June Astbury, 1950s

St. Kenelm's C.E. Primary School, Romsley
Centenary Celebrations
1915 - 2015

Memories of Mrs June Astbury - Pupil - 1950s onwards


My Dad Donald Lees and his two sisters, Dorothy and Doreen Lees, went to St Kenelm's School. So too did Martin and myself.... and our children ......and our grandchildren. Four generations!

The day I started school in 1956 my Mother started as caretaker Her duties were lighting the big iron fire in the infants' room, which fed all rads. to the rest of the school, except for the toilets, which were freezing. She had to be at school for 6.30 a.m. so the school was warm enough for all. If it snowed, she had to clear a path through for teachers and pupils. In the holidays she scrubbed the classroom floors with a bleach solution, and cleaned all the windows inside and out.

She was also was the lollipop lady and looked after the children if they were sick or hurt. She took all the towels home on a Friday in a big cardboard box. It was my job to help her carry them home as she didn't drive then. There were lots of other duties too - too many to mention I know the lady who did it before mum was called Mrs Able and she lived in the bungalow opposite the school. My mum finally retired as caretaker in 1985.

Miss Payne was my first teacher. She was lovely. We had a little nap in the afternoon and at storytime we would sit around her on the floor while she read us a story and we all took it in turns to clean her shoes (they would call it child abuse now) but we fought over it.

We'd walk hand in hand down to the Church Hall for our lunch. The Siddall brothers delivered the meals in great big stainless containers. Alice Barker, Nelly Whitehouse and Gladys Tandy served the meals. Mrs Gardener and Mrs Cooper were dinner ladies. We had our milk every day. On Sports' Day we had a bag with a roll and a cake plus a vanilla cornet.... and that was our lunch

I can't remember the name of Class 2 teacher. Mrs Southhall was the head. Then came Miss Gray and Miss Davis. I think they came around 1957. Miss Davis was in Class 3. I found her a bit frightening! The way she used to slam that Rounders' ball at us - good fun though! Country Dancing and sherbet sweets if you were good.

Mrs Cooper took us for music and Rev Copley came in and gave us bible lessons. The dentist used to park his van in playground and we would all live in fear of him and the "nit nurse" too. Oh, and Billy Clayton from Dark Lane did all the repairs at the school if need be.

When the school was extended in 1962 Pat Poles helped Mum clean and also did the crossing. Mr Ruddick and co took over from Miss Gray and Miss Davis. Mum then took on the role of teaching the children gardening plus still being a caretaker

I still have a poem that my mum wrote about Neville Atkins' jackdaw, which she read out to all the children. He used to follow Neville to school and sit in the broken pain of glass in our classroom and talk - very disruptive but extremely funny!

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