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Shiremoor County Modern School 1948 – 1952

We had a Cinema Club, although I seem to remember that most of the films were Laurel and Hardy.

Having failed my eleven plus examination I moved from New York Primary School to Shiremoor County Modern School in 1948.   New York was, and still is, a small village and it was a traumatic experience moving to a new school.  Shiremoor was unknown to me and seemed a long way from home.   There was a special bus which took us there and back, as at that time there were a lot of pupils from the New York area.  However, we were the last generation; everyone after us were sent to Ralph Gardner School in North Shields.

Shiremoor was a modern school in its time but boys and girls were still in separate parts of the school buildings, and never mixed, even to play.  We all wore uniform; the colour was green, and we had a beret, blazer and a pleated tunic similar to a pinafore dress for the girls.  The school motto was “Each for All”.

I was put in the A stream and the lessons covered all the usual subjects such as English, Maths, Geography, History, Physical Education, but also included Religious Education, Art, Music, Drama, Science, Domestic Science and French, the last subject being unusual to teach to children who could barely speak the Queen’s English!

I never regretted missing out on a place at Grammar School and was probably happier at Shiremoor and did well in most subjects.

Miss M.A. Stewart the Head Teacher seemed to be in the forefront of what was new in education and there were plenty of extracurricular activities.  The music teacher formed an orchestra with pupils and teachers playing a variety of instruments.  We had a Cinema Club, although I seem to remember that most of the films were Laurel and Hardy!  There was a visiting puppet show, and the music teacher took us to the Theatre Royal to see an opera (Carmen) and also a visit to the Whitley Bay Playhouse to see the local Amateur Operatic Society present the show “Lilac Domino”.

School bus trips were not usual, but we were taken to York for the day and also Housesteads Roman Fort.  Holidays abroad were unknown; apart from the cost, it was still too soon after the war.

I think I had a well-rounded education and managed to keep within the first five places in a class of 30, but was top nearly always in English, Music, French, History and Domestic Science.  When I left school in 1952 these were the subjects for which I received prizes.

Sadly, my French is now non-existent but English and Domestic Science, in particular, have helped me with my career and home life.  Music and Reading are two of my main hobbies.

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