Memories of Ware Grammar School 1957-1963

Joanna Barnes

Ware Grammar School 1963 lino cut by Joanna Sellers

I’m happy to have found this article by Linda Clark (Chappell) who was in my class at Ware Grammar School. We were in Mrs Aylott’s form 1A when we started in 1957. Mrs Aylott taught maths, and I credit her with my (reasonable) grasp of this subject. How fascinating and clear she made it. I have used her method of proportion, circumference and volume all my life. We had a ‘rough column’ ruled down the right hand side of the page, in which we were to do rough calculations in pencil if need be, keeping the rest of the page nice and neat.

I don’t remember being taught by Miss Hodge, though I do remember what she looked like. I was taught French by Miss Sunderland, and I liked it and was quite good at it.

I, too, was in Art classes with Miss Higgs and Mr Sumray. I always liked art better than any other subject, and went on to be a graphic designer, and did painting and drawing in my spare time.

Miss Higgs found Jean, Janet and me inside the holly bush one lunch hour and we got told off! I think there were quite a few places that were out of bounds.

I remember Christine Stackwood. She was tall. I was little at that time, but later grew tall. She called me Little Joanna! I remember all the girls you mention, Linda, but I cannot put faces to them all. With you, I think you had long dark straight hair which I envied, as mine was curly, and I didn’t like it! I remember Julia Bagnell (sp), Susan Ray, who was very quick and energetic, and was always in the classroom first, Elizabeth Clyma, Jennifer Saysh, Jean Merle and Janet Assheton. Janet and I went on holiday with her parents to Brixham one year.

I remember Miss Clark who took English Literature. I was in awe of her, because she seemed so strict, but I was good at memorising poetry so I wasn’t too worried. We had to learn a poem for homework, and recite it in front of the class. I still remember quite a few of them, and I can still remember ‘The Blackbird’ all the way through.

I also remember Bridget Hunt and Wendy ? Her name escapes me. Haines?

We had those big radiators in the classrooms under the windows. We weren’t allowed to sit on them. Millbrook House was a very romantic building and had a spiral staircase. We were not allowed to run down it!

I loved having school dinners. I usually tried to have seconds. I enjoyed it all, especially ‘chocolate lino’ and ‘patriotic pudding’.

I was in the choir which met in the lunch hour. Miss Ludlow was the teacher. She was a wonderful teacher. We did Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast and I have loved it ever since. And I have continued to be in choirs all my life.

We had assembly every morning before lessons, and had prayers and a hymn and notices. I loved singing the hymns. I still have my tiny school hymn book.

We used to walk up the steep and (in winter) slippery path to Presdales for Science and Art and, I think later, Domestic Science with Mrs Reed. She had a voice like a sheep, and used to say “Just beat it a little bit more!” I started Domestic Science in the black wooden buildings near the Gym, but later they made beautiful new kitchens where we had both gas and electric cookers.

I loved tennis. We had about 6 grass tennis courts and maybe 3 hard courts which were used for netball as well as tennis. They were up the hill near Presdales. And the hockey field. I tried to stay as far away from the ball as possible.

I remember walking to the local swimming baths for swimming lessons. It was always freezing. But I did learn to swim.

How wonderful that you were able to follow your acting inclination, Linda. I’m very pleased for you. I married and moved to Australia, and live near my children and their families.

Joanna Barnes (née Sellers) 18/01/2022

This page was added on 22/02/2022.

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