Spring Lane School
The school is now part of a Local Heritage Initiative project and we undertake to publish a book with memories of ex-pupils. This Guestbook is your opportunity to record your personal thoughts
Kate Wills(Tuesday, September 04 07 10:09 am BST)
Christmas at Spring Lane School
For 11 months of the year, Spring Lane School hall was an unremarkable space, the scene of daily assemblies, where our songs of praise were reinforced by a piano to the right of us, and gramophone to
the left. In between was a platform, elevated just a few inches above the floorboards, where Mr Griffiths presided from behind a small bookcase. You could tell it was December, because that was when
a large backcloth was taken from hibernation and draped across the stage. It depicted a charming woodland scene of trees in full leaf, such as you might find in the endpaper of any Rupert annual; and
this summer forest formed the backdrop to our varied Christmas productions.
Each class performed a short play on the last day of Autumn term. The infants presented a nativity play, which the older children, being so much more sophisticated, found a bit of a bore. The height
of my theatrical career came when I was just 11, my mind wandering as Mr O'Connor read (rather like the returning officer at an election) the casting for his version of Snow White. He gave me the
title lead! Rehearsals began, one of which was quickly abandoned when I forgot my script, and another when I was draped across the little bookcase to go to sleep, head, arms and legs lolling down all
sides. "Fold her arms across her chest" directed Mr O'Connor. Heaven knows what Health %26 Safety would have made of my predicament.
Another Yuletide tradition was taking home a note requesting the provision of plates and spoons for our Christmas party, when the entire school sat down to a feast of sandwiches, cakes and jellies,
followed by a programme of short films. Before he waved us off on holiday, Mr Griffiths would wish us all a Happy Christmas, and I can still hear his gentle exhortation "Do help Mother, because
Christmas is a very busy time for her". - K.W.
Roger Sharpe(Friday, September 07 07 12:24 pm BST)
Attended Spring Lane School 1944-1950
It was a very happy time...there was a coke stove that kept us warm in the winter and we drank our bottles of milk around it. I moved to Bants Lane prefabs during my time there and then I was
escorted to Spring Lane School because I had to wear a patch over my right eye - my escort was Wendy Orbell
Sheila Bradshaw nee Lane)(Friday, September 07 07 12:33 pm BST)
Attended Spring Lane School October 1938-August 1939
I was sent to Spring Lane School on moving to Northampton from Wellingborough in 1938; I was eleven years old. My earliest memory is a long stone staircase to headmaster Mr Walker's room halfway up
the staircase which continued to the last classroom. Mr Prior was the teacher and he would be in his late fifties, I imagine...he was white haired and had nicotine stained fingers. There was a large
stove surrounded by a guard for heating the room. This was something of a shock to me, as I had come from a school with radiators and pipes around the schoolroom. I cannot remember the name of a
single pupil. I walked to school alone, no-one lived in my area. My address then was 24 Parkwood Street
Gillian Leach nee Lane)(Friday, September 07 07 12:42 pm BST)
Attended Spring Lane School September 1940-July 1944
I attended the school and I remember a Mrs Morgan and Mr Cheshire, also an evacuee in my class named Jose who was very naughty.Every Friday afternoon I could tell very good stories made up in my
head... and later in my last year I remember Mr Cheshire reading on Friday afternoons from the "Deerstalker". My name was entered on the School Board as winning a scholarship to Notre Dame, also that
of Sheila Burrage. My sister, Sheila Lane, and I remember a revolting smell from the Tannery, near the school. There were no playing fields then, only a playground surrounded by walls
WFA(Tuesday, September 11 07 06:49 am BST)
Thursday morning was Spring Lane's turn for swimming lessons at Barry Road Baths. The gleaming blue Yorks Coach drew-up in Scarletwell Street and the boys always made a dash for the back seat. Even
on that short journey we managed a lively sing-song, which always seemed to be;
One man went to mow, Went to mow a meadow. One man and his dog Spot, Bottle of pop Ginger ale, sausage roll
Old Mother Riley had a brown cow
And she didn't know how to milk it!
We thought it was great fun. It must have sent the driver up the wall.
Mary Baker(Wednesday, September 12 07 06:55 pm BST)
Attended Spring Lane School 1930s, lived in St Mary's Street
Mary Baker remembers her early life in the Boroughs area of central Northampton; the worry of exams, and the extra worries that came with passing exams…
My name is Mary Baker (nee Vickers). I was born in Manchester on 14th September 1925, the youngest of five children. I had two sisters and two brothers, unfortunately one sister and both brothers are
My mother became a widow when I was still a baby. A friend of hers who had come in live in Northampton wrote and advised her to bring us all here where she would be able to get work and support us.
The cotton mills in Manchester were closing down and there were no benefits available as there are now. It was a case of if you didn’t work to support your family, we didn’t eat. She found it very
difficult to get a job of any sort because of her strong Lancashire accent. She was treated like an alien. However, she eventually got employment as a cook at the Plough Hotel in Bridge Street. The
owners were German. The hotel at that time was used mostly by farmers who did business at the cattle market opposite. The hours she had to work were many, because of having to prepare breakfasts and
going back later to cook dinners. This meant that we were left for long periods, and my brother, who was 11 years my senior and the eldest in the family had the responsibility of us while she was at
work. The other children went to school, but I wasn’t old enough and was left in the care of the lady of the house, which we shared. It was at the bottom of Horsemarket, and I vividly remember being
shut in a room that looked out on the road and spent the time kneeling on the bed watching the horses and carts going up and down. We didn’t stay long because it was found out that the two daughters
of house were thought to be prostitutes.The welfare people said it was not a fit house for the children and moved us to Langdale Road in Kingsthorpe.
I started at Kingsthorpe Grove School when I was five years old. I remember I didn’t like Mrs Fox very much. We were there for a little time when my mother met a man from St. Mary’s Street, whom she
eventually married and we moved to 12 St. Mary’s Street. It was a small house, two up and two down, so the boys had one bedroom and we three girls slept in one bed in the other. My mother and
step-father had to have a bed in the living room. It was more like a hovel, with gas light only in the living room. The kitchen had no running water. The tap was on a wall in the yard and froze in
the winter. The toilet was outside. The kitchen also had a black oven and a copper in the corner to boil the washing where all the rubbish could be burned. There were two doors in the living room,
open one and there was a deep hole down to the soil where the coal was kept. The other door opened onto shelves to keep the food. The rent for the house was ten shillings a week. The landlord, whose
name I can’t remember, had lots of properties of this type and could be seen riding around on his ‘sit up and beg’ bike collecting the rents. When we first went to live there I went to St Katharine’s
School in King Street, opposite the school clinic. After a while the school was declared unfit and closed. All the children had to leave and were given the choice of going to Spring Lane or All
Saints. My mother chose All Saints and I went there until the 11-plus exam. I didn’t pass so I went to ‘The Spencer’, which had just been built.
Glyn Digby(Wednesday, January 30 08 07:26 pm GMT)
Having been born in 1956 and living my early years in Regent Street, then Scarletwell Street (in Blackfriars House), I spent all my pre 11 plus years at Spring Lane. My childhood home at number 9
Blackfriars, still overlooks what now is a different school from the sixties!
It was a wonderful time back then with so many friends such as Mike Moore, Graham Blake, Kath Lines, I wish I knew where they were now!
Our Headmaster was Mr Griffiths and, every morning, we had assembly where we would sing a couple of hymns, accompanied by records. These were diligently handled by the Head whilst all of us, infants
and Juniors,sang to the best of our abilities.
We had great teachers. Mr Caton, who could crack a good joke and was an expert at flicking a ruler one Nth of a degree from your ear, Mr Granger whom we loved to hear losing his temper with his class
next door, Miss Benson, lovely lady and my final year Teacher Mr O'Conner, whose son was also in my class..he didn't get any special treatment though!!
Learning was fun then. We all left in 1967 with heavy hearts, but all able to read and write, do mental arithmetic and many other things such as draw and make music etc etc. Going on from there and
leaving all friends behind, School was never the same again. I would love to know if any more photos or artefacts remain from the early sixties and if anyone remembers me or those halcyon days.
Good luck to Spring Lane School, may it remain forever at the heart of the Community.
Nadir Hanid(Wednesday, January 07 09 01:54 pm GMT)
More recent ex -pupil even though it was almost 10 years ago! I remember the head teacher at the time liked rupert bear! When I was about/around 6 years old I was chosen to be the Main lead in the
nativity play as Joseph. The only teacher the name i can remember is Mrs Hook the year 3 teacher. Who hated the word nice!
Dave Thornton(Sunday, January 11 09 04:26 pm GMT)
I lived and was brought up in Lower Priory Street and so went to Spring Lane Infants and Juniors before passing my 11 plus and going to Trinity.
Mr Griffiths was head of the juniors when I was there and Mrs Adams led the infants. The first year teachers in both schools i think didnt stay long - Miss Corius and Miss Benson. But the others did
- in the infants Mrs Harris and the famous Miss Ward who was old when I went there but taught and lived on for many years and was the only one who had any musical ability. In the juniors it was Mr
Grainger, Mr Caton and Mr O'Connor. You had the same teacher for the last 2 years and for me that was Mr o'Connor. But I have vivid memories of being in a Mr Caton class temporarily perhaps due to a
teacher absence and his habit of getting hold of you by the cheek with his thumb and forefinger to drag you from your seat - I can feel the pain now. Mr Grainger preferred the slipper whilst Mr
O'connor used the ruler or his hand for more traditional punishment. Only Mr Griffiths could wield 'twitch' - the cane.
Other memories include the fact there were many rooms that didnt get used on the groundfloor but Bob O'Connor's classrom was at the top of the big stone staircase with the headmasters study half way
up and there was another unused classroom up there also.
In the infants slate and chalk were still used - and that i believe was quite late for that. I can remember pencils being handed out in the top class of the infants for us.
In the juniors we had to use old style nib pens with ink in inkwells in the desks.
There were entrances from the playgrouund marked separately for Boys and girls harking back to earlier school times. The entrance we went in passed a window to one of the unused classrooms and i
rember it having it having lots of cases of stuffed animals and birds.
The infants playground had a metal frame like a goalposts that rope rigging could be draped across and fastened for climbing. And there was a sandpit - we didnt see the seaside very often - but
eventually became filled in as a flower bed - i think the local dogs took quite a liking to the sandpit.
All the toilets were outside and regulalrly froze up and the milk also often froze in its crates and was brought in to thaw in front of the big classroom stove type heaters.
You could have school dinners but i didnt stay often but they werent cooked on the premises but brought in - possibly from St Georges school.
Junior school didnt finish till 4:30 (infants 4:00) but there was a two hour dinner break.
For swimming we were bussed on Wesleys coaches to Barry Road baths once a week to meet the formidable Miss Howard. Bob O'comnnor boasted that all of his puils could swim by the time they left the
school and i can remember he and Miss Howard had all of us lined up in the water whilest the final girl completed her 15 yards length - with us there she couldnt grab the side and abandon her
There was an annual trip for the top class to London zoo with a lottery to fill up any spare spaces for the 3rd years. I was lucky in the draw and so went twice.
Our family moved to Kingsthorpe while I was in the juniors but I was allowed to stay as i was not far off taking the eleven plus whilst my younger sister had to leave and go to Bective - something
she never really forgave my mum and dad for.
They were small classes and I believe only 4 passed the eleven plus and so most of my mates went off to Spencer secondary modern and now I was living in Kingsthorpe I lost touch with most.
They were good times though and a good school.
christopher nickels(Wednesday, February 04 09 06:19 pm GMT)
I came here
I went to this school from 97 to 99
Geraldine Kick nee Hall(Wednesday, February 25 09 05:57 pm GMT)
I was at this school from 1947-1952
I remember the school so well with the warm milk and the teachers who taught us. Pearl Stuckley and Patricia Towers were in my class. It was a great time had by all and did us proud.
Geraldine Kick nee Hall)(Thursday, February 26 09 05:31 pm GMT)
Spring Lane School 1947-1952
I attended this school after being evacuated to Northampton in 1943. I enjoyed every minute of being there and remember Mrs Morgan by the coke fire warming the milk for us to drink. Also Mr.
Sutherland who I believe took us for maths. I remember also being in the school xmas nativity play and playing Mary. There was always plenty of friends and plenty to do both at school and in
Robert Mettler(Tuesday, March 03 09 01:10 pm GMT)
Life in the Boroughs in the 1930s and 1940s
I was born in Horsemarket Gardens. When I was about three years old I was playing in the front garden there when I nearly disappeared in a hole that was slabbed over. My mother took hold of me at the
last moment. An old man opposite told my father the hole was a well that had been covered with slabs by the council. However, my Dad always claimed it was no well but a passage to one of the churches
near to St Katherine's Street. As you must know, there were many tunnels in the Boroughs. My Dad said there was a turn-off to the right that maybe also went to Doddridge Church under the
We moved from Horsemarket Gardens to 16 Little Cross Street - then to Arundel Street- then to Seymour Place in King Street. Afterwards my Dad bought a shop at 10 Bailiff Street where he opened a
I went to school at Spring Lane School I remember Mrs Ward there. I went to school at three and a half, I remember the Coronation Day at Spring Lane (1937)and the Christmas parties with jelly and
sandwiches and Tizer. I remember Mr Alt's shop in Fitzroy Street, also Mudd's at the corner of Bristol Street and the barrel of treacle there, also the bonfires at the burial place where the card and
letter factory burnt down. Also Laurel and Hardy, Tommy Trinder, Roy Rogers,in Abington Street cinema.
Karl Glover(Monday, February 22 10 05:25 pm GMT)
School Sports Day 2006-09
I remember when we had sports day and there was an event called animal race. I remember that I came 1st but I don't remember what animal that I was.
James Crick(Monday, February 22 10 07:50 pm GMT)
I remember the last day I cried so much lol
James Crick(Wednesday, April 14 10 10:17 am BST)
At Spring Lane School 1999-2006
I loved Spring Lane School. Leaving was really hard. My dad still works there
Tammy Ash(Saturday, June 12 10 12:54 am BST)
I came here until i was 8 i think
i came to this school and left when i was about 8, would love to be able to find out about some of my friends i made there! i loved this school, this school is one of the only memories that i have
from when i lived in northampton.
Memoirs of Mr Bill Thomas(Monday, June 21 10 11:00 pm BST)
Bill Thomas 1903-1989
I grew up in the poorer parts of Northampton, known as The Boroughs.
I was born in a 3 bedroom house in Compton Street and my sister would wheel my pram around what was known as Paddy's Meadow. How my mother coped with seven children I'll never know, But she herself
was one of 15 children. My mother even took in 2 of her sisters’ children in when she sadly passed away.
My grandparents (the Bird's) were bakers and stallholders on the market square for about 30 years from about 1880. They had a bakery on Green Street. The newspapers had called her The old lady of
Green Street, a millionaire’s illegitimate daughter (but she only received a £1 a week after the will was contested)
At the corner of our Street was Spring Lane Sunday School. (where my wife and I later taught)
My schooling was at Spring Lane Council School between 1912 and 1917. Many of the scholars were poor and I remember the boys that stood by the waste bin in the school yard hoping to cadge a little
food. We shared 3 to a bed, which was no great hardship because we knew others who were 4 to a bed, some say they had a round bed with even more. Some houses had to share closets in their back yards.
Our lavatory was at the top of the yard, where I would spend many a blissful moment with a Woodbine and a copy of the Jester, Chips or Comic Cuts.
Having learnt the 3 R’s, I left school at 14. I was awarded a medal for good attendance and conduct, engraved with my name. I then worked at W. B. Stevens Boot %26 Shoe manufacturers till it closed
in 1926. Then along with many of my friends we were some of the 2million unemployed and spent hours in the dole queues at the Labour Exchange. I remember the faces of men who had long spells of
unemployment and those of the Jarrow Hunger Marchers who stayed at the Grafton for the night on their march to London.
I was 16 when I joined the Grafton Y.M.C.A. Boys' Club, despite chalked outside were the explanatory words, Young Men’s Criminal Association.
The club offered cheap amusement in a poor area of the town and there I could play billiards for a penny a half-hour.
I had previously joined the Boys Brigade, of which my only recollections are singing, 'Fight the good fight', and wasting time learning to tie ridiculous knots, but it was the resentment of wearing
uniform. Maybe it was the thought of the soldiers in uniform during the Great War or maybe merely the dislike of being a replica of the rest of the boys.
It was autumn 1920 when I entered the 'Stute', as it was known (short for institute). A three story building, in the basement was the workshop and dressing room, the first floor was the billiards
room, table tennis room and gymnasium. On the second floor, the office, quiet room and library, and the top floor were private rooms for the caretaker.
I went to Joe, the man in charge and on paying my six pence was a made up member. I was informed I must attend one class and one club, the classes - boot repairing, woodwork or first aid, and the
clubs, football, gymnasium etc.
Every year it was a custom to invite the Mayor to a party held there, at which he performs on speech expressing his delight and the great interest in the club. This particular party the boys were all
busy noisily feeding when the Mayor entered. Not one single boy stood up. The mayor stuttered during his speech and the boys then sang a chorus of 'ers' in jest. The mayor was glad to leave the
I joined to play billiards at a penny a half-hour and finished up as honorary club secretary between 1930 and 1935.
((Mrs. Fred Pinnegar of Bugbrook had for two years helped to nurse her aunt, wife of the 'gentleman butcher' who occupied Grafton House some 20 years before Princess Helena Victoria opened the
renovated property as the Grafton Y.M.C.A. Boys' Club))
Hard times but happy days.
Victoria Adkins(Sunday, September 19 10 02:26 pm BST)
I was a student here once.
I went to Spring Lane Lower school as a nursery student and then went in year one and did part of year two. I then left but I still have some memories of that school, even though it has been 12/13
years since I've been there.
I remember really enjoying pancake day back in year one and going to play in the nursery playground and the fun I had at the Teddy Bears Picnic.
Suprisingly Spring lane was the one school and the only school that I understood Maths at - all the other lower/middle/upper,(now secondary)schools I've been to seem to have confused me completely at
I think the school offers a lot of fun to children while they are learning and this is speaking from my own experience there; even though I only attended the school for two and a half years
Other things I took part in at Spring Lane were: seeing post man pat, a different seasons activity which I still have the photo from somewhere and I was sure there was some bizzarre game with socks
pegged onto a line on Pancake day, (or maybe I just made that up myself as a child).
Anyway the school was great to be at and if I had had the chance I would have stayed there.
Thanks Spring Lane for the best two and half first educational years of my life :)
Sonia Luff(Friday, October 05 12 05:51 pm BST)
I was at Spring Lane from 1967 to 1969 .It was the old Victorian building when I first went there with big open fires in the classrooms.In about 1968 a new school was built which was obviously alot
better and warmer than the old one. In 1969 I sat my 11 plus and passed but due to my fathers job we moved up to Lincoln where I still live.My name was Sonia Morton when I attended Spring Lane. I was
at school with a Julie North, Susan Reeves,Susan Tate and others whose christian names I remember but not surnames.
I'm hoping to visit Northampton next Saturday and if I can find my way around will take a look at my old school.
deidre tipping(Tuesday, November 06 12 01:33 pm GMT)
Spring lane was My School from 1955-1960.had a lot of happy memories.I met My friend Elaine when I started school here and We have been friends ever since.
I remember a few teachers:Mr Grainger,Mr Caton,Mr Griffiths.I come from the Boroughs and lived in St Andrews Street opposite the Church
Lewis Hawkins(Friday, December 07 12 08:59 pm GMT)
spring lane was my primary school from september 2004 until july 2010.
i met many friends at spring lane and stayed there throughout my whole primary school stage. these were the happiest times of my life, and hope these memories stay with me forever...
Susan Skelon Reeves)(Tuesday, July 09 13 11:34 pm BST)
Good Memories Of A Good School
I went to Spring Lane infants %26 juniors, leaving in 1969 to go to Northampton School For Girls. I remember swimming at Barry Road baths, put me off swimming for life! Mr O'Connor was my teacher for
the last year and before that we had Miss Benson who taught the girls to knit. Most of my school time was in the old buildings but we moved to the new building just before I left. Mr Griffiths was
head. I remember Nigel Allard, Julie McMahon %26 Arthur Tite who was the caretakers son %26 lived on the premises. Spring Lane gave me an excellent primary education, I went on to become a teacher
and am still teaching today, but looking forward to retiring in the not too distant future.
Annie Byles(Wednesday, January 22 14 08:05 am GMT)
Old pupil... very old :)
I was at Spring Lane between 1949 %26 1954....My name was Gillian Ann Huckell...
I passed the 11+ there %26 went on to the Northampton school for Girls in St Georges Ave. I visited the school some years ago %26 they kindly gave me a copy of when I passed the 11+
I also left a photograph with my class %26 teacher, Mr O'Conner.. If you haven't got it, I can email another...
Lovely to see the school is still going.. Might just pop in on my next visit to England.. I am now retired to Spain with my husband after many years as a nurse .
Annie Byles(Wednesday, January 22 14 08:12 am GMT)
Anyone still around who was at the school between 1949 %26 1954 .. would love to hear from you .. Annie