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The logbook for the first day of Cotteridge Mixed School, October 1st, 1900.

Logbook from Cotteridge School's first ever day

1900 Cotteridge Mixed School

Oct 1 – I, George Howard Mann as Head Master, opened the above school this morning.
Staff: at opening:-
George Howard Mann Cert.
Miss Nellie Judge do
Miss Mary Brookes do
School closed this afternoon on account of King’s Norton Mop.

Oct 1 Clerk
Admitted first morning 170.

The Birmingham and Worcester Canal, at Lifford Lane / Pershore Road Bridge; about 1900

The Birmingham and Worcester Canal, at Lifford Lane / Pershore Road Bridge; about 1900

I started at Cotteridge School in 1985 and was in Mrs Green’s class. Mr Minchin was the headmaster and Mr Callaghan was the deputy who used to tell very long stories in assembly and play his guitar. I liked reception since we got to play with the lego and toys in the afternoon, but in the morning we read Ginn books like “Look”.

I don’t think we had a computer when I was in 1I or 3I (with Miss Edwards) but by the time I was in 6I with Mrs Jenkins in the Annexe we had got a little Spectrum that played games like Postman Pat and Tablesums. We also got to use the electric typewriter to write stories to put on the display boards in the classroom.

All through infants we learnt a lot of maths, reading and writing (Mrs Roe used to come and teach us joined-up handwriting), but still got to play with technic lego, capsella and other strange toys that you don’t see nowadays. We didn’t use calculators much but did get dictionaries.

We had a play house in reception but not in any other years. We had squash and biscuits every day – one custard cream or two plain biscuits – just before morning playtime.

Round about now strange things started happening to the school – the air raid shelter was knocked down (making a lot of noise and stopping Mr Minchin from doing assembly), as were the old outside toilets. We all helped create the new gardens which replaced them and watched the builders from the playground though the dinnerladies like Mrs Milner kept us from getting too close.

They also moved the staffroom to by the library and turned the classroom by the hall into a classroom again rather than a storeroom. The classrooms were painted in strange colours like murky brown and dark green and looked very 1970s, but they did start to paint them – including the hall, which turned pink one holiday.

In juniors, I was moved to the other class in my year for some reason, so was taught by Mrs Wase in Class 2. She was a very good teacher and we did mental arithmetic tests every morning. We also used to get a “good” or “very good” if we did impressed her and then she added up who had received the most in the week and gave them a prize. Her classroom had a posh computer which did more than a Spectrum and had a disk drive rather than a tape recorder.

But, one day we came back from dinnertime and found that Mrs Wase had gone to hospital because she had hurt her leg in some way, which meant we had a lot of supply teachers for the rest of the year.

We got Mrs Wase again the next year in Class 4 to make up for it, and we did all sorts of new things like going swimming at Linden Road, going to a place called Woodlands where we did assault courses, canoeing and archery. I was not very good at any of them, but it was a nice few days away.

About this time we got lots of new things in the school – loads of filing cabinets arrived along with the new National Curriculum folders which every teacher got. And we had new Nimbus computers and printers in every classroom which meant that we could play new games like Trains and something to do with castles, or print our writing using Minnie.

The next year I was in 5F with Mr Fletcher in the main school upstairs. He liked art and music and we used to make lots of things out of wood, especially after we went on a trip round a furniture factory. He also had loads of motorised lego that could be controlled by a little computer, which was good fun. Around this time I did my cycling proficiency course at the Patrick Collection and learnt how to cycle safely.

I was also briefly in the school cricket and rounders teams, but we weren’t very good, though we did win a medal in a tournament at Strikers Indoor Cricket Centre on Lifford Lane. At cricket practice after school Mr Minchin could hit balls into the flats on Breedon Road but we could only manage to get them a few feet.

In year six I was taught by Mrs Burton, who gave us stars of various colours for good work or behaviour. Gold was the best, followed by silver and then red, blue and green. When you got a star, you had to stick it over your name on the wall and the person with the most got a mystery prize.

We also got to go to Bell Heath – a field study centre near Worcester where we learnt about geography and history. I remember going into Worcester and looking round the shops, and walking across a rubbish tip. It was a lot of work rather than a holiday! Year six children got to be something called playleaders, which meant playing with the little infants in their playground. This was always fun, especially if you were no good at football which the juniors played. Towards the end of Year 6 we had to chose a new school, and we finally left for them in 1992.

I attended Cotteridge School for a year in 1938, when I was 12, after my family moved to Birmingham from Gloucestershire. We rented a flat over Eden and Son, the butcher’s shop, opposite the Grant Arms. My younger sister Sylvia also went to Cotteridge School, but my brother Sidney had to go to Stirchley School. At Cotteridge School I was issued with my gas mask, ready for the war. I remember that one of the teachers was called Mr Major.

One of my most vivid memories is that we were given free dinners because my dad was ill and couldn`t work. Each week the school gave us a little white ticket and we had to go by tram to a house in Cartland Rd, Stirchley for a revolting dinner. The tram fare was 1/2d (1/4p) each, so each day the “free” dinner cost us 2d (1p).The fares for the whole week cost 10d (4p).It doesn`t sound much, but we only had 9 shillings (45p) to live on. It wasn’t worth it. I would have much rather gone home for a sandwich. One day I lost the tram fare and we had to walk all the way, instead of just from the Co-op. I don’t know how it was decided that we should get these dinners, in those days nobody asked children their views or explained things like that.

We had family ties to Cotteridge. My grandparents lived at 9 Holly Rd. My grandfather, Sidney Boston, was a painter and decorator and went to work with his handcart. All of his 7 children attended Cotteridge School. The eldest, Thomas Boston, served in the 1914-1918 war and his name is on the Honours board in the library. I also had an aunt and cousins who lived in Laurel Rd. These photos show the street party in Laurel Rd, in 1935, for the Silver Jubilee of King George V, the decorations put up on the house in Holly Rd for the coronation in 1937 of King George VI and the Cotteridge football team of 1915, where Thomas Boston is 2nd from the right, standing up. I enjoyed living in Cotteridge and I remember some things very well.

Near St. Agnes Church was a shop called “Treasure Trove” that sold all kinds of things, many from house clearances. It was a wonderful place to look round,you could find anything from a large stuffed animal to a tiny button. It was owned by a Mr Cecil Vincent.

Lawton`s Cooked Meats, next to the Midland Rd railway bridge, sold delicious meat and such delights as pigs` feet, tripe, chitterlings, black pudding and a-la-mode beef, which was a big round of cooked beef in jelly and they would cut off slices for you to buy. I often got sent on errands for my gran.

An old lady, Mrs Grant-Ferris, owned a big house near the school, where Grant Court is now. She owned lots of property in Cotteridge and I remember that she often wore a fur coat.

Number 1 Holly Rd was the fire station. The station master was called Mr Cox and he had a horse-drawn fire engine, wore a shiny brass helmet and rang the bell loudly on his engine.

On the corner of Dell Rd and Pershore Rd was a sweet shop that had rows of sweet jars in the window and we could buy gobstoppers, sherbet fountains and liquorice rolls, if we could ever make up our minds with so much choice.
Opposite the school on the corner of Breedon Rd was Fleetwoods Haulage Yard, where they used horses to pull the carts.

If we wanted to travel to Birmingham we caught the 36 tram along Pershore Rd. The terminus is where Beaumont Court is now. Where the Jet garage now stands used to be a small factory in the early 1940s.

On Saturday mornings we used to go to the pictures at the Savoy Cinema, (opposite the Breedon Bar) and see films with Shirley Temple or Alan Jones.
On Sunday afternoons we went to Sunday school at the Gospel Hall in Dell Rd.
Sometimes there would be a fete or carnival in Cotteridge Park. It was very exciting to watch the jazz bands marching through Cotteridge to the park where they were judged to find the winner. The Blue Belvederes often seemed to be the favourite.

I have seen a lot of changes in Cotteridge, I wonder what’s next?

Mrs Kathleen Marsh, née Tainton
Acocks Green, Birmingham
July 2000

I attended Cotteridge school from the age of 5 in 1925 until I was 14. Our school day started at 9am and we would have lessons such as reading, writing arithmetic and needlework. At breaktime you were allowed a drink of milk which you collected from the caretaker and it cost 1 penny (½ p).We would play games such as skipping, statues and whip and top. There were no school meals so we all went home for dinner.

The rest of the day would be taken up with lessons and we went home at 4.30pm. The school uniform for girls was a gymslip and blouse. No shoes were allowed in the hall, so each child had to change into pumps for assemblies and change back afterwards to go back to the classroom.

At the age of 11 the girls went to the annexe for senior girls and the boys transferred to Stirchley School. In the seniors we had a netball and swimming team which I was part of. My brothers and sisters also attended the school. Teachers were much stricter then and had to be treated with the utmost respect. My days at Cotteridge School were very happy and I was sad to leave aged 14 to start work at Cadbury’s.

My own children have attended the school as well as my grandchildren and my great-grand-daughter still goes there today, she is Jessica Keane in 5R. Four generations of my family have passed through Cotteridge School and all of them have had happy times there. I have seen the school go through many changes and it`s great to see it celebrate its centenary. I hope that it continues for the next 100 years and that the children enjoy their time there as much as I did all those years ago. I have very fond memories of my time there from 1925-1939.

Mrs Edith Morris
June 2000

I came to live at Cotteridge in October 1939. War had just started. I went into Mr Brooking`s class and have very happy memories of it. I used to walk through the park to school and soon made friends.At playtime we did games like hopscotch and skipping. The boys had their own playground. We paid 2½d (1½p) each week for milk and could buy a biscuit for a halfpenny. We had an hour for dinner break and everyone went home for dinner. If you were naughty you could sometimes get away with having to stand in front of the class or you could get the ruler smacked across your hands. At the end of each day one child would ring the hand bell to signal hometime.

I was evacuated to a farm just outside Burton-on-Trent. After 18 months away I returned to Senior School. My 3 children, Margaret, Robert and David Garner also went to Cotteridge School and had happy times there. My school played a part in my later life when I remarried Walter Simpson who was a classmate all those years ago. I still have a group of friends who were at school with me and we have been sharing our memories of Cotteridge School.

Mrs Betty Simpson, née Ward
June 2000

Snow in Cotteridge Road. The entrance to the bar door of the Grant Arms. Possibly 1981

Snow in Cotteridge Road. The entrance to the bar door of the Grant Arms. Possibly 1981

The driveway to St. Agnes' Church Hall (1977)

The driveway to St. Agnes' Church Hall (1977)

Silver Jubilee celebrations in Cotteridge Road

Silver Jubilee celebrations in Cotteridge Road

Silver Jubilee, 1977: The Queen's car, Pershore Road, in between Holly Road and Cotteridge Road (unfortunately photo taken too early).

Silver Jubilee, 1977: The Queen's car, Pershore Road, in between Holly Road and Cotteridge Road (unfortunately photo taken too early).

Walter Warring, the barber of Midland Road for over 70 years

Walter Warring, the barber of Midland Road for over 70 years

Cotteridge Carnival in the 1950s

Cotteridge Carnival in the 1950s

Crowds watching Bees in Watford Road

Crowds watching Bees in Watford Road

Mr and Mrs Winscott - Newsagents, Watford Road 1951

Mr and Mrs Winscott - Newsagents, Watford Road 1951

Breedon Bar in 1997. It closed in about 1992, caught fire in about 1996, and was finally demolished in the early 2000s, it's now some flats.

Breedon Bar in 1997. It closed in about 1992, caught fire in about 1996, and was finally demolished in the early 2000s, it's now some flats.

Cotteridge roundabout looking towards Selly Oak, 1997
Cotteridge roundabout looking towards Selly Oak, 1997
Bus stops opposite Cotteridge Church, 1997

Bus stops opposite Cotteridge Church, 1997

Breedon Bridge towards Stirchley, 1997

Breedon Bridge towards Stirchley, 1997

Pershore Road, looking towards town from outside the petrol station, 1997

Pershore Road, looking towards town from outside the petrol station, 1997

Number 47 bus rounds the corner to Pershore Road South, 1997

Number 47 bus rounds the corner to Pershore Road South, 1997

I was first aware of Cotteridge Park in 1930 when I was 6 years old. The Park was a Children’s paradise, full of fun and laughter. There were rules of conduct, enforced by a uniformed park keeper. The park was enclosed by iron railings and at dusk the bell rang and the gates were locked. Cycling was prohibited after 10am.

There were both concrete and grass Tennis Courts, very well maintained, with an hourly fee charged; a putting green where a golf club and ball could be hired for a small fee, and a Crown Bowling Green.

There were two shelters, one large and one small, very useful in bad weather, and a bandstand, sadly all vandalised and demolished.

There were various annual events, Ten Acres Co -Op Society organised for their members children a tea party, with a small cardboard box full of things to eat, an orange squash drink and an ice cream. Cotteridge organised a carnival, floats and tableaux lined the streets and jazz bands from other areas competed for a prize. they were dressed in exotic costumes and played bazookas and beat drums as they marched around the streets, before gathering in the park. A fairground with dodgems, roundabouts and side stalls attracted a large crowd, who paid a small entrance fee. All of this ended in 1939 with the start of the war.

Air raid shelters were dug on the higher ground and the WAAF arrived with a barrage balloon.

The fair returned to the Park after the war, but this was not organised by the local people and it attracted a yob element, so at the request of the locals this ended.

Later the railings were removed, and some vandalism occurred to the young trees. The red may trees a feature of the Park grew old and died, and were never replaced, neither was the drinking fountain…

John Eynon
Heathcote Road, Cotteridge
March 1997