The Children's House, St George's School

A Montessori school - later moved to Gorselands

By Rosemary Ross

Photo:The first Montessori Children's House, Montessori House, (6) Manland Avenue

The first Montessori Children's House, Montessori House, (6) Manland Avenue

LHS archives, scan from Montessori brochure

The Rev Grant, first Headmaster of St George’s School, was always keen to welcome whole families to the school. He had become interested in the teaching of Dottoressa Montessori in Rome, and had visited her in 1913. He helped to form a separate Montessori Company at the school (Director Frederick E Pearce of Fairview, Crabtree Lane). The Dottoressa visited St George’s in 1919 and 1925.

This first started in a private house, Whitegarth (4) Manland Avenue, but the date is difficult to determine as Kelly's Directories were not pubished for the years between 1914 and 1922. Whitegarth was the home of Cecil Nott up to 1913/14  and of Hugh Alexander McClulloch from 1922-1928. It was also listed as "Montessori School, Montessori House, Manland Avenue" in the Commercial section of Kelly's between 1922 and 1924. From 1926, it was listed as "Montessori School, Montessori House, Sun Lane" - evidently in St George's School grounds. Miss D Matthews was Director.

Photo:Goddard House, St George's School

Goddard House, St George's School

LHS archives, scan from Montessori brochure

 

Eventually the school moved into the main part of what is now Goddard House, which became known as the Children’s House. 

Photo:The Kindergarten or Lower School in Goddard House, St George's

The Kindergarten or Lower School in Goddard House, St George's

LHS archives, scan from EM 69/23

 

In 1930 the Children’s House, still a separate entity both academically and financially, was extended with a long classroom being built on to the back of the house, and in 1934 an upper classroom was added.

Photo:Rest time in the garden - at the back of Goddard House?

Rest time in the garden - at the back of Goddard House?

LHS archives - scan from Montessori brochure

During the second world war, the Children’s House was evacuated to Belstone, near Paschoe in Devon, where the rest of the Lower School was accommodated.


Photo:Gorselands

Gorselands

LHS archives - Detail from a glass negative by Jim Jarvis

In 1949 St George’s School formally took over the running of the Children’s House. However, in December 1955 the Children’s House moved to Gorselands at the corner of Queen’s Road and Walker’s Road in Southdown. Here it was run by Mrs Jean Blackden LRAM, as a private pre-preparatory school - see advertisement below. It ceased to be part of St George’s, though the link continued to be strong until the school closed prior to Gorselands house being demolished and replaced in 1976 by a development at the corner of Queen Road and Walkers Road, named Gorselands. 

Information drawn from "A History of St George’s School Harpenden" by Pam Weatherley. Does anyone know the date when the school closed? ed

Below are scans from the brochure for the Montessori School, published as a booklet of postcards in the 1930s.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The Children's House, St George's School' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The Children's House, St George's School' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The Children's House, St George's School' page
Photo:Gorselands - advertisement: Mrs J M Blackden, formerly Principal of St George's Children's House, now conducts a school for 5 to 8 year olds, recognised by the Ministry of Education, at Gorselands .... Boys and girls are prepared for entry to the Lower School of St George's

Gorselands - advertisement: Mrs J M Blackden, formerly Principal of St George's Children's House, now conducts a school for 5 to 8 year olds, recognised by the Ministry of Education, at Gorselands .... Boys and girls are prepared for entry to the Lower School of St George's

LHS archives - scan from a photocopy -

This page was added by Rosemary Ross on 19/04/2016.
Comments about this page

My first school - at the age of about 3 - Gorselands on the Common. I must have left for St Nicks in about 1970. Does anyone else remember it? Play time used to be on the triangle of common between Queens Road, Walker's Road and the wall in the photo. No fences but great fun! I'm sure that health and safety advisors would be apoplectic today. I remember reading the Ladybird 'Peter and Jane' series sitting in the turret window. Happy days!

By Jordan Giddings
On 20/09/2016

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