Who remembers being ink monitor?

Published on: 02 May 2016


SCHOOLDAY memories were revived when former pupils and staff of Mangotsfield Church of England Primary took the chance to revisit the old building.
The Victorian school closed nearly two decades ago after teachers and children moved to new premises in Emersons Green. The building has been used since by South Gloucestershire’s education department but has now been declared surplus to requirements.
Rodway ward councillor Michael Bell led moves to save it for community use but this seems unlikely because of the amount repairs would cost, so the council is set to put it up for sale.
Mr Bell said: “I am sorry that the building cannot be kept, but I thought it would be nice for people to have the chance to look at it one more time so I asked for it to be opened up. I was pleased that former pupils and staff came along.”
Among the visitors was Mike Powell, who was at the school in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He has lived in Australia for 45 years but heard about the visit by chance when he was in the area visiting family.
Malcolm Coles, of Downend Local History Society, was a pupil at the school during the war and remembered going into the redbrick air raid shelter for practice drills. He and Mike Bendrey, of Kingswood Old Scholars’ Association, both recalled having to put coke in the school boiler and Mike also used to be an ink monitor.
Carol Lucas (nee Thompson) and Jan Peters (nee Garland) started at the school together in the 1950s “and we’ve been friends ever since”.
The group shared memories of the sweet shop and chip shop nearby – chips 4d or 6d – and of teachers and heads including Joe Higgins and Mr Farmiloe, who “had the most beuatiful copperplate handwriting”.
Inside, they recalled the horrors of the school dentist and the “nit nurse” and remembered that in their day the building had no electricity, only gas lights.
Glanville Bignall, who taught at Mangotsfield Primary from 1960 to 1985,  and 82-year-old Sheila Robbins, who worked there as “general dogsbody” for 33 and a half years until the end of the 1990s, were also among the visitors.
“I had many happy years here. I loved it,” said Sheila. “I never go to Staple Hill without bumping into someone I know from the school.”

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