School reunion - 150th birthday celebration

Memories of Badsey School

All the guests who attended the 150th Birthday Reunion in 2004 were invited to record their memories of the school, if they wished. About a quarter of the guests felt moved to put pen to paper. Here, in order of their attendance at the school, are their memories.

LESLIE HARTWELL, 1925-1936

My special memory of school was when I was captain of the football team and we went away to play Grove House School at Stratford and Campden Grammar School.

KATHLEEN PARKER (née Norledge), 1927-1931

I remember Miss Bird and Mr Sealey.

I enjoyed singing with Miss McDonald. We used to sing in rounds first thing in the morning. There were about 35 children grouped into fours and we sang, "Great Tommies Last" and "Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill". There was no assembly in the morning; all the children had to say prayers in class.

We had to learn mental arithmetic and tables. I also remember learning about subject and predicate.

We used to do folk dancing in PE and played hopskotch, skipping and tag at playtime. There were no school lunches. We had to take sandwiches to eat, bread and jam. The bread was Turog bread (brown).

I won "Lorna Doone" in Miss McDonald’s for coming fourth in the class. I came top in cookery and laundry and had a cookery book as a prize. I made a steamed sponge with sultanas in cookery. When father tasted it he asked how many ingredients it would take to make a washing-pan full! It must have been good! I still have two exercise books: one for domestic science and one for English.

I remember school as being very sober, but still enjoyed it.

LIONEL KNIGHT, 1929-1938

On a Friday afternoon at 3.30 pm I had a weekly job detailed by Mr Amos, Headmaster. I had to collect all waste paper, sweet papers, etc, in the playgrounds and also the whole perimeter of the school buildings including the outside footpaths. I don’t know why Mr Amos designated me. I did have long legs and was always a neat and tidy scholar.

HAPPY DAYS AND MEMORIES OF MY SCHOOL YEARS. I DID ACTUALLY CRY WHEN I LEFT SCHOOL.

SHEILA KNIGHT (née Butler), 1930-1936

My special memories of Badsey School were when I returned to be a dinner lady. I got to know all the children and teachers, helping at the Christmas parties and school outings. Norah Smith will always stay in my memory as a wonderful teacher and a personal friend who devoted so much of her life to Badsey School. She was very much loved for her kindness and wonderful sense of humour. Such happy days.

MICHAEL BARNARD, 1933-1939

Lovely, wonderful memories, some I dare not tell here. What times.

CELIA KEYTE (née Harrison), 1935-1942

I was in Mrs Amos’ top Class 4 in 1941 when Mr F E Amos was Headmaster and was very proud indeed to be chosen Head Girl for my last year before I went to Prince Henry’s. I might add that I am sure I would not have passed the 11+ had it not been for the good teaching of Badsey School. One of my duties was every morning and afternoon to go round each class and record in a book the number of attendances and at the end of the week total them up, quoting an average figure for the week. I always warned that I would make a mistake but somehow it always seemed to work out all right! Another duty was to ring the hand bell at playtime, at the end of morning and afternoon class, so I really felt very important.

I particularly remember our handicraft work which included weaving scarves on a loom and all the girls enjoyed doing this. Mrs Amos was a lovely person and very kind, but at the same time maintained strict discipline. I remember her telling the class that she and Mr Amos had been to France on holiday and I thought how marvellous and that I never ever would be so lucky to go there myself, but of course I have!

I would just like to mention that Badsey School was renowned in the area for its good handwriting and I well remember practising lines of letters, but I feel sure that it was well worth it.

PAT GOLDSTRAW (née Barnard), 1936-1943

My memories of Badsey School are all very happy. When I first started in 1936 there were pupils up to the age of 14 and I worshipped the senior girls from afar. They would organise relay races in the school playground, choosing in turn from each class. I was always praying that I would be chosen for Joyce Malin’s team and very often was because I could run quite fast.

Living at the top of Brewers Lane I always went home for lunch. Only the children from Wickhamford brought sandwiches, to be eaten in the bicycle sheds unless the weather was very inclement. I begged my mother to let me take sandwiches and she relented one day. I took a little tiny plastic suitcase with egg sandwiches and plums to eat afterwards. The day was doubtful but I shivered with the others under the glass partition by the main door. Once was enough.

My homeward journeys were always tinged with excitement as I had to go to my grandmother’s at the Post Office (then opposite the main church gate); my mother worked there in the afternoons. Almost daily I was chased along the cobbled footpaths by Colin Major, who died very young. He had hob-nailed boots and his sole aim was to pull my long thick plaits. I can hear those footsteps now; perhaps that is why I learned to run so fast.

Badsey School has been good to me and to all my family. I think it is still a school of excellence and happiness today.

JOHN BIRD, 1938-1944

The first time I went to Badsey School, my mother and I were met outside the school by Mrs Amos and she gave me a nice new penny.

Another thing that always sticks in my mind is the crocodile skin hanging up by the window side in front of the class; it was probably five feet in length. That was the class with the glass wall down the passage now covered over.

Another thing was the dentist who came in an old big black Austin car with his dentist’s chair in the back which you could see through the window; it was enough to frighten us to death.

Another small thing was we used to dodge the swifts diving down on us in the playground. They came between us, very daring.

Finally, we used to play with magnifying glasses and get in line with the sun and make smoke, etc.

TERRY SPARROW, 1939-1944

I particularly remember the importance attached to neat handwriting. Teachers at Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Evesham sometimes said they could recognise former pupils of Badsey School by the high quality of their handwriting.

WENDY BEASLEY (née Tomkins), 1945-1951

I remember:

  • Doing PE lessons in the playground on coconut mats.
  • In winter months the milk having ice on the top.
  • Going to the Vicarage for needlework lessons.
  • Learning Milly-Molly-Mandy village with Miss Smith.

MAVIS KEYTE (née Anderson), 1945-1952

I remember:

  • Miss Smith’s model village with Milly-Molly-Mandy.
  • Prize-Giving Day; I had the prize for PE.

BRIAN SMITH, 1949-1955

I remember:

  • Dreading the "craft" lessons with Mr Harvey on Tuesdays (I was useless).
  • The alligator skin which hung in the PT store. What was it all about?
  • Keith Thomas hand-reared a jackdaw which used to follow him to school and fly in through an open window and land on his head causing a distraction!
  • The boys’ toilets – tried not to use them!
  • Someone calling a teacher "a big lout" after being given a slap.

MICHAEL WELLS, 1952-1955

I remember:

  • The annual general knowledge quiz run by Mr Binyon. I won this in 1954 receiving a leather-bound copy of "20,000 Leagues under the Sea".
  • Marbles, football, cricket, conkers, tops, which all had their "season" in the playground.
  • Taking the register numbers as Head Boy and taking ages on Friday afternoons to cross-check the figures. Mr Harvey was always kind, but strict, and it was he who taught me that a dozen items at 1˝d was 1/6d!
  • Queuing to go into dinner and having to show you had washed your hands. Woe betide those who hadn’t.
  • The year, 1955 I believe, we were in the choir competition at Blackminster and the whole choir forgot one chorus.
  • When playing football/cricket in the playground, if you hit the ball over the fence, you had to "speak out" and get it. A hazardous journey round the corner to the market gardens’ yard at the back.
  • Around 1954 we watched a partial eclipse of the sun with the use of smoked glass. Very dangerous in today’s PC times.
  • The swimming lessons with Mr Harvey at Evesham Swimming Pool. Cold, but at least I can swim.

SUSAN HALL (née Hewlett), 1957-1964

  • I remember my very first day in Mrs Churchill’s class being shown my coat-peg. My favourite pastime in that class was playing in the "shop".
  • I recall learning a song in Miss Smith’s class which we sang at Blackminster School Music Festival. The song went: "Bring your bucket and bring your spade and come along with me." I also remember playing the triangle and tambourine in Miss Smith’s class.
  • In Mrs Gorin’s class we performed a Christmas play. I was given the part of Father Christmas so I had to take my red dressing-gown. Mrs Gorin attached cotton wool to the dressing-gown.
  • We used to queue up for the school nurse who inspected our hair and finger-nails.
  • There were four Houses which were all colour-coded and at the end of the year, the House with the most points won.
  • One year I won a prize for good work and had to go to Mr Harvey’s study to choose a book. I chose "Black Beauty" by Anna Sewell and still have that book today.
  • Mrs Harvey used to help out as school secretary.
  • School dinners, prunes and custard my least favourite. Caramel tart was everyone’s favourite with everyone fighting for "seconds".
  • Handwriting lessons with Mrs Williams, whose handwriting was immaculate, even on the blackboard. She made a very big impression on me. She also took me for needlework and knitting. I made a doll’s bobble hat on four knitting needles.
  • We had spelling tests and tables tests every week, especially in Mr Miller’s class. We also read about Rikki-Tikki-Tavey the mongoose in his class.
  • There was a Savings Scheme set up where we could take in our savings each week where it was put in little savings books.
  • The school dentist came regularly to check our teeth. He was in the school foyer in front of the school hall; screens were used for privacy.
  • As a treat one year, we had a trip to Walls’ Ice Cream factory in Gloucester. We were each given a block of ice cream in a polystyrene box and a headscarf.

I look back on my schooldays at Badsey School with immense pleasure. I think I was lucky to be able to go to Badsey School as are the children who go there today.

MARGARET TYSZKOW, 1958-1964

I remember the Head Boy had the duty of ringing the school bell. Being Head Girl 1963-1964 I was always envious of this as this was something that always appealed to me.

The Headmaster’s study (Mr Harvey) was also a place to be feared. I remember the stick (although I always managed to avoid this). My duty as Head Girl was to change the day calendar in his room.

I have a copy of a school picture dated about 1960. Penny Nicholls and I are both standing; everyone else is seated. I would love to know why we were standing but I don’t expect we will ever know.

ELIZABETH DYER (née Cleaver), 1959-1965

I can remember being very upset and scared on my first day. Mrs Churchill soon calmed me down; she was a wonderful kind lady.

Miss Smith was my second teacher at the school. Again I have such warm memories of her. Playtime when I was in the Infants Department was great fun playing on the tarmac tortoise. Such a pity he’s gone.

The annual school trip was such a highlight. It was always a huge success and I can’t remember it raining on one of them!

It just leaves me to say that in my opinion, Badsey School is the best school in the world.

DENISE WOOD (née Hewlett), 1962-1968

  • The first memories of school were putting our heads down in the afternoon in Mrs Churchill’s class, playing in the sand-box and singing "king of the castle" on the concrete tortoise in the playground.
  • In Miss Smith’s class we read Janet and John and Thomas the Tank books and had milk with ice in it on frosty mornings.
  • I remember painting a mural for the school hall one year. It was the "Twelve Days of Christmas" and my task was the maids-a-milking.
  • I recall handwriting that was submitted to the annual flower show and also knitting a two-piece doll outfit, sewing a bag and embroidering a place mat with Mrs Peet.
  • There were several winters of snow when we played on the field and in summer we played hopscotch, elastics, two ball and home-made stilts, and visited the Catholic school for swimming lessons.
  • The final year Mr McGowan nurtured us; he was wonderful. I still remember making staff their coffee and the air was filled with the smell from his pipe.

KATHRYN GREENWOOD (née Parker), 1964-1970

  • Sports Days – one in particular when a boy called Jeremy Bastow was about to run in the three-legged race with his partner. His father was giving him instructions on how to do it but he said, "We will do it our way," and he won! I won an egg and spoon race once.
  • Standing around the piano singing, "Pancake Tuesday, Mother’s busy baking, we are helping, lovely pancakes making".
  • Hated wearing navy blue knickers.
  • Used to go on an old bus to St Mary’s Catholic School for swimming lessons.
  • Enjoyed the school dinners, especially the chocolate pudding and pink custard!
  • Regularly visited the village shop to stock up on sherbet and pineapple chunks to eat on the bus. Amazingly, still have good teeth!
  • A school trip to Heathrow Airport; visited the Queen’s building and saw where John signed the Magna Carta. We went down the Thames on a boat; it was a great day out.
  • Won first prize for handwriting in Class 3G. Still have the prize card from Badsey Flower Show.

CHRIS SMITH, 1965-1971

I remember my first day being full of great excitement and expectations but I was disappointed that too much time was spent playing and the work wasn’t hard enough. This soon changed. (I wasn’t impressed by the Wendy house and sandpit in Mrs Churchill’s classroom.)

Miss Smith was lovely, she had us practising over and over again our letter formation. A big move up came on reaching Mrs Gorin’s class; this was the point we were all issued with our first school biro (only if our writing was sufficiently good).

I remember being told off in assembly for picking my nose and we were all told off if ever we were found with our hands in our pockets. Mr McGowan was another very kind and inspiring teacher.

Being small, a bit of a weakling and academic, I found myself often being bullied and fights sometimes ensued in the playground. Sometimes surprisingly I won and earned some respect as a result.

School was, I think, much stricter and harder then. But most of us did learn and look back with great affection on our days at Badsey County Primary School and at 11+ time it was very sad to be split from our friends as we transferred schools according to how well we had done.

ROBERT GROVE, 1969-1975

I remember:

  • The tarmac tortoise in the corner of the playground
  • Small bottles of milk

TINA GREENHILL (née Keyte), 1972-1978

I remember:

  • Having to dress up in Victorian clothes for a day and being taught how they would have lived.
  • Holding the record for throwing the rounders ball the furthest.

CAROL HUNDLEY (née Beasley), 1974-1979

I remember:

  • Mr Dodridge smoking his pipe and playing his guitar in all lessons.
  • Miss Ryder bringing her dogs to school.
  • School meals - goulash, frogs spawn, fluffy flora – and being forced to eat it, then throwing up in the toilets!

KAREN COLDICOTT (née Shorthouse), 1975-1980

I remember:

  • Mrs James not letting me go to the toilet so I waited and waited, then up to her desk, I walked, stooped over her wastepaper basket – and yes, I did it! Whoops!
  • School meals - goulash, yuk; straw custard, yuk.
  • Mrs Watkin always sucking Mint Imperials.
  • Some good memories I have of Badsey School – sewing with Bet Benfield.

If you were a pupil at the school at any time in its history and would like to record your memories, please email to history@badsey.net.


Updated 25 November 2004. Contact email: History@Badsey.net