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Headington history: Schools

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Headington Preparatory School


Headington Preparatory School (for both boys and girls) started life in the 1930s in the building behind the British Workman at 67 (then numbered 27) Old High Street. The principal was Miss Helen Welch.

Headington Preparatory School (for both boys and girls) started life in the 1930s in the building behind the British Workman at 67 (then numbered 27) Old High Street. The principal was Miss Helen Welch.

In about 1940, it moved to Beech House at 15 Beech Road. Miss Welch (in the centre of the photograph below) continued as principal after the move, and she also lived on the premises. The school closed in about 1950, when Beech House became a doctor’s house. The house was demolished around the 1980s, and the site is now occupied by flats.

Class photograph, 1946

 

Left: This photograph, kindly supplied by David Gooch (second row down, second from left), was taken in about 1946. The principal, Miss Helen Welch, is in the centre, and another teacher, Mrs Andrews, whose subjects included elocution, is at the top right.

David, who now lives in southern California, has these memories of the school:

Miss Welch was assisted by Miss Shephard, who lived in a house called Little Karoo (as opposed to the great Karoo desert) in Latimer Road [now No. 40], and a Mrs Andrews also taught there. At Christmas we always had Tableaux Vivants of the Christmas story, with the mothers of the children singing in the background. At first I was merely a shepherd, but later graduated to be the Narrator. The invitations to the great event were made on an old gelatine hectograph (the technology was still in use even in the late 1950s) and besides the notation RSVP also noted “Silver Collection” to defray the costs – after all, it was a time of severe rationing and a Labour government was in power. In retrospect, sports seems to have been very low on the list, although we did play rounders, but never cricket or football. It a a very artistic school with a solid religious background (C of E). Although I left when I was 7 or 8, my guess is that children went on until 11. One memory I have was that a selected group went to see the King (George VI) open the New Bodleian Library, at which time the gold key to open the door broke in the lock and there was a delay in the proceedings.

 

© Stephanie Jenkins

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