Tributes paid to inspirational Kentish Town headteacher and librarian

An inspiring children’s librarian who went onto enjoy a 20-year career as headteacher of a Kentish Town primary school has died at the age of 81.

Rosamund Pomeyie worked at Heath Library, now called Keats Community Library in Belsize Park, for six years in the 1950s – inspiring a multitude of children into the world of books, including a young Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo and many other children’s books.

Having re-trained as an infant school teacher in the 1960s, Ms Pomeyie became headteacher of Torriano Junior School, in Kentish Town, in 1975.

She was also celebrated for her 30 years of volunteer work at Camden Victim Support, dealing with victims of all manner of crimes, from fraud to murder.

The mother-of-two, known as Ros, passed away in hospital on November 22 after suffering a stroke at her home in Belsize Park Gardens.

Ms Pomeyie’s younger son Selom, a teacher at William Ellis School in Kentish Town, said: “My mother was a people person. Wherever she went she seemed to engage in conversation with almost anyone.

“Growing up in Yorkshire during the war had given my mother an inner resilience and an ability to keep calm and carry on.

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“She was able to listen to others when times were hard, and say exactly the right thing to make them see there was light at the end of the tunnel.”

Born just a stone’s throw from the Yorkshire Moors in the town of Northallerton in 1931, Ms Pomeyie was an only child who qualified as a librarian in 1951 and soon after moved to London, where she took up the role of children’s librarian at Heath Library in 1953.

In 1959, she moved to Nigeria with her first husband Bradford Martin, a professor of Arabic manuscripts, where she lived and worked teaching English for three years.

On her return from Africa, she re-trained as an infant school teacher and later married second husband Jones Pomeyie, after earlier splitting with Mr Martin.

In 1975, she became headteacher of Torriano Junior School, two years after the birth of her first child Jonathan, which was followed by the arrival of Selom in 1976.

After a burglary at the family home in 1980 and a visit from Camden Victim Support, Ms Pomeyie started volunteering for the organisation – a role which she continued for 30 years.

Regarded as one of Torriano’s most revered headteachers, a governor at the school was once quoted in a newspaper article as saying: “If we could put Mrs Pomeyie in a cast of iron and keep her forever, we would.”

Ms Pomeyie is survived by her two sons and two grandchildren, after becoming a grandmother for the first time in 2009.