Joan Warren's schooldays

Memories of an early education: French, swimming and cookery

By Nicola Benge

Photo:1930s school room

1930s school room

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Photo:No paper airplanes?!

No paper airplanes?!

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Starting school

I started school in about 1924, a little church school with a lovely carved wooden gate at the entrance.  I do not remember much about that period, not until I was 11 and went to the big school as we called it.

There, I blossomed, enjoying every minute.  I was in the St Francis House and had a green tie, which I was very proud of.  We wore berets in the winter and panama hats in the summer. The Headmistress was Miss Lasham, so we tried hard to be good, as we did not want to wait outside her door to be punished for any misdemeanour.

School uniform

I loved my school uniform, the gym slip over a white shirt.  My first gym slip was bought new for me and I wore it as long as I could until I was told it was too short and I never really like the next one I had.

To get to school, we had 1 penny for the tram, but if we walked, we could spend our penny on sweets, so we walked whenever the weather allowed us to.  I say we, as Pam, my sister two years older than me was an old hand in the ways of the does and don'ts.

Favourite subjects

I just found self confidence and pride at that school.  My form mistress was Miss Reilly who was always interested in all that we did.  She taught us English which was not my best subject; Madame Knowles was obviously our French teacher; Miss Parry, art and I cannot remember the cookery teacher, so I will refer to her as Miss Spice.

Activities and outings

We had cookery lessons once a week, each class on a different day and for sixpence, if we stayed for lunch at school, which we nearly always did, we ate whatever was cooked by the morning class.

We were also taken to the local swimming baths for a lesson once a week and I was in my element in the water and began to represent the school at the galas, as they were called when we were swimming our house - or our school, at the bigger galas. I also became Games Captain for the house and had to train the netball team after school.  One day, a girl fell and broke her arm and dealing with that situation was another remembered experience.


This page was added by Nicola Benge on 18/11/2008.

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.