Archived Feature ~ Memories of Lubenham School

Reading the report on Lubenham School in the April Newsletter, I found myself looking back to my schooldays in the 1930s. How times have changed!

The school had a good name even in those days before the war, when we had just two teachers - Miss Batty, who lived in the village, and Miss Jesson, who lived at Gumley.

The house to the right of the school clock had at one time been the headmaster's, but during my time there it was let to Jack Smith.

Miss Jesson was a real character and a very tough lady. During the summer months she would ride to school on her 'sit up and beg' bicycle; but when the snow came in winter she would trudge through it, well covered against the elements and armed with her walking stick. We seemed to have lots of snow in those days, yet I don't recall Miss Jesson ever being off sick. I don't know what her age was at the time, but she seemed old.

She was so knowledgeable about nature, birds in particular. I think that, although she had a very loud, shrill voice which could be heard way up School Lane during lessons, we were all fond of her.

Our days would always start with assembly: hymns and a prayer. Miss Batty played the piano and Glad that I Live am I seems to stick in my mind as a favourite. Sometimes the Rev. Graham Dilley would come to take prayers and sometimes, on special days such as Ascension Day, we would all go to Church. I recall going to the funeral of a lady who I think was one of the school governors.

In school we sat two to a desk with a lift-up lid in which we kept our books and things and in the top there was, of course, the ink well for use with school pens.

We had school milk delivered daily one-third pint bottles with cardboard tops and a little punch-out hole in the middle for a straw to drink with. In winter we often had to stand the bottles on 'the pipes' to thaw out, but it never tasted very nice after this.

Everyone walked to school for a nine o'clock start and home again for lunch at 12 midday until 1.30 p.m. There was no dining room then and only the children of two families, I believe, stayed because they lived far away. Afternoon school finished, I think, at 3.45 p.m., when we would all walk home at a very leisurely pace.

There was no playing field, just the tarmac playground where we would have ball games and so on. Sometimes, in hot weather, we would have lessons outside. School Lane was very quiet in those days, with very few cars around.

We had a school percussion band, which we enjoyed, sometimes going to the Unionist Hall (now the Village Hall) to play, maybe in a concert. (I'm not too sure about that point.)

At the beginning of the war evacuee children arrived from London and were billeted in houses in Lubenham - and, of course, came to school, where they became new friends. It was then that the large room was divided into two, allowing two classes in one room. We then had an extra teacher - Miss Luscombe, I believe. Before the extra children arrived we would have PE in the large room, where we had rush mats to exercise on.

Home from school, life seemed so leisurely. We would play in the streets until dusk - even Main Street - at marbles, hopscotch, whip and top or whatever craze was in season. Happy days!

by Margaret Bale


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