The Early Days
50 Years On
The Early Days
by David Spinks and Bill Atkins
Methods of transport used in the Fifties can give some perspective to those first years at Wymondham College. Very few people (the well-off) had cars, so the majority had to rely on public transport; bus or train. At the beginning of every term, a fleet of coaches converged on the College, having picked up small knots of boys and girls from chains of pick-up points across the County of Norfolk. As the coaches turned into Golf Course Lane, there would be cries of 'caps and berets on!' before they discharged their load in the car park at the southern end of the main dining hall. At the end of term, the fleet would return to collect a more boisterous contingent for their homeward journey.
A week or so before the end of term, each pupil was given a Transport Slip (example on the Forms & Chits page) which listed time of arrival at the destination, coach number, pick-up point for the next term, and time of collection.
Those travelling out of the County would be dropped at the nearest station, Spooner Row. The railway system was very extensive in those days before the Beeching cuts (1958) and many trains were hauled by steam locomotives, which remained in production through the decade. British Railways had been formed in 1948 by the amalgamation of the 'big four' private companies and embarked on manufacture of 'standard' classes of locomotive for particular work. The first year of the College's existence saw the introduction of Standard Pacific (4-6-2) locomotives on the Liverpool Street to Norwich run, but the time taken to travel between the two cities remained obstinately at 2 hours!
Britannia Pacific leaving Liverpool Street
The other locomotives on the Eastern Region were a mixture of classes dating from the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) and the (pre-1923) Great Eastern Railway (GER). A common general-purpose workhorse in those days was the B12 'steamer' - one of which is preserved at the Sheringham North Norfolk Railway. At half-term, these less-elegant engines, or small diesel railcars, would carry many of us from Thorpe Station over small branch lines to our towns and villages.
Our first two school buses were of a type known as the Bedford OB [I don't know either - Ed.], with Duple coachwork (body). The first was blue, and the second red ('The Red Devil'). The buses, driven by the late Harry Wymer, transported sports teams and field-trippers, as well as small parties destined for local events. Does anyone know what happened to it?
1960s trip with Harry
Side detail 1963
Front view 1963
These two photos were taken in connection with the 6th Form Revue in the Summer of 1963. Featuring Graham 'Hank' Bowman, WTJ Lawrence, Lesley Sayles, Jim Douglas and John Wood.
Here we see a young Harry and 'assistant' (his son?) with the first school bus, outside the original garage, which stood halfway between where Lincoln and Peel Halls are now.
Wymondham College Remembered