In September 1939 when I was School Secretary we all gathered at the
school to be evacuated. Nobody knew where we were going - we were
just given the time of a train to catch. Some pupils were excited,
some frightened. (I was very apprehensive myself.) We all
marched to Willesden Junction Station via Furness Road and the long
footpath by the railway and boarded the train.
Some time after Mr. Newton (Geography),
always known as "Pop", came through and said he thought we were going to
Northampton as at Roade we had taken the branch line off from the mainline
to Rugby. He was right and there followed the unhappy task of
allocating pupils to families - and the Staff. I was billeted at
first with Mr. Lowry (Maths) and his wife in a large house at Weston
Favell. This was occupied by a single lady and her house-keeper, who
resented us and scared me stiff but Mrs Lowry was a great ally.
When no bombs fell, many children
drifted back home and we re-opened the school for them and pupils from
Kilburn & Brondesbury High School for Girls - just in time for the Blitz!
My friend and contemporary, Daphne Blampied, wondered whether the "Black
Book" really existed? It certainly did. The pupils concerned
had to report to me (school sec.) and I entered their names. One boy
Willson, was always in trouble. He would come through the door and
every time say "Willson, Miss, double L, Miss", until one day in
exasperation I said "I ought to know how to spell your name by now!".
(I wonder if he is still with us?). Nobody was ever expelled - but
after several reportings they would have an interview with Mr. Wallis, Mr.
Southam (Senior Master) or Miss Jarvie (Senior Mistress).
Norman Hudis was a very frequent contributor to the School Magazine and
later became famous for writing the dialogue for the "Carry On" films.
One of the duties of the caretaker (Mr. Williams, known as "Tin") was to
go to the bank every Friday morning to pay in the takings from the
tuck-shop, school dinners, morning milk, the General Fund etc. Off
he would go on his bicycle with basket in front and saddlebag behind piled
with bags of copper and silver. How strange it seems now that it
never entered our heads that he could be robbed!
Old Uff (1930-35)