Brooke Primary School

Brooke School was my sister Christine’s first place of ecducation. She was in fact the only one of us three siblings to have experienced the state education system, and the only one to have ended up a professor. The family (what was left of it-my mother and her two young daughters) were living at the time with the Revd Claud Trendell at Howe Rectory; my father had been called up into the RAOC where he was private at Woolwich. It was 1940, and my mother had just returned from Peterborough where she was a District Nurse while my sisters were being looked after by Nanny and Granddad in Thorpe. It was the Revd C. Trendell who suggested Norwich High School for Girls as a private alternative. How my father afforded it on private’s pay is a mystery, although he was soon invalided out of the army with flat feet and resumed his employment as an optician. Subsequently my sister Margaret began her schooling at Norwich High; even I did, although a boy! (The Junior School took boys for their first two years’ schooling in those days in the Kindergarten.) Brooke is the next village to Poringland on the Norwich to Bungay road, and Howe is a small village to the south.


The bus to St Mary’s School in Bungay stopped right outside the King’s Head. We are talking of the 1950s, but as far as I know the bus still stops there. It has always stopped there. In my days as a bus passenger I made friends with a fellow passenger, the son of the landlord of the Kings Head, a lad called Trevor Richmond.


He didn’t even go to my school in Bungay, but to St Edmund’s, the Catholic primary school there, presumably beacause he was a Roman Catholic. Anyway, he must have featured quite prominently in my life because I called my pet rabbit Trevor Richmond. (It was not a fancy breed of rabbit, in fact it was indistinguishable from a wild rabbit.) I have found out that there is a Trevor Richmond of the right age living in Norfolk, which is probably him.

Spurgeon’s the Butcher’s had their farm in Brooke and were for many years as well known for their Jersey milk as their pork sausages. For many years they had their shop in Norwich, first in White Lion Street and later in Unthank Road. I see that now they have moved to South Norfolk with a shop in Long Stratton.

Christine adds: Ive just bee looking at your blog on early days, including Peterborough. In fact, only I was sent (at the last minute) to Nannie, as Daddy couldn't bear to be separated from all his family. They had hired a nannie,  a "nurse," whose name actually was Ruby Nurse, to look after us. She was a disaster. Among her other peculiarities she suffered form agrophobia and so never took us out. (Nannie got fed up with me and I was packed off to Peterborough after about two months.) Before I arrived Mummy had managed, thanks to good nature of our neighbour, Mrs Smith, whose son Johnny was Tiggie's age. and who was happy to take Tiggie in. (Tiggie called her Mrs Mish). But I was a very tiresome little girl and was not welcome with Mrs Mish or with Ruby Nurse ( or indeed with Nannie-- what a little horror!) I remember being very naughty with Ruby who "killed my puppy." I had a lovely picture of a St Bernard puppy in my Alice In Wonderland book, and Daddy had cut it out and put it under glass, fastened with passe-partout. In the course of dusting, Ruby broke it, and so far as I was concerned she had killed my puppy. I remember throwing all the books out of the bookcase to punish her! . . . Daddy had left me The Red Letter-- a letter written in red ink, and ready stamped, which I was to send him if I couldn't bear it in Peterborough any longer. Every day I wanted to post it, but it was on a high shelf that I couldn't reach, and as Ruby Nurse never took us out I couldn't have got to a post box anyway.




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