Haslingfield School History: Evacuees

Haslingfield School seems to have accommodated its fair share of evacuees, receiving some 160 in the course of World War II. They seem to have come in three main waves: shortly after the start of the war, when the Luftwaffe were threatening to drop all sorts on London, including poison gas; in 1940-41, when they did start bombing the capital, and in 1944 when the V1 and V2 rockets were launched by a retreating German Army.

The 21 who appeared at the door of the school in the two months after the outbreak of war were a mixed lot. Because Haslingfield was still a 5-14 school, the ages of the evacuees embraced that range – there were two 5-year-olds, five aged 6, one aged 7, three aged 8, three 9, two 10 and the remaining five over 10. When the forecast blitzkrieg failed to materialise, a number of them went home. Two only stayed 4 days. Only three stayed longer than a year, including one boy who stayed at Haslingfield School for 5 years before progressing to the County Boys’ High at the age of eleven.

Unsurprisingly, most came from inner London, in particular the north and east – Ilford, Leytonstone, Tooting, East Ham, Leyton, Camden. Some came from the more leafy suburbs – South Woodford, Wimbledon, Hendon, Hampstead and Upper Norwood. The kind people of Haslingfield who looked after them included Mrs. Rising, landlady of the ‘Little Rose’ and Mrs. Burrill of Lilac Farm.

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