The Elizabeth Rose Story

by Elizabeth Rose

Being an ex-pupil of Woodhouse Road Primary School, I was thrilled to find Class Registers on the internet. I subsequently sent copies of these to my sister, Mary Lord, who I understand has been in contact with you. My sister. tells me that you are writing a book on the history of Quinton and suggests that I might be able to contribute a few memories of my own.

I grew up at 114 Ridgacre Road, right outside what was then the No 3 bus stop (now the 103 1 believe) and opposite the Doctor's surgery. I was born, September 1949, and attended Woodhouse Road Primary School from the mid-50's. I remember the headmaster being John Smith. Mrs Elliott and Miss Riddell being teachers in the infants' school. John Law was my last teacher in the juniors - it seemed very strange to me because he was the only male teacher in the School!

My favourite lesson was "nature study". At the back of the school canteen was a small spinney belonging to the school. Accompanied by our teacher we would go to the spinney to collect leaves, flowers, etc., to take back to the class to draw. I particularly liked collecting the owl pellets for later dissection!

Like a lot of children I loathed school milk! Warm in the summer and put on the radiators in winter to melt the inch or so of ice on the top!

Every year weeks of practice in the school hall took place before the May Day celebrations, when pupils dressed up in their best clothes and danced round the maypole in the playground. The girls all wore coronets of flowers in their hair - mine was always a glorious affair of aubretia, grape hyacinths and anything else in bloom at the time. I well remember one girl (Sheila Round who lived in Max Road) wearing one enormous red tulip in her hair! It was the only time I was ever allowed to wear my bottom length hair loose - it was always in pigtails because of the dreaded nits. I was upset every year (and obviously scarred for life) as I never got chosen as the May Queen, although I did make it as one of her attendants one year.

One thing I do remember well, although only very young at the time, was the Coronation Celebrations. Like many others, my father brought home our first television for the event and I can still see him unpacking it.

Our street party was held in the grounds of Lenches Trust - they had big lawns and plenty of space at the back in those days - additional accommodation has been built on it now of course. My father owned a large army tent, which we used for holidays and this was set up on the lawns. It was a fairly damp and cold day and we had lots of races and games for children and adults alike. My Mother told me that they used to save weekly to buy souvenirs for the children. I still have a commemorative medal, egg cup and spoon and a piece of red, white and blue ribbon. I also had a white peaked cap with a red, white and blue pompom on the top, long since gone I'm afraid. One funny story that comes to mind is that each child was given a commemorative tin containing Cadbury's penny bars of chocolate. When given mine I was heard to say "no thank you, I have some at home". Apparently my father visited a sweet shop in Harborne each week (Morgans, just a little way down from the Duke of York) and bought me some sweets - I obviously had a supply of chocolate already!

The tea afterwards was held at the Community Centre next to Lenches Trust.

A big treat was to be allowed to go to the Saturday matinee at the Warley Odeon, what a beautiful cinema that was and so sad when it was turned into a Bowling Alley, opened by the Duke of Edinburgh. We paid 6d to go in, always plenty of missiles flying through the air and lots of noise. I was only allowed to go occasionally so never did get to follow any of the serials - and they always ended on a "cliffhanger" of course.

I can remember Wrensons at West Boulevard where Mom did some of her shopping, I used to love the smell of that shop and remember the tea and sugar being weighed out by hand. They used to sell the biscuits loose too and you could buy a pound of broken biscuits quite cheaply. I was fascinated by the metal canister that used to fly across the ceiling to the cashier, containing the money for your purchases, it would then come clanking back with the change! I also remember the Co-op, fruit and veg were sold from an open lorry parked at the back of fish shop. Like many of my generation, I can still remember my Mom's "divi" number (27781), when I was old enough to run errands I use to repeat it all the way down the road to the shops heaven help me if I forgot it!


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