I did a similar walk to School as did
Edward Hargreaves in the Thirties (see Thirties Memories). There are
one or two things that I would like to add, most of his encounters were
the same but I a few others I met.
There was a man with a hand portable
"hurdy-gurdy" sitting on the pavement in Park Parade, begging for alms and
appearing to have only one leg, a possible victim of WWI? At going
home time he just got up and walked off on two legs!
A United Dairies "float", pony drawn,
careered down the hill from old Welford's Farm and overturned outside
Roundwood park gates with an almighty crash, smashed bottles and milk
everywhere; poor pony in a sad state.
The old variety Hippodrome (turned
into a cinema) still had its near vertical seating in the gallery for
Charlie Chaplin in "The Gold Rush". The Coliseum in Manor Park Road
had acute viewing angle viewing and a lady playing classics to the silent
films, except cowboys when special "charging" music was played.
Haircuts at the "Salon" opposite The Royal Oak were 6d, short back and
sides elsewhere were 4d.
for school, Pop Newton was favourite. I was good at geography and
thanked him when travelling all over the world later on. Worst was
Miss Child, as history was my worst subject and unfortunately she had
known my uncle in Ripon some years before; I got picked on for dates that
I could never remember. When she got mad she would say "Open all
windows - you haven't got any spunk in you". That fixed us!
Mr. Parker was woodwork and on one
occasion was shifting timber in the rafters when one plank fell on my
head. Frantic exit to the playground for air and sniffing sal
volatile. The new cricket pavilion was part of our lessons and I
remember crates of wood (from motor car importers - Chevrolet) being used.
The tiling had to be done with extra care and no breakages!
Mr. Southam was a strict disciplinarian
and much liked, Mr. Hitchcock a mad professor who once strode into class
with his flies undone. Miss Edgell appeared for Girls V Boys at
hockey (she was with my wife at Harrow Weald Grammar).
Mr. Smith was a great maths teacher (I
became an accountant) and sport. I can remember a cricket practice
when I bowled him out 3 times in succession, much to his consternation as
he was fully "padded up" - we were not.
George Ayling for art (also at Harrow
Weald). He drew a "hole" on the blackboard! I have since found
postcards with his paintings of Thames Sailing Barges - wonderful!
Dry tobogganing at Merry Hollow, but I
only went once. Mid-Summer Nights dream at the back of the school.
In class, Doug Starr sat next to me
drawing endless motor bikes (with the front wheel coming straight to you).
He was a Wembley Lions Speedway fan in the Buster and Roger Frogley days.
Norman Denbow suffered from flatulence (but not in front of the girls).
Len Lane I called for each day (he was always late) and we remained
friends up to when he died a few years ago, also Reg Hinxman who died
somewhat before. Their wives still send cards at Christmas.
What a pity the school had to change so
much. We were all very proud of the school, staff and for what
Middlesex County Council did for secondary education after WWI.