Interview with Norman Roper, 5 August 2010
Norman Roper was born in 1923 and went first to a private kindergarten and then to primary school in SE London. He did not remember any history at either of these but at age 11 he went to Bermondsey Central Technical School. The school was divided into two sides, technical and commercial and Norman was on the technical side although in the late afternoons he did some commercial subjects – bookkeeping and typing. Norman’s form master was the history master and he did quite a lot of history. He remembers blackboards which slid out one behind the other with notes already written on them for history, and exercise books (see photographed material) in which they would put illustrations from books. There were regular current affairs classes for which they had to read broadsheet newspapers and write a weekly diary of events. History started with the Phoenicians and went forwards towards the present. The geography master gave them duplicated material (via a roller) but in history they had to draw maps and find illustrated material themselves. Norman’s education was interrupted by the war; he had intended to be a pharmacist but ended up as chief draftsman at the Ministry of Defence. Interviewed by Jenny Keating.