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Wartime Schooldays

by Lancshomeguard

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Archive List > Family Life

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Ivy Yates
Location of story: 
Blackburn, Lancashire
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
19 May 2005

This story was submitted by Mrs Ivy Yates and added to the site with her permission.

The other day I saw a schoolroom on television, with all the modern equipment, and this started me thinking about my schooldays. From the age of eight I never attended a purpose built school. At the start of the war my junior school, St. Silas, was taken over and turned into an ARP post for casualties should bombs fall into the area. Our school was moved to a church hall nearby, Leamington Road Baptist Church, and the classroom I was in was in the upper kitchen with a lift in the corner connected by ropes to the large kitchen below. Why that building couldn't be turned into an ARP post I never did find out, children in those times were not encouraged to ask questions.

Our aid raid shelter was underground on some spare land nearby which had once been a quarry. The shelter was built in a square with wooden benches round the walls. We all used to troupe down with our gasmasks on our shoulders, sitting on the benches with the headmaster leading the singing of songs of the day. Then back to school. We children thought it was good fun but I wonder what it would have been like if the practice had become a reality.

The next school I attended should have been the Blakey Moor Girls School in the centre of town but this school had also been taken over and the school had moved to a large house on the outskirts of town, Troy. It had been the home of a notable family and was set in it's own extensive grounds. When I was in the first form our schoolroom was in the drawing room with steps down to a formal garden. My second year's room had been the nursery with bars at the window and the billiard room was our gym. We had acres of spacde for hockey and netball and to spend our lunchtimes in.

There was no central heating and open fires had to be lit in every room with those sitting at the front very warm and those at the back very cold! I will not dwell on the toilet facilities, suffice to say they were primitive in the extreme.

I left school before the end of the war so I never attended a purpose built school again. I don't suppose it did me any harm, my mother always said that alol the fresh air I had did me a world of good.

I. Yates

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