Typical Day 1970 - 1999

"I can't rember an exact typical day, but I do remember doing paper mache stuck to a balloon to make a face, and when it was dry, we popped the balloon inside with a knitting needle and then painted the face. We did some sewing on this special buff coloured material with lots of holes in it. The holes were to help us learn different stitches, cross stitch, running stitch and others. We made bookmarks out of them I think.
We had assembly every morning. We has to sit in rows on the floor and when our Headmistress said "Good morning everyone", we would reply "Good morning Mrs Chapman, good morning teachers." She would speak for a while and we would sing a couple of songs, some of which I can still remember.!
Lunch was a hot meal in the canteen. A typical meal would be sliced meat in gravy with two scoops of mashed potato dolloped onto your plate with an ice-cream scoop and vegetables. Pudding would be maybe semolina with a small dollop of chocolate in the middle which not many people liked apart from me, so my friends used to get me to eat theirs too.! One of our dinnerladies was quite strict and we knew that she wouldn't let us out to play unless we had attempted to eat at least one scoop of the mashed potato.!
Towards the end of the afternoon, we would have a story and whoever had been chosen to be 'milk monitor' would hand out little bottles of milk with a straw which we would drink whilst listening to the story. If there were any bottles of milk spare, you could put your hand up and be given a second bottle. I remember our caretaker Mr Lyman collecting the milk from the front of the school first thing in the morning and wheeling the crates into school in a wheelbarrow.
When I was about 5 or 6, the school held a pantomime 'Cinderella' in which I was chosen to play the lead, probably because in those days I had long blonde hair. Anyway, when it was time to perform to an audience, I just stood on the stage and cried, so our teacher Mrs Pichowski had to play the part of Cinderella instead.
Another memory I have was when we were in our final year at Russell street, our teacher was Mrs Nickerson, and there was a boy in our class who used to walk around the classroom shuffling and dragging his feet. This must have got on Mrs Nickerson's nerves because one day she asked the whole class to walk around the classroom to show this boy how it was done.!
(Alison Ward - Pupil 1974)

"I can't remember the days exactly, but I can remember having lots of little pets and animals in the class. They were kept on a really long shelf in the classroom. There were guinea pigs, hamsters and lots of other small pets which we were allowed to take out and stroke.
My First teacher was Mrs Sandwith and she was just the nicest, gentlist person just the kind you want for your first teacher really. I remember her asking me if I could shout and I said "No" and she didn't believe me.
The tables in the classroom were set out so that everyone could work in groups. There was a big emphasis on group working, certainly in the early years. Most of the activities I remember were arty crafty and we would sometimes have parents come in and help us with sewing. We did lots of sewing on binca material with the holes in it.
I remember maths lessons and working through 'Fletcher' maths books which you would write on the pages and work through at your own speed. I remember doing that quite a lot.
I also remember doing lots of nature walks and collecting things. I'm sure we used to go for walks down by the river and do sketching and things like that.
One Christmas time, I remember there was a big production down in the hall, I was a carol singer and everyone was dressed up as shepherds and we paraded around the hall singing "Oh little town of Bethlehem", but I never had a big nativity role.
(Alex Gray - Pupil 1978 and now teaching at Russell First School)

1970 - 1999