Ruth Millington, School Secretary 1960 to 1970 - Memories of St Bartholomew’s Primary School
Ruth Millington was the school secretary from 1960 to 1970, at St Bartholomew’s Primary School when it was on School Lane in Quorn. Although she was secretary to Jack Briers the headmaster, these were the days when the term ‘School Secretary’ meant that you undertook all the school administration, plus a hundred other jobs besides!
Quorn On-line Museum is extremely grateful to Ruth for writing down some of her memories of the school, and providing these and other photographs.
The Primary School was a red brick building built in 1834, with playground on three sides, seven classrooms, a tiny office for the headmaster and secretary, a small cloakroom, toilets for the girls and boys toilets in the playground.
A handbell summoned the children to school, where the formed lines in the playground ready to march into the building for morning assembly. Assembly was taken by the headmaster accompanied by the Vicar on Fridays. Children attended Church for special services held during school hours – these included Easter and Christmas.
Jack Briers was the headmaster during all my time at the school. Great emphasis was put on the ‘3 Rs’ in preparation for the 11 plus exams, after which the children moved on to senior schools. Note: The ‘3 Rs’ were Reading, wRiting, and ‘Rithmatic.
There was a school orchestra formed by Mr Weavell who taught in the juniors, consisting of recorder, flute, violin and timpani players who performed at many functions and were entered in annual music festivals. One afternoon each week, a peripatetic teacher taught the violin to beginners. These lessons took place in the cloakroom and the teeth grinding sounds penetrated the headmaster’s office!
Weekly swimming lessons were held at Loughborough Baths. These were on Granby Street and the building now houses Loughborough Museum (2012). Mr E Adkins organised the lessons and was accompanied by a female teacher. There was an annual swimming gala and all these were efforts were to ensure that every child could swim by the time they left the school.
Mr E Adkins with Mr J Briers also arranged football for the boys. Practice and matches took place on Stafford Orchard on Saturday mornings. The boys played other junior schools for the yearly silver cup.
Children saved for summer holidays. Those interested were given a bank book – and money collected by the secretary was deposited at the Post Office and withdrawn at the end of the school year or when required.
Annual trips were organised by Mr Briers for the top junior classes and accompanied by other members of staff. One year they took a train to Liverpool and took the ferry across the Mersey. Another year there was a train and river trip to Winsor to visit the castle.
Annual Visits by Doctor Hall
Medical examinations took place in the headmaster’s office. Children queued in the drafty corridor; girls in vest and knickers, boys in shorts. Meanwhile there was no room for the head and secretary! The nurse would also visit each year to examine the children’s heads for nits!
School inspectors would visit on a regular basis. They gave very little notice, but we always had good reports.
Winter of 1961/62
The very severe weather conditions closed the school for several weeks. All the toilets were frozen, pipes burst and the cloakroom and corridors were flooded. Eventually there was no coke to even heat the school.
Picture One – 1960s
Left to right: Lena Sturman (teacher), Jack Briers (head), Janice Harrington (teacher), Eric Adkins (teacher), Ruth Millington (secretary), Robert Weavell (teacher)
Picture Two – 1960s
Back row, left to right: Mrs Doherty, Mrs Goodman, Mrs Lancashire, Miss Jones, Mrs Dexter.
Front row, left to right: Mrs Laurie Mr Briers, Mrs Taylor.