Bowes and Bounds Connected

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Does anyone have any memories or information about Beaumaris School, please? It was a small private school which was in existence from at least 1907 to 1966. At first it was where Bounds Green Station now stands, and shortly before building work on the station began (it opened in 1932) the school moved to Brownlow Road, where a small block of flats, also called "Beaumaris", now occupies its former site. The teachers were six sisters whose surname was Chapman. This information was provided by Haringey Local Studies at Bruce Castle. The reason I'm hoping to find out more is that I have recently been put in touch with a lady aged 93, now living away from the area, who attended the school. She is planning to write about her memories of it, and would like to supplement her own recollections with information from other sources.

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An large late Victorian looking pile with grounds called Ranelagh House previously occupied the site of Bounds Green Underground Station, and I have seen a photograph of it dated 1930 in one of Albert Pinching's books on the area. The house is shown in both the 1894 & 1912 OS maps I have but would certainly been large enough to operate as a small private school, although it is not marked as such. Other than the relatively contemporary block of flats you mention, I have not come across any references to this school. Please post any further information you may uncover here onsite as it adds to our local knowledge, and thanks in anticipation.

Richard, thank you for your reply, which prompted me to ask Haringey Local Studies whether Beaumaris School could have been in Ranelagh House. Thanks to help from the HLS staff (what would we do without them, and Enfield LS as well?!) I discovered that the house named Beaumaris was next door to Ranelagh House. I followed this up on the 1911 Census (on Ancestry.co.uk), and found that the house names in Bounds Green Road from the corner of Brownlow Road were Ranelagh House; Beaumaris; Walmer Lodge; Rosebank; Glenster Villa; Camden Lodge; May Cottage; Cranbrook; The Cedars and Elmswood. I think the first five of these must have been demolished to make way for Bounds Green Station. I had previously come across the fact that Cranbrook and The Cedars were reduced to rubble by the bomb at the Station on 13th October 1940, and May Cottage and Camden Lodge were so badly damaged that they had to be demolished. Bounds Green Court was built in 1951 on the site of these four houses. Elmswood is now Sovereign Court.

I will certainly share any further information I get about Beaumaris School.

Great stuff - thanks for that, Lena! 

I was quite surprised that there was room for five houses on the Station site, especially as at least two of them - Ranelagh House and Beaumaris - must have been quite large.

Hi Lena

My sister and I went to Beaumaris School in the 1950s, when I was five years old (it was a Prep school for boys, but mainly a girls school). Two sisters were running the school at that time, the Headmistress being Dorothy Chapman. We are happy to share memories of the school if you would find it useful. My email address is stew154@gmail.com.

Kind regards

Graham Stew

With his permission, I am posting a private message I have received from Graham Stew. Thank you, Graham and Deborah, for these fascinating memories.
Memories of Beaumaris School, Bounds Green Road.
My family moved to Station Road, Wood Green in 1954, from Newhaven, Sussex. I was
three years old, and my sister Deborah was seven. She started attending Beaumaris School
in 1954, and I joined her later in 1956, when I was five. Beaumaris was a girls school, but
was also a prep school for boys at that time. As I was so young, I have limited and patchy
memories of the school, but will relate them as best I can.
Deb and I travelled the one stop on the tube from Wood Green to Bounds Green station on
our own most days, and were accompanied later by our mother, who took up part-time
work in the school office. It is hard to imagine two children of five and nine travelling alone
on the tube today! I think the ticket cost 2d.
The school was a short walk from the tube station, down Bounds Green Road, and the site is
now a block of flats with the name Beaumaris. As I recall, the school was a large Victorian
house, with a large back garden. The entrance hall was dark and gloomy and I seem to
remember a large framed collection of butterflies on one wall. Our uniforms were a dreary
brown, which neither of us enjoyed wearing!
I have vague memories of learning how to write in ‘copper script’ and having to practise
joining all the letters with elegant loops. I received a book prize for my ‘handwork’ … but
don’t recall what I produced. Miss Dorothy Chapman was the Headmistress, and was
notoriously strict and scary. I remember her hitting my hand using a ruler … I don’t know
what I had done wrong. The usual punishment for children was being made to stand on a
narrow form (bench) with hands on one’s head. The garden seemed very large to me as a
small child, with many trees. I remember being sick one day, and had to sit outside until my
mother came to fetch me. My one good memory of the school was that at morning break
we went downstairs to a basement and were given a glass of milk and a currant bun! One
older girl was kind to me and sat me on her lap, and taught me how to tie my shoelaces … I
remember that vividly.
I have asked my sister for her memories of Beaumaris, and I copy below her email reply:
“You mentioning Beaumaris gave me horrible memories. Ghastly place! Very dark rooms,
curtains never seemed to be properly opened! The main front room, where we had 'lunch' -
soup and bread; had long forms and equally long tables. At the front, by the window, was a
grand piano, quite often covered up. I can't remember anyone playing it! A very dark
entrance hall, l remember. The garden at the back, I seem to think was rather dark (again)
with big trees and overgrown.
There were 2 Miss Chapmans, I think, one very bossy, nasty piece of work. Long hair in a
big tatty bun, looked like she had slept like it for a week. I remember being kept in at lunchtime, to write a 100 lines 'I must not talk in class' etc..  Other punishments were standing on a form with hands on head for what seemed like hours! As you went in the front door, the office where Mum later worked, was to the right, and the main large room to the left. I can't remember other rooms; we must have used rooms further back in the house. I believe the sisters lived upstairs? We wore a horrid brown uniform.
Sometime in 1957, when my mother found out how Miss Chapman was treating the
children, she confronted the headmistress and removed us from the school. We then went
to St. Angela’s Convent in Palmers Green.
Those, I am afraid, are all the memories we both have of the school … admittedly not very
fond ones! I will be very interested to hear of other recollections of Beaumaris from anyone
who attended the school.

I must have gone to Beaumaris School in 1951 as my mother told me that I was just coming up to 4 years of age when I started at Beaumaris. Naturally my recollections are extremely limited and not necessarily entirely accurate. My elder brother Gordon also attended the school. My very vague memories are of a large house which smelt damp. My teacher was very strict and not at all nice. Thankfully my mother soon realised this was not a nice school and my brother and I were withdrawn. The uniform, as mentioned by Graham and Deborah was a dirty brown with a prominent badge on the blazer pocket. I actually have a photographer of my brother and I in our school uniforms.

I also attended Beaumaris School.  The Uniform came from Bourne & Hollingsworth.  Dark Brown gym tunics, dark cream shirts and dark brown knee high socks. Summer was brown and white check dresses with panama hats, brim down at the front to show the "B" on the ribbon.  Miss Flack used to stand at the exit to make sure hats were on straight.  The winter berets (brown) had the "B" badge at the front.  Miss Dorothy Chapman used to sit at a high desk at the front of the lrge room.  Her sister, Miss Monica, was in the room at the back to the right.  Miss Monice would check that skirts were 1 1/2 inches above the knee - you knelt on the floor and it was measured.  The girls also had to wear dark brown knickers, which Miss Monica would regularly check were being worn.  The staircase had a highly polished bannister and when standing in line for morning assembly or lunch. One of the school assistant would stand at the top of the stairs with a long handled mop - if your hand went of the polished bannister the mop handle descended.  If using the toilets, which were at the top of the stairs, at lunch time one child stood on each landing to await their place in the toilet! I believe Miss Flack did Geography and Art - I still have my old school reports.  On Ascension Day the school would have a service and then go on an outing. I can remember Hampton Court one year and my hands acquired many splinters from the trestle tables where the picnic was. Result late into school as my mother was picking out said splinters. My fault and I had lines.  Ones parents never did anything wrong - only you.  If late, dinner money forgotten, lessons not finished in class on time, lessons done in class and marked - you stayed late to complete or write lines.  Sixth form girls were allowed to wear skirts and stockings.  There was a grass badminton court in the garden.  Beaumaris rules applied outside of school if you were in school uniform - I lived in Wood Green and my mother had a hairdressing business so would send people to collect me, if I had an ice cream or drink and was still in school uniform and seen by staff member then more lines! I also have an autograph book with names in which I will add to.

I am not sure how old I was when I started at Beaumaris, probably four or five,  1940 or 1941, and I wore that brown unform until spring 1945, I think. I remember three, or possibly four of the Chapman sisters. Dorothy was the headmistress, Miss Monica handled various subjects, Miss Sylvie taught French, I think, and I am not sure if Norah, who had housekeeping duries, was another one of the sisters.  I too remember the garden, which had an Anderson shelter. Whether or not we could all fit in there in case of a daytime raid, I cannot say. One of my friends was Jane Willis, and one afternoon we walked down Brownlow Road together and the air raid warning siren went off. I went to her home on Bowes Road, instead of continuing to Westminster Drive, where I lived. Later, my mother was upset because she did not know where I was.  I remember other students, who I hope are still living, all of us now in our eighties. There were quite a few boys, including John Hubbard and Brian Wilkinson, on whom I had a childhood crush!  The Bailey ssisters, Beryl and Sheila were students, a little older. Beryl was a championship ice skater  and was allowed to miss some time at school, because she was an Olympic hopeful.  I understand that  an English gentlemsn  coaching skaters here in Baltimore, Maryland USA, my home since 1952, remenbers Beryl Bailey. A national UK magazine had an article about her showing photos of her at school in that big classroom, filled with other students. I discovered it on line recently and am sure I spotted my friend Jane Willis towards the back. 

We used to go off site for gym. It might have been in a hall at St. Gabriel's church, or another church nearby.   Miss Dorothy was in charge. There was a play presented, I think held in a St. Gabriel's space, "The princess who loved nursery rhymes". I was the princess and Shirley Manning, later known as Evelyn, was the king. Miss Monica was in charge, as I recall. She had a good singing voice, and liked to perform Saint-Saens"   "Softly awakes my heart ', from Samson and Delilah, whenever she could. She sang it either before or at intermission of our childhood  performance.

The curriculum was advanced for our age in some areas, such as English. Why do I remember  the de Coverley Papers?  Yet In mathematics we did not have to learn the multiplication tables, but each had a little book containing the times tables up to 12X12.   That led to a problem I will mention later. 

One day when we were out in the garden, one of the teachers came out holding a box she said was  American candy. E.ach of us received a pastel sugar coated almond. Now in the U.S. for 68 years, I have had my fill of American sweets.

I had some issues with the sloppy timekeeping for bell ringing at the school, and developed a punctuality anxiety. My parents decided it was a time for change, and as some other contributors to this correspondence have related, I too ended up at St. Angela's. Mother Mary Bernard was horrified that I had never been made to learn those times tables, and gave me a few summer lessons before I started there in autumn of 1945.  Evelyn Manning arrived at St. A's not long after.

My memories include walking up that Brownlow Road hill, Yet if I stayed at Beaumaris until the end of the 1944/45 academic year, I do not remember the damage caused by the V2 which fell on Brownlow nearer to Bowes Road in December of 1944.

This correspondence thread pertains to Beaumaris, but if any Westminster Drive residents of my vintage read this, I am sure that I will remember them. 

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