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School days - the good, the bad and the painful.

Byline: NEWS ...with Brian Lee

SCHOOL days, so the saying goes, are the happiest days of your life.

However, Stanley J Adams, recalling his school days in my book Cardiff Voices (The History Press) had this to say: "My elementary education took place in Virgil Street School, later known as Ninian Park School. The education provided basically a knowledge of reading, writing and arithmetic.

"Strict discipline and the frequent use of the cane was our lot in a way that is unbelievable in the present age. The result of a heavy caning, six heavy blows on each hand delivered by the teacher as hard as he could, caused bruising and swelling for weeks afterwards.

"From Standard 11, we had the same teacher, William Walter Coles, right through to Standard V. I particularly remember him and his class for the unique way in which he marked the daily register of attendance. Instead of calling out the pupils' names, we had to call out our own and the roll call always stayed with me. He ticked them off until a silence indicated an absence and brought a stop to the sequence, whereupon he would remark, so and so absent? Then the roll call would continue. After thousands of repetitions, the names of my classmates are permanently engraved on my memory: Adams, Aubrey, Butler, Bull, Carpan, Cooper, Crawley, Crosby, Davies, Fernley, Hancock, Hiles, Lawrence, Lewis, Lovering, Manson, Muston, Maynard, Newman, Phillips, Plummer, Pritchard, Rodd, Salter, Shields, Thomas, Tugwell, Saunders, Yearling, White, Wiseman, Roake, Coles, Marks, Pezzark, Jeremy. The list started off alphabetically originally, but additions to the class were just struck on the end as they arrived."

Tegwen Hugglestone recalled: "I went to St Monica's School. The discipline was strict, but the teachers were very fair. Mr Smith was the headmaster. When I was in the junior class, Miss Emmys used to make up her face with rouge and her face looked like a clown's. She was very eccentric and she wasn't in the school very long."

Ron Davies remembered: "Schooldays were a love and hate situation. When the bell rang for going home it was sometimes a great relief. The shouting and bawling, the occasional clip across the ear, and the inevitable cane - six cuts were always a threat - so you did look forward to getting out and having some fun. Schooldays fun in those days was a mixture of marbles in the gutter, leap-frog against a wall, football in the streets and cricket against the lamppost and tying house knockers together - Rat, Tap Ginger."

Ruby Howe told me: "In school they used to keep boots in a cupboard for the poor boys. The master at Lansdowne Road School asked the class were there any of their fathers out of work. My brother put up his hand and the master told him, 'Oh Keir, put your hand down. Your mother would be embarrassed if she knew you put your hand up for boots.' .' But my father was out of work and my mother would have been glad of those boots for Alec."

To end on a happier note Jos Dwyer said: "I couldn't wish for a better school than Gladstone probably because I had, for the four years I was in junior school the best teacher anyone could wish for - Ernie Philips. In the four years I learned all there was to know about arithmetic, and English. We read The Old Curiosity Shop, David Copperfield and Black Beauty. We had a library in each classroom and we were expected to read a book each week. We had to jot down in a pocket book the title, author, characters and a precis of the story. Sometime during the following week we could be called upon to tell the class the story."

Meanwhile, the West-|ern Mail on October 21, 1929, reported: "It will be recalled that the Discovery paid a visit to Cardiff and was at Roath Dock for some days, sailing on August 10.

"When the ship was approaching Barry Island the crew discovered a young stowaway on board. He was Leslie Sutton of Stacey Road, Cardiff, who was employed by Mr David, hairdresser of City Road, Cardiff. The boy was sent ashore on a pilot cutter."

I wonder what happened to Leslie? Let me have your | school memories - good or bad. Send your stories/ pictures to Brian Lee, Cardiff Remembered, South Wales Echo, Six Park Street, Front Office, Cardiff, CF10 1XR or email


Gladstone School, Cathays, Cardiff, in 1965

Virgil Street School, later known as Ninian Park School, Cardiff

St Monica's School, Cathays, Cardiff
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 14, 2015
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