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Yardley Grammar School and Lydney Grammar School.

A portion of a photo of pupils and visitors

The photo above is not connected to the article on this page - but shows the in-focus portion of a photo taken at an event at LGS - possibly a Speech Day. Photo courtesy of Bob Philpot.

Growing up in wartime

by Ronald Bagshaw

The BBC asked the public to contribute their memories of World War Two to a website between June 2003 and January 2006. This is part of an article - one of an archive of 47,000 stories and 15,000 images collected in the project. It is reproduced here due to it's relevance to Lydney Grammar School.

People in story: Ronald Bagshaw
Location of story: Birmingham/Lydney, Gloucestershire
Background to story: Civilian Article ID: A5979810
Contributed on: 01 October 2005

At the outbreak of war on Sunday 3rd September 1939, I was 11 years old, and living in Sparkhill, Birmingham. My school, Yardley Grammar School had been evacuated two days previously to Lydney, 18 miles from Gloucester. I had been unable to travel with them as I suffering with a broken arm. However a fortnight later I was considered fit to travel, along with another boy called Harry Laight, who had also been unable to travel with the main part.

We were met at Lydney by Mrs. Carson who was the chief billeting officer for the evacuated children. She and her committee had had the task of finding homes for the entire Yardley School. As we were the last two to arrive, she decided to take us herself.

The Carsons were Canadians. Dr Carson was the senior local Doctor. They had a beautiful house called ‘Westfield’ standing in its own grounds, with a tennis court and swimming pool in the rear gardens. The house was situated right opposite Lydney Grammar School. The Carsons had a cook, maid and gardener. Their son and eldest daughter were away at Private Schools — Clifton College and Cheltenham College respectively, and just the youngest daughter was at home. We really had landed in the pick of the evacuees homes!

Yardley shared the school with Lydney Grammar School. Lydney had the mornings from 8.30 to 12.30, and Yardley the afternoons from 1.30 to 5.30. (They seemed rather long as the days got shorter). Outside school hours we had the use of Assembly Rooms nearby.

In the mornings there was table tennis and other games and also quiet rooms for homework. Socials were arranged for both seniors and juniors on a fortnightly basis. There were also visits to the local cinema, with the teachers armed with torches in the blackout. Visits were made to local beauty spots, parties of children helped with potato picking and later a school garden was opened for ‘Dig for Victory’.

January 1940 was very snowy, and we had great fun tobogganing down the local Primrose Hill. About this time with the war still in its quiet ‘phoney’ stage, and it was decided to re-open the school in Yardley, with parents having the choice of leaving pupils in Lydney or bringing them back to Birmingham. My parents decided to bring me back, so ending my time as an evacuee.

It was rather strange back in Yardley School with the school virtually split in two between Lydney and Birmingham. With so many teachers still away, the school day was shorter and classes rather irregular. It was to be later in the war before Yardley fully functioned again. The few remaining pupils at Lydney became pupils of Lydney Grammar School.

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by June Woodhouse of the CSV Action Desk at BBC Hereford and Worcester on behalf of Ronald Bagshaw and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site’s terms and conditions

WW2 People's War is an online archive of wartime memories contributed by members of the public and gathered by the BBC. The archive can be found at'

Yardley Grammar School, like Lydney Grammar School no longer exists:

A former pupil wrote this on his web site (Anecdotes & musings of a railway fan and one-time railway man called Craddock): "Yardley Grammar School has gone now [2007], replaced by modern city houses and flats [sorry apartments] on its former magnificent site, bordering Reddings Lane, Warwick Road and Medina Road. A new school, called simply Yardleys School, has been built on the former schools playing fields across the road in Reddings Lane".

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