I can confirm that the penny bags of crisps came from the off licence (where I lived with my parents!) and that Mr Cowan (headmaster) did ask my parents if they would stop selling the crisps, as they were too greasy.Some kids used to sit on them to make them even more 'bitty', and some mothers complained about greasy clothes! (think it applied more to the boys!) The off licence was called 'The Aldborough Stores' and the sweetshop next door, 'Thompsons'. My parents are still in contact with Vera and Bryan Thompson the owners and David and Janet Thompson were their children and also went to WT. His father first owned the shop before him. At the reunion, the first thing that most people said to me when they heard my connection with the off licence, was 'penny bags of crisps'! What a claim to fame.......
Martin Cook, who was in my class, played the piano very well, and used to do what would now be called 'jam sessions' of Russ Conway tunes (particularly Side Saddle)!
Vivid memory of my last end-of-term concert, where I struggled in with recorder, violin, tambourine, music and music stand, only to drop most of it en route to the stage! Mr Young helped me to pick it all up and get to the stage without any other mishaps.
I have memories of Mr Cowan encouraging everyone to support the school football team at their matches and how proud we felt when we won.
Memory No. 15
The School Dinner Huts: I think these were a precast concrete building with two wings. The wing nearest the garden with the fish pond - was the infants, and the one next to the field - was the Juniors. Was there a section in the middle for the kitchen? - I can’t remember. They’ve gone now. I am interested in building architecture and I would welcome any reflections from older contributors to the website. My class photographs clearly make me the youngster (nearly 40) amongst us. Does anybody remember the dinner huts being erected, as its my guess that they may not be original from 1937. I’d love to know.
The Coat Hooks and the Slipper Bags in the corridor outside the classrooms: I remember one of my first days at the Infants school where our coat hooks were identified individually by an illustrated card on a loop of string - with our name written on it. Mine said ‘David G.’ The illustration on my card was of a baby, and my best friend told lots of others in the Class about it!!!! My first classroom was at the very end - round the corner of the west wing, by the exit doors.
The School Field: and how its Aldborough Road boundary had just begun being intruded by development. When I left the junior’s school in the summer of 1972, building contractors had cordoned off part the field where the Junior’s football pitch used to be with a chestnut pale fence, and then stripped off the topsoil to form a temporary bund inside their site boundary. That was all that had happened before we left to go to secondary school. A sad loss of open space for the children and the school. I remember throwing snowballs on that part of the field down the bank to the railings beside the pavement.
The Garden Gates: When Mr. Cowan retired in July 1970 there were some commemorative gates with a dedication plate erected at the entrance to the Fish Pond Garden. They were black painted wrought iron gates - with a few words of white painted raised lettering about him. Are they still there I wonder?
Memory No. 14
Preparing for The Informer - choreographing the dance sequence to the Westminster Waltz in the classroom and taking in my father's copy of "Oh for the Wings of a Dove" on a 78rpm record, though I can't remember where in the play that was used
Not being good enough for the cricket team but bowling a full toss in a practice match which landed right at the base of the middle stump and stopped dead on the spot
1d bags of very greasy crisp bits from the Off Licence across Aldborough Road from the school
Winning a copy of Cautionary Verses by Hillaire Belloc for a poem I wrote which began "The fogs hangs motionless and damp, Shrouding the London taxi cab"…. The book is still in my bookcase
Racing well-oiled Dinky toys and playing marbles and conkers in the playground
Mr Davis joining in a game of playground cricket and skying the ball onto the playing field
The last competitive football match I played in against Napier Road West Ham for the Edwards trophy. Being in tears at half-time when told I had to keep marking the opposition centre-half who was the biggest lad on the field. Then scoring the winning goal near the end of extra time and being in tears again
Going to David Yates house in or near Aldborough Road. I think his father was a vicar so it could have been the Vicarage. Their house-keeper was a German lady I think and she used to catch hold of David somehow so that he did a kind of somersault in her arms
Going to John Cairncross' house with front garden full of dahlias and his mum cooking "fried slice" and popping corn in a saucepan with a sieve over the top which I'd never seen done before - nor since
Making a working (sort of) model watermill with John Beard (I think)
Going to Francis Ives' house and seeing a room full of television sets
Getting caned with several others for going on the playing field when it was wet
Memory No. 13
Geoff Gillon being particular about his hair [to no avail]
Memory No. 12
Many from the years >1959
Visit to the Tower of London
Jennifer Hill’s crewel cardigans
John Fairweather’s " Fair-isle " jumpers
Kay Oubridge’s leg in plaster
Mark Richards deploring the encroachment of television into our young lives [he described it as the "idiot's lantern"]
Mark Richards being interviewed on television’s local news programme
Graham Pfaff playing the oboe
Smell of "Dettol " after music lessons with recorders
Mr. Cowan telling us that the area of the school playing field was 13 acres.
At the end of our time at torbitt, passing round our autograph books for teachers and classmates to add their little rhymes, anecdotes, in particular adding names to the 'wall of friendship'
Memory No. 11
Roger Stone’s vignette of Geoff Gillon –when asked by a teacher to state his address began with the words – "my domicile is……" [allegedly] and forever etched in Roger’s memory, the name of Gillon is synonymous with vocabulary.
Memory No. 10
The sand-pit in a varnished wooden frame in one of the infants’ class-rooms.
The three Paulines [Jennings, Kendall and Sims] crossing the playing field at lunchtime to collect lunch through the railings which formed the boundary of Pauline Sim's home.
Memory No. 9
Eileen Riches as an exceptionally keen paintbrush monitor
Pamela Dunn’s shoes
Trying to keep at least half a step ahead of Graham Pfaff, John Beard and Ann Pumfrett who found quadratic equations so simple
Everyone – including their handwriting styles and various abilities
Susan Adams’ father entering the classroom in his police officer’s uniform to take her to the dentist and pretending to have come to arrest Geoff Gillon [Never forgotten by Geoff Gillon]
Miss Boot coming into the classroom on an "inspection" and Mark having commented on Geoff Gillon’s work, she asked, " but can he spell 'separate' ? Geoff obliged and Miss Boot, beaming, swept from the room like Lady Bracknell.
Memory No. 8
Cycling proficiency tests in the infant's playground
Falling over in the corridor and cutting her eyebrow on the metal shoe racks under the wooden benches
Memory No. 7
(@WT Staff (deceased))
There was a large untidy hole on the field near the dining hall and I learned that it was a hole the staff had dug several years previously for a fish pond. Digging the hole was easy but no-one knew how to proceed and the project had been abandoned. I offered to complete it (with some professional help I knew I could get for free!) and in the end a really good fish pond resulted.
A cloakroom became redundant and Tom Cowan wanted it converted to a library. The Managers approved the idea but turned it down on the question of cost - £280, a lot of money then! Tom asked if we could do it ourselves and, if so, how much? He took my class for an hour while I measured up, phoned suppliers for quotes for timber and shelving, brackets, rawplugs etc. I went back to Tom and told him that if he would stay with me for two evenings, we could do the complete job and we did - for £15!
I remember that Tom Cowan had played football for Luton Town and it was my pleasure to play alongside him in a couple of matches against the School XI. [I remember Mr Cowan's huge football boots - GG]
Memory No. 6
I have a really strong memory of our class being allowed by Mr Richards to listen to a radio broadcast designed for secondary school students that came on right after our weekly? broadcast on nature study (about which I and some of my friends I know filled whole exercise books). It was a reading, dramatised I think, of Thornton Wilder's 'The Bridge of San Luis Rey, a study of why the people who died when a bridge collapsed happened to be there. It made a huge impact on me and I've never forgotten it. Mark has no recollection at all - does anyone else remember this?
Playing in the park with Pat Dixon and Anne Sheerin
Crying all night and having my first, as I remember, real feelings of jealousy after Pauline Jennings told me she'd bought Shadow, my favourite pony at the Aldborough Riding Stables
Penny crisps, from the off licence? (what was the sweet shop next door we used to go to otherwise called?) that I seem to think were banned from the school at one point(!) because they left grease stains everywhere
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