Sue Shirley wrote elsewhere about her experiences of the school at Hampton on the Hill during the 1950s. I was there for about four years from 1945 to 1949. Like Sue, I have vivid memories, some of which are the same and others which complement what she has to say. I have situated what I remember with respect to my other experiences of growing up in Hampton on the Hill.
Budbrooke School was a classic village school of its time. There were about 60 pupils, three teachers (all female) and three classrooms. This meant three separate classes; the infants, up to about age 7 or 8 I suppose; the juniors up to about 12; and then the seniors, who would stay on till the school leaving age, which was about 15 at that time. This was clearly a challenge for the teachers. They had to handle different groups of children within the same class, teaching one group while some other group ‘did their sums’ or whatever it was that had been assigned to them.
Some things could be done with the class as a whole. This was the case with radio broadcasts. BBC schools radio was a big thing at that time, including historical dramatisations and music. One such program was Singing Together in which we would indeed ‘sing together’ to some sort of piano accompaniment coming over the radio. The BBC produced what were called ‘pamphlets’ to accompany the broadcasts and these would give the children the words of the songs they were supposed to sing, and perhaps the music as well. Another program was entitled Melody and Rhythm – pretty trite.
The children fell into three broad groups, depending on where they came from. There were the children from Hampton on the Hill and outlying farms; there were the ‘bus’ children who came by bus from Norton Lindsey, the next village over – not a special school bus but a regular service that operated between Stratford and Leamington. The school there had been closed since it was too small for the number of children required to attend.
Finally there were the children from the so-called ‘married quarters’ at Budbrooke Barracks, who, like the children from Hampton on the Hill, walked to school. The latter injected a somewhat more urban, even sophisticated, element into the school since they had often lived in exactly those surroundings before coming to Budbrooke. Perhaps the macho element in the army rubbed off on the boys as well. They were certainly the ones who introduced what tiny hints of erotica there were in the school like negatives (not the actual photos) of women in bathing costumes!
Kevin R Cox spent the first 22 years of his life in Hampton on the Hill. Since then he has lived in the United States though with frequent visits to England, including the village, which he now finds almost unrecognisable. He can be contacted at: email@example.com