The Moseley School of Art Association
Harry Joseph Sale
Attended Moseley School of Art 1941-44
Harry Sale started at the Moseley School of Art during one of the darkest years of the War, 1941, and left in 1944. Harry produced some beautiful works in silver and silver plate, some of which have been reproduced below. A loyal and enthusiastic supporter of the Moseley School of Art Association, Harry sadly died in November 2010.
Harry lived at 49 Garwood Road, South Yardley, Birmingham. His father was a Toolmaker by trade. His mother worked as a barmaid, and he had a younger brother, Brian. Harry recollects that his parents were very pleased and proud that he had passed the entrance examination, although they found it difficult to find the school fees which, at the time, were two guineas per term. Harry's father's wages were above the £5 per week limit which would have entitled him to free school fees.
Hopes and ambitions were, during the War, secondary to the hope that the War would end and that we would emerge victors. Harry's aspirations were limited by the circumstances of the time, and he just wished for the best.
His morning journey to school consisted of a one-mile walk to the Yew Tree, Yardley, to catch the bus to Digbeth. This was followed by a walk up Warners Street to Moseley Road, where he caught a tram which dropped him off at the school. Harry preferred to catch the bus, but the tram was cheaper.
The headmaster at that time was Ralph Sargisson, who left shortly after Harry departed, although there was no connection between the two events (apparently). "Pa" Jenkins (a former Welsh Rugby International, and, Harry felt, something of a bully) taught Maths, "Ma" Scott taught English, and Mr. Norman Pett, the Daily Mirror 'Jane' cartoonist (Harry saw "Jane", Norman's wife - arrive at the school every day to collect her husband and drive him home) taught Art. Mr. Fisher taught Metalwork, Mr. Savage took Football and P.E., and Mr. Thomas taught Modelling.
Among Harry's friends at school were Doug Yates (who later married Yvette Yates, another former pupil), Ralph Bliss, Dickie Neal and Parry. His recollections of his first day at school are that he was "frightened to death", being very shy while looking at the male nude models while his mother was present. His main subject was Metalwork. During one of the metalwork lessons, Harry recollects that a man came into the workshop and asked Mr Fisher for a screw about 2 inches long. Mr Fisher said no he had no screws of "any" length - he only had screws with a definite length.
Being a Metalwork student, it's not surprising that Harry's lasting workpieces are a serviette ring, small six sided trinket box with his mothers initial "S" on the top, two vases and a fruit bowl set, all eight sided, a sugar bowl, cream jug and teapot set, all sixteen sided. After leaving MSA, Harry attended the school one day per week to continue his metalwork studies until he was "called up" to do his National Service in the R.A.F. at the age of 18yrs. During that time he made a silver teapot. This was made form a silver disc that had to be purchased by his parents at a cost of £5 - an enormous sum at that time. His tutor was Mr. Fred Warrener, and when the teapot was finished it was stamped at the Birmingham Assay Office with Mr. Warrener's official stamp.
School dinners were are among the most memorable of events for most schoolboys. Harry remembered that school dinners were served in the basement, next to the modelling room. The dinners were cooked at the British Restaurant about one mile along the Moseley Road and were then placed into a wooden trolley which the school caretaker pushed from the restaurant all the way back to the school, with the help of two different boys each day.
Harry was very keen on Sport during his time at the school. He remembered that Sports and Games were held on Wednesday afternoons, when the pupils had to catch the tram to Vicarige Road, Kings Heath, followed by a walk down Vicarage Road for about a mile to the sports field which was behind a school playground. He played both cricket and football for the school teams. He felt that both teams were quite useful, having won most of their matches. The Captain of the football team was Ralph Bliss.
Harry, Doug Yates, Dickie Neal and Parry were also members of the team.
During the Summer Vacation 1944, Harry had a four week farming holiday at Craven Arms, Shropshire. The pupils all stayed together in Army-style billets. Each day they would go out to different farms helping with the harvest fruit and potato picking, etc.
He recounted when the farmer had to cut the wheat, he started at the outside of the field then worked his way towards the centre in ever decreasing circles. When there was only a small circle of wheat left to be cut, all the local people came into the field armed with sticks, gathered around the circle of wheat, ready to take the rabbits as they tried to escape from the remaining standing wheat . . . all the locals had rabbit stew for supper.
Harry remembered that the general atmosphere at the school was good, but that discipline was strict. Everyone had to wear their school cap and tie while travelling to and from school. Punishments were graduated according to the level of the indiscretion - the first level of punishment was "Lines", the second was "After school detention", the third "Saturday morning detention", and the fourth, the ultimate . . . "the Cane".
Among the other things that Harry remembered about his time at MSA are that the top chart singers were Bing Crosby and the "up and coming" Frank Sinatra, the sound of traffic on the main road outside, and the smell of school dinners. Next to the school was a firm that made ladies hair pins and grips. One of the pupils had a name he will never forget - Michael Frank Bloomfield CIissold.
He then went to work in the burgeoning car industry until he retired in 1991. He enjoyed his retirement spending his time with his wonderful wife, Peggy, and their two sons - Paul and Neil, and their families.
Harry passed away on the 26th. November 2010. Harry attended every one of our reunions since the formation of the Moseley School of Art Association.
His presence at our meetings will be sadly missed.
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, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
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The Moseley School of Art Association 2003