54 thoughts on “Mill Lane Girls School

  1. I was a friend of Silvi Roomussaar, her dad was from Estonia as was Pamela Tiit’s father. I lived in Mill Street West and went to Mill Lane School then William Newton School

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    • I knew the family, they lived in Mill Street West. Lembit is their father, Margaret his wife sadly passed a long while ago. Silvi has 2 brothers Paul and Alec and a younger sister Inga. Their mother worked in the corner shop next door, owned by a lady called Maude Edmunson. Happy days, I lived in Carlton street. The family were really nice.

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  2. My mam is Joyce Rees and went to Mill Lane School. She left in 1963 I think. Does anyone remember her? I was trying to find out any details or photos as its her 70th birthday in due and I was hoping to do a photo book for her. Any help greatly appreciated. Thanks

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  3. Fifth from the right first row is Lesley Leeming, behind her is Sandra Nixon and end of front row right is Pauline Robinson.

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    • Hello Are you Pauline Leeming who lived off Wellington Street.. I think… and also went to Mill Lane School. If so we were in the same class. I lived in Stanley Street.

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  4. I attended Mill Lane I think from 1959-63. Does anyone remember me? I remember Miss Nicholson being the headmistress then, didn’t like her very much. She always wore long wooly suits down to her feet. I remember being in assembly one morning and I noticed she had egg dribbling down her jumper we all laughed at her. The other teachers I remember were Miss Nieve and Miss West. There was a maths teacher and if you spoke in her lesson she threw the board rubber at you, I was at the receiving end of it one day! I did have some good times at Mill Lane. My friends and I used to smoke in the toilets, we got caught so after that we smoked in the corner of the school yard behind a wall but we had a look out! Does anyone remember this? The school frinds I remember were Pat Fenwick (her mother had a pub called the Green Tree in Ramsgate, she was the one who supplied the cigarettes), Judith Morris, Christine Lee, Anne Douglas and Pat West. Does anyone remember them?

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    • I also left in 63 and I remember Miss Nicholson and Miss West. I remember smoking in the toilets, and that I was friends with Anne Douglas. I have vague memories of the other girls, my name is Pat Clarke, I hope you have a small recollection of me. Pat Fenwick is also ringing bells, as is Anne Irish, Lilian Lavender, Kathy Perrin, and a few others.

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  5. Janice, I do remember the sandstone with the grooves in for sharpening the slate pencils. When I started infant school at Mill Lane I’m sure we did use the slate pencils on little boards. I remember the first class in infants. There was a hugh fire always burning with a fire guard round it and the teacher used to lift her skirt a little to warm her legs. The headteacher then was Miss Gibson who I remember as being very kind. Also remember Mrs Ross and Mrs Irvine, who caught me dancing on the tables when she returned to the classroom from some errand, I naturally thought she was quite strict as she didn’t appreciate my attempt of entertaining the rest of the class. Also remember Miss Hildrew because we played with clay in her classroom. Best memories are of Senior School though and the characters – both pupils and teachers. School plays and country dancing with the wind up gramaphone in the school hall/cloakroom/gym/classroom.

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  6. I attended Mill Lane School for a while and have vague memories of something coming through the Hall roof. Can anybody help with an approximate date for this event?

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    • I am writing on behalf of my mother-in-law, Anita Carline. She attended Mill Lane around the years of 1945-52. She remembers a piece of iron about the size of four bricks, falling through the roof. She said it fell into the school hall and made a hole in the floor. Miraculously no one was standing in the hall when it fell. She said there was a foundry next door and she had assumed it came from there.

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  7. Detention over, Linda. Go straight home and don’t hang around street corners!
    Someone once told me that my nickname was ‘Sergeant-major Hawkeye’. Can’t think why.

    Maybe we should try to remember more things about the school. Do you remember the grooves made in the outside windowsills caused by sharpening slate pencils? And the story of the piece of metal from the nearby foundry that fell through the roof into the Hall?

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  8. Janice, apologies if I spelt your surname incorrectly (detention for me then). I always thought that Miss Nicholson was Margaret Elizabeth. It was a time when pupils hardly imagined that teachers had real names and it was always a bit of a giggle if you discovered the first name of a teacher. The boys always seemed to have nicknames for their teachers but I can’t recall that the girls did.

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    • The Miss Nicholson who became your life time friend Linda,is of course Sandra who originally lived in Airton Street & went to Richard Hind.

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  9. Bob, can’t think that ‘our’ Miss Nicholson was ‘your’ Miss Nicholson. Think she was looked on as a bit too lenient by one or two of the ‘older generation’ teachers at the time, something to do with “just coming from a Convent School”, I remember overhearing them say when they thought we couldn’t hear! I always found her kind. She encouraged confidence to try new things and told you, as Janice said… “you can do it”. Janice must have taken a leaf out of Miss Nicholson’s book, she got me through my nerves when ‘treading the boards’ without me throwing up! Ahhh happy days!!

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  10. Miss Nicholson was M.E. and think first name was Mary. Our paths crossed again about 30ish years after I left Mill Lane. My daughter and son talked of a Miss Nicholson teaching at Albany School, Norton. The description they gave could only have been our Miss Nicholson! I eventually met her at the school and she recognised me straightaway.. was nice.

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  11. Absolutely right, Linda. The Mill Lane Miss Nicholson came from Darlington about 1958/59 and I have a vague feeling that she travelled from there each day – at least while I was there. It’s a pity I can’t remember her Christian name, but then, I wouldn’t have dared use it!

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    • Hi. Miss Nicolson who was head of Mill Lane Girls School then went to William Newton School when Mill Lane was broken up in 1967 due to the creation of the comprehensive system. Yes she did drive from Darlington every day. Yes the same Miss Nicholson wore knitted skirts and matching jumpers/tops. She was a tyrant. I was not a child who smoked or back chatted but she caused me a great deal of problems. One of the old teaching certificate brigade.

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      • Hi yes I moved to William Newton from Mill Lane with the comprehensive system beginning.
        I went through Mill Lane with her. She was a real tartar she gave me some major problems and for my parents but it all backfired. She always worn knitted skirt and cardigans to match. However she was someone’s daughter and was only doing her job as she thought. She was still a Victorian in her attitudes. Miss West was of a similar vain.
        I remember Miss Cowan, Mrs Major, Miss ? Who became Mrs Ball, Mrs Ashton who remarried but her name escapes me. She moved up to William Newton too. She was as mad as a box of frogs, taught art but was absolutely fabulous. She helped me get into the career path I finally too.

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  12. The Miss Nicholson I knew went from the Nattrass straight to Tilery School. One of the instances with her was:- I was visiting my Aunt with my elder sister one Sunday afternoon. She lived in Barker Road Thornaby. At just before 7pm we decided to go home. As we entered the road from the house, just down the street on the opposite side of the road was Miss Atkinson with another 2 teachers (Miss Buckle and Miss Sheldon). One of them lived in Barker Road. Miss Nicholson had noticed me. The following day, Monday, she brought me to the front of the class, asked what time I had got to bed and then pointed out to the class the state of my eyes, which she said were, dark shadows below them showing a lack of sleep. She just hated me. After she left, my next teacher was more helpful. I didn’t reach top class in the infants, but when I went into the juniors in my 1st class there was a teacher called Mrs Daglish (Dagliesh) who was very good and I was top in her class and never looked back after that.

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  13. Bob, the Miss Nicholson you speak about can’t be the same as the one who was Headteacher at Mill Lane School – at least I don’t think so. She came to Mill Lane in the 50’s, taking over from Miss Glover. I think (though again not sure) that she came from a Darlington School. Janice Swalwell might come to my rescue here to confirm or otherwise. At the end of the era of the ‘old’ Mill Lane she probably transferred to William Newton.

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  14. I started at Tilery Infants school in 1945 & Miss Barr was the headmistress. Quite strict as most teachers were in those days. I learned my times tables parrot fashion there & have never forgotten them!! Poor Bob, I think you would have been treated more sympathetically these days.

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  15. Miss Nicholson was a teacher at Frederick Nattrass. I was left handed and at the age of 6 in 1943 I had great difficulty in writing. The writing was good but I wrote from right to left (I would on todays standards say that I was dyslexic). Miss Nicholson gave me ‘hell’ and because of this I had a nervous breakdown. She was removed from the school and was not allowed to teach in the classroom so she was transferred to Tilery School as a headmistress. She would have arrived at that school at the beginning of Sept. for the 1943-44 year.

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  16. Janice Swannell (Carruthers) – I have to ask. did Miss Nicholson come to you from Tilery Road infants? I’m certain that that was the name of our headmistress in the early 50’s.

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  17. How lovely it is to be remembered by some of you! The other ‘new’ teacher who arrived with me was Miss Harrison (Pauline). She helped with the costumes for the plays and was responsible for the Lion’s mask. She also taught art.

    You can have no idea how terrified I was of producing the school play! Miss Nicholson cheerfully said something like, “We need a play. You can do it!” and left me to it. Luckily, I found a professional actor directing an amateur group in town and I joined up, had to take a part and learned a lot. I also met my future husband in the group so that was an added bonus!

    The play was only a small part of teaching at Mill Lane Girls though. Every day was interesting and I learned so much.

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  18. To Linda: Thanks for sending me this website, has indeed brought back some great memories. I believe you made me a copy of the Androcles and the Lion pic, will look for it too! I don’t have any of the Merchant of Venice though…anyone else have them?

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  19. Thanks Linda for settling the matter. Like a lot of entries on this intoxicating site, a name from the past can trigger an odd piece of trivia from somewhere deep in the memory bank and for which there seems little reason to have stored it. I can only think that it was noteworhy at the time because hairdressing was what passed for a glamourous career by Stockton standards.

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  20. Brian – No, none of my brothers are hairdressers although you may be thinking of another Jean in the same class and living in Lawson Street that I believe has.

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  21. Thanks Jean. I lived in Millbank St. and also went to Mill Lane until 1966. When I reached the leaving age of 15. I would love to see more pictures of the school.

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  22. How could I forget to mention the group of younger teachers who arrived and brightened up our time at Mill Lane! Miss Carruthers in particular who had us performing those great plays to our adoring public…err our families! Merchant of Venice in the school hall on the purpose built stage! Androcles and the Lion at Holy Trinity…ahh happy days. Think we also had Miss Dunn and Miss Duke….another lady took us for RE but her name escapes me.

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  23. To Irene – I’m pleased you have found the site. I will find the photo of the school play Androcles and the Lion as I know that Miss Carruthers will enjoy seeing that too. Enjoy all the good memories this site allows us to revisit.

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  24. I recognise most of the faces, but some of the names escaped me too! I can fill in one of the names not mentioned so far, Sheila Smith lived school end of Dixon Street and I see her quite often. She is in the front row, five from left, between Judith Speechley and Christine Bainbridge and in front of me. I think it’s Sonia Hipkiss on the back row. Remember Miss Geary loved the Roman history lessons, Mrs Brown was a Mayoress of Stockton and despaired of my sewing (it hasn’t got any better) Loved netball, until I fell on the gravel courts at Grangefield Grammar!! Hope Jean’s paw’s better now??!! Will look for some pictures. Sad to hear about Maureen, but hope everyone else is fine. Will keep popping in.

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    • Long shot here. The Sheila Smith you see quite often, was she a good friend of Anne Preece?
      – I lived on Cobden St and my brother Kenneth and I hung out with Robert Laverick… (David Briggs)

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  25. The two names I couldn’t recall were Chistine Smith and Pat Smurthwaite. Also put my own name down twice…. (call it old age!)

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  26. The three Hipkiss girls are Barbara, who left school in about 1955-6 and went to live in Canada with an aunt. She still lives there now. Sandra is the middle sister and Sonia the youngest. They all lived with there parents, Eric and Rene, who had the grocers shop at the corner of Hume St and Balaclava St.

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  27. These are the names (I hope, and apologise if I make a mistake) from top left Eileen Bostock; Brenda Smith; Sonia Hipkiss; Maureen Cornforth; Judith Gunn. Middle row from the left – Brenda Keeble; Kathleen Blackwell; Janice Bennison; Irene King; Pauleen Downes; Maureen Huggins; Sandra White; Pat….; Denise Henderson; Front Row – Lyn Stanger; Joan Ward; Jennifer Mason; Judith Speechley; ……..Smith; Christine Bainbridge; Hilary Whitehead; Linda Crow; Norma Etheridge; Pauline Cuthbert; Linda Crow and Jean Laverick. I believe we were in Miss Geary’s class at the time.

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  28. It was Sandra Hipkis she had a younger sister whoes name I cannot remember. I remember Maureens dad was the chemist at Eric woods shop in Dovecote street, Mr Cornforth. Teachers I can remember were Miss Geary, she would talk about keeping your head clear of head lice while rolling her stockings down and knotting them just above her knees. She would sit on top of the desk and command our atention. Miss West took us for knitting and sewing she had a caliper on her leg, she was a caracter to say the least. I also remember Mrs Brown(mayoress), Miss Rutter (who became Mrs Thomas), Miss Tuck, Mrs Nickolson, Mrs Mallon (who I thaught was great as she made me sports captain) and the Head Mistress was Miss Glover then later Miss Nicolson. Happy times.

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  29. Pauline Lambert Nee Downes centre of middle row. I too have many happy memories – Maureen Cornforth my best friend, was it Margaret Hipkis I know she was close to Maureen, Eileen, Jean, Susan, Sheila wow how time flies. I recognise all the faces but sadly not all the names and OMG remember the photograph being taken- and the fight about wearing short white sox with Mum… I have a good photograph of me, Eileen and Jean, I think it was taken on a school trip possibly Hadrians wall, will try and find it and post… My best wishes to everyone.

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  30. Was it Sandra Hipkis? I remember Valerie. However, you were all much older than me so my memories are a bit faded now. I have asked Pauline to take a look and see if she can put any more names to the faces. Same as you though, great memories of school – does anyone remember Miss Geary and Miss West?

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  31. I know all the faces on this photo I was in the year above ,top left Eileen Bonser,middle top a girl called ? hipkis ,Maureen Cornforth can anyone else put names to faces. I remember your sister Pauline, you lived on the corner of St Bernards and Dovecote Street, I lived in Tarring Street ,Valerie Spink one of my good friends who lived opposite us should be on this pic as she was a year younger than me ,its a shame when you enlarge the pic some faces are blocked with writing so I can’t quite make them out I have happy memories of good old MILL LANE

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  32. I recognise my sister Pauline, nee Downes, centre middle row – also Maureen Cornforth sadly no longer with us (back row) both lived over the road from school – Linda Crow (front row)

    does anyone have any school photos from my years which were 1957 – 1967?

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  33. I think this was about 1961 I am 4th from the right on the front row and can still recall nearly all of the names. This was Senior 4 I think. I can tell you Susan that all the girls were great. Lovely to see this photo.

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  34. Tell me which year was that photograph taken as when it closed down the Mill Lane school for girls came to Hardwick Secondary modern and there were some nice girls from stockton.

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    • Hi. Mill Lane Girls School closed July 1967 and most pupils went to Hardwick as that was where most of the local area were rehoused to the top two classes along with the majority of the staff who moved to William Newton Girls School on Junction Road, Norton. I can be exact because we moved house in the same year and for quite a few months I was not sure if I would be going to Hardwick as I was in the first year of senior school, or Newham Grange which was the catchment area.= I moved to or William Newton as there were some spare places in the GCE stream class. Six of us finally got permission to go to William Newton, hence my accuracy.

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