Fringe Box



Christmas At Sandfield School in 1948 And Other Childhood Memories

Published on: 21 Dec, 2016
Updated on: 13 Dec, 2016

Who has fond memories of their schooldays, particularly at Christmas time?

Pupiuls at Sandfield School, Guildford, Christmas 1948. Ivan Dally, whose send us this picture, is the blond-haired boy standing to the right of the teacher. Click to enlarge in a new window.

Dragon reader Ivan Dally was a pupil at Guildford’s Sandfield School in the late 1940s and has sent in this photo of his class at Christmas 1948.

The children are pictured with their teacher with a large Christmas tree behind them. Here he writes about his memories of the house he lived in in Woodbridge Road and other things he got up to when he was a boy.

He writes: “I’m the blond lad standing next to the teacher and I was seven years old in the November of that year.

“We lived with my grandmother in Woodbridge Road (number 7 I think), [it was Wellington Place – Ed] a three-storey house with a cellar. It was demolished many years ago and stood on the land between the Salvation Army centre and the flats next door.

“The lower floor was half underground and probably housed servants’ quarters in days gone by, so there was a short flight of steps going up to the front door.

“My gran would whiten each side of the steps with water and chalk that she picked up at the cemetery where grandad was buried.

“There was a big brass knob alongside the front door, which, when it was pulled, operated a cord which eventually rang a brass bell on a big coil spring in the hallway.

“There was a coal hole in the pavement outside the house so that the coalman could deliver coal directly into the cellar (with a crash!).

“The house also had a ‘dumb waiter’ which could be pulled up and down by a rope from the cellar, where the kitchen was, to the other floors.

“The kitchen had a coal-fired copper where clothes were washed, and sometimes us children!

“The adults used a long tin bath that was hung on the kitchen wall when not in use.

“As a special treat we would take a bath at the public baths in town.

“There was also a large cast iron mangle in the kitchen for squeezing the water out of the clothes before hanging them out to dry. My four-year-old brother nearly killed himself when he climbed on the mangle and pulled it on top of himself. Also in the kitchen was a ‘doll’s eye’ unit which presumably indicated to the servants which room required service (when a knob was pulled?) in the relevant room.

 “I’m not sure how long I was at Sandfield School as our father was in the RAF so we moved around a lot, but I think it must have been a year or two. We were posted to Germany in 1949.

“My best friend was John Kisbee who lived in Artillery Road. His dad made us toy soldiers by melting lead on a gas ring and pouring it into moulds (no health and safety concerns in those days). Then we had to paint them.

“The Kisbees also showed me my first glimpse of television when I saw the 1948 university boat race on their six-inch TV housed in a case as big as a chest of drawers. I believe the family eventually emigrated to Australia.

 “One of my memories was hanging out of my grandmother’s living-room window to see the 1948 Olympic flame being carried by a runner along Woodbridge Road.  

“On Sundays I would march along the pavement with a toy trumpet alongside the Salvation Army band as they marched along Woodbridge Road. One of the bandsmen would ‘share’ his music sheet with me.

“Other memories I have include: fetching fresh bread from Ayres the bakers over the road (and nibbling bits off the end on the way back).

Fishing for dace in the river with John Kisbee and his dad. I stood on some wet weed and slipped in up to my waist.

“Being told I couldn’t go to the Sunday school summer party because my mum noticed I had chicken pox spots while giving me a strip wash.

“Playing with a golf club and ball and successfully hitting it through a window. I fled with fear of the consequences. 

“Annoying the traders at the cattle market by walking along the gangplank above the animal pens.

“The Green Line local buses and the Royal Blue long-distance buses.

“Going to watch cricket at the local ground with my granddad.

“Taking my granddad’s accumulator (glass battery) to the cycle shop to exchange it for a charged one so he could listen to his wireless (radio).

“Watching bowls in the Castle Grounds with my granddad.

“Going to Holy Trinity Cubs at the castle.

“Keeping an eye on the Beechnut chewing gum machine until the arrow pointed forwards to get a free packet.

“Feeding our chickens in the garden run with potato mash.

“Buying aniseed balls for a farthing each and a gobstopper for a penny from the sweetshop on our way home from school.”   

Share This Post

Responses to Christmas At Sandfield School in 1948 And Other Childhood Memories

  1. Michael Flowers Reply

    December 30, 2016 at 6:38 am

    Ivan Dally’s memory is incorrect. I was at Sandfield School until 1951 – but I am not in the photo.

    I lived in Markenfield Road until 1957.

  2. Ivan Dally Reply

    January 23, 2017 at 3:06 am

    In reply to Michael Flowers:

    We drove from Devizes to Leeds in the famously severe winter of 1947 which took us two days. We stayed above a fish and chip shop near Banbury overnight. We returned a few weeks later to Guildford to live with my Grandparents.

    The photo must have been taken at Christmas time 1948 (or possibly 1949) because my father was posted to Hesedorf in Germany by 1949 and we followed later.

    My sister was born in Hamburg military hospital in 1951.

    Perhaps you were off school that day or in another class.

  3. Martin Sherwin Reply

    October 13, 2020 at 6:22 pm

    Hello Ivan, I am in this photo five places to your right. I was taken to visit you and your parents just before you left the UK. You were near Northolt I think?

    If you are able, please make contact.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *