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Early memories

Early memories all before I was seven years old were of Wateringbury C of E Primary School which was then a few hundred yards up Red Hill on the right, there are now three detached houses on the site but the entrance wall and lay by can still be seen where Mr Reid the headmaster parked his Rover 90, a grand car in 1958/9, Mrs Chambers also had a Rover 110 and parked in the same lay by. The playground had a circular wall with target circles in yellow painted on which I have a feeling are still there. The front of the school to the right had a lawn where we played in the summer, there was a huge oak tree which is still there some 50 year on and it looks smaller now than it did then! At the back of the grass lawn there was a row of newish buildings where the PE equipment was stored, these I believe were air raid shelters for the school during the war. There was a live-in care-taker which was Mrs Long who was also a dinner lady.

I can't find any pictures of the school, though I did paint it when I was at the school and won a prize for doing so. I will try to post a scan of the painting later.

I painted it from a Bramley apple orchard opposite which I remember being much higher than the road.

Mrs Smith lived opposite and was the school crossing lady, I remember one lunch time crossing the road without her as my mum was further down the road and beckoned me across, boy was I in trouble when I got back to school.

Even at Primary school we were made to touch our cap (which we had to wear) if we saw any teacher in the village out of school hours. Mrs Duffy was a teacher who lived in the village opposite the vicarage in a large gated detached house next to what was then the Garden shop in the Tonbridge Road. School dinner used to arrive in a canvas backed lorry driven by Alfie Brookes who my mum knew, Alfie was one of the Brookes Brothers that went on to run a local Bus company who also won various school run contracts and is still in business today. Alfie used to deliver the dinner in square aluminium thermal containers, I can picture them now beside his brown lorry, but I never had them as I went home for dinner (lunch).

On the way to and from school I would pass by several shops most of which have now gone.

From my house there was Mrs Austins Handy Shop on the right, next there was the garage on the left and then on the right was Mac the Barber who would put a board across the barbers chair for me to sit on and he would always say he wasn't cutting my hair any longer - but shorter! He also would ask if I wanted some tree wash on after to finish it off.

Next to Mac the Barbers was the Butcher and then Outrams news agent/tobacconist/general shop, across the cross roads on the left was Wickens Dairy and next to that was the post office with a general store next to that along the Tonbridge Road. On the opposite corner of the cross roads was the bakers shop. Going up Red Hill was a warehouse where the stock was stored upstairs and was winched up to large doors on the first floor that opened onto the road. The winch is still there though the warehouse has been converted into apartments.

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