Francis Meerendonk

Bradford House Master
1950s - 1971

Physics and Chemistry 1950s to 1971


Franciscus Anthonius Van der Meerendonk was born on the 21 December 1905 in Greenwich. Van der Meerendonk is of Dutch origin and translates as 'Man or Family of the Lake'. Later his name was changed to Francis Anthony Meerendonk, which is as we all knew him. We assume he grew up in London, going to University in London. He served in the British Army and had a posting to Northern Ireland.

Gladys E Hatherill was born on 8 th April 1908. She worked in a Hatton Court Jewellery shop.



It was, and still is, the Home to the British Diamond Trade, dealing with celebrities, royalty, the rich and famous. The same as when Gladys met Francis in the early 1930s and they were married at Camberwell in 1934.

The Meerendonk Family moved to Kingham Hill School in the early 1950's. Later Gladys's father, Mr Hatherill, also moved to Bradford House. He was a part of Bradford until his death in the early 1960s.

Francis taught Physics and Chemistry in school to a very high standard. With his common sense and methodical approach, he was able to guide us in all subjects at prep time. He encouraged us to think for ourselves and check our own work. Those Bradford Boys who knew him, loved him, respected him and trusted him. He never let us down.

Gladys was the House Mistress. We didn't have the same contact with her. She was more behind the scenes, dealing with clothing and stores. She did have a daily contact with us at dinner because most days she would sit at the head of one of the House dining tables, always smiling and pleased for us with our small successes or interested in our letters from home.

Francis and Gladys retired from KHS in 1971.

They celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1984.


They moved to Devon where Francis died in 1988, aged 83.

Gladys passed away in 1999, aged 90, some 11 years later.

God Bless them.

By Frank Foster (a Bradfordian always ) 1958 - 1962

Photos supplied by Mrs.Lesley Clare of her Grandparants.

January 2007.

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