We have established our collections policy and we have started collecting items for the Museum. Please get in touch if you have items you would like added to the collection.
Meanwhile our trustees and supporters have been providing old photos recalling their own school days. Just a few of them are displayed on this page. We will welcome many more.
What you need to do.
Send us an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that by participating in this appeal you agree to our storing of your memory and photo, and the free use of it in the future.
The not so humble recorder.
This is the only instrument which I actually managed to play properly, though at a basic level. First learning at Primary school in the 50s, it was very useful to teach the basics to my classes when I became a primary teacher. But also, it meant a starting note for singing which we did lots of, children able to be part of an ‘orchestra’ with various percussion instruments and learning simple music notation. When I was teaching in the ILEA, a teacher used to come in regularly every week to teach recorder for what are now called KS2 groups – all free. There used to be free concerts for children to watch or take part in, and free instrumental tuition including in secondary schools. Music education is one of the areas that has been cut or removed from the curriculum due to funding shortages at the current time. In my view it is an essential part of any school curriculum not only teaching musical skills, but to encourage working together, confidence and wellbeing apart from being fun.
Jean Roberts, Trustee and Secretary of NEM
I’m almost certain that the pen in the pictures is the actual pen I was given – it was in the box with the school photos. The story is as a kid my handwriting was very untidy. I think one of my teachers encouraged my parents to get me a fountain pen (Dad was on the school governing body) and I ended up with very neat writing and still use a fountain pen today when not using a keyboard!
Peter Pendle, Trustee
Looking back to my school days I now realise that the “possession” that should have been prized by me was my school desk. It was a desk with a lift up lid, a groove along the top of the desk stopped pens or pencils from rolling off onto the floor and a dedicated small hole to hold the ink pot. It was a great responsibility to be the ink monitor and fill the pots with ink made from powder and water; dispensed from a small type of watering can with the spout at right angles to the can. This desk held all of our books, pens, pencil, 12 inch ruler, India rubber, our plimsolls for P.E and games as well as our sewing bags and any other personal belongings.
I am aware now of the value of that desk as I see pupils today carrying heavy bags or backpack holding all the paraphernalia, they need for the school day. They then have to move through the school corridors and staircases to their various classrooms. While we had the majority of our lessons in the one room, and mainly with the one teacher for all subjects. Oh what halcyon days!
Helen Taylor. Attended school from 1941 – 1951
My Grandad (teacher) with pupils at Latimer Road Elementary School in London taken, I’m guessing, during the 1920s.
Martin Brown, NEM Founder Patron
Ode to a sink
Oh precious white enamel
Now chipped and brown and old
Your faithful service well deserved
A new tap made of gold
Receptacle so dirty
Container now so rank
From Victorian days you worked here
Without a single thank
Your shiny wooden draining board
Now slimed through years of use
And habits of the teachers
Amount to sink abuse
The smell of soured milk bottles
With tadpole water soup
Attacked the air for all to share
With crumbs of county soap
So useful for car washing
And rinsing coffee cups
For bathing minor wounds of kids
Soak infant’s painting brush
A mini heater added
Brought you up to date
A shelf was fixed above you
For these you had to wait
You friend of each caretaker
Used for washing floors
The hygiene rules now in the schools
Such habits they’d abhor
Assorted vases claimed a place
Wet circles of green stains
There was a soggy wiping cloth
We don’t know who to blame
So close for any crisis
Caught many children’s sick
Could give them Cholera, Typhoid,
E coli, take your pick.
No one caught diseases
We never needed bleach
Or Cif or Dettol spray stuff
That was beyond our reach
The new school has posh sinks
Now you are laid to rest
We say Goodbye and Thank you
From those who loved you best
Liz Dellaway, Museum supporter and retired teacher
A photograph of a display connected to work the class was doing about Dudley Castle. The children were 8/9 (now called Year 4) and pupils at St Mary’s Primary School, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. The photograph also contains clues of other classroom activities. The photograph was taken in 1968.
Our visit was covered by BBC Midlands Today, who filmed the children measuring parts of the castle. They chose to interview a student who was on teaching practice and seek her opinion of what we were doing. At the time, it appears they thought doing practical history was seen as being somewhat ‘way-out’ and this was reflected in the voice over commentary when the piece was aired. My opinion was not sought.
Rob Wooley, Museum supporter and retired teacher
The front cover of the best book ever! As an eight-year-old I was disinterested in reading until I discovered a story in here that I just had to read. I was obsessed with cowboys and injuns so ‘A Red Indian Story’ was the spur to get me started.
Martin Brown, NEM Founder Patron
I qualified as a teacher in 1978, but had my family before getting a job as a Nursery teacher in 1982. I remember buying my whistle from a local sports shop. It’s not an “Acme Thunderer” but I really felt it was part of my essential kit as a fully qualified professional teacher. I didn’t use it much as a nursery teacher but once I entered the main part of the school as a reception teacher then I needed it for playground duty; three sharp blasts indicated the children were to stand still and then a further whistle to walk into line. I also recall that when training it was absolutely frowned on to use a whistle for an indoors PE lesson. It was strictly for outdoor games lessons.
Anne Swift, Chair of Trustees (teacher 1982 to present)