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Miss Johnson's House
Florence Johnson lived all her life in this house at 25 Top Road, Griffydam. She is closely linked with the three main schools in Griffydam and the Wesleyan Chapel, where she played the organ. She died in 2006 at the age of ninety-nine.
In 1911, Florence attended the Wesleyan Day School which was situated on Nottingham Road. She moved to the new Griffydam Senior School in School Lane in 1915 and became an infant teacher there in 1921. In 1936, she transferred to the new Infant School on Top Road along with Miss Ada Merishaw who was the Head Teacher. She taught for 50 years in the locality.
At her retirement ceremony in 1971, former Head Teacher Mrs Kitty Brown, who worked with Florence for many years spoke of her loyalty and lifetime devotion to teaching. Many former pupils remember her with affection.
The following is a transcription of an article in the Coalville Times, December 1971.
MISS FLORRIE JOHNSON RETIRES AFTER ALMOST HALF A CENTURY AT ONE SCHOOL
Miss Johnson, an infant teacher at the Griffydam primary School, retires at the end of this term after almost 50 years teaching at the school. Miss Johnson (65) lives at Top Road, Griffydam. She started as a student teacher at the school in June 1921, and has taught there since apart from a two-year stint at Hathern School.
A collection in the village to buy her a retirement gift raised £81. 12 and at ceremony in the village’s Methodist Room last week she received a painting, a tea trolley, an electric fire and a cheque for £24.87. The presentation was made by Mr. Ken Hutchinson, chairman of the school managers. Miss Johnson, who had been acting headmistress at the school for a time, also received a bouquet from Jane Elston, the school captain.
Mr. S. Towers, headmaster of the school, said when he first took over, he felt the junior at the school. “Here was a teacher in whom I could put my trust”. “She had a love of children, an ability to do her work and an ability to adapt to new methods. She may now look forward to a future free from the tensions of working life and a life time of devotions and service. It is nice to know that if we need her, she will only be across the road. We wish you a long and happy retirement”.
Said Miss. Kitty Brown, former headmistress at the school: “Whatever we say in praise of her, we shall never have said the whole of it. I was with her for about 20 years and I could not have had a more loyal colleague or a finer teacher through the whole of the country”. “Our acquaintance goes back quite a long way”, she added. Mrs. Brown spoke of the history of the school under herself and Miss. Johnson, including the war years. “She was always there to help me. “We always thought that someday we would retire together and no two people would be happier than we were”. “It did not quite work out like that, but Miss. Johnson is not only the most loyal of colleagues but a very dear friend”.
Mr. Hutchinson said “it was a special privilege for him to speak at the meeting and said the love and esteem in which Miss. Johnson was held was bourne out by the number of people in the room and the number who had contributed to the gifts”. “She has displayed an affection for the children which has gone well beyond the call of duty of a teacher. We hope you will accept these gifts and our heartfelt thanks for all you have done both in school and in the village”.
Said Miss. Johnson: “I feel very happy this evening and sincerely thank all who have given so generously. I have spent many years here and have happy memories of the children”.“I have loved and respected all of them and I know they have loved and respected me. I have spent quite a long time in the school and have grown to love it, and I shall be sorry to leave Mr. Towers and the children”. “I thank all the managers for being so kind and those who have worked so hard behind the scenes to make the presentation possible”.
Representatives of Leicestershire County Council’s education dept were also present at the ceremony.
In the photograph are Miss J. Townsend, Mr Stan Towers (Head Teacher), Mr K. Hutchinson and Jane Elson (pupil).
The photograph shows her receiving a retirement gift at a ceremony held in the village’s Methodist Room to celebrate her retirement.