Hazelbury Road Open Air School reminiscences pg7

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Doreen (1940-1947): After the war, Mr. Moscrop came back to teach. I remember him coming in one afternoon in his Army uniform to introduce himself to the school. We were thrilled that he had come in uniform. I have the feeling he had been teaching before the war but I am not sure.

Tony (1952-1954): Mr. Moscrop was great; he taught the oldest boys in class 4 and we had P.E. (Physical Education) with them. I remember a boy in class 4 whose name, as I remember, was Mowgli, which seems a bit odd as he had a Baltic appearance. There was also a boy called Geoffrey who had had polio and wore a caliper who came charging out of the building and cannoned into Mr. Moscrop as our paths were about to cross, and spun him round like a teetotem. Mr. Moscrop took it very well I thought.

Jeff (1948-1953): I enjoyed vaulting in P.E. class, and was quite good at it. However one day I had a boil on the inside of my knee (I was prone to boils at that age) and I caught it on the horse as I vaulted over it. Oh the pain! I was never good at vaulting after that, always being afraid of getting hurt.

Mr. Moscrop, Teacher of Class 4 for the older kids

Doreen (1940-1947): We also had a teacher who was quite young and very tall. Miss Stretch was her name and she rode a funny shaped bike. She wore her hair in a very tight bun. She was quite sweet but not very authoritative.

Jeff (1948-1953): I remember a substitute teacher giving us a Religion lesson and giving us each a lined work book from the supply cupboard so that we could draw a map of Palestine. When Mrs. Male returned she was horrified at this prodigal use of supplies and the books had to be returned, the used page carefully removed, and the books returned to the supply cupboard!

Other teachers

Mr. Rapley’s office was at the driveway end of the assembly/dining room with access from the corridor. He presided at assembly at a table or desk on a raised platform in the middle of the room against the corridor wall. Other than assembly, we pupils didn’t see much of Mr. Rapley.

Peter M. (1937-1939): I did not like the headmaster Mr. Rapley as he accused me of beating a girl student of which I was quite innocent. He was determined to get a confession out of me and threatened to cane me.

Tony (1952-1954): Mr. Rapley was a very nice individual for a headmaster, far removed from the pompous one at my previous primary school (Silver Street), and the aloof Jesuit at my secondary one! I think the teachers at the Open Air School must have been specially chosen. I was reminded of the headmaster, Mr Rapley, a few years ago when I saw an earth scientist interviewed on TV here in Australia. His name was Professor Chris Rapley and he is the head of the Science Museum in London. He looked exactly like I remember the headmaster and must be a relative as it's a rare name. Look at the link and you'll see an immediate resemblance, more so when I saw him as he wore his hair a bit longer then.

Jeff (1948-1953): I remember Mr. Rapley standing in for Mrs. Male once, telling us: how safety matches were developed after a cricketer was set on fire when his pocket containing a box of Swan Vestas was hit by the ball; how towels used to be smooth until a weaving machine went wrong and the damaged product with its loops of thread was found to be an improvement; how to draw in perspective view - we had to imagine ourselves sitting in the middle of a road and then draw on the blackboard where the curbs would be - no one could do it correctly until he showed us.

Wendy (1949-1952): I was a bit in awe of Mr. Rapley. I have a clear memory of his always wearing a brown blazer, and standing on a podium to talk to us.

Jeff (1948-1953): I remember that one day a group of us had done something wrong and Mr. Rapley said he was going to cane us. He told us to sit in the dining hall to wait until he was ready. The older boys told me that he wouldn't cane us but I was convinced he would and was reduced to tears. He didn't cane us, of course - the anticipation was the punishment!

Tony (1952-1954): I've just remembered that I was disciplined by him once. At breakfast I'd made a rather rude remark to a girl named Reid which put her right off her breakfast. She went up to the dais and complained to Mr Rapley, who made me stand facing the wall. I was mortified and tearful. If she reads this comment I apologize unreservedly!

Maureen: I remember well Mr. Rapley. He was a handsome man and I thought he was wonderful. He lived at Chingford. He left to go abroad to a hot country somewhere to teach or something similar. I don't remember if he ever came back.

Doreen (1940-1947): Mr. Rapley was very hot on good manners. "Manners maketh man" was a regular quotation. Sometimes he would catch a boy (it was always a boy) flicking breadcrumbs over the table and the boy would get told off. If he saw a boy aiming a piece of bread at someone, oh my, was he in bother.

Margaret (1948-1951): I remember Mr. Rapley in the dining hall looking extremely important in his elevated position. Rather scary!

Peter W. (1952-1957): I remember one afternoon Mr. Rapley standing over me for an hour in the dining room trying to make me eat my grated cheese salad. He gave up when, after a mouthful, I vomited onto his shoes!


The Headmaster, Mr. Rapley

Pauline (1961-1965): When Mr. Rapley retired as Headmaster, Miss Moscrop took over (almost all of us thoroughly disliked her I may say!) Before she became Headmistress, she taught the top class.

Tony (1952-1954): I clearly remember Miss Moscrop (green tweeds and flat heels - I always understood her to be Mr. Moskrop’s sister), but never understood what class she taught, if any.

Jeff (1948-1953): On the Friends Reunited website, there is a 1962 photo of a Miss Moscrop when she was Headmistress.

Pauline (1961-1965): One teatime, Miss Moscrop was on duty and she used to stand on a chair. A boy called Philip Widger did something naughty (I've forgotten what, if I ever knew). She made him come out and stand beside her chair - and he pushed her off! So she sent him out into the middle of the playground, even though it was raining heavily. He stood there making faces at her so she sent him right out into the middle of the field!

Doreen (1940-1947): Miss Moscrop was a great teacher but it was her hair that fascinated me. All those little plaits wound round the back of her head, how did she do that?

Peter W. (1952-1957): I also remember Miss Moscrop.


Miss Moscrop, who also taught Class 4 and later became Headmistress

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