Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » A Beehive in Battersea

A Beehive in Battersea

By: Ardis E. Parshall - March 03, 2014

Mormons in London must have been pleased to read this friendly article in the Streatham News of 21 September 1934:


Mormon Scheme for S.W. London

Many Girls in S.W. London are to Study Beehives.

This does not mean that they are going to run the risk of being stung with a view to preparing honey. Not at all. It means that they are going to learn to be something like the Girl Guides, the theme of their work being drawn from Maurice Maeterlinck’s classic, “The Life of the Bee.”

The originator of the scheme is the S.W. London branch of the Mutual Improvement Association of the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints.

If it works properly, the “Spirit of the Hive” will be instilled in the girls – to have faith, seek knowledge, safeguard health, honour womanhood, love truth, taste the sweetness of service and full joy.

The Mutual Improvement Association met in Gideon-road School, Battersea, on Thursday of last week, for a social evening, when a programme of singing, dancing and games was presented under the direction of the recreation leader, Mr. Louis Tarr.

The organisation is not limited in its membership to adherents of the Mormon faith. while it is sponsored by the Church, its objective is to develop the talents of all young people for the constructive use of leisure time. A comprehensive programme, covering activities for everyone over eleven years of age, has been outlined for the coming season.



  1. HA! Here was an interesting one which has occupied my entire morning :-)

    I’d never heard of Gideon Road School, so was interested to read up on it. Possibly the Branch met there prior to Ravenslea, as it was much more central than Ravenslea ever was. Turns out that the school was opened in 1879 and was closed in 1939, being demolished after the war, finishing off the work of the Luftwaffe. It was one of the original London School Board schools built after the 1870 Education Act (which made primary education compulsory), and was one of the cluster of schools visible to Sherlock Holmes from the railway in this quotation from “The Naval Treaty” :

    “It’s a very cheery thing to come into London by any of these lines which run high, and allow you to look down upon the houses like this.”

    I thought he was joking, for the view was sordid enough, but he soon explained himself.

    “Look at those big, isolated clumps of building rising up above the slates, like brick islands in a lead-colored sea.”

    “The board-schools.”

    “Light-houses, my boy! Beacons of the future! Capsules with hundreds of bright little seeds in each, out of which will spring the wise, better England of the future.”

    An image of said “beacon of the future” (they took their public architecture seriously, did the Victorians. The cost of building hundreds of schools such as this all over London drove some ratepayers to fury, for why did the working class need education? The very idea!)

    I-as most of my contemporaries-was taught in a school just like that, nearby, until the age of 11- it’s still standing, and the distinctive smell of stone stairs still lingers. High windows to stop pupils being distracted. Boys on the top floor, girls in the middle, infants on the ground floor. Separate playgrounds. Superb education.

    Thanks for posting this Ardis!

    Comment by Anne (UK) — March 4, 2014 @ 4:43 am

  2. “… Boys on the top floor, girls in the middle, infants on the ground floor. Separate playgrounds. Superb education.”

    And, apparently, available to the community for other activities after school hours.

    Thanks, Anne, for adding so much on-the-spot background to that story!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 4, 2014 @ 7:01 am

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