Farthingale Publications

A Lancastrian hobby website of curiosities and nonsense


Scot Lane County Primary School Wigan - a former pupil's memories 1953-4

picPaying a visit to the school recently (due to close this year) seemed to bring back a few memories including this one of the 1953-54 football team (click to enlarge), the teachers in the picture are Mr Frank Gregory (Headmaster) and Mr Davies. We sometimes went to away matches in their cars Mr Gregory had a Triumph Mayflower at this time, Mr Davies an Austin A30, how did we all fit in? There must have been other vehicles as well. We never seemed to be able to beat Sacred Heart or St Catherine's Wigan, although I remember being present when a previous team did beat St Catherine's on their own field off Scholefield Lane when a boy called Alan Taylor scored from a corner, the crowd was a bit hostile after the game. I find it difficult to put names to faces of the players after all these years but I think Henry Birkett was the captain and Colin Davenport the goalkeeper. Harold Hargreaves, Tom Peet, Stubbs, may or may not be others in the team.

Scot Lane was very nice in those days, it probably still is, Naylors used to have a shop a little lower down from the school and next door was Logwood House farm (we called it Pedder's farm). There was a colliery spoil heap on the field opposite the school probably from the old Norley colliery workings in the area, the journey to school every morning from Worsley Hall invariably took us over the slag heap which was our playground at weekends as well. In summer we went to Marsh Green and Martland Mill, as yet undeveloped, on nature study outings. Here the ponds and clay pit workings of the old brick works provided a fantastic habitat for all kinds of plants and wild life. Frank Gregory a keen cricketer and member of Wigan Cricket Club taught us the finer points of cricket on the field opposite the school when the weather permitted (the sun did shine a lot in those days didn't it), it was a little bit scary when he was doing the bowling. Mr Gregory did a lot to raise expectations of whole generations from the Scot Lane area, motivating and coaching pupils to increase numbers achieving places at Wigan Grammar School, Thomas Linacre Secondary Technical School or Wigan Girls High School. Access to Wigan Girls Convent School was generally via catholic primary schools in the area.

Although only a small percentage did pass the eleven plus in my day it was a vast improvement on past performance and the trend was increasing.

Among other infant and junior teachers I may or may not correctly recall are: Miss Fox (I think she was the headmistress of the infant school when I started circa 1947, her animal skin stole which had eyes and ears used to frighten me, no wonder I recall having to be dragged over the threshold on my first day.), Mr Appleton (I think he was the headmaster of the junior school when I first went there.), Mrs McGraw, Miss Docker, Miss Foy (I remember kicking Miss Foy one day, it must have been very painful, I wore clogs in those days. Delinquent tendencies showing themselves early, needless to say it was a senseless act which I have always regretted, I took exception to the tone of voice she used when pointing out an error.), Miss McEvoy, Mr Darbyshire, Miss Barrow, Miss Slevin? I had a soft spot for Mrs McGraw, she used to play the piano and encouraged us to sing. I'm still a compulsive but not very talented singer to this day, in later life I delivered milk to her house on Rose Hill Pemberton.

I have very pleasant memories of a discipline slightly reminiscent of the military, no doubt understandable so soon after the end of the war. Lining up in the playground at nine o'clock on the dot followed by a procession into the main hall for assembly with speeches, readings and hymn singing (mainly rousing Victorian ones), then away to our classrooms where the teacher would take the register. Physical Training was in the main hall, I always remember being slightly embarrassed having to get changed into slightly feminine shorts in the classroom, in mixed company and with few concessions to modesty. It didn't seem to bother anyone else though. There was a very large bell hanging on the wall in the junior school yard in those days, at the end of play time or lunch time the teacher on duty in the yard would select a pupil to ring the bell at the appropriate time. I can't remember the detail but there was a means of climbing up to reach the bell, once there the pupil would grasp the clapper and ring the bell in the same way the old fashioned fireman would do.

A good foundation for a very happy life - thank you Scot Lane and all those inspiring teachers.

Palfreyman - 8th July 2005