STAN ROBINSON of Wednesfield has many fond recollections of a particular higher education establishment, and is hoping to jog a few memories with the images reproduced here, which belonged to his late wife Betty. Stan writes:
"Not having seen any references to the old County Commercial College, Wednesbury, in any edition of the Bugle for some time, I am enclosing a school photograph taken in the summer of 1949. Someone may see themselves or somebody they knew.
"One student in the photograph was known to myself, the girl who six years later became my wife — Betty Rogers. She is standing, second from the right in the back row. We were both members of the same Methodist Chapel, Sunday School and Youth Club.
"I was also a student at CCC, but two years earlier, from Easter 1945 to Easter 1947. But I cannot ever remember having any photo taken during this period, probably because the war was still on when I started. If any of my fellow students who may be still alive knows of any photo, I would love to see it.
"The photograph from 1949 shows an almost equal number of boys and girls, yet in our class there were only a few boys to twenty-odd girls. The boys included John Fisher, Derek Gibson, James Turner, Eric Eveson and Melvin Hancox.
“Amongst the girls were Dorothy Boyce, Sylvia Blakemore, Joan Brittell, Sheila Cater, Joan Pass, Barbara Dawson, Margart Allen, Vera Cambridge, Sheila Davies, Barbara Hale, Avery Law, Brenda Meredith, Sheila Massey, Jean Large, Vera Newton, Mavis Sargeant, Jean Smith and Enid Tomlinson. "Most of the above are just faded memories, but ones I particularly remember are Eric and Melvin, also Barbara Dawson and Joan Pass among the girls.
"I still have the original home addresses and most of their birthdays in an old address book from the 1940s. If any of the above are still around they would be around my age, 82.
"Also shown here is the report book of Betty Rogers showing the last report for the summer term of 1949, in which she finished second overall in her class."
Most of us remember those huge, rolled up photographs which included the entire school population and required a slowly panning camera to take the picture over several seconds. Unfortunately we would have to dedicate about three pages to it if we were to fit the whole thing on, so we reproduce just the right hand end of Stan’s picture here, which still includes a few dozen of Betty’s friends and classmates.
And at right are a couple of pages taken from Betty’s Report Book, dating from the summer term of 1949. Though the report begins with ‘a disappointing result’ for English, Betty came second in the class in Maths, and in Shorthand, was first in Bookkeeping, and fourth in both French and Typewriting.
She achieved second place overall in class, and was particularly commended for Games and Gym activities, her teacher J?Knight writing:
“Betty is to be congratulated on winning the ‘Inter Cup’ on Sports Day.
The school principal added, in bright red ink:
“May I?add my congratulations on this achievement which is a climax to all her work in Hockey, Netball and Rounders.”
Summing up Betty’s overall achievements, the Principal wrote:
“Very good results in almost all subjects, all evidence of excellent progress which is also shown in her form position.”
Also shown here, at left, is a photograph which Betty had kept for years, but about which Stan knows very little. He tells us:
“Among Betty’s possessions were two copies of the attached photograph of a Pageant Queen and her attendants.
“Who the Pageant Queen represented, I have no idea, nor when the photograph was taken. The only clue is that the pictures are in a presentation folder from L Bayley of Pinfold Street in Darlaston.
“If anyone knows any of the children in the picture, they are welcome to either of the phtographs.”
l Do you recognise any of these little princesses? Or do you have memories of the County Commercial College, particularly during the 1945 to 47 intake? Give us a call, write in, or email gjones@blackcountry bugle.co.uk.