WHEN John Barlow, a former
member of staff at Market Street Church of England school,
e-mailed his recollections of two pupils at Nantwich and
Acton Grammar School, Nantwich historian Andrew Lamberton
asked for his reminiscences of the Market Street school
teachers. Andrew told John he knew
Davenport and his wife, along with Mrs Davenport's sister,
Miss Whalley, who lived in Dysart Buildings. Also, said
Andrew, Gwen Davenport was his Sunday School teacher at
Market Street around 1952.
JOHN BARLOW'S recollections of
the Market Street school staff started with Miss
Davenport who taught the top class. She was, said John,
referred to by his mother who knew her when they were much
younger, as Gertie.
met the Davenport family in her younger days when they used
to attend services at All Saints' Church on the edge of the
cemetery in Middlewich Road.
"A generation later I played the harmonium for two to three
evening services there. John Lake also helped out during the
Davenport had a superb sense of humour. At the Church school
we didn't have a staff room and washing facilities were
shared with the children. No hot water, and Lifebuoy soap.
On one occasion I was washing my hands when Gertie snatched
the soap away from me. She said that I was using her very
expensive rose-perfumed soap which she had left behind. But
she was highly amused when I mumbled something about ******
"Eric Mercer was the head teacher while I was there and his wife
used to help me in the hall coping with a double class for
music lessons. After Eric died, Bill Brace became head
"When Miss Davenport retired, Mary Jones took over. I think she had
moved from one of the Crewe schools. She was very cheery and
good to work with. She had two children of her own. David
went to Goldsmiths' College in London and qualified as a
teacher, but instead of following his parents into the
profession he got involved with pop music. Later as "Steve"
Jones he became well known as the presenter of the TV panel
game "The Pyramid Game". He also did voice overs for special
show business occasions.
"A teacher who gave me a lot of guidance was Peggy Allan. Her
husband had a managerial role at Calmic in Crewe. He was a
"Jean Taylor was a teacher at the lower end of the junior
department. Her father, ---?--- Crabtree was a surveyor or
engineer with Nantwich Rural District Council.
"Eunice Blackburn, nee Garner, taught at the lower end of the
school and as far as I know was from Nantwich. She was very
good at art and later transferred to the secondary modern
school at Audlem Road to teach art full time.
"I don't really know enough of the other teachers to add anything."
WRITING about the picture at the top of the page - showing
some of the pupils in one of his early classes, John said:
"I think the boy nearest to the camera is Michael Phillips
whose father worked at Rolls Royce, possibly as a designer -
but I'm not sure about that.
"As for the
girl immediately behind him - well, the name Caroline Bowyer
comes to me out of thin air. I do know that I saw a
photograph of her on the front page of The Chronicle when
she might have been in her late teens or early twenties. She
might have been 'Miss Nantwich'.
"The classroom projected out at the back of the school. In actual
fact, it was a double-sized room and quite open. The desks
were in the half nearest to the windows. The other half was
clear except for cuboards. The "walls" separating my room
from the two classrooms on either side were really glass and
wooden screens which at one time would have been opened when
a large space was required. They were never opened in my
time and appeared to be fixed."