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St Joseph's Camberwell Catholic Schools' Federation

Junior School

There has been a Catholic School in the parish of the Sacred Heart, Camberwell in Pitman Street since 1846!

Records show that an even earlier school was set up by French refugees in a house that was originally situated near the corner in Wyndham Road. History tells us our school origins arose from those earlier days but that it was in 1846 that the farm buildings, which housed a piggery in the corner of our existing playground, were bought and converted into a school for Infant boys and girls and girls aged from 7 to 11 years. In 1864 a Boys Department was set up on the same site. Eventually, 1913, our building was built in the shape of a letter L. In 1935 an additional wing was constructed and electric light was installed to replace the gas lamps! The building then housed nearly 755 children. There were 3 departments with Infant children being housed on the ground floor; girls aged from 7 on the first floor and boys aged from 7 on the top floor - each with a separate Headteacher.


Major changes took place after the last World War during which time the children were evacuated and the building used to help provide temporary accommodation for bombed out families. In 1957 children aged from 11 to 15 were sent to a new secondary school in the Parish - the Sacred Heart Secondary School. Children of Primary school age stayed on! Because of the continuing rise in numbers the school was divided into a separate Infant School and Junior School and a 'bungalow' type school was built to house the Infant children.


The School emblem shows the famous 'Camberwell Beauty' Nymphalis Antiopa - a butterfly, which is a 'refugee' from the forests of Sweden! It was found in wood imported by a local firm and was named after this locality. A local printing and paper firm, Samuel Jones, took it as its logo in 1919 to show, through its colourful shape, how advanced they were with colour printing techniques in the last century. The park reflects our local Burgess Park that is the largest park created in London this century. The buildings edging the top of the emblem need no introduction and can be seen from the school's roof playground. We hope that our emblem will help lead the children to embrace all that is of value in the past and to realise that they too are agents of change in developing their Christian future under the guidance of St. Joseph our patron saint.