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1953: Class 4 Infants

Class 4, Coombe Road School, 1953. That’s Miss Connolly’s class I think.

Who do you recognise from this picture?  And who remembers starting in Class 1 and having a little canvas bed with your name on the paper label so you could have  a little sleep in the afternoon? And presumably not get nits from yesterday’s occupant.

1953 eh? Anyone recall the historical pageant put on at school to celebrate the Coronation? Re-enactment of ‘Our Island Story’ I think it was. I only remember watching it – we were probably too small to be in it. Though I do recall a bit about how the Union Flag was constructed – with the Saltire – the Cross of St Andrews -being successively overlaid by the crosses of St David and St George.  A boy from Mafeking Road had to wear his kilt to school. (Come on Archer, own up.  We know who you were and where you lived. Though not what you had on underneath – we were nice girls – well mostly).

And we all learnt to sing ‘Rule Brittania’! But I don’t recall performing it. And the only bit of the pageant that sticks in the mind was when the Romans or the Saxons or someone invaded – two swarms of little boys hurtled across the junior playground at each other at this point going hammer and tongs with cardboard swords like something out of ‘Gladiator’. They really warmed to their parts I think.

Coombe Road School, Class 4 (Miss Connolly), 1953
From the private collection of Lottie Longshore

Comments about this page

  • I was a pupil at Coombe Road Infants, born in 1947 I would have been 6/7 years old. I remember walking the route to school, initially being dragged, as I lived in Bear Road at the time. Most traumatic was the waiting for the 11-plus results and the relief that I had failed so Mum and Dad didn’t have to shell out for the Grammar School uniform.  Turned out OK in the end!

    By Peter Newman (20/03/2008)
  • Does anyone remember the Nature Table? My family had a motorbike and sidecar and we often collected flowers and birds nests (after use!) and seed pods and grasses for the Table. I went to Miss Connolly’s daughter’s birthday party (teacher’s pet!) I had a sister Janet who was in Chailey Heritage and a brother and sister, Frank and Frances who both went to Coombe Road too. In fact my brother’s fame went first and all the teachers groaned when I arrived! He was taught by Mr Ballard and Miss Grey. I remember Miss York and the infamous Mr Bear! Mr Lloyd was the Headmaster. Does anyone remember the ice slide into the playground? (‘Elf’n Safety eat your heart out!). I remember the sleeps and being entertained by a parrot. How about the milk warm from the radiator top? YUK!

    By Roger Sharman (12/06/2008)
  • I went to Coombe Road Infants and was there about 1953 although I can’t remember as much as others. I do remember the little camp beds where we had a sleep in the afternoons but when you got to be 5 (I think) you didn’t have to sleep. I also remember the air raid shealter in the playground. It was all blocked off but we use to peer in it. I think I may be in the photo 5th from right in the middle row. I lived in Coombe Road with my Nan until we moved to Bevendean

    By Ann Janes nee Morris (28/06/2008)
  • I like this school. It is good, has a good personality and is safe for children

    By Soniya Sharma (18/09/2008)
  • I didn’t even go here but it sounds so good!

    By Charlotte Bateman (10/02/2009)
  • I attended Coombe Road School and so did my four siblings, I was bang in the middle of my brother and sisters. We lived in a tiny flat in Milner Road along with mum,dad, the dog and the cat. Did we feel deprived? Absolutely not! We were very happy and went to the best school ever! The class Christmas tree was presented to our family at the end of term. Exciting or wot! It was like belonging to an extra family. Lawrence Farey’s mum was the lolipop lady and we loved her! Some names I remember are; John Williamson, Brenda Campbell (my best friend – we were separated often for giggling), Vernon Stunt, Seymour Matthews, Graham Cooper, Shirley Roddis, Cynthia Duke, Vanna Jones, Bryn Jones, Anne Muir and her family and lots more. Perhaps I will recall them on another occasion – thank you editors for this lovely site.

    By Linda Keet-Harris (nee Keats) (26/04/2009)
  • My Mum went to Coombe Road in the fifties. Her name was Phillipa Kay Maclouclan. Does anybody remember her from Eastbourne Road? She has passed on now, but forever in our thoughts.

    By Allison Whapham (03/08/2010)
  • Thanks Roger for bringing back so many memories of Coombe Road. You seem to have been the only one to have kept photographs. Oddly, I can’t see myself in this photograph, but I can in all the others. Best wishes to you all. Keep in touch (

    By Martyn Surman (16/02/2011)
  • I am in this picture and could name most of the other children, also still have the school photos. I am in the middle row, 6th from the right. I was Annels then and lived in Ladysmith Road. I remember most of the people in Linda Keats’ write up, I can also remember her. I was in her sister Kay’s class in the juniors (not sure about the above pic though).

    By Pat Holness (15/05/2011)
  • I remember you too, Pat. It’s really lovely to be able to recall memories on this site. Kay is fine and lives in Portslade. Janet lives at Chailey as do I. I worked at Dentsply for a number of years and recently retired from the University of Brighton after 25 years, so you see, I haven’t travelled too far away from Coombe Road School. I missed out on sleeping on those little canvas beds but felt quite grown up about it as I recall! I remember too, the air raid shelters which were initially, surrounded by chestnut fencing and have recorded this under another photo. Remember the slippery verandahs dangerous I suppose but can’t recall any serious accidents. We so loved the school, my siblings and I and still attended there when we moved to Hollindean in 1953. I went on to Dorothy Stringer from there and my two sisters went on to the then new Westlain Grammar (with their Robin Hood hats). As Peter Newman commented above; the expense of the uniforms was frightening. Still we survive to tell the tale but it was always a struggle for our parents.

    By Linda Keet-Harris (29/06/2011)
  • Please get in touch if you were at Coombe Road Primary School – use my email or It’s our centenary in the Summer of 2012 and we’d love to see you all back again. Janice Dykes, Deputy Head, Coombe Road Primary

    By Janice Dykes (23/01/2012)
  • Just clicked on to Coombe Road School. My sister Janet Leuty is fourth from the left front row. I too went to the school but earlier, I suppose from 1947 to 1953. I remember those days vividly. We lived in Kimberley Road so we only had to come down that long flight of 53 steps into Coombe Road. I was in the infants and the juniors. I remember being made to sleep on those little canvas beds and being given cod liver oil and orange juice. The teachers I remember especially were Miss Connolly, Miss York and Mrs. Walters and Mr.Yardley. My Dad also went to Coombe Road School and my Mum continued to live in the house in Kimberley Road until she died 13 years ago. Does anyone remember me or my sister Janet?

    By Barbara Roberts (nee Leuty) (24/02/2012)
  • I remember Janet and also remember the cod liver oil (yuk) and the orange juice which I loved. Many are the times I played on the handrails in the middle of the steps leading from Kimberly Road. I believed it when I was told by other children that the old lady who lived down the bottom was a witch (poor old thing) so I always jumped several steps at a time in my haste to bypass her house. My best friend at the time was Brenda Campbell who lived with her family at No. 46 Kimberley Road, I think. Happy times!

    By Linda Keet-Harris (nee Keats) (11/03/2012)
  • Hello Linda, I don’t really remember you but I am sure Janet does. My friend at the time was Sheila Campbell (sister of Brenda). They all lived a few doors up from us and we all used to go to the Gaiety Cinema on a Saturday. The games we used to play in the street are another nostalgic memory: hopscotch, marbles (played in the gutter) and we used to stretch a rope right across the road for skipping, staying out until it was almost dark, or until our Dads called us in. Do you remember the sweet shops? Delbridges right opposite the school sold the best lemonade powder which came in twists of blue paper and which we hid under our desks, dipping our fingers in when we thought the teacher wasn’t looking. And what about the Nit Nurse (Nitty Nora we used to call her.) Janet is now living in Burgess Hill – I’ll ask her if she remembers you when we chat again. Nice to share some lovely memories.

    By Barbara Roberts (nee Leuty) (13/03/2012)
  • On here again….every so often I re-read the comments and once again a memory jumps from the past. I remember that lemonade powder, Barbara. It used to make our finger look like we smoked about 60 ciggies a day and after sucking about 2 ounces (we could never afford a quarter) the roof of my mouth used to be raw. At this time of year I remember the excitement of fast approaching bonfire night and learning about Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder plot. Although we chanted ‘Remember, remember, the 5th of November’, I never really associated the celebrations with the death of a traitor and wonder if many children do today. Funny though, how Halloween passed us by. I also went to the Gaiety, usually on a Saturday afternoon. I remember going in the week, once, to watch ‘Rock around the clock’, Sheila Campbell, collected us from school and took us. I was so excited and still love the film. Happy days!

    By Linda Keet-Harris (nee Keats) (30/09/2012)
  • I was there from 1947-1958. Remember Miss Yorke and Mr Bear. Was an angel in the nativity play. Now living in Chesterfield Derbyshire.

    By Joan Richardson (29/12/2012)
  • I was there from about 1953 in the baby class with the sleeps. I had a grey blanket with a red pillar box embroidered in a corner. I remember singing “Morning has broken” in assembly – later recorded by Cat Stevens (as he was then). We moved to the new Hollingdean Estate so I left soon for the Downs school. I remember the crossing lady – the “Fairy Lady” – was her name something like Mrs Fairy? She was mentioned in the Argus when she retired.

    By Margaret Martin (03/06/2014)
  • Allison, I remember your Mum Kay. I always thought she was very pretty and was her friend for a while. I think my Mum was friendly with her Mum [your Gran].  I think she was epileptic, if I remember rightly, and I felt quite protective. 

    By Seagull (18/05/2016)

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