David Griffiths contacted us via the website to say his grandmother Rhoda was born at 11 Cloudeslery Square and he had some old photos of her at Holy Trinity School.  Naturally we said we were interested and David responded with this fascinating email (click here to download), which he has kindly agreed to share.

Briefly, the story is as follows.  David's great grandparents, George Green and Rhoda (nee Ekins) were a local family, married in Holy Trinity Church in 1876, who moved into 11 Cloudesley Square in 1890.  There were three children: Rhoda Elizabeth Green, born at No 11 in 1890, and her two brothers George and Charles.  All three attended the Trinity Infants School, just round the corner on Cloudesley Street.  David's email includes some priceless group photos of the school showing all three siblings.  Here are my favourites:

Rhoda Elizabeth Green Class Picture 1Rhoda Elizabeth Green - Detail

















George Robert Green Class PictureGeorge Robert Green Detail














I like to think that the distinguished looking gentleman in the middle of George's class photo is the illustrious headmaster Lawrence Major - see here.  And the lady presiding over Rhoda's class may be Miss Ebbels.

We've trawled through the records on this website and sure enough, the Greens were one of three families living at 11 Cloudesley Square in the 1891 census (the others were the Donaldsons and the Watts, hence Lily Watts, Rhoda's lifelong friend).  And Rhoda Elizabeth was baptised in Holy Trinity Church on 25 March 1891 - here's her record:



 Rhoda Elizabeth  Green


 Jan 25   1891

 George Robert + Rhoda   Margaret


 Cloudesley   Sq

 11 Cloudesley   Sq

 Electro-plater and   Gilder



The family only stayed at No 11 for three years but they remained in the area, with Rhoda Elizabeth moving first to Cross St, then various other Islington addresses, ending up at Fieldway Crescent off Highbury Fields.  In 1916 Rhoda married Harold Griffiths but sadly, he subsequently decamped to Canada, never to be seen again! 

David was born in the Royal Free Hospital on Liverpool Rd and attended Barnsbury School for Boys on Eden Grove, off Holloway Rd.  Here he met Terry Medley and discovered that Terry was living in none other than 11 Cloudesley Square!  David and Terry are still friends today!

But there's more!  11 Cloudesley Square rang a bell with me so I searched the website (you can do this on the home page) and bingo! - it turned out that the property had also been occupied by Charles Holland-Goodwin.  Keen followers of this website will recognise Charles as having lived in my house, No 16, in the 1960s, having moved there from No 11 in 1945, despite highly inauspicious origins at the St Johns Road workhouse.  But here's the really extraordinary thing.  It turns out that Charles' daughter Rose Ellen married one Cyril Medley, then living at No 16.  In 1961 the two families appeared to swap houses with Charles moving to No 16 and Cyril moving to No 11 - where David's lifelong friend Terry Medley grew up!  Surely Terry's parents must be Cyril and Rose Medley?  David is going to try and find out [*see below for update]

What a wonderful story!  I've tried to make sense of this tangled web in the diagram which you can download here.  Some of the details may be inaccurate and there remain many unanswered questions - for example I feel sure the extensive Chesterman Family at no 16 must have been part of the network.  But once again I think it illustrates the tightly knit and mutually supportive nature of the community which existed in the Cloudesley Estate during the otherwise hard times of the early 20th century, a theme which we've noticed time and again.


*Update 6.4.22

David has sent another email (download by clicking here) and Yes! Cyril Medley was indeed Terry's father!  The email includes the agreement (handwritten and transcribed as type) between David's great grandfather George Green and his employer Ewbank Leefe, a respected firm of Electroplaters on Goswell Rd (you can see examples of their work here).  Accompanied by his father, also called George, the younger George signed up on January 5th 1876 as an apprentice under what appear by today's standards to be draconian conditions - 6 days a week 9.00am to 7.00pm for just 20 shillings a week!  Later that year on August 6th the great grandparents George and Rhoda got married at Holy Trinity Church and David has unearthed this marriage certificate.  Terrific stuff!

Great Grandparents Marriage Certificate


And more!  Kieran from Lofting Road has used his technical wizardry to effect this remarkable enhancement of the Trinity boys class (the girls didn't come out so well).  I've left the earlier one in above because I think it has a certain yellowy charm.  Enhanced Trinity School Boys with George Green Holding the Flag  1884

And somehow he's even managed to produce this "colourised" version:

Colourised Class Photo Kieran A570FF62 C0A0 4E0F 8F0E 978346B4B4F7

Note that another, younger schoolmaster has emerged from the shadows in the top left of the photo.  Referring to the website section on Schoolmasters, I'm going to take a wild guess that this is Arthur Gibbard of 1 Cloudesley Square.  While you're there, download the 1850 Annual report of the Holy Trinity Schools Committee where you'll find gloriously high-flown sentiments such as this below.  A great read!

"That an overflowing cup of blessing may descend into the bosom of each little immortal placed under their guardianship, is the heartfelt desire of each member of your Committee. To this affectionate desire each friend of these Schools will doubtless respond."


And yet more!  Jenny has reminded us that Lawrence Major and the other teachers at Trinity school are commemorated in these superb stained glass windows, below, in the church itself.  The inscriptions are:

On the Good Shepherd Window

"In loving memory of Lawrence Major erected by his old scholars 1904"

On the Saint James and Saint John Window

"To the glory of God and in loving memory of Lawrence Major for many years master of the Cloudesley school"


Major window 1 DSCN3304 final

Major window 2 DSCN3306 final


















For more examples of the magnificent stained glass windows in Holy Trinity see here       and here.