My Happy Memories of Living here in Stevenage all my Life
By Sheila Watters-Hughes
I was born on the 4th October 1942 and started the beginning of my life with two loving parents. Name of William James Marvell and Ella May Marvell in their little happy cottage at 64 Albert Street .
The following year I was baptized in the Holy Trinity Church on Sunday 18th April 1943 and was named Sheila Marvell.
My First School
In January 1948 at the age of five I started St. Nicholas School, which was near the bottom of the avenue off the old Town High Street.
As I well remember it was a very primitive school, the floor was all wooden and also the desks and chairs. We had very poor lighting.
In the main Assembly Hall a very old fashion wireless was used for our school programmes. There was a little porch way for our coats. On cold winter days a coal fire would be lit with a fireguard for the safety of us children.
The boys’ and girls’ lavatories were outside. We had a medical at the school. A lady came from the clinic in the High Street. One thing that I shall never forget was the knitting needle going through our head of hair, looking to see if we had any nits.Then after each child she would just dip the needle into a old jam jar, which had some disinfectant in it.
The teachers were very strict with us children in those days.
In the month of May we had the tradition of the May Pole put out on the grass where we each had a coloured ribbon to hold in our hand to make a pretty pattern to the sound of music coming from an old Gramophone.
Sometimes on a very hot summer afternoonour lessons were taken outside on the grass under a big shaded tree.
The last event was Sports Day, which we all enjoyed taking part in the races, and cheers of encouragement from our mothers.
As we got a little older arrangements had been made by our Headmistress, Miss Lawrence, for us children to go once a week by coach to the open air swimming pool in Hitchin for learning to swim. I was now on my last year at St. Nicholas School. Our teacher was a Miss Ferguson, she was very strict with her class of girls. She spoke sharply and when asking me a question I was very frightened of giving the wrong answer, which most of the time I did, as I was a very poor scholar at most of the lessons.
As it was a church school, the vicar, Mr. King, came from St. Nicholas Church to our school once a week to give us Religious Instructions. I think that was my best subject. We also attended some church services.
My Second School
In January 1954 I started at the new Barclay School, which was the very first Secondary Modern School to be built in the country.
Us children who came from a very old school were full of amazement to see this new looking school, with all the modern heating for the cold winter days. And how nice it was to have indoor toilets, and a larger cloakroom.
All the classrooms had very good lighting and very well equipped with a supply for all our needs.
There was a large Assembly Hall where we all had our morning assembly to start the day.
The Canteen was near the Big Hall for the school dinners. I lived near by so I could go home for my mum’s lovely cooked dinner each midday .
After a little while I happily settled in my class, which was called The New Wing and started catching up on good process with all my school work.
My best subjects were English and Singing lessons. I also liked playing Hockey and Netball.
My very favourite was the cooking class, which I took a great interest in and would bring all the ingredients, from my home in my mum’s basket, for the recipe each week. My cookery teacher told me that I had the making of becoming a very good cook. So when I left school at 15 I went into the Catering Profession.