Memories of Queen Elizabeth Girls Grammar School
I won a scholarship to the school in 1938. I travelled to Mansfield from Edwinstowe on the Ebor bus, a double decker. Upstairs were boys and girls from all three grammar schools. The school extension was just opened and we wore ‘ward’ shoes to protect the floors. I took sandwiches for lunch and paid 6d a week to sit in the dining room, use the cutlery and get a glass of water.
The Second World War
When war broke out the government decided to give all children school meals when rationing started to ensure they got a balanced diet. Soon we shared the school with one in danger from bombing. We studied in the morning and had games in the afternoon. For the February half term, when Mansfield had ploughed up their flower beds we planted potatoes. An elderly man gave us a bucket of potatoes and told us to “…take a step and drop one, take a step and drop one…” When we were in the fifth form I volunteered to go harvesting for the war effort. We went to a school in Lutterworth where we slept on palliases in the school hall. We were assigned in twos to farms and stoked corn, and then we were given a pitch fork to load them on to the hay carts drawn by horses.
Because my Mother always kept me a dinner for when I got home after having had a school dinner I put on weight and was 11 stone at 15.
Near the end of the fifth form our careers advice consisted of a talk by the Head on teaching, a talk by the Matron on nursing and a talk by the Librarian. These were the choices for those without money to go to University. I chose teaching because my Mother had told everyone after I received the scholarship “…Margaret is going to be a teacher…” I suppose I was brainwashed but I think it was probably the best choice. I am still giving talks on the History of Edwinstowe.