When I was there in the 1950s the staff were friendly and made learning an enjoyable experience. I don’t remember much about the early years, only the traumatic first day at school in Class 8 when children were crying and anxious parents were waiting in the corridor for their children to settle down.

The Harvest Festival was an important event in the school year. Every September or October parents were asked to provide fruit and vegetables for a display. They were sold later in the day to raise money towards good causes and the Christmas party. I remember my mother digging potatoes or parsnips from the garden, washing them, and them giving me instructions to take them to my teacher in readiness for the event.

I remember Mrs. Hill in Class 6 who was a good teacher. We regularly recited the times tables and did simple arithmetic. She tested our reading and writing, and was always helpful. We were given a passage to read from a book, and each child would be called out in turn to stand by her desk and read a short section. Like all of the teachers at the school she was very enthusiastic, and I’m sure each child gained a lot from her.

I also fondly remember Miss Shuker in Class 5, who was younger than the other teachers, being newly qualified. Her lessons were less formal than with Mrs. Hill and it was enjoyable being in her class. Everyone in the class had a free bottle of milk which was handed out by a milk monitor in the middle of the morning. Biscuits were also on sale at the same time.

At the start of the day the school bell would ring and everyone had to line up in the appropriate place, to be marched in an orderly fashion into school. Similarly the bell would ring at break times and at the end of each morning and afternoon.

Mr. Scarth. Courtesy of Sue Harper, Gill Broomhall and Maureen Page.

After Class 5 I ended up in Class 3 with Miss Haigh, who was quite a contrast. She was an old-fashioned and strict lady who kept you on your toes. If you stepped out of line a quick wrap across the knuckles with a 12inch ruler would be the result. She could be quick tempered and liked everything to be in order. I never got on her wrong side myself, but a lot of children did.

On Friday afternoons the desks had to be cleaned and polished, and everyone came prepared with a small bottle of vinegar to remove ink stains, some polish in a match box and two dusters. She had the cleanest and smartest class in the school and liked her pupils to be equally clean and smart. She enjoyed knitting and needlework, and took great pride in interesting the girl’s in the craft, and would heartily congratulate them on a job well done.

The school is surrounded by coal deposits that lie just below the surface. A good example was to be found behind the school where the old houses stood in Moxley Road. The road is now a dual carriageway and the coal seam is roughly beneath the northern carriageway. She encouraged us to go and look for leaf fossils which were often found with the coal. We were always congratulated when we produced our finds which were displayed along the windowsill.

Although she was a strict disciplinarian and many children found her frightening at times, she had a heart of gold and would warmly praise anyone who had done well in her class.

After Class 3 was Class 2 with Mr. West, another good and enthusiastic teacher, who I fondly remember. Mr. Scarth looked after Class 1, and I have many happy memories of my time in his class. He was a gentleman who treated the children, almost as adults. He was very interested in sport, such as football and cricket and enjoyed the children’s games periods. As the school playing field didn’t exist in those days, we would go the playing fields alongside George Rose Park. I think that’s where I obtained my love of canals, because the playing field ran alongside the Darlaston canal and it was fun to explore. Mr. Scarth was an excellent teacher who made learning an enjoyable experience. He also made us aware of Darlaston’s past and it’s importance as a Black Country manufacturing town.

One member of staff that I haven't yet mentioned is Mr. Mayland. Like the other teachers he was a kindly man, very enthusiastic and always ready to give encouragement. He would sometimes look after a class when one of the teachers was absent. I remember him as a good teacher, and greatly enjoyed his time in class. He had a light blue Morris Minor car, and that would often be seen at the school during the school holidays, showing his great dedication to the school.

All of the staff were dedicated to the school, the children and their profession. They all had their own way of doing things, and looking back it’s easy to see that they had the children’s interests at heart.

I’m sure many generations of ex pupils will have the same happy memories of the school as I do. I feel it was a good school, and more importantly still is.

The school playground in 2007.

Patricia Peacock's Memories

I was a pupil at Pinfold Street from 1956 until 1962, if  I remember correctly, and was thrilled to see the old faces and names. All the faces of the teachers in the photographs, and Mr. Maybury were as I remembered them.

I remember Mr. Mayland so well.  As you have already stated, he used to stand in for absent teachers and I remember one day he was particularly exasperated by a few children yawning in class.  Not to be outdone, he marched over to the fish tank, dunked a cloth into it and threatened to "wash the face of the next person who yawned."  Nobody did !   Today, I think he would be frogmarched off to prison.

Mr. West was such a lovely teacher - approachable, kind, patient and with a talent for bringing out the best in a child.  I think he was replaced by a Mr. McKenzie, a similarly nice man.

Good old "Polly" Haig !  I was delighted to see her dear old face again.  I got one of her famous knuckle raps for not remembering 9x6.  My small granddaughter was fascinated when I told her about it the other day. Miss Haig taught us all to do beautiful embroidery (always a problem for me). She made us sing the National Anthem on the Queen's birthday and who can forget the Friday afternoon desk polish with the smell of vinegar and lavender polish?   My niece was in Miss Haig's class when she retired and apparently she bought every child in the school a packet of sweets.

Miss Shuker - quite plump and patient.  We always bought our class teachers a Christmas present and mine to her was a box of chocolates wrapped up by my mother in old brown paper with used string from a shoe box. The other presents were wrapped so daintily in Christmas paper with all the trimmings. When she saw mine she smiled, not unkindly, probably thinking I had wrapped it myself. I remember her reading aloud to us  from "Worzel Gunmmidge" one hot spring day with the sun belting into the classroom, sending all of us into a mild doze.

The infant school teachers, Mrs Hughes, Mrs Jones and Mrs Ince were so sweet. I remember Mrs Hughes singing an aria from "Carmen" one day just before a lesson.  It has always stayed with me.  She had a son called William who attended the school.

Mrs Lewis was the School Sec. at the time and such a pleasant, kindly woman. She used to knit during the lunchtime. 

Mr. Maybury I remember walking round the school carrying various tools and planting the bulbs for Spring.

I also remember the arrival of the fairground children to Pinfold Street whenever Pat Collins's fair was in Darlaston. I was fascinated by their brightly-coloured knitted sweaters and their accents of course were different from ours. I asked one boy where he came from and he said "Lancashire". I'm not sure how much time they spent travelling around. They could have only have spent a week or two at a time at Pinfold Street but they seemed to fit in very well. I remember two children in particular who became regular features of the school. One was a boy called Richard and the other a girl called Laramie. Wasn't it exciting when the "Wake" came to Darlo ? We could hardly concentrate on our lessons.

Victor Pickering's Memories

I attended the school in the early 1950s. Of particular interest was the picture of the 1955 football team for which I played. Unfortunately I am not one of the unidentified players although I did at first think I was the urchin you identify as Colin Gould. The picture brought back many happy memories of some names I had forgotten and some who became lifelong friends like Ben Tonks, Terry Wain and Eddie Norman. Sadly both Terry and Eddie passed away several years ago, so the picture was particularly poignant.

I also have happy memories of Miss Haigh and Mr. Scarth who In our final year took us all to Edgbaston to see the Australians play. It was also Mr Scarth I think, who organised trips to Wembley to see the England schoolboy's internationals. Finally if no one else has claimed it, I may just possibly be the boy standing in front of Mr. Mayland in his introduction picture (the ears being a bit of a give away).

Diane Watson's Memories (nee Bishop)

I attended the school from 1962 at the age of 5 until I was 11 and then attended Darlaston Comprehensive. When I was 13 my family and I moved out of the area to Dawley New town as it was then, but Telford now.

I enjoyed my school years at Pinfold street and so did my brothers and sisters, as I am the oldest of 7. My best friend all through the school from infant to juniors and on to comprehensive was Diane Hicken who I have been trying to trace, but to no avail, she lived in Wiley Avenue.

I remember Pat Collins fair on the wake field, what exciting times they were. I remember the whole class walking to Darlaston baths for our weekly swimming sessions, which was great, however I learned to swim in the pool at the comprehensive school at holiday time.

Does anyone remember the tip at Moxley, set on fire in the middle of night? I remember being in the street in my nightie with the rest of the neighbours wondering if it was going to spread to our house which backed onto the fields in Berry Avenue.

If you have any memories, or old photos and would like them added to this section please send me an email.

Return to The
1970s and Beyond
  Return to the