Thank you for your support for this event, Woodside School opened 70 years ago in the same year Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne. It was called Tyrell Heath County Primary School but run in two separate infant and junior departments. The Woodside name came later, reputedly after confusion with nearby Secondary School Torells. The name of our wood on maps is Tyrell's Heath. We marked the date with a historical recreation where children and staff dressed as they would have in 1952, ate the same food and learnt and taught the same lessons.
In 1952 the school was not only brand new but very modern. Children had come from other schools some built in Queen Victoria’s time, probably with outdoor toilets. At Tyrrells Heath there were built-in radio speakers for BBC schools programmes, roller blackboards and two purposed built separate dining halls and assembly halls for infants and juniors (the infant hall was the current studio, ICT and class 3N). Tyrrells Heath also had an extensive field and playgrounds.
At the time TV was new, black and white, one channel (BBC) only broadcast from about 4 pm and most people didn’t have one. Most people also did not have a car or a phone and mobile phones were not invented. One of the first computers was invented to run premium bonds in 1956 but most people had never seen one or really knew what one was. Not every one had a camera and if they did, usually only took black and white photos, which had to be taken to the chemist to be developed. People listed to the wireless (radio) or gramophone (record player) either wind up or electrical but with 78 rpm discs which didn’t last long and easily broke. Most people had no way of recording music. Radio stations were just BBC Home Service (radio 4), Light Programme (radio 2) The Third Programme (radio 3) and an independent programme with adverts, Radio Luxembourg. Enthusiast and rich people might have cine cameras and the school may have had a projector to show films on special occasions.
There was still rationing for food. Sweets, meat, eggs, cheese, sugar and butter were rationed. Clothes had also been rationed until 1949, petrol and soap had been rationed until 1950. In many towns there were still bomb sites where buildings that had been destroyed in the war had not been rebuilt yet. Britain, with its allies, principally the USA, had won the war, but it’s power and economy had not recovered. However, it still had an extensive empire on which “the sun never set” (it extended all over the world so there was always a part where the sun shone) which was coloured pink on maps. Independence had been given to India and this would gradually happen to almost all of the former empire countries which were for now part of the commonwealth.
During the war the parties had worked together in a national government and it had been agreed that there would be new provision for health (The National Health Service) and education – secondary schools for all children up to 15 years old. Schools had longer lunchtimes so that children could go home. Sandwiches were not allowed and most children had school dinners, which were 1 shilling each (or free) and all children had a 3rd pint bottle of milk.