Memories from 1920-1922 or
The following is an account written by Mrs Betty Hill who
is sister to Mrs Joan Wilcox. Their father was the Mr Rawson
who was the local builder responsible for the houses in Rawson
I started school after Easter 1920 at Misses Goodwin's School,
which at that time was held in the Parish Room. (It had been
going for some time but I don't know how long.) My cousin
Edna Jarvis went from 1907-1914. Miss Nellie would have been
about 29 in 1907 and Miss Grace, I think about 5 years younger.
They had both been to the National School in Tickhill (the
Big School). Latin and Algebra were taught by Mr Dixon to
those intending to be teachers and Mr Greenhough taught Elementary
Science, but French was not taught so Miss Nellie must have
been to some after school classes for she taught French to
some 8+ pupils. Miss Grace had been on a short course to learn
to teach small children.
I well remember being taken on the first day by my brother
Roger and given a seat on the platform next to a sweet looking
little boy in a sailor suit called Peter. He was even shyer
than I was so we both stayed silent. This changed when Mollie
started later in the term and from then on we were inseparable.
Often we were called by each others names and we answered
Phyllis and Beryl Kirkland followed each other as assistants
and helped with the younger ones. Zillah Crossland, the photographer's
daughter, came to play the piano for exercises and singing.
We mainly sang hymns from Golden Bells, which was a hymn book
the Wesleyan Chapel had finished with.
We started with slates (I still remember the screech the
slate pencils made) and copy books. These were double lined
with a pot hook or other curve or a stroke at the beginning
of each line. The slates were usually used for sums.
Miss Nellie was only at school for the first part of both
the morning and the afternoon. She was Governess to Barbara
Brooksbank in the morning and Jean Cayley in the afternoon.
At school she taught the older children up to 14 or 15 English,
Arithmetic, Scripture and French plus Geography and History.
She left work for them to do for the rest of the time. She
taught Grammar to a very high standard : when one boy went
to Doncaster Grammar School, Mr. Caxton told his parents that
he was always pleased to get boys from the Miss Goodwin's
School as they were always thoroughly grounded in Grammar
and so were able to pick up Latin much more easily.
We always looked forward to 3p.m. when Miss Grace settled
us down to Sewing, including the boys, though they occasionally
did simple Craft Work, and then read to us. The books were
alternately chosen by her and by anyone who brought a suitable
book. I remember being enthralled at 7 years old by ' The
Old Oak Staircase ', a Cavalier and Roundhead adventure, and
when I was 10 by 'Cranford'. No small children's books were
read. Miss Grace read really well, breaking off occasionally
to attend to a sewing problem.
Poetry and Painting were also popular. Again the choice of
poems was also alternate. For our choice the bookshelves contained
the works of Tennyson and Longfellow and various small collections.
We learned anything from Milton (top class) to 'The Village
Blacksmith'. Painting included producing Christmas Cards for
several weeks before Christmas.
The platform was very much used, partly for extra desks when
the school was full, for Singing and Exercises and usually
twice a year for concerts; Mothering Sunday plays and concerts
in aid of Missionary Societies were the most frequent. The
best acted was Mrs. Jarley's Waxworks with Anice Clarke as
Mrs. Jarley, Jack Willoughby as her assistant and my brother
enjoying himself whipping up customers. Jack was very tall
and could move the living-but-very-stiff waxworks about. Most
of the rest of us were rather wooden actors, but we never
forgot our lines. Learning from memory was very well practised.
The only homework we had was learning by heart. We had Spellings
to learn by heart several times a week, a summary of the History
or Geography we had been doing and at weekends we had from
2 to 12 verses of the Bible to learn according to age. I once
got 6d (a fortune) for reciting The Sermon on the Mount without
a mistake and Eileen Kitchen and I tied 1st for finding most
names for God in both the Old and New Testaments.
Scripture was an important part of the day. It started with
prayers, then a Bible reading for the older ones and Bible
stories for the rest. On Monday Miss Nellie gave a lesson
on the Reading and explained it in a surprisingly undogmatic
way. I think we all enjoyed that lesson. There was Grace at
Dinner time and a short prayer at hometime.
Sometimes Miss Grace would take us for a Spring walk. One
day the boys saw a ladder against a stack in Wilsic Lane and
climbed up. When told to come down they all did except Roger
who resisted all attempts to get him down. At last Miss Grace
sent me up. No problem; I went up and said 'If you don't come
down I shall tell Daddy'. He came. We were 5 and 7 at the
I think people expected children who went to a Private School
to be well-behaved. We were not always. One day the big ones,
mostly boys, but some girls put the 7-10 years old in the
cellar which was very dark, locked the door and told them
of the blood-curdling things that would happen to them. Loud
screams alerted Miss Grace who rushed down, jacket flying
behind her, to let them out. The culprits wished they had
never done it, when she had finished with them.
Usually for punishment it was generally a tap on the knuckles
or only for bad behaviour, the cane; mostly for boys but occasionally
for girls. For really persistent talking we were kept in.
Molly, Myra and I were kept in for talking one day. After
ten minutes, Miss Grace said we could go when we had said
we were sorry for talking. Myra immediately did as she was
told and went home. Molly and I sat mute. Miss Nellie came
back then and she tried to persuade us without success. Eventually
they had to let us go as we were due at a painting class in
Doncaster. Once outside we turned to each other and said,
'Wasn't Myra awful telling a lie like that, we've had a lovely
afternoon talking. How can we be sorry'. Well they had always
taught us to tell the truth and children always think of their
point of view. If Miss Gace had told us to say sorry for being
a nuisance to her we would have done.
Punishment at the big school in Mr Dixon's time was generally
more severe. Miss Nellie had to hold a big pile of slates
above her head for saying one word. After a short time she
fainted and of course many of the slates smashed (my father
was in her class and he told me this).
The small yard was our playground; for 40 children much too
small and there was always fighting for space or girls against
boys and we little ones had to look after our selves. Sometimes
we had someone from the big school come for a term because
they had been ill, or like Lenny Longhorn, who came when he
had a leg temporarily in irons. I don't think they were any
safer in the playground. On wet days we were given The Children's
Newspaper to read.
In the corner was the bucket lavatory with newspaper squares
on a string for toilet paper. I don't remember anyone washing
their hands at the stone sink after a visit. There was no
outbreak of an infectious disease while I was at the Parish
Room, although there were two epidemics of Scarlet Fever after
we moved, which affected all three schools and one of Diphtheria
which we escaped (both killing diseases in those days).
In those days there were three crossing places. I think they
were originally laid down and kept swept to enable people
to avoid the mud and animal droppings. They were made of a
single row of York stone flags. One was in the Market Place
almost opposite St. Mary's Gate, the second was across Sunderland
Street from the end of the Infant School lane and last, there
was one crossing Northgate opposite Weardale gates which was
just right for The Parish Room. There was no need for any
children from any of the schools to cross the road anywhere
else. It was impressed on us to use them.
I think that most of us were happy at our little school,
except perhaps my cousin Dorothy who was left-handed. In those
days children were made to use their right hand and as often
happens this started her stammering badly, an impediment she
never got rid of until she was involved in running the pensioners
Miss Nellie was a born teacher. She had no difficulty in
controlling her class, mainly by assuming we were all well-mannered
and wanted to learn and by treating us almost as grown-ups.
I was appalled to find, at the High School, we had to put
our hands up and ask to leave the room as if we were small
children. In Miss Nellie's class we just said, 'Excuse me'
Miss Grace was a very good story-teller and reader, though
we thought she was too fond of death-bed scenes and when I
read Dickens later, I was pleasantly surprised that he wasn't
always discribing scenes like the death of Little Nell and
Paul Dombey. She was generally patient and perservering with
I remember when we moved to the newly built wooden building,
in the Misses Goodwin's garden. Everyone carried something.
Our group was given books to carry. I think the older ones
carried chairs and tables, but probably help was needed for
the desks. All was in the new school by the end of the day.
I think we were sorry to leave the historic building: every
pupil knew it's date and uses it had been put to, but the
excitement of the new made us soon forget it.
Pupils of the Misses Goodwin’s School. Miss Grace and
Miss Nellie are shown in the lower photograph.