School Badge
D - F

Eric DALE (1949-1953)

In 1949 I tunnelled my way out from 'Chilly' Road School and began attending HGS, initially accompanied by my guide and mentor Harry Orton of Tintern Crescent. Thanks Harry if you're reading this for relieving me of at least some of the first-day terror. I began in form 1c (and Armstrong House) and remained at 'c' level until the fourth year when I became a 'd', not exclusively due to my own lack of application: some of the blame should be laid at the door of a few dozy buggers who couldn't teach a dog to pee up a lamp-post. For instance, copying the contents of a text book onto a blackboard whilst pupils race to get it all down in their exercise books before the bottom of the board is reached and details erased, does not by any criterion qualify as 'teaching'. I guess it was just too bad if you happened to be a slow writer. Yes, this actually took place but my memory isn't strong enough to reveal the name of the culprit. You may like to speculate!

My form master was Mr Whitehead and I remember him being less than pleased when most of the class turned up on the very first day without working kit of any kind. Not even pens or pencils.

F. R. Barnes was headmaster. Teachers I remember: Clapperton, Hutton, Nicholson, Rowell, Bambrough, Waldron, Walker, Friend, Taylor, Henderson (Adolf!), Simpson (Satan!), Quickfall, Tansley, Tunnicliffe, John Healey (a brilliant musician who used to play us out at assembly with Mozart). However, his influence wasn't strong enough to dissuade us from this at the Christmas service:
'We three kings of Water-logged Spa are selling toffee threepence a bar; matches tenpence,
fags elevenpence, that's what the prices are. of wonder...etc.'

If I had a favourite at all it was 'Nicky' Nicholson who adopted a brilliantly unique teaching routine in which he would spend half of the French lesson telling us about his exploits in the first war trenches; then having our rapt attention would proceed to teach some French. And it worked, on me at least, as it has been the only subject I have been aware of making use of in later life. What else did I learn?

  1. Don't answer back.
  2. Always do your homework (and lines).
  3. Don't crack jokes from the back of the class for fear of a blackboard duster headed your way.
  4. Don't run in the corridors boy! On the subject of lines I have an especially vivid memory of failing to deliver mine to Tunnicliffe. He called me out to the front of class and asked me the reason. I said (over much suppressed laughter in class) 'I thought I'd get away with it sir'. His reply was something along the lines of 'Well, I'm afraid you were mistaken Dale, kindly extend your hand'. And, naturally the lines were doubled up to boot.

My main memory of the non-immersible Ken Quickfall is of his extra-curricular training at HGS of the sprinter Alan Lillington (fourth place as a member of the 1954 Commonwealth Games relay team).

It was good fun watching Taylor at the cricket nets as he was a left-hander, therefore always in danger of slamming a ball through the staffroom windows. And, in fact, if memory serves me right, succeeding once to the great satisfaction of those of us yelling encouragement.

I was pretty much hopeless at woodwork, which must have been more than embarrassing for my father who was a machinist in a joinery works! I wasn't even lucky selecting wood at Timber Willie's apron pick-and-mix, always managing to get a knotty bit. I can only remember making one item: a bookrack, (didn't everybody?) whose best feature was the end design stamped with a stipple punch.

One of my classmates, Les Barnes, was for some reason regularly singled out for verbal abuse from Chris Tansley. Hardly a lesson went by when he was not called a 'guttersnipe' (a street urchin according to my Oxford Concise). Les eventually told his parents. The practice came to an abrupt end following a parent's evening at the school when Tansley, with his back to the wall, was warned off in graphic terms by Les's father.

Most reading this will know that we were kept well apart from the girls next door, to the absurd extent that every year when a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta was staged we were obliged to play all the female roles ourselves. How barmy was that with talent in abundance next-door!

School dinner money wasn't always spent as intended. Most days we conformed, sat down with everyone else and noshed our way through the usual meat and two veg menu with, for afters, frogspawn (tapioca), concrete (a half-inch thick rectangle about three inches square made from two layers of rock-hard pastry between which resided a thin layer of 'jam'), or darkies-in-a-snowstorm, (apologies for breaching today's P.C. recommendations, but that was semolina with raisins!). So, in search of something more palatable some of us came up with three taste-bud-tickling options from which to choose: 1. Eat a Walls Family Brick bought from the ice-cream van often parked outside the school gates. 2. Run pell-mell up to the baker's on Newton Road and try to be first there for the best choice of yesterday's cakes at one penny each. 3. Newton Road again but this time to buy a small loaf, scoop out the middle and eat that, then fill the cavity with chips, salt and vinegar. Approval rating 'Edgy!' or better still 'Darza!'.

Some other notable memories:

  • The second or third year water-pistol craze. These devices were poorly made and leaked all over the place. Eventually banned when we had soaked each other and every other surface in sight during school-wide protracted water wars.
  • Playing 'rugby' with a matchbox on the benches in the cloakrooms on wet days.
  • The illicit circulation of well-thumbed copies of Hank Janson pulp fiction which usually fell open automatically at the more lurid bits!
  • Following/chasing the La Sagesse girls in Paddy Freemans and Jesmond Dene, though we probably wouldn't have known what to do if we'd caught up with them.
  • Reading (sometimes under the desk) the derring-do exploits of The Tough of the Track, Braddock VC, Smith of the Lower Third, Limp Along Leslie and others in the Adventure, Hotspur, Rover and Wizard. The T.O.T.T. trained on fish and chips!
  • And a special mention for the entrepreneurial skills of an un-named inmate who, in the autumn, used to depart at lunch break for Jesmond Dene carrying an old-fashioned brown suitcase. On his return he would sell the conkers he'd collected for, I believe, two a penny. Obviously a captain of industry in the making!

It may come as a surprise after digesting some of the foregoing that, despite a much less than laudable academic record, my memories of the school are very fond indeed and I was more than sad when I heard of its demolition. Especially as it was only built as recently as 1928, so wasn't exactly ancient. Admittedly it was draughty and the wind would regularly sweep the rain across the linking corridors surrounding the quad which must have contributed massively to the heating bills. But that was part of its charm and it had character and presence, which is more than can be said of many more 'efficient' buildings today. For many of us east-enders I guess it was the nearest equivalent to a minor public school.

At the time of my leaving HGS (end of the fourth year) there are only two names of classmates that I can recall (boo!..shame!): Derek Thom, who went to the USA and became a Mormon, and Neville Strange who I met years later when he worked on the Team Valley Trading Estate.

So what happened next?
Served my time as an apprentice compositor in a printing company. Gained a City and Guilds Final in Typography (through evening classes and day release) which was the first and only time I really applied myself to study. In 1959 moved sideways into advertising and graphic design in Newcastle and Edinburgh and after a circuitous route completed my education by running the graphics department at Northumberland National Park. Following early retirement went on to freelance as an illustrator. Funny thing is that all those years ago when 'Nicky' Nicholson asked us second-years what work we would like to do after leaving school I said 'commercial artist'; at which he seemed quite taken aback. I still paint and draw fitfully but manage to produce enough work to exhibit locally. I married Joan in 1964; we live in the Scottish Borders and have two children and two grandchildren, all of whom live in Surrey.

Miraculously, I managed to maintain my first-year school photograph in good condition and it's now posted on this website (one or two names are still to remember; can you help?). If anyone from my era wishes to make contact through the above email address they'd be very welcome.

Ian DALE (1957 - 1964)

I'm an expatriate Geordie now living in Southern Ontario. I attended Heaton Grammar School and University College, London. Presently you can find me at Hamilton Health Sciences Centre affiliated with McMaster University. I still remain a fanatical supporter of The Toon and have been known to quaff the odd Broon. I'd be delighted to hear from anyone out there with similar interests - in the meantime, here is a picture of me and me marras when I was in 5A in 1962 or you can find out more about me from my home page.

HOWWAY THE LADS!! Gerrit doon ye it'll dae ye guud

Geoff DANCER(1958 - 1965)

Geoff was my best friend at HGS and we kept in touch for a while after I finished there. He carried on to 6th form whilst I left at the end of the 5th year. At school, he was into anything to do with music, played the piano and the flute and just had to be the music teacher's favourite pupil. When he left school, he went on to Oxford to do a degree in music (what else) and we did meet once or twice then as I was living in west London.

Over the years, I always wondered what had happened to him but I moved to Australia so contact was unlikely. I was eventually delighted to find he had a website - - whence I was able to contact him. I encouraged him to send a contribution to this website but he never did.

Today, I had an email from another classmate to tell me that Geoff had died in December 2008. His website (above) still exists and now functions as a memorial to Geoff being full of his friends' tales. I encourage any mutual friends to visit the website and see what we have lost. DC - 15 January 2010.

William DAVAGE (1961-1968)

I am delighted to find the HGS site. The old school had been in my mind recently as this year is the 40th anniversary of my going there.

Like others of my generation I still have vivid memories of that first day and "Hitler" Henderson strutting back and forth and holding forth with such menace. I was in 1Westwell and then into 2G and so on.

Again like others of my generation I remember "Pop" Walker, "Pug" Walker, D.H. Walker, "Tufty" Taylor, Waldron, Dawson, Marshall Ward, R. A. Pearce, Joe Messer, Ken Quickfall and all the others. My particular favourites were Ron Cherry who taught me history and made me love it, he also made me act but never made me love rehearsing. Barry Ford and Charlie Robinson (English), Howard Morton (RE), and Edgar Tansley (Latin). I kept in touch with him for many years until his death in 1981 and then kept in touch with Mrs Tansley until I left Newcastle in 1987. 

Other random memories include the Tuesday timetable in my first year: Period 1 Swimming (in those ghastly Chillingham Road Baths), 2 Maths with Joe Messer, invariably mental arithmetic and he equally invariably he began with the "boy in the back corner", and it was always my corner with the question "What is twice the half of one and a half?" I was so terrified of him that I never knew the answer. However, Bernard Greaves did manage to push me through O Level. Periods 3 and 4 Double Games. Period 5 Gym; 6 French (Marshall Ward), 7 and 8 Physics (Hitler Henderson). I think that I am still traumatised.

I remember a French assistant beating up Peter Maidment in class and Arthur Prust sweeping in with his gown flowing and giving him a dressing down. I remember several school plays not least a superb "Richard III" and a marvellous performance by David Cant as Sir Thomas More in "A Man for all Seasons" - I had the modest role of Cardinal Wolsey. There was a performance of "Messiah" in the City Hall conducted by John Healy. His music lessons were a disgrace and I loathed him but that performance still lives in my memory.

Despite that, I did enjoy my time there very much and remain very grateful indeed for all that the school did for me.Among the pupils I remember well Trevor Corbitt (who I see has already contributed), Stewart Davidson, David Elliott, David Atkinson, Richard Witkin, David Pentland, Barry Lindley. I still keep in touch with Douglas Ross. He was my longest-standing friend at my 50th birthday party last year which I marked by having a heart attack on the day. 

After HGS having taken a degree in History in Newcastle I worked briefly in Thorne's Bookshop and in the Inland Revenue before  doing a PGCE and teaching History at The Robert Smyth School in Market Harborough. I left there in 1989 to train for the priesthood at St Stephen's House in Oxford. After serving a curacy for three years in Leicester I returned to Oxford where I am now Priest Librarian and Custodian of Dr Pusey's Library, Pusey House and Pusey Fellow of St Cross College. 

I hope that these few reminiscences chime with the memories of others. It was good to visit the site and it will be good to hear from any contemporaries should they wish to do so. If they are passing through Oxford during Full Term they are welcome to contact me and have lunch in College and remember the old school.

Ian DAVISON (1962-1969)

I was a contemporary of Michael Chaplin and many of the other stories also rang true!

I started in 1962 and was introduced to the ways of the school by H Henderson( didn't he bear a striking resemblance to a certain Austrian?) I remember vividly Pug Walker and Pop Walker who taught me for History (TANG GAN EE KAH) and English respectively. I also had a Russian teacher called Davison who was replaced by Fred Barker. I did A levels in geography with Titch but I forget his second name (Fullarton - ed.) , Physics with Jack Waldron( I think) and Maths with big Bill Tunnicliffe. I went to St Andrews in 1969 ending up with an honours degree in applied maths and then did a teacher training course in London. I taught back in Scotland for 9 years where I met and married my wife who is French, incidentally. We moved to Derbyshire in 1984 where I teach maths at secondary school and my wife is assistant dean of the school of humanities, languages and law at the University of Derby.

It would be great to here from anyone else who was in my year .

John DODSHON (1948 - 1952)

The web page on Heaton Grammar has brought back so many memories, especially the picture of the staff taken in 1956.

Of the people in that photograph, I was taught at one time or another by messers Quickfall, Waldron,  Fullarton, Purvis, Healey, English, Friend, Brown, Walker, Whitehead and Rowell. I also remember another master, Hutton, who does not appear in the picture.

I took my scholarship at Cragside Junior School, but spent a period at Chillingham Road School, before starting at Heaton in 1948.

All my memories of the school and staff are happy ones. Like others I enjoyed warm sunny days when the wooden side walls could be folded back, not good for concentration though.

I started in 1B and then 2C, 3C and 4C. I enjoyed being in the C stream as we had a rather superior attitude to the B and A in as much that we thought we covered the same ground but in a more relaxed way, and in no way did it impede my future academic and professional career, which I feel shows how high the standards were at HGS.

Sports Days were always one of the highlights of the year, along with the standard points system whereby all, regardless of athletic prowess, could contribute to the success of their house. Another important date was the Head's versus Schools cricket match. In the winter snowball fights against the prefects provided some way of getting or own back for real or mainly perceived grievances incurred during the term. Swimming lessons at Chillingham Road Baths seemed to involve long periods standing on the sides and just going through the motions, although I did learn to stay afloat and move around a little in the water.

Certain small occasions always seem to stand out, ie I was berated by Mr Walker in art class for using a ruler to draw the side of a upright enamel jug that we were using as a model, and I can still hear Mr Waldron telling us that 'A saw cut is a Saw Cut'  I did however make a thing for holding eggs and most of a small coffee table.

I will always be grateful to Mr Brown and Mr Rowell who kindled in me a love of maths and physics, which stood me in good stead all my working life.

The Gilbert and Sullivan operas were always enjoyable, although my lack of singing ability meant that the nearest I got to them was helping make the scenery.

In 1952 my father took a job as Chief Electrical Engineer on a sugar plantation in what was then British Guiana, ie it was still a Crown Colony, so I ended my time at HGS in July of that year, and in September swapped my conventional school cap for a white Pith Helmet, which was part of the school uniform at Queens College, Georgetown, British Guiana. Guiana gained independence the following year, and after some initial problems became Guyana.

I took my School Cert in Guyana and started in the 6th at that school but returned to the UK in Jan 1954. Subsequently I trained as a Marine Engineer with a Liverpool Shipping Company, Elder Dempster Lines and gained my 1st Class Motor Certificate in 1964 but then decided to come ashore to study for Inst of Mech Eng. I gained my Mech E after four further years of study mainly at night school, not the easiest way of doing it but well worth the effort.

Since then I have worked at Pilkingtons Glass ( Research and Development), Cammell Lairds (Design Office), Belfast SS Company (Superintendent Engineer) and finally as Senior Lecturer at John Moores University, formally known as Liverpool Poly, for the last 17 years of my working life. I opted for early retirement in 1989 and now my wife and I live in North Wales. We have a 10 metre ketch which we live and sail on for about 5 months of the year, so it is only in the non sailing season that I get chance to surf the web.

Chris DONALD (1971-1978)

I know I don't strictly speaking qualify, but I attended Heaton Comprehensive from 1971 to 1978, and have lost touch with most pupils. Incidentally, my late mother (Kathleen Rickard),  attended the girl's high school in the 1940s. By the time I got to Heaton in 1971 only one teacher remained from my mother's days, Miss Raby who was by then a deputy head. (Incidentally, as recently as last summer Miss Raby was still Ladies Captain at the Parklands Golf Club, Gosforth Park, Newcastle).

In my era teachers included Mr Askew (Head), Mr Quickfall (veteran PE teacher), Mr Wisbach, Mr Owen (deputy head), Mr Kirkby (head of lower school), Mr Walker (head of 6th form), Mr Burton and Mr Dowson (boys PE), forgetful Mr Dawson, sneering Mr Kirkpatrick and Mr Venmore (all woodwork and technical drawing), Mr Walton and the likeable Mr Bailey (physics), 'Fitter' Armstrong and 'Fatty' Walshaw (chemistry), 'Tosh' Toshack, Miss Crabtree, Mrs Currell and Mr Winter (biology), Miss Graham (girls PE), Mr Fullarton and Mr Derek Smith (geography), Mrs McKenzie (English), Mr Hesketh (French), Mr Bell (history) to name but a few. Just a few friends of mine were Peter Chamley, Steven Burk, Dougie Cowx, Barry Dixon, Tim Cantle-Jones, Fenella Storm, Jim Brownlow, Chris Scott-Dixon. I could go on forever.

Best looking girl in the school was generally regarded to be Linden Davison, captain of the girl's hockey team. She certainly got my vote. Last thing I knew Mr Venmore and Mr Toshack were still at the school. I now live in Northumberland with wife Dolores and 3 kids. I'd love to hear from any of my generation.

Dave DONKIN (aka Dave Raven) (1957 - 1962)

1A, 2B, 3C and then for the 4th and 5th years they split the D’s into 2 so that nobody felt demoralised by being bottom of the bottom class!

Before the mock O’s, when careers masters offered advice about future plans it was suggested that my dropping a form each year was a good indication that perhaps A levels and university were not really an option.

That was the kick up the arse I needed and went on to get 7 O’s, mostly B’s.  I had however decided that the 6th wasn’t an option and so went to work at Swan Hunters as an apprentice draughtsman and then to Sunderland Technical College to study shipbuilding and Naval Architecture.

I had started going to the Young Set at the Club A’Gogo in Newcastle when I was 16  and then graduated to the Jazz Lounge at 18.  There I played my first record on stage.  At Sunderland I was Entertainments Chairman from ‘66 to ‘67 and also ran dances at the Locarno Ballroom.

Building ships was nowhere near as much fun as playing records so I turned professional in 1968 and as ‘Dave The Rave’ worked across the North of England; house DJ at Sloopy’s in Low Friar St; first Radio 1 appearance in 1970 and joined BBC Radio Newcastle when it opened in January 1971.  Metro radio in 1973 and then I left the UK to buy a night club in Malta in 1976.

 I’ve been in radio ever since and now work as a freelance from my radio and video production studio on the top deck of a houseboat on the Thames near Hampton Court.

Oh, by the way Dave The Rave became Dave Raven in 1972 – I haven’t been a Donkin for almost 30 years!   Thanks for an excellent site.

Bill DUNN (1962 - 1968)

I have mixed memories of HGS. I remember turning up on the first day wearing most of the items on the clothing list and carrying the rest just in case. My parents were in debt for a year after buying that lot! There was an apron for science, an apron for metalwork, house colours on this, blue stripe across your gym vest, a burberry (a what?). What the hell was that all about? I think there was about 600 boys at the school at the time and I didn't know a single one. They lined us up against the gym wall and then marched us to our classrooms.

I don't think I said a word for the first year and the form teacher wrote "extraordinarily quiet" on my report. Extraordinarily s**t scared might have been more accurate. I was streamed into the R stream (sciences) and spent the next four years near the bottom of the class as I had no idea what swotting for exams meant. Chris Walton, the brainiest thing on two legs, was in my class and I could have swotted 'til the cows come home and never got anywhere near him so what was the point (and the trouble was he wasn't just bloody bright, he was likeable with it. B*****d).

People who were science streamed discovered Hitler Henderson was actually a nice guy (an otherwise well kept secret). I seem to remember the class trying to electrocute Tufty Taylor after someone (Moley, aka The Prof?) discovering the heady power of a small battery with a rheostat attached. Football on the Himalayas, trailing up to Paddy Freemans for tennis, watching the girls next door playing cricket from the library window (did they really play in their navy blue knickers sometimes, or is this a false, but cherished, memory?) I recall the archery club, gymnastic club, chess club, art club, aeromodelling club ... I joined them all as they were far more entertaining than the lessons. I am indelibly stamped with Cunningham's voice as he handed out lines and detentions in his wonderfully matter-of-fact, rather-enjoying-it way. I remember Barry Ford, who was the only teacher who thought I had a brain. And when I was put in the bottom set for maths (my primary school had been a litlle way behind most - they still used Roman numerals). I remember getting 'the Rev' for maths because the school policy was give the best teachers to those who needed them least; to those who actually understood it. I clawed my way up maths set by set, though I was reluctant to leave the class of the teacher who was easily sidetracked into tales of how bombers were navigated onto target and the maths involved.

Having somehow passed most of my O Levels I found myself in the sixth form studying English, History and Geography. English, my hitherto favourite subject,was destroyed by Hopalong Chastity, a woman teacher who was an enthusiastic member of the SPCK but liable to swoon at the racier parts of Chaucer (ie the bits we all wanted to read). History seemed to consist entirely of transcribing the contents of of Pug Walker's notebook into my notebook, and Geography was so unmemorable I can't remember a thing about it. What I can remember is suddenly sharing lessons with girls! Those mysterious creatures who had once merely flitted in and out of view as they crosed the walkway to the science blocks. And now they sat within a few feet of me; with mini skirts on. That was the end of my HGS education. I couldn't concentrate. I left at the end of Lower Sixth to seek my fortune and had eight jobs in the next ten years, (still unable to concentrate due to flashbacks of bare thigh and swelling blouses). The effect finally wore off when I was about 30 and I spent the next nine years in various insitutions - educational ones, apparently. After collecting one of each sort of degree, the last one in the States, I was forced to start working for a living again and have now worked for myself for about 18 years designing learning in various forms; ironic or what!

I remember some of the other contributors well. Barry Russell (sorry Barry, it's still 'Barney' that leaps to mind). Mike Chaplin, who seemed to spend far too much time grinnng and enjoying himself. I remember Kuldip Singh Bedi who taught me to play chess by thrashing me repeatedly at it for two years. Nutter Jordan. Gordon King, whose friendship probably stopped me leaving again during that first, daunting year ... Myers, who seemed to specialise in beating people with knotted scarves whilst others held them down. Great lad.

Overall, I had to leave HGS before I could find the spark of intelligence and confidence I'd once had in primary school. My first HGS report said "extraordinarily quiet but very gifted", but I don't think HGS was a place where the quiet could thrive. So, fond memories, but not the fondest.

Bob EDGAR(1960-1965)

I joined Heaton from Sandyford Road Primary along with John Keddie and Jonathan Pearson in 1960 I recall there were 128 new boys in total who, on the first morning were all lined up in our new uniforms and army surplus haversacks, and marched through the quadrangle by "Hitler" Henderson to the assembly hall where we were decanted to our classes. I was in 1 Caird, which was the Armstrong class.

I struggled badly that year, largely because I'd started to go short-sighted that summer and found that I couldn't see the blackboard very well, so most of the stuff that was put on the board - which was just about everything - was a bit of a mystery. As a consequence I started the second year - in the words of the immortal "Pug" Walker, " down among the dead men" in the unofficial D" form, 2 Handy, which was an experience!

I started to get things together in the third year, a lot of it down to Hal Gibson who was my form teacher and who took me for maths, and I ended up in the "A" form for the 4th and 5th years. Remember G-R-A-M?

The best thing that happened to me was getting Ron Cherry for the GCE years. His practice of setting reading homework, then testing and re-testing you on anything that was in the text no matter how obscure, until you achieved 70% was something that I took into other subjects and into my studies in later life.

I left Heaton at the end of the fifth year and joined local government, where in those days you could work your way up. I worked for a few authorities, studied in my spare time and qualified as a solicitor in 1976. I stayed in local government until 2000 when, by then disaffected, I took the opportunity to get out. I then spent just over eight years in private practice before retiring in December 2008.

I was tempted back to local government and did a couple of days a week consultancy for fifteen months or so - no management, no politics, great - before finally calling it a day a few months ago.

I've been married to Madeleine since 1973 and we have a 33 year old daughter and a 30 year old son who made us grandparents for the first time in May of this year. Our daughter is also expecting in March 2011. So a bit like waiting ages for a bus and then two turn up

I've been a Newcastle United supporter since 1963 and I still get "over the moon" when they win and "sick as a parrot" when they get beat. I also love live music, rock, blues, jazz, country, in fact anything but classical. Mr Healey's music lessons were obviously wasted on me!

Now that I'm no longer working I go the gym a couple of times a week, go walking and, like all my retired friends, wonder how I ever found time to go to work.

My thanks to Rob Sutherland for telling me about this website -although I notice that, up to now, he hasn't made a contribution.

Finally, a few memories:

  • · "Nicky makes you sicky but not as much as Quickie";
  • · tip tip - clap clap;
  • · Our second year, maths teacher Mr Norbury whose life we made a misery. He got his own back by keeping the whole class behind just about every Thursday, which played havoc with my paper round;
  • · Ron Cherry and his tests;
  • · "Pug" Walker and his "down among the dead men"
  • · playing football every lunch-time on the "Himalayas" in school clothes and going into afternoon classes sweating like a pig in summer and covered in mud in winter;
  • · Swimming lessons in winter at Chilligham Road Baths and the walk in crocodile file back to school - the only time that we were allowed to cut through the High School, although we had to keep our eyes to the front and weren't supposed to even glance at the girls.;
  • · Monday morning assembly and the sports results from the weekend - the best assembly of the week because it was the longest, which meant that the first lesson was usually the shortest.;
  • · having my ear clipped by a French teacher, whose name I can't recall. I still remember the shock and seeing stars. Nowadays, he would have been sacked and prosecuted and I would have received enough compensation to set myself up in life. Needless to say, I never repeated whatever it was that I did!
  • · School dinners. Anyone recall what we called sultanas in semolina? On second thoughts, better not!

Ah,,,,,,,,,,mixed days.

Clint EDMONDS (1950-1957)

Exploring the Web on a winter’s day in Nova Scotia, Canada, with not a lot else to do, I stumbled across the HGS website and into an ocean of nostalgia. My heartfelt thanks go to the originator(s). It is a splendid undertaking.

I entered HGS in Form 1B in 1950 with ‘Adolf ‘ Henderson as the form master and left the L VI Sc in 1956 with ‘Big’ Bill Tunnicliffe as our form master. Having spent 1949 in a holding pattern at Northumberland Road Secondary Modern School, because of age and the 11+ exam schedule, starting at HGS was a very pleasant relief. Out of the war zone one might say.

My memories of the following 7 years are overwhelmingly enjoyable. I remember when, on a summer’s day, some masters would let us slide back the glass and wood partitions of the classrooms facing the south playing fields. The smell of cut grass, and perhaps the sounds of a class playing cricket, stick in my mind. How many remember the ‘slides’ we would create on ice in winter up by the cricket nets. They were exciting.

There are so many stories about the masters, good and bad. However, I am truly in debt to three in particular: Bill Tunnicliffe, ‘Lefty’ Hutton and Joe English. Their teachings have had a great influence on my professional career. As well, I found them to be interesting and very likeable people to be around.

Since leaving HGS, I graduated from University of Durham at King’s, married a Heaton High girl, attended Iowa State University, went into consulting engineering in Canada, worked as a public servant for the Canadian government, and now I am back in consulting with my own firm located just outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia. .

I truly hope that I can establish contact with some of my former class mates, none of whom I have heard of or seen (except one, John Robinson) since about 1960. Their names include: Mickey Youll, Geoffrey Metcalfe, Alan Hodson, ‘Spoug’ Allen, Alan Patterson, Brian Lord, Dave Hay, Hilton ?, David Lloyd, Brian Slater, Eddie Coulson, Eddie Charlton, Jim Wingfield, Don Lister, Johnny Miller (a year behind).

John EDWARDS 1947 - 1955 (Head Boy 1954-55)

Having just discovered this web-site I am delighted to touch base again with the place which laid great foundations for me.

My first form master was pipe-smoking George "Basher" Bell - a delightful man who put nervous lads like me at ease. His maths and geography lessons are still quite bright memories for me.

"Nicky" Nicholson (he of the endless anecdotes) for French, Arthur "Lofty" Hutton for History, Mssrs. Plenderleath and Bamburgh in the science labs (I had no great talent in this area, alas!) all contributed to my formative years. I was never taught by Mr Simpson (aka "John Bat" or "Satan") but we all had to enter his down-stairs stock room to replace a full exercise book - and beware the lad who had removed pages from the original - we were just over a war and things like that were important - apparently. I later became aware of his love for classical music and we had a common interest there.

F.R.Barnes' love of G & S operas meant we had the annual opportunity to "strut our stuff" - directed by John Healy and Ronnie Whitehead they were pinnacle milestones in the artistic calendar of the school. They became something of a family affair since staff wives - Mrs Clapperton and Mrs. Brown in particular I recall - as part of the back-stage team - along with the set design and construction duo of Mssrs. Laughton and Waldron. I never developed any skill in art - my pathetic attempt at an illustrative cover for a poem called (I think) "Almond Blossom" was rightly slated. However "Timber Willy" Waldron's motto - "Measure twice - cut once" - has stuck with me and he would be pleased to know that in later life I developed a liking for, and a reasonable skill in DIY and, in particular, in wood-working.

But music was my first love and John Healy's influence on my development and subsequent career in music education cannot be underestimated. The weekly music lessons - usually in the form of sing-alongs from the New National Songbook - were probably no great shakes by today's standards - but his energy and true musicality came to the fore with those monumental oratorio performances - "Messiah", "Christmas Oratorio", "Creation" and "Israel in Egypt" - in which I sang a bass duet with my then Form Master, Howard Taylor. These in particular pointed me in the direction of my career in music.

Getting into an arts course in Uni those dates required Latin as a pre-requisite. Mr. Tansley despaired of my efforts in this field - and I failed at the first attempt. However, with an extra dose of Latin at Skerry's College, I passed and went on to do a B.A. Music Honours course at King's -.......... that's King's Durham of course .......... and subsequently my Senior Lecturer would rib me saying it could be useful to have 'Eaton and King's on my C.V. - a deception I never practised!

Following graduation I went into teaching - first at Wintringham Boys's Grammar School in Grimsby and from their I was wooed back to Tyneside with the opening of Manor Park School where Tom "Check" Laidler was the new Head and Jimmy Brown was Deputy Head. I brought the HGS tradition of G & S performances to this new post and staged 6 of the operettas there - again with all-boy casts.

There followed a six-year period in Scotland as County Music Adviser in Banffshire - 41 schools in the hills and glens in all weathers - before I headed to the tropic heat of Singapore as Head of the Aesthetics Faculty at the United World College of South East Asia. After nine enjoyable years in this multi-cultural environment I was head-hunted to kick-start the arts programme for a new United World College just opening in New Mexico, U.S.A., again with a truly international student population.

"Blighty" (and family) finally called and I finished my 40 years at the "chalk-face" in a forward -looking comprehensive school in Hertford.

Now retired (from the day job!) I am still very active with choral groups and directing stage musicals for amateur groups in North Hertfordshire.

I am in touch with only a hand-full of my HGS contemporaries and would be pleased to hear from others - particularly those who. like me, remember passing their caps through the railings to mates without the regulation head gear on cap-inspection days "policed" by the prefects ..................... HAPPY DAYS !

Dave ELLIS (1963-1970)

Well if I hadn't found this page I was just about to start my own! After leaving HGS for Electronics @ Hull Uni, (where at least I found a good partner, Gill), I joined EMI in London (on the EMI Brainscanner team) drifted into IT and picked up a MSc. We then gave up work & did the overland thing to Oz . Spent a few years in good old Perth, WA working for DG - a computer firm, and completed the circuit driving home over the US. Since then, we have settled near Bristol and have 3 young girls. I am a free-lance database software consultant, currently working for BT in Bristol. I have many memories of HGS, - the 'Scrapps'- Assembly -the weekly swims - the chalk-fights - the Snowball storms - the prize-giving -the occasional organised riots (I mean excursions) - the cross-country - the playing hookey - The Corner House etc etc, the fun and the trauma. Anyone recall Mr Askew and his spontanous lecture on the 3 tramps ? Oh and it was me who invented the idea of imbedding live match-heads in teacher's chalk-sticks and refined the desktop elastic-band multi-angle catapult !!! I would love to hear from any ex-schoolmates and am especially interested in ex-Ravenswood pupils. - Whatever happened to Ann Stark, Su Hope, Rob Duncan etc. .. or Gatoff, John Snowdon, BillBird, Lilli, Leslie? I am still in touch with Pete Stevenson, Dave Cole & Kathy Southam (now Cole), Rich. Carter & Alastair Sibbald (actually RGS but close ties with HGS). If I ring a bell, please mail me !!!! ... I may even send you a photo so you can recognise me!

Jeffrey ELLIS (1957 - 1962)

Thats me in the middle back row of the 5B photo in 1962 between Dave Cruddas and Andy Massarano. quite a turn up I can tell you!!!!

Worked as a clerical officer at the Ministry in Longbenton then at Jesmond Rd till 1970.

Married and emigrated to Australia. Now in Perth, WA, I have worked in various parts of the sunburnt land for the Bureau of Meteorology as a forecaster since then..

We have twin boys born here 24 years ago.. one is in Cockneyland (reverse immigrant!!) working for Lonely Planet travel books as a cartographer and the  other   is at Murdoch Uni completing a computing degree.

Roll on retirement!

Alan FAIRBAIRN (1965 - 1972)

I was at HGS from 1965-1972 and reading your contributions brought to mind many people I'd forgotten. My memories of the school are mainly bad. I never really fitted into any of the cliques, be it football or drama, and so much of the teaching was soporific note-dictation (for example the history lessons of Ron Cherry or the English lessons we had with the teacher whose name I forget).

Much of my sixth form time was spent in passive rebellion, i.e. doing the minimum of work and skiving where possible, often via the Dene to Conway's record library to borrow progressive rock LP's. I remember being threatened by Askew with imminent suspension if I didn't get my hair cut immediately. I didn't, and wasn't. Very little encouragement from most of the staff. I remember several names that I haven't seen in your lists. Miss Wilson my form teacher in the sixth form, another uncomfortable ex-girl's teacher. Mr. Hesketh the French teacher who told me I hadn't a chance of passing French O-level. Westwood the physics teacher whose opinion of my chances in Physics O level was that I 'hadn't a bat's chance'. And Mr. 'Thunderbum' Stenner, the fat music teacher who threw me out of the choir auditions at 11 for singing flat, but who then incomprehensibly started taking me to classical concerts when some outside researchers deemed that I had perfect hearing. (Singing now forms part of my professional work, after years of complex). He also pulled the plug on my fledgling 'music society' project, which was just an excuse to listen to Pink Floyd at loud volume on the school's stereo system after hours. There was a Scottish music teacher called Lewis who couldn't control our class at all (we were the 'A' class, one of the lower streams) and whose constant refrain was 'I'll take a belt to you', much to our amusement. In sixth form there was a history teacher called Basil Lunt, who was so short sighted he couldn't read the words on his register, much less observe that we were drawing pints of Guiness in our exercise books. He rambled formlessly about 18th century social history, oblivious (or so it seemed) to our total lack of interest or understanding.

I remember many of the names of my class mates, some of them memorable like Bill Tulip or Tommy Hands. My best friend on coming into the school was Paul Cannell who later played centre forward for the Toon. But I kept in touch with only one of them on leaving (Robert Fawcett, with whom I've long since lost contact). I went on to study English at MA level before teaching for a few years. Then I decided that wasn't for me and moved to Paris where I studied theatre and where I've lived mainly now for some 15 years. I do international touring theatre including a lot of street theatre of a provocative nature (reaction against all those years of oppression???)

Mike FAIRLESS (1961 - 1968) (or

Currently (November 2000) employed at the DSS Longbenton (for the last 25 years) and working in IT as a Technical Support Specialist having gone through computer programmer, analyst and designer. Working so close to HGS, I still occasionally pass it and it brings back memories (are they really going to knock it down?). I married a local girl in 1972 and have two children, Suzanne (26) a University Lecturer in English Literature at Newcastle University doing her PhD and Steven (23) an ex grad of Northumbria University, ‘between jobs’ and looking to break into IT.

I’m a former classmate of Alan Stephenson, Jimmy Murray and Trevor Corbitt whose stories appear below.   After reading Alan’s story I got in touch with him and we had a ‘reunion’ after 32 years (in November 2000) – and we won the pub quiz between us!

I haven’t bumped into many other ex-HGS lads but I did meet Alex Allan for a drink about 1997 after a chance meeting with one of his brothers. He is working as a Forensic Scientist specialising in poisons (I think) with the Home Office in London and lives in Reading. He was up in Newcastle on a case and stopping at the Novotel (only 200 yards from where I live now). His younger brother Geoff (ex HGS 1963-1970), now lives in the Isle of Wight. Other names from my era were Steve Hall, Trev Wilson, John Fennell, Tony West, Ray Trench and Les Fenwick. I used to know Tony West quite well until I was about 22 (he worked for George Angus Rubber and later Dunlop, in Newcastle) I was quite shocked to meet a mutual friend about 1995 who told me that Tony had taken his own life a number of years previous.

About 1996 I bumped into one of my former teachers, Tom Cressey, coming out of Tesco’s at Kingston Park, Newcastle. He dropped his wallet and I returned it, I introduced myself and amazingly he not only remembered me but could still reel off a list of names from my class! My wife was with me at the time and she remarked that he looked younger than me! He was still at HGS (Heaton Manor) at this time (I think he said Tony Westwell was still there).

What do I remember about the old masters/teachers. Timber Willy (‘measure twice, cut once"); Tony Westwell and Jack Walton (both Physics) – and those lists of definitions at the start of each lesson; "Pug" Walker my history teacher - "Fairless, your writing looks as if it is going to sleep!" (it still has a pronounced slope!). He refused to mark my homework because it leant over too much (I still treasure that note in my history book). I knocked my pen off the desk one day and it stuck, nib first, in the wooden floor. He looked up from the desk, glowered and said "Lad, your writing might be better now"; ‘Zeke’ Paterson (Chemistry) who called everyone below the Upper Sixth, ‘fags’. ‘Dan’ Mathews, my English teacher and form master in the fourth and fifth form. Of course ‘Big Bill’ Tunnicliffe (who took us skiing in Geilo, Norway) and ‘Tufty’ Taylor. Other names from my first year were my English Teacher ‘Pop’ Walker and my maths teacher ‘Joe’ Messer who gave the whole class 200 lines for making a noise when he had to leave the class during a lesson - "Repetition should enable even anyone of moderate intelligence to understand a simple statement’. How about Mr Spink  who also took the Archery Club (there was quite a number of after-hour clubs – Film, Philatelic, Drama etc).

Who went on the "Devonia" cruise ship in May 1964? We went to Corunna , Lisbon and Tangiers (should have been Alhambra Palace at Granada but someone took ill and the ship had to put in at Vigo). "Charlie" Robinson was the master in charge, also Mr Landreth (Maths).

Who also remembers the gales that blew out the wall of the gymnasium in (1965?) and the storms of early 1968 which blew the roof off the Science building and led to the Sixth Form (Science) being housed in the Cricket Pavilion for a term?

Thanks for the memories and thanks for the education. I can still see the masters walking down the corridors with their black capes flowing out behind them - spooky!

Norman FARROW (1948 - 1953)

I was a student there from 1948-1953 on graduation I went into the Furniture Business and then for two years in the RAF in Signals. After that I moved to London working for Greaves & Thomas one of the large furniture manufacturers. While in London I went to night school at the London School of Economics taking classes in Commercial & Contract Law, Business Psychology etc. I went to the United States in 1962 for what was to be a 2 year trip, it was here that I met my wife of 48 years so I'm still here. During the years I have worked with ITT, GE, Ascom-Autelca and been involved in several startup companies all involved in deregulated telecommunications. For the past 20 years I have owned my own company and still have an active consulting practice involved in Virtual Networks & Cloud Computing.

My education at HGS provided me with a firm base. The teachers that had the most impact on me were “Puggy” Walker and “Basher” Bell and a History Teacher (Whitehouse?) who taught me to question and doubt everything. The disciplines they drummed into us have been the foundation of my business life and have also allowed me get my daughters & grandchildren through high school and even college level algebra.

David FENNELL (1958 - 1963)

Now fast approaching my 70's, this chance encounter with your webpage has left my memories of schooling even more vague than before. Why can't I recall these character forming years?

Yet I own up to a huge nostalgia in mulling over names & events like the cruise ship jolly that had disappeared from my consciousness.

I now live with my wife of 47 years in West Dorset, children long gone. Most significant in my passage from Newcastle to Bridport, is not my litany of career bumps & starts, but my having become one of Jehovah's Witnesses in the mid 60's. Therein lies my life course to the present.

Any who remember me are more than welcome to contact & reminisce.

David Fennell 07710 007 600

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