What it was like to be a student when Captain Twyman was headteacher

By pupils Max, Ruby, Lara-leigh, Zofia, Zach and Christian

CaptainTwyman, headmaster 1922 – 1932

We listened to an interview with Margaret Gilbert who told us about what it was like to go to school when Captain Twyman was headteacher.

We found out that George V was the King and Lloyd George was the prime minister when Captain Twyman was headmaster at North School from 1922 to 1932. He was the second headmaster, after John Harper, and he was a Captain in the Essex Yeomanry during the First World War.

Girls entered through the girls entrance and the boys through the boys entrance but it was still mixed in the classes.

The girls entrance

The boys didn’t wear uniform but the girls wore pinafores that covered their whole body and they wore hats.  They wore pinafores because they didn’t have many clothes and needed to keep the ones they had clean.  Hats were worn.  Why didn’t the boys?

They went home for 2 hours at midday to eat lunch and ate a hot meal.  Margaret’s grandmother cooked a hot meal for her and after lunch she played in the yard.  They went to school at 9am and home at 12 for lunch. The school day ended at 4pm.

When Margaret was in the juniors they had desks like lockers for two people with lids.  They had ink wells and pencil grooves.  We think this means they used dip pens.  “They kept exercise books in their desks”.

When Margaret first went to school they sat on a form (it was a bench).  She used slates and slate pencils.  These are like small blackboards instead of white boards we use and she used a sponge as a board rubber.  They learnt small words and letters before they got to bigger words like CAT MAT and SAT.  The words were on the board and they copied it. 

Miss Whiffen was one of teachers when Margaret first joined. 

The school motto was “Be ye kind to one another” and it was where our school motto is now.  Our school motto is currently “Always do your best”.

From the log book we found out that there was an open day at school in 1924 when about 500 parents and friends visited and teachers had a display of work.  We have open afternoons now.

In the same year there was a charity collection, an egg week “a collection of eggs for the hospital realised 250.”

Thanks to Margaret Gilbert for sharing her memories.