Giddy Old School: The Diary of a Swot 1948-1951 Eilidh Nisbet Author
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How were your schooldays – happy, horrible, or just a bit crazy?  For one teenager, writing in Austerity Britain sixty years ago, they were a mixture of all three, but it was the craziness that stood out in retrospect.   Eastwood School, near Glasgow, went through a very lively period in the years following the Second World War.  Many of the staff were young men not long back from the forces, often as high-spirited as the pupils they strove to teach.  Yet somehow, they earned respect from these rowdy pupils.  Relations between staff and pupils were generally good, with the teachers emerging as the real heroes of the piece.    Many things were done differently in the days before calculators, computers, mobile phones and iPods.  Ball-point pens and television existed, but not many people had either, and even paper was in short supply.   Other aspects no doubt remain much the same.  All school life is chronicled here: high jinks to alleviate the boredom of classes; the giggling girls and the earnest students; the blushes of embarrassment; the dramas and disasters of exams; hopes and disappointments; crushes on teachers; the excitement of concerts, dances and sports events, which included annual contests of pupils versus staff in hockey, cricket, badminton and tennis.  For many, the “Staff Hockey” was the highlight of the school year.  Food, of course, was still rationed, and the dinner-ladies did not have an easy life.   All these activities, interwoven with the on-going saga of the disintegrating bicycle and keen observation of teachers and fellow-pupils, are linked by one pupil’s odyssey from gawky fourteen-year-old “new girl”, desperately trying to fit in, to senior student eager to move on to the next stage of life.   This account is an edited version of the author’s diaries from 1948 to 1951.  Irreverent illustrations were added at a later date.


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