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Looking back: St Augustine's School in Woodston

A crumpled copy of this photograph of pupils at St Augustine's School in Woodston, Peterborough can be found among the family photos kept by Peter Thomas's sister Rosa.

A crumpled copy of this photograph of pupils at St Augustine's School in Woodston, Peterborough can be found among the family photos kept by Peter Thomas's sister Rosa.Mr Thomas got in touch with some wonderful memories of his time at the school, which back then, early in the autumn term in 1948, was in Wharf Road, Woodston but later moved to Palmerston Road.

"The school site contained two buildings, an infants school for two forms, and the original building from the 1870s," he said.

"This had separate entrances and separate playgrounds for girls and boys. The school field was not exactly level and contained some treacherous patches of stinging leaves. Even in 1950 the only toilets were outside."

He added: "Individual classrooms were heated by coal fires or stoves."

Mr Thomas remembers Wharf Road being flooded right up to the school playground in 1947.

He also recalls a time when rationing was still in operation.

"Extra clothing coupons were available for longer children," he said.

"The qualification for the extra coupons was determined by the headmaster measuring the length of the childrens' feet. Those above a certain length got the coupons."

"Word soon got round the school that one girl had stuffed cotton wool in the toes of her socks in order to qualify."

Mr Thomas was able to tell us more about two of the teachers in the centre of the photo.

"The form teacher Mr Phillips (17) was popular, but strict," he said.

"If we were really naughty he made us stand at the front of the class, facing the wall, with our arms held vertically above our heads for five or ten minutes."

Headteacher George Hankins (18) retired in the mid 1950s and was also a church warden at St Augustine's Church.

Although Mr Thomas admits he lost touch with most of his classmates after he left St Augustines School, he was able to name many of those in the picture.

Please get in touch if you can give us any of the names we don't know.

Back row: Unknown (1), Janey Vyse (2), Jean Crisp (3), Unknown (4), Gillian Smith (5) Unknown (6), Unknown (7), Unknown (8) , Joan Thulborn (9) Pearl Squires (10), Cynthia Plummer (11) and Ann Kershaw (12).

Middle Row: Peter Hickson (13), Margaret Walden (14), Ann Percival? (15), Margaret Hardwick (16), Mr Phillips (17), headteacher George Hankins (18), Unknown teacher, possibly a trainee (19), Margery Joyce (20), Joy Cox (21) Peter Thomas (22) and former Evening Telegraph archivist Alan Cleaver (23),

Front row: Michael Redhead (24), Unknown (25), Alan Baguley (26), Unknown (27), Alan Croft (28), Keith George (29), Unknown (30), Peter Blott (31), Barry Lehair (32) and Brian Wilkins (33).

Mr Thomas went on to Orton Longueville Grammar School.

He worked as a food research scientist for Unilever for 28 years, then as a sub-postmaster for 14 years before he retired to Higham Ferrers in 2002.

He believes Gillian Smith became a teacher in Peterborough and Peter Hickson became a manager at Peter Brotherhood.

 

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