Looking Back

School Days by Jean Pattle

My early school days at Markhams Chase were very traumatic for me, I hated it and would cry non stop. I can remember the classroom had a long corridor outside and in there was a large dapple grey rocking horse. The lovely teacher was Miss Whitley, she was so good at helping me to settle and would let me go out and ride on the rocking horse. I wonder if anyone remembers this horse. Later when I must have been about eight or nine Miss Whitley would allow myself and other members of the class to put on little shows in the hall, performing to other children at the school. I’m not very good at remembering names but some of the people I recall are:  Joyce Livingstone who left the area very early on. Hazel West, we never seemed to get on to well. Valerie Seeley and Veronica Freeman who had two long plaits down her back and would piggyback me round the playground at playtime, as we played Cowboys and Indians, as I hung onto her plaits as reins. Poor girl! I must have been about ten when we went on a school outing to London. This included a look around Windsor Castle and a boat ride on the Thames.

From Tattenham Road to Markhams Chase school was a very long walk to school for a small child of five years. But my poor mum would walk me there each day with my younger sister in the pram, then collect me in the afternoon in all weather conditions. There were no buses in those early days.

I loved the cinema and would go to the Radion as often as I could.  If it was an A certificate film and you could only get to see it with an adult, we would sit on the steps outside and ask everyone going in if they would get our ticket for us. Can you imagine letting your children do that to day?

There was no sewer or running water at the Ramblers, only a well which we would use for washing water. Drinking water was collected from a standpipe housed in a little brick cupboard at the end of the road. Mum had a key to this. We would all bath on Friday nights. Dad pumped up enough water from the well, for the tin bath they would bring in from the garden. This was heated in buckets on the gas stove. Then my sister and I would go in first, bath and go to bed. Then it was mum’s turn before dad. Each time more water would be added. This went on for many years until the drains, water etc, was put on for the new building of the King Edward estate. 

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  • Hello Jean – Yes, I remember that rocking horse in Miss Mayhew’s reception class at Markham’s Chase school and would love to have had a ride on it, but unfortunately, I never did. I started there in 1951 but because I was a very shy and timid child, my little classmates would push and hustle to get on the horse, so I hung back and gave up. What memories! Nina Burton

    By Nina Humphrey (24/05/2011)

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