School Badge
S - T

Barbara SPICKER (now Murgatroyd) (1958 - 1965)

I went from Montague Primary School, but a lot of my classmates there went to Rutherford. None of my best friends went to HHS.

My first memories were of walking along a dark corridor, in a brand, spanking new Gym slip (very fetching nowadays!) unable to see into the class room as I was too small.  One of the big girls asking me who knitted my hair!   Leaving my brand new briefcase at the bus stop the first week of school.  The enormous fields where we played hockey, lacrosse, cricket, rounders, lawn tennis.

I loved lacrosse, no boundaries so when it was really foggy we used to disappear to the bottom of the field, where we could hear Miss Raby shouting, 'I can see you girls, come back at once!!!!'

I played lacrosse, cricket and Badminton, had both house and school colours  and went on to be a PE and Dance teacher! I still love cricket.

I was one of very few Jewish girls at HHS and Doc H used to make us hold open the doors for assembly. She wouldn't let us take sandwiches either, so I had to get the No 4 bus home, have 2 minutes in the house, then back to school!   I wonder if she would get away with that now!

I remember Miss Hall (maths) asking a question and then saying, 'Are you  sure? Are you prepared to put your hand in the fire if you are wrong'. I often wonder when I got to love Maths so much!

Names I remember, Susan Schindler, Ann Dodds (cleverest girl in my year!), Rosemary Peacock (Head Girl and I appeared on TV on a careers programme with her), Vivien Merritt, Janet Astley both in my class till 6th form. Terry Findlay, Sandra Tate, Margaret Fredericks, (we all did same A level subjects)

Miss Hall and Doc H lived together. When Miss Hall had a mild heart attack  some of us went to visit her at home. Possibly more out of noseyness than kindness!

Ann Graham PE, and Freda Crabtree, Science, joined when we were in lower VIth.  We got quite pally with them, even went to Freda's flat one evening.  She had really lovely shoes and loads of different pairs. We were also allowed to talk to the boys when we got into lower VIth and even played Badders with them.

Anyone remember the alternating Drama/Choir House comps? I was in the drama every year, but I gave singing a miss.  What about marching in the Quad???

Other things I recall are - peggy purses, a leather thing on a strap with money etc in, finally getting rid of the gym slip and blue girdle (no! it's a belt!) and into skirts in 6th form. Royal blue blazers when you got your school colours and white 'girdles' when you became a prefect. Those berets with tassels! Used to fold it in half and clip it under the bouffant beehive!!!!

I went to Kenton Lodge College after HHS, and taught in South Shields for a year, then married another teacher, became  Barbara Winston, and moved to Yorkshire. I divorced in 1979 and remarried in 1984 and have a 16 year old son who has just done his GCSEs. I am now Barbara Murgatroyd.

I am now a headteacher in Wakefield of a 3-11 school with a special resource for pupils with physical difficulties. I wonder how many of my teachers would be turning in their graves at that piece of news! Particularly Doc H!!!! Would love to hear from anyone who knew me.

Pauline SYRETT (1963 – 65)

I came to Heaton High for the sixth form from my previous school in SE London because my father was transferred to Newcastle. I studied pure and applied maths and physics, although most of my classmates were doing chemistry along with single maths. I remember Barbara Spicker, also the girls she mentioned: Sandra Tate, Terry Findlay and Margaret Fredericks. I also remember marching in the quad, and think I have a photo somewhere. I don’t remember the staff very well, but do recall a trip to the Farne Islands with our class that I very much enjoyed. A few of us also went on bike trips together. Some of the long hills in County Durham were thrilling downhill rides on Sturmey Archer 3-speeds.

From Heaton High I went to Nottingham University where the maths was far beyond me, so I ended up, after a teacher-training year at Exeter, as a secondary school teacher specialising in physics. A year as VSO in Mampong-Ashanti, Ghana, was followed by two years teaching at Dartford Girls Grammar School, as my parents had moved back down south by then. Following a strong urge to travel, I secured a teaching job in Invercargill, New Zealand, then took an overland tour to Kathmandu, spending six weeks in Nepal before flying on to New Zealand just in time to start the year, with £25 to my name. It barely kept me going until my first payday.

I am still living in New Zealand, in Christchurch now, where I moved in 1975. After a few years teaching, I retrained as an entomologist and worked in weed biological control from many years. I still do a little contract work, travel a lot, mainly to the deserts and mountains of the western USA, and am keen on nature photography. I should have continued with biology at school, but gave it away because I didn’t like dissecting dogfish… how ignorant we were then! I was also told that maths and biology was a poor combination of subjects; little did our advisors know that for future biologists numeracy was to become essential as statistics took on a central role.

I came across this site when looking for information about my brother, John Syrett, who attended Heaton Grammar from 1962 to 1968. He went on to Leeds University, where his studies were secondary to a passion for rock climbing. He became one of Britain’s foremost rock climbers in the early ‘70’s, but was sadly killed in a fall in 1985. If anyone knows anything of his schoolmates, I’d be very interested to hear from them.

Evelyn TREECE-BIRCH (now Mooney) (1961 - 1966)

I've just read Joan Turnbull's item and at last the mystery of who pushed Miss Harbottle's Ford Anglia onto the front field has been revealed - I've puzzled about it all these years. It must have been in my last year - 1966 - before the merger with HGS as I vividly remember seeing her little green car stranded in the middle of the field and a very unhappy Miss Harbottle.'

I started at HHS in September 1961, arriving dressed in all the uniform on the list, including the famed gym slip, blue girdle and peggy purse (for bus fare, school dinner tickets and hanky) carrying all the games equipment on the list including hockey stick and shoe bag. A small blonde girl, heavily weighed down in her new Raymond Barnes navy blue Burberry and velour panama, having great difficulty keeping up her knee length grey socks. I started off in the D form and remained there until I left - my total confusion with Maths and Science held me back. I left 5D with 7 good 'O' levels in everything other than Maths, so I was good at something. Dr H's comment on my testimonial "Evelyn has poise" summed up my career advice as I enrolled on a bi-lingual secretarial course and began a career as a secretary extraordinaire. Not for me the copy typing, coffee making role - I was lucky to land my first job in an international research unit at Newcastle General Hospital and worked eventually for the Professor of the unit until I left to start my family of 3. I live in Bristol now and work as an administrator in the Health Service, still married to Kevin, a lad I fell for on the number 4 bus going home to Kenton from school.

Teachers I remember are Miss Gilbert (a rather sweet, batty Geography teacher), the perma-tanned Miss Raby (Games), Miss Boyd, (Maths) who married a handsome Greek - my first form teacher, Miss Hakin (French), Miss Crabtree, Miss Hall (fearsome Maths teacher), Mrs Olsen (nice Maths teacher), FEAN (Miss Newbiggin - English), Mrs Boddy!! (Biology), Miss Lax (also Biology and I suppose Physics and Chemistry), Mrs Edith Bramwell (my Dad's friend's wife - shame I let her down in my first year exams), Mr Calrow (History - I liked being taught by a man, and he seemed to like me - got a 2 or was it a 1 in my O level, Mr Roy Stone (Art - first male teacher on the premises - seem to remember he spent a lot of time in the Corner House rather than the Staff Common Room - didn't last long).

Fellow pupils - rather a glamorous lot headed by the lovely Hutchinson sisters, Lesley and Caroline (who later became an actress) and Diana Figgis - older than I but icons of their time to the younger girls - always in the school plays. Best friends: Joy Hunter, Elsie Gardiner, Cathy Brydon, Catherine Donaldson. Classmates: The two Valeries, Robinson and Preston, Sandra Ronaldson, Linda Benn, Pat Thompson, Wendy Hewson, Caroline Whitehead, Margaret Orrick and Margaret Hurford (who died aged 16 during a charity walk from Newcastle United ground), Betty Milburn (daughter of Jackie) and Beryl Patrick who was always up to something. Will never forget Beryl turning around the teacher's desk so she banged her knees when she tried to sit down, later followed by worms on her chair a few days later - poor woman left shortly after with a nervous condition. I remember Barbara Spicker, a couple of years ahead of me - curly haired - always seemed a lot of fun. I do remember the Jewish girls waiting behind the stage until the morning prayers had finished before joining us for the day's announcements.

My final memory is of being in the school choir and winning the famous Parry banner at a school's competition at Newcastle City Hall - a very proud day. Can still see Dr Henstock's goofy smile. I expect she was dressed in her favourite outfit, dark red suit, moth eaten fur cape complete with plastic rose, and red suede high heeled shoes that tied over the bridge of her foot.

I'm on e-mail at work if anyone wants to make contact although at the present time (November 2001) I'm at home recovering from an operation.

Maureen TAYLOR (now Chilvers) (1951-1955)

I attended Heaton High School from 1951 to 55. I left early to go to Northern Commercial College in Jesmond (didn't want to do the exams/stay on at school).

I recognise lots of the girls names mentioned in all your stories. I worked in Newcastle at Procter & Gambler in Gosforth. Married and had one boy Michael. When I was divorced Mike and I went to the US - I worked in Washington DC for a year. We stayed with an old school friend from my days at Victoria Jubilee before HHS, and we had a ball. It was good for me and great for Mike. We came back to live in Manchester. I've married again, and now have three grown up children + two grandchildren.

I worked for Granada TV for 4 years - great fun and very interesting. Then I had itchy feet again so took off for a "sabbatical" working for the United Nations Office for Africa in Geneva, just at the start of Live Aid, which was something I had been promising myself to do even before my first marriage. Worked 18 months with the UN, but my mother was ill with Alzheimers, so I came back to Manchester and the family, to be nearer my parents. I'm still working in Public Relations here, but really miss Newcastle and my friends/family. I would love to attend one of the reunions. Must keep in touch from now on.

Would love to hear from anyone who knows me or any of my friends. By the way my details are also on the web site Check them out and you might find more people on there from HHS/HGS. Best Wishes Maureen

Joan TURNBULL (now Johnston) (1964 - 1969):

I first entered the gates on Newton Road in 1964. Velour hat. Satchel. September 1964. I stuck it for five years and about two weeks into the Lower Sixth I walked out of the same gates. Hatless. I don't remember what happened to the satchel. I was in 1B (Mrs Mayall) then the C's. Rosemary Peacock was Head Girl when I started - I was very impressed by the way she kept her beret fastened to the back of her bee-hive hairdo. She had a friend called Mavis Edgar who had incredible fingernails. These two seemed very sophisticated to me then.

I remember loads of teachers of course - notably

  • FEAN (no lips, wobbly head fixed on sideways) who tried to get us all to go to Stratford upon Avon  (Miss Raby warned us off);
  • Miss Hakin (Form Mistress & taught French - very nice spinstery type);
  • Miss Harbottle (needlework - gruesome - the lads once pushed her Ford Anglia onto the front field);
  • Miss Wilson (RE - mild woman, often poorly);
  • Mrs Lambert (Cookery - we launched our culinary careers by making an Invalid's Breakfast - obvious links here with Miss Harbottle's gingham Tray Cloths);
  • Miss Clough (Latin - Hopeless Case);
  • Mrs Reid (Geog - nice handwriting, lots of stuff about the Med having warm wet winters & hot dry summers. Every time I go there I remember this, despite  everything);
  • Ann Graham & Freda Crabtree (HUMANS).

After the wall  came down I got Calrow (History - a complete bastard), Cunningham  (History as well - got me through the 'O' level). I also have vague  memories of a female music teacher who said impotent instead of  important all the time) (Ms Davies according to Evelyn Treece-Birch) and a sweet little Maths teacher called Miss  Hibbert who was probably quite young and who wore pastel coloured  jumpers which often got splattered down the back with ink. I think she   lasted five minutes but maybe I'm wrong. O yes. There was Doc H. Does  anyone out there recall the day we got some Honour Marks in her study  and there was a pair of men's y-fronts drying in front of her gas  fire? I hope someone can confirm this - I saw them, honest. Me & Brenda Richardson (married Nigel Purdy) and Pamela (Fry, I think) once got hauled into her office for some misdemeanour and the first thing she did was ask us where we lived. We then got a lecture on how, as we lived in High Heaton and Cochrane Park we ought to know better! 

The Doc also came on a cruise to Scandinavia on the Devonia in '64 or '65. While hundreds of schoolgirls from all over the country played deck quoits(!) and generally had a holiday, she taught us maths every day and had us keeping log books and charting our positions. We had to wear uniform in the fiords, uniform in Bergen, uniform in Copenhagen, uniform in Amsterdam... I paid 35 quid for the whole memorable 10 day package. From that adventure I recall Pauline Ingham, Elaine Seddon and two lasses called Carol (red hair) & Marty who were on the disobedient side and a good laugh - I came back from that cruise feeling a lot less frightened of Doc H and a lot more rebellious, having witnessed her terrible social and intellectual  snobbery at work in the real world outside the school gates more than once. So maybe she did teach me something useful. Cheers, Doc!

If any of the following old gals read this I'd love to hear from them  (or anybody from that time really): Brenda Richardson (we lost touch,  Brenda), Jackie Grey (we played on the Hockey team together and you  once plucked my eyebrows very thin - with my permission), Christine  Summers, Christine Thompson, Ethel Kidd, Heather Rawling, Spooky  (Christine Spoors) Margaret Tyzack, Moira Shields, Pamela Fry, Janet White - and anyone else on that cruise.

From the Other Side I remember Philip Bailes & Groz (we all came from Cragside Primary), Dave Dawson, Pete Ellis, Pete Craig, Micky Grey, Charlie Bell, Tom Charnley (we once got engaged!), Vaughan Robinson, Nige Purdy and a lot of other faces I can't put names to. E-mails from any of you would be great.

It's a weird & wonderful thing this reminiscence stuff & my years at HHS were, like most people's, a mix of the good the bad & the very ugly. I've sometimes looked in the Chron. to see if there was anything going on with old pupils & once I even rang the school for some info. but met with a blank so this site has got to be the  answer. When I first came across it loads of memories came rushing in and I was in a time warp for ages afterwards. I'll probably remember more stuff I wanted to mention here after I've sent this.

For the record, since I left school I've been a teacher (hmm...), worked in local government, lived in Italy, and am now a published writer (short stories, poetry) and I currently teach creative writing in all sorts of places (hospitals, prisons, day centres, re-hab units...) I still live in the NE, am married & we have two teenage sons, Ben & Jamie, who both play the Beautiful Game to County level & are getting Looked At by various  clubs.

Anyone who remembers me is welcome to get in touch - maybe we could  even meet and have a reunion. Don't be shy - ''Always remember gahls,  shyness is a form of selfishness''. (The Doc)

Glenda TURNER (now Clarke) (1958 - 1961):

I was a pupil between 1958 and 1961, I do so wish some of my old pals join this. Doreen Paige, Wendy Ritson. Rosalind Smith...and most of all Elizabeth Elder with whom I went on the best holiday of my life. We were either 13 or 14 years old...the days of the Everly brothers (dream dream dream) Elvis and the wonderful Roy Orbison. Any one remember going to the fairground and standing on the Waltzer listening to all that fab music ?

I remember Doc. Henstock..who could forget ? Wait for the green light gels before you enter to see the beak!! I was up before her on many occasions ha ha - she was not a fan of mine.

There was a brilliant drama group I recall a girl played the lead part in The Tempest. I was spellbound by her wonderful performance. It inspired me to dabble in show biz in a way. I became a singer (not very good) in my late twenties in a nightclub.

Please, please, please ..someone tell me they remember Miss Bairnson - ..a most lovely, timid, shy maths teacher. Oh I was so bad to her too - I have often thought about her over the years. I was so awful - one day in her class I opened my desk and lit a cigarette up whilst she was writing on the blackboard. I stubbed it out, but the smoke was obvious - could have got expelled for that!! Another time, during the period of building the new science wing, we sat under the bridge of it and smoked, looking up I saw Miss Rayburn (???) watching us. Oh I was terrified but bless her ..she never told the Doc. Miss Keogh (???) the gym mistress - not you Doreen ..ha ha, Miss Hall deffo - ooh scaredy teacher - I only had her for cricket.

And who could forget Miss Newbiggin (never start a sentence with AND Turner) - we used to draw her and flick the caricatures back and forth. Got caught once but don't think she recognised herself. She had rather a beaky nose. I spent the majority of time looking out of the window at the lush Jimmy on the building site. He wore navy blue tight drainpipes, and I used to put my hair up to try and look like Brigitte Bardot to get his attention. It worked - we did go to the cinema .Such wonderful memories - why the heck did I want to leave?

I am so proud of Heaton High - more like a public school than a grammar. I think we had to buy the uniforms from either Bainbridges or Binns and had to have a barathea games skirt etc. Terribly expensive, but the Doc. was such a snob. We had it drummed into us - behave like ladies when in uniform gels.

The standard of education was extremely high - the other school was - if I recall - Church High?? Then there was the Catholic school, French name - can't remember it now. (Convent de la Sagesse - Ed) Doc H. maintained ours was the best - she was probably right too.

I have lived in London for most of my life since then - Battersea, Bayswater, Finsbury Park - all over really. I was working in Bourne & Hollingsworth in Oxford St. as a demonstrator about 18 months after I left the beautiful Newcastle. I looked up and lo and behold my dear pal Doreen Paige and a few other school chums were watching me!! We had a great re-union night. It was just pure chance. I was Glenda Turner in those days - Clarke now. Would be lovely to hear from any of my chums or I am on F/B.

Glenda Marie Clarke - London ...25th May 2011. Bye all xxx

btnprev.gif (2433 bytes) btnhome.gif (2106 bytes) btnnext.gif (2262 bytes)