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Re: Eric Flack’s recollection of Newtown School closure in WW2
“I can’t remember the air raid shelter” is repeated by 3 correspondents. My experience as a teacher with responsibility for defining playground areas is that students would be excluded from hazardous areas such as shelters which would have been declared “out of bounds”. They would be hazardous since teachers could not keep an eye on the students if they entered them during recess. Supervision of open playgrounds and toilets is a big enough task. Also the shelters might have their own hazard of accumulated water. Were they left locked during school hours to allow quick access in an air raid?? If you didn’t play in such areas, you might not remember them.
On the other hand, I can not work out where shelters could be constructed in Newtown School. Aerial photos show extremely limited playground areas. If any shelters were constructed they would be an alienation of a significant proportion of the playground area and a top priority for removal at the end of the war. Clegwell was in a different category. It had large playground areas and post-war aerial views showed 12+ shelters.
My primary school in Wentworth Falls Australia had an air raid shelter in an out of bounds area, dismantled and filled in by the end of the war. Nobody else seemed to remember it at a reunion I attended… must say something about the memories of children?
Recommended Local History websites.
www.oldtyneside.co.uk www.gatesheadeast.co.uk, www.donmouth.co.uk and www.hebburn.org