Mile Oak Girls' School

Memories of the 1970s

By Jan Hamblett (nee Langrish)

The school has grown into the present Portslade Community College. The old nissen hut at the top of the school field is now the site of the sports centre.  I joined this girls school with its grey blazers and acorn logo in about 1968/69.  Two years later the boys joined us and we became the Community College. The new college was officially opened by Margaret Thatcher before she was Prime Minister.

In the girls' school our team houses were Alpha, Beta, Delta & Gamma, our head teacher was Miss Saunders. Other teachers I recall were Miss Hawkins, Mrs Harrop & Miss Gosling. The school building had a quadrangle where rabbits were kept.

I can recall sitting in class looking out of the window across the playground watching the old air-raid shelters being demolished.
From the science room you could see the playing field.

Miss Hawkins didn't have our full attention when the boys from the nearby High street school came over to use the playing field. I used to hate P.E. and having to change into P.E. kit in the nissen hut at the top of the field. In winter it was freezing!

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Mile Oak Girls' School' page

From the private collection of Jan Hamblett

This page was added on 14/11/2007.
Comments about this page

Portslade Secondary Modern School for Girls as it was known when I attended that school. I absolutely loved it there right from the start which was in 1947, when I left St Mary's Convent School, Vale Road (which I hated, one of the nuns used to hit us with a man's shaving strop!), until 1952. I had stayed on for an extra year to do a secretarial course but left half way through as I got a job with the Alliance Building Society in Brighton in 1952. Mrs Kellaway was the headmistress. The other teachers I remember was Mrs Martin (Needlework and Singing), Mrs Parker (Sports), Mrs Rudd (History), Miss Wheeler (Domestic Science), Mrs Roxan, one of my form teachers, Miss Taylor (Science), and Miss Shaw. We were well noted for our sports and had a friendly rivalry with the Knoll School. I can remember the annual athletics at Hove Greyhound Stadium where we usually ran in bare feet on the cinder track until the introduction of spike shoes. Looking at the above photo I do not remember the old Nissen hut at the top of the field. What a lovely field that was, we were so lucky to have it for our sports. I am still in touch with some of my class mates, Lynne Abbot in America, Iris Gray in Canada and Barbara Hughes living down in the New Forest. A couple of years ago Valerie James and I organised a reunion and we managed to get about 18 of the 'girls' there. Hadn't the place changed! Did not really recognise it at all as I hadn't seen the alterations due to me living near Reading. I remember the smell of the freshly varnished floor in the hall every September when we came back from our summer holidays. I remember Jean Pumpfry singing 'There's a hole in my bucket' at a school show which brought the house down. I also remember a very ambitious Shakespearan production performed by the class above me. Our form did Alice in Wonderland! It must have been in my early years there that we had a stalk of bananas sent to us from the crew of a ship that the school used to write to. So many happy memories.

By Pat Maynard (15/11/2007)

I can agree with Jan about changing in that hut at the top of the playing field at the girls' school. We boys had to walk from the High Street, through Broomfields Farm, get changed in that darn hut, play football, then get changed and walk all the way back covered in mud. No showers, and absolutely frozen. It was a lot better in summer of course, but then the girls were out on the field too. A welcome distraction.

By Tony Clevett (16/11/2007)

When I attended the girls school, Ms. Taylor taught geography, Ms. Martin sports, (her husband was at the boy's school) Ms. Allen, art, Ms. Rhodnight, nursing, and Ms. Hawkins, a seemingly strict energetic person, cannot recall the other teachers. We never used the tin hut for changing, that was out of bounds for us, we had to change in the cloakrooms, very little privacy there.
Ms. Hawkins was a tyrant and I remember her well, even to meeting up with her years later, she had not changed much, except as an adult she seemed more kindly. We had tennis courts and lovely green grass to do cartwheels on......and the smell of new mown grass was always great. We changed from the blue and white uniform to grey and gold. One girl, with black hair turned up in assembly with gold hair one morning, and grey uniform. Ms. Kellaway made a remark from the stage... nice to see more girls in uniform today she smirked. The girl's face was red, she had not meant to show up that way... but it was pretty mind blowing.

By Bonny Cother/Veronica Bentley (20/11/2007)

Oh my lovely school. Not in the middle of Mr Broomfields farm feilds anymore, I used to walk to school through the farm what lovely memories. Funny we got a council house the year I was going to Mile Oak, we moved to Easthill Drive, hence the walk to school. I remember taking farming and science with Miss Taylor, Cookery with Dolly Dawes and having to buy powdered egg for her at Mr Sayers shop. Also learning how to do the wash and use the mangle. Miss Rudd with red fingernails teaching us handwriting, Mrs Roxan did art and was also a form teacher. I am trying to think of the caretaker I believe it was a Mr Scully? Mrs Powell tought us needlework, Mrs Kellaway was head mistress. We also took home nursing which was fun. There was a German woman that did our PT she always slapped us on the legs, "on your toes, on your toes" she would say, I cannot think of her name.
I have been home a couple of times, many changes to take in. Will be home this year for Christmas with family long ride from Idaho , I will probably check out Mile Oak once more then on to Devon where my sister now lives. Best wishes to all of you from over the Pond.

By Lynne {Abbott}Neidhardt (25/11/2007)

I was also a pupil at the Mile Oak Girls School from 1950 - 1954. I can honestly say that they were four very happy years. Mrs. Kellaway, headmistress, Miss Powell (later Mrs Rhode-Knight) Mrs Roxan, Miss Wheeler, Miss Taylor, Mrs Parker. When it was our turn to do the pantomine, we did Jack and the Beanstalk. When in form 3a (Mrs Roxan) we did a production of the Midsummer Nights Dream in which I played the part of Bottom. I remember a few of the names of the girls in my form: Maureen Burtenshaw (my best friend) Pam Vine, Grace Giles, Joan Sach, Betty King, Dot Mengham, Molly Wren, just to mention a few. I also remember that the school had a 'school' cat called Pyjamas which I used to feed in the school holidays. Happy Days. A very happy Christmas to all the ex-Mile Oakers.

By Pat Peeters Bunting (09/12/2007)

Joan Sach used to live a few doors away from me in Fairway Crescent, though she was a couple of years younger than me we use to play together. She died very young leaving two children. Yes, the caretaker's name was Mr Scully, I would never have remembered it until you said. Mrs Mitchell did teach us PT and I know she was very strict, I think she must have taken over from Mrs Parker who was there when I first arrived. Mrs Roxan also took us for shorthand if we stayed on for an extra year. The teachers seem to turn their hand at quite a few subjects.

By Pat Maynard nee Rattue (22/12/2007)

Pat Maynard - would you have been at Mile Oak Girls' School with a girl called Shirley Strong? She was two years older than me (which you would roughly be) and Shirley was my cousin. I have completely lost contact with her as I have been living in The Netherlands since my marriage to a Dutchman in 1959. I would like to know how she is and where she is. If you know something perhaps you could mail me at ppd@hetnet.nl

By Pat Peeters Bunting (23/12/2007)

Pat Peeters Bunting - Sorry I don't know your cousin, but she might have been in the other class (2 classes per year). I do have a address of someone who was in the other class to me - I could make contact to enquire if she knows her. I was born in Nov 1936, would that have been her age? Did she marry and if so, do you know her married name?

By Pat Maynard nee Rattue (24/12/2007)

I attended mile Oak Girls during 1964-1968. Miss Sanders/Saunders was the head. My oh my, she had a sharp eye. We all used to file in to assembly in the mornings; she would sit on the stage and pass her ever critical eye over every pupil as they walked by. If you were in the senior classes and allowed to wear stockings, you had to make sure they didn't have a ladder - or you were summoned by a prefect at some point in the day to attend her office. Stockings off, given a pair of socks. If your mini skirt was more than 6 inches above the knee (measurements taken by kneeling on a chair and placing a ruler from chair to skirt hem),any higher and we were sent to needlework classroom to lower the hem. Teachers I remember - Miss Taylor-geography (didn't we all play her up); Miss Hawkins chemistry, recall the five legged frog in one of her sinks and dropping a phial of mercury on the floor; Ms Martin sports, thanks to her confidence in me, I went on to higher things. Mrs Rudd,who used to teach my Mother, who also attended St Mary's Convent, Vale Road, prior to Mile Oak. She went home with bleeding knuckles where the nuns used to hit them with a metal ruler because she was left handed. There was Ms Rhode-Knight who we all held in high esteem taught nursing. I forget who taught art. Then Mr Wincer, the first male teacher in the history of the school. He taught maths, not my favourite subject. He was always hitching up his trousers. He awarded me 6 out of 150 on an exam, then drew breath and told the class 'that was for neatness only'. Our uniform was grey and gold, oh and the thick grey knickers worn for P.E. The field was used twice a week by the boys from Mile Oak for football. There were all us girls -grabbing the window seats. Happy days. Seems a little harsh now, but hey, they were good times.

By Glynis Daughtery (nee Adams) (02/01/2008)

I moved up to Mile Oak School from St Nicholas school with many friends in 1963 and left sadly in 1970. Miss Saunders was the headmistress leading a very fine team, sadly many of them now passed on. Very fond memories of Mrs Rhode-Knight who ran the pre-nursing course which I joined. She infused in me a love of nursing which I have followed, hand on bedpan for 35 years! Mrs Allen was the P.E. mistress then and it was she who taught us, among other sports, trampoline. She encouraged me to compete for the school which I did and came 13th out of over a hundred pupils. Miss taylor taught history in the prefab on the right at the front of the picture. Wonderful days of summer during lunch lazing on the grass picking daisies. We were so lucky to have the freedom to breath fresh air (except when the wind blew the fumes from the gas works up the vally-phew rotten eggs). I remember one summer suffering in Miss Taylors class with the windows closed because the smell was so bad she thought it was the gas works when it really was the stink bombs let off under her chair! Remember the chair so big she almost needed a step ladder to sit on it so she envaribly lent her ample bust on the desk to teach us. I was blackboard monitor in her class and remember dating it 6/6/66. The quad housed a small pond and a very large colony of guinea pigs as well as rabbits that they almost undermined the school foundations so when we came back one September a cull had taken place and the numbers were drastically reduced and were never allowed to get out of hand again. I wonder where Miss Hawkins got her dissection specimens from that term? She is one teacher who although not though very highly of when I was her pupil I can honestly say she is the one I think of most often and the one who taught me how to live in the big wide workd. I was delighted to meet her and tell her so at one of our reunions last year in Worthing. Over the years we have grown from the inital 3/4 to quite a group. Jill Redman, Christine Smart, Jill Attwater, Janet Wiles, Denise Bush, Sheila Tobin with news of Valarie Wilkins, Jeanette Seaton as well as many others. The next one is 19/01/08.
The Amsterdam P.H. Shoreham Sadly I cannot attend and sent everyone my love. We were very lucky to have been given the opportunity to participate in conservation work camping out at various venues to clear ponds and old railway lines of weeds etc organised by Miss Hawkins and does any one remember the School cruise? SS Ugander used as a medical hospital during the Falklands war and now I fear razor blades! Went back last year and showed my 13 year old "my school" still recognisable but the lovely field-scene of my athletic achievements, no more but hopefully giving many others fond memories.

By Suzanne Myers (19/01/2008)

Mile Oak School - no one has mentioned the cat Miss Rudd used to have in her history room, big fluffy and white he belonging to Lorraine who lived in Mile Oak; he would come over for the day. Also Miss Mars, the religious teacher, who would regularly chuck me out of the class and so I would listen to the music in the hall, and Miss Hawkins who would throw chalk at me for talking. She regularly played netball when the teachers played and wore those dreadful check skirts. Mrs Yarnell and Miss Wheeler the cookery teachers, Miss Wheeler would bring her old dog in everyday. Miss McKey who taught chemistry and talked frightfully posh - she threw me out too. I remember we would hide in between the coats to avoid going out for breaks on very cold days, and the bottles of milk in the crates, there were always plenty over which I have to say I usually enjoyed. Miss Allen the art teacher who didn't like me told me I was useless more or less, because yes I talked and I got an O level in art - no comment. The horses Betty and Blossom sloughing the fields, the ice cream man parked in Valley Road, and back then Chalky Road was just flint and chalk. At play time I could see the horses in the field where I spent most of my time and of course who could forget those thick horrid grey knickers!  I also remember a certain Iris who would escape from a classroom via the window. Theplay we did was the importance of being Ernest. These were certainly good times with good memories

By Linda Packer (Rowley) (09/02/2008)

I attended Portslade Secondary Modern School for girls between 1965 and 1969. I remember the head teacher Miss Sanders very well, I should do I spent a part of most days out side her office because of my behaviour - mostly not wearing proper school uniform or run-ins with prefects. Also I remember Miss Taylor and the big chair that she had in her class room which we use to put drawing pins on while she wasn't looking that was when we were not locking her in the big walk in cupboard in her class room. I also remember Miss hHawkins, she actually made me cry in one of my science lessons - and me such a rebel. I lived in Valley Road, and my best friends were Linda Carney and Janet Garland. Linda has now passed away while Janet moved away while still at school, I lost touch with her after then - i would dearly love to get in touch with her now. I remember Miss Wheeler from cookery with her dog how would that work these days with health and safety?

By Elaine Wildblood (nee Clevett) (05/03/2008)

Poor Miss Taylor, I think she must have had an awful teaching career. I went to the Mile Oak school between 1947 to 1951 and I can remember her leaving the class room in tears more than once. She always wore those flat leather strappy sandals, fiddled with her necklace when nervous or upset. My niece went there some years later and she said that her class used to play her up. The school was devided up into four houses in those days: St Andrew, St George, St Patrick and St David for all our sport activities. I also remember the milk in the crates delivered outside the hall, I was often the milk monitor and I hated the smell of milk especially in the warm weather. Still not a great lover of milk! It was a lovely school and I really look back on those days with great affection.

By Pat Maynard (nee Rattue) (10/03/2008)

For all Mile Oak Girls School girls from the 40s-50s and 60s, and any children of these girls. If you lived in Mile Oak, we are thinking of getting a back to Mile Oak get together, date to be confirmed but around 27th-28th of July. Details available when firmed up. Time to really walk down memory lane with other like minded. Contact Bonny email address BonnyCother@yahoo.com and or aussigal1@yahoo.com

By Bonny Cother/Veronica Bentley (26/03/2008)

I have just read Suzanne Myers posting and yes I'm sorry to have missed you at our last re-union, will catch you at the next one. I attended 1963-1969 and have many happy memories of my time there; the school trip to Crackerjack, where I was a contestant and also to London Zoo, where we were met by Peter Scott. The trouble we got into with Miss Sanders if we did not wear our boaters on school trips out. Poor Miss Taylor, how we teased her and the stink bombs we let off in her class, which backfired on us when she insisted we closed all the windows! Miss Hawkins still lives in Portslade and came along to one of our re-union nights out.

By Sheila Tobin (Mepham) (03/04/2008)

I was at the girls school from approx: 1950-1954 Mrs Kellaway had just become headmistress, I hated school until I went there, they were very happy years for me, and I think we were very lucky to have the calibre of teachers that we had. Unfortunately poor Miss Taylor was in the wrong job I think, but Miss Powell/Rhodeknight, Mrs Roxan and the others were great. I was very sad to leave when I was 17 (I did the Pre-nursing course) which was a very new idea I left in 1954.

By Marion Monington now Hayes (15/04/2008)

Linda Packer - Is Peter Rowley your brother by any chance?

By Paul Abbott (30/08/2008)

My sister (Jacqueline) and I went to Mile Oak late 50s to middle 60s. Enjoyed it there(only school I did).  Always remember poor old Miss Taylor, my classmates locked her in the supply cupboard, she was fuming, the whole class suffered that week. Miss Wheeler was a hoot - yes poodle there too - she always said "shush don't say anything", but it used to cock its leg on the side of our tables.  Loved making Christmas cakes, hated PE.  Once or twice I ended up in Mrs Kellaway's - can't remember why. Did not care for Saunders.  I remember going to London for the theatre - Richard III, great fun - and Beckett the movie.  I had giant posters of the Beatles, stuck them on the wall of my classroom, I was flavour of the month after that.  A great school.

By Gillian Brunwin (02/09/2008)

I remember in my last year at Portslade Secondary Modern Boys School in 1953 we entertained the same age girls from your school. I believe it was prefects only but not sure. I think it was food and a few harmless games well watched over by the teachers. I fell for Anita Hughes but was too dopey to do anything about it. I think Jim Smith from Mile Oak Road was the only one to strike lucky with a girl called Marion from Abinger road. Did the two schools have turns at hosting these parties? Many years later I worked for Anita's Dad at BEL in Fishersgate, needless to say I never mentioned my old crush.

By Den King (21/11/2008)

Hello Den, you haven't got it quite right I was at the prefects party, at the girls school on this occasion, but Marion and I had been an item for some time before that. After the meal, not being a sportsman, I was somewhat put out at the suggestion that we go outside for a game of rounders, girls versus boys. With visions of my image crashing in flames, I lunged desperately at the first delivery (by some devious means you guys had decided that I should be first in). Much to my surprise, from which I am yet to be fully recovered, ball and bat connected with a loud click and the ball sailed to the boundary fence if not beyond; I finished that day with image intact. Incidentally Alan Sweetman is still very much around. For the last two years we have served as members of the same committee; its finished now but I will be having lunch with him in the next few weeks if you want me to pass on a message. Errm - I suppose it didn't strike you that if you had told your boss how much you admired his daughter he might have been so flattered that you would have got promoted or, may be even better, been offered her hand in marriage.

By Jimmy Smith (03/01/2009)

Hi Jim,good to see you are still around. I remember going up your house in Mile Oak Road with some of the lads for a laugh at one time, while we were still at school. If I recall Jim, you were always a laugh! What happened to Marion? Next time you see Alan give him my regards. Surely he doesn't still live in Gardener Street? Re my crush, I was happily married by the time I worked for her Dad so wouldn't have gained anything. Have you seen our old teachers photos on the school site? They bring back a few memories. All the best Den

By Den King (04/01/2009)

Hello Den, near the end of our school days Mr A D Baker, or was it just A, I can never remember which was which. Anyway, Mr Baker decided that it would be a good idea to conduct a project about the area.
We split into groups, I'm not sure who was in our group but apart from yourself, I think it probably comprised messrs Botting, Main, Tucker and myself. Our mission that morning, as we set out on our bikes, was to gather some details of the area for inclusion in our project folder. Having gathered as much, probably irrelevant, info as possible we decided that it was time for refreshments. Well, I can't remember if it was after my Mum died or if she was still in hospital but with my Dad asleep upstairs (he worked nights) and my sister working away somewhere, we had the house to ourselves. We lost no time in loading great bowls with breakfast cereals and were fully engaged in the serious process of demolishing them when there was a knock on the door and there stood Mr Baker veritably bursting with agitation and enquiring as to what we thought we were doing. That we could have left our bikes round the back is something that has only just occurred to me.
With you lot very quiet in the back room and adopting my very best pained expression I explained that we had stopped off to write up our notes, as we felt it most important to do so while things were fresh in our minds. Not daring to enter a private property uninvited, thank goodness, Mr B left hastily and as far as I can remember the incident was not mentioned again. I think it was at this point that we had the laugh you are talking about. Am I right? P.S. did you get my e-mail?

By Jimmy Smith (07/01/2009)

I don't recall that incident Jim, but the old memory is a bit groggy after all the years! Got your message and will call when my duff throat clears up. Better get off the girls site in case we upset someone! Did you check out our old school site yet? Hopefully speak to you soon.

By Den King (07/01/2009)

Oh my, I was at the Girls School from 1967 to 1971; yes I remember Miss Taylor, some of the class would lock her in the walk in cuboard, once with a cat. She hated cats, that poor woman was so stressed! Miss Hawkins kept everyone in check, blowing up lungs and cutting open frogs! I remember her playing netball too, I hated showers Miss Hawkins watching on! and yes them great big thick grey bloomers! My mum used to ake me to Boundry Road to the uniform shop, of course I had to have the biggest in the shop!  But I loved the schoo, andl playing wih the bunnies in the quad. I remember walking to school past the Bloomfield field munching on the ruhbarb. Oh happy days!!

By Susan Henshaw (28/01/2009)
I went to Mile Oak Girls School 1945-1949. Miss West was the head, Miss Kerman who became Mrs Parker took P.E., she didn't look much older than us girls. Miss Dawes took cookery, Mrs Martin music and sewing. We learned to do darning, make an apron, and an item of underwear. We had a student one year who taught us to do smocking. Miss Rudd, I can't remember what she took, Miss Tayler came later. Poor Miss Taylor things never went well from the first day. There was no smart uniform in those days just after the war. For P.E..Netball. and Sports we were in knickers and vest and bare feet, even at other school events, and we ran on cinder tracks. The school day started with prayers in the hall. The hall was used a lot , for dinner times, class plays, music and some P.E. The school stood in the middle of fields next to Broomfields farm. We had a lovely field for sports and could practice in our lunch break. I was keen on sports running and high jump. Mrs Parker taught us Western Roll and in 1948 I was in the County sports and all England sports in Bath, Somerset. I was given a ticket to the Olympics as a reward and Mrs Parker took me to see the games in London, it was very exciting. Going to Mile Oak Secondary Modern School for girls was a very happy time ,and I had some very good friends. I would like to know where some of my form friends are now. Mary Holman, Brenda Saunders, Audrey Neal, Sheila Morgan, Delia Gray, and any others who remember me.  Wishing all the best to you all.
By Margaret Blythe (nee Cummings) (27/07/2009)

I was at the Boys School from 57-62. I well remember that freezing nissen hut, and the route march from the one school to the other. In the picture, all the land past the Girls school is houses now-as far as one can see. From Mile Oak Rd, where I lived, 1953-1968, you could see only farm land, with a sanitorium on the opposite hill. We lived close to the Reformed School-LCC, I think (we called it the bad boys school). It's funny how we can remember this stuff, all those years ago, yet sometimes can't remember where we put an item not 5 minutes before.

By Greg Doull (10/10/2009)

A pic of rear of the Boys school http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v676/gregg1100/PortsladeBoysSchool-1961.jpg Greg

Editor's note: Sorry Greg but your link doesn't work.  Perhaps if you could send me a copy of the photo I can publish it here on the site for you?  jennifer@mybrightonandhove.org.uk

By Greg Doull (31/10/2009)

The fact that there were lots of guinea pigs in the quad was down to me. I could never tell their gender until they proved it by producing several litters; 23 at one stage. I also remember one fell in the pond and amazed me by swimming across it very expertly. Poor Miss Taylor. I heard that she went 'away' a few times in the summer holidays, to get over the many lockings in the cupboard, including one (in my era, 1964 to 1968) with the school cat - she had a fear of cats. I played truant a lot so I was not known to some of the teachers (maths, cookery) but Miss Hawkins and I fell out when I did indeed realise that my guinea pig friends were being dissected. Mass revolt! Was banned from science after that. Probably thwarted my potential career in biochemistry, or something. I remember the shorthand-typing teacher, who wore a different outfit everyday of the year. And used to tell us, "never look in your boss's drawers without his permission". Lovely.

By Judy Barrow (Simmons) (27/11/2009)

Wow! I found this site by accident whilst doing some family research online re the Portslade area and saw Mile Oak Girls School mentioned. Memories came flooding back only to be rekindled by reading the many letters and recognizing many of the teachers names, and the descriptions of a few. I have my old school reports in front of me to remind me of the far away in the past. The dates are March 1959 the first, and Spring 1961 the last. I came to the school to do my pre-nursing course and travelled every day from a village called Ringmer which is on other side of Lewes. It took two buses and two trains for the two hours journey to school and the same to get home, but it was well worth it. Having completed my time went onto nursing aged 17yrs in 1961 and retired in 2003. So big thanks to Mrs Kelloway for having me and Mrs Rhodeknight for teaching me so well. I loved my short time there, Miss Hawkins was great,scarey though but a good dissector. Put me off wanting to be a mortician or surgeon. I remember very few names of my class mates, although I do have an old photo somewhere taken in the school field. Julie Christmas stands out as she was a tall girl and very jolly. I am sure she married a guy involved in a hotel in Brighton,not sure. Carol, cannot remember her surname but was the class brains, and I believe Form captain and or Head girl. She had fair short hair, was very calm and also doing her prenursing course. Mary and Adrian ( female) come to mind too. Maybe you are still out there girls. I am sure we spent the last part of the course in a class room behind the stage. Maybe wrong but who knows. I do remember Miss Mckee, Lower Vth, whose desk seemed to stand supreme to ours. Mrs Rhodeknight's Upper Vth. N. seemed a normal sized classroom. Always fun and hard work. Are the reunion dates published on site? Having found I shall now revisit. Thank you.

By Angela Chitty (08/01/2010)

Once a week we used to walk along Valley Road from the boys school at the top of Mile Oak Road to play football on the field at the girl's school. We had to get changed in the unheated hut at the top of the playing field. It was cold at the best of times, but during the winter of 1962-63 it was absolutely freezing. Nobody owned a track suit in those days, so we played in football shirts and shorts, whatever the weather. It was what the armed forces would call "character building", especially when you got whacked on the backside by a ball kicked by Mr Bennett. Afterwards, we'd trudge back to our school hoping there would be hot water left in the showers. More often than not there wasn't, so it was a cold shower or go home covered in mud and get a telling-off for puting your clothes on on top of mud splattered arms and legs.

By Alan Phillips (03/02/2010)

I loved Mile Oak school too. I left there in 1955 to go to Australia with my parents. I remember Daphne Dyson, Pat Butcher, Joan Peel, and Dawn Rist used to live opposite me in 23, Fairfield Gardens, Portslade. Does anyone remember me? Do know the teachers Miss Rudd and her cat I used to give milk to, and Mrs Wheeler etc, and I loved playing stool ball. Hope to hear from someone, Jan (Seaford, Australia]

By Janet Purcell (nee Burgess) (26/02/2010)

I also remember those days of us walking from the boys school to the girls school to play football. My years were 1961 to 1965 and yes, we played whatever the weather, even with the pitch frozen. As for those showers next to the assembly hall at the boys school, I for sure can never remember hot water only cold or freezing. We would run through naked and dress whilst wet most of the time. Good times, I remember them well. Unfortunately I lost touch with everybody as I went into the Royal Navy and later the Police service and now only come back to see my parents. Yes, in two weeks time Dad will be 90 years old and Mum is a couple of years younger but still going strong. Must be that Portslade by Sea air. The teachers I can remember during those years were Bennett, Brown (wood work teacher) Falkner (art) Martin, Parkinson, Beal (headmaster). We had a lady music teacher, oh and Les Hamilton.

By Tony Hall (01/03/2010)

I attended Mile Oak School for Girls from 1960-1964. I remember all the teachers. Pleased to hear news of Miss Hawkins, I always got on with her well. She was an excellent teacher, I have fond memories of her on her scooter. In her science lesson on a freezing cold day, I had the privilige to be chosen to hold the outdoor end of a crude telephone made from string and two tin cans. By the time half of the class had had a go, I was frozen to the spot. I shouted into the ear of the next person on the line, "I wish she would let me come in, its bloody freezing out here." Only to hear Miss Hawkins dulcit tones shouting, "Noooo, you can stay out there for another half an hour for swearing." Happy days. Come down to Brighton quite regular now as have a partner that lives there, I intend to visit the school and surrounding area. Spent a lot of my childhood on the farm as my Mum worked for Bert Broomfield. In the school holidays I earned two shillings a week for helping Bert - he used to put me on the crossbar of his old boneshaker bike or we would take Betty and the cart to check over his land. What a time I had milking cows, laying in the stalls with the calves and harvest time when all the workers came together to bring in the crop. This site has brought back so many memories, most of them happy. Greetings to all from Yorkshire.

By Fran Perry nee Dawes (05/03/2010)

I remember Miss Wheeler used to call me tuppeny happenny half shrimp. I loved the school - if anyone remembers me, love to hear from them my new email address is janprcll8@gmail.com  I also remember the old air raid shelters and the ice on the playground. I went back there in 2005 after 50 years. England is so lovely I miss it - I think I'm homesick, but won't leave Australia as I have two sons here. You have so much history and so much to see whereas in Australia it's so big it takes ages to get around and it's all the same. Why my parents left I don't know. Greetings to the UK.

By Jan Purcell (nee Janet Burgess) (19/03/2010)

Hi Jan, I used to go to Mile Oak School and like you left in 1955. Yes, I remember some of the teachers: Miss Rudd and Mrs Wheeler. My sister also attended the school. She left before me and she is now living in Australia. I remember Dawn Rist, Betty Brookes, Pam Lang, Molly Whipp. My memory is not so good now. It was nice to hear from you.

By Beryl Thompson (nee Morley) (08/04/2010)

Hi Beryl. Glad to hear from you. Yes, I remember Betty Brooks, Pam Lang and Molly Whip now that you have jogged my memory. Where in Australia is your sister and what is her name? I live in Seaford, Melbourne, Victoria. Such lovely memories of England.

By Jan Purcell (nee Burgess) (10/04/2010)

Hi Jan. Thank you for your message. Yes the people I named were in my class. My sister's name was Pat; she married and moved to Australia and she is now living in Mandurama New South Wales. I think they call it the table lands; she has a small holding. It was nice to here from you. I hope to remember a few more names if I can. We used to live in East Street, Portslade.

By Beryl Thompson (nee Morley ) (11/04/2010)

Hi Beryl. I used to live in Links Close, Portslade, then in 23 Fairfield Gardens, Portslade. We then came to Australia in 1955. Thanks for comments, Jan

By jan purcell(nee burgess) (13/04/2010)

Hi Jan, thank you for your message. I have an idea that I might know you. Thought of another name - Susan Ridley, Peggy Simmons. Yes, time goes by so quickly these days. The school has altered, its now a college - Portslade has changed a lot. I now live in Woodingdean, Brighton. I have another sister who lives in Portslade - her name is Joan and she is 10 years older than me. I am the baby of the family

By beryl thompson (nee morley) (15/04/2010)

Hi Beryl, you have jogged my memory again. I remember Susan and Peggy. Thank you. 

By jan purcell(nee burgess) (18/04/2010)

Hi Jan, there was also Sandra Pritchard and I think there was another called Grace Kennedy- not sure about her second name but she lived near Portslade Recreation Park.

By Beryl (23/04/2010)

Hi Beryl, you have jogged my memory again. Yes I remember Sandra and Grace, wouldnt it be lovely if we could hear from all these girls, pity we couldn't go back in time.

By Jan Purcell (nee Janet Burgess) (25/04/2010)

I have forgotten a lot of names from my days at Mile Oak School. But Linda Dunster popped into my mind this morning, she had lovely long hair. I typed it into Google and this page came up. I also remember Jill Redman and Sue who had a famous dad whose surname I can't recall at the moment. In fact the family bought my family home when we moved. I remember Miss Taylor and yes, people did tease her, and I do remember someone locking her into that big walk in cupboard. I don't suppose anyone remembers me do they? I lived in Brasslands Drive.

By Sue Fermor (Luck) (26/04/2010)

Hi Sue. It's nice to hear from someone else who went to the same school as me! What year did you go to it? I left in 1955. I remember Miss Taylor - we locked her in the cupboard - I will never forget it. I have 2 sisters older than me - one is living in Australia, her name is Pat, and the other one lives in Portslade, she is Joan. We used to live in East Street. It was nice to hear from you.

By Beryl Thompson (nee Morley) (04/05/2010)

Hi girls, when you place your memories of the girls school, don't forget to put the years you were at the school for those looking for old class mates. Angela Chitty I think I remember you from Ms McGee's class, she was form teacher for the combined, nursing and secretarial girls in the science room. You had short fair hair I believe, I marvelled at your daily travel to school. I believe you were "Ms Hawkins" complete with scooter for our song, "If I were not upon this stage, a teacher I would be" I was Ms Day with long grey skirt and white sweater... Lovely to read all the reports, still looking for girls from 1945 - 1949 for Margaret Blythe nee Cummings. If you are out there please make contact. I also went to Australia in 1963, lived in many areas, love Perth. I have family there and will be in the UK later this yea,r then in Australia. I love Mile Oak though, the best kept secret in the world.

By Bonny Cother (17/05/2010)

I'm Jan Purcell (nee janet burgess). Thanks Beryl for jogging my memory. I hope that maybe these girls Daphny Dyson, Pat Butcher, Betty Brooks, Pam Lang, Molly Whip, Susan Ridley, Peggy Simmons, Sandra Pritchard, Grace Kennedy, and Dawn Rist. Dawn also lived opposite me in Fairfield Gardens, Portslade. I'm hoping that they will come across this page.

By jan purcell(nee janet burgess) (19/05/2010)

Hi Jan, yes I agree with you. Let's hope someone might see this page and get in touch. Nice to here from you again. Mile Oak has changed a lot now. I did tell my sister about you. She is three years older than me but went to the school. She loves Australia and would not come back here to live.

By Beryl Thompson (nee morley ) (21/05/2010)

I go to Portslade Community College no. I'm in year 10 going into to year 11 soon and from what everyone has said about it, it's gone downhill since you all went there. It has got so bad that it is turning into an acedemy now, there are different houses like in Harry Potter and in the tutor groups there are going to be people from each year. It will probably be closed down if it doesn't get any better.

By Ella (21/05/2010)

Hi Ella. So sorry to hear about the school going downhill - that is a real pity - the old Mile Oak School was the best. I and many others have very fond memories of the school. Why oh why do they have to change things? Fancy them turning it into an acedemy. Why change things when it's been good and worked well all these years. The students are missing out on so much.

By Jan Purcell (nee Janet Burgess) (02/06/2010)

Hello Angela Chitty. At the time as your long-distance travelling from Ringmer to Mileoak, I lived within sight of the Girls' School. But, strangely, now live in Ringmer and even know of, but not personally, some Chitty's. Are you still here?

By Jim Smith (13/06/2010)

I must apologise to Bonny (Cother, comment 17.5.2010) and Jim (Smith) for misleading info by not entering my maiden name but my married one. To answer your question Jim I no longer live in Ringmer. My nursing career took me off to other parts of the country but now retired and living a quiet rural life en France. Chitty is very much a Hampshire name I gather. Great site and hopefully someone will remember a Slade doing the long journey to school, which gave me the appetite to eat a school dinner and another one when I reached home in the evening! Healthy eating then. There was another girl from Ringmer, Mavis Richardson who did the course after me who also embarked on the same amount of travelling. Lost track of her and she lived just across the road/green from me!

By Angela Chitty nee Slade (21/06/2010)

Does anyone remember Joan Wells or Wales who had a lovely blonde friend called Marilyn Miles (I think)? They used to push their bikes up past the boys school every day running the gauntlet of whistles and calls from us. Marilyn was a stunner but it was Joan I liked best.

By Tony Clevett (03/07/2010)

Hi Angela, isn't that funny - I feel sure we had an Angela Chitty in our class, I was in your class - the Lower 5th for sure. Julie Christmas and I have remained good friends throughout the years. Carol Dean is the strawberry blonde who became head girl, the brainy one. I sat towards the back of the class, commencing a week later than everyone having been on vacation with my mum the first week of school. I hated the secretarial course - Pitman's shorthand - and was lucky, I thought, to drop out and go into the 4th grade and so leave school at 15, how stupid of me. Did you have brown hair with a lovely smile?

By Bonny Cother (08/10/2010)

I remember at Mile Oak School in 1954 we had proper dinners and puddings, do they still have them? Then it cost two and sixpence, unfortunatley they don't have that in the public schools in Australia. It would be a jolly good idea if they did, so many kids eat rubbish for lunch.

By Jan Purcell (nee Janet Burgess) (12/10/2010)

Hi Jan, about the school dinners, they do get a school dinner but nothing like we used to get. Most of the kids take packed lunches and also they have tuck shops. I know on a Friday they have fish and chips - that's the only day my grandaughter will have a school dinner. I also think they get pizzas- nothing like a proper dinner!

By Beryl Thompson (nee Morley) (31/10/2010)

Hi Beryl. What a shame - the dinners at Mile Oak School were very good -as you said nothing like a proper dinner. Here in Australia they don't have dinners - no wonder the kids are getting fat and unhealthy. They should get back to the old ways - why stop something when its good for you?!

By Jan Purcell (nee Janet Burgess) (02/11/2010)

Hi Jan - yes, you are quiet right about the kids - my sister lives in Australia and her grandchildren are fat. It's such a shame.

By Beryl Thompson (nee Morley) (05/11/2010)

Wow! Just lucked on to this page and oh, the memories! My name is Sylvia Lee, and I was at the school from 1961 to 1967. My half sister, Kristina Hansen was there 16 years later.I remember most of the teachers mentioned above - I still think of Miss Hawkins a great deal because I think she was one of the best teachers there - yes, she could be a tyrant (we used to call her Thunderguts!) but she really cared. And taught us stuff that wasn't in the curriculum, such as how to change a plug and wire it properly because, she said, we didn't need to always have to rely on men for everything! My sister told me several years ago that Miss Hawkins had died, but I see in the posts that she was still around in 2008, so I wonder if she's still alive. I'd love to connect with her if anyone has contact information. Mrs. Allen was one of my favourites (a PE teacher) although she wasn't there very long. There was a Mrs. Pascoe as well. And the Miss Allen, who taught art and did the annual play (we did one set in China the year I was in her class). Mrs. Rhode-Knight I remember well, and poor Miss Taylor - how cruel we all were. She was always in tears very quickly and I think now about what a lonely, sad, and horrid life she must have had. Who else - I remember Miss Wheeler, and Mrs. Linette, although I never had her for home economics. And a Mrs. Scaife (Thelma - she taught maths and I have to say she totally destroyed any confidence I had to do math.) And I remember both Julie Christmas and Carol Dean - they were in the 6th. form when I was in the first, and I had quite the crush on both of them! They both treated me as a normal kid, unlike some of their cohorts (not all, by ny means), who thought the little kids were beneath their notice and only there for teasing and making us cry. I remember once going down to the King Alfred Swimming Pool, gone now of course, and Julie and Carol were there and took the time to teach me good things about swimming. Someone mentioned a school cruise - I went on one in 1963 or 4 - MS Dunera. Just had a ball, one of the highlights of my youth, and I have lots of photos from that cruise. Girls in my form I remember are Linda Hayler, Linda Castell, Audrey Rootes, Christine Divers (who was killed when she was 15, in a road accident), Susan Vassie, Pat Boyle, Jennifer Lewis, Janice Cotton, Derry Wingate, Margaret Hart, Susan Lee, Diana Thomsett, Susan and Margaret ? (twins). There's more - I have a bunch of photos somewhere, so will have to find them and scan them and post some. I'd love to hear from anyone who remembers me - I was big into sports, swimming and high jumping in particular, netball, playing for the school in all of those, plus rounders and stoolball. I left the school in 1966, moving to London the following year, and then spending a year in Jamaica in 1972/73, then moving to Canada in 1975, where I still am.

Editor's note: If you would like to contact me I can advise you how to upload your photos - jennifer@mybrightonandhove.org.uk

By Sylvia Lee (02/01/2011)

How lovely to hear that Ms. Hawkins is still alive! And I remember Mrs. Macleane as well - I think I had her for Geography as well as English. The King Alf - well, that's interesting. I have a friend here who grew up in Lewes and he told me last time he was home the pools were all shut down. Maybe it was temporary. How well I remember the swimming galas there each year. I will have to write to Mrs. Macleane and see if she will forward something on to Miss Hawkins. I have done a great deal of teaching in my life, of adults, and Ms. Hawkins is one of the people I have drawn on to help me teach well. Thank you for sharing the information - much appreciated!

By Sylvia Lee (28/02/2011)

Hi Bonny. I am hoping you will be checking up on the Mile Oak School page as I have just had a very old photo published - ink blot included! My one and only photo sadly. Maybe you will be able to name some of the people in the photo for me and also correct any wrong ones. I would really love to contact Julie if she remembers me and Bonny does ring a bell or two although I remember faces. Sadly I didn't have the same long lasting camaraderie many of you had whilst at school because of the great distance I lived away from Portslade / Mile Pak. It still didn't prevent me from enjoying my time there though, it was fun. Remind me re the sixth form room - I am possibly totally wrong but I am sure it was behind the stage in sort of a makeshift area. Mrs Rhode-Knight's form room was light and airy. Loved her Anatomy and Physiology sessions maybe not so much question time!

By Angela Chitty (nee Slade) (10/03/2011)

I attended Mile Oak Girls School from around 1966. I moved to America in 1976 and have forgotten most of the names of the girls unfortunately. I do remember Vicky Lynch, Mandy Jupp and Elizabeth Riddleston. Does anyone remember me?

By Denise Hickley (13/03/2011)

Hi Denise. I do remember you and your older brother Alan and sister Linda. I think Linda was in my sister Pauline's class and that you lived up Valley Road near Sandra Finch? Her dad was our window cleaner for years. I also remember the Jupps, Mandy and her two brothers and younger sister. Their mum Jill worked at the Spar shop in Valley Road while my mum was at the newsagents. A whole bunch of us are on facebook, Vicky Lynch included. If you wanted to get in touch with us, it would be lovely to hear from you.

By Chris Hayward (nee Noble ) (10/04/2011)

I attended Mile Oak Girls School from around 1959-1963 and have to say it was not the happiest time of my life, I couldn't wait to leave. Looking back now though I think it was not so bad. Miss Allen was my form teacher in the 3rd year and she was quite nice. We performed The Admirable Crichton with her, I loved it, probably the highlight of my school days as I had the lead part. Mrs Kelloway was the Head and Miss Hawkins taught Science and PE and we were terrified of her although I did hear she was actually rather nice and a good teacher in later life. Mrs Yarnell and Wheeler were the Cookery teachers, I was always in trouble with Mrs Yarnell for talking too much and working too slowly. I remember more about being taught to scrub down the work surface and wash tea towels than actual cooking! I know Mrs Wheeler always had poodles in her class and some of the girls had to take them out for walks. How she got away with having dogs in a kitchen I don't know. Mrs Scafe taught me for Maths, not very well as it happens as I am still not very good! She was pretty good actually, but I wasn't. Poor Miss Taylor, how I regret playing her up, I do hope I wasn't one of those who shut her in the cupboard, but I do remember it happening. I remember also the History teacher, Miss Judd I think, I enjoyed her classes and also the country dancing run by a lovely PE teacher whose name I have forgotten. The girls I remember are Trudi Fox, Maxine McKenzie, Leslie Jupp, Norma Rheinhardt and Brenda Lintott amongst others. Does anyone else have memories from the same years?

By Brenda Weaver (nee Wilkins) (10/04/2011)

I attended Mile Oak's nursing program in the early 60's. As wonderful as it is to read everyone's accounts of school back then, I would love to catch up with anyone that attended school when I did. Susan Jackson, Betty Addison, Josie (sorry, I can't remember her last name, but she was the niece of one of the nursing teachers), and Vera (she went into psychiatric nursing) ... are just a couple of my friends back then! I moved to London and then to America a few years later and so lost contact with everyone many years ago. Thanks!

By Ann Foreman-Sketchley (21/08/2011)

REGARDING MISS MONA SANDERS past Headmistress of Mile Oak/Portslade Secondary School for Girls. I noticed from the Sussex Express an Eastbourne paper, Miss Sanders died on the 3/9/2011. She was cremated at Eastbourne on 21/9/2011 according to the obituary - quite a time gap, perhaps her family live abroad or could not be readily traced. I rang Coopers on the 26/9/2011 and they confirmed that this Miss Sanders had indeed been a Head Teacher. She died of a stroke and had been in a nursing home. Her age was given as late 80s but I did not press for more information but I am certain this is her. She had been living in Seaford with a Mildred Evans in 2002. I know that Miss Taylor came from the Hailsham area, from Battle I believe, maybe she also returned to that area.

By Martha Hooper (Nee Sands) (26/09/2011)

Message for Sylvia Lee. Re your inquiry for getting in touch with Miss Hawkins. Mrs Mclean received your letter but unfortunately her son Malcolm persuaded her not to get involved. I saw her quite recently and she said that Miss Hawkins was still well and had just sent her a Christmas card. Re the King Alfred, the original pools are now floored over and used as sports halls with a new pool added to the seaward side of the building in 1982, now thirty years old but still very much in use. I should know as I have worked there for 31 years.

By Terry Smith (17/12/2011)

Thank you Terry. I'm not sure what you mean because I haven't yet written to Mrs. McLean! Someone else must have written to her. But it looks like it's not worth doing so. I'm not sure what her concern would be to simply pass on a letter, but I wouldn't want to ask her to do something that makes her uncomfortable. I appreciate you letting me know. It's a shame, because I'd really like Miss Hawkins to know how much influence she's had on me over the years.

By Sylvia Lee (22/02/2012)

I attended Mile Oak Girls School and left aged 15 in 1960. It was a brilliant school though I was pretty badly behaved. I would love to hear from anyone who remembers me or my sister Sandra who was a couple of years behind me. We often talked of the happy times we spent in senior school. I did meet with Miss Rudd when she was living in Old Shoreham Road though she must have passed away by now. She actually remembered me and many others.

By Pamela Homewood (James) (27/07/2012)

In the early 1960s I went to Portslade County School for Boys (now the Sixth Form College at the top of the High Street). Once a week we used to be marched up to the Girls School to use the sports field for football, getting changed in the Nissen hut at the top of the field in the photo above. I remember it being very dirty inside, with no heating of any kind, and if anyone recalls the winter of 1962 - 63, when the temperature didn't go above zero for a few weeks on end, you'll know what cold was like. But still we had to get changed in there every Tuesday afternoon. Afterwards the wind used to blow across the field effectively lowering the temperature even more and all we had on was a football shirt ("Take that vest off boy. I'll make a man of you yet!") and a pair of football shorts. When one of the teachers (deliberately) kicked the ball hard at your very exposed and already frozen bum it stung like, well, let's just say it stung a lot! The teachers, of course, all used to wander around in nice warm track suits! Then it was a walk back to our own school, getting colder and more miserable along the way, without getting dressed, and in the forlorn hope that there would be some hot water left for a communal shower. Most often there wasn't as by the time we arrived it was passed 4 o'clock and the rest of the school was deserted. None of us would dare arrive home in school uniform but still muddy underneath, so we had no option but to have a freezingly cold shower. There was no arguing with the teachers, no refusing to shower until there was hot water, it was just "get on with it boy". So we did. Kids today do not know they are born. Nor do they know what it was like to have teachers you didn't dare argue with. And, if you thought you'd tell Mummy and Daddy about the nasty teacher when you got home, you'd find your parents were just as sadistic as the bl**dy teacher was!

By Alan Phillips (27/07/2012)

I attented Potslade school in the old village in the 1970s- it was the last year before we moved to the new site in Mile Oak. I remember Ms Hutchinson, Mr Grantham, Mr Lawley, Mr Townsend and the Head was Mr Johns I think and Mr Peel the art teacher. There was a house at the back of the school as well as pre-fabs. Originally there was a swimming pool but that was deemed unsafe and the library was built over it I think . There were loads of rumours about a boy that was killed at the school and a plaque was erected in the staff room and various other tales. I loved the wooded area which in olden days had a bridge to the other side but apparenly burnt down by a steam roller. There were three play areas- the lower part was where the air shelters were and the other was just concrete and then there was the quaid ? For the girls it would be good to find out the history of this place

By Carol A Lee (17/08/2012)

Hi Pam Homewood, remember me? I retired today,your sister Denise and Martin were at my party on Saturday. We had good times in the 60s. Hope you are well. 

By Tony Clevett (18/08/2012)

I wonder if anyone remembers the name Julie Edwards ? She would have been in the years 1965 - 1975. Julie is my sister and we lived in Mile Oak Gardens before moving to Shoreham which is why my Portslade school years were cut short.

By Lorraine luke (05/11/2012)

I just posted a photo of the Upper Fifth group in 1965, or many of them. It is as http://www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk/page_id__11223.aspx. I had submitted about 6 photos, but apparently can only have one published, and this one was selected.

By Sylvia Lee (27/11/2012)

To all Mile Oak friends if you remember me, back in 1954 to 1955 I wish you all a happy new year and hope you all had a merry Christmas.

By Jan Purcell (nee Janet Burgess) (30/12/2013)

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