BLYTHE BRIDGE HIS­TOR­I­CAL SO­CI­ETY

Leek Post & Times - - DOWN YOUR WAY -

AFTER a heavy evening last month on the hor­rors of the Lidice mas­sacre, we en­joyed a light-hearted ‘School­days Rem­i­nis­cence’ with Kath Reynolds and re­lived the times at school of lib­erty bodices and the smell of damp socks on the ra­di­a­tors.

In the thrifty days of the 1950s much of our school wear was handed down or home knit­ted but at least when the war ended we could leave our gas masks at home.

The rou­tine and for­mal­ity of school days was re­flected in the starchy con­tent of the ‘Janet and John’, ‘Peter and Jane’ and ‘Lady­bird’ read­ers of which Kath had brought along some ex­am­ples.

We re­lived the joys of dip-in pens and inkwells and the pride of be­ing an ink mon­i­tor – or a milk mon­i­tor.

The pink blot­ting pa­per was some­times not enough for the mess we made.

Male teach­ers had grey flan­nels and tweed jack­ets with el­bow patches and fe­males had but­toned up blouses and a sen­si­ble skirt and shoes.

At some point after the war, ‘Miss’ no longer had to leave her job when she got mar­ried.

When we lined up for as­sem­bly we had our shoes and hands checked for clean­li­ness.

Many of our stern teach­ers were re­ally quite kindly, un­derneath it all. How­ever, some of us suf­fered from chalk or board rub­bers used as pro­jec­tiles to keep us awake.

A ‘clip round the ear’ re­ally meant a slap round the head, some­thing which wouldn’t

be coun­te­nanced nowa­days. For more se­ri­ous of­fences we got the slip­per on our back­sides or even the cane.

We learned the ‘3Rs’, the al­pha­bet (sung) and verses of much-loved po­ems by heart, such as Daf­fodils (Wordsworth) or The Owl

and the Pussy­cat (Lear).

To re­ally bring back the mem­o­ries, Kath led us in a sing-song of All things bright and beau­ti­ful, We plough the fields and scat­ter

and There was a green hill far away, which were sung in schools as the sea­sons of the year came around.

With all this plus sto­ry­time, sports days and anec­dotes elicited from the au­di­ence Kath kept us very much en­gaged and an en­joy­able evening was had by all.

At the end, we should re­ally have sung

Now the day is over put our chairs up on the tables and said the Lord’s Prayer with our eyes closed and hands to­gether.

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