Strand School Centenary Museum Draws Crowds

Former teachers and students remember their schooldays

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Ken Reynolds

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It was ‘down memory lane' at Strand-on-the-Green School this week as visitors came to see the Museum set up in the Junior School to mark the building’s centenary.

Amongst those looking at the school reports, blackboards and chalk, and old school photographs was retired headmaster Ken Reynolds (89) who spent nearly thirty years at ‘ Strand’ starting as a teacher in the early 1950s.

Now living in Twickenham, he recalled that he had decided to answer an advert for Emergency Teacher Training, following service in France with the Royal Signals Corp, and time working in Hounslow Library.

“We taught tables, mental arithmetic, spelling and handwriting- no calculators or computers. But I tried to make it relevant and as much fun as possible”, he said.

Ken Reynolds during his time at Strand school

“ It was all very formal when I started- we had no staff-room as such and were discouraged from fraternising with other staff.”

Mr. Reynolds was presented with a special medal in 1977 as part of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. He recently attended a gathering of former staff and pupils and joked, "Some of them were surprised to see that I'm still alive."

The old uniform and crest

Over the years, the staff levels at the school have increased from fifteen to fifty-six while the class size has reduced by half. Children were segregated by gender with separate entrances for boys and girls in the early days. There have been many changes to teaching along the years, but but Mr. Reynolds says he has seen it all throughout his career.

“I have seen the back to basics argument ebbing and flowing with tidal regularly over 80 years as scholar, student, soldier and teacher, then head,” he remarked.

Teacher Gill Coulton (above) was in charge of the project which involved all classes contributing art work or research on a specific topic.

She started with an after-school club last year in preparation for the task, and the children helped go through the archives and contacted former teachers and pupils to get information.

Strand also held a ‘ Back In the Day’ centenary event last year where children and staff came to school in period costume to relive the early 1900s.

“There has been a school on this site since 1874 but this building dates to 1912 and the top floor where our museum is now, was originally an open-air roof playground. In the 1920s or 30s they put a roof on to use it as a hall, and the children sat on the tarmac floor, which was then replaced with a wooden floor and bit by bit, windows were added. The classrooms were downstairs” said Gill Coulton.

The Museum has proved so popular that the school has extended its opening hours. It is open until Friday, 5th October from 3.30 until 7 p.m. A centenary mug, designed by one of the pupils, is also on sale.

October 4, 2012