WCP 14

The Infants’ Department (1964-1967)

On 3rd September 1964 I started school, at Woolton County Primary in Out Lane, Liverpool 25. This was a new school, having only opened in 1957. I was in Class 1 and my teacher was Miss Quinn. I can remember sitting second from the end of a long table facing Pamela Butler, Peter Humphries and Baljet Ghumbier, whilst my neighbours were Alexander Rudkin to my left, and Mimi Sieve to my right. My mother had given me a basic grounding in several subjects, and I could already tell the time and write my own name. I was allocated clothes peg number 125 in the cloakroom, on which to hang my pump-bag (picture 1 above). The headmistress was Miss Garrett, who was not in school on my first day. I remember Mrs Phillips making a speech to all the new children and their parents in the school hall. Miss Quinn left at the end of term in December.

When I returned to school after the Christmas holidays my new teacher (still in Class 1) was Mrs Garnett. During a lesson involving scissors and paper I decided to experiment and find out if scissors could cut wool. By making several large snips in the bottom of my pullover (laboriously knitted by my grandmother) I discovered that they could! My mother was rather annoyed when she saw the damage so I told her that a boy I did not like had done it. I thought that would be the end of the matter until she went to see Miss Garrett, the headmistress, to demand that the boy’s parents pay for a new pullover! Unfortunately, I had forgotten that the boy concerned had been absent from school on the day in question. Miss Garrett was not pleased with me!

I remained in class 1 until Easter 1965, after which I moved up to Class 2 where my teacher was Mrs Hully. We had a class photograph taken (picture 2 above) and I think all the names listed are correct, (if you spot any mistakes, please let me know):

TOP ROW: Ian Holding, David Meeson, Alexander Rudkin, Nicholas Cunningham, Peter Humphries, Michael Strover, David Elliot.
SECOND ROW: Neil Kitchen, Gregory Molyneux, Alan Randall, Kenneth Basnett, Tony Cotgreave, George Humphreys, Tony Salmon, Kirti Barooah.
THIRD ROW: Julie Maysmor, Jeanette Threlfall, Christine Downey, Karen Dalton, Cynthia Schears, Sandra Forman, Karen Wareing, Carolyn Wright.
FOURTH ROW: Lynda Pinnington, Jackie Mellor, Helen Tressey, Debra Rawlinson, Mimi Sieve, Julie Johnson, Hazel Patterson.
BOTTOM ROW: David Brown, John Cain, Philip Smith, Stephen Starkey, Graham Aughton, Stephen Catt, Baljet Ghumbier.

In September 1965 I was promoted to Class 4, under the leadership of Mrs Perkins. In November I celebrated my 6th birthday. It was a school custom to call everyone with a birthday onto the stage in morning assembly. The whole school would sing “Happy Birthday to You”, and you were given one sweet for each year of your age and a badge saying “I am 6” to wear all day in school. You could wear it home that night but you were in serious trouble if you failed to return it the next day. In the last week of November 1965 there was a heavy fall of snow. I remember trudging back to school in a blizzard after going home to lunch, and Mrs Perkins laughing at me and calling me a snowman as I entered the classroom.

Every child at Woolton County Primary School had to have a pair of plimsolls in a “pump-bag” which lived on your cloakroom hook, and only went home at the end of term. On days of heavy rain or snow, if you wore wellington boots to school, you had to change into your plimsolls and leave your wellies in the cloakroom, fastened together with a clothes peg on which your name was written. On winter days, such as this, we wore duffel coats with wooden “toggles”. On another occasion the same winter, I slipped over on the way to school and landed flat on my back in a deep puddle. The icy water soaked everything I was wearing, and Mrs Perkins moved me to a desk near the heater for the afternoon!

As 1966 commenced I was still in Mrs Perkins’ class. One of the good things about Class 4 was that we had the school tri-cycle. Every afternoon two children were allowed to ride it around the empty playground. When it got to the last day of the half-term, and I had not yet been out on it, I assumed it was my turn, in spite of the fact that two other names were called as Mrs Perkins wheeled the trike out of the stockroom. I went to follow them outside and, as I reached the door, Mrs Perkins roared, “And where do you think you are going, young man?” I remember the class laughing at me as I slunk back to my desk, and I never got to ride the trike.
 
After Easter I was promoted to Class 6 where my teacher was Mrs Garnett for the second time, and in September 1966 I was promoted to Class 9 (the top class) where my teacher was Mrs Hully again. Our classroom was in the newly built wing at the top end of the school. The clothes pegs in this cloakroom had no numbers, but I got the loose one. It had a screw missing and kept twisting upside down, dropping my coat on the floor, where someone would find it and put it in the Lost Property basket! We would listen every week to a programme on the BBC Home Service (now known as Radio 4). It was called “Time & Tune” and we all had copies of the music book so we could sing along. Picture 3 shows the cover of the book for Summer Term 1967.

My brother John started school on Monday 1st May 1967 and was placed in Class 1 with Mrs Evans. On Tuesday 9th May he went on stage at assembly to receive his five sweets and birthday badge while the school sang, “Happy Birthday, dear John”. He gave his sweets to Mrs Evans to mind until home time. Unfortunately he forgot to get them back. She must still have them!

As I left the Infants' Department in 1967, these were the staff:
Class 1: Mrs Evans
Class 2: (if anyone can fill this gap, please contact me!)
Class 3: Mrs Pittaway
Class 4: Mrs Roberts
Class 5: Mrs Perkins
Class 6: Mrs Garnett
Class 7: Miss Davies (reputed to be well past retirement age)
Class 8: Miss Kilburn
Class 9: Mrs Hully.

The headmistress was Miss Garrett, the school secretary was Mrs Hamilton and the school nurse (I think that was her job title) was Mrs Hollywood. I remember she was superb on the occasion that I had a severe nosebleed after diving face-first down the mud bank at the side of the playground steps! We also had frequent visits from the "nit-nurse", a lovely Irish lady who drove a yellow Ford Anglia. I remember flagging her down with a group of other children as she drove through the school gates, having successfully climbed the school drive with a bag of shopping perched on the roof of her car!

The Junior Department (1967-1971)
In July 1967 I finished my three years in the Infants’ Department and in September I started in the Junior Department, in the days when classes were “streamed” according to ability. I was put in the top set, Class 1W, with Mrs S. M. Williams as my teacher. There were 41 children in this class, and 128 in the school year. (Class 1DB had only 12 children).

I can still remember all the classes in the Junior Department that year:
1DB: Mrs Davedos in the morning, Mrs L Benson in the afternoon,
1T: Miss Tebbutt
1D: Miss Davies (later to become Mrs Laing)
1W: Mrs S M Williams
2L: Mr Lewis until he retired at Christmas, then Miss M Hing, and the class became 2H
2Q: Mrs G M Quayle
2W: Miss Wright
3D: Mr J Dewsnap
3W: Mr G D Williams
3L: Mr Laird
4N: Miss A Morgan (who became Mrs Drewe after I left the school)
4H: Mr Haddaway
4M: Mr A Matthews

The headmaster was Mr F. O’Connor. Mr Williams and Mr Matthews later became headmasters of other schools in Liverpool, and Mr Dewsnap left the school and was spotted around Woolton Village lecturing small groups of people about the history and architecture of the place. Standing by the staff car park, waiting for the 9 o’clock bell, we watched the teachers arrive in their cars. The headmaster had a Rover (registration UFY 1), Miss Morgan had a red VW beetle (2992 FM), Mr Matthews had a white Ford Anglia (7711 VM), and Mr Haddaway had a white Corsair (5162 LV). These registration numbers would be worth a fortune nowadays!
 
The first important event in the autumn term of 1967 was the Harvest Festival. The school hall was decked out with flowers and food, which were later distributed to local good causes. Flowers had to be brought in one day, food the next. I brought flowers on the food day and was suitably humiliated in front of the class by the teacher who had to try to squeeze them into the display.

The view from our classroom window was spectacular. On a clear day the Pennines could be seen, as could the slagheap at Cronton Colliery. The power station at Fiddlers’ Ferry was being built and we watched as four cooling towers eventually became eight. This view took our minds off the boring mathematics books, on which we were working, multiplying boys by boats and girls by dolls. I shared a desk with David Meeson (who, sadly, died in February 1968), Nigel Burrell and Jeanette Monks. The term finished with the School Play, produced by Mr Matthews. In 1967 it was “The Tinder Box”. My end of term report shows that I was placed 8th in the whole school year.

It was very cold during the first months of 1968. It was the year that production of the Ford Anglia stopped and the Escort was introduced, with the slogan, “Our small car isn’t, our small price is!” Retailing at £695, Ford tried to ensure that all our parents bought one by sending leaflets and cardboard cut-out Ford Escorts to all the Primary Schools in the area.

On Monday 11th March, without any warning, shortly before lunchtime, Liverpool’s bus drivers and conductors went on strike. One girl in my class, who lived on Queens Drive, Mossley Hill, had no way of getting home. I can remember Mrs Williams making arrangements for her to have a lift. The strike was to last eleven weeks, after which a large number of drivers and conductors had left, the resultant shortage meaning many bus routes would never operate again. Another effect of the strike was to speed up the conversion of services to “OMO” (One-Man-Operation).

At Easter Class 1DB was disbanded and four of its members were put in our class for the summer term. One of these boys made fun of me for some reason on the way home one night, and managed to punch me. His elder brother, who was 11 at the time, saw this happen and laughed! Some other lads saw the incident and decided to call and tell my mother, who complained to the headmaster, Mr O’Connor. Both boys were caned - those were the days! Afterwards, the two boys involved came and apologised to me, and we remained friends for many years afterwards.

On Thursday 9th May my brother John was six years old. Remembering the previous year’s disaster, when he forgot to reclaim his sweets from Mrs Evans, he ate one, then took the precaution of hiding the others in his coat pocket in the cloakroom. Unfortunately, at home time, he discovered that someone had pinched them!

My end of term report in July 1968 placed me 4th in the class, now consisting of 44 members, and 4th in the year out of 127. I was never going to do better than this!

On 4th September I started in Class 2Q, with Mrs G. M. Quayle as my teacher. At the end of the autumn term I achieved 8th place in a class of 44, and a year of 134. I scored 88% in the English exam and 80% in Mathematics, but my report stated that my term’s work was often “below standard”. Mrs Quayle summed me up with the phrase, “Anthony takes life very easily”. I did not realise this at the time, but life really was easy.

In December our headmaster, Mr O’Connor, retired. Mr O’Connor had actually cut the ribbon to declare the school open in 1957 and, when he retired, the firm but easy-going atmosphere in the school retired with him. Our new headmaster was going to be completely different.

Wednesday 8th January 1969 saw the start of the school term, under the leadership of our new headmaster, Mr David Trivett (pronounced with the emphasis on the second syllable). His opening speech urged us to make our school “THE best school in Liverpool”. Apparently this could be achieved by wearing our school ties at all times! Pupils who came to school tie-less were publicly humiliated at assembly. He decided that we were no longer going to sing the morning hymn from a sheet hanging above the stage. We were going to use the “Songs of Praise” hymnbook. We each had to purchase our own copy and bring it to assembly every day, or face the consequences. I still have mine. He would rant and rave from the stage, terrifying us into complying with his instructions. He announced that our school reports would no longer tell us our position in the class, presumably to avoid humiliation of those who came lower down. Instead, we were given an “age”, to indicate our achievement compared to our actual age. We noticed over the coming months that Mr Trivett’s hair frequently changed colour!
 
A student teacher, Miss Dors, took our class for the last few weeks of the spring term and on the last day was very tearful as she left. She had hidden a (very) small chocolate egg in each desk, and I caught the boy who sat next to me in the process of removing mine to “check it was OK”.

In the summer term a group of student teachers visited our class every Wednesday afternoon. They worked with us in groups of six, supervised by their leader, Mr Armstrong, from St Katherine’s College. The swinging sixties were coming to an end, and these student teachers were among the last of the real hippies. Our group was taught by Miss Marilyn Sharrock, whom the boys thought was gorgeous. I fell totally in love with her! She came from Chorley, and even told us her home address. Although she was only with us for half a term, she remembered us all the following Christmas. I still have the card she sent me.  If you’re reading this, Miss Sharrock, please get in touch!

This year John stayed away from school on his birthday, 9th May, as he was slightly ill. This meant that he did not receive his seven birthday sweets. After the disasters of the previous two years, when he forgot to reclaim them from his teacher, and then had them stolen, I don’t think it really bothered him! The term ended with the new style reports. I was 9 years and 7 months old, but my maths age was 12 years and my reading age was 13 years and 8 months. How did I do it?

On Wednesday 3rd September school resumed. I was in Class 10 (new numbering system devised by Mr Trivett) with Mr G D Williams, affectionately known as “Willigogs”. My brother John joined us in the Junior Department, a few days late due to a broken arm incurred during the holidays. He was in Class 1 with Mrs Belton, a temporary teacher covering for Mrs Laing who was on maternity leave.

The school employed a music teacher called Miss Turton who appeared to be about 80 years of age. She taught us to play the recorder.  I still have mine, see picture 4, as well as the text book that we used. Mr Williams kept disappearing on various courses and an elderly supply teacher called Mr Mathieson would replace him. As Christmas approached, the entire teaching staff would disappear for hours on end (I wonder where?) and the whole school would be sent to the assembly hall to sing Christmas carols, directed by Mr Mathieson, with Miss Turton on the piano.
 
As 1970 started, Mr Williams had the whole of Class 10 working on a “project” about metals. We learned how to tell most metals apart and visited a few places to see metals at work. We went to see Bernie Blackmore, the Woolton blacksmith, on Quarry Street. We watched him shoe a horse and collected worn horseshoes to take back to school. I still have mine. Then we went to Gateacre Comprehensive School where we saw the metalwork room, but the best was on Saturday 31st January. We gathered outside the school, on a frosty morning, and were taken by coach to the Cammell Laird shipyard at Birkenhead. This was a fascinating place, especially as we were shown a “Hunter Killer” submarine, part of the top-secret nuclear weaponry being developed for the “cold war”.

In April, the 3rd year went to Colomendy for a week. This was an educational camp in North Wales, operated by the Liverpool Education Committee. As the thought of this terrified me, I managed to avoid going. The six of us who did not go were given a huge list of work to do, whilst sitting in the back row of Miss Wright’s 4th year class. The total tedium of dozens of mathematics and comprehension exercises, coupled with Miss Wright’s constant lectures about “nuisances” who were scared of Colomendy, got the better of us. By the end of the week we were all off sick. The one bright spot that week was the great quarry fire. Woolton Quarry was then used as a huge dump for old tyres. Somehow it caught fire. As we stood at our front gate (over a mile from the quarry) the sun was blocked by a thick wall of black smoke, and it actually seemed like twilight! It took several days to bring the fire under control and it smouldered for nearly a month afterwards. We told the class about it when they returned from Colomendy, but they already knew, as the smoke could be seen from North Wales!

The Liverpool Show took place at Wavertree Playground on Thursday, Friday and Saturday 16th, 17th and 18th July 1970. Our class had a stall about metals in the Liverpool Education Committee tent, organised by Mr Williams. We had to staff it in three shifts. I did 4-7 pm on Thursday, which was the last day of term, 1-4 pm on Friday and 10 am-1 pm on Saturday.

On Thursday 3rd September school resumed. I was now in the top class (Class 15) with Miss A Morgan. Three prefabricated classrooms had been added to the school to cater for the “baby boom” of the 1960’s. I list here the teaching staff at Woolton County Primary School Junior Department for the academic year 1970/71.

Headmaster: Mr D Trivett
Deputy head: Mrs S M Williams
Class 1: Miss Henty (later to become Mrs Watson)
Class 2: Miss Wright
Class 3: Miss Beryl Bernard (later became Mrs Clancy). She retired in July 2004 and I was saddened to hear she passed away in 2005
Class 4: Mr J Jones (the last one on this list to still be teaching at Woolton - he retired in 2006)
Class 5: Mrs Hartley
Class 6: Mrs Cooper (my brother was in this class)
Class 7: Miss D Elliott
Class 8: Mr G Jones
Class 9: Miss Wren (I was their “class-minder”)
Class 10: Mr H Paul Bate LL.B
Class 11: Mr Haycock
Class 12: Miss Bywater, (later became Mrs McColl)
Class 13: Mr Dewi Thomas
Class 14: Mr Roberts
Class 15: Miss A Morgan (later became Mrs Drewe)
French: Miss M Hing
Spare: Mrs G Green and Miss Valerie Collier
School secretary: Mrs Weeks

We were in the top classroom at the farthest (east) end of the school, sharing a landing with Mr Bate’s class. Mr Bate had recently come from Newsham Primary School and was put in charge of music. He immediately set about forming a choir and orchestra, and wrote the School Song:-

One day, not so far away, we’ll look back and think of Woolton,
Our school was the best, we’ll say, none could ever rival us!
Working hard and playing hard was our golden rule –
Proud of just belonging to Woolton School,
Woolton, Woolton, we shall ne’er forget!

Life’s a challenge, so they say. We shall make our way from Woolton,
Forward, onto life’s highway, marching with our heads held high!
Facing up to whatever life may have to bring,
Looking on the bright side, remembering
Woolton, Woolton, we shall ne’er forget!

I was chosen for both choir and orchestra, because I sang very loudly (and almost in tune!) and had mastered the recorder. There were 36 pupils in Class 15; twenty boys and sixteen girls. Miss Morgan arranged us in boy/girl pairs at double desks, supposedly to help us concentrate. As there were more boys than girls, I was paired with Michael Heaps on a desk in the front row. These were my classmates: Mike Askew, Stephen Catt, Malcolm Cawood, Tony Cotgreave, Christopher Dennington (a leap year baby, who claimed to be only 2 and a half), Derek Dottie, Simon Edwards (famous for setting off a stink bomb during a lesson), David Elliot, John Franklin, Michael Heaps, Russell Mahoney, George Mason, James Plaistow, Mark Rowlands, Alistair Smith, Phillip Smith (no relation), Alan Spencer (head boy), Ian Stott, Michael Strover, Susan Bishop (head girl), Christine Downey, Alison Forster, Sandra Gebbie, Margaret Harper, Helen Hotchkiss, Sarah Hughes, Dianne Lowndes, Jeanette Monks, Pamela Pickett, Kay Pittaway (whose mother was a teacher in the Infants’ Department), Eleanor Stocks, Jillian Warburton, Katie Whitehead, Anne Winder and Carolyn Wright. I met Michael Strover in 2003, but George Mason is the only one in the list with whom I still have regular contact. If anyone named here is reading this, it would be great to hear from you.

Our Mathematics text book was “Beta Book 4”. Picture 5 is the front cover and picture 6 is the list of contents. Nowadays you could get an “A” Level with the stuff in this book. Trigonometry, long division, surface areas and the like are unheard of in primary schools these days.
 
Those in our class who were not prefects were appointed as “classminders” to supervise other classes during wet playtimes. I was paired up with Stephen Catt and given Class 9, the worst class in the school. They were completely uncontrollable. Stephen Catt coped by simply never turning up, leaving me at their mercy. During a snowstorm they threw me out of the window. I walked round but, as soon as I re-entered the classroom, they threw me out again. I spent the whole break walking round in the snow, with no coat, just to be thrown out again!

Mr Bate was given the job of producing the Christmas play. He decided to do two operettas in 1970; “Sploosh”, based on a “Wind in the Willows” story, and “Scrooge”, based on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. I got the part of Scrooge’s nephew, and rehearsals started in October. These rehearsals took place from 4.00 pm until 5.00 pm, “Sploosh” on Mondays and Wednesdays, “Scrooge” on Tuesdays and Thursdays. One Thursday I discovered a member of Class 9, who was still on the premises at 5 o’clock, when I went to collect my coat. He had found a large box of plastic bags and was filling them with water, then throwing them onto the playground. We joined him, running back and forth to Class 14’s room, which had a sink. On one trip he fell over, bursting his bag in the corridor, just as Miss Wren appeared. He legged it and Miss Wren ran after him. When she reached the wet area she skidded and slammed herself into the wall, miraculously staying upright. We didn’t wait to hear what she had to say.

The school play (see pictures 7 to 10 for the official Programme) took place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 8th, 9th and 10th December. Many industries were suffering from strikes for higher pay at that time and MANWEB, the local electricity company, were having problems. On the opening night, at 5.25 pm, the area was disconnected. We prepared ourselves in a school lit by candles. At 7.30, when the play was due to commence, Mr Trivett suggested waiting for power to be restored. At 8 o’clock we gave up waiting and the performance started on a stage lit by three dozen candles and several hand-held torches. The lights finally came on at 10.30 pm as we took our final bow. Mr Trivett gave a speech, then he made us perform the closing chorus again with the spotlights on. My father was in the audience that night and my mother came on the Wednesday. (They could not come together as that would have meant getting a babysitter for my brother. Children who attended the school were not allowed to buy tickets for the performances as they had seen the dress rehearsals). The Liverpool Weekly News ran an article about the play, including a picture with me in it. Mr Bate received great acclaim in the Liverpool Weekly News for having written the music and words for the play himself. However, my father found the words of two of the songs in an old book from his childhood days, published around 1930! Best if we don’t mention it, really………

On the last day of term the school Christmas decorations were removed. I managed to pocket a few flowers made from apple trays and tissue paper with glitter centres. I still have them!

The game of marbles, or “ollies” as we called them, was very popular at the time. The playground was full of children playing to win. Some people amassed huge collections of marbles in this way. One of my brother John’s classmates had formed a gang with a few unsavoury characters. We referred to them as “The Ollie Company”. They didn’t bother playing the game; they simply beat people up to obtain their marbles. John and I were not really into the marble craze but had let it slip in conversation that we had over a hundred of the things at home. These boys and their “heavies” took us to a quiet corner and asked us to bring the marbles in to school the next day, or be killed. Our Dad spotted us sneaking the marbles out of the house and interrogated us. The result; our Dad had a word with Mr Trivett, the gang members were dealt with and children all over the school got their stolen marbles back!

It was a school tradition that every Wednesday morning each class in 3rd and 4th year would be marched up Out Lane and through Woolton Village to the swimming baths. Being a non-swimmer I hated this. I had run out of fictitious illnesses and had been told that next time I “forgot” my kit I would be swimming naked. This called for drastic action. Our swimming teacher, Miss Collier, would notice me missing from the line as we walked up, but I reckoned that she would not notice me missing from a crowded pool. I disappeared into a poolside changing cubicle and remained there for the whole lesson. It worked! At the end of the lesson I rejoined the class. Later that day Miss Morgan took me aside and told me that Miss Collier was not an idiot, and had noticed my dry hair and swimming kit on the way back to school. Furthermore, she told me that Mr Trivett would deal with the matter if it happened again!
 
Mr Trivett, meanwhile, had introduced another device to terrify the pupils - “Book Inspection”. Twice a term he would visit each class, sit at the teacher’s desk while the teacher went off for a break, and call us up one by one. We had to bring our exercise books to him and he would scan through them looking at marks, teachers’ comments and general tidiness. If you were average nothing happened. If you were doing well you got three house points. If you were doing extremely well you got five house points, but if you were below standard you lost five house points. The rest of the class would theoretically be reading but in reality were watching what was happening at the front desk. I had always been a “zero point” pupil but shortly after the swimming incident this changed. Mr Trivett, who was already fuming because he had spotted a boy with no tie, took my books and flicked through them. He came upon a maths exercise that I had completely misunderstood. He read out Miss Morgan’s comments to the whole class. “4 out of 10, see me!” he roared. He flung my books onto the floor and shouted, “Lose five points!”

A few days later I was in trouble again. Each playtime a group of us would build dams across a stream that trickled from a blocked grid at the side of the playground. To make the stream flow faster we would push rubbish from a nearby litter bin into the grid then turn all the toilet taps on. This would cause quite a flood. It was my turn to guard the grid and shout instructions through the window to the boys at the toilet taps. Suddenly the flow of water stopped. I was unaware that the caretaker’s assistant, Robert (a young man who was nearly seven feet tall), had turned all the taps off and was taking the boys in the toilet to see the headmaster. I also failed to notice that all the dam builders had fled. I carried on shouting instructions until the hand of the caretaker, Mr Palmer, descended heavily upon my bottom! Then I was caught outside the school fence, retrieving a ball that had been kicked into Out Lane. Mr Trivett warned me that if I expected to be accepted by the Blue Coat School, to whom I had applied for admission, I would have to improve my work and behaviour. My conduct, in his opinion, was almost as bad as failing to wear a tie! His warning worked. At the next book inspection I got three points and at the two following I got five points!

In May my mother caught pneumonia. I took three weeks off school to go shopping and generally be around. I returned to discover that I had missed the National “IQ” test, which had recently replaced the “11+”. Disaster! Without this my academic career was doomed. But the Liverpool Education Committee came to the rescue by holding an extra sitting at the Our Lady of the Assumption Roman Catholic Primary School in Belle Vale. Catherine Harvey, from class 14, was in the same position as me and her father kindly gave me a lift.

In July the school started to prepare us for our departure. This was achieved by organising a concert and prize-giving night, a farewell party and a “Leavers’ Service” held at St James’s Methodist Church when, as a choir, we made our final performance. Mr Bate had included “Will ye no’ come back again?” as a “hymn”, and we sang the School Song for the last time in front of a congregation of tearful parents. It was instilled into us that life was about to become very serious and full of hard work. This cheered us up immensely! On the last day of term the playground was full of children collecting autographs and most of the 4th year girls were in tears all day. At four o’clock I met John as usual by the steps outside class 14 and we walked down Out Lane. The lollipop lady, Peggy Bellringer, saw me over the road for the last time and that was it, the end of a major chapter in my life.

Epilogue
My brother was two years behind me, and left the school in July 1973. In September that year my mother (Mrs Salmon – anybody remember her?) took a job as a “dinner lady”, supervising children in the Junior Department at lunch time. She held this post for about seven years. On one occasion in 1974, when the Liverpool Blue Coat School’s half-term break was a week before Woolton County Primary’s, I accompanied my mother to work. This was the one and only time I ever had a meal prepared by the legendary Mrs Duff. Whilst a pupil at the school, I had always gone home for lunch.

One of the children in my mother’s charge had recently won “New Faces”, a TV talent show. This girl went on to find fame as Kathy Bates in “Emmerdale”. Yes, you guessed, it was Malandra Borrows! Another pupil in my year, although not my class, was musician Dave Whittle. See the "LINKS" page to get to his website.

I kept in touch with the school for several years, and enjoyed going to the school play each year. From 1977 I was leader of a Junior Youth Club at St James’s Methodist Church in Woolton. Most of the children who attended this club went to Woolton County Primary School. In 1979 many of them were in what is believed to be the best ever Christmas play at the school, when the musical “Annie” was performed. Picture 11 shows a copy of the programme, autographed by many of the cast. I have in my possession the programmes for the following productions:
1970: Sploosh & Scrooge
1973: The Pickwick Capers
1977: Hansel and Gretel
1978: Tom Sawyer
1979: Annie
1980: Follow the Star
1981: 25 Years of Memories
1982: The Snow Queen
1984: The Wizard of Oz

In 2007, the school celebrated its 50th birthday – the Golden Jubilee. Picture 12 shows a commemorative mug, produced for the Silver Jubilee in 1982.  They produced another mug for 2007, but no grand re-unions or anything. What a pity, it would have been nice to go back. One day, perhaps......