North Stifford Village
Stifford Green (formerly the Ardale Approved School)

Taken from an article by Jonathan Catton Heritage & Museum Officer.

The former Ardale school site has now been transformed into Stifford Green housing development.

The black and white photograph shows a range of buildings, joined by gravel paths running between the buildings and through what looks like well tended rose beds, box hedges, benches and lawns. A small car is parked close to the buildings.

The central building, which has survived the development, looks remarkably like a water tower. The flanking buildings have an air of the 'barrack block' about their design and these have now been destroyed.

The photograph must post date the 1914-18 Great War as a monument has been erected commemorating either staff or boys who having joined up were killed during that conflict.

The Stepney Children's Home was set up in 1902 to accommodate both orphaned and poor children from that London district. It is believed that there was a theme of agricultural training work, and nearby fields were used for growing a range of market garden crops.

By 1935 the site had changed its roll into an 'approved' school, changing again in 1959 to a Community Home (education) under the control of the London Borough of Newham. It finally closed in 1994.

'Ardale' gets its name from a previous Lord of the Manor of Stifford, John Ardalle, who lived here in the 16th century. I wonder if he ever thought his name would have continuity into the 21st century!
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