West Yorkshire market town of Pontefract
 
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Pontefract Letters Page

WILLOW PARK SCHOOL, PONTEFRACT
1936-1946

ADDED 3 JANUARY 2008

Some years ago I handed a postcard in to Pontefract Museum showing pupils of Willow Park School, Pontefract, taken in the Rookeries. I had forgotten all about this until your article about Willow Park in issue number four of the Digest Magazine. The Museum, kindly found it again for me. I wrote my memories down then found that your article contained a lot of the same material. I think Mrs Arundel has a sharper memory than me.

I can reiterate the standard of the school except I also was terrified of Mrs Berry. We were transferred for two years to Baghill House, a creepy old place, now the Community Health Council Offices. I think this would be about eleven. I never mamnaged the 11 plus scholorships through a bad attack of mumps and my nerves failed me when I was offered a re-sit. Mrs Berry and Miss Colley were the teachers.

Mrs Berry administered my only skirmish with the cane when I dropped a sewing needle which disappeared through the floorboards. I was informed that the School could not afford such carelessness and was promptly caned. Thank goodness we were sent back to the main school (I think for the last year). Miss Hall was in charge; a wonderful lady who found me my first office job when I was 14.

 
Willow Park School Pontefract 1936-1946

Back to the photograph. I do not remember the date but we must have been about eight or nine years old at the time. Miss Cairns was the teacher and we really looked a happy band although we were not arranged in proper rows.

On the front row, but not necessarily in the correct order are: Alice Blakeston, Doris Asquith, Margaret Boothman, Stanley Mann, Brian Johnston, Margaret Blackburn, Joe Potter, Jow Boyer, Francis Watson, Pearl Waddington, Barbara Harrison (me), Sheila Thompson, Betty Poppleton, Jackie Wedge, Malcolm Lodge, Peggy Archer, Eric Barrett, Jack Downing, Margaret Turner, Harry Fairbairn, Mick Bacon, Dennis Leeman, Elsie Jones, Eileen Douthwaite, Margaret Place and Jean Renshaw.

Some of the people I cannot find are: Doris Dixon, Connie Millett, Joyce Garbutt, Jean Reynolds, Jessie Fretwell and Betty Wilson.

I think the notice board behind read: "Trespassers will be prosecuted".

My one abiding memory of schooldays was to sing at the Town Hall in the choir. I think the concert was during the war. I still have my school report from 1938.

Barbara Callear


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