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1977: Part 2 - Cuckfield Holy Trinity School days 'between the Wars' recalled....

I think in my early days at school, Billy Herrington was Headmaster, and Miss Plumb superintended the girls. One thing always sticks in my mind. Miss Plumb retired to Stony Stratford (Talk about useless information!)

William Herrington c1913

Miss Cannaway and little Miss Gibb were in charge of the infants, and Miss Gibb took standard IV.; she was my constant bugbear throughout my school life. 

Mr Glenister became the new Headmaster. He was my favourite. He would sit on the edge of a desk and keep us enthralled with History and Geography. Sadly he could not do the same for me with "sums", at which l was hopeless, 

Miss Gibb said I loved the sound of my own voice! I was always getting the rough edge of her tongue. This time it was because we all had to recite a verse of Tennyson's "Brook". I’d done mine, and it was the turn of Herbert Tidy. I knew it would be an ordeal, and I put my hand up

and offered to do it for him. "We have heard quite enough of you Lily Newnham. No, you may not recite it for Herbert”.

Like the rest of my family, I was addicted to doing "good turns", whether they were needed or not. There was the occasion when I stuck up for  Susy Gasson. We used to go to Haywards Heath by taxi for Cookery classes, and the front of the Taxi was always open to the four winds. Susy had consumption, that I knew (in fact she died soon afterwards), and I was determined that a slob of an Elsie Marchant wasn't going to elbow her out of a good seat in the hack. So I tripped up Elsie and got Susy nicely settled. The crunch came at lunchtime, when we adjourned to Victoria Park to eat our sandwiches. Nobody wanted me - not even Susy, who said she was going to sit with her friend, I sat on a tree-trunk deciding whether to throw myself on the nearby railway line or eat my sandwiches! Small wonder Miss Gibb once said “Poor Lily Newnham, always got a grievance”

I did get my own back on one occasion though. Chum, our dog, had unknown to me, followed me to school and suddenly appeared under my desk. I was ordered by Miss Gibb to send him home immediately, whereupon l cried, and said he would get run over! So I was ordered to take him home. With what joy we went the long way round via Ockenden Lane, and the “Rec”.

"Stoolball" was a great Sussex game, and we played both at school, and in the League. To my great delight, l once bowled my great enemy Elsie Marchant. 

Among my school friends were Ivy Cornford (my bosom pal), Poppy Keep, Winnie Farrow, Maud Brigden and Winnie Tilbury. Among the boys, Arthur Busby, Charlie Ballard, Fred Henley, and of course Herbert Tidy. I have never forgotten Arthur Busby, He promised to bring me Roses. I imagined a beautiful bouquet - but it turned out to be a moth-eaten set of Fag-cards!

A word about our Teachers....

Infants - Little Miss Gibb (the younger) 

Standard I Miss Askew, sister of the. local Undertakers Suffered with her back. 

Standard II, Miss Eggington - Black hair, Blackdress, Black hat and ebony beads. Large feet put down determinedly, would have made a good Policewoman.

Standard Ill, Miss Whitworth. Young and pretty. Favourite of the boys. 

Standard IV Miss Gibb (need I say more!). 

Standard V, "Art" Rapley think he must have taught all our family) had a gammy leg, but you would never have known it. l once made a drawing of him peering over the partition as was his wont. Just putting the finishing touches when he asked for it, looked at it, and said '"No, not a good likeness, stay in after school and improve on it”.

Standard VI, Mr. Glenister. I longed to get in his class. It was my greatest disappointment not to have won a scholarship - vowed it was my wretched arithmetic! There were however two prizes for which I could compete. The needlework prize (anyone could have that), and "Best All-round girl in the School". I prayed I would get that, and I did! My prize a real leather music-case with my initials in gold. (I chose that because stepmother had given me her harmonium on her wedding day). I could have wept buckets as we sang "Lord dismiss us with thy blessing" on my last day at school.

Two big events happened during the school years. Our mother died, and Mrs. Clem Avery made us, that is, May, Dory, and I, black and white check dresses, and our sister Hilda took charge of the family. When I was about eleven, Dad married again, and Aunt Kate, as we called her, took over. There were now only Bill, Reg, and myself at home, and I am ashamed to say I was a holy-terror!

Aunt was inclined to be strict, and in retrospect I can't say as l blame her, but -Dad always upheld her in front of me, once, (eavesdropping on the stairs) I heard him say "Don't be too hard on the gal, Kate". I loved him for that.

During the period of the General strike in 1926, Dad and Aunt gave a home to two miners’ daughters. Cassie Evans from Ferndale, and Eunice Jones from Ton Pentre, both in the Rhondda valley. Cassie was my age (13) at the time, and Eunice a little younger. I can still count up to ten in Welsh!



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