Hillcroft College



My mother, Edtih Ann Moot, left school at 14 in 1914 with a chip on her shoulder about being "uneducated" in the snobbish, idealist sense of the word, so as soon as she had saved up enough money she attended Hillcroft, in 1926. That gave her a grounding in English and French language and literature and in modern (post 1814) European history. Which satisfied her ego but at the cost of losing her well paying office job. Her sister got her emplyment doing domestic work at a girls' orphanage, through 1928 when she married a much older, long-term man friend (few other, younger ones were around in the 1920s) "to get out of the house". He decided not to risk marrying on the uncertain mostly seasonal income of the building trade and their savings allowed them to buy a small hardware shop in Plaistow. My arrival in April, 1929 persuaded mother to look for somewhere better than London's Docklands in which to raise a child. Most of our upwardly mobile nighbours gravitated eastwrds: to East Ham, Ilford, Romford or even to still rural Grays and Thurrock. Memories of Hillcroft happily enticed her in the contrary direction and in June 1930 the family business moved to the end of the United 77 tramline at Tolluff., known to its new lower middleclass arrivals by the spelling pronunciation of Tolworth. A quite nice place for a child to grow up in, even if my parents' ignorance of the education system allowed them to waste my success on what was then the Scholarship Examinaion on a place at the local (Surbiton) grammar school (Surrey County Councill's cheap make over of the local manor house.
They should of course have tried for the far superior possibilites in Kingston on Thames or Wimbledon. But then, but for mother's happy memories of Hilcroft I would have stayed in West Ham with a mere one in thirteen chance of any grammar school place at all.

Great stuff, this is a really interesting post.

Presumably, the school that you went to is now in the building occupied by Hollyfiedl School at the top of Surbiton Hill? What were the better options that were available in Kingston at the time?

Top possibility: King's Wimbledon, the secondary school set up by King's College London. Others included Kingston Grammar and Tiffin School.

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