In the original school the forms were in the Tewitt Well Ave side, one in the sub-basement, three on the ground floor, two on the first floor and one small one on the second floor. The no.1 edition of The Rocket, December,1945, says that "Rooms IIIa and I are to be joined so as to form a larger assembly room; the work is due to commence on December 24th." So, by January,1946, the two east side classrooms (the end of the building) had been knocked into one with a moveable partition in place of the wall; this then became the Assembly Hall and was used for Lectures, Mikado rehearsals and so on.
The numbering of classrooms varied a lot and when the school almost doubled in size overnight with the arrival of the boys from New House School, the numbering became chaotic. When no.3 Leeds Rd was bought (in 1950?) many more rooms were added in that part. Originally there were numbers 1 to 5 then 3R (Remove) and 5X (for additional or extra?) were added. Charlie was very reluctant to use no.6 because of the inference of being a Sixth Form by that number was used in 1956 for a short time.
The Assembly Hall had polished wooden bars designed to cripple anyone who slipped off doing various gymnastics. And a couple of stout ropes dangled from the ceiling - ideal for burning your hands when you lost your grip.
Hardly two desks were the same and even in 1945 they seemed pretty ancient examples. Railways being the main topic of conversation (at least when Charlie was within earshot) meant that boys plotted huge railway junctions etc by running a hard pencil point over the desk surface. Gradually as each occupant expanded the track system, the surface became one mass of gouged-out lines.
Of course we were still in the age of the traditional blackboard - no new-fangled wall-mounted boards at Norwood! This meant that the height of the board needed adjusting up or down according to the teacher and this ritual took place for almost every lesson. The blackboard eraser - or the lack of an eraser - became a nightmare and pinching one from another classroom became the norm. Eventually Charlie was so fed up with the situation that he grabbed me and we went into the boiler room in the basement where we heated up a poker and burned the form number into the wooden part of the eraser.
September,1948. History lesson with Tommy Forsyth in Form 5 (First Floor, over Assembly Room). Note that the blackboard eraser is on top of the desk in front of Tommy!
Tommy's chalk copperplate handwriting on the blackboard is visible through a magnifying glass on the original photo and the last lines mention "to the aspirations of Pope Julius....antipathy of France."
Photographs provided by Dennis Guy
Until some gas fires were installed in the early 1950s, we had open coal fires in the winter months - or at least in the coldest of the winter days!
During the late 1940's ballpoint opens were just about arriving in shops but they were very messy and expensive things. So, we still used ink from bottles for dip or fountain pens. And boys are very clumsy animals.
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