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Name Brian Thompson
Story title My memory of the nursery, classrooms, food, WWII
Year: 1938 - 1949
My Memory...

I was born in 1938. My dad was a fireman in Cowdray Avenue. I was born near the fire station in Jarmin Road. During the war we had a Morrison shelter, we had bedding underneath where we slept.

I was 3 1/2 when I attended the Nursery at North, in about 1941 or 1942. I was in the Infants and Juniors too and left when I was 11 years old and went to St Helena School. I joined the Police Force when I left school. I had a business in Kent and have lived in Walton for the last 15 years.

In the nursery, after lunch, we slept on little beds outside. They were laid out every day 2pm - 3pm for resting. My mother used to collect me at about 3pm.

The headteacher was a lady. (infants?)

You entered through the Boys entrance to school, the cloakroom was inside the door.

The main hall had classes around. I think there were 6 classes around the hall, with about 20 - 30 children in each.The main hall was used for sport. The far end of the hall was the Headmasters study, Mr Chisnell. He used to wander around the classrooms or was in the hall when you arrived. At the beginning of the day we were in the hall and sang a song or hymn. The teachers stood at the front. If you were naughty, the teachers gave you the slipper on the back of the leg.

As well as assembly, the main hall was used for country dancing and P.T. We did country dancing lessons every week. We always had the same partner, mine was Baker, I can't remember her first name. There were wall bars on one bit of the hall. The floor was marked out for sport.

The dinner room was downstairs from Class 1. The food was terrible! There was a school cook house, we had our meals there. We had whale meat one day for lunch.

The playground was tarmac, with gravel at the bottom end and there was a brick wall dividing the girls and boys playground. The boys and girls played separately, but were mixed during lesson time. The football posts were painted on the wall. The toilets were outside in the playground to the left of the boys entrance, where the new buildings are now.

There were air raid shelters in the playground. The air raid shelters had sandbags against the outer walls. We went there lots of times. We used to sing sea shanties and nursery rhymes. There would be one teacher who would get someone to sing. There was wooden seating either side.

During WWII, the American Air Force were based at Lanham and Boxted. One Friday they supplied us with chocolate powder in bags which we took home to make co-co. I kept dipping my fingers in.

The Americans gave each pupil an orange - that was my first orange. I was 7 years old when I had my first orange and saw my first banana.

One day, a boy found a pistol and brought it to school and hid it in the wall near the shelters. The police came and collected the American fire arm and interviewed people about it.

The school bell only rang on V.E. Day and thereafter to denote start of assembly.

The cane was used and you were asked which hand you wrote with, this was to smack the other had with one stroke. the slipper was used on the back of the legs for misbehaviour.

Short trousers were worn all year round, in my case and many others until 13 years of age.

The bakers opposite the Globe public house, on the corner of John Harper Street. Bread rolls were 3/4 3 farthings. You entered from the side door.

I spent much of my youth up at High Woods. Everyone knew each other. If you went to North School, people used to describe you as 'you come from down North'. It was the dialect, a North East Essex accent.