MY name is Carole Anne Freeman (nee: MILES) and I would like to let you know how thrilled and delighted I was to come across the Royal Windsor Web Site. I was particularly interested in the CLEWER ST. STEPHENS PRIMARY SCHOOL article by Rosie Burnett. I also attended St. Stephen's in the 60's and remember my time spent there as if it was yesterday.
While reading this article I too remember teachers such as Mr. Byard, who I liked very much! and Miss Hawkins who I too feared. When Miss Hawkins got mad she would turn red in the face, take her watch of her wrist and would put boys over her knee. The girls she would slap on the side of the upper leg. I'm afraid I spent a time or two out in the corridor standing in the corner when I was in her class!
I also remember Mrs. Baker, Miss Michael, Mrs. Blackley, Miss Warren, who was an angel (she had a limp due to Polio), Miss Field, who was the Headmistress. Miss Field once rapped a ruler across my knuckles because she had tried to make me write with my right hand and I kept writing my letters backwards because I was left-handed (and still am!) and last but not least, Mrs. Soapa (I do not remember how to spell her name), who was my first teach at St. Stephen's.
Mrs. Soapa (sic) was kind and gentle and at the age of 41/2 - 5 cast me in my first play as Judy in 'Punch and Judy'. Punch, I remember was played by Nigel Douglas. That was 40 years ago!!! Unfortunately, I remember when Mrs. Soapa passed away. I was in Miss Michael's class at the time and she had to explain to the class that she had died.
Our school uniforms were in the school colours of yellow and green. The girls wore straw "Boaters" with green and yellow ribbons in the summer and green blazers, ties and green felt berets in the winter time.
I remember Victor Barker who was in my class with Miss Hawkins' class and how he left St. Stephen's to attend Eton College and later became a well known barrister. I remember my good friends, Christine Henley, Gillian, Jill, Tina, Debbie, two Susans, Lynette, Jeanette Heath, Fiona Rimmer, Jane, Helen, Pattie, Sheila, Colin, Nigel Douglas, David Hawkins, Paul, John and the Langleys ... I remember that in 'juniors' the boys were separated from the girls at 'Play Time'. I remember the field across the road next to the Grammar School [Now Windsor Boys School: Ed. 2003] where we used to play in the summer. I also remember the Princess Margaret Rose school down Vansittart Road. [Later moved to Bourne Avenue and subsequently closed for a time, then taken over by Trevelyan School (boys and girls) in 2002: Ed. 2003]
Not only did my sister Lesley and I attend St. Stephen's but a few years earlier so did my older cousin, Stephanie Nightingale (her brother, Clifford, attended the Grammar School across the road) . My auntie Christine MILES, my dad's youngest sister, also attended St. Stephen's even earlier.
I remember taking the Brown bus home [Run by A A Moore's: Ed.] with my sister, Lesley, getting on it at the bus stop just around the corner from the school on the same side as the Mitre Public House. There was a 'Tuck' shop near the bus stop and my sister seemed to always spend her bus fare on chocolate eclairs or cream cornets. When the bus driver, 'Harry' picked us up she would always tell him she had lost her bus money, but even though she had cream around her mouth, he would smile and let her onboard!!!
We would take the Brown Bus when we lived at 223 Maidenhead Rd., across from Windsor Racecourse, a couple of doors down from close friends of our family Jack and Nell Raleigh and their daughter Lin. They owned the corner shop. [Since closed and changed back to a house in the 1990s: Ed.]
When I was seven years of age, my parents, Ted and Josephine MILES, moved to 38 Pierson Rd. This was a newly built house with a large field at the back of the garden. Living in the field were 'gypsies' and I remember a boy from their camp giving us rides on a small pony.
Once we started living in our 'new" house I started to take the red double decker buses home from school. [Almost certainly the 51b service operated by Thames Valley Buses: Ed.] One day while going to catch the red bus, I walked along with a friend called Gillian who lived on a street on the way. There on her street we met Norman Wisdom who was filming a picture about a milkman. [The Early Bird, filmed in Bexley Street: Ed.] If you watch this movie, you can see Gillian's house.
My mother, Josephine MILES, worked with Mrs.Thorne who owned the Antiques shop in Church Street, near the castle. It was called 'Nell Gwynn's'. It was said that it had a secret tunnel that was built by King Charles II for his mistress, Nell Gwynn. It ran from the cellar of what was her home and came out in the King's bedroom fireplace. Whether this is true or just rumour I cannot say.
While working at this famous antique shop my mother met many stars including Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Marilyn Monroe, Ryan O'Neil, Terry Thomas and many more... but she did mention that the most handsome man she had ever met was Gary Cooper!!!! My mother passed away in 1995 but my father still mentions with a little jealousy, my mother's comment about Gary Cooper!
Other things I remember were: The Thames freezing over, [The Great Freeze of '63], ABC Minors (Saturday morning cinema, 'the pictures'), Brownies, Crusaders and May Day, and Guy Fawkes Night, (November 5th) just to name a few.
On November 26th, 1966 just as Rosie Burnett has mentioned, and prior to taking my 11 plus exams, I moved with my mother, father and sister to Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
My sister, Lesley and I often talk about Windsor and how we still feel 'home sick', even though we have both married Canadians and have children and have had a good life in Canada, our hearts belong in Windsor and in England.
I would love to hear from anyone who remembers the MILES family, Edward, Josephine and their daughters, Carole and Lesley. I am also related to the Sharpington's, Shipp's, Bawtree's and Nightingales from Windsor.
If you would like to contact me, I can be reached at: email@example.com
St Stephens Church, Vansittart Road, with the school beyond More photographs of St Stephens School are included in the original article. Read the original article
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