CHAPTER FIVE

 

SCHOOLDAYS

 

A

fter my primary school days, first at Chiddingstone Causeway then to Leigh I failed my eleven plus examination which would have entitled me to go to Judd Grammar School in Tonbridge, so I had to go on to the Secondary Modern School at Sussex Road in Tonbridge.  This meant travelling each day by train from Penshurst station  (at Chiddingstone Causeway) to Tonbridge then a walk from the station.  We had to pass a bakery and the smell of newly cooked bread was often too much of a temptation.  They used to bake all day so we were able to buy a small loaf for sixpence (equivalent to two and half new pence) and it was so hot it was difficult to hold.  We would break off the crust and stuff our faces on the way back to the train.


Station Inn, Chiddingstone CausewayTonbridge High Street

 

This was a fairly large all boys school teaching around 1000 pupils.  I started in the A stream and the next term was dropped to the B class as I did not do too well.  But the next term, making a lot of effort I reverted back to the A classes where I remained all the time I was there.

 

At 14 I took, and passed, a scholarship examination to go to the Tunbridge Wells Technical School for boys, which was situated in Monson Road, next door to the swimming pool.  I opted for art as being my first choice but was selected for Commerce and for the two years I attended there I learned shorthand, typing and bookkeeping amongst the normal subjects.  Because of the difficulty in getting home I used to leave school about ten minutes early to catch the train from the Central Station, change at Tonbridge and be home just before 5 p.m.  As the trains at that time were all steam it was quite a journey and I managed on most occasions to complete my homework before I arrived home.  Once a week when we had sports and had to walk halfway to Southborough to the playing field I managed to skive off by asking to leave early to catch a bus to Tonbridge in order to join my usual train otherwise I would not catch a train from Tonbridge till 6.p.m. and that meant I did not have to do any sports.



Train through Tonbridge StationTonbridge Freight Yard

 

Thinking of those times reminds me that on the opposite platform in Tonbridge was the train back to Cranbrook and I took a fancy to one of the girls who attended the Tonbridge Technical School.  As she was a friend of one of the girls from Chiddingstone Causeway she came to stay in the Causeway and we all went out for a walk.  My cousin Maurice was staying at the time and I was very shy and I so wanted to hold Pat Slingsby’s hand and even give her a kiss. I could not pluck up the courage so my cousin stepped in and I was most upset.  I never told him.


Me - schoolboy!

Me, aged 11

Me, aged 13

Me, aged 15

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