Brockley Central School 1910 - 2003


Brockley Central School started in Mantle Road School, the Central School occupying the top floor, perhaps in 1910.

School leaving age at that time was 14, but pupils at this co-educational school were asked to continue for a further two years.

By 1924 Mr. Rogers was the Head, as he was at Mantle Road. Mr. Leggett, who had lost a leg during the First World War, was the art master. There was a special cookery center for girls.

The Wallbutton Road premises were completed in 1928 with the provision for a four class entry, 2 of boys and 2 of girls each year; 460 pupils in total. The school was split: boys downstairs and girls upstairs with separate playgrounds. Both boys and girls were divided into houses: Saints Andrew, George, Patrick and David.

The girls' school uniform was a green drill slip, white blouse and a green wool jumper. In the summer they wore a green check frock "popped with a green blazer". The boys wore grey flannel short or long trousers depending upon age, grey shirt, green blazer, green cap with yellow segments and grey socks. Gym shirts, socks and ties all had difering coloured stripes according to the house allocated to each pupil when joining the school; red - St. George, blue - St. Andrew, yellow - St. David and green - St Patrick.

Wartime Evacuation

The complete school personnel were evacuated to Surrey on the 2nd September 1939;
boys to Lingfield, girls to Oxted. Enemy bombing damaged the school in 1940 and, as a result, pupils who remained in London together with those returning from evacuation were allocated places at Colls Road School in Peckham.

The building, however, was put to use the same year as Wallbutton Road School with a gap following the bombing which had damaged the upper floor hall and some of the classrooms. Temporary repairs were effected by bricking off the damage. The heavy rescue, ambulance and fire services continued in occupation. One of the downstairs classrooms had its windows bricked up for use as an air raid shelter.

After the war the school expanded once again, taking both boys and girls, but in separate locations. It was then a Secondary Modern School, the name then used for basic secondary education. (Pupils who passed the "11-plus" exam at primary schools generally went on to technical or grammar schools; the rest going to Secondary Modern schools.)

1n 1956 the girls were sent to a building in Leo Street, Peckham. Building then commenced on the former playing field bordering on Sprules Road. An extension was built with cloakrooms on the basement level and provisions for new studies, maths and dance.

In 1982 the girls returned to Wallbutton Road. Rooms were reorganised for home economics, catering, music, textiles and drawing offices. New toilets and separate changing rooms were provided in the gym. The fence in Wallbutton Road was replaced with iron railings and houses in Sprules Road were demolished to provide more garden and play space. A glazed walkway was constructed between the old and new buildings.

The school has changed names more than once and was eventually demolished in 2003. On 8 December 2004 Crossways Academy was officially opened on the Wallbutton Road site.

Charles Bird is founder and organiser of Brockley Central Old Scholars. If you are a former pupil or have any further information or photographs of the school or the area, he can be contacted at Please also contact us by using the Feedback button below. 

Contributed by Charles Bird.

See historic maps of Brockley