Kingston Open Air School

The school was open from at least the early 1930s, probably earlier. In the 1970s, it is thought the name was changed to Bedelsford School.

We received the following memories of Kingston Open Air School from Bob to whom we are extremely grateful:


"I was born in 1938 in Kingston. It was soon discovered that I had asthma.


"At primary school, my education was continually interrupted by this asthma, and it was decided at about the age of 6 I should be transferred to Kingston Open Air School. This was during the second world war.


"The school at this time had 50 to 60 pupils I would guess. Because of the war it was located in a very large old house in Gloucester Road, Kingston. After WW2 the school transferred to a dedicated open air school building in Kingston.

"There were two class rooms. One for children under 11 and the other for children from about 11 to about 16 years of age. Both class rooms had concertina style windows that, when opened left the whole of the wall open to the weather. There was a school hall located within some sort of council offices.

"The building had a u-shaped ground plan. The single storey classrooms were one wing with a single storey building base of the U which was where the cloak rooms, changing rooms and toilets were situated. The other wing was a multi-storey council building with the school hall on the ground floor.

"The school was in Grange Road I think. It was next to the Hogsmill river, and more or less opposite the old Kingston Art School.

"All of the pupils were collected from their homes in either cars or converted ambulances. There were several of these. The pupils were also taken home after school. This way no pupil had the excuse of being unable to attend because of illness.

"There were children who had suffered from TB, polio, cerebral palsy ( we called them spastics at that time), heart problems and asthma. There were some children with other conditions, such as diabetes. I can't remember right now.

"There were two (milk) breaks. At these we would receive free milk in one third pint bottles, and a spoonful of malted cod liver oil. We were also allowed to play and run about at these breaks. There was an hour after lunch when we all had to lie down on angled stretchers (head higher than feet). We had to lie still, no speaking, closed eyes. The stretchers were outside on all days, except for rainy ones, when they were in the hall.

"The head teacher was a woman called Miss Addis Smith. The general teacher was Mrs Borda. There was another teacher, who I think might have been part time. Her name was Mrs DuPont I think. The school was for boys and girls."




The Surrey History Centre has some records in their archives. [external site]





If you have memorie of beiinh in an open air school you lwould like to share, please get in touch.