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Banburyshire Family History

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Barbara Adair

The other day I was also remembering my school uniform which had to be bought in 1942 on entering Grammar School. In those days clothing coupons had to be used (even for knitting wool, hence all my reused, reknitted sleeves) and my Mother had to beg, borrow and buy coupons from other members of the family. After all Grandparents did not buy many new clothes or shoes and so had some to spare for growing grandchildren.

My Grandma had a pair of black lace up shoes size 4 and 2/3 which fitted me for a while and were superb. Maybe with that peculiar size they had been custom made.

Originally, we were supposed to buy black woollen stockings for winter and beige lisle ones for summer, but that was relaxed because they just weren't available from the only shop we were supposed to use.

school uniform

My summer green and cream dress

Gym slips were not the usual pleated ones, but plain with square neck and with white square necked blouses under them. I had two gym slips in my six years and umpteen blouses.

Summer wear was a green cotton dress with cream collar and cuffs. The material was bought by the yard and had to be made by mothers or local dressmakers. Even the green material ran out and we had flowered cotton but all the same colour and pattern and also with the cream collars and cuffs.

But I suppose uniforms were very socially levelling, there was little competition to be fashionable and of course jewellery and make up was absolutely banned, even at the weekly after school dances. This was to educate us in the social niceties and as we were a co-ed school, they were very popular. But the Senior Mistress used to turn up in the cloakrooms and smell and look to check on cosmetics etc. And woe betide any couple of pupils caught walking home together!

These memories have been triggered by the fact than in 2007 our school will be celebrating its 100th Anniversary and big Reunions are planned. I'm saving up for another long visit to England in June/July to join in the festivities (and to check up on how we have all aged - or otherwise) which we hope will include ex-pupils from all other the world.

Written by Barbara Adair