Donald and Shirley go back to school – 76 years on
Two former pupils have returned to their old infants school which is being restored as part of a multi-million pound retirement living development in Worcestershire.
Tan Lane Infants School – and later Stourport First School – stood for decades from 1897 and the site is currently being transformed by Bromford into 60 high-quality retirement living apartments for over 55s. Shirley Sabel, 81, and Donald Beach, 75, are both interested in moving to the brand new School Gardens development and took a nostalgic trip down memory lane on Monday 6th March by visiting the school they attended more than seven decades ago.
They lifted the lid on what school life was like back then: with discipline, sports and even afternoon naps sitting high on the agenda.
Donald, who ran family bike shop H Beach Stourport in the town for over 43 years, said: “There were three classrooms with a cloakroom running through the middle and in the corner of each classroom you’d have a pile of canvas beds which were used for having an afternoon sleep – I don’t think you get that nowadays unless you’re in Spain!
“There was also a kitchen on site and I remember very vividly the orange juice, a third of a pint of milk and cod liver oil that we used to have. We must have attended the school between the ages of five and eight and I always remember thinking how you could never see through the windows because they were so tall.”
Shirley, who also once lived on Tan Lane opposite the development, said: “I remember being slapped a few times for getting my spellings wrong. Discipline was a big part of school life back then and you had to recite your times tables at the front of the class. I don’t think it did us any harm though. Everyone lived within a mile of the school so even at that young age we would walk there and back. Sport was also big back then – there was a small playground to the left where you’d have hopscotch, skipping, football and cricket.
“I’ve been very happy living in Kidderminster for a good number of years, we had a good little community, but unfortunately many of them have now passed away and I’ve been living alone now for 25 years. I find now that I can’t do the jobs I used to be able to and I think School Gardens would give me back that sense of community and little bit of support that I probably need.”
Donald, who has been married to wife Chris for 38 years, added: “It has been great seeing the restoration of the school building and it has made me feel pretty nostalgic which is unusual as I don’t normally get very nostalgic over things.”
A marketing suite is now open and the application process is open to prospective residents. The range of one and two bedroom apartments will include options for rent or purchase and there will also be a café bar, lounge, activity studio, gym, hair and beauty salon, landscaped gardens and car parking.