Guest post: Thinking back to Franklin House School

So many people have fond memories of where they went to school. This is a guest blog from an ex student of Franklin House boys preparatory school in Palmerston Road. According to British History Online, the school began its life in Wood Green in  1897 before moving to Frankfort House in Palmerston Road 1901. There were nearly 140 boys by 1973.

Does this trigger a memory? Let us know …

There is more about Andrew Ray, 10 year old star of 1950’s The Mudlark, on the website, including this great article by his son on the relationship between Andrew and his father, the comic and local resident Ted Ray.

Bowes Park is an interesting district of North London ‘twixt Wood Green and Palmer’s Green, its name a link to the late Queen Mother’s family, which had sold land in the district as building spread in the second half of the 19th Century.  Palmerston was the Tory PM of the day, while the building developer had been Alderman Sidney, hence Sidney Avenue & Sidney Road within the district.

FHS was run by Mr JP Hope whose wife ran the kitchen with her own mother, Mrs Shiplake and one afternoon a week after school, she also ran the uniform shop. The Hope’s house was to one side with a magnificent chestnut tree in the back garden, on the other was the Christian Science Reading Room while across the back flowed the New River from Enfield in towards London. Its banks always had luxuriant verdant edges. The Fourth & Fifth forms were housed in a large, green corrugated-iron clad hut adjoining the New River boundary.

Outside the school gates was a red post box and some 5 minutes walk down Kelvin Avenue along Green Lanes was the celebrated Dom’s Snack Bar, Maxwell Miel an estate agent, ‘Jay House’, Pitman’s College and the Bus Stops for the  29, 29A buses for Southgate, Cockfosters & Oakwood and the 279 for Winchmore Hill, a route that had been a trolley bus line until such elegant vehicles were banished in perhaps 1961 by red petrol buses.

Wednesday afternoon were given over to Sports at Tottenhall Road, occasionally at Broomfield Park. School attendance was also required in the church hall on Saturday mornings for Drill sessions and human pyramid exercises led by Mr Hawtin, a retired-PTI who still terrified one or two fathers who had known him before the war. Mr Hawtin also offered swimming lessons at the Wood Green pool although demand for these sessions was, surprisingly, not keen.

 One pupil was Andrew Ray (1940-03), son of the comedian and violin player Ted Ray who became a child star. His brother was Robin Ray, the star of BBC TV’s ‘Face the Music” who may also have attended FHS. Many boys went on to Highgate or other local schools.



29 replies on “Guest post: Thinking back to Franklin House School”

I went to Franklin House from 1952 – 1957. My memories of the school are happy ones. My brother Ian left the year before I started. I was compared to him frequently which was annoying as he was clever but Mr Hope thought me “average”.. whoops. Remember my form teacher Miss Nene who seemed nice. She was replaced by the hard smacking shouty Miss Manning who bullied my best friend’s younger brother terribly. Remember ‘Molly’ Mawson’ who stunk of roll ups and Mr Hawton the Saturday PE teacher who taught boxing and tried to convince me to that being left handed ‘South Pawed’ was an “big advantage boy” I really liked him. I left Franklin House suddenly in the middle of the spring term 1957 when my mother rucked with Mr Hope over something or other and I was dumped a week later into Keble School in Winchmore Hill till I was 13. Surreal private education in 1950s North London.

I was at FHS 1961 to 1964. I only have good memories. Miss Duxberry, Miss Herbert (I was only 8, but she was sexy!), Mr Irons. Etc. Playing “green he” in the playground. I don’t recognise the descriptions of Mr Hope as a bully; I never had a problem with him. And going to the bus stop for the 29A to Oakwood, via Dom’s (still there!) and a bag of Pototo Puffs (why of why did the they stop making those wonders?). I have a superb general knowledge, and I put it all down to those three-and-a-half years.

I was at FHS from 1950 to 1952. Remember several boys in my class , Taylor, Bysouth , Reynolds ,who we used to tease mercifully, West, and a good friend who lived at Golders Green who, I’m ashamed to say who’s name I’ve forgotten( never knew their christian names !! )
Teachers : Mr Hope ,of course , Mr Mortimer and a psychopath called Mr Rayburn who punished us with a steel edged ruler across the knuckles. He got the sack after parents complained. Mr Hope drilling the finer points of Latin into us – amo,amas amat… Andrew Ray there in my final term. Gym on Sat mornings. Day off the day the KING died also being given small gifts relating to the upcoming Coronation. I’m 81 now, anybody out there still alive who can recall this period.
Ralph Burnett.

I was there from about 1965 to 1972. I remember some of it well, Mr Dence was a good teacher, and “gaffy” Garrett was ok, but my memories of Mr Hope are less positive. He seemed a bully to my seven-year-old eyes, rather too keen on caning for mild offences, like “talking in class” a habit I unfortunately had. Mr Boulteley (sp?) taught French, and there was a Mrs Howard too that I remember was horrible, but now I cannot remember why.

The best part of the Autumn was being allowed into the Headmaster’s garden to pick up conkers when they fell.

Robin Ray lived in Broad Walk,N.21. The 141 was the bus and trolley bus that ran from Moorgate to Mason’s Corner in Winchmore Hill, Masons Corner was at the bottom of Green Dragon Lane,N.21.The 141 turned around there to return to Moorgate.The 244 bus went from The Capital Cinema , now Capital House to Muswell Hill via Southgate.The 629 which changed to 269 went along Green Lanes from London to Enfield,via Harringey,Turnpike Lane,, Wood Green,Bowes Rd,Palmers Green,Winchmore Hill,Bush Hill Park to Enfield Town.

I went to FHS in the 70’s. Mr Jackson was my form teacher. I have such great memories and still have some of the same friends today. It was a great school, lacking in main stream education but excelling in boys having a wonderful start in life. I wish for those days!!

Disclaimer : This entry is revised and Palmers Green13, has been notified to withdraw the entry, but ignored such requests, over some time when the entry was first submitted and not necessarily intended as reference submission, for the school at that time.

Brian Heighway, Paul,Heaton, Andrew Ray…I also remember his brother Patrick, who was an excellent cartoon artist. There was Chris Hutton whose father invented and sold the Hutton beanpole. I recall Mr Irons and Mrs Ducksbury. Most of all i recall eating Mrs Hopes rice pudding whilst watch Mr Hope peeling and entire apple without breaking the skin.

How curious to find this, when I just looked online by chance. I was at FHS between 1961 and 1970 and I remember some of the names mentioned.

Mr. Hope was the Headmaster. His wife also oversaw the School from a non teaching side. There was a Mr. Garrett, a Mr. Pragnell – a devoted son of Luton who was, if I remember correctly also a Special Constable. There was Mr Balkley and when I was very young a Miss Merhahan and a Miss Duxberry who taught the very junior boys. There was also a Mr Dense.(I suspect the spelling on some of those names are incorrect)

I remember the vast Cricket net in the playground, summer and winter and the non stop games of football, with the bike shed at the top right corner being the main goal. And the occasional problem when we kicked it over the 4th/5th form building and into the river on the other side. And Doms Cafe and the Wimpey Bar on Green Lanes if we ate ‘out’.

And as Bryan says – Steve Jones, Cliff’s son was the celebrity pupil. I can still recall some of the names of other contemporaries. Wonder where they are now ? And how they are ?

I think the school ceased when Mr. Hope retired in the later 70s and it’s all gone – sadly – now. All but the memories anyway.

Have fond memories of the school, remember Mr Dent or Dense teaching History and smoked a pipe. There of also a teacher called Mr Pragnall with a comb over, sadly he died were I was there. Great memories!

I was a junior master at FHS 1972-73. I took Mr.Pragnell’s class the day after he died. I was so upset which sent numerous boys asking to be excused, so they could have a cry in the toilets. Mr. Pragnell was a very good member of staff. I remember Mr Hope, Mr. Dense who went home to Tunbridge Wells on weekends, Miss Duxsbury, who apparently was a nanny to Bomber Harris’ children during WWII. We had to walk about a mile to play football. FHS was archaic place, where boys use to doff their caps when seeing a teacher in the street, in 1972! But it was a great school in many ways. Pity I was too young to see it that way at the time. Boys I remember: Shaddock, Lambrou, Avogadri, Pangolos, Twyman, Burns. Happy memories. I had a bubble car which I parked opposite the school.

I attended FHS between about 1941 and 1944 before being evacuated. I do not recall too much about those early school days other than that the classrooms were in a low building built across the rear of the block and that I was constantly teased due to my (at that time) abundant blond hair. My reactions to the teasing earned me the nickname of “Shirley Temper” alluding to the child star of that era. On my return about a year later from wartime evacuation I attended Highgate School.
Michael (Mike) Bosworth

Hi Mike we were at Fhs and Highgate at the same time and I believe we were friends at one time, some seventy years ago. Mr Hawkin gave me a lifelong love of boxing. Miss Wingcup was the kindest teacher at Fhs at the time. She later went on to teach at a girls school in Highgate.
Tony Curnock

At the tender age of 73 years it is remarkable to discover a trail of memories rediscovering the past

My own particular memory was going to to the scoop as a seven year old from the Cherry Tree near Southgate on the WoodGreen ,London bus

I think that was about seven years old,and placed in Miss Parry’s class.she was very artyhad hobbies such as collecting bird eggs(now illegal) and taught French

My brother (Christopher)had preceded me to the school and ,I believe,had been in the same classes as Andrew Ray.I also remember Andrew,arriving at the school after a film shoot,football in hand,making him quite a hero,amongst the boys.oddly
enough, I played in a friendly football match some 25/30yrs later,he as on the right wing for aTV Showbiz eleven,and I was left back

My big pal at FHS was Len(Lionel) King who unfortunately died in 1976 of Leukemia.He was a chap who despite all his personal background obstacles was destined to succeed .the one obstacle that he could not overcome was poor health.

Other memories were of the assistant head teacher Mr Mawso,who stank of cheap cigarettes,Mr Burke,an Irish man who had the quaint phrase when he got fed up with a boy said’Get yer out of here’,and Mr Buokley who struggled to teach us French(he tried his best)

I had very good memories of the school,friendships,playing football in the playground,hand tennis etc

I enjoyed boxing and Swimming,and it,was true that none of us boys could ever land a blow on Mr Hawton the Gym teacher,even though he was older,than i am now

Richard Partos

I remember Richard Partos we were in the same class. I lived just round the corner in Whittington Road where my parents had an off licence. Always went home for lunch. Don’t have very fond memories of the school Mr Hope was a bully and we didn’t get on. He gave me the cane once and I still have no idea why.

I was there between 1963 and 1966. Mr and Mre Hope were still there as well as Mr Irons and Mrs Ducksbry. No school lunches on Wednesday, so had to eat out at Doms or Wimpy. Buying DC or Marvel comics from the corner shop down the road as well as American Civil War cards. Annual recording of songs for Mr Hope’s brother in India or another exotic place. Saturdays were occupied with swimming in the freezing waters of Wood Green municipal pool. The son of legendary Spurs player Cliff Jones was at the school during this time.

I was there, and I remember you…you used to live just near Muswell Hill, and I never knew that you had a first name! I well remember the corner shop, burnt I also recall relieving the place of several issues of “Modern Man” and “Parade” magazines; purely for research purposes of course. Those American Civil War cards were great, the most prized was “Painful Death”, a complete set is rather valuable these days. I didn’t know then, but I know now, that the artwork was by Norman Saunders who used to illustrate many Pulp magazines. The school was a weird place, with weirder staff.

You made me giggle frequently, especially during our intoned ‘good morning, Mrs Thea,’ which we had to chant at the visiting pianist. You always said ‘Good Morning Pint of Beer.’ And occasionally, sotto voce, ‘Good morning you dried up old bag!’

Hi Brian, I remember your surname name well, I was at FH IN 65/66/67 – Steve Jones (son of Cliff Jones) was my good friend, I remember going to his bungalow after school and he coming to Bush Hill Park Golf Club where I lived – Mr Irons was my form master if I remember correctly? yes I too remember going to Dom’s 🙂 – I once got the slipper in front of the school from Mr Hope, Steve and I had acquired this small amplifier and microphone (battery operated) and we got caught blowing raspberry noises (farting) from one cubicle to another which no one was sat in! not so funny now but we found it hilarious” Mr Hope did not! 🙂
If you remember me or not, I trust you are well.
Tony West

Never met the headmaster, he had gone off to WW2. The lady teachers ran a very good school.
It was a great life, especially the boxing on Saturday mornings. A teacher might occasionally call you forward to receive a strike across the palm of the hand with a twelve inch wood ruler, very painful. We deserved it of course! Used to live at 72 Arnos Grove. When the V2s started, I was evacuated to Milton Ernest on the A6. Clive 1943-44.

Forgot to mention that perhaps I redeemed myself to some extent, by being elected years later as Lord Mayor of the City of London 1999 – 2000.

Come here boy…….Mr Hope ( Senex Spes )” old man Hope”, was formerly a Major in the Royal Artillery during WW2, thinking he was still commanding the troops, I had the misfortune of having to take after school hours extra coaching,with him at his house next door to the school, watching him drool over hot buttered toast,.with the rasp of butter grease, wafting over and running down his mouth. He did not offer me a bit of his toast or anything else.

He always called my Liddell instead of my proper name of Liddle, I assume, because it rhymed with taking a leak.

He kept a birch in his 5th Form cupboard and relished the ritual of administering a severe caning to some unfortunate, under the mass gaze of the 5th & 4th forms, lashing the wretch over a desk, with 3 average lashes, for the punishment of eating a ice cream in public, disgracing the school & uniform, after a member of the public had complained…….. ” bend over boy” he would bellow.

I escape his wrath , several times and the dreaded birch, having various night mares, even now at the age of 72.about the display of his brand of corporal punishment.

My last sighting of Mr Hope was from the back seat of a 29 bus in 1962, when he came out of the road by Maxwell Miel Estate Agents, in a light blue mini, with Mrs Hope, he was wearing a flat cap , I recognised him immediately and stuck up two fingers at him from the back window of the bus.
Needless to say he did not respond and remained totally resolute, looking oversized in his light blue mini, as if he had been prized in with a shoe horn.

I must admit to feeling a bit of an oik at the time , but had the freedom , as I had left Franklin House by then.

The school was demolished a few years later., taking all the dreaded memories with it

C. Liddle

Hi, I went to Franklin House School 1955 to 1960, from the Remove to the 6th Form and remember Mr Mawsen of the 4th Form , who smoked his Weights cigarettes in the adjacent cloak room, when Mr Hope the Headmaster was not around, giving rise to the odious smell of nicotine wafting into the classroom.. Mawsen a vile man had great pleasure in bullying me , when he felt the need. Needless to say his teaching ability was nil and why he was kept on, is a complete mystery.( He had been there for many years )
Similar types seemed to have a charmed life as Mr Burke of the Remove and Mr Hay with others, who took pleasure in hitting the pupils around the head with open hands and knocking them to the floor, usually over some minor infringement. ( They would all be prosecuted to day and possibly serving a custodial term for abuse, assault and battery)
On a happier note, Mrs Hope’s lunch time dinners were renown for excellence, assisted by her mother Mrs Shipway and another helper of whom had been there for many years.
The Art class taken by a with it Adonis , who’s name eludes me , was a happy experience to escape the rigors of normal class room life.
And finally Mr Hawtin the PT martinet, who would lash out with a wand and hit the top of the drill piano to stop , as the pianist Mr Hall was deaf, accepting this retort, for a few shillings, Saturday morning fee…… Happy Days

C Liddle Jan 2019

Hi, my name is Robert Sleigh. I went to Franklin House between 1963 and 1966. I remember Mr.Hope well. I despised him and the way he would humiliate pupils by shouting his favourite word “impudence”.. He was also a bully until my father had a quiet word with him and it suddenly stopped. I was in the classroom at the end of the playground with boys named Paul Heaton, Nicky Blustin, Gwillum Clarke, John White ,Peter Story and the footballer Cliff Jones’s son Steve. They are all I can remember at the moment.I think I remember Mr. Hawtin and also a Mr.Demolla. It would be nice to hear from old schol friends to see what they’re getting up to these days.

Good friends, not so great headmaster.

Rob Sleigh

Hi Robert , I read your comments with interest, although I left FHS in 1960 and my comments about FHS are entered above, your mention of Mr Hope has prompted my latest entry which should here soon, about him

I did not know the people you mention, as my tenure they was from 1955 to 1960 , when I left at 13 years and ended up at the Collegiate school in Winchmore Hill, which was the opposite to FHS and closed down in the mid 60’s.

I had some good mates at FHS , and lost track, but remember them well.

Hope was a tyrant and ruled by fear. with his favourites being in the school sports teams- v- other schools as Keeble House, Highgate etc.

He would project a mood when FHS lost at playing other schools at either cricket or football, which lasted a few days, so we kept of his way, this resulted with him being late to take morning prayers in the tin hut next to the river at the end of the playground., making the day and 1st lesson, shorter, which usually, was maths

Anyone else was disregarded and I fitted this category with many others

He would also bully other Masters , if they were weak, the Guy in the 3rd form comes to mind, with the Art Teacher and the 6th Guy in 1960, he would never sack them , but forced some of them out them out, my Teacher in the 2nd Form went this way.

I have written Blog on the Francis Frith re Palmers Green, website, a while back and refer to FHS ,should it, be of interest to you. >Palmers Green> Memories
Kind regards
Christopher Liddle

I remember you well, Bob. Nice guy you were too, always with a sense of fair play. You had a crew cut. I was mates with naughty David ‘Nelly’ Nelson, who was always going ‘over the desk’ for a slippering from Harry Hope, the schooldays were a bit like The Beano!

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