Mrs Ida South retires after teaching for 39 years at West Mersea School
Frank Osborn talking to Mrs Ida South on Lions Talking Magazine number 25 from 1980. She had has just retired from West Mersea School, She taught there for 39 years, and had briefly been a pupil at the same school. When she moved to a primary school at Highgate, she was put up a class because she had learned more at Mersea School. At that time it was one of few primary schools with uniform. Desks were iron with tip up seat, with a canvas bag screwed on the side to hold books. She was taught by Miss Davis who became Mrs Cock. She remembers the 'big boys' (aged up to 13) taking a tank to St Peters Well to bring back water for the school. Underwoods Garage was later built on the site of an orchard near the brickfield. Later she travelled by bus to secondary school at Colchester, the bus would collect children from their homes. She went to college in 1939, having to pay college tuition out of a loan which was paid back out of salary. She began teaching on Mersea during the war. There were lots of soldiers, cinema in the Legion Hall and dancing twice a week. At first the school had no air raid shelter and during raids children and teachers had to take shelter in ditch. The shelters were later built and are still there. School dinners were later provided at the club room behind Legion Hall, organised by Mrs Whiting. In those days people on the island knew everyone and there was lots of open space for children to ramble. Lower Kingsland Road was not made up and lined with blackberry bushes.
This item is part of the Mersea Island Museum Collection. The information is accurate as far as is known, but the Museum does not accept responsibility for errors.