Stories about Schools

Waterside infants’ school

Christopher Mulkern

I started school at Waterside Infants when I was about four years old. A lady called Miss Geary was the headmistress. I remember her saying “Come along, Christopher”. “My name’s not Christopher, it’s Christie”. She never forgot that.

We drew on slates with either chalk or a slate pencil. Art lessons involved drawing in a tray of silver sand with our fingers. We had no pen, no ink and no paper. We were taught the value of money with coloured cardboard counters – gold for sovereigns and half-sovereigns, silver for five shilling pieces, half crowns, florins, shillings, sixpences and threepenny pieces, copper for pennies, halfpennies and farthings.

On one special occasion, around the beginning of the First World War, we were led out into the playground to watch a route march of soldiers. The column was so long that as they passed by the school, we could see it trailing back along Bois Moor Road as far as the Bois Lane railway bridge. The bridge was clearly in view from the playground at that time.

We used to go on nature walks around the fields in the Trapps Lane area and also over the Moor to what is now Chesham United football ground. The land was then
owned by the Fuller family from Hyde End and rented out to local butcher Mr H G Rose for the grazing of sheep. Due to its shape it was aptly named the Pig Trough by locals. Eventually it was levelled out and became the football ground.

Christopher Mulkern, 1907-2001.