Most of you will remember the picture situated on the wall behind
the stage in the Hall. It was an original watercolour and depicted
SS "Beaverford", a Canadian Pacific cargo ship. The school
adopted the ship in 1936 through the workings of the "Ship
Adoption Society". The ship was lost with all hands on 5 Nov
1940 as a result of an heroic holding action, fighting alongside
the Armed Merchant Cruiser, HMS "Jervis Bay", against
the enemy pocket battleship, "Admiral Scheer".
The picture, (which is reputed to have been painted by an artist
named S Stott), and the memorial plaque were dedicated on 20 May
1944 in the presence of the widow of the ship's master, Capt Hugh
Pettigrew. An essay on the "Beaverford" can be seen in
Two sites dedicated to the "Beaverford:
We are trying to locate the whereabouts of the picture in order
to have a print placed on this site. An enquiry was made to the
Local History Museum at Bruce Castle Park, but they had no information.
The Local Education Authority has been approached.
4 Oct 2001 - A reply from Haringey Council has been received. In
essence, it outlines the various amalgamations leading to the demise
of Downhills and then goes on to state they cannot account for the
picture: "... I realise this will be a disappointment to you.
I am not able to suggest any further lines of enquiry."
I am sure you all will agree, this is not a satisfactory answer
and not the end of the matter as regards Haringey Council.
28 Oct 2001 - Rita Read of Bruce Castle Museum has unearthed, and
sent to us, the report on the dedication service for the original
"Beaverford" picture. It is from the "Tottenham and
Edmonton Weekly Herald" dated 26 May 1944. The actual service
took place on 20 May 1944. Click
here to view.
October 2002 - After some detective work involving the "Friends
of War Memorials", The Imperial War Museum and a lady named
Estelle Lumb, the grand daughter of the penultimate master of the
"Beaverford", the plaque that accompanied the picture
has been located.
It was discovered, discarded, some distance from the school by
a local Tottenham man in 1968. It is now in private hands. It was
passed over only recently by the finder, who had kept it in good
condition since it was found. The plaque was loaned for display
at the recent reunion.
Click here for a full
crew list for the Beaverford on that last fateful voyage.
Below is an extract from a book written by Commander CR Vernon
Gibbs RN, entitled "Western Ocean Passenger Lines and Liners
1934 to 1969."
"The Canadian Pacific fleet has always included cargo ships
and one which earned immortality should be mentioned, since by some
inexplicable chance her name has escaped general record. "Beaverford"
belonged to Halifax convoy HX 84 which on 5th November 1940 encountered
the (German) pocket battleship Admiral Scheer. The escorting armed
merchant cruiser, Jervis Bay, at once attacked, although her swift
destruction was a certainty. The convoy scattered and Admiral Scheer
pursued the nearest large ship, "Beaverford". The white
ensign (on the Jervis Bay) was gone and "Beaverford",
though only armed for defence against submarines, must keep her
red ensign flying to the last to allow more fortunate vessels to
speed away in other directions. Her fight with Admiral Scheer began
about sundown and skill combined with fortune enabled her to resist
until nearly an hour before midnight. Then "Beaverford"
blew up leaving no survivors."