Morning Assembly at Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham Boys’ School 1955-62 In reading this note it is important to understand that the day to day running of the school was organised and controlled by the Prefects. The masters taught their subjects but did not have to concern themselves with mundane matters such as the wearing of correct uniform, behaviour in the school playground during breaks, supervising queues for school dinners at lunchtime, or reporting boys who arrived late after the bell had been sounded for the school to line up in the playground ready for morning assembly.
The school in New Cross in South London that I attended from 1955-62. It had been an endowed Grammar School built in the late 19th Century by the Haberdashers’ Company of the City of London (The Haberdashers’ Company was one of the many City Livery Companies which controlled the trade of the City – like the Guilds in other places). Such schools were commonplace in British Towns and Cities in the early 20th Century but most were absorbed into the Comprehensive secondary school system created in the mid-1960s. Teresa May as the new British Prime Minister is planning to allow the creation of new Grammar Schools in places where there is parental demand. But the introduction of state funded schools that select out the more academically successful children will inevitably lead to an impoverishment of the other non selective schools in the area. This photograph of one of the main blocks of the school was taken in 2015 but it remains much as it was in my day – indeed my first form classroom was the one with the windows on the first floor to the immediate left of the tower.