Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Bradstow School and Bertram Mills Girls School

The pamphlet, that comprises of the pictures in this blog post, has written on the front:

“Bertram Mills Girls School, Dumpton Park Drive, now (1970) Bradstow.”
This sort of elusive comment can be very difficult.
For the address, 30 and 32 Dumpton Park Drive, Broadstairs Kellys reveals the following
1939 - 1957 Lord Marshall Holiday Home for Children.
And 34 Dumpton Park Drive

1969 Bradstow School for Delicate Children

1971 Bradstow Special School (Inner London education authority)

The current address for Bradstow School is 34 Dumpton Park Drive, see their website http://www.bradstow.wandsworth.sch.uk/ and I can’t find number 34 listed in the older Kellys or 32 in the later ones.

In 1957 Bradstow School for Delicate Children is listed at 12 Dumpton Park Drive

Note the boarding school beds, the mattresses are probably horsehair and about as comfortable as sleeping on a horse.

Note the sliding partitions between the three classrooms, I have personal experience of this dreadful arrangement in another school.


  1. Maybe the school was where the Bertram Mills circus families sent their daughters ?

    Bertram died in 1938 I think. His son Cyril was the famous MI5 agent of WW2 who recruited Pujol (Agent GARBO re D Day deceptions) Cyril then served a lot of the war in Canada for MI5 also involved from Canada in the deception campaign against nazi Germany I think.

  2. Retired if it was I can’t find any mention of it either in Kelly’s directories or on the internet.

  3. Here is a copy from a history of 1930s MI6

    SIS Section-Z (Z Organization)
    Created by Col Claude Dansey (later a DCSS) between 1932-36 as a parallel and entirely separate
    intelligence network .... Dansey even funded the creation of what became a highly successful film
    production company, Alexander Korda's London Films, as cover for agents travelling around pre-war
    Europe. It is considered likely that Bertram Mills Circus was also used in much the same way .... ??

  4. Michael

    In Broadstairs there was a lady (a regular in Neptunes Hall in 1980s) who wrote a bit of local history such as the First and Last at Margate.

    She used to work for Bertram and later Cyril Mills. I don't know if that was in London or locally.

    The late Kevin Wilsher was publican and oddly enough he had attended the frail children school in Thanet when he was a youngster.

  5. John Williams (then Margate museum curator) may recall the lady from Neptunes who worked for Cyril Mills. So perhaps Beachcomber can ask at Margate Historical Society.

  6. I love to see old photo's like these detailing local history. It sparks the imagination. Thanks for sharing

  7. Marty

    The trick is to fire the imagination but not adhere to any possibility until the evidence emerges.

    Female employee(s) of Bertram Mills learnt French in the 30s. Cyril Mills offices became the HQ of Free French Forces in WW2 and French speaking employee girl(s) became SOE agents liaising with French resistance in occupied France I think ....

    Early in the War MI5 agent Cyril Mills toured seaside resorts looking to accommodate Nazi agents arrested and turned to feed disinformation back to their nazi masters in Germany.

    And there was one Broadstairs establishment used circa 1938 to receive the Jewish children being brought for safety from Hitler in via Harwich. I think the idea the Broadstairs establishment receiving Jewish children was called "Barham House" may be wrong as that appears to have been a receiving establishment at Claydon Ipswich.

    The Mills family were very much people to look up to in their standards. And the truth may simply be that circus performer families working for Bertram and Cyril were availed the best education and stability available for their children.

    What Michael may find more interesting is that Cyril Mills was highly educated engineer. Skills he brought to the successful deception against Germany re D Day ? Window, radar deceptions etc all coordinated by Double X Cttee.

    I hope Michael gets the answer to this one.

    But the possibilities when you mention the Mills family do tend to manifest.

    I gather that the crash landing at Kingsgate of a messerchmidt by pilot Werner Bartells (A top German jet engine designer) in 1940is still a sensitive subject. He was an old boy of Margate College.

    A story perhaps Margate Historiocal Society are best qualified to tell. But the documentary in recent years into the Von Werra film starring Hardy Kruger .. my research revealed they did interview Werner Bartells who was with Von Werra in Canada when Von Werra escaped across the then neutral USA border. Pretty nifty for a guy certified as an inpatient in London unfit for any future combat ?

    The hub of nazi spy activity in UK in 1930s was Broadstairs allegedly.

    The wartime owner of Blackburns (now funeral service I think) found a powerful transmitter, whilst building contracting, in a house in Gladstone Road and his report to police brought MI5 into Thanet to investigate the links to the so called Nazi doctor spy of Kingsgate. (Another subject still sensitive it seems)

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  10. Bradstowe School would only have been listed as a number in the thirties within the last 50 years after they built on the cow field on the hill. Previously the drive to the school was between numbers 12 and 14.

  11. I remember the school well. My mother was the school secretary and also taught shorthand typing in the 1950s. My sister and I used to go to school open days or fetes etc. I seem to remember the head teacher had several cats and a parrot or some other talking bird. When she was away on holiday the next in charge taught the bird to say "Kick that cat, kick that cat" which caused a bit of trouble when she returned The school was called Bradstow ESN school at the time as far as I remember. One girl electrocuted herself by taking the electric iron into the bath with her. There whwere a few strange stories about the place then.

    1. Really interested to read this. Trying to track down information about Mrs WF Milne who lists this school as her address in 1951. Don't suppose you can add anything to this?

  12. I went to this school in 1964 miss wood was the head


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