Then the squatters had to move on, the building was demolished and Brent Housing Trust built the present low-rise houses and flats. At the time of demolition, the stone bearing the school name and various other pieces of limestone dressings were rescued and rebuilt as a display of building materials in the playground of Paddington Lower House, where perhaps they may still be seen. I do not know if they have survived the conversion of the Oakington Street site into Paddington Academy. It would be interesting to know their fate.1

Just before it was demolished, some strange grooves were noticed in the red bricks above a low window, well within reach of the ground. The grooves revealed how different the teaching was in those early days from today

Then there were no biros. Children had to write with dip pens and ink. They got ink on their fingers, ink on their faces, ink on their clothes, so that in the first years they were not allowed to use ink. Instead they used slates and slate pencils. When they had written on both sides of the slate, they washed it clean and began all over again. None of their work could be saved.

When the slate pencils became blunt, they were re-sharpened on the soft red bricks of the window head - a Friday afternoon task for the most restless pupil. Similar grooves can be found in the walls of some village churches, made by the repeated sharpening of iron arrow heads. In the years before the battle of Agincourt there was always compulsory archery practice on Sunday mornings and the bow men at Agincourt had long sharpened their arrow tips on the stone walls of their local village churches. The sharpening grooves still persist in some churchyards.

The Brent Housing Association flats and maisonettes built in Harrow Road, on the site of Moberly School.


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Updated November 15, 2011