Thursday, 23 March 2017

Who remembers Traffic School in Derby?

Traffic School in 1990
My mother, uncle and I guess both my great grandmother Eliza and her younger sister Maria, all attended Traffic Street School in Derby.

It is also just possible that Eliza and Maria’s brothers and cousins will also have gone through the place  and  during the 1950s I will have passed it many times as a young boy.

All of which links my family to that school in a seamless path from when it opened in 1879 till its closure and demolition at the end of the last century.

Now I have no recollection of the school.  After all when you are eight and on your summer holidays staying with your grandparents the last thing you want to do is go visiting a school.

So all I have are a few stories from when my mother attended the place in the 1920s, some photographs taken just before it was demolished and a collection of  memories which followed  a  newspaper article I wrote for the Daily Telegraph in 2013.

But it will not be unlike the ones I attended in London.

Traffic Street School in 1895
It was a Board School built to a basic design which ensured it was warm in winter and cool in summer with tall windows that let in plenty of light but prevented bored students from gazing out onto the world beyond the classroom.

The rooms were large with big open fire places and these rooms let out on to a corridor or directly on a spacious hall.

And they have stood the test of time.  Long after their successors built in the optimistic 1950s and 60s have been pulled down, plenty of those Board Schools still do the business.

Traffic Street School, 1960
So I rather think I know what Traffic Street was like.

That said what was taught and how it was taught had undergone some dramatic changes by the time I was going through Edmund Waller Infants and Juniors.

True there was still learning by rote, and corporal punishment, but the atmosphere was gentler than when my mother and uncle went to school.

And now I feel it’s time to ask for memories of Traffic Street.

Pictures; Traffic School entrance, and infants classroom from the collection of Cynthia Wigley, and extract from Kelly’s Street Directory Derby, 1895

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