Rosemead School was started by Miss Dorothy Plumridge in her parents’ house in Thornlaw Road, London. SE27. As far as we know the school existed by 1936 and it may well have started a year or two before. At the time Dame Schools were very popular and this is how the school would have been described at that time. Such schools were popular because they concentrated on the three R’s, had strict discipline and small classes, allowing for individual attention. These schools were designed to prepare children for entry to preparatory or public schools.
When war started in 1939 many children were evacuated from London, but there were parents, however, who wanted to keep their children with them. Places at Miss Plumridge’s school were in high demand and the school moved to a larger house in Leigham Court Road. On 13thOctober 1942 Miss Plumridge moved her school to Atkins Road, Clapham Park, which is when it became recognised as a formal school. The school was very successful and nearly always had 100% pass rate in the 11+ examinations.
In 1974 Miss Plumridge announced, rather suddenly, that it was time for her to retire and that the school would close. This came as a complete shock to everyone and a group of parents decided that they would seek to find new premises and run the school themselves.
Their search led them to the junction of Lancaster Avenue and Thurlow Park Road where they found a building that had a long association with education, which had been built in 1865. Its history is not clear until 1878 when it became Dulwich High School under the auspices of the Girls’ Public Day School Trust and opened with forty-seven girls. By 1881 a large hall, five large classrooms, a music room and extra cloakroom space had been added. In 1885 there were four hundred pupils from all over south London. The school closed in 1939 when the pupils were evacuated.
After the war, probably from 1949-1952, the building was used by the Old Vic Theatre and run as a drama school. Famous alumni include Joan Plowright, Keith Michell, Prunella Scales, Jerome Willis, Alan Dobie and Colin Jevons. Later Oakfield School used the building as a senior school until the Old Vic decided to sell it in 1974.
This was a perfect opportunity for the group of parents from Miss Plumridge’s school. They bought the building and established the Thurlow Educational Trust, which continues to run the school today.
The name Rosemead came into being and the school went from strength to strength. So much so that by the beginning of the twenty-first century Rosemead needed more space. Initially a house in Lancaster Avenue was looked at but at the beginning of 2005 Rosemead acquired Noah’s Ark, a school that provided for Early Years and Key Stage One children, which was housed in St Cuthbert’s Church on the corner of Elmcourt Road and Thurlow Park Road. New classrooms were provided for Year 1 in 2006 and in September 2012 a new mezzanine floor was opened, providing two Year 2 classrooms, an ICT suite and tuition areas.
All Images and Text Courtesy and Copyright: Rosemead Prep School