St Christopher`s College
St Christopher`s College
10-12 Gloucester Avenue
This was the London Branch of the schools owned by my father in law Mr Allison, he also had another school in St Leonard’s of Sea, which was a School of English run by his sister Joan Dynes and her husband Dick.
St Chris occupied two Edwardian houses in Gloucester Avenue, a short distance from Regents Park and Primrose Hill.
David and I took on running the place in August 1970 and we had about 35 students living in, from various places including overseas and each student would be provided with almost individual tuition in order to prepare for A level exams. Tutors were engaged specifically for their individual needs.
David organised the tuition side and I was in charge of domestic arrangements, employing several ladies to cook, clean and do the laundry, all being Portuguese. I filled in their roles if they were ill or absent. I also typed letters, ordered food, took boys to the doctor, or dentist locally and collected them from various places of arrival if they flew in from abroad, ran errands ie I was general dogs body.
The one house (no12) was divided into small units for students and the recreation rooms and canteen, kitchen and sitting room and office were in the other house.
We had a fairly large garden, with five life size stone lions, and it ran down to the railway line, on the main route from the north, one mile from Euston station, it could be at times quite noisy.
During the summer months we ran summer courses and our numbers went up dramatically to around 80 for which we cater daily. We had parties from Japan and also from Barcelona. Whilst they were with us, they were taken on sightseeing tours of London before moving on either to Greenmore or the school in St Leonard’s for English tuition.
At these times, Mr and Mrs Pye would come to assist us and occasionally others too.
They were exhausting times being 24/7 but I have some happy memories of those days.
In 1972, the houses were sold for development and blocks of luxury flats were built, however I was sent a newspaper clipping some time after saying that the houses had been of architectural interest and that it was a pity that they had been knocked down.
We returned to Birmingham, David to teach at Greenmore, and as there was not a role for me there, I concentrated on making a home and having a family.
The photo is of St Christopher’s College (Regents Park) Demolished in 1972
10-12 Gloucester Avenue Regents Park NW1, on the fringe of Camden Town opposite Cecil Sharp House home of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, from whose garden the photo was taken
With regards Toni Allison nee Otton