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Friern Barnet Photo Archive

Comrie House School, 185 Friern Park
The Friern Barnet Photo Archive
Comrie House School, 185 Friern Park

This photograph was taken in the mid-1950s. The house was built in 1903 and the site is now occupied by a block of flats 'Whitefriars Court'. Please see image number 3334 for class photograph and further comments from former pupils.
Picture added on 15 December 2009 at 11:16
I lived at 28, Cardrew Ave between 1937 and 1950 my friend Derek Adams lived in Cardrew Close and he went to Comrie House School during WW2, I went to Holly Park School.
Added by Roland Ede on 30 July 2012
I was at Comrie House School between 1946 - 1950, anyone still around ?
Added by John Bee on 20 September 2012
What happened to my picture and the rest of the school pictures? THE ONLY OTHER PICTURE WE HAVE IS NUMBER 3334. DID YOU UPLOAD THE PICTURES?

Added by Roy Johnston on 13 January 2013
To Grenda Hurt - send me your e-mail so I can reply to you
Added by Roy Johnston on 04 February 2013
I was at Comrie House from c1946 to 1952. I've seen picture 3334 but don't recognise anyone in it. But some of the faces seem to be a bit familiar (not very good with faces I'm afraid!). But it may be that I started in 1947, but I don't have any records of it.
Added by David Everall on 23 August 2014
The picture was taken in 1945 or 1946 I can't remember which!

Added by Roy Johnston on 25 August 2014
Roy, you mentioned other pictures that apparently have not been published. What are they of? The school and/or pupils? Do you still have copies?
Added by David Everall on 27 August 2014
David there were other pictures beside the school photo but at sometime they were taken off. They were of various classes throughout the years. That's what I meant by other pictures. Where they went I don't know.
Added by Roy Johnston on 29 August 2014
I was in Comrie from 44 to 47, then to Henrietty School Barnet. Looking at photo of class in 1946 from Roy Johnston, with many names submitted by Rev Grenda Hurt( nee Horne). With Pamela Nicholls we can name majority of that class. My younger brother followed 3 years after.
Added by Olwen Evans on 26 November 2014
Olwen Evans, I'm afraid your name does not mean much to me, though I do remember Pam Nichols, she was 3rd from right in the front row. Do you know her? Get in touch. Roy Johnston
Added by Roy Johnston on 02 December 2014
I was at Comrie House from 1958 to 1964. My best friend was Peter Ellerby, but when we left Comrie House he went to Woodhouse & I went to Christs College. Other people I can remember were Nicholas Mott, Janice Landsberg, Judith King, Val Marshall, Susan Henslow, Marcia Vanner
Added by Steven Bennett on 04 November 2015
I was at Comrie House in the early 70's until it closed then went to Q E Boys. I remember the sports days and going to Squires Lane to have swimming lessons in the teacher's VW Beetle about 6 of us squeezed in don't think that would happen now !!!! I also remember Mrs Layson
Added by Billy Davison on 15 November 2015
Hi I was at Comrie House at about 1954 till about 1966. I was a twin.
Added by Stephen Gilbert on 06 September 2016
Hello my parents and my grandmother owned and ran the school Mr Mrs Winterburn I remember the school and have a photo on sports day with the pet pony
Added by Diana Dowling on 16 November 2016
The comments added in by Steven Bennett and the other names he mentions were names that I remembered.
It was only last week that I was looking at all the black & white photos I took of my stay at Comrie House from 1954 to 1966.
Does anyone still have contact with former pupils of their years, I have one.
Added by Stephen Gilbert on 17 November 2016
I remember the Winterburns & Mrs Harden in the wheelchair. I even fought the son of the Winterburn's in the first round of the school boxing tournament.
Added by John Bee on 18 November 2016
Hi my brother John Winterburn must be who you remember, sadly no longer with us.
Added by Diana Dowling on 20 November 2016
I have started a Facebook group called Comrie House - North finchley. I would love to trace any former pupils? Unfortunately I am unable to add the link to the Facebook group but please search for Comrie House in Facebook or drop me a mssage and i would be pleased to add you
Added by Steve Bennett on 24 May 2017
My mother (Irene Hayden) worked here as a 'Live-in Assistant' in about 1928/29 when she was 19/20 yrs old. She used to cook lunch for 25 children and sometimes looked after the proprietor's two young sons (aged 9 & 12) while their parents were away.
Added by Mike Thomas on 23 June 2017
The proprietors of Comrie House School in 1928 were a Mr & Mrs Quilliam. Mrs Quilliam was a teacher and ran the school. Mr Quilliam was Deputy Headmaster of Finchley Grammar School and possibly Headmaster later.
Added by Mike Thomas on 30 June 2017
I was there 1962-67...I think. Remember Mrs Harnden as head. Teachers Miss Hawkins? Mrs Rogers. My year fellow students were Keith Elmes, Elizabeth Cole, Gillian Cutbill. Especially remember Sports Day, the sweet tray lady and dinner assistant Mrs Pearce who was lovely !
Added by Deborah Gold on 21 August 2017
I was at Comrie House between 1962 and 1966.
Added by Dimitris spatharis on 18 January 2018
I have a photo of the whole school taken in 1963. My mother is in the photo
Added by Zoe Dunn on 28 January 2018
My grandparents - Mr and Mrs Winterburn, owned Comrie House School. It was passed from Mrs Winterburn to their eldest daughter Maisie Harnden, who was in a wheelchair. During WW2 the front room was bombed. As a lot of the staff went into the forces my mother, Constance Winterburn, then 16 years old, left school herself to fill a teaching position at the school. I remember the name of Irene who was housekeeper/companion there. Not the same dates as the previously mentioned Irene so must be a different lady.If I remember correctly she was excellent at smocking and used to smock dresses for me during the late 50's and early 60's which Auntie Maisie would send to me for Christmas - we were in Rhodesia at that time. Sadly my cousin Diana Dowling who commented in 2016 has recently died. I believe my Uncle Arthur Harnden sold the school in the mid seventies when he retired.
Added by Christine Willis on 10 January 2019
Does anyone remember the donkey in the sports field next door?
Added by Stephen Gilbert on 12 January 2019
I went to Comrie from 1949 to 1955. Yes, at one time there were two donkeys, Polly and Neddy, who were kept in a stable by the boys' toilet. A boy was deputed to ‘muck out’ until his mother complained! I can also remember the day when my teacher Miss Perry came into the classroom to announce that Mrs. Winterburn had died. When Maisie Harnden became head she would ring a bell to summon the duty monitor from Form 1/2 to run an errand! Part of ‘prefect’ duty was to walk across the terrace ringing a brass bell to indicate change of lessons. Another duty was to bring in the milk crates and put them in front of the coke fire in the winter!
Added by Richard Testar on 23 January 2019
I’ve just seen an entry ifrom David Everall. If I’m right you had a brother called Robert and you lived in a big house in Woodside Park Road, on the right towards the station?
Added by Richard Testar on 03 February 2019
Hi Richard. Yes you are right! The house was converted into flats. We lived on the third floor if memory serves. I now live in Caerphilly (South Wales) and Bob lives in Budleigh Salterton South Devon. I'm afraid my memory now of Comrie House is very vague! Although of course Mrs Winterburn and Mrs Harnden I recall. Don't remember the donkeys!!! I think my problem is that I was very shy!! Bob was always far more outgoing and would probably remember them! I'll send him a link to this site and he may well be interested.
Added by David Everall on 04 February 2019
Thanks David, I can remember a number of my classmates which may ring a bell: - Lyn Bickers, Susan Fineman, Stewart Patterson, Raymond Pullen, Linda Hayes, John Cardell, Francis Holliday, Diana Salmon, John Norman (who I still see regularly), David Grindrod, Paula Challenger, Janice Verando, Trudy and Sally Taverner, James Davy, Paul Gold, Pat Comber, any others?

Added by Richard Testar on 05 February 2019
Richard thanks. However of all those names the only one that rings a bell is Pat Comber! I must have been madly in love with her!!!
Added by David Everall on 08 February 2019
I didn't go to Comrie but it was opposite my grandparents' home in Torrington Ave. Linda Hayes was my cousin; she died in a car crash when she was 20 - and I still miss her. I can remember playing with her and Trudy and Sally Taverner round the garages in Welbeck Close. And I can remember the donkeys!
Added by Elaine Harburn on 02 September 2019
Don't recognise any names; my contempories were Geoffrey Key, Sally Davis, George Sims & Brian Tribe
Added by John Bee on 05 September 2019
Thanks Elaine, that’s interesting because I too used to play in Welbeck Close with Linda, and Susan Fineman who also lived there! There were loads of bushes on the left hand side. I remember with great sadness my dad coming into my bedroom one morning to say Linda had been killed. Was it in a van - and I believe she drove for a dry cleaners in Whetstone? I also recall Linda’s father who I think had been injured in the war and chair-bound and repaired clocks and watches. Some time after he died they got a small Dachshund dog called Fred, I think. My wife Marilyn used to host Linda’s mother Ivy at the Friern Barnet Day Centre
Added by Richard Testar on 06 September 2019
Hi Richard. Linda was driving her car in Maidstone where she was working for Gallup Poll. It was a filthy October day and she skidded on wet leaves, lost control of the car and went into the side of a lorry which was unable to swerve. It was the week before half term and I was off school with a cold so was home when my dad took the call from the police; he had to identify her. X The days that followed were just awful. Her father, my dad's brother, was invalided out of the RAF but the injures which led to his disability were actually sustained before the war when he fell from a horse; his spine just deteriorated after that. I have a box of his, just full of clock hands. Fred the dog was an absolute hoot - he had the end of his tail caught and snapped off in a door slamming incident and kept on wagging it; Linda and Ivy had to clean the blood splashes off the kitchen walls. The first time I ever had "real" spaghetti was at their house one Saturday lunchtime.
Added by Elaine Harburn on 09 September 2019
Gosh there's a name to bring back memories .. LYNN Bickers. (1958 ish) ... Another prepubesant love.!
As you can see my spelling has not improved!
Added by John Sealey on 09 September 2019
Does anyone have the long photo showing the whole school. I have plus many more which I can show but what site and I need people's permission to do so
Added by Stephen Gilbert on 10 September 2019
Thanks Elaine for filling me in on that tragic story. Linda and I were really good friends. I lived at 46 Torrington Park just up the road and nearly opposite Welbeck Close.........and yes, I remember you John although not well. I think you had black hair then? If it’s anything like mine now it’s much thinner and grey! I was wondering how many of our old classmates are still alive. The only sad news I heard of a few years ago was the death of Mollie Powell (real name Valerie).

Added by Richard Testar on 10 September 2019
I am so pleased to see this ongoing thread. I was at Comrie House following in my brothers' footsteps - Paul and Jeremy STONE. I go by our original grandparental name of Cohen, but wasat school as GERALD STONE, Started 1965(?) Left in 1970,went on to Woodhouse. Absolutely loved Mrs Rogers (talking about her to my own students yesterday). Classmates included Nigel Foster, Tim Cole, Diana Wilson, Susan Bebb, Amanda Hatt to name a few. Think I can find photos. Will try to put up. We lived at 82 Torrington Park. Loved climbing the Friary Park Statue.
Added by Gerry Cohen (Gerald Stone) on 18 September 2019
Friends with Martin Tetaris, Demos, and others - at CH from 1967 till it closed. I particularly remember Mrs Rodgers, and I think - the Bay City Rollers tartan cover d by books !?
Added by Guy Rapson on 18 October 2019
There only seems to be one photo of Comrie House - the one at the start of this feature. It was taken by Karl Ruge. Does anybody have any more?
Added by Richard Testar on 19 October 2019
I started in the Kindergarden around 1963 and stayed until 65, when we moved to Watford. My mother was a sometime PE teacher there, and I remember Mrs Madora (arithmetic?), Mrs Rodgers, Miss Hawkins. There was a games master who lived in Muswell Hill and would sometimes give a lift in his Singer Gazelle convertible. I was overawed when I saw a massive train set in the attic, and was there not a connection to the Postmaster General? I used to get 2 buses, changing at Muswell Hill them on to Crouch End. Without bus fare once, aged 6 or perhaps 7, I walked home. It's about 4.5 miles and must have taken about 1.5 hours. My mother passed away last October, but we both had fond memories of CH. Because the uniform was black and gold, my scarf matched Watford FC, which impressed my new school mates when we moved.

Added by Adrian Purdy on 11 May 2020
Great memories of a lovely school. Mrs Rodgers even then was inspirational. I was there till 1970. Even the blue painted outdoor toilets!
Added by Gerry COHEN on 12 May 2020
As I said earlier, I was at Comrie from 1949-1955. Does anyone remember Mr. Strutt? He had a withered leg but it didn’t stop him being games master. He was a really good bloke and at weekends he would take a whole group of us on a cycle ride up into Hertfordshire (up the old A1, riding two by two). Could you imagine a bunch of primary school kids being allowed to do that now!?
Added by Richard Testar on 12 May 2020
I was at Comrie from 1959-66 (?) I remember Ms Harnden, Ms Powell (ballet teacher), Valerie Holiday, Estelle Lew, Melanie Lewis, Marcia Vanner, Lynn Durant, Caroline Schenk. Wonderful ballet lessons helped me to revover from my father's death. I remember Ms Rodgers' class helped too, and also started my love of literature. I remember going to a party at Paul Stone's house?

Added by Deborah Hacker on 30 November 2020
I remember Deborah The Gilbert Twins
Added by Stephen Gilbert on 02 December 2020
I was at Comrie House between 1952 and 1957. I remember Mrs. Harnden and her mother Mrs. Winterburn. Also the teachers Mrs. Biddle and Miss Cleveland (who used to tell us she was descended from Hereward the Wake), as well as Mr. Strutt. And the donkey too.
Added by Jenifer Horlent (Phillips) on 03 February 2021
My mother, Mary Paine, was at Comrie House until about 1949 when she went on to Henrietta Barnet. She lived at 135 Torrington Park. Her memory is going now but she just had a lovely time reading through the posts here. Thank you all.
Added by Anne Berry on 12 September 2021
Deborah Hacker, I'm Paul Stone youngest brother, (Gerald) aka Gerry. I've been a teacher since the 1980s and I owe my love of learning & teaching to dear Mrs Rodgers. Resilience was learned from Mrs Harnden. Lovely memories
Added by Gerry COHEN (formerly STONE) on 12 September 2021
Hi Gerry. I'm so glad to hear that you guys are doing well. I don't remember Paul's party but I have a Kodak picture in my head of your old house!
Added by Deborah Somerville on 13 September 2021
I have black and white photos of all teachers boys and girls and our Headmistress but can't seem to be able to upload them
Added by Stephen Gilbert on 20 December 2021
Follow the instructions in 'Upload a Picture' at the top of the page. Your scanned photo must be no more than 735 pixels wide
Added by David Berguer, Chairman on 21 December 2021
I was at Comrie House circa 1950-1953/4. I lived in Oakehampton Close which was round the corner from the school. I remember there being a donkey but not much else. Any photos of that time would be greatly appreciated.
Added by Michael Zysblat on 23 December 2021
I was at Comrie from about 1950 to 1956 after which I went to Haberdashers’ Aske’s with four other classmates, Christopher Fradd, Russell Naylor, Robert Hillyard and David Grindrod, who I still lunch with regularly. Richard Testar and John Norman had left for Habs the previous year. Still in touch with Russell (the Rev. Russell Naylor)
Added by David Rudland on 26 December 2021
Wow! All those familiar names! I remember you David - didn’t you livie in Friern Watch Avenue or am I wrong? We’re in touch with Michael Hilliard (Robert’s brother), and my son was friends with his daughter at Dame Alice Owens School. I still see John Norman regularly. Send my best wishes to David Grindrod if he remembers me!
Added by Richard Testar on 27 December 2021
I recognise the name Michael Zysblat and I'm pretty sure we were in the same class in the early 1950s. Sorry, I haven't got any photos, though. Our family moved to Orpington, Kent, around 1957.
Added by Jenifer Horlent (Phillips) on 27 December 2021
Well I have uploaded the photos, Michael you mention the donkey must that was one thing that stood out coincidently we had a donkey next door to where I lived in Whetstone. I know there was a reunion must been in the the sixty's my twin brother went I was to shy to go had he'd still been alive he had a better memory of names.
Added by Stephen Gilbert on 27 December 2021
Hi Richard, It’s all coming back to me now! Yes, we were indeed at 73, Friern Watch Ave. I have a very interesting cricket photo taken in Friern Park and I will upload it when I find it. Would like to share a beer with you and John some day
Added by David Rudland on 28 December 2021
That sounds a good idea David. I don’t know where you live but I’m still near Friary Park!
Added by Richard Testar on 28 December 2021
Hi Richard. I’m living in Primrose Hill so only 30 mins away. Email me at david@davidrudland.com and we can make a plan
Anonymous comment added on 30 December 2021
I must have attended from approx. 1966 to 1973. I lived in Cardrew Close. I loved the school, so many happy memories of the staff and teachers. I loved Mr and Mrs Harndon. Didn’t he marry Mrs Dedman (sp?) after Mrs Harndon died? I remember Mrs Rogers and Miss Hawkins. I can still picture them now. I loved the huge garden at the back that we played in. And sports day in the sports field. And singing Christmas carols at the end of term concert. I never did get a pencil for 100% attendance! And making Christmas puddings. I think I was in the Nelson school house, the house colour was red. I remember having those triangle shaped pencils (red colour).
Added by Claire Ferguson Benson on 03 January 2022
At last! - someone who was there about when I was. Hi Claire - I left when the school closed, and I went to another school for year 5 I think. So we were probably in different classes. They were such strong formative experiences. I remember Squires Lane swimming pool...
Added by Guy Rapson on 03 January 2022
Hi Guy! Was the school closed or relocated? Either way, any idea why? I was too young at the time to be aware. Good to say hello to you! Also, how many students do you think the school had? I think the classes had about 20 students and I remember we all fitted on one very wide photo, taken in the school field. I loved that school so much!
Added by Claire Ferguson Benson on 04 January 2022
Hello Everybody. I was at Comrie House from 1942 to 1948, when the school was run by Mrs Winterburn. She had a son who was in the navy who came back to the school as a teacher after the war. I'm afraid I don't remember any of my classmates' names apart from my friend Philip Densham. We both lived in Ravensdale Avenue and walked to and from school on our own every day. Kids don't do that anymore! I remember the donkey! The teacher I remember most was Miss Perry who must have been past retirement age as she had taught my sister (at another school) 15 years before. My love of English - and most of what I know about grammar and syntax - is due to her. I remember that the 'houses' were named after English naval heroes - Drake (white); Nelson (red); Grenville (blue) and Raleigh (green). After I passed the 11+ I went Christ's College. I'm afraid I don't have any photos of that time, although I may have one of me in my new school uniform on my first day. Very proud! I don't have any connection with Finchley these days and now live in Canterbury. This all seems so long ago.
Added by John Snow on 28 May 2022
I’ve been trying to remember the houses so thank you for mentioning them. All I could recall was that I was in Nelson and it was red. Completely forgot the others. I was there from kindergarten to 3rd year, nearly broke my heart that I couldn’t complete the 4th year there. I went to Anfield in Potters Bar for 4th year (I think it was cheaper!).
Added by Claire Ferguson Benson on 28 May 2022
John, I missed you by a year. I started in 1949. Everything you say is familiar, except I didn’t know Mrs. Winterburn’s son taught there. You mentioned Phillip Densham. I remember a Ken & Mavis Densham who were involved with the 15th Finchley Scouts in Grove Road. Any connection I wonder? I’ve recalled above some names of classmates. I’ve thought of a few more which I will add.
Added by Richard Testar on 29 May 2022
we have an active Facebook group Finchley and Local Area - Past and Present Memories. It is full of photos, memories and stories. Anybody is welcome to join
Added by Steven Bennett on 29 May 2022
Thanks Steven. I’ve just joined it, what a fantastic group!
Added by Claire Ferguson Benson on 29 May 2022
Hi Claire, Were we in the same class? The only names I remember were Demos, Martin, Philip,and Juliette who had lovely ginger hair. Can this be part of the same memory jigsaw?
Added by Guy on 30 May 2022
Hello All, Can anyone see the pictures I uploaded 21/12/21 because I cannot.
Added by Stephen Gilbert on 30 May 2022
If you type in Comrie House in the 'Advanced Search' box at the top right of the home page you will find all the photos of the school. If you can't find what you want, upload them again and we'll download them
Added by David Berguer, Chairman on 31 May 2022
Hello Stephen! I added a comment to the photo you uploaded in December and can't find it now.
Added by Deborah Somerville on 31 May 2022
I see 4 pictures from you labelled for 28/12/21 "Comrie House school teachers - name them" for instance but nothing from 21/12/21
Added by Anne Berry on 31 May 2022
I was there from 1945 for three years or more. Does anyone remember the donkey in the field?
Added by Anthony Lennane (Tony). on 06 December 2022
Hi Tony, You were there at about the same time as my mother, Mary Paine. She left in 49 (ish) for Henrietta Barnett. Sadly, her memory is very bad these days but she did use to talk about the donkey
Added by Anne Berry on 10 December 2022
Hi Richard Testar. You commented on my entry of 28th May 2022 and asked if there was any connection between my friend Philip Densham and Ken Densham who was involved with 15th Finchley Scouts. Philip certainly did have a brother Ken, who was quite lot older, but I am not aware of any scouting connection. Phil also had an older sister who I think was called Cecily. Mr Densham was a builder. Since my previous entry I have remembered a girl who was at the school at that time called Pauline Nash, who used to have her hair tied up in a big white bow. I think I rather fancied her! I remember being upset when her family moved to Devon!
Added by John Snow on 05 January 2023
I've just discovered this site after a chance exchange with my wife got me googling Comrie House. I was there from 53 to 55 and then went to Woodhouse. I remember two donkeys in the school field. I liked to visit them in breaks as I wasn't very happy socially. I remember Mrs Godsif who I christened Mrs Gorilla. She used to make humiliating comments about my English compositions. And I remember Mr Strutt with the built up shoe who took a party of us to the Edinburgh Festival. I'm afraid I don't remember other pupils' names, though I think I remember Mrs Biddle's son John and feeling sorry for him because his mother was super strict with him to avoid any hint of favouritism, though I may have misremembered that.
When did the school close?
Added by David Kennard on 13 January 2023
I remember you though David. You lived in a big house in Holden Road near the railway bridge and I believe and I came to tea with you once! Your Dad had a large black or dark green car I think. And here we are about 70 years on!
Added by Richard Testar on 15 January 2023
Gosh I wish I remembered you. That's right about our house. At one point my dad had an Armstrong Siddeley, it might have been that.
Did you go on the Edinburgh Festival trip?
Added by David Kennard on 15 January 2023
No, sorry, I never went to the festival!
Added by Richard Testar on 17 January 2023
OMG! I just remembered going on that Edinburgh trip! I also remember buying shortbread to take home for my Mum. Amazing really as I can barely remember what I was doing yesterday! I was at Comrie from 50 to 55 (I think) and aslo used to go on exhausting cycle rides with Mr Strutt.
Added by David Rudland on 18 January 2023
My main memory of that trip is having my head doused in Brilliantine by my room mates. Such were the joys. After Woodhouse Grammar we moved to Wembley and I went to Preston Manor 6th form. Then Manchester Uni. I've lived in York for the last thirty+ years where we brought up our children and now have a posse of grandchildren. As you say, here we are after 70 years.
Added by David Kennard on 18 January 2023
Ah yes, Mr. Strutt. He was a really nice bloke who amazingly was the PE teacher despite having a withered leg and a limp. I remember going on the cycle rides. I’m pretty sure we had to wear uniform and cycled 2-abreast up the A1 (as it was) to Hatfield and maybe beyond. Mr. Strutt had an adapted bike as he was only able to pedal with one leg. I certainly remember Mollie Powell In the group. Her mother ran the Finchley Fur Stores in the High Road just beyond Woodhouse Road.
Added by Richard Testar on 20 January 2023
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