Dorothy Hornby, nee Grisedale, 83, of Milnthorpe, who lived at Scalthwaiterigg Stocks Farm near Mealbank, recalls attending Mealbank School from 1933 to 1939.
MEALBANK was a small village, with a small school – very small by today’s standards. Most of the pupils lived in the village, with others coming from hamlets and farms.
Some had bikes, but mostly they walked to school. In winter one girl from Whinfell left home in the dark and it was dark again when she got home.
The school had two classrooms; the smaller one partitioned off for infants.
I’m not quite sure when an ‘infant’ became old enough to move into the bigger room – six or seven perhaps.
Mrs Taylor taught the infants and Miss Greenwood the older ones.
There were lessons in reading, writing and arithmetic; some history and geography. Arithmetic tables were recited aloud; I still find this useful today but hated it at the time!
The big room was heated by a large coal-fired stove, around which we all huddled before classes in winter. Sometimes we’d have nature walks, and once we visited the reservoir at Hayfell to collect frog-spawn.
Sometimes we played games outside – rounders, and stoolball, which is rather like cricket, played with a round long-handled bat. The wicket is square, on a pole about shoulder height; the ball is smaller and bowled underarm.
At Christmas, we’d make calendars from card covered in wallpaper from sample books, with a picture and a small calendar struck on.
We’d also make paper chains from the samples.
Some travelling vans would visit the village with fish and chips, or confectionery. These were for the mill workers, but we used them as well.