The new Latymer School, re-established on Haselbury Road in 1910 from the foundation of a much older school on Edmonton’s Church Street, had been such a success that the new buildings quickly proved inadequate to house the number of pupils keen to join. The 1910 hall and classrooms (what we now know as the Small Hall and the offices and staff-rooms around it) was extended with the addition of 12 new classrooms in 1924 (the North Block) but the popularity of Latymer as a school was such that it soon became obvious that yet more space was needed.
Seven adjacent acres of building land were secured and Middlesex Education Committee commissioned a major building project, to add the Great Hall, the Middle and South Blocks as well as two science corridors, with a view to accommodating over 900 pupils thus making it the largest school in Middlesex. The building contract was executed by Messrs. Henry Knight & Sons of Tottenham at a cost of about £67,000.
The grand opening ceremony of the new hall, labs and classrooms took place 90 years ago this month, on Saturday 27th October 1928. It was attended by the Duke and Duchess of York, later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth; the first time that Latymerians had welcomed royalty to their school in Edmonton.
Pictures from the school archives record a joyful scene: Haselbury Road crowded with local people and banners and bunting strung up on the houses. The surrounding Hyde Estate had been built immediately after the First World War – the “homes fit for heroes” which Liberal Prime Minister Lloyd George had promised to returning troops, so it was only appropriate that the royal party were greeted by former servicemen from the Edmonton branch of the British Legion, entering the school through an arch of regimental flags. The Duke and Duchess were then welcomed by an assortment of dignitaries: members of the governing body, local councillors and representatives from the Middlesex Education Committee as well as the head teacher Richard Ashworth.
A service of dedication followed, and the hymn “O God Our Help In Ages Past” was sung, before their Royal Highnesses were conducted on a tour of the new buildings. Other visitors remained in the Great Hall to enjoy a musical programme before tea was served.