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Cockermouth Post Article August 2011

Were you ever a pupil at St Helenís School, a private school in the large mansion building in the Wyndham Holiday and Caravan Park near Cockermouth School? This was a private preparatory school, catering for boarders, and with a kindergarten. The headmaster on the information sheet we have gives Mr R Chatterton as headmaster, but the date is unclear. Bernard Bradbury tells us that St Helenís School was originally Harford School, housed in what is now the Terrace Bar of the Trout Hotel. It then moved to Norham House, and later to St Helenís. Girls who attended the school might be spotted around town walking in formation in their brown uniforms.

During the years of World War II the boys of Belmont School (the junior school of Mill Hill School in London) were evacuated to St Helenís School, whilst the older boys of Mill Hill School were accommodated at St Beeís School. We recently had a query from someone researching Belmont Schoolís history, looking for information for an anniversary booklet. In our files we had a photograph of a group of boys, taken at St Helenís School in 1943, which was sent to the researcher. Amazingly, this turned out to be a group photo of all 57 evacuated Belmont boys, taken in 1943. We were told it had to be the summer term, since the boys were wearing their blue aertex shirts. In the middle of the photograph is the headmaster of Belmont School since 1937, Arthur Edward Rooker Roberts (who had succeeded his father in that post). The photo also shows the Headís secretary (Harold Alston), and a woman in uniform who must surely be Matron.

It is always a great pleasure when we can provide answers to such queries. At the same time it also solved a puzzle for us as to the identity of the people in the photograph. Looking at the eager faces, one wonders what they went on to do with their lives, and how many of them are still alive.

If you do have any memories of St Helenís School that youíd like to share, please get in touch via our website:

Gloria Edwards

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