From Adrian Hooke
I would like to attend a Summervale reunion, given enough advance notice (since we would have to travel from California). Please add me to the "interest" list.
PS: I went to the school on North Street when I was about six. I remember girls being at the playground break, so there must have been a girls component. From there I went to the Ilminster Junior Boys' School in Ditton Street, which now seems to be some kind of Skills and Learning Center; then after the 11+ exam, on to Ilminster Grammar School. We probably moved into Summervale about 1946 or so - does anyone know when exactly it was built? I distinctly remember my 6th birthday in 1950 because we lived at 6 Summervale and I recall looking at the number on the front door. We left Summervale in 1954 when my Dad built a house up on Higher Beacon, leaving Ilminster permanently in 1957 to follow STC down to Paignton.
My Dad moved down with STC in 1940 but my mother stayed in London for a bit. My Dad had really gloomy digs in Chard and then my mother came down and they got married in June 1941. They lodged at at Sea Farm out on the Chard road for a while. I was born in Bridgwater in 1944 and we lived in Watergore and Puckington when I was very young. I suspect that it may have been 1945 when we moved to Summervale.
I first went to Chard Convent as well - my Dad had some wacky ideas about how I should go to private schools. I hated the place with those really mean old nuns (do you remember how they would beat kids and then give out rice paper as a treat?) and I would throw a screaming fit every morning when my parents tried to put me on the bus to Chard. Finally my mother got fed up and told my Dad that I was going to the North Street school - end of subject. Excellent move. I do remember that there were girls at North Street because there one one girl called Valerie Hallett who was a bit weird and who would poop her drawers just about every day.
I just took a Google Maps video tour around Ilminster - the place is still so recognizable. And Dyers down by the church should be a national monument. I remember getting my school uniforms there; they had this wonderful spring-loaded overhead wire system for sending your money to the central clerk's cage, who would return the receipt and change the same way. The little metal containers holding the money were always whizzing around overhead.
I hope that the reunion works out. We are still working for NASA in Washington DC but I have some health problems so we will relocate back to California in a couple of weeks. I will think about retiring if the economy and the stock market ever gets out of the current hole. We are hoping to visit the UK later in October.
Here is a great photo of Adrian from his website -
Still signs of that red hair!
AND : ROB DRAYTON
Hi Jean and Peter, hope you are well and thanks for the e-mail regarding the possible Summervale reunion. I will be passing on the information to my mum Edith (known as Edie and Ede) Drayton who was 89 in July - she has been poorly after breaking her shoulder in a fall and then contracting the Norwalk virus in hospital but is now recovering well. I will also let me brothers know - the oldest is Derek and the middle brother Michael - I am Robert, the youngest of three children. My dad Dennis sadly died seven years ago and we lived at Number 15. In fact I was born there in 1951 - a true Summervale boy then!
Just a few comments regarding some of the request on the blogs:
The photo of the children immediately below the photo of the ladies in the sack race - I believe it is brother Derek top left (I will check when I see him next).
Regarding Derek Johnson, I vaguely remember that he passed away a few years back but will try and check that also.
North Street School: this was the home for the infant boys and girls and the junior girls - the infants went through the left-hand door and the junior girls through he right-hand door; when the infant boys were old enough they transferred to the junior boys school in Ditton Street (headmaster in my time was Tom Wade), the infant girls moved over into the junior girls section. After that, they would all go to either the boys grammar school in Silver Street, girls grammar school in Cross House behind the Minster, or the secondary modern in Ditton Street; a few might have gone to he convent in Chard. One of the teachers I remember at North Street was Mrs Kierstan - her son Richard (deceased) was in my class and he had a sister Peta; father Steve Kierstan was chief bull stockman at Horlicks cattle breeding centre. I also remember another teacher at Ditton Street junior boys was John Chislett.
I hope that brings back a few memories - I have been writing a book about my life and times at work and play in Ilminster which I will get around to publishing some time and reading the blogs is great fun.
Many thanks for reading and best wishes to one and all.
Rob Drayton (incidentally, I became a grandad two months ago - I prefer to call myself grandude)
Wow, I love that!