View Full Version : Boston House School (Girls) Eastbourne

29-01-2013, 8:53 AM
Boston House School for Girls existed in Eastbourne from about 1890 to 1939. It transferred from London, where it claimed to have been the model for Miss Pinkerton's Academy in Vanity Fair. The school building is now part of Moira House School in Eastbourne. Does anyone have information about Boston House, in particular where it went at the outbreak of WW2? Does anyone have relatives who were pupils or members of staff? Eastbourne Local History Society would be psd to receive any details.

20-02-2013, 8:50 PM
Further to the above, I've found out that the school stayed in Eastbourne until at least Easter 1940. My guess is that they evacuated at the time of the German offensive in 1940.

05-10-2017, 9:53 PM
Further to the above (talking to myself here!), I've now found out that the school remained in Eastbourne until June 1940. However, with the fall of France, the headmistress, Miss Oliver, moved lock-stock-and-barrel to Littledean, near Cinderford, Glos. The Eastbourne Gazette carried a notice: "Parents wishing for their daughters' safety in the heart of the country and them under the personal care of Miss Oliver. School travels on Friday June 21st. Others arranged for next week."

The last school magazine was published at Easter 1940 and carries details of the death of a mother and her two daughters (the latter two former pupils of BH) when SS Yorkshire was sunk by a U-Boat in September 1939; also details of how the pupils prepared the school building for air raids and gas attacks.

The Forest of Dean Local History Society has tried to find out more but thus far, alas, to no avail. It is strange that this prestigious school should have disappeared without trace and I would greatly welcome any information and/or suggestions for further research.


06-10-2017, 12:14 AM
I put the address Upper Carlisle Road in to the 1939 register and this is one of the people living there in 1939 - Hilda M Oliver born 1891. I don't have a sub so can't see the full image.
Her death ?
Hilda Maud Oliver
Death 1965
Buried 14 Sep 1965
At St Mary the Virgin, Stanwell, Richmond upon Thames, England
Register Type: Parish Register
I thought maybe we could see if there was anything online about her after 1939 but zilch so far.
Anyway it proves you aren't talking to yourself! :biggrin:

06-10-2017, 7:48 AM
I think you may have already found -

06-10-2017, 7:49 AM
Well, thanks very much indeed, Christina. That's interesting. Sorry to be dim but which register are you referring to? I do have access to street directories and know that Miss Oliver (the first names are correct) was resident at the school in 1939. As there are most unlikely to have been descendants, perhaps I should go for a will ... what do you think? Or perhaps a letter to the incumbent with a request for a note to be put into the parish magazine. This is an encouraging step in the right direction and I am most grateful. As I say above, BH was a prestigious school: the 1911 census records a pupil by the name of Jean Orr Ewing who could well have become the distinguished scientist, Dr Jean Orr-Ewing (18971944) later involved in the discovery of penicillin.

06-10-2017, 7:53 AM
Thanks, helachau.
Yes, that article is a summary of a long and detailed piece that I wrote for the journal of Eastbourne Local History Society. It produced a fair bit of interest and a few memories but nothing about the vexed matter of the fate of the school.

06-10-2017, 7:55 AM
The Eastbourne Gazette, 21 April 1954, in reporting the death of a former headmistress, Miss Mildred Parnell Westlake -
"... Boston House School for Girls, Upper Carlisle-road, now part of Eastbourne Training College".

06-10-2017, 1:19 PM
Eastbourne Gazette, Wednesday 26 Oct 1949

"THE EASTBOURNE TRAINING COLLEGE FOR WOMEN TEACHERS began operations on Monday ...... The new college is accommodated in three buildings formerly used as private schools - Aldro and Queenswood, Darley Road, and Boston House, Upper Carlisle Road".

For 2 years Aldro and Queenswood had been an Emergency Training College for men teachers that closed May 1949.

06-10-2017, 1:46 PM
Renewed thanks for your help.

We did know of the ETTC; also that the building was taken over by the WD and Admiralty during WW2. Someone who went into the house during WW2 with his uncle, the caretaker, does not recall any furniture so it seems all the desks and so on were removed to Littledean near Cinderford.

I suspect that the school was established with the help of the Sich family, prosperous brewers at Chiswick. Several generations of this family attended BH and a leading light in the association of former pupils was a Miss Sich. However, two people with an interest in the Sich family history do not know about the demise of BH.

I'm most grateful for the help that's coming through via this forum.


06-10-2017, 8:01 PM
Sorry to be dim but which register are you referring to?

The 1939 register is on Findmypast which is a pay per view site. You can buy credits.
The National Register taken in 1939 listed the personal details of every civilian in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This Register was a critical tool in coordinating the war effort at home. It was used to issue identity cards, organise rationing and more.( I still have mine)


25-12-2017, 9:09 PM
Apologies for the tardy reply.
Thank you for that information ... of course, I knew about the ID cards but had never heard of the Register.
I will investigate further.
Best Regards