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I don't know what any of the Manning staff did during the war but the deputy head was so combative, I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't start it!

I don't know Jill well enough to be able to recognise her by any leg features.

Re maths teaching, earlier post; The only use for higher mathematics is to be able to teach somebody else higher mathematics.  (Bertrand Russell).

Found my old school report today. There it was, on the bookshelf, winking at me in a lurid fashion from its yellow (St David's) cover, as if to challenge, 'Go on I dare you!"

 

As I had been discussing the innovations relating to domestic science with another member, in the years after I escaped, I had a look at the remarks about my prowess (!) in the fields of needlework and cookery.

 

I'd have said, if asked, that we didn't do either after the second year but I'd have been wrong.

 

The two classes were organised into 6 months of cookery, followed by 6 months, roughly, of needlework. The swap took place half way through the spring term.

 

In my first year, Mrs Clarke presided over both subjects. A most unpleasant woman. She certainly had a gift but it was not for either cookery or needlework. It was for being patronising. To be fair, many of her colleagues were similarly blessed: some more so and some to a lesser degree but Mrs Clarke took an early dislike to me which is reflected in her comments on my report.

 

In the second  year, there was Mrs Bibby. A short, rather rotund lady who walked with a pronounced limp. I wondered if,perhaps, she had been a polio victim.  Mrs Bibby was a kindly, helpful soul who didn't need to fall back on sarcasm and patronisation to improve her opinion of herself.  Her comments about my culinary efforts are quite positive.  I admit, Hubert De Givenchy, Travila and Edith Head never had anything to fear from me but Mrs Bibby was polite enough not to mention it.

 

In the third year, a new teacher arrived. I can't be sure but I think she taught needlework only. Mrs Darroch was fairly young and pleasant. All I recall of her was that she had recently been married which probably resulted in her being instantly out of favour with the irredeemable old bat contingent. She brought in her wedding dress which she had designed and made herself. It was a Tudor gown, heavily encrusted with bugle beads and faux pearls. Her veil was attached to a French hood, covered in the same fabric.

 

Tudor history has always fascinated me and I have never forgotten that beautiful garment, along with the photos of her big day.  It caused me to ponder why, with such talents, she was teaching needlework to girls who, if they were anything like me, didn't know one end of a needle from the other.

 

I can't be sure but I don't think domestic science was a subject Manning girls could study for GCE O level. It was always regarded as a poor relation.

 

After my departure and the installation of a portacabin stuffed with washing machines, ironing boards and irons, I like to think of Clarke with her rubber gloves and economy sized packet of Oxydol, amid the whirr and hum of rows of Indesits, Hoovers and Hotpoints. Perhaps it washed away her huge opinions of herself. Something needed to!

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The equivalent at Mellish was woodwork and metalwork on a 6 month about basis. We made incredibly useless things like a single shelf bracket, an ashtray or a wooden pencil box. There was mouthwatering kit like lathes and milling machines in the metalwork shop, which we were never allowed to use. Most of the time was spent around the forge, bashing metal on an anvil. When I worked in industry I had access to the engineering shop, but I had to set up my own workshop when I retired. As my son was contemplating a career in engineering we got all the kit and we could weld, turn, drill, saw and fabricate just about anything. He changed his mind and became a lawyer but he now has an extensive mechanical workshop in his garage at his home. I think a forge is the only bit of kit I haven’t got but we no longer have a horse to shoe!

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My brother in law, up at Stapleford is an engineer. He has worked at R.O.F. The only one I know about. His garage is a veritable engineering shop, including two massive milling machines, a full size lathe and a pedestal drill. In his spare time, he has mad some lovely wrought iron garden ornaments.

On another note about metalwork at school,  A lad in our class, (Barry Hallet) made himself a Colt 45 six shooter, though the teacher wouldn't let him fabricate a firing pin, also he was never allowed to bring it out of school, (If I remember right).

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If I were to stock my "workshop" I would have the following. A Bridgeport turret milling machine with all the attachments, including a rotary and an angle table, a Colchester Student Lathe with face plates and steadies. Jones and Shipman surface and cylindrical grinders, a power hacksaw and welding gear. I reckon there is not much I couldn't tackle with that gear.

Stupid thing is that as companies re-equiped with multi axis CNC machine tools these things could be had for a song. Stupid me missed out as I was still working and did not have the time. I also have access to a portable forge if I need one

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Hi Oz, my bro is just like you. He bought a lot of his gear from his firm getting rid. I once asked him what he would do if ever he wanted to move. He explained that there was no chance whatever of that happening, because he'd never find accommodation for his workshop.

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It would have been easy to have all that gear where we used to live as the property had three phase power but unfortunately not much room. No such luck with 3 phase now that we have moved and have a shed big enough to put it all in.

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I bought a Harrison M250 lathe second hand about 20 years ago. It was three phase but I substituted a single phase motor. I’ve just checked on prices now and they are quite expensive. I hardly have the need for it now but it’s good to know it’s there if I do.

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Oz - your choice of machines for a home workshop is exactly what I would have chosen and have dreamed of! - I mean EXACTLY. Oh! I might have added a Clarkson T&C grinder. In fact a Clarkson T&C grinder could be used for doing some small surface and cylindrical work. Often thought of sourcing one.

I loved the Bridgeports. Could make em sing.

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A miller is one thing I haven’t got but most of my repairs are to my old tractors and horticultural machinery so I don’t usually require that sort of finesse. I think my most useful bit of kit is my bandsaw which is in regular use both for metal and wood. 

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