Evacuees in 1939
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.
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.
Evacuees in 1940-1941
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:
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.