Tuesday, August 18, 2015

LFR Aug 18 Number 611

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 my late father

John Robert Laws 1921-2008

Part 12.


Generally in the elementary school we did all our lessons in the same room but we did have a purpose built room for woodwork. This was well equipped with benches and hand tools and we got a useful grounding in using them. For me it was one of the most enjoyable lessons.
The other children at the elementary school were a very normal mix and a reasonable standard of behaviour was enforced anyway. In the playground our play was of course rowdy but there was little real fighting, there was more interest in playing ‘Flickhams’ with cigarette cards. These were in good supply as most men smoked and every packet of fags had a card in it. Later the interest changed to collecting the sets of cards and swapping them to make up sets which are now almost antiques.
Most of my classmates were friendly but although we visited each other’s houses to play, few friendships were long term, because of the need to change schools and move house. Just before I had to take the grammar school entrance exam we moved house from Harringay to Whinchmore Hill so I had to take the exam in the new area. Until my time at elementary school ran out a few months after we had moved, mother ferried me to and fro daily in her little car to carry on in the same school till the term was finished and the exam done.
The move to grammar school was a move to another world. After all we were in the thirties and 1929 and all that was slipping back behind us. The move to Southgate was a move into another world and meant that none of my friends moved on with me to the same school.
It was of course an elitist world and the grammar schools were reckoned next in line after the ‘Public’ schools though there was no guarantee that the boy who left the elementary school at the age of fourteen would not become a millionaire quicker than any of them. He would not become as bank clerk or a civil servant however he was saved from being a fighter pilot in the forties.
Within the schools, competition and achievement were what mattered and although the arts and manual skills were not ignored any more than games, there was never a thought that these had in any way the importance of the academic subjects.
The grammar school was based on a large house, or small mansion set in substantial grounds converted to playing fields. A purpose built extension doubled the number of rooms and included proper lab facilities. This also provided a large assembly hall with a good stage as well as a separate gymnasium and woodwork and domestic science rooms. The ‘old building’ as it was known would have been a wonderful home in its day. It dated from the early nineteenth century and sat in a high position looking out over the lower land of the Lea valley, a sea of houses by the thirties but a green and pleasant land in earlier days.

It was basically a two storey house but with a complete basement half sunk in the ground below it and an attic storey half in the roof above. The grand front door led into a circular foyer before giving access to the central hallway where the circular theme continued with a grand staircase to the first floor.  This did not go on up to the servants quarters above, which were served by a small spiral stone stairway which went from basement to attics. There were perhaps ten rooms large enough to serve as main classrooms with a number of others used as library, staff rooms, studies etc. The basement still contained a kitchen and its main area was used as a dining room for the twenty or thirty pupils who lived some miles away and were allowed the privilege of school dinners. This part of the basement also served as a music room if the main hall or stage were unavailable. A separate building near the main gate which had probably served as a stable block had been made into two physics labs with an art room above. There were no sign of the stables or coach house; their site may have been covered by the ample bike sheds, the school bus not having been invented. Alongside the bike sheds was a dovecot up on saddle stones, no longer the home of doves, it was probably used as a store by the two grounds men who kept the playing field as immaculate as the gardens, which no doubt kept by a team of gardeners before them. There was a walled large kitchen garden which had one wall removed and then had been desecrated with asphalt to provide a playground and tennis courts. Around its walls the beautifully trained espalier apple and pear trees had survived to bloom in the spring without the hope of ripening fruit in the autumn.

To be continued tomorrow


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Family Events from our database for today August 18th

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

1629 - Burial: Henry LAWES-2266, Westminster MDX UK
1693 - Marriage: John YOUNGS-1993 and Frances LAWES-1994, Gaywood NFK UK
1706 - Baptism: Susan LAWS-55786, Hawkinge KEN UK
1782 - Christen: Elizabeth LAWS-3010, Deptford KEN UK
1801 - Admon: William Alsop LAWES-2907,
1805 - Marriage: Elam LAWS-3899 and Sarah HOSLEY-3900, Plymouth, Windsor Co VT USA
1819 - Death: Benjamin LAWS-33459, NY United States
1820 - Birth: William LAWS (Police Constable) -9230, Norwich NFK UK
1820 - Birth: James John LAWS (Silk Weaver -4038, Norwich NFK UK

                                                Elm Hill Norwich NFK UK

1832 - Birth: Joseph LAWS-42848, Cranbourne DOR UK
1850 - Christen: Percy Colbeck Johnson LAWS (Farmer 800 acres) -3232,
1854 - Death: Barbara LAWES-3196, Ovingham NBL, (d 16 Aug 1854 Prudhoe on MI )
1856 - Occupation: Edward LAWS (Steward on Ship "TELEGRAPH" -51777,
1870 - Birth: Agnes Harriett LAWES/LAROSS-262, Newington SRY UK
1872 - Birth: Charles Henry LAWS-48449, Fulton, Oswego County NY
1875 - Burial: Charles John LAWS-125031, Hampstead MDX UK

                                      Spaniards Inn Hampstead Heath MDX UK

1879 - Birth: Ernest LAWS (Married Lodger) -42763,
1883 - Birth: Kate LAWS (Domestic Servant) -167918,
1897 - Birth: Arthur William LAWS-167695, KY United States
1899 - Death: Sallie LAWS-42458,
1899 - Birth: Elizabeth Parker ATHEY-37130, Prudhoe NBL UK
1913 - Death: Mary Ann (Grocer) ???-3936, Lewes SSX
1916 - Death: J F (ARMY Private 10520) LAWES-45004,
1917 - Birth: Wilfred JENNINGS-46583, Stanley WRY UK
1918 - Birth: Alice May LAWS-42262,
1919 - Residence: William Charles (Library Attendant) LAWS-8411, New Cross SRY UK
1919 - Birth: Alice Alease ???-37884,
1922 - Miscellaneous: Isabella (Spinster) LAWS-8668,
1922 - Will Proved: Elizabeth (Widow) LAWS-8664,
1922 - Will Proved: Elizabeth (Widow) LAWS-8664,
1924 - Birth: Ronald William (RAAF) LAWS-32370, Strathfield NSW AUSTRALIA
1934 - Marriage: Jacob Albie SIMMONS-115401 and Doye Adell LAWS-115400,
1934 - Birth: Brian LAWS-4094, Sculcoates ERY UK
1935 - Birth: Kenneth GADES-43880,
1949 - Death: Alexander George (Mechanical Engineer) LAWS-4492, Melksham WIL
1950 - Death: Orris Samuel (Shoemaker) LAWS-36842, Ipswich SFK UK
1950 - Death: Orris Samuel (Shoemaker) LAWS-36842, Ipswich SFK UK
1952 - Birth: Carolyn Diana LAWS-40330, TX
1957 - Birth: Kenneth REID-43886,
1962 - Marriage: Donald Moffat (Lawyer) LAWS-39224 and Barbara A RAE-39225,
1964 - Birth: Alan John (Company Director) LAWES-46426,
1968 - Birth: Jennifer Lorinda Ann LAWS-3454,
1969 - Marriage: George Charles VINCENT-30988 and Janet Alma Scott (Shop asst) LAWS-30985, Bisterne HAM
1976 - Burial: Earl L (Sgt US Army) LAWS-37933, Dayton National Cemetery OH
1981 - Birth: Matthew LAWS-125289,
1995 - Burial: John (Miner) HESKETT-37591, Sunderland DUR UK

1809 - Birth: Mary Ann LOTHERINGTON-7645, Woolwich KEN UK
(My Great Great Grandmother)
1812 - Baptism: Isabella (Seamstress) ARCHER-1285, Norwich NFK UK
1848 - Birth: William Alexander DICK (Brickmaker) -55533, Team Dunston DUR
1861 - Birth: William WELLSMAN-38428,
1884 - Birth: Frank BYRT-116988, Shepton Mallet SOM
1916 - Death: Mary Ann CRAVENS-52863, Bloomfield MO United States

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