It dawned on me I was being trained to be a housewife.
Tell me about the bungalow. You mentioned that Miss Benson and Miss Creighton stayed in the bungalow. What else was the bungalow known for, then? What was its purpose in the school?
Housewifery. That was all, really. How to clean, how to cook, how to look after clothes, what to do when you pulled a woolly jumper out of your drawer and held it in front of the fire and then put a glass mirror on top and saw the mirror was damp, air them off. That sort of thing. We were each allocated a section of the bungalow. Well, my close friend Margaret, who called me into Miss Benson’s bedroom one day and she was using the bed as a trampoline. Oh, if she’d been caught but Margaret didn’t care, and I giggled.
And I wasn’t allowed to go to the bungalow for another misdemeanour.
Any friends that went in the bungalow, any memories from your friends?
Oh, they loved it, everyone went, and I pretended I didn’t care, “I’m not bothered” …. but I wanted to go to the bungalow because they had dressing tables made of orange boxes and curtains around and a little mirror on the top and I thought that was so “in” at the time. Miss Younger lived there, Miss Arnott lived there and Miss Bell.
I think they just took turns because they did come to school on their bicycles, Miss Arnott and Miss Younger from Monkseaton.
You mentioned the bungalow that I remember with fond memories. What stood out in your memory, and did you enjoy it?
I did enjoy it actually. Of course, all the teachers went there for their lunch. Miss Grange used to say, “Now set the table this way” and it came in handy because in the later years I became a dinner lady, at the school across the road from where I live. So, we’ll set the table this way and we’ll make a pan of fudge today and I think we did make a pan of fudge and we had to make another one because it got dropped on the floor. I think it was a penny for a cube if I remember rightly, I think it was a penny. I did like the bungalow, it was different. It was good fun. I think what it was, you seen your teacher in a different light, and you could hear them talking about different things. I did like the bungalow.
Setting the afternoon tea tray.
I think I dropped that once, I think I did. I think I upset a cup, anyway but it was all part and parcel of the school. “Oh, I’m going to the bungalow today.” But it was always in the last year of your schooling, nearing the end of our school days when you sort of get, oh girls, it’s time for the……
I seem to remember there was a black range? We had to learn to clean the black range, well it looked like a black range.
I think that was one of the duties that I used to try to dodge.
I remember the teacher sometimes stayed at the bungalow cos I remember Miss Milburn living there because I think she lived quite a way away from the school and I think we had to do the bedrooms out. I think there was only two bedrooms in there, I could be wrong. And there was a room at the front and, of course, the kitchen and there was the other part at the side with where all the teachers went.
Yes and the yard outside.
That’s right, yes. But I thought there was more, but yes there was only the two. I certainly didn’t have that much room at home.
I’ve heard a lot about the bungalow, can you explain exactly what went on in the bungalow.
Yes, the bungalow. That was the last year, our last year. It was for housewifery and, from what I remember it was a two-bedroomed bungalow and sometimes the teachers stayed overnight. We made their breakfast and made their morning coffee, cos there was a kitchen attached. A kitchen, a pantry, a big table and you learned to cook. A big black range that you had to clean, lay the fire and we washed and ironed, learnt all the basics. We’d learnt them a home from mam but it was good fun, all girls, there was only so many girls went in, and we went in for six weeks. We used to learn how to make cakes and scones, serve the coffee in the afternoon on tray cloths, on trays and we bought them in and presented them on the table to the teachers. And I loved it, yes. I liked school, I loved Linskill.
And then of course, when we came here to Linskill we had the bungalow to go in and you got a good grounding there, but it was silly things, some of it, that I didn’t agree with. Like learning how to clean a brush and a comb, a hairbrush and a comb. Well, my mother taught me to do that, and I didn’t need to spend time doing things which I thought was rubbish, really. And washing dusters, well who wants to learn how to wash a duster? Me mam just used old rags.
They were teaching us to be housewives because the last twelve weeks of my schooling before I left, before I was fifteen, I spent at nana, a lot of the time in that bungalow, again which I didn’t want to do. And when I left school, I was very bitter about it because I should have been learning how to act in an interview to get a job, how you conduct yourself, questions to ask when they had asked you questions, if you wanted to know anything they hadn’t told you and that would have been much better for me.
So, you didn’t really get careers advice at school?
No. It dawned on me I was being trained to be a housewife. I would get married, perhaps I’d get a little job in a factory and then I’d get married, I’d meet a boy and I’d marry him and then I’d have children.
So, what was your aspiration on leaving school, then?
I wanted to work and learn, and I learnt more when I left school