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Chilli Road School: a fascinating new history


Whether or not you have ever been a pupil at Chillingham Road School, if you’re interested in Heaton or social history more generally, this new book is a fascinating read.

Ann and Heather have not only scoured the school’s extensive archive but they’ve also carried out background research into the early teachers and the lessons they taught; considered what the school punishment book and sickness records tell us about life in late Victorian Newcastle; collected the memories of more recent former pupils and unearthed some famous people who once sat at the school’s desks. There are some fabulous photographs too. A hundred and seven wonderful pages!

You can buy the book (£6.50) from the Chillingham Road School office during term time or, if you can’t wait six weeks or don’t live locally, contact:






  1. I was a pupil at Chilli Road School from 1946 until 1950 when I left to start work aged 15.
    My teachers were Mr Hogg and Mr Bassy. They were great teachers and the Head Master was Mr Sturdy. Derek Henry Waller McCarthy

    • I was a pupil at Chilli road from1947 till 1953 when I left to go to Middle street.
      I remember Mr Sturdy , miss Hartley, miss Robinson, and pupils Ian Ramsay, Doug Renton
      Eric Bolam to name but a few.

  2. Hi I was a pupil of Chilli Road School from 1946 to 1950 when I left to start work at 15. My teachers were Mr Hogg and Mr Bassey. They were great teachers and the Head Master was Mr Study.

    Derek Henry Waller McCarthy.

  3. I attended Chilli road school from 1947 till 1953 and I have fond memories of both fellow pupils and teachers, Mr Sturdy, Miss Robson, Miss Hartley,
    Fellow pupils, Ian Ramsay, Doug Renton, Geoffrey Fong wah, to name but a few.?
    Robert Hallowell

  4. Started the infant’s school in the fall of ’57; Miss Ventiss was our Head. I seem to remember spending a lot of time sitting on the floor: can that be right? By the time I moved to the junior school, the wrecking ball had pulverised the reinforced concrete roofs of the two air-raid shelters. One Saturday morning a huge pear-shaped steel ball was repeatedly winched up high then dropped; it took a long time; really don’t know why they bothered. The first floor of the building was unused during my entire tenure: can that be right!? Finally, it’s been said before, but it cannot be said enough: the inestimable Miss Findlay arrived just in time to tutor our final two years and give us the most exceptional of educations. I honestly can’t imagine 9 and 10 year olds studying Shakespeare today – but I may be wrong; and that was just a thin slice of her prepping for teenage lives and secondary education.

    • Actually, Keith, We’re involved in a ‘Shakespeare Streets’ project next term with both Chilli Road and Hotspur Primary Schools. Pupils will be studying both Shakespeare AND local history. So Miss Findlay’s legacy lives on! Will tell everyone more as details are finalised in the autumn.
      Chris (Secretary, Heaton History Group)

  5. I went to Chilli Rd. from 1955 to 1962 then on to Manor Park Benton Road. Infants, at 2nd. Ave. end and Juniors Chilli Rd. end. I remember Miss Ventiss and in Juniors Miss Byers and Miss Douthwaite. In the Juniors the class sizes were 45/50 in the rooms formed by floor to ceiling wood and glass partitions. Rows of double desks, blackboard and SILENCE when instructed. Learned lots of facts, how to divide fractions including “vulgar” fractions and punctuation.

  6. Kate Hancock has written to tell us that Chillingham Road School is taking part in Heritage Open Days this year, so the museum in school will be open on Saturday 10th September from 10.00a.m. to 4.00p.m. Anybody who would like to see it is very welcome. Bring your friends and relatives who are up for the Great North Run!

  7. Geoffrey Wedderburn has emailed us some memories of the school:

    I started school at Chillingham Road Infants when I was five years
    > old in 1933.If I remember correctly my teacher was Miss Robson who
    > treated all of us kindly and gave us a good start on the first rung of
    > education.
    > About a year later when we moved to High Heaton I went to High Heaton
    > Infants but on reaching age eight I was back again to Chillingham Road
    > Juniors.
    > At the start of World War 2 most schools were closed and in the spring
    > of 1940 there was an evacuation of many children from Chillingham Road
    > to Windermere.
    > I remember boarding a special train, which left from Heaton Station
    > and eventually being billeted ,with another boy at a cottage just
    > outside Windermere.
    > The couple who lived there were very kind and looked after us very
    > well and we were able to enjoy our new surroundings without missing
    > home too much.
    > I do not think that the unfortunate teachers who came with us from
    > Newcastle had such an enjoyable time, having to make do with temporary
    > and quite unsuitable teaching facilities.
    > I reluctantly came home in September 1940 to start secondary school.
    > Amongst the teachers at Chillingham Road Juniors I remember a rather
    > jovial man,(Mr.Thompson I think) who had one artificial leg and most
    > of one ear missing (the result of war action perhaps).
    > In spite of this he was always cheerful and a good teacher.
    > Another teacher who was also good but not so cheerful was
    > Mr.Anderson. He had a belt which he called Pluto and if a boy was seen
    > misbehaving, Pluto was thrown and told “fetch him Pluto!”
    > The unfortunate boy had then to bring Pluto to the front of class
    > where punishment was given.
    > Happy days!
    > Geoffrey Wedderburn

    • I remember that bastard Anderson and Pluto, I had a taste of that on a regular basis but it taught me RESPECT!!!, he would have been in the Gestapo if Hitler had conqured the UK.

  8. From Geoffrey Wedderburn:

    ‘I followed your suggestion to visit the school Open Day and I did indeed find it fascinating to take a trip down memory lane.

    From the information and photographs, I find that I must correct my earlier email regarding teachers names.The teacher with the artificial leg and missing ear was Mr.Turner and not Thompson as I suggested.

    It was nice to meet another ex-pupil who has the same high opinion of him as I do.’

  9. Alan Stoddart emailed:

    There were 6 of us boys who were born in 1939/1940 and lived on Greystones Estate, just off Benton Road, for many years. Most of them used to go to the Saturday matinees at the Scala and we sometimes went to the swimming baths just off Chilli Road. Two of us went to Chillingham Road School for 6 months in 1950. Mr Sturdy was the headmaster and was a hard hitter with the strap. He took music lessons, which must have been the worst ever. Mr Cotton was my class teacher and had been in the navy during the war. I think his warship was torpedoed but he obviously survived. There was a part of the school yard that had steps going down, with metal rails either side. If you were unlucky enough to be caught you were put down the steps during play time and kept there – it was known as the Monkey House. School dinners were awful and I used to keep my dinner money and buy rubbish at a general store just up the road – peanuts with shells on, some kind of sweets that I think must have been home-made because there was rationing. The shop was known as “John’s”. He probably retired rich on my dinner money. The class used to go to Jesmond Vale to play football.


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