Ness Holt School 1

Ness Holt School

[Memories of a former pupil who attended the school in the late 1940s.]

When I was 5 years old we came to live in Neston and I was sent to Ness Holt School with my two older brothers.

I was put in the junior school and my teacher was the lovely Miss Shone who was very kind and patient. Miss Huxley was next door with the infants’ class and we  had our own row of small size toilets and wash-basins built in a lean-to on the side of the classrooms at the front of the school.

Our classroom was in the original Victorian school building with high ceilings and tall windows set up high to catch the light but not low enough to allow any poor child to look out and be distracted from his work! We sat at wooden double desks, and at the front of the class stood a huge cast iron stove which tried its best to spread its warmth throughout the large space. In the winter months, big boys from the older class would bring in big heavy fuel buckets to feed the stove, with coke from the huge pile in the upper school yard.

The older pupils were in three classrooms in the other half of the building. A temporary structure adjoining the main building held, I think, two classes, taken by Mrs Griffin and Mr Arthur Llewellyn, while the Headmaster, Mr Davies (known as Gaffer Davies) had the oldest children in the large room of the main building. Occasionally we juniors trooped in there to share an assembly or special service and it was always a squash.

Playtime was usually taken by all together in the lower yard next to the road, and we played skipping games with long ropes and chasing games. The upper yard was used mostly for PE lessons or organised games for the older pupils. This  yard also housed the huge coke pile which was delivered by coalman’s lorry through the gates at the top of Woodfall Lane. Some of the bigger boys would have the job of shovelling he coke nearer the school building, so the Caretaker could fill his buckets more easily. There were few houses in Woodfall Lane then, so football and other games could be played sometimes in the field outside the top gate. Some pupils from Ness or an outlying farm walked home from school that way, across the fields, past the old quarry, on to Mill Lane.

Gaffer Davies lived in a large house just up the road from the school, at the junction of Ness Holt. Some of the bigger boys did their gardening studies in his kitchen garden, learning how to cultivate the soil and grow fruit and vegetables. As there were quite a few biggish lads in school from the local farms (Neston was still quite rural then) it helped that Gaffer Davies was tall and well built. He also kept a long springy cane which we frequently saw in action on some of the older boys.

My older brother was there only one year before he was old enough to leave and start work, but my other brother stayed for another two years. After the summer holidays I was to start at Burton Road School as it was nearer for me to walk home at lunchtime, so I left Ness Holt School and all the friends I had made there and started at the other school in September.

Ness Holt 2