Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page
Rushden Echo, 29th June 1928, transcribed by Kay Collins
Alfred Street School - Outing
A Rushden School Goes to London
A Special Description for “The Rushden Echo”
Visits to the Tower and the Zoo

The all-important day had arrived, and four Lion saloon omnibuses drew up at the gates of Alfred-street School, Rushden, in the early hours of last Friday. There were no late-comers on this occasion, and without any difficulty the 150 passengers were easily embarked. But the departure was not without incident, for the last ’bus was on the move when it was found that the headmaster was not aboard; and presently, to the amusement of the many bystanders, he came hurrying up with a parcel he had left at school.

Away sped the omnibuses on their long journey. The way lay through Irchester, Wollaston, Olney, Newport Pagnell, Woburn Sands, and Dunstable to St Albans, where a halt was called. Thence the route followed was through Barnet and Finchley. Holloway-road was reached with the ’buses in procession, but the children were soon to learn that there is a vast difference between Rushden and London traffic, for presently the leading ’bus was lost to view. Then followed a blind chase by the three remaining ’buses through the maze of traffic in City-road and Moorgate-street, where eventually one of the ’buses had a slight mishap and was held up for investigation.

The procession arrived in units at the Tower, the last ’bus reaching its destination at 11a.m. At the Tower the whole party were marshalled together, and, the preliminaries of entry having been negotiated, the tour of the ancient edifice was begun under the guidance of one of the Beefeaters, whose ancient but picturesque costume fascinated the schoolchildren. Whether the Bloody Tower, the Crown Jewels, the Norman Chapel, or the White Tower (with its rooms replete with ancient armour and other relics of the mediaeval ages such as the executioners block and axe and the gibbet) produced the greater impression it is hard to say, but the party were thrilled with the treasures stored in this ancient Norman stronghold.

Though a pleasant hour-and-a-half was spent at the Tower, it was with considerable reluctance that the party bid farewell to the guide and entered the ’buses again for a tour round the great Metropolis on the way to the Zoological Gardens. St Paul’s Cathedral, the Law Courts, the Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey will be particularly remembered by the children, but the tremendous buildings in Whitehall, the great banks, the wonderful shops, and the life and bustle of the teeming thoroughfares must have produced a profound impression upon the minds of children living in urban seclusion.

At the Zoo

The Zoological Gardens were reached at about 2p.m. There was an interval of an hour-and-a-half before tea, and this interval was spent in touring that part of the Gardens in the neighbourhood of the tea-rooms. The birds of prey received particular attention, and in another aviary a peacock gave a spectacular display of its finery in a stylish manner which highly delighted the children. Monkey Hill, Sea Lion Pond, and the Lion House proved great favourites. The wonderful Mappin Terraces, with hills representing natural scenery, naturally received great attention. Here are paddocks for deer, with caves as shelters, enclosures for bears, and hills for sheep and goats. The Polar bears came in for attention by the camera expert and posed in a sitting posture as if to make their picture, but really they were begging the children’s buns. Of course, the inevitable ride on the elephant’s back had to be indulged in.

The tea followed, when the roll-call was taken and two of the party were found to be missing. After tea a search was made for the “two lost sheep” and they were ultimately found and treated like the Prodigal Son. The middle Garden and the North Garden were now to be sampled, and birds and beasts and insects all were inspected. The noise in the Parrot House beggared description and curtailed the length of the visit of even the most boisterous among the merry party. The hippopotamus, with mouth wide open, impatiently tramping before a closed door raised a problem, which was explained when the keeper appeared with a truss of green fodder, much to the animal’s relish, when it was observed that even this clumsy and inelegant creature could playfully sport with its keeper.

Towards 7p.m. the party assembled near the North Entrance, and when the roll-call had been taken again the procession marched to the ’buses, which were in the vicinity. Soon the ’buses were filled with their human freight, and, ices, bananas, oranges, and so forth, not forgetting the ubiquitous rock, having been taken aboard, a start was made for home. The journey to Hitchin was made in almost record time, and here a halt was called for a few minutes. From Hitchin to Bedford and thence to Rushden was the route followed, the way being punctuated by serenading reminiscent of the Parrot House aforementioned. Rushden Alfred-street School was reached at exactly 10p.m., as many people in that neighbourhood can testify, for the children’s enthusiasm was still bubbling over, though all confessed to having had a very interesting but strenuous day.

Click here to return to the main index of features
Click here to return to the Education index
Click here to e-mail us