Find out more ‘About Us’ and The Markhouse Drama Club, The Cyril Malyon Memorial Fund and the development and funding of the Drama Club Website
Markhouse Drama Club
The Markhouse Drama Club (MDC) was based at the Markhouse Secondary Modern School in Walthamstow, North East London, where, under the leadership of Cyril Malyon, it offered local young people a wide range of performing arts activities over the 22 years of it’s existence
The Drama Club’s roots were sown in 1955 following an increasing commitment to the performing and creative arts as part of the school’s re-development and aim of adopting a ‘community college’ approach to the education if offered. This was firstly through the onset of ‘After School Stagecraft Workshops’ and, by 1957, an ‘evening class’ run under the auspices of the nearby Marsh Street Youth Centre – which enabled many young people to continue their involvement in the Drama Club after leaving the school.
Secondary Education in Walthamstow was re-structured in 1966 and this, regrettably, resulted in the closure of Markhouse; albeit followed immediately by re-opening as an Education Centre. The Drama Club found itself as the only ‘sitting tenant’ and so were able to redevelop all of the upper part of the premises into what became affectionately known as the ‘Markhouse Youth Theatre’
The Drama Club continued to thrive for a further 11 years at Markhouse until it closed in 1977 following the retirement of Cyril Malyon, from both his teaching and youth work career; a career where he seen a great many young people enjoy and learn from their involvement in the performing arts under his leadership.
For most former members the memories of the Drama Club never faded, with many continuing the friendships that they had made during their earlier years. It was therefore not surprising that many also welcomed the opportunity to be involved at the onset of the Cyril Malyon Memorial Fund (CMMF) that was suggested, and then funded, by Jennifer Chacksfield (nee Malyon) and Alec Malyon in recognition of their father’s work with the young people of the MDC
The Cyril Malyon Memorial Fund
The Cyril Malyon Memorial Fund was establish in 2013 and has been run, on Jennifer and Alec’s behalf, by former members of the MDC with the purpose of developing and financing performing arts projects with young people – thus replicating the same form of experience that they had enjoyed in their own youth. At the same time the CMMF has also developed more links between former members of the MDC, ran Re-Unions and, in 2016, launched a new Website – largely inspired by Dickie Dunn’s original ‘walthamstowhistory.com’.
In this same year a decision was taken to re-establish the Markhouse Drama Club in order to continue the increasing links between the original members and to manage the Website; both having become regarded as long term aims and interests that were expected to continue beyond the life of the CMMF.
Like the CMMF, the present Markhouse Drama Club is also a ‘not for profit organisation’ and run by former members. It will also incorporate the work and responsibilities of the CMMF until the remaining funds for financing performing arts projects with young people have been fully used.
Former Markhouse Drama Club members and school teaching staff can obtain further information about the present organisation and its activities through the Website Contact Page
The Markhouse Drama Club Website – A brief History
The ‘roots’ for establishing this Markhouse Drama Club website were laid in Dickie Dunn’s own “www.walthamstowhistory.com” website which he created around 2002; this primarily focussed upon his own family memories and a wealth of information about his love of ‘all things buses and trains’
After Dick’s sad and untimely passing in 2014, there was much concern about ensuring the future of his website and, for this reason, it was handed into the safe keeping of the Cyril Malyon Memorial Fund – where, along with the obvious interest in the Drama Club memorabilia that it contained, there was a commitment to also seek a permanent home for his personal memories and ‘transport’ interests
Initially the website was ‘loaned’ to the Coppermill Industrial Museum in Walthamstow because of their interests in the ‘transport’ content. Thereafter it was transferred to the ‘Walthamstow Memories’ organisation where, in its entirety, it is now permanently managed and funded on their www.walthamstowmemories.com site. A link to this organisation is included on the MDC website.
With the agreement of Dick’s family, a new website was then developed around his original Drama Club memorabilia and this came into being in November 2017. This was shortly after the establishment of a new ‘non performing version’ of the Markhouse Drama Club that was formed to look after both the website, the ongoing links between former members and managing the final phase of the work of the Cyril Malyon Memorial Fund.
This website is found at www.markhousedramaclub.com where it exists to remind former members (and their families) of those good times and their ‘thespian fun’; also as a tribute to Cyril Malyon and to Dick – who, in spirit, never really left the Drama Club!
The amount of material that has been gathered and added to the website continues to amaze with most coming from attics and garden shed searches, from researching the Walthamstow Guardian Newspaper archives and, of course, from the recollections of those former members who are still in contact.
There are, however, still some gaps to fill within the MDC history and its list of productions; also of the life of the school, its former pupils and the staff
So – if you were involved in the Markhouse Drama Club or in the numerous school productions, or were a school pupil, then please get in touch as we would like to hear from you. You can use the Contact Page link on the website to send an email – and then, once you have done that, start searching your attic, cellar and/or garage – and memory!
Funding the Website – How You Can Help
The MDC Website was initially developed and funded as a ‘project’ within the Cyril Malyon Memorial Fund; with the subsequent running costs being met from donations and a number of Standing Orders that were given by former members at the October 2017 Re-Union
Since that time the number of Standing Orders has increased and this has become the main way in which the future existence of the website is being made financially secure
The aim is now to increase the number of former members contributing in this way to meet the website’s annual hosting, license and insurance/security costs; which are currently around £200 per annum. In order to involve as many as possible, and to keep the individual costs at a modest level, the target for such financial support is for either a £12 Annual Standing Order or for a £1 Monthly Standing Order
As with the work in running the MDC & CMMF, no expenses or other costs are taken by those former members managing the website – so all the income from the Standing Orders goes directly to the above costs
If you would like to support the website in this way then please get in touch with Peter Boulton through the Website Contact Page
Alternatively, if you want to help in a different way, then a single donation can be made by leaving a message to this effect on the website contact page
If you wish to receive a Website Account Statement before deciding to make a Standing Order, or a donation, please leave a message on the Website Contact Page