Stories about Schools

Reynolds brothers school days

Fred and Bill Reynolds

Bill (William) Reynolds – School in the 1940s

Bill, known as Billy during his childhood, was born in 1938. He started school at the age of four and a half at Waterside Infants. He was living in Wey Lane with his mother and paternal grandmother whilst his father was in the Army.

Two evacuees, older than Bill, lived with them for a while. One came from Watford, the other from London. Mothers took it in turns to walk the children to school. After the family moved to Bellingdon Road, Bill’s mother went with him through the park to meet up with other children walking to school.

As it was wartime, double summertime was in operation, in order to maximise daylight for the farmers. He remembers walking through the avenue of elms in the park & seeing the moon shining through the trees.

Teachers Bill remembers were Miss Saunders in the first year. She came from Rickmansworth by train. Mrs Jackman took the second years and Kitty Baker, the Headmistress, taught the third years.

Bill was left-handed and his mother was concerned about this but his teacher advised her not to try and ‘correct’ this. PE was performed out-of-doors.

Bill has warm memories of weekly storytimes and particularly remembers Miss Saunders reading ‘Wind in the Willows’ in its entirety. He was totally absorbed and looked forward eagerly to the next instalment.

Bill joined the school band and tried a variety of instruments including the drums. Concerts and plays were performed each end-of-term in Christchurch hall.

Fred (Godfrey) Reynolds – School in the late 1940s/early 1950s

Fred was born in 1942 and until the age of 11 or 12 was known as ‘Goof’ to family and friends alike. He started school at Newtown Infants.

The family were living in Wey Lane at that time with his widowed paternal grandmother. He remembers his mother putting him on the Tring bus with another boy who lived nearby. However, it wasn’t long before he was walking to school with other children. He went to his maternal grandparents in Broad Street for his lunch. Later the family moved to Bellingdon Road.

His teachers were Mrs Gomm and Mrs Ivory. Miss Quinn was amongst the first to use a ‘biro’ but the children had to use pen and ink.

He learned to write by copying, in a loopy style, to ensure pen was kept on paper, although one teacher disapproved of this method and discouraged it. Miss Baker became Head.

At the age of eight he started at White Hill Junior Boys. Mrs Cook was his first year teacher. He appreciated being taught by Jim Randall, as did many Chesham boys.

He enjoyed Jim’s Bird and Tree club. There were nature walks and a daily nature diary chart was kept in the classroom. Wind direction was taken from the weathervane on top of the Brewery.

Temperature was also recorded and there was a rain bottle on top of the air-raid shelter in the girls’ playground. This was in the form of a kilner jar-type of container in which rainfall was measured on a weekly basis.