Staff and Pupils of Laindon High Road School

The 1956 photograph

By Ian Mott

Photo:Laindon High Road School Staff and Pupils 1956

Laindon High Road School Staff and Pupils 1956

Jimmy Quinton

This photograph was taken Spring Term 1956

Our thanks to Jimmy Quinton for providing the original image for me to copy, scan and merge. To Keith Jackson for repairing the merged image and for preparing the individual page images for you to add the names.

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This page was added by Ian Mott on 11/12/2011.
Comments about this page (Add a comment about this page)

Tina Penson, I do hope you don't mind, but is Fred okay, as I lost touch a couple of years ago for some unknown reason? Thank you.

By Brian Baylis
On 03/02/2016

I went to Laindon High School in 1955 with my older brother Brian. My family migrated to New Zealand in 1956 and I moved to Australia in 1968. I am married with 4 children and 6 grandchildren. I recognise several people in the 1956 school photo.

By David Wakelam
On 01/02/2016

Hi Steve White. I have been catching up on this wonderful site, though I'm afraid it's been a while since I have been able to.   Have been reading names of people who I used to go to school with at Laindon High Road and a few names that you mentioned, Pet Abbot, Alan Parker, Terry Reynolds.

I would like to hear about them and my email address can be handed out through this site. I am already in touch with Fred Penson and a few others but would like to hear from more, I live in Australia and would love to catch up. Regards Jo, Bushy Mead, King Edward Estate.

Editor:  Jo's email address will be supplied upon request.

By Jo Morris re Jose Bowen
On 20/05/2015

I am in the photo. I also have a copy of it.

By Keith Gardiner
On 14/03/2015

Robin. The 1958 long school photo is on the right of this page underneath the1956 photo. Click on it and it should appear on the screen. Keep scrolling down until you see the numbers 1 to14. You can then search through the sections to see if she is on there.

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)
On 09/10/2013

Does anybody have a copy of the 1958 or 1959 school photo, only I think my wife to be may be on there. Please!!

By Robin Lockhart
On 09/10/2013

Was fascinated to see a very young Fred Penson in this photograph. He is my father-in-law. I married his youngest son :).

By Tina Penson
On 12/06/2013

My Aunt, Miss Harris died recently and amongst her possessions I found school photos of years 1956 & 58 with her amongst the teachers. She went on to become Headmistress of Batley Girls Grammar School and I was struck by the heartfelt letters from parents and pupils upon her retirement. 

I liked the story about the girl with makeup. She was a great character loved by our family and I remember her coming to stay with us for each New Year and arriving on her 500 Norton! She died peacefully in a Nursing Home in Liskeard aged 92.

By Dave Harris
On 11/04/2013

I am absolutely fascinated to read all above. Although I remember the teachers, the pupils, I think, were younger than me. I left school in 1958 after having stayed on for the extra year. My teacher for those 2 years was Mr Reece who I liked very much. He had a dry wicked sense of humour and, as mentioned above, he taught us at a very high level. 

My class was the first to be tried with the GSE exam. Just 3 of my class mates did English, unfortunately I cannot remember how they faired. Mr Anthony (who taught History) joined us in my last year, and I have to say he was so interesting that I went from the bottom half of the class to the giddy heights of the top few!! 

My last class had only about 24 pupils, roughly half boys and half girls. I was as prefect at that time but I cannot remember who the head girl and boy was. Among my class friends were Janet Boniface, Hazel Cutler, Pat Lloyd and ?? unfortunately I cannot remember more. Sad to say my memory was never brilliant but these days well - less said the better! 

When I left school I went to work in the City of London and had a wonderful time. It was a very genteel period to be part of, I could go on but do not wish to bore you all. I have very fond memories of my schooldays at Markhams Chase and the High Road, and because I have lived away from the area since 1964 unfortunately I am not in touch with anyone now, apart from Hazel Shrimpton (nee Cutler) with exchange of cards at Christmas.

By Pat Aspinall nee Brooker
On 17/04/2012

The School Prefects 1955-56 who were listed in the School Magazine were: Head Girl: Carol Pinnell Head Boy: John Anderson 

Prefects (Girls) Beryl Chamberlain, Rosemary Grainger, Diane Moore, Wendy Darke, Shelagh Herbert, Rose Nunn, Sandra Dean, Florence Hopper, Joan Powell, Doris Ford, Dorothy Matthews, Pauline Temple and Beryl Frost. 

Boy Prefects: Harry Briley, Michael Kemp, Anthony Thorington, Alan Fossett, David Muncey, Alfred Vaughan Geoffrey Fynn, Peter Riches, Roy Webster, Ian Hughes, Brian Scott, Brian Whitehead Terence Jerome and Gregory Smith 

The prefects in the photograph are seated in the same line as the teachers with the Head Girl seated next to Miss Crooks and the Head Boy next to Mr. Miniken. 

Hopefully the names will jog some memories and more faces can be identified. 

Regarding Staff changes noted in the magazine Mr. F.T. Topsfield had retired in July 1955 and Mr. R.W. Perry Physical Education specialist had left in July 1955 to take up an appointment at Rayleigh Secondary School. 

Mr. Woodward noted that: Approximately 750 children and 30 staff will assemble on the first day of the Autumn Term and he reminded us, be loyal to your school, work hard and play hard for it, be proud of it, and if at times things do not appear to be going as well as they should remember that, "to the brave and to the faithful nothing is difficult" - Forti et fideli nihi difficile. I wonder how many of us have remembered our school motto??

By Ann Dolton
On 14/02/2012

I was delighted to find the old school photographs - I still have my own copies of both but it is great to see them broken down into sections so that the pupils can be identified more easily. I attended the school from 1955-1960 and lived right opposite the school in the bungalow Le Chalet. 

Many of my classmates have already been identified but there are one or two names which I can add. My form teachers during my time at the High Road were Miss Jollyman, Mr. Bear and Mr. Anthony, whom we had for three years. We were in the extended course but for the first time GCE examinations were taken and our three years with Mr. Anthony was preparation for these exams. 

Mr. Anthony, a Welshman like several other teachers at the school, left in 1960 and emigrated to either Rhodesia or Nyasaland (as it was then called) with Mr. Gilchrist. 

I am still in touch with a couple of school friends, Beryl Clark (now Tutt) - who passed the 13+ and went on to Fryerns and who still lives in Laindon. 

Gina Ellingford (now Nottage) was a work colleague and remains a friend - she lives with her husband Ray in Grays. 

My other close friend was Christine Haberfield who sadly died in January 2012. Chris married Arthur Winfield who was the son of Rev. Winfield, Rural Dean of Laindon-cum-Basildon and who died in 2010. 

My own sister, Jill, married David Wilson (a Palmers boy) the son of Jack & Helen Wilson the headmaster of Laindon Park School. My sister went from Markhams Chase to Fryerns. 

I married Francis Rawlinson in 1968 and we lived for a time in Norfolk but settled back in Essex in 1978 in Rayleigh where I have lived ever since. My husand died in 2008. 

I have a copy of the Laindon High Road School Magazine - Summer Term 1956. Its contents may well be of some use in identifying staff and pupils as staff changes were noted and the school prefects 1955-56 who appear in the earlier photograph are listed. 

By Ann Dolton
On 14/02/2012

Nice to see some names I remember from Markhams Chase. I am still in touch with Fred Penson, Pete Abbot, Alan Parker, Terry Reynolds and Bernard Redshaw, but I think he went to Laindon Hills Primary school. I remember Ann and Gloria well. I lived in worthing Road.

By Steve White
On 03/01/2012

It has been a real pleasure seeing the two school photos and reading the various observations. I would like to add one of my own, that is, the number of pupils. There were around 250 more in the 1958 photo, the reason of course, being the post war baby boon. Those born in 1946, including myself, provided a very large intake of five year olds in 1951. It is noted on one of my early reports from Markhams Chase School:- “No. in class 47”. Yet we had all learned to read and write by the time we went into the juniors, which says much about the old teaching methods and the dedication of the teachers. 

Not much school uniform is in evidence on the 1956 photograph but a large number of hand knitted jumpers and cardigans, including two or three Fair Isle slipovers. One girl wearing Wellington boots, very practical at that time I am sure due to some of the muddy roads, although I’m certain that wouldn’t be allowed these days even if a girl should want to wear her wellies. 

1956 was just prior to the age of ‘the teenager’ who set themselves apart from the adults with their own style of dress and behaviour, which came with the new music emerging at the time. I remember Tommy Steele’s ‘Rock with the Caveman’ necessitating circular skirts with yards of starched net petticoats underneath that would flare out as we spun around quickly in time with the new jive or rock and roll dances. I was only ten years old then, but remember my sister and I learning the new dances by using our bedroom door as an imaginary partner. 

A few years later, I regularly bought net from a stall in Basildon Market to make my own stiffened petticoats, using my mum’s treadle Singer sewing machine. The spinning skirts showed off the stocking tops and suspenders that were worn underneath. 

When I was 14 I saved my 5/-s a week pocket money to buy a few things that I desperately desired. The first was a pair of white, pointed toe, stiletto heeled shoes I had seen in Curtis’s front window in Laindon High Road. I think they were priced at £1.10s.6d. The heel was only about 2 inches, unlike today’s killer heels, but nevertheless quite daring. While I was saving, I checked the shop window regularly as I was worried the shoes would be gone by the time I had saved the full amount, but sighed with relief when I finally had them in my possession. (White stilettos – was I one of the first so called stereotyped ‘Essex Girls’, that today’s media so enjoy describing – maybe, but I hope not!). I proudly tip-tapped my way to the shops or to the houses of various friends, the sound being an important requirement of the fashion, feeling very grown up, an effect that was spoilt somewhat when I had to change into something more suitable for walking home along our unmade road. 

At school, we were given a lecture by Miss Burt about stiletto heels. She told us they were bad for our growing feet and would give us bunions. She added that we were not at any time allowed to wear them to school because the heels made dents in the tarmac playgrounds. However, I found that rather hypocritical of her, as she herself wore black pointed toe shoes with 3-inch high stiletto heels. I felt quite strongly but was far too timid to tackle her about it. One time when we were all standing out on the field watching something, her heels kept sinking into the ground, so somebody fetched a plank of wood and placed it on the ground behind her to stand on to prevent her stilettos heels from sinking in! 

We girls had the advantage of being able to make a few things for ourselves when money for clothes was scarce. However, I remember a boy in our class having a day off school on a regular basis. When tackled by our teacher on the subject he explained that he only had one pair of trousers and when his mother washed them, he couldn’t attend school as he had nothing else to wear while they were drying. After hearing that, our slightly bemused teacher, was rather more sympathetic towards him. 

Millie Bird’s stall in Basildon market (known as Millies) became the ‘in’ place to buy the latest fashions. When I was 15, I got a Saturday job and started buying my own clothes. I loved a pale green ‘eyelash’ coat with brown fur collar that I bought from there. We were encouraged to wear the navy and white uniform at school with its navy and gold stripe tie although it wasn’t compulsory. I notice more of it in the 1958 photograph, particularly on the boys. 

My sister left the school in 1955 after completing a one year extended course i.e. 5X. She told me there were only about 16 in the class. Later, I joined the same extended course which ran until 1962 when by then, there were two full classes of us staying on i.e. 5X and 5X2. I suppose that was an indication of not only the year of the post war baby boon but the start of a slightly more affluent society enabling more children to stay on at school to gain a bit of further education and some qualifications rather than leave as soon as possible in order to start earning a wage. 

When I started at the school in 1957, we were given a lecture on personal appearance and hygiene and told the importance of regular washing with soap and water, keeping our nails short and clean and brushing our hair and teeth regularly. I do remember in the early fifties that sort of thing had been of little importance to many. Two of the girls in my class had long hair and were encouraged to have it cut short. When the girls expressed their reluctance to part with their tresses, the teacher tried quite firmly to insist, but both girls stood their ground. However, I noticed by the second year, both girls were wearing shorter styles. 

During my last year at school, we were continually warned about wearing any cosmetics or perfume to school. How things had changed. Miss Harris once sent one of my classmates to the cloakroom to wash her face as she thought she was wearing blue eye shadow. She wasn’t! Jenny was fair skinned with very blue eyes, which I suppose could give a bluish glow. She didn’t argue, but humoured Miss Harris by dutifully trotting off to the cloakroom. Miss Harris strutted off in her beetle crusher brogues with an air of satisfaction. Jenny returned from the cloakroom looking exactly the same as before and we all chuckled.

By Nina Humphrey (née Burton)
On 19/12/2011

Richard great comments, I have to agree wonderful job done I just find it so annoying that I know the faces but the names won't come. Every night I look though and find someone else. Even if I am wrong I soon get told, it's such good fun though. Need this type of thing to do today a light hearted mind game. Well done to all involved.

By Gloria Sewell
On 17/12/2011

For me the 1956 photo displays a magic of its own. Firstly the location in the girls playground (not in the quadrangle like the 1958 shot) gives it a different feel. 

Although all the old famous teachers are present they look somehow different, almost like caricatures of themselves. Mr Miniken looks like a young version of Omar Sharif, especially in that light coloured jacket, a true artist. Mr Woodward and Miss Harris look their normal dull, soulless selves but Mr Cluff looks as he always did to me, truly the outstanding character, instantly recognisable. Mr Bear looks all present and correct whereas Mr Rosen looks so different with the earlier parted hair style, much unlike his later black 1958 quiff; my first teacher. Then there's Mr Rees, oh my, smiling, totally unaware of the years of torture ahead teaching me from 1959 to 1963. Seriously, I feel that my time with him as form teacher was as good as a Grammar School education. 

I don't recognise many of the pupils (they are mostly before my era) but overall, their general appearance is different, just compare the styles to those of 1958. I like the way the photographer is closer to his subject on this commission, enabling a clearer portrait of each child. Oh yes and the attitude and style of Gloria Sewell, you would recognise her anywhere!! Just a bit too early here to see some of the later LHR super stars and heroes, some of whom would have started in the following September. 

Finally from me a thank you to my old friend and LHR classmate Keith Jackson for editing this photo and making it suitable for us to look at. He is, as always, talented in everything he does, well done Keith.

By Richard Haines
On 13/12/2011