Spike Jackson and Miss Bates
When I started life up Doddington Road (1944) the war was still
going strong and we still had Ration Books. Thus, while the male staff were
away doing their bit, we had female ladies standing in for them and, being
delicate young ladies, they had a separate Staff Room at the playground end
of the quad. It soon became apparent that the same gentlemen used to hasten
along with their cuppa and their Bourbons to share morning break.
The first impression that lingers was Dr Jackson making the
acquaintance of a new intake by asking if anyone kept a shop, or knew anyone
that did, who might be able to provide a bit of butter or a pot of jam. Our
earliest English homework was to describe a pleasant Sunday afternoon walk
which ended at a nice spot for afternoon tea.
The lay-out of the school at that time was nice and compact round
the quad. with, later on, a couple of prefab's out the back. Along the front
corridor were two rooms at each end and all the admin. and store-rooms in
the middle so, at the field end, Room 3 was just through the swing doors
from Room 5 alongside the quad. In Room 5 Miss Bates tried to teach History
and was very patient with us, but, when she had really reached the end of
her tether, the culprits were sent through the swing doors to Room 3 where
pent-up passions were released and "George" was laid on a bit heavy. In his
own lessons, if Jacko was feeling generous, he would offer you the choice of
which end of George you preferred, but, when Maggie sent you......no
However, it wasn't all brutality, there was a considerable amount
of education took place. Jacko's drama lessons were a riot but we used to
turn out some good House- and School- plays. Another feature of the
structure of the school was that Room 3 was directly under Room 13...the
Chemistry Lab. and there was a constant feud between Spike and Mr Holmes
over the noxious smells which used to descend either by open windows or the
In later life a charming Mrs. Jackson came up to John Lea on supply
quite frequently and when we pointed out that three or four members of staff
first made her acquaintance down the road, her face was a picture.
Nostalgia is not what it used to be!
Jim Tompkins (1944)