William Morris, Walthamstow William Morris
(Photograph by Frederick Hollyer - 1884 - Platinum print. Museum no. 7717-1938
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

William Morris (24 March 1834 - 3 October 1896) was an English textile designer, artist, writer, and socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts Movement.

Morris (1834-96) had trained as an architect and had early unfulfilled ambitions to be a painter. As a student at Oxford he met the artist Edward Burne-Jones, and through this friendship he came into contact with the Pre-Raphaelite painters, such as Rossetti, and others in their circle. In 1859 Morris married Jane Burden, an unconventional beauty and a favourite model for the Pre-Raphaelites. He immediately commissioned his friend, the architect Philip Webb, to build them a new home on land he had bought in Bexleyheath, Kent. Now a suburb of London, Bexleyheath was then a rural area. Morris wanted a modern home which would nevertheless be 'very medieval in spirit'. This is exactly what Webb gave him.

Morris and his wife moved into Red House in 1860 and spent the next two years furnishing and decorating the interior. Morris did much of the work himself, with help from his artist friends.

Prompted by the success of their efforts, they decided to start their own company. In April 1861 Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. was established at 8 Red Lion Square in London. It produced a range of original domestic furnishings including embroidery, tableware and furniture, stained glass and tiles. (... continues)

For a more extensive biography visit the William Morris page

William Morris school, Gainsford Road

Gainsford Road board school, opened in 1902, was renamed William Morris in 1903 because it was built on land adjoining Elm House, where he lived. In 1906 part of it became a higher elementary school, which was transferred in 1910 to Greenleaf Road. The remainder was reorganized in 1928 for senior boys, senior girls, and mixed juniors and closed in 1932.

William Morris school for the deaf, Hale End Road, opened in 1900 at Queen's Road school. In 1902 it moved to a new building for 20 children at William Morris school, Gainsford Road. It was combined with Hale End open air school in 1949 and moved to Hale End in 1952. It was closed in 1969, when Hawkswood school opened at Chingford.

An early photograph of the William Morris Schools when the Boys and Girls Schools were kept separate.

William Morris Technical School, Gainsford Road, opened in 1933 as a senior school, in the previous elementary school buildings. It was reorganized as a mixed technical school in 1948.

(Text & picture kindly provided by Bill Bayliss)

So did I. The billiard cue but on the bum. He was the technical drawing teacher, drove a sprite and fancied the girls gym teacher we all thought.
Met a guy in Phuket who owned a bar. His name was Martin and he was headboy. I was in detention. He liked Stockdale.. Sadly Martin died a few years ago.
The headmaster at the time was one Herbert P Williams. The religion teacher, can't remember his name, told me I would come to nothing. I ended up as the MD of two group companies and group marketing director. Funny old world isnt it?
Regards to all

Terry LUCAS Private Reply Public Reply

Andy Simmonds has sent in the following informal school pictures taken of pupils at WMTS in the early 60's:

William Morris School, Walthamstow
Kathleen Bellis, Janice Brady, Norma Clisby, Iris Harvey, Pat Linfoot, Pat Bambridge, Pam Lipscombe, Sylvia Rogers, Brenda Eldridge, Margaret Riley, Linda Ellerton and Heather Benton
William Morris School, Walthamstow
The only boy Andrew recognises is Jim Rooney who is middle back row. He has been told that David Barnwell is third from the right ... and Andy also thinks John Osborne is 9th from the left in the middle in front of Jim Rooney. Roger Clarkson is wearing white shoes at the front.
William Morris School, Walthamstow
Heather Benton doing something dramatic?

The following pictures are photographs taken at WMTS between 1958 and 1962:

William Morris School, Walthamstow
John Ryder, Phil Myers, David Woolley, John ? Biology lab.
William Morris School, Walthamstow
Girls on bins at WMTS (reminds of a song by Duran Duran!)
William Morris School, Walthamstow
Swiss trip

William Morris School, Walthamstow
... lads in the smoker's corner! (did their parents know?)
William Morris School, Walthamstow
The River Line - performed by the WMTS Drama Club
directed by Dorothy Cornu in about 1961.
John Knowles and Pamela Killen far right.

Following pictures kindly provided by Steve Goodall:

William Morris School, Walthamstow
William Morris School football team 1951-52
William Morris School, Walthamstow
William Morris School football team 1952-53

You are misinformed: Mr Stockdale was the "technical drawing" teacher in those years. Mr. Jones was the woodwork teacher. They had adjoining classrooms (sheds - if you like). Maybe this led to confusion. There was also a Mr Minchin ("Jim"), who taught metalwork. He was also in a "shed" - but that was elsewhere in the grounds of William Morris Technical School.

Terence ALLEN Private Reply Public Reply

Stockdale was the woodwork teacher also taught physics had the billiard cue over the head from him 1963-1968!

John SEARS Private Reply Public Reply

Some years ago now I wrote to you and received a response that I considered was very much less than enthusiastic.
As far as the current website is concerned, my observations are as follows:-
The pictures, etc., shown on the appropriate website seem to ignore the years before the 1960's as virtually non-existent.
There were students at the William Morris School long before that time and I attended from July 1942 until July 1946.
The first year of that time I spent at Bedford where the school had been evacuated due to the wartime conditions at that time.
I returned when Mr. G. Stallard, Headmaster, headed a team of fourteen teachers most of which had returned to teaching while younger staff were involved with World War Two.
I joined Form 4B with twenty-two other boys and a Form Master named Mr. Cyril Burton.
Mr. Burton suffered the somewhat dubious honour of being shot by a member of a junior form; he was not seriously wounded and recovered quickly; the boy was much disturbed however.
I have photographs of the teaching team and the members of Form 2B copies of which I originally sent to you but were never heard of again.

I have clear memories of the following:-

  • Sitting on the stairs during air raids - there were no air raid shelters available at the school.
  • Morning prayers sometimes and perhaps all too frequently in 1944 of the names of former students killed, wounded or missing. The killed were eventually added to the Roll of Honour in the main hall and I have wondered if this survived the destruction of the school in later years - can you comment on this?
  • Mr. Stallard entering an on-going lesson and beckoning to one boy or another to accompany him to his study. This usually meant that bad news had arisen and a master not teaching was found to go with the boy to his home where he would learn of a father, brother and other relative and his being killed, wounded, prisoner-of-war or missing. Boys with relatives in the Services often said that their hearts were in their mouths at the sight of he Headmaster on these occasions.

In 1945/6 I left full time education and worked in the City of London until I was conscripted into the Royal Navy for eighteen months National Service.
It has always impressed me that the team of teachers at the William Morris were able to provide a high level of education to so many boys under such dire circumstances and I will always be grateful for their grand efforts.

Frederick E.J. PEACH Private Reply Public Reply

Good morning.
I read your narrative about the William Morris School on-line and submit the following for your consideration, I can supply more information should you feel you might need it.
Much is written here about the years of the 1960's but little about the wartime period. I attended William Morris School from 1943 to 1946 in Forms 2b, 3b and 4b. My first year was spent at the 'evacuation school' which was, at that time, the William Harper School, Bedford. The Headmaster was Mr. Stallard and our Form Master Mr. Cyril Burton (known to his form as Beery). Other masters included Mr. Corderoy, Mr. W.R. Gachet (French), Mr. Twyman (P.E.), Mr. Cooke (First Year Maths), Mr. Nicholl (Woodwork and Metalwork), Mr. Birmingham (Geography), Mr. Mountford (Art). Mr. Vaissiere was the History Master and took great delight in telling us of his personal experiences during World War One in the Tank Corps; whatever the particular aspect of history he had chosen for a session we always asked a question which led him into his reminiscences of his war.
The school did not have an air raid shelter so during the quite frequent raids all the school would sit on the stairs between the floors and hope for the best. There were terrible times when some bad news would mean Mr. Stallard coming into the school room during a lesson, quietly whispering something to the master taking the lesson and then beckoning to one of the boys to follow him. This could mean that during one of the air raids that day the boy's house had been hit or perhaps Mr. Stallard had received a telephone call telling him that the boy's father or brother had become a casualty in one of the services. The worst news being that of a death. Mr. Stallard was a severe headmaster who rarely smiled but we were reliably informed that on these occasions he would comfort the grief-stricken boy in the kindest of ways and see him safely home or to a place of safety. Other times which I clearly recall were when Mr. Stallard, at morning prayers, would announce the news that one of the former pupils of the school had been killed in action. One more name to be added to the Roll of Honour in the Big Hall. The week in which D-Day occurred was particularly memorable.
Although the teachers were mostly retired persons recalled for the period of the war or those due for retirement who chose to stay on teaching, the standard of education was very high indeed. Several of the boys went on to a creative and major career. All the boys were required a couple of years after leaving the school to do their National Service and I believe several were involved in the Malaya Emergency, Suez, Kenya and the Korean War. I spent two years at a shipping office in the City before serving eighteen months in the Royal Navy in the Communications Branch. There was a Girls Department, but the division between the boys and girls would have put the Berlin Wall to shame: even to be seen speaking to one of the girls was likely to result in corporal punishment. This was the cane, wielded only by Mr. Stallard - with gusto. But the real punishment was the fact that the 'crime' was entered in 'The Punishment Book' which, we were led to believe, would be kept for eternity and available for anyone from whom we sought employment, thus being a threat to our working lives for ever - a concept that was never denied - or confirmed - by the teaching staff.
We boys were completely aware that being pupils of a Central School we stood halfway between a Secondary Modern School and the local Grammar School (the George Monoux) but our middle-way status only served to provide more incentive to do as well as the grammar school pupils. I felt very sad to learn that the old William Morris School had been pulled down - with it went memories that are still precious to me.


Frederick E.J. PEACH Private Reply Public Reply

Daniel, You’re a glutton for punishment. More school photo’s, eh?

This is my last school photo. It was taken at Sir William Morris school in Gainsford Road, Walthamstow. It was probably done in 1971 and it features the entire school year: the 6th. We all left soon after, I think.

The roll-call (with spelling mistakes) is:

Top row, left to right:
Tim Fletcher, Richard Gibbs, Jimmy Emmerick, Chris Ball, Martin Hollier, Geoff Dunkley, John Davey, Gary Marsh, Carol Leeson, Elaine Brennan, Sue Russell, Naomi Moore, Stella Gordon, Paula Vacher, Christine Gough, Cynthia Wellings

Next row down, left to right:
Christine Williamson, Joan Pledger, Sue Lofts, Linda Cutmore, Christine Davis, Jo Banderuha, Sandra Sparks, Christine Bremner, Roger Corson, John Timms, Sam Marcione, me, Graham Ratcliffe, Tony Murrell, Peter Clayden, Steve Porter

Next row down (standing on the floor) left to right:
Mr. Martindale (Head), Janet Broomfield, Shirley Duffell, Marjorie Fortune, Alex Ingram, Janet Lee, Angela Groom, Janice Bailey, Sue Brown, Lesley Talbot, Frances Dann, Margaret Hughes, Katrina Jarvis, Fiona Garrett, Christine Belmont, Norman Brooks, Dave Morton, David Luck, Mr. Mc Alpine (Year Head)

Front row (seated) left to right:
Jim Lawlor, Geoff Abrahams, Ian Brown, Abdul Pandari, Tony Kaye, John Hall, Rob Buck, Colin Wakeling, Richard bates, Chris Howard, Bill Jennings, June Low, Susanne Barr, June Kidd, Carole Wherry

Barry RYDER Private Reply Public Reply

In response to your request for more local school pix, here's a snap of us 'young Turks' at Sir William Morris in about 1968:

The hapless teacher was Miss Jones. She later married a fellow teacher at the school and became Mrs Coles. The names of my classmates are scribbled on the back of the photo and can be supplied to interested parties on request. I'm the grumpy kid in the back row, second from the left.

Barry RYDER Private Reply Public Reply

Hello Gary,
in the 1952/53 football photo in the back row left end is John Snell (tubby), next to him is me Henry Dunne (note the Kramer hair style from the Seinfield tv show). The tall guy is Alan Jones, I believe the end guy is Albert Vigar, in the front row left end is Terry Goodall, next to him is Ginger Martin, far right is David Taylor. We all graduated in July 1954. I have lived in the USA since 1963


Hank DUNNE Private Reply Public Reply

Hi Gary,

I was one of the first comprehensive intake to William Morris having arrived from William (scruffy) McGuffie in (I think) 1967.

The teacher that you couldn't remember the name of was Mr Stockdale, who was my form tutor when I was in 4DO (Drawing Office)

You are right that everyone feared him as it was to him that you were sent, if you seriously broke the rules, for corporal punishment!

I enjoyed my time at William Morris, which was a much better school than "scruffy", kids actually wanted to learn!


Pauline TAYLOR Private Reply Public Reply

Although I lived in Chingford from 1953 until 1969, I went to William Morris Technical High School, Gainsford Road, Walthamstow, from first form until Lower Sixth. Leaving at Christmas 1969, having moved to Brentwood in Essex. I can remember some of the teachers very well, Mr Goddard (Daddy G), Scripture and Athletics, Miss Jones (Maths), Mr Kilgour (Maths), Mr Wilson (Physics) and Mr Baker (French, German and my last Form Teacher).

There was a wood work teacher who drove a Wartburg, had been a wrestler, who everyone feared and admired, but the name escapes me.

I can also remember some of the pupils from my class: Keith White, Tom Clark, David Slater, Chris Bereford ?, Robert George, Titchford, Mark Cox, Grant ?, Sue Tomkins, Kay ?, Linda ?

In the Lower sixth I had a Honda 250cc which I drove to school, parking in the bike sheds. I was in 'W' throughout the school, 1W, 2W etc. And I was in the year that when 5th formers we were all made prefects, at the time when it became a comprehensive and we had an influx of Ugandan Asians, some of which could not speak English well enough to do their lessons. I hope that some of the old class mates are still around and get to see this email. A reunion would be nice.

WMTS (1964-1969) Private Reply Public Reply

William Morris Technical School - List of Heads (alphabetical)
Name Office Years Notes

William Morris Technical School - List of Teachers (alphabetical)
Name Office Years Notes
Blakey, Mr. Christopher 1972-79
Booth, Mr. Mark 1988-89
Caton, Miss Margaret 1965-67 Later Mrs. Barnard
Eden, Mr. Michael 1979-83
Foulkes, Ms. Catherine 1978-83
Good, Mr. Peter 1973-76
Jones, Mr. woodwork
Minchin, Mr. Jim metalwork
Morley, Miss Pam 1962-66 Later Mrs. Stockwell
Rodgers, Mr. David 1973-76
Stockdale, Mr. technical drawing/physics 1963-68
Wright, Ms Sue 1976-80

William Morris Technical School - List of Staff (alphabetical)
Name Office Years Notes

William Morris Technical School - List of Pupils (alphabetical)
Name Years Notes
Pleydell, Peter 1966-71
Sears, John 1963-68

William Morris Technical School - Reunions
Date Notes

Sorry, no further information currently available, but if you wish to add your own memories about this school, email to Daniel at: