Remembering the terrible winters - where you still made it to school
Life, they say, is an education, and for many of us, the education we receive at school goes on to shape the life we lead.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be taught by teachers who are passionate about their chosen subjects and accompanied by kindly classmates, some of whom remain friends for life.
For the less fortunate, school can be a long and often unpleasant passage from childhood to our teenage years.
Today, local historian and regular Time Of Our Lives contributor, Andrew Grant, takes a look-back at some of South Tyneside’s schools, tracing their history and talking to former pupils.
Andrew starts by turning the spotlight on Barnes Road Infants and Junior School.
He says the school was established in 1844 by the Jarrow Chemical Company for the children of employees.
“At first, it occupied the old station at High Shields, before moving into its new premises on the corner of Barnes Road and Eldon Street in 1850.”
As part of his research, Andrew spoke to ex-pupil Elizabeth Coffey.
“Elizabeth started at Barnes Road Infants in 1947”, says Andrew.
“She lived in South Palmerston Street, which was approximately 50 feet away from the school.
“During her first year at school, she remembers going up the back lane through a wall of snow.”
“It was a terrible winter that year,” Elizabeth recalls.
“All the men, the fathers and grandfathers dug a trench up the middle of the lane because the snow was about four feet over our heads.”
Barnes Roads, she states, was a very popular and well-thought of school.
The entrance to the juniors was in Palmerston Street, one entrance for the boys and one for girls; the boys school upstairs and the girls downstairs.
“The boys and girls also had separate playgrounds.
“I’m not sure when, but in between my time at Barnes and my children’s time there, the schools amalgamated. It was always a happy school.”
Andrew’s research also uncovered the fact that in 1906 the School Meals Act was passed, providing children in South Shields and elsewhere would with free school meals in order to make them fit to do their schoolwork.
Watch out for more of Andrew’s school stories soon.