School Reports

Worst memories of school: rebellion and punishment

By Nicola Benge

Photo:Rod Patterson holding his trousers up, in Portslade with his mum in 1940s

Rod Patterson holding his trousers up, in Portslade with his mum in 1940s

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus archive

Scary schooling

Rod: I went to Portslade Secondary Modern School for boys.  My cousin warned me about it.  There was an old air raid shelter - all the new young boys would be pushed in there - we called it the black hole of Calcutta - we were about 11 - it was scary.

The Mr Bakers

There were two teachers: both called Mr Baker.  One was ex RAF, the other ex navy.  They were swines - would shout orders.  One sent me to the girls school at Mile Oak for being naughty.  I was sent to needlework class - they were making felt animals stuffed with sawdust - I was so red and the girls were all giggling.  I  made an elephant and the teacher held it up and  shook it and all the sawdust fell out and said to the class that this was the kind of rubbish boys made!  Then I was sent back to the boys.

The Bakers - they would hit the back of your hands with a set square.  One of them would throw lumps of wood in woodwork at pupils.  Once, he was locked in the woodwork cupboard by us boys.  We had to stand outside the head's office for hours until someone owned up to it.

I went to St Nicholas Junior school.  I didn't like it.  We would get the slipper or ruler for anything.  Mr Winter hit me so hard I got a bruise on my face.  My nan hit Mr Winter round the face next day.  She was a tiny little woman and he fell back into the blackboard.  She told him never to hit me round the face again.

I went to St Andrews.  Norman Stevens was in my class.  Everyone had stars on their charts, the stars were to show if you had been good - but me and Norman Stevens didn't have any on our charts.  One Sunday we climbed over the school wall and went into the school.  We found the gold stars on the teacher's desk and we put a whole row by our names.  We were caned in front of the whole school for that.

Trevor: Most of our discipline came by a look.  You knew when you'd crossed the line.  I don't agree with violence for the sake of violence.  If you got a thump it was because you deserved it.

Rod:  I never wore a uniform all my school life, even at Benfield.  I went to Mile Oak Secondary Modern School for Boys.  A big boy - Wrigley - he was the school bully - he used to go round giving Chinese burns.  I got so fed up with him one day, being poked and everything, that I snapped and whacked him.  His head flew back into a glass door and there was blood everywhere.  I ran home.  I thought I had killed him.  Mum could tell there was something up and asked what had happened but I didn't tell her.  This happened on Friday and all weekend I waited for the police to come and arrest me.  On Monday, back at school, he was nowhere to be seen.  I never saw him again, he never came back to the school.

This page was added by Nicola Benge on 03/04/2008.

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