schools

Whitehill Infants in the 1920s

Ron Mayne

The first three rooms were for infants, the far ground floor for the senior girls with Miss Morrison, upstairs the senior boys with Stan Cox as headmaster.

I remember when I was seven and the class was asked if anyone would like to fetch a pint of milk from Wilfred White’s every day, in Broad Street. My hand shot up and I was chosen to go.

This was great. I enjoyed walking down the hill and watching the coal carts on the weighing machine in the goods’ yard. I was spellbound looking at the sacks being hoisted up at Chesham Brewery, smelling the distinct smell of hops and seeing a sudden whiff of smoke from the steam engines conveying coal trucks onto different rails.

I would get the milk in the jug “1¾d please”. I held the ¼d tightly and the milk for Miss Cuthbertson, the Head of the Infants. “Keep the change” she would say, but alas often the correct money was given to me and there wasn’t any change.

I knew we were not well off, but not as poor as some children my age. My main fear was that I would be sent with the ‘poor kids’ to Darvells bakers for free soup at dinner time. This did not happen and I often had sandwiches.

There was much unemployment then, no holidays or sick benefits. Illness was a tragedy for us. It meant debt and going without for Mum.

Ron Mayne. Born 1923.

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