Our Century

No dirty hands in our school

Jesse Turner, Tettenhall Wood
Born 1905

Jesse Turner

"My memories of Christ Church Junior School go back a long way. I attended the school from the age of nearly eight. When I was young the village (Tettenhall Wood) was really in the country. There were no houses after the school, except for a few cottages in Wood Road and Mount Road, but these roads were taken up mainly by the residences of the gentry.

"At 8.55am the school bell would be rung to let the children know that they only had a few minutes to get to school.

"My brothers, sisters and I would run down Shaw Lane at the last minute. We had to line up in the playground and file into the assembly room where the teachers would check our hands and shoes for cleanliness and mark the register.

"I can remember one occasion when one of my brothers had dirty shoes and the teacher sent him home with some polish, telling him to get them clean. Discipline was very strict and cleanliness was a priority.

"The headmaster was Mr Critchlow. His wife also taught at the school. They lived in the school house next to the school - the house that until the late 1960s or 1970s was Thornycroft the undertakers.

"Beside the normal lessons of writing, reading and arithmetic etc, we were taught cookery, sewing and laundry. One of my sisters, because she was good at sewing did all the darning for Mrs Critchlow.

"We stayed at the school until we were 14, when we left to start our working life. If any child was clever and passed the exams for the Grammar School, they would go there at the age of 11 if their parents could afford the costs.