All Souls annexe

The All Souls annexe
Image reproduced with kind permission of The Regency Society and The James Gray Collection

An almost deserted Essex Street

The All Souls annexe itself was situated mid-way along Essex Street which was otherwise lined with small terraced houses. I seem recall from the time, that most of these looked to be empty, and that would seem to make sense as I believe the entire area was levelled for redevelopment in either late 1965 or early 1966. As far as I am aware, the school ceased to have any presence at all at the All Souls building sometime during the latter part of 1965. One would assume that it was for that reason, that the new mobile classrooms were then erected in the girl’s playground at the main site, round about that same time.’

Dirty ancient classrooms

I am not sure when exactly the annexe first came into Queen’s Park School usage, but it was initially the location of all three first year form rooms with the intake of September 1964 (forms 1A, 1B and 1C;  there was no 1D back then). There were three small classrooms on the ground floor of this very old building. They had dirty bare wood floors, open coal fireplaces for heating in winter, plus ancient ‘school type’ desks set in pairs which probably dated from the Victorian era.  

Insanitary toilets

There was a small hard surfaced playground immediately to the other side of the wall with the door way in it, visible at the far right of the picture, with the main wall of the building then running along to the left. I seem to recall that there was an old wooden framed glass veranda running most of the length of that wall with flaking, green painted wooden uprights, and also an absolutely filthy brick built outside boys’ toilet located somewhere across to the opposite side. 

The school teachers

In September 1964 form 1A’s form teacher was initially a Mr Mc.Neff. He was new to the school at that time, and happily he did not stay for very long. 1B’s form teacher was a Mrs Pates, who taught book craft and light craft, that kind of thing. IC’s teacher was the very old Miss Colonette, who also used to play, or rather hammer the piano during hymn singing at Firle House’s assemblies; these were held every Friday morning in Room Six of the main school building.

Manhandling the piano

When it was needed the wretched piano, plus its stool, had to be manhandled by pupil ‘volunteers’, right across the floor of the upper hall every single time, so that Miss Colonette could inaccurately bash its keys just outside of Room Six’s wide open door. In I think January of 1965, 1A’s form room, still with Mc.Neff presiding for a time at least, was transferred to Room Eight in the main building. The other two first year classes remained based down at All Souls for the whole of that school year I believe.

Comments about this page

  • I went to the original school in Warick Street which was also demolished. I think that l was there in the early 1940s. The school moved to Essex Street while l was there and Mr Burtonshaw was the caretaker and the Seascouts master. Retired now and living in Australia.

    l was went to the old Church in Eastern Road when Father Barnard was there.


    By Dennis Beeney (26/02/2017)
  • I was the youngest of 4 of the Brookshaw family and grew up from 1956 at All Souls School until it was demolished. My dad Mr Brookshaw was the caretaker and mum was the cleaner.
    From my recollection there was a large hall that had folding dividing doors that formed 3 large classrooms. The dividing panels were pulled back for the church fetes etc . With the staff room at the front left hand side of the building and a classroom at the back. The school and floors and toilets were cleaned and scrubbed on a daily basis and polished once weekly.

    Our living accommodation was on the lower ground floor with bedrooms on the first and second floor.

    In summary I and the rest of my family had many happy years living there.

    By Mrs Susan Coomber (03/05/2021)
  • I was the eldest of the 4 Brookshaw children and l believe my dad became school caretaker in the Essex street All Souls school in 1946/7. The school layout was as my sister Susan says and the classrooms were cleaned thoroughly everyday and in vacation time the furniture was taken outside and thoroughly scrubbed clean and the floorboards oiled. The heating was a large radiator in each room plus a roaring fire halfway up the room l never remember being cold. The toilet blocks were outside which created problems in the winter as they froze up. There was a small enclosed playground to the side which was adequate for the number of pupils attending. The Headmaster was Mr Munch who was very kind and popularm the junior teacher was Miss Coleman who was very strict and used to poke you in the back of the head if you misbehaved.

    We, the Brookshaw family lived in the school house which consisted of a kitchen and sitting room in the basement with a yard in which the outside toilet was situated and a copper for the washing. The furnace supplying the hot water for the school was also on this level along with the coal storage house. On the first floor was an internal toilet and a double bedroom with a sitting room, on the second floor were three bedrooms. Early on there was no electricity to these rooms and no heating, it could be very chilly in the winter and we often got dressed under the bed clothes. Our childhood was very happy there sliding down the bannisters and playing in the playground when school was out and often breaking a window when practising tennis, no pocket money then. Dad stayed there until the school closed and was sad to leave.

    By AUDREY O'BRIEN nee BROOKSHAW (03/05/2021)

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