Larches Primary School
Larches County Primary School was located on the south side of Starrgate Drive on the Larches housing estate. The land was turned over to housing after the school was demolished in the 80s. The new homes that now occupy the erstwhile location of the school are very distinct from the surrounding homes that were built in the early 50s.
"Larches was my first school! I was there in 1968/9 and can remember getting packs of potato puffs for playtime and riding the tricycles – always remember, there was one new red and blue one and one old one." Anthony Robertson
"I went to Larches CP until 1967, was even the Rose queen! I remember the wonderful modern facilities, very unusual at that time; it was very bright and child-friendly with a huge field, paddling pool, our own wood and the Headmaster’s beehives which were located in the playground – kids who got stung were sent to the kitchens for vinegar to be applied! The head (Mr Rigby) played classical music to the children every morning at assembly. He also had 2 lovely Labrador dogs which resided in his office… there was a happy, relaxed atmosphere in the 60s; I’m surprised it was closed down so soon. There was also a Catholic primary called St Bernards over the road (More traditional I think). "
"I attended L.C.P.S. from ’54 ish to 1960. I remember every class I was in. Mr Rigby’s beehives (looked after by Roy Elliott and much studied by his class of 1960!) and his lovely black Labrador dog called Turk. I still tell tales of Mr. Rigby sometimes having to stand in for absent teachers. He’d start the lesson as planned by the teacher and then ramble off onto another more interesting subject. He once came into a class in a teacher’s absence and for no obvious reason told us how arches were built and how they could stand up even without being cemented. I was fascinated and he pushed me to enjoy learning… Turk, his dog would parade up and down the aisles of desks and each child would pat his head as he passed. I was in the ‘gymnastic’ team for the 1960 Rose Queen Festival and also managed to make the Maypole dancing team though I don’t readily broadcast that!"
I, too, was a pupil between 1954-1959. I remember Rodney Williamson, Carol Catterall and Christine Gore. I remember with affection Roy Elliott and to me the tallest man in the world Mr Rigby. I was never ever taken to school by my parents but walked across Ashton Park with others from my first day to last. Great safe days. I was a latch key kid and also remember going back to school during the holidays for dinner which was laid on. I remember, too the beehives, Turk, maypole days, The Spinney wood at the back and remember setting the fire alarms off with my gym shoe bag. The whole school was evacuated. Fantastic. Who said ‘Things can only get better?' Not true.
"I attended Larches C.P School from 1960 (age 4) until 1968 when I left for Tulketh Secondary. At the time I lived on Norbreck Drive. I thought all the teachers were great though Mr. Davis could be a real terror at times.
I recall a severe distaste for the school dinners that were served up in the assembly hall each day. A teacher would sit at most of the tables and made you eat a good portion of the serving. “Eat half and leave half if you must but think about the poor children in Africa” is what Mrs. Bilsborough would say. I can still taste the soapy flavoured sponge pudding.
I can also recall with a fair amount of clarity how the infants were made to take a 30 minute nap on cots that would be laid out in the classroom.
I have fond memories of volunteering to become a greenhouse monitor. The greenhouse was located directly behind the staff rooms on the playing field side of the school. This daily duty allowed me (and two others who I can’t recall) to skip the morning assembly in order to water and feed the plants. In summer the school always seemed to be plagued by bees from the school hive out by the forest at the back of the playing fields. One morning, during assembly, the Headmaster Mr. Harold Rigby, gave us an object lesson on how to behave should a bee happen to land on us. We all sat horrified as a large bee wandered around his face and neck as he stood rigidly to attention. The bee then proceeded to sting him on the nose!
- Happy days."