Using our Heritage to Shape the Future

Greta Masters, Memories Of ‘The Gower’

Greta now lives opposite ‘The Gower’ and is still reasonably fit, with grown up children and grandchildren. Pictured below is 3 generations all on site at The Gower

Untitled-1

She recently came to the garden makeover day with one of her daughters and some of her grandchildren.


In 1939, before the outbreak of the 2nd world war, my family moved from a 2 bedroom house in Moss Row, Wrockwardine Wood to a 4 bedroom house in Urban Villas, Gower street.

The house in Moss Row accommodated my parents and 9 children with the wash house being shared with neighbors. When we lived in Moss Row we attended The Glass House School. After we moved to Urban Villas, St. Georges my youngest brother was born making us a household of 12 .

When I started at the Board School in Gower street St. Georges, as it was known then, I was in Miss Onions’ class; she took the infants. I was almost as tall as Miss Onions but unlike the children she was very rounded. Miss Onions used to take us to her house on the top Nabb, St. Georges. Sometimes she would smack you, then give you a sweet so you didn’t tell your father.


Scan_20151124 (3)Scan_20151124 (3)


The next class I was in was Miss Whittingham (pictured above, First left on back row) Who I thought was cruel. The desks were all in rows, my friend was at the desk next to mine and she spoke to me, I asked what she said, Miss Whittingham saw me, hauled me out in front of the class and hit me with a wooden ruler across my knuckles until i literally danced. My father would have been over at the school if he had known but in those days you didn’t tell tales about anyone.

Miss Vaughan was the head mistress. She sat on a high chair so that she could see all of the children. Miss Vaughan called my sister a ‘Little monkey’ , My sister jumped up , pushed past Miss Vaughan almost knocking her off her chair and said “I’m not a cheeky monkey, The last monkey I saw looked like you”. My sister ran of home but one of the lads went after her and persuaded her to come back, Miss Vaughan never called her names again!

Miss Vaughan used to make pupils help her with her garden and her shopping, she would pick a couple of girls and then take them in a taxi to Oakengates, we then had to go home with her and put her shopping away. She would also pick 2-3 boys who had to walk to her house in Wrockwardine Wood to do her garden, If my memory serves me correctly we would then all walk home together afterwards.

There was also a Miss Jones at the school who I remember as being quiet, pleasant, very kind and very gentle …. she was in the end classroom as you make your way down the hill (Classroom IV, Please see original hand drawn building layout map HERE)

The toilets were in the building across the yard, the infants accessed the toilets by the door nearest to the toilets but the other classes had to go all the way around the outside of the building. In the winter you did not linger as the winters were much harder, the toilets were frozen with icicles hanging from the roof.


Below you can see (B & W photo) The teachers and boys toilet. The girls toilet as it stands today (Color photo)

Scan_20160204 (8)   13987355_10153839117023435_95671735_o


“I can remember listening with my mother and hearing the announcement of the outbreak of World War 2”. This was 2 days after my birthday. The Gower used to be surrounded by Iron railings and have iron gates but these were all taken away to help with the war effort.

One of the things I didn’t like about school was having to put my gas mask on and go to the air raid shelter which was cold and damp. “I ever remember being unhappy …”

Little did I know then, during my school days, that I was to go back in latter years as a part time youth worker at the renamed Gower street youth club. I loved my job and thoroughly enjoyed being with the young people who attended the club.

At the back of The Gower building, on the furthest point down the hill there was a lean-to where the bicycles were stored, much later this became a car port for the caretakers car.

 

 

 

Leave a Reply