Move to Ealing Day!

To commemorate the School’s original home in Notting Hill, our newly launched “Move to Ealing Day” starts tomorrow with a 5 mile walk from Norland Square in Holland Park to Cleveland Road in Ealing.

The original move was announced in Summer 1930 by the then new head, Miss McCaig, at the start of what was to become a twenty year long tenure. The School had its final Christmas celebration in Notting Hill that year before opening completely anew on 20th January 1931 in its new home in Ealing.

Here’s a personal account from one of the girls who wrote her experience of the big move in the 1931 School Magazine:

“The news of the proposed move to Ealing came soon after the beginning of the Summer Term, and for a time conversation was mainly a discussion of means of transport. The words Central London Railway, District, Great Western, and the numbers 184, 97, 65 almost hung in the air. The girls who then came to Notting Hill from Ealing showered information about season tickets and times of trains, or wandered about murmuring dreamily “Breakfast at half-past eight.” Next we heard of the purchase of Girton House; and the Five Hard Red Tennis Courts (described variously as the best in Ealing, in West London, in London, in England, and in the world) took the place of trains and ‘buses in the general imagination.

In September we welcomed Miss McCaig, and the last term in the old building began. It seemed very quiet. We had grown used to thinking of the tennis courts and the journey, and even to the sound of Notting-Hill-and- Ealing, which had once seemed so difficult; and really there was not very much to talk about. Reports of the builders’ progress were brought in by Ealing girls or by pilgrims who had been out “to see”; it seemed rather slow—especially the foundations—and could hardly lead to much discussion.

A little before the end of term we began packing—library books, science apparatus, acting costumes, pens and pencils, all in brown paper parcels neatly labelled. All chairs and desks, and even blackboards, had to be labelled too, in order that they might be taken at once to the right rooms in the new School, and in the midst, it seemed, of the labelling the term came to an end. We broke up, with a carol service, on Friday, 19th December; some of us stayed all day, some came back on the next day, to help with packing. It was all very busy and brisk, and it was very difficult to believe that we were never coming back. We went off for the holidays (the thought of tying up Christmas parcels was not quite as attractive as usual), and while we were away the School’s belongings were moved to Ealing. The synchronised clocks (as we discovered when they reappeared a few days ago) were stopped one day at a quarter past four—a comfortable, tea-by-the fire sort of time, and quite inappropriate. It should have been 3-55.

This term has naturally been a busy one. At first only the old part of the building was ready; but in a surprisingly short time we were able to move into the new wing, a floor at a time, until we were sorted out into our proper form rooms. It was very interesting to see the rooms being finished before our eyes.

On Thursday, 26th February, the new building was formally opened. The Marquess of Crewe, President of the Trust, was to have performed the ceremony, but as he was ill Lady Crewe came instead, and in a short speech declared the building open. Interesting speeches were made also by Mr. Laurie Magnus (who took the Chair) and Miss McCaig. Lady Savory proposed a vote of thanks to Lady Crewe, and the Mayor of Ealing seconded it. Before and after the ceremony, songs were sung by the Senior and Junior choirs. Then we dispersed to our form rooms, while the many visitors looked over the school”.


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