End of an era for school

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Both of these pictures are whole school photographs of Northill Lower School.

Originally belonging to the late Dorothy Stokes who worked at the school, Northill resident Shirley Mullen who now has them in her possession very kindly sent them in.

The pictures were taken at different times during the 1970s when the school was under the headship of Mr Hoddy.

They are noteworthy because they were taken just before and after the school became integrated into Bedfordshire’s three-tier system.

“We moved to Northill in 1982 but I don’t recognise most of the children” says Shirley.

She adds: “Mr Hoddy was the last headteacher to live in the school house next door to the school.

“He died very suddenly just before we came and his mother was still living there when we moved here.”

The school house was subsequently sold and today it is in private hands.

It is believed the photograph below has more children in it as it was taken when Northill was still a primary school teaching children up to the age of eleven. The exact date of the photo is unknown.

Mr Hoddy is seated in the centre next to the Reverend of St Mary Virgin Church at that time, as Northill School was and remains a Church of England school.

Mr Hoddy appears again on the far right of the larger photograph above, which was taken in 1978 after Bedfordshire had moved to the three tier system.

Northill became a lower school taking pupils up to age nine so when this photo was taken, it was consequently a much smaller school.

Northill residents Sandra Phillips and Pat Milton both have daughters who feature in this photo and between them, they were able to name the two other adults and most of the school pupils.

In the back row from left to right are Elsie Lane, Peggy Phillips (slightly in front wearing a blue jumper), Kevin Bygraves, ?, Neil Hanna, Sheila Schofield, Samantha Pates?, Grace Over, James Hanna, Kevin Atkins and Mr Hoddy.

In the middle row, left to right are Alicia Schofield, Cheryl Stone (who sadly died very recently), Catherine Jackson, Jonathon Coupe, Karen Pates, Patricia Jackson, Sarah Phillips and Sharon Knight.

In the front row are Duncan Leveridge, Richard Underwood, Marie? Schulz, Kim – (both the latter girls were American and based at Chicksands), ?, and Karen Milton.

“Mr Hoddy was a lovely man” recalls Sandra, who also worked at the school.

Many thanks go to Shirley, Pat and Sandra for giving us this glimpse of Northill School’s past.