About the age of nine I can remember getting into trouble for writing notes in class at Sybourne Street School in Leyton. Someone had been writing bad things on the blackboard and the whole class was going to get into big trouble. I left a note on the desk telling them to own up. My attempt to bring the culprit to justice was not approved of especially by the protagonist.
It all sounds very trivial but Daddy decided I should go to a private school. Maybe there was more to it than that or maybe he just had a big win on the horses or something. Who knows?
Clarks College, Walthamstow, was a large old detached house with no sports facilities, draughty rooms and corridors and a mice-ridden canteen. It had been built around 1670 and was named Cleveland House after a mistress of Charles II, later Duchess of Cleveland.
The school only admitted children at the age of 11 but for some reason I was permitted to attend when I was only nine. I feel sure I would have passed my eleven plus and gone to grammar school if I had been left at the primary school. Instead I went to Clark’s College, which although it had an academic side mainly catered for secretarial training. At the age of fourteen I began to learn typing, shorthand, commerce and book-keeping. I was Head Girl and left at the age of 16 to start work, a fully qualified shorthand typist with excellent speeds.
When I was asked in 2007 to attend a school reunion I turned it down but RS nevertheless sent me a picture of the old boys who did attend.
When RS emailed a few weeks ago and said he was in the process of gathering up the old gang again, I was tempted. He has been challenged by the old boys to drum up some women and despite his best efforts he has not as yet been successful. I suppose the lovelies he was searching for might have changed a little by now.
RS tells me some of the old boys are not doing too well. He writes that M is having medical problems and has had a spell in hospital and might not be able to attend. He has told me what to expect: “We may be creaking at the joints a bit and a number of us have had our medical moments over the last few years ranging from arthritis, cancer scares, prostate problems and heart attacks. One of the group has had open heart surgery”.
I really don’t know what has come over me but the flight is booked for 12th May and you can be sure I will be telling you all about it!