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Remembering our school years

Posted on 26 January 2016

The teachers were strict but we still had fun

It’s funny isn’t it? Sometimes we can’t recall what we had for breakfast, yet we seem to remember our school days like they were only yesterday. Memories of boys in shorts even when it was freezing, the smell of boiled cabbage and the hours of entertainment you could get just from peeling glue off your hands.

Teachers stood no messing and we knew it if we stepped out of line. Some of us might even be old enough to remember the rap of a ruler across the knuckles or standing under the school clock – and a good telling off when you got home!

Here are ten more things about our school days that are sure to make you feel ten years old all over again. Now pull your socks up and pay attention!

A third of a pint every day

Love it or hate it, you had to drink your third of a pint of milk every day. In summer, the warm milk made you gag, in winter it would be frozen solid and had to thaw out by the radiator.

1960s-school-boys-in-shorts-drinking-milk-from-the-bottle

Source: A fine lung

Eating school dinners

Liver as tough as old boots and the smell of boiled cabbage will stay with us forever. But we all wanted to be dinner monitor to get a bit of extra custard in one of the many colours it came in.

1950s-school-boy-tucking-into-a-school-dinner

Source: © The Guardian Photograph: PR

Summer sports day

Girls flashed their knickers in the wheelbarrow race; we got tied together for the three-legged race, and went over like skittles in the sack race. It was the highlight of our year.

1950s-girls-wheelbarrow-race

Source: Old UK photos

Queuing for vaccinations

Whether it was polio on a sugar cube, cod liver oil from a communal spoon, or a BCG we’ve all queued up for a vaccination, but what we dreaded most was the nit nurse and her brutal metal comb.

school-boys-lining-up-for-a-spoonful-of-cod-liver-oil

Source: © Getty Images

PE in pants and plimsolls

Stripped down to our vest and pants we had to climb ropes, balance on beams or try to vault over the enormous suede horse.

1950s-grammar-school-girls-in-a-pe-lesson

Source: vads

The playground at break time

Skipping games for the girls, football for the boys sometimes in separate playgrounds. Everyone joined in with bulldog and tag. Bloody knees were common, but a quick dab with a hanky and we were off again.

1970s-school-girls-skipping-together

Source: Ipswich Star

Music and movement classes

School halls were full of children leaping and stretching to the School Broadcasting Council’s weekly radio programmes. ‘Come on children, sway like trees in the wind’.

boys-and-girls-in-a-music-and-movement-class

Source: © John Paynter

Wooden desks with ink wells

We carved our names into the desk with a compass and read secret notes behind the lid. No matter how careful we were we somehow always ended up with ink all over our sleeves.

1970s-school-girl-writing-carefully-with-an-ink-pen

Source: Ipswich Star

The thrill of a bunsen burner

You could have so much fun before health and safety came in. Playing with dangerous chemicals and daring each other to put our fingers in the Bunsen burner flame.

school-boy-in-goggles-using-a-bunsen-burner
Source: © Getty Images

Learning road safety for a squirrel

We all wanted to join the Tufty Club – badges went on the right to remind us which way to look when crossing the road. And remember pedaling around the playground to do your cycling proficiency test? Hardly a road!

school-children-and-lollipop-man-outside-the-tufty-club-van

Source: aipetcher.wordpress.com

What do you remember about your school days? Having to sit the 11+, covering your exercise books with wallpaper, or having to walk miles to get there maybe? We’d love to hear your recollections, even the miserable ones.

If you enjoyed this slice of nostalgia, you might also enjoy You had to be born in the 40s, 50s or 60s. Take your pick depending on how old you are!

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