I was born in Birmingham but I started school in Appleby in 1942. The reason for this was the Second World War and the Blitz. The company that my father worked for was called Wagon Repairs and in 1940 they relocated to Appleby because it was beyond the range of the range of the German bombers that were trying to obliterate cities in the Midlands and Southern England. All the company employees and their families moved too. To begin with we were all billeted on families in the area but eventually my mother, father and I were housed in a little wooden bungalow on Lady Garth. It wasn’t far from there to walk up Clifford Street to the school by the railway station. I remember the Headmaster, Mr Chapman, and my teachers, Miss Lowis and Miss Gowling, who fostered my love of reading – they were strict but very kind and I enjoyed lessons, despite missing a lot of school through illness. The doctor who treated me was Dr Sime.
There must have been other evacuees at the school, although the only one I remember is a boy called Richard Robinson, who went back to Kent after the war. His mother and mine became friends as they were both far from home.
I remember one or two other girls at the school – Margaret Macrae, Joy Bolton and Judy Fennel. They are pictured with me at the birthday party of a boy called John Barrie Taylor (also an evacuee, I think) in 1942 – I still have the photo.
My mother and I returned to Birmingham in 1944 so I only had two years at the school but I remember Appleby with affection.
(Note: Mrs Crockley has been in contact with Vivienne and Ian and was very pleased to know about the Company’s contribution towards building the swimming pool and to have a photograph of the plaque which thanks the town for its generosity and which commemorates the gift and which is to be found at the pool.)