John A Bateson, former Mayor of Kendal, recalls primary school trips of the past

UNTIL the mid 1960s it was usual for Kendal primary schools to organise day excursions for their pupils, not by motor coach, but by specially hired train.

As a pupil at Kendal Parish Church (Kirkland) School, I was able to enjoy four of these delightful days out to different locations across the country.

Always taking place in early June, these excursions were well organised and timetabled to fit in with the regular rail service.

The school’s headmaster, Sam Inglesfield, gave the instructions to pupils to line up ‘crocodile style’ (a phrase I have never forgotten) at Kendal station forecourt to await orderly entry into the awaiting carriages.

Those few of us who lived in Oxenholme were allowed to join there.

The four destinations I visited were Whitley Bay, Whitby, Chester and Largs, all considerably distant from Kendal, ensuring a good, long train journey.

One teacher, Mrs Haygarth, refused to join us on the Chester trip, as she disapproved of zoos.

Once we arrived at our destination we were accompanied by teachers, yet free to enjoy the various amusements along the way.

My first task on arrival at Whitley Bay was to send a postcard home, which, of course, arrived the following day!

We were all tired when we rejoined the train in the late afternoon, and armed with the various presents we had bought enjoyed the long journey home.

Today rail excursions are still organised, but I doubt we shall see a revival of school days out by hired train. They were hugely enjoyable and memorable