Markhouse Road Modern School in Markhouse Road, Walthamstow, opened in 1891 and was, at that time, under the auspices of the Essex County Council Education Department. It was one of the oldest schools in the Borough and, as can be seen from the inscription in the photograph below, it was rebuilt in 1907
Markhouse primarily served the young people living around St James Street, Edinburgh Road/South Grove and parts of the Walthamstow Market area, although some pupils attended from a little further afield.
In the latter part of the 1950’s, Markhouse was amongst the very first to give secondary modern school pupils the chance to ‘stay on’ for a fifth year and sit for GCE examinations – an opportunity that gained increasing support from parents and, importantly, a growing level of successful results over the ensuing years. However, despite its pioneering role, Markhouse was not required to play a part within the re-organisation of secondary education in 1966 and this, regrettably, brought about its closure – with the last groups of pupils leaving in that same year
Fortunately the Markhouse doors were left ‘ajar’ and the premises were soon put to other educational purposes – including housing the ‘sitting tenants’ – the Drama Club – in the upper part of the main building. This development was linked to the nearby Marsh Street Youth Centre as part of the Walthamstow Youth Service ‘Evening Class’ programme – so it still very much remained a part of the aim of ensuring the personal development, skills and interests of the local young people. The lower floor became an Education Centre serving a variety of uses over the ensuing years, including at one time the Borough’s Multi Lingual Services and even – for a very short while – the Waltham Forest Youth Theatre!
Alas – all that is now left of the school, excepting our memories, is the front and rear gate posts and railings – as shown below!
Click all photographs to enlarge, scroll and see captions
Films from Walthamstow Amateur Cine Video Club.
Cyril Malyon teaching in Room 4
Don Testro teaching in the Biology Room (Upper Hall)
Copyright: The above two films are linked to YouTube and are included within this website with the kind permission of The Walthamstow Amateur Cine Video Club.
Markhouse School Teaching Staff
Copyright: 1949 Staff Team Photograph. This photograph was originally posted by a Len Hall (a former Markhouse pupil of that time) on the ‘Walthamstow Memories’ Website and is reproduced here with their agreement. It is thought that the school was most likely to have commissioned the photograph and thereby had the original ownership/copyright.
These class photographs and one of a group on a school Fieldwork Trip, include a number of former MDC members
Walthamstow Guardian Newspaper Reports
Markhouse & Drama Club Members Photo Gallery
Markhouse School & Drama Club Members – The McEntee Awards
The McEntee Award Scheme was established in Walthamstow as a way of recognising the achievements of young people in the Borough – particularly in relation to their contribution to the school, college, club or community organisation to which they belonged – or indeed for their services to the wide’community’l.
The Award was given annually to one young person in each Secondary School and one ‘from across the Borough’
So far the two following Walthamstow Guardian Newspaper Reports of those given in relation to Markhouse School and the Drama Club – these showing Norma receiving this as part of a ‘Double Honour’ (along with her Guide’s Queen’s Badge) in 1958 and John in 1969
Guardian Newspaper Reports – Text
McENTEE GIRL AND QUEEN’s GUIDE – NORMA GAINS A DOUBLE HONOUR
Picture Caption: A smiling Norma Evans shakes hands with Ald Lady McEntee as she receives the McEntee Award at Willowfield Secondary Girls School
‘Less than 24 hours after she had received the highest honour it is possible to gain in the Guides, 16 year old Norma Evans, of 31 Thorpe Crescent, Walthamstow was presented with the highest award it is possible for a Walthamstow schoolgirl to obtain – the McEntee Award
After being presented with the Queens Badge on Thursday evening, Norma received the McEntee Award from Ald Lady McEntee at Willowfield Secondary Girls School on Friday morning.
Norma, who moved to Willowfield School in 1953 from High Hill Primary School, received the award for her qualities of ‘loyalty, integrity, perseverance and service to others’
These qualities were listed by Ald S N Chaplin in a short biography of Lord McEntee and the story of the award which was instituted as a memorial to him in 1953. Cllr Mrs S Candy, chairman of the school governors, added ‘Norma Qualifies in every respect of this award’. After receiving the award, which consisted of a certificate and several books, Norma, who plans to become a teacher, said that she hoped that she could live up to all that had been said about her.
Among those present were Mrs I Phelps, leader of the 23rd Walthamstow Guides who had seen Norma receive her Queen’s badge from County Commissioner Miss E Blyth at Higham Hill Baptist Church the previous evening.
Norma, who gained the badge in the remarkably short time of three year, is a patrol leader and Sunday school teacher at the church’
SUSAN – BOUND FOR NEW YORK – GETS McENTEE AWARD
‘Pretty 16 year old Susan Riches – soon to be Walthamstow’s Ambassadress to New York – stepped up to receive the Borough’s top teenage honour from its Number 1 citizen on Monday. Susan was presented with the Markhouse Secondary’s School McEntee Award by the Mayor, Ald Mrs W M Palethorpe in front of hundreds of school pupils.
The ceremony took place nearly three weeks flies out to take up a scholarship at Sewenhaka High School, Floral Park, New York on Thursday July 25th.
The McEntee Award is made to the boy or girl in each secondary school showing most the qualities of integrity, loyalty, perseverance and service to others, which are amongst the reasons she was awarded the scholarship.
An exemplary pupil, Susan was chosen to spend the seven months in American offered by teachers Mark and Arlene Abels, who spent a year teaching at Mark House. They will pay all her expenses while she is away.
Susan flies first to Montreal where she will be met by the Abels and taken on a 5000 mile holiday tour before settling down in New York to study English Language and Literature, American History, Arty and household economics. Her fares will be paid by the Chamberlain Foundation and a fund set up for her in Walthamstow. She will next see her parents, Mr & Mrs Peter Riches, sister Judith and brothers Michael and Christopher when she comes home to 232 Markhouse Road in February.
Once back she will study at Mark House for another one or two years before taking up a career in the Air Force.
AWARD TO HEAD GIRL (Eileen Loneragan)
At Monday’s ceremony Susan was praised for her efforts by Mark House Headmaster Leslie Smith who also had a word for 16 year old Head Girl Eileen Loneragan of 310 Priory Court, and the many other boys and girls who had been in the running for the McEntee Award.
Eileen, in fact, received the Mark House Award, for similar qualities shown by Susan, from the Mayor. She has been Head Girl for 18 months and is a brilliant pupil who hopes to take up a post in local government.
Susan’s mother and father and Eileen’s mother were on stage with the girls when they received their prizes.
£20 FARE BOOST
The fare fund for Susan was given a £20 boost on Thursday when her youth club, St Saviour’s staged a cabaret-dance at the Chestnut Tree Hotel, Lea Bridge Road. She will be keeping her school pals in touch with her life, American style, including details of a Christmas-time trip to Florida, by way of regular contributions for the Mark House news-sheet’
And – There may be other McEntee Award Winners???
It is also known that other Drama Club members received this award and it is hoped that the respective newspaper reports will, in due course, be found and reproduced in the Website. These include the ‘Markhouse’ Award for Janet Grace (1964) and Dave King, also in 1964, who was one of three joint winners of the prestigious ‘Borough Award’
If you have any school photographs that you would like to see included in this part of the website – then please get in touch via the Contacts page