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
Marsh Road School
Marsh Road School was situated in the heart of the Cannon Street area.
It was officially opened 12th March 1906 by Sir Hugh Bell. It was closed on the 17th of July 1970.
School without houses?
|It must have seemed strange to Mike, fresh out of teacher training, when he went to see the school to which he had been appointed to start in September 1969. There stood the school but its catchment area would seem to have gone. All the houses at that end of Cannon Street, from the gas tanks to Boundary Road had already been demolished. Marsh Road School stood isolated in what looked like a wasteland. |
Well I Knew this Wouldn't be a Long Appointment!
When I arrived at Marsh Road Junior School in September 1969 to start my probationary year ( i.e. first year in teaching)its future was already decided. At the end of the academic year it would be razed to the ground and the whole area replaced by the ‘Cannon Park’ industrial estate.
My first vision of the school was of a single storey brick building surrounded by a large schoolyard with a high brick wall around its perimeter. The whole thing was stuck in the middle of a huge wasteland from Newport Road on one side to the railway on the other. Rosebay willow-herb was growing in the cracks of the foundations of the demolished houses and travellers’ caravans were dotted here and there.
Plenty of Space Now.
Where did the pupils come from I thought. The answer was mostly from the few remaining streets between the Newport Bridge and the gas holders. Of course those streets also were marked for demolition. We didn't benefit much from the travelling families. They were mostly Roman Catholics and their children went to St. Patrick’s up by the gas holders. We had just enough bodies to form two Junior classes – a combined Y3/4 and a combined Y5/6. Staff consisted of myself and one other class teacher, the head teacher, the caretaker and a school nurse -based at the school but shared with several other neighbouring schools.
Stepping inside the building I was struck by the layout of classrooms surrounding a large central hall and the feeling of spaciousness. The latter was due to the small number of pupils the head teacher informed me.
“A few years ago we were packed to the gunnels and we had to use the boiler room as a staffroom!”
New Flooring being Installed
There was a polished wooden block flooring typical of schools which, despite the limited life of the place,was being repaired.
This was because during the previous term thieves had stripped the lead from the roof resulting in a flood when the first decent rainfall arrived. Police investigations revealed that the thieves had merely rolled up the lead for later collection. The police staked out the place from the Lionweld factory across the railway. Sure enough during the summer break the thieves had returned to collect their booty and were nabbed.
At one point there was an ongoing feud between the caretaker and one of the travelling families. Each night the travellers threw copious amounts of junk over the wall just to annoy him.
No Hiding Place
It was at Marsh Road that I had my first encounter with that perennial problem for any school, irrespective of its social status, the head louse. Despite having the school nurse or ‘Nitty Nora’ on hand it was the parental technique for dealing with them that intrigued me.
Parents employed a ‘no hiding place’ policy once informed their child had a problem i.e. the child, male or female, was given a complete skinhead haircut!
As if this wasn’t bad enough, if the child had been scratching bitten areas causing an impetigo infection to develop, the cure was to paint the wounds with gentian violet.
This resulted in bald children with purple blotches on their heads - looking for all the world like something from an episode of Star Trek!
Call for Help
The head teacher of the school had a second job in that he did work on behalf of the British Council helping foreign students visiting this country. Being a head teacher, even in those pre ‘let’s have a meeting for everything’ days, he did spent some time out of school at such things. This meant the rest of the staff had to field phone calls from students newly arrived on our shores. I once got a call
“Hello. I’ve just arrived in Manchester. What do I do? I only have three rupees”
A Sad Finale
However I not only survived my first year in teaching at Marsh Road I thoroughly enjoyed it.The kids were just great. I certainly learned a lot and I hope the kids did too.
There's always a tinge of sadness when you leave a school or your class leave to go to secondary but leaving Marsh Rd felt particularly sad even though I'd only been there one school year.
It was knowing, as I drove away that last time, that it was to be demolished in a matter of weeks.