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Shortstown Heritage

Shortstown Primary School


Opened in 1957 Shortstown County Primary School


Alderman F G Simms at the official opening ceremony in 1957

At this point I would like to ask if anyone has any information about Mr Evans or any photographs of him. He appears to have been a popular headmaster who was well respected.

In the Shortstown People section of this website Arthur Cannings a former pupil of the school in the 1970's recalls Mr Evans and he also remembers that there used to be a swimming pool at the school in these years. Another lady in Cotton End recalls that funds were raised by local residents to build the pool but maintenance proved costly and it was eventually shut down. If anyone has any photographs of the pool please make contact.

We didn't have a pool at the time so in the 'warmer' months we were taken to Newnham baths in Bedford. As I recall the pool didn't seem to be heated at all and the change rooms were pretty well open to the elements too.
In those days teachers didn't seem to have any discipline problems - if you misbehaved a worse fate waited for you at home! (Modern parents seem to think their children can do no wrong). Which doesn't mean to say we were all perfect angels all of the time. Corporal punishment was still in use at the time and canings were not uncommon.

Over time one tends to have selective memory. However, for me, I will always remember Shortstown school with fondness, and unlikely though it maybe, would welcome the opportunity to link up with others that attended the school, even though our lives have taken us in different directions."

Fred Samuels*
Mississauga, Ontario,

With grateful thanks to Mr Samuels and if anyone remembers him please make contact.

The following memories have been sent in from Trevor Monk who lived in Cardington and attended Shortstown school in the 1980's. Trevor has a long association with Cardington, the airships and sheds........

Trevor 1st day at school

First day at school - Trevor at Shortstown Lower

I remember the Sports Days were every year, always seemed to mark the last day of term before summer holidays.

Trevor on sports track 1

I remember learning to swim at Shortstown, we were lucky in that mum and dad had got us kids a pool at home but the pool at Shortstown was always great in the summer, I got my first and only swimming certificate there. The pool was going strong well into the eighties, Cardington had a similar pool at their lower school, this was closed before I was old enough to go, so I went to Shortstown instead. I remember having to dip our feet in a Dettol solution before entering the pool, and when I was there they fitted a huge solar heating sheet, like blue bubble wrap on a large roll, it would use the sun to heat the water, and worked quite well.

Trevor at a Sports Day at the school

Thanks go to Trevor for sharing his memories of the school with us. His early interest in airships has continued and can be followed on his Cardington Airship website www.cardington.weebly.com Well worth a look!

Reflections of Shortstown from David How.

Last month I was thrilled to hear from David How who was a pupil at the school from 1958-1964. He has also sent us two fabulous photographs. Below is his story.

“Hello Jane,

I stumbled across your excellent website recently and thought that you might be interested in some of my memories, having lived in North End Shortstown until the age of 18 and attending the Primary School from 1958 to 1964.
Please find the attached photo of the 1964 school football team that might raise a few chuckles and memories for others! Surprisingly, I can name most of the boys in the team.

Shortstown School (2)

Back Row left to right:- Michael Evans, Arthur Woods, Fred Samuels, ?, Michael Williams?, Michael Atyeo
Front row left to right:- David Evans, Danny McCutcheon, David How, Paul Wooding, Phil Donnison

I note that Fred has contributed to your project – we made the same journey through those school years and beyond – I can certainly relate to his recollections. I also note that you have asked for info on the Shortstown Rangers team that were league champions in 70/71. I occasionally played for this team, which lasted a few years – based in the RAW club, with its home ground on the windswept south side of the hangers.”

“I was born and raised in Shortstown, along with my two younger brothers Stephen and Paul. In fact Paul still lives there – in Lincoln Road – so he has been a resident for the full 54 years of his life – I wonder if this is a record!! My parents were Don and Ivy How – we lived at 4 North End – both my parents ending their lives there.
After his war service, Dad became a lorry driver for the Ministry, responsible for the delivery of gas bottles to RAF bases throughout the UK. He would regularly make journeys to Scotland and be away for several days. In his later years, he worked in the gas plant itself. Mum spent many years running the “childrens nursery” (would now be called a day-care centre) in one of the two pre-fab huts (the other was the scout/cub/guide/brownies hut) just to the west of Central Avenue.

I remember Shortstown being almost a split community – those who were in the RAF (officers on the south side, enlisted people on the west side) and those called “civilians” who lived on the east side. It was not possible to describe Shortstown as either a town or a village – in fact it was usually simply called “The Camp”.
You would have to say it was a fun and safe place to be raised - it seemed that Mum and Dad knew just about everybody else. Being located in the Bedfordshire countryside was a huge bonus for an adventurous bunch of boys. In our early teens, we would think nothing of spending all day biking around the district, getting home just before it was dark!
The school was small and active. The younger girls and boys had separate playgrounds – there was plenty of room in the school grounds for a rounders pitch and a full size football pitch to the north of the school. Fred Samuels tells some great stories about the school and it teachers. Mr Donnison deserves a special mention from me as a genius teacher, who in reflection made it his business to ensure that his pupils had the best chance of passing the “eleven plus” exam to gain entry to the more elite Bedford schools. He would train us at length in the IQ style tests that were a large part of the exam. His success rate at this small school was extraordinary.
By the way the football team shirts were black and white – I remember 11 boys crowding into Mr Donnison’s small Humber Hawk estate car for our away games!! The boys school uniform only extended to a black and white striped tie – judging from my school photos!!

Shortstown Scouts 1968 (2)

As you could imagine in such a small community, the scouting movement in those days played a large part in out of school entertainment. I have attached a photo copy of the boys taken in the scout hut around 1968 – the photographer in this case was Walter F Graves, 1 Lime Street, tel Bedford 61387 !! "

My grateful thanks to David for his wonderful memories and photographs. I have heard mention of this scout hut but never seen a photograph before.

Brilliant David!

The Old and New Schools in March 2013

School old 1

March 3rd 2013 - I took this photograph of the school today. In some respects it is sad to think it will close and relocate as there are fields on both sides and behind the school to provide the children with plenty of fresh air and open spaces.

shorts and school Oct 26

This picture taken Oct 27th 2013 shows the new school on the left and the back of the Shorts Building on the right.

Oct school side

Shown above is the side of the new school which sits on the The Highway on the A600 (open for buses only). Notice Shed no 1 to the right in the background.

January 2016 - we are thrilled to relate that one of the new streets built on the old school site in the Kier development is called Evans Croft in acknowledgement of the first headmaster of Shortstown Primary the popular Mr Evans mentioned above. What a lovely tribute!

Evans Croft (2)

If you are a former pupil of Shortstown School and have any stories and photographs you can share with us please get in touch. Many thanks.

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