Clapham Terrace School. Wartime, and a Post War Increase in Numbers

Clapham Terrace School, Leamington. nd.
Warwickshire County Record Office reference CR4914/7

During the war the pupils had to go over the Ladder Bridge to Shrubland Street for cookery and woodwork.

All railings were removed to be melted down for ammunitions. Some householders had the base of their walls cemented for neatness. One morning the sight of wet cement was irresistible to me who just had to walk in it. By the time I got to school the angry owner had rung the school and show inspection was held. My shoes gave me away and I had no playtime for three days.

Senior boys and girls were sent potato-picking in an open-black lorry with a Land Girl. No sooner were they round the corner into Radford Road when the lads would light up their ‘fags’.

Occasions to Celebrate

On Ascension Day the school paraded to St Mary’s Church for a service and then returned to school to be dismissed for a day’s holiday.

May Day was always commemorated with dancing round the Maypole and ceremonies with the May Queen.

School Surge

During the war we had brick air-raid shelters at the back of the school on land that belonged to the Warneford Hospital then. Mr Baxter was the air-raid Warden for the Clapham Terrace District.

When the first bulge came in the early 1950s we had more children than could be accommodated in the school and so two or three classes of young juniors went to St Mary’s Parish Rooms in New Street. The building later became the Sikh Temple and was burnt down. We went to school in the morning and had assembly and then the classes for New Street walked down.

No proper playground

In the afternoons we assembled at New Street, except on Thursdays when Mrs Baxter had a Darby and Joan Club there. At the end of Thursday mornings we had to stack the furniture and take books and materials back to school at dinner time for the afternoon’s work, which we did in the Hall on trestle tables used for school dinners. There was no proper playground at New Street. The children went into the small yard and also remained in the classrooms.

These articles are part of a collection of reminiscences held at Warwickshire County Record Office. The articles are under reference CR4914/10, although it’s worth noting that some of the collection is unavailable for general access.

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