Regent's Park Open Air School
Queen Mary's Gardens, Regent's Park, NW1
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1913 - ? 1939

Open Air School
In October 1913 a Miss Margaret Nuth established an open air school for the children of the subscribers to the Royal Botanic Society.  The objective of the school was to provide pupils with the best of physical health combined with a sound and rational education.

Children aged from 4 to 12 years were accepted.  Unlike the free LCC open air school in the bandstand nearby, this was a school for middle class children and there was a charge for each pupil.  For those under 8 years of age it was £5 15s 6d  (£5.77) a term, those aged between 8 to 10 years £7 17s 6d (£7.87) and those aged over 10 years 9 guineas (£9.45).  Those under 5 years of age could attend for half a morning for 3 guineas (£3.15).  There were three terms and classes were held all year round.

Lessons were held only in the mornings from 09.15 until 12.30, excluding Saturdays.  They were usually in the open air if the weather permitted; otherwise, if it was wet or very cold, in the Fellows Room, a large, airy ballroom.  If the days were too damp for sitting out on the grass, the verandah of the Fellows Room was used.

The younger children in the Lower School did lessons in reading, writing, arithmetic, literature (stories), nature study, singing, drill, games, rhythmic exercise and handwork (drawing, painting, modelling, etc.).  The Upper School did English language and literature, French, history, geography, arithmetic, geometry, nature study, Swedish drill, rhythmic exercise, singing, gardening, needlework, drawing and other handwork.  Two full-time teachers were employed, while specialist subjects (Swedish drill, French and nature study) were taught by part-time teachers.

In the early 1930s the private gardens of the Royal Botanical Society, in the centre of the Park, were taken over for public use and became Queen Mary's Gardens.  As well as the celebrated Rose Gardens, the new plan saw the development of an Open Air Theatre in the northwest quadrant, and a new Open Air School in the northeast quadrant.  The School occupied a U-shaped area to the east of the formal gardens.

While the School buildings are still shown on maps in the 1950s, it is likely that the School closed or was evacuated, like most others, at the outbreak of WW2 in 1939.

Present status (February 2013)

There is little remaining to show the location of the second site by the Rose Gardens.  The curved line of a footpath, though, marks the edge of the School's U-shaped premises, which are now occupied by a hillocked arrangement of shrubs and flowerbeds.
Regent's Park
The entrance on the Inner Circle to Queen Mary's Gardens.

Regent's Park
The southern part of the site of the second Open Air School is now occupied by shrubs and trees.  The left-hand pathway above follows the curve of the U-shaped site.

Regent's Park
Looking from the north towards the site of the northwest 'prong' of the U-shaped School.

Regent's Park
Looking towards the site of the north side of the U-shaped School.

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