OldCiren - Cirencester, Gloucestershire, UK
Ciren School Days – 1950’s Pot-Bellied Stoves…
I walked past the old Lewis Lane Council School last week and although it’s over 50 years. it seemed like it was only yesterday that I was there as a pupil in my school blazer and the red cap that my mother had bought for me from Scotts; the School outfitters in Castle Street. I noticed the buildings have been altered in some ways since I went there, but the fabric appears almost as it did when I went there in the 50’s. The school is all one building really, but as children we were very aware of the difference between the Primary school on the left side and the Junior School on the right. The differences started at the entrance, with separate entrances accessed by two different gates from Lewis Lane. Once inside, the classrooms had a quasi-Gothic sort of style with high ceilings and large windows through which light would stream in. I don’t think I can recall lights ever being used, but obviously they had them and the fitting of them is recorded in the School records; now in the Gloucestershire Public Record office. There was also heating, which many readers will recall, was provided by coal burning pot-bellied iron stoves. Each classroom had a stove; protected by an iron railing, against which children were allowed to stand if they were feeling a bit “poorly”. During the big-freeze Winter of 1963, I remember there was a queue of “poorly” children waiting for a place at the rail each morning;. each clutching a 3rd a pint bottle of free school milk to warm on the stove. Outside the classroom, there was a playground which was divided by a tall stone wall with solid gate. Once a year in September, the gate would open and with trepidation, infancy was left behind as the 7 year olds filed through to become newly fledged Juniors.