School Badge

Ann GAFFNEY (now Carr) (1950-1955)

I started H.H.S. in 1950 from the 2nd top class at East Walker School. I was the only girl to pass the 11+ from that class [ Mr Potts] He was a lovely man. I'd been kept in his class because I was too young for the Top Class!! I didn't do any 11+ papers for homework, so heaven knows how I passed, but pass I did, into the "D" Form where I stayed for 5 fairly miserable years. Miserable that is in the classroom but outside school was a different matter!!

With friends like Mavis Redpath and Olive Dalrymple to keep me giggling, Maureen Forrest to teach me to dance [Quickstep, Eva 3 step, Bradford Barndance etc, etc] and the facts of life [as understood in those far off days] {My mam had another baby when I was 13 and I didn't know about it until she, my 3rd sister, Christine, was born.} Days of happy ignorance/innocence?

I was the 2nd youngest in our year, [August birthdays] and the 2nd smallest!! Jessie Rimmel and Margaret Goldwater were my lining up mates, we were about 4ft tall on leaving school but I've since met Jessie and she's at least 5ft 1in now Margaret and I are just over 5ft!!. Margaret lives in Tasmania and was editor of an Ostrich Breeding Magazine.

I won't go into the liked and disliked teachers, suffice it to say that our R.E teacher put me off religion, our maths teacher didn't teach me maths, nor did any History or Geography stick. However on leaving school with 2 "O" Levels, in Biology and Art [see Mary Gaffney's entry] I worked in the Accounts Departments!! at the Northern Gas Board, Grainger Street [now a TRENDY BAR] and then at C.A.Parsons working on the new COMPUTERS, Big as a double decker bus and ten times noisier.

By the way who remembers "the Blue Bus"the Number 19?

I 've been married since 1960, to the same man, had two sons, now both married, no grandchildren, but since I managed to train as a Primary School Teacher [Mature Student 1973-1976] and am still working I have enough children to contend with for the moment.

I lived in the East End of Newcastle until 3 years ago when we headed west, 20 miles west.  I still travel to Newcastle every day, I work at a school in the West End.

I've been involved in Amateur Operatics for 24 years [shows twice a year at the Theatre Royal] and I also sing with a large mixed voice group in Newcastle. I've been an extra in many T.V series also on stage with the R.S.C in Richard 3rd and as a witch in Roald Dahl's "Witches".   School Days weren't my happiest days,at least not at H.H.S. but I've enjoyed my life since leaving so it didn't do any lasting damage except, to this day I can't let anyone link their arm through mine "like a common factory girl" or eat in the street!!   Dear Dr. E. Constance Henstock.!!

Mary GAFFNEY (now Barrass) (1952-1957)

I attended Heaton High from 1952 - 1957 after passing the 11+ from East Walker Juniors and entered the 'A' stream, always considered this a fluke as having a birthday in November meant I sat the 11+ twice with only the second time counting and the questions were exactly the same both times - had a good memory in those days!

I followed in the hard-to-fill shoes of my older sister Ann Gaffney (now Carr), her artwork in Biology was always held up as an example!  I managed to stay in the 'A' form with Miss Gilbert as our form teacher for my whole stay, first year I was 13th which settled my fate and I spent the rest of my time holding up the rest.  I remember being scoffed at for being bottom of the class on the stairs outside the gym and the gym teacher, not Miss Raby, the other one - kindly saying "Better to be bottom of the 'A' form than top of the 'D'."  She meant well!!!!

My academic career was less than memorable, seem to remember several "Honour Marks", yes they were red shields, can't remember what for though.  Horror of horrors I did receive one "Black Mark" for not completing a biology collection, still had to scour Jesmond Dene even after the black mark!  Never felt so humiliated and ashamed of myself walking across those miles of carpeting before or since - Doc. H. has a lot to answer for!

I vividly remember scoring a goal for St. Aidens in an interschool lacrosse game though so I wasn't a total loss to our house.  Reading the other entries on your site does bring back memories of teachers both good and not so good, French/German Hardie chatting with visiting German students in the quad and the looks of amazement on their faces, don't think they understood a word!  Domestic Science Hardie still using powdered eggs long after the war and costing out recipes to a tenth of a penny!  The lovely sweaters Miss Gilbert wore which were hand knitted by Miss Arthur. Miss Rowntree and her coat of many colours - she taught my mother years before! Any one remember her penmanship lessons? Miss Wilson who was leaving to be Magdelan A according to my Gideons New Testament which I still have!

Close friends in school were Joyce Grieve, Joyce Oxnard, Joan Stephenson, Delya Johnson, we seemed to be inseparable in those days but the only one I have contact with now is Joyce Grieve.  We spent a lot of time at Bainbridge Memorial Methodist where we could meet the boys from Heaton Grammar in all innocence!   I left HHS with no regrets and found myself employed at the Northern Gas Board while I waited to be old enough to start Nurses Training, my Dad had other ideas though - said I was too small.

So I joined the hundreds of others at the MPNI in Longbenton until I married David Barrass (Dame Allen's) and emigrated to Canada in 1963.  After moving from Ontario to Quebec, a short sojourn in Michigan, back to Ontario again, I am now settled in Burlington a five minute drive from my daughter Elizabeth, her husband Michael and two beautiful grandchildren, Thomas and Vanessa.  My son, Christopher, lives in Vancouver.   Hope this is of interest to anyone out there, I'd love to hear from you!.

Jeanne GOLDING (1955 - 1962)

I attended HHS from 1955 to 1962 and was House Captain of St Aidan's in my last year. Like many others, I should think, I have mixed memories of my time at the school, some great days, often involving the plays and the choir, not forgetting ballet club, and some awful ones, usually involving maths!! I do have fond memories of many of my fellow students and some staff too.

Before uni I worked for a year as an office junior in the Education Office in Newcastle and then went on to train as a teacher through Nottingham Uni. I married in Cambridge, at Downing College, where my husband was studying and taught in the city until my first child was born. We moved during our married life to Northamptonshire and eventually to Oxford, having two more children along the way. We became foster parents, had housefuls of student lodgers and I continued with the acting and singing, classical and jazz that I had always loved to do, and getting paid for it too! I also took a further education qualification at the University of Oxford to specialise in dyslexia.

We moved out into Oxfordshire and as the family grew up, had horses, dogs and all the other slew of pets that children love (but Mum often looks after). Nine years ago I went to Central School of Speech and Drama, London, to train professionally as an actor. I have been lucky enough to work in stage, film, radio and tv since then. The latest tv was as Lady Lynne in Jane Eyre for the BBC. Very small role, but great fun to do. In between acting jobs (if I'm lucky enough to get them) I work for Oxford University, Oxford Brookes Uni and Southwark College, London as a dyslexia expert, which means that I live part of the working week in London and part in Woodstock, Oxfordshire. The children all have partners now and I am a grandmother to a 22 month old boy and my older daughter is expecting her first child in July. Can't quite believe it!

The only relations I still have in the North-East are an aunt and uncle in Hexham. My family on my mother's side were the Cowen family of the monument fame (at the bottom of Westgate Road)

It would be very good to share memories of HHS with others who were there at about the same time.

Helen GREEN (now Harrison) (1966 - 1972)

I went to Heaton High School from Edgefield Primary School in Fawdon in September 1966, the final year of  the 11+ intake.  There were four of us from my old school, Denise Russell, Lena Hall and Barbara Redmond being the others.  My parents had spent what must have been a weeks wages in Raymond Barnes on my uniform.  What you wore day to day was only the half of it.  We needed a white cookery overall, outdoor PE gear, indoor PE gear, a royal blue overall for science on which you had to embroider your initials (in case an experiment went wrong and this was the only means of identification, or so we were told!) Regulation underwear and even the right colour ribbon if your hair was touching your shoulders.  See me in 1968 in 2B1.

After the first few nervous weeks I made new friends, Janet Purdy, Susannah and Caroline Chadbund, Helen Mordue and Cynthia Mynott.  At this point we started to earn Honour Marks.  These were awarded for three "goods" in any one subject per term.  To claim these and have them appear on your report you had to make the long walk across Dr. Henstock`s office from door to desk, gabble out your name, class and a couple of other facts,  and she would stamp your exercise book with  I think, a red shield.  A nerve racking experience, more like a punishment than a reward.

Following the first set of class exams everyone knew your standing in the class as we had to sit in order of performance, top of the class back left desk and dunce bottom right.  I think Carol Cummings, the Caretaker`s daughter was our first "Top of the Class"  At 16th I was positioned  in the middle of the middle row.

To "old boys" it may seem strange that my favourite teachers were two HGS teachers, Hal Gibson and Ken Quickfall whose retirement party I attended in about 1977 I think.  Mr. Quickfall once told me I "would never make a sprinter but I was pretty good at jumble sales"

I left school at the end of the Lower 6th and followed a Vocational Course as they would call it now, to become a Medical Secretary, when the course started there were three other Heaton pupils on it, Janet Garside and Susan Robson and Pam Findlay who was from the year below us. 

In 1977 I married Bob Harrison an HGS pupil, we live in Cramlington and have four children aged 16 - 21.  We have kept in touch with Brian Knox our Best Man more commonly known as Knocka.  Gordon Ferguson, Admiral of the Fleet and Lesley Pringle who is a big wig in Gateshead`s Planning Department.

Here are some of the events I remember, some good, some not.

  • Miss Harbottle`s car being pushed into the middle of the field.

  • "Stan" Hutton being pushed into the gorge on the Field Week at Thropton.  I wonder if Stan fell in here is still scratched into the rock?

  • In 3B1  the student History teacher  disappearing behind the desk after sitting on the broken chair placed there by one of the class, she reappeared glasses askew laughing, so we joined in.  Unfortunately, she also told the powers that be and later that day we were all kept in after school for about an hour and a half, no notice to parents, by Mr. Calrow and "Tufty" Taylor until the culprit was identified.We then had to write out four pages of a history text book.

  • Playing pussy in the corner on the carpet tiles in the 6th form block.   The more intellectual among us playing chess with real people.

  • Being in the choir when we performed the Messiah.

  • The rendition of Ernie the fastest Milkman in the west at a 6th form social, cast unknown.

    Joyce GRIEVE (1952 - 1958)

    Wonderful to be reminded of names long forgotten, brings back a flood of happy memories of carefree days. I was in Miss Gilbert's form 1A-5A and then in 6th general for a year. I have vivid images of being decked out in new school uniform, :velour hat which was soon abandoned, gym "sac" tied in the middle with royal blue sash, peggy purse, satchel on both shoulders, waiting with Joan Armstrong, for the 19 bus to transport us from Walkergate to Heaton.

    The obligatory hat soon became a beret with tassle, which needed to be replaced often thanks to the likes of Freddie Moffat and Tommy Graham who must have had quite a collection. Most sought after class monitor was dinner monitor for then you could go to the office and actually see boys, other than through railings at lunch time, in the Spinney or on the bus. 

    I was fortunate to be able to handle school work and have lots of energy left for social and sports activities. Remember Saturday morning games fixtures in netball and tennis with Miss Raby and Mrs. Beavis; don't recall any significant wins! Was always terrified of Dr. Henstock, even when having to partner her in tennis and badminton games.    She came to visit me in Calgary in the 70's and I was still in awe of her.


    • Miss Gilbert tearing her hair out over "her" girls. -Miss Arthur, who "wouldn't touch you with a barge pole". We loved to get her sidetracked from French verbs to tell us what she wore at Alliance Franšais receptions.
    • Miss Lax and Miss Richardson whose science experiments never seemed to work.
    • DS Miss Hardy having us measure an exact 1/8tsp.
    • Miss Rowntree giving us 5 lines.
    • Miss Grey who made history come alive.
    • Mrs. Bonsall trying to get us to understand some obscure geometry theorum.
    • Mrs. Romanus reading "McCavity the Mystery Cat" to a hushed audience.
    • Christmas parties where we had to dance with teachers and girls! When we refused to do this in 6th form we were the most ungrateful girls ever.

    Since leaving school I went to Sunderland Training College and taught in Newcastle and London. Then in 1968 a boyfriend and badminton brought me to Calgary and I've been here ever since. I still keep in touch with Joyce Oxnard, Joan Stephenson and Margaret Davison in England, and Mary Gaffney in Ontario.  Would love to hear from anyone who remembers me.

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