Quarles Secondary Modern Schools

Quarles and Harrowfields were the first Secondary Modern Schools to be opened on Harold Hill. The first headmaster of Quarles boys' school was George W Laws who took up his post when the school opened in 1955. All four huge single sex schools were rapidly over filled. In Quarles Boys' School alone there were over 1000 pupils by 1961. My class at one time had 48 pupils, the other schools were similar. The postcard below, taken in apx 1958 shows the boys' school on the left, the girls' on the right with the separate dining halls in the centre, these separated by a common kitchen. On the far left is the boys' gym and shower block. The girls' gym is on the far right but out back. The dark flat roofed buildings in front of the main buildings were left, metal work and wood work workshops and right, the girls' cookery workshops. The boys and girls never mixed, there was even an imaginary line in the field out back. Any boy seen communicating with a girl would be caned, though we did look. At the end of each day the girls left 15 minutes before the boys in the hope that they could get safely indoors before we were let loose. After years of diminishing school rolls Quarles was combined with Harrowfields under a succession of different names.

For more than thirty years now Quarles has been an annexe to the Ardleigh Green Technical college but its future must be in doubt. It lies within the green belt but even under the old rules the building's footprint could have been developed, today it is probably all likely to end up being used for housing. I suspect  the current residents of Tring Gardens will have mixed feelings about that.

Del Smith. 2016

Ken Hatfield is a diligent internet researcher and along with the postcard below he also uncovered a much rarer document being 5 pages of floorplans and photos of quarles. These Architects plans from "The Architect and building news, 8th November 1956 can be be downloaded in high defnition from our downloads page. The three most photogenic pages are reproduced below the postcard.


Quarles and Harrowfields Schools were only seven hundred yards apart, separated by Dagnam Park (The Manor) There was constant rivalry between the pupils. Probably the most infamous incident took place over several days in October 1958 when a series of mini riots took place making the national news. In the following years the violence was more low key.

Scroll to the very end for news cuttings of the "riot"

Scrolling down you will find a lot of material from Quarles boys' School but very little from the girls. Below a girls Prize giving programme thanks to Ted Sims for this. If anyone out there has anything else up in the loft please share it.







The first Headmaster of Quarles Boys' School was George. W. Laws. 1911-1999. The photo below is of a 1926 Laws family wedding in Peterborough. George Law's mother (Elizabeth) and father (George senior) are 2nd and 3rd in from the right. The wedding is that of his sister (Alice) seated. George Laws Jnr was just 15 years old at the time and is probably hiding out somewhere with half a bottle of sweet sherry. Thanks to Ken Hatfield and Laurence Dunning for their help in researching the Laws family.

The head teacher George Laws (left) and a member of staff John Rubery with the basketball team apx 62-66. Thanks to Kelvin Orrowe for the photo.



Quarles boys' school, rear view

Below the whole of the first and second Quarles Boys' School magazines

1961 & 1966

The very first issue was published late in 1961. It is almost entirely written by the inmates and as well as numerous articles it includes sports results, exam results, some art work, a full list of staff and a few adverts. Hundreds of boys get a mention, if you were there or knew anyone in those days you will be sure to recognise many names. The second issue was published in 1966 and passed to us by Kelvin Orrowe. It is similar and again mainly produced by the students. It contains a full staff list and more surprisingly a full list of the pupils. Scroll down or go straight to the 1966 magazine here.

Both magazines can be downloaded to read offline from our downloads page here.


Below the second Quarles Boy's School Magazine published in 1966. It was kept safe by ex Quarles boy Kelvin Orrowe. Our thanks to him for passing it on and allowing it's reproduction. You can download the whole magazine in a zip file from the Downloads page.


Here's a scary headline it's chivs out for a party. It was always said that the teds used chivs, studded belts and bike chains. Don't try it, bike chains are stiff and greasy and they simply don't swing. Studded belts were not much better, though a little easier to swing you usually needed the other hand to hold your trousers up.

And the affair remembered sixty years later in the Romford Recorder's "History & Heritage Page" in a flashback.


(Not so unusual in those days)

In 1968 Stan Perry went on a joint holiday with a crowd of mostly ex Quarles boys to Devon to a Pontins Holiday camp in Brixham or Paignton. He says "I'm not sure if the idea was formulated while we were all drunk in the Duckwood Inn or the Red House in North Hill Drive. It was a great trip though. I have lost touch with most of the people in the  photo though I still occasionally see some of them"


Top Row

John Radley, North Hill Drive 
John Soar,  Aylsham Lane
John Williams, Dagnam Park Drive  
Jeff Moody, Tring Gardens
Michael Keegan, Ashbourne Rd

Middle Row
John Tidiman, North Hill Drive 
Les Rawlings, Whitchurch Rd
Brian Kinchin, Preston Road
Keith Williams, ??
Robert Taylor, Aylsham Lane
Stan Perry, Woodbridge Lane 
Bottom Row
John Waters, Chudleigh Road
Jimmy Reynolds, Sedgefield Crescent
Colin Pryor, Hilldene Avenue
Two 1966 news cuttings below, our gratitude to Kelvin Orrowe for passing these on. The first shows an image including Gerrard and Laws along with Frank Coffin, a long standing Labour Cllr for Harold Hill, he lived in Amersham Rd. Legg was a Conservative Cllr and Richards was a Ratepayer Assn Cllr, neither lived on Harold Hill.