Sr Jean CHN is our second contributor to our series on childhood memories in the decades of the Queen’s life. Thank you to her for sharing her memories of a childhood spent in Newcastle under Lyne in the 1940s. (For our 1930s childhood reflections click here).
Jean remembers walking to school alone, or with friends and neighbours, from an early age (5 or 6). At eight years old she went to the grammar school and had to travel there on the public bus. The grammar school was for girls only and discipline was clear and firm. Girls stood when a teacher entered or left the classroom. They were taught using chalk and a blackboard or by word of mouth. The girls were expected to take notes.
On the way home Jean often called at the the library or at Boots the Chemist, who also ran a lending library. There was never any concern about arriving home late, Jean had her own door key.
Jean recalls being sent to the biscuit shop in Newcastle under Lyme on the bus to buy biscuits when they were rationed. For leisure Jean used to hide away and read…a lot! In the summer, she played out with friends and local children until bedtime. In the winter she remembers sitting by fire, chatting and listening to the radio. She was too scared to listen to ‘Appointment with Fear’ and The Man in Black’ that was for her father and brothers. The whole family listened to ‘ITMA’ with Tommy Handley.
Popular films Jean remembers from childhood were Bambi and Black Beauty. A special outing was to see the Wizard of Oz but they left after 5 minutes because little Jean was scared of the trees!