Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Bedwell School:North Herts Portrait Photographer



This Saturday me and my husband went back to our old secondary school, in Stevenage. It’s all being demolished. They have tried over the years changing it’s name and uniform, but it still has a bad name in Stevenage. When we went there, it was considered one of the best schools in our area.

All because of this man, below. He was about 7 foot tall and intimidated the life out of everyone. We were all gobsmacked when he arrived at the open day. Queuing up with everyone else.

He turned a failing school around in the 70’s & 80’s. Sadly, he told me he is ill and isn’t expected to live much longer. But I am sure he would have been pleased he got to travel back in time for a few hours and hear how instrumental he was in bringing discipline in to the life's of so many teenagers at a time when it was really needed.



left is my sister in hysterics as a friend of hers is recounting a story of how Mr Wallace picked him up by his jumper and left him dangling in mid air.( That’ s my old form room, with the window open)

Mr Wallace remembered my sister. That just goes to show how naughty she was. She spent most of her lessons sat on her own or outside. I think she rebelled the moment she set foot in that school and heard the teachers saying to her “ I hope you are going to be as good as your sister, Karen”

My sister couldn’t wait to step on the grass without being shouted at. None of us remember every stepping on it.


Me and my husband had a long walk to the school from our estate where we lived. I even used to have to come home at lunchtime, as I was banned from school dinners. No wonder I was so thin when I was there. My friend wrote on our Facebook memories page that she remembered “Karen loved her crisps for breakfast, dinner and tea. She still turned out with a model figure.” I wrote to her things haven’t changed much, except my figure. Those crisps have caught up with me a bit now.

It came as a surprise for my husband and I that we had both sat in the same spot, in our old form classrooms. Our rooms were in the main building on the first floor. It was either freezing in the winter or boiling in the summer, because of all the glass. My kids couldn’t get over how hot it was in the school on the day we visited. And the classrooms have working blinds now, where as we had broken venetian ones.

2012 June Bedwell school open day

We both sat in the cool kids spot in the classroom. The right was for the thicko’s and the left sat up against the windows, were the kids you have no memory of their names !

My old photos were displayed all over the school and in the open day pamphlet we were all given as a souvenir. It was weird to see myself all along the corridors. This is me on the left, dressed with a friend as Laurel & Hardy in 1976


This is us both on Saturday.


Mr Bailey was a teacher who taught us in the Humanities block. Poor man was employed in a school with very street wise kids. As someone put on the forum , he was a nervous breakdown waiting to happen. I remember someone from my year throwing a chair through his classroom window during a lesson. Every class used to flick ink at the back of him as he wrote on the board. Kids put drawing pins on his chair and one class said they used to all hum to confuse him. Crowd control was not his forte. It would appear he is know working in our local museum and someone said we should all go down there and do a conga through the museum for old times sake. It didn’t help that he had a limp and the teacher next door who used to come into help him sometimes, had a lisp ! Poor man.

I was so pleased that our children joined us for the open day. It was great to share with them all our old memories and to show them the school where both their parents and Aunts had attended.

Here’s me sat on the exact same spot now and 30+ years ago.


I cracked up when I heard one group of girls used to pop to a friends house for a drink, whilst the rest of us had to do a cross country run around the entire Stevenage lakes. Their mum used to drop them of in her car, they’d dirty up their faces and run back into school. It turns out, one time they were dropped off too early, and one of the girls ended up running for the school, because of her amazing fast time. LOL. Me and my mate used to hid and then take a shortcut across a bridge, which cut out a quarter of the course. We would still be one of the last ones though.


There’s me under the red cross in a 1979 photo that is a quarter of an entire school photo I have.

We were amazed to find that some graffiti that an old boyfriend of mine had written high up on the wall, on the stage was still there from 1981 !


Of course, someone had to set the fire alarm off towards the end of the open day. The usual suspects in my year weren’t there, so I have no idea who it was.

We had a great day, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.


kym said...

Hi Karen,

How lovely that you got to see the head teacher { really sad that his is ill thought )

and what great photo comparisons of then and now I bet it was a really nice thing to do..although my school can stay in the past where it belongs..xx

Scrappi Sandi said...

Fabulous post! How wonderful that this open day was organised before the school was gone forever!! TFS! :D

Jill said...

Hi Karen, I had a similarly distressing experience of Bedwell school for the 3rd year onwards. I wanted to learn, some of my classmates did not and ruined it for the rest of us. Not many of the teachers (Mr Bailey included) were up to the job! Mr Faires (English) was the master of sarcasm so taking part in class was an unpleasant experience too. Mr Wallace was a formidable character, but I always thought he was a very fair man. I was bullied a bit too. I'd love to tell all the teachers who kind of dismissed my ability that I'm now doing my Masters in English Literature! Wish I'd had the courage to go back that day. Lovely blog by the way.


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