Sunday, 4 January 2009

Walworth School / Mina Road School

I'm hoping some people will find this by Googling the school’s name. (Its official name from 1946 was Walworth School, but it was often known by its older name of Mina Road School, dating from at least 1882.) Mina Road is off the Old Kent Road in the Walworth district of Southwark, in South London.

Walworth School no longer exists, having been replaced in 2007 by Walworth Academy. It was established in 1946 as an ‘experimental’ or ‘interim’ comprehensive school, in the buildings and with many of the staff of what had been a ‘central’ school. The school was regarded as highly successful and was important and interesting in a number of ways, one of which was its leading role in reforming English teaching in London.

Briefly, the point of this is that I'm involved in producing a history of the teaching of English in this school and two others. We’re going from after the war – 1945 – to about 1965, and we’re collecting memories from people who remember their experience of English lessons at Walworth.

We’d especially like to hear from people who were taught English by:-
Mr Arthur Harvey
Miss Judith Wild
Mr Hall
Mr Gus Greely
Mr Harold Rosen
Miss Pip Porchetta
Miss Valerie Avery/Noakes
Mr John Dixon
Mr Leslie Stratta
Mr Simon Clements
Mr Charlie Stuart-Jervis
Mr Andrew Salkey
Mr Alec or Alex McLeod.

If anyone out there has kept any of their English work, we’d love to see it. Or if you know anyone who may have.

To get in touch, add a Comment to this blog posting (click on the link at the end of this). It won’t automatically be posted on the blog but will first be emailed to me for my approval. If you want your message to be just a private communication to me, say so: I won’t publish it and I'll send you my email address so we can communicate in confidence. But I'm also pleased to publish anything appropriate if that’s your wish.

I'm involved in this history project as one of my jobs (privileges!) as Senior Visiting Research Fellow (i.e. retired lecturer) at King's College London. I taught at Walworth myself from 1964 to 1971.

I'm working most closely with Patrick Kingwell, an ex-pupil of Walworth, formerly a senior officer of Southwark Council and an active local historian. Also with three colleagues at the University of London Institute of Education: Dr John Hardcastle, Professor Richard Andrews and Dr David Crook. Between us we’ve just been awarded a generous research grant by the Leverhulme Trust to continue the work for three years and produce a book.


ronyrob said...

Via James Learmonth my late friend I know Simon Clements a bit. James and I (and G Hacker), workign aty Eltham Green School, wrote the 'Conflict' books for Nelson in the late 60s and felt we were following/pinching much of Walworth's work... In our clumsy way we too were discovering important things about education and young people,and ourselves. I still believe it all, only a bit more so, having had kids of my own.

Pete Medway said...

Ronyrob,thanks for that. Do I understand that you were taught by Simon Clements?

If you'd rather email me direct, it's


Spike Jones said...

I am trying to contact John Noakes or Valerie Averie. John and I were childhood friends in the days emediatly post war but have only been in touch briefly on one occasion since. Can anyone help please

Pete Medway said...

Spike, send me an email at and I'll respond. Pete

Brian Cope said...

My husband, Brian Cope was taught English by Mr Harvey. He is trying re-establish contact with John Lueder who was his best man in 1959.

bill king said...

I am still friends with Arthur Baldock and Steve Bridger, who I meet during my first year at Mina Road School (1951-1956).
We meet over last weekend and listed the fellow pupils that we could remember during our final years.
We were in form 4H and the following are the namrs we remembered:
Terry Dean/John Dixon/? Skinner/Terry Donoghue/tony lock/John(Kipper Lynch? Tony Dyer (who I met at Beauligh Hampshire in the late sixties) ? Brindle/Derek Bennett/ and
George Harrison( not THE George Harrison)

The teachers we think we remember were Miss O,Reilly,who was the Head and was replaced by Mr (Roy)Rogers,Mr Besch( our form teacher in the third year who married Miss Harvey/Paddy Price p/e teacher/Me Grealy, english teacher/Mr O,Reagen art teacher/Mr Hunt(our form teacher in our final years) and Mr (Geoff) Arnold metal work teacher.
If anyone remembers any of the above and would like to e-mail me direct my address is:
I am in regular cintact with Arthur and Steve and it would be great if I could get some update from former pupils.
thank you for taking the time to read the above and look forward to hearing from you.

Pete Medway said...

Bill, thanks for that. I've sent an email to your own address but we're wondering if you and your friends, or anyone else, could post some memories of Gus Grealy as an English teacher? I can send questions if that would help...

John in Paris said...

I would like to contact Brian Cope. My Email address is
I remember Brian well as we were in the 6th form together with Rosina Walton. our history teacher was Mr. Lebrun.
Since 1963 I have lived in France.

tony maguire said...

Hi Mr Medway,
I found your Mina Road site through, as you hoped, a Google search for the school.
I'm afraid I cannot be of assistance for your research project concerning English teaching post 1945. However, it might interest you, or your research partners that I can claim my father as, perhaps, the most senior ex pupil of Mina Road school.
I recently visited him on the occasion of his 94th birthday and took him a copy of the leaflet, advertising the official opening of the extended school in 1905, as posted on your site. He was fascinated.
He now lives near Stoke on Trent, but I hope that one day I shall be able to revisit the London sites of his youth, including Mina Road.

Tony Maguire (email

Pete Medway said...

Tony, please give my best wishes to your father. I'm so glad he found the brochure interesting.

That was only the front cover. I have the whole brochure (several pages) and would be happy to send you it if you could tell me your email address. You can send it to me at

PDFM said...

Peter Morris. Walworth 1966-73 so out of your research period unfortunately. Was taught English by Miss Porchetta and Miss Harvey, and Mr. Lamb and others. I remember a Mr. Medway, but was never taught by him.

maggie said...

Mr Greeley was my (what was then called) ist and second year form teacher I always am reminded of his reply when asked why do we have to learn this, was we go to scholl to learn the ability to learn, to tell our brains we can do things which may seem difficult, and we teach english maths etx because it will be a help when you enter the world of work, I also remember Mr Salky as I reccolect our first black teacher who had a mesmeriwing way of walking up and down the class so you followed his every word, he also was responsible for my understanding what adverbs etc were. I sat newxt to Lesley Cordroy in the first year and my best friend was Olive Basham she sat next to Michail Collins, all in all I only remember good times at that school it gave me the confidence to be able to tackle anything and if it was difficult or I didn't want to do it \\i thought of |Mr Greeleys comment, and said to myself my brain can do it and I did it .

maggie said...

I was taught English ny Mr Greeley who was also my form teach for my 1st and second year, he inspired me to think that I could achieve anything I wanted just by applying my brain. I also remember \\\\\mr Salkey who finally let the light switch on in rspect of how verbs adjectives worked in a sentence. Miss Pilbeam taught 4 of us (wouldn't happen today) music theory Olive Basham Garrard Hollis and another boy whose name escapes me, she took us to The Albert Hall south bank and many more places a lovely teacher but not the english teachers you were inquireing about. I enjoyed my school years and when i listen to other people I realise how lucky I was to attend that school. my name then was Margaret Dunkley.

maggie said...

just an add in to Spike Jones, he lived in the same stree as me, no other knowledge tho, sorry.

Pete Medway said...

Hi Maggie

If you'd rather write to me direct rather than posting comments on the blog, I'm at

Do remember what Mr Grealy read to you or with you? or anything he got you to write?


jamchocks said...

I was taught English by Arthur Harvey during my period at Mina Rd - 1951-55. I still have the book he signed and gave to me - Right Royal by John Masefield. On one occasion he invited me and Eddie Dipple to his home and, as I remember, he had a tennis court in his back garden.
Unfortunately. I haven't kept any of my course work from that time. Some time ago I did take a copy of an old photo showing Mr Harvey in the playground. This was on some website - not sure which one.
Best regards
Roy James

Pete Medway said...

So that was in years 1-4, Roy, or 2-5? We didn't know whether Arthur Harvey taught the lower forms. I think we too found the photo you mention. We'd be interested in anything else you have to tell us -- did you go to the cafe in the OKR with him? and if you'll email me at I'll send you the two bulletins we've done about the research. Also see our website at

Pete Medway said...

In case you hadn't noticed, there are lots more postings about Walworth School or Mina Road School. If you look down the right hand side of the screen, some way down there’s a long list of ‘labels’. These are links to other postings on this blog. Try clicking on Walworth and Mina Road.