Recollections of Dorothy Round

Dorothy Round went to Marazion School in 1924. Her father was Headteacher. She now lives in California aged 86. She has recorded two volumes of memories; the following is an extract describing her early days at Marazion School.

After Christmas 1924, I was sent to school. I was four years and 4 months old. Dad took me to Miss Lambert's room, said 'be a good girl and do what Miss Lambert tells you now' and then he was gone!

Miss Lambert took my paper wrapped sandwich - for play time - and put it on top of the high book cupboard with all the other little packages and her apple, well out of the reach of hungry boys. She showed me where to hang my coat and hat, in the cloakroom near the back door, and then gave me a seat in the 'babies class'. Second class was in the middle of the room and first class over on the far side. My seatmate was Monica Pearce, daughter of the village policeman.

Dorothy Round's memory of Marazion School

School began with a hymn, Miss Lambert pumping out the time on the foot powered harmonium. Then she told us a Bible story and we repeated the Lords Prayer. Miss Lambert gave us a paper tub of yellow and brown seashells, the kind I liked to collect. This was all right! We were allowed to play with the shells - quietly - no talking - while she settled second and first classes with their sum books. Then she came back to us and told us to take 3 shells out of the tub and put them in a straight line. Sums were wonderful - sums meant playing with shells!! After playtime came reading.

The noon break lasted an hour and a half because some children had to walk a mile or two home. In the 1920's every child went home for dinner, rain or shine, storm wind or calm. The few students who came by boat at high tide, from the Mount, ate at a friends house.

Afternoon school was just as structured for the Infants as the academic morning lessons and discipline was never relaxed: however it was less studious. Miss Lambert read or told us a story, we sang to her harmonium accompaniment and depending on sex, we knitted or drew pictures. I don't remember that any little girl expressed jealousy over the fact that the boys could draw while we had to knit. Knitting was something that every girl had to do and no one dreamed of fussing about it.

How do you teach several four year olds to knit, all at the same time? Miss Lambert knew how. The girls in first and second classes need no help and worked industriously at their white cotton dishcloths using thick wooden needles. All the girls in the baby's class were told to stand, turn around, and sit on your desktops with your feet on the seat. Miss Lambert stood behind one little girl at a time and we all listened as she said the magic words that turned us into knitters." In - round - through - off. In round - through - off." Suddenly Miss Lambert had her arms around me, her plump bosom pushing against my back. She was holding a pair of knitting needles with a few rows already done. 'Watch me' she said. She stuck the right needle into the stitch on the left needle, saying 'in'. She swung the thick cotton yarn around the needle as she said 'round' and then very slowly twisted the needle point as she said 'through' and slithered the old stitch off the needle point as she said 'off'. She showed me twice. Then she held her hands on mine and guided me through the process. Then she told me to try it myself and moved on the Monica.

A reminiscence project promoted by Marazion and District Forum and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund