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|Subject: Lingfield Secondary School Farming Course
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Date Posted: 15:33:46 04/25/06 Tue
I remember Lingfield in the late 1950s. I was living in Wimbledon and had been attending school in Norbiton near Kingston-upon-Thames when I got place on the Farming Course provided at the School in Lingfield. I recall the day in 1957 wheb my father and I came by train to the school for an interview with the Headmaster. My father was very taken with the village and the beauty of the countryside. I remember we had tea and scones, after the interview was over, in the Olde Tea Shop near the village pond.
The Farming Course took boys and girls from Surrey and adjoining counties for the three year course. We did the usual range of school subjects plus agricultural science and practical farming and horticultural work. In the third year two students spent a day in rotation on the farm under the guidance of Joe(?)Grace from Co. Tipperary. With only about 15 students in 3rd year this meant a day on the school farm about every two weeks.
The Agricultural Science classes were provided by Mr Austin Shorney. My wonderful English teacher was Mrs Esmie Gould, I can also remember Mr McEntaggart, who managed to teach me the basics of trigonometry, and Mr Morgan who enthused me and others about geography in its widest sense. Other teachers there that I can remember were Mr & Mrs Laycock and before I left there was a new Head - a Mr Williams. I can remember the appearance of other teachers but not their names.
Because so many of us lived far away from the school the County Council funded many of us to live in digs from Monday to Friday. Mine were with a Mr and Mrs Hunt. Mr Hunt worked on the railways and Mrs Hunt worked in the school canteen. I was very thin in those days and she made sure that not only did I have a proper school lunch but that I had another large meal that evening and milk and biscuits before going to bed (much later that I was permitted at home).
Sadly I had to leave Mrs Hunt because my father's infatuation with the sylvan groves of the countryside got the better of him and he rented a house out on the Lewes Road on the other side of East Grinstead - the house had been that of Sir Archibold McIndoe the famous plastic surgeon and had splendid grounds and views overlooking the old Bluebell Railway that still ran in 1958. He didn't stick the commute for long,however, and we moved again after a year to Caterham to be nearer the office in London. But I continued to attend school in Lingfield.
While in Lingfield I recall a number of features, the beautiful old sandstone church, the blacksmith's forge and on race days the exotic motor cars that thronged the street outside the school on their way to the racecourse. I used to be excused from Assembly as an RC and once a week, on Wednesday mornings I served Mass at the nearby Roman Catholic Church, which was then a small little prefabricated building, and on Wednesday's was always 10 minutes late for Science class. While staying with Mrs Hunt I can remember many evenings spent cycling around the roads and leafy lanes of the district. Truely an idyllic time.
One of the high points of my time at the school in Lingfield was a school outing to France in 1959. We departed from Godstone station to Folkstone and then by ship to Boulonge where we had about five hours on French soil. I remember Mr Shorney permitting us to have a small glass of wine with our lunch provided we diluted it with water. Very brave of him.
To see the pictures and drawings of the village brought back so many pleasant memories of my three years in Lingfield (57-60). My family returned to Ireland in 1960 and apart from a brief visit to the school in 1963 I have not been in that part of England since. I gather the school and the farming course are no more.
Hope this stroll down memory lane was not too tedious.
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