BilboroughShirley

Portland Junior School - Glaisdale Drive

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I used to love our blind piano/ music teacher Mr.Saunders. The way he kept control of the children during his classes now seems unbelievable. I remember the way he used to check the time by using a braille pocket watch on a chain. He always wore the same dusty, dreary old grey suit and was a figure of mystery since he had empty eye sockets behind those heavily fogged spectacles. :( We took it in turns to fetch him from the bus stop and would deliver him back there, at the end of the day. We all had great respect for him and took our reponsibilities in caring for him very seriously.  A good life lesson I think.

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Can you imagine what would happen nowadays if young children were sent out of school alone, to wait at a bus stop and then have the responsability for guiding a blind gentleman safely across roads to the school? :shout:

How times have changed. 

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Probably the road would be full of 4x4's and the other kids would mug the blind man. Sad times.

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Morning playtime was such a pleasure and we could purchase Jammie Dodgers. The originals came loose in a large box and the jammie shapes in the centre of the biscuits included stars, clubs, diamonds and hearts. They were always rather soft because they were not stored in an airtight container but they tasted very fine. They had a delicious cushion of soft jam and unlike todays rather cardboard versions, had both textured sides facing outwards. I remember delicious potato puffs in red packets and huge , marshmallow filled, wagon wheels. We had mini glass bottles of full fat milk  with silver foiled lids and straws. It always tasted good in winter but not so good when it was luke warm, in the Summer months. 

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Just thinking about my teachers at Portland school.  Mr, Denman was a favourite. I remember him being rather elderly but in those days anyone over 40 seemed ancient!  He was slightly balding and the rest of his hair was little long and a bit out of control like a nutty professor. He had a very prominant beak like nose. ;)   I can remember his accent being terribly ‘posh.’ He was kind, and caring and we developed a great bond with him. When we had to move on at the end of term, it was always a traumatic time. Mr Phelps was an original.  I remember him as a smart man, always dressed in a suit with a hand kniited green waistcoat. His methods were very predictable and rigid but once we got used to all his quirky ways we felt very ‘safe’ in his class. He had  lots of boards at the front of the class and he used them to give us clear instructions as to what he wanted us to do. When I think back, it was so rigid and controlling. These days we might have considered him to be on the autistic spectrum. Lol I can remember when he taught us how to use speech marks ........a true genius of a lesson that has served me well for the whole of my life.

When a pupil did any thing wrong, retribution was swift and you were hauled out to stand on a red line infront of the boards. Mr. Phelps used to bellow, “Toe the red line.”

Mrs Bowker was my teacher in the final year before moving on to secondary education. She was generally a good teacher but was prone to having favorites which often clouded her judgement. She had dark hair, always swept up in a bun with a sort comb thingy and a wispy fringe. She was one of those teachers who you respected but never really trusted as she could switch from charming to rather vindictive in the blink of an eye. I wouldn’t describe her as kind. I can remember seeing her smoking during her break times. I do remember an incident when I failed to use a capital after a full stop and she humiliated me in front of the whole class. There was no need for that behaviour really. Still, all in all, I am very happy with the education I received. Mrs Bowker was very active in the school plays and they were always an incredible highlight of the school year.

That brings me to Mr Pavey who I was never lucky enough to have as my main teacher but I will never forget how fantastic he was. He cared deeply about all the children in the school and encouraged each and everyone in their endeavours, regardless of their ability. He was an absolute superstar. He ran the stoolball team and used to pack the school team into his Robin Reliant for away fixtures. That wouldn’t sit too well with Health and Safety policy these days, would it? Lol.

 

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Whoops! I forgot Mrs Anderson. Another lovely teacher, if not a little quirky. I believe that she was Scottish and can remember her introducing us to Hogmanhay. She always looked rather dishevelled in her mid calf, woolly skirts with inevitably non matching, woollen jumpers. I can recall her flat brown leather lace up shoes and crinkled , thick dark stockings. Her straight, short cropped hair which looked like it was self cut,

always looked as if it had been dressed with goose fat and her heavy dark rimmed glasses were not particularly flattering. I believe that she used to live in a council house on the Ainsley estate, near the Robert Shaw school. I can  remember how shocked I felt when I discovered that such an important and respected person in my life lived in such apparent squalor. :mellow:

Her husband was lovely and used to teach us about electricity. It was amazing that he was just allowed to pop in and take a class. They didn’t do background checks in those days.  ;) He taught us how to rig up an electrical circuit using mini light bulbs and a battery.......awesome!smile2

 

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Sounds plausible. I think I remember that Mr Anderson was an aspiring teacher. Maybe he taught us the electrical stuff as a part of his training.  I left Portland in 1967 so the dates look promising. I have a vague recollection that they had one son but don’t quote me on that one.

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Yes, I think we are talking about the same couple. I'm saying no more on the subject in view of what has already been said elsewhere but the information is interesting.

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The School Play:

 

In my final year our play was Ali baba and The Forty Thieves. It was great fun and introduced us to team work and the performing arts. Having access to the stage with its wine red velvet curtains and the rabbit warren of back stage rooms was very exciting. I remember being a harem girl and was eager to dress up but ran into problems with Mrs Bowker because my mum wasn’t able to make me a costume. I think that it was very harsh to suffer resentment from my teacher for something that I couldn’t control. It definitely spilled over into the classroom. Very naughty really. The fact that it is etched in my memory 50 years later shows how much it affected me.  I became a superstar sewing mum and created some amazing costumes for my own children. Indeed, my daughter became an elite figure skater and I created all her costumes. Some of the more complex dresses took 9 weeks of solid hard graft to complete. I even went back to college to study fashion design to improve my skills.  Perhaps the hardship helped shape me and added to the person I became; so maybe it wasn’t all negative.

We helped paint all the sets which was great fun and I remember a set with large perfume bottles with Canal No 5 instead of Chanel No 5. A Mrs Bowker joke I suspect.

My husband remembers that Mrs Bowker used melted chocolate to create black faces for the boys. When she tried to apply it to his face he found the smell really disturbing and started to feel very nauseous, hence he remained white faced for the play.

The play was a complete sell out and parents almost fought over tickets.

Such a contrast to many years later when I went back for a reunion (1992)  and the caretaker admitted that

even on parents evening, only a small handful parents ever turned up. Very sad really. :mellow:

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Random Memories. :)

There were 2 classes for each year group eg. 4S and 4N. I am assuming that stood for north and south??

Boys and girls had separate toilets and cloakrooms but were fully mixed in class. I have just been reminded that the nearby Glenbrook school had complete segregation of boys and girls. It must have been a bit of a shock when they went on to mixed classes for their secondary education!

On a table just outside Mrs Bowker’s class, at the top of the main corridor, was a large brass handbell that was used to signal playtimes and lunch breaks etc. If you were very good, you were allowed to ring it!

The class room had a whole side comprised of windows which let in lots of natural light. It looked out onto a concrete slabbed terrace. The terrace was rarely used but came into its own for the school photos.

All the doors had plenty of glass in them which added to the availability of natural lght. The glass was always safety glass which had that silver, chicken wire like, stabiliser running through it.

The entrance hall and main hall had a polished parquet floor.

if you turned right at the top of the corridor after Mrs Bowker’s classroom there was a corridor with the staff room, always full of smoke, :rotfl: and the nurses room which invariably smelt of disinfectant. A trip to the latter always signalled innoculations or nit inspections. :ohmy: Further down on the right was the dining hall where copious amounts of slimy, dark green cabbage and frog spawn like, tapioca were served, along with metallic jugs containing luke warmthumbsdown water.  Moving on......I note that 51% of children are eligable for free school meals at Portland these days.  I hope the food is better than in the past!

This eventually led to a set of locked doors which connected with the infant school.

The main school hall hosted assembly every day. This consisted of two hymms, a biblical story and a relevant pep talk about behaviour standards. We all sat on the floor cross legged and stood to sing the hymms, the words of which were displayed on large flip pad like things that hung from the wall.  I imagine that it took quite a bit of skill and ingenuity to change the hymm sheet!

We were very lucky to have such extensive grounds which were always pristine with no hint of litter and the metal fences were painted regularly in those days.

 

Ahhhhhhh....happy days.......

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for reminding me about those spun aluminium jugs in red, green and blue that were used for dispensing water with school dinners.

I went to Beechdale Primary School 1955-61. It was on Frampton Rd not too far from Portland. Most of the kids there lived in the prefabs. I lived on Elstree Drive.

The school closed in about 1962/3 and the kids transferred to Glenbrooke.

School dinners at Beechdale were grim. They used to be delivered in a green van in aluminium containers which were then reheated. I can't think of any of the main meals I enjoyed. One or two of the desserts were OK like caramel tart. There was always a clamour for seconds when caramel tart was on the menu.

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Feeling a bit sad this afternoon. Nostalgia is all very well but it brings with it, a tinge of sadness when you recall shadows of the past. It does hurt that most of our teachers will have passed on and it is disconcerting that those giants of the past are mortal, just as we all are. This melancholy frame of mind made me think back to the music introduced to me during primary education. It mainly took the form of church music and hymns and reached a crescendo around Christmas time when I was an eager member of the school choir. I can still hear echoes of 'The Holly and the Ivy' and the descant to 'Oh Little Town of Bethlehem.' Music became a joy that I have carried with me throughout my life and it most definitely started at Portland. It was not a posh school, indeed the Bilborough estate was built by Nottingham City Council; to house slum clearance families. However, the education I received had a poetic innocence. Everyday was interlaced with music and I went on to play the Piano, flute and classical piano accordion. Two hymns very much embody the musical joy that I discovered during those formative years. 

 

Enjoy!

 

The first will not form a link so just copy and paste into your browser. The second should be OK.

 

ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=re0K9KMTi3M

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB4paKLbP4sh

 

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HR, I can remember "When a knight won his spurs..." but I had forgotten the other song until I heard it.   Even though I probably haven't heard it for near on 65 years, I still knew most of the words!  It was great - thank you.

i agree with you about nostalgia - only the other day I was playing one of the 'Dreamboats and Petticoats' CDs, singing along as you do, when I just started crying and couldn't stop for all the people I'll probably never see again.....

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I liked your post Margie because of the nostalgia but didn't tick the like button because of the last line of your post,there have been enough tears in my life so I think I might know how you were feeling listening to the old songs,just remember the happy times more than the unhappy ones

 

Rog

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Rog, I actually haven't had many sad times in my life - I've been very fortunate and have had a lovely life.   Apart from the deaths of my parents,  Paul's twin brother and one of my friends who has just died,  I have never been desperately affected by loss.  The people I probably won't ever see again may still be alive.... on reflection, I suppose it"s not the people I was thinking of so much as past happy times.  I'm very happy now but those teenage years were something special - at least mine were!

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3 hours ago, Happily retired said:

Two hymns very much embody the musical joy that I discovered during those formative years. 

 

Yes, we sang them at Berridge too. The words were printed on giant flip chart-type contraptions.

 

I often used to play the piano and the hymn for morning assembly at junior school as Alan Parr who had been deputed to the role of school pianist could only play with one finger and then only Blest Are the Pure in Heart. Gets a tad tedious after a while!

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MargieH I remember singing "When a knight won his spurs" at Portland School! It was my favourite hymn. I also liked "He who would valiant be". Good rousing stuff. The big flip chart with all the words on hung on the right hand side of the school hall. 

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I remember the hymns too, at Junior School (Glenbrook) and still remember the words.  A friend of mine,when she became a teacher, sent me some of the same old hymn books we'd used, which she'd found hidden in a cupboard at her school.  Still look at them every now and then!

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As the nights draw in, I think back to my days at Portland. By mid December, it was almost dark by the time the school day ended and it was time to make the journey home. No one ever came to meet me, even on those nights when the dreaded smog closed in........I blame the steam trains for that! I always felt safe on the short walk home and looked forward to snuggling up against the open fire at home. We had one of those very large 'cage like' fireguards which was very comfortable to perch oneself on;  in order to warm the derriere. My mum was always there to welcome me home, the house pristine and dinner on the stove. Home was a very special place. Only the front room was warm, as central heating didn't exist. Those concrete shell houses were very cold and in the winter, the hall walls would have thick ice on the inside of them. thumbsdownThe windows often had exquisite feather and fan ice patterns on them. Apparently these houses were supposed to be good for people with TB because the arctic cold helped to kill off the bacteria, which was good unless the sufferer died of hypothermia first. :rolleyes:   Any visits to the loo in the upstairs bathroom had to be completed in record time, in case you froze to death on the journey back. It wasn't unusual to be able to see your breath in your bedroom. Getting into bed was pretty horrific, as your toes ventured warily down to the stone cold section near the bottom of the bed. :shout:

It would be quite a while before dad arrived home, as he always had to do overtime to make ends meet. We didn't own a car and dad went to work on his hand painted turquoise Vespa scooter.

 

It was time to get comfy and watch some TV.

 

Hope you enjoy revisiting some of my favorites:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ifS2nP53Zs

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNcqV_dC_gE

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcnKvqDMnKU

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NA-8uk_uDP4

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqPoAiJfQ7Y

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtCNbERKvMs

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykRZbOb1c5c

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_agtNKbgSfI

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jz538x-CS44

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCXvGR4IP3s

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Blt9J5E7PcM

 

 

 

 

 

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Loved listening to those - what a great choice.  Thanks for posting.  I was a big fan of Skippy, the bush kangaroo.  Didn't like Daktari, though.  Your memories of your Bilborough house being freezing bought back memories too.  Always got dressed in a mad rush, to get back downstairs to the gas fire!

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HR, I checked all the links you posted and can remember all of them but, as I'm older than you, I  remember watching them with my children!!

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Glad you enjoyed them. I know what you mean about Daktari but at the time I was besotted by animals, so it became regular viewing. I loved the concept that you might be able to tame wild animals and the myth was strengthened by such films as Born Free. In the intervening years, I have developed a much more cynical attitude toward the behaviour of wild animals.  There have been far too many mauled zoo keepers recently. 

We were exposed to lots of puppet entertainment weren’t we? Stuff like Stingray,Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. I have confession to make.........I actually fancied Scott Tracey of Thunderbird 1 fame. How is that even possible?? :rotfl:

 

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