Meet the teacher: Margaret

Getting to know more about our residents’ lives is a great way to ensure the care and support they receive is personalised to their individual needs. Discovering more about resident’s lives, their jobs and families provides great insight and helps to encourage friendships between residents with similar interests or backgrounds.

As part of our ‘back to school’ initiative, we’ve been chatting with residents who had careers in schools and finding out why they love to teach and what led them to choose a career in teaching.

Meet Margaret

Margaret Lamb has lived at The Grove Care Home in Waltham since March 2009. She retired from teaching over thirty years ago having taught locally in Tollbar. Margaret grew up in Louth and attended Louth Girl’s Grammar School. She remembers the teaching staff at the school were all female as there was a shortage of male teachers after the war. There were quite strict rules, pupils weren’t allowed to speak to the boys at the boys’ school or eat in the streets and had to wear the school hat in the winter.

Discovering a love of teaching

Margaret left school aged sixteen and went to work in a bank, she had to work all day on a Saturday got Thursday afternoon off. She was paid £10 per calendar month, but the work was very boring, and she spent most of the time clock watching.

The atmosphere in the bank was very formal and stuffy. I had to be called ‘Miss Stevenson’ and most of the people were much older. There was a Mr Richardson who came to work in a bowler hat and with a silver-topped walking stick. I hated it! Then my mother got me a job doing unqualified teaching at a wonderful village school with just 26 pupils. I got paid more and had weekends off and school holidays too. I was around 18 or 19 years old and taught twelve children from five to seven for a year; it was a joy. We had an old harmonium for morning prayers and shared a field with the sheep for Friday afternoon games. We played shinty which is similar to hockey, but we had to go up and down over the bumps in the field!” 

Teacher Training

Following her first teaching assignment, Margaret signed up for teacher training college at Bingley in Yorkshire. It was for girls only and like a boarding school, with everything provided. Margaret got a £12 per term grant towards travel and her mum sent her £1 per week pocket money, which felt like a fortune at the time!

I enjoyed being away from home, due to working in the bank before going into teaching, I felt more worldly than those who had come straight from school. I loved Yorkshire, we were near the River Aire and we could walk on the moors and I used to walk from Bingley to college every day. I was there for two years. I came back to Louth to teach and had, lodgings in Humberstone for the first year and took the school bus to school. I lodged with an old lady and cooked my own breakfast, she let me use her treadle sewing machine, so I made my own clothes”.

When she left college in 1956 Margaret taught PE until she had a break from teaching after getting married and raising her children. When she returned to the classroom, she taught English to CSE level at Tollbar Secondary School. There were over 300 pupils in her school who came from villages around Grimsby. The school was run by Lindsey Education Authority and is now an Academy with over 2000 pupils and 100 teachers. Tollbar Academy is now very well thought of, with ex-pupils becoming an MP for Yorkshire, a manager of Humberside airport and a runner up for Miss United Kingdom. There are a few other pupils who stand out for less salubrious reasons; Margaret remembers one boy called Hector would rather be at sea, he would play truant to go to work on a trawler with his father.

“Teaching has changed a lot over the years, children have more opportunities now, they originally left at fifteen but it’s so much better to stay until 18. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching, I liked both English and PE.” 

We love to get to know our residents and hear their fascinating life stories. For more information about life at The Grove Care Home in Waltham, contact Customer Relations Manager, Ros Wells on 01472 821127 or email

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