Northend Secondary Modern School was in Leigh Road, the main route into Eastleigh from Chandlers Ford. The School opened its doors to pupils in 1939, Rod being one of them. The School at that time was in almost a rural setting apart from Prices Bakery, a large bakery producing what was then, well known for its bread and cakes which was next door. To the west of bakery was Oak Mount Road, bounding a meadow with Monks Brook on its western side and the boundary or the start of buildings of Chandlers Ford. To the South of the school there was a Farm and to the west another field.
To the north was a tree clad embankment of the Eastleigh/ Romsey railway line beyond which was woodland. Air Raid shelters, [I think there was at least four] were set very close to the embankment, they were the same design as the one at Kings Road Primary School, being above ground with a covering of earth which quickly grassed over and like the one at the primary school, probably only used once, They were set quite a distance from the actual school buildings so one would hope that in the event of a raid there would have been plenty of time to get all the classes and staff into them from the time the siren went off and before the enemy planes were overhead.
The plan of the school was in the form of a ‘F’ with twelve or more uniformed sized rooms set on two floors facing Leigh Road, this block also included the girls toilets, a quite wide corridor gave access to all the class rooms, running north from this south facing block was another block of specialist class rooms on the upper floor including the Art Room, Science, Woodwork and Needlework together with their store rooms.
On the ground floor was the administration rooms including the staff and headmasters room and also, I think, Domestic Science [ Cookery].and at the very end was the boiler room, again the access to these rooms was via wide tiled corridors and opposite the main door to the school and about midway along this block was a branch which contained a gym with boys and girls changing rooms and showers and equipment store, The gym which also had a stage was used for morning assembly, on the upper floor was the canteen and kitchens. There was three stair wells connecting the two floors, two of which were built concrete as were the floors the third stair case which was set at the most westerly end of the south facing block was made of wood and supposedly only temporary as the school was incomplete at its opening..
Outside the School Buildings were two areas of asphalt, one to the north of the gym block was for boys only and the other running the full length of the admin block was for girls only, A large roofed Bicycle shed abutting the boiler room separated the two. To the east of the girls playground was a playing field and there was another north of boys play ground. .A large area occupying in the northwest of the plot was set aside for gardening and horticulture a subject that boys in the B, C and D stream classes had to do.
The class rooms on the south side of the school were also Form Rooms where each class had a Form Master or Mistress and where the attendance register was called at the same time each of these rooms were set aside for a specific subject, room 1 was music Mr Trayhorn, room 2 English and French, Miss Hayter, room 3 Maths and Algebra, Miss Piper, etc., Miss Piper was my Form Mistress throughout my time at senior school, I liked her well enough but I cannot say the same for Miss Hayter who although very strict failed to inspire me in anyway. The problem I had with both of these teachers was that French and Algebra was not taught in the B stream where I had spent my first term therefore those of us that had been promoted missed the very important basis of these subjects and there was no attempt to make up those lost lessons, I remember on my first French lesson standing up as was the custom as Miss Hayter entering the room she immediately addressed the class in French and class responded in French and I hadn’t a clue what was being said, the class had already learnt to count up to a hundred, knew the French for all the main household items and could put together simple sentences in French, be able to ask what the time was and tell what the time was.
Being dyslexic and struggling with spelling in English I now found that to spell in this new language doubly difficult and although I never came bottom of the class I never far above it. This also applied to Algebra, the teacher never explained what the subject was all about and like French the existing class were already well ahead in the subject before I joined them and although I managed to do better in time I never truly understood the subject nor its relevance to my life. Science and Chemistry were also problem subjects for the same reasons as French and Algebra in the class was at a more advanced stage than in the B stream and there were no ‘catch up’ lessons although I did manage to catch up a bit over the following years. Mr. Bean was the Science teacher and probable the strictest of all the teachers, there was very little mucking about in his class and it was uncanny how accurate he was, when facing and writing on the blackboard, could suddenly turn around and throw the chalk and hit the person with it who was making any kind of disturbance in his lesson.
Although Rod had left junior school the term I started Pat had not but I cannot remember going to school nor coming home with her nor anyone else, this was equally true of senior school where again Rod had left before I started but Pat and I, although going from the same house at more or less the same time in the morning and coming home at roughly the same time, seemed not to have done so together. Although the age difference between Pat and I is under eighteen months in terms of school years there was a greater difference, Pat was born in June and therefore started school in September the start of any school year but me being born in November had to wait until the following September before I could start which added almost another year in terms of class difference.
To get to the new school meant catching a bus, initially this was from down the bottom of Hursley Road near the station and at the start of Park Road and opposite what was then the Railway Hotel now called the Monks Brook but about a year later the bus started from the junction of Park Road and Common Road, although the new starting point was nearer home it meant travelling through the un-adopted muddy, puddled and rutted lane which often lead to starting the school day with very dirty shoes, defeating our efforts of cleaning them everyday, on top of that it was almost impossible to negotiate the lane when it was at its muddiest without your trousers becoming mud splashed as well as your shoes.