WHETHER you loved your schooldays or loathed them, the memories always remain with you.

In Press reader David Wardell's case, the memories are all he has left of his school - because it was demolished some time in the 1960s.

David, a regular Press letter writer who is now in his late 60s, was born in Price Street in 1946, and started at St Clement's School in Cherry Street in 1951, aged just four. He began his school days at the infant school, before transferring to the junior school just across the road.

The infant school building at least is still there, although it is now a medical centre. But the junior school is long gone, demolished, David thinks, in about 1962. The bricks from the school were recycled, he believes, and used to build flats on the site where the school once stood.

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He's been researching his old school for years, trying to find out more about its history and exactly when it was demolished: but almost everywhere he has turned he has drawn a blank.

Until a news story in The Press a couple of weeks ago, that is.

On Tuesday December 9, we ran a story headlined 'Ex-pupil seeks details about lost York school'. Since then David, who now lives in the Malton Road area, has been contacted by several ex-pupils - including Joan Rush (née Guffick) and Barbara Hustwick - who have sent him a number of old school photographs, including those on these pages.

His old schoolmates getting in touch also gave the 'Old Clementonians' a chance to swap a few stories about their childhood days in York in the 1950s.

"You think your past was special and only yours," David says. "Yet when you speak to people their lives run parallel. You talk about certain parts of your childhood to find out they did exactly the same."

Among the things they remembered was having 'pobs' for breakfast. "This was bread and milk - parents could not afford breakfast cereal," David says.

"We all had sugar sandwiches - no butter or cocoa - mixed with sugar to dip your fingers in. If there was no food for tea you sat down to bread and beef dripping. One lady informed me they lived in poverty. When her mother used to say 'you're having a hot tea tonight' this turned out to be 'titbits' sauce sandwiches - due to the sauce being a bit hot!"

He also clearly remembers the night hawks - the men who came to clean the toilet waste away from the outside toilets while everyone slept. "The children named them the 'todd turn overs'," he says.

St Clement's School wasn't the only building to be demolished. A whole street - Caroline Street, which had been bombed during the York blitz - was compulsorily purchased by the council after David's schooldays and demolished to make way for a new estate, St Benedict Road. But David still remembers a chippie in Caroline Street: Atkinson's - or Ackos as the children knew it.

"This was the best fish shop in the area," he says. "If children took newspapers in they received free chips. You'd need to queue while other fish shops in the area had no customers."

Also living in Caroline Street was a woman the children knew only as Lucy, and her son, who went by the nickname 'Knocker'. They had a donkey and cart, David recalls, and used it to go over to York market and collect any fruit and veg that was being thrown away at the end of the day.

So many memories of childhood - but still those mysteries about his old school.

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OLD: St Clement’s School photo, possibly about 1905 or 1910.

According to the History of the County of York, published in 1861, St Clements Primary School was opened in 1872 in 'a new building which had been erected by subscription and with the aid of a government grant'. It took both boys and girls, and also had an infants department.

The school was named after St Clement, the early Bishop of Rome, who was martyred in 99AD by being tied to an anchor and thrown into the sea - hence the anchor on the school's badge. In 1894, according to the History of the County of York, there were more than 1000 children at the school, though by 1956, when David was there, the numbers had fallen to 130 juniors and 80 infants.

He still doesn't know exactly when the school was demolished, however. And the new photographs he has been sent throw up a new mystery. One shows a large group of children - both boys and girls - proudly showing off some kind of shield trophy. They're dressed in sports clothes, so presumably must have won it for something - but what for?

David would love to hear from you if you know. And he'd also like to hear from anyone who went to St Clements and who would like to attend a 'get-together' of old boys and old girls. Just give him a call on 01904 289359.