Rose Gurney

Interviewed 1/10/84

Mary Rose Handscombe (now Gurney) b. 1898

Father – John Handscombe

Started at 3 in 1901, left 1912

The babies were in small classroom at side of big infant room.  Babies in the gallery (NB. sm – room also had a gallery).  Teacher was ? Anne Throssell lived near the Old Vicarage in Priors Hill.

Born in Holly Cottage opp. Elm Tree Farm, moved at 12 months to Woodbine Cottage (opp. School)  Had 4/5 older brothers and 1 older sister (Mrs Pearce).

In Babies Room learned ABC, counting (bead frames) had stories and rhymes and there was a brown paper envelope (musty smell) with short lengths of coloured wool with which colours were learned.  Also a very big see-saw from which you could see Docklands.  Babies had ‘elevenses’.

Into Mrs Donson’s room at 4 or 5.  The first class was up in the gallery – there were 3 classes in that room.  (Mrs D had the middle one).  Then they went into Mixed Dept. into small room next to Mr Donson’s room, where taught by Ethel Throssell.  Mrs D. was cantankerous, she preferred Mr. D.  Dorothy Donson (same age as Rose) got clouted in front of everyone.

Drill in Mrs D’s room they had rods with bells on which she liked.

Painting – brought flowers

Rose never missed a single attendance.  She had measles when school was closed for holidays (11 years).

She had book prizes for attendance and a silver watch which still goes (5 years) and 2 medals.

The photographer came – took groups of children – families together.  Children sent home to get dressed and tidied up.

Mr D used to watch church clock to see if it was knocking off time.

There was a teacher called Miss Leighton (see record book p.    ) who lodged with Mrs H.  She was C of E.  Donsons were Methodists – friction!

Rose’s sister Ruth was a pupil teacher.

Wellbury Cottages children brought their dinners.  Kate Walker (now Kate Francis) nine times out of 10 brought currant pasty.  Rose often had a bit!

Mr & Mrs H knew the Crowthers – Mr C was very strict – one Handscombe boy would not go to Pirton School went to Holwell.

Mr Davies used to come in to check registers.  He always called Cecil Day Old Royal Oak – pub) SEESIL to the children’s amusement.  Also Cecil Stapleton

Rose enjoyed her school days.  Went to do dressmaking in Hitchin.  Married John Gurney of Elm Tree Farm.  Moved to present house 21 Royal Oak Lane in 1946.

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