This special event took place every year in late December or early January.
As Sunday school secretary it was one of my jobs to find suitable books for each child. My Saturdays toward the end of the year were spent either at The Book Room in Dale End, Birmingham or at the bookshop in Lower High Street, Stourbridge. Registers were totalled and prizes awarded as 1st, 2nd, 3rd or Special depending on the number of attendances. For a Special prize 104 marks were required, that’s 2 for each Sunday throughout the year.
Books were arranged on a table on the platform and each child waited eagerly for their name to be called out. The books were often presented by an old Sunday school member. I still have several prizes I was given as a child, one from 1943 and a ‘Rupert Annual’ from 1945 (presented by my mother Elsie Southall (nee Bate).
When all the books had been presented it was out into the dark frosty night with the smoke from the fires of Two Gates homes in the air, each child would proudly carry their prize.
Those were times when a new book was still regarded as something special.