School History - A past pupil's story
We were had the pleasure of meeting a past pupil who attended the school in the late 1940s, who was very pleased to be able to share some of her memories of the school at this time.
Mrs Angela Delderfield, was currently lives in Suffolk, was an unexpected visitor to the school not long ago. On her visit, she fondly recounted her days at the school when she was a young girl growing up in Gidea Park. We were delighted to see photos of Mrs Delderfield with her classmates and teacher from the time, and were treated to a rare trip down memory lane. Below are some of the memoirs which she kindly shared with us from her time at St Mary's Hare Park School in the late 1940s.
Miss Pluck and Miss Norman were very different. Miss Norman quite tall with a lovely smile and quite a gentle manner. Miss Pluck tended to hide behind her handkerchief which was always clutched to her face – presumably to keep germs at bay!
I wasn’t a particularly clever child as you will see from the enclosed reports. I have always favoured the arts and music which interested me more, even at that early age.
Our uniform for girls was gymslip and white blouse with green tie in winter and cream dress with green trimmings and panama hats in summer. The boys – the few that were pupils there wore navy blazers and caps with the school crest, and green ties. I don’t remember wearing anything different for sports except plimsolls on our feet.
One of the teachers – Mrs Fernaux took us out for nature walks down North or South Drive – we picked leaves, berries, conkers etc. to take back to the classroom to paint. We also had craft lessons where we made raffia place mats.
Occasionally we got out a few instruments like tambourines, drums, castonettes etc. to make what you could loosely call music!
We didn’t have assembly every day – maybe once a week when Miss Norman played a hymn on the piano. We never had hymn books and only learnt the words from listening. I’m afraid that for me – this led me to singing entirely the wrong words occasionally. For example in ‘We plough the fields and scatter’, instead of ‘And what thou most desirest’ I sang ‘And what thou most is an iris’. In another verse ‘None shall pluck thee from my hand’ became ‘None shall Miss Pluck thee!!’
We used to stand by our desks and do a few arm lifting and bending exercises but for more of a P.E. lesson we went to the old Drill Hall near the bicycle sheds.
My sister and I didn’t stay for school lunch. Only a very few pupils did. The meals were made in the school kitchen by a couple of ‘maids’ in quite long blue dresses and long white aprons. On the one occasion that for some reason we did stay to lunch I remember Miss Pluck walking round the table which was laid – and with a fork she placed a slice of bread on each side plate.
Although class sizes were very low compared to most schools today, we weren’t allowed to talk or play about at our desks and good behaviour was very important.
I believe Hare Park School had a very good record for getting students through the eleven plus exam. My sister passed and moved on to the Brentwood Ursuline for the rest of her education. Sadly, I let the side down and failed so went to Heath Park Secondary School where I did quite well and was very happy.