HISTORY OF THE ST. MARK’S SCHOOL
The existence of a school called St. Mark’s is documented as early as 1859, when it was known as the Thicket’s Infant School. The origin of the school began when the Clergy and Plantocracy in Barbados formed the Branch Association of the Island of Barbados in aid of the Incorporated Society for the Conversion and Religious Instruction and Education of the Negro Slaves in the British West Indies in 1825. Thicket’s Plantation was one of the estates, which was visited by clergy from the Anglican Church. Sometime in 1833, Mr. Redward, a student from Codrington College, would hold Sunday school at the estate, teaching the slaves there the catechism.
It is quite probable then that the Thicket’s Infant School began as an estate school providing religious instructions for the slaves. It was also reported that the school was under the superintendence of the Principal of Codrington College, Bishop Richard Rawle and his wife. In the same report it was stated that the head of the school was a woman as was the general practice with infant schools.
A report in 1884 revealed that the Thicket’s Infant School changed in status to a combined school providing education at the infant and primary level. By the turn of the century the school had changed in status to that of the Thicket’s Mixed School catering to both boys and girls. In 1901, Thicket’s became a combined primary school for girls, the young boys having been transferred to the St. Mark’s Boys’ School. The interchange of school types between the St. Mark’s Schools and Thicket’s continued up to the 1980’s.
The Thicket’s Girls’ School, which had become dilapidated was condemned and replaced by the St. Mark’s Girls’ School. This new school, which now housed the St. Mark’s Girls’ School and the St. Mark’s Infant School pupils, was opened on Monday, October 22 1917. Further changes occurred when there was a problem of overcrowding at the St. Mark’s Girls’ School in 1947 and the infant classes were temporarily housed at the St. Mark’s Boys’ School. The congestion at the Girls’ School was relieved when an infant block was erected to the north of the main building.
In 1958 another reorganization of the schools occurred. The St. Mark’s Boys’ and Girls’ Schools became mixed schools. The Boys’ School became a senior school and the Girls’ School a junior school. The latter school catered to students in the infant and lower junior classes while the former catered to pupils in the upper junior and senior classes.
Mrs. Daphne Bennett, during her tenure of leadership at the Junior School indicated to the Ministry of Education the desirability of having the school retain classes three and four. This request was granted during the third term of the 1985 – ’86 academic year when the class three pupils were relocated at the Junior School. On September 9, 1986 the Junior School became a full Primary School under the leadership of Mr. Dan C. Carter.
Principals Mr. Darcy Murrel; Mr. Skeete; Ms. Doris Hunte; Mr. Bourne; Mr. Watts; Mr. Dan Carter; Mr. Odle; Mr. Catlyn; Mr. Erville Maxwell.
Blades Hill / College Savannah Buses
Three Houses Park
The native Indians of Barbados settled near springs and streams in the early days. Three Houses spring was one of these springs near to which the Indians lived. The wooded area that is now Three Houses Park was once home to these Indians.
In the years prior to the opening of the park, the youngsters from the surrounding areas would frequent the northern side, of the wooded area, which they always said could be made into a park. There, they would play cricket, roast breadfruits and cook some tasty pots. During the summer vacation the area would ring out with the cries of the lads from nearby.
The nearby spring would draw the youngsters like a magnet would a nail. They spent many days there catching fish and frolicking in the ever –flowing pristine water. At that time the spring was flanked by coconut trees and tall majestic palms, which have all disappeared.
The spring also served as a laundry for generations of householders. The women would flock to the area with their loads of soiled linen and clothes to make use of the free flowing water and the smooth rocks, which served as juking board and bleaching ground.
In 1986, Jerome Davis put the proposal to the St. Mark’s Old Scholar’s Association that Government be approached about transforming the entire area into a park. The Association followed through with the proposal and subsequently met with Warwick Franklin the Member of Parliament for St. Philip North. The Association also sought and got the approval of Mr. Ward the then owner of the land. The government bought the idea and the Park was opened on 28th April 1990.
The St. Mark’s Old Scholar’s Association has now written the government of Barbados requesting that the Park be named after the late Florence Dyash. Florence Dyash was born Florence Smith on 22 March 1908 at Golden Grove and grew up at Thicket plantation. In 1950 she was elected to the Vestry of St. Philip, and soon afterwards appointed to the Legislative Council. In 1958 she was the only woman nominated to contest the elections for the Federal Parliament. She won handsomely, defeating Errol Barrow, and served with distinction until the demise of the Parliament. (see Unsung Hero page)
Doing Laundry at Three Houses Spring In Early Years
(See anyone you know - like Ms Kennedy from Three Houses or Ms Hunte from Thickets?)
Hinkson Shop: Residents of Blades Hill, Thickets, Three Houses Hill, College Savannah, Bayfield and surrounding areas have fond memories of this well known landmark in Blades Hill. This was a one-stop shop. There, one could purchase from a safety pin to a bed. The owner Dorothy Hinkson made sure that the shop was well stocked with everything that one wanted. It also served as a first aid post. Many of the village children attended school thanks to the credit extended by Mrs. Hinkson to their parents. In the early days it used to be a job to get away from the shop at Xmas because of the large crowds. It used to be said to be "grinding load for load".
Boot Shop: The proprietor was Mrs Alleyne. This grocery shop corresponded to Hinkson shop. People from the surrounding districts all came there to shop for their groceries. Person hardly went to town for groceries. And like Hinkson's it used to grind load for load, especially on Friday nights. As youngsters we looked forward to the bottled vanilla or chocolate milk and sweet bread on Friday nights.
Foggerty Shop: This shop was more known for the sale of alcohol. It was the only shop which provided entertainment - in the form of a juke box. As youngsters passing by we would hear strains from popular calypsos ringing out. Foggerty's was opposite the St. Mark's School and was popular among children for its ice-cream blocks, cheese cutters and penny pines.
Sugar: Sugar sold kerosene oil and ice. It was the only place that one could buy ice. In those days only a few people had a fridge.
Other Shops: Maudi Inniss (pencils and books); Blackman (groceries), Smit (kerosene oil); Ms Downes (drinks and ice-cream blocks);
Sister Inniss: Sister Inniss was the village nut seller; she sold sugar cakes, fish cakes, sweet bread, nuts, ackees etc. from her tray. She would set up outside shops, at cricket grounds,especially Sussex or at fairs and dances.
Miss Jackman: She also sold from a tray like Sister Inniss. Her tray was smaller, though. She was known more for her sugar cakes.
Beckles: When one says the name Beckles, saliva still drips from ones tongue. Beckles sold snow-balls on Sundays. 'Snow-balls' was dessert for many a family on Sundays. Beckles would come around selling in his donkey cart. Snow-balls were made from a large block of ice from which Beckles would shave enough to fill one's cup or according to the size ordered. After the shaved ice was rammed into the cup, a rich, sweet red, green or blue syrup was poured over it. Yummy!!!
Ms Davis; Mrs. Davis supplied all the homes in the area with artificial flowers at Xmas. These flowers were made from crepe paper and looked very much like the real thing. The long stems were made from wire from burnt out tires. The lengths of wire were covered with green paper. Mrs Davis worked late into the night and even on Xmas morning to ensure that every house was well decorated.
Ms Haynes: Mrs Haynes had the responsibility of preparing the delicacy which is now common across he length and breadth of Barbados - black pudding and souse. Boy,we sure looked forward to saving up our pennies to go over and buy our share. The favourite among the boys was the tongue. Mrs Haynes would also give the boys their share of "black pudding water". This contained the pudding that was soft or had burst out of the skin. This was known to have given many a fellow the belly.
Another seller of black pudding and souse was Darkie. Darkie used to come around selling from her tray. She would carry the tray on her head and a bench in her hand. At every stop she would set down the bench, take her seat, place the tray on her lap and serve the customer.
Ms Rudder - Thickets (Pudding and Souse);
Ms Nick: A petite woman with chisel like features, Ms Nick supplied the village with fish and sea eggs. She is particularly remembered for the sea eggs, especially the ones which were sold ready cooked or steamed. Man those things used to taste soooo goood. They were presented in a shell with a grape leaf in the shape of a cone as a cover. She carried them in a basket on her head . Ms Nick was from Bayfield and walked every step barefooted throughout the village, calling out "fish, fish " or "sea egg out side".
Moory: Moory, a short, wizened, elf like man, brought joy to many with his home made ice cream. He drove around the village in his beetle shaped car with the ice cream in the trunk. We all gathered at the back of the car as Moory spooned the tasty ice cream into the cones. He was very playful and witty and boasted about the value of his product. Perched on the front of the car was an old ragged doll which he called "huhppy". He said his ice cream made you "get on pun yuh self".
Pa Went - owner of a donkey and cart. Many person hired Pa Went to transport items for them. Very few person could afford to hire a truck. In fact there were only a few trucks in the parish - Hinkson and Tom Docky were two that come to mind. Pa went was a very soft spoken man. I doubt that he ever raised his voice in anger. It was a thrill to get a ride on a donkey cart in those days.The boys from the village used to hop onto the cart as it passed by and Pa Went would lash at them with his dog-hunter. The boys would hop off to evade the snake like whip and hop back on as soon as his attention was back on the road. That nobody ever got hit, suggests that Pa Went never intended to hurt any one.
Bus Transportation: Who can forget
C-Lucas buses? Bus transportation in the early years was provided by buses with no closed sides and six or so persons to a seat. Passenger were protected from the rain by canvass which was rolled down when the rains came. What was amazing about these buses was to see the conductors collecting bus fare while th e buses were in motion. The conductors would move along the running board, from front to rear, bag over shoulder, taking money, making change and giving out tickets. The most dangerous part of the conductor's trek was his effort to reach the back seats. This involved stretching over the back wheel. Again, This was done while the bus was in full flight. Some young men in the area adopted the dangerous practice of hopping off the bus while it was in motion. Travelling on the last bus from town was special. Since there were only a few stops, the drivers used to literally fly up the road, making Church Village in fifteen to twenty minutes.
Ever remembered are:
Bus Drivers: Stanley Inniss; Pa Sealy: Diamond(Eastmond);Husbands; Evelyn Gregory; Mug or Darell;
Conductors: Bunny; Boxill; Bushell;
Buses:P391; P392; P394; P142; P440
Butchers: Yank; Leonard Haynes; Herbie (fromSealy Hall); Willie Reece;