There was a meeting of minds across the generations yesterday at Portsmouth High Junior School as grandparents, great aunts and uncles came into school to share their memories.
Mr Beagley, grandfather to Freya in Reception, shared memories of his childhood in West Marden where he was born in 1944. He explained how in the war years no bananas were available, there was only a choice of porridge for breakfast and sweets were a rarity. Mr Beagley brought in a range of old English money including a very old £5 note and compared its value today. He explained how the lack of electricity made his old nightlight with its oil and wick a valued possession and showed the girls how it worked. Mr Beagley said “I have really enjoyed coming in today and answering the girls’ questions as they are so keen to learn. It is a wonderful opportunity to reflect how times have changed”.
Mrs Williams, grandmother of Imogen in Year 2, brought a scrapbook of pictures of her family in the 1950’s and a telegram notifying relatives of a family birth. Her selection of hats, gloves, a handbag and face mirror were very popular as the girls got to try them on.
Mr Heddersly, grandfather to Bea in Year 6, brought in his carpet beater, rarely seen today with the modern taste for fitted carpets and he explained how food rations affected families during the war years. Girls were also interested to see a washing board and find out how it worked. They were amazed how long washing must have taken for large families years ago.
Amy Atkinson, Year 6 said “It was really interesting to see how things were when our grandparents were children and how different they are now”. Harriet Highnam, Christina Dack and Cara Laffoley-Lane, all Year 6, reflected on the life their grandparents had lived with very few electrical devices and no central heating. The girls concluded the lack of electricity hadn’t been a problem for their grandparents as they had never been used to it and it was only children now looking back who thought it was an issue.
Headmaster Mr Marshallsay said “It was a pleasure to have so many grandparents, great aunts and uncles in school today. Their stories and artefacts enriched the learning for the girls and brought history to life. The grandparents themselves were impressed by the listening and thoughtful questioning of the children. It was a most enjoyable afternoon for all involved”.