Monday, August 17, 2015

LFR 17 Aug Number 610

North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland

Welcome to the Laws Family Register. 
A Child of the Twenties

A suburban childhood of the Twenties 

seen from the Ninteen Nineties

by John Robert Laws 1921-2008

Part 11.


The school was less than a quarter of a mile away. Between parallel side roads of late nineteenth century houses an oblong block held the separate buildings of the infant school, the Elementary school and the Grammar school. It was a gentle sloping site with the New River flowing south along the upper western boundary bringing drinking water to London from Hertford. The infants’ school was between the other two and shared an asphalt playground with the girls of the Elementary school. The boys of the elementary school had their play ground facing the other road, firmly separated from the girls by a high brick wall on either side of which were built the children’s loos. The Grammar school was on the downhill side of the block, separated from the rest by a foot passage which ran parallel to the High Street through all the side roads. The iron railings round the school were set in strong brick piers and gated in the same style, a line of Plane trees were well established and were as un-climbable and as sturdy as the railings themselves.
The buildings were no-nonsense and built to last. Plenty of glazed brick and most lower walls of dark colour. Classrooms were built to hold about thirty and the desks and seats all-in-one in pairs.
The first day at school sticks in memory. It was the first real contact with kids in the mass and the first contact with any authority other than parental. At that time there were no nursery schools or crèches as mothers, nor indeed, didn’t married women in general, go out to work. I started school a month or two after I was five with the worst of the winter out of the way. Mother took me and the Head mistress saw us, having established her identity she passed me over to the class teacher to absorb into the mass. The teacher kept me with her during the morning assembly then brought me into the class, found me a desk, it cannot have been very traumatic as the rest has faded away.
Our lessons as infants were the three R’s punctuated with drawing and games. The alphabet and tables were chanted in unison. We wrote and made our drawings in chalk on pint-sized blackboards which slotted into the front of the desks. Some kids were bright and some kids were dim but everyone learned; there were no options on offer. Before long we graduated to pen and ink writing in exercise books with inky fingers, scratchy pens and ink blots. Ink was still king and ball point easy scribble still twenty years ahead.
School dinners were also twenty years in the future. All kids walked home for their dinners and back for the afternoon school. School milk started however in my first year or two at school. The little third of a pint bottles turned up in the morning break and there was much bubbling noise as the last drop was sucked up through the straws.
On the other side of the road from school was the Primitive Methodist church where I went, reluctantly and intermittently, to Sunday school. Mum and Dad did not go to church but Sunday school was the one thing in those days so I went for a while though they did not insist when I opted out. All that sticks in my mind is a Harvest Festival where I had been inveigled into read a poem about a windmill. It was the only time I saw my mother in church until I got married.
When we moved into junior section of the Elementary School, the horizons of our lessons broadened to include history geography & some science. There was now an objective in front of us, the entrance exam for the Grammar schools which were themselves the first step towards better paid jobs further ahead. Classes were now divided by ability into A, B and C and school reports began to arrive, largely designed I suspect simply to prod all and sundry to greater effort. I believe the teaching must have been good though it was a bit double edged for me. The first year in Grammar school had nearly all been  done before and the need to work faded.
At the elementary school there was no sports field but we managed to have a Sports Day at a ground near Muswell Hill. How everyone got there remains a mystery but the sun shone, there were sack races, egg and spoon races and mums races and a good time was had by all. Running was never a fovorite pastime for me it was only done when unavoidable. Swimming was another matter however and we were lucky in that there was a swimming pool in the basement of the grammar school next door. Here we were permitted a Saturday morning class for a dozen or so and I achieved the great heights of a certificate to say I could swim fifty yards.   

To be continued tomorrow


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Family Events from our database for today August 17th

If you are interested in anyone listed here, email us with the name, date and reference number, and we will happily do a look up, you might get a whole tree! 

Family Events
1658 - Marriage: Cuthbert CALLOW-1471 and Ann LAWES-1472, Norwich NFK UK

The Catherdral, Norwich NFK UK

1746 - Baptism: Martha LAWS-123446, Stepney MDX UK
1747 - Burial: Anne LAWS-57740, Rotherhithe SRY
1786 - Birth: Thomas LAWS-47301, Feltwell NFK UK
1790 - Marriage: James LAWS-29155 and Ann BONE-29156, Beetley NFK (St Mary Magdelene)
1799 - Marriage: Thomas LAWS-29620 and Jane RIGGS-45299, Orange co.NC USA
1803 - Death: Hanna LAWES-43256, Homington WIL (St Michaels)
1811 - Birth: Susan LAWES-991, Fincham NFK UK

                                                             Fincham NFK UK

1834 - Baptism: Emily Jane LAWS (Dressmaker) -34733, Stepney MDX UK

                                                      St Dunstans Stepney MDX UK

1834 - Christen: Samuel LAWES-2778, Clapham SRY UK
1838 - Baptism: John LAWS-34735, St. Dunstan's Stepney MDX UK
1846 - Miscellaneous: John Milligen LAWS (Navy Rear Admiral)-3030,
1851 - Baptism: Elizabeth A LAWS (servant) -50575, Bungay SFK UK

                                                                    Bungay SFK UK

1851 - Baptism: James William LAWS (Boot Maker) -115715, Bungay SFK
1851 - Baptism: Martha Ann LAWS (Silk Winder) -35853, Bungay SFK
1853 - Death: William Ryott LAWS (Farmer & Agent 226 Acres 6 men) -116914, NBL UK or                      Dunoon ARL Scotland
1862 - Birth: Eleanor Maud LAWES-259,
1874 - Birth: Charles James LAWS (Cutter Ladies Tailoring) -5055, Peckham SRY UK
1876 - Death: Mary Treen LAWS-3398,
1878 - Birth: Ira Eugene LAWS-32007,
1891 - Birth: Eliza Mary Eleanor LAWS-3962, Millers Waterhole, Ferndale, Grafton, NSW                          AUSTRALIA
1892 - Birth: Alice Isabella LAWS-3963, Grafton, NSW AUSTRALIA
1896 - Birth: Edith Louise LAWS-3724, Smallburgh NFK
1897 - Death: Arthur James LAWS (Infant 15 mths) -38501, Newcastle upon Tyne NBL UK

                                                      Newcastle upon Tyne NBL UK

1904 - Birth: Florence May LAWES-54055, Bishops Waltham HAM
1908 - Death: Marshall S P LAWS-124586, Boston MA USA
1912 - Marriage: Robert Henry LAWS (Company Secretary) -7640 and Daisy Ethel Violet                            HARDING-7646, Plymouth DEV UK (My paternal grandparents)
1913 - Death: John Grossmith LAWS (Bookeeper) -56515, Rainy River District ONT CANADA
1915 - Birth: Kathleen LAWS-118541,
1915 - Birth: Annie Taylor LAWS-41909, Newcastle upon Tyne NBL UK
1916 - Residence: Eva Mary LAWS (Ladies Maid) -36880, YWCA New York City NY
1916 - Residence: George Henry LAWS (Carpenter/Builder Retired) -4859, Tanni, Godstone Road,              Kenley SRY UK
1920 - Birth: Charles Frederick LAWES-118611,
1921 - Baptism: Emma Kathleen LAWES-47797, Norwich NFK UK
1931 - Death: William John LAWS-8535, Overdale 78 Croxted Rd, West Dulwich SRY
1938 - Miscellaneous: George Edward LAWS (Railway Plate Layer)-5166,
1938 - Miscellaneous: Maurice John LAWS (Railway Clerk)-117367,
1938 - Death: William Frederick LAWS-117366, Beccles SFK UK
1945 - Birth: Barbara LAWS-43883,
1946 - Death: Emily L LAWS-3146, Colwyn Bay DEN WALES
1950 - Miscellaneous: Elsie Dorine LAWS (Spinster) -123016,
1950 - Admon: Percy LAWS-123015,
1955 - Birth: James Reginald LAWS-123926, Statesville, Iredell County NC USA
1961 - Birth: Graham LAWS (Footballer)-115169,
1962 - Burial: Harriett Jane LAWS-46644, St Helens LAN UK
1964 - Death: Alfred LAWS-118911,
1971 - Birth: Andrew Phillip LAWES-118779,
1971 - Death: Kenneth LAWS (Royal Marines Mne 42 Cdo RM 15760) -50826,
1977 - Death: Delmas LAWS-41468, Jefferson Co KY USA
1980 - Death: Thomas Carlyle LAWS-40205, Austin, Travis Co TX USA
1981 - Birth: Meghan Patricia LAWS-40684, TX USA
1989 - Death: Harold C LAWS (Foreman General Electrical Co) -48484, Auburn Memorial Hosp
1991 - Marriage: Steven P BUTTON-53880 and Johanne Wendy LAWS-50446, Leicester LEI UK
1996 - Marriage: Mark Brian LAWS-54003 and Kim COPELAND-LAWS-54002, Folkestone KEN            UK
1999 - Burial: Myrtle Eileen LAWS-30906, Fawkner Crem & Memorial Park, VIC Australia
2000 - Burial: Herman M LAWS (PVT US Army) -37993, Garrison Forrest Vetrans Cemetery,                      Ownings Mills MD USA
2003 - Burial: George Henry LAWS (retired carpenter and farmer) -31022, Bethel Cemetery in Haywood Co NC United States

1816 - Death: Ann SILVERS-3634, Great Yarmouth NFK UK
1823 - Birth: James Loudon GORDON (Town Clerk) -117042, Brehcin, Angus, Scotland
1854 - Christen: William Charles FAUX (Jobbing Gardener) -9301,
1855 - Birth: Sarah Jane BARNES-6883, Corby, LIN UK
1904 - Death: Charles Lewis ROPER-56535, Chanut Kansas
1907 - Birth: Alfie Agnes JOHNSON-29697, Austin, Travis Co TX
1914 - Birth: Dorethy Lorina H THROWER-115089, Mutford SFK (RD)
1922 - Birth: Bevel Brian CROSSLEY-117578, Bermondsey SRY UK
1935 - Birth: Margery B SIBERRY-58336, Leeds WRY UK
1974 - Death: Sarah HUNTER-45167, Wallasey CHS
1975 - Birth: Sharron Elizabeth LEES-9903, Rowner, Gosport HAM

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