view counter

Edenmore Prep School, 1940s

12 years ago...

Does anyone remember or have memories of Edenmore Prep School in Surbiton? I was at the school, briefly, in 1944 and would be interested in how others remember the school.

Comments

Hello Keith,

Of course, Manley was the Head's name, I'd forgotten. One thing I remember is that he disapproved of left-handed pupils and told me that I'd "never get a job in a bank" which resolved me to never apply for one! But the teachers were instructed to send me to him if they so much as caught me picking up a pen or pencil with my left hand; consequently, I got caned by Manley several times a day for these 'transgressions'. The purple jacket, spot on; I remember wearing it for quite a while after leaving until I suppose it was well worn what with clothing coupons being the order of the day. Lunch time there reminds me more of Dotheboys Hall with Manley and his wife sitting at the head of the table and sternly telling us why we must eat everything up. All in all it wasn't a happy episode in my education. Do you remember which road the school was in?

Thanks for replying,

Michael Farringdon

I just came across this interesting thread. Edenmore was my first school and I started on 21 September 1949. I was four and a half. I was sent there because my father was a terrible snob and the cachet of a 'Preparatory School' appealed to him and it was very cheap compared to many others. For my mother and I it was a nightmare! On my second day I remember all too well I was literally dragged kicking and screaming into the school by Mr Murray while I frantically held on to my mum, a dreadful experience for her. I too remember the flag in the front of the school and the raising and lowering ceremonies and the routine for leaving in the afternoon. The school lined up in ranks in the driveway and as we marched out to the road (King Charles Road, by the way) and each boy had to raise his cap to each and every mum standing there! I remember the purple uniform which in my day was edged with emerald green - quite striking! Mr Murray was a monster who made a massive impression on me and who I will never forget. He was a large, fat, man and looking back I can see he was a bully and a sadist who wielded the cane for the most trivial of offences. One day he came into my classroom, interrupting the lesson, and asked for the spelling of 'volcano'. He picked me. I was terrified and had absolutely no idea how to spell it and was marched down to his study and caned on both hands, an experience that was frequently repeated for other similar 'crimes'. I remember one male teacher who used to tell us stories, and I guess they were 'stories', about his wartime adventures rather than more conventional educational activities. He also had us 'resting' as he called it with our hands on our heads and sitting absolutely still and quiet for lengthy periods. He would pick the best and the reward was a highly prized empty tobacco tin. Educationally the school was a disaster for me and it took years to catch up with my later state-educated fellow pupils. My grandson is currently training to be a primary school teacher and it is hardly credible that Edenmore Preparatory School and Mr Murray compared with today's standards could exist within one person's experience.

Thanks to everyone who put me back in touch with the past. -

Brian Green. Edenmore Preparatory School, 1949-1951

Hi jandmf,

Yes I remember the school. I used to attend until I was eleven yrs old in 1946 (when I just failed the 11+ for Kingston Grammar school) From there went to St Helens College at Weston Green, Thames Ditton.

No doubt you will recall that it was oblogatory to doff one's cap as you entered the driveway showing defference to Mr Manley, sitting sphinx like in his study window!

I believe our uniform was a purple jacket and grey short trousers with purple hat.

I'm afraid I can remember no one apart possibly from a Michael Froud and the Thorogood brothers (sons of the well-known local builder)

Regards
Keith Brown

One of my brothers, John Kenney, went to this school when Manley was there and he hated it. There now you know my surname.

Later at the age of seven I was forced to go there after moving to Surbiton from Ashley Road in Thames Ditton.

By then Manley was gone and a Mr. Murray had taken over. He was brute and used to cane everybody at the slightest excuse.

I had no changing shoes even though I persisted in asking my mum for some so I used to say I had forgotten them each morning and got the usual caning, at seven years old! He gave me nightmares until my mother took me away and put me into St.Andrews primary school which used to stand in St. Andrews Road. There I was blissfully happy until 1955 and grew to the age of eleven amongst the most wonderful crowd of children who I wish that I could be reunited with but cannot trace.

I was in the fantastic Mrs. Durrants class in the summer of 1955 and even had a sweetheart called Sonia with whom I would share a bag of chips as we walked home after her girl guides night.

After that, instead of following them to Hollyfield Road secondary, I was once again forced into another prep school, Arundle House, where another couple of brutes used to cane and slipper eleven to thirteen year olds on a regular basis for the slightest things then wonder why they had learning difficulties like me.

Sorry this was about Edenmore which had a lasting effect on me for many years making me a very nervous and anxious person.

I remember the raising of the Union Jack each day and raising of the cap to Murray morning and night and the singinging of God Save The King at prayers. We used to have cold roast beef, mashed potatoes, and greens for lunch, followed by a semolina of sorts.

Mr. Murray forbade us to read the Eagle comic when it came out because it corrupted our minds with anti religious beliefs of space travel and the world beyond. Within eight years Gagarin had gone into space so Murray must have done his nut.

After failing dismally in every subject at Arundle House I ended up at Oliver Reed's and Terence Morgan's school, Ewell Castle, where I banged into other boys who had experienced Murray and been given a great start in life.

I have a hatred of private prep scools on account of my personal experience of them, especially Edenmore.

In 1954 when I was 4 years old, I’m sure my relatively wealthy aunts had decided I should go to prep school and must have paid for it as I’m pretty sure my mum didn’t get a lot from Dad who was in action in Korea. So I ended up in the headmaster’s office for an “assessment”. All I can recall is the following:

Murray: “If you are standing with the sun behind you, where will your shadow be?”
Me: “In front of me of course!”

I actually thought he was joking with me, it was such an easy question, but apparently it impressed him enough and so I started the following week, the youngest boy in the school by about a year at the time, as far as I know.

First Crime:
One sunny day in the playground, I looked up at the school building and noticed something very strange. It seemed to me that the building was moving slightly against the sky. Of course, it was the sky moving - the sparse clouds in fact. I asked one of the older boys why this was happening. He took a look and immediately started running round in circles yelling “Help! The school’s falling down!”. Within a minute the entire school was in chaos, with wailing and screaming children running in all directions. Once the teachers had calmed things down and I was identified as the troublemaker, I was given to understand that such behaviour would not be tolerated in future. No cane this time.

Second Crime:
In spite of the warning, I continued to find new ways to amuse myself. I was keen on aeroplanes and found a way to imitate the sound of an aero engine by vibrating my tongue against the roof of my mouth while exhaling, making a sort of baritone trill. After demonstrating this new skill to some of the older kids, I was rapidly hauled up in front of the Headmaster and accused of “spitting”. I had no real idea why they thought this, as no saliva had left my mouth, and so denied the charge. No good, a criminal record and a caning in front of the whole school at age 4½. I began to realise there was no justice in this world; a useful lesson, but obviously not the one my ridiculous bully of a headmaster had intended. In recent years, I discovered similar tales online of that man's unusually brutal approach to education.

Health and Safety:
I was a lot smaller than the other kids and had difficulty drinking from the marble-clad water fountain plinth in the playground. I had to jump up, grab the small tap and haul my self up to drink from it. On one occasion, my hand slipped from the damp, shiny tap and I fell back, gashing my chin on the sharp corner of the plinth. Blood everywhere and a trip to the doctor for two stitches, no fun at all. I still have the scar.

Luckily, my Dad came back from Korea in 1955 and I was plucked out and sent to a further six schools before I was 12. Then to boarding school till I was 18. I HATED SCHOOL! and didn't start to learn properly until I was at University, which went really well...

Regards to all contributors and many thanks for your memories
Mark

I was at Edenmore Prep School between 1942 and 1945 and like everyone else there received the cane (a nasty looking thick heavy and knobbly one) on both hands regularly from Mr Manley. This would be administered even if you just asked to go to the lavatory. Another teacher who had a similar sunny disposition was Mr Hughes. I also recall a lady teacher with red hair who could have been a reject from Dotheboys Hall.
My contemporaries included Roy Smith, Gordon Winter, Raymond Frere, Bruce Whyte, John Davies, Barry Railton and John Hall. All of us except John Hall went on to the Modern School in Grove Road, Surbiton - a smashing place and we have a thriving Association with an annual lunch reunion at the Masonic Hall (alongside Claremont Gardens).
Ian Whitmore

I have an Album in the Archives in Adelaide, South Australia, from 5th Surbiton Guides mentioning names Carol & Janet Lee , Joyce & Eileen Perry,Valarie Shepard, Barbara Bainbridge, JAnet Moody, Maureen Allen, Rlizabeth Burnett, Sheila Mogford, Shirley Noel, 1945-50,
I will discard this soon but am prepared to send/email photos to anyone interested.

I was there from 1951-54, before I went on to St Helen's College, Thames Ditton. The Head was a patient of my late father. I remember the huts in the garden, the wooden tar bricks used for the fires and which we used to build things. Fish on Friday's, smoking behind the huts, football down at Alexander Rec. Happy days apart from the cane being used so much, especially as an 'aide memoire' in mental arithmetic etc!! We had some good teachers, but I was a slow starter! Made up for it in the end.
Philip Clements
clements.philip@sky.com

Further to my first posting, Mr Murray was the head and I concur with the comments made about him being a bully and sadist, but there was one positive that came out of my time at Edenmore. Mr Murray was a member of the BARC (who ran motor race meetings at Goodwood) and we were able to use his member's badges to go to Goodwood and watch rising stars like Stirling Moss, Tony Crooks, Roy Salvadori, Mike Hawthorn and others. So began my life long interest in Motor Sport. Such is life.
Philip Clements

Alan Chalmers calling:

I used to live in Berrylands and was sent to Edenmore aged 7 probably in 1950. I dreaded the daily walk to school and like others I have only poor memories of Mr Murray. I only lasted there 2 or 3 terms and was then sent away to boarding prep school in Seaford. It was not much different as the Friday routine was usually livened up with a beating. All those masters had come through a beastly war and were I think rather disturbed.

In my files is a school photo of Edenmore, undated but as I am in it, it can only be 1950 or just possibly 1951.

Does this system allow a photo of be loaded? Let me know how and I will put it up for you. Or I can email it privately.

Best wishes from Alan C

I was 4 years old when I was at Edenmore school I have very strong memories of the night in 1940 when the bombing started, when they were trying to hit Surbiton station. They were after the road bridges across the railway line, we were down in the basement on the right hand side of the steps and if you remember you could see through to the other room on the left hand side. The planes were machine gunning the houses when the bullets started coming through the window on the left hand side where the bicycles were stored. I could see the that the bicycles were shot to pieces.
The ARP warden with a policeman ordered for us to evacuate the school as I was the youngest in the school the policeman looked after me and we walked all the way up the King Charles Road. The policeman and I were in the front and when we got to the bridge that goes over the railway and we were nearly to the end of the bridge when a bomb fell at least 50 yards from us on the Ewell Road, the policeman fell back on me to save me from the blast unfortunatley his legs were badly injured. From there I really cannot remember who took me to the headmasters brothers house where we all stayed. If only I could have thanked that policeman as he saved my life. Two days later we all went to stay somewhere which I really don't know, the dormitory we were staying in the back wall was blown out completely by another bomb but we slept through it, I'm happy to say that I survived these two bombings and am alive today at 80 years old.
If any body remembers what happened and have any photo's I would love to get in touch. My e-mail is terrystelling36@g-mail.com
Regards to all
Terry Stelling.

I was really excited to come across this site and to read all the contributions.

I first went to Edenmore aged 5 in 1939.
On my first day I was carried screaming into school under Mr Manley's arm.

I think I must have been lucky in attending before the dreaded Mr. Murray as I have no recollection of him.
My form master was Mr. L. Winter-Knight. I have pleasant memories of him as he used to tell gripping stories of his adventures in exciting places.
He did however have a firm hand and wielded a small leather strap he called his 'Tolly" I have often wondered what was the significance of this name.

We learned copperplate hand writing with the aid of special exercise books with four horizontal lines. The top and bottom lines were for the tops and tails of the script. We were taught the ornate capital letters. Of course we used steel nibs and ink from the wells on the desk.

On one occasion I happened to be standing close to a fight in the playground. I was rounded up and caned with all the others which was most unjust.

We had to address Mrs. Manley as "Madam".

When the war broke out we sheltered in the basement. If there was an alert during lunch time we had to spend it there and not go home.

I lived in Parklands and several bombs dropped in the close vicinity. I used to walk round a crater in the road to get to school and often got bullied there.
I remember the sky being red at night with the blitz on London and the night St. Marks Church was bombed.

I am happy to say that my memories of the school are not as bad as many who have posted here. This is probably because I liked Mr. Winter-Knight and was fortunate not to be there with Mr. Murray.

I still have my school reports from the period. The address was 66 King Charles' Road. I tried to find the house on Google but the numbers only go up to 25 so presume the property was re-developed.
I would be delighted to hear from anyone on here, especially if they have any pictures.

John Boulter.
deep_purple@btineret.com

In my recent comment I made an error in the email address.
It should be deep_purple@btinternet.com
I would be delighted to hear from past pupils.
John Boulter.

I've only just found this. I was at EPS from 1951 until we emigrated to NZ in 1953, just before the coronation. I remember Mr Murray, and I recall that the school was directly behind the Cooper car works, as we used to try and climb up the wall and look over, when no teachers were watching.

Peter Lawton

Slightly off thread maybe, but while I was attending Edenmore (in 1954 aged 4), one of my aunts, who worked at Cooper Cars in Tolworth, arranged for me to go and meet the Coopers (pere et fils) and sit in one of their racing cars that went on to vanquish all comers! No idea what model it was. My aunt mentioned that a young man called Jack Brabham used to be in and out of there looking for a drive. I believe he got his first race for Coopers in the 1955 British Grand Prix, retiring after 30 laps before going on to glory, as we all know.

I am now 82 and was a pupil at Edenmore. So well do I remember Mr Manley, and my "journeys" into his study with its roll top desk. On at least two occasions receiving his canings... Once on the hand, "six of the best"which was because a then Maths teacher {Major Shaw}had caught me cribbing the answers to a an arithmetic test. I guess I deserved to be punished for maths was my weak subject and he stood next to my desk with a folder tucked under his arm. I looked up, and saw written, "Answers to arithmetic test". I quickly jotted down the 10 answers before he moved away. Filling in a jumble of any figures in the margin of my maths book{that is where we were required to do the "working out " of the problems}, and then writing in {"Answer = ????} I gave in my "work". Later Major Shaw announce to the class that they should acknowledge and applaud the genius maths scholar in their midst.. And then......"Stand up Myers". I stood, proudly beaming at my new found honor. Only to hear Major Shaw continue. Mr Myers is the only student to have 10 correct answers to the test.....The only fault i find is that they are the 10 correct answers to the test i was to give NEXT WEEK." " Myers report to the Headmaster"

The second caning was on my rear end., and was given because having had a weak bladder, the teacher had refused me three times, when I put up my hand, and asked to "Be Excused".... I wet my pants. Mr Manley was informed, and I was caned on my bare behind.
When my father saw the Blue welts and bruises this caused , he marched me up to the school. {we lived just over a mile away} We entered Mr Manley's Inner sanctum, and embarrassed as i was i had to show him my bruises. I cannot recall the outcome of my father;'s complaint.........BUT YES...This man was indeed a Victorian type Headmaster.

My parents both worked in London, and as consequence put me into the Annex of Edenmore, which was in the road opposite King Charles Road, Berrylands road If I remember. The Heads of the house ,were Mr and Mrs Jeffcock. Mrs Jeffcock was the daughter of Mr Manley. She was a totally different person from her Father.....and not once do I recall any punishment, even at the times that my weak bladder caused me to wet the bed.......The only outcome was that my parents paid for a new mattress.
"Did I ever say thanks mum and dad?

The boarding school years were far more enjoyable than the day school.And the staff all very friendly. Alas ! I guess that by now many of the boys i knew then are no longer with us....But if you are, and If you remember me, Gerald Myers, where vou you now ?

I read with great interest your memories of Edenmoore. My father in law has only recently talked of being a boarder at the school around the years 1937-1939. He says he left because of the start of WW2 but am I right in thinking the school remained open? He does not have happy memories but has not elaborated any further and that worries me. He is now 85 and slowing down and I am sad to think he was possibly subjected to a cruel and bullying regime at such a young age.

Dear anonymous,
I am 81 and now living in Adelaide, South Australia.
I was looking through some old books today and came across a book that was presented to me by Mr Manley when I left Edenmore in the summer of 1945.
I went to Edenmore when I was about 7 but left when my parents went to live in Trinidad for 3 years during WW2. We returned to Surbiton in 1944 and I did another year at Edenmore before going on to Surbiton County Grammar School at the age of12 (I was doing 11+ a year late because of my overseas sojourn)
Mr Manley was a very hard task master but I put my ability to spell well down to his use of the cane for every spelling mistake I made at the regular tests. I also remember copperplate writing and a punishment consisting of kneeling on the wooden floor with arms extended and books on the hands. Dropping the arms resulted in a whack with the cane. Certainly a sadistic approach to education.
I survived but I have many memories of Edenmore.
If you receive this I would appreciate a reply and perhaps some more memories could be shared.....!
David Plumridge.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.