Quarles and Harrowfields were the first Secondary Modern Schools to be opened on Harold Hill. They were four huge single sex schools and they were rapidly over filled. In Quarles Boy's School alone there were over 1000 pupils by 1961.

Future generations would know this school site under many different names, Kingswood, Neave (Upper School) the Harold Hill Community School (Weald) and eventually Drapers Academy ( to date 2019) but when this image was taken when it was known as Harrowfield's (Boys') School. Opened in 1953/4 Harrowfield's catered for the children from the eastern side of the housing estate with its nearest senior school being Quarles, separated by the Manor and Hatter's Wood. However in 1973 both schools merged with Quarles becoming the Lower School while what was Harrowfields changing its name and becoming Neave Upper school. Shortly after the merger the Lower School pupils were attending the Settle Road school and in 1976 the Quarles site was transferred over to higher education becoming Havering Technical College (Quarles Campus). In 2010 the former Harrowfields site had a further name change and became Drapers Academy. The buildings shown in the image below remained in use as Draper's whilst a new building (the present Draper's Academy) was constructed on the site of Harrowfield's Girls School. It was officially opened by the Queen in October 2012.

Don Tait

Below a memoir written by Bill Hurley who was a Harrowfield's boy from 1958 to 1962.

I first went to Harrowfields School in 1958 after leaving Broadford Primary in Farringdon Avenue. I was living in Holly Rd on the prefab estate at the time. The photo shows me outside the Holly Road prefab in my army cadet uniform. I would walk to school both there and back, not many kids had bikes in those days about two miles each way. In winter it was tough with snow and freezing winds but we didn't worry about that in those days we would cut through Cricklade Ave and Guildford Rd. I didn't know at the time but we would come to live at number three Guildford Rd a few years later. We would then cut through Central Park it usually took an hour it was always harder going to school as it was uphill all the way, much easier going home. Harrowfields was boys only the girls school was within touching distance separated by a narrow strip of grass next to the playground. By god you were in trouble if you stepped on that grass.

Some of the teachers were brutal the headmaster Mr. Gregson generally handed out the punishment. If you misbehaved you were taken to his office for six of the best. One particular teacher, Mr. Roberts our a maths teacher was a sadist. On one occasion that I remember to this day our class was walking single file as we did up the stairs to the second floor. Roberts was standing on the ground floor watching us go up I still don't remember what I did but he screamed out “HURLEY get to my room” which was the first classroom on the second floor. I went in there wondering what I'd done wrong. There was a class waiting they were older boys probably in their last year, I was about twelve, Roberts came in the classroom and promptly grabbed me by my belt and the scruff of my neck and started bouncing me horizontally on one of the front desks I managed to break free and ran out of the school straight home. My dad was asleep due to being on nightshift. I remember this so vividly, when I told him he leapt out of bed and took me back to school to confront Roberts but news of the assault had already reached the Headmaster's office & Roberts was nowhere to be seen. My dad would most likely have punched his lights out being an ex-paratrooper. My dad had in the past already thumped another bloke in our street who we named Battler after Battle of Britain because he said he was a war hero. He was always picking on us kids because we were noisy in the street that’s what it was like in those days. I never had any more incidents with Roberts even when he was teaching our class maths maybe he got wind my dad would go after him. Another brutal teacher was Mr. Kanowaski a Polish geography teacher he would leap into the air to bring a ruler down on to your outstretched hand all the harder and if you pulled your hand away he would double the number of strokes.

They weren't all bad teachers at Harrowfields by far my favourite was Mr Graham our P E teacher who was West Indian. A funny occurrence I remember once was when we had an inter-school boxing tournament I can't remember which school maybe Quarles but my brother Mick & I had been taking boxing lessons somewhere at dad's prompting so I was selected to be one of the boxers for our school. The ring was on the stage in the assembly hall with both schools looking & screaming on three rounds of slogfest. I lost my bout, in my disappointment I jumped out of the ring & ran down the corridor punching the wall in anger for losing but was brought back to reality by Mr Graham yelling down the corridor “HURLEY bring those gloves back” because they were needed for the next match.

Sometimes after school a few of us would go into the woods as we called them. Memories of fields of bluebells linger to this day. I used to take a bunch home to my mum sometimes. I loved exploring the ruins of the old manor house which although pulled down there was still plenty of the house still there and the lakes were all there. We used to catch newts and sticklebacks and take them home in jam jars, looking for and playing conkers was also good fun.

1962 was the last year in which you could leave school in December. My birthday is December 22nd when I would have been 15 but the school broke up on the 21st December, for some reason they let me leave probably because I was known as a trouble maker and staying on to the next summer holidays wasn't going to do much to my academic fortunes so I was 14years & 364 days old when I left school. I sometimes joke with my friends over a beer or two that I had grown up on a council estate, went to a secondary modern school, left school at 14 but I'm still a millionaire.