Old Uffingtonians Association (1994)

   Willesden County Grammar School                         Ex-Pupils 1924-1967                    


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Snippets from 1925-31

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.

As 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.

Wilf Pay