I believe that it was 1955 when I first attended Cotteridge School and I remember a time of jigsaw puzzles and play sand. I learned to swap chocolate for dinky cars; I also learned not to show my mum the results of the days trading.

In those very early school days I can’t remember any names with certainty however a Mrs Brooking and a Miss Pledge seem right.

Later when I was 7 years old I was in the classroom on the ground floor north from the main hall my teacher was a lady: I think her name was Miss Self.
I do have bad memories of school dinners; the rules were that you ate all on your plate. My problem was I only liked the custard!

In later years I remember moving to the classrooms upstairs. I was occasionally in Miss Howard’s office; she was the headmistress, but not for any problem just delivering paperwork. I missed having the infamous Miss Smith for a teacher, she had a reputation for being a very strict and uncompromising person, and she demanded improvement. I personally did not understand if she was a good or bad teacher, although my sister Lynne one of her later students is one of her supporters.

My last years at the school I remember teachers Mrs Wells and dear old Mr Hewlett my favourite teacher of all time: I’ve seen him angry (all red faced), and I’ve seen him on friendly helpful days. I know he liked classical music because he played it for us before assembly. He also liked paintings and encouraged everyone to try to improve their skills in art. I played football for the school team. I don’t think we ever won a game, in fact we used to lose by something like 14 to nil! Mr Hewlett was our coach, or rather the bloke who organised the game. I don’t think any professional players ever came from our teams of years 1959 – 1961, we turned our defeats into a tradition. We managed more fouls than the opposition so there!

Children’s names I remember are Gillian Owen and Wendy Head from Midland road Hazel Harris from Heathcote road, Mary Wilson from Shirley road, Robert Basset from Dell road, David Harris from Shirley road, Stephen Foley, Stephen Ward, Stuart Maddocks, David Payne, Robert McKay, Eileen Waterhouse, Kenneth from Rowheath road, and David from Ashmore road.
Before I finish I must mention the snow ball fights in winter when the older children split into two opposing sides, I remember cold hands from throwing and sore ears from being hit!

Martin (Marty) Holeyman
Adelaide, Australia
July 2002

3 Responses to “School in the 1950s”

  • Val Lovett nee Taylor:

    Cotteridge School – 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 1955. 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 1970s. 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

  • Jane:

    I wonder if you can tell me anything about Miss Woodall. I don’t seem to remember her. Thank you and kind regards, Jane.

  • Christine:

    Still searching for Mary Teresa (TESS) Johnson born 1945 and went into Shenley Fields Childrens Home after her mother Gladys died. Mary (TESS) was last seen in 1963 at the Palm Court Hotel Moseley. Her family are in desperate search of her.

    Regards Christine

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