ON seeing articles about Jesmond Road School in the Mail I thought I’d share a few memories of that fine institution.
Many members of my family went there.
My mam, Doris Pinder (then Welford), started in 1929.
She told me about laundry classes for the girls.
They had to take three garments to iron and one had to be a man’s shirt.
In cookery they practised peeling potatoes until they could cut the peel off wafer thin.
My mam wasn’t much good at this. Her teacher said she’d have to marry a rich man.
She also related running up Percy Street on her way home to the sound of the air raid siren, doing her best to get my uncle John, who was younger, to hurry up so they could get to a shelter before the planes came over.
The sirens were still on the school roof when I began there in 1962.
I don’t know when they were removed.
Mrs Goss was my first teacher in the infants. She was lovely.
Her husband was headmaster.
I recall the sand tray, water play, two rather tatty rocking horses, the painting table and having to copy lines of patterns off the blackboard to help us learn to write.
Our chairs varied in height. Some were low and others high.
There was much competition for the latter, as there was to use the drums during music classes.
We celebrated Commonwealth Day (Empire Day) by taking Union Flags.
The whole school would be out in the yard to sing patriotic hymns and do dance displays.
Parents were invited.
We’d finish with God Save the Queen and wave our flags. Great fun.
It gave us a sense of what being British meant, and I think it is a shame it was discontinued.
From the infants I also remember Mrs Maple, who was known for smacking pupils, and Mrs Woolridge.
In the juniors my favourite teacher was Miss Exelby. She was much loved and respected.
I was in her class for two years. She moved up with us to teach the 11-plus.
That year for the first time everyone in the class passed for the Grammar and High Schools.
Mr Watson, the headmaster, came in to class to tell us of our unrivalled achievement and a cheer went up.
Then three cheers for Miss Exelby.
Years later she married Mr Watson.
Besides academic subjects she taught us to behave like young ladies and gentlemen.
We could do with a lot more like her these days.
I do hope Jesmond Road can be converted instead of demolished and that the brilliant family atmosphere there is transferred to the new school.
Maybe we could have a feature just on “Jezzy Jailhouse” in Memory Lane?
That would be nice.