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Teachers from 1949/1950s

This is for all of you who attended Woodingdean Primary School in the late 40s to early 50s.

So many of you have mentioned these teachers so I thought you might like to see this photo.

Now we need to identify them – anyone care to try?

Woodingdean teachers late 1940s early 1950s
From the private collection of Janet Gravett (nee Baker)

Comments about this page

  • Hello Janet. Thanks for sharing this lovely picture with us. I can certainly name a few of the teachers! Mr Haggard is seated in the middle Mr Hemsley and Mrs Rice are to his right, Mr Betts is standing on the far right and is the tall lady standing in the middle to the right of the chap with the glasses Mrs Betts? Taking a guess at a few more is Mrs Nowvaski and Mr Hardacre sitting to the left of Mr Haggard? Also, again just a guess, is Miss Retchless the lady standing second from the left? Look forward to someone naming all fifteen smiling faces! Thanks again for the memory.

    By Christopher Wrapson (11/04/2009)
  • Hi Chris, I can help with a few more names: Miss Hughes, Mr Bentham, Miss Backhouse, Mr Scales and Miss Stanger. Let’s hope someone can fill in the others for us.

    By Janet Gravett (12/04/2009)
  • Hello Janet. A senior moment on my part, one of many these day. Of course the name was Mr Oldacre not Mr Hardacre. Thanks for more names. I am not going to be tempted to name any more.

    By Christopher Wrapson (13/04/2009)
  • My goodness Janet – a marvellous photo. Assuming I’m right and (Major) Haggard was head as of 1953, this would give this a more precise date. Of course the head, Miss Stanger and Mrs Novwaski were there during the 60s and 70s. We used to walk Miss Stanger’s lovely dog during the lunch-hour during our last year there. Any more of these?

    By Gary (19/04/2009)
  • Mrs Betts was my teacher. I remember her marrying Mr Betts sometime during the time I was a pupil there. She was a smashing teacher, I remember we use to play Lotto on a Friday afternoon in her class. I was Cinderella one year in the school play and the following Christmas, I played Sleeping Beauty. There was this boy who was prince charming called Michael who had an awful forever runny nose who had to kiss me awake – ug! One of the other little girls’ mother loaned me her daughter’s beautiful pink, long dress for my ball gown. I felt so good in it and have never forgotten her kindness. I liked that school very much.

    By Kaz (01/05/2009)
  • Hi Janet I was in Miss Stanger’s class in 1958 and had my picture taken with her lemon tree which appeared in the Brighton Argus.

    By Lorraine (20/05/2009)
  • Hello Janet. I recently met up with Roger Hemsley. He informed me he was not into all things internet. However he gave me some old Woodingdean School photos from his father’s collection, showing teachers, class photos and sports teams. Roger is happy to share them with others. There are ten in all, taken in the early 1950s. Perhaps you have the same in your collection, as they seem be taken in the same era as your published photo? It would be great if I could somehow send you copies as an addition to your collection. Kind Regards.

    By Christopher Wrapson (04/06/2009)
  • Hi Janet, I went to that school when we first moved to South Woodingdene in 1953. We were the very first family to move into the houses in Cowley Drive, No 186 in fact, in between what became Shipley Road and Foxdown Road. My first teacher for the year that I spent in the infants was Miss Stanger, who I remember well for reasons that are beter not mentioned. I remember Mr Hagard (Major) as he was the head master, Mr Betts was our sports teacher, I do remember some of those already mentioned, but one of the lady teachers was Miss Walters, and I was in her class for most of my time there. When we moved to Ash Cottage our classroom was in the front door first right, ground floor. Also the care taker Mr Housey, who went to live in Australia, is not in the photo. I’m now 62, done a lot of things in my life, but I now live in Southern France, but it was wonderfull to see that photo after all these years.

    By Paul Fleet (30/06/2009)
  • Hi Janet, my mum who lives with us here in France, and is 90 remembers Mr Oldachre, he was her teacher at what was I believe St Johns school at the other end of the cottages, Woodingdene school came along very much later, its amazing who remembers who that far back.Paul Fleet 1 July 09

    By Paul Fleet (01/07/2009)
  • Just wondering if you are the Janet who is married to Jim who worked for Tesco?

    By Tony Clevett (07/07/2009)
  • Hi Tony. Yes I am. I have been married to Jim for 42 years.

    By Janet Gravett (09/10/2009)
  • Hi Janet, nice to know you are both ok. I used to be married to Sue and we lived in the flat below you in Portslade, many moons ago, Wondered if you remembered me. Best wishes to you both.

    By Tony Clevett (22/10/2009)
  • I lived in Woodingdean from 57 to the Mid 70s and went to Woodingdean from 59. My teacher was Mrs Peglar out in the cottages, I was always the quiet shy one, and was always classified as could do better. I remember most of them and don’t forget Stan Mounce, caretaker, his milk monitor money paid for Saturday morning pictures at the Gaiety or Astoria. Great times

    By Tony Coomber (01/12/2009)
  • Great website. I lived close to the Fleets in Cowley Drive during the late fifties until the late seventies, and went to Woodingdean, Rudyard Kipling and Longhill. Does anyone remember the Entiknap family?

    By Mark Brickley (05/07/2010)
  • I remember most of the teachers in the photo, especially Mrs Rice (previously Miss Barnes). She was incredibly glamourous to us and wore a pointy bra and sticky out skirt + used to flirt outrageously with poor Mr Betts! She took the ‘top’ class I think. I was there from 1951 to ’58 – then went to Varndean. My name then was Mary Barnett and I lived in Seaview Road.

    By Mandy Struthers (29/07/2010)
  • Hi Mary/Mandy. Miss Barns, as she was know then, was also my teacher for two years running 1952/54 at Woodingdean CPC; and I too remember her as a very glamorous lady. All the boys in the class including myself had a secret crush on the lovely Miss Barns 🙂 I can recall my mother talking to my father about her and saying in a very envious voice “Of course she’s far too glamorous to be a school teacher” However that said; she was a very bright, popular and caring teacher. Mrs Rice, as she became, also taught my wife Lesley (nee Feltham) in the mid 1950s – she also has fond memories of that time. I wonder if anyone remembers Miss Barns/Rice Christian name, or how long she taught at Woodingdean CPS; when she retired and did she attend the 50 year reunion in 1999? Sadly an event I missed 🙁 It would be nice to think she’s still around, although by now probably in her early eighties? She was one of those people that influences your life, therefore not easy to forget. I can still picture her in my mind and still think about her even after all these years 🙂 Miss Barns is also mentioned in the Woodingdean childhood memories and schoolday pages. Regards Chris Wrapson

    By Christopher Wrapson (06/08/2010)
  • Hello Christopher, I’ve just remembered Miss Barnes christian name, it was Joan, but I don’t know what happened to her in terms of any later career moves. Would be interesting to find out. This is a marvellous site for those of us who moved away from the Brighton area many years ago but still have good memories of their school days in Woodingdean (apart from the time Major H smacked my legs)!

    By Mandy Struthers (prev Mary Barnett) (16/08/2010)
  • Bottom row second from right is Norma Tamkin (my mum’s niece).

    By Michael Keay (30/12/2010)
  • Was interested to read your memories of Woodingdean Primary. All three of my children attended this school in the mid 80s and early 90s and my daughter from about 2004. I was a teacher myself and worked in other local schools. A friend of mine worked at Woodingdean in about 1973/4 just before Major Haggard retired he was quite a character! Some of you may be interested in our Then and Now exhibition to be held at The Church of the Holy Cross in Woodingdean on 5th and 6th March. if so have a look at

    By David Smith (01/02/2011)
  • I was at Woodingdean from 62 to 68, Primary to Junior. Let’s be honest, it was a rubbish school.

    By Chris Brown (10/02/2011)
  • Would you mind if we took a copy of your picture to show at our Then And Now Exhibition in Woodingdean on 5th and 6th March 2011?

    Editor’s note: I will contact the owner of the photograph and ask permission for you to use it in your exhibition. I will mail you if and when I get a response. Non of the material on the site can be used without the permission of the writer/owner of images. Thank you

    By David Smith (16/02/2011)
  • Hi David, I have a collection of ten or more photos taken in the 1950s – just like the ones above. I`m sure there will be others. All will be on display at the Woodingdean Exhibition 5th / 6th March. Also check out Peter Mercer of (Huns Mere Pit) fame- you will find him in the these pages. Regards

    By Christopher Wrapson (16/02/2011)
  • Hi Christopher I look forward to seeing the pictures at “Then And Now” in Woodingdean. I know we have been in contact with Peter Mercer. All my children went to Woodingdean Primary but a bit more recently.

    By David Smith (20/02/2011)
  • Hi Kaz – only just found this site and read your comment about the guy Mick with the runny nose, his name was Mick Gander (nickname ‘Goose’). He lived next door to the Spar shop in Bexhill Road. I only knew him because he kept pigeons as I did and I never ever saw him without a candle hanging from his nose.

    By Danny Dave Kimberley (13/10/2011)
  • Hi Janet, just wondering if you would be the same Mrs Gravett who’s son Steve attended Woodingdean Middle School with myself from 1979 to 1983?

    By Lee George (16/06/2012)
  • I went to Woodingdean Primary around 1960 till 1963 and immediately recognized Mr Haggard. Unfortunately I can’t recollect any of the other named teachers. I vaguely remember a Miss Crumpet and Mr John Snow who taught maths and was also a famous and well-known cricketer. It would be nice to hear from someone who could verify this.

    By Colin Shepherd (25/07/2012)
  • I found this looking for proof that one of my old teachers played cricket for England (John Snow). I lived in McWilliam Road and went to this school 1961-1965ish before moving to Devon. I remember Major Haggard and his friend Jimmy Edwards (Mr Wacco of TV fame) who used to do prize giving. Mrs Nowvaski was my class teacher! I’m sorry but I can’t recall any of my classmates’ names now.

    By Courtenay Humphreys (18/07/2015)
  • Found this site by chance, I went to Woodingdean school 68-71, (live in West Yorks now) I remember Mr. Haggard, only today mentioned him to my grandson what a coincidence I remember Miss Schmitt and dreaded Friday morning maths tests! 

    By Dave Smith (22/10/2018)
  • Does anyone remember Mrs Messenger?

    By Jonathan Martin (08/11/2018)
  • I have just stumbled on this page and what memories it brings. I attended WCP from 1958 to 1965 when I went to Longhill. I am gutted to have missed the 50th reunion… I remember Mr Haggard Miss Stanger and Mrs Matthews is she not pictured? Memories of dancing around the maypole… Oh yes and used to call Miss Stanger the penny banger haha

    By Linda (Dudeney) (01/01/2020)
  • I, too, stumbled across this page by accident. Myself and my twin sister, Sue, were there between 1955-1958. The only teacher I remember having was Mr Preston, who we called ‘press button B’. He spent as much time on his Adana printing machine in the small room at the front of the class as he did teaching. The class used to take turns being milk monitor for a week, wearing a striped apron and a peaked cap. We never had a class photo taken but we had individual photos taken, which we still have. In the hall we had a show by a ventriloquist who had a large colourful parrot as his dummy. When we first started there we used to have to sleep on green canvas camp beds after lunch. Harvest Festival was a big event at that time and there was a huge display of food on a table with a large plaited loaf as its centrepiece. We used to celebrate Mayday by dancing round the maypole. Boys I remember were Alan Inkpen, Peter Wilson Danny ?, Martin Davidson and Robert Parris. Remember Mr Hagard and a ferocious woman who officiated at break time. She always wore a green windcheater and had a whistle round neck. I have vague memories of Happy Valley opening just before we moved away from Kipling Avenue to Hollingbury. The school was broken into one night which delayed us going into class the next morning while the police investigated.

    By Peter Towner (14/05/2020)
  • To Mark Brickly.
    You mentioned the Entiknap family. Did any of them work at one time at Sainsbury’s?

    By David Rowland (13/06/2020)
  • I was at the school from 1960 to 1967. I remember a canvas swimming pool, which I think was shoe-horned into a courtyard somewhere. It was unheated and thoroughly unpleasant!

    By Cliff Bassett (23/06/2020)
  • I went to Woodingdean Primary various years! I had Mrs Nowvaski who stayed just round the corner from me . Does anyone remember having to dress up as soldiers with busbys and red jackets and sing They’re changing guards at Buckingham Palace!!!!

    By Linda smith (19/07/2020)
  • What a lovely page to stumble upon. It makes for many happy memories of my years in Woodingdean, specifically 56-59 at Woodingdean School before moving on to Westlain. I joined in second year (year5 now) in to Mr Betham’s class, moving on to be taught by Mr Betts and Mr Collins. I remember a lot of the teachers and traditions mentioned here: maypole dancing, harvest festival, milk monitors etc. However, other memories are how much I hated the smelly, dark toilets, to be avoided at all costs, and better memories of playing marbles at playtime, playing for the netball team, going to St Luke’s for swimming club on a Friday night and British Bulldog on the playground!
    Thanks so much for sharing.

    By Linda Brooks (29/12/2020)
  • So many memories. I was born in Kipling Avenue, moved to Sandhurst Avenue in ’57. I too went to wcp school, a few names I remember on this site Dave Crockatt lived next door to {labour comittee rooms 1964 election}. Linda Dudeney same year at school and Longhill, Tony Coomber same class in cottages with Miss Peglar. I remember getting slap on legs from Miss Stanger [ What a stinger ] all for moving after the whistle was blown. I remember collecting currant buns from room next to headmasters room for class playtime. The memory I will always have was of the naughty ones facing the wall outside headmasters office [Mr Haggard]. The caning of a boy outside the classroom and the snowdrift in the playground 1963 quite a high mountain! Few other memories. Best teacher to me was Miss Peglar.

    By Ian Johnson (06/06/2022)

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