Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Stone on Simcoe

This little war memorial stands on the south side of Simcoe Street, commemorating students from Simcoe Street Public School who fought, and presumably died, in World War I.

It's also indirectly a monument to Simcoe Street Public School itself. Also known as Governor Simcoe School, it stood on the north side of Simcoe Street just east of Clarence. Built in 1887 and demolished in 1976, the school would have been attended by Guy Lombardo and his brothers who lived just a block away.

A reminder of London's past as well as a lost generation.


  1. Do you have a photo of what Governor Simcoe School looked liked in its heyday? Perhaps a list of all students who attended?

    Is there such a thing as a list of all students from all London area elementary and secondary schools since the turn-of-the-century? I understand at one time that the Thames Valley School Board had inherited quite a repository of such information and documentation from the former London Board of Education, and has quite an extensive archive...put I don't think it is public and I don't even know where it is housed. Would you as a historian, with your credentials, have access to it, and thereby report back to your readers here?

    Wouldn't it be great to have a marker for all schools that have been demolished, closed, or 're-purposed.'

    If not a physical monument then a perhaps virtual tribute and photo record here on your blog. Maybe some of the aforementioned docments at the School Board could be made available online.

    There are many schools that while still standing (and who knows for how long) have been re-built and do not resemble what was originally there. Example: Lorne Avenue Public School---would be nice to know what it looked liked say 50 or 100 years ago.

    Also in Old East London: Boyle Elementary; Sir Adam Beck Collegiate; Rectory Street School.

    Even private, special or vocational schools such as Wells Academy; Ontario Conservatory of Music; and many others that have played a role in the cultural/educational foundation of the community.

    1. By "turn-of-the-century" I'm assuming you're referring to the turn of the 20th century, not the 21st. Theoretically, it might be possible to compile such a list, but I suspect there would be a few problems, like: a) some of the records may have been shredded already, b) a great many records won't have survived to begin with, and c) there would be privacy issues involved. Anyone searching for records about specific students should probably contact the Board offices in the former Beck Secondary School on Dundas Street.

  2. Some are remembered - the LPL historical sites committe marked the Union School, and F.M. Bell Smith memorialized it as background for his 1884 Daughters of Canada aka Return from School,featuring as models a few daughters of local families and many imaginary youngsters.
    Try the London Room's online photo display for others. The names of those who attended a school in recent years may be protected for privacy reasons. Some names are high profile now like the Johnstons and may not appreciate it. [Of course the History of Middlesex County 1889 has names, terrific for those working up family histories.]
    One way to get earlier names is to see if schools display War Honour Rolls, all who volunteered (usually) the Casson design for WW2 or just those who did not return. St. George's has a really interesting Great War one, which is shown online at the Virtual War Memorial (VAC) file of Somerville,son of the Mayor and others named. A real picture of the neighbourhood in that era.

  3. Found an image online and by printing it, and using a magnifying glass it's possible to decipher names.
    Checked a few and it definitely memorializes the school's WW1 Fallen.
    Of particular interest is young GROSHAW who was a rarity in that his wellknown mother also joined the CEF - that surname being on the Pierre Berton extended family, wife Janet being named for Janet Growshaw. (spellings vary)
    This image really should be submitted to the Virtual War Memorial files of these lost scholars if anyone has time for "patriotic"
    volunteerism. , photo credit presumably to Ms. Grainer if using from this site. Takes a bit of time to post JPEG images there so check back later. You may even find a lost CEF man or woman on your own family tree if browse relevant surnames..