Chapter XIII

Leeds 1944-1952


BACK TO A DAY school after several years of boarding school! When Miss Jones returned to Leeds, she said she felt that she was not earning her salary, as the work was so much easier than it had been during evacuation. I felt much the same. It was really good, too, to have home comforts again.

The military were still in possession of Sheafield, so I was able to have a whole year in the Main School, which was a great joy to me. There were naturally big readjustments to be made, but it was good to be back in the life of the big school and to renew friendships with the staff and boys; to live strictly to time and not to be responsible for any bells.

One change that had taken place in the time table was that there was now no Saturday morning school; but Tuesdays and Thursdays were whole school days; I thought this an improvement on the whole.

One task I had undertaken all through the war was to collect articles for the Leodiensian; first a Fairbourne page, then a Buckden one. Before that I had been responsible for the Junior School page. I was very sorry when that lapsed, as the articles were generally most amusing.

It was a great pleasure to attend school matches again. On 11th October, 1944, I watched a Rugger match v. St. Peter’s which was a draw—8-8. Mr. R. F. Oakes was there: he used to keep an eye on our team; I had a talk with him. His son, who was in my form in the early days, had been killed. Amongst my hundreds of photographs I still have some which he took of my form and me in the form-room.

AT THE END of that term there was an entertainment. The staff did a scene from Pickwick: Bardell v. Pickwick. We rehearsed whenever we could, generally in the dinner hour. I was Mrs. Cluppins and I enjoyed the part. Mr. Ince was, as usual, Mr. Pickwick. By this time there was a green room, conveniently near the Upper School stage; so things were much easier for the actors than they had been when we had to get ready in the dining-room and ascend to the Upper School by a spiral staircase, which was open to view all the way, much affecting anyone inclined to dizziness. The green room was a great improvement.

I have not mentioned in the earlier part of the book the buildings and structural changes in Dr. Terry Thomas’ time; the new form-rooms built on the north side—I well remember the noise and the dust—the swimming bath and new gymnasium. Canon Wynne-Edwards had had much building done, the whole long terrace of form-rooms, but that was before my time.

Some remarks the Headmaster made to me that first term are worth recording. He told me to be prepared to teach a lot more art, and that I had to bear my sorrow in silence. When I asked him for permission to use the epidiascope, he said: “You can use anything in this school except my time.” On another occasion, when I mentioned that I had a bad cold he told me to repress it till the holidays!

DURING THE SUMMER term of 1945 we had, of course, better and better war news, many wild rumours as well, working up to the climax of V.E. Day on 8th May when we had three days’ holiday, including Ascension Day. It was grand to hear the church bells ringing, and to go to church to give thanks. We had a thanksgiving service at school on the Friday of that week.

In the summer holidays I stayed at Lee Vicarage near Ifracombe and was there for V.J. Day. That was where I was when war broke out; it seemed fitting that I should be there at the end. With it came the news of the Atomic Bomb. How much that was to influence our lives no one guessed.

IN SEPTEMBER we returned to Sheafield and its semi-isolation from the main school. One loses touch and one is not at hand when Old Leodiensians and old masters visit the school. The visitors can rarely find time to do a double visit. Barry Vail was very faithful, always coming to visit us when he was on leave. He once gave a much appreciated talk on life in the army to my form. When Eric Wightman left school, he was always very considerate in visiting us and in lending a helping hand whenever he could.

The Headmaster was very sympathetic and promised me we should never be cut off and should never lose contact with the main school. Unfortunately and inevitably, this did not turn out to be so; and I felt the difference, especially at the time of my retirement.

The Headmaster had, with generous forethought, given me some work there on one afternoon in the week—and how I enjoyed it. This lasted to within 15 months of my leaving.

WE STARTED SCHOOL there on 12th September. Things were hardly organized at first and much of the necessary material was missing. Mr. Ince was no longer in charge, as he had become senior master. His place was taken by Mr. Everett, who had taught for a year or two at Hartlington Hall. He is a strong character of decided views; he and I occasionally ‘had words’, but we always parted friends. Mrs. Everett used to teach on three days in the week, she was a great help in the organization of various out-of-lesson arrangements. She also made tea very nicely at break! Recently that job fell on me, as being one of the most punctual of the staff, and so generally ‘on the spot’ first.

That term, unluckily for Leeds Grammar School, Mr. Brittain retired on account of ill-health. Mr. Tongh had retired before I returned to Leeds.

There was a strike of tram workers in the September; so transport was not easy. I offered myself as a conductress. I was not needed as there were plenty of volunteers. I don’t know when I thought I should do the job, after school hours I suppose. The boys were sorry when the strike was over; it had added some excitement to their lives.

As one of the best ‘beggars’ in the school, it always fell on me to beg for fruit and vegetables for the Harvest Festival at the school chapel. The response was always splendid, as it was when Mrs. Harvey of the R.S.P.C.A. gave me two collecting boxes every year.

BY THIS TIME I was teaching sons and nephews of men I had taught. I never taught a grandson, but I know that Mr. Mason Clarke did. His death at 82, still in harness, during the Whitsuntide holiday of 1953, was a great sorrow to all who knew him.

Later in the year Mr. P. H. Bengry, a very kindly man, died. I was next after him to be appointed on the Staff.

In January, 1951, Mr. D. L. W. Tongh had died suddenly. He was a great friend, generally very full of fun.

We had lost our faithful and loyal school porter. Harry Taylor, who had been at the school very many years. His wife died soon after.

THE FIRST TERM at Sheafield we had a whole week’s holiday for half-term. I made two visits; one to Buckden, where I stayed with my friends, the Grays, visiting all the people I knew. From there I went to Austwick and enjoyed Mrs. Wynne-Edwards’ unfailing hospitality. Unluckily for the boys, the holiday did not include 5th November. There was always great excitement on that day. I used to tell tales about many Bonfire Nights; the tales held veiled warnings. I wish the boys could have bought fireworks as cheaply as I did in my childhood.

I have a record in my diary to the effect that we beat Giggleswick at Rugger 30-nil on 17th November, 1945. I watched the match, it was a very great pleasure to meet so many Old Leodiensians, most of whom had been in the forces. W. L. S. M—— most generously gave me a set of Vatican stamps.

On that day I started the ball rolling in respect of a memorial to Canon Wynne-Edwards. When that got under way I had very little spare time. We eventually raised over £1,100. Mr. Jim Chalmers Park, Old Leodiensian, and his XXV Orchestra ran splendid concerts in aid of the fund. One concert was in the bitter January of 1947; how the orchestra did their jobs with semi-frozen fingers I do not know. At that concert Mr. John Chalmers Park, Old Leodiensian, home from Southern Rhodesia, took turns with Jim at conducting. The twins looked exactly alike, very few of us could tell which was which!

On 13th June, 1948, a memorial tablet of oak was unveiled by Mr. Robin Wynne-Edwards, Old Leodiensian, and dedicated by the Rev. S. Tetley, Old Leodiensian. We were delighted to have with us Mrs. Wynne-Edwards and all her children, except, unluckily, Cecil. Miss Wynne-Edwards, then over 80, came all the way from the south coast. The service was most impressive and very moving; the chapel was full and it was heartening to see so many Old Boys of Canon Wynne-Edwards’ time. Mr. Turner, the choir master and organist, was most kind in letting me choose the hymns and psalm. The conversations outside the chapel afterwards lasted nearly as long as the service!

We had helping us in the autumn term of 1945 a very lovable retired schoolmaster, Mr. Crossfill, who is a staunch member of Temperance societies. I was told that at the Main School the boys would print on the blackboard ‘Beer is Best’. Mr. Crossfill took it in good part, just adding the words ‘left alone’. He was also an authority on old Leeds and was most interesting. I remember his reciting to me one dinner hour! That year I taught singing to Junior 3 and Junior 1. It was rather a strain, I was much relieved when Eric Wightman played the piano for me. He was also very helpful in playing our hymns at prayers occasionally. (Those days were before the arrival of Mr. Raper.)

HERE IS A TALE of how Mr. Raper brightened the end of one day. Miss Jones had written Junior 1’s prep. on the board: ‘(1) Write three sentences about the Emperor Claudius. (2) Write three sentences about Camulodunum’. Mr. Raper said he could do the first but the second worried him. He had a shot at it and wrote on the board: ‘The Arab didn’t lose his trousers because he had a Camulodunum’ (camel ’odden ’em). You should be Yorkshire to appreciate this joke. It was some time before Miss Jones saw it, in spite of her long sojourn in Yorkshire.

Now a tale I had from a parent. A Christian and a Jew were eating their mid-day sandwiches; boy-like, they were interested in the fillings of the sandwiches. When the Christian said he had bacon in his, the Jew said he wasn’t allowed to eat bacon as it was unclean. The Christian said: “Oh, try some of mine; they’re quite clean. Mother made them.”

MR. EVERETT used often to get his tongue in a knot. I was much amused, having a fellow feeling for him. One cold morning in December he said: “Let’s have a Christmas hymn; we’ll sing ‘In the meak blid-winter’.” In admonishing the boys, “We mustn’t lose the grain we’ve gound.” Wittily, at the end of the second day of one term, he announced: “It seems a long term.”

One Empire Day I asked Mr. Raper if we could have Kipling’s Recessional at prayers. He demurred saying that the words were so difficult for the boys to understand, e.g. ‘reeking tube’ he could understand, but what about ‘iron chard’? Neither of us could give an answer to that, so Mr. Raper looked it up in the dictionary and read aloud, “the wing cover of a beetle”! That was an amusing cheery start to the day.

I had a good one from a boy, J. J. N. P——: “Miss Time, will you please tell me the Christie?” This was after a very big tea and games, a House affair.

At tea I had sat with Junior 6 by their special invitation; I found it much more fun to sit with the boys, as I generally did, always at their request, than at the high table. The Junior Houses, Smeaton and Nicholson, both names of famous Old Boys, had been founded in the Rev. W. L. Johnson’s time. He was the first house-master of Smeaton, the Rev. C. D. Cranmer the first of Nicholson. I was always attached to Smeaton House. Excitement ran very high during House matches, swimming and sports; some of the results were surprising. In 1948 Nicholson were all out for nine in the cricket match! We had House prayers once a week. The boys were always urged to beat the other House in behaviour, etc. Mr. Raper induced the boys of Smeaton to go to their form-rooms in complete silence, by making them pretend they were Red Indians!

ONE THING troubled us all, that was a disagreeable smell emanating from one of two factories—or from both—in the Kirkstall direction. This had been a curse of the district for more than 30 years, and as I am something of a fighter, I decided not to take it lying down. Sheafield suffered even more than the Main School, though it was bad enough there. I was told that people in Mount Preston used to put Vapex on their handkerchiefs at night in an effort to counteract the smell. I soon found out that no notice was taken of one person’s complaints. So some of us wrote letters to the papers, parents of the boys wrote to the Health Department and we organised a giant petition. Mrs. J. E. Roberts, who had been a sufferer for many years, helped with the petition.

The smell was always at its worst in summer; it had a bad effect on us all, giving us headaches and sore throats. On very hot days we had to shut all windows facing the wind to try to keep out the smell. I actually lit cigarettes and put them on the window ledges, having to watch them as I was teaching. I resorted to Joss sticks, one boy said they had a worse odour than that from the factories! Mr. Raper was thrilled, he came into the form-room sniffing the air with great joy as it reminded him of India. He begged for one of the sticks and got it.

A doctor, father of a boy in my form, presented me with some enamel basins and some Dettol. These were used. One year I kept a chart in red ink; the line ascended with the foulness of the smell! In the middle of a lesson a boy would shout: “Miss Christie, the smell.” so out came the chart. The Health inspectors told me they found my chart most useful, it was shown to the people in charge of the factories.

After much publicity, the Health Department were very efficient, doing a great deal to mitigate the nuisance. They asked me to telephone whenever we were troubled. I complied with their request. Very often after a telephone call, two inspectors arrived and went from us straight to the factories. I am pleased to know that things have greatly improved after all our efforts. Boys who had gone up to the Main School, after being with us, used to waylay me and enquire: “Miss Christie, how’s the smell?”

OUR SCHOOL CHAPEL is much changed since I first saw it. There is a new “east” window, which faces north; the pews have been renovated, a pulpit has been given in memory of an Old Leodiensian, who lost his life in the first world war, and there are memorial windows and tablets. We have a wonderful choir, Mr. Turner (the organist) is a master in the art. The Rev. A. White (the chaplain) has most of the organizing to do and does it remarkably well. The number of services has been much curtailed since the last war.

I used to attend the chapel regularly until 1939. It was closed during the war and was still closed for the first year after I returned to Leeds. During that year I became attached to a church at Headingley, and was elected a member of the Parish Council. So it was a case of divided loyalties.

The chapel does not lend itself to decoration. We were glad to have a tall man as chaplain at the time of the Harvest Festival, as he is able to reach high ledges and put apples, oranges and tomatoes thereon.

YEARS AGO I remember exemplary behaviour on the part of the choir in very unusual circumstances. During a service I saw the choir boys looking upwards and C. L. K—— biting his lips to prevent his smiling. I looked up and saw a black cat on the top of one of the organ pipes! It must have been there all through the service. During the sermon it slid down the pipes, jumped to the floor, clutching at the lectern on the way, then walked slowly down the aisle with tail erect. All honour to those choir boys for their decorum.

After one Confirmation service, I was much surprised and amused when a choir boy winked at me as the choir filed out. One day at the beginning of a weekday service for the juniors, I heard a stage whisper behind me. J. M. H——: “Miss Christie, I’ve brought my crab”!

THE JUNIOR SCHOOL are privileged in having two morning services a week in the chapel. After the service about 150 boys have to be conducted to Sheafield in an orderly way. I did the conducting for seven years, then I decided that someone else could have a turn.

The boys, of all forms, were most gallant and polite in offering to carry my bag and mackintosh. Before the service they used to race each other to me to secure the ‘honour’, often they would try to book ahead. One boy owned that his keenness was partly because, when escorting me, he got to Sheafield before anyone else!

ONE INNOVATION after the war was the daily milk at break. That is a thorn in the flesh of most teachers, who wonder how to organize things and to decide which is the least messy way of removing the tops. With the best will in the world there are often accidents, milk flows over the form-room floor and one has to cope with broken bottles. One form was very disappointed because I would not let them have the tops for flying saucers. The tops were made of aluminium and had to be returned. We used to call the boys who gave out the milk in my form the ‘cows’!

BOYS MUST OFTEN suffer from dull lessons, as they did with me, but I realised that attention can be gained with variety and invention; any form of game introduced into a lesson is a great success.

One could teach some Nature Study to Junior 1 by playing ‘Earth, Air, Fire and Water’, though ‘Fire’ had to be left out, as that means all must change places, and there would have been too much of a scramble. Junior 1 loved ‘O’Grady Says’ which we played at the end of a lesson: I used to send a boy to the door to see if the imaginary O’Grady had arrived; he did not come if the form had behaved badly. ‘Buzz’ is quite a good way of teaching tables. We played the ‘Parson’s Cat’ when we began to learn adjectives, and there is a very good ‘Consequences’ game which helps to teach different parts of speech and adverbial phrases.

A couple of gallows drawn on the blackboard added fun to any oral competition. For every wrong answer one bit was drawn: 14 ‘misses’ completed the hanging. I used to run this as a House competition. Neither House wanted to be hanged first.

At the end of French lessons I frequently ran a game of hide and seek. One boy hid a small piece of chalk, three boys looked for it, having had their eyes shut during the hiding. All commands were, of course, given in French.

From Mr. Serpell I inherited the ‘Blue Moon’ which took place at the end of the summer term. Wrapped sweets were hidden in the form-room, six boys at a time hunting for them; when found the sweets were unwrapped and eaten. Each action had to be related in French. I arranged it so that every boy in the form should have some kind of sweet but those successful at their first turn had the superior brands. One could not run this ‘Lune Bleue’ when sweets were rationed, three forms need a good many sweets. Sometimes we did ‘thought reading’ in French.

I used to make up Limericks about the boys and get them to do the same. One youngster told me I was getting very good at making up poetry. “You may be sometime as famous as Dickens”, he said!

Vocabulary I tested by getting one boy at a time to say in a minute as many words as possible with a given initial letter. Some boys were very optimistic and guessed they could say about 120 in a minute and were most surprised when 12 or 15 was the average. I had a boy in the form as a timekeeper and I generally gave a small prize.

At the end of term, when one had plenty of time with one’s own form, I made up anagrams of their names and once of the England and Australian cricket teams. They enjoyed ‘Coffee Pot’—and a favourite game was ‘Crimes’. That certainly taught alertness. One side tells of an imaginary crime someone has committed and each member of the side must ‘know’ all the details. The other side questions them and gets them ‘out’ as soon as there is any contradictory statement. Once I was supposed to have murdered a certain person because I was not satisfied with my wages!

During wet dinner hours we played ‘Twenty Questions’ and a variety of the game known as ‘Clumps’. I have a pocket game of cricket, which was always in much demand on wet days.

Occasionally I let a boy take a short lesson, I sat in the form as a pupil. Nearly all boys were keen to be the ‘master’ and they appreciated being called ‘sir’.

‘C’est la Guerre’ by Marc Ceppi was a great stand-by as a treat at the end of term. La Guerre is the 1914-18 one. There are some splendid and amusing tales, which, of course, I told in English. Regularly I read Four Plus Bunkle to my own form in a year; five or ten minutes at the end of a lesson when the work had been good. We once acted scenes from the book. I wrote the parts in French. We had to give two performances as we could get only half the audience into the form-room.

We sometimes had puppet shows. G. R. H—— was very good, choosing a team of boys to help him. They put in a good deal of practice in the dinner hour and delighted us all with topical jokes.

After Bonfire Night I used to run a top-spinning contest with Junior 1. The tops were made from the middle of Catherine wheels and match sticks. We had a knock-out competition, as a rule there was a prize of chocolate. The last time I tried it, one boy had made an excellent top which beat mine.

Then there are funny tales and riddles which always please small boys. I used to make up riddles of which answers were names of boys in the form. If you start on riddles there seems to be no end to them; you are trapped in the form-room at the end of the lesson and have numerous riddles fired at you, even the hoary one ‘When is a door not a door?’

BOYS LOVE RUBBISH. As a diversion I had a team of five or six boys who asked questions, another team had prepared answers, not knowing what the question was to be. The easiest was ‘Where?’ e.g. “Where did you eat your breakfast?” — “Down a rabbit hole.” The English book Fundamental English could be enlivened by getting one boy to give a correct answer, printed somewhere on the page, and another boy to give a different one, also printed, which made good rubbish.

Children who obey their parents
(1) are not likely to come to grief.
(2) find the animals kind and gentle in return.

To be eager is to be
(1) keen.
(2) exploded.

The horse chestnut
(1) has a leaf with seven parts.
(2) complained to the Headmaster.

Once I had started this, the boys always begged for the rubbish.

One day on the way home from school a boy asked me where I got all my jokes from and said he wished he knew as many as I did.

Another game, which went down well, was dumb impersonations of various professions, trades, etc.; the form had to guess what was represented.

WE HAD NO epidiascope at Sheafield, but we had a projector and a good number of film strips; there was an excellent one on spiders. I had made a film years before, by the Headmaster’s orders, about the Solar System and the stars. The boys’ enjoyment of this well repaid me for all the time and trouble I had spent in making it. It was not easy to arrange the showing of a film, as all the furniture in the room had to be moved, and the seating was difficult.

I had what I thought was a very good idea for teaching reduction of money. I did it by means of a ladder and two men drawn on the board, the boys made a copy in their exercise books. It seemed to help them. I would give away the ‘secret’ to anyone who wants it.

The Form Library was a flourishing concern; we had about 150 books—it was specially popular when I allowed the boys to take their books out during a lesson. The boys were very good and went on nobly with their work when it was not their turn. The librarians’ job of going through all the books at the end of each term was a big one.

We had a news-board on one of our doors in the form-room. The boys brought the cuttings; the ‘editors’ stuck them up after I had censored them—when I had time. Athletics generally took the prominent place.

I had charge of the Book room for several years, doing a roaring trade in pencils, rubbers, etc., at break on Tuesdays and Thursdays. As long as it was a room, the old bathroom, I did this job; but when another form-room was made, and the Book room became a cupboard only, rather dark and draughty, I handed it over with joy to Mr. Raper.

ONE MORNING I broke a tooth, and it was agony to talk, as the jagged edge cut my tongue. I wondered how I should get through the day, then I thought of chewing gum—I could fix a small piece over the tooth. Boys are very fond of this ‘sweet’. I felt sure there would be some in the school, I went to every room and drew a blank. I had asked my own form first; I returned to them to report my bad luck. One boy, A. E. W. P—— went very red in the face, and said hesitatingly: “Miss Christie, I have a piece in my pocket which I have chewed.” I used that, washing it first, and wasn’t I grateful to the boy!

G. D. W. H——, also in my form, told me of a ‘bob a job’ he had done by climbing through a window, then unlocking the door for a woman who had locked herself out. I said I thought that was worth at least 1s. 6d. and I would have given him that amount. Quick reply: “Well you lock yourself out. Miss Christie, and I’ll come and let you in.”

One boy, whose name was Chrispin, often generously gave me presents of Cox’s Orange Pippins. So I gave him the name of ‘Chrispippin’. He once offered me a guinea pig, which had yet to be born! I refused that.

The boy’s nickname stuck while he was in the Junior School. Other nicknames I have been responsible for— Mouse, Ghandi, Starch (the ‘ar’ pronounce the broad Yorkshire way), Sinkont Sink (the pronunciation of cinquante-cinq,) ’Ercules, and others.

I have come across one boy who used an alarm clock when doing his homework! He set it to ring in half an hour when time was up for a subject.

One boy’s father was an Old Leodiensian. As I was talking to him and mentioning the fact, the boy told me he was not born when his father went to school!

WE NEVER HAD an accidental fire, thank goodness, but we had regular fire practices. The school was emptied in record time after the alarm, the boys all lined up outside and the register was taken. Proceedings were enlivened when Mr. Raper carried out a ‘casualty’ from the building.

During the awful winter of early 1947. when all traffic was disorganized, we were sometimes late in starting school. One very bad morning, after a heavy fall of snow, Mr. Hughes suggested that the boys who had arrived in good time should build an igloo. They did their best, but they hardly knew the secret of construction, though all efforts were much better than lessons. The igloo lasted, on and off, for several days but it caused some trouble. Boys who had not had a hand in the making of it knocked it down; there were many grumbles, and work had to be started all over again. During that term we were without our daily milk on many occasions. Even the boys were tired of the snow before it went.

We had a ‘master of the day’, whose duties were to ring all bells, to time if possible, see the boys in and out of school three times a day, escort the majority from the Main School after dinner. That was an arduous job, as the crocodile was a very long one and it was not easy to maintain order and leave room on the path for the general public. Then there were various jobs before it was time to get all hands washed and inspect the same. How the master on duty dreaded a wet dinner hour, with six forms to supervise in as many rooms. During the dinner hour and at break there were often casualties—cut knees, bleeding noses, etc. If one could have been in three places at once it would have helped.

THE WORST CASUALTY with which I had to deal happened when I had just arrived at school one morning—I was nearly always the first of the Staff. I was told that a boy had hurt his arm and that I should go to him. Thinking it was one of the usual minor injuries, I told the messenger to bring the boy into the Study. However, peremptorily, I had: “You must come at once; he’s badly hurt.” I found that the unfortunate youngster had fallen from a low wall and had obviously a broken arm. He cried and begged me to assure him that the arm was not broken. Naturally, I lied to comfort him, as he was a very nervous boy. Somehow we got him into the Study, eventually I went with him in the ambulance to the Infirmary. It was not a happy experience.

In my time at Leeds Grammar School there have been dozens of boys in hospital, nursing homes or at home ill. I have visited many and have written to them. The form used to write to them, either individual notes, or a joint one round a pattern I had designed. There was a good crop of letters if the boys were allowed to write during lessons. The letters were always much appreciated. One boy, R. D. S——, I saw in a nursing home with appendicitis before he came to school, though I knew he was to be in my form. The fashion of keeping one’s appendix in a bottle had died out by then. I have seen many appendices preserved in spirits; the owners were very proud of them.

FOR VERY FEW reasons am I thankful I have retired; but one item stands out. No more corrections! I had some 230 exercise books, which one was supposed to see at least once a week. Nearly every dinner hour was spent on those, much time before school in the morning, and at the end of afternoon school. Then there were piles of papers to bring home to mark, not to mention Entrance Examination papers, the end of term examinations, with their resulting complicated lists. Another blessing—I can now look at seeds and flowers without feeling I ought to collect them for school. When I spent the summer term at Linton, my friend often grumbled when we went for walks, as I regularly announced: “I want 33 of those, 30 of those.” In her kindness of heart she helped me.

HOW GRATEFUL I was for lifts to school. I have been very lucky the last few years. Mr. Shaw, whose son was at school, used to pick me up on his way from Collingham. Then Mr. Broadley, another parent, looked out for me, and often wasted his time waiting for me. Later we arranged a signal. I had a large piece of tape, I used to fix it on the sand bin at the end of my road to show I had started. Derek Broadley or Robert Bell, in passing, got out of the car, rescued the tape and presented it to me for future use when the car overtook me. For the last 18 months or so, my cousin, K. P. S. B——, Old Leodiensian, gave me a lift almost daily, that was nearly from door to door. To them and to all the others,parents and Old Leodiensians, I am very thankful for numerous kindnesses shown in this and other ways.

All the consideration and thoughtfulness from the boys are too numerous to be mentioned, but the memory is deep in my heart. We were all grateful for the cheerfulness and distraction of the boys in the Autumn term of 1950. The world news was most depressing; people were talking of the imminence of a third World War; there were frequent cuts in electricity, with all the darkness and inconvenience.

J. C. P—— walked most of the way home with me many a time, was always most attentive and full of fun and cheery tales. He told me he had about a dozen different ways home! He carried a mouth organ in his pocket and used to play it to me as we walked over the moor. I once mentioned that he might be bored, as I had so much shopping to do en route. Gallantly he said: “I should have to be very old before I got bored with you.”

At one concert, just before we went from the Upper School to the dining-room for coffee, R. H. B——, aged 9, jingled some coins in his pocket saying: “Miss Christie, may I pay for your coffee?” I did not allow him to pay but I was much touched. That was at a concert when the Junior School performed Christie’s Christmas Circus. One horse, Agatha, walked with attendants up the aisle, all bowing deeply to me!

Once when I arrived to take Junior 1 for Geography at the Main School, I found a boy dusting and polishing my chair. Most considerate of him to clear off all the chalk dust.

How I have enjoyed the walks and talks on the way to and from school and all the gentlemanly instincts shown by the boys in their help and in their care of me. R. D. McG—— was most pressing with his attentions.

The boys were generous in so many ways. At Christmas, 1950, my form gave me a huge bowl of bulbs. J. W. M—, who presented it on behalf of the form enquired: “Can you get it home?” I couldn’t possibly. A willing father, on his way to Collingham by car, left it at home for me. Another time my form gave me a silver sugar bowl “for a souvenir”, they said. Many a time boys have offered me coins saying, “Buy yourself something.” Except once, I managed to refuse those. The exception was D. E. W— who really forced 5½d. on me!

My birthday is the same day as the school’s. Some of the youngest believed me, I think, when I told them I was the same age! One year I was asked by Mr. Raper if I would like to hear the boys sing their anthem. I sat down and prepared to listen. They sang, or rather shouted: “Happy birthday to you.” This was followed by cheers and good wishes, very heart-warming. All the day I had greetings and some gifts. I had this ‘anthem’ sung to me the previous year; then Craig S—, whose birthday is on the same day, was greeted, and finally Benny Thompson’s mother greeted from afar. My last birthday at school was on the Sunday of the big service at the Parish Church.

BOYS WHOM I HAVE taught and who may read this book, must forgive me if they think I have been too strict. On the whole I think boys appreciate a good disciplinarian, one who keeps his promise, whether for weal or woe. To my great surprise, after one rather stormy lesson, a boy came and shook hands with me and thanked me for a very nice lesson! There was one boy who shook hands with me at the end of every day; my response was solemn, but I think he must have been cured of his habit by some teasing.

I have always insisted that good manners, by which I mean a consideration for other people, is more important than, and should have prior place over, book-learning. Mr. Mason Clarke often told me that my form was the best-mannered in the whole school. This was a great compliment to them and to me.

The boys’ generosity I have mentioned before. It always astounded me. In recent years my form have given very generously to the Wounded Warriors Fund; one year they raised more than ten guineas. During the holidays they used to give shows at home handing me the proceeds, D. J. B—— gave me proceeds after he had left my form. We sent the money to E. J. Morrish, Esq., Old Leodiensian, a governor of the school. He gave up an hour of his valuable time and used to come every year to talk to the form telling them what their money would be used for. He always gave a most inspiring talk; several times he invited essays from the boys; he corrected the essays, and gave first, second, third and several consolation prizes.

IN NOVEMBER 1951, the school had a visit from numerous H.M. Inspectors. The inspection was very different from others I remember, so were the inspectors. We had two charming and considerate men at the Junior School; we actually felt disappointed if neither of them appeared at a lesson. After the first day they thanked us all for a very enjoyable day. During a nature study lesson P. S—— gained prestige for himself and for the form by asserting that a jelly fish is 90% water, and by being able to explain, when asked, what exactly he meant by that. Some poetry was read aloud, it was pronounced ‘Delightful’. I received ‘Bravo’ at the end of a French lesson.

After school, the inspectors had a cup of tea with us and chatted. We rather wondered if such a very kindly attitude veiled a severe criticism—but no—the report was excellent. The boys were pronounced lively and alert, there was no adverse criticism of any of the Staff. About my reading of Four Plus Bunkle at the end of some lessons I was judged a ‘sensible woman’. A queer and pleasing contrast, when I remember how I had always dreaded previous inspections and was so nervous and unnatural when being inspected.

I SHOULD LIKE to mention the Elders, who have a flat at the top of the house. Mrs. Elder has helped us out of many a difficulty. Mr. R. Elder, who is on the secretarial staff, is a dependable man. It is a pleasure to talk to him, he never spares himself if there is a job he can do to help us.

After the death of His beloved Majesty, King George VI, we all went to the Town Hall on 8th February, to hear the Proclamation of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II. We had places reserved for us and felt rather important as policemen shepherded us to them. It was a very cold day, we had half an hour to wait. It was a most impressive ceremony and should be remembered by all the boys who were there.

One year in my form were two boys called Goodacre; one was a model in behaviour and work, he was a brilliant boy. The other was very much the reverse. So we called them Goodacre and Badacre, this was taken in good part. When the latter boy showed signs of improvement, I changed the name to ‘Notsobad Acre’ and then ‘Better Acre’. I had a letter this year (1954) from this Goodacre. He left Leeds for London some time ago; has just left school, where he did quite well and is now a clerk in a bank at Lincoln.

ALL MY LIFE I have been keen on tidiness, thence on anti-litter. I spoke often to my form about it, trying to give suitable punishments for things left on the floor and sometimes behind radiators! At least once a year, generally before the summer holidays, I talked to every form I taught, or if opportunity offered, to the whole assembled Junior School—that saved me five or six times of repetition. I quoted the verse that has recently appeared in the Yorkshire Post: “Resemble not the crawling snail”, etc. I told of the seaside visitor who returned to the locality later in the year. Bunting was flying, the man was cheered, met by the brass band, who escorted him to his hotel. He was bewildered, and when he asked: “Why all this?”, he was told that he had been the only summer visitor who had disposed of his litter in a seemly manner! I mentioned an uncle, very fond of children, who carried sweets in his pocket for any youngsters he met. He lived in the country. When he saw any children he knew (or perhaps did not know) out came the bag or box of wrapped sweets. He handed them round, saying he would like the wrappers back, as he collected them. The children thought him slightly dotty until he explained: “Yes, I save them to burn when I get home; I won’t have the countryside spoilt through my fault.”

The result of my exhortations was usually a hubbub of voices, trying to tell me that all my listeners were most tidy in this way. But I wonder!


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