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Thank you Jill for the latest update from your latest book "The Manning Years", it has brought a ray of light into this worthless life of mine. I envy your memory and your ability to put them into such fine words. I am trying not to push my luck but are there any more unwritten chapters or even yet unpublished books , I think most on this forum really appreciates them, thanks.

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17 minutes ago, LizzieM said:

I have no doubt at all that everything you write is the whole truth.  

It was such an awful place, even I couldn't make it up, Lizzie.

 

I cried, too, on my last day but they were tears of joy!

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Lizzie - yes they were my teachers too!   But I didn't actually object to the Domestic Science teacher - it was just that I wasn't keen on cooking.   The music we were 'taught' wasn't to my taste and I think I got a bit stroppy about it!  At that time in my life, all I wanted to listen to were songs in the Top Twenty (or whatever it was called)

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Sadly, The Manning lagged behind secondary moderns of the era when it came to resources. We had nothing. Due, in part perhaps, to certain politicians who, having been privately educated and gone to Oxford, vowed in the type of language that would never cross my lips, to destroy grammar schools.

 

Pull up the ladder and crack open the champagne!

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Each and every morning at The Manning commenced with assembly in the hall. The sixth form sat on chairs at the side of the stage. The fifth form sat at the back of the hall on chairs carried to and from their form room for the purpose.  Everyone else sat on the hard, unremitting parquet floor, youngest nearest the front.

 

The music department (all one of him) played recorded classical works whilst we filed in and out (silently, or else) and then seated himself ceremoniously at the black Steinway grand, ready for the hymns.

 

Assembly was very definitely a Christian affair.  There were none of your multi-faith meanderings at The Manning.  Strangely, Roman Catholics - and there were only a few of them - didn't participate in assembly but went off to a room on their own with Barmy Colleen, the Irish maths teacher and would-be waitress at the Pytagoras Tearoom.  It was all very mysterious and although I once asked one of these girls exactly what they did while the rest of us were in the hall, she wouldn't spill the beans.  Whatever it was, the thought of spending half an hour first thing every morning with Barmy Colleen filled me with sheer, naked fear.  I wasn't Roman Catholic but, if I had been, I'd have defected to the Moonies rather than spend 30 minutes each morning writing "Mea Culpa" one hundred times in the back of an exercise book in the same way I continually wrote out, "The square on the hypotenuse..." assuming that is what they did.  What else can you do for half an hour? Self-flagellation?  Confession? Did Colleen have a little box and a funny hat, a la Dave Allen? An arcane mystery it remained, although I suspect it was just another lecture about how rotten the English were to the Irish and, if they were all like Colleen, who could blame them?

 

We had several girls who were the daughters of a Sikh family (most went on to become doctors) but they didn't require their own assembly.  They just mucked in with the rest of us.

 

When all were seated, the swing doors at the back of the hall would burst open and the All Seeing Eye (ASE), also known as the headmistress, swept down the middle aisle as a sea of girls rose to their feet on both sides, remaining upright until the end of the first hymn, announced by the ASE who was, by then, on the stage.

 

Prayers followed: Our Father, Teach us, Good Lord, etc.  Seated again, the ASE read from the Bible, usually St Paul. Given that St Paul always seemed to regard females as second class citizens, he found unusual favour with the ASE. You would have thought there'd be the occasional passage from Germaine Greer: "A woman needs a man like a fish needs bicycle ," might have crept in here and there.  Sadly not.

 

Now into our second hymn, with the sixth form providing a lively descant, sun glinting on the gold lettering of the Roll of Former Head Girls, among them one Katrina Sparrow.  No relation, I'm pleased to say.

 

At the words "Be seated, girls," a side door opened to admit Barmy Colleen and her Catholic progeny, just in time for the most interesting bit of the gathering.  Notices.

 

Perhaps twice a week, even before assembly began, one or maybe two girls were standing (squirming would be a more accurate description) on the edge of the stage.  Standing Under the Dome was bad enough but anyone teetering directly under the proscenium arch of a morning was poised for the high jump and no mistake.  It was not until Notices that their heinous iniquities were revealed.

 

Notices was merely a euphemism for "These are the rules and here are the names of those who've broken them."

 

Here is a typical selection.  All names have been changed.

 

Any girl caught disposing of sanitary towels down the toilet will be severely dealt with. Incinerators are provided in both toilet blocks at great expense. Calling out the plumber to unblock the drains costs money the school can't afford ...and we don't want males on the premises!

 

No girl will be excused sports or swimming unless they produce a note from their parents... even if their leg is hanging off.  Failure to bring your games kit will result in a stint Under the Dome, after you've done PE in your underwear in the freezing cold gym.

 

The deputy head has amassed a box of lost property and uniform items.  If you have mislaid anything, please go to her office at break time today, after which the whole lot will be thrown into the dustbin. Caveat: should any item be identified as yours, a stint Under the Dome will follow for failing to put your name on it in the first place!

 

Make-up and nail varnish are not permitted in this school. The sight of fresh young faces made even more attractive through the use of pan stick, blusher, mascara and lipstick only emphasizes to the tweedy, brogued twin-sets who teach you what wizened old prunes they have become and that Prince Charming is never going to come calling. Flossie Fanshaw and Floozie Fawcett, both of 5S, are serial offenders and up here on the stage this morning as a result of their refusal to toe the line. So, be warned!

 

It has been brought to my attention (by Pickleface, doubtless) that Lola Leivers of 5G was observed, wearing full school uniform, in the fervid embrace of a spotty-faced youth outside Staddons at 4:45 p.m. yesterday.  You are reminded of the respect you should have for the uniform of this school and, I need hardly add, physical contact with anything male ...spotty faced or otherwise ...must not take place whilst wearing it. Look of supreme disgust cast in the direction of Lola, teetering, red faced, on the stage edge. 

 

Gertrude Gormless stands before you this morning, girls, with septic earlobes, having been foolish enough to have them pierced.  I would remind you that the wearing of jewellery of any form is not permitted in school, other than a watch with a plain leather strap. Earrings, rings, bracelets and items worn around the neck will be confiscated on sight.  House and Prefect badges worn on the school tie are, of course,  permitted.   Whoopie!!!! 

 

Carole Chuffer of 6B was, to her shame, found smoking in the upper quad toilets at lunch time yesterday and a packet of 20 Embassy cigarettes confiscated.  This is not the behaviour the school expects from sixth form girls.  Carole will be spending the rest of the week Under the Dome at lunch times and will while away her break times in the biology lab, studying the specimen jar containing a pair of cancerous lungs, kindly obtained for the school by Dr Dunnit, Head of Biology.

 

Finally, a reminder that complete silence should be maintained when passing through the Admin Block between the quads.  Noise levels have been increasing of late and are disturbing both myself and the deputy head who are trying to sleep....er,... work.  No girl below the sixth form is permitted to cut across the quads at any time.  We expect you to know that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line but, unless you are a staff member or a sixth former,  you must walk all the way round ...and be late for your lesson as a result, for which you will be punished.

 

Assembly is now dismissed.
 

:blink:

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Thanks Jill for the latest instalment from the Life and Times of Manning School.   Brilliant piece of writing as always and a memory jogger for me, but as myself and Margie have commented, it wasn’t quite as strict at our  mixed sex school.  Suppose the Catholics went to Loretto and Becket mainly, we only seemed to have half a dozen in the whole school, who would only come into the Hall for school announcements at the end of the daily assembly.  

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Thanks Jill, I had a quick read earlier today but I had to come back and read it again. I was told years ago , decades to be honest, how strict it was  but I didn't realise how bad it was. It did however help you become the great wordsmith you are today for which I am thankful for.

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I never understood, Lizzie,  why the Catholics had their own assembly. The ethos of the school was Christian and, as you say, Loretto wasn't far away if it bothered their parents to that extent. The Sikh girls didn't mind.

 

Actually, Trogg, we can't blame the school for my scribblings. I was an avid scribbler when I arrived and once I saw how Draconian it was, scribbling became my survival mechanism. I, too, had heard how strict it was. The tragedy is, I didn't believe it!

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What a fascinating account of the beginning of the school day and the conditioning you underwent in order to take your place as a young women in society.

If you were/are not a catholic  then you would not understand...……...I went to The Beckett where we were conditioned accordingly so have some idea of the "mumbo jumbo" . I bet your catholic chums just sat about and told each other jokes ……………..as long as they had not been contaminated with non-Catholic dogma/cant then they would be OK. I was in an Anglican Scout Troop and instructed not to participate in the prayers at the nd of the meetings; I tried hard to comply under threats of God disapproving in some catholic way and being excommunicated or even exterminated. In the end I just joined in preferred the disapproval of the catholic fraternity to the disapproval of the folk that I valued.

 

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I'm right disappointed now, siddha. I had visions of some mysterious ritual taking place each morning because not one of them would reveal what took place. Afraid of excommunication, perhaps? I hardly think Barmy Colleen had a hotline to the pope! :blink:

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Siddha, my long term Catholic boyfriend, who went to the same school as you, used to meet me outside the Methodist Church where I used to go on Sunday mornings.  I remember asking him once if he would like to come to the service with me but he said he wasn't allowed to.

These days, I think it is more relaxed, and I know some Catholics (and a Muslim lady,  a Jewish lady and a Jehovah's Witness!)  who have been to our church.   One of the Catholic ladies always helps with the Church  Holiday Club

It sounds like the start of a joke doesn't it... "A Catholic, a Muslim, a Jew and a Jehovah's Witness went into a Baptist Church.......".   

 

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Siddha, I’m assuming rightly or wrongly that you’re similar age to me, a 60s teenager is how I like to think.  I knew a few lads at the Becket, including  Robert Wright and Ian Duncan who both tragically died when they were about 21. They both played for Notts Casuals RFC too.   Another one who I will not name as I know he’s still about but was best friends with Robert, he had a well known surveying business locally.   Never a good idea to name living people on here, would be a shock if they googled themselves :Shock:

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Makes me wonder what the Roman Catholic girls did during the carol service at Christmas when the whole school trooped down Gregory Boulevard to the Baptist church at the Mansfield Road end.

 

Lovely Victorian building. Parents were invited to the service of lessons and carols and sat in the gallery at the back.

 

Since I sang in the choir and also read lessons, I always sat in the choir stalls so wouldn't have been aware of anyone missing from my class. It seems that Barmy Colleen and her progeny may have remained at school. Seems unfair. After all, Catholics celebrate Christmas!

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13 hours ago, Jill Sparrow said:

Things must have changed among the Jehovah's Witnesses!

 

Jill, she didn't come  to an actual worship service, but she joined in with a Light Party (a Christian alternative to Halloween) and we sometimes sing some Christian songs at the Toddler Group which is held in the church buildings.   I know that JWs don't celebrate Christmas but she accepted that we do and gave me a present...... "Not a Christmas Present" she said, "it's just a present"

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I thought "proper" JWs don't mix with non JWs, ? That's how they used to carry on.

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Catfan, my JW friend was Hungarian and quite lonely.  She used to go the Kingdom  Hall  at the weekend but said she didn't understand a lot of what was being said... her English was quite limited.   I was giving her English lessons and sometimes we had reading practice from my Bible - not the 'New World  translation, which is the JW version!

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When I was at teacher training college, many years ago, one of our number was a JW. Nice girl but, because of her beliefs, many on the course avoided her. On our first teaching practice, 6 of us were sent to a huge school in Hornsea. It was November and Christmas preparations were in full swing. Being a musician, I was roped in to organise the choir and carol service, nativity plays, etc. Our JW friend refused, point blank, to participate in any Christmas activities, assemblies or religious education, as it then was. This had unfortunate, but predictable, consequences for her. She received a very negative assessment and, after we qualified, she could not find a job.

 

She tried, half heartedly, to convert me but I told her she was wasting her time. I spent quite a lot of time with her because I could sense how unhappy she was, shunned by most of the others. Eventually, she had no choice but to return to her previous occupation. Primary teachers just can't pick and choose like that.

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No good me being a witness, dint see the accident

 

Rog

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P_20181003_192252_002.jpg

 

I came across this cutting from the NEP, clipped some years back. It shows the architect's vision of the Djanogly City Academy and Leisure Centre on the former Manning School site.

 

This:

 

29796320_JPG.jpg

 

Is an image from the air, showing The Forest on the right with Djanogly City Academy on the left and Gregory Boulevard running between the two. On the latter image, the leisure centre has not yet been constructed. It is shown as the vaguely kite-shaped structure on the artist's impression.

 

City Academy is built over what were the Manning's tennis courts and the portion of the hockey field nearest the road. Pickleface would be hopping mad!  Even moreso than she was when I nearly speared her with a javelin! The small copse of trees which was out of bounds to us girls is still there. 

 

In the second shot, the outline of the original building is still visible on the ground but I read that the new Academy would not be built on the site of the former Manning building due to complexities caused by the previous structure...the ground was toxic!!!!  No, I believe it had something to do with the drains.  Manning was built on an elevated site, from the Gregory Boulevard side, although the rear entrance was level with Austen Avenue.

 

It seems there was some delay in building the leisure centre but now it is there, it boasts a swimming pool and state of the art gym. Old Pickleface would be having an apoplectic fit!!! She probably haunts the place, drooling with envy!

 

The leisure centre occupies roughly the area which comprised the upper quad and surrounding classrooms, dining room, music room, labs, hall and admin block. The lower quad area...especially the gym and games equipment store...one of the most toxic areas of the site...remains unbuilt upon.

 

Still wish I'd been allocated a couple of hours with a bulldozer. After all, while Barmy Colleen was droning on about the pies in Pytagoras Tearoom, Al Gebra and his mobsters, that's what I used to dream about!

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ntgm001475.jpg

 

Interesting...and topical...1948 aerial shot of Goose Fair from over The Manning School.  In the right foreground are the tennis courts where Djanogly City Academy now stands and the hockey field behind the wire netting. Also visible is the bottom of the banking and steps which led up to the terrace in front of the school building.  This was, presumably, taken on the Thursday as there are girls on the courts. Manning girls were traditionally the only secondary school to be given Goose Fair Friday off!

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Yes, a great shot, Jill. It also gives an appreciation of the organisation Goose Fair required, to get that lot shoe-horned in, in just a couple of days. 

 

Manning girls were traditionally the only secondary school to be given Goose Fair Friday off!

 

Sounds like just the one benefit of Manning then?:)

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Yes, TBI, it's the only one I can think of!

 

Wonder if today's Djanogly students are given the same perk? After all, they're closer to it than we were but they've probably got triple glazed windows to soundproof their classrooms, whereas we had single glazed french doors with 6 inch gaps between and under them when closed.

 

Wonder what sort of aircraft took that photo? Pity it wasn't a fully loaded Heinkel. I'll never forgive the Germans for missing it! :wacko:

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During most of my school years, reading material was procured from Hyson Green Library on a daily basis and, later on, from Central Library in Nottingham before it went down market and took up residence in the less than inspiring surroundings of a former bed shop on Angel Row.

 

Although The Manning wasn't large, it boasted two libraries.  The senior library was on the first floor of the Admin Block , its windows overlooking the front entrance and Gregory Boulevard. Girls were not permitted to use the senior library before the fifth form. Prior to that, we had to make do with the junior library which was something of a misnomer to say the least.

 

Behind The Manning School, running parallel with Austen Avenue, was the staff car park, bike racks, dustbin shelter and...The North East Hut.  Of three 'huts' on the premises, two of which were green-painted wooden constructions in the Upper Quad, housing the Sixth Form, the NEH was easily the most ancient. In all probability, it served as the builders' refuge when, in 1930, Manning was being constructed. The builders left but it remained, lurking in its dingy corner behind the windows of the dining room, to serve a variety of purposes over succeeding decades.

 

A prefabricated construction with a corrugated tin roof , the NEH was probably comprised of at least 50% asbestos and sensibly so since it contained a large, cast-iron pot-bellied coke stove which spat red hot motes indiscriminately at anyone who failed to observe a respectful distance.

 

Utilitarian by any standards, the NEH sported a bare concrete floor, an assortment of wobbly wooden chairs, a rickety fireguard , curtains which hadn't been washed since the year dot and a couple of shelves, just above floor height, stocked with dog-eared, battered, pre-war books, their fly leaves tattooed with an oval stamp which declared, "The Manning School. Nottingham City Education Committee."  On the basis of these two shelves, the NEH merited recognition as a library .. of sorts . I recall borrowing such volumes as Schubert Piano Pieces, When Marnie Was There, A  Golden Treasury of Poems (whoops, still have that one) and English Kings and Queens. There was no ticket system and, unlike the senior version , no one breathing down your neck if you didn't return your borrowings. SInce there always seemed to be more shelf than books, a goodly number were probably nicked!

 

Sparse as it was , the NEH was the most popular place on the site in winter. Why?  It was warm! Soporifically so.   Manning was, by design, a draughty hole.  All the classrooms had french doors to the exterior elevation which, by 1969 at least, boasted huge gaps through which the rain and wind rushed in eagerly. Internally, all the classrooms opened on to the quads but for a single-glazed, leaky glass -roofed corridor where it was commonplace to see icicles hanging like bunches of jagged grapes, INSIDE, during the winter months.

 

English literature in the NEH after sadistic exposure to the elements on the hockey field with Pickleface was as near to bliss as The Manning ever got. Frozen girls, collapsed on wobbly wooden chairs arranged in a circle around the coke stove, following the text of All Quiet on the Western Front, Romeo and Juliet, Jane Eyre or the Mill on the Floss. Within 10 minutes of Mrs Robbins' (we named her 'Harold'... she had 'proclivities') droning intonations,  we entered the hypnagogic state that precedes slumber, only to be rudely awoken by peremptory cries of "Holroyd, you're on fire! Put your skirt out immediately."

 

Blazing gobbets of coke, launched at random, rapidly seared holes in the skirts.. and sometimes the legs...of unwary girls. 

 

During morning lessons in the NEH, one could play Guess what's for Dinner? as, once the school meals wagon had offloaded the requisite number of stainless steel buckets of bilge and slop, (I always brought sandwiches from home) the mixed aromae of rancid cabbage, burnt potatoes and fish seeped its nauseous way between corrugated roof and asbestos walls. Nothing was cooked on the premises in those days, having been macerated, boiled to a pulp and made forever inedible long before it reached the school kitchen.

 

Working as a dinner lady wasn't much fun either, for when English literature sessions were not in progress, the NEH served as a venue for violin lessons, ably taught by a peripatetic gentleman who had the most revolting rotten, yellow nicotine -stained teeth I've ever spotted on a living personage.

 

So far as anyone could establish, he owned but one equally nicotine-riddled corduroy jacket and similar trousers. Clearly, playing the fiddle only pays decent pennies if your name's Menuhin, Oistrakh or Stern. Lesser mortals who failed to attain such dizzy heights, spend their days in hot asbestos huts, having their ears assaulted by sounds which make the scraping of fingernails down a blackboard seem tuneful by comparison.  Rumour had it that the kitchen staff spent most of their wages on earplugs.

 

A recent glance at an aerial view of The Djanogly City Academy site shows that the NEH, like the rest of the Manning, has been assigned to oblivion and, for that,  I'm sorry. It was the one place where , on the not infrequent occasions when our teacher failed to turn up, it was possible to get a bit of unmolested sleep!
 

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Spoke on the phone with a friend of mine yesterday. We worked together many years ago and she is also an ex Manning girl, although from a much earlier period than myself.

 

Having missed the 11 plus due to illness, my friend was sent to a local secondary school but her abilities were later noticed and she was subjected to the 13 plus examination and subsequently transferred to The Manning.

 

I know many of our members think i'm either exaggerating wildly or merely inventing things when I write about Manning on here. Our conversation yesterday, had you been able to hear it, would prove that I'm not.

 

My friend recalled, shortly after her arrival, being ordered to stand under the Dome for no reason at all and the abuse she received from passing staff members and prefects a result. At the time, she had no idea what standing under the dome implied!

 

She was also put in detention for eating in the street even though she was nowhere near the school at the time...but was in uniform. Constant regulation knickers and uniform checks and one girl who was forced to stand on the stage during assembly each morning for wearing grey nylon knickers instead of flannel!

 

When my friend married, her husband was ex army and, on hearing her Manning stories, likened it to army life. I suppose it was run on military lines.

 

As with many of our members, my friend's contemporaries who attended other schools...including grammars...had an enjoyable time.

 

Many years after she left, my friend had occasion to attend a meeting which, although nothing to do with Manning, was being held there. She recalled her revulsion at having to enter the place once more so many years later, adding that she couldn't relax until she was outside again !

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