As we lived in Grove End Road, we were a little on the margins of St John’s Wood. However, I do have very vivid memories of Barrow Hill Road School where Miss Darvel was the headmistress and there was a delightful teacher called Miss Francis who got engaged to another teacher at the school. (I cannot remember his name, but I think it began with G.) Great fun was had, usually on a Friday afternoon, when we used to dance round the maypole set up in the school hall. I doubt if any schools do this now, probably due to Health and Safety regulations!
Because I joined the school in 1945, there was a refugee in my class called Irene Flugel, who had fled either Austria or Germany with her Aunt. Of course, English was not her first language and she just had to cope. There was no money for Teaching Assistants or indeed much else. Anyway, she managed very well and eventually got a scholarship to South Hampstead High School, but left shortly afterwards, I assume to go back home. Also in my class were the twins, Jane and Elizabeth Lester, who were the daughters of Jack Lester, a colleague of Sir David Attenborough. Unfortunately, Mr. Lester caught a virus in some far flung land and died very young.
I cannot remember feeling deprived, even though it was sometimes very cold in the school, particularly in the winter of 1947 when the school was shut for many weeks due to the snow and the freezing up of the pipes. The big treat was for my mother to take me to the Marigold in Wellington Place, which was run by two sisters, where the homemade scones and cakes were delicious!
I now live in Norwich, but go back to St John’s Wood often to see friends. So much has changed and it no longer has the feeling of community, which I was lucky enough to experience during my days at Barrow Hill Road Primary School.