At School No.7: The World at War

…Staying at School

The Education Committee admitted in 1939 that education for those left in the evacuation areas would not be as good as for those in the reception areas. [BCC 1/BH/1/1/1/38 p.15] Providing suitable education and protection for those that had not been evacuated became essential. Tinkers Farm Road School reopened on a voluntary basis on 26th October 1939, and on a compulsory basis in January 1940. During this time air raid shelters were built. 9 shelters were built at Tinkers Farm at an estimated cost of £1,085.

Air raid shelter figures included accommodation for 850 children at Tinkers Farm. BAH: BCC BH/1/1/1/38.

A later report lists Tinkers Farm protection as accommodating for a maximum of 850 children. [31.5.1940 BCC 1/BH/1/1/1/38 p.252] However, the children did not seem too bothered by these new additions to school life:

“This morning’s + this afternoon’s shifts were given an A.R. practice. The children accepted the rehearsal as an enjoyable experience, being curious to see inside the shelters + not at all nervous.” [S199/1/1 23.1.1940]

Tinkers Farm Senior Logbook records many of the air raid warnings during the 1940s, including one event during morning assembly where a plane and gunfire were heard. [S200/1 5.9.1940] The Head Teacher also recorded the falling of bombs in the neighbourhood. [S200/1 13.11.1940] Birmingham’s surviving air raid maps show a cluster of bombs near Litchfield on this evening.

Birmingham Air raid no.46 fell close to Tinkers Farm Road School (top right). BAH: LS/8/29.

Bombing raids on Birmingham were most prolific during 1940 and 1941. In 1944 evacuees arrived at the local rest centre fleeing from the Flying Bombs, V-1’s, which first hit London on 13th June 1944:

“A number of children from the flying bomb area have had to be admitted today.” [S199/1/128.8.1944]

“112 Evacuees arrived from London.”  [S200/1 31.8.1944]

Yet despite these hardships school continued, and there was even the occasional treat:

“City of B’ham Orchestra (40 players) visited the school this afternoon + played to the whole school. The concert consisted of The Caliph of Bagdad, Seventeen Come Sunday, Dance Macabre, Fingal’s Cave, + Shepherd’s Hey – with introductory remarks by Dr Desond Macmahon, conductor. Everyone was delighted.”[S200/1 6.10.1944]

A National holiday was declared on the surrender of Germany to the allies and the signing of the Armistice on 8th May. The Logbook notes that many children were still off the day after as the celebrations ran late into the night. [S199/1/1 10.5.1945]

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