Godwin School ( boys ) log 2 - Godwin and Forest Gate pre WW1 (1900 - 1914)

Monday, 30 January 2017


This is the second of a series of posts based on the school log of Godwin School, from 1883 - 1984, providing a fascinating, worms' eye view of the development of the local area.


Godwin school in 1973
See here for details of the first post and a background to this series of articles.

This article, in particular, highlights:

  • Great successes achieved by the school in both Music (nationally and internationally) and football (London, and Essex-wide);
  • how Godwin pupils and Forest Gate people, more generally, responded to national and international events;
  • significant achievements made by some former Godwin pupils;
  • continued praise for the school and its record, by HMIs.
2 Mar 1900 The school was closed today, to celebrate the relief of Ladysmith (ed: significant development in the Boer War).


Contemporary painting of the Relief of Ladysmith
26 Mar 1900 The school choir competed at the Stratford Musical Festival this evening. The choir was successful in gaining 1st prize.

16 May 1900 The attendance was greatly suffered today in consequence of a Patriotic Procession taking place in Forest Gate.(ed: This procession was to whip up jingoistic fervour for the Boer War. The Stratford Express covered it at length, the extract below was published in advance of the procession, forewarning its readers of it.  The extract below mentions that the procession was to go through the streets of Forest Gate on the evening of the publication and Stratford the following evening. It would feature 157 cars - some displaying arms, other tableau with such names as "Home at Mafeking", "Britannia and South Africa", "Men in khaki " and "Camp Life". Three days afterwards  the paper devoted two thirds of a broadsheet page to coverage of the procession.  This is worthy of an article in its own right, and we will return to it in a later article). 
Stratford Express
16 May 1900
21 May 1900 The school was closed today, to celebrate the Relief of Mafeking. (ed: significant development in the Boer War).

1 Feb 1901 In accordance with Board instructions, the master gave a lesson to each section today on the life of the late Queen Victoria. School closed this afternoon, by order of the Board, in consequence of the funeral.

1 Oct 1901 18 years today, this school begun in a temporary building.

5 Jun 1902 The Board has given a holiday to celebrate the peace between this country and the Transvaal. (ed: end of the Boer War).

31 Oct 1902 The master left at 2.30 to attend the stone laying of school for defective children at Grange Road. (ed: now Grange Road Special school, opened for "disabled children" as a project by the Canning Town Women's Settlement).

27 Nov 1902 School closed at noon, by order of the Board, on account of the Shakespearean Bazaar at the Town hall Stratford, in aid of the West Ham hospital.

8 Feb 1905 HMI report This school is well organised and under very good influence. The teaching is careful and thorough, producing much accurate and intelligent work.

24 Feb 1905 Boys cautioned re getting on or near the tram cars.

27 Feb 1905 The boys were very jubilant today. The school football team won their match against Eltringham Street, the champions of South London in the Dewar Shield competition on Saturday. (ed: This was the London Schools championship shield, for football. It is still competed for today, as a trophy for year 10 pupils).

15 May 1905 The district football shield returned to this school today, for last season's success. This is the 7th time out of 9 that Godwin Road has had the honour of holding this shield.

23 Nov 1905 School closed this afternoon by order of the Education Committee in honour of the Duchess of Connaught's (ed: daughter-in-law of Queen Victoria)visit to the borough to open the American Bazaar, under the patronage and active support of the Duchess of Marlborough, for the Extension scheme for the West Ham hospital. (ed: this Bazaar took place in the pre-NHS era, and was a fund raiser for the local hospital - as were held in many places in the country - at a time when most working people effectively relied on charity for their health care.  The event was significant enough to not only result in local schools being closed, but in attracting two thirds of a broadsheet page coverage in the Stratford Express - the headline of which is shown below).


Stratford Express 25 November 1905
12 Feb 1906 Mr Walker, art connoisseur and dealer of Newquay, Cornwall called and informed the master that Frank Watson, an old Godwin boy had just left him to take up a scholar's life at the Donald Fraser Institute, Glasgow for 4 years. Mr Walker showed some of Watson's pictures and says in his opinion that he would make his mark in the art world.

26 Mar 1906 This has been a Red Letter Day ... in the elementary school choir competition at Stratford Music Festival ... 7 schools entered ... and our boys gained first prize ... the test piece was 'Shout! Throw your banner out!" and the choir's own selection "Sleep sweet birdie".

25 Mar 1907 On Saturday our boys gained the distinction of winning the championship for London in the football field. Our team beat Page Green 3 - 0, and so became the holders of the Dewar Shield for the year.

22 Mar 1909 It was painful to hear that Ambrose Rotiusno, Standard 7 was found hanging in a cupboard in his mother's room, yesterday about 2 o'clock (ed: newspaper article calls him Robinson - see below. The jury's verdict was that he met his death by "hanging while swinging about". They did not think he committed suicide).


Stratford Express 24 March 1909
29 Mar 1909 The master, with Mr Rawlings and some of the boys in his class, attended the funeral of Ambrose Rotiuso on Saturday afternoon.

23 Dec 1909 Mr Barker, one of our former pupil teachers came to see us this morning. He has just succeeded in obtaining his BSc degree at London. He was with us from Sep 1899.

15 Apr 1910 The boys were allowed an extra quarter hour's recreation this morning, to celebrate the completion of the 25th year of the opening of the school.

21 Apr 1910 School began work at 1.45 and was dismissed at 3.55. This was to enable the boys to go to Ilford to play the semi-final in the Cook Cup competition.  All staff and about 200 boys went. The school team won the match against Central Park school 3 - 0 (ed: the competition was instituted by the county Football Association, in memory of its late secretary, Robert Cook. It was open to all elementary schools in Essex. It is still competed for, under the aegis of Essex FA, for under 15s).

2 May 1910 The boys played the final of the Cook Cup competition. They met Albert Road school, Romford, at the Boleyn Castle grounds. Our boys won the match 10 - 1 and so became holders of the cup.

9 May 1910 The atmosphere at the school today has been somewhat disturbed. This is not to be wondered at, seeing that His Majesty King Edward V11 passed away just before midnight on Friday.

14 Oct 1910 The attendance this week has not been good. The Jewish holidays affected it.

21 Dec 1910 The secretary of Robert Cook Cup arrived, having made arrangements for the cup to be presented to the school. The ceremony took place this afternoon.

21 Jun 1911 School closed for the Coronation holiday, resuming on June 29.

29 Jun 1911 School reassembled this morning. The Coronation celebration was held yesterday. The boys went to the Electric Theatre ( ed: see photo. This was located near where the Co-op is today, on Woodgrange Road.  It was later known as the Imperial and also The Royal.  See here for details of the cinemas). in the morning, played games on the Flats in the afternoon and returned to school for refreshments. A very enjoyable day was spent.


Outside of Electric theatre

... and inside
7 Dec 1911 It was with satisfaction that one records that Mr Higginson, a former pupil, and Mr Bundell have each obtained the BSc degree at London University.

25 Mar 1912 The choir was successful in gaining the Challenge Shield on Friday, with 77 marks out of 80 and a certificate for singing, with 37 marks out of 40.

2 May 1912 The football team played South Church school at Southend yesterday in the Cook Cup final and won the match 4 - 1, and thus became holders for the year.

6 May 1912 The boys of the choir going to Paris attended today at the Town Hall for a lesson in French from 1pm to 2.15pm, and then returned to school (ed: An extract from Fifty Years a borough:  1886 - 1963 - the Story of West Ham wrote of "Mr Harry Earle and the splendid choir he trained at St Matthew's church, Stratford. Many of his old Godwin Road boys too, remembered with advantage the great days when (he) trained them to compete at the International Competition  held at Paris: how he found the money, took them there, and, on their return as victors they stood at the fountain at Forest Gate station and sang prize songs to a great crowd of friends and admirers. One of the songs was composed by a West Ham musician.").
Slightly grainy photo from Stratford Express
 of 150 West Ham children (including 50
 from Godwin school) on the steps of Vincennes
 Town Hall, during their visit to Paris


Stratford Express coverage of the French trip
3 Jun 1912 The choir was very successful at the Paris music festival, gaining 1st prize in the choral competition and in the singing at sight contest.  All the boys returned on Wednesday last, safe and sound, after a very enjoyable, but strenuous experience. (ed: this is quite an extraordinary story, which the Stratford Express, not surprisingly, covered in considerable detail. Part of that detail is a diary kept by the school of its time on the trip.  Although quite lengthy, this is worth an article on its own, and will feature in a future blog).

17 Jul 1912 The prizes won by the choir in Paris were publicly presented this evening by Baron de Forest MP for North West Ham (ed: see here for more details of the MP).


Stratford Express 20 July 1912



Maurice, Baron de Forest, the local
MP presented  prizes won in Paris
, to boys in the  choir, following
 their successes
26 Sep 1912 The school choir has been asked to sing at a Garden party given in West Ham Park in connection with the Municipal Tramways Conference. Mr Earle and the master are accompanying them to the park.

30 Sep 1912 Arthur Wright (Standard 1) brought a tin 'squeaker' to school. He was sucking it, when it was swallowed. The master sent the boy home to inform his mother.

3 Apr 1913 We had a very interesting visitor this afternoon, Mr John Rassuessen, who left the school in 1901. He has been in India in the Rifles Brigade. Unlike many soldiers, he has made a careful study of the life, religion and matters connected with the people.  Mr Rassuessen has been into Tibet, and so ingratiated himself into the good graces of the Lamas, that he has been shown many sacred places, played chess with them and been treated as a friend. We shall try and get him to speak to the boys on India.

25 Aug 1913 HMI report There is a good deal that is very praiseworthy at this school.

19 Nov 1913 George Cornwall called to inform us he had gained a Draper's scholarship and is going to Cambridge in October. He gained a scholarship at the secondary school from this school in 1908.


24 Nov 1913 A choir of boys from this school went to the Crystal Palace on Saturday to take part in a musical competition, under the aegis of the palace authorities. There were 15 schools who sang, this school was the winner of the first prize, gaining 96 marks out of 100. 
The impressive Crystal Palace, in south
 London, where it was located after the
 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park
 and its destruction by fire in 1936



The mosques of Forest Gate

Sunday, 22 January 2017


Around a quarter of Forest Gate's 30,000 population is Muslim and the district is served by 13 mosques.  What follows is a lay, non-believer, account of the local mosques. We are running the feature as a step towards explaining, at a fairly rudimentary level, how a significant section of our community organises itself.

There has been a small Islamic community in Britain since the 18th century. It grew in number with the development of the East India Company, which employed a large number of sailors from the sub-continent (primarily from what is now Bangladesh) to ship goods into London. Many of them stayed and developed  small communities initially around the London Docks and Whitechapel areas.

Somewhat surprisingly, however - for a range of one-off factors - the first mosque in Britain was opened in Woking in 1889.


Woking mosque - Britain's first, photo c 1900
London's first mosque was opened - in Whitechapel - as late as 1941; others followed fairly rapidly, particularly since the 1970's, as the city's Islamic community has grown.

Although Moslems are required to pray five times a day, Friday prayers (Salatul - Jum'ah) can only be professed in a mosque, by adult male Moslems. Women are permitted to pray almost anywhere and there is no requirement to attend a mosque on Fridays - hence the absence of provision for women in some of the  buildings listed below.

It is the Friday in-mosque worship requirement, together with the desire to create community centres for the faithful, that has lead to the quite rapid development of mosques in Newham (one for every five hundred or so of the faithful).

The vast majority of mosques in Britain today are not purpose built structures, but occupy previous shops, houses and other civil buildings. Forest Gate is no different from this - as the information, below, indicates.

Approximately 90% of British Moslems are Sunni, and the minority, 10%, Shi'a - a position reflected in the distribution of mosques in Forest Gate.

Deobandis and Bareilvis are the most populous divisions within the British Sunni community - largely because they are dominant in the Indian sub-continent. The Deobandis (about 50% of all London Moslems) tend to be more dogmatic in approach, and the Bareilvis favour a more charismatic approach to following the faith.

Quwwatul Islam Mosque

62-66 Upton Lane. 

Tel: 020 8475 0126. www.quwwatulislam.org

Capacity: 1600 (men only)

Theme:  Deobandi (Sunni)

Management: Guajarati

This mosque was established over 35 years ago, originally simply for Friday prayers (Jummah) and as a Madrasa for children. It was originally located in Manor Park, and moved to its current location in 1986, by purchasing a warehouse.



In 1999 the elders purchased bakery land at the rear (Chaucer Road), for girls' education. A school was established in 1999, initially as a primary school, which subsequently offered secondary education, too.  It is recognised by Ofsted and currently has a "Good" rating. It, additionally, caters for up to 110 girls per week for evening education.

Participated in 'Visit My Mosque Day' - 5 February 2017.

Adara or Idara Minhaj-ul-Quran Education Centre, co-located with the Muslim Youth League

292-296 Romford Road. 

Tel:  020 8257 1786. No website

Capacity: 700 (including women)



Theme: Sufi - Bareilvi - Tahir Qadri (a charismatic Sunni tradition)

The premises was formerly the Odeon cinema (for details of its history, see here). The fine building today looks particularly shabby and really could do with an empathetic facelift.

Imamia Mission

328 Romford Road. 

Tel: 020 8555 5363. Web: www.imamiamission.org.uk (website information open only to members)

Capacity: 400 (including women)



Theme: Shi'a (The only Shi'a mosque in Forest Gate - it is the smaller Moslem tradition - see above)

Management: Pakistani

The premises were formerly a house - once occupied by John Curwen, founder of the Earlham Grove Hall, and Tonic So-Fa music education system (see here, for further details of him and the system).

International Khatme Nubuwat Movement, also known as Darul-Uloom

11-13 St George Road. 

Tel: 020 8552 7052. No website

Capacity: 400 (men only)

Theme: Deobandi

Newham North Islamic Association (Green Street Mosque)

88 Green Street. 

Tel: 020 8586 8439. Web: www.greenstreetmosque.co.uk (seems to be defunct)

Capacity: 475 (including women)

Theme: Deobandi



Management: Pakistani and Bangladeshi

Affiliated to the Muslim Council of Britain

According to its latest returns to the Charity Commission, the Mosque's income is around £130k p.a.

Participated in 'Visit My Mosque Day' 5 February 2017.

Azhar Masjid Mosque, also known as Azhar Academy

235 Romford Road. 

Tel: 020 8534 5959. Web: www.aags.org.uk

Capacity: 600 (including women)

Theme: Deobandi

Management: Pakistani

Affiliated to the Muslim Council of Britain



The mosque was formerly a Congregational church, and is a Grade 2 listed building (see here, for further details).

The mosque also incorporates a girls' school. According to its March 2016 Ofsted judgement, the secondary school is "good" and early years provision, "outstanding".



There are approximately 260 secondary school aged girls and 75 fte equivalent mixed primary pupils.  Annual fees are £2,600. Further details on the building's listed status can be found here. Further details of the schools' Ofsted ratings can be found here).

According to its latest returns to the Charity Commission, the organisation has an annual income of £1.18m, employs 63 people and has 53 volunteers.

Massjid Al-Humera

183 Green Street. 

No further contact details

Capacity: 150 (including women)



Theme: Salafi (an ultra-conservative Sunni  tradition)

Management: Pakistani

It is located in the former premises of a Jehovah's Witness' Kingdom Hall.

Forest Gate Mosque

447-451 Romford Road. 

Tel: 020 8555 6258. No website

Capacity: 400 men

Traditions: Deobandi



Management: Bangladeshi

It was formerly two shops

It is co-located with Iman Zakariyah Academy primary School and The Bangladeshi Muslim Shomity Ltd.

According to its latest Charity Commission returns, its annual income is around £347k p.a.

Jamia Darus Sunnah

98 Woodgrange Road. 

Tel: 020 8530 0406. No website

Capacity: 300 (men only)



Tradition: Deobandi

Management: Pakistani

This mosque has recently undergone a substantial refurbishment. It was formerly a shop, and a century ago a printers/publishers, associated with then prominent Forest Gate artist and politician Charles Ward (see here for details).

Al Karam Mosque co-located with Al Karam Trust Masjid

411 - 413 Katherine Road. 

Tel: 020 8471 9273. No further contact details

Capacity: 450 (including women)

Theme: Bareilvi



Management: Pakistani

Affiliated to British Muslim Foundation

The mosque occupies the buildings of former shops

Masjid-e-Quba and Anjjuman - Raza-e-Mustafa Education Centre

198 Shrewsbury Road. 

Tel: 020 8470 6332. No website

Capacity: 300 (men only)

Tradition: Bareilvi



Management: Gujarati

Affiliated to the British Muslim Forum

The organisation has a record of submitting late returns to the Charity Commission. Its latest set of accounts showed it to have an income of £134k, in 2015.

Khatme - Nubuwwat Academe, co-located with the Islamic Dawa Council UK

387 Katherine Road. 

Tel: 020 8471 4434. No website

Capacity: 30 (male only)



Management: Pakistani

Tradition: Deobandi

The mosque occupies a former a shop.

Al-Hira Education Centre

12 Stukeley Road. Tel: 020 8552 7681

Capacity: 1500 men and women



Tradition: Bareilvi

Management: Pakistani

The information in this blog has been gleaned from a number of different websites - many, sadly, out of date. It is presented in good faith by a non-adherent.  We will be delighted to amend any errors within it, or add further useful information supplied to us.

Godwin School ( boys ) log 1 - 1883 - 1984, the origins

Friday, 13 January 2017

We have been given access to an invaluable document that offers a fascinating insight of 100 years of Forest Gate history - and many of the people who lived here - from a worm's eye view.

Godwin - 90 years after opening
It is the school log of Godwin School (boys department only, initially), from its inception in 1883 until the latter days of the last century. This is, effectively, a diary kept by the head - until 1995 a statutory obligation on the post holder.

We are deeply indebted to local resident, Karen Higgins, for transcribing the school log - a task undertaken as part of her history degree -  giving us such free access to its content and allowing an edited version of her work to be published on this website.

Our debt to the various heads of the school who meticulously maintained the log is enormous and our gratitude is extended to them.

The school was established as an early initiative by the recently established West Ham School Board (see here for details of early formal education in Forest Gate and the establishment of the School Board).

The school was opened in 1883 in temporary accommodation in nearby Essex Street, while the building in Godwin/Cranmer Road was being constructed.

For most of its life it was run as two separate schools - a boys and a girls - as was the case with many schools during the early years of state education. Evidence of this can still be found in the more modern entrance sign outside the school in Godwin Road (see photo).


1950's style entrance to the school, 
lettering showing clear distinction
between Girls (and infants) Department
 and Boys Department (sign no longer evident)
Unfortunately, only the Boys' Department records appear to have survived; but it presents a great picture of:

  • local life and death for the century 1883 - 1984
  • changes in educational standards and practice
  • the impact of national and international events on Forest Gate, and its young
  • local pleasures and pastimes
We believe the content is intriguing and detailed enough to spread (with a little editorial comment - italicised in brackets - photographs and newspaper extracts) over a number of chapters. We will alternate the posting of these with other posts of Forest Gate interest, over the next few months.

The chapters are:

  • The nineteenth century origins (1883 - 1900)
  • Pre World War 1 Godwin school and Forest Gate
  • The impact of WW1 of Forest Gate and the school
  • Between the wars (1919 -1939)
  • WW2 and its aftermath for Godwin and Forest Gate
  • Into the modern era (1950 - 1984)
This first post, dealing with the school's origins, highlights:

  • the early cultural development of the school (e.g. introduction of homework and library);
  • the state of the accommodation, and the rapid growth of the school population;
  • the judgments of early schools inspections, by HMIs;
  • local celebrations, entertainments and events and their impact on the school and its attendances;
  • some pretty brutal corporal punishment - one member of staff seems to have been dismissed for it, although perhaps corporal punishment was not as commonplace at Godwin as popular mythology would have it;
  • attempts to move away from rote learning by the introduction of more stimulating teaching methods;
  • impacts of pupil illnesses on absences;
  • the almost mono-cultural nature of the school's roll.
Some of the language in this post may seem offensive to the modern reader.

We have not flinched from using it, as we believe it provides an accurate view of how, for example disabled, Jewish and Black people were viewed at the time; any attempt to "refine" the language used in the school log would diminish the impact of descriptions of prejudice faced by such minority groups of people at the time.

The Log

1 Oct 1883 - The school was opened without ceremony this morning at the Century Hall, Essex Street. The staff consisted: Henry Herbert - headmaster (certified teacher, second class) (ed: the 1881 census showed Henry Hubert to be aged 23 and living at 38 Godwin Road - now demolished - so when the school opened he would only have been in his mid twenties. This is similar to Desmond and Francis' sister - see here, who was also a West Ham Board school head in her twenties. Perhaps the School  Board was a far-sighted employer - or possibly just desperate. The area certainly seems to have offered good opportunities to young teachers.), Albert King (certified assistant), Charles Aspinall (ex pupil teacher) and James Morrell (monitor). (It is interesting to note that this new school opening did not merit a line of copy in only the local paper, the Stratford Express, as far as we have been able to see).

2 Oct 1883 Homework has been commenced in all classes and the parents appear very willing to co-operate with the master in this matter.

24 Mar 1884 To encourage regular attendance and good work, the master offered a prize to each class for the boy obtaining the highest number of marks before Easter.

1 Apr 1884 The attendance today has been greatly affected by the consecration of Saint Saviour's church. Many of the boys were kept at home.


St Saviour's church, Macdonald Road (1975).
 The consecration of this church 90 years
 before the photo taken greatly affected
attendance at the school
21 Apr 1884 The school reassembled this afternoon. 143 boys were present.

30 June 1884 The attendance today has not been good. Several boys are ill and others are away in the country with their parents (ed: for fruit picking or hop trailing in Kent? -  a popular "holiday" for many East Enders in the second half of the nineteenth century).



Hop trailing in Kent - along with hop
 and fruit picking a little later in the
 year - traditional "holidays"
for many East London families.
15 Oct 1884 The master asked the boys in the upper standards to assist him in forming a library. The idea was taken up with great earnestness.

5 Nov 1884 The master gave each of the teachers a syllabus for the next five weeks. The usual fifth of November excitement has lowered the numbers considerably today.

13 Dec 1884 HMI report: The accommodation here is very poor. The progress made in this department (ed: boys), in the face of many difficulties, may, I consider, be fairly characterised as excellent.

13 Apr 1885 Godwin Road school. These schools were opened this morning at nine o'clock by the chairman of the School Board, W Coleman. ... The boys who formed the school in Essex Street were then drafted into the classrooms and commenced their work under the direction of the assistant teacher. (It is interesting to note that this new school opening did not merit a line of copy in only the local paper, the Stratford Express, as far as we have been able to see).

17 Apr 1885 316 boys are now on the roll. (ed: the size has more than doubled in a year, thanks to its move to the new location).

30 Apr 1885 The master examined the homework throughout the school. It will be seen once a week by the master, and all satisfactory books stamped. The boys are assembled on the lines in the playground and the state of boots, hands and faces looked into daily. This is producing good results.

3 Jul 1885 The master examined the homework throughout the school ... Many of the parents object to it being done.

10 Sept 1895 The attendance was good this morning, but owning to the visit of the Lord Mayor and Corporation to West Ham Park, it was greatly affected in the afternoon. Homework was excused.


Visit of Lord Mayor of London to West Ham
 Park greatly affected attendance at
 Godwin school. A testimony to both
 deference and the fact that such a visit
 should be seen as a "big event", in
 an era of simple public "entertainment"
23 Sept 1885 The master received a note from Mrs Wise, complaining that Mr Wood had struck her son. The master called the teacher's attention to this breach of regulation.

11 Nov 1885 This afternoon 80 boys were absent. The majority had permission from their parents to attend a circus.

29 Jan 1886 Mr Aspinall was absent from school this morning. He attended a party on the previous night and was unfit for his duties.

25 Jun 1886 The master took about 250 boys to the Industrial Exhibition at West Ham at the close of afternoon school.

11 Nov 1886 Mr Atkins called and complained that Mr Wood had pulled his boy's ear some fortnight ago. He further complained that he had boxed his ears today. The master cautioned the teacher to be more careful in his actions with the children.

23 Dec 1886 The school closed this afternoon for the Christmas vacation. The master gave each boy an orange on leaving.

31 Mar 1887 (ed: following further complaints of physical violence towards pupils) Mr Woods left today.

7 Sept 1887 Mr Boyle visited the school this morning. The scholars were photographed.

5 Dec 1887 At the close of the school this afternoon the master allowed the 1st and 2nd classes to remain behind to hear a description of the astronomical part of their geography. This was illustrated with a fine set of diagrams exhibited by means of the Magic Lantern. The boys were very attentive and a clearer idea of the different phenomena was imparted by this means than it is possible to convey by ordinary diagrams.

9 Feb 1888 Mr Shearman from the South Essex Band of Hope gave a short address to the older boys on alcohol and the human body. The master received a letter from Mr Larter asking the master to visit his little son, who is ill. The child having expressed a wish to see him.


Photo of children from Godwin
 school, dated July 1898
27 Jul 1888 The school was closed yesterday for an excursion to the Alexandra Palace (ed: "The People's Palace", opened originally in 1873, then again, after a fire in 1875, as a public recreation, education and entertainment centre in north London. This trip took taken place nine years before the opening of the Forest Gate - Tottenham Railway). The school closed today for the summer holidays.


Alexandra Palace, at the time
13 Oct 1889 Percy Randall has been absent eleven weeks with Chicken Pox and sickness and may require exceptional treatment. ... As an incentive for the boys to work neat and accurate papers, the best are stuck up in a prominent place in the school.

14 Jan 1890 HMI report: all three departments of this large school are in excellent condition.

21 Mar 1890 The attendance today has been greatly reduced by a circus in the neighbourhood. George Smith, Standard 7, has left to go on the Great Western Railway.

29 Sept 1890 Fred Cotton was admitted this morning. He has come from Germany and is not familiar with English. He is placed in 1st Standard. Alfred Cundell returned to school this morning. He is a very backward boy and the difficulty he finds with his work in Standard 4 causes him to play truant.

27 Nov 1890 The government examination begins today. The boys were examined by sample. 459 were present out of 469.

23 Apr 1891 The first class commenced this week to read from the 'School Newspaper', with a view to make the reading lessons more interesting and prepare for unseen tests.

25 Jun 1891 Mr Ashbridge, silversmith of Commercial Rd and Mile End writes asking the master to send him a lad.  He writes: "My apology must be that the two lads you have recommended are doing so well we are desirous of obtaining another lad from your school."

1 Sept 1891 School re-opens this morning. (ed, following 1891 Education Act, free education for all scholars takes place from today. Two years later the leaving age was raised to 11, and then 13).

11 Nov 1891 Bernard Biddle was found smoking on coming up the stairs. When spoken to, he was both insolent and insubordinate and the master has punished him. The lad has been several times to the truant school (ed: Fryant Truant school for boys opened in 1885 at Fyfield, near Chipping Ongar, in Essex. There was accommodation for upto 80 boys who spent time drilling and working in fields gardens and piggeries . In 1907 it closed, and opened as an Industrial School)and it is only by isolation that his influence can be kept from contaminating the other lads similarly returned and other boys inclined to truancy.

26 Jan 1892 HMI report: The tone and order are excellent. High and intelligent aim and systematic work characterise the school.

18 Mar 1892 (ed: this is one entry to illustrate several similar incidents, happening at approx 6 months intervals) Mr Barnes called this afternoon, to let the master know that his little boy had died in the morning from a fit which seized him on Wednesday. (ed:  four days later)..The master sent a wreath for the funeral of Cyril Barnes, as a mark of sympathy from the teachers and scholars at the school.

7 Jul 1892 With a view to keep the old boys together and bring some influence to bear upon them, an old boys football club has been formed, called 'Old Godwin'.

11 Nov 1892 A great many boys absent today. Sanger's Circus was the attraction. (ed: this was probably on the Flats. See advert - dated 1896 for Sanger's circus and "amphitheatre, and of "Lord" George Sanger a flamboyant showman of the late Victorian era, who was murdered by one of his disgruntled employees!).


Contemporary advert for Sanger's circus
 "and amphitheatre"

... and the showman: "Lord" George Sanger
17 Jan 1894 HMI report: The school fully maintains its high character for intelligence and accurate work. The tone and discipline are excellent.

12 Sept 1894 The numbers still high 506 were present this morning. (ed: having trebled in a decade).

10 Dec 1894 Sixteen boys have been sent to Upton Lane school this week to relieve the crowded state of the school.

24 Oct 1895 Mr Earle was allowed to leave at eleven , for the afternoon ... to play (ed: football) for London against Suffolk.

18 Dec 1895 Punished George Carpenter for writing disgusting language on his slate.

14 Feb 1896 S Barnard crept upstairs shortly after 2 o'clock and stole an overcoat.  (ed: three days later) ... The parent of the boy who lost his coat prosecuted the boy Barnard. He was remanded to Holloway for a week.

3 Nov 1896 New school at Whitehall Place opened (ed: this later to become Forest Gate Community school). Several boys living in this neighbourhood have gone to this school.

9 Nov 1896 A great number of boys are away to see the Lord Mayor's show.

26 Jan 1897 HMI report: The energy, thought and devotion given to the work, especially by the headmaster, deserves the greatest praise.

14 Feb 1897 Preliminary meeting of Old Boys was held here for the purpose of arranging social gathering of 'Old Boys'. It was a very pleasant matter to see how readily the idea was taken up. A strong committee was formed consisting of staff and 14 'Old Boys'.

18 Jun 1897 Boys assembled in girls' playground, sang some songs and concluded with the National Anthem, all 3 departments singing together. The school was closed for one week in commemoration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.


National celebrations for Victoria's Golden Jubilee

... and a contemporary portrait of the
 queen, commissioned for the jubilee
17 Oct 1898 Two of our old boys had unfortunately lost their lives on board the Niohegan, an Atlantic liner, which ran on the rocks off the Lizard on Friday night.

7 Jan 1899 HMI report. The school has done a good year's work ... the doing of some homework by the older boys is a good feature.

3 May 1899 This evening the choir that took part in the Stratford Music Festival (ed: This was founded by John Curwen - see here about his role, in Earlham Grove - in 1882). gaining second prize was entertained at tea. In the evening the parents of the boys were invited to a concert given by the choir. The whole passed off very pleasantly and both boys and parents were delighted.
John Spencer Curwen, sponsor of the
 Stratford Music Festival at this time

27 Jul 1899 An excursion with the All Saints Sunday School has greatly affected attendance today. 

The next episode of the Godwin story - 1900 - 1914 will be posted in a couple of weeks time.