Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Hemel Hempstead schools

All this talk of schools being closed in Hemel Hempstead because of the Buncefield oil depot fire takes me back. I lived in Hemel between the ages of 3 and 13.

I went back there a few years ago, only to find that both the primary schools I went to have been demolished. That's when you know you are getting old.

The first I attended was Fields End JMI. It was a large post-war building of glass and concrete, but it has been pulled down and replaced by a housing estate. It is so lost that I cannot find a photograph of it anywhere on the net.

The second was Boxmoor County Primary in St John's Road. It was a tiny Victorian school that was replaced by a modern building on a new site some time in the 1970s. I saw the old school in 1981 when it had closed but was still standing.

Thanks to Hemel Hempstead Today (from whom I have, er, borrowed the picture) I can show you what the school looked like.

This must have been taken after the school closed, as there were never cars parked in the playground while I was there.

I was very happy at Boxmoor, though in one way adversity there helped make me a Liberal. The dinners were cooked elsewhere and brought to the school, and they were indescribably awful. (My mother let me come home for dinner after a while.) And if you didn't want custard with your pudding, you had to have a letter from home.

I now regard this as an early introduction to the absurdities of socialism.

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