Sion Manning Roman Catholic Girls’ School

School in/near North Kensington, existing between 1958 and now

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School · North Kensington · W10 ·

Sion Manning Roman Catholic Girls’ School is in St Charles Square.

The school educates girls aged between 11 - 16, and has no sixth form.

Cardinal Manning had the vision to expand Catholic education in London but distrusted the Jesuits, who had already successfully established schools in Northern England. He acquired a plot of land North Kensington for St Charles College for Boys, a boarding which had been founded by the Oblates of St Charles Borromeo (see Ambrosians) in 1863, and it relocated there in 1874.

The college was intended to prepare young men for the priesthood. The short-lived Kensington University College, also founded by Manning, was merged into the school as its "higher department". It closed in 1905 after 42 years in operation. Inspired by Charles Borromeo, Manning named the local parish St Charles, which covers present-day St Charles Square. The old buildings were taken over by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart who opened St Charles Teacher Training College and St Charles Demonstration School.

The training college was evacuated to Dorchester following the outbreak of World War II. The college buildings had been so badly damaged during the Blitz that the Sisters decided to move on to Roehampton where they were already running Digby Stuart College. The Archdiocese of Westminster took over the buildings in 1946 for redevelopment. St Charles Primary opened in 1954, followed by secondary moderns Cardinal Manning Boys School in 1955 and Cardinal Manning Girls School in 1958.

During the 1960s, Cardinal Manning Girls merged with a convent school founded by the Sisters of Sion at Chepstow Villas, Bayswater to form the present-day Sion-Manning School. Following a reorganisation of the Catholic education system within the Archdiocese in 1990, Cardinal Manning Boys became St Charles Catholic Sixth Form College but remained on its site.

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North Kensington

North Kensington lies either side of Ladbroke Grove, W10.

North Kensington was rural until the 19th century, when it was developed as a suburb with quite large homes. By the 1880s, too many houses had been built for the upper-middle class towards whom the area was aimed. Large houses were divided into low cost flats which often degenerated into slums, as documented in the photographs of Roger Mayne.

During the 1980s, the area started to be gentrified although areas in the north west of the district at Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park remain deprived and run down to this day.

Waves of immigrants have arrived for at least a century including, but certainly not limited to, the Spanish, the Irish, the Jews, the West Indians, the Portuguese, the Moroccans and many from the Horn of Africa and Eastern Europe. This constant renewal of the population makes the area one of the most cosmopolitan in London.

The Notting Hill carnival was first staged in 1964 as a way for the local Afro-Caribbean communities to celebrate their own cultures and traditions. After some rough times in the 1970s and 1980s when it became associated with social protest, violence and huge controversy over policing tactics, this is now Europe’s largest carnival/festival event and a major event in the London calendar. It is staged every August over the Bank holiday weekend.
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