Banstead Village

Mary Davies, Principal of Garratts Hall School
The Banstead Image Library
Mary Davies, Principal of Garratts Hall School

Mary Davies (née Adams) was the Principal of Garratts Hall School from its inception in 1903 when she purchased a lease of Garratts Hall and its grounds from Col. F A H Lambert. The school closed following her death in 1930. Mrs Davies was described by the Rev. Arthur Hopkinson, Vicar of Banstead, as ‘having no academic qualifications, no capital, and no influence’, but that ‘by sheer force of personality and amazing courage she built up one of the most lucrative schools in England’. The shortage of capital was plainly overcome for she bought the freehold of Garratts Hall in 1925. One of her pupils was Megan, daughter of Prime Minister David Lloyd George who lived at Walton-on the-Hill during WWI. The year attributed to the photograph is approximate.
Picture added on 25 April 2010 at 14:46
I have been extremely fortunate to acquire a fascinating autograph book full of various inserts written by some of the young ladies of Garrett Hall from 1918 - 1920. It has given me and continues to give me hours of pleasure researching those who contributed to this beautiful autograph book.

Reply from LNW: Do let us know more about that. I guess you will have seen the BHRG book on Garratts Hall which includes many excellent photos.
Added by Michelle Turton on 28 June 2014
Yes I have bought the book; it is an excellent read. In the autograph book there are over 100 signatures including 35 separate entries of poems and quotes, some in different languages. The owner of the autograph book was Bertha Gillespie of Croxteth Road Liverpool who signed it on 7th April 1918. There are so many different names it will take me years to research it properly but think I have found Enid Soames who I believe to have graduated from London University (Bedford College) in 1923 with a BA INT (Class III). It is all absolutely fascinating.

Reply from LNW: I suggest you add all the names on this page as many people Google their family names/relatives and might get a hit from your list and contact you. That has happened many times during my research of the men on the Banstead War memorial and often it is the only source of photographs. At BHRG we are also embarking on producing a series of A5 32-page local history booklets. One already drafted is Women of Banstead, and once you have a few good stories from your book, that might well make another interesting/unusual addition to the series.
Added by Michelle Turton on 29 June 2014
What a wonderful idea! It will be a long post but here goes:
Mary E Pritchard May 29th 1918;
Alfreda Fischer July 28th 1918;
Betty Frazer November 6th 1919;
Ruth July 26th 1920;
Beatrice Twanley July 4th 1920;
Ay Tesser (sketch) October 25th 1919;
B Tetley June 28th 1920;
SMF August 13th 1921;
MA Thomas July 13th 1920;
KL Scott Miller February 28th 1920;
Madge Coxen (no date);
Francis Strathy, Toronto Canada March 18th 1920;
Audrey Griffith- Williams December 14th 1919;
Enid Soames July 23rd 1919;
G Bioc... July 19th 1919;
L Cook June 20th 1919;
Myna Featherstone June 28th 1920;
Harriet Kjeldsbey October 26th 1919;
Rennie Tissot December 18th 1919;
Dorothy H Melly June 20th 1919;
Monty (no date);
Helen (no date);
Mary Illingworth.Minnie Sommerschield March 13th 1920;
Nellie Marples March 26th 1920;
Peggy Jones October 26th 1919;
E Halliwell July 24th 1919;
Emma Strone March 13th 1920;
O littledale July 20th 1919;
Christina October 26th 1919;
Jil Bertha; Ingrid Aargaard July 4th 1920;
CMS July 18th 1920;
Valerie Hope Thomas July 23rd 1920;
MA Ferraris (no date).

All of those mentioned so far have written a poem, quote or greeting. The following are just signatures under either Garratts House or Garratts Hall 1919:
Ruth Holliday; Hilda Oakey; Francis Strathy; Friscie Tetley; Madge Coxen; Betty Frazer; Christina Robertson; Peggy W Jones;
Isabel Curtler; V. Hope Thomas; Harriet Kjeldsberg; Renee Tissot, E Halliwell; Emma Stroni; Ingrid Aagaard;
Chrissie Sommerschille; A Griffith Williams; C Smallen; MK Goldsmith; Macharive Hargessen; N Marples; KM Scott Miller;
Mary Illingsworth; MA Ferraris; Yvonne Tesser; NN Graham; E Jacob; B Foster; Friscie Tetley; G Montgommery; Molly Field;
B Soames; DH Melly; H Oakey; Sheila Foumend; M Hamsell; E Saunders; Enid Roll; E Halliwell; F Simons; Enid Soames;
Elaine Short; A Marples; HML Cope; D Foster; A Tetley; Betty Frazer; Nancie Castles; N Cory; Joan Powell; V Hope Thomas;
Isabel Curtler; Doris Soames; Sylvia FP Woodhead; MK Montgomery; E Rimes; V Jarralt; GD Crabbe; AM Abbott; L Cook;
Biddy Myline; Peggy Jones; C Roleston; SM Allely; RC Downing.

Some of the signatures have been duplicated but I have written them as they appear in the book. I am looking into the history of those who have contributed to this beautiful autograph book and would be grateful for any information that people may have to unlock these special memories.
Added by Michelle Turton on 30 June 2014
Are you sure about the signature Nancie Castles? I think it might be Nancie Curtler, sister of Isabel Curtler. Isabel and Nancy both left the Alice Ottley School, Worcester at Easter 1917.
Some records give N's first name as Nancie and some as Nancy.
Added by Tony Orgee on 30 October 2015
Thank you for your response. The signature could easily be Curtler, in fact I had to make a guess at many of them as they were not clear when I tried to decipher them. Have you got any further information regarding the sisters?
Added by Michelle Turton on 07 November 2015
My grandmother was a pupil and I found a couple of letters from Megan from her school in Paris....if you want more I have pictures.

Note from LNW: Hi Hilary, thank you for your contribution. We would be delighted to hear more and of course any photos taken whilst at Banstead would be a big bonus. You can contact me directly at
Added by Hilary Rolf Birkbeck on 31 January 2018
I am not related to the Curtler family but two of my great aunts were in service with members of the family (one in Worcester and one in London) in the early years of the twentieth century.

I agree with Michelle. It is not easy to read / decipher some original documentation and in addition spellings of names are not necessarily identical in different documents.

The particular branch of the Curtler family came from Droitwich, Worcestershire. Thomas Gale Curtler was a priest and was Vicar of St Stephen's Church, Worcester for about 30 years.

Thomas had three sons of whom the youngest was Frederick Lewis Curtler.

Frederick Lewis Curtler visited the USA and in 1892 married Nannie McClelland Gwatkin in Richmond, Virginia. They moved to England and lived at Bevere House, Claines, Worcester for many years. They had four children, one son and three daughters. The son was killed in the First World War in October 1914. The eldest daughter was Helen Oldham Curtler. Margaret Isabel Curtler (born 1902) and Emily Nancie Curtler (born 1903) were the middle and youngest daughters respectively. They were both educated at the Alice Ottley School, Worcester, and both left that school in 1917. I have found a marriage for Margaret but am rather behind in recording information at the minute so don't have the details to hand.

I don't have any pictures of the Curtler Family but Curtler is a surprisingly uncommon name and there are many details online by simply googling the family name or individuals such as Frederick Lewis Curtler.

Frederick Lewis Curtler died in 1938 and his wife Nannie in 1946. Both are buried in Claines churchyard, Worcester.

Hope this is interesting. Having written the above, I am struck by the thought that I have no idea why the two girls moved to Garratts Hall School
Added by Tony Orgee on 01 February 2018
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