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God Save the King? – what’s this King thing?

My primary school

At primary school in the 1960s we sang a lot of hymns. We practiced for weekly assemblies from a small, thick, black covered hymn book

You know what school books are like. Old, tattered, out of date, seldom replaced

I went to a big primary school which had two intakes per year. I started that school in Primary 4 having spent three years in a small, rural school – very aware of the difference. During Infants I was in a class of 14, each teacher having charge of two year groups. At my new school there were two of each year group – summer and winter intakes. In my class there were 44 children

That was a normal sized class in my school. Between summer and Christmas there were 13 classes; from January till June, 14

So at approximately 40 per class there could be 560 pupils in school

Where is this going?

Hymn books

Supposing the Infants didn’t need any, that’s still a lot of books. I think I went to that school in 1966, fourteen years after Queen Elizabeth’s succession. Fourteen years isn’t long in a school book’s life!

In those hymn books was the National Anthem (I don’t know why – it mentions God in the first line, maybe?) We had to learn it. Back then, the National Anthem was played after everything. Films, football matches, when the telly went off at night… Everything

If I was handed a hymn book printed after 1952, it included God Save the Queen

If I got an older copy, hymn number whatever was God Save the King

And God help the child who sang straight from the page, forgetting to sing Queen where the book said King


Thank you for reading my story. I have a shop in Kelso, Scotland – for links