Una's Memoirs - 1930s - 2
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On the other side of the main corridor were the classrooms. The infants and junior classes shared a very large room, which could be divided by a glazed folding screen. When the area was divided a door in the screen gave access between the rooms. When the screen was not used there were about 12 infants and about 12 juniors, so our teacher had to teach many subjects, including music, to children whose ages ranged from four to six years of age.

The Victorian school frontage of Wilford Endowed School.
The Victorian school frontage of Wilford Endowed School.

A door from the corridor led to a large classroom for the middle school. This room had large windows. There were two solid wood sliding doors on each side-wall which, when opened, gave a vast open area instead of a number of separate classrooms. I remember Mr (Captain) R C Davison, the Head Master, making his way from room to room when he inspected the classrooms.

At the far end of the school was another large classroom with a glazed folding screen and a door. This was used for the upper age group of pupils aged 10 to 14. It was entered from the corridor. I remember Miss Statham was the teacher in charge of one of these rooms. On the other side of the folding screen the top classed were taught by Mr Davison. There was a door from this room to the boy's play area, and another door led to the Head's study.

There were no educational films or videos in those days, but we would have lantern-slides with pictures which were projected onto a white screen. These shows would often be pictures of animals or plants. If we were learning a new song, the words would be projected on the screen. I remember that I had to write out the 23rd Psalm, which starts "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want". There are six verses in this psalm, so perhaps you can imagine the work it involved for a six year-old to do. I must have done well because it was quite often shown on the screen.

When we had reached Mr Davison's classes, woe betide you, if he thought you were not doing things right or that you were 'messing about'. He wore a large, signet ring on his little finger and this, or his cane, could land on your head, your back or your hands.

Whilst I was there, I remember that the father of one of the boys, who had been caned, came to the school, marched through the classrooms to where Mr. Davison was sitting at his desk. He took Mr Davison's cane, hit the desk with it, and then broke it in two. He then went outside crossed the road and threw the broken cane into the River Trent!

We called Mr Davidson 'Dickie Davo' and he was commemorated in the rhyme:
  Dickie Davo is a very good man
  He goes to Church on Sunday
  To pray to God to give him strength
  To whack the kids on Monday

Highlight of the week was when the Nottingham Library brought boxes of books to the school. We were allowed to take books home, and this is when I became aware of how interesting life could be in other parts of the world. The Children's Newspaper, edited by Arthur Mee, was also available.

The health service at the school was very good and medical inspections were held regularly. The 'nit nurse' came to the school from time to time. Eye tests were in the head's office because this room could be darkened. Medical and dental inspections were held at the church hall nearby, when a parent had to be present. As in my first school, there was milk at midmorning.

The girl's toilets were all in an open-ended brick building in the large playground. The cubicles had a shoulder high door. There were three sizes of porcelain bowls and each had two wooden slats because otherwise it would have been very cold to sit upon! The infant boys used our toilets, but from the age of six they used the other smaller building in their playground. We didn't mind going outside in the summer but oh what a different story when the winter brought frost, rain and snow!

Beyond the large playground was a large field belonging to the school where we would have 'drill' - nowadays we would say PE. If the field got too wet we had to use the playground. The field was also used for country dancing and school fetes. I used to enjoy dancing and also the times when we were asked to do displays over on the rectory lawn during church fetes. The boys never took part in the dancing, so the 'girls' wore orange ribbons, and the girls with yellow ribbons were 'boys'. I used to look forward to the church fetes because the music was played by the Nottingham City Transport Band. My Uncle Alf used to play the xylophone in the band, and I was very proud of that. His wife and daughter, Aunt Win and Eileen, usually came too so it was almost a family get-together.

Most of my time at this school was very enjoyable, with interesting things to do. I remember one time in particular, when I was in the upper class, a school friend Sheila Bailey and I were invited by Mr Davison to accompany him and Miss Doris Statham to Wollaton Park in Nottingham, we of course said "Yes!". We were to be company for Miss Statham whilst Mr Davison was taking part in a pageant depicting Wollaton Hall throughout the ages. He was dressed as a cavalier in a doublet with slashed sleeves and a Vandyke collar, calf length breeches and bucket-topped boots, a cloak and sword, and a splendid broad-brimmed hat with feathers. I remember how stunning he looked. Mr Davison drove us to Wollaton in his little car. He could not wear his hat of course, so we had to look after it for him. People who saw us drive by were amazed to see a cavalier driving a car!

Every summer the whole school would be taken by coaches to Clifton Hall for Sports Day which was followed by a tea. Sometimes we would join pupils of Clifton School, and other local schools. On the village green we would dance around the Maypole. Sometimes we would all go by coaches on a mystery picnic trip, and we had fun guessing where we would be going. We might end up in a large field near a farm, near an interesting house, or just a large field where we could play rounders or cricket. By late afternoon we would all arrive back at the school very tired, but happy, and of course very hungry.

I attended the Sunday school every Sunday morning in the local church or in the parish hall. The church was St. Wilfrid's, which was a mile from home and near the Toll Bridge. When we arrived at the church we were given biblical pictures which could be stuck into the albums we were given. The lesson was usually based on the picture of the week. At the end of each year the albums, which had our names on them, were collected and the neatest or the fullest would receive a prize. I managed to win a couple of prizes, one prize was a framed picture of Christ standing by a doorway and holding a lamp, which I think was entitled "I am the Light of The World". A year or two later I won another prize which was a 'Silver Jubilee' shiny metal paint-box of watercolours.

On Palm Sunday each year we would be given a cross made out of a palm leaf, and we would have to process inside the church to attend a special service. Each Mothering Sunday parents would be invited to the children's service, and the children would again process inside the church and this time the children would present a posy of small flowers, maybe violets, to their mother as they passed her.

Harvest time in the church was very colourful with many flowers, leaves, fruit and vegetables. Of course the outstanding things would be sheaves of corn, and in pride of place was a large loaf of bread made in the shape of a sheaf of corn. Also at this time was the Harvest Supper when the parish hall was set out with chairs, large tables and seasonal decorations. Each table was allocated to anyone in the village who would make and supply a meat and potato pie with vegetables and gravy. A charge, two to four shillings I think, was made for each person to eat and drink. There were often ten to twelve people to a table. My mother, who was a very good cook, had a table each year. The money raised went into a fund.

On the weekend after the Harvest Supper a dance was held in the church hall when a small dance band would play. There were many types of dances including square, line and ballroom. People would come from all the districts around Wilford and would enjoy themselves until late evening. Ah, what memories I have of those dances!

November would often bring quite a lot of dense fog which we usually called a 'pea-souper'. This was caused by smoke from factory chimneys and the houses which had coal fires. This type of fog was later called smog and was grey-yellow in colour, very smelly and a danger to health.

During most winters we had snow and about Christmas time the snow would start to fall heavily when the fields, roads and rooftops would look a picture. Of course we children would enjoy the deep snow, snow-ball fights, sledging, and just walking in the snow wearing our wellingtons to go to school, the post office or the shops. If my mother needed heavy shopping from Mr Cave's farm I would go there to get vegetables and fruit and bring them home on my sledge.

During the frosty and snowy weather many children would head for the blacksmith's forge where he allowed us to roast chestnuts. Sometimes he would let me pump the bellows and on one occasion he showed me how to make iron 'S-hooks', he then let me make one by myself which turned out very well and I had it at home for a very long time. I don't remember the blacksmith's name, but his granddaughter was Daphne Snowball and about my age.

It was fascinating to watch the blacksmith remove the old horseshoes from the hooves of the working horses and prepare the hooves for the new shoes. When the new red-hot horseshoes were placed on the hooves, to check the fit, there would be a cloud of very smelly smoke. When he found the correct fit he would throw the shoe into a bucket of cold water and there would be a loud hissing and clouds of steam. When the time came to nail on the new shoes the smith would lift the horse's leg so that it rested on the leather apron he wore over his knees. He would then hammer in special nails to secure the shoes. In bad weather the blacksmith's forge was a haven for people who sometimes had to wait for up to half an hour at the nearby bus stop. The forge was at the main crossroad in the centre of the village, and this was the route taken by the Ruddington, Clifton and Nottingham busses.

Mr Cave at the farm had two sons one of whom had a cart from which he sold fruit and vegetables. This cart had a roll-down canvas top and was pulled by a horse which I knew as Snowball. If I saw this white horse on the first of the month I was told that it would bring me good luck! In a cottage near this farm lived Mrs Winters. Many times in the summer I would go there and take a large paper carrier bag, and she would take me into her garden and fill the bag with fresh lettuce and sometimes with spring onions, radishes or beetroot. My mouth still waters at the thought of all this fresh produce, and for only tuppence (two old pennies or 2d).

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