"I was born at 25 Turnpike Road in 1926. I started school when I was 5 years old. The Headmistress was Mrs. Lawrence and our class teacher was Miss Brigdan who lived in Aspley Guise. Mrs. Lawrence was a very good teacher, but very strict and she demanded very high standards. She did have a cane but hardly ever used it. Generally she would punish bad behaviour by making us stand in the corner.
I remember one of the first things we had to make in our needlework and emboidery lesson was a pair of cotton knickers with the elasticated legs and a proper gusset! She would keep us working at them until she was satisfied, even if our thread had turned black with dirt. Of course when they were finished we would have to wear them! We used to have to learn how to knit as well and every year all the children's work would be put on display at an Ampthill show where the work would be judged.
The school was very different then to how it is now. For example, there was only one outside toilet and no mains drainage so someone would have to come and empty it. Where the walkway is now there used to be a high brick wall and the young ones would play on one side and the older children on the other. You weren't allowed to play together. The recreation ground was there then and we used to use that for sports day. I remember one year winning the egg and spoon race. However, we weren't allowed to play in the rec on a Sunday. There was a sign on the gate which said, 'For village children only. No one over the age of 16 and not to be used on a Sunday'.
I remember on cold days being given cocoa that had been stood by the open fire to keep warm and we would drink it out of enamel mugs. When the school started getting free milk delivered they used to stand that in front of the fire to keep warm too.
We used to sit at double wooden desks. At each would sit a girl and a boy. We had ink wells in each desk but you weren't allowed to use ink pens until you started doing joined up writing in the big class. The teachers had a blackboard and easel.
At the end of term we had to clean our desks. On one day we had to wash them all down and on the last day we had to bring in a tin of polish and cloths to polish them. I remember I used to bring in 'Mansion Polish'. You can't get it now.
I don't remember having homework to do which was just as well as we so often had to help with the household chores. I remember one job each Autumn was to get up at
6.30 am each morning to help our father pick acorns, which would be sold to the Estate as food for the deer. Money was short then so we would always be looking for ways of bringing in extra income to the family."