A teacher’s memories of Charnwood Street School…

Here are some memories from Mrs Ann Keyworth, Deputy Head of Charnwood Street Infants School in the 1970s, who was interviewed by the East Midlands Oral History Archive in 2002.* She started there part-time in 1965, teaching English to some of the Asian children at the school. The Head of the Infants School at that time was Mrs Beech, who she remembered as a ‘brilliant teacher… a lovely person’:


She was brilliant at controlling 200 children in the school hall. If someone was misbehaving she just used to stop and say “Somebody at the back doesn’t want to sing any more?. You could give her 200 children in the hall with the piano, and not a word.

Charnwood Street School under repair. It was opened as a Board School in 1877.

Charnwood Street School under repair. It was opened as a Board School in 1877.

She recalled the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the opening of the school in 1977, including displays of wedding photos from each decade since the 1870s. The children also drew 100 houses from different periods of time. These were then put up in the corridors to show how houses had changed over the ages – though some of the children, of course, were still living in houses built in the Charnwood Street area from the 1870s. She also had a look through the old school Log Books to see how the school itself had changed. Unlike Mrs Beech, the first headmistress:

was a demon. She was so strict… One poor student teacher who had lost the front door keys of the school got into the most awful row… When the children came back to school in the afternoon after dinner, the front doors were locked, and if they were late they couldn’t get in.

When the Asian refugees from Uganda came to Leicester in 1972, a lot of the children attended Charnwood Street School. Diwali and Eid were celebrated as well as Christmas, and the children also went on a trip each year – the older ones to the zoo, the five year olds and Nursery class to Abbey Park, and the six year olds to Bradgate Park. These trips were particularly popular with those children who hadn’t visited the countryside before. On one visit to Bradgate Park, walking through the woods:

I suggested to them that we might see the Three Bears, or Robin Hood, or even Owl and Tigger, because I used to tell them the Pooh Bear stories… so we were all looking for these sorts of things, and we found a little wooden hut which they decided must have been the Three Bears’ house, and we found a hole in a tree which was Owl’s house, out of Pooh Bear, and this little boy stopped while I was holding children up to look through this hole to see if they could see Owl, and he said to me… “Mrs Keyworth, nothing here is made”… It sent a shiver down my spine. I looked around and I thought, it’s all growing, and he knew what he meant… an amazing concept for a child of six.

In 1981 the Infants School amalgamated with the ‘upstairs’ – the Junior School – to become Charnwood Street Primary School, and Mrs Keyworth became Deputy Head of the whole school.  – though she left soon after this to work as a supply teacher. I wonder of anyone remembers her?

* East Midlands Oral History Archive (EMOHA), 1070, EM/045. My thanks to Colin Hyde of EMOHA for permission to reproduce these extracts, and for the photograph.








2 thoughts on “A teacher’s memories of Charnwood Street School…

  1. Yes I remember Ms keyworth very well.. I always thought she was strict… I also remember that on your Birthday The head teacher Ms Beech used to give dolly mixtures. I was at Charnwood from 1975 to 1981…. the best days of our lives… I also remember Mr Khan, Mr Williams he used to give us Cadbury dairy milk chocolate…..
    Teachers at my time were as follows:
    Ms Dowdells, Mrs Breckon, ms Barnicle, Mr Hegg, ms Stuart, ms Rachel, Mr Khan, M the Way wheeler, Mr Riley, Mr mills,
    I also remember going Ashby Castle, at the time..
    Ashraf Makda

  2. Did anyone know a mohan Singh his Date of birth is 10 October 1950, he lived on prospect hill and after this primary school went to moat boys,the year he might of gone to Charnwood is 1956-61/62

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