DOWN MEMORY LANE Good memories – and bad! – in the classroom

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PEOPLE far and wide are catching up with memories of the area through Down Memory Lane.

D Hardy got in touch from Northland, New Zealand. He writes:

I have just received a copy of the Observer dated March 10, from a friend in Bracklesham Bay where I lived until 1977.

I first went to Central Junior Boys in 1945. My first teacher there was a Mr Bradbury, who seemed to take an instant dislike to a new boy.

I was then put up to form one and the teacher was Mr Kirkland, who was pictured with boys in the edition of March 10.

After leaving Central Boys I then went to Lancastrian Secondary Modern, between 1947-48.

I was put into form 3A and we would move to different classrooms for special subjects; woodwork Mr Perret, metal work Mr Knight, geography was taught by Mr Abel, English by Mr Metcalf, maths by Mr Morgan and Mr Watson, art by Mr Norris, PT and games by Mr Ponting and Mr Heather, history by Mr McLean, and the headmaster at that time was Mr Trotter.

We had some nicknames for one or two of the teachers.

Mr Morgan was known as Moggy, Mr Watson was known as Dr Watson.

I can remember Mr Ponting used to teach history as well. During class he would have a cigarette and drink stout, which he used to call his brown milk.

We would distract Mr Morgan from maths lessons by asking about astronomy, as he was an avid stargazer, and was also a very clever model engineer.

I spent many an hour looking at his model trains. He actually had a track in his garden.

He lived in Bracklesham close to me and was a great inspiration to myself and, I am sure, to many other boys at that time.

Mr Hanson was also another outstanding teacher of hygiene and was also Scout and St John’s Cadets leader.

Mr Norris was, I believe, quite an accomplished cricketer in his early days, but I knew him only as art master.

One prank we would do would be to remove the chalk from the compasses he would use on the blackboard and replace it with a roll of white paper.

I think the large man mentioned in the Observer the reader couldn’t remember was Mr Metcalf, as I remember he was a keen cricketer and always had a bat handy.

The headmaster, Mr Trotter, was West Sussex Schools boxing president.

If he caught any boys fighting he would set up the boxing ring in the school hall and assemble the school to watch the boys sort out their differences over three rounds.

My regards to John Swaffield for reviving so many happy – and some not so happy! – memories.

* Over to you – what do you remember of your school days? We’ve had some memories already – but there are lots of you who haven’t contributed yet who must have lovely stories to tell. Get in touch.