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The Old School in Red Hill

This was the painting I did in about 1963

By a strange coincidence over Christmas I was invited to a private event at the present Primary School in Bow Road Wateringbury, which I had never visited in its 40+ years of existence.

Whilst there I was very keen to see if there was anything of the old school still in use and in particular any photographs of the old school.

In the main lobby outside the Headmistress office there were several photographs on the wall. Some were of the old railway station next door but most were group pupil photos, the earliest of which was 1994. There was one line drawing of the old school which was drawn by a ‘manager’ at the school for a calendar, I have asked if I can have a photo copy and will publish it here when I get it. With one exception all the photographs were after 1994 and relevant to the new school. That one photo was stood next to the trophy cabinet and was of the Wateringbury C of E Primary School Nativity play of Christmas 1961 in which was myself; I could hardly believe that of all the years the old school stood the only photo in the new school included myself.



This is the Photo taken Christmas 1961 by the Kent Messenger at Wateringbury Church.

Let me know if you are in the photo, I am the boy in the sweater with dark hair third from the left at the bottom, to the right of the girl holding the baby Jesus (Jane Chapman). Dawn Shippey is the shepherd at the very front right, only her head is visible, to Dawn immediate left is Gladys Haskett, Dawns sister Valerie is the dark haired girl in the front of the second row from the right of the choir stalls, next to Valerie is Angela Seamark. Angela's brother John Seamark is Joseph, right of the central three. Farthest right, the girl in the button up sweater is Jennifer Shrubsole. Gillian Apps is also in the photo.

Teachers at the school over the years:-

Mr Peter Read was Head Master from 1958 ish and all the time I was at the school 1958 to 1964.
Mrs Duffy who had a large spotty dog and lived in the village next to the garden shop in Tonbridge road (her daughter also went to the school) also there 1958 to 1964.
Mrs Bennet took the infants when I was there and I think some years before.
Mrs Drake took the 6 year old's class before 1958 (her son Julian also went to the school .
Miss Kellam-Smith was the Head Mistress 1947 - 1953 and Sherry Apps remembers that she brought her 2 dogs to school with her and she smoked DuMaurier cigarettes and she used to send Sherry to the post office (run by Mr & Mrs Town) to get them for her.
Mr Robinson, Miss Simmonite.

I remember being in Mrs Bennets class when about six and sitting listening to a regular afternoon programme on the radio. The radio was obviously government issue and was about two foot square and a foot deep sloping towards the top which had a handle on it. a large round grill in the centre protected the speaker. The radio was on a shelf above the heater which was a large round cast iron coke burner with a lid on the top which was opened with a metal tool and the burner was filled using a long scuttle. In the winter the milk crate (as we all had a third of a pint of milk a day) full of bottles of milk, often it would be frozen from standing outside, would be stood next to the stove to thaw out. Around the stove was a horseshoe shaped guard which had a black crossed mesh with a brass rail around the top. Often the children's wet shoes and socks would be dried around this heater.

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