East-side and West-side

Everybody was very friendly

Athelstone Walk

This memory recorded by the Welwyn Garden Heritage Trust comes from Pat L who was born in Welwyn Garden City. Her parents had moved to the town from Manchester. The first audio clip recalls life in Athelstan Walk.

Pat’s older sister went to Peartree School then to Hitchin Girls School. From the age of 5 Pat went to Ludwick and Peartree Schools, then, as the family had moved to from the East to the West side of town, she went to Parkway School before following her sister to Hitchin Girls School.

Parkway “was a good little school – the headteacher a Miss Coe who was an absolute dragon and we were all petrified of her including our parents. She was well known. She had a little grey car which I remember to this day that when we saw it coming we had to hide or dip out of the way we were so frightened of her. She used to give me jobs to do like going to the bank and I was only a child of ten whatever – I had to go to the bank with this money and go and collect things. I suppose she thought I was trustworthy, I don’t know, she really frightened me.

Mr Owen I remember and he taught general subjects. There was one more teacher but I cannot remember her name but she was very handy with the ruler and she would smack you on the legs if she thought you misbehaved. We had quite an area we could do sports in not that I was very gifted in the sports direction.

We lived in Barleycroft Road by that time so we had moved by then to the Parkway area and we were there until my father died… my parents rented it from a private buyer and they rented it for years and it was ten shillings a week and my father used to say “why give up this ten shillings a week just to buy this house?” but my mother persuaded him that it would be good and that my sister and I would benefit so eventually they did, but it wasn’t until the 1950s I think that they did buy it. It was a nice road and everybody was very friendly.”

This page was added on 25/06/2011.

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  • I lived in Bythe Mount off Broadwater Road from the age of 18 months and started my schooldays in 1936 at Parkway School where Miss Coe was headmistress. My first teacher was called Miss Southwell and I loved her. I remember a rocking horse in the classroom. I next went into Miss Roit’s class – she was a bit of a dragon, as was the headmistress. I remember that Miss Roit’s classroom had Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” written out above the blackboard I had just learned to read and was fascinated with the poem but as I stood looking up at it one day Miss Roit got very cross with me and told me to “Stop staring around, go to your seat and sit down”. I was quite upset about it and I thought, but didn’t dare to say “Why do you put it up there then, if people aren’t allowed to read it?” My mother had a bit of a row with Miss Coe and I was taken away from there and went to Peartree School and thence to Handside.

    By Joan Wray (14/02/2017)
  • I was in Mr Owens class in 1948. He taught class 4A, which was the top class. We sat six to a table which were numbered 1 to 8 and we moved up or down after regular tests. 65 years later, off the top of my head, I can remember others in the class: John Allen, David Wren, Michael Kirby, Brian Catlin, John Brogan, John Dunn, Kenneth Hunt, Alison Silvey, Audrey Frater, Margaret Cohen, Margaret Powell, Susan Jones, Georgina Young Isobel Anderson.

    By Roy Taylor (02/12/2013)