When we lived on the Oakmount estate in the 70s, our son first went to Mrs Vincent’s nursery school at the Methodist Church Hall Fryern Hill.
The Headmistress was Mrs Merle K Chacksfield. She was a well-known writer and some of her books are still on sale. We kept in touch until she died in Swanage where she retired with her husband Bob.
There was Mrs Wade who was remembered for her wicker basket. Ms Nina York. Mrs Watts was her deputy and the music teacher was Miss Patricia Binns, an operatic singer. There was a very high emphasis on music and there was always a piece of classical music playing when the children went into assembly.
Kings Road School – a very happy school
It was a very happy school and parents were very involved in all aspects of school life. There were evenings for the parents and coffee mornings for the mums.
Our son’s first teacher in the main school was Mrs Ashford, who sadly died of cancer. There was a memorial garden planted in her memory.
Walking to Merdon Junior School
My son then went to Merdon Avenue Junior School and subsequently to Toynbee secondary school.
There was an off road path, from Kingsway through to Brownhill Road, then onto Merdon Avenue School over a little bridge which crossed a stream, which the children enjoyed.
We sometimes bumped into a famous plant collector (Roy Lancaster) on the way who at that time had his own television show, his house was at the end of the path.
A little sweety shop
Not long after our son left Kings Road then our daughter started there. She had been to Mrs Race’s nursery school in Kings Road. We had by that time moved to a close near Chalvington Road. It was quite a walk to both schools but we spent the time going through spellings and times tables.
We enjoyed seeing the changing seasons on our walk which was a mile to Merdon Avenue School. On the way home there was a little sweety shop run by Mrs Clough on the Parade; she loved the children going in there.
100th anniversary of the founding of Kings Road School
When our daughter was at Kings Road School there was the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the school, the wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer, followed by the retirement of Mrs Chacksfield, so plenty of opportunities to get the dressing up box out!
We were very fortunate at this school in having the support of Lady Pamela Mountbatten from Broadlands who sometimes came to these events.
Remembering teachers from Merdon School
The teachers remembered at Merdon Avenue Junior School in the late 70s/early 80s were: first year Ms Wingate, second year Mrs Green, third year, and Mr Wade and Mrs Purcell both fourth year teachers.
There was also Mr Long, Ms Hanks, Mr Williams, and we think Mrs Brown the music teacher. The head was Mr Dickinson who loved Polo mints. There again music was high on the curriculum and there were some very talented children.
Two well-known footballers lived nearby and were occasional visitors – Lawrie McMenemy and Kevin Kegan, much to the delight of the children.
My son joined the Chandler’s Ford Chameleons
At Toynbee Comprehensive School our son went into the acting group and was in The Wizard of Oz, which he loved. One of the leads was Elio Pace, who appeared on a TV talent show and continues to work in the music industry and is currently touring in the UK.
As a result of this first acting experience our son joined the Chandler’s Ford Chameleons and appeared in several plays during his teenage years.
While our son was busy with acting, our daughter, along with several school friends, had joined the Eastleigh Senators, which was a marching band. It took up a lot of summer weekends culminating in an appearance at the Royal Albert Hall in London!
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