Queen Victoria High School Assembly

Queen Victoria High School assembly taken in 1967 by Jack T Marriott who had a studio in Stockton.

I think this is the whole school, apart from the two Kindergarten years, probably singing the school hymn ‘Now thank we all our God’ since all the hymnbooks are closed. Form I are at the front through to UVI at the back. The Headmistress, Miss Gosling, is on stage at the extreme right of the photo. Other teachers are under the arches. In the right-most arch, the tall lady in a pale outfit is Mrs Payne (LIIIB) (or just possibly Mrs Heavisides (LIIIC)), and the shorter lady to her right is definitely Miss Langorne, terror of Form II. In the next arch are teachers from the senior school – I think I can see Miss Lavender (English) and Miss Jones (Music) and the first teacher in the third arch may be Mrs Squires (Art).

The hall was also used for indoor games – there are vertical bars along the back wall and two raised climbing ropes above the middle arch. I also remember an impressive contraption that came down from the roof with a parallel bar of adjustable height.

Photograph and details courtesy of Roz Sherris.

Pre War School Report, St. John’s School

I’ve recently been looking through some family papers and I’ve found a school report going back to the summer term of 1939. It’s from St John’s School, Billingham and concerns my late mum Doreen Birtle nee Wright. She was doing well as her class position of 3rd out of 43 indicates.

Strangely the only subject in which she topped the class was in Nature Studies. Well the years passed and in 2001 Doreen was very proud when her granddaughter was awarded a first class degree from Cambridge University. In Natural Sciences of course.

Photograph and details courtesy of Martin Birtle.

Haverton Hill School c1930s

Haverton Hill School was in Windsor Street, it served both boys and girls but they were segregated, for many years, Les Jobson was headmaster at the boys school and Miss Yule or Yuill (spelling uncertain) was the girls headmistress. Les Jobson later became the first director of the Forum theatre. The school, along with a large part of Haverton Hill disappeared in the 1960s/70s.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

Stockton Junior Schools Athletics Association

These two photographs show the letter rack presented to me in 1996/7 after my retirement having been the secretary and organiser of the annual Stockton Junior Schools Sports day from 1971 to 1995. This was held every June or July weather permitting from I believe well before the war, indeed the girls trophy for large schools being silver marked for 1939.

There were races for teams of children from the ages of 7 to 11, plus relays each having its own final. The races were held on Stockton Cricket Ground for many years and then in the latter years on the William Newton School field. Between 20 and 25 schools took place each year and to make sure all schools had a chance they were put into two categories, small schools and large schools depending upon pupil numbers. Unfortunately I believe that the association has ceased to function for many years although I believe the Cleveland ones may still continue. Some schools in the old Stockton Borough will no doubt still have trophies in their keep.

Photograph and details courtesy of Derek Graham.

North Pentland Primary School, Billingham c1940ish

This was my first school, I started there in 1951, the school was officially opened on the 10th of June 1938. The school consisted of two identical buildings separated by a pavilion, this pavilion had two pillars holding up the roof.

The buildings had five classrooms either side of the main hall, the hall was an unusual design with a semi circular bow front and an Oast house style of roof. The building to the left of the pavilion is the Infants school, the Junior school is to the right. The school faced South and every window in the classrooms of the buildings could be opened, when this happened it was very nearly the same as being outside.

When first opened there were no houses in front of the school and the playing field extended as far as the railway line about a quarter mile away, it was only rough scrub land the beginning of which can be seen at the bottom of the photo.

The school was built to serve the needs of the large number of people that were moving into Billingham from all parts of the country, all of the houses surrounding the school were built by ICI to house the incoming workers, this is similar to the Furness shipyard building their estate at Belasis in the 1920s.

In the late 1940s Billingham Council built the Junction Estate using a large part of the school field for a section of Cotswold Crescent, about ten years after this another part of the field disappeared when Braid Crescent was built.

Things I remember about the school were wood parquet flooring, which, in combination with boots with “Seggies” made a satisfying amount of noise, terrible outside toilets that froze solid in the Winter, nearly every school in Britain had similar sanitary arrangements at that time, extremely high ceilings in the classrooms with lights on long flexes, a “coolie hat” lampshade and tiny bulb that cast very little light, cast iron double seated desks, china inkwells, scratchy pens that made good darts and of course the best known of all, the frozen milk perched on top of the bottles.

I attended three different schools in Billingham, The North, The South And Campus Stephenson Hall, the first two were built in the 1930s and are still in use, the last one was built in the late 1950s and is long gone.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.