When the time came for me to move to senior school, I went with my
friends from primary to a recently built comprehensive school in the
middle of Egremont, Wyndham School. Children came there from various
towns and villages in the area and our year was the first full intake.
Prior to Wyndham, the children of Egremont all sat the 11 plus exam and
if they passed, went to the grammar school in nearby Whitehaven, or the
secondary modern school in Egremont which had now been converted into
the public library and also housed some of the Wyndham offices and
studies for the sixth form. Our year were given the option to take the
11 plus and go to Whitehaven Grammar if they passed, but subsequent
years were automatically enrolled at Wyndham.
I’m not sure why my parents didn’t want me to go to the grammar school; we had done past papers in school and I would have doubtlessly passed, so I just don’t know. I did enjoy my time at Wyndham and my favourite subjects were probably art and English, whereas Domestic Science and sewing I disliked intensely. What I didn’t enjoy was moving from Egremont to Beckermet, a pretty village a few miles away.
Now I had to travel to school by bus. Sadly for me, there were no girls at all in my year from Beckermet, and looking back, the next few years were quite a lonely time for me. Public transport was extremely sparse, my mother did not drive (and always refused to have lessons), so it was difficult to see my friends from Egremont outside of school. By now, I had two younger sisters, but being eight and ten years younger than me, weren’t much company for a teenager.
I remember my parents asking me whether I would like to move to Beckermet, and I said that I would not as I would have no friends there. Why they bothered to ask my opinion, I don’t know, as my opinion clearly did not count and the decision had already been made. And so we moved from a market town with a cinema, library, swimming baths, shops, cafes, and where I had friends, to a village with a grocery shop and a post office and nobody my age. This started a very dull period in my life, which only started to change when I was almost sixteen.
Female, Born in 1954, North England
"There and Here"