My 11 years at Broadland House school were from 1935 to 1945. They were very happy years for me as I was an only child and made many life-long ...
My 11 years at Broadland House school were from 1935 to 1945. They were very happy years for me as I was an only child and made many life-long friends.
These years included some very dramatic and worrying worldwide events, starting with the great depression, next the outbreak of poliomyelitis, which at that time we called Infantile Paralysis, and then World War II.
My first two years at school were with Mrs Belle Pennyquick. She was wonderful with young children and we all adored her. The classroom was across a ramp above the alleyway at the back of the old building.
A lovely piece of furniture in this classroom was the Birthday Chair and it was very exciting when ‘your day’ came along to sit in the chair.
My family was badly affected by the depression years but thanks to the generosity of a kind friend, who for two years paid my schooling, I was able to stay on at Broadland House.
During the polio epidemic we did our schoolwork by correspondence and were only allowed to associate with a limited number of school friends. My special friends were Judy and Dorothy Lorimer, who lived in Kenyon Grove Newstead. At this time, my parents and I were living in a flat in Erina Street so each day I would ride my scooter out to Judy and Dorothy’s home and together we would do our correspondence. I have no recollection of how the work was delivered or if it was ever marked.
My last six years at Broadland House were war years. In addition to our classroom learning time, we were able to support the war effort by knitting garments for the service men. The Comforts Fund supplied us with khaki wool so we could make scarves, socks, and balaclavas. Some of the more senior girls were able to knit beautiful jumpers for seamen in cream wool, a change from the tedious khaki. We used to walk around the school grounds at recess doing our knitting, and we were also allowed to knit during singing classes. We raised money for the Red Cross by organising and presenting singalong concerts with our parents in attendance.
On a more serious note, we had to practise a drill in the event of an air raid. Trenches had been dug in the new grounds and when the alarm sounded, we had to line up one behind the other and crouch down in the trenches until the ‘all clear’ sounded. We then returned to our respective classrooms.
In August 1945 peace was declared. At Broadland House we could hear the church bells ringing, sirens sounding and car horns blasting. We senior girls broke all the rules and went off into the city without permission, hats, and gloves, to join the celebrations. We also took the much-revered brass bell from the hall table. The whole town seemed to be there, and it was a wonderful occasion for us to be a part of it. We hopped on the back of lorries and went for rides with horns blasting. We were never reprimanded or given detentions for being out of bounds.
In 1945 Broadland also celebrated its 100 years. As students we were promised, by Miss Rooney, if we had a 100-students in the morning assembly, we could have a half day holiday. One morning we numbered ninety-nine, the absent girl was a senior student who arrived late because she had been to the hairdresser on the way to school. Her ‘friends’ put her head under the tap to show their disapproval.
Ann Fysh (alumnae 1945)