We thank Jill Guest for these memories from when she was one of the very first students of the (then new) Caslon School
My fifth birthday was in February 1953, so after Easter that year I started school at Colley Lane Infants.
Because Netherend School had been closed, and the children from there moved to Colley Lane, there was not a lot of room; our classroom for that term was the hall.
We moved into other classrooms when the hall was needed for PT or singing.
A new school, Caslon Infants, was to open after the summer holidays, so children who lived nearer to the new school on the Fatherless Barn Estate were moved there.
Mrs Olive Willetts, a teacher at Colley Lane, was to be the new Head Mistress.
She lived at Colman Hill House, quite near to us in Stourdell Road. The house has since been demolished, and new houses built in the grounds.
My best friend, Elaine Smith, who lived next door, had her fifth birthday in June, so because the 238 bus went past the top of our road between Fatherless Barn and Cradley Heath, our mothers decided we could go to school on the bus.
Neither family had a car until some years later.
Our mothers put us on the twenty past eight bus with instructions to the conductor to put us off at the stop at the top of Alma Street and cross us over the road.
We then walked up Clent View Road to school. We were only five, and so it was quite an adventure. The fare was two old pennies.
When school finished we walked back to the bus stop and caught the ten to four bus back to Stourdell Road, where our mothers were waiting.
Caslon was an infants-only school when it first opened, for children aged five to seven.
My teacher was a Mrs Rudge. She was married during the first year at Caslon, and I think her husband was a teacher at Colley Lane. My Mum took me to see her come out of church at Stourbridge.
Other teachers I remember were Mrs Pritchard, who played the piano in Assembly, and Miss Shaw and Mrs Griffiths, who was my teacher in the next year. My friend Elaine was in Miss Shaw's class.
My class performed the Nativity play the first Christmas we were at Caslon. I was Mary, and Michael Bennett was Joseph. I had to sing, "Little Jesus sweetly sleep".
In Miss Griffiths' class we had some pet ducks.
In this class I learnt to knit. As I was left handed, this was a bit of a problem, as I kept going the wrong way; but I still have the scarf (with holes), so I must have got the hang of it eventually.
We also did weaving, which was much easier. Writing was also a problem, although I was never made to write with my right hand. I still can't write in a straight line on plain paper.
At "playtime" we had a bottle of milk, and the teacher sold chocolate finger biscuits, four for an old penny.
We had cooked dinners in the hall; my favourite was cheese pie and salad.
That year the play was "the Wedding of the Painted Doll". I was "The Painted Doll", and the other children were different toys.
My mother cut her wedding dress down to fit me; I had a bouquet of paper carnations.
When I was seven I went back to Colley Lane to the junior school, and had to start walking to school again.
This essay is © Copyright 2003 Jill Guest.
Cradley Links thanks Jill for her generous
permission to reproduce it on this web site.