During the First World War Campbell Brown found it difficult to run his school. Food prices were rising and there seemed no way of increasing fees to cover these and other expenses. On 12th December 1917, he wrote to the Secretary of the Higher Education Committee for Hornsey:-
Campbell Brown then asked the Committee to consider taking over, in the public interest, the management and control of the schools. The subject had been raised.
By the end of the First World War the situation had become impossible. To provide the education expected of a good secondary school, Tollington needed new Science Labs, new Art, Woodwork and Metalwork Rooms and a Hall, all of which were beyond Campbell Brown's pocket. In 1919 he sold the school to the Middlesex Education Committee for £13,500 and retired to Brighton.
At the same time the Committee rented land for a playing field from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for £38 per annum. Five acres round the Gravel Pit was converted and the erosion of Coldfall Wood had begun. The Boarding House became a Boys and Girls Preparatory School (Tolly Prep.) for the two Tollington Schools. The Boys' School was considerably enlarged. A new block was built alongside the earlier Tetherdown building, with a Hall on the ground floor, Science Rooms on the first floor and Metalwork, Woodwork and Art Rooms at the top. The Art Room had an extensive view to the north as far as Barnet. This room had plenty of light, but the new Hall was so jammed against the older building that it turned the ground floor rooms of the older building into cellars, dull and gloomy. A light well would have made all the difference.
The layout from the 1928 Bazaar catalogue on page 60 gives a good idea of the school in the 1939s.
C D G H L represent the original Thornton House. E & F are the corrugated iron gym. The four Bs are the old school, built when the school was opened, with its windows to Tetherdown; while A was the new Hall with its stage (not shown) at the north end.
The Second World War
Pupils of all the schools were evacuated. Tolly Prep. School went to Woolverstone, in Bucks, and various other places, but many pupils returned and sometimes were evacuated once again. This meant that the school numbers fluctuated, but were always small.
During the period of the doodlebugs, the small pilotless planes which caused so much destruction, a special watch was kept from the Fire Station tower in Fortis Green. The children had their lessons at strong tables in the