We kids had plenty of gold top bottle

INK monitors, chalk dust and a bottle of milk mid morning. All memories of school days until around 1970.All children who attended school a few decades back had 'inky fingers' as writing was by dipping the nib of a pen into the inkwell set into each desk.

INK monitors, chalk dust and a bottle of milk mid morning. All memories of school days until around 1970.

All children who attended school a few decades back had 'inky fingers' as writing was by dipping the nib of a pen into the inkwell set into each desk.

Gripping the pen always left stains on the finger tips. Trusted pupils were made ink monitors, carrying a glass bottle of ink round, filling the wells with the dark blue liquid. It took skill to pour through the glass tube without spilling ink onto the desk

The mid morning, third of a pint bottle of milk, would be handed out around 'playtime'. Many schools were then heated by open coal fires and the milk had to be stood near the fire to thaw out on very cold winter days.


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A set of photographic negatives, taken in September 1958 and June 1959, by a young Ipswich man, who was on a placement at St Matthew's School close to the centre of Ipswich, have remained unprinted since they were taken.

Michael Parkin, who now lives in Wakefield, sent me his negatives, which show school days as they were for everybody who attended in the baby boom years following Second World War. Michael, who grew up in Ipswich, was a keen amateur photographer, who processed his own film and prints. He processed the films taken at St Matthews, but never made any prints.

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I featured the St Matthew's area of Ipswich in Kindred Spirits recently, featuring the massive changes which were made to the area in the 1950s and 60s. Looking at Michael's photographs of the Victorian school building it seems such a shame it was demolished to be replaced with the more functional building there today. I am sure now planners would have the building restored and modernised.

The classroom photographs capture the crowded rooms of desks and children. It was a time when many teachers had classes of up to forty children. The school playground was small and part of the play area was the graveyard of St Matthew's Church. The toilets were outside and were freezing cold in the winter.

The schools catchment area included the streets of small houses around where Civic Drive is now and where the police station and Wolsey Theatre now stand.

• Were you a pupil at the old St Matthew's School or are you in any of the photographs by Michael Parkin?

• SCHOOL days at Kesgrave before the Second World War were recalled by Tony Adams, who still lives there, in a recent Kindred Spirits. Mr C Blowers of Mayfield Gardens, Walton on Thames said. “I was fascinated to read Tony Adams recollections of his time at Kesgrave Area School in the 1930s. Two of the teachers he mentioned, Mr Blowers and Miss Gibbs, were my parents who married in 1938. I attended the school immediately after the war from 1945 until 1951. By 1946 my father had been demobbed and rejoined the school, along with Mr Richards who continued to teach woodwork and metalwork. Dad resumed teaching gardening, along with his normal lessons, and would have been especially pleased to think that Tony Adams remembers his advice after all this time. When Butley Modern School opened in 1960, which has since been demolished, my father joined as the head of maths and science, his specialities, where he earned the affectionate name of “Prof”.

I remember the patch of heath land that passed for a playing field at Kesgrave School and the brick-built toilets open to the sky. I will never forget the annual marching practice for sports day as we straggled round the “big boys” playground to the tune of either the “RAF March Past” or “Sussex by the Sea” the only two suitable records the school appeared to own!

By this time the separate classroom wing at the north of the school was assigned to the infants, who went through the care and attention of Miss, actually Mrs Scopes, Miss Burrows, Miss Mander and Miss Fairhead, in that order. I don't believe I can have been a particularly well-behaved student, despite my father teaching there, I recall often standing outside the classroom for some misdemeanour or other, but on the whole my memories are happy ones, like the classes held in the main hall to listen to the schools broadcasts of 'Singing Together'. In Country Dancing, I invariably partnered Gail Humphries, Anne Marjoram or Patsy Cook. I can't seem to remember any of the boys' names from those days!

My parents lived in Deben Avenue, Martlesham. My father died in November 1997, a few days short of his 88th birthday. My mother died in 2002, three months short of her 90th birthday.

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