Leyton & Leytonstone

Historical Society

Terrorising the public



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by David Boote


what head teachers’ ‘school log books’ tell us about the effect of air raids on Leyton and Leytonstone

Harrow Green Boys' School made a less usual entry for 23 August 1915 reflecting more material consequences of enemy action : “Several boys were absent owing to their homes being demolished in the Zeppelin raid of Tuesday evening last.”  This was the result of Zeppelin L10 dropping bombs from Lloyd Park to Wanstead Flats, on and near the railway line from Queens Road to Wanstead Park.  

Years of total warfare had a cumulative effect on civilian life, as shown in this entry for 18 January 1918 which presumably reflects shortage of food to buy : “The severe frost snowfall and heavy rain have severely affected the attendance this week.  The growing practice of children lining up for food outside certain provisions shops is also causing school work to be increasingly difficult.” 2

2  Harrow Green Boys' School log book

A standard design for a local authority school was a building with infant pupils of both sexes on the ground floor, older girls on the middle floor and older boys on the top floor with a separate staircase and segregated playground.  A surviving building of this type is Davies Lane School.  The three types of school usually had different head teachers and separate log books.  

Cann Hall Road School had separate buildings for boys and girls.  

The Head Teacher of Harrow Green Infants’ School noted on 13 July 1917 : “The attendance this week, 82%, is the lowest since June 15th.  Several children suffering from [“Air Raid” crossed through] fright after last Saturday's Air Raid on London have been absent all the week.”  German air attacks on civilian families were succeeding in shaking morale.  Harrow Green Boys' School log book, like several others, gives another reason for pupil numbers to fall, for 27 September 1917 : “The air raids this week during the moonlight evenings have caused several families to remove from this district for the time being and our attendance has suffered somewhat.”