MEMORIES of school in Summersdale came flooding back for John Templeton, of Washington Street in Chichester.
He writes: “The ‘In Memorium’ reminder of the death just five years ago of Winifred Shoesmith, headmistress of Northgate House School, brought back happy memories of my early days at her kindergarten school in Summersdale in the mid 1940s.
“The school was then simply known as ‘Mrs Shoesmith’s’, and was held in St Michael’s Hall, Summersdale Road. It was a happy school. Apart from learning the basics of the three Rs, we performed nativity plays, developed craft skills, went on nature walks with picnics to the former gravel pit (where Marchwood is now) and so on.
“Mrs Shoesmith treated each pupil as an individual. She allowed me to light the gas lights with a long pole with a hook at the end, and agreed my request to join the girls’ class to make my own Christmas stocking instead of making paper decorations with the boys!
“Going to the loo was exciting, as we had to walk along a path to an Elsan chemical closet at the back of the hall. We always wondered if it would overflow before it was due to be emptied at the end of the week, but it never did. On one occasion I fell over on the muddy path and had to be escorted home.
“Another memory is of a donkey running loose round and round the hall with the mothers who had arrived to collect their children following in hot pursuit. I do not recall how it came to be there or whether they managed to catch it.
“Maybe there are other former pupils of ‘Mrs Shoesmith’s’ who might like to share their own recollections of this happy school.”