Page last updated at 12:14 GMT, Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Memories of Milk Bars and Guy Mitchell

Swapping memories for skills

Life as a teenager in the west Midlands in the 1950s was the topic of a special lesson at a school in Sutton Coldfield as 16 students shared their skills with a group of adults at a BBC First Click workshop at Plantsbrook School.

The School Reporters chatted with their interviewees and showed the older people how to find information using the internet. For some of the older people, it was their first time using a computer.

Many enjoyed looking back at the places where they had lived, while other groups researched favourite musicians and films.

I am now considering buying a laptop
First-time computer user Joan Gardner

Participant Henry used the web to look up singers that he remembered from his youth and listened to American singer Guy Mitchell performing "Red Feathers".

Henry told his granddaughter Georgia that he had seen Mitchell when he was on tour at Dudley Town Hall.

Wendy Worthington was keen to find out about one of the places she used to spend time in the 1950s.

"Trow's Milk Bar on Sutton Parade was a popular place where young people met up for milkshakes and ice creams" said Wendy.

She told School Reporter Padraig that "the milk bars of yesteryear were as attractive to young people then as the burger restaurants are today."

Joan Gardner had never used a computer before. But assisted by Tom, she searched for information about the singer Andy Williams and the early years of the Jackson Five.

She learnt how to use a mouse and admitted: "I am now considering buying a laptop."

Henry Nicholas and Georgia online
Henry and his granddaughter Georgia go online to do their research

The project started when volunteers were recruited from senior citizens attending the school's annual Christmas lunch. An initial workshop proved to be very popular, so another session was arranged.

After a warm welcome from Plantsbrook's deputy head, Mr O'Connor, the visitors enjoyed tea poured by the students as cakes were passed around.

After a brief introduction, attention soon turned to using the internet for research.

Some of the guests were relatives of the School Reporters - all had come to the school to share their experiences with the young people.

All of the invited guests left the school saying that they would like to return on another day to work with the students again.


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