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Kings Warren (Brown School) now Plumstead Manor

Notice the Brown girls School (now Plumstead Manor) in Old Mill Road. Photo: Derek Crompton.
(Click on photo for a larger view)

In Plumstead the grammar school for girls was Kings Warren, or The Brown School, because their uniform was brown. Seen here in this 1940 photo.

The man with the white coat and hand cart was the milkman, standing in Warwick Terrace where the 53 bus route started. But, what was the name of (?) Place, (bombed in WW2, I remember pre-fabs being there) the corner the pub is on?

See stories:
Memories of Childhoog by Alan West
Life in the 1920s 30s and 40s by Iris Gildon (nee Hannaford)
Memories of Plumstead Common and King's Warren School - Sheila Andrews

King’s Warren Grammar School. c.1955. Photo: Rita Ashby nee John.

I started at King’s Warren School in January 1937. The headmistress was then Miss Lillian Summers, whose super high class tones, when addressing the assembled school I found quite unbelievable. I was three months behind the rest of my year, who had started in September (I had been in hospital) and they had had time to get used to it. Had the term “you cannot be serious” been coined at that time, I should have used it, but just had to think it.

School uniform was very strict. Dark brown gym slip with beige blouse in winter, with dark brown woollen stockings with double sections at the knees for hard wear. Summer was beige dresses, blazers if you could afford it – so I didn’t get mine until 1938 – and beige lisle stockings which my brother referred to as my “Old Mother Riley's” (O.M.R's for short). Nowadays it would be Norah Batty's. The school had been the County Secondary School Plumstead, thus the school motto (CSSP) was Courage, Service, Sympathy and Patriotism. They celebrated the twenty fifth anniversary of the move to the Old Mill Road site while I was there. We paraded to St Mark’s Church behind the school banner (embroidered by the botany mistress, Miss Spratt, I believe). Even cream gloves were mandatory with the uniform on this occasion. Afterwards we had cakes and ICE CREAM with tinned pineapple in the gym. As only shops had refrigerators in those days, this rumour caused a sensation in the ranks, bordering on disbelief until it actually materialised. Heaven only knows what the present pupils of Plumstead Manor would make of all this. 1938 was quite a different world. It is strange that even as little as a decade requires explanation to those who have not lived through it.

We used to have prayers every morning and the school keeper would attend in his uniform looking very smart. He was of mature years, and one morning he was accompanied by a tall, dark and handsome young man who was his new assistant. I was down the front in 1b at the time. During proceedings my friend Audrey grabbed my arm and said “Oh Sheila, I do feel weird” and promptly collapsed on me. I was hanging on to her with chairs shooting about in all directions, when the young man stepped forward, gathered Audrey up and carried her to the sick room in a positively Douglas Fairbanks fashion. When she recovered and came back to class rather grey looking, she asked me what had happened. I reported on proceedings and Audrey was aghast. “Whatever happened to my skirt?” said she, with a vision of the dreaded brown bloomers, suspenders and brown stockings on full view. But I was able to assure her that he had done the job properly and secured her skirt with his arm. “Did he?” said Audrey, brightening up immediately.

The next morning there were no less than three young ladies, higher up the school who succumbed to an attack of the vapours, and the young man had his work cut out to deal with the situation. Miss Summers took immediate action and by the very next morning he had been transferred to the Roan Boys, and the health of her pupils took an upturn, and life was no longer exciting. Spoil sport........

......King’s Warren became an Ambulance Station and a Fire Station, but a bomb destroyed half of it, though it was rebuilt after the war, and “you can’t see the join.” In 1940 the party walls of the houses in Warwick Terrace remained standing and it looked like a toast rack, with just rubble where the toast should have been.'

Extracts from story; Memories of Plumstead Common and King's Warren School' by Sheila Andrews,


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