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OLD TIMES AT FERRYBRIDGE SCHOOL

ADDED 9 NOVEMBER 2006

After months of promising to submit my own contribution, here it is.

My grandfather, Mr. Pilgrim, was head of Ferrybridge School. We lived in London during the war and in approx 1948 we moved back to Ferrybridge. Dad had a job in Pontefract.

At first we lived in the schoolhouse with my grandparents until in 1949 we got our own house at 75 Wentcliffe Drive. I remember being able to see “Nicky Mill” out of the back windows. In 1951 we moved to the “top of Nevison”, at 15 Myson Avenue. I remember cycling to school and back twice each day, during all weathers. What 9/10 year-old would do that now?

Friends at Ferrybridge School that are dimly remembered were; ‘Flash’ Flaxton, Alan Mason, Jack Popplewell, Ann Robinson, Pauline Smith, ‘Mash’ Lowe, Christine Wright, and Jean Blatch. Teachers were ‘Joss’ Wrightson, who cycled in from Beal every day, Mr. Gill (Headmaster), and Mrs Briggs. I remember the tears when we were told of the death of the King in 1952.

We used to play on the coke pile by the air raid shelter, where we used to keep our crocus bulbs over winter to bloom the following spring. I had to draw the sycamore tree throughout the seasons, at different stages of its development. How I hated art! We once went on a day trip to London by train, also to Liverpool and to see Henry V at the pictures.

At football I was always the goalie as I was the fattest boy. I remember the taunts I suffered from the older boys and girls. Nowadays they would end up in court, but it meant that I was capable of looking after myself for the rest of my life, not whinging to authority when problems arose.

The Feast would come in August onto the field where Ferrybridge Church now stands. I was at the dedication when it was moved. It was lovely walking to the old church in winter, with the mist and frost along the marshy path, and with the spire rising eerily out of the gloom.

I left school in 1953, passing the scholarship, and went away to Drax School as a boarder. I remember the 11 plus exam at Weeland Road School. I made my own way on the bus, home for dinner, and then back for the afternoon exam. Would modern day children be prepared to take that journey on their own - indeed, would mum or dad allow them to?

Were the summers always sunny? Were we always happy and well? I wonder…….!

I hope the names and events have stirred memories for some people. I now live in South Wales but occasionally pass through Ferrybridge and have a drink in the Golden Lion.

Phil Pilgrim
9 November 2006


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