1950s School

1950s School‘Our desks in Infants had holes for inkwells, but of course we weren’t allowed to use pens so young, so the holes stayed empty.  My aim in life was to be big enough to have ink in my inkwell.’

‘I was very proud of my satchel, which was brown leather with two buckles.  My mother had to put extra notches in the straps because I was so small that if she hadn’t it would have trailed along the ground behind me.’

‘Painting was my favourite.  The joy was to do it as neatly and as beautifully as possible, with your tin palette of water colours.  Or drawing with Lakeland colour pencils.  I could colour in for hours and hours and hours.’

 ‘I remember the beanbag as being a very important piece of equipment at my primary school.  We used beanbags for all kinds of things, from sport to art, and they always seemed so friendly – just the right size to be clutched in a child-sized hand, just the right weight to be thrown.’

‘We always had a weekly spelling test, and I’ve never forgotten any of the words I learnt in those tests.’

‘The wall around our school playground was topped with iron railings, but they’d been commissioned for the war effort to make munitions, so in the early fifties they were just stubs.  And I thought that was normal, that was what iron railings looked like: inch-high points sticking out of stone.’

‘Our school band had things like clappers, and triangles, and one tinny drum.  We weren’t encouraged to learn a real musical instrument at all.’

50s school‘We always had a weekly spelling test, and I’ve never forgotten any of the words I learnt in those tests.’

‘The wall around our school playground was topped with iron railings, but they’d been commissioned for the war effort to make munitions, so in the early fifties they were just stubs.  And I thought that was normal, that was what iron railings looked like: inch-high points sticking out of stone.’

‘Our school band had things like clappers, and triangles, and one tinny drum.  We weren’t encouraged to learn a real musical instrument at all.’

Extracted, with permission, from The 50s & 60s: The Best of Times – Growing up and being young in Britain by Alison Pressley, published by Michael O’Mara Books Limited.
Copyright © Alison Pressley 1999, 200, 2002, 2003; compilation copyright © Michael O’Mara Books Limited 1999, 200, 2002, 2003. All rights reserved.

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