Newton Church Room Renovation Project
Memories of my School Days by Marion Joan Williams, Leslie Pritchard, and Gwyn Pritchard
When did you all go to Newton school?
Joan went in 1945 to 1951 or 1952.
David went in 1949 to 1955.
Gwyn went 1956 to 1961.
Where did you live and whom did you live with.
We lived with our parents and our brothers and sisters at the Cornel Farm at St Margaret's.
How did you get to school?
We had a lift in Eddie Smiths Taxi in the morning, we would all pile in and nurse one another. One morning there was a draft because the door had come open and David had fallen out, he was taken home by his granny because it happened just outside her house. He had a few days off because he cut his head. We always walked home. Later, when we were older, Joan had a bicycle and used to ride with John and Tony her brothers. Also Mr. Bowyer the driver on the Fairfield bus, and the rat catcher would give us a lift.
Who was your teacher at school?
Joan had Miss Cole, Mr. Basely as Head then Mrs. Van Caille.
David had Margaret Price, who started teaching at Newton the same day as David started school, also Mrs. Van Caille.
Gwyn had Mrs Smith and Mrs Van Caille, later Mr. Flawith.
What did you do through your school day?
We don't remember much about what we did in class. Joan remembers making Margaret, her sister, a lovely little dress with smocking on and pants to match. David used to look after Mrs. Van Caille’s daughter Jane because he was good with children. Gwyn didn't like school, all he wanted to was leave. Joan remembers playing with Ruth Williams and catching hold of her cardigan and ripping it, she was expecting a telling off for it but never got one.
What did you wear to school?
We use to wear gas masks in the war. The boys wore little jackets and trousers with hobnail boats, they also wore caps, but most of them got thrown over the hedge. Our granny use to knit us jumpers, cardigans and socks all the time. She could knit a jumper in a week.
What did you have for lunch?
Free dinners came in, but we could not have them so father refused to pay and sent us with sandwiches, which were usually of egg. We took apple dumplings, also cocoa and sugar to have a hot drink. We had free milk at school, if you wanted a drink you went to the pump in the yard. All the children drank from the pump then years later they condemned it. Joan use to help put the dinners out for the children and Miss Watkins would give the children who did not have school dinners the left over puddings. The chocolate steamed pudding was lovely.
Did you have any jobs to do before or after school?
We can't remember doing any thing before school only making sure the little ones were ready too, but when we got home the first job was to change our clothes, get the fire wood in, help to hoe the roots.
Can you remember any local event or any thing else about your school days?
If you knew you were going to have the cane you rubbed banana skins on the palm of your hand to stop it hurting. We had eisteddfods at school and concerts which we would make puppets for. We went to see the queen in Hereford in 1953. We can remember the coronation celebrations in the field at Newton. Joan competed in running for the county. We used to play rounders in the field, the boys used to chase the ducks and moor hens and run down to the quarry. We never rushed home, we walked different ways on different days. We went rabbiting, strawberry picking, and bird nesting. We would stop at New House and granny would give us bubble and squeak to help us on our way. we would carry the bread home, it was in a big white sack, there was about 12 loaves in the bag and there was usually a few comers missing by the time we got home.
This contribution from Marion Joan Williams; maiden name Pritchard, Leslie David Pritchard and Gwyn Phillip Pritchard, interviewed by Joan Davies and Mary Powell, January 2003