Valerie Mills (Hastilow), 1940s

St. Kenelm's C.E. Primary School, Romsley
Centenary Celebrations
1915 – 2015

Memories of Mrs Valerie Mills (Hastilow) - Pupil - 1940s


I attended St. Kenelm's Parochial School (as it was known in those days) from 1942 until 1948.
Three classrooms with separate cloakrooms for boys and girls at each end of the building with steps leading down to the playground of black bricks and rough ground, separated from the boys by metal fencing. The toilets were across the playground.

There were three teachers; Miss Payne, who taught the youngest pupils, Mrs Marshall, the middle class, and Mr Dudley, the headmaster for the eldest pupils. He retired about the time I started and his replacement was Mrs Southall.

In the first year I sat by a little girl called Lilian Hill and I remember learning to write small letters between the lines. There was a big coke fire in the corner protected by a guard. Miss Payne had an egg which unscrewed in the middle to reveal another egg and so on until the last tiny one in the middle like a Russian doll – very fascinating to a 5 year old.

We skipped a lot during the breaks and I can remember the words we chanted – "All in together, girls! Never mind the weather, girls! When I call your birthday, you must go out!" We also played leap frog on the rough ground and I remember falling flat on my face and cutting my lip. No grass for us!

All the windows had mesh over them to prevent flying glass if there was an air-raid.

Every Christmas we did a Nativity play and some mimes and put on a show for the parents. I still have a photograph. All this took place in the "Mission Room" which was also used for our school dinners where we queued down the side of the room, taking care not to slip on the piece of tin that was in front of the stove. The dinner ladies stood in a row serving the meal which we carried back to long tables and benches. I used to love the chocolate rice pudding but we didn't have it very often. Mrs Parker was one of the helpers. She lived opposite.

Every Ascension Day the seniors went by coach to Worcester Cathedral for the service and afterwards we had a picnic by the river. We also had to write about it next day. In Mrs Southall's class we had to learn poems such as "Abu Ben Adhem", "The Brook" and "I'm a Mean Dog, a Lean Dog". We also had to make sure that we learned off by heart the 12 Times Table.

Mrs Marshall took us for needlework and if she was annoyed she would rap us on the head with a thimble on her finger or smack the boys across the ear. A few of us cleaned Mrs Southall's car one day. I was walking from school to the bus-stop one day when one of the boys ran past and punched me in the eye. No names mentioned but he still lives in Romsley!

Periodically a lady would come round to inspect our feet. We would sit outside on cardboard mats waiting for her. I hated it! She pulled our feet around.

We had Sports' Day in a field behind the Fighting Cocks – three-legged race, Egg & Spoon, Catch the Train Race and Go to Bed Race (both the latter involved a suitcase with clothes to put on). A great day with lots of fun!

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