Fond memories of reading from the good book at Polegate Bible classes

Looking Back Bible classes in Eastbourne
Looking Back Bible classes in Eastbourne

Memories of Bible stories

I have twice visited the lady who saw my name in Looking Back - Anne Piper found my home phone and on both occasions we have had a wonderful time of reminiscing.

I took an old family photo album last week and in some of the group pictures, she spotted several girls and boys she once knew in Polegate.

My parents, Eric and Barbara Honour lived at a small semi called Bethany by Polegate Cross Roads. Challenged by an Indian lady who knew several bored teenage girls (c 1946) to “start something for them”, my folks welcomed several girls every Sunday - for a Bible Class.

Lots of lively songs, prayers, Bible stories, every Sunday afternoon. The girls loved it - my folks were outgoing people, great communicators, with a good sense of humour too.

Then a midweek evening of games, quizzes, eats and fun. A relaxing social hour after school. In the summer there were rambles, games in the park, outings and always a welcome back to the large garden for eats and drinks

After a successful year or so, the same Indian lady said to my Dad, “I know some bored young lads in the village too.” Hmmm. No room to mix them and not “the done thing” in the late forties.

“Well,” said the wise lady, “boys on Sunday morning; girls in the afternoon.” Dad couldn’t argue and soon a boys Scripture Union class started too. The singing was a bit more rowdy and the quizzes boisterous but the lads enjoyed the class too.

I grew up in those classes, even attending the girls one, until I got to a teenager myself and “didn’t like girls”.

So I went to Eastbourne for the very big Eastbourne Boys Scripture Union, held at Hartington Halls (YMCA) and led by terrific men like Mr Vinall, the Perry brothers, Bill Howe and Mr Dunning, who I believe is still alive and attends Holy Trinity Church. Does anyone remember those men?

My folks conducted these Bible classes right up until about 1980, some 35 years. Scores of youngsters came through our small front room, learned to sing and pray,learning the great Bible stories; some came into a personal faith too. And much good seed was sown in their young lives.

I am thankful to Anne Piper, who herself has “kept the faith” and not only remembers those good days of the 1950s but still knows some men and women who attended the class and are still alive today.

If anyone else recalls those Bible Class days, I would love to hear from them and my email address is peterj.honour@ntlworld.com

Next time I will write about my experiences at Upper Willingdon Primary school and maybe later, Eastbourne Boys Grammar school.

Thanks for the opportunity of sharing.

Peter J Honour,

Queen’s Crescent

I have been informed by a friend, who was informed by a friend visiting Eastbourne who recognised my name, that the Eastbourne Herald ran the photograph that I sent in the June 28 edition, with an accompanying story about the Queen’s Coronation party in Queen’s Crescent.

If anybody recognises somebody in the photo, I would love to contact them when I am in the area in late August.

We may even be able to re-enact the photo more than 60 years later. My email address is barrie_parker@bigpond.com

Barrie Parker, 
Australia.

Eastbourne Academy

Eastbourne Academy, in Hampden Park will reopen in September, following further refurbishment.

I have watched the many alterations to the building the style of education and above all the increase in the number of pupils since I was a pupil there between 1949 and 1953.

In those days it was the Hampden Park Secondary Modern School, the headmaster Mr Frank Nixon, a fine gentleman of the old school, who greeted all of the 200 pupils by name.

The school built in the late 30’s in the shape of an H was set in the middle of farmland. I spent too many hours staring out of the window, across the cornfields to the downs, unspoilt by houses.

The teachers were mainly pre-war trained: Mrs Glazier, the first year, Miss Oxley, music and history, Miss Hope, geography and drama, Miss Dann, domestic science for the girls, Mr Copeland, physical education, Mr Farnsworth woodwork and metal work for the boys, Mr Purdy, art and gardening, Mr Black, science and maths and Mrs Wigham, English.

The age range of the students was 11-15. Secondary modern schools were created in the post war, better state days of the Attlee government. In my mind the ideals were good. At the primary school we had sat the selection exam and those achieving the high marks had progressed to the grammar school, the rest were streamed to the sec modern schools. There was two streams in these schools around 40 to a class.

Residents of Hampden Park went to the local in Brodrick Road. It was only a short walk. I can still see the pupils if wet wearing the black mackintosh, slowly nearing the school. Brodrick Road was only tarmaced to the hill and the last 200 yards was along a deeply rutted and muddy cart track.

I remember many of the events, the birth of Princess Anne, the death of King George, conquering of Everest, were all announced on the stage by the head master, Miss Oxley seated at the grand piano. I was always expecting in to collapse during her spirited rendition of the National Anthem.

For the Coronation of the Queen, the schools of Hampden park celebrated the next day in Elm Grove playing fields, now the site of the David Lloyd centre.

Games, country dancing and the singing of patriotic songs preceded the open of the party bags of buns and sweets. Gordon Rider who was the corporation orchestras, provided the music, however the orchestra was placed down wind and the event was heard on Hampden Park station, but few of the pupils understood what was happening.

The school with with nine classrooms and a multi purpose hall was a happy one, the education was classic but we were prepared for life, how to put a plug on the kettle, erect a shelf, how to present ourselves in later life, and above all to be a good citizen.

We marched around the playground on Empire Day each year, remembrance of wartime events were respected with a minutes silence, Remembrance Day, the Battle of Britain, the D Day raid on Dieppe and of course victory in Europe.

I hope the students of the Academy will be as well prepared today. It is to late to thank the teachers of 1959 but not to late to live to their standards. I thank them for my education.

Lionel Leslie Marriott, Wellington Road.