I attended Cotteridge School from 1948. I had a week at Bournville School on the Green and made such a fuss as they made us have a lie down in the afternoon. I did not want to lie down. I remember the rocking horsein the windows which was still there many years later.

My first teacher at Cotteridge was Miss Rich in the reception class. Opposite the class room was the small stair case up to Miss Howard the headmistress’s office. The hall had murals of nursery rhymes on the walls and the parquet floor was highly polished. Mr Carling who was a dab hand with the side edge of a ruler, Miss Smith who was very strict, Miss Powell and Mr Hewlett who shouted and went red in the face. I remember the wall being knocked down between the boys and girls playground and Mr Hewlett picking up the boys toes. I had lived in the cul de sac on Dell Road, I remember Barbara Barnes and Pauline Dunn. The horse which used to pull the milk float ate the top off the gate post whilst the milkman had a cup of tea in one of the houses. I attended Dell Road Gospel Hall every Sunday with Mr Stormont in charge. Saturday was the baths in Stirchley in the morning and the Pavilion picture house in the afternoon.

I did not pass the eleven plus exam so went onto the Senior Girls School aged 11 years. Miss Walshe was the headmistress for the first year, she then left to take up the position of headmistress at Dame Elizabeth Cadbury School which opened in 1959. She was very keen to teach us netball and we continued to play until we left in 1958. Having won all our matches whilst in the final year a few of us continued to play for Miss Walshe as Linden Netball Club which she ran for many years after her retirement. It was a very successful club, won many trophies and had many girls trialled for the England Netball Squad.

Miss Warren became the headmistress, Miss Watterson, Miss Woodall and of course our final year teacher Miss Garfield who used to say ‘Girls that is not Christian like’ whenever we misbehaved. I remember girls came to join us from Kings Norton and Stirchley schools, Kay Parker and Maureen Alcock who also played netball for the school team.

I was a member of Dr McMahon’s special choir which sang in the Town Hall. The memory of sitting in the choir stalls at 14 never left me even when as a member of the CBSO Chorus I stood in the same place for concerts years later in the 1970’s. I left at 15 years old in 1958 to join the GPO as a telephonist.

In addition to the shops mentioned on this website I do remember the horse meat shop just down from school on Pershore Road and the Treasure Trove bear was a white polar bear named Harold. Peter who ran the Treasure Trove after his father died told me that he was sold to a posh hotel in the centre of Manchester. I too spent many hours in there and still have a few items bought from the fascinating amount of items.

Looking back now I suppose we were all quite poor, but we did not know anything different. What more could you want, going to Cotteridge Park to play on the swings, the pictures on a Saturday and the swimming baths. Life was carefree. Happy Days.

Val Lovett nee Taylor

11 Responses to “Cotteridge School in the 1950s”

  • Emma:

    What an interesting read Val!!! I’ve lived in Stirchley all my life and moved to Pershore Rd just down by the Breedon bridge in 1998 when I got married. All 7 of my children went to Cotteridge school with 4 still there at present. My eldest daughter (16) also sang with the CBSO which she did through the school as they come in from time to time. I am fascinated with old Cotteridge and Stirchley and love reading stories and seeing the old pics.

  • Michael Humphreys:

    I have a photo of Pauline Dunn outside Mrs. Turners shop which was at the top of Heathcote Road, my pal who lives in Dell Rd. pointed her out on the pic, you may remember him, Brian Humphris

  • George Caldicott:

    Hi Val, I lived in Dell Road when you where there. I remember Pauline Dunn, Barbara and Derek Barnes, and John Brian Humphris,but I do not remeber you Val. Perhaps you could prompt my memory. It’s nice to read the emails relating to that time of our lives. Thanks George.

  • Sara Stroppolo:

    My mom lived in Cotteridge and also played for Linden netball team for Miss Walshe. If anyone has any memories of her please let me know, her name was Edna Jeynes and lived in Cotteridge rd.

  • Val Lovett:

    I have only just looked at this website since writing the memories so sorry for the delay in replying.
    Thank you Emma for the nice comments, George – did you have a sister as I do remember the surname, the name Marie seems to ring a bell but not sure. I lived at 106 Barbara lived at 110 and Pauline at 114. I was only there for about two years old when we moved away. I had bright red hair which now is a little faded. I remember the cul de sac being resurfaced. The smell of tarmac still recall memories me of that time. I do remember the name Brian Humphris.

    Sara – I got the date Miss Walshe left Cotteridge to go to DECS wrong, she left in 1954 when it opened. Edna was already playing in Linen A when I started as Linden B. We were mainly from Cotteridge all leaving in 1958, this was Miss Walshe’s second team but we did swap players to form Linden which won all the leagues and played at county level. I remember her as Edna Hodges. She always played as Goal Defence, had a trial for England but like me did not get in. She was a very graceful player. I do have pictures of our team with Judy Heath who also played for Linden and scored more than 400 goals for England at Netball World Cup in Jamaica in the early 70’s. Edna was always a favourite of Miss Walshe as she was so good. We were more or less the same team for over 17 years. The last time I saw Edna was at the funeral of Miss Walshe in Moseley, many of her netball players from over the years all turned up and we gave her a good send off. She had a huge influence on our lives for many years, a good testament for a Head Teacher. The pastor had jeans on under his robes to conduct the service, we all commented on what ever would Miss Walshe say to that.

  • Linda Taylor:

    I attended Cotteridge school from 1953 till I transferred to St Laurence’s school in 1957. I only remember three things distinctly.
    The first was the classroom on the ground floor with high windows and a parquet floor.
    The second was a boy getting a very large chunk of wood stuck in his leg from his wooden desk seat and screaming with pain.
    The third was the dividing playground wall being knocked over by the van delivering hot dinners and the bricks chopping off a boys toes!
    I know I was a milk monitor and we always played skipping with a long rope at playtime ! Once, small motorised cars were brought to the playground and a road layout with a zebra crossing and beacons. The cars were driven around the route in order for us to learn road safety, however only the favoured few got chosen to drive the cars and I was very disappointed at not being chosen. We were taken to school from Northfield on a school coach and my mum came on it to see that we all behaved ourselves on the way to school!

  • Mandy:

    I was just nosing around on the web doing my family history and came across this site, what a great read!
    My dad is the little boy the wall fell on and he lost his toes as a result, John Stevens.
    It’s his party trick to get them out to freak people now, I would love to hear any other old stories or pictures and I’m sure my dad would love to as well.

  • Margaret Woodward:

    Many of my memories were the same as yours, Val. I must have been a year behind you. I was standing just about 3 yards away from the boy who lost his toes. I remember a truck crashing through the wall, then a teacher picking up the boy and running fast for the school. Someone came and picked up the toes. I have thought of that boy many times through the years.

    Ah, Miss Smith – or “Smithybags” to many of us. She was really strict. I once told Mr. Hewlett that he could fry an egg on his head before fleeing. Not one of my better moments – but he had given me the ruler for something someone else had done! Of course, I was sent to the headteacher, etc. etc.

    Times were very different – do you remember the table monitors who had to make sure every child ate his/her lunch? Consequence of not achieving this was a ruler across the hand. However, I now realize that teachers had a tough job – classes of 40 or 45 kids with no classroom help? They had to be tough and keep discipline. And, they made us pay attention and learn.

    I was sent on an errand to the ‘senior girls school’ and shook and shivered as rumour had it that the headteacher was really mean. I took the books to Miss Walsh, who asked why I wasn’t moving to Dame Elizabeth Cadbury School in September. She asked my name. A year later I did transfer to Dame Elizabeth. Miss Walsh was standing greeting people and said “Hello, Margaret”. I was thrilled – she remembered me. It was some time before I realized that she remembered my name because it was the same as hers!

    I lived in Franklin Road.

  • Anne Prosser nee Littlehales:

    Hello Val, I lived in Middleton Hall Road next to Peter Hancock and we were friendly with Michael Vincent. I would really like to see them again and reminisce. I well remember the Treasure Trove. I shopped at Cotteridge. Do what you can, please. I live in Knowle with my husband. There was a monkey puzzle tree in our garden!
    Best regards,
    Anne Prosser (nee Littlehales).

  • Ann Forester:

    Hello Val, you’ve brought back lovely memories. I lived at 86 Dell Rd. I think George Caldicott lived opposite on the bend?

    Vivienne Chrysler and Margaret Wilks from 88 and 72 Dell Rd went to Cotteridge School, but not until 1949; I went to ST Josephs in Northfield Rd.

    Thx for all the reminders, I stumbled onto this site after seeing the BBC Midlands interview tonight with the owners of the shop on the corner of Midland and Rowheath Roads – Cotteridge doesn’t make the news very often!

    Now live in Somerset, miss Birmingham more than I can say. Ann

  • Ann Forester:

    Hello George, am I right that you lived on the bend in Dell Rd? Was your house front opposite the Wilks at No.72?

    We lived at 86 across the bend, opposite your garden, if I’ve got it right…..

    Ann Forester

Leave a Reply