Down the drive at the side…


St. John’s Infants School class of 1960. Image kindly donated by Eleanor Holland and David Evans.

David has been sharing material kindly donated by Eleanor for some weeks. The gallery of Walsall Wood School images was particularly popular, and a wonderful treasury.

I thank Eleanor and David for their kind generosity.

David wrote:

Hi Bob

This wonderful photo dates from 1960 and shows Mrs. Holland’s ‘sweet little cherubs’ at St. John’s School, Walsall Wood.

The photo was taken by the infants classrooms, which Mrs Holland describes as being, ‘down the drive by the side of the main school.’

‘British History online’ mentions this building:

The old school and teacher’s house were sold and the money applied to the new buildings. An infants’ school was added in 1882. In 1885 men from the village who attended Sunday morning classes in reading and writing at the schools built a new classroom for the 1859 schoolhouse and altered and added to the infants’ school. The mixed school was again enlarged in 1898. The schools were reorganized into junior and infants’ schools in 1932 and were merged into a single school in 1974.

Interestingly, though the main building has recently been demolished, and a development of new houses is taking shape there, the old infants building remains ‘down the drive’.

I would like to thank Mrs Eleanor Holland for donating this photo and perhaps readers can help to identify and name her ‘cherubs’.

She has very happy memories of the group.

Kind regards


If you have anything to add, please do. Comment here, or write to me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

My thanks to David and Eleanor for their time and generosity. Always appreciated.

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18 Responses to Down the drive at the side…

  1. Rob Sollom says:

    Wonderful. I didn’t start until 1965. When did Miss Powell start as the 1st year teacher?

  2. Clive says:

    If my memory serves me right; back row fourth from the left, Ivor Brookes. back row second from the right; Gary Cope. I know quite a few of the faces but there names have faded away, well it was a long time ago.

  3. David Oakley says:

    Down the drive at the side……What memories are awakened ! I made this little journey for the very first time in 1936…..five years old and starting school. The 1st year teacher was indeed, Miss Powell, and I still remember the weeping kids and the anxious mothers, with Miss Powell attempting to reassure them that all would be okay after their departure. Things soon settled down.
    At the side of the classroom was an old desk, used for storing “ lunches”. Strange as it may seem, even in the ‘Hungry Thirties’, almost every child carried a sandwich, wrapped in a waxed bread wrapper or a bit of greaseproof paper, this refreshment to be eaten mid-morning. These were duly collected by Miss Powell and placed on the old desk. I can still remember the mixed waft of cheese, jam, dripping and fishpaste as one passed the desk, yet strangely, each child homed on to his own lunch, like a guided missile.
    As a ‘Church school’, church and state loomed large in its curriculum. Every Ash Wednesday and Ascension Day, a crocodile of tiny children could be seen wending its way from the school to the Parish church, where Rev. John Stackhouse was the vicar. I didn’t mind this at all, as we got a half-day holiday. Another keen matter of interest, was to be in the church when the clock struck. I had been confidently assured by grown-ups, that when the wooden eagle on which the bible rested, heard the chimes. He would fly straight up to heaven. I didn’t want to miss that. The clock struck the hour, and the eagle stayed stubbornly where it was. The grown-ups had neglected to tell me that a wooden eagle was completely deaf, and could not hear the chimes.
    So far as the State was concerned. We were taught to take an enormous pride in the British Empire. On May 24th, every year, the piano was carried into the playground to commemorate Empire Day, we would march around the playground, singing patriotic songs, culminating in a short lecture on the power and dominance of the Empire, throughout the world, The Empire covers one- fifth of the surface of the earth – look at all the pink bits – them’s ours !!
    And so my early childhood wore away. I spend four very happy and informative years in the Infants School, and always remember walking ‘Up the drive. At the side’ to take my place in the Junior School, a few years later.

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  5. Fran Trawford says:

    Miss Powell was taking reception when I started in 1953 at the age of 4. It was thanks to Miss Powell and her sister Mrs Hitchin ( she taught in the juniors ) that I was able to start school early. They convinced the headmistress Miss Prentice that I was ready for school.
    I remember learning folk dances which we performed at the church garden parties along with children from Clayhanger school.

  6. Stuart Miller says:

    I’ll take a shot at naming a few faces I think I recognize. Now it’s been nearly 55 years so forgive me if I get a few names wrong 😉

    Rear Row, 3rd from left; Raymond Corbett. 4th from left; Ivor Walters 5th from left ; Billy ?
    6th from left; Stanley Hale. 7th from left; Ronnie Stretton 9th from left; Barry Micklewright

    Middle Row 1st from left John Pearce 2nd from left; John Craddock 3rd from left; Ian Bailey 5th from left; Stuart Miller 6th from left; John Grant 10th from left; John Stone 11th from left; Stephen Abley

  7. Stuart Miller says:

    Correction I think Middle row 2nd from left may be John Crowther

  8. Stuart Miller says:

    I have a feeling Front row, second from left may be Eldine Coates and 3rd from left, Sylvia Stretton

  9. Stuart Miller says:

    This has been some fun trying to squeeze those memories out the grey matter.
    Rear row, 8th from left, John Farrell ??
    Front row 5th from left, Margaret Holdcroft ?
    Names I remember but I cannot identify them in the photograph, John Martin (the caretakers son),
    Victor Partlow and Susan Hardy.
    Maybe these names will jog other peoples memory.

  10. Annette Abley says:

    2nd Row far Right Steven Abley

  11. Sue smith says:

    I thought front row 2nd from the left was Kathleen lee ???
    Front row no7 and no 8 I know there faces so well but the names escape me
    This photo I think is either is one or two years older than me so remember quite a few faces

  12. Ray Corbett says:

    Wow this is a long time ago see if I can remember back row L-R John Martin Victor Partlow Me Ray Corbett Ivor Walters not sure next then Stanley Hale,Ronnie Stretton,Robert Farrel,Barry Mickleright,Gary Cope last one not sure
    Second row Robert Pierce,Jhon Clawley maybe,not shure of the next one Stuart Miller,Nigel Grant,Tony Brown,next three not shure then Steven Abley
    The girls Eldine coats 5th Margaret Holdcroft 6th Susan Hardy
    I wonder what are all these people doing now

  13. Eldyne Cooper says:

    Well that’s definitely the class I was in, but I can’t see myself. Difficult to remember now but I think second front Kathleen Lee, then Anne Freeman, Pat ?, Marguerite Holdcroft, Sue Hardy, Carole Mycock. Boys are more difficult but I do recognise some of the faces, especially Tony Brown because he lived near me in the prefabs.

    • Barbara Smith8 says:

      Hello Eldyne did you go to shire oak secondary school about 1965, 1966 onwards in the upper school forms,I remember an Eldyne living in the prefabs ,my name was Barbara Norwood

      • Eldyne Cooper (Coats) says:

        Yes, that was me, I went right through into the sixth form when it turned into Shire Oak School then on to college. It was a very long time ago but I defiantly remember your name and recognise your face x

  14. Maxine Hayward says:

    The building pictured is the main school which was situated at the front on the main road, not the one down the drive. I recognise the stone window frames. I lived in the school house from 1972 – 1986.

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