'Bottle green jumpers, berets and singing pop songs in the playground'

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WE have been delighted at the response to our appeal for former pupils of John Mansfield School to get in touch with their memories. As many of our readers will already know, the school in Western Avenue, Dogsthorpe, Peterborough, is closing this summer after 50 years of educating youngsters.

WE have been delighted at the response to our appeal for former pupils of John Mansfield School to get in touch with their memories. As many of our readers will already know, the school in Western Avenue, Dogsthorpe, Peterborough, is closing this summer after 50 years of educating youngsters.One of the many readers to get in touch has been Claire Wright, who sent in some photographs on behalf of her mum, Victoria Wright. Mrs Wright was known as Victoria Tendera during her schooldays at John Mansfield in the ’60s.

She has enclosed two photographs, a picture of Miss Malster’s class, which was taken in 1963 or 1964, and one of Mrs Wright when she was a form captain.

Pamela Pearson was another former pupil who was keen to tell us about her schooldays at John Mansfield from 1960 to 1964.

“I was the form clown, always ready to make someone laugh instead of buckling down to work,” she said.

“We were an all-girls’ school then, and I can remember wearing a white blouse, bottle green jumper, tie and stockings, and a pleated skirt that was far too long.

“Some of us would fold the waist band over to shorten it and would also wear a net petticoat which made it stand out like a ballet skirt. Our berets were placed flat on the back of our heads and fastened with two hair grips either side.”

Mrs Pearson, whose maiden name was Gibbs, added: “I can remember being picked to be form captain twice, maybe because I wouldn’t be unkind to anyone and I would let them all do what they liked.

“A group from my form would spend break times sitting on a very large grass mound in the playground singing all the latest pop songs from sheet music we bought from Cooke’s music shop, in Westgate.

Mrs Pearson has listed many of the teachers from the school including headmistress Miss Newborn, Miss Becks, who taught music, Mrs Handley, a PE teacher, Miss Franks, who taught art, Mrs Douglas, a history teacher, Mrs Bedwell, who taught maths, Miss Clarke, who taught English, Miss Marriot, cookery teachers Mrs Whiting and Mrs Fisk, Mrs Drury, who taught sewing, Miss Eames, Mrs Hewitt, who taught maths, geography teacher Miss Maulster, Mrs Schneider and Miss Roberts, who taught history and was also her form teacher.

She added: “The next few names have stuck in my mind, but I’m not sure if they were from John Mansfield, Mr Underwood, Mrs Hacket, Mrs Philpot and Miss Travis.”

“I can still picture the classrooms as if it were yesterday,” said Mrs Pearson.

“I remember Mrs Handley poking me with a hockey stick because I hated to run. She gave up in the end, and put me in as goalie. Miss Clarke and Miss Roberts were my favourites.”

Mrs Pearson told us that she had been sorry to leave the school.

“On the last day several of my form and myself rode round the playground on our bikes crying as we didn’t want to go,” she said.

“My leavers’ certificate said ‘a noisy, boisterous likeable girl, but can settle to hard work’.”

All the girls left school and went straight into jobs.

Mrs Pearson was taken on for an apprenticeship with hairdressers Lyn’s Hair Fashions, in Thistlemore Road.