Dishing out education where McDonald’s now serves fries

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This bunch of cheeky chaps were smiling for the camera at St Francis of Assisi School in 1949-50.

The picture was owned by Crawley ex-pat Frank Burden, who moved to Courtenay, British Columbia.

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Mr Burden attended the school when it stood roughly where McDonalds is now, in Haslett Avenue West.

Only half of the school’s population is shown in the picture, the other half being the girls and three or four nuns.

Pondering his school days compared to the options available to today’s generation of youngsters,

Mr Burden said: “This method of communication is far superior than the old slate and chalk we used at the school in the early days.

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“I well remember sitting on the floor with the little slate board (about 10ins x 12ins) and the stick of chalk practising our letters. I also remember too well the crack across the knuckles we got when we got the letter wrong or broke the chalk.”

Mr Burden, who was a teacher, provided a list of names for the boys in the picture.

The back row includes: Michael Goldsmith, Colin Arnold, Michael Emery, Dennis Stoner, Neville Hooks, John Benn, Desmond Dooner, Terry Comper, Bobby Exley.

Second row includes: Alan Bailey, Terry Mould, Colin ‘Bubs’ Stoner, Peter Burden, Paul Moore, Ivan desWart, David Samson, Edward Raines, Michael Brackpool.

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Third row includes: Gerald Morris, Richard ‘Panny’ Masters, John Dooner, Aubrey Winch, Teddy Dooner, John Fitzpatrick.

Fourth row includes: Derek Edgler, Francis Burden, John Gibb, Brian Whalley, Gerard Jones, Paul ‘Snowy’ Dooner.

Front row includes: Paul Scott, Alfie Manzoli, Raymond Winch, Paddy Dooner, Bernard Jones and Graham Whalley. The priest was Father Richard, OFM Cap.

The rest of this week’s pictures range from the 1980s back through the 1940s.

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They include the men of Crawley Auxiliary Fire Brigade at the old fire station in Ifield Road. The picture belonged to Marion Godsmark and she was able to name the man on the far left as Edwin Godsmark.

Next we have a class photo taken at Robinson Road School around 1950. The little girl third from the left in the front row is Janet Godsmark.

Two pictures from the Ashley School of Dance were taken around 1952, with one showing the youngsters preparing to take their bronze, silver and gold medal exams. The picture of the five girls with their batonsincludes Marion, third from left, and possibly Georgina Gates, second from left, while the girl on the right had the sirname Walley.

Skipping ahead to 1957, we have a bunch of sea cadets from TS Cossack, who were at Crawley railway station waiting to catch a train to their first summer camp in Littlehampton.

Among them were CPO Harry Hatt, John Coad, Brian Redmond, Foster, Bob Miles, Stan Prior, Pete Simmonds, Willoughby, Buckingham, John Cook, Paul Martin, John Truscott, Drake, Hawkins, Mick Starr and Les Parker.

There were a couple of goodbyes in 1982. The first was a real end to an era when Donald Oakley, the first headteacher at Bishop Bell Middle School, Tilgate, retired.

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The children clubbed together to buy him a black and white TV and presented him with an album of photographic memories from his school career. His colleagues gave him a proper send-off at the Goffs Park Hotel.

Over at the Crawley Gymnastics Club, youngsters were saying farewell to two of their coaches. Ann Martin and Daphne Hand were heading to Brighton to open a new club. They were given silver goblets on silver trays to see them on their way.

And finally, there were to be no more splinters for the young dancers of the Spandau School of Dancing in 1984, when they were given a new home at Crawley Leisure Centre, which then stood in Haslett Avenue.

High rents had forced them out of their original home and dance teacher Sue Williams had been forced to hold lessons in various halls around the town.

She said of the new location: “It is a lovely room. It is absolute heaven with a mirror for correcting mistakes and copying positions. There will be no more splinters from hall floors.”

Do you recognise anyone in any of these photos?

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