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Longhill School

My mother taught at St Aidan's Infants School Longhill and was called Mrs Johnson. As a young child I visited the school many times and it sticks in my memory more vividly than Lister Street Infants' which I attended myself. The reasons must be because even to my 7or 8 year old brain, I must have realised that I was stepping back in history and that this school was nothing like the one I attended.

Firstly, the journey to get there. Before we had a car, we walked what seemed like miles until the streets became orange with what I now realise was iron dust and mud. The school was a small building shadowed by a huge steel works cooling tower and there were clanking noises all around. On a small piece of scrubland next to the school were a scattering of gypsy caravans and horses.

Until the school closed in 1960,there were huge open fires for heat and the lighting was still by gas. I do remember being frightened of the toilets at the bottom of the yard which were holes in planks of wood and if I remember rightly they had no flush but periodically were ' flushed ' by a mystery flow of water. I do remember that the school quite often had a break in and helping to tidy up piles of chalk, books and drinking straws!  The schoolroom at Beamish reminds me of what I remember of Longhill 'little school' .

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