Class photos

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I love this photo. I know it’s disrespectful, but the inner miscreant in me so wants the lady to be working on an illicit still. Image very kindly supplied by David Evans, generously donated by Tony Portman. Click for a larger version.

This is a taster of a truly remarkable piece of local history that David Evans has been granted access to by it’s owner, Tony Portman – we have a collection of photos of life at Walsall Wood Secondary School in the 1950s.

What’s remarkable about the photos – over 30 in number – is that Tony has painstakingly documented them. But just as a taster for now, I’m going to share some raw images. I will then post a selection with the full notes every weekend. That way full discussions can ensue and no gems get overlooked.

If you want to go location spotting, see this post here where David returns to the school (now the Walsall Wood Youth Club) a couple of years ago.

Intersting comparisons too to the school photos from Shire Oak Grammar in 1964 here and 1962 here.

My thanks to David for great scans and hard work, as usual, but also to Tony for a wonderful act of felicity and generosity.

Just feast your eyes on these. Bring back memories? Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

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Lunchtime in a school dining hall familiar to many locals, I feel. Image very kindly supplied by David Evans, generously donated by Tony Portman. Click for a larger version.

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A proud team from 1954 – anyone you know? Image very kindly supplied by David Evans, generously donated by Tony Portman. Click for a larger version.

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Apiary as a school topic. Wonderful. And just look at Walsall Wood Colliery in the background. Image very kindly supplied by David Evans, generously donated by Tony Portman. Click for a larger version.

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Dressmaking – back then, a topic strictly for the girls. Image very kindly supplied by David Evans, generously donated by Tony Portman. Click for a larger version.

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Must say, the staff here look a tad more comfortable than up at Shire Oak on the 1962 and 64 photos. Image very kindly supplied by David Evans, generously donated by Tony Portman. Click for a larger version.

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I would imagine that while the ladies were sewing, the chaps were doing woodwork. Interesting place to hang a selection of saws… Image very kindly supplied by David Evans, generously donated by Tony Portman. Click for a larger version.

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13 Responses to Class photos

  1. morturn says:

    What a super collection of images, I cannot wait to see more.

  2. Pedro says:

    Great photos. The first photo reminded me of another experiment from the 50s…

    https://goo.gl/images/GouoLu

    • David Evans says:

      Hi Pedro
      from innocent childhood times in the Wood, comes the saying that has stood the test of time.. ” Yo never ask where its come from,” vocalised at its most glorious, in a ripe, whittled mahogany Wood , some would say Sheckespeare,baritone voice. O R

      kind regards
      David

  3. Jean Fereday was Jean Stanway. says:

    Lovely Photos i cannot wait to see more.i went to walsall wood school 1950

  4. davidoakley says:

    Hi Bob,
    A big thank you to Tony and David for providing these pictures. I had left Walsall Wood Senior School about ten years earlier before these pictures were taken, so unfortunately couldn’t recognise anyone other than Mr. Hamer, who, to my certain knowledge, had been teaching there since the ‘30’s. Mr. Hamer cycled to work from Rushall, and had a carbide lamp for winter use on his cycle, a system which evolved carbide, acetylene gas and water, a lamp whose mechanics he would explain to anyone interested, but which gave a brilliant light. The teaching staff seem to expanded since my day, featuring eleven, including cooking, dressmaking and carpentry, as against sixteen on the photo.
    The picture in the school garden, showing the beehive, took me right back to those distant days, the grimy landscape of a pit village, depicted by the ‘Coppy stack’ belching away, forgotten nowadays in the clean, green attractive Walsall Wood, the white buildings of the miners Institute, latterly occupied by a mine official, but known to all as ‘th’institute’. While the ‘Coppy’ seemed to be exhibiting two flags, ah, yes, one was the National Coal Board flag, telling the world that “This colliery is now managed by the National Coal Board, on behalf of the people”, the other was the Union Jack, telling us that once more, the ‘Coppy’ had broken its target weekly output. Source of pride on two counts ?
    I look forward eagerly to seeing the remainder of the photographs. Might recognise someone, might not, but that is not the whole of it. My main point is the thankfulness and gratitude that all those years ago, someone had the foresight to see history in the making , and had the trouble and expense to record it, so much would have been lost to us, without these efforts, so thanks again. Tony. Incidentally, I still remember your family in ‘the Wood’ from more than seventy years ago. Lichfield Road, in those houses whose gardens ran down to the ‘playing fields’ latterly, Oak Park. So my sincere best wishes to the Portman family.

    • Vicky says:

      Thank you David for your comments, can I ask where you lived “back in the day”, my Dad, Tony is here trying to remember you? Yes you’re absolutely right, his family home was demolished to build Oak Park.
      Cheers

  5. Clive says:

    Great photos, there before my time at Walsall Wood school, but still very intresting, big thank you to all involved.

  6. TREVOR WOOD says:

    Went to the old “STREETS CORNER” school from 1954 to 1964
    What fab photos, more please, cant wait
    Headmaster at the secondary was Mr Faid with Mr T Parker as Deputy Head not forgetting Mr Hamer who had been there that long re taught both my father and uncle

  7. Hilary Little says:

    Well this caused a bit of a stir…well before my time but I was certain that I recognised the tall teacher 4th from the left on the back row. I checked with mum and true enough it is my uncle, Ron Smith. He’s the same chap that was featured in David Evan’s wonderful article “Royal Oak, Bullings Heath: The Last Century on 26-8-12. He’s not too well at the moment but Mum was able to name a couple more teachers, including Mr Dale, 3rd from the left on the back row and Mr Matthias, the geography teacher who was her “favourite”. Mum also thinks that Miss Ash, a PE teacher is on there too but she’s not sure which one she is (most likely the lady on the back row). She remembered Mr Hamer too as he was the Maths teacher.
    The netball team photograph also bought back memories for her and she identified Josie Bull (3rd from the left) and Patricia Hutchinson (6th from the left). With luck she’ll think of a few more.
    Regards
    Hilary

    • David Evans says:

      hello Hilary
      sorry to hear that Mr Ron Smith is not very well..please pass best wishes to him…..I feel sure there will be many many surprises- and quite a few smiles- as the photo series and accompanying notes is published by uncle Bob. Barbara Ash was the cookery teacher, I believe
      kind regards
      David

  8. Mary Mayo says:

    The young lady on the front row holding the ball, I am sure is Brenda Seedhouse

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