By Roger Chadwick
The war was on, everything in short supply. Even in the Junior Department we were told to write on the inside covers of exercise books and across the margins. Any sheet of paper with a clean side had to be used. Sugar bag paper was used for art work. Those waxy cardboard milk bottle tops had to be brought to school for further use: raffia was worked around any available container to make “spell” boxes, those things we used at home with “spells” of wood to light the fire! Nothing was wasted. Old blotting paper lined precious jam jars for the beans and peas to grow on the window sills. Tops of carrots were brought on saucers to grow foliage. Woe betide any child who wasted anything! The one third pint of milk had to be drunk even if it was frozen. No child could leave anything on the plate of a school dinner. “Get that down yer and stop messing about; the convoys brought that across the Atlantic”, warned my grandmother!
I cannot say whether this kind of education was right or wrong. Suffice it to say that even though I am no mathematician, mental arithmetic has stood me in good stead throughout life as has the grounding in grammar. Class 8 at Leigh Street School in 1949-50 had 53 pupils presided over by a teacher who knew what she had to do, brooked no nonsense or interference, gave favours to none and criticism to all and made sure that everyone in that class could read and write before they went into secondary or technical education. She wasn’t there to be liked or loved: she had a job to do and did it magnificently!
Leigh Street 1949
Many thanks to Roger for sharing his memories and to the "Hyde Schoolday Memories" book that was sent to me by Joyce and Graham Sharp.