Do you remember the old Christ Church School in St Albans Road?

First published in News Times Series: Photograph of the Author by

Former pupils of a school in Barnet can join in its 170th anniversary celebrations later this year.

The original Christ Church School in St Albans Road was built by Captain John Trotter alongside a parsonage where services were held until Christ Church Barnet was opened in August 1845.

By 1876, 92 children were attending the schools. In 1892, a separate infants' department was built and by 1893 the average attendance had risen to 462.

The building was used as a school for girls until 1952, when they joined the boys at their separate school in Alston Road.

In 1972 the building was bought by the British Red Cross and remained in its ownership until 2012, when it was purchased by The John Trotter Trust on behalf of Christ Church, St Albans Road, Barnet.

Members of the church have set up a campaign to raise money to develop the building into a community centre for older people.

But before this happens, organisers are keen to put together a booklet about the building’s past using information from former staff and pupils.

Former pupil Pat Barnham, née Manceni, said: “I started at Christ Church Girl’s school in September 1945 when I was seven years old and Reverend Roberts was the vicar. 

“My teacher was Mrs Gill and one of the first things I remember learning was the catechism, Christian teaching being high on the agenda.

“Most of the pupils came from the local streets around the church, with a small group coming from Guys Cliffe, a children's home on Barnet Hill almost opposite the current police station.

“In the mornings we always had a bottle of milk to drink before going out to playtime, which took place in front of the building on what is now the car park. There were two large sycamore trees at the road end of the playground which were lovely to sit under and talk or play ‘five- stones’.

“We also played numerous skipping and ball games many accompanied by verses sung with great gusto, allowing us to let off steam before going back into class.”

If you used to go to the school, or have any information of photographs you would like to share, emails opendoorappeal@hotmail.co.uk or call Pat Blyth on 0208 441 6995.

The group will also host a Victorian Spring Fair on May 17 exactly 170 years to the day when Captain John Trotter bought the land.

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