More memories of school in 1950/60s Lightwater

Thank you Rosemarie Mann for this article. How lovely that you speak so warmly of your early life in Lightwater. Last year another past Lightwater resident – Yvette Thomson – recounted her early life in Lightwater in the 1960’s.  Your reminiscences add to hers. I’ve added a photo of Lightwater in the 1960’s to Rosemarie’s story – [click to enlarge].

My family moved to Lightwater in 1956. I attended the primary/junior school at Catena Rise, from then, till 1959, when I transferred to Frimley & Camberley County Grammar School (FCCGS). I remember Mr Hancock, the gentle art, crafts and history teacher. And Mr. Clarke, the music teacher: he tutored us for a music festival/competition at Camberley (the Drill Hall); we sang, “Inch Worm”, Surrey With The Fringe On Top”, plus or minus something else….We didn’t win, but word came back later that the judges thought we were “the only choir in tune” (so why didn’t we win? We were word perfect, as I recall! Ah well. I remember before we went ‘on’, I sat reading a comic…not nervous, as we knew the songs well.

I went in for handwriting and art competitions, winning a first (writing) and something else…I think it was a large box of Fry’s Choc’s… painting was of a jungle scene…funny what things you remember, isn’t it.

Our headmaster was Mr. Scan, who lived just up the road from our bungalow where Curley Hill Rd, and High View Rd met, who was stern, (he used to humiliate little Wally, by standing him on a desk, and saying, “be careful you don’t fall in the inkwell” (I thought that unnecessarily cruel…), but I have to thank him for selecting a few of us to receive extra tuition, prior to the 11 Plus in 1959. I might not have succeeded in the 11 Plus if it hadn’t been for the extra tuition. I’d never seen an intelligence test before, and coming to them with a little experience helped a lot. I eventually got through on interview. The 3 (?) interviewers devised a trick question, I suspect, to see if I was well-mannered ?! They said, “Can you read ?” I felt like saying, “Well how do you think I got this far?!”, but answered meekly, “Yes, sir.” (not worth looking sassy at that stage !).

Anyway, 2 of us went off to Camberley. It would have been a much less tiring day to attend Bagshot Secondary, but that school had a bit of an air of…….(ummm…..) : my father took my brother out of there and got him into a good school at West Byfleet ). I felt sad that Sylvia Adams didn’t pass, as I thought she was very bright, and would have done well…..Muriel Reaper and I trundled to and fro, (best part of an hour each way, since we had to walk nearly a mile to the bus stops; one by the Off Licence, and the other by The Corner Stores, by The Avenue. on the bus for years after, and I left in 1964, having rather ‘had enough’….I don’t know where Muriel went after that, we weren’t proper friends to be honest.

Sylvia’s Mother used to run ‘The Powder Box’, along the Guildford Road, and put on enjoyable parties. I was ‘Queen of The May’ one year…a very sweet experience, never to be known again ! I still have the photo…..the event was held in a field (?) behind ‘The Powder Box’. In those days, the village was not much developed, but then the M3 came along, and we knew it because my father’s new white Ford Cortina used to get black dust floating down from the motorway : cars’ emissions etc. were not as clean as they are now….
Well, enough for now !
If anyone from that time would like to share a few more memories, please write.
Crumbs ! It’s 61 years now since we went to Lightwater…..
Best Wishes,
Rosemarie Mann

Nnow at Chandlers Ford, near Southampton –

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