Sarum Hall School at Swiss Cottage

May 12, 2012

Sarum Hall School at Swiss Cottage

Sarum Hall School is located in the very sweetly named area of Swiss Cottage – although to my surprise as we walked out of the tube station there is actually a swiss cottage located at a junction in the middle of the High Street.  I wondered which had come first – the cottage or the name.  After a little bit of Internet research this afternoon I found out that the area was named after an inn called The Swiss Tavern built in 1804, formerly a toll house and later renamed Swiss Cottage.  I love English history!

Sarum Hall School, unlike many other public (that’s private at home) schools was purpose built in 1994, having relocated from another address close by.  Located in a quiet, tree lined street it’s not out of place among the Edwardian and Victorian mansions but upon entering the building, it’s clearly been designed with the children in mind.  It also maximizes the space on what is a small block of land.

Today I was talking to the Grade 3 and 4 girls (it’s a girls only school).  The children reminded me very much of the girls at home at Abbotsleigh.  They were lots of fun and I could see there were several great characters among them.  I loved their bold answers and terrific questions.  When it came time to do some drama there was no shortage of volunteers.

When I asked what is usually a rhetorical question; what would I have loved to read if I was 7-8-9-10-11 years of age – several hands flew into the air.  So rather than answering the question myself, the girls all contributed.

Adventure, mystery, horses, boarding school, travel, holidays, friends – came up.  I was so pleased, as all of those things feature in the Alice-Miranda stories.  One little girl mentioned magic and while I told her I didn’t mind a little magic myself, there wasn’t any in Alice-Miranda’s world – but there was loads of FOOD!

The girls’ responses to Alice-Miranda were fantastic and it was amazing that of the 43 students in the group, all bar 2 purchased a book and had it signed.  The books were supplied by the lovely Kate Agnew, from The Children’s Bookshop in Muswell Hill.  It has been great to meet local booksellers and also to hear that there are still independents thriving in what has become a very difficult market.  I was astonished to learn yesterday that most books in the UK are actually sold at Tesco (a supermarket chain) – I have to get into one and have a look!

Before we left, we had a tour of the school –  which is small and perfectly formed with a lovely warmth to it.


As Emily (my UK publicist extraordinaire) and I tripped back up to the High Street, she told me some wonderful (for her) and devastating (for me and all her other authors) news,  that she was moving on from Random House to a position in the city with a new direction in journalism.  I’m thrilled that she’s following her career dreams – but sad that I’ve just met her and we’ve had the most amazing week (and build up to the tour) and now she’s off.  But being the go getter Aussie girl that she is, I know she’s going to make a great success of anything she turns her hand to and wish her all the very best!

So the sun has shone in London for most of today and the weather is supposed to get even better.  My husband spent the day catching up with an old friend from Australia over a game of golf.  I managed to finish up some questions for the final edit for Alice-Miranda Shows the Way this afternoon and tomorrow will start with some work and then there are a few things in London I really want to see.  I can imagine it will be busy with people making the most of the forecast sunshine – aespecially after it has rained for over a month. 



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