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Classmates of '34 signed Elsie's autograph book

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: February 02, 2014

By Gavin Jones

  • Best wishes from Miss Evans

  • Rose's brief message

  • A strange message from Mary

  • A dog from Molly

  • Make up advice from Audrey

  • Elsie today, with her school autograph book

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A SCHOOL photograph from two editions ago has prompted a wonderful response from one of the girls portrayed – Mrs Elsie Cartwright (nee Morris) of Stourbridge.

Elsie told us, "Being 91 years old I have plenty of memories and the Bugle helps in stirring them up.

"Last week, on page 15 of the 16th January edition, I saw myself on a school photo of Form 1A, of West Bromwich Municipal Secondary School (it was not called a Grammar School until the replacement was built in Heath Lane).

"The old building I believe suffered from an arson attack some months ago, which I hoped didn't do too much damage.

"In the photo, I am the girl at the front in the gym slip, and I can remember a few of the other names."

They are, from left in the back row: ?, Peter Dicken, ?, ?, ?, ?, Maurice Humphrey, Leonard Ludlum, ?.

Middle row: ?, Leonard Adcock, ?, Tom Bamber, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?.

Front row (on seats): ?, ?, ?, ?, Miss Evans, Mary Wall, Audrey Guise, ?, ?.

Cross-legged on mats: ?, Beryl Green, Elsie Morris, Rose Parker, Molly Russell, ?.

Not only has Elsie recalled all those names from eighty years ago, she actually has the signatures of several of them, their teacher included, in a small autograph book which she has retained since her schooldays.

"In those days, at the end of a school year we would go around and get the signatures of our classmates, and very often the teachers too," said Elsie. "And some of the children in the Bugle photo are in my book."

Among them are Gwen Evans, the English teacher, who signed a simple 'Best Wishes' and the date; Rose Parker, who wrote 'All your days be happy', and Mary Williams (not int he picture) who wrote the strange message, 'With best wishes till I am dead'.

Molly Russell drew Elsie a picture of a dog, with the caption 'I do like my little Joey', while Audrey Guise offered some advice on the use of make-up: 'Little dabs of powder, little spots of paint. Help to make a lady look just what she ain't.'

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