William Patten School History Continued

Proposal Which Shocked the Neighbourhood

(still under development)


The Aerial View of the School Site in 2005

This picture shows the houses which would have been affected by the next proposal.


A Proposed New School Site

In 1971 it was proposed to enlarge the school site by demolishing surrounding houses and build a new Two-form Nursery School.

The Proposed Enlargement of William Patten School Site

The demolition area is lined in red and an additional area marked out in blue for
further enlargement if and when Church Street was straightened.


The effect on local streets

All the houses within the red border would have been demolished between 1975 and 1981. The part within the blue border would have been developed when Church Street was widened.

The scheme would have involved demolishing:-

  • 1-29a Dynevor Road
  • 2-42 Dynevor Rd
  • 1-13 Lancell Street
  • 2-24 lancell Street
  • 88- 98 Dynever Road

This was a total of 81 houses often with two families per house. Perhaps 150 households were to be dispersed to new housing somewhere else; children and grandparents separated; local friends sent to different parts of London and even further afield. It would have been an enormous disruption for everyone and the destruction of an established local community.

Chief Officer’s Report

Telling the Public

Letters warning the occupants that their houses were to be compulsorily purchased were sent to tenants and owners, apparently in a very curt and impolite way. Not only was the decision to purchase and demolish their houses a shock, but the manner of announcing it also caused great offence.

The letters from the Council provoked a stream of protests. People, especially old people, objected to being moved away from their nearby families and familiar streets. Some had looked forward to a comfortable retirement among people they knew. They would lose their hard-earned properties, with small, mature gardens, and instead, be stuck at the top of some tower block with lifts that did not work. Many of the local houses had been improved in recent years with the help of council grants. Housing Departments had been helping people to improve their properties, re-roof them and put in bathrooms where there had been none before, and here was the Education Department demolishing them.

Most people rented their houses but a few owned them. The money paid for the houses would have been very small indeed. A planning officer at the LCC once said to me, “I have bought rows of old houses at a hundred pounds each.” These owners might have received perhaps £200 each. Certainly their compensation for the compulsory purchase of their houses would not have allowed them to buy anywhere else.


Four letters of protest at proposed enlargement of
the school and destruction of nearby houses.

40 Dumont Road
Stoke Newington N16
5. 6. 1974

Borough Architect and Plannning Officer,
Shoreditch House,
39 Old Street EC1 V9HA

Dear Sir,

Re William Patten School 

Thank you for your letter of the 29th May and the information therein. It seems from what you say we shall be safe here for 3-4 years at least, which is quite a relief owing to the fact hat my husband retires in 1977, and of course it would be impossible for us to move out before then without him losing the pension for which he has paid in for about 30 years.

Also, according to the Dept. of Education statement in the Press last week it is estimated that there will be 1 million les children of primary age in 1981 than has been planned for owing to the falling birth rate. Also, from another Dept. they state that for the first time the population was moving away from south east England to other areas and there were now considerably more elderly people in this part of the country than elsehere. I hope therefore that when the time for consideration takes place these facts will be tken into account, and the whole crazy scheme either dropped or considerably reduced.

In yesterday’ hackney Gazette it said that there are now 10,000 on the housing waiting list and many more in bed& breakfast accommodation, so how can these people possibly be housed if all that is going good houses being pulled down for playing fields for 3 year olds. Surely it is up to their parents to look after them at that age.

Also, now this deferment is presumably official what about letting the house next door to me, No.38. It is a 7 room house with a kitchenette & garden, either can be let in 2 flats or one large family. All it wants is exterior decoration. At the moment it is a menace. Front garden full of old furniture and broken glass. 2 large trees pulled around by children making it hazardous to walk along the pavement, also a breeding place for rats and mice. It is making a slum where one does not exist and with all these homeless surely it could be let short term to some desparate couple. People come knocking on my door and all I can say is “It belongs to the G. L. C. and they won’t apparently let it.” There would not be half the housing shortage if these places were let while others are being built.

Continuation to be found

  1. part of a third, about 70 houses (not slums) I believe, many holding 2 or 3 families, about 150 families, 4/500 people. Where are we all going? Roaming the streets, by day and sleeping in tents on the playing fields at night. There plenty of good sized derelict sites within a short distance of the school. Why can’t one of them be used for the nursery school and playing space for same? This would greatly reduce the amount required for the Primary school.
  2. Many of the people here are Old age pensioners, and not on Social security either, and this is an area convenient for them. On the flat, no hills, and within five minutes of shops and transport. It is no use giving us free bus passes if not make us housebound, as so many aged 60/90 will be, me included. I thought hackney Borough Council and the Greater London Council had the interests of the old at heart, but this is definitely not so because 2 rooms in a 20 storey block of flats miles from anywhere is no use to us. I for one, want what I have always had, a little house with a small garden to sit out in summer. It is not much to want at the end of life, and I have worked all my life for it instead of spend(ing) my money on smoking, betting, drink, etc. I have put all in this house getting it ready for retirement but it seems as if it is all money wasted. I might as well have spent the lot, and then let the State keep me as it is doing many others. I might add that the Greater London Council pre-retirement course advises one to stay where one is known and happy and then, when their advice is taken, it seems we are to be turned out and given only a fraction of what the house is worth. What Building Society is going to lend pensioners thousands of pounds for a mortgage?

I call this sort of thing blatant stealing, maybe in your mind legalized, but not in mine. What other thing of great value can a working class person buy and then have it stolen away from them for a mere pittance. I couldn’t steal a valuable diamond ring, pay £5 for it and get away with it. I should be behind bars, and rightly so.

Also I have been informed by at least 4 so called reliable sources that this scheme has been postponed until at least1981, once by a Borough Councillor when canvassing for the General Election, once by a prominent member of the local Labour Party and also an official form was brought round here headed Greater London Council, asking us to sign if we objected to a nursery class in the existing school. This purported to be an official communication from the Greater London Council. What was it, and I want an answer please, as it definitely stated the William Patten scheme had been deferred,

Apart from the fact that we old people don’t want to move, we are mostly physically incapable at our age to do all the turning out and packing up etc. involved. I would be for one. The more I live in Britain the more I realize it is becoming a Hitler and not a democratic state.

I call this land speculation in reverse. Those people lucky enough to have 2 or more places, one no doubt with large grounds, are left alone, while us poor devils have our little bit taken away from us. The Bible is quite right, ‘To them that have shall be given, to them that have not shall be taken away.’

Also as you know the birth rate has fallen 15% in the last 2 years, more in built up areas, and is still falling. More young people are moving out of the area, and the number on the register at the school is dropping every term. Many schools have been built in the immediate area. In fact if any more are built there will be a greater area of schools than houses. Houses have to be lived in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Schools about 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, 38 or so weeks a year.

Why is it that flats have to be built 15/20 storeys high, and schools only bungalow, or at most one or two storeys. After all, young children have more energy, stronger hearts and lungs etc. to cope with stairs and lifts, and don’t say lifts don’t go out of action, they do. I have a friend on the 17th floor of Trowbridge Estate, and the first time I went there got stuck in the lift between 2 floors. It was terrifying and as you know, about Christmas, the lift was out of action in a block of old people’s flats for 5 weeks due to vandalism.

I hope the Hackney Borough Council will kill this diabolical scheme stone dead for the sake of us old’uns.

Yours faithfully’


(Mrs) G.L.Frost.

40 Dumont Road
Stoke Newington
London N.16

The Town Clerk,
London Borough of Hackney

Dear Sir,


Thank you for the notice re the above school. I must say that it was very curt and crude considering the importance of such a matter as compulsory purchase. – LEGALIZED STEALING OF MY HOME.

I was very surprised to get this notice considering that 3 prominent people in the Labour Party said this scheme had been deferred for some years – 1981 in fact. One of the notices was from the school itself. On whose authority was it issued?

I should like to know why I have to bow down to a superior body and let them steal my house just because they want to enlarge and provide a playing field for your children, so it becomes a battle between children and elderly citizens.

Where I am living is handy for the shops, buses and my work. I have another 3 years before I retire, so shall I be pleased to be moved to some distant spot?I SHALL MOST CERTAINLY NOT BE. IN ADDITION I SHALL LOSE A PENSION I HAVE BEEN PAYING 30 YEARS FOR. Will the GLC make this up?

I have lived at this address for 35 years, have a small garden which I cultivate, and get the most I can out of it in the way of fruit, flowers and vegetables. This can be inspected at any time by an official of the G. L. C. or Hackney B.C.

I notice No. 18 has been excluded from this. WHY?

Practically all the houses in Dumont Road are in good condition except he house next door to me- No. 38 which has been empty since the occupant died and is boarded up with corrugated iron sheets – very elegant – and is owned by the GLC This could easily be let out in 2 flats in Hackney for homes as I am given to understand that there is a huge waiting list in Hackney for homes, and now the G. L. C. propose to smash down perfectly good houses which have withstood bombing during and (will) still last a good many years. In fact only last year a bathroom grant was given for one, and the owner was assured by the Hackney Borough Council that his house would not be pulled down for at least 15 years. Doesn’t one council know what the other one is doing?

There are a good number of senior citizens living in Dumont Road, some between 75 – 85 years and I wonder if the G. L. C. realises how distressing it is for old people to be thrown out of their homes and [moved}somewhere else, right away from shops and buses and everything they know, and probably having to climb up flights of stairs with all their shopping if the lifts are out of order when the vandals have been at work.

Are you aware that the birth rate is dropping fast. There is a shortage of teachers and homes for same.

I believe there is a £150 grant for new carpets, curtains, etc, but with medium priced carpet around £7 a square yard, plus VAT how far is that going?

Also, about No.29a, there is a new brick-built factory 3-4 years (old) and occupied by Knight’s, the bookbinders, built to house them after they were turned out of Clerkenwell green/St. John’s Street. What about all those thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money being wasted if this is pulled down, after so short a time.

I trust the Hackney Council will turn down this scheme good and proper, once and for all. Will you please let me know the result as soon as possible.


Yours faithfully,



P.S. What happened to the St Mary’s Primary School approved about 8 years ago and still not started?

9 Dumont Road

Hackney Borough Council

April 1974

Re William Patten School

Dear Sir,

In reply to communication received from Greater London Council re the above, my wife and myself are definitely against this. We bought and paid for this house, had many improvements made at a great cost, ready for retirement, etc. I am now a semi-invalid and it will be prejudicial to my health to be uprooted. When our friends at No. 24 got a grant eighteen months ago to build a new bathroom at great expense to themselves they were told quite definitely that there were no plans for these houses to come down. There is already too much pulling down of good homes around here, while there are thousands of homeless, and in deplorable conditions in the borough. Leave good houses alone and concentrate on improving bad ones.

Yours faithfully’




15 Dumont Road, London N16


The Town Clek
London Borough of Hackney
Town Hall, Mare Street

18 April 1974

Dear Sir,

I am writing about the application made by the London Borough of Hackney to develop the area ‘for educational purposes,

Well, I strongly object to the street in which I have been living for the past eleven years being demolished.

Now I suppose you would like to know my reasons for objecting, which are several:

  1. When all these houses have been knocked down for the use of a school, where will the kids come from to attend the school?
  2. I have five kids attending William Patten School at the moment; where will I find a school for my kids?
  3. You are already building a new fire station round the corner.
  4. Last but not least; we are a family of seven – will you find me a house for my wife, my five kids and myself.

Well when I come right down to it I have no intention of selling my house and that’s that.


Yours faithfully,


Signed by G. Montague and Mrs E. Montague.


The letters go on and on. There is a four page list, dated 3 April, 1974, of the names of the householders who sent letters of complaint.

Apart from showing the huge number of people who objected, this list shows how mixed the neighbourhood had become by that time. The family names include Plumb, Schuriah, Parris, Reid, Nicola, Ali, Miah, Akindria, Tuckel, and so on for four pages. People from all over the world were living in these streets, as they are today. To all of them it was home.

One person asked what had happened to the plans for the new St Mary’s School, which she said had been approved 8 years before [in 1966] and had not been started.

The volume of protests succeeded

In the face of such a torrent of protests, including those from their own Housing Department, which was trying desperately to find places for people to live, the proposal to demolish the houses was dropped. Later the school was enlarged in a different way.


Chief Officer’s Report (Date unknown but after 1974)

William Patten School, Stoke Newington Church Street, N16


Site and Locality:

William Patten School fronts onto the south side of Stoke Newington Church Street, about fifty yards west of the junction with Stoke Newington High Street. The school is a two storey brick structure, built in 1892, and closely surrounded by residential and retail premises. The proposed development is at the rear of the school to which there is a pedestrian access from Dynevor Road.


The introduction of nursery facilities into existing primary school, involving use of existing classroom, small extension, interior alterations, and the walling off of a section of the playground for the exclusive use of the nursery.

Planning History

An application received April 1974, from the GLC for planning permission to develop William Patten School by the erection of a two form entry junior mixed and infant school with a play centre and provision of two unit nursery schools, has recently been withdrawn. However the GLC is still of the opinion the school’s inadequate premises and site means that it should be rebuilt as soon as financial circumstances permit.

Material Considerations

The development consists of:-

  1. existing classroom (24 feet x 24 feet) as the main nursery room;
  2. enclosure of entrance way to form a small quiet room, and the installation of a new entrance (with ramp) directly into the nursery;
  3. the construction of an external toy cupboard and a wall about four feet high surrounded by a flat-topped iron railing three feet high, delimiting the nursery play area (20 feet x 27 feet).

There will of course be noise nuisance from the use of the nursery play area, but as the existing use is as a school playground there will be no significant increase in nuisance.


The proposal is satisfactory.

Recommendation (GLC.OBS)

No objection, but suggest that materials used match existing building.


Presumably this work was carried out but I have no details. A close examination of the actual building would be necessary to tease out the history properly.

Today the houses which were threatened with demolition have all been improved and are one of the mainstays of the flock of estate agents who have flooded into the area, attracted by the pickings.

Main Index

taken from second part of "W Patl hist Master 19.1.08.doc"
last revised: January 10, 2013 9:08 AM