Memory Lane: Classmates

Deputy head girl Norma Sheffield (now Mrs Broadbridge) is on the centre row, fourth from right, next to Layton Hill Convent headmistress Mother Mary Frideswide

Deputy head girl Norma Sheffield (now Mrs Broadbridge) is on the centre row, fourth from right, next to Layton Hill Convent headmistress Mother Mary Frideswide

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THE former junior school of Layton Hall Convent was demolished earlier this week, now little more than a pile of rubble on St Walburgas Road, Layton, as the £22.5m redevelopment of what is now St Mary’s College continues.

Today, another old girl of the former convent shares her memories, together with this photograph, taken in summer 1950.

Norma Broadbridge (nee Sheffield), writes: “I was at the school between 1941 and 1951, the first two years being spent in the junior school. It was a very happy 10 years, and I am still in touch with a number of my classmates.

“I stayed in touch with some of the nuns who taught me until they died.

“We had a party to celebrate the end of the war, and I have no idea where the cakes came from. Perhaps the nuns had saved up their rations. The school was relatively isolated, as the Grange Park estate had not been built.

“I often used to cycle to school from Norbreck, about three miles, but there were very few cars.

“There were two parallel classes in the senior school. We had a full academic timetable, though with little choice of subjects, even when we got to the School Certificate level (now years 10 and 11).

“After one year in the senior school, we were streamed with one class taking Latin, and the other taking domestic science.”

Norma adds: “We wore dark green tunics, which had to touch the floor when kneeling down, with a blouse or jumper in winter and a green dress in summer. Outdoor uniform was a coat or raincoat, plus a felt hat in winter, a blazer and panama hat in summer.”

She recalls: “The building was spacious and well-maintained, with the corridors lovingly polished. The nuns were strict, but fair and kind and we had to curtsey as they passed.

“Quite a number of girls left after taking School Certificate and went straight into jobs, but those who stayed in the sixth form had the choice of a wide range of subjects.”

n Norma would like to hear from old classmates at normabroadbridge1@btinternet.com.