By Liz Holmes
My very first day at Landbeach school began in 1952 in the first term after my 5th spring birthday. There were only two classrooms divided by a folding door. Miss Livermore was the Infants teacher and Mrs Griffiths the Headmistress and Juniors teacher who lived in the school house with her three daughters, Mary, Hilary and Monica. Our day would begin by lining up in two rows in the playground when Mrs Griffiths blew the whistle and then we would walk into our respective classrooms ready for our first lesson of the day to begin. On two mornings of the week the Infants would do exercise to Music and Movement broadcast from the Home Service on the radio and relayed from a speaker situated in the infants classroom. PE and Country dancing used to take place in the Village Hall. We used to march there from school accompanied by Mrs Griffiths beating time on her drum to ensure we kept in time with no slacking!
Sports day was held in the field opposite the school. We stitched laurel leaves together to make headbands to be awarded to the victors of each race and activity, as in Ancient Rome. A Mrs O’Dare would come one afternoon a week to teach the junior girls knitting. The school nurse would visit regularly to check our health and weigh us.
I usually went home for lunch, but occasionally I would have lunch at school when my mum wanted to do some shopping in Cambridge. The school lunches would arrive from Cambridge in large metal containers and be served out by Mrs Griffiths. Oil cloth table cloths were placed over our desks in the juniors classroom and we would eat our lunches on our desks there. Spam fritters used to appear quite frequently on the menu; a memory I prefer to forget!
Snow usually fell every winter then. Our daily one third of a pint milk bottles would be partially frozen with the frozen milk protruding from the tops of the bottles after being left outside in the freezing temperatures many hours before school began. The whole crate of bottles were thawed out by standing it in front of the big round iron heater in the school room. By the time it had thawed out it was lukewarm and quite unpleasant tasting, but we still had to drink it! After winter had emerged into spring and summer, we would be taken on occasional nature walks along Oldfield to gather some flowers, grasses and other interesting specimens to place on the classroom nature table upon our return. We would then write about and learn more about our discoveries then.
Usually on a Friday morning the Rector, Rev. F Sanders, would come to give us some religious instruction. Occasionally we would go to church for services. On one Ascension Day a group of us, together with Mrs Griffiths, cycled over to Horningsea church to attend a service there.
Christmas in the school was a very exciting time! We would busily be making decorations of paper chains and lanterns, both to decorate the classrooms and our homes. Also it was a time for putting on the Christmas Pageant in the church, with lines and carols to learn. I was the Angel Gabriel one year with huge white wings! The church used to be full of parents and villagers who seemed to enjoy our performances. Many happy memories of my Landbeach school days.
1952 Landbeach School photo1952 Landbeach School photo
Top row (L-R) Stuart Pullan, Robert Benton, Andre Camps, Kathleen Guy, Dennis Coulson, Ian Daynes, Bobby Elwood, Graham Ballard

Next row (L-R) Bobby Goldsmith, Dennis Freeman, Mavis Young, Janice Daynes, Maureen Croxen, Colin Diver, Joe Ballard, Pam Elwood, Agnes Morrison

Seated row (L-R) Sheila Freeman, Elizabeth Camps, Judy Benton, ? Young, Brenda Webb, Vera Matthews, Cherie Carling, Joyce Walker

Front row (L-R) Douglas Lee, Rita Carling, Jocelyn Sanders, Nora Matthews, Julie Daynes, Tommy Morrison, Robin Coulson, Kathleen Halls

The village of Landbeach lies to the north of Cambridge, between the city and the fens.


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