Woolwich & Districts
(when a pupil had to see the Head if caught without his cap
anybody Remember Cyril Bull?
question is prompted by the official opening last Friday of
the new Foxfield,
Primary School in Ragland Road, Plumstead, which now accommodates
children from the century-old Foxhill School in Nightìngale
Vale, now empty and derelict and waiting for the demolition
men to move in.
years before the war, Mr Bull was headmaster of Foxhill. And
what a fine school he made of it!
back in the days when the emblem on the school cap was a black
fox on a white background and the boys — aged between
seven and eleven — who went there had to answer to him
personally if ever they were caught in the streets without those
a different world then. No comprehensive schools. Not even the
''eleven plus''. Instead, there were scholarships and those
who got them were entitled to go to any of the grammar schools
in south-east London.
and his tiny staff — it was a tiny school with only five
masters - were particularly proud of their scholar-ship record.
Most year they would get half a dozen of the boys through.
day after the results had been announced they would all come
to school scrubbed and polished and in their best suits, to
be sent to Woolwich to have their photos taken.
would pay for the photographs out of his own pocket. From each
set of three — costing two schillings — he'd keep
one himself and gave his scholarship boys the other two to take
home to their parents.
he kept he'd have framed and hung in the school corridor. In
the end there was row upon row of them — which prompts
me to wonder what on earth happened to those photographs now?
Indeed, what has happened to the boys? And to the masters?
a Mr. Woolley, a craggy little man who was always making it
clear that he was no relation to the famous Kent cricketer of
the same name; and Mr. Pritchard, who sported a big moustache;
and a Mr. Williams, tall, thin and clean-shaven.
In a way,
Mr. Bull himself was like a bull-dog — squarely built
with a powerful personality. He wore a spotted bow tie whilst
Robin Day was still in short trousers.
It all seems a long time ago. Most of the old terraced houses
where the boys of Foxhill lived have long since been pulled
them has gone the little shop at the bottom of the hill where
they bought half-penny bags of sweets and if they were lucky
would find a piece of cardboard in the bag which entitled them
to their money back.
will have gone the school playground where the boys exchanges
their copies of the Wizard, the Rover and the Hotspur and which
still echoes with ghostly shouts of "Six every time you
knock it down."
is just a little old building that has outlived its usefulness.
But for several generations of Plumstead schoolboys, it harbours
a lot of memories.
the Kentish Independent, 27 June 1974