The School Board Man
I don’t know if they still exist but up until the 60s at least, one of the most feared officials for school kids was the School Board Man. The role of this gentleman was to wander the streets looking for kids who were playing truant (or playing the wag as we used to say)..
In the 50s and 60s in Swalwell, the School Board Man was a gentleman called Mr. Foster. A short, bald, bespectacled and moustached character in a Burberry raincoat, Foster would lurk around corners waiting to pounce on unsuspecting truants. If caught, you were generally dragged by the ear to your parents who would be lectured to by Foster on the erring ways of truants with a warning to ensure that you attended school.
On many occasions Foster would be spotted in the distance and we would run like hell to ensure that he didn’t catch us. He would never chase you but would yell after you that he would get you next time - he often did! Foster disappeared sometime in the 60s and was never replaced.
Does anyone else remember him?
From David Newton now resident in The Philippines.
"Foster" was my granddad. His name was actually Jack Forster. He and my nanna, Leila, owned the Piccadilly cake shop and bakery which was the Northern Rock and is now a solicitors (I think) on Front Street.
Your memories sound similar to my dad's recollections, although he had the problem of being known as the school board man's son! Unfortunatley I never met Jack Forster - he died before I was born in 1972. As such, any other memories would welcomed.
Thanks for your comments and for giving us the correct name for Mr Forster.
Posted by: Paul Forster at December 7, 2006 8:30 PM
nice! i'm gonna make my own journal
Posted by: The Speed Freak at September 16, 2009 8:09 AM
I can remember the School Board Man Mr. Forster too, and his wife's bread and cake shop. Readers should also remember:
"Send your bairns te skeul, larn them aall ye can, Mek
scholarship yer faithful friend, And ye'll never see the Skyeul Board
Man!" written by Tommy Armstrong.
I believe he and others were called the School Board man as they were employed by the Boards of the School Boards to ensure attendance. The name for his role now is, I believe, Attendance Officer.
Posted by: J M Willers at June 28, 2012 10:47 AM