Retrospective Chapter 2 1959 -1964 A TECHNICAL TALE
So there I stood on that Monday morning in September 1959, resplendent in my new uniform, together with all my peers, wondering what the next five years would bring.
I can confess that I can’t remember my time at HTHS in as much detail as many people in “brief lives”, the power of their memory amazes me especially Vinnie, or have you led a sheltered life Vinnie ?, I very much doubt it.
I do, however, remember many of the teachers.
How could you forget such people as?
Mr. Lamb(Sam Lamb),my first teacher of maths, he seemed to make it enjoyable, also a great piano player, the hairs still stand up on my neck when I think of him playing JERUSALEM on the grand piano at morning assembly.
Mr. Halliwell (Slim Jim), our teacher of German, at least he tried but I couldn’t grasp it, it was too foreign for me, I do remember, though, that when it was report time he was the only one who did not lick every envelope but used to line them all up on his desk and use a paint brush dipped in water, crafty!!!.
Mr. Wareing(Jap), geography teacher, who after filling three blackboards with notes then waited impatiently for you to catch up and his habit of telling you all to sit up whilst he walked up and down the rows of desks looking at your writing, I remember one of our poor classmates who shall remain nameless, when Jap was in the row before him, put up his hand and asked to be excused, then when Jap got to his work said, with the grinding of teeth he was known for “no wonder he asked to go to the toilet” whereupon the poor lads return was duly told to rewrite the last few pages.
He also had a globe in the corner of his room, near the door, which hung from the ceiling and he used to take great joy in lowering it and identifying the part of the world that he was currently talking about.
He, Jim Mills (see later), and Geoff Rayson (see later) were brilliant when off duty taking us hiking in our, and their holidays, a debt never to be forgotten.
Mr. Wright(Wilbur), who in an English lesson had us all reading out loud, I forget what we were reading but it was Barrels turn and yes he did say that “ all the men were sat round the fire warming their hands on the “Brassiere”, (obviously Brazier), I kid you not, this brought titters (sorry girls) of laughter from the rest of the class, and when we had written a composition for homework and Roger Yearn had written something about a peach using the comparison of “ as smooth as a babies bottom “ Ken Wright was most impressed. I seem to remember that he had a Ford Anglia and was blocked in on the staff car park; he went round the back of the Anglia, weighed up the gap and proceeded to reverse out with no problems, a good piece of driving.
Rooms 5 and 6 are somewhat of a blank, I simply don’t have any recollections of any experiences in either room, (anybody else remember ?,) other than taking an exam in room 5 with Ron Armitage as an invigilator, he used to write on the blackboard,
THE TIME IS NOW-----10-15
And then sometime later would alter it to
THE TIME IS NOW-----10-40
Nice one Ron.
Mr. Fielding (Brickbasher), taught us maths in the later years, somewhat of a feared reputation, but could also enjoy a good laugh.
No recollection of who taught in room 8 or what subject was taught there.
Anybody out there remember?
Geoff Rayson(can’t remember his nickname) history teacher, I remember being taught in the earlier years but again looking at my report, for some reason I didn’t take history in the fifth year. We had him for our form teacher, I think in the third year we had the unfortunate incident of him having to give several of us six of the best over the Norrie Clegg incident, on the same day we had chipped in to buy him a wallet, he was really touched but did explain he had no choice in the punishment. I will always remember him for the fun we all had during the hiking holidays, most enjoyable.
Mr. Foster (Taffy), teacher of German, but looking at my January 1995 report I still was taught German by Mr. Halliwell, or shall I say he tried to teach me German, so possibly Taffy never taught me, although I do have a vague recollection of playing chess in room 10 paired of with classmates, perhaps Taffy taught chess.
Anybody any other recollections?
Mr. Wilcox (Stringer Joe) again only vague recollections of attempting some painting of sorts.
Mr. Garside (Gog), technical drawing teacher and our form master in the 5th year. I really enjoyed technical drawing; it was the only subject I got an “A” on my 1964 January report. Mr. Garside was a superb teacher and all thanks to him that I made the drawing office drawing my career. (See later)
Science and Physics Labs
Mr. Vaughan, Mr Mills and Mr. Townley, (Ben Yawn, Nat, and Thumper Tom)
Ben Yawn has had enough already written by Keith, it’s as well or I would probably fall asleep writing about him.
Thumper Tom, our early physics teacher who had the habit of throwing board dusters and keys in the direction of anyone who didn’t know the answer to one of the many questions he would ask, even if you didn’t know the answer you would put your hand up, saying, Sir, Sir, (albeit quietly), the odds on being asked for the answer, about 30 to 1, were well worth the risk.
Nat, dear old Jim what can you say, at least he made physics interesting, I do remember that he had a habit of scratching the right side of his head with his left hand going straight over the top of his head to do it, and visa versa. He also taught us “The Facts of Life” in the physics lab during the lunch break, blackout blinds drawn, apologising that he couldn’t cut anybody in half so we had to make do with a section of a body drawn on the blackboard. At the end he used to ask “ANY QUESTIONS?” to be met with a stony silence and then would say “I’ll have to make it a rule that before you leave you will have to ask a question”.
All that said he was another good man to give up his time to join us in the hiking holidays, there you saw the other side of the man and enjoyed his dry sense of humour.
Mr. Kerrigen (Killer,) chemistry teacher, a man of few words but a man of many actions. Again a subject that I enjoyed immensely, being taught to balance equations was a feat on it’s own but we managed it. He was another stickler for discipline but it never did us any harm. Perhaps the most remembered time was when he gave us something to be doing whilst he disappeared from the room, on his return he had obviously been to the gents because his shirt was tucked in his underpants and the elastic of his underpants was clearly visible. On noticing our sniggers and that the game was up, he said, in that never to be forgotten voice,
“That’s another hours homework tonight”
Mr. Firth, I have already covered my time in woodwork, describing the famous stool (see Odds and Ends), suffice to say that I decided to take metalwork in preference to woodwork, it was much more difficult to make a mistake.
Which brings us to?
Mr. Clegg, (Nori) what is there to say that hasn’t been said already?
However I am of the same opinion as Alan Cooper in that I thought he was generally a good teacher again having a bearing on my chosen career in engineering. I remember he taught us how to “case harden steel”, how to shape metal using the forge also how to file steel and “remove the burrs”. We made a small pair of callipers, possibly as part of a practical exam. I still have the callipers to this day, making them over fifty years old.
Having said all that, he was a still a miserable old “bugger” for reporting us for opening our reports and getting “six of the best”, I still think he handed them out before afternoon break, on purpose, knowing full well we would open them, although as Alan mentioned in defence of Nori, they were addressed to our parents.
Mr. Taylor (Tatz), PE was definitely not my forte, Gym I enjoyed, Athletics I enjoyed, even cross country running round the playing fields, across Werneth Golf course onto Coalpit Lane and back to the school.
Football, forget it, my mum and dad bought me a pair of football boots in the first year which I am sure were intended to be used up to and including the fifth year, it was like wearing a pair of coal barges on your feet, they were that big, they made running for, and kicking a ball impossible, it put me off football for life and I still have no interest in football whatsoever (sorry Colin).
I apologise to any teachers I may have omitted.
So having progressed through five years of learning, the time came in 1964 for the dreaded G.C.E. `s, the truth of what had sunk in to our tiny little brains would be revealed.
Martin Waller and myself had already been to Dronsfield Bros on King Street, for interviews, and had been promised apprentiships, in the Drawing Office, subject to favourable GCE results, apparently they had rung the Tech and asked Gog if there were 2 likely candidates, fortunately he suggested Martin and myself.
I managed to gain six “O Levels”, Maths, English, Physics, Chemistry, Technical Drawing and Metalwork, which secured my place at Dronfields.
Goodbye school, here comes real life.
To be continued------