Axminster Secondary Modern School In The 1950s

A Memory of Axminster

I was born in Axminster and having failed my eleven-plus exam (fortunately) I went to the secondary modern school where Mr Tolchard was headmaster (known affectionately as Herby). My favourite teacher was Mr Hayman, our maths teacher, who was brilliant at flicking chalk at anyone whispering during his classes - the chalk always found its mark. He was better known to me and my fellow musicians as the music teacher and conductor of our little school orchestra. His violin playing left a lot to be desired, but we would have played standing on our heads if he thought it would improve the sound of the orchestra. We all enjoyed every minute of our orchestral sessions with him, and not because we would be missing out on a boring history lesson either. My other favourites were Miss Champion, the art teacher, and Miss Barclay, our sewing teacher - both let us chatter while we worked, as long as we were not too loud. I liked Miss Biggs too, even though she had walloped me on the head once with her Bible for talking during assembly.
It was a great school and I am proud to have been one of its pupils. I still have very fond memories of many of the friends I made there, and am still in contact with three of them.
Sadly my family moved to Somerset in 1960, but a piece of me still remains at Axminster. The last time I visited the town, I noticed the changes taking place, especially around the North Street, where I lived and played. The playing fields and fire station where my father was a fire officer. The old Axe Vale laundry has long gone. I believe that the cricket field has also disappeared.
If anyone has any old photographs of these places or any of Axminster Sec. Mod. School. I would love to see them.
I have many, many very happy memories of my time in Axminster. One day I may visit again.
Marjorie Alcock

A memory shared by Marjorie Alcock , on Jan 25th, 2009.

Comments & feedback

Mon Feb 1st 2016, at 12:00 pm

lesleysomers1 commented:

I wanted to find somewhere to pay a tribute to the redoubtable Miss Biggs. She sowed in me a love for literature and English which has never left. Who else would take 'Middlemarch' and other obscure books as a text for the class to read out aloud? I suspect I joined the outwardly scoffing group, while secretly I loved the resonance of the writing, and the language.
I eventually, very late in life, attained my BA, and I am sure that without this platform to bounce off, I would never have had the courage to go further.
Thank you Miss Biggs, and all the other life-affirming teachers who took the care to work with such limited material as I felt that I was at the time.
Lesley Somers (nee Keywood)

Fri Oct 7th 2016, at 6:13 pm

paulinefox1943 commented:

Hi there , I also went to Axminster secondary modern school around that time and often wonder if there are any people who remember me , or indeed if any are still alive, lol. I was Pauline Burgess in those days , then married Michael Willey. It is with interest I see the post from the then Marjorie Alcock , as I was at my cousins 90th birthday just recently and her son asked me if I knew her as she is a neighbour of his and she said she thought we were related in some way , I think she means my Aunty Ivy ( neeAlcock I think) ,she married my uncle Percy fox. Would be interested to here if I'm right, and from anyone else from those days , in particular the whereabouts of Jeanie Johns.

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