Sylvia Mead, a well-known local historian, was born and grew up in New Bradwell. She attended New Bradwell School both as a pupil and later as a special needs assistant.

Sylvia has collected information on many aspects of local life and interest and published a series of books (shown at the bottom of this page). She kindly shared some of her own memories and material with us.

The Origins of New Bradwell School

The school, now known as New Bradwell County Combined School, did not exist on its Bounty Street site until 1913. Here is a brief history of its origins.

The first schools to be built in New Bradwell were built as part of the St James' Church buildings. The foundation stone was laid on 24th May 1858 by the Marchioness of Chandos and the school was completed on 6th December 1860. The school was enlarged in 1892 and again in 1906.

Here is where the schools used to be.
This postcard (dating to the early 20th century) shows the school and church around that time.
Today there is no longer any school in that building - it is now used as the New Bradwell Community Centre.
In 1906, the buildings which are now used as the 'Work Spaces' were added and became the Girls' School.
Standard VI, New Bradwell County Girls' School in 1930

Sometimes the girls had lessons in lacemaking. Click here to learn more.

The Bounty Street School was then built in 1913, originally as a Boys' School. The Infants stayed at the Community Centre site.
In 1949, the Girls' School became a Junior School and was attended by both girls and boys. The Bounty Street School became the Secondary School for girls and boys up to school leaving age.

In 1975 the school in Bounty Street, with its nursery unit, became a Combined School catering for children from the ages of 4 to 12 years of age.

Sylvia's School Memories

Sylvia attended school at the Bounty Street site from the age of 11. When she was 12 she passed the scholarship and went to Wolverton.

Here she describes typical school days at Bounty Street in the 1950s;

We all sat at desks at that time and the whole class did the same thing at the same time. There were no separate groups on different projects. We'd start always with assembly in the morning and then perhaps, you'd have so long with the whole class doing hand writing and so long with the whole class doing geography or history throughout the day. Friday afternoons we used to do painting and things. That was the only time we got the paints out. They weren't there all the time, just on a Friday afternoon.
The school day began at 9.00am and at lunch time, everyone went home to dinner.
In those days there were no school dinners but there didn't need to be because everyone lived in New Bradwell, in that part of New Bradwell around the school. So everyone went home for dinner. Everyone's father worked in the railway workshops. Everyone's father came home for dinner.

And then back to school and I'm sure we used to go back at 2 o'clock, but we continued until 4.00.

Discipline was stricter in those days. Sylvia explains about bad behavour:
...Things which seem really quite minor now - like talking or not getting on with your work, or just being a bit disruptive. In those days you got punished for it. You didn't do it, fullstop! Now the children are allowed to talk but we weren't allowed to talk. If you were caught talking you got a rap over the knuckles with a ruler and if you carried on you were sent to the headmaster. I've had the cane over my hands more than once for talking!
Sylvia's Out of School Memories

In fact, even outside school, poor behaviour was socially unacceptable. Here you can listen to Sylvia describe the possible consequences of a child's wrong doing.

This form of social control led to an interesting situation for the local police. Here you can listen to Sylvia relate a story told to her by a policeman.
Sylvia's Books

Here are the books Sylvia has written:

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