I’ve just come across an article on my old school’s website which you can read here where a teacher describes his first day arriving at the school to be interviewed for a teaching role. It brings memories flooding back (in-joke for old boys) including the vivid memory of my own first day at the school. I had been placed there by our local education authority because my parents weren’t getting on well with each other. To be honest I was one step away from being wild.
My mother and father brought subsumed their differences for a short while to transport me to the school to be settled in as a ‘boarder’. I was already exhausted, having arrived by train, bus and taxi to the school from our home in South Leeds. I remember it vividly.
The first impression to an anxious eight year old was of an immense stone built manor house with people scurrying about hither and thither in what seemed like a blurring rush. I was led to a classroom on the ground floor between the hall and the library and plonked unceremoniously on a hard seat at the back of a class in Mathematics for 10-11 year olds while my parents spoke to the Headmistress about my care.
I was totally overwhelmed. My primary school was an inner city poor school and we were still using chalk and slates and the occasional wooden quill pen. It hit home when Mr Davies, the Maths master, told us all to get out our compasses and protractors. What??? I had no idea what either instrument was nor how to use them. I think I was possibly considering escaping to join the foreign legion at that early juncture.
Later on I was shepherded into a small dormitory almost above the classroom and thus began my life away from my family for the next ten years with only occasional returns to home for the holidays. To some children that would have ben unimginable horror. I quickly learned to accept my new situation and derive whatever success I could from it.
Truth to say, despite occasional bad patches which were usually self-inflicted, my school life was wonderful, the teachers mainly excellent and the non-academic lessons I learned… priceless. Thank you Brenda Easton, Mr Davies, Mr Jones, Mr Pearson, Captain Flood and the incomparable Daisy Hardy. Thank you also to the dear saintly Mab Harrison who saved me from an otherwise uncertain fate.
The saintly Mab Harrison (Bradley), Austen Davies and Aneas Jones