We were both teachers at Tattenhall National School in the late 1950s and the early 1960s. The National School was situated on Tattenhall High Street and was built in 1862. It had less than half a dozen classrooms which were all parallel to the road and there was a yard at the rear. The toilets were in the yard, including the toilets for the teachers! The pupils used the yard for PE and were allowed to play ‘conkers’. They also used to play football on stilts!
There was a further classroom at the old Pavilion which is now the Flacca. The classrooms were heated by open coke fires which had large guards around them and they were tended by the staff. There was no phone and if County Hall needed to contact the Headteacher, they telephoned ‘Anderson’s’ next door to have any messages passed on.
The Headteacher during this period was Mr Whitworth who also used to teach. He was very strict. His wife, Katherine, also used to do the secretarial work at the school on Friday afternoons. The staff of four teachers often used to go up to the Whitworth’s house known as ‘Top House’ (currently ‘Falcon House’) at Burwardsley for tea and cakes at lunchtime and all of this using the public bus there and back! Dinners for the pupils were cooked at Aldford and brought to be served up at the Pavilion.
Teaching at the school concentrated on the 3 ‘Rs’. However, Mr Whitworth was very musical so there was a lot of music in the school curriculum. There is a story that on the arrival of a new school piano, the old school piano was put up for sale outside the school. It was bought by the ‘Ormes’ from the ‘Bear and Ragged Staff’ Public House across the street.
At the end of break Mr Whitworth used to say ‘tempus fugit’* to remind staff to return to their classrooms.
*’tempus fugit’ generally refers to ‘Time’s a-wasting’. Presumably Mr Whitworth encouraged his teachers to return to their classrooms as a matter of urgency.