Remembering Homerton 87 years ago

Happy Birthday to Margaret Kent: 105 years old today

By Matthew Moss 2min read

Margaret Kent (nee Barry) was born in 1918 in South London.

Taught at Selhurst Grammar School in Croydon, she applied to study at Homerton to be a teacher, arriving in 1936.  She chose Music and History as special subjects and achieved a distinction in English.   She revelled in the rigorous teaching at Homerton and made lifelong friends - and while at Cambridge she met her future husband, Norman Kent, who was studying Botany at Emmanuel College, and later a PhD in Chemistry. 

Group shot of 7 women students, with Margaret kneeling
Photograph of Margaret (kneeling, centre) with friends, taken in Homerton's grounds in 1938.

During World War II, Margaret was evacuated with a class of London children to Guildford and then Brighton.  She also spent a year in Cornwall, living on a farm and teaching local children. 

Margaret Kent today
Margaret Kent today

Margaret and Norman married in 1941 and moved to St Albans, where Norman had secured a post at a research institute. 

Margaret taught at a primary school in the city until her first daughter, Celia, was born in 1944.  Judith and Penny followed in 1946 and 1949 respectively to complete their family. 

Margaret returned to full-time teaching when Penny went to grammar school, and continued to work both in St Albans and then in Harpenden until retirement at 60.  At that point she decided to study for an English degree as an external student at the University of London, and graduated in 1980.  The graduation ceremony was held in the Royal Albert Hall with the late Queen Mother, as Chancellor of the University, bestowing the degrees. 

After retirement, she and Norman travelled quite extensively. Margaret continued to live in the family home in St Albans until the spring of 2022 when its care and upkeep became too onerous, and she moved into a small residential home nearby.  Her local friends and eldest daughter Celia visit regularly, and we are very grateful to Celia for this account of Margaret's life at Homerton.