The Bells!

Royal Wanstead School – Senior Boys Routines and Bells – Summer Term 1963

A resounding memory for everyones school life, even today, is the sound of a bell signalling the start of school and the various other times when pupils need to move or muster.

So I thought it would be of interest to publish this lovely part of Royal Wanstead School History and remind the 1960s Old Wansteadians of the 26 bells that would ring out during their school days!

Royal Wanstead School Routines and Bells
©Friends of Royal Wanstead School – Part of the Russell Wild Collection
(The original photo can be viewed  in the RWS Photo Archive by clicking here)

During the school week the first bell would ring at 07:20 – The Rising Bell – and from that point the day would be punctuated with bells for lining up, lessons, chapel and meals.  To following chart shows the details of the timings…

And there was no rest at the weekend, with lessons on Saturday mornings and Chapel services twice on Sundays.  However, there was also “Village Leave” on Sundays for the boys to visit the local shops of Wanstead and Snaresbrook.  I wonder what they got up to?

Do remember this time?  Do you remember Village Leave on Sundays and what you got up to?  If so, please comment below and share your memories!


  1. I recognise John Lavender’ handwriting after all this time. He was headmaster of course. First stop on Village Leave was the corner sweet shop, inevitably known as the tuck shop. Milk gums were one of my favourites. First shop on the left as we got to the High Street.

  2. Thanks for commenting Peter! I did think it looked like Mr Lavender’s signature at the bottom (I’ve seen it on a few school reports!)

    Milk gums, those dusty white chews…Mmmm was always my favourite growing up too.

  3. Pugsons was the name of the sweet shop that Peter has referred to. I believe that there was a Wednesday village “leave” it was an hour or two. We had to wear our caps and doff them to all and sundry, took the shine off ! Saturday morning was letter writing, having got fed up I joined the school choir so I could avoid this. I remember singing solo at Toc H and in the school chapel.There seems to be an omission, unless there was no bell rang. I remember “supper” we lined up and grabbed slices of lard coated bread, mostly crusts,unless you were lucky to get a piece of “dip bread”, this was still hot from dipping in bacon fat. We had a bottle of milk as well.I know that there were bells rang but had no notion that they rang 26 times !

  4. Would like to make contact after so many years with Russel Wild or Anthony Sloan or any others of that class. Flea, Suzy etc sorry guys but some happy memories. Barry (only started in our year 2) Athens then Montgomery.

    • Well well Baz Wilkinson…. Hero to so many 1st,2nd and 3rd formers for your battle with 3 yobs near the islands top end of the lake, ended when one of them smacked you round the head with some wood. You won’t remember me as I was a 2nd former at the time but I was there to witness, my name at the time was Dave Reddick ( Churchill)

    • Hi Baz,
      Along with many others I chat with Russ on a RWS site once regular basis.
      I have mentioned your message to him but not sure if he has seen it yet.
      Hope you are keeping well.
      Regards Bob (Tich)

  5. Hi everyone here. I remember that battle with the local boys – I was one of the smaller ones shouting and screaming at the corner of the pond/forest where it all started. Baz, if I remember rightly, you were the head boy of Churchill house. You chased those boys half way around the lake before collapsing from the club blow one had given you. I was in Nineveh House from about 1962 – 67.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.