Christine Jeans brings back memories of West Jesmond School

Image: Valentina Egorova

Image: Valentina Egorova

Local author Christine Jeans visited Jesmond Library on November 10th to talk about her book “West Jesmond School – 100 Years of Memories: Footprints on the Sand”.

Published in 2002, the book includes recollections of West Jesmond School’s pupils, photographs from years gone by and reflections on schooling in the 20th century.

Jeans spent four-and-a-half years gathering material and tracking down former pupils.

She recalled how her bedroom was littered with piles of papers containing information about West Jesmond School.

Jeans told JesmondLocal how “fascinated” she was by former pupils, saying: “They had such marvelous and detailed memories and such interesting things to say.

“You just have to ask the right question, like ‘Do you remember the play shades? What were the school’s dinners like?’

“Having said they did not remember anything, they would come up with all of this information.”

She added that former pupils were really keen to share their memories with very few exceptions.

Jeans, who never went to West Jesmond School, has a personal connection: her children, Ben and Beth, are both ex-pupils.

Explaining her motivation to write the book, she said: “I love local history. I’d never done it before and I was really pleased that I did it in the end. It would’ve all just disappeared.”

Isabel Clifton, whose daughter spent six years at West Jesmond School, came to meet the author.

Having read the book, she said: “It’s just so interesting to see the history of the school going right back to 1901, and the school is still going today.

“What Christine did was relate the school events to what was actually going on at that time and  through both world wars.

“It really is a fascinating history of the school and of the time.”

During her speech in Jesmond Library, Jeans said: “I wanted people to read the book as a compilation of memories.

“Let me know if there was anything inaccurate, but you can’t say that somebody else’s memories are inaccurate if they are different to yours.”

Sadly, the only copy of “West Jesmond School – 100 Years of Memories: Footprints on the Sand” has disappeared from Jesmond Library.

But the book can be found in Newcastle City Library – there are five copies available.