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Geoff ALLAN (1963 - 1970) geoff@the-lawn.demon.co.uk

Came across the site while searching for any sign of a reunion site for my wife, and idly typed Heaton Grammar into the search engine, not expecting much. Clearly some people are keen, and I was pleased to see the articles from Mike Fairless, Mike Chaplin and Nick Lambert.

Mike Chaplin I remember for his generosity in helping me out with my lines when I dried up during my only time on the boards in a school play.

Nick Lambert was a fellow librarian and arty-farty whom I last saw about 1976, but I hope to renew our relationship.

Mike Fairless mentions me as Alex Allan's younger brother Geoff, and I do live in the Isle of Wight.

I didn't particularly enjoy my time in the first few years at Heaton - being a bit of a swot, and not inclined to play football in the freezing mud of a Newcastle winter I was probably considered to be a pretentious snob. Things improved later, when library duties became a good excuse for not getting smacked in the face by a cricket ball or a hockey ball.

The cosy gas fire on a winter afternoon as we pretended to sort books, when in reality we were listening to Simon & Garfunkel and the Byrds on the little record player we had, and leafing through the well thumbed copy of "Lady Chatterly's Lover" which was kept locked out of sight thanks to the censorious nature of the FEAN ... is more of a memory than any lessons or teachers. I do recall most of the teachers mentioned in the other articles but the only thing that has stuck in my mind was the observation from D H Walker to one chatty boy : "Trousdale, if you've got nothing to say, then don't say it !"

After leaving school I went to Manchester University, and spectacularly failed my first year examinations (too much booze I think). I then spent four years flogging cameras and hi-fis for Dixons (when they were in Northumberland Street, before the Eldon Centre was built), and moved around a bit, gradually moving further and further south.

I moved into computer programming in London in 1975, and since then have slowly climbed the career path in software systems development, working variously for the Inland Revenue, London Transport, Access and Marconi. I now work as a systems development manager for CSC Computer Sciences in Hampshire for one of the BAE SYSTEMS accounts.

I commute daily across to the mainland from the Island where we (wife Sue and 2 cats) live in a Victorian house which we are constantly stopping from crumbling into dust.

Ambitions achieved : I learnt to fly (although no longer do so) and now drive an MG B sports car !   For the record, here we all are, as we were, in 3G in May 1966 and 5G in 1968.

Derrick ANDERSON (1958 - 1963) demanderson@gmail.com

And now, a word from the other end of the educational spectrum, another expatriate Geordie now living in Kingston, Ontario. I also attended Heaton Grammar School 1D,2D,3M,4M,5M.(where M=D in this expression.) Despite my lack of enthusiasm for formal education at that time, and being voted the one most likely to end up in "the slammer", I have had a small amount of success in the Engineering Design field. I am a self-employed contract designer, presently with Dupont of Canada. Who would have thunk I would spend my years doing Trigonometry, geometry calculus etc. after such a miserable beginning. I follow the antics of "The Toon" to some extent and have been known to swalley the odd Broon, Blue and beer of various other hues. A visit to the Old Country last year with my Canadian wife Anne and our kids tugged at some nostalgic heartstrings, hence this net search, we even considered moving back, but common sense and economics got the upper hand. School time memories conjure up visions of "The Dene" greasy sausage rolls, and running up that bank after dinnertime. Harry Friend, Johnny Bat, and my old "Nemesis" The Reverend Morton. I'd be delighted to hear from anyone from the murky past .

Keith ARMSTRONG (1957 - 1964) k.armstrong643@btinternet.com

I started Heaton Grammar School in 1957 in 1D then 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, Lower Sixth Modern and Upper Sixth Modern, leaving in 1964; I was in Collingwood House.

As a freelance writer now, I remember the encouragement given to me by Brian O'Byrne, a teacher in 2B who gave me an Essay Prize . Later on, History teacher Mr Rochester stimulated a passion for eighteenth century history which I have maintained. In the Sixth Form Library, I read books by, amongst others, James Joyce, Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Newcastle writer Jack Common (on whom I later did a doctorate at the University of Durham), all of which left a lasting impact.

I wasn't keen on sport and remember being followed by teachers into the Deep Dene Cafe where some of us would lurk to avoid cross-country running!

We had little contact with girls then! Which hasn't warped me at all, of course!

Born in Heaton, where I worked as a community development worker, poet, librarian and publisher, and now residing in Whitley Bay, I am coordinator of the Northern Voices Community Projects creative writing and community publishing enterprise which specialises in recording the experiences of people in the North East of England. I have organised several community arts festivals in the region and many literary events. I was founder of Ostrich poetry magazine, Poetry North East, Tyneside Writers' Workshop, Tyneside Poets, East Durham Writers' Workshop, Tyneside Trade Unionists for Socialist Arts, Tyneside Street Press and the Strong Words and Durham Voices community publishing series. I have compiled and edited books on the Durham Miners’ Gala and on the former mining communities of County Durham and the market town of Hexham.

Having been a self-employed writer since 1986 I was awarded a doctorate in 2007 for my work on Newcastle writer Jack Common at the University of Durham where I received a BA Honours Degree in Sociology in 1995 and Masters Degree in 1998 for my studies on regional culture in the North East of England. My book on Jack Common 'Common Words and the Wandering Star'  was published by the University of Sunderland Press in 2009. 

My poetry has been extensively published in magazines such as New Statesman, Poetry Review, Dream Catcher, Other Poetry, Aesthetica, Iron, Salzburg Poetry Review, X Magazine, The Poetry Business, The Recusant and Poetry Scotland, as well as in the collections The Jingling Geordie, Dreaming North, Pains of Class, Imagined  Corners, Splinters and The Month of the Asparagus, on cassette, LP & CD, and on radio & TV.  I have performed my poetry on several occasions at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and at Festivals in Aberdeen, Bradford, Cardiff, Cheltenham (twice at the Festival of Literature - with Liz Lochhead and with 'Sounds North'), Durham, Newcastle upon Tyne, Greenwich, Lancaster, and throughout the land. 

In my youth, I travelled to Paris to seek out the grave of poet Charles Baudelaire and have been making cultural pilgrimages abroad ever since.  I have toured to Russia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Poland, Iceland (including readings during the Cod War), Denmark, France, Germany (including readings at the Universities of Hamburg,  Kiel, Oldenburg, Trier and Tübingen), Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Cuba,  Jamaica and Kenya.  My poetry has been translated into Dutch, German, Russian, Italian, Icelandic and Czech. In 2007 I collaborated  on the touring play "The Making of Saint Cuthbert" for which I wrote and performed  my poetry including shows in local  churches. I appeared again at the Hexham Abbey Festival in 2008,  at the Durham Book Festival and at the Cork International  Jazz Festival Fringe. Supported by North Tyneside Council, Commissions North  and  Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, I recently worked with Berlin artist Rolf Wojciechowski on a text sculpture which involved readings on the beaches along the Northumbrian coast from Marsden to Cullercoats and from Druridge Bay to Berwick.

Though a regionalist inspired by the landscape of my birth and its folk and musical traditions, I am very much a European and my work is much influenced by writers such as Hoelderlin, Hesse, Brecht, Baudelaire, Prevert, Esenin, and Mayakovsky.

Charles ATKINSON (1943 - 1950) catkinson5@cogeco.ca

My sojourn at HGS began in September 1943 when clothes rationing meant that uniform requirements could not be enforced. So I never wore the blue blazer and never sported the school badge. Parents had to pay fees at this time and a number of children who passed the 11 plus exam and were invited to Heaton declined. I progressed from 1A to 5A, then the lower and upper sixth form (science) leaving in July 1950 and attending Kings College, getting a First Class Honours degree in Civil Engineering in 1953.

I was attached to Armstrong House which, unfortunately, was having a spell of mediocrity at the time and nothing I was able to do resulted in any improvement.

At Heaton Secondary School, later Heaton Grammar School, mid to late 1940s, there was strict segregation. The school was designed as two identical halves separated by numerous obstacles to hinder access from one side to the other. The school was opened in the late 1920s so it probably reflected the prevailing attitude of school authorities. There was a 6-foot high wall separating the girls' playing field from the boys. I remember this vividly because, when we played soccer and the girls were playing lacrosse or field hockey, we took every opportunity to kick the ball over the wall. Then there was a mad dash with several boys leaping and scrambling over the wall to be the first to get the soccer ball - and create consternation among the girls. This practice was forbidden but we did it anyway.

A quick look at a school website shows that Heaton Grammar (boys) and Heaton High (girls) merged in September 1967 and the "the wall" came down.

To further the policy of segregation, the girls' timetable was set to be 10 minutes earlier than the boys' timetable which allowed the girls to leave at 12 noon for the 1½ hour break while the boys were held back to 12:10pm. This may have been designed to relieve the burden on public transport as pupils went home but the boys saw this as a policy of segregation. In many cases the policy failed because many girls simply waited for the boys!

Another recollection is the excitement created when it was announced that 3 sixth form girls would attend the boys' Chemistry classes because Chemistry was not available in the girls' curriculum. I'm not sure if all these girls enjoyed all the extra attention they received from the boys but I know that some did!

A final recollection involves the well-meaning attempt to hold dancing lessons after school for 6th Form pupils in preparation for a new innovation - a Christmas School Dance. I believe there were more girls than boys attending these lessons but the situation was clearly awkward for most pupils. Holding a strange girl rather tightly while trying to remember where to put my feet was a totally new experience and certainly was not my idea of fun. I did not attend the Christmas Dance. Strangely enough, it was the boys' mothers who were upset by the boys' non-attendance.

Attached is the standard school photo of the Sixth Form taken in the summer (July?) of 1950. Note - the stamp for mailing this large photo was 2½d. I am the rather scruffy non-conformist standing at the top left of the photo. Note how the tieless few were shuffled to the back! The only names I can recall (perhaps erroneously in some cases) are R. J. Cummings?, top right. 2nd Row Extreme Left. Neil Bartlett? Extreme right Ron? Williams. Bottom Row from Left. Alf Fletcher; Bob Pearson; Eric Lynn; Headmaster Mr. Barnes; MacGregor; Alan Lillington; Jimmy Dalton; John? Lyon.

In the photo somewhere are Frank Endean, Michael Lamb and John Lilley but my memory has faded - I cannot place them.

I maintained contact only with Eric Lynn and attended his wedding. He obtained a PhD in Physics and went on to a career with the Harwell nuclear establishment.

After working in Scotland (hydroelectic construction) and Newcastle (water and sewer consulting) I decided to seek larger pastures and emigrated to Canada. Here I worked in highway design and construction before returning to my first preference, hydroelectric engineering. Subsequently I worked around the world for a major Canadian consulting engineering company, concentrating on Water Resource Development projects (water supply, sewerage, flood control, navigation, hydro power, dams, tunnels).

During this time I accumulated a few awards and honours and participated on many national committees, viz F.E.I.C (Fellow, Engineering Institute of Canada); F.CSCE (Fellow, Canadian Society for Civil Engineering); F.ASCE (Fellow, American Society of Civil Engineers).

Charles Atkinson, Niagara Falls, Canada.

Neil ATKINSON (1965 - 1971) neil@neilatkinsonphotography.com

I've just been directed to this wonderful site by Brian Marley in New Zealand. I'll contribute more in due course but for now will offer as my credentials, the memory, etched in my soul, of Micky Good's (biology and chemistry teacher) immortal punishment line : "misbehaviour in form is a stupid occupation", which he dished out in their thousands. I spent a number of 'clinks' writing out those damned words! I was also in the choir and remember singing Sleepers, Wake! and Gloria, and the Junior Drama Society where David MacFarlane directed a small bunch of no-hopers, including me, in something strange entitled 'This is the end'. I remember that John Cherry was also in the play and that I had to keep whispering his lines to him during the performance!! More later - meanwhile, here we all are, as we were, in 1965. By the way, I was at HGS from 65-71 and I hated the whole bloody lot - well almost!

Stephen A BAKER (1966 - 1973) sbaker@capital.edu

I am sitting in Columbus, Ohio, the temperature outside is about 90 Fahrenheit, and I am reading the contributions from former pupils.

I really only kept in touch with one person - Linda McTeer - after I left Heaton, but that relationship ended during our time at college. The teachers and friends of 66-73 seem a million miles from here, but the memories came flooding back as I looked at the site. I do not want to mention teachers  individually (in case I forget someone). But, I must make one exception because it was thanks to the influence of Malcolm Frost that I studied economics at Trent Polytechnic, got a doctorate at York, and ended up as a prof. over here. (Over the years I frequently used Frosty's notes - he was a great teacher.)

I think our year was the last to have taken the 11+. A number of teachers left with us, e.g., Matthews. Some like Dan went to private schools. I too suffered by having to write lines for Mr. Good (the line being: Misbehaviour in form is a stupid occupation). I used to carry five hundred around just in case. There was a market in lines but Good did not seem to care about the handwriting. However, on one occasion he ruined the market by adding the word always to the required sentence.

If there are any Heatonians from the 66-73 period, I would love to hear from them.

Frank BATES  (1964 - 1971) f.bates@ntlworld.com

I can hardly believe my eyes.... just happened to be browsing some websites and I wondered what would happen if I searched for HGS....a result...talk about an unexpected stroll down memory lane!! Despite a 30 year gap, names have come flooding back and it has been good to catch up on the likes of Charlie Bell, Rob Tulip, Tom Charnley, Martin Gregory etc....you're all doing well I'm pleased to learn.

I'm an Area Manager for HSBC based in Newcastle city centre although I have only recently returned to 'the Toon' after a twenty year absence having previously worked in and around Teesside (with a couple of short term secondments to London thrown in for good measure).I continue to live in Yarm (the southern end of Cleveland) where I have chosen to re-establish my roots. Regrettably, I was divorced some years ago however I am still firmly a family man in regular and close contact with my son Paul (25) and daughter Ceri (22). In fact, I'm now a grandfather which took a bit of getting used to - I still find it hard to cough up my true age, unfortunately I can't get away with much nowadays as my two year old grand daughter gives it away! She just can't keep a secret...typical woman.

I shall have clocked up 30 years with HSBC (formerly Midland Bank) in August and amazingly, I have only met one other ex-HGS survivor in all that time....name of Peter Ellis (now a manager with Lloyds TSB). Can you remember Peter?

Having read so many 'contributions' on the HGS site I'm surprised no one has so far mentioned our old History teacher - Mr Lunt. From what I remember he had a problem with his eyes and couldn't see beyond the end of his nose. Why did he never wear glasses...were teacher's salaries so bad in those days? We used to think he was an albino. Had to smile at the mention of Ken Quickfall.....he's not still teaching is he?!

Good to know of this site's existence and it would be great to hear from any of my old classmates if you fancy getting in touch.

Paul J BELL (1946 - 1953) paulbell@xalt.co.uk

O my! How your site has brought back memories!

Simpson, who must have broken his heart trying to teach me French, Clapperton, Fullerton, Rochester, Wake (Here lies Wake, who died before he oughta: acid plus base = salt plus water), George Bell, Laughton, Ron Whitehead, who gave me a love for history and who remained a friend until his death. He also taught me to read in public.

Memories of G + S and oratorio: the moment when Quickfall (marvellous name for a PT teacher) came into a Latin lesson given by Tansely and whispered to him that the king had died.

Friends like David Butler, John Petrie, Derek Gemmell. Wintry scenes as masters, gowns aswirl battled against the icy blasts on the top corridor. School out early because of the coal shortage. Alan Lillington telling us about the Helsinki Olympics.

I went to Kings got a degree and a DipEd, taught in Bordeaux for a year, nat service mainly at Catterick, twenty years in Africa (Rwanda and Burundi), ordained (parishes in Norfolk) just retired.   Married, two boys, six grandchildren!   Praise God!

David BENNETT  (1955 - 1962) d_bennett@totalise.co.uk

David was Vice Captain of Collingwood House in 1961/62, a School Prefect and played for School XIs in Football and Cricket, as well as long jumping and running for the School. Later, together with Alan Auld (1953-1960) he was instrumental in forming the Old Heatonians Football Club, which ran teams in both the Northern Amateur and Tyneside Amateur Leagues on a successful basis for a number of years.

His working career has been spent in the shipbuilding, pharmaceutical, music and tobacco industries, notably in personnel management. Initially based in Newcastle, his paths have included stints in London, Basildon, Aylesbury, Darlington, Birmingham and he currently is based in Sibford Ferris, Banbury, Oxfordshire. Married in 1971 to Virginia, a nurse at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, they have two children, Jonathan, a Personnel Manager at North West CO-OP and Suzie (recently married) a Telephone Account Manager for GlaxoSmithKline.

In 1984, and inspired by the resolve of his  brother-in-law, Brian Smith (1954-1959) who sadly died a year later, he was seconded from industry to a disability charity to help develop their training and employment programmes. His interest in this field continues to this day having successfully developed further opportunities for disabled people with Shaw Trust, working with people with learning disabilities and Workable, finding work experience and jobs for disabled students and graduates.   David currently is acting as a Consultant to a number of charities, and has served on a number of advisory bodies, as well as presenting papers on improving access to work for disabled people, both in the UK and in Europe.

His interests include sport and music, particularly brass. He regularly returns to the North East for the Brass in Concert Championships- now in its 25th season- where he is an official, and is a member of the Council of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain- and has promoted concerts at venues such as the Barbican, Coventry Cathedral, Durham Cathedral, the Pump Room, Bath to raise funds, as well as to promote awareness of the skills of disabled people. The concert in Coventry Cathedral in 1985 included a guest appearance of the Rt. Hon. Edward Heath and resulted in scholarships being awarded to amongst others, Evelyn Glennie, the profoundly deaf Scots percussionist and Liz Varlow, Woman of the Year in 1999 and viola player with the London Symphony Orchestra.

On the sporting front, he is a Season Ticket Holder at NUFC, travelling to as many games as possible, and is a Director of Banbury United - Dr Martens League, Eastern Division, who are managed by ex Newcastle man Kevin Brock.  Cricket is now seen through the spectacles and the wearing of a white Umpires coat, and he is a veteran of 18 Great North Runs (fastest time at the age of fifty-seven in 1 hour 37 minutes in 2000) and three London Marathons.   In the same year, between April 10th and March 13th, he achieved a unique feat in becoming the first person to complete the Premiership Walk, a 680 mile journey between Southampton and Newcastle, visiting all the Premiership grounds, the final destination being St. James’ Park where his marathon efforts were recognised by the club and a 4-2 win over Arsenal. Amongst the memories were meeting along the way- David Beckham, Daley Thompson, Adam Crozier, Peter Ridsdale, and subsequently Bobby Robson, Glen Hoddle, Graham Taylor, not forgetting Gazza, and raising thousands of pounds in the process.

He sees a number of Old Heatonians, Malcolm (Tubby) Smallwood (1955-60) and best man at his wedding, Doug Moran (1955-60) and latterly with Jimmy Nelson, the first encounter in 39 years, where they had lunch at St. James’ together with Lewis Gordon - Christmas cards are regularly exchanged with Dave Chrisp (Head Boy 1961-62) and his brother John Chrisp (1958-65).

Pete BENNETT (1975 - 1981) pete@dsps.net

I went to Heaton, but I went when the curtains over the two hall stages only had shadows of the golden 'G's that used to be there in the middle of the HGS. I was there from 1975 to 1981 roughly. I remember Mr Barker - taught me Russian for a while, Mr Dowson was there too. Ian Falconer was our geography teacher, and a good one as well. Mrs Hogg was the delightful French teacher, lovely character. Took it well when our class wrapped a match head in silver foil, hollowed out the end of one piece of chalk, and put the match head in it. Poor lass.

Uncle Westy the physics teacher, good, but a tad eccentric. Mrs Elliot in RE. Tony something, taught Chemistry along side Mrs Germain. Mr Young the music teacher who knew more tunes than just "Little Brown Jug" - Mr Young was excellent. There was a very good metal work teacher as well, he was a Lt. Cdr. in the Royal Naval Reserve as well, down at HMS Calliope, but sadly I can't recall his name at the moment. Mr Keddie the maths teacher, who only had to shave once or twice a week.

I was lucky enough to go through from Mr Falconer's class in 1st year, 1a up through to 6th form there. Mostly good times, despite some of the folk there trying to make it less pleasant. I became friends with Tom Cramb during a 2nd year trip on SS Uganda around the Baltic Sea, where Adrian White was sea sick almost the whole trip. Tom became my best man some years later, providing a service I performed for him a few years earlier. I did manage to stay in touch with a couple of other folk for a little while, but have lost touch since. David Cresswell was working in computing at the DSS when I last spoke to him. I often wonder how Stephen Armstrong got on. Other names I remember from the classes are:- David Bell, Tracey Gill, Sarah McCracken, David Gascoine (funny, but a nuisance, should have turned out to be a cartoonist.) Fillipo Emanuel, Julian Flear, Debbie Morrison. I'll probably remember some more when I try to get to sleep tonight.

John BERTRAM (1955-1962) john.bertram@lineone.net

I was a pupil from 1955 until 1962 after which I went to what was then King’s College, later Newcastle University where I graduated with a B.Sc in Chemistry. I then did an M.Sc. at the then Rutherford College, later Newcastle Poly and now Northumbria University. In 1967 I went to Southampton university where I obtained a Ph.D in Electrochemistry in 1971.

We 'ended up’ in Leicestershire where I was a Chemistry teacher, in 1986 worked for the government quango MESU - the Microelectronics Education Support Unit where I developed a data logger for use in schools (Sense and Control) and worked extensively with LEAs, including North Tyneside and Northumberland, as IT was introduced into the school curriculum.

Later I worked as an adviser in Derbyshire and then spent 10 years working as a consultant to the DfEE (various names during this period) in London, finally ‘being retired’ when our contract came to an end in April this year. I was responsible for the development and introduction of the National Pupil Database and the Key to Success website for LEAs and later schools that enabled pupils’ Key Stage assessment histories to be obtained.

Don BLACKETT (1945 - 1950) dblackett5@talk21.com

On leaving school in December 1950 (I sat the final School Certificate - the following June it became the General Certificate of Education). I commenced with Boots (Northumberland St Branch) as an apprentice pharmacist In March 1952 I entered the RAF for two years National Service following which I returned to Boots. By this time my family had moved from Heaton to South Shields. Having experienced a five day week mostly at RAF Weeton at Blackpool, I was not too happy to return to Boots working until 6pm on Saturdays. Furthermore after two years away pharmacy no longer had the original appeal, so I sat the Civil Service examinations, passed and entered HM Inspector of Taxes Office in South Shields (1954)
.In 1957 I was sent to London, met my future wife, resigned from the Revenue and entered the Head Office Tax Dept; of the National Provincial Bank (later to become Nat West). On qualifying as an Associate of the Institute of Taxation (ATI) I joined a firm of Charted Accountants, now Ernst & Young, where I stayed until retirement in 1993. I continue to do a small amount of private tax work
. My family consists of five children and three grandchildren. I live in Woodford Green, Essex.
Your mention of Victor Ludorum set me off on one of my favourite interests - Athletics. Whilst not achieving success in this line at school I did represent Northumberland Air Training Corps at cross- country and after running during National Service I joined South Shields Harriers on demobilisation. When moved to London I transferred to Woodford Green Athletic Club of which I remain an active member. During this time I attained International level as a Field Judge.
Whilst at Heaton the one school athlete of note was Alan Lillington a year ahead of myself). Alan competed for Great Britain in the 100 metres at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952. He also played in goal for England Air Training at St James Park as well as boxing.
Finally I can recall many of my classmates - Form SC 1949/50 Eric Smith,Alec Ewing, John Wallace, Dave Foreman, Ray Harrison, Roy Jenkins, Alan Davidson, Gordon Hickey, Monroe Hall, Terry Starling, ? Kemble, Alan Crossland, Alan Wilson, John Hetherington John Gregson, Herbert Sargeant, Joe Spence, William Tulip, Robert Collingwood, James Cartwright, Victor Harland.
I have two old photographs of the performances of HMS Pinafore. This was the 1947 production. I was in the chorus but old man Healey would not put me in the following years Mikado since he believed my voice would break before the following March. Needless to say it did not and I was left feeling bitterly disappointed.

Joe BLAKEY(1942 - 1949) classgig@sympatico.ca

I was pleasantly surprised to discover this Heaton Grammar School page on the Internet. My Heaton years are rather distant now .... 1942-1949 .... but it was still fun to read the stories of past masters and past indiscretions!

We took woodworking in Third Form when I was at HGS. That would be about 1943. Dennis Waldron, "Willie's" son, was a member of my class, 3A. I remember Willie's stories, told with much relish (pun intended), of picking up fingers with a fork, the lost appendages of careless students. I don't recall that he was with the evacuated pupils. He was a pleasant fellow who talked a lot. That's about all I recall of him, except for the frustrating amount of time it took to produce a wooden tea tray under his tutelage! Anyway, I was a HGS during all the war years, and did not join the evacuees.

My most pleasant memories of HGS are associated with the productions of Gilbert and Sullivan that Whitehead and Healey produced. I was always the tenor understudy, never the star, but those operettas were a special part of my schooldays in those years. My friend, Ray Short, was the tenor lead, and Jimmy Dalton played the comic leads with great skill. Stan Entwhistle played Dick Deadeye in "Pinafore", and I well recall the impressive figure Ken Pringle cut as Sir Joseph Porter, KCB! The first cast choices for these productions were made following voice tests given by Mr. Danskin during music classes. Danskin was an elderly man, and he died soon after that. I mostly remember his music classes for the singing we did --- all of the selections taken from "The National Song Book", I think!

By the way, speaking of books, would anyone know where there is a surviving copy of "A Study of Standard English"? This was an excellent text used at HGS in my day, and I would love to get my hands on it again.

I have had an interesting life so far. Following university graduation, I taught one year at Eastcliffe Grammar School, a private school in Gosforth. That was an institution which had been cleverly built up by George Pearson, a man without university education. A year later, having married Evelyn Hewetson (a gal from 'over the wall'), I emigrated to Canada to work in The United Church of Canada, the country's largest Protestant denomination. I was ordained as a minister and worked for the Church until 1963. After that, I became a high school English teacher in Toronto, Ontario. After twenty years of that, having divorced and remarried, I was an antiques dealer in Toronto and then a horsebreeder, breeding standardbred horses for racing.

I live on a hundred-acre farm about 60 miles north of Toronto. I am no longer in the horse business, but I have three old mares left. I have turned in recent years to other things. My wife and I started a company known as Tandem House. With TH, I published a children's book, "Ashley and the Soapy Suds Flying Club", assisted my wife in the publication of a very successful series of readers for primary children (Titled "Our Wonderful World"), and established a very successful website for kids, known as "Kidworld". Kidworld became so popular that I simply had to give it up. It's now run by an American friend, who lives in Virginia. A year ago, I launched "Kiji Books and Art", an online bookstore that sells new and used books. I'm happy to say that it's coming along quite nicely. You can visit it at: http://www.kijibooksandart.com I have fond memories of Sixth-Form days especially, with friends such as Ray Short, Ron Williamson, Dennis Swangren, etc. And - in response to a note from his neice - I remember Lewis Gordon very well. My acquaintance with him carried over to university, where we spent many hours playing bridge!

England has changed, Newcastle has changed, and I'm sure that HGS has changed in the many years since I left for Canada, but it was interesting to come upon your page. Keep up the good work! I think I've said enough for now. I'd be happy to hear from old classmates ( I was in 1B, 2B, 3A, 4A and Sixth Modern).

Colin BOYD (1959-64) colin380@sky.com

Came across this website while researching another subject and, after suffering a short bout of nostalgia (not what it used to be), noted that there were few if any entries for my era so here goes.

I started HGS in 1959 from Benton Park Primary following my older brother, Alan, who was two years ahead of me. I was in 1B, 2 Nicholson, 3 Gilbert, 4A and finally 5A. I have mixed memories of my time there – some good and some bad. I was doing OK until the age of fourteen when I discovered booze, birds and baccy and it was downhill from then on in. I totally wasted the GCE years and left with 2 ‘O’ levels in Geography and History which must be the most useless ones for finding a job.

I have to thank Ron Cherry and ‘Puggy’ Walker for awakening a love of history which has continued to this day and which stood me in good stead for the last ten years of my working career. I also remember ‘Nicky’ Nicholson as an old man who used to tell us of his experiences in World War 1 while teaching French (does it make anyone else feel old being taught by someone who fought in WW1?). I also had to be a bit careful of ‘Timber Willie’ as he knew my parents. We lived in the same street and my Dad, who ran a garage in Jesmond, looked after his car. Does anyone else remember the Ward brothers which must have been unusual for two brothers to teach at the same school. I remember someone jamming a potato up the exhaust of ‘Jimmy’ Ward’s car and the resultant bang.

Happy memories are of playing ‘Kingy’ in the yard every break and lunch time for most of the five years, close finishes in the Cross Country following a leisurely ramble through the Dene, the Archery Club, the annual snowball fight between the sixth form and the rest of the school, ‘Puggy’ Walker sitting with his feet up on the desk, picking his nose and saying ‘You lot need some culture’, some of the puddings in the dining hall and OXO crisps from the Deep Dene Café.

Bad memories include being embarrassed by ‘Sneb’ Healy who made me attempt to sing in front of the form, being bullied when a fag, Chillingham Road Baths,the fear of being caned (came close but never happened) and being belittled by some of the teachers.

One of my distinctions was being banned from any further school trips after being caught smoking, drinking and gambling during a trip to Holland in 1962. (What are school trips for?) Are any of the other miscreants out there? Dave Robinson, Micky Chalmers, Jimmy Snowball to name but a few.

When I left, clutching my two useless ‘O’ levels, I went to work on the factory floor of a Marine Engineering company. To everyone’s surprise I took to it and progressed to the extent that at the age of 32 I was the UK Spare Parts Manager for a multi national company with premises in 69 countries. I travelled the world doing a job that I loved and got paid for it. Not bad for an HGS reject! A succession of different posts followed until it was brought to a juddering halt in 2001 by an emergency triple bypass. Following this I had to change my lifestyle and thanks to my love of history got a job with Tyne and Wear Archives specialising in their shipbuilding records. Once again I was doing a job that I loved and getting paid. I retired in February this year but I’m not ready to give up yet so I have set up a little business carrying out research for others, mainly family history.

I married June in 1971 and we have two sons. Karl is Head of Department at a Community High School and Mark works with me in the business while completing a History degree. As a family we have travelled widely, thanks to the job I had, and had stints in both Canada and Germany when I thought that it was great for the kids to experience differing cultures

I think the only person from my year I have come across is Graeme Hill who taught both my sons.

In conclusion I feel that even though I failed academically HGS did give me a good all round education which has shaped my life.

John BRADFORD (1956-61) jjbradford@btinternet.com

Thanks for bringing back memories long forgotten. I began at Heaton in 1957 moving from Wharrier Street Junior School in Walker. I was in 1C through to 5C. Never academically great.

My initial impression of Heaton was one of fear. The school was large, had hundreds of pupils and seemed very formal. Time changed some of these views. I have to say my time there was not particularly happy. I was not gifted either academically or athletically and was made to feel insignificant. The overall impression I was given was that I was an interruption to the work of some teachers who had more important things to do than try to teach someone like me.

I also have vivid memories of the dreaded `Standard Points ‘competition which everyone was forced to participate in. Also very clear in my memory is Sports Day. The day a marquee was erected on the school field and sports were stopped to enable parents to have tea & cucumber sandwiches at 4pm whilst we, who were locked in the school until the sports finished around 6pm, sat around bored. Then at the culmination of the sports a prefect was sent to unlock the gates and pupils stampeded home at last.

Some teachers (sorry masters) remain a memory. Some good , some bad.
Hitler Henderson was well named. I am not sure if he suffered from the `small man syndrome’ (many of the pupils were taller than him) but I saw him walking the corridors many times deliberately barging pupils out of his way if they had not seen him coming & moved.

Timber Willie Waldron was a man who wasted a whole year of my life in woodwork. I have yet to understand why drawing the leaves of trees in each lesson helped my woodworking skills. I also never got my hands on tools or a piece of wood in that time.

Harry Friend was another man who should never have been let loose on pupils. Unable to control his temper he frequently became a screaming individual who rained blows down on the heads of anyone within his reach. These days he would be charged with physical assault.

There were some teachers who earned respect. Nicholson, a man who fought as an officer in WW1 treated boys in an avuncular fashion; and `Pie Arse’ Caird (great name for a maths teacher)was always good with us as were Tufty Taylor, Louis Gordon & Spink.

As someone has already said `The Bloggs’ Barnes was remote & seemingly humourless. His successor Harry Askew seemed to have little regard for most of his pupils. Anyone doubting this should read the autobiography of Simon Donald. The creator of Viz was a pupil `after the wall came down’. His comments on Askew are quite shocking.

The saving grace at Heaton was some of my fellow pupils who made attendance tolerable. I remember Clive Hobson, Tommy Richardson, Ian Fitzgerald and Kevin Brown. I have re- established contact with the last who keeps reminding me of the names of the guys in the school photographs.

Since leaving Heaton I have managed to add to my 5 `O’ Levels with some `A’s’ and a degree at 50 years old so perhaps I am just a late developer.
I am now retired & living in Durham aiming to grow old disgracefully.

George BRIGHT (1954-61) georgebright@supanet.com

1C, 2C, 3B, 4A, 5A, LV1thM, UV1thM.

I arrived at HGS via Ouseburn Infants school (where I first met and fell in love with the girl who was to become my wife), then Raby Street Juniors (incidentally does anyone know why it was called Raby St. School when in fact it was situated on Brinkburn Street?), and then upward and onward to Heaton.

When I first arrived I thought I had died and gone to heaven because I could play football before school started, during the morning break, at lunchtime, during the afternoon break, and then run home and play in the local park in the evening. Later in my academic career I found that with a little forethought on the first day of a new school year if I was first into the classroom I could choose a desk which allowed me to watch football during the lessons as well !

I haven’t many early memories other than being kept in class by Chas Robinson after everyone else had gone home, and not allowed out until I had recited a certain verse of "The Ancient Mariner".

From 3B onwards I was heavily involved in playing football for the school teams, Walker Boys Club, and Newcastle Boys (u/16’s) and ended as captain of the Senior First 11. I remember winning the Tyneside Grammar and Technical Schools Cup in 1959 the team being captained by Spud Tate, with John Stephenson, Douggy Bell, Curly Johnson, Les Schubler, Toward, Fredericks, Brian Hadley, Watson, and others. Many close friendships were formed during those years but on leaving in 1961, like so many others have already said in their histories, I moved on and lost contact with almost all those I knew. So I am grateful to Dave in setting up this site for the opportunity of perhaps making contact once again after 40 or more years.

Teachers that I remember are Johnny "The Bat" Simpson, Timber Willy Waldron ("measure twice, cut once" shall forever be chiselled on my heart), Tufty Taylor, Ron Cherry, Big Bill Tunnicliffe, Louis Gordon, Ken Quickfall, Hal Gibson, Puggy Walker, Messrs. Askew, Fullarton, Duckenfield and Robinson.

I have hardly seen anyone from HGS since I left in 1961. I didn't hang around too long in Newcastle. I joined the old Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance straight from the Sixth Form and spent the next 32 years of my life as a Civil Servant eventually rising to middle management mediocrity, but never quite escaping the poverty trap. I worked briefly in Newcastle, Grimsby, Lincoln, and then latterly Carlisle and Penrith. Refusing to move to London on promotion seemed to sound the death knell to my career but I have never regretted it. I left the CS rejoicing in 1993 taking advantage of an early retirement scheme (aged 50 ).

Having tried other money making schemes whilst working as a Civil Servant (including a dabble in antiques/bric-a -brac, second hand cars, Amway, and lastly running a Guest House in Keswick for 13 years with my wife Ros.) I felt it was too early to be put out to grass and so I set up as a self employed painter and decorator (how about that for a career change! ) and I am still at it.

I married Rosalind in 1964, another Byker lass, and eventually became brother-in -law to another HGS old boy, Frederick Wilcox who married her sister Carol. It was Derick who first told me about this site. Ros and I have three children, Claire, a teacher in Morecambe, Joanne, a shop assistant in Keswick, and Robert who manages a shop and runs a Guest House near Keswick. Ros and I live near Keswick, in one of the most beautiful areas in the country and we do a little fell walking when not restricted by F&M. I play golf regularly, and Table Tennis for Keswick in the local leagues, as well as the occasional skiing trip so we keep fairly active.

Others have mentioned school trips and I remember in1958ish we went to Paris with the school and later to Italy, but the Paris trip was the most memorable. One night after discovering that the Metro ran all night or so we thought, a few of us snuck out after lights out and went for a trip on the Metro. Quite what happened I forget but when we got back to the hotel in the early hours we were locked out. We went to a cafe and had a drink but after a while we were told they were closing. We told the cafe owner of our problem and he allowed us to sleep in the cafe on chairs for the rest of the night. Can you imagine that happening today? When we sneaked back in the following morning no-one knew we had been out. John Stephenson was one, another was a lad called Blackledge, I think.Was anyone else involved?? I can’t remember now.

Many a lunchtime we spent buying penny cakes from the tuck shop on the top road. Also buying a cob, hollowing it out and filling it with chips from the chip shop-very nutritious!!

We often went down the Dene too and I remember one occasion when Athol Malcolm had bet another boy that he would jump into the waterfall for half a crown. There was a huge crowd gathered waiting for him to do it but some prefects heard about it and came along just as he was about to jump, and stopped him.

Many of the lads in my class I can remember but some names escape me; sometimes I can see the face but can’t bring to mind the name--old age I guess. Brian Galloway, Brian Smith, Knoll Oliver, Eric White, Keith Humble, Ernie Hazlewood, Brian Hadley, John Summerbell, John Thompson, John Syrett, John Stephenson, Curly Johnston, Frankie Gibson, Billy Baines, Willie Penn, David "Prof" Richardson, Pottsy, Charlie, Eggy Connel, Keith Noble, Geoff Corson, and others from further back were Alex McGregor, Peter Hutchinson, John Reece..........whatever happened to these likely lads?

I know they say that nostalgia is not what it used to be...........but I can remember only the good times and I am thankful for that. And somehow along the way they gave me an education for which I will always be grateful.

I know that most correspondents on these sites say they will be pleased to hear from their friends. I would add to that and say if anyone is coming into the Lake District for a holiday perhaps we could meet up and remisce..reminiss....reminys....talk about old times.

My e-mail address is : georgebright@supanet.com Our telephone number 016973 23200

John (Joe) BROWN (1956-1963) jbrown@ttsc.co.uk

I began my secondary schooldays in Form 1D in 1956. About my only memory was learning to write "joined-up" having been taught to scribe in italic by my avante garde mentors at West Jesmond Primary school. There were a few memories of the gym (didn’t Quickfall just love the sound of his own voice?), Chillinghan baths, "keep both hands behind the cutting edge of the chisel," measure twice, cut once," but that was about it until the new term saw me leap into 2A.

Ian Harrow (anybody know where he is?) drew startlingly lifelike cartoons of every thing, Nicholson occasionally taught some French. I enjoyed English but can’t remember who taught it and "Pug" Walker captured my imagination with current affairs. I took part in my first school play, St Joan.

3A was memorable for CJM Stewart – "apparently, in the absence of a Master, I am prepared to, and do in fact, behave like an animal. Accordingly, and under such circumstances, I should be prepared to be treated as such" One hundred times, in block capitals – what a bastard! I continued to enjoy school plays and the enlightenment of Ron Cherry. I despised Edgar Tansley and the maths master, burly fellow but whose name I cannot recall, whose idea of instructional technique was to write on the blackboard for the entire lesson, never pausing to explain or face the class. Joe Messer, a beacon of common sense, shone through and introduced me to hockey, a game that I enjoyed playing for the next 30 years. At some stage Askew must have arrived although Barnes leaving probably made more of an impression.

The paranoid French teacher in 5A, whose only authority derived from sending boys to the Askew to be beaten, completed my memories of the first 5 years. I achieved exactly the O Level passes need to join the RAF, and would have achieved an RAF Scholarship to Cranwell had not Askew been somewhat "economical with the truth" on my reference. The Scholarship duly appeared the following year after Askew had been encouraged, by the RAF, to refresh his memory about my CV. Later, I had the pleasure of rebuffing an attempted apology.

But back to LVISc, in which I survived only half a term, I was told that I "would rue the day" I transferred to LVIM – as I enter my 59th year I await the retribution. My final years at Heaton, with Ron Cherry and, yes, Rocky for History were happy. Lewis Gordon stimulated an interest in economics which led me to my second career. I began playing bridge seriously and avoided as much school work as possible.

My A levels were not good enough for Cranwell but the RAF offered me a Commission anyway. I had my "Wings" at the age of 19 and learned to drive a car the following year. I retired from the Royal Air Force in 1997 after 34 years of fun – I never thought of it as a job and I count myself so lucky. I survived an awkward engine failure during training becoming the 984th successful customer of Martin Baker ejection seats but otherwise enjoyed 7000 hours uneventful flying all over the world. Now, I have a second, equally challenging, career in business with Serco.

I married in 1974 and now live in Yorkshire with my wife Joan – James, Amy and David being our offspring. Recently, my number came up for a season ticket at St James’ – I can be found, pre-match, at "Butlers" with other "Friends Reunited."

Alan BULMAN (1948-1952) a.bulman@freenet.de

Married since 1967 to Marita(German) and living in Germany.

Started at Heaton Grammar School in Sept. 1948 when, feeling completely overdressed in my new school uniform (complete with blue button on my cap) which had cost a fortune at Barnes’s of Grey St. (an obvious connection!!!), I caught (I think was the then terminology) the TRAMCAR at the bottom of Raby St. which rapidly filled up with other new boys on their way starting a new adventure after passing ‘the Scholarship’ to schools such as Heaton Grammar and of course Heaton Technical.

Having considered myself as being very bright and extremely intelligent at my previous schools (St. Peters and Bolam St.) I suddenly found I was not so brilliant amongst my new contemporaries and went through school without getting off the ‘TOP FLOOR’ in 1c, 2d, 3c, 4d. before my father thought I should leave at the end of the Fourth year, which one could of course do at that time, and learn a trade.

I remember spending a lot of time in detention. I also did the long walk to the Headmaster’s study, followed by the interminable wait outside, before getting ‘six of the best’ for ‘scrumping’ apples from the trees in the back gardens of the houses at the top of the Himalayas. Caught by the caretaker, Mr Bottomley, whose name I never forgot.

I had some marvellous times, and although in retrospect I realise I completely wasted the opportunities that had been presented to me, I would not have missed those four years of my life.

The names of all the teachers have been well chronicled by everyone. Mr. Graham nearly had a coronary trying to impart his knowledge of English to me. I particularly remember how frustrating it was for him that I could not dissect the sentences with their main clause and secondary clauses. It was not until later in life when I studied German (now of course living in Germany it is my main language) that ‘the penny dropped’. Terribly sorry Sir.

After doing something wrong in Woodwork (again) Timber Waldron told me to do an essay on the workings of ‘The Internal Combustion Engine’ which completely floored me and I spent a nervous week hoping he would forget about my task by the following weeks woodwork lesson (which he thankfully did).

Hank Peel tried very hard and he was such a nice simple chap I felt sorry for him.

Pug Walker and I got on very well because I played football for his team.

Bertie Norris, Satan Simpson, Purves, Quickfall, Clapperton, Healey, Friend, I could go on and on. Why is it that I cannot remember neighbours names yet the names of all my teachers come readily to mind?

In 1955 I was called up to do my 2 years National Service and sailed out to Malaya on the ‘Empire Orwell’ as Trooper Bulman to join my Regiment 15/19th The Kings Royal Hussars. Thus began for me a new life. The Byker lad found his niche, decided, after a year, to sign on as a regular soldier and retired as a Major after completing 38 years service around the world.  I have led a marvellous, never to be forgotten, different, never boring, life.

Fittingly I finished my service at Fenham Barracks as the Adjutant of Northumbrian University Officer Training Corps(encompasses the Universities of Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria & Middlesbrough.

During this period I contacted the Headmaster of Manor Park (our Heaton Grammar) who kindly showed me around the school and to come to terms with my conscience and settle my debt to the school I made a donation to the school funds.

A photograph of the 1950/51 junior football team recently appeared in the Evening Chronicle and as a result all the members of the team got together in Newcastle exactly 50 years later for a reunion. It was given extensive coverage in the Evening Chronicle dated May 11th 2001 (You can get this on the Internet through the Evening Chronicle archives).

The team members, now older, greyer, plumper had an absolutely fantastic day spent in a time warp.

The names are as follows: Peter Burgon, Albert George, Bill Napier, Tommy Boylen, Gordon Wilkes, John Gallagher, Ronnie Wingfield, Colin Summerson, Alan Bulman, Colin Teasdale, Ron Swearman & Gordon Hogarth.

There were three Lambert brothers at school as follows:

  • Alan Lambert 1946-51
  • Brian Lambert 1948-53
  • Derek Lambert 1950-55

I would love to make contact with anyone of my vintage.    Hope no-one is feeling bored with all this reminiscing.

Neville BURT(1957-1959) nevburt@btinternet.com

I spent my primary years at East Walker and did well enough in the 11+ to get to Heaton Grammar. I also sat for Dame Allens. They say that standards have not fallen but I recall that one of the essay titles given for the entrance exam was “What criteria would you use for judging a nation?” I didn’t pass! I started in Form 1C in 1957.

On the first day I had my brand new cap stolen and never wore a cap again in my school life. I felt very grown up being at such a big school with its awesome open cloisters overlooking the quad and enormous playing fields with facilities for tennis, football and cricket. My memories are a bit fuzzy but I do remember some of the teachers. Bob Cherry was a kindly man and instilled into me a love of good English. Woodwork with Willie was a whole new world. I do remember two big posters in the woodwork room one saying “Measure twice, cut once” and the other “Its easier to cut a bit off than to cut a bit on”. Both sound advice which I have attempted to follow all my days. After a term of hard labour and expert tuition I emerged triumphant with an egg cup holder and only minor injuries. It was treasured by my grandmother until the day she died!

I remember Healey’s music class, learning to sing various sea shanties such as “Fire down below” and of course the mammoth stage productions each year, usually Gilbert and Sullivan but this year “St Joan” with of course a boy taking the leading role.

Skiving off down Jesmond Dene and spending the dinner money on pie and mashed potato at the café at the bottom until we were banned (as someone else records, due to the injection of potassium permanganate in the dene). I carved my name on a rock down there, somewhere near the wishing well that I used to raid with a fishing net during hard times. In later life as a hydraulic engineer I studied the outfall of the stream into the Tyne at a place that was called Willington Gut. After the study it was dredged out to make a small marina and was renamed Point Pleasant!

Does anyone else remember the rebellion in 1957? I was too young to appreciate what the issue was but I do remember that most of the pupils paraded along the drive in front of the headmaster’s office and one enterprising lad took the globe from the geography room, climbed on the roof and placed it on the staff room chimney with obvious consequences.

I have a vivid memory of the day we heard about the plane crash in which many of the Man United team were killed.

I guess there was some sort of heating at the school but it can’t have been very effective. I remember trying to thaw out my frozen fingers in the wash basins in the toilets by running “hot?” water over them.

I was not successful at sports though I aspired to be so. I did get to captain the form B team for a term but was then transferred to the “Scraps”. No political correctness in those days! What I did succeed at in 1 C was writing a poem for homework that eventually was published in the school mag. I am fairly sure I have a copy of the mag somewhere in the loft. The first verse I still recall:

The winter sun sinks slowly in the west
And leaves the freckled clouds to roam the sky
The wild geese seek a place where they can rest
They skim the river as they onward fly
.

It was based on a Scott painting we had in our living room.

It could have been that that got me promoted from 1C to 2B and the dizzy status of no longer being a fag. However, my father was transferred to Berwick upon Tweed and that is where I finished my school days. Sadly I did not make the best use of my education opportunities and although I gathered a reasonable number of O levels I left school without A levels (but I did have a great time and furthered my education in other ways). With few job opportunities in the North East I headed south to Wallingford in Oxfordshire to work in the scientific civil service at the Hydraulics Research Station. There I did day release, gained Credits in ONC Civil Engineering and got a place at Sunderland Poly on a sandwich course leading to a BSC Hons. I ended up staying with that organisation (which was one of the earlier privatisations) for the rest of my working life, finally retiring in 2007. I developed a specialisation in the academic and environmental aspects of dredging. This took me to many well known and many obscure parts of the world studying existing and proposed ports and harbours. I also had a specialisation in estuarine barrages and had a major involvement in the Tees Barrage and the Cardiff Barrage. If you want to know more about that aspect of my life just enter my name in Google and you will see the various publications.

On the personal level I married in 1969 and we had two boys and a girl all now grown up and all with children of their own. Sadly my wife died of cancer in 2005 but I remarried in 2007 and acquired a few more grandchildren, now totalling eight.

I became a committed Christian while still at school in Berwick and have never looked back. I was a founder member of a “house church” in 1974 that now is called Ridgeway Community Church and has its own building in Wallingford with about 150 members. If you want to know more about that you can find it on the web easily enough. Since retiring I took on the position of lay pastor of the small village church in Brightwell cum Sotwell where I live.

Tim BURTON (1966-1971) timjburton@hotmail.com

I thought I ought to register on the site before I drift into obscurity!

Having scraped into the Grammar by excelling at my Cycling Proficiency Test at Ravenswood Junior School I had an outstanding first year actually managing to be 2nd in History in 1A. Sadly I peaked too early and went into a steady decline from then on!

I place the blame for this squarely with the authorities responsible for introducing the merger with the girls school next door. Prior to this I had experienced what I felt was going to be a traditional Grammar School education, mortar boards,capes and tuck shops etc. This was perfectly acceptable to me although there was no way my previous experience could have prepared me for Quickfall!

Suffice it to say Gary Marshalls' description was spot on. I have swam in all the oceans of the world and in pools from Canada to Hong Kong but as yet I have not had an opportunity to rescue a black rubber brick from a near death experience! This is despite always swimming in my pyjama bottoms!

The 'Uganda' cruise was fantastic and a bargain at 69! Lasting memory of all the lads throwing various items of contraband overboard prior to a dorm inspection. Flick knives,cigarettes, mucky books, booze and assorted firearms now lie somewhere on the bed of the Med! When we merged and I started in 2scA I fell in with a bad crowd. You know who you are but lest we forget be named. Len Major, John Bowlt, Brian Knox, John Gregory, Terrance Costello, Nick Cooke etc. Brilliant times which got better as the years progressed. The girls were great too.Margaret Collins, Jackie Tweddle, Ethna Hall and many more. More memories to follow in due course. Cheers Tim Burton

David BUTLER (1946-1953) butler_d_j@yahoo.es

Another Old Boy of HGS, Paul Bell, told me about this website some time ago. I was at H.G.S. from 1946 until 1953 when I went on to King's College, then still part of Durham University, to study Spanish. I then went to work on the exporting side of British manufacturing companies but made an abrupt change in 1974 to run a language academy in Madrid. I stayed on in Madrid when I retired and, as a result of giving service to the British community, I was awarded the M.B.E. in the year 2000.

Looking back - the usual stance to write about schooldays - I find that in these days of retirement I am doing a number of things which really started off when I was at H.G.S.. There is music-making in amateur groups and that reminds me how I was flattered and pleased when (despite no singing voice at all ) I became a member of the chorus first in Princess Ida then, a year later in The Yeomen of the Guard (years 1952 and 1953) and also, at a more solemn level, in Handel's Messiah and Israel in Egypt (at about the same time). Those performances were directed by John Healy, able and pleasant with it but headmaster Barnes seemed to be the moving force behind these productions and performances, however. In my last years at school, thanks to friendship with Don Young, James Hedley, Brian Wood and Richard Thomas and others, we got slight engagements singing to our own piano accompaniment for charitable or otherwise socially useful events in the Heaton area ! Then there is history. Despite the fact that I got my degree in Spanish, my earlier interest had been history (under the tutelage of Rochester, Walker, Whitehead and others) and I always remember Walker's statement that " local history stinks " which makes it all the more satisfying that I have been involved with local history wherever I have happened to be living, first in London, then in Cardiff and now in Madrid.

Those school days at H.G.S. were marked by " austerity ", the official designation at the time for the shortages and the restrictions of those years. In 1946, when I entered the first form, the War had just ended the year before and the wartime way of looking at things somehow subsisted and many of the masters were those who, exceptionally, had not been in the services and the others, recently " demobbed ". Few, if any, were communicative about their background or personal interests, except it was a challenge to us boys to guess what their political leanings were (that was more in the fifth and sixth forms). Car ownership amomg our teachers was unusual and hardly more than three or four of the staff used cars to come to work and those could be parked inconspicuously within the school grounds. Teachers were inclined to comment on their unfortunate lot, financially speaking, older ones looking back on what may have been, for them, pre-war prosperity.

A considerable person was Tunnicliffe whose efforts got me good G.C.E. results in maths despite apparent lack of prospects until that final fifth year. There was a carved motto in the Woodwork Room : "Measure twice, cut once" but I still haven't grasped the principle of that. I don't think geography was a subject that could have come across in a nation where its young population had not travelled and only knew about foreign culture through war news. The same could be said about learning French. Latin had to be fitted into the space of one, or was it two, years in the sixth form as Latin was needed only for University entrance specifically for Oxbridge (whether Arts or Sciences, which were two mutually exclusive areas of interest and/or study to us at school) and State Scholarships were eagerly sought. Latin was taught by a master who was giving a test to the class when the news came through, classroom by classroom, that George VI had died and we were all surprised that the master concerned seemed quite afflicted by the news as we had never supposed he could possibly be bothered about the fate of any of the royal family.

In most ways it was a school organised on traditional and conservative lines whatever the political orientaion of those who taught us. Remembrance Day was commemorated every November and headmaster Barnes was instrumental in having a memorial put up in the assembly hall with names of past pupils who had died in war service. He clearly had memories of his own times and the First World War.

The sixth form classroom was in an improvised part of the school building as some of that part of the school had been destroyed by bombs. We were very comfortable there, well away from those draughty corridors open to the four winds, not too near the rest of school activities, and we felt privileged. It was not appreciated by us, though, when we were supposed by the school authorities that we might have been silent witnesses to a leak of exam papers from the printing works. That rumour ran every year but one year there really had been a leak. Memory is such that I cannot recall what happened afterwards! That year was 1952 and I was not sitting any outside exams then anyway. Those years were the first when O levels and A levels came in : no grades (A, B, C, etc) were given to avoid elitism!

Sport, particularly cricket, was fiercely promoted: headmaster Barnes was an enthusiast. Soccer appealed to the majority of the boys anyway (but not to me) as north east England lead the world with a triumphant Newcastle team.

I have kept in touch with a few contemporaries : Paul Bell, as mentioned, James Hedley (who died in 2008 after a distinguished career in Scottish education for which he received the O.B.E.), Peter Falconer and John Kelly.

 

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