Pound Lane School - Memories

A typical early 20th century school classroom
A typical early 20th century school classroom (not Pound Lane School)

Terry Friday

A large, single storey, wooden building situated in the play ground area at right angles to the school used to exist. pre-World War 2, separating the boys from the girls and infants This was the woodworking classroom. After World War 2 it contained the large kitchen, where all the food was prepared and cooked for Pound Lane School and other schools in the area. I particularly remember the "pudding plates" as these were enamelled metal with a picture on the inside: for example a soldier or a chicken etc.. The quality of the food was very good, particularly the minced meat and potatoes and greens.The most disliked pudding was semolina. All the washing of the used plates and cutlery was done on site. This I remember well, as my mother was one of the people employed to perform this task. All the waste food was collected in a large bin and removed by Mr Perkins for his pigs, which shared West Hill Swimming Pool area when closed to the public.

A treat was to be taken to the garden at the back of the school which had a fish pond and a bee hive.

The halls for the boys and the girls were adjacent but separated by a wooden, concertina, floor to ceiling partition with a single door for access; the whole assembly could be folded back if required. In the centre of the boys hall, recessed into the floor, was a huge brass compass, with arms pointing to the cardinal points.

One event has always remained with me: it was the "Harvest Festival" . Each child was asked to bring in an item of food to add to the display which covered the whole of the stage and more. It was the large loafs of bread shaped like heads of wheat and the enormous quantity and variety of food that greeted us as we walked into the hall in those were post war days when food was still rationed. I understand that the food was distributed to the needy of the borough.

As I recall the teachers where Mr Gautry (Headmaster) Mr Jones (Music) Mr Atkins ( ? ), Mr Palmer (Geography).

Sports day was held in the Court Recreation. The only day trip that I recall was on the SS Daffodil which left from the port of London and did a return trip down the Thames.

The toy craze at that time was for dinky car replicas of racing cars like Alpha Romeo and Masarati. During school time we were not allowed outside the school nor playground but on the way home we used to go into the bakery shop opposite the school and buy a penny sticky bun. Discipline was strict and the cane often used by the Headmaster. On one occasion as a class we were unable to use "there" and "their" in the correct context. One morning Mr Gautry walked into the class room with his infamous "cane", slapped it on the table and said that today we will learn the correct use of the two words !! Needless to say from then on we got it right every time.

Another time was during dinner which was on trestle tables laid out in the hall. I was busy eating my lunch when the boy opposite threw some of his dinner at me. I returned the action. Unfortunately I was seen by the duty teacher and sent to stand out side the Headmasters' door. On his return I was asked what I had done and then caned twice on the palm of my hand. Rough justice!

Also we had to chant the times table from 2X to 12X, which I have to admit stayed with me so that multiplication has never been a problem.

I was the youngest of seven children all of which went to Pound Lane School, starting in the late twenties through to the 1950s.

Geoffrey Parkinson

Geoffrey Parkinson, a playwright, who went to Pound Lane School in the late 1920s, recalls some memories of his time at the school

"I do remember a kindly (though it didn't prevent him from caning me) teacher called Mr Jones, who seemed both gentle and civilised. He read us interesting stories and brought along his large collection of birds' eggs. Mr Donnallen was another I can recall vividly because of his ability to read and hold our attention for long periods; his reading of Treasure Island held me spellbound."

He also wrote about the Nit Lady who he thought was searching for something valuable which she had lost in the hair of a young child!

June Harris

My name is June Harris and I lived in Miles Road, Epsom. I was 5 and a half years old when I went to Pound Lane School. My mother took me to the Headmistress's office and left. I was taken by my ear to my class room.Not by my hand, but my ear and made to sit down. The next day she took our class for our lesson and handed me a note to take home to my mother and I thanked her but called her by my teacher's name. I didn't know her name and after school she made me stand in the middle of the hall. I can remember there being a brass plaque showing the points of the compass. I had to stand there until I remembered her name.

A teacher passed by and the Headmistress said to her "Do you realise that this child does not know my name?". The teacher looked at me with quite a sad expression on her face. The Headmistress said that I had to call her name out loud until I remembered the name of Miss Hanger. And so it was that that I shouted out Miss Hanger, Miss Hanger, Miss Hanger, until she returned. I don't know how long I stood there, but eventually she came and sent me home. "Do not ever forget my name", she told me. I never did.

It was quite a common occurrence for children to run out of school. She used to flick her whip and put children who misbehaved into a cupboard. Parents often complained about her methods and even involved the police.

So that was the introduction to my first two days of school at Pound Lane.

NB Miss Salina Hanger became headmistress of the Infants' School on 7 Jan 1932 and from 17 October 1932 to March 6 1935 was on sick leave with Nervous Debility/meningitis. She was still Headmistress when the log book was full in Dec 1936 [ISLB]

Terry Larkbey

I was at Pound Lane School from 1947 until 1953. My mum took me on the first day and I stood at the railings hoping she would come for me.

In the infants we did the usual things, reading, writing, lots of drawing and artistic stuff, most of mine was a complete disaster and it hasn't improved to this day. I remember the teachers who were quite nice and smiled.

A couple of years later I was up in the boys' school next door. There were scary men teachers, and also a couple of women who seemed quite old to me and the smiles had disappeared!!!

The Headmaster was Mr Lucimore, very scary. He was replaced by Mr Gautry who wasn't too bad. There was a Mr Palmer, a big man. I think he taught geography and I remember his son was a pupil as well. Mr Jones was my form teacher, he seemed to be the most human of them all, and he taught music. The two women were Miss Bell and Miss Chapple, who loved to slap you on the hands with a ruler, among other things! They were always known as the 'bell in the chapel'! Lastly, there was my arch enemy Mr Drinkwater who taught arithmetic. It seems daft now but I could never master multiplication. In those days you had to show how you had worked it out underneath. The right answer was no good without it.

My favourite subject was sport. I loved athletics. I was the fastest in the school over 100 yards. Just before sports day we had training afternoons in the Court rec., and Mr Drinkwater made me stay behind to do arithmetic, But, I had the last laugh, I still won the 100 yards!!

There was a garden at the back for nature study and a good old lark about on frosty morning after a bit of snow. By nine o'clock there would be a slide from the top to the bottom of the playground. Great fun but not allowed, although we still carried on until we got caught.

There was a long wooden building down the centre of the playground for school dinners. I always went home for dinner as we lived just around the corner in Hook Rd. No. 225.

Mr Goatcher was the caretaker and he lived in the first house in Hook Rd., next to the school.

Helen Dickinson

I entered reception class in January 1968 and left at the end of the summer term 1969. The News Books are a masterpiece of undercorrection on which my mother always blamed my inability to spell, not approving of the teacher's stated policy to her, that children should be left free to develop their confidence in expressing themselves in writing.

The parks referred to were Rosebery and Alexander. The concert in the hall was a Christmas one and our class was dressed up for a nativity tableau for which we just had to pose and sing. Not being a pretty girl I was in the ranks of the also-ran angels and whatever the one carol was, I had to hit a triangle in some sort of attempt at time with the two other angels. We sang each day at assembly, frequently a birthday song for the relevant children, but beyond 'Daisy's are our silver' and 'Glad that I live, am I', I recall no other musical training. The class above us seemed to provide more mobile Nativity characters. I recall none of the children mentioned (Neil, Peter, Adam, Susie, and Sarah) in my class. My sister, Nette, never went to the school except to see me in the aforementioned concert, though my half-sister Frances Smith attended at some stage between 1978 and 1981. The Trevor mentioned became one of my step-siblings, all of whom spent a brief time either in the infants or the juniors in 1969. The children I remember being in my class were Colin Evans and Philip who lived on the Hookfield Estate and I later got to know Mark Bachelor who had been in it. Perhaps some of this may be of use to you.

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