Pete IRVIN(1935 - 1940) firstname.lastname@example.org
I went to what was
then called Heaton Secondary School for Boys in 1935 and left in 1940
after a very happy time there under F R Barnes and his staff. Those I
can remember who taught me during that period were Messrs:
(Editor's note - the thing I find amazing is that I started at HGS 18 years after Pete left, and I knew 7 of these teachers!)
I really enjoyed taking part in the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas produced by Mr Nicholson, having been in the chorus of "Ruddigore" and playing the part of Phyllis in "Iolanthe" (the first drag artist in our family). I was also in the cast of "Judgement Day", a play about a fascist dictator, produced by Mr Dobson, and remarkably predictive of what was to happen just a year later.
When WW 2 broke out
in 1939 most of the boys were evacuated to Whitehaven, in Cumberland,
where we shared the facilities with the Whitehaven County School. They
attended in the mornings and we went in the afternoons. Our mornings were
spent on subjects such as art, music and games at a local community centre.
I felt we were very kindly treated by our foster parents and felt a little
regret on returning to Heaton after just a few months since no severe
bombing had occurred on Tyneside at that time. In the summer of 1940 we
took our School Certificate Exam as a result of which I was qualified
to enter Durham University, but not for some time as it turned out.
Another advantage of being Gordon's chum was the fact that his father knew a man in Whitehaven who had a billiard room which he kindly allowed us to use whenever we liked. As it happened this room was on the third floor of his house, the table was a half-size slate-bed, and we sometimes wondered how on earth they could have got it up there.
As Whitehaven County School played rugger rather than soccer there weren't any goal posts of the right shape for us to use. Mr Dobson spent hours trying to teach us rugger; unfortunately neither he nor the boys were particularly taken with the results.
Our schooling was really quite adequate despite all the unusual features. However it seemed that the headmaster and staff were a little concerned for those who would be taking important exams in the summer of 1940. No serious bombing had been experienced on Tyneside up to that time so our parents were asked if they agreed to their sons returning to Heaton. The end result was that most pupils returned to prepare for their exams. I think this was around Christmas 1939.
I became (with my friend Ron Tennyson) a fifth form prefect on our return from Whitehaven. I suppose this must have been a wartime idea as a photo of the prefect's panel of that year has only about five sixth formers in it.
Due to all the uncertainties caused by the war, and expecting that I would be called up within about eighteen months, my father suggested I try to join the BBC as a trainee engineer. He was in the BBC so I was fortunate to get an interview and eventually joined the Corporation in Newcastle. After a few months I was transferred to BBC Bristol where the studio centre had taken in a lot of the well-known programmes as a precaution from the bombing in London.
As I had fiddled about with home-made wirelesses for some years I was in my element. A BBC control room was like a magic cave so it was a great pleasure to be attached to a team building a bomb-proof one in the old Clifton Rocks Railway tunnel. This was a funicular railway used by the Victorians to go down from Clifton to the hot wells in Clifton Gorge. It had long ago fallen into disrepair so the BBC had refurbished the bottom end of the tunnel with a studio, recording room, power room and control room. As it had about a hundred feet of solid rock above it, it was inherently bombproof. On completion the control room took over from the old one at Broadcasting House in Bristol, but the studio and recording rooms were never used as BH escaped all the air raids on Bristol.
A less salutary episode
for me was being a member of the BBC Home Guard. We were absolutely hopeless
- much worse than "Dad's Army" - and we were honoured with a
telling off from the local colonel for our awful foot-drill.
Belatedly I applied to enter King's College, Newcastle, at that time a college of Durham University, to follow the Applied Science (Electrical Engineering) degree course. I had imagined that I would be an oldie alongside a class of school leavers, so it was a surprise to find that most students at that time were ex-service and only about four in the class of thirtyish were fresh from school. One of these, Les Ford, became a lifelong friend who sadly died some years ago. Another to become a family friend was George Murray, an ex-Royal Engineer officer, son of the Durham pits, and a lovely man who is also no longer with us.
The three of us, after graduation in 1949, set out on a hilarious hitch-hiking tour of France, very little of the details of which has ever appeared in our family archives.
By modern standards our time at King's would seem pretty lame. Of course we had the Saturday night hops aided by bottles of Newcastle brown, mixed lads and lasses fell-walking trips to the Lakes, weekend hikes along the Roman wall - staying at Twice Brewed Youth Hostel and so on. However most of us wanted to get on with our delayed careers, some of us were married, so the atmosphere was perhaps a bit subdued. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and felt I had been privileged to experience it all.
Just prior to our degree finals many of us were invited to go for interviews with potential employers. I chose three in the London area and eventually, in September 1949, entered the GEC Research Labs at North Wembley. My future boss turned out to be an ex-RAF squadron leader who had been developing acoustic homing torpedoes during WW2. This work had transferred to GEC and with my background in Catalinas there was an immediate empathy between us.
The development work in this anti-submarine group took the form of a period of development and construction of prototype homing equipment followed by trials in Scottish Lakes such as Loch Long and Loch Fyne. Some of these trials employed, as targets, RN submarines the manoeuvres of which made one's hair stand on end and I was always astonished to see how young their captains were at that time.
Also, of supreme importance to me was that at this time I met my future wife, Eileen. We married in 1951 and are still pressing on together, although perhaps a little more slowly these days.
Around 1952 a notice appeared on the main Lab's notice board that an associated laboratory, the GEC Applied Electronics Laboratory, would be needing staff for a new rocket trials establishment at Salisbury, South Australia. After about one year's training and familiarisation, the first team would go out there. Eileen and I discussed this chance to see a part of the world which had always been of interest to us, so I applied and was accepted.
So, in 1954 we arrived
in Australia, and for three years we lived in Adelaide, I worked for the
GEC at Salisbury Weapons Reasearch Establishment, and I flew to Woomera
for flight trials, when required, Our weapon was actually a Naval anti-aircraft
missile which had undergone some trials over the sea at Aberporth in Wales,
however we had the advantage of being able to recover, from the desert,
parts of the rocket for analysis and design feedback. On return to the
UK at the end of my contract I continued my career at GEC Applied Electronics
Jim JACK (1958 - 1965) email@example.com
1A, 2,3,4,5 G ; LVIM UVIM. Have just come across the excellent website;
rolls back the years!! I was at Heaton from 1958 until 1965 and have to
say enjoyed my time at the school. Many memories, most of them not class
room related but the introduction to music and singing (still playing
guitar, accordion in a folk band which has been going for 46 years years);
the chance to play cricket occasionally although not very good, badminton
against Derek Talbot and Eliot Stuart (losing games to both without scoring
a single point); an enthusiasm for but relative incompetence in sport
(one standard point in athletics in 5 years), finally finding a niche
with hockey which took me through university, and then as a teacher running
teams and roles in hockey clubs throughout my working life _ huge thanks
to Joe Messer and Denis Fox for this. Ken Quickfall could never believe
that someone who had spent his entire PE career at school in the scraps
could finish up as a hockey coach and club captain!!
I married a hockey player, Jan, and we moved to Kendal, having three
different posts in Cumbria before coming back across the Pennines to work
at Richmond School from whence I retired in 2002 to do part-time work
for North Yorkshire LA, school leadership training and an educational
consultancy group based in Newcastle. As part of that work, it was a strange
experience to go back into the new Heaton School!!
Edmund JAQUES(1960 - 1967) firstname.lastname@example.org
Class mates remembered: Doug Veitch (art) Waugh - Dawes red feather. Williamson (hairy shetlander) Carr (middle name Occletree - can't think why I recall that). Ralph Measham ("gan poppin"). Barry Gattoff. Richard Yates Graham. Alec Pearson. John Pearson. Dave (?) McKay. Dancer. Bell (aka Leb for some reason) Brown. Keddie (too clever for me) Johnson & McBeath - on a scooter, joined at the hip? Chris Ord.
I eventually got 10 O levels and four A levels and rather accidentally went to Dental School in Newcastle (along with Barry Gattoff as above.) I very nearly applied to art school (as Doug Veitch and Rob Walker ) but chickened out in the end. After qualifying I lectured for a bit, practiced in Hebburn for a bit then opened dental practices in Northamptonshire, Cambridge and Northern Ireland. I'm long retired.
I have been married for 40+ years (to an Irish girl, Fenham educated) and we have 3 daughters. One a Cambridge graduate in biological science, the other two Imperial College London - both in medicine.
We live in London but also have a house in Suffolk. We are probably about to emigrate to France in the next six months or so, we spend a lot of time over there now.
In retrospect I have an immense gratitude to HGS and many of the staff
especially H. Askew esq. He had a son and a daughter, I wonder what
they are doing now.
I remember: Always getting caught (and "the whacks) for smoking. Pasties in the Dene cafe.(In my first year at University I lived in Deep Dene House); Playing bowls with the old guys at Paddy Freemans; The cheap but somewhat off cream cakes up at the shops;. The little sweet kiosk at the end of Armstrong Bridge; the science block when the end wall fell off. The school shop under the arches. Aztec room (disco) in the Corner House; "swimming" in Chillingham Road baths with the cockroaches. And loads more no doubt will come back after I've posted this.
Please feel free to contact me.
Kind regards to all, we were very lucky in retrospect.
Edmund (or in Pug Walker's lexicon) Jeeeayks - " ye've
got nee cultcha".
Colin JERVIS (1965 - 1972) email@example.com
I was delighted to find this site through a link at a friend's web site. It took me on a nostalgia trip lasting several hours, fed by the site content.
I have fond memories of my time at Heaton Grammar School, as it was when I arrived in 1965. I left in 1972 and well remember the walk that took me out of the gate onto Jesmond Park West for the last time. I still have some old form photographs from 1G to 5G and some of the sixth form as well. I think I also have a few of the school magazines somewhere.
I went to UMIST, Manchester on leaving HGS for my first degree and I also have two Masters degrees, the last done about 10 years ago when I changed careers into IT, a move I have never regretted. I work in consultancy and live in London with my wife Sue.
I went to University with one of the Robson twins (David), someone called Ballantyne (Michael?) and John Cockton. I have since lost touch with them. I am still in touch with Michael Taylor and Tony Hannington, who have been my friends now since I first met them at the school at age 11. I would be very pleased to hear from anyone who remembers me, especially any classmates from 1G to 5G 1965-1970. You can see us looking expectant in the photo of 1G 1965, which Neil Atkinson has posted.
I was active in the Chess, Debating and Archery Societies in my time. I sang in the choir as part of a performance of "Solomon" ("Your hearts and cymbals sound!") My strongest memories are of those old, dark, draughty corridors with the black cloaks of the Masters flowing behind them, like hunting bats. I also remember those tedious Speech Days at the City Hall with Ralph Stenner playing the organ. Askew was the Head in those days, and was, I understand, considered very liberal by some of the Masters who had taught under the previous Head, who had a reputation as a martinet.
I tended more to the intellectual side and never really associated with the footballing and cricketing fraternity. In fact, I assumed that I was useless at sport (always amongst the last to be picked in choosing sides.) It wasn't until I went to University that I found out that I wasn't that bad and became a good squash player and a reasonable triathlete.
Here are some recollections:
I remember best "Pug" Walker ("Did you borrow those suede boots from Khruschev, Jervis"), D.H. ("Daft Harry") Walker, Ron Cherry, Joe Messer, Tunnicliffe, Tony Cressey, Ron Dixon, Massie-Taylor, Howard "Tufty" Taylor, "Fred" Barker and someone called Mrs. Hobson, an import from the merger with the Heaton High, who taught French.
In the days when we used to have to stand when a Master entered the class, I remember Ron Cherry, "conducting" the class, to have parts rising as the others sat down. He was the best teacher of History that we had, apart from someone called Gray(?) in the first year. For the rest of the time we had Pug Walker, who often spent lessons manicuring his nails. On the positive side, Pug did have a sense of humour and, I think, a good heart.
Tony Cressey kept alive my lifelong interest in Science and Chemistry in particular. I have also had cause to thank the excellent Maths teaching that I received from Hal Gibson and Tunnicliffe, which I have fallen back on a few times. If any of you are reading this, thank you!
I came across Joe Messer's daughter, Maggie, in a pub a few years ago by complete accident, as I had never met her before. I understood that Joe had passed away: what a shame, he was a real character!
Falling through the ice on Paddy Freeman's lake with Charlie Young and being sent home to change by "Lurch" (Pierce) with strict instructions to be back in time for his French period that afternoon. He made us read "O WA TA NA SIAM" from the chalk board: make sure that you say it with hard, northern "As"!
Killing wasps, which infested the litter bins, using my school hymn book (I still have it!) and keeping score with "five bar gates" on the inside of the covers.
Cutting my finger with a saw in Woody Waldron's class (still bear the scar!)
The huge, threatening bulk of Massie-Taylor, surely the most unlikely art teacher you could imagine.
Ken Quickfall's cross-country running sessions, when we would run off briskly down Jesmond Park West, stopping when out of sight. We then made a leisurely return, after an ice cream in Jesmond Dene, just in time to get in behind the front runners. "This run is becoming too easy for you boys now," said Ken, "we'll have to make it longer!" Oh, yes, please!
Skiving off games on Wednesday to go to Alan Fairbairn's house, which was nearby, with other class mates and listen to Rock Music: Pink Floyd, Yes, Van der Graf Generator, Wishbone Ash amongst others. I became a life long "Yes" fan as a consequence of this and have followed the band through its various incarnations. I recently waited in a queue to meet them at HMV on Oxford Street and there was quite a lump in my throat as I stepped up to let them sign my book, and at my age!
I remember a school trip to Konigssee and going up to Hitler's Eagles Nest on the lift. There was a young female teacher on the trip, I think she taught German, who offered to tuck me into my bunk when she came back to the hotel one evening a bit the worse for drink. I was too embarrassed (and young) to take up the offer!
Cant, as Falstaff, running off the stage and out of the Hall door. The electifying performance of Jean Anouilh's "Ring Around the Moon" (was it Ann Stark?)
I understand that I missed a major school reunion, but if anyone is planning another, let me know. I usually visit the NE at Christmas time.
John KEDDIE (1960 - 1967) firstname.lastname@example.org
I attended Heaton Grammar School from 1960-1967 and was in the amalgamated Heaton School for my final term. Like the famous Mike Chaplin, I must be one of the relatively few people who originally came from Sandyford Road Primary. I returned to Heaton School as a maths teacher in 1972, survived the merger with Manor Park in 1983 and soon after became Head of the Maths Faculty. I later became the timetabler, a very challenging job in a large split-site school. In recent years I tired of the management responsibilities and the ever-increasing pace of change so I left my post and concentrated on actual teaching part-time at Post-16 level.
People say it must have been funny returning to teach in your old school but, in fact, it was never the same school I was taught in, apart from some of the bricks and mortar. The staff, ethos, management structure and atmosphere were all different and have continued to evolve during my teaching career. Even some of those bricks and that mortar have changed or have at least started to crumble. The old quadrangles and the cherry trees are much the same but not a lot else is! People naturally want to know whether it is better or worse. I would say that you cannot answer that question: it is just different.
I have seen them come and seen them go - Headteachers, Deputy Heads, Heads of Departments, Heads of Years and many other colleagues as well as all sorts of pupils, from genius to hard criminal (and possibly some in both categories!)
Funny memories from my school days:-
Charlie LAMB (1963-1968) Charles@lamb777.freeserve.co.uk
September 63 crossed
the Hallowed Portals for the first time and along with most other initiates
burned the cap and thought I must get some long trousers. In the ensuing
5 years tried manfully to make sense of it all without too much success
excepting that I was the right size for a punch bag as the hooker in the
rugby team. In the round ball variety of the game I was exiled to the
outer depths of the mudbath affectionately known as the "HIMALAYAS"
where very quickly many a lads dream of Newcastle United and Wembley vanished
without trace as the cloying waste encapsulated around ankles which would
have made sparrows ashamed.
Len LAMBERT (1933-1938) email@example.com
Len does not have
email so his son, Nick, will pass on any emails for him. Nick reports
that his father is now (1999) 77 years old, and shows no signs of slowing
Nick LAMBERT (1963-1970) firstname.lastname@example.org
memories come flooding back - were the staff all weirdos or was it just
the way it seemed to us then? Some of them were still living out their
WW2/forces fantasies in the mid-60's - Squadron Leader HG ("Joe")
Messer - always disappearing in the middle of maths lessons for a sly
fag! (The smoke from the staff room at breaks!) Guy Massie-Taylor, the
art master - fresh from the colonial service in Sierra Leone - if in doubt,
draw a rhino! If very much in doubt, hurl the boy at the nearest wall.
If still in doubt, assault the fellow staff members attempting to extricate
the boy from the wall. And the others (Tufty Taylor, Pug Walker, Titch
Fullerton (the only teacher so short he had turn-ups on his underpants,
they said) Ron Cherry already mentioned...) who else remembers Dickie
Dawson and his big black Daimler? "Timber Willy" (Mr Waldron,
the woodwork teacher) - "now, there's clean dirt...and there's dirty
dirt.." Afraid I can't help to identify the detested metalwork teacher
but I do remember falling foul of him when (in the upper sixth) I used
the staff toilet outside the craft room!
Geoffrey William LEECH (1949-1954) email@example.com
Well done for creating
a facility for those nostalgics among us(and I suspect there will be many)
who have wondered many times "whatever became of---?".
In conclusion it's true what they say-you don't miss it 'til you ain't got it and I am still proud today to say that I was lucky to be at the best Grammar School in town!
Terrence LILLEY(1951-1956) firstname.lastname@example.org
I was one of the
boys who entered HGS in September 1951. As I recollect there were three
boys from my primary school (Raby Street, Byker) who went to Heaton that
year (one was George Lowden and the other boy's name I can't remember).
There was also one girl (Mavis Carr) who went from Raby Street to HHS.
Not too surprisingly in retrospect, given the way things were then, not
too many pupils from the Byker end of Newcastle went on to grammar school
but those of us who made it were, by and large, happy with our good fortune.
(Others I recollect from the Byker end included Colin Smith [who, after
Procter and Gamble, became a chemistry teacher, I think], Les Jones [who
left school asap], Raymond Fox [who went into surveying and lived in the
Battlefield end of Byker] and Syd Ramsey [who again left school early].
Gerald LOCK (1946-1951) email@example.com (see note below about communication)
Like most boys, I recall those halcyon days at Heaton Grammar with fondness. Certainly there were challenges - not the least of which was to have to stand outside Bill Bloggs office first thing on a Monday morning - but my recollections are largely benign. Perhaps this was because I spent my years there in a D form (with the exception of 1C which I attribute to a miscalculation).
I lived in Walker Dene which meant a trolley bus and then a tram car along Heaton Road before running up Jesmond Park West to beat the "cloche". Lunch meant school dinners - oh that suet pudding! - before going off for a jaunt in Jesmond Dene or up in Paddy Freeman's. Class time merely separated the breaks during which we could get down to some serious football.
I confess that my richest memories come from sport. I remember the annual sports day when my cousin, Jimmy Thompson, would run away from the field in the quarter mile; or Gil Henderson or Brian Cox would show us why they were Northumberland champions in the 100 and 220 yard dashes. Then there was Allan Lillington who later became an Olympian.
Most of all I enjoyed football, especially playing for one or other of the school teams. In my day, the big news was Stoddart playing for the N's, the Newcastle United youth team. Both Davey McBeth and I had the honour of wearing those black and white striped shirts in the Newcastle Boys team.
Despite these predilections I did get a good education thanks to Mr Clapperton, Mr Rowell and, of course, Lefty Hutton our form master in 5D. Willy Waldron was correct - though less than prophetic - in predicting 80% of us would end up in industry. I did, but only after a chance conversation one day in the "bogs" when Pete Harold made me realize that life as a commercial artist would not be as exciting as going to sea as a marine engineer. Thus began an apprenticeship as a fitter and turner.
Looking at the current locations of Old Heatonians it appears that we have become a diaspora. I live in Canada where I worked for three decades as an academic at the University of Alberta (boring details if you Google "G.S.H.Lock"). But I left academic life fifteen years ago to become a full time artist (more boring details if you Google "Gerald St. Maur", my pseudonym). I think Pete Harold misled me.
Finally, let me say
that while I have provided an email address as required, I have an old
fashioned preference for correspondence by post. My address is 11711 -
83rd Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 0V2 CANADA.
Geoffrey LUCAS (1939-1944) GXLHRH007@aol.com
Presently residing in scenic beachside Scarborough, Maine, USA. Married Ann and immigrated in 1963. Have three daughters and three grandchildren. Haven't been home in a long time but watch the ever changing Newcastle skyline via the internet.
John LYNCH (1954-1961) firstname.lastname@example.org
Well, bugger me. I input "Heaton Grammar School", and look what happened! I was there from 1954 to 1961 (I think that's right). B form all the way, then Sixth Modern. Married Anne, 3 children, lived in the Bahamas, Libya, Canada. Now back in England. I'm in touch (sort of) with Ken Redford, who was there 1953 to 1960. I'd love to hear from anyone else I knew.