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Banburyshire Family History

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go back to the last page you were on Memories of the 50s : The School Day


The school day would commence with a general melee in what was called the playground. A misnomer, since games were forbidden. Occasionally a game would spontaneously erupt; this usually involved large numbers of boys jumping onto the backs of a relatively small number of boys, until the whole edifice collapsed. Authority considered this a bad activity; on the rugby field, it was considered character-forming.

At the appointed time, each form was summoned and marched off to a classroom for the calling of the register. After fifty years I can still declaim the roll of honour: 'Allyson, Ambler, Baker, Bassett, Bellamy, Bloodworth...'. Each of us ferried about a major library of books, plus any sports equipment likely to be required for that day's activities. No personal lockers, and a different classroom for each subject. We were academic gypsies.

Most of the school then retired to the Hall for prayers, official announcements, and the chastening spectacle of the teaching staff miming to various hymns. A small and select group of us had other duties. Depending on one's viewpoint, we were either beyond redemption or utterly trustworthy. We gathered at the bicycle racks, where the milkman had earlier deposited a small mountain of milk crates. It was our responsibility to deliver the correct number of small milk bottles to the door of each classroom and return with the previous day's empties. It was hoped that this could be achieved with the minimum of broken glass and pools of milk.

The school operated a House system to foster a sense of tribal loyalty. House points were awarded for success in (official) sporting activities, and for dedication to arts and handicrafts. Building a model lighthouse from used matchsticks was considered worthy of merit and gained points for one's House. At the end of each year the winning House was acclaimed, with some bemusement on my part.

It is a matter of personal regret (and no small surprise) that despite regular support of extracurricular school activities on Saturday mornings, and long involvement in essential administrative disciplines such as milk delivery, I was never awarded any House points or selected to be a prefect.

I can cope with this... just.

Written by Smokey