I was nine years old, and I was standing by the front door of the school where Mother-of-witch taught. I’d got it into my head to walk there and meet her after school. I remember watching the traffic on the bridge for quite some time (maybe I’d mis-timed her classes?), and all the students pass me as they left for the day. I knew a lot of them.
The school was for post-16s and taught commerce and office skills and that sort of thing. Many of the students, including all four of our landlord’s children, lived near us. Later on, we’d find them in banks and offices, because in those days people got jobs.
But the memory of that long-ago day has surfaced to help me find the school. I know, it was right there. But where there? I saw the bridge clearly. And the small hotel in front. In recent years I have tried to place the school building – which was demolished in the late 1960s – somewhere in the Town Hall car park. But I could never manage to squeeze it in.
So I tried Google images for help, and came up with exactly one. The one below. And it tells me my problem was that I couldn’t visualise the school in the middle of the road. Because that’s where it was. Where traffic swerved to the side and round the school, it now goes in a straight line from the bridge towards the ‘highrise’ in the back right corner.
Funny how you don’t remember. But we didn’t drive in those days. It was perfectly normal for this nine-year-old to have walked the 20-25 minute walk from home, on her own, and with no prior arrangement to meet.
And the school had wooden staircases, with the wood worn into rounded dips on each tread. I remember that. And where the headmaster’s office was. The rest is a blank.