BLYTHE BRIDGE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
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.