Excuse me but where is Middlesbrough?
Walk from North Ormesby
Sources and Resources
Only a Short Time in History
Memories of Parliament Road
Football on the Roof
St Patrick's Church
The Tees (Newport) Bridge
Don't Mention the War?
Laws Street Block
Albert Park and 'Owld 'Enry
An Ayresome Childhood
St Paul's School
Victoria St/Greta St Now
The 'New' Newport School
Newport Bombing 15 April 1942
Closing of St Paul's School
More Memories of Parliament Rd.
Round and About King George Street
Memories of Duncombe Street
Honeymans of Cannon Street
Sun Sea & Sand
Fox Heads Page 1
Why DOGGY Town??
Fox Heads Page 2
Memories of St Paul's
A Mohawk in Middlesbrough
Remembering Craven Street
Marsh Road School
Luftwaffe Over Middlesbrough
First World War Shell Explodes in Middlesbrough
Queries:Can You Help?
St Columba's Parish in the Sixties
More Street Games
Memories Baxter Street
Judith's Middlesbrough Childhood
Links for Newport, Middlesbrough
St Paul's School Relocated
School for me from September 1948 to July 1955 was St Paul’s Church of England School. When I attended, it was located in buildings between Victoria Street and Greta Street in what had been part of Newport School (or Newport Road School as it was first called.) St Paul’s, which was one of Middlesbrough’s oldest schools, had originally been situated behind St Paul’s Church on the corner of St Paul’s Rd and Lees St. However, on the night of May 11th, 1941, the building was totally destroyed by bombing. The following day the Headmistress, Gertrude Venables wrote in the school logbook “No session, school having been razed to the ground by enemy action.”.
I think the half of the buildings we occupied had already been abandoned by Newport School itself as that school had lost its secondary department( seniors as we called them then) and was now infants and juniors only After juniors, Newport pupils transferred to the secondary department of Archibald School on Ayresome Green Lane. St Paul’s, however, perhaps because it was a Church of England school, still had all three departments, infant, junior and ‘senior’. In 1957, two years after I left, St Paul’s too lost its secondary department and became infants and juniors only. At 4.00 p.m on the 21 July 1961, the whole school closed for the last time. By then, in addition to Mr F.A. Walker, the head teacher, there were only two other staff. It didn’t make its centenary. It had been one of Middlesbrough’s oldest schools opening in January 1868.
The School Buildings
|We were completely separated from Newport School by a high wall and, as far as I remember, there was no more contact with them than any other school. But , for that matter, I remember little contact amongst the three departments of St Paul’s itself. I left the juniors in July 1955 having passed the 11+ and thus transferred to a Grammar school so had no knowledge of the secondary department .Former pupils I’ve encountered, ask me if I remember such and such a teacher but, if they taught in the ‘seniors’ then I didn’t. I think occasionally if a junior teacher was ill, a secondary teacher might fill in. I vaguely remember a teacher called Mr Ball who may have been from the senior department.
Infants occupied the Victoria St side, juniors and seniors on the Greta St side. (Although when I was in the fourth year juniors (J4) we used a classroom in the infant block .)
I don’t remember a lot about being in the infants not even the names of my teachers. Everybody is supposed to remember their very first day at school but I don’t, so it cannot have been such a traumatic experience. My earliest memory is of doing P.E in the playground and seeing my Mother leading my sister into the school building and wondering what they were doing there. Mam had brought her to enrol her. As Barbara is just 13 months younger than me I must have been in 2nd year infants
An abiding memory is of a taste. We had a daily drink of orange juice with cod liver oilin it. It was horrible but you had to drink it. I still do not like orange juice! We also had a free bottle of milk. On afternoons you were made to rest for about half an hour on a little canvas bed. They were all set out in rows in the hall. There were regular dental inspections. If you needed treatment you were sent to the ‘school dentist’ located in Whinney Banks school. The standing joke was that, if you needed an extraction, when you came round from the gas you would find you had a footprint on your face!. There were also more frequent medical inspections by a nurse inevitably nicknamed “Nitty Nora the Flea Explorer” for one of her tasks was to target head lice.
I was fortunate never to have experienced this particular infestation. If you were found to have ‘nits’ you were sent home with an appalling smelling goo clagged all over your head. Perhaps I escaped because my grandmother (Nana) was obsessed with combing our hair. She would not let you just brush it. It had to be combed and combed then finished off with a brush. The comb was very fine and you nearly got scalped if you had what we called a ‘cotter’ (tangle) in your hair. In fact I got off lightly being a boy. The fashion at the time for girls was long hair braided into plaits, consequently my sisters endured a more rigorous grooming than I did. The other thing which we escaped was ringworm. You often saw shaven head kids daubed with some purple concoction. I had no idea what ‘ringworm’ was, thinking it was actal worms which got under your skin, so I had an inordinate fear of this infection.(In fact I only found out it is a fungal infection as an adult)
First School Children of the Welfare State
To put it into historical context I suppose we were the first children of the new ‘welfare state’ introduced by the post-war Labour Government elected in 1945. On the angry political right they made out the welfare state was indistinguishable from communism whilst the actual communists derided it as ‘welfare capitalism’( though their scorn perhaps was more frustration in that Britain was demonstrating to the world a workable alternative to the brutalities of unrestricted capitalism which did not require the even greater brutalities of the police state.) However I wonder how ideological the concept actually was. The Beveridge Report commissioned by the war-time coalition government, had recommended ‘the welfare state’ and there was a wide consensus in favour of it. Perhaps it was more a practical response to an unacceptable situation. In the early years of the war , one out of three men conscripted was found to be suffering from malnutrition and its associated illnesses.. Many children were evacuated from the cities out into the country to avoid the bombing. The families who received these children were often horrified at how malnourished and unhealthy many of them were. So kids like me growing up after the War had compulsory cod liver oil for its vitamin D to prevent rickets and orange juice for its vitamin C and milk for its calcium. School dinners were nutritionally balanced if tasteless and, once again, you were simply not allowed to dislike anything. Neo-communism or welfare capitalism..whatever. the net result for me as a six year old was being poked in the back by an impatient teacher because I baulked at cod liver oil laced orange juice! Looking back I reckon I was immeasurably better off than I would have been had I been born a decade earlier and, it would seem, given the current concerns over present eating habits, better nourished than today’s children. In one of his more mean-spirited moments,Winston Churchill sneered that Clement Attlee, the Prime Minister of the post war Labour Government , ‘was a modest man with much to be modest about’ but, already history is according him and his government more respect.
Junior School Teachers
|I remember my junior teachers as Miss Bingley, Miss Parkin and Mr Clifford Begg. Miss Parkin had a car which she parked in the schoolyard underneath the awning which was where we played on rainy days . I’ve no idea what make it was but I remember the letters of its license plate were PPT. I remember this because some school wag had decreed it stood for Parkin’s Pee-Pot Trolley. The Head Teacher I remember from the juniors was Mr Walker.. Mr Begg was the teacher who most influenced my life in that it was he who inspired and encouraged a love of knowledge. I remember him as the consumate junior school teacher in that he knew enough of everything to get you started. I got a sound basis in the ‘3Rs’ but also a good start in all the other subjects. It was Mr Begg who taught me to swim at the Gilkes Street Baths. He ran an after-school club. Even though the school had no proper gym facilities and no field there was a strong emphasis on physical education. In the Upper Juniors games afternoon was on what was locally called ‘Sammy’s Field’ which was on West Lane. Being marched to this field was exercise in itself as it seemed quite a way. That was also where we played football against other schools. I was in the team as a full back though I was not a very good player. In a small school like ours Mr Begg was not exactly spoilt for choice!
Mr Clifford Begg
Trying to Remember Old Class-mates
Usually children go to the same school as their neighbourhood pals but this wasn’t the case with me.(Most of my street pals went to St Pat’s the catholic school) I did have one friend, David, who lived a few doors from me. He went with me to St Paul’s infants and was in the same class but he was killed in an accident, (I think when we were in third year infants.) Thereafter I was the only one from our street who went to St Pauls. ( My two cousins, Maureen and Thomas from Severs St went to St Pauls but they were several years older than me. The traditional ‘family school was Newport. My mother and all her brothers and sisters from 1910 onwards had gone to Newport. However when my aunt took Maureen, Newport was full and so the head teacher simply redirected her to St Paul’s which, by then, was next door so the family switched its loyalty to St Pauls. )
I wish I had a better memory for names so I could recall all my classmates, I did spend seven years with most of them! Not having school friends round the doors I sometimes played over in the St Pauls Rd area where school pals Barry Seymour, Harry Smurthwaite and Christopher (Kit) Henry lived.I remember Norman Granger. He was in the year below me in the same class as my sister Barbara. He lived near St Paul's Church.
The other name which sticks in my mind is Robert Price because the desks were double and we sat together. I think he came from one of the streets off the middle of Newport Rd. St Paul’s, being a Church of England school drew pupils from quite a wide area. I remember Baden Sancto. He passed the 11 plus. He transferred to the High School which at that time was on Borough Rd. The building is now part of Teesside University. (It would have been easier for me to have gone there also as it was within walking distance but I went to Acklam Hall.) Another name I think I remember are Fred Kirby? who was a good football player.
Only Memories Left
In 2004 I went back to photograph St Pauls only to find there is little left. I wish I’d taken the trouble a few years earlier. In the later 1960s I actually worked in a joinery workshop in Victoria St when the building still existed although it was being used as a storage depot by the education department. It just did not occur to me to take a photo then. I remember St Paul’s with great affection. It was a strong ‘community school’ with an active parents-teacher association. My mother remembers going to the school for Beetle Drives and a monthly social evening with the teachers. The school had a close relationship with St Paul’s. Church I remember on several occasions being marched there. I was baptized in St Pauls and sang in the choir.
I left St Paul’s in July 1955 as a fourth year junior. On the day I left, instead of going straight home, I had to get a hair cut at a barbers on Newport Rd somewhere near the Marsh St. corner. I was happy walking along Newport Road looking forward to the 'big' holidays. It wasn’t until I sat in the barber’s chair I suddenly realised I would never go back to that school again and was suddenly overcome with a great sadness.
What's Left of St Paul's/Newport School Summer 2004
Photos of Happier Times
| Junior 1: Summer 1953 |
| Junior 3:Summer 1956 |
| Nativity 1952. The 'blacked-up' King is me. My sister Barbara is third angel in from the right at the front|
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