Lollipop men and women: Jane, Ronnie, Nora & Pauline

5 Dec

Everyone has a story on the Islington Faces Blog.  Twice a day there are lovely people all over Islington donning big weatherproof jackets and hats in a mix of reflective and florescent materials ready to escort children safely over the road. So, do lollipop men and women have time to tell their stories? Just about finds Nicola Baird (so long as you arrive to chat a long time before the school bell rings). See how much you know about lollipops in the Lollipop Quiz below (plus answers at the bottom of this page). If you like this post do become a “follower” so you get a post once a week about people who live or work in Islington.

Jane: lollipop lady for Gillespie Primary School students.

Jane, outside Gillespie Primary School, N5
“I’m a teaching assistant so I work in the nursery and with reception too. It’s nice seeing the children before school, in school and then after it too”. That moment a small boy and his mum give a wave and shout ‘Bye Lollipop!’ The little children can’t always believe that I am Jane from inside and also the lollipop lady. My 19 year old came to this school, my 11-year-old is now at Highbury Grove School and the nine-year-old is here. When our lollipop lady retired, another lady did the job for a year, then she left. When I saw the job advertised I thought I could do that, and I got the job. I’ve done it for four years. It’s an under-rated job, we have to put up with a lot of rubbish from car drivers and cyclists too.”

Ronnie: lollipop man for Joan of Arc Primary School students.

Ronnie, outside Joan of Arc Primary School, N5
“In winter it’s tempting to stay in bed, but this job is what gets me up in the morning.” It’s just past 3pm on a chilly November afternoon but Ronnie is as ever enthusiastic. “I’ve just been to Cheshunt to see my grandchildren – mind you I’ve got a car, so why not?  They were going to automate us, use a beletia beacon. I wondered if we would be a thing of the past. But here I am – a real lollipop man.”

Nora, lollypop lady on Drayton Park/Martineau Road.

Nora: lollipop lady on Drayton Park/Martineau Road.

Nora, outside the Drayton pub (opposite Tesco) waiting for the students heading to Highbury Fields Secondary and Drayton Park Primary School, N5 plus the tots going to nearby nurseries, such as Highbury Community Nursery, N5.
Nora always chats to the folk using her crossing – but she doesn’t like her photo taken.

Pauline: lollipop lady at St Luke's School, EC1.

Pauline: lollipop lady at St Luke’s School, EC1.

Pauline, outside St Luke’s Church of England Primary School, EC1
Pauline is a skilled multi-tasker – she was happy to pose as the school bell hadn’t yet rung, but I couldn’t ask her any questions as she was busy talking on her hands free phone animatedly discussing shoe shopping.

DO THE LOLLIPOP QUIZ (answers below)

1 Can you think of another word for lollipop lady/man?

2 What’s the opposite of lollipop man (if it’s not lady)?

3 Why are they called lollipop people? (this is easy!)

4 When and who invented the term lollipop man/woman/lady?

5 If you are a driver do you have to do what a lollipop man/woman asks you to do?

Over to you
Did you notice that all the “lollipops” wear different yellow hats? I’ve never said thank you enough to my kids’ (and their friends) lollypop lady. What do you think of the way lollypop people keep our children safe and how did you get on in the quiz?  By the way, if you’d like to feature on this blog, or make a suggestion about anyone who grew up, lives or works in Islington please let me know, via Thank you. And yes, this blog is inspired by Spitalfields Life written by the Gentle Author.


1 School crossing guard/patrol/supervisor, more history at wikipedia or the Daily Telegraph newscutting here

2 I don’t think this word exists yet – could you make it up?

3 Because their sign looks like a lollipop

4 In the 1960s during a schools’ safety programme – ventriliquist John Bouchier’s “character”, Charlie, called the crossing patrol personnel lollipops – and the name stuck.

5 This is a quote from wikipedia: “Under UK law it is an offence for a motorist not to stop if signalled to do so by a patroller. In the past patrollers only had the authority to stop the traffic for children. However, the Transport Act 2000 changed the law, so that a patroller had the authority to stop the traffic for any pedestrian.”


2 Responses to “Lollipop men and women: Jane, Ronnie, Nora & Pauline”

  1. Alex March 7, 2014 at 5:38 pm #

    I don’t know if Jane is still the Gillespie Primary School lollipop lady, but if so, then could she maybe be a little less needlessly aggressive? I appreciate that there are plenty of careless drivers/cyclists out there, but when, earlier today, I slowed to a stop (on my bicycle) a good few metres before her crossing, I don’t think it was really necessary for her to snap “Sign up means stop for children!” at me TWICE. Maybe she could take a tip or two from the lovely lollipop lady at the nearby Queens Drive/Brownswood Road junction, who is always friendly, and does a great job helping kids cross an equally busy road.

    • nicola baird blogs March 7, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

      Hi Alex, Thanks for stopping by. I cycle a lot around school drop off and pick up times and often have to stop for lollypops. My feeling is that it is such a tough job having eyes in every part of your head as you keep the kids safe that we need to forgive anything that might seem a bit rude. I’ve been trying to say good morning/afternoon and thank you to the lollypops I pass at Drayton Park, Thornhill and Amwell Street but it is clear that a talking cyclist is just another distraction from their duty of care. Anyway, hope you don’t feel too let down and as the weather gets better enjoy the feeling of the wind in your helmet without being told off! Nicola

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