Miss Bass's First Impressions of Benfleet

A New Teacher at Benfleet School 1945

Miss Bass was born in Peterborough. She completed her teacher training at Hockerill College; Bishop’s Stortford and was offered her first teaching post at Benfleet School in 1943.  The first time Miss Bass visited Benfleet was to take up the position at the start of term.  ‘Digs’ had been arranged with a Mrs Christianson in Avondale Road, she was married to a Norwegian seaman.

“I came down on the train, when I looked out of the window and saw Laindon and Pitsea with all the plotlands and when I got out at Benfleet with all the muddy creek, I wondered where I had come to.

Mrs Christianson met me at the station, I was surprised that many of the roads were unmade and when I arrived at my ‘digs’ my trunk had not been delivered.  Only to be told that ‘They don’t deliver up here.’ and I would have to pay someone to deliver it.

At this time the school had no Head Teacher, but a class had been sorted out for me.  I was given all the pupils no one else wanted, 11 to 12 year old pupils.  I had between 40 and 50 children in my class; I didn’t know where to begin.

As it was war time England needed to provide as much food as possible and Vic Wallace grew vegetables.  Even at college one of the fields were ploughed up to grow vegetables.

Girls and boys were taught separately after junior school, but at the same school.  Mrs Punt taught the older girls, Mr Collins the older boys.  At this time pupils stayed at Benfleet School until the age of 14 years when they left school.

Some of the other staff at this time were, Miss Shaw, Miss Walford and Miss Harrison.

Mr Wallace took Woodwork in a shed in the playground.  Mr Bell came after the war as a craft teacher.  Mr Williamson the music teacher, he came out of retirement during the war as there was a shortage of teachers.  Mr Joe Seager also came after the war and took PE, he also cycled to school.

Mr Wood joined the school about 1948 as the new Head and reorganised the school.”

Miss Bass specialized in physical education but the equipment consisted of a box and PE equipment in the hall.  We played rounders on the recreation ground, many teachers took their own classes for PE.

Miss Bass with the netball team 1946.
Miss Bass

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