Zeals School 1958 63 - a Memory of Zeals.

I attended Zeals C of E Primary school between 1958 and 1963. We actually lived over the border in Bourton (next to the White Lion pub) but the school was nearer than Bourton school. "Pop" Winter and his wife were the full time teachers and Miss Milne was the infants teacher.
The walk to school involved coming over the hill on the back lane down to the main road then past the shop run by Mr Arnold and up to The Bell and Crown (Sticky Smith).

Being a C of E school we all went next door to the church for a weekly service on (I think) Thursday morning. One of the eldest children would read the lesson and then as a "reward" would get to ring the bell on the following week. When there was a funeral in the chuchyard we were kept in at breaktime.

There were only about 30 pupils in the whole school and popular playground games included British Bulldog (this wouldn't be allowed these days on 'elf and safety grounds)!

Every Mayday we did maypole dancing (not popular with us roughy toughy boys) and July school sports day was held in a field owned by Mr Arnold just up the road.

School dinners were sent out from "big school" in Mere in hay boxes and were eaten at our desks supervised by the dinner lady Mrs Chaplain. Dinners cost the grand total of 5 shillings (25p) per week.

Some of the names from those days were Johnny Byron, Tom and Jack Chaplain, Colin and Clive Mann, the Adams brothers, Warren and Barry Shergold, Susan Love, Jackie Chislett, Ann Peck, Susan Ingram, Brian and Jennifer Dean and Kevin Stobbs. Apologies for those that I have missed; the memory is not as it was!

An early taste of resposibility was to act as ink monitor. This involved keeping the desk ink wells topped up from a large bottle kept in the cupboard. We used to write initially with pencil then graduated to a "proper" pen; a small stick with a nib on the end! When bored it was good fun to roll up small balls of blotting paper and drop them into the ink wells, thus ensuring that it soon dried up!

Every morning the whole class chanted our multiplication tables from 2 to 12. Once confident we would then recite them to Mrs Winter and be awarded a star on the chart!! Heady stuff. To this day I have a firm grasp of these tables and instantly know what 7 x 9.

In September 1963 I moved to the big school - Gillingham Comprehensive, which was a real culture shock. 4 miles on the school bus, 750 pupils and homework!

Great memories of a very happy little village school!


A memory shared by Simon Palmer on Nov 4th, 2010.
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