Allens Croft in the Past

Allens Croft Primary School had originally been called Pineapple County Primary School from the 'Pineapple' Estate it was built in.

This always seems a strange name but the Middle English word for 'pinecone' was pineapple and there are still pine trees around the estate and even on the modern grounds.

Pineapple

Information and photographs below from 'Pineapple Millennium Project' by Barbara and Norman Eames. Many thanks to Barbara and Norman for giving special permission for their material to be used on this website.

In Barbara and Norman Eames' book they tell of the construction of the Pineapple Farm Estate and the building of the school. The estate was built from 1922 to 1923 and the houses were designed to have a more modern interior. Houses had an entrance into a hallway, with rooms and stairs leading from the hallway. There was a parlour, dining/sitting room and a kitchen off the sitting room. Heat and hot water was provided through a copper boiler and water for baths was carried upstairs in two gallon galvanised buckets! Originally, lighting was by gas but within a few years of building houses were converted to electricity.

The School Building

The decision to build new Elementary schools at Billesley and Pineapple Farm estate was made in July 1921. The first Head Master of the school, appointed in 1923, was Mr L A Rand (Chief Assistant at the Saltley College Practising School) with a salary of £395 per year. His Deputy was Miss Helen Wallace.

In the 1930's the Head was a Miss Dunscomb who "always appeared to wear a blue or grey dress which almost touched the floor. Her hair was tightly waved around her head, with just a hint of a curl around the perimeter." Her staff included Mr Beresford, Mr Kearns, Miss Gibbs, Miss Prince, Miss Squires, Miss Simmonds and Miss Smith (who had the only car in the school).

The school was considered a well equipped, single storey building, having a very early central heating system installed. The heat was produced from a big coke boiler and the lighting through gas lamps. Pupils from Pineapple Estate and Fordhouse Lane Estate attended the school from the ages of 5 to 14. Around 1929 there was an extra requirement of places in the school and the majority of boys over eleven were transferred to Stirchley Boys School or Wheelers Lane School.

School Life

The school day always started with an assembly which included two hymns and a solemn spiritual reading/lesson from the Headteacher. Hymns sung included: 'All Things Bright and Beautiful', 'Holy, Holy, Holy' or 'Jerusalem'. Miss Dunscombe would call pupils up in assembly to sing a birthday greeting on their special day: "Happy Happy Birthday, Happy year's begun, God who gives us birthdays, loves us everyone".

In the hall there was large glass cases filled with stuffed birds. Above the door leading to the Head's study was the school clock with the school motto in Latin – 'Play up and play the game'.

Winter time was cold for the pupils and some mothers would bring hot chocolate or Bovil for their children and pass it through the locked wrought iron gates and railing. Children went home for dinner at 12pm because there were no facilities on site but needed to be back at school at 1.45pm for afternoon lessons at 2pm. The infants finished school at 4.00 pm and juniors at 4.30pm.

School Achievements

The school had many achievements to its credit. In 1926, pupils entered a senior choir of boys and girls, winning the coveted Birmingham banner. In 1934, the boy's cricket team were league champions, and in the 1936-1937 season, became league champions at cricket and league champions at junior football. Some pupils went on to grammar schools and university obtaining degrees and even a PhD.

Pineapple County Primary School was reorganized and renamed in 1930 for Junior and Infant children with one class in Hazelwood Parochial Hall. The school was enlarged in 1952. By 1961 there were 14 classrooms.

Allens Croft Primary School

In the late nineties the school's name was changed to Allens Croft Primary School. The pictures below show the school and events before the rebuild of 2007.