The Moseley School of Art Association
Jacqueline Bishop (Perrins)
Attended Moseley School of Art 1953-56
At the time I attended MSA my family lived at 32, Dunedin Road, Great Barr, Birmingham.
My father was an Electrician at Joseph Lucas Ltd., Farm Street, Hockley. My mother did not go out to work, and my brother was doing an apprenticeship at Joseph Lucas, Great Hampton Street, Hockley. I remember that at the Entrance Exam, (which took place over two days) we had to "draw and paint a scene from the top of a bus". I think the next day we had to draw a fuchsia plant. My family were very pleased at my acceptance, especially as my brother had attended King Edwards Grammar School, Six Ways, Aston. It was hoped that I would obtain a good job afterwards, although there was no pressure put upon me. In order to get to school from my home, I had to travel on two buses from one side of Birmingham to the other.
The Headmaster while I was at the school was Harry Adams - other Teachers were :
Harry Adams, the Headmaster, seemed quite a formidable character, very small in stature and always had a cushion on his chair. I remember Mrs. Adams (his wife) as a rather frail almost waif-like person, with very blond almost white hair. Miss Geraldine Squires, was first Mistress, who seemed to enjoy her position in the School. She was really in charge of the 90 girls in the School. Mr Jones (Welsh of course) used to go to the pub over the road during lunch times with Miss Squires.
I remember that the Head Girl in 1953 was Rita Allen, and that her sister Jennifer was Head Girl during my final year, 1956.
My first day at school was all very strange but exciting. We were told to provide a box of Windsor & Newton watercolours (a long narrow box, which I still have today. When I attended for the exam my father replaced all my worn out watercolour paint blocks, so my old Reeves paint box was as good as new. We also had to provide sable hair paint brushes and a selection of soft pencils. We were expected to write with a proper ink pen. We were told to carry our things for preference in a small case, or satchel. I also used my brothers brief case at times.
I used to enjoy our drawing lessons with Mr. Davies. We used to draw plants ( I particularly remember drawing fuchsia plants) and we used to bring flowers from home. I remember drawing pieces of hawthorn. We also had lessons in lettering.
I found Maths lessons with Pa Jenkins a horrendous experience. I could not understand how to do the maths, and I do not think I was alone in this. Pa Jenkins told us to write the following in the front of our Maths books : "Oh what a tangled web we weave When first we practice to deceive".
During Needlework lessons, I remember we had to design a garment, make the paper pattern, and cut out and sew the garment together. I made a blouse and an underskirt.
We used Poster Paint in art lessons. I had never used, or ever seen this medium before. The paint was in large jars, and I was impressed at how vivid the colours were, and the density of the paint was something I had not experienced before. I had never used such soft leaded pencils or 'art gum' rubbers before; it was a whole new world to me.
We had visitors from time to time to give us lectures and slide shows on various topics, These were quite primitive by today's standards, but I enjoyed them at the time. There were also musicians who came to play us various pieces of music. I particularly remember the wind instruments. I enjoyed my History and Biology lessons with Mr. Hawley - we used to do loads of illustrations in our books.
Something I did not enjoy was the fire drills we had over in the Annexe (the old Wesleyan Chapel). It entailed us having to climb down a very steep narrow wooden ladder from the first floor classroom to the ground floor below. The boys enjoyed it, trying to see up the girls gym slips !!
We had our P.E. lessons in the Annexe, and swimming lessons were across the road at the swimming baths (a lovely building).
At lunch times, we would leave the school, and go for a walk. We often walked down Edward Road to Calthorpe Park. I remember buying a glass of lemonade at a small shop in Edward Road, just round the corner from the main road (the Moseley Road). I also remember buying sweets and chewing gum from a sweet shop that was just along from the pub that is on the corner of Edward Road and Moseley Road.
There were times when we would be sent to draw in Cannon Hill Park. We would go into a small conservatory hot house, full of green vegetation, ferns etc. In the middle was a raised pool, so if we required water for painting we would dip our water jars in (we would carry small glass jars for this purpose. It was nice and warm in there out of the cold. In the Summer, when they had exhibitions on in school, they would send us to Cannon Hill Park, I suppose because there was no room for us inside the school. However we rather enjoyed just walking around the Park. I remember that when they held these Summer Exhibitions they had numerous pots of plants (mainly Hydrangeas I think) lining the main stairs.
We took our lessons in two of the longest rooms within the building; the one on the first floor which ran the whole width of the school, and the one on the left of the lower corridor had large wooden panelled sliding doors to separate them into two classrooms. The latter was also used for school assemblies. During these school assemblies the girls sat on rather old wooden chairs, placed in lines across the width of the room, (many of the chairs in the school were old, some had the spindle and wheel design on the back, others looked as if they may have come from the Wesleyan Chapel that we used as an Annexe.
We girls were in the minority: This was because there were 300 pupils in all, divided up into 3 years, made up of 70 boys and 30 girls to each year (100 total per year). The girls were referred to by their christian names, the boys by their surnames.
We occasionally had outings from school. From time to time we would visit Birmingham Art Gallery and we would sometimes have the opportunity to buy tickets for a Wednesday afternoon matinee for the Ballet - this was the first time I had been to the theatre to see Ballet. I can only recall two school trips, which I think we all enjoyed. The first school trip (in 1954), was to Cheddar Gorge, (I have a photo of Miss Ashworth, Mr. Merriman and Mr. Fox standing in the Gorge). I remember the cafe where we had our lunch - it had a glass ceiling, and I think there were fish swimming overhead. On this trip we visited Symonds Yat, Tintern Abbey, a brief look at Chepstow. We also visited Prinknash Abbey, where one of the monks, resplendent in a white woollen habit told us a little of their life. We had a chance to buy pottery made by the monks, which I still have. We also visited Wells Cathedral, and I think that on the way back we visited Tewkesbury Abbey. I know some of us climbed the tower, which has a lovely view from the top . . . I remember the view of the yew trees below. In 1956 , we went to Aberdovey, visiting The Dolgoch Falls first. We travelled a short distance by a single track steam train, ( The Tal-y-llyn Railway) before we arrived at the Falls.
The general atmosphere at Moseley was really good, there was something really special about the place.
Discipline seemed very fair, although I can only really speak for the girls. I remember we had 'stars' and 'stripes', these were slips of paper, pink & blue. The stars (pink) were given as a reward, (for something good). The stripes (blue) were as a punishment (for something not so good).
The School was situated on a quite busy main road, on the corner of Moseley Road and Lime Grove. Next to the school was a factory, and opposite were the rather splendid swimming baths and library, both constructed of red brick & stained glass, very ornate, not dissimilar from the General Hospital (now the Childrens Hospital) and the Law Courts. There were a number of small shops around the school, and there was a public house on the corner of the Moseley road & George Street.
I left Moseley at the end of July 1956, and started work the following Monday as a trainee Tracer at Lodge Cottrell Ltd , George Street, Birmingham.
I do not have a great involvement in art today. The nearest I become involved with art is the odd craft fair; my youngest daughter and I have made various items and sold them at craft fairs for quite a few years, although we both now have so many other things to do. My daughter has recently been made a Deputy Head at a Primary School, so is kept very busy. Both of my daughters have always had a great leaning toward Art. My eldest daughter studied at Walsall Art College, then went to Taunton Art College and attained an H.N.D. She is now a lecturer in Computer & Graphic Design. When my youngest daughter left school she studied at Worcester Teacher Training College, her first subject being Art. She attained a first class Honours Degree, and, as I mentioned above, is now a Deputy Head, so I think I can say that I have passed my love of Art on to my daughters.
I suppose that there are many things that M.S.A. have contributed to my life. Firstly, Moseley gave me a lot more self confidence, and a great appreciation for Art which I have passed on to my daughters.
Moseley was unlike any other school - a great place, full of wonderful atmosphere, which is still there in the building today. It was a rather special place which I think produced some rather special people.
I have always kept in touch with three of my closest friends, and in the last few years have got to know of The Moseley School Association, so have been lucky enough to meet up with many of the other pupils who were at Moseley at the same time as myself. I am delighted to have had the chance to meet up with old pupils and forge new friendships.
The Moseley School of Art Association is an association formed to:
- promote and maintain, through exhibitions, reunions and other means personal contact between all former pupils and staff members of the Moseley Secondary School of Art, Moseley Road, Birmingham 12 England- promote the restoration and continued maintenance of the Moseley School of Art building, and
- to promote the activities of members who are active in any of the fields of art and the crafts, by means of publicity, sponsorship and procurement of artist materials at discount rates
© Graeme Llewellyn Collins 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
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