as far as it is today. The school had 4 classes and catered for infants and juniors. The children were taken for lessons in cookery and laundry to Mawney Road, Romford. A big distraction was the River Rom at Collier Row or the brook as Lottie calls it. The children would often go there to bathe and play. On Ascension Day and other religious days the school would parade to Church in Collier Row. The service started late morning and they would have the rest of the day off. One of her teachers was Mrs Beard. The headmaster was very strict and would often use the cane on the boys and girls.

from the Memoirs of Charlotte Harvey (1915-2009),
on http://www.hainaultforest.co.uk/6BiographyLHarvey.htm, accessed 2010

1921 Harvey photo, Grade V and VI, Susie & Bill.jpg

1921 Harvey photo, Grade III & IV.jpg...The educational side of the villagers I did not know much about. The National School stood mid-way between Marks Gate and Collier Row, and this was the only school in the district. Some of the girls from Marks Gate used to tramp across the fields to a private school on the main road near Romford, a matter of three miles each way. Whatever they learnt, meeting quite a number in after life, I found them in good business and social positions, and I believe that most of the youngsters I knew about did very well in later years.
from A.E.Baker, A Miscellany of Marks Gate, c.1946, reprinted 1990


Oaks painting 1946.jpgMr Baker’s charming watercolour of ‘the National School’ has been taken from A Miscellany of Marks Gate, and shows how the building looked just after the war. We have been unable to trace Mr Baker (or his estate) and would welcome any information on the copyright use of this painting.

Nor are we certain what the ‘private school on the main road near Romford’ was, although what is now Eastcourt Independent School is on the main road (or nearly enough) and was an exclusively girls’ school in the early part of the twentieth century. If it was near enough to Romford to qualify as the one to which the girls from Marks Gate tramped, a pleasing coincidence arises as Mrs Redgrave is, of course, now the owner of both properties.