Thursday, 22 October 2015

Ink Pots, Pens and Biros'; oh and outside toilets!

I remember we had to take turns at being the ink monitor at primary school in the late fifties, your job was to fill the ink pots set into the desk each day from a big bottle of ink with tubes coming out of the top. You put your finger over one of the tubes to start and stop the flow of ink. We had to practice writing on special sheet of paper, three lines to a row, using nibbed pens which you frequently dipped into the ink. It was broad strokes downwards and thin strokes upwards to produce copper plate writing. It was probably the same way my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents had been taught to write, so not much had changes over the years.

Miss Clark, our teacher sought permission to introduce biros pens into the class. I recall this being quite contentious and she had to obtain approval from the Head Mistress. She bought the pens in bulk and we had to get money from our parents to buy our pen, I'm sure she paid for many pupils pens herself as for quite a few it was unaffordable! I remember being told that biros had been developed during WWII for pilots/navigators etc. to use as fountain pens wouldn't flow on aeroplanes in flight. We though we were the Bees Knees, never mind computers and tablets we had our own biros', other classes didn't.

You couldn't write copper plate style with a biro but it didn't smudge and blot as you wrote.

Do you remember the outside toilets at Ferryhill School? They were barabaric, no roofs and for most of the year freezing cold and wet. You only went for a wee if you absolutely had to!

Happy days and not that long ago either.

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