Saturday, July 31, 2010

Happy Second Birthday.

Second Birthday.


You may have heard of the old saying "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." Well here is one old dog that proves that saying wrong. As a matter of fact my aim in retired life is to learn something new every day. Anyway enjoy my birthday message as I have more up my sleeve to come.

The roar at the end of the video is a DH Otter taking off from the Outer Harbour which we overlook here in Victoria.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

HTS School Toilets pre-war.

HTS Toilets pre-war.


This short video clip was part of my visit to the school early in 2000. It shows what remains of the old toilet system that existed from when the school was first built in the 1850's, until they were upgraded to a mains sewer system by Colin Hatch builders early in 1940 due to the student expansion of evacuees from London.

When in use before that time it was the caretakers job to clean out the buckets on a daily basis.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Infants 1920's Close up's.

Infants 1920's close up's.
Tried hard to de-pixelate the photo above and to reach a happy contrast level but, still the pixelation persists.

It is also quite noticable how serious all the children are, except for the little boy in the bottom right who is trying hard not to smile but it is starting at the corner of his mouth. For some looking at the pictures those in them if they are still alive will be in their 90's right now and great grandparents as well.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

HTS Infants class (circa) early 1920's.

Infants Class (circa) early 1920.
This photograph is of a much younger Mrs. Evans. That is why I have put the date at around 1920, though it could have been much earlier. Just think if any of these children that are still living, it would put them in their ninety's and most likely great grand parents now, and what stories they can tell I am sure.
One or two of those features are quite fuzzy. This is due to the slowness of the quicksilver on the glass plates and the length of the exposure required. It quite remarkable at the progress of photography in a 90 year period, from glass plates to digital photography.
I will attempt to bring you close ups of some of the students next time, those who are not too pixelated in the enlarging process.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mrs. Evans, HTS 1935-36

Mrs. Evans (Infants) 1935-37.

This is the only photograph that I have been able to obtain of any of my school teachers, and this with grateful thanks to Mrs. Evans grandaughter who sent me this. Going back in memory I now know that this very kind and gentle lady taught me a great deal in my first two years at school. In my first year, how to print and write figures. Also I was introduced to the famous series of Beacon Readers. In the second year the consentration was to write in script, so by the time we left her classes for Mrs Snapes classes in 1937 as a seven year old we all wrote in script.
Another field we were taught was "Handicraft." I remember the first thing I made was a red and yellow raffia change purse for my mother as a Christmas present. Then of course as I have mentioned in an earlier blog that we had singing lessons and taught poetry, which of course came in use for the school concert in 1936 at the Pinder Hall.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Top School.

The Top School.
The Cookham Rise Secondary Modern School, better known to the locals in the village as "The Top School." Was when it was first built one of the first of its kind in the country. There use to be an Honour Roll board over the inside hall door of students who had won places in Oxford University before the second world war.

The school was made up of three main classrooms and a seperate building at the end of the school grounds and was called "The Centre." The girls took their Domestic Science classes and the boys did a woodworking class. I attended the school during the wartime, and some classes had to be refined due to some of the staff being called up, so we went with a good grounding in basics from the staff that remained.

In the original photo that I used there were rows of cars parked outside, so I removed them and replaced the the original steel fence and gate. No cars for the staff in those days. The Headmaster Mr. G.H. Wood either walked to school or rode his bicycle. Miss Graham, lived just a short distance away on High Road. Miss Drew travelled every day from her home in Wargrave by train. Mrs. Isherwood came from Maidenhead every day by bus and her assistant domestic science teacher was a Mrs. Deacon, who also lived just off High Road.

Thought the girls still had their domestic science classes, these were also used to cook the school mid-day meal as well. Vegetables were produced on 40 poles of allotment which had been been started on the Alfred Major ground as part of the village Dig for Victory campaign. This is where the boys did their part with the school meals. As the "Gaffer." As Mr. Wood was know to everyone use to say. "If we can't get we will invent it."

Now looking back over those years and wartime as well I always thank now for resourceful ways our teachers made sure of a good basic education. Not only did students come from the nether regions of Cookham Dean, but from Maidenhead Court, but from as far as Coxgreen by bus. Then there were all the evacuees out of London. At one time we were a student body of around 150. So when they talk today of class size being too big! I have to smile as I survived it all, and so did many others.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Hole in the Road

1943 "The Hole in the Road".

It was during "The Wings for Victory." Savings Campaign, that the Cookham Secondary Modern School on the Top Road put on a school concert in the Pinder Hall to boost the savings drive. The school choir put on a recital of stirring songs including a new one that had been written for that occasion called "Lords of the Air." in dedication to the air and ground crews of the RAF.

There was however in the middle of this recital a very funny one act play called "The Hole in the Road." Starring: Bill Fisher as the Nightwatchman, and Derek Buckingham as the Sloan Square Toff.

There then ensued a discussion on holes, with Bill relating that all his family were nightwatchmen, so was his father and grandfather before him. This puzzled The Toff and probed a little deeper about holidays. Never take any guvnor! Take my cousin Harry he got married and went off on his Honeymoon, when he came back his hole was gone, that really upset Harry as he look high and low for that hole, but never found it.

The story goes on with other amusing tales, finally the Toff asks what is in the hole. Bill looks at Derek and shrugs his shoulders as says: "Pipes I think Guvnor." "What sort of pipes?" "Dunno!" "Got a match Guvnor and I will take a look." Then there is some banging off stage followed with a big bang and Bill came back on stage with a black face and the famous last line "It were a gas pipe."

Since that time the Pinder Hall stage has seen very many great plays and performances. The brazier onstage was a real watchman's brazier with orange tissue paper and a light bulb to give the right effects.

I do know that Bill Fisher passed away sometime ago. Where Derek Buckingham went I have no idea. Peter Fisher, Bills brother I believe still lives just off the High Road in the Rise.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

1936 version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and the
Seven Dwarfs.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs even in 1936 was a well known nursery story by the German Brothers Grimm of the middle 1800's. Most people think today it was invented by Walt Disney. Well Walt Disney's first full length colour cartoon version was not released until 1937.
Once again I had to scout around to find characters to make up a photo of what the Holy Trinity School version looked like. When you come to think of it the four teachers put a lot of time and effort into the whole production, which not only included teaching the children their lines and songs but costumes as well. There was Mrs. Adams the Head Teacher, teaching the 9 & 10 year old's. Mrs. Snapes, who taught the 7 & 8 year old's, Mrs. Evans the 5 & 6 year old's assisted by Miss Collins. Mind you there were some of the village worthies who were there to help defrey the cost of the productions. As they did when we held our annual school tea party, before breaking up for the summer.
I remember two of the children that played in Snow White. The young lady who played the part of Snow White was Elsie Hales who lived at #5 Hamfield Cottages on Lower Road. One of the Dwarfs was John Webb, who at that time lived down at Formosa Fishery. John made his home in Cookham after leaving school and also became a very active member of the Village Fire Brigade.
If any of that cast are still around they would be in their middle eighties now, so now is the chance for the grand children to find out. I know that some of my school chums have shed their mortal coil, but I am sure there are quite a few left to tell the tale.