School Badge
N - P

Colin NICHOLSON (1955-1960)

Had a good time at HG although hated the attitude of a minority of teachers...Rochester for his pathetic favouritism of a certain pupil in 4a & 5a..totally unhealthy!
and Henderson for his brutality...he used to whack me across the back of my head..he wouldn't have lasted very long today !

Also the unfair caning I got when Rochester saw twoof us in the corridor at lunch time where some chalk had been crushed and we got the blame. He got the Maths Master...can't remember his name, to lay the cane didn't hurt much but I was scared to tell my Mum !!!

Not kept in touch with former pupils really......have seen Jimmy Nelson,John Telfer and Mike Dodds...see below.

I worked in Science based jobs mostly...Analytical Chemist and went to the Middle East..Saudi Arabia where I did QC work at AlQuani Pipe Coating for Aramco Projects. Out there I went to a meeting with Aramco and saw a HG Old Boy from my class..quite comical because while I recognised him he hadn't a clue who I was. I described his school life, family, mates etc. and still nothing..It was Mike Dodds and it was nice to see him. He had been working in Iran and Saudi longer than me and knew all the greasy spoons downtown where we could get Chicken & Rice for 8 Ryals...less than £2 !

I live in the Scottish Borders now where I can indulge in my fishing passion...also do metal detecting. Must admit to an age crisis as I now drive a 152mph Chrysler Crossfire....2 seater...3.2 L Mercedes thing I've ever had and cheap as Clarkson rubbished them on T Gear!

Peter NICKLIN (1963-1967)

Left Heaton in 1967 to go to a Quaker Boarding School (Ackworth) for two years. Ackworth had GIRLS, which was great, but since Heaton went co-ed in the same year, changing school seems to have been an expensive way of having some fun. My kids are all at, or were at Heaton Manor, so I have seen some of the teachers from our day, all recently retired:

  • Hal Gibson - physical ed. looked in good shape,
  • John "Fred" Barker - many years of teaching Russian and generally being a good egg. Head of lower school when he retired. He denies flying Spitfires in the Battle of Britain (as was rumoured in our day) and, of course, simple arithmetic tells us that there were not many five-year olds in the RAF.
  • Mr Cressey (John?). Calmer and married (so the hairy Morgan sports car is gone). Kids report that he was an excellent teacher - chemistry.

Worked in the computer industry all my career, but took four years out to do a BA when I was 25. Presently with the NHS building a large clinical database. Great fun, but demanding.

I'm still married to my first wife (which isn't intended to be a joke - I seem to be in something of a minority). Wife Joan is a graphic designer. Kids: David DoB 1981 at Sheffield Hallam doing Industrial design, Becky 1984 doing A Levels and Jessica 1987 doing GCSEs (both at Heaton Manor).

News on old friends.

  • Trev Howard and Rajiv Wahi. Still in touch with Trev - sadly had to attend his Father's funeral a few weeks ago, but gave me a chance to catch up. Trev is working in the oil industry in Indonesia - travels a lot around the far east - seems to enjoy it. He's married with three grown up daughters - all based in Aberdeen. Recently sold his Cobra sports car, so he's slowing down, but only slightly.
  • Haven't seen Rajiv for about twelve years - last time I saw him he was the Managing Director of a chocolate factory (no kidding) in Chester, so you can imagine how popular his freebie-bearing visits were with the kids. He's married with two kids.
  • Charlie Lamb is on this web site and we have been in contact and plan to get together for a beer.
  • Dave Saddington lives very close to me and we meet up at parties etc. fairly regularly. He's married with two kids and teaching in Sunderland.
  • Rob Saunders - not a sight nor sound since I left the school.
  • What happened to Roger Dancer? - wonderful footballing skills but I don't think he went into the professional game.
  • I bump into Micky Clark occasionally - he's teaching history and married with two young kids.

Speaking of history teachers - does anyone have any news of "Rob" Cunningham?

Les "Ozzy" OSWALD   (1957-62)

Joined HGS in 1957 from Edgefield Primary (Fawdon) with a few of my contemporaries. Culture shock in extremis coming from a light & airy, modernistic primary school to the dark sepulchral cloisters of HGS, still frozen in its pre-1930 Barnesian time-warp.

My progress was lamentable: 1C, 2B, 3D, 4D, 5D, emerging with a paucity of 'O' levels & a request from Harry Askew not to come back for resits. Part of my decline was due to excessive interest in playing the guitar to the detriment of all else (more anon of this).

Over the next few years I managed to catch up on my HGS failures to gain sufficient 'A' levels for University entry. The music bug, had, however, bitten hard & I continued to play in several of the local bands of the day including the (in)famous "Sixteen Strings". I also started my first real job at Gateshead Planning Dept. (where I once bumped into "Sneb" Healy on his way to an planning inquiry - he seemed pleased to meet me but I didn't tell him what I did in my spare time!). Gateshead didn't last that long and I ended up playing the North-East working mens' club circuit full-time and more latterly, various night-club residencies in the flesh-pots of Newcastle.

Later, I decided that I wasn't actually mixing with the cream of Tyneside society so I gave that up to become a staid Civil Servant at Kenton Bar, until 1969 when I left to become a student at Newcastle University.

I started off reading Geology/Geography (Titch's lessons must have done some good then?) but became hooked on Zoology - as you may recall Biology wasn't taught in any shape or form at HGS until you reached the dizzy heights of L6Sc. and "Hitler" Hendersons' miniscule lab opposite the school tuck-shop. Most of us never got our hands on so much as an Amoeba!

Graduated from Newcastle in Zoology & left for the new University of Stirling to do a PhD in fish biology - this was an eye-opener - in comparison, Newcastle was a "dark satanic mill" in comparison with this bright new university. The social & scientific life was superb & we were privileged to go on cruises in the Atlantic researching deep-sea fish stocks (you may be eating some of these next instead of the Geordie staple diet of cod & chips ...)

Later worked at Stirling's Institute of Aquaculture (fish farming) but had a bust-up with the sole Professor in charge & resigned, much to my chagrin as they have gone on to great heights (and he himself  has sunk without trace). By then, I had spent much time using & programming computers ...

Eventually obtained a post at Cranfield College of Aeronautics (CoA) in Bedfordshire doing research in Aircraft Accident Analysis (not as daft as it sounds as I had a life-long practical interest in aviation as well as some part-time RAF service). My wife of 3 months, however, still lived in Scotland, so much long-distance commuting ensued.

After 2 years of subsidising British Rail I returned to Scotland & worked at Strathclyde Uni until the CoA called me back as Systems Manager in 1985, where I have been ever since with my wife of 20 years, Noeline, (a Southerner) & our two children Niall & Kirsty (also Southerners!). In 2001, the CoA was abolished & I was redeployed.   We are actively looking to move again so watch this space!

About The School:

Initial feelings on entering HGS were probably those of fear - the dark foreboding interior (due to the leaded windows), the mediaeval, monastic, open corridors (until they later were glazed-in). Combine that with the initiation ceremonies inflicted upon first-year 'fags' to leave a lasting negative impression of the place!

HGS however had other things to offer compared to many of its rivals (except RGS, of course). We were blessed with a huge amount of open space to move about in, in the shape of the enormous amount of playing fields as well as access to the verdant wonderland of Jesmond Dene and the aquatic paradise of Paddy Freemans.

I took my son to HGS on a recent visit to Newcastle & he thought it looked like a prison (compared to his school which resembles a modern university campus). As far as I could discern, HGS had changed little since the day I left in the summer of 1962! The only major difference seemed to be that the line of WWII air-raid shelters forming the Maginot Line between HGS & the untouchable HHS had been demolished. (In the late 1990's, HGS appeared in a BBC documentary about school security & it had become a veritable fortress or perhaps a sign of the times?)

The Staff:

Who could forget some of them in their academic gowns & the effect they have had upon us in later years ?

Most Feared or disliked (IMHO):

"Johnny Bat" Simpson, "Big Bill" Tunnicliffe, "Hitler" Henderson, Ken "KQ" Quickfall, "Sneb" Healy, "Tufty" Taylor, "Pug" Walker, Harry Askew

Most respected or liked:

Lewis Gordon, Ron Cherry, "Pop" Whitehead, "Hal" Gibson, Bryan O'Byrne, "Joe" English, Brian Spinks, "Pie-arse" Caird, "Maxie" Miller, "Titch" Fullarton, "Timber Willy" Waldron, Ken Shenton, "Uncle" Joe Messer, to name but a few... Not to forget Adrian Officer, a US exchange Art Teacher who showed us his drawings of nudes - wow!

Most ineffectual:

"Sammy" Friend, "Rev" Morton, "Kite" Clapperton, Roy Davison, Aidan ("Old-Nick") Nicholson, Tony Westwell

The Pupils:

Ones I remember most - "Tub" Brown, "Bonzo" Grainger, Les Cranston, "Slim" Goldman, "Dopey" Moreland, "Davey" Senior, "Stuey" Corbett, "Mickey" Taylor, "Lance" Robinson, Andy Massarano, David Hare, Ian Slocombe.

I have read reports that HGS is to be demolished, I shall be sad to learn of its' passing but like the Edwin Muir poem "Beasts", "we shall not see its likes again", however, I suspect that its values & discipline have stood many of us in good stead in adult life.

Peter PARKER (1959 - 1961)

Blaydon Grammar 1954-1959 Left with 4 O levels. Joined Heaton Grammar Sept.59 and was lucky to be accepted due to only obtaining 4 O's according to Mr. Askew (a former Olympic Athlete?). I think my athletic ability may have influenced my acceptance although a number of my fellow pupils only achieved 3 or 4 O's.   Members of my class were Bryan Galloway, Malcolm Tucker, John Taylor, Eric White, Eric Errikson, John Webster, Phil Goodwin, Ned Bourne, Athol Malcolm, Alan Sugget, Phil Wood, Jim Meader, Ian Johnstone, Ken Potts, etc.

I liked Heaton immediately because there was a choice on Thursdays between X-country,soccer & rugby .I was good at all three but a much better prospect at running.  I won the Newcastle,Tyneside Grammar & Northumberland Schools 440y, 880y and X-country during my time at Heaton and represented the County at All England X-country 1960 (Speke,Liverpool & Peterborough) & All England Athletics 1961 (Chesterfield). I was awarded my School Colours Tie in Feb.61 after winning Northumberland Senior X-country. Kenny Sloan - a sprinter in 1st. Year 6th. - stopped me from winning Victor Lodorum Trophy in 1961 when he beat me in 440y (a race he hated).

I left Heaton in Summer of 61 with 2 A's in Chemistry & Physics and took a Summer job with British Paints in Portland Road. British Paints sponsored me on a 4 year Dip. Tech. Course in Applied Chemistry (later to become a BSc Hons. in Applied Chemistry. I qualified with a 2.2 in Oct. 65, married my current wife Pat (a Makem who I met in infamous Club Agogo in Oct.63) on 25/6/66, transferred to British Paints Trinidad 08/07/66 and worked in the Carribean & Central America until Nov.69. 

Lived in Whickham 1970-1983 worked for Armstrong Cork as Ceilings Plant Chemist Jan.70 to June 75 then Rohm & Haas Jarrow June 75 to Feb. 83 as Coatings Tech. Service Rep. Redundant at 40, found job in Wood Panels Ind. with Medite of Europe as Tech. Support Mgr. May 83 to June 85 then Production Director June 85 to June89. Medite produced MDF. Joined my current Co. Sonae in Portugal June 89 to assist in start up of their 1st. MDF Factory. Returned to U.K. Jan.92 as MDF Product Manager, July 94 Fibreboard Product Manager, Jan. 97 Business Manager all Wood Sheet Materials, July T.Q.M. new Chipboard Factory in Liverpool.

Have lived at current address in Westerhope since Jan.92 and will continue to do so until I retire. More on Group I work for on

Teachers I remember Mr. Caird, Mr.Paterson-Chemistry, Mr. Morton, Mr. Pennington-Maths, Mr.Walton-Physics, Ken Quickfall, Hal Gibson-Sports et al.

George PARR (1955 - 1960)

1A,2C,3C,4B,5B and I've still got the cap with the green button to prove it (sad)! I saw the article in the Evening Chronicle and thought I would pay a visit. Nice to see some familiar names - Ray Humphrey, Jim Nelson, John Mcloughlin - and references to many more. Frightening also to think that it's nearly 40 years. I've never been back through the gates although I pass the place quite often as I still live on Tyneside. It hasn't changed much although the dividing wall has gone. When I left H.G.S. I went straight into the Civil Service at Longbenton. After 8 years I moved into Local Government from where I took early retirement last year. I married Brenda in 1966 and we have two sons. Ian (26) works in Local Government and Graeme (23) obtained a first class honours degree in Pharmacy at Bradford and is now at Bath doing a Ph. D. Brenda and I spent last October in Australia by way of a retirement present - it was brilliant. We visited Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra and I wish I'd known about the site before I went as there could have been many reunions it seems. I have only kept in touch with Alan Jackson, now a vicar in Kent, and Norman Austin who sadly died 3 years ago. I'd love to hear from anyone who remembers.

Stephen POSNER (1966 - 1972)

I have many fond, and not so fond memories of HGS. I feel part of a little bit of history as 1966 was the last intake year for HGS, as it changed to a comprehensive in 1967. In fact my association with HGS / Heaton lasted 17 years, rather than just the 7 years I was a pupil at the school. This was due to the fact that my mother, Binnie Posner, joined the staff at Heaton in 1970 as Head of Business Studies. I have strong memories of her setting up the old physics lab as her business studies room and her establishing the 6th Form remedial reading tutoring scheme in which I participated, with the first year remedial class and later some of the feeder primary schools. This scheme gave the 6th formers and our one-on-one younger students a wonderful feeling of achievement and progress. Other memories are the economics field trips to London; and finally, many years later in 1986 when she passed away and the school was on the verge of having to close because so many of the staff and students attended her funeral. I can't describe the feeling of support and warmth that this gave to myself and my family.

After leaving Heaton, I attended Newcastle Polytechnic gaining a BEd in Music and Geography, which was awarded by Newcastle University. I taught at Hexham High for two years and then as head of music at Princess Louise Middle School, Blyth for four years before emigrating to Canada in 1983, where I married Karen and into a ready-made family of three daughters. We now have 9 grandchildren and I must admit that becoming a grandfather at 36 was a definite shock to the system! I taught in the Toronto area for 11 years before leaving the profession after burning out, and am now a customer service representative. Together with Richard Feltoe and our wives, we are founder members of Upper Canada Living History Association where we re-enact the War of 1812 (Napoleonic period). My wife's business is making historically correct clothing for the time period 1750 to 1910 and I assist her with this as well as making leather accoutrements for this time period.

The group I associated with at Heaton included Katie Bishop, Jane Brennan, Derick Connon, Lindsey Donaldson, Richard Feltoe, Barbara Grey, Janie Houston, Stephen Laidler, Stewart Lewis, Jane Livingstone, Barbara Redmond. Others I had classes with were (LIV5) Elizabeth Bell, Caroline Chadbund, Margaret Collins, Nick Cooke, Graham Cowie, Susan English, Stephen Foster, Janet Harwood, Ingrid Hudson, Keith Hulley, Trevor James, Will Keen, Heather Kilkenny, Ron Ko, Phil Moat, Janet Purdy, Margaret Richardson, Keith Stronach, Jill Stuart; (4ScB) Stephen (Spud) Donaldson, Norma McAnelly, Leslie Pringle, Geoff Richardson, Stephen Ross. I'm not one who's good with names, although many of these I do remember, but I cheated a bit and looked at past class photos! I lost contact with everyone after leaving Heaton with one exception - Richard Feltoe, whom I speak to and see at least once a week. Richard is Curator of Redpath Sugar Museum in Toronto.

Some of my other memories are:-

  • Being sent to HGS because it was "the best grammar school in Newcastle" (quite apart from being a five minute walk from home) and because Mr. Harry Askew said that "the school would NEVER go comprehensive".
  • Wearing my school cap on the first day - and never again! I've still got my green football socks from 1G (shows how much I actually used them!) I also have my HGS scarf and school tie and my 6th form scarf and tie!
  • Being in 1G and receiving the French Prize at the end of the year. My French went rapidly down hill after that - never could get the hang of the grammar in spite of all of Mrs. Errington's encouragement!
  • Sneaking looks over the wall at the girls on their front field then the total bewilderment at the beginning of the 2nd year of having girls in our classes.
  • School dinners especially the Black & Decker cake and I do remember many people bending knives forks and spoons trying to cut it!
  • Music (singing) lessons with Mr. Lewis and having to "hold our tummy muscles in"
  • Break times in the library talking to Bill Davage
  • The boy's gym wall falling down - right where we used to stand before school!
  • The science/art block roof landing in the Newton Road field and the wall in the Jesmond Pk W field - and losing all of our art exams in the process (boy were we happy!) My memory is that these two events happened at different times.
  • Art lessons with the VERY imposing and daunting Mr. Massey-Taylor and hearing all about his war experiences in the Sahara
  • Hearing a great deep and booming laugh echo down the corridor and knowing that Joe Messer was in great humour again!
  • Learning all about "Roy G Biv" in Joe Messer's math class
  • Violin lessons and playing in the orchestra with my bow going up when every one else's bows were going down (especially as I always wanted to play the flute).
  • Overnight train trip to Gatwick airport in February 1969 when the train was parked in a siding and the engine turned off on the first leg of our journey to the SS Uganda cruise around the Med. We flew into Venice and seemed to be landing in a swamp!
  • Being on the top of a triple bunk on "D" deck at the waterline in the bows.
  • Drinking Ouzo in Piraeus (port for Athens).
  • The force 13 storm (I always thought the Beaufort scale only went up to 12) in the Straits of Messina.
  • Hating winter sports - field hockey in defense or in goal. Having the sports teacher (can't remember his name) who was an ex-Under 23 England hockey player always being on the opposing team. I do remember tackling and beating him - once, and stepping out of his way as he came racingtowards my goal.
  • The "O" Level Music Class Project" of "sound-proofing" the music room with egg cartons on the ceiling
  • Singing the Beethoven's 9th with the University Choir & Orchestra
  • Having a very frustrating time in metalwork filing the ends of a 13" piece of square stock for a poker down to 9" and then being told "let's forget it - it's too short to make the poker anyway and your ends are still not square!"
  • The wooden shutter outer walls, which made the classrooms freezing in winter and boiling in summer and bounced like crazy when it was windy.
  • Having my lower & upper 6th home room in the biology lab and being late for numerous classes because we were playing with the animals or watchingchicks hatch.
  • Lower 6th Economics overnight trip to London where the bus "broke down" when it ran out of diesel on the outskirts of central London at 5:30am!
  • Performing in "The Winslow Boy" and "Murder in the Cathedral".
  • Being stage manager of the first Upper 6th pantomime "Aladdin" for the lower grades and feeder primary schools. Having the front blue stage curtains shrink 18 inches when they were dry cleaned and fire proofed for the first time in living memory. Then the black back stage curtains jamming and having to be hauled across the stage.
  • Spending lunch times by the waterfall in The Dene
  • Seeing John Keddie come back to Heaton as a math teacher when we as 6th formers remembered him as a prefect.
  • Coming back to Heaton each year to play in the orchestra for the performances of various Gilbert & Sullivan productions.
  • Freda Crabtree & Ann Grahams' last night production parties.

Malcolm Nicholas POTTS (1949 - 1956)

I put up both given names, as I used the first until I was persuaded in VIM to drop it in favour of the trendier second, shortened of course to Nick, which I have used ever since. Unlike one of your other contributors, I enjoyed every minute of school, probably because, as a bright, athletic, aggressive working class boy, I was relatively successful and went through the 'A' stream and VIM to become School Captain, Victor Ludorum etc.
Anyway, after school I went to King's Newcastle and did languages, spending a year at the University of Montpellier before returning to take an upper second. Determined not to drift into teaching the way so many of my fellow students were about to do, I got a job in export selling, at first with a machine company's London office and subsequently with Bonas Machine Company of Sunderland, out of which town I worked for 18 years until 1982. By this time I had also learned Italian and was head hunted by an Italian competitor to run their UK operation out of Leicester where I ceased exporting and began importing machinery, but getting home every night. The next twist was when one of the managers from Italy set up his own thread plant in Malaysia and asked me to join him in 1995 to run their worldwide sales. My wife and I were 57 by then, our 4 kids were adult and we had three grandchildren, so we thought it might be a nice place to spend the final working years, and so it is proving to be. Retirement will be to U.K. to the Leicester area, where 3 of our kids still have Geordie accents, but their own and our youngest daughter, who moved when she was 7, unfortunately, are Leicester ducks. 

Ken PRINGLE (1940 - 1947) Updated 4 September 2012

I joined H.G.S. in 1940 when the school reopened after its Whitehaven evacuation, starting in 1X under 'Kitey' Clapperton. This was just after a bomb had destroyed the Heaton High School caretaker's house. The caretaker was a prominent North-East cricketer who had named his son William Grace Mackay after an even more prominent cricketer. 'Billy' Mackay, who lost his mother through the bombing, was the leading sportsman of my year throughout the school, ultimately becoming head boy. I then moved on to 2A under George Rowell, 3A under Wilkins, an English master whose main claim to fame in our adolescent eyes was to become a father via his wife, a teacher in the purdah next door, then on to 4A under Matthewson, another English specialist, followed by 5A under 'Satan' Simpson, who claimed that the school had such a science bent that the only non-curricular French writings he could get anyone to read were science periodicals.

Somewhere among the war years we had a visit from the King and Queen and were all lined up in the quadrangle, along with the girls from H.H.S. for the occasion. Towards the end of my year in 4A there was an incident of almost equal significance in that matron discovered a cigarette butt in the Prefects' Room. None of the incumbents of that office was prepared either to admit guilt or to snitch, so F.R. Barnes sacked all who did not have a cast-iron alibi. As that included most of the eligible candidates from the Upper and Lower Sixth he had a problem when it came to appointing the new Prefects' Panel in 1944. This forced him to take the unprecedented step of selecting five Fifth Formers namely Billy Mackay, 'Monty' Montgomery, 'Pussy' Moore, Jimmy Addison and myself.

After all the language Form Masters, how I chose to go into the Science 6th is a mystery, but 6Sc. it became with Tom Wake for Chemistry, 'Bully' Bambrough for Physics and Alf Fletcher, later succeeded by Bill Tunnicliffe, for Maths. All of them were excellent teachers, indeed I rate my whole education at H.G.S. very highly.

In my final year the school decided to resume the pre-war custom of putting on a show in the Easter Term. Some of us were rather reluctant participants taking the view that we had enough on our plates preparing for Higher School Certificate exams., the then equivalent of A-levels. Objections were overruled, obedience was demanded and so I found myself dressed up in Victorian gala uniform as Sir Joseph Porter in H.M.S. Pinafore. Secretly the objectors actually quite enjoyed the experience and staff confidence in our ability to cope with the extra-curricular demands was justified when I had the pleasure of hearing the Headmaster announce to the audience after the final performance that I had won an Open Scholarship in Science to King's College.

School was followed by two years National Service with the Fleet Air Arm then on to King's for innumerable sessions of Bridge and an Honours Physics degree. By then I was keen to see the world so when Shell offered me a job in their technical Head Office in Holland I jumped at the chance. It proved to be the start of a lifelong career with Shell which involved assignments in Indonesia, The Philippines, Singapore and Holland again, in the course of which I met and married a very attractive Dutch girl. Although I paid many visits to England over the years, I never worked there, being the expatriate par excellence as 'Satan' would have said.

The fact that my wife and I have ultimately retired to U.K. is a result of our three children having been educated there, throwing down deep roots including acquiring English spouses. Since retiring I have made contact with a number of my contemporaries and found how life has treated them in the 67 years which have passed since 1945 with its VE and VJ celebrations but most contacts were several years ago now so if any of them see this CV, do get in touch. George Westgarth and I are wondering what happened to you.

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