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Halfway Memories

Below are a collection of memories from various people who attended Halfway Houses Primary School over the years, these memories were collected together to help commemorate the schools Centenary in 2011 and later when the school moved to new premises in October 2016. 


Our old school was built in 1910; it was opened to pupils on the 9th January 1911. 


There were 54 children on roll aged between 5-14 years old.


School started at 9am and finished at 4pm. 


There have been many building additions to our school over the years, including a new hall, kitchen, conservatory, staffroom and offices. A new entrance to our school was opened in 1968, leading from Southdown Road

(A bungalow had to be demolished to make way for the entrance).


Our old school buildings closed on 12th October 2016 and we moved to our new purpose built school in Danley Road Halfway on 31st October 2016.


A very big "Thank You" to everyone who has contributed and are still contributing.


On Saturday 8th October 2016 Halfway Houses was open to passed pupils and staff to visit and say their 'goodbyes' to the old buildings.

The school has been open since 1910 and many of the visitors who came along to reminisce about the good old days bought along photos and happy memories of their time at Halfway Houses.

Miss Borner who both attended the school as a child and went on to teach at the school for 34 years was the honoured guest, with many of her pupils coming along to chat about their childhood.

The famous crocodile made an appearance for the last time before going off to the Heritage Centre, along with numerous photographs, certificates, trophies and letters.

On the following Monday all the present pupils at halfway had the opportunity to browse the exhibits before they were all packed away. 

Video covering the schools history

Still image for this video


Ros Brown's Family at Halfway

Below are a collection of photographs from the 1950's and 1977, Ros Brown and her parents kindly donated them to the school. Ros now works at Halfway Houses School! 


Chris Pollard's photos from the 1960's.

I had the pleasure of attending the school from 1960 - 66 (approx). I recently came across these photographs and thought you might like to use them for your open day on 8 Oct 16. By sheer fate I now live behind the school, in Adelaide Gardens, so it is true - what comes around etc. I am now 61 years old and have many fond memories of the school but like everyone I have forgotten way more than I can remember! As a young lad I enjoyed charging around the school grounds and in those days, the boys had the Working Men's Club side playground and the girls the other. We used to play the sport of the season. I used to walk from Noreen Avenue to the school, with my mates, from about 7 years old. Anyway, enough of my ramblings, I will bore the Grandchildren with them. 



Halfway's Centenary Celebration


The week commencing January 10th 2011 Halfway Houses school celebrated its Centenary by holding a week of fun activities, covering the different eras 1911-2011, talking to past teachers/staff, dressing-up, writing down their memories of school so far, giving past pupils/staff a chance to visit the school on an "open" day, making "hand-print" canvases, plus many other activities, ending the week with a day of dressing up 1911 style.




A few memories from Patricia Trill


I was a pupil at the school from 1956 until 1961, starting with Miss Davies in 1956 (Miss Borner was the entry class which I missed) and ending with Mr Reynold's class in 1961. (My brother was also there from 1945 to 1951).
My headteacher throughout was Mr Lester Tombs, who wrote in my autograph book, (we all had one then) " The man who knows how, will always have a job; the man who knows why, will be the boss".
We used to play Stoolball then, on the field behind what was then Halfway Working Mens' Club (the club is still there). Most people haven't heard of stoolball.
Anyway, I thought I would send you a photo of my class in 1961  with Mr Reynolds, who was a great teacher (along with Miss Cooper, Mr Burley and Miss Sinclair).



My memories are mainly picture fragments and hard to put into words. However -
Mrs Cooper gave me a lifelong love of poetry which we had to copy out and learn - I still know them by heart today. The Thrush's Nest by John Clare, Weathers by Thomas Hardy, Spring by Robert Browning etc and also we sang, even then, old fashioned rousing British songs - The Vicar of Bray, Hearts of Oak etc. I remember once we were behaving badly with the song books, using them for a bat to whack pieces of paper and we got caught. The girls escaped with a telling off, but the boys got the ruler.
The playground games seasons drifted in and out with a will of their own. For a few weeks everyone was playing two-ball and then suddenly no-one was, we were all playing hopscotch or skipping or marbles or one of the other crazes. There were a couple of singing games which were only occasional and involved large groups: 'Here-we-go gathering nuts in May' and 'The big ship sails on the alley alley oh......'
For sports we had netball, rounders and stoolball and played matches against other schools. In the summer we were bused down to the Sheerness Baths - outside baths of course then and sometimes it was freeeeeeeezing. The temperature was written in chalk as you went through the turnstile on the way in. 63 degrees (Fahrenheit of course) was about the minimum I remember and it was Cold with a capital C.
Mr Marsh was the school crossing man for, I think, my whole time at the school. Of course he knew everybody by name and always had a chat. Most people lived within 'going home for dinner distance' of the school. I didn't know any mothers who worked, so that wasn't the problem it would be these days.
No measles vaccinations then, so once someone caught it, then it spread though out the class like wildfire, similarly chickenpox. Polio was rare, no cases while I was at school that I can remember but at least one boy had temporary calipers on one leg as a result of contracting polio in the early 50's when there was an outbreak in Sheerness.
It was a happy time and a lovely school to grow up in.



1953 Houses of Parliament visit


This wonderful photograph was taken about a week after the Queens Coronation in June 1953, it shows some of Halfway Houses children and staff on the terrace overlooking the Thames in the Houses of Parliament London.



Below are a few more photographs from the 1950's.

There is Mr Hogans class, Mrs Coopers class and Mr Hargreaves class among them.





Mr David Mitchell's memories (continued)


Mr Mitchell has been in contact again and added some more information about our school.

He says the girl in this 1930 photograph, kneeling, with the ribbon round her waist is Tony Crosse's mum.

(The girl next to her wasn't very pleased to be there, was she?)


Mr Mitchell also gave us the photograph of the 1954/5 football team and has now given us a clearer picture and listed the boys.



If you zoom in on the ball, you can just make out "1st XI" in chalk.

Here are the names of the boys in the football team:

Back row, L to R: Ian Ballard; John Bostock; Peter Rothwell; Me !!; Colin Davis; Richard (George) Harris; David Lax; John Hart.

Front row, L to R: Trevor Robins; John Moore; Colin (?) Wellard; Geoffrey Martin; Jim Smith.

And of course Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Tombs.

I was truly happy at the school, and I distinctly remember a story told by "Pop" Reynolds, from his time in a POW camp:

A game of cricket had been organised between teams made up from the British and French troops, making use of equipment supplied by the British Red Cross.

The French weren't too familiar with the game, and one of their fielders was positioned towards the camp perimeter fence.

A well-struck ball was skied towards the "boundary", and a shout went up, warning the Frenchman of it's approach

Apparently, he offered the Gaulic shrug and nonchalantly headed the ball which instantly floored him!!...........

I also remember Mr. Reynolds asking me if I was left- or right-footed. I replied that I could kick with both feet, to which he said, "Not both at the same time, I hope".........

It's strange how we remember the most insignificant things.



1964/67 Memories from Mark Goddard


Mark was a pupil at Halfway School from 1961-1967.

Two photographs from 1964 & 1965.




His Mother Margaret was Douglas Bourne's secretary from 1966 to 1977.

The photo below was taken in 1966/7, the teacher is Mr Weeks.

The other image shows a report card from 1961.




Mark says he can see that the school still seems to be the same happy place that he left more than 40 years ago.



Images from the Past


Above are two of the oldest photographs given to the school during the Centenary celebrations.

The first shows some of Halfway's children in "Banners Meadow" at the bottom of Bat & Ball Hill Minster Road on Empire Day, we are not sure of the date but estimate around the 1920's.

The second photograph, we think, was also taken around the 1920's and it shows Halfway Houses Council Netball Team.



These two photographs date from around the 1950's, they show the old kitchens-outside & inside- attached to, what was then, the main school building.



The next two photographs show the inside of the main school building, as it was then, around the 1950's.The children are having their lunch in their classrooms.



These two pictures show the horsa huts, which were erected around the mid 1950's, it shows all fields around the buildings, but today that area has been concreted over for the playground and other buildings have been erected both in front and to the side of the huts, part of the field remains but the main school building, built in the 1960's, covers much of the top field in the right hand photograph. 



A selection of photographs covering various family members sent in by Mrs Carol Day (nee Castle)





Mr Burleys Class 4 from 1960, Miss Browns Class 10 from 1968, Miss Streets Class around the end of the 1980's and another class photo from around the 1980's.



Halfways old log books


As part of our Centenary celebrations the children in Halfway Houses School looked at the old log books and punishment book.


They read the various information, looking at different styles of writing, some easier than others to decipher! Seeing how the school was run on a day to day basis. The older children studied the written  word and had debates about the justice or injustice of some of the punishments fitting the “crimes”.


Adults too enjoyed perusing the pages, some reminiscing about old times, others just fascinated by the history that the books  revealed.


Below are links to 2 PowerPoints showing some of the pages from these books, we hope you enjoy reading them as much as we have, please be patient when downloading they may take awhile.



Memories from Cynthia Bond (nee Werrin)



My dad, Sam Werrin ( back row, far right ), taught at Halfway for many years. Mr Tombs was headmaster when he started.  My dad is now in his 90's and lives in Plymouth.
He used to take the boys for book craft whilst the girls did needlework. They used to make autograph books, photo albums and magic wallets. I can remember the smell of the hard white glue they used. He also had enthusiasm for nature study and science. There was the experiment where water was boiled in a large oil can to make steam, the lid was put on then it crumpled when it was plunged into cold water (hot air takes up more space than cold),and he'd spread a large sheet of newspaper over a length of wood, get one of the boys to hit the wood & make the newspaper fly into the air, which of course it didn't because air pressure kept the paper where it was and the length of wood broke.

I was born in 1953 and have a couple of stories you might be able to use. I was in Miss Borner's reception class and we had pencils to write with. Someone broke their pencil and was given a new one.  I thought I'd like a new pencil so I put mine across the top of my head and pulled both ends so that it broke in the middle. Miss Borner stuck the two pieces together with sellotape and I had to keep that pencil until it got short enough that the fat sellotaped part wouldn't fit in the sharpener. I had a lesson in waste prevention!

I used to have to wait for my dad to finish teaching his class so that I could go home with him. He had a wooden seat which he had made for me on the back of his moped. If it was fine I'd play on the climbing frame in the playground, which wouldn't pass today's health & safety regulations!  But usually I'd to go to the kitchen and spend time with Mrs Lees who was the school cook.  She let me help with cleaning & tidying the kitchen. I still write to her every Christmas and she to me. She still lives in the same house in Minster. Her Gypsy Tart was legendary. I still have the recipe she hand wrote for me. I was in my dad's class for a year, which was a strange experience. I had to call him 'sir' in class. Some of my classmates thought I got preferential treatment, but it was rather the reverse. I was always last to be chosen for anything.
We used to have cycling proficiency training in the playgrounds. They were marked up like main roads. I used to cycle to school every day from Sheerness and I took the test. I got 98% and was a News of the World Knight of the Road. I hope you have an enjoyable day for your celebrations. I was happy at that school and hope the current pupils are too.

Cynthia Bond (nee Werrin)



A selection of photographs from 1978 to 1984 from Mrs Cheryl Bailey






Halfway in the 70's


 A big thank you to Mrs Alison Butcher (nee Cook) for the above photographs a colour photo of Class 3 1979 with full class names and teacher on the scroll. Also a photo taken November 1977 in black and white.

Ros Brown and Debbie Cuozzo who both work at Halfway also appear in the left hand photograph dated 1979. 



Schooldays at Halfway in the 1920's


1. Pre-School memories 
At the invitation of Mr McDermot the Headmaster, I can remember standing on a table and singing to the whole school before I had started as a pupil. I think that my brothers and sisters (I was the 7th of 8 children) had thought this would be a laugh.
2. Joining "the babies" 
I started school at five years of age in January 1921. It was very cold in the babies. The teacher was Mrs O'Connor. Once only we had sand in a tray and a wooden stick to make drawings, I expect it was too messy to let us do it again. I was chosen one day to stand out in front of the class holding a baby doll while we all sang Rock-a-bye-Baby, and I remember my arms ached because the doll was heavy.
3. Living across the road from the school. 
I lived exactly opposite the school and I could cross the road directly into the playground because there was a dry ditch with fencing, so children could squeeze between the fence instead of using the main gates. The six year olds were the next class up, but were on the other side in the same room. Here there was a coal fire, but the room was still very cold.
4. Standard 2 
Mrs Heggerty who lived along Queenborough Road took the next class, Standard 2. We used to say our multiplication tables in a sing-song way in her class. Before lessons each morning we all went into the big classroom with dividing doors which, when closed, made the babies, the six year olds and Standard 2. We had morning prayers before going to our respective classes. Hats and coats were hung on hooks at the entrance, where there were also wash basins with cold water, but there were hot pipes running along where we used to sit in Standard 2.
5. Standard 3 with my favourite teacher & Standard 4 
Mrs Sanderson took Standard 3. This was across the quadrangle and I didn't want to leave her class to go up to the next one, as she was my favourite teacher. Miss Meagan in Standard 4 was Irish and wore shamrock on St Patrick's Day. While I was in her class she married and became Mrs Cooper, we all called her Fanny Cooper! She was a very good all-round teacher, taking us for country dancing and PT (Physical Training) as well as netball as an after school activity. Besides the usual subjects she also taught needlework and knitting.
6. Punishments 
From the time of Standard 3 we had a new Headmaster, Mr Andrews, who was very strict. He had lost two fingers during the First World War. Mrs Cooper would cane us across the knuckles if we were naughty. Once I had to write 100 lines for eating an apple in school. The apple was a Blenheim, and because of this I learnt how to spell it.
7. Different lessons for boys & girls 
One afternoon a week, one classroom was divided so that Mrs Cooper took the girls for needlework and Mr Smith (we called him Smut) took the boys for gardening (indoors!). I preferred to try to listen to him instead of doing the needlework.
8. Mid-day break 
We had one and a half hours' break from school for our dinner, from 12 noon to 1.30pm. Before leaving for home we sang grace, "Be present at our table Lord" etc. On returning to school after lunch we stood to say another grace, "We thank thee Lord for this our food", but there were no school dinner's then, and school milk was long after my time.
9. Songs, books & composition 
Mr Smith took the 5th class and was also quite strict. He taught us nice songs, and would read to us on some Friday afternoons, exciting stories such as Treasure Island. On other Friday afternoons we had silent reading for the last period. I quite enjoyed composition and learning recitations. There were always prayers at the end of each day.
10. Preparing for the world of work 
In my last term at Halfway School we went to Sheerness Broadway School one afternoon a week to learn three subjects in rotation: Cookery, Housewifery and Laundry. I can't remember if we had a special bus or not, but I doubt it.
11. Games 
During the last half year of my school days at Halfway the school bought a piece of grassed ground behind the school and it became a play and games area. Before that time we had just had the playground-one side for the girls and the other for the boys. Our netball matches were played in the boy's part. I was quite good at netball and was "help-shoot".
12. The last two years of school life 
At Christmas we had a party in our schoolroom, we were asked to bring Christmas fare. My mother, I remember, made my sister Nancy and myself a real Christmas cake each, we were excited and pleased to take them and cut them up for all our friends. My mother was an excellent cook.

Mr Lewellen was our caretaker and had a coke fire down in the basement. If we were lucky enough sometimes to get a potato from home and take it to him, he would pop it into the hot fire and we could eat it at playtime.
The girl's lavatories were across the playground and there were about eight of them, next to them were the youngest boys' lavatories. There was no roof over the building and no basin to wash your hands. "Please can I leave the room?" was often asked, but once Mrs Cooper made someone wait too long!She needed the patience of Job, I expect.

I left school at 14 years of age. My birthday was the day before the very last day of the Christmas term and I didn't go into school on that last day. I must have been a hopeless case.
Each New Year after the long summer holidays there was a peculiar smell of paint, as the blackboards had been repainted. We all started with new notebooks and for the first few pages the writing was my best. It deteriorated towards the end. Mrs Cooper would give a nice small tick if things were correct and a large cross if they were wrong.
Our school was divided into four teams with colours; you might call them "houses" today. The Normans were yellow, the Saxons were mauve, the Romans were red and the Danes were green. I was a Saxon, being better at PT than my lessons. I was also very good at running, and was always first in a race. Pity I wasn't better in the school work.
Chrissie Thomas
Bognor Regis,
West Sussex.




Memories from Una Galliers (nee Woods)



We're very grateful to Una for sending us her memories of Halfway Houses School.

Dear Halfway School,
My daughter found your website last year and I asked her to send you an email with some information that I remembered from my time at Halfway Primary School during the 1930's and early 1940's.

I was very amused to see pictures of the crocodile skin on the school website. I remember that it hung on the wall in the Headmaster's office the whole time that I was at Halfway.

On the wall in the main schoolroom/hall there was an Honours Board naming those who had passed examinations for the Dockyard School. My brother, Charles Wood, was named on it for the late 1920's.

I have found a photo of my class in 1941. We were in the last year of the juniors and would be around 11 years of age. I thought that you might like a photocopy for your centenary archive. I am seated on the front row, fifth from the right. My name was Una Woods. I can remember many of the faces but unfortunately now cannot remember full names.

We played Stool Ball as our school game. I remember spending time sitting in the air raid shelter (in the photo) singing songs while air raids were in progress.
I hope that the picture may be of use to you for the centenary.

With best wishes
Una Galliers (nee Woods) 



National Savings


The certificate above was issued to Halfway Houses School in 1928 as part of the National Savings Scheme, it was found in an office drawer recently.
This certificate reminded Mrs Jennings, who also worked at Halfway School for many years, when she was a little girl at Halfway she saved a shilling a week in a savings scheme at the school.
After about a year her family could go to the Post Office and take the money out, it was an easy way to save money for more expensive times like Christmas.


This is an extract from an email Mr. David Mitchell sent the school.


I was born in 1944, in a row of houses not far from The White House, Minster, in what used to be called Scrapsgate Road, but is now a continuation of The Broadway. The houses were known (possibly still are) as "Coastguard Cottages". No. 6 should have the blue plaque ( !! ).
I went to Minster CP School at first, but after my Grandfather died in 1953, we moved to his bungalow in Darlington Drive (off Parsonage Chase) and I subsequently attended Halfway CP School (As it was then called). Good job, too, it was by all accounts a much better education, and I passed the eleven plus straight through to Borden Grammar School, as did many of my peers.
I think I was a happy child at Halfway. I recall one lunch-time that I'd thought that I'd reached the end of the day, and it wasn't until I'd got halfway home that I realised that I should be at school, and at lunch !! Aaah, the drippy mind of a ten-year-old.
Pupils would often be selected to read a passage from The Bible at morning assembly. My turn came one morning, and I walked nervously to the small lectern. I can't remember the passage, but it involved somebody being told by God to "Gird his loins". I pronounced "loins" as "Lions". I still cringe to this day.
I recall telling "Pop" Reynolds that I could kick a football with both feet, hoping that it would secure me a place in goal. "Not both at once I hope!" was his jocular reply.
I have to say that I've enjoyed reading and looking at your school website - my, how times have changed. I had to chuckle at the "sharing" of the Woodpecker Class's Guinea Pigs at weekends - Crikey! our parents would be lucky if we remembered to take our pull-overs home at weekends !!

Below are 2 photographs dated around 1955 showing the school football team ( Mr Mitchell is in the back row 4th from the left ) and 1960's Mr Reynolds class ( Mr Mitchell is in the 2nd row 5th from the right )



Here are the names of the boys in the football team:

Back row, L to R: Ian Ballard; John Bostock; Peter Rothwell; Me !!; Colin Davis; Richard (George) Harris; David Lax; John Hart.


Front row, L to R: Trevor Robins; John Moore; Colin (?) Wellard; Geoffrey Martin; Jim Smith.

And of course Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Tombs.


Once again a very big thank you to everyone who contributed to this webpage, helping the school learn about its past and bring back memories for both former pupils and staff.



Get in Touch

  • Halfway Houses Primary SchoolDanley Road, Sheerness, Isle of Sheppey,Kent, ME12 3AP

  • 01795 662875