Arthur WALKER (1960 - 1967) email@example.com
I attended Heaton Grammar School from September 3rd 1960 until I left after my final A level ( Economics) in June 1967. I was, like many, very nervous on that first day ( worried about uniform and the long list of school rules we'd been sent) I'd walked to school through Heaton and Armstrong Parks with Ian Campbell and John Richardson ( we walked together to and from school for the next two and a half years until I moved to Sackville Road and then walked with Ron Brown and Peter Michel and then joined again by Ian Campbell when he moved - I mention this because the conversations, about school and other things, on walks were an important/ formative part of life).
I was one of ten lads ( Anderson, Andreason, Campbell, Craig, Cross, McBeth, Messham, Richardson, Veitch, Walker) coming to HGS from Chillingham Road School. However, I was the only one of the ten in 1Pn (Pennington) . Mr Pennington informed us on the first day that if anyone got a detention he would double it! An incentive that appeared to work. We were seated in alphabetical order it is easy to remember all of the names, Adamson and Armstrong were next to the teachers desk and Roland Wharton sat behind me in the far back corner.
The first year was the year I enjoyed most, new subjects ( sciences, woodwork ) and some very good teachers ; Gilbert ( Maths), Matthews ( English), Caird ( Chemistry), Taylor ( Geography ) and Walker ( History ). There were many good classes in later years, high points for me were history with Tommy Rochester , chemistry with Potter and Paterson, and physics with Walton and Westwell. I also still remember with fondness many of the lines of the poems we had to learn by heart ( remembering lines over a life was Mr Robinson's intention in adopting that approach to literature). A school trip to walk Helvellyn over Striding Edge ( in school shoes, pre health and safety) gave me a love of hill walking.
Throughout my time at school I always struggled to give any time to homework, and spent most of my time out of school on a series of hobbies ;astronomy, sea- fishing, watching football (Newcastle's promotion in 64/65 was a disaster for O level effort, with hours being spent weighing chances of rivals , with endless permutations). In sixth form I did help set up the popular angling club with Derek Crawford and Alan Mole.
Started in sixth form studying Maths, Physics and Chemistry, but with little enthusiasm ( and obvious a lot of effort would be required) switched at Xmas to English, History and Economics ( with no clue what the last subject was about, but it , was superbly taught by Malcolm Frost). Had the idea that if I got two reasonable A levels I might get a job in the Civil Service , and do lots of fishing. However, discovered that entry would not be possible just after exams finished. Fortunately,Weston (Pug) Walker suggested I might be able to get a job at Barclays and after an informal chat with a former HGS pupil, I had a formal interview and joined the West Street Gateshead branch early August. Lovely people and an enjoyable first job, but realised by November that I was going to be carrying out same daily tasks for several more years, so decided to make last minute application to University to study Economics. Again, thanks to advice from Pug on where to apply, got several offers and went to Newcastle. Graduated in 1971 and the went to York to study for MA and D. Phil. In 1973, with inflation rapidly eroding the value of the postgrad grant, I took on a research fellowship which I continued with until the end of 1978. With research grants drying up in my field following the post 1976 IMF cuts, I looked for a teaching job, which would also to allow me to read across a wider field than is possible on a research project.
Joined Sunderland Poly in January 1979. ( astonishing for a Newcastle fan, but several old Heatonians already there) but switched to Newcastle Poly in 84 remaining until 2003. Then moved to Durham Uni for eleven years to retirement, the last five part-time. Began working in 'health economics' at York and wrote a D.Phil in the interface between health, labour and education economics. For most of my career I taught microeconomics and its applications, in essence a lot of constrained optimisation problems.
I met Sarah , from Northallerton, at York in the mid 70s, and we married in 1979. We have four sons. We lived in Hexham from 1985 to Brexit day 2016 but have since returned to live near middle of York.
Have run into many lads from the HGS at various times but my only long term contacts are with Roland Wharton and Ian Genner.
I have, increasingly , positive memories of HGS, for many good classes and the less prescriptive form of education ( teachers had the opportunity to offer challenge and teach stuff they were enthusiastic about beyond curriculum) but especially because the school brought together a set of decent, well- motivated lads with whom I enjoyed many good conversations and activities.
Jim WALKER (1951 - 1958) firstname.lastname@example.org
As Mr Brown would confirm, I was never much good at Maths, but since I was born in 1939, I must have joined HGS in 1951. I know the Concrete had just been laid over half of the Himalayas.
It was of course a single sex school and we could only dream of the delights behind the wall of Heaton High, guarded by a fire-breather named Fanny Henstock.
Our Headmaster, Mr Barnes, was under the impression that we were a minor public school, complete with Houses (Armstrong, Collingwood, Grey and Stephenson) fagging and snobbery. In those imposing cloisters I was the only lad from Byker, two long bus rides away in another world. True, a blonde Byker goddess called Janice Wilson went to Heaton High School but her parents owned the Post Office in Cresswell Street so she doesn't count.
After Kings College my first job was in Gateshead Public Library which I mention only to disabuse younger readers about the freethinking sixties. If you reached for 'Ulysses' or 'Das Kapital' you found yourself holding a block of wood labelled: 'The Librarian will decide whether you are sufficiently mature to take out this book.' Naturally I allowed everyone to read everything and was frequently bollocked. My other job was to burn books that weren't often borrowed and were therefore taking up precious Barbara Cartland space. One such book was the wonderful 'Ragged Trousered Philanthropists' by Robert Tressall. I refused to burn it, took it home and was fired.
Just as well. I then worked on the 'Northern Echo' under the hyperactive Harold Evans, and subsequently on BBC Radio. Older readers will remember the shock of hearing Geordie dialect coming out of the wireless for the first time. The man who worked that miracle was Dick Kelly who gave me a job as a reporter with Alex Glasgow and David Bean. I was then moved to Manchester to replace a bloke called Melvyn Bragg. After two years I was poached by Granada TV and stayed there for 26 years, fathering two Cheshire kids.
I've only been back to Heaton once, for a reunion. Some barbarian had built a rectangular structure that blocked the view of the school frontage. Worse my two favourite teachers had died only weeks before: Mr Nicholson (who swelled our 11 year old chests by calling us 'mes amis') and Chris Tansley who taught us English, Latin and human decency.
I keep in touch with John Charlton, Geoff Denton, Roger Hall and Kevin Poad from VIth Modern but what happened to George Heslop, George Hancock, Ken Abbott, the runner, and George Ryder the spin bowler? On the day we left we promised to meet in the Corner House exactly ten years later. Did anyone turn up?
In 1984 I was working for World in Action. The company was 'retrenching' so few of us got a foreign trip. We nicknamed the programme 'World in Acton' or 'World in Accrington'. I found myself filming frail old ladies 'exercising' in a Day Centre in Sandyford. One of them had been chewing a pen and had ink on her lips. As I persuaded her to clean it off, this tiny woman mentioned, in a quivering voice, that she had once been a headmistress--the firebrand Fanny Henstock herself!
Ken WALKER (1969 - 1976) email@example.com
I am currently (1998) a pupil at Heaton Manor and I am in yr 10. This makes me fourteen. My father attended between 1969 and 1976 and can remember many teachers such as Mr Massy Taylor and Mr Dowson and Mr Burton , the two PE teachers, Mr Kirkby who was his form teacher and taught physics . His house colour was blue, which was Bede.(He also adds that they used to beat Stevenson red in every competition). Aghast to many rumors he never once had his head flushed down the toilet or buried in the sand. His group of friends included Richard Tate , Owen Harris Dave Simpson, Dave Brown and Gary . Sorry Gary but he can't remember your second name but says that he still doesn't rate Mr Quickfall's football training .He says that he used to be in love with Diane Gilbert but never got round to asking her out. At my open evening my dad recognised a few of the teachers that were still there such as Ms Crabree, Mr Barker, who has retired now and Mr Gibson. He would love to hear from anyone who recognises his name.
Colin WATSON (1960 - 1967) Colin.Watson@btinternet.com
My name is Colin Watson and I attended HGS from 1960-1967. I attended Leeds University from 1967-70 and Manchester in the early 80's I still live in Leeds, W.Yorks. I still keep in touch with Arthur Walker (same era) who teaches at the University of Northumbria.I have also on occasions met John Charlton who was at HGS in the 50's, but I know he has had a Leeds connection.When I get time, I'll add a bit more to this.
John WATSON (1944 - 1949) firstname.lastname@example.org
My greatest memories of the school were those which started interests which have
carried on into later life.I was one of those from the school to be chosen to receive
"Belgian Gratitude to Britain" when the Newcastle contingent from all over the
city(maybe even the county) was led by Mr.Nicholson. I cannot remember many of the names
of those in the party but it certainly contained Alan Lillington and John Lilley.
Russell WEAR (1958 - 1962) Russell.Wear@ukgateway.net
My main claims to fame at HGS were as scorer for the school 1st X1 cricketteam for most of my time there, and as Secretary of the Railway Club. On leaving I joined British Rail on the clerical side. I left Newcastle about 1966 and moved around the country with my job before finishing up in London, collecting a wife (Christine) on the way, and subsequently a son and now two grandchildren. I eventually reached a senior management post, and took early retirement following privatisation of the railways. I now live in Swindon and in retirement my main interests are still railways and industrial history - all a bit dull, I'm afraid! However, I have a few published works to my credit and I can be found on active duty on open days at our local preserved railway line, the Swindon & Cricklade Railway.
Update October 2012: Having now retired I find like many that I do not really have any more time available than before, the only difference being that I can choose what I do! I have no family left in the Newcastle area now and only make very occasional visits. I dont think I have been up Jesmond Park West since I left school clearly things have changed a lot. That wall coming down must have made quite a difference! The only occasion I ever got the other side of the wall was when we were allowed to walk along the drive on the way back from swimming lessons at Chillingham Road baths! Those in power next door would not even allow any contributions to female roles in the school plays and we had to borrow from the I think the Central High!
Stephen WEIR (1955-1960) email@example.com
I have recently been directed to this site by a very old school friend who, until a week a go, I had lost touch with John McLaughlin (alias Big Joe). I have read Johns views on HGS and to this day I hadnt realized that he had such a negative recollection about the joint. I remember having quite a good time at Heaton but then my memory is a little jaded these days. I will come back to John in a minute. My classes were 1B,2D,3C,4B,5B I think.
I left HGS in 1960 to join the Royal Navy. I won a scholarship to HMS Fisgard, an Artificer training establishment in Cornwall. I proceeded to do 5 years training on Radar and Avionics systems before going to a Fleet Air Arm base at Lossiemouth in the North of Scotland. There I spent some time becoming familiar with Buccaneer aircraft before deploying on to HMS Eagle. I spent approximately 2 years off and on this carrier gaining the opportunity to see a fair amount of the world particularly the southern hemisphere. On a visit to Hong Kong I was able to meet up with an old friend Jack Telford who was working for the Hong Kong government. Jack had a memorable experience (well perhaps he doesnt remember!) of a trip on board Eagle when he over sampled true Navy Rum. I still remember to this day Jack, drunk as a skunk, giving the young Midshipman on the liberty boat back to port a really hard time. Mr Christian he would constantly shout Steer this boat. Jack was married out in Hong Kong but unfortunately I sailed early and missed the wedding. I last saw Jack in 1995 on a trip back to Newcastle after I had a significant heart event!
In 1970 I left the Fleet Air Arm with a Golden Handshake when Harold Wilson decided that Britain could no longer afford fixed wing carriers. The golden handshake doesnt appear too golden now but it did enable me to put a deposit on a house. I needed this as my last posting had been in N Ireland and I fell in love with a beautiful Colleen. Mary and I were married in December of 1970 and have subsequently had four children, one boy and three girls.
My first employment after the Navy was doing post design work on military avionics systems for a company called Joyce Loebl on the Team Valley Trading Estate. I left J L to go to Durham University as I saw no other avenue to becoming a Chartered Electrical Engineer and I had decided that this was important for my career. At Durham I studied Engineering Science (I already possessed an HNC in Electronics) to broaden my engineering skills. I graduated from Durham in 1976. You will recall that was a particularly bad year for employment and I was left wondering what to do. One of my Tutors suggested teaching and because of the shortage of Math and Science Teachers I was able to obtain a position without having to do an additional year at Teachers College. I taught at Goole Grammar School. Not really a valid description as by then it was actually a Comprehensive School. I quickly learnt what it took to survive in one of these establishments and earned the reputation of being the Detention King of Goole Grammar. If I were to parallel myself with any of my former teachers I think I would choose Ron Cherry. I always considered him strict but fair. I well remember Cherry saying to me one day Weir you are a diligent boy. At the time of delivery I had no idea whether it was praise or insult. Consultation with the Oxford Dictionary put my mind at rest. After three years of frustration I moved back to industry and started working in Thickfilm microelectronics at Welwyn Electric in Bedlington. In 1983, Mary and I decided that prospects for our children were poor in the UK and that we should emigrate. My first choice was Australia, which I had visited and really liked. Marys choice was Canada because it was closer to home! I was recruited by a company, which at the time was called Northern Telecom but is now a global networking company Nortel Networks. We moved to Ottawa in the May of 1983 and we still live in this area now residing in a small town, Manotick, just south of Ottawa. I have held a number of positions with Nortel, my current one being Director of New Product Introduction in the High Performance Optical Components Solution Group. This is a bit of a mouthful and will change shortly as Nortel has plans to take us on an IPO.
I mentioned four children:
Malcolm is my only son and is now 28. He obtained a degree from Carleton University here in Ottawa and is now also working for Nortel but in our Optical Systems Div plant in Montreal.
My three daughters are Fiona (23), Joanne (22) and Carolynne (20). Fiona has recently graduated with a B.Ed from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay Ontario. She previously obtained an honours degree in Kineisiology from the same university. Fiona will start teaching Science and Phys Ed at a local high school in September (crazy girl!). Joanne is starting her final year in Health Sciences and Carolynne her second year in social studies. Both attend the University of Western Ontario in London.
So what do I remember about my stint at HGS. In truth not really very much although reading the memoirs of others has certainly triggered my memory a little. I do remember Timber Willy and of course his favourite sayings: measure twice cut once and the other, whilst waving his hand in the air wiggling fingers remember, you cant buy these for two a penny down the second hand shop. I think I would have made Timber Willy proud in my later years as Do it Yourself is a hobby of mine. In fact I have built myself two houses to my own architectural design. A remarkable feat when I consider that my Tea Trolley was Awful just awful and it took 3 years! I also remember Ron Cherry who I have previously mentioned. Others recount Lou Gordons cricketing abilities but Cherry was also good I remember, playing for Tynemouth I think. I was never really in any serious trouble at school but I dont pretend to having been an Angel. I remember a favourite lunchtime winter experience that we had on the rare occasions it snowed. We would gather in Jesmond Dene high up above the bridge that crossed the burn close to the old Mill. There we would wait, armed with dozens of snowballs, for the girls from La Sagesse on their nature walk. When the class was neatly positioned on the bridge, we would rain our arsenal down upon them. I recall the Purple Burn incident when someone (definitely not me) dropped Potassium Permanganate crystals into the burn above the waterfall. The people I associated with were the same as those mentioned by John McLaughlin: Alan Glendinning (who was best man at my wedding), Ian Hazelwood and his brothers Ernie and Alan, Jack Telford et al. One other person who I often wonder what happened to was little Joe Tait from 2d. I can still recall Joe thumping out the beat of Peggy Sue with a ruler on his desk. He was very much in to the music of the day. Interesting Roland Hadley recalls Tony Troughton. On reflection Tony probably helped me along my career path assisting me to build a single valve radio. The fact that it actually worked was like magic at the time. Thanks Tony. John McLaughlin recalls his inabilities at sport. It is true that he never made the big time but I recall that if we played football in the park, John was an early choice in the team picking. No one wanted to be crunched by John! My footballing aspirations were not met at school either. The competition in my year was fierce. Jimmy Nelson, Ken Sloan, the Sneddon twins to name but a few. I did play football in the Navy though and continued to play competitively when I came to Canada. I stopped playing last year but I still may make a come back!
I wont go into detail on the teachers; others have very aptly described them, although I will dwell for a moment on Caird. Caird was the first fresh teacher that I came across and I can remember vividly 2d giving him a terrible introduction to the profession. I believed he learnt well from that experience and no doubt the guidance of Hitler Henderson and gang!
I must recall just one more thing before closing and it relates to School dinners I still really like Tapioca pudding. It was great that a fair proportion of the school hated the stuff as seconds and thirds were readily available!
Thanks Ian and Dave for giving us all the opportunity to look back and have our memories recharged. I think School Days really were Happy Days.
Roger WEST (1952 - 1958) firstname.lastname@example.org
I was at the school from 1952 until 1958.
I was promoted to the school in 1952 having previously failed the notorious 11 plus. One pupil was accepted into the Grammar stream each year at 13 by this route. In 1952 it was me.
My brother Brian was already in the 5th year, later going into the sixth. He was a hard act to follow being very much in the centre of things and a first class athlete, winning several honours for the school at City and Regional level.Not being able to compete I concentrated on the academic front, leading to a place at London University studying Engineering.
At College I spent a deal of time playing basketball making it into the London side where I was the only Brit. This took me all over Europe which was thoroughly enjoyable. However London in the sixties with too much basketball and too many parties was not conducive to study and the level of my degree suffered accordingly.
Having followed this by working for several mulinationals I decided to set up my own electronics company in Cirencester Glos. and developed this over 10 years during which time I married for the first time and we had two sons.
I built the company up to 150 people and having sold it it now has branches in most continents.
I still have a passion for Basketball and set up a club locally. Being now 70 and still coaching and playing it makes me the oldest registered player in the UK although some cracked ribs are telling me to retire soon.
Given my late start there is much to thank Heaton Grammar for and I have warm feelings about my days there. Friends from those days are Waller Walton, Robert Nicholson, Washy Whiteman and many more still remembered with affection.
Frederick (Derick) WILCOX (1955 - 1961) email@example.com
Forms 1B, 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A, L VI M
Never any good at sport, so was always with the 'Scraps' for PE sessions. My only claim to fame in that arena was pulling too enthusiastically on one of the ropes controlling the bars in the gym and having a b****y great beam come crashing down, luckily missing everyone!
Managed to scrape 7 'O' levels and went into the sixth form with high hopes of studying languages and going on to University, but the lure of employment and income meant that I left after two terms. I still regret that.
I joined the Civil Service in April 1961 (what was then the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance and later became the Department of Social Security) and served with no particular fame. I discovered computers in January 1966 and worked in the computer field within the department form 1966 until 1974, and again from 1980 until 1995, initially in operations and then programming, later system support and then Audit. The six years from 1974 until 1980 were spent in the Department's Overseas Branch, an interesting period.
In December 1994 the Department made me an offer I couldn't refuse - early retirement on full pension. In March 1995 I duly accepted their offer. While claiming back some of my 34 years of contributions in the form of Unemployment Benefit, I got the chance of taking a retraining course which led to National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) Levels 2 and 3, and it was a chance remark by one of the tutors that NVQ Level 3 could aid entry to University that got my grey matter churning again and in September 1996 I began a four year sandwich course leading to a Bachelor of Science degree.
After two years of study I took a one year student placement with Nissan at Washington. After returning from Nissan I began what should have been my final year of study, which turned out to be two years as I had to make a diversion to the coronary unit at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle for a triple coronary bypass operation. That behind me, I finished my studies and was duly awarded the degree of Bachelor of Science in Computing for Industry on 18 July 2001. I am now what I should have been thirty-odd years ago - an unemployed graduate!
On a personal note I married Carol, a Byker lass (by way of Longbenton and West Moor Grammar School) in June 1971. No children, but thirty good years behind us.
I haven't come across many of my old class mates over the years, but if any of them are reading this and want to get in touch, please do, at the email address above
John WILLMOTT ( 1942-1946 ) firstname.lastname@example.org
I was evacuated to the Lake District during the War, but was brought back as my parents were worried by the education - or lack of it , I was getting at the village school. From there I was at Chillingham Road School and then sat the Scholarship exam and got into HSS in 1942.
I remember my father was quite put out by having to pay £3 annually (?) to the Council Education Department for the privilege We had to buy our own text books - all new for the first year, but afterwards there was a sort of bring and buy sale where older boys would offload their redundant books for a nominal fee.
At first I used to have a school lunch. A picture of a desert comes to mind, it was a pastry square with jam on it and some custard. Known as ' concrete ' , many boys would not eat it and passed theirs on to me. Later I used to walk home to North Heaton for lunch and I can still feel my red raw knees in my short trousers in the winter.
My most enduring memory is of Willie Waldron and his woodworking class. I still remember and indeed still use his saying ' measure twice and cut once ' My mother used the tray I made for 40-odd years. Woodworking is still my principal hobby thanks to Willie. Woodwork was timetabled for the double period after the mid morning break on Wednesdays. Unfortunately staff meetings were held over the Wednesday break time and often ran over so that they eat into the woodwork period. I used to be furious with the staff over this loss of time.
Perhaps the woodwork time loss left me with some sort of mental scar, for I can not recall a single teacher's name. Looking through the posts jogged a couple of memories, Mr Barnes the Headmaster and Jake Hanley, was he the French teacher?
My worst memory was music lessons. Having to stand up and sing when I was tone deaf was was excruciating. I think the teacher had a sadistic streak .
I can remember the visit of the Queen (was the King with her?) and being lined around the girls quad. At the time I wondered what the visit was for.
I remember the great folding glass classroom doors that opened onto the grounds. Once or twice a year the Newcastle weather as warm enough to have them opened but at the expense of loose paper being blown about.
My father was working for the Admiralty and was serving in Malta during my time at HSS. On returning in 1946 he was sent home to Portsmouth which meant the end of my HSS experience. I left with no academic qualifications and started an apprenticeship. However some of that learning must have rubbed off because I decided to make up for lost time and took the matriculation exam and then the inter BSc external exam of London University and then a degree in mechanical engineering
In my later years I did quality control work and although travelling all over the Country and indeed the world, never visited Newcastle. I've been through the Tyne Tunnel and flown to Newcastle Airport, but never did I think to check out HSS. Sad to say I never will now, so your web site has brought back a lot of memories.
James WINGFIELD (1950 - 1957) email@example.com
I attended HGS from 1950 - 1957 and like just like Clint Edmunds I too enjoyed seven happy years at the School and like many others remember fondly such teachers as S'ami Friend, Bert (I'll kick you round the room in a minute) Norris,Timber Willy Waldron,Ken Quickfall, Lefty Hutton, Big Bill Tunnicliffe, Joe English, Adolf Henderson,Beefy Bamborough, Puggy Walker to name but a few and not forgetting Mr Barnes our Headmaster and Miss Thornton the School Secretary.
For those of you who remember me please make contact
Martin WRATE (1957 - 1964) firstname.lastname@example.org
Ian Dale dropped me a letter a few months ago, presuming that I had moved beyond snail-mail, well I have only just now. He and I were in the same class throughout school, (1957-64),with my twin brother Robert ( Rob as he is now), and Ian Slocombe (who appeared in our class from the "South", in 2A), and Chris & Norman Robson (not brothers), and the Bell brothers (not really ), Richard Moreland, and many others. Others I've forgotten with pleasure. I must say that I remember my University years with much more affection than HGS, but some of the teachers stand out as fair, and kind & keen - particularly fond memories of Biology lessons in the 6th form with Ken Shenton , sometimes held outside on sunny days, leaning against the Football net, chewing the cud. Three years after I graduated in Dentistry at Newcastle, Ian Dale & I were travelling up the Labrador coast on a Hospitalboat "Strathcona II", as Travelling Doctor & Travelling Dentist, having joined the Grenfell Association at the same time by coincidence! We had an early introduction into Six-packs & O'Keefes Extra-strong Old Malt Liquor, and Credence Clearwater Revival. I am an Orthodontist now, in Tyneside, whilst Rob is a Psychiatrist in Edinburgh. He married 11 years before I did, so his kids are all grown up & mine haven't, so we spend different lives. Perhaps it's just as well for the twins some might say, who knew us! Whilst his eldest son would be coming in late from the pub, I was probably pacing the floor with a baby & bottle. My E.mail address is email@example.com Rob will have one, but probably reserved for the serious stuff. He is a rising star according to those who know these things, I'm just looking at them.