KEVIN Drew writes... “In 1967 we started the final year at Tipton Green Boys School. It was unusual to have a mixed infants school and then two separate junior schools, one for boys and one for girls, all on the same site.
The small playground was concrete and tarmac and our twenty plus a side football games caused chaos as other years tried to play their games.
It was usually Wolves v Albion as supporting Manchester United, Liverpool or Chelsea had not become fashionable in the Black Country. As you turned up for school or came out from dinner you just joined one of the sides.
Break time we still had milk and Jammie Dodgers were 1 old penny. I have seen a few articles in the Bugle on Tipton Green and the teachers seem to be consistent over many, many years — Mr Dixon, Mr Noakes, Mr Hale and Mr Withers with Mr Langford as the Headmaster. It was still men for boys and women for girls.
I do remember that unfortunately Mr Withers left for a post in Brierley Hill and we had a newly qualified or possibly student teacher, a Miss Dilworth, who was not widely accepted and prompted a protest march around the school, only for the ring leaders to be caned for voicing their opinion. (We would have invoked the Human Rights Act now, parents would be protesting to MPs). As it was we were all punished again when we went home.
Visits to Aston Hall and Oak House were highlights of our junior school years and in the final year there was traditionally a trip to Bruges in Belgium and for us kids who never went out of Tipton, unless it was to Molineux or the Hawthorns, it was like the other side of the world.
Sadly for economic reasons the trip we looked forward to was cancelled and we had to wait for later years to travel abroad.
We could look longingly at the girls as we passed on our way in rows to the dinner hall which also combined as an assembly hall for the school. I still associate the hymn "We plough the fields and scatter" with cabbages and carrots, not because it is a harvest hymn but because the dinner ladies had already started boiling the vegetables for a 12.30 lunch as we had morning assembly and prayers at 9 am. Our only other contact with the girls was by leaning against the railings that separated the two playgrounds.
They were not allowed to talk to you or even approach the railings for fear of the wrath of those that patrolled the fence.
This was the late sixties yet "flower power" and "summers of love" had not reached Tipton.
We sat in rows at desks with inkwells that had not changed in at least a generation Our old classroom fronted the Sedgley Road and the flow of lorries with boiler castings and all sorts of metal cargos all proudly made in Tipton, constantly thundered past.
Sadly the local authority reorganisation changed the Dudley /Tipton border. It was moved back from the Birmingham New Road to the old Five Ways Station Railway Bridge.
The old Foxyards and Woodcroft Estates were now under Dudley control. The Tipton Municipal Buildings had ceased to be the seat of power for the former Tipton Borough Council which had been swallowed up into West Bromwich and then into Sandwell.
It also meant that childhood friendships were coming to an end. Those on the Dudley side of the bridge now went to Dudley Grammar School or High Arcal whereas those who remained in Tipton boundaries vied for places at Tipton Grammar School or Park Lane. "The New Foyards Estate", as it is still called 40 plus years on, was being finally completed on the fields of and adjoining Gutteridge’s farm.
These fields had formed the playground of many a "Tipton Green Boy” and the chances of continuing friendships through play with those across the newly formed border diminished.
We were ‘crossed’ over the crossings on our way home by "Auntie Brenda". We had our short back and sides at Jack Wall’s. We bought our comics from Arthur Perry and our sweets from Billingham’s or Smith’s and we had our chips from "Tommy the Fish", when our mums went to Joan's Hairdressers or The Post Office, which also sold Corgi and Dinky Cars, which we had for birthdays and at Christmas Who would have thought that the little lock-up warehouse behind Billingham’s would go on to become the massive Hootys store in Willenhall, and its owner’s son I believe to be the founder of Poundland.
The other night two of us Tipton Green Old Boys, over a pint or three, put our heads together and came up with the following names. As I said earlier.
we sat in rows so some of those near to us came naturally others we argued about. We thought there were four rows of ten but may be there was only 38 or 39 We do not have any photographs and have lost contact with most but it would be great to meet again and share stories and possibly borrow some photos to show to each other’s the children and possibly grandchildren The names we wrote down were — Max Brighton, Paul Holt Anthony Rich, Kevin Drew, Andrew Dudfield, Ian Harris, Paul Clayton, Mark Andrews, Paul Mills, Nick Morton, Alan Day, Richard Jones, John King, Stuart Hale.
Kevin Hale, Kevin Jones, David Davis, Martin Fisher, Rajesh Patel, Derek Pearce,Malcolm Sutton, Lesley Hunt, Michael Groom, Philip Eastwood, Gary Farmer, Leroy Barnes, Derek Westwood, Chris Higgins, Michael Johnson, Philip Ashley, John Farney, Paul Barnes, Derek Cooper, Tim Sherman, Kevin Toft, Terry Cottam, Trevor Moore and Billy Davis.