Carole Holt

My Memories of Ullenhall School 1944-1951

by Carole Holt

1947 very cold I was carried to school over snow drifts. Dead birds everywhere. 1/3 of a pint of milk put near stove when it thawed the cream stood up above the bottle with the cardboard top, on top of the cream.

Mrs Barrett would cycle down from Heath Farm bungalow and then stand in front of the fire in the infants room, with her skirt held up at the back. I began school when I was four. I remember screaming my head off, and seeing Rosemary Summers looking very quiet!! She sat in a small wooden chair with arms on it. I was only placated when a doll with golden hair was reached down from the top of a cupboard. I started again when I was 5!!

The Nit Nurse would call and look at everyone’s hair, and check for impetigo, which a lot of people had (I had plaits and had to undo one of them. I would never replait it as well as my mother had. Mrs Sparrow sold Nit combs at the Post Office).

We all wore very warm clothes, hand knitted socks and jumpers.

Mrs Higgs (who lived at Hope Cottage) did all the washing up. She used boiling water, had red hands, and always wore long black skirts, and frightened me to death.

In Mrs Friend’s class four different ages were taught. Mrs Barrett took P.E. We danced ‘Stripping the willow’ and ‘Sir Roger DeCovelly’.

At Christmas we made calendars and paper chains. Cotton wool on strings down the windows. Christmas Party – Mrs Smalley would bring down trays of gingerbread men, one each. The worry that there wouldn’t be one for me. We all brought our own knives, forks, plates etc, and a plate of food. Rowley Jones was Father Christmas.

Children were given the cane. I was made to write out “a still tongue makes a wise head” 60 times, for talking. I went home for dinner time. I remember having cheese and was told it was from America. There was a dark picture on the wall.

We were taken up to the field by Ralph Franklin (Rein’s House) to watch pig killing and to see the bristles being burnt off the pig! We were taken for nature walks, and brought wild flowers in, conkers etc.

We played in the small playground under sycamore trees and collected the sycamore ‘wings’. Trees were planted on the left hand side of the playground. We skipped in a long rope. The Bell was/is in the roof of the school. Mrs Barrett always made us do up our coats, even if it was hot when we left school. We left tidily, and were not allowed to go until collected.

We collected Rosehips for the war. Wool off the hedges was gathered and spun and knitted by a lady who lived at the Lodge (Barrells).

As you went into school the trees on the right by the cloakroom were white pom poms, don’t know the name. I think there were blue bricks on the floor.

Mrs Friend taught us Art. We were taught to look at the colour of the sky red/gold and paint black outlines of trees against them.

We weeded the school garden. I hated weeding the Aubretia. The boys dug the vegetable garden.

Mrs Friend took us all to the church and told us about the stencils in the roof of the church and the hand with three fingers above the alter.

Mrs Barrett taught us to knit, read, write, tables etc. If we were told to sit still we did!

The girls toilet was the nearest. One small wooden seat and a larger seat for the teachers. A notice saying “Now wash your hands”. A cold water tap with an iron cup on a chain and a tablet of red soap. The boys toilet was in the far corner of the playground.