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  Memories of Tickhill Schools in 1940s

Mr. Roy Taylor was interviewed by Joanne Taylor
on 28 April 2005

Where actually were the schools in Tickhill?

The schools in Tickhill which I know of. I was born in 1937. There were three schools in the village in fact. The first one was the primary school in Tithe Barn Lane in which subsequently my parents lived after the old school house was pulled down. There was the primary school where children went when they were five years old. Then when they become older, probably about seven they progressed to St. Mary’s School, which was pulled down probably about twenty years ago. There, in the early 1940’s, children stayed at school until they were fourteen years of age. They left school when they were fourteen when they went out into industry or went to learn a trade.

The first school was Miss Goodwin’s Private School, which was in Northgate. That was run by two Miss Goodwin’s; Miss Grace and Miss Nellie who ran this little private school where Neil Gledall now lives which is in Northgate, opposite the Methodist Church. It was in a wooden hut. These two ladies ran this school for boys and also girls. I was privileged to go when I was three and a half years old and the charge, if I remember, was two shillings and six pence a week which is twelve and a half pence new money. Boys were allowed to go there until they were seven. Then they were asked to leave when they were seven because they were judged by the two Miss Goodwin’s as being unruly when they got to seven but they kept girls a little bit longer. Speaking of my experiences there, they were very keen on the three R’s of reading, writing and arithmetic. We used to do lots of those things but we didn’t concentrate on such things as Art or anything like that. We did have General Knowledge and we also used to have to sew in an afternoon. They were very keen on spellings. We all had to learn so many spellings a day. I remember I was in disgrace once when I was probably about five because I had to spell the word umbrella and I got it wrong. I had to go behind the black board and I was given the ruler across my knuckles because I couldn’t spell umbrella right. I am still not sure to this day whether it is unbrella or umbrella.

The three schools were there and then when they became eleven they took the old scholarship examination. That was in the 1940’s. We then went to the grammar school if you passed. If you didn’t pass that you then progressed to a secondary modern school and I was fortunate at that time to pass my scholarship/eleven plus and went to the Grammar School at Maltby. Going back to those schools there was a hut and there were various Standards. In the senior school you went from Standard Two to Three, Four, Five and Six. When you got to Standard Six you left school when you were fourteen if you hadn’t passed your scholarship. Standard Four was the one where we had our scholarship tests, which we took. If you passed you went. In the year I passed, or was fortunate to pass there were only four of us who went to the Grammar school. The year before none went, the year before that two went. That’s the interesting part. The schools in those days had school dinners and we used to go to the old library, which is now the new library with books, but there were no books in those days in the library. The school dinners used to come from Doncaster in aluminium tins and it smelt funny. Once you smelt it you always remembered it. Mr Rice, the headmaster at that time used to march us all down and we went into the library if you stayed for dinners, you weren’t forced to stay for dinners. In those days it was old one shilling and eight pence a week, five pence a day. We used to have milk as well during the war years and you had a third of a pint. In the early days it was half a pence a day. You took one and eight pence for your dinner money and two and a half pence for your milk for the week (‘tuppence ha’penny’). The milk used to be outside and it used to come in the cold of the winter and used to be frozen. It used to stand by the tortoise stone and it used to thaw out. The tortoise stone was a xxxx over the middle of the hut.

We didn’t used to have sport as such at all. But we used to have so called playtime. We would play football in the schoolyard, in the old school that was pulled down which is now just a black tarmac yard. We also used to have, which was compulsory, when you got into at least Standard Four that was for eleven years. We used to go up to the School gardens, to the allotments. We used to have about half an hour or something like that and that was up way past St Mary’s Crescent. There were some poplar trees up there and a school allotment. There was a wooden hut and we used to dig and plant vegetables and various other things. What quite happened to the vegetables when they had grown I really don’t know. I don’t think any of us ever saw the finished article but we used to go and dig up in the allotments.

So those were the schools and you stayed with one teacher all the time in your school year. Whichever class you were in - Standard Four, Five or Six you stayed with that teacher all the time. Of course it was aligned to the Church being St Mary’s School, a Church of England School and in those days, the headmaster when I was there, Mr Rice, he was very keen and he was a sidesman at Church and we were never short of choirboys in the parish church. We always had at least ten boys on each side and we used to have singing. He used to say, ‘right you can sing, you can sing, you can sing, right you can go and see the choir master and you’re going to be in the church choir’ and we never used to question it, we went and so I joined the choir when I was quite young.

That was the three schools as I remember them in the 1940’s. One of the interesting things as well was that it was during the war of course, and when I went to Miss Goodwin’s School I can remember quite clearly we used to have to go to school, and of course we were all conscious of the war and the probable attack from Germany and we all had to have gas masks. Everyone was issued with a gas mask. We had to take that and little children walked to school with a cardboard box and inside it was your gas mask which for little children was like a Mickey Mouse mask to try to make it look pretty which you can understand but it was standard issue. We carried our gas masks to school across our shoulders in a little cardboard box. Thankfully we never had to use them.

Is there anyone left in Tickhill that you went to School with?

Several people are left in Tickhill. Mrs Sully who was Janet Glasby, her father was a butcher. There are lots of people, there is Mrs Tyers, and she was at the Grammar school when I was there. She was Sally Fowler. I can’t call them all to mind but there are several people who were older than me but you tend to remember the older ones more than the younger ones. But those two in particular were there at School when I was there at the Grammar School at Maltby. Janet Glasby, now Sully passed her scholarship at the same time as I did and we went to the Grammar School in the same year and stayed for seven years.






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