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School Stories of Janice and Alastair
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Images taken from TV
Keith at Glastonbury 2013
Janice - West Hill
Janice went to Wentworth County Primary School Dartford Kent with Mick Jagger and shared a desk with Keith Richards. Before the school was built they all attended West Hill Infants School. Her love of music started at an early age when she sung and danced with her school friends, the Rolling Stones were formed locally around 1960.
In 1951 Mick Jagger and Keith Richards first meet in a sandpit in the playground of Wentworth County Primary school. "I used to see him around," Keith later recalled, "on our tricycles." According to Mick, "I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He said a cowboy like Roy Rogers and play a guitar." But three years later, they split up because they moved to different schools.
Keith Richards, nicknamed Keef Riffhard or The Human Riff.
Wentworth County Primary School
Aged 8 years
at Wentworth 1950
School photo 1951 - Janice seated far left below Mick
1951 School Register - Janice no 79
Janice at Wentworth
Aged 11 years
Present Day Brochure
Janice and Keith went on to Dartford West Secondary Modern School ( now Dartford Technical College) whilst Mick went on to Dartford Boys Grammar School
Dartford West school photo
Keith by Elizabeth Peyton
When Janice attended there were two schools, boys and girls were separated in two adjoining buildings. We were never made to feel 'failures' because we did not pass the 11+ and there was a varied curriculum spanning languages, the arts, domestic science, needlework and sports, netball and hockey were firm favourites! The boys were usually playing football on their side of the field which was an attraction... The aim was to prepare pupils for the outside world of work. There were many large factories and industries in the area including Vickers, Burroughs and Welcome, Paper Mills, Print Works and Power Stations. Most of the boys at the age of 15 went on to do apprenticeships in these firms ( unheard of now) and all finished up with good jobs. The girls took on hairdressing apprenticeships and other training roles in local firms, many travelled to London on the train to train as secretaries and bank clerks, perhaps attending further education colleges to learn shorthand and typing and office skills. Janice cannot remember anybody leaving the school who was not lined up for further training or straight into a job, perhaps in a local shop or small office, some started work the following Monday as parents needed the money coming in. Fathers played a role in finding their children jobs often enrolling them into the same factory where they had worked for years.
In the early years, the school was especially proud of its canteen, which many interested people visited because it was a model example. There was a good variety of dishes, ensuring that "Nothing is repeated more than once a fortnight". The girls sat at well laid tables, grace was said and neatly uniformed servers and waiters dispensed the food, first to the staff and then the pupils.
The extensive playing fields were shared by the boys' and girls' schools but there was a definite (although invisible) boundary line down the middle to separate the sexes. Some girls engaged in the unapproved activity of performing hand stands, which displayed their thick brown elasticated knickers. This was condemned as "disgusting behaviour" by the Headmistress, Mrs Price.
The uniform has always been brown. However, compulsory hats and regulation underwear are now thing of the past!
At the age of 13 the 'top stream' had a chance to take a further exam and interview to move on to two Technical Schools in the area - again separated between boys and girls, where they could sit for their GCE examinations at the age of 16.
The school has now become a technical school in its own right called
' Dartford Science and Technology College'
click for information
Mick and Keith 2006 World Tour
Janice later moved on to Bexley Technical High School for Girls Townley Road and had many interesting lessons such as Art and Music at Hall Place an historic building with wonderful gardens taken over by the school in 1957. It later became the headquaters of Bexley Libraries in 1969.
Our uniform was grey pleated skirts, grey blazers and a maroon blue and grey tie., light blue summer dresses. It's incredible to think that this continues today after 50 years, there were very strict rules about shoes and socks and the PE uniform.Prefects used to stand at the top of Townley Road monitoring our uniform as we got off the bus to make sure we were 'correctly' dressed for school. One day I was having my black school shoes repaired so I walked down the road in my bright pink suede shoes, my name was called out in assembly and I was summoned up on the stage to be reprimanded and humiliated by the headmistress in front of the whole school. I got detention and was made to wear my black plimsolls for the rest of the day, a note was sent to my parents telling them to never allow such a thing again.
I am amazed to see that after 50 years the dress code, especially shoes, is just as stringent today (perhaps even more so !)
"Shoes should be black leather (or synthetic leather) with heels less than 5cm high and must not be above the ankle bone. Laces should be black. For safety reasons canvas shoes, beaded slippers, mules, platforms, sling back and open-toed shoes are not permitted. In bad weather boots may be worn to and from school, but must be changed to shoes while in school"
During the 1957 bus strike I cycled to school and back every day along the busy A2 (Rochester Way) on my new bike from Dartford to Bexleyheath, this certainly wouldn't be possible today!
The Tech is now Townley Grammar School For Girls , see link
click to view
Classmates Bexley Tech
Janice sung in the school and Methodist Church choirs and studied violin for many years she played in the Kent Schools Orchestra
Ellen with Alastair 1945
click for link
Alastair was a very sickly child after contracting Meningitis at the age of two and incurring brain damage. Ellen was in and out of nursing homes with him until the age eight when he was finally boarded at Seabrook Lodge School Hythe Kent. Now Foxwood School. We are not ashamed to disclose that he was physically abused at the school and physically and sexually abused in the Scouts. There were many enquiries that his parents had to attend but like most of these things in the 50's it was all 'brushed under the carpet' and none of the teachers involved were either sacked or reprimanded.
Only very later on in life when he was in his fifties a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum/Asperger's Syndrom was diagnosed.
One of my saddest memories is of Alastair coming home for a weekend exeat and mother taking his vest off in front of the gas fire in tears whilst dad measured the weals on his back and buttocks carefully copying them onto a sheet of white paper for evidence. Janice
I also went to Wentworth School like Janice in 1953 but it wasn't suitable for me.
When I was at Boarding School the teacher played 'Clematine' repeatedly on his banjo and we sang the song hundreds of times. Every weekend we had film shows and one weekend they showed 'A tale of two cities' I hated it so much that I felt like behaving very badly so I would get banned from seeing the weekend films for a few weeks.
My duty every morning at the school was to stand to attention outside the headmaster's study and when he called me in I had to turn over his calender on the wall.
The only boy I got to like in all my years there was Ivan Cooper. He got killed on his push bike in the first two weeks he had left school, I never got over this and never rode a push bike or motor bike after I left school.
Once a year at school we went camping in tents - I hated that very much.
We also did cross country running around Hythe.
The jobs I had at school were making my own bed, cleaning my shoes and those of the prefects, laying the dining room tables and being a waiter to the teachers.
My memories aren't very happy ones.
As soon as I left school I was made to go on the bus to Gravesend to sign on at the labour exchange. One Thusday some Irish boys beat me up. After an assessment I was admitted to the Maudsley Hospital in London - this was one of the worst experiences in my life.
I also did a lot of gardening and mum and dad thought of getting me an allotment to keep me occupied.
From 1962 to 1964 I went to youth clubs but I did not like them.
Mum and dad also sent me to dancing lessons for my coordination and swimming once a week, I prefered this to dancing as I could do it on my own. In the summer I went on the bus on my own to Dartford open air pool.
I was sent to elocution lessons once a week which I hated as I stuttered and couldn't say my 'R's' but there are people on the television now much worse than I was.
The first time I went to the cinema on my own was in 1963 to see Cliff Richard in Summer Holiday
My first job was delivering milk early in the mornings.
In 1964 I had four weeks at Egham Woodlea Assessment Centre. I travelled there and back on a single decker bus. The main job I did there was making virgin soil. I had six months at Darenth Valley Training Centre and for four months worked at the flag making factory which I hated very much
The best day of my life was when dad bought Stone Pharmacy on 16th July 1962 which meant I never had to go out to work again. Mum and dad retired on 1st March 1991 when dad was 81 and mum was in poor health, she had her first heart attack on 13th May 1989. I continued to work there for the new owners until 2nd January 2001 when I was 55 and retired myself and my parents had both died.
I used to make up all the cough mixtures and stomach mixtures, count the pills, check all the invoices, wash all the medicine bottles and once I could drive deliver the prescriptions to the elderly and housebound, including the oxygen cylinders to all the old men who had worked in the cement factories - now all dead.
I used to do the banking in Dartford every week and pop into Marks and Spencers with a shopping list where I knew all the staff.
I miss all this very much and now seem to be surrounded with nurses and carers. The last time I went on a bus was 30th March 2002. But most of all I miss not having a car as everyone likes talking about cars even if they only have an old banger in the garden and it gives something of interest to talk about.
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