Friday, September 21, 2012

Sydenham School History

Sydenham School (Dartmouth Road SE26) is holding an event tomorrow to celebrate its 95th birthday, with music, performances, an art exhibition and more. It's a good school (a parent writes) which this year got its best ever GCSE results. Not to be confused with a similarly named private school not far away (Sydenham High).

Whatever your views about single sex education, the fact is that most secondary schools were primarily for boys until advocates of women's education founded schools like Sydenham. On its website there is a fascinating archive of school magazines going back to the 1920s which show how the winds of first wave feminism and suffragism blew through the streets of Forest Hill in the early days of the school.

In 1919-20, the History Club was seemingly where it all happened. A debate on 'The Entrance of Women into Parliament will be for the Welfare of the Nation' saw the motion proposed by Elsie Greenman 'carried by twenty-two votes to four'.  In June 1920 'Miss Dawson spoke on the subject of Guild Socialism'.

The image below is from The County Secondary School, Sydenham, Magazine and Chronicle, 1922:

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