Sacred Heart School

Sacred Heart School | Herlwyn Avenue Ruislip

(Opening comments from a Ruislip, Northwood & Eastcote Local History Society publication from 1992)
The school was opened in September 1937. It was "to be conducted as a voluntary school and to provide religious instruction in conformity with the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church". The money came from the sale of the site of the catholic church in Ruislip High Street, the proceeds of which built both the present church in Pembroke Road and the school in Herlwyn Avenue. The original benefactress was Eleanor Warrender of Highgrove. The site had been part of Primrose Hill Fain, and had been owned by the Hilliard family throughout the 19th century, then by Edwin Shatford Ewer.

It was due to the energy, enthusiasm and foresight of Monsignor Sutton who was parish priest of the Sacred Heart Church, that the school was built in the first place. It was intended that it should serve not only the Ruislip parish, but also the neighbouring catholic parishes of Northwood, Eastcote and Harefield.
There had apparently been some opposition to Monsignor Sutton's plans to build a catholic school in Ruislip. The Middlesex County Council Education Committee resolved on 30th January 1936 "That the formal appeal made to the Board of Education against the proposal to provide a new Roman Catholic school in Ruislip be withdrawn on the understanding that the school will be restricted to junior and infant children up to the age of eleven years."

Plans were prepared by the end of September and approved by the Board of Education in mid December 1936. Building was completed in August 1937 in time for the beginning of the new school year. The accommodation provided for 180 junior and infant children, both boys and girls, as follows: infants' room 50; large junior room 50; two smaller classrooms at 40 each 80; in addition there were an assembly hall, teachers' room, medical inspection room, waiting room, together with the usual cloakrooms and offices.

A headteacher and three assistants were appointed, one of whom had to be a man as the first headteacher was a woman, Miss Teresa Lloyd.

Almost immediately the school was filled, but not entirely by catholics. In November 1937, 58 Of the 175 pupils were non-catholics who had been taken in at the earnest request of their parents, being little children of five or six years of age living nearby. 26 more children (15 catholics, ll non-catholics) were waiting for places after Christmas.

 Because many catholic children lived long distances from the school, the managers had already provided a school 'bus. The bus continued to feature in the life of the Sacred Heart School until the late 1970s, by which time social customs had changed and most children were being brought to school in their parents/ cars, even from houses quite close by.

Numbers continued to increase - to 242 by October 1938 - making it necessary for a new building programme to be considered.

The architect, E. A. Remnant had plans and drawings ready in November 1939, the week before he was posted to France, but because of the war nothing could be done and there were no additions to the buildings until the late 1950s.


The school has seen many developments over the subsequent years. Nothing now remains of the original building, which was designed with all the classrooms opening onto a wide veranda, ideal as an outdoor extension for messy activities. It was swept away in 1975, (unfortunately with very little photographic record) to make way for the first major rebuilding, which consisted of a new administrative block, three infant classrooms, a new hall and kitchen and two nursery units. They were completed in 1976.

Prior to rebuilding, a temporary extension of "Swift Rooms" had been added in the late 1950s and three classrooms with a central activity area in 1972.

1989 saw another major addition to increase the size of the school from a One-and-a-half form entry to a Two-form entry. This was completed in January 1990 and provides five classrooms, a library, a central activity area plus cloakroom and changing rooms. Cardinal Hume blessed and opened it officially on 22nd June, 1990 the feast day of the Sacred Heart.