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Q - R

Heather Rawling (1964-1971)

So many memories...I remember being taught maths in the first year by Doc H and having to sit in the freezing cold, not allowed to wear our jumpers because 'we looked so nice in our white sleeves' - Doc H was such a snob. If we had a ladder in our stockings it was a slum habit. I was sent to see her in third year for a minor misdemeanour with Ethel Kidd, and her first question was where do you live.  I told her and said I didn't think where I lived was relevant.   Well you should have heard her.  She told me I was insolent and would not get a reference from her. Good job the schools joined together or I don't think I would have got to university.

I remember Miss Newbiggin's nick name was Hopalong Chastity on account of having one leg shorter than the other and her moral stance. Miss Reid was my favourite teacher. I loved her Geography lessons and could listen to her for hours. Also Mr Cunningham for History was very human and OK for a laugh.  Miss Hakin was very kind.  We had a Mrs Bridle for one year for English and she was very experimental. I loved her lessons. Generally I hated school. It felt so oppressive but I had some good friends. I used to bunk off every PE lesson and go to Newcastle City Library to study.....

We used to use hairgrips to perch our hats on the back of our heads so you could hardly tell we were wearing them from the front.

We used to have to curtsey to Doc H if we got a prize in assembly.  I can remember marching in the quadrangle in white sandshoes for an open day or something.

Does anyone remember the Christmas parties?  They weren't that exciting but we could change out of school uniform. We used to go a bit mad at Christmas and tie our school ties in bows.

Some of us got into trouble in the first year for practising handstands on the field. Not very ladylike we were told.

One year we had a snowball fight instead of Games. Great fun.

The sixth form common room was fairly progressive. There was a coffee machine and a shop run by students.

Margaret RAYNER (now Wilson) (1942-1947)

I attended High Heaton School for Girls from 1942-47. I was always in the B stream and was the second youngest in the class. My form mistress was Sylvia Priestly (I often wondered even then if she was related to the famous author) and I can remember most of the names of the various teachers we had. I loved it!. I was happy at school and liked most of my teachers. Miss Weedon who taught geography was an exception - we were all scared of her! When a couple of us first years were reported for running in the corridor we were sent to see Miss Cooper, who referred us to her secretary for punishment. I got a black mark that stayed on my school record I am sure. It seemed harsh to me even at 11 years of age.

My mother could not afford the school uniform but as she was a dressmaker she could make mine. She made me a pleated kilt so that as I grew it could be let out. She was duly called in to see the Headmistress, Miss Cooper! However when she explained our situation I was given permission to wear the kilt. It lasted the 5 years that I was there.

I wanted to stay for a 6th year but my father was of the opinion “pit’s good enough for me and it will be good enough for you”.

I remember the air raid shelters on the top field. I have thought since that as there was only one door, the blast would possibly have killed us.

I lived very close to Guildford Place, between it and Heaton Junction, which was the biggest railway crossing the Britain, if not Europe. One night the Germans dropped a land mine. These came down on parachutes. My father was driving a tram along Chillingham Road. A gust of wind lifted the landmine over our house and it dropped on Guildford Place. He left the tram where it was and came to see that we were all right. They also managed to set alight a storehouse full of sugar. That lit up the night sky but they still missed the junction.

I married at 21 the most wonderful man and we were very happy for almost 49 years. He was the Scottish composer Thomas Wilson and you can find his website at I have just completed his biography and am busy editing it. I have three sons, the eldest Brendan is a Professor of English and Philosophy at Todai Univeristy, Tokyo. He writes books on philosophy.

I would be happy to be put in touch with any of my classmates.

Jeanne Robertson (now Edwards) (1941-1943)

My association with Heaton High began during the war years when we moved back from Lincoln in 1941.

As clothing coupons were so precious in those days, I was told that I need not wear the school uniform. My previous school blazer was brown which caused a cool reception at first, as this was the uniform worn by a rival school at that time.

Half of the school was still in Kendal at that time, so the classes were quite small, which was good as I soon settled down. Two of my special friends at that time were Marie Lees and Sylvia Cowperthwaite. Teachers I remember were Miss Pellow, who was my form teacher, Miss Wilson and Miss Weedon, a rather terrifying person. I cannot remember the name of the Head Mistress at that time, but she was a very genteel lady.

When she retired Dr Henstock succeeded her. Quite a contrast. At my previous school I had thankfully dropped French & Chemistry for Biology & Latin. Unfortunately both the Latin & Biology teachers were both still in Kendal, so I had to struggle with both subjects again. I remember how cold the classrooms were and even stepping outside the classroom door into snow & slush. The school had been designed on a building in the South of France!

On one occasion we were told that some VIP’s were visiting the school. We thought it was going to be Winston Churchill & were very disappointed that it was only going to be the King & Queen.

The Wall dividing the two schools (Boys & Girls) was a no-go area. At break & lunch times there was always a member of staff at their respective windows to check we did not fraternise.

I spent one term in the Sixth Form but did not enjoy school anymore as Dr Henstock was getting to me by then. I obtained a very well paid job at the Prudential where I stayed until I married. After raising our three sons I trained to be a teacher at a College for Mature students. My best friend there was an old Heatonian, Audrey Middleton. I then spent 21 years teaching at Walkergate Junior School until I retired. Two of my sons, my daughter-in-law (Susan Hutton) and two of my grandchildren all went to Heaton School-three generations. I did come in contact with Dr Henstock again when I played for the Old Girls Hockey Team.

Kirsty ROWE (now Bergmann) (1959-1966)

I joined in 1959, one of 3 girls from the same school in Byker (I think it was 3) we were spread through the B, C and D streams (I have a feeling there was some predjudice at work, we were all from distinct working-class backgrounds, despite any latent intelligence) I started in 1C, and was stuck in the C stream all the way through. I remember that we all had red hair - I was the short skinny one with glasses. I especially remember Elizabeth Brown, Judith Young, Sylvia Bone and Rita West.

Miss Gilbert was our form mistress (geography) given to strange hand-knitted jumpers, she lived with Miss Harbottle (needlework) who thought I was rubbish (I got a tub of pins thrown at me many times) but also thought I was OK at ballet.

I hated games (Miss Raby and her perma-tan and those legs...!) and was really appalling, I was one of the few who went "swimming" for a whole year, and was too scared to take my feet off the bottom - in fact, I think it took them 3 weeks to actually get me into the water, kicking and screaming - anyone remember that?
I was in Wilfrid's, if I remember as a house we were only any good at drama, being down the bottom of the points most of the time.

Miss Arthur taught us French, Miss Beavis, maths ("Kirsty is a little horror, she just throws anything down on the page") Miss Hankin, English I think, Mrs Davies, music ("It's very impotent girls" (no that's not a typo!). She also often played "The Dambusters' March" for us to march out of Assembly to, with a few "grace notes" and some of us muttering "Come in P for popsy, P for popsy......" as on the record.) Miss Iannarelli, Latin......I was the person who found Mr Stone's empty bottle stock in the bottom of the locked cabinet in the Art Room, I was told that he drank to dull the pain, he'd been on the Atlantic convoys during the war and badly injured.

Then there was FEAN! I missed most of my O levels due to tonsilitis, so was put in Vth remove, and redid all of the O level work at the same time as A level Art, English and French, lovely Miss Carr knew that I was no good at French, but actually said that she understood why I was doing it (to spite FEAN) and supported me as much as she could (I got an E). Miss Newbiggin hated me, I discovered in my last year that it was because she thought I was illegitimate (my parents divorced when I was 2 years old, and I was brought up by my Mother and Grandparents) and this didn't sit well with her beliefs. I wanted to go to university to train to be an art teacher, had interviews that went very well, but no offers - we wondered why and it wasn't until I independantly went for and was awarded, a place on the pre-dip course at Newcastle College of Art that we found out that she had written predjudiced reports for each one!

I left in 1966, went to art school for a year, then won a place at Nottingham College of Art to do Theatre Design (also went to Aberdeen University as a mature student, but that's another story) leaving in 1970 with a 2:1 in Theatre Design. I have worked since then as a Costume Supervisor/Cutter/Maker - sorry Miss Harbottle! - and still work freelance, can any of us afford to retire?! Miss Beavis would be proud, despite giving up at 14, I can now do mental arthmetic, do my own accounts, and have administered budgets in the thousands!

I met my husband in the theatre, still married after 30-odd years, and now live in the legendary county of Middlesex, have only been back once since my Mother died, my memories of Heaton High aren't the best, but I do believe that it gave me the confidence in my own ability that has carried me through my career in the theatre, and I can still do a full curtsey without needing the help of the handshake to get back up!

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