"I was four and a half years old when I started school. I remember the path leading up to the school, which seemed very long at the time and the steps at the top where the headmistress, Miss Shilston used to stand watching us all. She was a very tall, elegant lady and looked very strict. In the afternoons we young ones had to go into the hall and have a sleep for an hour on a little camp bed.
We lived in Russell Street but when the Exeter blitz came we were burnt out of our home. I enjoyed my stay at Newtown School and was very happy there.
"I remember performing at the Theatre Royal - all of the schools in Exeter performed for a week. We did a play about food and harvest using a cardboard oven.
American troops came in to the school with food and I took home a tin of peaches. The school collected pennies and bought presents for the children's home."
"Among the teachers I remember Miss Oswald who had 'earphone hair' and was rather fussy. Miss Trout played the piano. The seven year olds in her class took a shoe box, cut off the top, stitched it together to make a doll's cot and blanket, etc. Miss Bulleid never smiled, she had a stick.
The children were given mugs to celebrate, I think, the Jubilee (1936) and there was a party at St Matthew's Hall, with a Punch and Judy show.
I remember the gas masks and air raid warnings - we went to the Morrison shelter. The school bell wasn't rung during the war years. The manual room was also used as a youth club with ping pong, etc. The caretaker was Mr Bennallick who used to climb over the wall to get to school."
"When the blitz came, the school was accommodated in the Methodist Church Hall. Pantomimes as before using the dividing curtains as a stage curtain. Miss Bulleid provided hankies for the blitzed out pupils, which took some of her precious clothing coupons.
Lily Bright was a pretty little girl with a ribbonbow on top of her fair head - and as bright as the name suggests. She was taken to the beach as a treat but a fighter plane strafed the sands with machine gun bullets and she was killed."
The Garden at Newtown School Playground at Newtown School The mosaic at Newtown School Republished with permission from "Willingly to School" a History of Newtown School in its Community, by Judith Sturman and Stephanie Barnes
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