Schoolboy memories

Patcham Barn - the home of Carden Junior School c1946
Roy Grant
Interior of Patcham Barn
Roy Grant
Carden Junior School 1951
Roy Grant

Postwar temporary school
In the post war years of 1946-1947, Carden school had yet to be built, so Patcham barn was used as a temporary school for many of the younger children moving into the new Hollingbury estate. I went to school there as a five year old child, but apart from the original “bull’s eye” windows on the doors, the stacks of old furniture in the hallways and a very distinctive and rather unpleasant musty smell.

Out of school activities
I remember little about the building itself. What is more embedded in my mind is the journey too and from school behind the houses in Ladies Mile Road, many of which had apples to scrump and disused air raid shelters to play in. At school we made pom-poms by winding wool round two back to back cardboard milk bottle tops and listened to our teacher read from Enid Blyton’s “Wishing Chair.” After Carden was completed and the overspill children left, the barn remained as a community building and for some years served as the local youth club.

Demolition problems
Although 16th century or earlier, in those days few of us ever thought of quibbling when we were told the barn had to be demolished because it was unsafe. I later found out that it was so unsafe that the weeks planned for its demolition became months and that the central centuries old oak posts supporting the roof were so strong they had many of the qualities of reinforced concrete. I believe that the demolition company had such a geat difficulty cutting or burning them, they eventually had to tow several of them away almost complete and bury them somewhere.

Comments about this page

  • How lovely to see that photo of the class of 51. It brought back some fond memories. I think I am third from the right in the top row or third from the left in the next row down. Not sure because the faces are a bit unclear. The photo cost my mother sixpence old money to purchase. There are several faces I can put a name to in the photo, because I have in my possession one taken in 1950 or 1952 when Miss Watts was my class mistress, oh happy days!! Anybody who is in that photo and wants to contact me, I can be reached on

    By Michael Mills (17/09/2012)
  • I lived in Mayfield Crescent, Patcham from my birth in ’38 until we moved to Highview Way in ’54 when I started work. I was in the Boys Brigade and I’m sure there was a company associated with The Barn Methodist Church. My other link was that I had driving lessons and my test with a firm that had a garage up a drive at the left hand side of the Barn. I recall the car; a Standard Eight! On the other side of the drive was a butchers shop and opposite was the Patcham Library.

    By John Snelling (21/11/2012)
  • I lived on the corner of Warmdene Rd and Ladies Mile Rd. Yes, John, that garage opposite the library in Ladies Mile Rd was called Braeside Motors and the butcher’s was Holyers – a Canadian couple owned it. Mrs Holyer used to sit in a kiosk and you took your wrapped meat to her to pay. I used to buy whale meat and ‘Lights’ (intestines) there for our dog. Next door was Peter’s barbers (he used to scalp me) then an electrical shop.

    By neville Bolding (14/07/2018)

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