Country dancing, a wind-up gramophone and climbing the ropes - a Hartlepool lad’s schoolday memories

Tim Evans, front centre, doing the Maypole Dance at Lister Street School.
Tim Evans, front centre, doing the Maypole Dance at Lister Street School.

From songs on the wind-up gramophone to tea towel-wearing Nativity performers – a Hartlepool man remembers it all.

Tim Evans was a pupil at Lister Street Infants School from 1958 to 1961 and still has many vivid and fond memories of it. They include the Mayday Maypole Dance and here he is pictured in the centre of the photo.

Lister Street school in Hartlepool which closed in 1989.

Lister Street school in Hartlepool which closed in 1989.

But that’s just one aspect of some wonderful reminiscences and Tim has been kind enough to share them with us.

“My first teacher was a Mrs Bowes,” he recalled.

“She was kind, smiling and patient and read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Silver Sword to us. She taught arithmetic in the most up-to-date manner with coloured rods.”

Another teacher to stick in the mind was Mrs Anne Welford, “nee Redhead who was later my wolf cub mistress”, said Tim.

The playground had apparatus including an army-style climbing net. But I had to meet the terrifying challenge and climb over the top like the others. I made it to the top and remained with my arm stuck in the ropes until Mrs Welford rescued me!

Tim Evans

“She was strict but efficient and totally dedicated. She announced one day her forthcoming marriage to Mr Welford (Frank Welford, a legendary cub master) and advised us that she would no longer be Miss Redhead but Mrs Welford. That totally baffled me!”

Others included Mrs Jones, who played the piano at morning assembly and taught the top class.

And Jolly Mrs Aires taught “the babies” class in a room with a real coal fire, Tim recalled.

But teachers are only one aspect of Tim’s recollections of Lister Street. Dancing seems to figure prominently as well.

“I remember the Scottish country dancing to the wind-up gramophone. Lots of singing and prayers every day. Maypole dancing,” he said.

And one very precious memory had a touch of sadness to it.

“On one of my first days I carried a ten shilling note to deposit in the Yorkshire Penny (school) bank. I lost that precious ten bob in Wansbeck Gardens to my mother’s dismay.”

And like most children, the playground played a big part in school life.

“It had various pieces of ‘apparatus’ including an intimidating army style climbing net. But I had to meet the terrifying challenge and climb over the top like the others,” said Tim.

“I made it to the top and there I remained with my arm stuck in the ropes until Mrs W rescued me!”

Other highlights included the harvest festival, Christmas carols around a large tree “festooned with real candles”, and the nativity play “with shepherd boys wearing tea-towel head cloths”.

We would love to hear from more Hartlepool Mail readers about their own school years, whether it is Lister Street or another school in the town.

Tell us more by emailing chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk