Evacuees Arrive in Meldreth, September 1939

By Kathryn Betts

Evacuees Arrive in Meldreth

Meldreth School opened on Friday 1st September 1939 to receive 55 evacuees and again the following day to receive evacuated mothers and children under five.

Most of the evacuees were girls from the Oratory Girls’ School at Stewarts Grove, Chelsea.  A few of the girls had younger brothers and sisters who also attended the school.

At this time, the school had 39 children on roll and could not accommodate an additional 55 children at the same time.  Therefore two shifts were operated, with the Junior School opening from 8.45 am until 12.30 pm and the evacuated school from 1.00 pm to 4.45 pm.

Below are the billet sheets from the school's admissions register, giving the names of the evacuees who arrived in the village in September 1939 and details of the families they stayed with.

Photo:A billet sheet from the school's admissions register

A billet sheet from the school's admissions register

Photograph courtesy of Meldreth Primary School

Photo:A billet sheet from the school's admissions register

A billet sheet from the school's admissions register

Photograph courtesy of Meldreth Primary School


The evacuees’ stay in the village was brief, and they left on Friday 17th November 1939.  The following Monday the school recommenced with two daily sessions.

Other evacuees arrived in the village the following year, and were enrolled at the school between April 1940 and November 1941.  The pages below are from the school's admission register and give details of the evacuees who started at the school during this period:

Photo:A list of evacuees, from the school's admissions register

A list of evacuees, from the school's admissions register

Photograph courtesy of Meldreth Primary School

Photo:A list of evacuees, from the school's admissions register

A list of evacuees, from the school's admissions register

Photograph courtesy of Meldreth Primary School


There were also some older evacuees in Meldreth, who mainly came from Raynes Park County Grammar School near Wimbledon.  To begin with, they camped in the field next to Topcliffe Mill and had to wash each day in the mill sluice which, according to Ian Law, one of the evacuees, was “very overgrown with nettles and completely silted up”.  Later, they moved from the tents into Nissen huts in the grounds of the vicarage, next to the church.

 



This page was added by Kathryn Betts on 01/01/2011.
Comments about this page

I notice that my childhood friend Derick Barter, an evacuee, is listed on the billet sheet. Derick was billeted at Hope Folly, just down the road from the station where we lived. My father often got us to box together and one entry in his diary read that we were a good match and that I weighed 4 stone 2 lb and Derick 4 stone 9 lb. Other entries were of family picnics at the old lime works at Chiswick End, where Derick and I would go fishing in the pit there. I remember it as a really lovely spot. I do have a photograph of the pit somewhere. I must try to find it!

By Ken Winter
On 22/04/2011

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