Summoned by head’s dulcimer

Upper Mount School, Waterlooville.
Upper Mount School, Waterlooville.
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I recently published this picture of Upper Mount School, Waterlooville, and asked readers for more information about it and many of you replied.

The school was on the corner of Winifred Road and London Road. It was demolished in the late 1950s and houses built on the site.

Alan Burrow, of Emsworth, attended the school at the age of five for two years starting in 1943. He cannot remember if there were any air raid shelters on the site.

It was a girls’ school but boys were accepted up to the age of seven. I assume girls would have stayed until 11 or 13.

From his hazy memory Alan thinks the picture dates to between 1910 and 1920 because – although he can clearly recognise the main school building – he does not remember it being clad in that amount of creeper.

He also remembers it surrounded by some purpose-built classrooms, of which there is no evidence.

The headmistress was Miss Hooper, and the number two teacher (I assume deputy head) was Miss Smythe. He thinks the uniform was grey with yellow and green piping.

Oddly, Alan gives a different address. He thinks it was further down Winifred Road in Muriel Road, Waterlooville.

Anne Griffiths tells me the school moved from Clarendon Road, Southsea, to Waterlooville between 1927 and 1930. She says: ‘The school took girls aged four to 18 and boys from five to 10 and provided a sound education on modern lines, with entire charge being taken of children whose parents were abroad. The head, EE Hooper, had taught at some of the best schools on the Continent’.

The school was 300ft above sea level and overlooked the Forest of Bere. It had spacious, lofty rooms ‘lighted with electricity’ and its own tennis court, orchard and rose and vegetable gardens.

John Stainer tells me that at the beginning of the Second World War his family moved from Portsmouth to Widley to escape the bombing and he spent his first day at school at Upper Mount kindergarten in 1941.

He was thoroughly miserable, refused to take his coat off or enter the building. They were kind to him and allowed him to stay in the playground until he was ready to go inside.

He remembers Miss Hooper playing a kind of dulcimer at her window to summon the children in from their breaks.