Dallington School

Is a family-run independent primary school with a nursery in the heart of Clerkenwell, It offers an early years curriculum which is broad, creative and balanced, aiming to provide each child with a happy, secure and stimulating environment that promotes discovery and values a love of learning.
The owner/manager is Mogg Hercules with 45 staff with a total of 64 children ranging from 3 to 11.

Mogg was born in England and educated in Melbourne. Her teaching career began in Australia. Having been nominated as one of the outstanding graduate teachers, in Melbourne, she was offered a choice of schools in the State of Victoria. She chose to travel 200 miles, across the State, taking six hours in her clapped out Fiat 500, to work in a one-teacher school in the Bush. Electricity was provided by a noisy generator and there was an outside “dunny” which was emptied weekly by the “pan” man.

She taught twenty children, aged from 3 to 11 years, all in her one-teacher room. She quickly learned to deal with snakes, drought, spiders, diving plovers, collecting pine cones and wood chippings to fuel the water heater.

She left Australia in the 1960s and followed her future husband, Evan Hercules, to London, where she taught Art and English at a Secondary Modern School, in Hackney.

Her passion and determination, combined with an unerring belief that children should be included in their learning and listened to, as they expressed their thoughts, ideas and opinions drove her to create her own school.

So, in 1978, Evan and Mogg acquired 8 Dallington Street, the former site of the Gatehouse School. She opened the doors of 8 Dallington Street on 13th April 1978. Through word of mouth, five children arrived; should have been six, but one had measles. They spent the day being taught by her with Jackie, her first member of staff, in Middle School and Dallington School was born.

In 1978 this street had lots of old warehouses and small businesses such as publishers and did not seem the most salubrious place to site a school. In fact the building has been associated with education since it started life as the St Pauls Church Institute in 1905. The area around Dallington Street belonged to the Charterhouse until 1995 when they sold their property to the Bee Bee development for 7.5 million pounds. In the 17th century the area had lots of small houses and businesses often associated with processing animal products.

Later the area became associated with printing, book binding and clock making but poor building construction and overcrowding meant that many of the buildings were replaced in the 19th century although the original street pattern remains to this day. In the 19th century this was a mixed area of small business and poor quality overcrowded lodgings.  As the 19th century progressed both the state and Victorian philanthropists had become concerned about the conditions of the urban poor. A new ecclesiastical district of St Pauls was started in 1861 when the Marquis of Northampton laid the foundation stone. The church was eventually built in Pear Tree street after using the hall in Allen street (later Dallington St) for a few years. The church no longer exists. It was bombed in 1940, had a severe arson attack in 1970 and eventually deconsecrated and knocked down. The only relic of the St Paul’s district is 8, Dallington st which was built in 1905 and housed the St Paul’s Church Institute. There had been an old board school on the site extending backwards to Compton Street.

The Royal Commission on the housing of the working classes met in 1884-5. They refer to the poor quality housing in this area. One house in Allen St had 38 people living in it with 11 people sharing one room. When Charles Booth produced his maps of London poverty in 1889 this area contained the 2 lowest social classes; ‘Black: The lowest class which consists of occasional labourers, street sellers, loafers, criminals and semi-criminals. Extreme hardship and their only luxury is drink’ and slightly better ‘dark blue: Casual earnings, very poor. Maybe three days a week work. People who for mental, moral and physical reasons are incapable of better work’

During the 20th century the number of residential dwellings declined. The old houses and sheds were replaced with factories and warehouses. The old board school was replaced by a tenement called Cavendish buildings and the St Pauls Institute built. Allen St became Dallington St in 1937. Sir Robert Dallington was master of the Charterhouse from 1624-7 and his main claim to fame is ordering the cleansing of the water pipes from the White Conduit.

From 1948-1978 the building was occupied by the Gatehouse School. This school had been started by Phyllis Wallband, whose husband was the rector of Barts the Great. In 1948 the school had 12 pupils and used the gatehouse of Barts the Great as premises. The school was run along Montessori principles and proved popular with parents. The school role increased to 80 pupils and they moved into 8 Dallington St. In 1979 Phyllis Wallband retired and the school relocated to Bethnal Green.

Principal Sources

www.british-histroy.ac.uk/survey-london/vol46/pp280-293

www.islington.gov.uk/20170929/streetwithahistoryseptember2017

Dilys

 

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