Hazelbury Road Open Air School reminiscences pg13

JEFF Avery on the Web


HOME        SITEMAP        ABOUT        CONTACT        INTERESTS


Doreen (1940-1947):  I started school in 1940. I had rheumatic fever before I was 5 and didn't go to school until I was 7. I am not at all clear if this was as a result of my illness or because children had been evacuated and most of the schools were shut until children started to drift back to Edmonton again. All the children were sick or disabled in one way or another and a lot of school time was lost in absences. But, well or not, you had to leave at 14 years old.

I remember when the war was on and we used to file in for our breakfast (oh, the smell of tomatoes cooking was a dream) and Mr. Rapley would go into his room to listen to the news bulletin. Every day he would come out and tell us what was happening. "There was an air-raid on Berlin last night; all our aircraft returned home" and we would all clap our hands. On other days the report would be "One of our aircraft is missing" and we would all be silent and sad.

I recall the Blitz: filing into the shelter and sitting on benches in the dark. I was quite frightening when I could hear the guns and bombs dropping and not knowing where it was. The teachers had torches and we had to sing sea shanties, hymns, country songs, all sorts - anything to drown out the noise and to stop some of the children from crying. There were two big boxes kept in the hall, one with boys clothes in it and one with girls clothes, all donated by the mums. The coach would go off in the morning and, en route, may come across road blocks where a bomb had dropped. If the children were there they would be picked up in their nighties or 'jamas and taken to school as normal. There they would sort through the boxes to find suitable clothes to change into. It was all very matter of fact. and I can't remember any fuss or confusion but, looking back, it was very sad. I think the shelters were placed near the drive not far from Mr. Rapley’s office.

The Open Air School During The War Years

Wendy (1949-1952): The whole ethos of the school was fresh air, good food, activity and rest, and they certainly did a wonderful job in turning my health round.  The education could not have been bad either because when I went on to normal junior school I was by no means disadvantaged, and in fact was near to the top of the class. I am certain that I had learned things that I would not have learned had I remained at my first school, and for that reason I am more than grateful. Like Tony, I was very happy there.

Jeff (1948-1953): The education we received was good. I passed the 11-plus and was well-positioned to move to Latymer Grammar School.

Pauline (1961-1965): I was very happy at the Open Air School and I'm convinced I made much better progress than I would have done had I continued in an "ordinary" school at that time, simply because I was missing so much teaching (especially in arithmetic) through periods of illness whereas at Hazelbury that was the norm and the teachers were geared up to helping pupils progress individually rather than to a group timetable.

There were a couple of days when I was ill in my last year and I was bused in to the school wrapped in a blanket, given my registration mark of present, and bused home again, so I could qualify to go to grammar school - this was altogether harder than passing the 11+ (which I had no idea of the significance of when I took it, and just enjoyed the different kind of work - except in the Arithmetic paper!).

Tony (1952-1954): One day off from work years later in the late 60's or early 70's I wandered down to Hazelbury school, walking down that long driveway (which, like the field, seemed to have shrunk), and onto the school grounds. The hall where we ate was filled with kitchen equipment, and I wondered whether it had been turned into some sort of technical and further-education establishment, but never found out what (it was the school holidays, there was no one to ask, and I didn't want to risk being taken as a trespasser by exploring too far!).

Doreen (1940-1947): I have very many happy memories of the Open Air School and the people I met there.

Margaret (1948-1951): Reminiscing, I once again find myself back in the Open Air School: in the cloakroom cleaning my teeth and washing my hands; watching the maypole dancing; looking at multiplication tables pinned to the blackboard.

In Conclusion


Jeff (1948-1953): I remember playing tag while keeping to the lines marked out for the netball court in the playground.

Tony (1952-1954): The smell of newly-cut grass, too, brings back happy memories of playing in that lovely field and tossing grass at each other after the Council man had cut it.

Wendy (1949-1952): I used to love playing on the field. Just on the edge of the field by the playground were peach trees. We were forbidden to pick the fruit but we avidly watched it ripen and waited for a peach to fall. Then the lucky kid who picked it up was in the envious position of sharing it with her specially chosen friends. Many a political decision was made at such times and popularity was assured until the peach was all gone. Once I was the lucky child who found the peach and I was really taken with how furry and soft the skin felt; maybe I hadn't handled one before.

Jeff (1948-1953): I remember making daisy chains on the grass under the peach trees.

Jeff (1948-1953): Once, in the playground, someone grabbed me from behind and tripped me up. I fell flat on my face on the asphalt, breaking off my two upper front teeth. That led to a succession of caps on my teeth that gave me a rabbit look. It wasn't until I was a teenager that the dental profession felt it was time to do crowns.

Pauline (1961-1965): One day, for no apparent reason, some pupils were playing a sort of round game called "In and out the dusty bluebells" in which you joined hands and moved in a ring. Then, in some mysterious way, the whole school - absolutely all the pupils - joined in and played it in one massive game. It was a bit like that moment at the end of a New Year's party when everyone joins in "Auld Lang Syne", but without the reasoning and without any self-conscious awkwardness.

Page:      < Previous        1       2       3        4        5        6       7        8       9       10       11      12     13      14    Feedback    Next >

NOTE: If you are reading this and have memories of your own that you’d like to see added to these pages, even if your memories only add confirmation to those already here, please drop me a line.