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Here I am aged six, going on seven.

After returning from the convalescent home, I was sent to the Hazelbury Road Open Air School, Edmonton. This was a day school for children who were not in good health. Once again the feeling was that, coupled with good nutrition, fresh air cured all ills. The classrooms were constructed so that three of the four walls consisted of windows that folded back concertina fashion. The windows were open all year and in all weathers with only those closed where needed to keep the weather out. In the summer on sunny days, we got under our desks, balanced them on our heads, and marched out to the school field where we set them up in classroom configuration and started our lessons. In the winter we stayed in the classrooms with our coats and gloves on. Often, the ink froze in our inkwells.

My school day started with a walk to the end of the road where a school bus picked me up. This was unique in those days. On arriving at school, we were served breakfast followed by morning classes. Then came a good lunch followed by an enforced one-hour nap on canvas cots. These cots were placed in a building that, like the classrooms, was completely open on one side. If the rain came in we moved the cots a little further in. After the nap we had the afternoon classes followed my an afternoon meal. We were then bused back home.

I stayed at the Open Air School until I was eleven when I passed the 11-plus exam and qualified for Grammar School. I then obtained clearance from the doctor to leave the Open Air School and attend Grammar school.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of the Open Air School other than this one of me in the school play. My role was the tutor in Shakespeare’s “The Taming Of The Shrew”. I had just had a lute bashed over my head.

Each summer, our family rented a cottage for five weeks at Jaywick, near Clacton, Essex, on the Thames Estuary. My father would return to work during the week and visit us on weekends. Over several years, my sister and I got to know Jaywick inside out and made several friends there. It was an important part of our life and much looked forward to each year. On the right is a picture of me, my mother and my sister Wendy on the beach at Jaywick. I guess I am seven or eight.

And here is one of me age ten dressed in my Sunday best. I wonder what badge it is that I am wearing.

At left is another picture of me at Jaywick, this time age nine.

At age eleven I started grammar school at Latymer,  Edmonton, London. Here is a photo of me with a classmate, “Taffy” Phillips; it looks like he has cricket gloves on so we are probably in the “nets”. Although my father was a good boxer and a superb soccer goalkeeper, I missed out on those genes and was always “last pick” when it came to sports at school.

Age twelve with Wendy at Gilpin Grove, Edmonton.

It was about this time that my dad bought his first car, a 1936 Austin 10-4. I think it was the only car on the street. We also bought a 12” black and white television and I remember my school teacher visiting to watch the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

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Reminiscences of the Hazelbury Road Open Air Schoolabout-openairschool1.html