Gym lessons from army instructor

York House School pupils are put through their paces in June 1955 by an ex-army PT instructor.

York House School pupils are put through their paces in June 1955 by an ex-army PT instructor.

First published in Memories Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by

Watford resident Ian Edwards sent in this picture, after recognising a picture printed in a recent edition of Nostalgia.

Mr Edwards, of Stratford Road, said: “The picture you published of the boys taking part in a gymnastic display triggered a memory, as I immediately recognised the location.

“The display took part on the top field at the rear of York House School on Wednesday, June 29, 1955.

“This was when the school was located on the Uxbridge Road in Money Hill, not at its present site in Croxley Green.

“I joined the school in September 1955 so am not in the picture, although many of the faces are familiar.

“These displays were organised by the gym master, Mr Fiveash. I believe he was a PT instructor in the army during the war and had a turn of phrase and sense of humour that would have made any regimental sergeant major proud.

“In gym lessons he used to march us round the hall singing loudly and enthusiastically to Colonel Bogey. Of course, at that age the lyrics didn’t make a lot of sense.

“Sadly, Mr Fiveash died suddenly from a heart attack sometime in 1957/8 and was replaced by a much younger Mr Gale. I don’t remember the displays carrying on into his time.

“The Money Hill site was originally The Money Hill Hotel before being bought by Arnold White, the then-headmaster, in the late-1940s when he moved the school from Finchley.

“The original buildings (YHS MHill front and YHS MHill rear) were demolished in the late 1960s some four or so years after the school moved to Redheath, Croxley Green.

“Meresworth, a residential home for the elderly, was built on the grounds and Money Hill Court was built where the old buildings once stood.”

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