Mandeville school

Mandeville school in Mandeville Drive opened in 1951. It was built on a field which was part of the old St Julian’s farm. Alan Beardmore was amongst the first Mandeville students when the school first opened in 1951. He remembers Miss Knight, the Headmistress, who used to drive a black Ford Popular. The teachers he remembers are: Mrs Robinson, Mr and Mrs Bridges, Mr Barker, Mr James, Mr Leiberman, Mr Mottershead. Of his fellow pupils he remembers: Russ Bowman, David Elsdon, Alan Peacock, Brian Harrington, Peter Toms, Keith Wilson, Raymond Edwards, Michael Curtis, Susanne Fieber, Sheila Acres, Valerie Seabrook, Elaine Merritt, Carole White, Clive Wallis, Anthony King and Ronald Harris. The school celebrated its Diamond Jubilee in 2012, a year late, to coincide with the opening of the extensive additions to the building.


  1. James Watkins

    I wish I had photos from my time at Mandeville, but perhaps I can share some memories instead. I was there 1959-65. My sister Jane was there 1957-63 and my brother Michael 1963-69. Miss Knight was in charge, she had a purple birth mark that fascinated me. I remember she had a thing for Basutoland in Africa, fundraising and so on. I didn’t like school dinners and was often on the “slow table”, Miss Knight once told me children in Africa would be glad of the dinner I was struggling with, I was thinking they were welcome to it. Once I found a bit of sack in my mashed spud and I dreaded sardine days most of all. Mr. Dunkley was for most of my time the only male teacher; I think there was a Mr Ruby for a while. In my mind’s eye I see Mr. Dunkley as looking a bit like John Cleese, with a sort of toothbrush mustache. I was fairly scared of him. He dished out the corporal punishment with the aid of a plimsol, but not that often. In his class we did Science, one time we passed a little blob of mercury around, hand to hand. I see it in my palm yet. We were issued with a new fangled Biro each to replace the dip pens. I recall a boy, Brian Beale I think, he must have been from a hard-up family, because he wore plastic sandals year round. He came into his own one winter when we had an ice slide right across the playground, he could slide furthest by far. I remember Miss Bennet (in the huts).All I see of her now is her butterfly specs glinting fiercely. She made Brian come out to the front of the class to receive a spoon of cod liver oil that for some reason he alone qualified for. Poor wee guy having to have that humiliation as if the oil wasn’t bad enough. I remember Angela Lomax too being an odd one out, everyone said she had “the lurgy”.She wore a pair of red earmuffs in class, I was amazed she didn’t realise how that made her a target for bullying. Once there was no-one who would partner her in a 3 legged race, until Philip Wright came forward. A true gent even at that age, I knew it was wrong how she was treated, I wish now I’d been brave enough to stand up for her. I was just glad it wasn’t me. I sat with David Fox, he sold me a mouse, but my Mum wouldn’t let me keep it at home, so I visited him at Foxy’s house, and paid board and lodging. What a mug I was. Reading this over it looks a bit dark, but those things stuck with me because they stand out from what was mostly a happy time. I was in love with Jane McAdam, and her amazing green eyes (her sitting cross legged to play the recorder facing the rest of us at Assembly helped too) I was also hot for Jacqi Rodford as we had matching warts on our knees for a while. I hope I haven’t bored you all, and look forward to hearing from anyone that remembers me or my brother and sis.

    • Geoff Knight

      Hi, don’t know if you remember me (Geoffrey Knight) but I certainly remember James Watkins and most of the people mentioned here!

      • Catherine Mackenzie Davies

        I remember you both, James and Geoff and the other people mentioned, rather indiscreetly. I even remember the wart on Jackie Rodford’s knee! I was in the same class, my maiden name was Lee. I can actually recall your arrival on the very first day of school, Geoff. You were not a happy bunny. Glad to say, that when you, me and Spud, were the only 3 pupils to move on to Beaumont School; you were a lot calmer. Miss Bennett was one of several harridans, that worked at the school at that time and I did not like her at all. There were 2 other fearsome female teachers, Mrs Thorpe another teacher in the juniors and Mrs. Barrell/Burrell – pronounced with the emphasis on the second syllable. Mr. Dunkley only gave the slipper to boys, girls mostly escaped corporal punishment; though I received a slap on the leg from Miss Bennett for whispering, thank you, to a boy who had kindly lent me a pencil. We had been told to be silent. Mr. Dunkley was also a local scoutmaster and we would titter when we saw him in his scout uniform shorts down at St. Julians Church in Abbots Avenue.
        James, I remember the foul school dinners well; mashed potatoes with grey fibrous lumps, stringy fatty stewed beef cubes, broad beans, to name but a few. The puddings were better, except for tapioca or frogspawn as we called it and even worse, the dreaded sago. This was basically tapioca which had not been through the mill, so to speak, and consisted of lumps of glutinous slime in a sweet white sauce. Shudder!
        Then came the day of the malignant macaroni!! Forever etched in my memory.
        I was actually not a fussy eater, but I could not eat this weird rubbery stuff, I had never heard of or seen in my life. I gagged, I cried. The mini-dictator of a dinner lady, Mrs. French made me sit on the slow table and stood over me, ordering me to eat it. Cold, plain, macaroni! Luckily for me, my sister witnessing my ordeal, ran straight to my grandmother, who was a dinner lady in the infants.
        My devoted grandmother Norah Mackenzie, who many knew as Mac or Mrs. Mac: towered over the diminutive Mrs French and tore her off a strip. I was swiftly released from torture by pasta.
        Many more memories and lots of names of fellow classmates, still in my head. Still living in Snorbens.
        My younger sisters, Sheena and Anne attended Mandeville from 1962- 1968 and 1963-1969. Both went on to Beaumont too.

      • James Watkins

        I only came back here because I was tagged by Peter Rodford, so sorry to be ridiculously late in responding, but I certainly remember you. It’s all a very long time ago now, but one memory I have of you is being out on a walk with my sister and coming across you flinging ,what I realise now, were the flat metal segments of a dismantled electric motor. You could really make them go a long way, unlike me who never could throw. Such a random thing to recall I know, I must have been impressed. Good to know you’re still standing. I’m on FB, (in Scotland) if you want to say hi.

        • James Watkins

          Geoff Knight was who I was referring to, but I remember your name now as well Catherine. A pity really that it’s the memories of the more bad tempered teachers that have stayed with us, but there were some kind ones too- Mrs Beer and Miss Fischer come to mind. I’ve never made my children, (or grandchildren) ever eat anything they didn’t like, so something was learned. I hope life’s been good to you.

    • Dianne Burrough ( Cole)

      I was at the school during the fifties to 1964 and I remember mr. Dunkley as well also the slipper which I believe was kept in the cupboard!
      I hated the school dinners as well and I have lasting memories of the dentist visiting and fillings without any pain relief.
      I remember having my first love at that school !

  2. Chris

    I went to Mandeville during 1984 and 1991 and I’m desperately trying to find pics or info on the teachers and school back then as I’m trying to write about my life and a few gaps in my memory is so frustrating

  3. Andrew Freeman

    Hi I attended Mandeville from 67 to 73 and although the previous posts were a little earlier I don’t think much had changed.Miss knight was still in charge when I started and Mr Dunkley was definitely still there. During my time Mr Miles took over as head and I remember a more unstructured teaching system coming into use where we sat around on bean bags and discussed things a lot.I also remember a Mr Shaw a Mrs Wickrema and I believe Mrs Middleton. Certainly the early days of my life there were reflected with others accounts of the dinners,the slow table the tapioca and often ending up sick after being forced to eat it.
    I recall Mr Shaw playing space oddity to us and me and my friend Donald Spear were hooked on Bowie.
    The time I liked best was when the big tv in its wooden cabinet was wheeled out for a schools programme.
    Most pupils from my year went on to St Hooligans but I went to Townsend Boys with Dave Brookes and Raymond Harvey.
    I have one pic of some of us in the school field when the airship came over,i will try to dig it out.

  4. Kelvin Callow

    I remember both Mandeville school from 1951 until 1957 and the 19th cubs and scouts. I have football photos of teams from both which I could attach to an email if this were helpful.

    • Brian harrington

      I went to that school in 1951 was in football team my step brother was captain of football that won a cup he wS two years older than me and I lived in trumpington drive the Scouts I was a cub cheers I remember most of the people at that school did mr James go to st julians

      • Tony Dunkley

        Have enjoyed reading all your reminiscences of Mandeville School, my father was THE Mr Dunkley. I knew all about his Plimsole, and enjoyed the giggles over his Boy Scout shorts, he used to go out in those, summer and winter and often on a bicycle. He detested the “unstructured teaching system” of the early 70s and embarrassed us when he visited us in NZ. My son’s school was just about to start the same system, and father attended a parent/teachers meeting and got up and expounded at great length at the pitfalls of this system.

  5. Kathleen Pitcher

    My maiden name was Davies and I was at the school from 1959 – 1965. I remember some of the previous names mentioned. My two older brothers also attended the school, Tom Davies (52 – 57) and Terry Davies (52 – 60). We all went on to St. Julians.
    My family originally lived in Trumpington Drive, then moved to Doggetts Way.

    • brian harrington

      hi i was at the shcool when it first opened 1951 i am on the register mt step brother went to the same school John hardy he was captain of the senior football team we lived at 22 trumping drive my sister Christen and Pauline as well
      i seem to remember your name


Leave a comment

  • (will not be published)