School gets a taste of 1950s

2:00pm Monday 26th November 2012

By Joe Nimmo

FOR five old school friends, walking into Cumnor Primary School was almost like stepping back in time.

It has been 60 years since they first arrived to take their places in its very first class of nine-year-olds in 1952.

But when the women were invited back for the school’s anniversary celebrations, they found themselves surrounded by big quiffs, flat caps, rock ’n’ roll and all the trappings of the 1950s.

Last week the primary school celebrated its 60th birthday by teaching the current crop of youngsters about what life was like for their grandparents.

So that meant no pounds and pence, no computers, and hardly any TV. Instead the children learned about old-fashioned games like oranges and lemons, pop art, rote learning and the dreaded cane.

And for Maureen Buckingham, 69, of Byron Close in Abingdon, and her friends, it brought the memories flooding back.

“It has been a really lovely experience,” she said. “I’m glad the children are learning about that era.

“And it’s wonderful to see how much it’s changed. Everyone seems much more relaxed and the teachers are far less strict.”

Helen Carter, 69 of Songers Close, Botley, Oxford, added: “Back then you had to sit up straight and not move a muscle, or the teacher would give you a whack on the back of the head.”

Noticing the stairs in the school hall, Pat Williams, 69 of Oxford Road, Cumnor, said: “I haven’t told the children but I used to race down this hall and jump all the stairs. They are still the same.”

The week ended with a 1950s-themed non-uniform day on Friday but, despite all the fun he’s had, nine-year-old Euan Taylor, of The Winnyards in Cumnor, said he wouldn’t want to live in that era.

“I think right now it is a bit better because we don’t get caned and we can all watch TV,” he said. “But it has been good learning about it.”

Poppy Smart, nine, of Cumnor Hill in Cumnor, said: “I’ve really liked playing the old games like oranges and lemons. And some of the old cartoons are just like ones we have now.”

Acting headteacher Pauline Roberts said: “We have had a look back to the 1950s because we wanted to celebrate the school’s foundation in a way that the children could understand.

“I think they have enjoyed the experience because history has really come alive for them.”

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