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Article by Margaret Clowes (nee Robinson) 2007 transcribed by Gill Hollis

South End School 1940-1945
Memories by Margaret Clowes

Photograph of Margaret with her mother taken about 1945
Margaret with her mother c1945

I was at South End School from 1940 to 1945. I went there because Alfred Street was very full at the time, and I was lucky because the class I would have been in had a direct hit from one of the three bombs that fell in Rushden, and I might not be here to tell the tale.   I remember we had the vicar of  St. Mary’s there to give us a church service on a Thursday morning.  We had to sit on the hard wooden floor in the hall.  We had big bunkers built behind the school where we had to go if there was an air raid.  We had our own tin of sweets, lollies and chewing gum, taped up in brown paper, never to be opened except in an emergency like if we were stuck inside the bunker.

There were very few buses and it was quite a way to walk home (Glassbrook Road) and back again at lunch time.  Your Mum (Vera Stocker nee Parker) always cooked our lunches and we all ate at Nana’s (Edith Parker nee Elmer) table.  Ken (Parker) also used to come and we sat next to each other.  I was given a new (second-hand) bike and was forbidden to ride it to school, so I used to go round to my house (next door) unlock the front door, say goodbye to Aunt Vera, then go down the entry, back into my house, get my bike and go to school on it.  I never knew if they found out but I did it quite frequently.  Then when I started work I had another new bike with lights on it and that was a real thrill as it was a complete surprise to me.

During the war all the metal fences round the factory opposite our house went, and I remember we all used to sit round the table with Granddad (Fred Parker) and pick paper off some silver paper for Dubiliers.  It was Granddad’s little bit of help for the war but we all had to help him.

I remember the tank in the park in Washbrook Road, used to play on it in fact and was rather upset when they took it away.

I remember the sweet shop in Duck Street at the bottom of Fitzwilliam Street.  The big house opposite was Marianne Percival’s grandmother’s, and one day we were playing with her wooden mangle and I accidentally rolled Marianne’s fingers.  I think I was back home before they came to investigate her screams.

I enjoy reading the stories about Rushden, it brings back a lot of memories.

Editor's note : Margaret Clowes now lives in Queensland Australia

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