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HAPPY MEMORIES OF EARLY DAYS AT TIVIDALE SCHOOL

By Black Country Bugle User  |  Posted: May 17, 2007

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These photographs, along with a copy of the Tividale School Magazine, have been sent to us by Mike Beasley, who lives at Byfield, near Daventry, Northamptonshire. Mike writes:

"I was pleased to see on the back page of Bugle 759 the photo from Michael Mallard, of the Tividale Primary School football team. I have the same photo and the missing names are, on the back row, Richard North, Steven Jephcott and Kenneth Webb, and on the front row, I think were, Neil Bach, Edward Sherrard, myself, Royston Cove, and Michael Bailey.

  "In the following season, 1957-58, some of these boys made it into the U12 team at the newly opened Tividale Comprehensive School, and I include the team photo with the headteacher, Mr L. J. Cramp, and Mr D. Foster, the PE teacher and team coach, whose favourite punishment for dirty kit was a whack with a gym shoe.

  "On the back row, left to right, are, Smith, Terry Hughes (captain), myself, J. Daniels, John Slim, Alan Blunt, Adney, Nigel Stringer, and Mr Foster. On the front row are, Foy, Roger Jenkins, P. Hill, Mr Cramp, Cherrington, John Billingham, Robert Davies, and Royston Cove.

  "In the Tividale Magazine from summer 1959, page 2 records that the four football teams won 11 of the 30 games played. I don't think the U12 team won a game, but as the report says, we had no pitch ready at the school to practice on. This photograph marks the end of my sporting career!

  "The other photograph is from a geographical field trip in 1963, and it might interest your Tividale readers. It was taken at Stonehenge, and the geography teacher, Mr D. Pearce, is clearly not in control, as pupils appear unimpressed at the absence of druids.

  "Names I can recall are, from left, John Ashcroft, Lewis Hipkiss, Elaine Hodgetts, Annette Kidd, Lorraine Hipkiss, Margaret Turton, Rosemary Walker (with arms outstretched), and I am at the left with the camera."

  Mike's Tividale School Magazine of 1959 is the first that the school ever produced. It was to be printed annually and it gives details of all the activities the pupils at the school had been involved with during the year.

  Construction of the new Tividale School in Lower City Road began in 1956, to serve the expanding Tividale area and although the school was officially opened on 31st October, 1958, pupils had been attending lessons at the school since 11th September, 1956, as the school was literally built around them. However, even by 1959 the school was not completed, as Mike pointed out, the school still did not have its own playing fields, which limited its sporting activities. The school relied on the generosity of local works sports club that allowed them to use their facilities, but as such the school was only able to play five home football matches in the 1958-59 season.

  The official opening of the school was attended by several local dignitaries, among them the Mayor of Rowley Regis, Alderman R. Downing, and the Director of Education, J. H. P. Oxspring, and the MP for Rowley Regis and Tipton, Arthur Henderson, later Baron Rowley, attended the ceremony and gave a speech to the school.

  The motto of the new school was "Studorium Consortes", taken from a letter by the Roman writer and politician Seneca, which roughly translates as "partners in learning".

  Pupils at the school were formed into four houses. It seems that the pupils had some choice in who the houses were named after, two were named in honour of explorers while the other two were named after prominent engineers and scientists of the day. Livingstone House was named after David Livingstone (1813-1873), the famed Victorian missionary and explorer of Africa. Scott House was named after the polar explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott (1868-1912), who died in Antarctica on his return journey after failing to beat the Norwegian Roald Amundsen in the race to the South Pole. Whittle House was named in honour of Sir Frank Whittle (1907-1996), the Coventry-born RAF engineer and pioneer of the jet engine. Finally, Cockcroft House was named after the nuclear scientist Sir John Cockcroft (1879-1967), director of the Atomic Energy Research Establishment and winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics, who was chosen after Tividale pupils visited an exhibition on nuclear energy at the Staffordshire Technical College.

  The Tividale School Magazine gives details of all the activities the pupils had been involved with. These reports are written by the pupils themselves the magazine also features short stories, poems and limericks by the children.

  Naturally the inter-house sports competitions were an important part of school life. In 1958-59 Whittle House won the football and the cross country competitions, Livingstone House won the netball and the hobbies trophies, while Scott house were victors in the basketball and drama cups.

  The school's first major stage production came in spring 1959 and was Alice in Wonderland. It featured performances by Peter Baizon as the Mock Turtle and Ronald Wyld as the White Knight. The previous Christmas, Year Three pupils had staged a Christmas play, with Roger Jones at the Archangel Gabriel, Elaine Hodgetts as Mary, and Wendy Bowdler, Eunice Parkes, Pauline Ward, Marilyn Robinson and Judith Day as angels.

  The school choir was formed in 1957 and their first performance was at the carol service. They sang at the first prize giving in 1958, the official opening of the school and they took part in festival of all the Rowley Regis school choirs held at Dudley Town Hall.

  When the orchestra was formed in 1958 there were just eight musicians. They played a hymn every week for morning assemblies but as numbers increased they were able to give small concerts. They performed at the official opening and from then on would meet every Monday evening to practice.

  Tividale pupils enjoyed a number of trips away from the school. In 1958 a group of girls camped at a site near Penkridge. The 3rd and 4th years visited the Chelsea Flower Show, while in February 1959 there was a weekend trip to London, visiting theatre and seeing the sites. There was also a trip to Wembley Stadium to see a schoolboys international between England and Germany. England won, 2-0, with goals by Norman Ashe and Alan Baker, both from Brierley Hill - does anyone know what happened to them?

  Finally, the two illustrations at the bottom of this page are taken from the Tividale School Magazine. They are woodcuts by the pupils, used to illustrate the pages of the magazine. The picture to the left was by G. Probert of class LVa and illustrated the report on the school orchestra. The second is a seaside scene by K. Taylor, also of class LVa.

  Do any more Bugle readers have their own memories of these early days of the Tividale School?

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