Memories of School
I started at Bingley Street Infants School in 1916.
The Headmistress was Mrs James and the teachers were Miss
Scott; Miss Calleah; Miss Butcher; Miss Lamb and Miss Scarlet. I
was taken to school by Celia Wilford and Lydia Nicholls, the
children of neighbours, and by Alice Richards (who later married
The school hours were 9-00am to 12 noon and 2-00pm to 4-00pm.
Part of Bingley Street School as it is today.
I walked home for dinner each day. The first Christmas I was at school
I remember making a tiny basket out of cut and folded coloured paper.
The teacher provided us with two wrapped toffees to put in the basket to
give as a Christmas present to our mothers.
In September 1918 I moved up into Bingley Street Girl's school. The
Headmistress was Miss Elizabeth Sanders - and the teachers were Miss
Blanche Evans; Miss Doris Carter; Miss Lambourne; Miss Bevan; Miss
Whitehouse and Miss Roberts.
When the bell rang for school to start we formed lines in the
playground and waited for the signal to march into our classrooms. The
register was called and then the bell sounded again for us to march
quietly into the Hall for assembly. A teacher stood at the side of each
class. Miss Sanders usually conducted assembly, a hymn, a prayer, a
short talk, and instructions etc. Then, to a march played on the piano,
we all returned to our classes to work. On alternate mornings the boys
had assembly led by the Headmaster, Mr. Samuel Lloyd, 'Sammy'. (I recall
he played the double bass.)
Class size in my school days numbered about 60 with no distinction
between the quickest worker and the slowest. I was one of the quick
ones, but the teacher did not move on until all were ready. I suppose
when I finished my work I should have got a book out and read quietly,
but it was far more interesting to look round and see who I could chat
In Miss Evans' class I was put in front of her 'favourite', a big,
placid girl called Edna Edwards. I recall she had large, beautifully
manicured hands. She was detailed to poke me in the back if I was
chatting or laughing. This proved a very unwise instruction, for my
reaction to a 'poke in the back' was to shriek, which disrupted the
Miss Bevan's reaction to my chatter was to throw me out into the Hall,
where I could be seen to be in disgrace. I was not anxious for Miss
Sanders (the Headmistress) to happen upon me, so I usually did a little
wander round the school, as if on an errand. I often stopped to study
the little stuffed red squirrel in a cabinet in the Hall. I was a
'townie' and fascinated by this little creature.
|The Hall was large and served both the girls and the
boys schools. There was no co-education in those days. Of course,
when sent into the Hall as a punishment, I quickly found it more
interesting to linger near the boys' classrooms - and watch their
I remember one day taking a new born (eyes not yet open) kitten
to school. When the other girls told the teacher, I told her it
had followed me, an impossibility since it was less than three
weeks old. I was duly sent to the Headmistress for punishment.
The back of the school and part of the
She spoke severely to me about my behaviour and telling lies and a
note was sent home asking my mother to see the Headmistress. Miss
Sanders was very surprised to see what a nice lady my Mom was. She said
she had expected a big, loud woman, not a small, gentlewoman. My
show-off behaviour and chatter in class had given her entirely the wrong
impression of my family background. I guess I was meted out some
punishment when I got home. But I could not have had my pocket money
stopped as we didn’t get any!
A view of the school from Bingley Street.
|We did not have a school uniform, but most of us wore gym-slips.
remember the thick black woollen stockings we wore and the fact that
they had to be neatly darned whenever a hole appeared as they needed to
last a long time.
If girls had long hair it had to be plaited and tied with a ribbon at
the end. My hair was naturally curly and I didn't like it in plaits. On
many occasions I (purposely) lost a ribbon. Then I would be given a
piece of string and sent to the cloakroom to tie up my hair again.
Each year a 'May Queen' was democratically elected by the whole school.
Girls in the top class were sent to all the other classes where they
recited their names so that all the pupils could identify the girl they
wanted to vote for.
Unfortunately, my record of imperfection prevented me from going round
the classes. The staff were afraid that I would get the most votes as I
was popular - and the risk of me being elected 'May Queen', and an
example to the rest of the school, was too risky to be allowed. My quiet
friend, Millicent Furnival, was chosen. She was so timid, that on the
great day when she was crowned, she was too shy to sing the Queen's
solo. Mollie Rendell was placed behind her on the platform and sang,
while Millicent mimed! She wore a long white dress with a velvet train
and was crowned with a wreath of cream coloured tea roses. The retiring
Queen, Ann Hughes, had a long blue velvet dress and train and a crown of
forget-me-nots. Prior to the May Day celebrations, each class elected a
Princess and two maidens. When the May Queen placed the crowns on their
heads she recited...
|'I crown you for being
For perseverance, loyalty,
When the boys school acquired a radio (in about 1924), the top class of
girls was invited to share in listening to the weekly 'Music for
Schools' broadcast, presented by Sir Walford Davies. After the
programme, one of the girls had to stand and give a vote of thanks for
the privilege. The anxiety during the lesson about being chosen far
outweighed the pleasure of listening. On one occasion I was selected to
give the thanks, but I cannot recall what I said as I mumbled on. Quite
a different state to my usual confident chatter in class.
It is said that a bad name lingers on. Quite true, but to be blamed for
something when absent is most distressing. Once, when Miss Evans was not
in her class, a lot of noise reached the ears of Miss Sanders who
happened to be passing. She entered the classroom and demanded sternly
who was causing the hubbub. 'Mollie Rendell' stated one of teacher's
favourites. Oh dear, I was not even in the room at the time. Give a dog
a bad name!
I think I did a lot of things to attract attention, as Miss Saunders
had pointed out to my mother. At home there was always a baby needing
attention and I was sometimes overlooked, though I do think my Mom tried
At one time in school I pretended I could not see the blackboard, so I
was sat at a desk in the front row, and an appointment made for me to
attend the Eye Infirmary for tests. Needless to say, the test proved my
sight was perfect. Was this another instance of wanting to be noticed?