Kinsale Avenue is a small cul-de-sac in Hellesdon, off Middletons Lane.
Schools in Kinsale Avenue
There is a school located off this road. Apparently, it was established in 1951. Currently, there are a number of schools on this site. These include Kinsale Infant School and Kinsale Junior School which is part of the Wensum Trust. The site is also home to Hellesdon Community Pre-School. The site is continuous with that of Hellesdon High School, also part of Wensum Trust, although the main entrance for the high school is from Middletons Lane.
The School is Close to Where We Lived in Hellesdon
I Did Most of My Primary Schooling at Kinsale Avenue
As a result, I did most of my primary schooling here, from around 1965 to 1970, when I finshed off my primary schooling at Colman Road Junior, see Chapter 103.
My Siblings Also Attended Kinsale Avenue School
My three other siblings all went there for at least some of their primary education. Tricia completed her primary education there as, in September 1969, she started at Norwich High School.
Tricia Was Offered a Place to Start at Kinsale Avenue School in January 1963
In July 1962, when Tricia was four, mum and dad went to see the headmistress at “Kinsale School”, see Chapter 82. She told them that, all being well, Tricia would be able to start there in January 1963.
But Mum and Dad Wanted Her to Start Earlier
However, it seems mum and dad were not happy about this and wanted her to start school earlier.
They Lobbied the Chief Education Officer
So, about a week later, mum wrote to the Education Officer, Dr Lincoln Ralphs, about Tricia going to school.
Frederick Lincoln Ralphs
I don’t know if mum or dad knew Frederick Lincoln Ralphs personally but he was a “lay” preacher. I have assumed he was a Methodist preacher as he was born to a Methodist family but the term “lay” preacher would have annoyed mum as, although this term is used in the Anglican church, Methodists call them local preachers. Dr Lincoln Ralphs was pivotal in establishing Wymondham College.
Mum and Dad Continued to Phone and Write to the Education Office
At the end of July 1962, dad phoned the Education Office but mum noted that they would not say anything yet. On 1 August, dad phoned again but there was no-one there so he wrote the next day. I am not completely sure what the purpose or outcome of this phoning and letter writing was.
Tricia Started School Elsewhere
In the meantime, mum and dad decided that Tricia would start school at a private school, St Christopher’s. I don’t know too much about this school or why mum and dad sent Tricia there. Perhaps it was to allow her to start in September 1962 when she would not have been able to start at Kinsale Avenue until January 1963 at the earliest.
St Christopher’s was a mixed, private, primary school on George Hill in Catton, some two miles from where we lived. Apparently, it closed in July 2008 and the building, now called George House, was converted to housing. Based on comments on the Norwich Remembers Facebook Group. it appears the school was run by a couple, Mr and Mrs Adams, and then taken on by their daughter, Wendy, and her husband David Reynolds. They subsequently changed their names to Francois and Elena.
Tricia Started at Kinsale Avenue in April 1963
Tricia only spent two terms at St Christopher’s as, in April 1963, just two weeks before her fifth birthday, she started at Kinsale Avenue school. This was a term later than she had originally been offered by the headmistress. I confess I don’t really understand this!
At the same time that Tricia started at Kinsale Avenue, I started attending nursery school/playgroup at Hellesdon Community Centre. I was almost three and I went two mornings per week, on a Tuesday and Thursday, from 9.15 to 12.15. For this, mum and dad paid six shillings per week. I attended this playgroup until at least June 1965.
Hellesdon Community Pre-School
The Hellesdon Community Pre-School is now located on the Kinsale Avenue site. However, I don’t think I ever attended anything there before starting school.
Dates of Starting School
As far as I can see, mum did not note in her diary when I started school although she did note the relevant date for my three siblings! I wonder if I might have started in September 1965 as there is a photo of me in playgroup, in my baby book, dated June 1965 (see above).
This is a bit odd as Tricia started school when she was four years and four months, Alan, in April 1967, when he was four years and ten months and Liz, in September 1969, when she was four years and six months. If I only started in September 1965, I would have been five years and three months.
I wonder if I actually started school in April 1965 and the photo of me in playgroup was either incorrectly dated or was taken on a visit back there when I was already attending school.
I don’t recall clearly if Kinsale Avenue had a school uniform when I attended. But, there are a number of photos of me and my siblings in clothes, blue ties and jumpers, that look suspiciously like a school uniform, although some of the jumpers look home-knitted.
However, Peter Steward has a photo on his website of his time at Kinsale Avenue School which he estimates was taken in 1959 or 1960. The children are not wearing uniform in that photo.
So, I am grateful to Garry McGinnity, on the Norwich Remembers Facebook page, for confirming that Kinsale Avenue did have a uniform at the time we attended and that this included a blue jumper and tie. He kindly shared a photo of a Kinsale Avenue School trip to Lowestoft from around 1965. Many of the children are wearing ties although the colour cannot be determined as the photograph is black and white. Nevertheless, it seems likely that they were blue.
Among mum’s papers were a number of my school reports from Kinsale Avenue.
Signed by Headmaster Stanley Rowbotham
They were signed by the headmaster, Stanley Rowbotham. Apparently, he was head at Kinsale Avenue from 1966 until he retired in 1980. Until 1976, he was headmaster of the Junior School. Following reorganisation, he took charge of the middle school. I can’t say I recall him!
The Report Format
The reports had spaces for marks and remarks on Maths, English and General Studies. There was also space for general remarks. Generally, the reports were very good
It appears that from 1967 to 1968, I was in 1H and my teacher was S A Hogan. I do not recall her.
In 1968, S A Hogan gave me a B+ for General Studies and noted “mostly good solid work but not always prepared to research thoroughly enough for topic information”. Her general remarks were “Roger has very good all-round ability and if maintains this standard he should do very well”.
From 1968 to 1969, I was in 2B and my teacher was Christine Buffham. Again, I do not recall her.
In 1969, Miss Buffham wrote a combined comment for General Studies and general remarks, “Roger is very capable and extremely hardworking, and has reached a very high standard in all subjects. He is interested and enthusiastic and is a very stimulating influence in the class, contributing very well at all times. His work, as well as being of high standard, is neatly done, very well arranged, and illustrated with art. He has made special contributions in music and dramatic work too. I have enjoyed having him in the class immensely”.
From my 1970 report, it appears that my class teacher was Mr J T Sweeney who is the only teacher from Kinsale Avenue that I remember. I loved football but was particularly hopeless at it!! He encouraged me by making me his assistant in managing the school’s B team. Very occasionally I got to play but not often as I was truly hopeless! At that age, I would have happily swapped any academic ability I had to be good at football!!
I am disappointed that I only clearly remember one teacher from those primary school days. But, it is now more than 50 years OK so perhaps it is understandable. However, others who were at Kinsale Avenue around the same time do remember other teachers including Ms Hogan, Mr Rowbotham, Mrs Osborne, Mr London, Mrs Ingates, Miss Anderson and Mr Potter.
Learning to Swim
I learned to swim while at Kinsale Avenue and I still have swimming certificates from there for 10 and 25 yards. One thing I note from those certificates is that they were signed by the Chief Education Officer, Lincoln Ralphs. Other people recalled receiving similar certificates.