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Mapledene Junior & Infants School

sheldontony

master brummie
Looking at the picture from jmadone number 29 shows a Coronation Mug. I actually have one the same upstairs. Brought it to Spain, not sure why. Probably the only one on Costa Blanca.
 

badpenny

Deleted Upon Request
Yes, that is Donald Sullivan, lived on Greenvale i think.

Teacher is as you say Mr Whiting, he of the squeaky shoes!

The only face I know for sure is the teacher Mr Whiting. The lad on the left, 2nd row down, is that Donald Sullivan?
 

Spargone

master brummie
The reception class had a sandpit just outside the big door at the end of the class. It had its own toilets with low sides to the cubicles so that the teacher could see in. My teacher was Miss Stevens, young and round-faced. Some time in the next two years she was replaced by Mrs Cadman, who I always thought of as old, because of her grey hair. Many years later we lived across the road from her and I realised that she was similar in age to my mum! We would get out mats to sit on while we listened to stories such as Thomas The Tank Engine, which came in small landscape-format books.
Then we crossed over the corridor to Miss Green's class. There were toys like a rubber brick version of Lego, wooden coloured pieces that were nailed to fibre board with a wooden hammer and a real tool box with real tools. Our neighbour gave me a hammer that was donated to the box. Mrs Cornforth was the last teacher in the infants. While there we were visited by Malaysian student teachers. (Research suggests that they came from Wolverhampton and were training to go back to new schools in Malaya). We made a model village with straw and they showed us a real cocoa pod that almost looked like rubber. Behind this class was a 'secret' playground with a climbing net. I only remember going there once as a class. Normally infants weren't allowed to go up the path at the end of the classrooms so no-one saw this area.
At dinner time we were marshalled into pairs and warned to be quiet as we passed into the dark corridor that passed the Junior's assembly hall and Mr Barlow's office with the ultimate penalty, his cane!
My first Junior class was with Miss Hay, who came from Kingston-upon-Hull, not Hull! She was very nice. The next class was with Mrs Best, who had been Miss Alexander the year before. Her class had a display about Alexander the Great. She took an instant dislike to me and my marks floored. My sister had her two years later and when about to be 'rulered' Mrs Best's pearl necklace got caught and the pearls went everywhere. Mrs Best had a small Austin car and smoked Du Maurier cigarettes. I think Mr Barlow was the only other car driver. Next up was Mr Bates who I think was South African. As others have noted he was keen on speaking clearly. "..by Vachel Lindsay." was all that I recall, (perhaps "The Congo"?).
Finally there was Mr Wimpory with his tweed jacket and folk dance badge. I never remember him being called 'Elsie', his initials were 'LCC' - London County Council he said. Such an enthusiastic teacher!
Other memories include the visits by 'the shoddy man' with his old Bedford van and the final year coach trip to Bristol Zoo and Weston-super-mare with a little pot of jam at the Winter Gardens.
Mr Whiting and Mr Cullen took the boys for craft work. The reason Mr Whiting 'squeaked' was because he had a 'tin' leg. He was 'firm but fair'. Mr Cullen was nice.
Mention has been made of milk monitors and bell ringers, (at the 50th anniversary the teacher that we spoke to didn't know what the hand bell was for!). At one time I was attendance monitor, collecting up the forms, that eventually led to a visit by the 'attendance man'. I also was a guillotine monitor. Each floor had a stockroom at the end where a guillotine was kept. You had to put up the class number on a hook when it was borrowed. Some lucky(?) boys got to dress up in aprons and to carry a tin bath to collect up all the ink wells at the end of the year. Were there any girl monitors? Perhaps not. Teachers then knew that boys respond to and perhaps need to have responsibilities. Somehow the staff of those days managed classes of 42 with no 'TAs'.
Mapledene was very rural, a school in a field. Every class seemed to have a nature table. Sometimes we had the smell of cows! Aircraft noise was a lot worse then I'm sure, the Douglas DC-3 was very noisy and very slow so it took ages for them to pass by.
Another secret! The room under the Junior's stage was used for a special art class taken by a Miss Jenner, possibly?
 

Spargone

master brummie
I dug out my only copy of the school magazine and looking at some of the teachers' names I think the 'secret' art group was taken by Mrs Coe. Up until Summer 1960 Miss Hughes was, I think, (not certain), responsible for the choir.
Maybe she put on the classical music that was played before morning assembly? Grieg's Peer Gynt was a favourite! We had a bit of visual culture too, in the dining hall there were various painting on one wall though I don't recall anyone pointing them out especially, we just absorbed it! I think one had some sort of lifting bridge on a canal, probably Dutch. The food was awful, mashed potato with lumps. Once in a while we had a few chips but always with salad, so someone must have been counting calories for us. Puddings were OK, the famous rock-hard Birmingham schools 'chocolate concrete' and something that might have started out as a sponge with an apricot half in the centre.
Another hard thing at Mapledene was the playground, embedded grit in a wound was an occupational hazard for anyone that played hard.
 

jmadone

master brummie
The reception class had a sandpit just outside the big door at the end of the class. It had its own toilets with low sides to the cubicles so that the teacher could see in. My teacher was Miss Stevens, young and round-faced. Some time in the next two years she was replaced by Mrs Cadman, who I always thought of as old, because of her grey hair. Many years later we lived across the road from her and I realised that she was similar in age to my mum! We would get out mats to sit on while we listened to stories such as Thomas The Tank Engine, which came in small landscape-format books.
Then we crossed over the corridor to Miss Green's class. There were toys like a rubber brick version of Lego, wooden coloured pieces that were nailed to fibre board with a wooden hammer and a real tool box with real tools. Our neighbour gave me a hammer that was donated to the box. Mrs Cornforth was the last teacher in the infants. While there we were visited by Malaysian student teachers. (Research suggests that they came from Wolverhampton and were training to go back to new schools in Malaya). We made a model village with straw and they showed us a real cocoa pod that almost looked like rubber. Behind this class was a 'secret' playground with a climbing net. I only remember going there once as a class. Normally infants weren't allowed to go up the path at the end of the classrooms so no-one saw this area.
At dinner time we were marshalled into pairs and warned to be quiet as we passed into the dark corridor that passed the Junior's assembly hall and Mr Barlow's office with the ultimate penalty, his cane!
My first Junior class was with Miss Hay, who came from Kingston-upon-Hull, not Hull! She was very nice. The next class was with Mrs Best, who had been Miss Alexander the year before. Her class had a display about Alexander the Great. She took an instant dislike to me and my marks floored. My sister had her two years later and when about to be 'rulered' Mrs Best's pearl necklace got caught and the pearls went everywhere. Mrs Best had a small Austin car and smoked Du Maurier cigarettes. I think Mr Barlow was the only other car driver. Next up was Mr Bates who I think was South African. As others have noted he was keen on speaking clearly. "..by Vachel Lindsay." was all that I recall, (perhaps "The Congo"?).
Finally there was Mr Wimpory with his tweed jacket and folk dance badge. I never remember him being called 'Elsie', his initials were 'LCC' - London County Council he said. Such an enthusiastic teacher!
Other memories include the visits by 'the shoddy man' with his old Bedford van and the final year coach trip to Bristol Zoo and Weston-super-mare with a little pot of jam at the Winter Gardens.
Mr Whiting and Mr Cullen took the boys for craft work. The reason Mr Whiting 'squeaked' was because he had a 'tin' leg. He was 'firm but fair'. Mr Cullen was nice.
Mention has been made of milk monitors and bell ringers, (at the 50th anniversary the teacher that we spoke to didn't know what the hand bell was for!). At one time I was attendance monitor, collecting up the forms, that eventually led to a visit by the 'attendance man'. I also was a guillotine monitor. Each floor had a stockroom at the end where a guillotine was kept. You had to put up the class number on a hook when it was borrowed. Some lucky(?) boys got to dress up in aprons and to carry a tin bath to collect up all the ink wells at the end of the year. Were there any girl monitors? Perhaps not. Teachers then knew that boys respond to and perhaps need to have responsibilities. Somehow the staff of those days managed classes of 42 with no 'TAs'.
Mapledene was very rural, a school in a field. Every class seemed to have a nature table. Sometimes we had the smell of cows! Aircraft noise was a lot worse then I'm sure, the Douglas DC-3 was very noisy and very slow so it took ages for them to pass by.
Another secret! The room under the Junior's stage was used for a special art class taken by a Miss Jenner, possibly?
Reading this lovely contribution the memories came flooding back along with a few details I didn't know or had forgotten. Miss Stevens, wasn't her father the school caretaker? My memory of her was that she sometimes wore a green raincoat with a hood on it, strange how these little details come to mind!
Mr Barlow the headmaster was one of the kindest teachers I've ever met and the thought of him using a cane fills me with sadness although, no doubt, there were occasions when he must have.
Choral speaking with Mr Bates, oh my goodness.........!
Great times at a great school.
 

Spargone

master brummie
Miss Green's class of 1954:
Back Row L-R: ?, James Shaw, Molly Parkin, ?, Rosamund, Sylvia, Margaret Bennett, Peggy Mole, Margaret Thornborough, ?, Edith Lowe, ?, Arthur Edwards.
Standing Row L-R: Susan Banks, Elizabeth Day, Brian Johnson, Vivian Haddock, ?, Paul Field, ?, ? Elizabeth White, ?, Eve Edwards, Stanley.
Sitting Row L-R: Howard Thomas, David Hughes, ?, 'Twiny 1', 'Twiny 2', ?, Miss Green, ?, ?, Jill Burrows, ?, Christine Blake, Pauline Evans.
Floor Row L-R: ?, ?, Ivor James, James Madden, ?, ?,?, Donald Cornock.

Margaret Thornborough had a twin brother so he must be there too. Pauline Evans went around with the twins and she called them Twiny 1 & 2. Vivian Haddock had an older sister Pearl and they were children of the Haddock family that had a business on Old Lode Lane, just before where Mahoney's is now, (behind them, on Coventry Road was Parson's timber yard). Elizabeth White was a butcher's daughter (Aston's(?)) on Arden Oak Road.

Earlier I mentioned pictures in the Juniors' dining hall, perhaps one was one of van Gogh's pictures of the Langlois bridge at Arles?

Something that I never noticed in 1954 were the gas lights either side of the doors. At the 50th anniversary I noticed them then in various places, (without shades). Someone said that Mapledene was designed to be a refuge centre in times of emergency and had gas lighting in case the electricity supply failed.
missgreen1.jpg
 
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jmadone

master brummie
Miss Green's class of 1954:
Back Row L-R: ?, James Shaw, Molly Parkin, ?, Rosamund, Sylvia, ?, Peggy Mole, Margaret Thornborough, ?, Edith Lowe, ?, Arthur Edwards.
Standing Row L-R: Susan Banks, Elizabeth Day, Brian Johnson, Vivian Haddock, ?, Paul Field, ?, ? Elizabeth White, ?, Eve Edwards, Stanley.
Sitting Row L-R: Howard Thomas, David Hughes, ?, 'Twiny 1', 'Twiny 2', ?, Miss Green, ?, ?, Jill Burrows, ?, Christine Blake, Pauline Evans.
Floor Row L-R: ?, ?, Ivor James, James Madden, ?, ?,?, Donald Cornock.

Margaret Thornborough had a twin brother so he must be there too. Pauline Evans went around with the twins and she called them Twiny 1 & 2. Vivian Haddock had an older sister Pearl and they were children of the Haddock family that had a business on Old Lode Lane, just before where Mahoney's is now, (behind them, on Coventry Road was Parson's timber yard). Elizabeth White was a butcher's daughter (Aston's(?)) on Arden Oak Road.

Earlier I mentioned pictures in the Juniors' dining hall, perhaps one was one of van Gogh's pictures of the Langlois bridge at Arles?

Something that I never noticed in 1954 were the gas lights either side of the doors. At the 50th anniversary I noticed them then in various places, (without shades). Someone said that Mapledene was designed to be a refuge centre in times of emergency and had gas lighting in case the electricity supply failed.
View attachment 129698
What a wonderful picture! I am there sitting in the front on the floor but can hardly recognise myself. Most of the other names you mentioned I recall but there's quite a few I don't recollect. Margaret's twin brother was named Keith I think and I think he went on to Sheldon Heath Comp after his 11 plus. I carried on my secondary education with David Hughes, we were the only two to go to our grammar school with most of the other boys going to either Central or Yardley Grammar. My wife went to Byng Kenrick and knew Elizabeth Day there.
There are a couple of names I remember who may be on the picture, Robert Pallister and John Cole but I can't recognise them.
Thank you for posting this
 

Spargone

master brummie
Yes Keith was the twin. I have a mental block with him! His mum in later years always spoke of him to the exclusion of Margaret but he wasn't in our junior classes and I often walked home with Margaret. They had an older brother, Roland, too. Robert Pallister and John Cole are familiar names but wasn't John Cole slightly younger? (The infant classes were 'streamed' by age so we oldies lost a lot of our infant pals and gained a lot of 'youngsters' when we went into the juniors. That is when Keith split from Margaret). John Cole's mum taught Biology and she gave him and me extra tuition to which I probably owe my 'O'-level! Around that time John made his own electric guitar. Might that be Christopher Rowan next to Elizabeth White? He wore glasses in junior school. There are a lot of names that I remember but were they in this class?
 

Spargone

master brummie
I enjoyed singing at Mapledene. My mum thought they were teaching us Latin when I came home with , "Old Woman, Old Woman, Quo Fi, (quoth I)"!

Here is a song that I loved which is reputed to be traditional yet I can't find it anywhere except on a record produced in 1974. It is sung to the tune of Il était un petit navire, on which it must be based.

There was a sailor boy called Jacky

There was a sailor boy called Jacky
There was a sailor boy called Jacky
And he had nev-nev-never been to sea
And he had nev-nev-never been to sea
Ho, ho, ho, ho

One day he joined the cowboy navy
One day he joined the cowboy navy
And he was sent, sent, sent away to sea
And he was sent, sent, sent away to sea
Ho, ho, ho, ho

In tewnty days the food was eaten
In tewnty days the food was eaten
And all they had hsd had was pork and beans
And all they had hsd had was pork and beans
Ho, ho, ho, ho

The men cried this we do not enjoy
The men cried this we do not enjoy
Let's try a piece, piece, piece of cabin boy
Let's try a piece, piece, piece of cabin boy
Ho, ho, ho, ho

But Jack he wore a magic chain
But Jack he wore a magic chain
Which kept him safe safe safe from every harm
Which kept him safe safe safe from every harm
Ho, ho, ho, ho

A thousand fishes on the sea bed
A thousand fishes on the sea bed
Swam up and cried cried cried eat us instead
Swam up and cried cried cried eat us instead
Ho, ho, ho, ho

So Jack was saved and won great fame
So Jack was saved and won great fame
And now we will sing it all again
And now we will sing it all again
Ho, ho, ho, ho
 

jmadone

master brummie
Yes Keith was the twin. I have a mental block with him! His mum in later years always spoke of him to the exclusion of Margaret but he wasn't in our junior classes and I often walked home with Margaret. They had an older brother, Roland, too. Robert Pallister and John Cole are familiar names but wasn't John Cole slightly younger? (The infant classes were 'streamed' by age so we oldies lost a lot of our infant pals and gained a lot of 'youngsters' when we went into the juniors. That is when Keith split from Margaret). John Cole's mum taught Biology and she gave him and me extra tuition to which I probably owe my 'O'-level! Around that time John made his own electric guitar. Might that be Christopher Rowan next to Elizabeth White? He wore glasses in junior school. There are a lot of names that I remember but were they in this class?
I seem to remember more from the junior school. A couple more names from then, Trevor Slater, David Gray, Paul Hart, Sheila Hurst, Jacqueline Godfrey, Vivien Long, Margaret Bennett. I can't recognise Christopher Rowan but I do remember he was House captain of St. George's with Robert Pallister as vice-captain. I only ever made weather monitor and was responsible for taking barometer readings every day!

I travelled to Birmingham a few weeks ago to visit my sister and whilst there I attended a Silvermere School reunion and met up with Dave Gray, Margaret Bennett and her sister Barbara. Jill Burrows wasn't there but her sister Joy and brother Alan were.

The song sounds charming but unfortunately I have no recollection of it.
 

Spargone

master brummie
Miss Hay's class 1/1 1956/7. I ought to remember a lot more!
Back Row L-R: ?, Reginald Parton, Christopher Rowan, Elizabeth Day, Margaret Thornborough, Peggy Mole, Raymond Johns, Brian Johnson, John Cole.
Middle Row L-R: Stephen Taylor, Margaret Newton, Ian Christie, ?, Keith Thornborough, Valerie Johnson, Trevor Slater, Jill Burrows, Clive Birch, Christine Blake, Ivor James.
Standing Row L-R: David Hughes, Elizabeth White, ?, ?, Philip Silver, Christine Cole, James Madden, Susan Dray, Peter Beech, Kathleen Linforth, James Hiscox, ?, ?, Eve Edwards, Julian Partridge.
Sitting Row L-R: Pauline Evans,? , Jaqueline Godfrey, ?, Howard Thomas, Miss Hay, Susan Young, ?, James Shaw, Jean Crawley, ?.

This photograph must have been taken in the 'secret' playground as that is the final year infants' class spur in the background.
misshay.jpg
During out time in this class the Mayflower II made it trip across the Atlantic and we put in map pins each day. Margaret Newton's brother was a sailor and he bought her Japanese dolls in glass cases which she brought in for us to see. One boy's father was a fishmonger and they had found a baby shark, about a foot long, which he showed to us.
 
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jmadone

master brummie
Miss Hay's class 1/1 1956/7. I ought to remember a lot more!
Back Row L-R: ?, Reginald Partington, Christopher Rowan, Elizabeth Day, Margaret Thornborough, Peggy Mole, ?,Brian Johnson, ?.
Middle Row L-R: ?, Margaret Newton, ?, ?, ?, Valerie Johnson, ?, Jill Burrows, ?, Christine Blake, Ivor James.
Standing Row L-R: David Hughes, Elizabeth White, Howard Thomas, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, Eve Edwards, ?.
Sitting Row L-R: Pauline Evans,? , Jaqueline Godfrey, ?, ?, Miss Hay, ?, ?, James Shaw, ?, ?.

This photograph must have been taken in the 'secret' playground as that is the final year infants' class spur in the background.
View attachment 129728
During out time in this class the Mayflower II made it trip across the Atlantic and we put in map pins each day. Margaret Newton's brother was a sailor and he bought her Japanese dolls in glass cases which she brought in for us to see. One boy's father was a fishmonger and they had found a baby shark, about a foot long, which he showed to us.
Spargone,
Another absolutely brilliant picture, well done.
Again some of the names are familiar and there are faces on there I don't recall at all. The lad on the back row, wasn't his name Parton and not Partington?
The boy in the braces was a lad called Paul Birch (I think).
Other names I remember but cannot identify on the picture are Trevor Slater, Margaret Copson and Ian Christie.
Ian was the boy who brought the shark into class and I thought it was brilliant. I recall his family moved to the other side of the Coventry Rd. into Solihull, Henley Crescent I think, but continued to attend Mapledene. When it came to the 11 plus exam he had to sit in a place on his own because he was doing the Solihull Borough exam and not the Birmingham one as did the rest of us.

By the way I'm on the picture just behind Miss Hay in the zipped cardigan. If you can remember my name drop me a line via a private message, I'm still trying to work out who you are:confused:
 

Spargone

master brummie
Yes, it was Reginald Parton, I worked with a Partington and I mixed the names. The lad with the braces might well be Clive Birch, not Paul. John Cole might be on the right end of the back row. The girl to the right of Miss Hay might be Christine Cole, she was blonde and of slight build, (too light for country dancing twirls!). Jean Crawley next to the solo Twiny on the front row? Not at all positive about that though. Margaret Copson isn't a name that I recall at all but she did go toSheldon Heath in our year. Trevor Slater ought to be memorable, could he be between Valerie Johnson and Jill Burrows? Arthur Edwards might be between you and Howard Thomas.
 

jmadone

master brummie
Country Dancing, that brings back some memories, not all of them good. I used to enjoy it immensely until I got to Mrs Best's class. Because I enjoyed it and entered into with some enthusiasm I was selected, along with one or two others, to join Mr Wimpory's dancing group to represent Mapledene at a forthcoming dancing festival held I believe at Elms Farm junior school.
This group was made up from scholars in Mr Wimpory's class who were a year older than we were and a few selected 3rd years. Whenever he had a practice we were excused from our normal lesson to join the group.
The girl whom I was partnered with took an instant dislike to me and made great efforts to try and upset me. I was worried but made sure not to let it show and endured some real hostility. Then during a break in practice we were all sat on the floor, Mr Wimpory was sorting out the music on the record player, this girl, who physically was head and shoulders above me, stood up and took a run at me and launched a kick at me which caught me in the ribs and took my breath away and hurt a lot.
No-one said anything and I struggled on till the end of the practice.
That evening, whilst getting ready for bed, I looked at the damage and there was a massive bruise on my side. I suppose I was lucky she hadn't broken any ribs, it was that vicious. I was dreading the next pracctice.
However at the next practice I just got on with it and didn't let her see how much she had got to me and for some reason she left me alone from then on.
I enjoyed the festival itself and then going up to the fourth year continued to enjoy country dancing and representing Mapledene again.
 

Spargone

master brummie
Arts and Crafts: In the infants we used a lot of coloured tissue paper. Usually it was crunched up and pasted onto thick paper. For small hands it was probably a good way of controlling where colours were applied, a pellet in the wrong place could easily be moved, unlike paint. We made a big map of Mapledene's driveway and the turning circle. We used a paste called 'Tapwata', a white powder that was mixed up with cold for each class. It was probably thrown away if it hadn't been used within a day or so. I quite liked the taste! We would bring in empty fish paste pots to put the paste in. When we moved on to using paint it came as a coloured powders, again mixed with water. I think that in the final infants year, (Mrs Cornforth's class), we kept some paint in liquid form, in jam jars. They fitted nicely into the boxed tray at the base of the double-sided easels that we used. Once Mrs Cornforth told us to get out our books and I said that I didn't want to. "What do you want to do?", she said. I said that I wanted to paint. She asked if anyone else wanted to paint and another lad put his hand up. Rather than being sent to see Mrs Wild we were told to fetch an easel from the stockroom and get on with it! Remarkably there is a photograph of this event in a book about Sheldon. Was Mrs Cornforth collecting evidence of bad behaviour? Sometimes we got to use real clay. At the end of the lesson whatever we had made would be smashed down into a ball and a thumb-well made in the top to be filled with water so as to keep the clay useable. The better pieces might survive to be put in a batch for firing. My mum kept a wonkey little painted pot on the mantelpiece for years, "because you made it". About thirty years later I asked why she kept it and that is what she said. Actually it was an unclaimed item that I found in a stockroom and my teacher said that I could have it! (I never claimed to have made it, my mum just assumed that).
In the juniors we still used powdered paint but we put in little 'bun tins', 3 x 2, I think. These paints always looked 'bright' when wet but dried 'dull, which I didn't like. We now put our paper flat on the desk which meant that we no longer had two unpainted rectangles on the top edge caused by the bulldog clips used with the easel.
We always seemed to have masses of coloured raffia. That was used to good purpose when we put on a play about Rumpelstiltskin, where straw is spun into gold; lots of bright yellow raffia heaped on the floor. Raffia was woven around cardboard forms, like flat-fingered stars, to make small bowls. These forms were made of thick cardboard and were made by a company called Dryad, I think. It was possible to buy craft items like these at Midland Educational Company, who had a shop in town and also in Solihull.
 

Spargone

master brummie
One especially good memory was the time that we played 'Pirates'. Our teacher had arranged climbing frames, benches, coconut mats and hoops all over the junior's assembly hall floor. We then played a kind of 'tag' in which we had to keep off the floor or inside a hoop, (stepping stone). It was very exciting! I am sure it would be considered far too dangerous now.
During sports events like running or skittleball we wore our house colour as a narrow diagonal sash. Everyone had their own 'pump bag' for carrying their gym shoes, we didn't have 'book bags' like many primary schools have now that go to and fro daily. The pump bag only came home at the end of term I think, sometimes with extras like the left-overs from a Christmas party! (We had to bring our own labelled cup, plate and spoon).
A not so good memory was paper cut into narrow strips, about two inches wide. That signalled a quick test, perhaps ten sums or more likely a spelling bee.
 

Spargone

master brummie
Memories of Mr Bates:

All togther now, "The Congo. By Vachel Lindsay"

FAT black bucks in a wine-barrel room,
Barrel-house kings, with feet unstable,
Sagged and reeled and pounded on the table,

[A deep rolling bass.]
Pounded on the table,
Beat an empty barrel with the handle of a broom,
Hard as they were able,
Boom, boom, BOOM,
With a silk umbrella and the handle of a broom,
Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM.
THEN I had religion, THEN I had a vision.
I could not turn from their revel in derision.
THEN I SAW THE CONGO, CREEPING THROUGH THE BLACK,

[More deliberate. Solemnly chanted.]
CUTTING THROUGH THE JUNGLE WITH A GOLDEN TRACK.
Then along that riverbank
A thousand miles Tattooed cannibals danced in files;
Then I heard the boom of the blood-lust song
And a thigh-bone beating on a tin-pan gong.

[A rapidly piling climax of speed and racket.]
And "BLOOD" screamed the whistles and the fifes of the warriors,
"BLOOD" screamed the skull-faced, lean witch-doctors,
"Whirl ye the deadly voo-doo rattle, Harry the uplands,
Steal all the cattle, Rattle-rattle, rattle-rattle, Bing!
Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM,"
A roaring, epic, rag-time tune

[ With a philosophic pause.]
From the mouth of the Congo To the Mountains of the Moon.
Death is an Elephant, Torch-eyed and horrible,

[ Shrilly and with a heavily accented meter.]

Foam-flanked and terrible.
BOOM, steal the pygmies,
BOOM, kill the Arabs,
BOOM, kill the white men,

[ Like the wind in the chimney.]
HOO, HOO, HOO.
Listen to the yell of Leopold's ghost
Burning in Hell for his hand-maimed host.
Hear how the demons chuckle and yell
Cutting his hands off, down in Hell.
Listen to the creepy proclamation,
Blown through the lairs of the forest-nation,
Blown past the white-ants' hill of clay,
Blown past the marsh where the butterflies play:—
"Be careful what you do,
Or Mumbo-Jumbo, God of the Congo,

[ All the o sounds very golden. Heavy accents very heavy. Light accents very light. Last line whispered.]
And all of the other Gods of the Congo,
Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you,
Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you,
Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you."
 

jmadone

master brummie
Memories of Mr Bates:

All togther now, "The Congo. By Vachel Lindsay"

FAT black bucks in a wine-barrel room,
Barrel-house kings, with feet unstable,
Sagged and reeled and pounded on the table,

[A deep rolling bass.]
Pounded on the table,
Beat an empty barrel with the handle of a broom,
Hard as they were able,
Boom, boom, BOOM,
With a silk umbrella and the handle of a broom,
Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM.
THEN I had religion, THEN I had a vision.
I could not turn from their revel in derision.
THEN I SAW THE CONGO, CREEPING THROUGH THE BLACK,

[More deliberate. Solemnly chanted.]
CUTTING THROUGH THE JUNGLE WITH A GOLDEN TRACK.
Then along that riverbank
A thousand miles Tattooed cannibals danced in files;
Then I heard the boom of the blood-lust song
And a thigh-bone beating on a tin-pan gong.

[A rapidly piling climax of speed and racket.]
And "BLOOD" screamed the whistles and the fifes of the warriors,
"BLOOD" screamed the skull-faced, lean witch-doctors,
"Whirl ye the deadly voo-doo rattle, Harry the uplands,
Steal all the cattle, Rattle-rattle, rattle-rattle, Bing!
Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM,"
A roaring, epic, rag-time tune

[ With a philosophic pause.]
From the mouth of the Congo To the Mountains of the Moon.
Death is an Elephant, Torch-eyed and horrible,

[ Shrilly and with a heavily accented meter.]

Foam-flanked and terrible.
BOOM, steal the pygmies,
BOOM, kill the Arabs,
BOOM, kill the white men,

[ Like the wind in the chimney.]
HOO, HOO, HOO.
Listen to the yell of Leopold's ghost
Burning in Hell for his hand-maimed host.
Hear how the demons chuckle and yell
Cutting his hands off, down in Hell.
Listen to the creepy proclamation,
Blown through the lairs of the forest-nation,
Blown past the white-ants' hill of clay,
Blown past the marsh where the butterflies play:—
"Be careful what you do,
Or Mumbo-Jumbo, God of the Congo,

[ All the o sounds very golden. Heavy accents very heavy. Light accents very light. Last line whispered.]
And all of the other Gods of the Congo,
Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you,
Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you,
Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you."
I do remember our Choral speaking with Mr Bates and this poem, standing on the stage in front of all the school and parents, reciting from memory but I'm sure it was a shortened version. I don't think we could have coped with the full length version.
Another one we learnt and recited was by the same author and entitled Darius the Mede.
I still remember the first line,
Darius the Mede was a King and a wonder,
His eye was proud and his voice was thunder................

Having looked it up on Google, again I'm sure we only learnt and recited a portion of the full poem.
 
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