SCHOOL DAYS

beginning in Ryecroft, Rawmarsh in South Yorkshire

Part of the Jackson Family History - Updated 14 March 2013

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Abraham Thompson

I began my school life in the Nursery class at Ryecroft Infants, in Main Street, Rawmarsh.  My teacher was a wonderful lady called Miss Ford.  I remember her as a very tall lady with beautiful long blonde hair.  As we were aged 4 or 5 we had to have a nap in the afternoon on little fold-up canvas beds.  I found this terribly boring as I could never fall asleep. 

This school was between two streets - South Street and Main Street.   I remember the air raid shelters in the school yard, we were shown them, but I can't ever remember having to use them because of an air raid - I was born in 1940 and we were still at war when I started Nursery school.

Whilst I was there, schools started to provide school dinners and although I lived quite close, I stayed there for my dinner each day. 

Our Head Teacher was a small plump lady with greying hair called Miss I'Anson.  She was a stern lady and I remember quite clearly going into her office to be caned!  I had taken my Mother's costume jewellery to school and distributed it amongst my friends.  It was collected and given back to her but I was still punished.

My next school was Rosehill Junior School on Kilnhurst Road.  This picture onRosehill School, Rawmarshthe left has been provided by Lynn Hickling (nee Walker) - Lynn is 3rd from the right on the front row; the teachers are left to right, Mr Skelton, Mr Bedford and Mr Colclough.  The Headteacher at this time was Mr Bedford.  My first form teacher was Mrs Reaves.  She was a very kind, elderly lady with glasses and with grey curls in her hair.  I started the year sitting on the back row, but after a few weeks, I suddenly found that I couldn't read the writing on the blackboard.  Mrs Reaves, gradually brought me nearer the front of the class, trying each row in turn.  She decided that I ought to have an eye test and I was sent to Rawmarsh Clinic on Barber's Avenue for this.  I eventually was supplied with those awful black round National Health spectacles.  But at least I could now see much better! 

My next class teacher was Miss Lillian Holroyd, she was a younger lady than Mrs Reaves, but quite strict.  I remember learning to knit in Miss Holroyd's class, I knitted a very long striped scarf which she was very pleased with and made me trek round the school showing it to all the classes.  I think this was my only moment of glory as I was not a very competent pupil. 

Another of my teachers was Mr Colclough - he was probably the youngest teacher there and quite handsome.  Mr Skelton was the teacher in my next class at Rosehill, he was the teacher who would steer us through the Eleven-plus.  He was a smoker and used to send me home to buy cigarettes from my Mother's shop. 

Mostly it was a happy time at Rosehill School, I remember playing in the playground, the seasonal games marbles, snobs, whip and tops and of course skipping.  We also played a somewhat dangerous game called "Finger, thumb, a dumb, a little granny".  We divided into two teams and the team who were 'on' had to line up, each child then bending down and thrusting their head between the legs of the boy or girl in front to form a long line.  The front person would stand supporting the head and shoulders of the first child bent over (I believe this was to prevent that person banging into the wall).  The opposing team would then jump one, by one onto the backs of the bent over children.  When they were all 'on board' the last person on would choose a finger or thumb and shoult 'Finger, thumb, a dumb, a little granny" to the team bent double.  Someone then had to guess which part of the hand was being shown.  If they guessed correctly, the team changed over and it was their turn to have a go.  This game was stopped when one of the participants was hurt. 

We were quite tough in those days, I remember Harry Broughton was "cock of the school".  Harry lived next door to us in my Grandparents former house, and if I remember accurately, Harry was one of six children, their parents were Frank and Jean Broughton.  Mrs Broughton was Spanish, I think from Gibralter.  When we were children, she didn't speak much English but knew quite a few swear words!  Despite this, she was a wonderful woman and brought the Broughton children up on her own as her husband was in the army and hardly at home.  My parents loved to go dancing, sometimes I went with them but there were times when I slept at the Broughton's house.  There wasn't much room as they shared the house with another large family - the Simms's. 

It was at Rosehill School that I went on my first Residential visit.  This was to the Festival of Britain in London in 1951.  We stayed overnight in adapted air-raid shelters at Clapham - I remember them as being long corridor-like places with long lines of bunks.  Above me was a girl called Sandra Swancott - she was quite upset and cried most of the night.  We could hear the Underground trains passing by.  The Festival site was over the river (or so it seemed to me) - amongst the buildings were the Festival Hall, the Dome of Discovery and the Skylon.  I can remember going round the site and seeing what appeared to me to be huge structures but unfortunately I can't recall anything else other than the shape of the buildings. We were probably too young or too tired at 10 or 11 to take it all in.

The SkylonSheila and friendFestival of BritainSheila and friends

I have no pictorial record of my visit to London - the pictures on the right were kindly supplied by Sheila Street - Sheila is on two of the photographs.

Eventually, I failed the Eleven-plus, and left Rosehill School.  I went to Rawmarsh Secondary Modern School on Haugh Road at Rawmarsh.  The school was segregated - boys on one side and girls on the other, with its female teachers and Headmistress, Miss Bryson.  She had rusty-red hair, which must have been quite long because she had it styled into a plait fastened around her head.  She was tall and stern but quietly spoken.  We had one or two teachers who were rather frightening - Miss Fletcher who taught cookery could be very fierce but also at times could be quite kind; the other cookery teacher was Mrs Eaglestone and she was a pussycat compared to Mrs Fletcher.  Mrs Davies was a sewing teacher and she was a dragon!  Yet our other sewing teacher, Miss Johnson was kind and approachable!  Mrs Vickers taught History and for one year was our form teacher, Miss E Brown - English, and Mrs Moran - Geography; and it was a pleasure to go to their classes.  Miss Bletcher was our Music Teacher - she also had her formidable side.  Once in her class, I asked her if I could go to the toilet - she shouted out so loud, I'm sure the whole school could hear "Hilary Braithwaite! Can't you control your bladder!"  However she let me go, shame-faced down the corridor to the girl's cloakroom. 

The highlight of my time at Haugh Road was when we went to Bewerley Park Camp School, near Pateley Bridge in North Yorkshire.  We went there in winter time, just before Christmas.  This was a marvellous experience for me.

Going to Guilthwaite Reservoir, Brimham Rocks, Stumpcross Caverns, Fountains Abbey - all left a deep impression on me.  We compiled a personal experience book whilst we were there and I still have my copy!

Sweets were still  on ration so we took our ration books - they had a tuck shop, where we were able to use them to buy our sweets.  These were the winters when we had loads of snow and that year in North Yorkshire was mostly a Winter Wonderland and quite cold.  There is a photograph of the Camp School on my Braithwaite family page and links to their websites. 

Christine Kirk's class at Rawmarsh Haugh Road SchoolMy Class at Haugh Road Secondary Modern School, RawmarshHaugh Road Secondary Modern SchoolClass C2A Mexborough Schofield Technical SchoolPicture 1: My friend Christine Ellis nee Kirk, was in the year above me at Haugh Road School, this is one of her class pictures.

Picture 2: My class at Haugh Road, our teacher. middle row, on the right, was Mrs Vickers. Back row, left to right: Nina Underwood, Margaret Beasley, Patricia Shaw,  Carole Hamshaw, Barbara Burns, Sheila McGrath, Lorraine Rosser, Pauline Orr, Diane Mortimer; 2nd row from back: Margaret Crawshaw, Hazel Harrison, Janet Harrison, Joan Ainscough, Rita Hague, Hilary Braithwaite, Rita Hammerton, Rita Smallwood, 3rd row from back: Wendy Roberts, Margery Guest, Molly Makin, Patricia Jonas, Sandra Swancot, Margaret Roden, Joan Schofield, Helen Peverley, Pat Wass. Front row: Dorothy White, Laraine Carr, Patricia Reynolds, Christine Oldfield, Ann Lewis, Maureen Wilkinson, ??, Pamela Brameld, Mary Woodward, Sandra McVann.  I apologise now if I have your name wrong or because I can't remember - please get in touch, using email address at the bottom of the page.  It was shortly after this pictures was taken that I left Haugh Road School being lucky enough to pass the 13-plus scholarship to go to Mexborough Schofield Technical School.  Thanks to Mary Hedge nee Woodward, Laraine Nicholls nee Carr and Christine Hewitt nee Oldfield, who have helped me by 'naming names'!

Picture 3: Christine also gave me this photograph - there's a few familiar faces, but we don't know many names.  Maureen Jackson and Madeline Shepherd are familiar names on the 3rd row from the back.

The Photographs taken at Haugh Road School were taken in 1952 to celebrate the coronation of Elizabeth II and came in a special folder. I have received a letter from Janet Hilliard nee Bower who found this webpage.  Janet and her sister Frances, who was in my class at Rosehill used to live on Green Lane - Janet now lives in Australia and her letter can be viewed here.

Another ex pupil at Rawmarsh schools, Jan Palmer nee Brown, has emailed me with her recollections and these are repeated here.

Picture 4: This picture, shows my class, C2A (C being Commercial; 2 = 2nd year; A = there were 2 year groups, A and B)  at Mexborough Technical School.  This picture was taken on the front lawn of the school. On the back row, left to right: Kenneth Hague; me, Hilary Braithwaite; Angela Fox; Valerie Burkinshaw; Rita Hammerton; Norma Hughes; Patrick Malloy; Middle row: Julia Gilbert; Anne Garbutt; Yvonne Clarke; Norma Evans; Margaret Hughes; Maureen Croft; Pearl Jarvis; Hannah Howson; Front row: Eunice Booker; Lily Hollingsworth; Anne Braithwaite; Marie Evans; Mr Loney, our form teacher; Ann Bembridge; Renee Cunningham; Maureen Dainty; Norma Grimes. (Spelling or/and names may be incorrect - please contact me using the email address at the bottom of the page with any amendments or if you want to get in touch with me.)

This School was totally different, we were treated like young adults, students in fact.  I enjoyed almost every minute of my time at MSTS. 

We had to walk to the end of Kilnhurst Road at Rawmarsh and wait for the trolley bus outside Rosehill Park - these buses wereNorton E.S.2Warren Vale locally called "The New Road" also known as "trackies" and would whiz down Warren Vale, sometimes so fast that the twin trolley poles would fly off their overhead wires whereupon we would have to wait whilst the driver re-attached them so we could resume our journey to Mexborough.  The picture on the right was a postcard sold locally of "The New Road" (its proper name Warren Vale), the straight road from Rawmarsh to Swinton, built in the late 40's.  It's here that my brother, David Roy Braithwaite and his friends used to "do the ton" on their motor bikes - the other picture is of Roy's Norton E.S.2 and an unknown friend holding one of his model aeroplanes.

The students at Mexborough Tech, studied four different skills - Commercial, Building, Engineering or Nursing; and there were also day-release courses for miners.  I enrolled for the Commercial Course and was taught shorthand, typing, book-keeping, and training for working in an office in addition to the normal subjects such as maths, history and geography.  I especially liked the typewriting classes and really excelled in that skill. 

Every summer we were invited to attend the "school camp".   When the school "broke up for the summer" the school camp would follow.

Mexborough Schofield Technical School Me at the stumps MSTS teachers Mr Spurr and a hiking group 

These photographs have been kindly lent to me my by my second cousin, Anne Story (nee Braithwaite).  They are from a collection of photographs which belonged to Mr Spurr, one of our former teachers at MSTS.  To access a larger picture, click on a photo; to return to this page, click the 'back' button at the top left hand corner. 

1

This photograph shows the school at the Isle of Man, taken from the lawn in 1955
2 Another picture from the Isle of Man, that's me at the stumps!
3 The next picture on the right was taken on one of the school's hiking trips.  Mr Loney, Miss Redman and Mr Spurr (pictured) were the teachers who gave up their spare time to take us on these walks.
4 From left to right, Mr Spurr, Miss Maskrey, Mrs Rushworth, ???
5 From left to right, ???, Mrs Rushworth, Mr Spurr, Miss Redman at Edinburgh, when the school camp was at Portobello.
6 Mr Spurr with some younger hikers.
7 I just had to include this picture of my cousin Anne Braithwaite and her friend Hilary Shaw at Blackpool.

I have many more scanned photographs from Mr Spurr's collection and if anyone would like to view these, please email me, using the email address at the bottom of the page and I will give you access to the photo album.

To take us to our destination, a train would be hired and the whole school consisting of most of the students, staff and dinner ladies together with a supply of camp beds and mattresses (known as polliases) would meet at Mexborough station where the hired train would be waiting to get us on our way.

For two weeks to somewhere by the sea!  My first school camp was to Portobello in Scotland.  We always stayed in a comparable school.  We had to take our own bedding or sleeping bag and we would set up our beds in the classrooms.  We used the school's facilities whilst we were there - one year there was a swimming pool in the school and the meals were prepared by our dinner ladies in the school kitchen. 

Our Geography master, Mr Spurr always organised walks - one I particularly remember was a walk from the school in Portobello over Arthur's Seat to Edinburgh.  The view from Arthur's seat was excellent with Holyrood House and Edinburgh Castle dominating the scene.

I was at the Tech for three years, and the other School Camps were in Ballacanane (spelling?) on the Isle of Man and Paignton in Devon. 

During the year there were different activities available, such as weekend walks, Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, chess club, and one evening each week the school held swimming sessions at Wath Baths.  Unfortunately I could not swim but Miss Maskery, our Senior Mistress taught me to swim when I was 14. 

The school arranged an exchange holiday with a school from Altena in Westphalia, Germany.  Students who agreed to go were invited to dinner-hour German lessons - I attended but could only remember a smattering of phrases.

We went by ferry to Ostend and the rest of the way by train.  Altena was the central town with a quaint castle on the top of a hill.  Because we were staying with families our accommodation was in different parts of the surrounding district.  I stayed with a fellow-student, Julia Gilbert, from Mexborough, in a small village called Mühlenrahmede with the Sauter family - our exchange student was Marianne Sauter and she had stayed with me at 50 Kilnhurst Road, Rawmarsh.  The village was on a steam train route which ran through the centre of the village along the valley and on to the next village.  There was a gigantic clanging bell attached to the steam funnel which let passengers know that the train was approaching and the clanging also acted as a warning because the tracks were not fenced off.  This was the waking-up sound each morning, no cockerels, no need of an alarm clock, the train was the sound which woke me up each day.

Except for one day when I woke up to the sound of children crying; our hosts explained that at Easter time, parents hide eggs in the hillside.  The crying was from children who could not find their eggs.  Mrs Sauter served a beautiful Easter cake that day; I remember not liking the food they served as it contained very spicy meats and awful sausages and being a picky-eater, I did not eat a great deal.  However that day we had a wonderful Easter meal.

This was the first time I had encountered a 'duvet'; I was quite cold the first night as I did not realise that what I was laid on should have been my covering - not the flimsy sheet which I used!  Every day the housewives would hang these huge fluffy covers out of the windows to air.

Whilst we were in Germany we visited Essen, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Cologne and other places nearby.  Cologne Cathedral, I particularly remember - the Cathedral was huge and but swathed in scaffolding as they were repairing the damage created to the building during the bombing in the Second World War. 

We were allowed to buy alcoholic drinks in their bars, these places seemed to me to be more like Cafés than our pubs or bars of that period. 

MSTS group on weekend walk MSTS weekend walk group Outside Portobello Baths Norma, Margaret, Rita, Pearl and Phyliss at Portobello Portobello Gala - Pipe Band The Castle at Altena, Westfalia, Germany Exchange Students at Altena Castle, Germany Visiting Piccadilly Tennis Courts  

Pictures 1-2: MSTS students took part in many hiking trips organised by the school staff.

Picture 3:  Pearl and Marie in Edinburgh

Picture 4:  Waiting outside for the Portobello Baths to open

Picture 5:  Norma, Margaret, Rita, Pearl and Phyliss at Portobello

Picture 6:  Portobello Gala - Pipe Band

Picture 7:  Altena Castle, Germany

Picture 8:  Mexborough Schofield Tech Students visiting Altena Castle, Germany

Picture 9: The German and MSTS students on a boat trip in Scarborough

Picture 10:This picture was taken at Piccadilly Tennis Courts - this used to be on Wentworth Road, just below the High House Pub.  The Tennis Courts were built on the site of a former quarry, there were gardens too, but for some reason they closed and the site was filled in.

Pyramids at Isle of Man Hilary, Norma Rita at Isle of Man C2A dressed up ready for the Party

Picture 11: Pyramids when we visited Isle of Man School Camp

Picture 12: Me, Norma and Rita at Isle of Man

Picture 13: C2A dressed up ready for the Party

Picture 14: Rita, Norma, Derek, Max, Peter and Harry at Isle of Man

Picture 15: This photo was sent to me by Tony Bassett and he played in this football team seen here after winning an Inter-Tech 1951-52 football cup.  Tony added "The school football team played in an under 15 league against other Technical Colleges in the area. I am guessing that it was formed by the PE teacher Clarrie Mason.
The team was picked mainly from the boys in their last year, but if you were good enough at 12 or 13 you were chosen. I was in the Engineering stream, but the team also consisted of boys who were doing Building and Commerce."

Tony has named the team as follows:

Back row Ratcliffe?, Freddie Billington, Arthur Scholfield, John Waldron, Fisher?, Tony Bassett.
Mid row Kenny Lee, Jack Thomson, Kenny King, Geoff Church, John Dutton.
Front row Philips?, Mick Fallon?. Please let me know if any of these names or incorrect or if you can supply some of the 1st names.

more to add!

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I stayed on at school to take the General Certificate of Education examinations, as it was then, but I was not very successful, only passing in Book-keeping.  However I had passed the Commercial examinations with good results except for the Pitman's Shorthand Examinations where the best speed I could muster was 80 wpm.  The school arranged appointments for all students with the Labour Exchange staff and I had the good fortune to land an interview at Steel, Peech & Tozer, in Rotherham, a large steel manufacturing company. 

I started work there after leaving Mexborough Schofield Technical School, as a Junior Typist in 1956 and eventually became Section Leader on the Audio Typing Section of the Central Typing Department.  I left Steel Peech and Tozer (or British Steel, as it became on Nationalisation) in 1969.

The school is now no longer there, sadly pulled down and replaced by a housing estate!

MSTS REUNIONS - Here are a few photos taken at recent reunions of our combined Commercial groups.  Our meetings at the Pastures in Mexborough, arranged by Anne Story, take place each year on the first Thursday in July.  If you were a member of C1a/b, C2a/b or C3 when we were at MSTS in the early 1950s, please contact me at the email address below.  Or if you were at the school around that time in other classes, please also get in touch. 

C2 Reunion at the Pastures July 2005 Hilary Jackson and Anne Story Norma, Rita and Norma at the Pastures Lucy and Renee at the Pastures C2 Reunion at the Pastures MSTS Reunion Trevor and Norma

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Getting in touch with me recently was Ian McDonnell:

Hello Hilary......hope you dont mind me emailing you out of the blue like this......?

My name is Ian McDonnell and I attended M S T S from 1957 to 1964 .I passed my 11 plus at Thurnscoe Hill .

I have just come across your most interesting page you have posted on the Net. My recollections run obviously later than yours but I well remember Chuck Spurr , he was the Deputy Head in my time......Tom Horncastle being the Head. Mr Loney took me for English Language and Literature .

Mr Len Philips and Toughy Hurst took me for Maths and Josh Harvey for Physics and Clary Mason for PE.

If you go on to the M S T S page on Friends Re-united you will see a lot more of us and....more photos.

I too went to work at S P T '64 after A Levels and worked for a year as an Apprentice Metallurgist. I still lived in Thurnscoe at the time and as you can imagine it was quite a trek. I now live in Darkest Essex having moved here 20 years ago to teach.

kind regards

Ian

 

If anyone wants to get in touch with me regarding anything on this site please contact me at - hilary.jcksn "followed by" @googlemail.com and if anyone objects to anything being included on any page, or if you spot any errors/assumptions made, please also let me know.Return to top

Updated 14 March 2013