Do you recognise anyone in this Runham County Primary School 1963 picture?


This school photograph was taken in the autumn of 1963 of pupils at Runham County Primary School.

It shows back left to right Diane Wilkinson, Terry Larkins, Margaret Thurtle, Gary Edwards, Jennifer Nicholls and Richard Larkins; centre left to right Elizabeth Ecclestone, Janice Hall, Mrs Southgate, Nancy Harpley, Wendy Nichols and front left to right David Shingles, Paul Shingles, Graham Nichols, Arthur Nichols, Richard Harpley

A couple of surprise omissions from the picture are Ian and Lorraine Sparkes who used to have a 25 minute walk every day from Runham Swim come rain or shine.

The head teacher, Mrs Southgate, lived in the adjoining school house and her husband was Head Master at Fleggburgh. The facilities in those days were very basic. The playground had only recently been laid having previously been just a rough and stony yard and the toilets were yet to be ‘modernised’. We didn’t need reminding which day those loos were emptied as the stench of the ‘Pop Cart’, as we called it, preceded its arrival, and then trundled slowly through the village!

Hot dinners were transported from Filby and were served by Mrs Long who also did the cleaning after we’d left at 3.30pm, and during the winter came in early to light the fires in both classrooms to prevent us from freezing!

Most of us went on to Martham Secondary Modern. Very few pupils from that era passed the 11+ or even took it, having failed the preliminary exam. Expectations for children in such rural communities were for boys to work on the land and girls to do domestic shop work until they married. Despite being an isolated village, there was a strong sense of community.

The Three Horseshoes Pub was still in business and there was a small Post Office and shop run by Harold and Vera Colman which overlooked the village green; this was in fact known as ‘The Pit’ – nothing more than a rough piece of grass bordered by a smelly dyke, but was nonetheless utilised by most of the children on summer evenings for games of football. If this brings back any memories from readers who’d like to get in touch please email me at:

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