Modern comprehensive schools often have 70+ staff who teach in them on a regular basis. Hathershaw Tech during our time had no more than 420 pupils and so required fewer staff. Being a Grammar School, there was a Ladies’ Staff Room at the Girls’ End and a Men’s Staff Room at the Boys’ End. The two genders didn’t mix during the school day and the only time they came together was at a staff meeting. Older members of the female staff were always addressed by male teachers as ‘Mrs . . .’ or ‘Miss . . .' never by their Christian name.
As you would expect, the Ladies’ Staff Room had tablecloths, cushions, plants and was spotlessly tidy whilst the Men’s’ Staff Room resembled an air-raid shelter that had received a direct hit! I know this because in the Third Year, Keith Royales and I were responsible for delivering and collecting the dinner trolley to this very room. You had to knock on the door and wait until someone came; otherwise you ran the risk of being hit by a dart heading for the dartboard behind the staffroom door.
So who were the staff of HTHS during our time?
The Headmaster was Charles Clifford Bell (nicknamed Charlie, Ding-Dong, CCB or C2B). He lived in an office below the Boys’ Division Room, protected and cushioned by the school secretary, Mrs Lillian Sykes. She had been a friend of my father’s when they were teenagers and so she was always kind to me. During lessons, Charlie would emerge from his room and go walkabout around his school, often calling in the Science Prep Room for a natter and a smoke. Sometimes when he was bored, he would send for Nigel Marland to talk to about some aspect of school.
He had been to Goldsmith’s Training College in London, one of the most prestigious teacher-training colleges in the country and during his time there had learned how to produce the neatest, best blackboard writing I have ever seen. Whilst at Goldsmiths, he was offered the part of Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, solely on the basis he was a northerner and therefore had a funny accent, suitable for the brashest workman in Shakespeare’s comedy. He declined the part, pointing the director to another Oldhamer at Goldsmiths, Norman Sutcliffe (himself a headmaster in Oldham in later years) who, he claimed, had a broader accent and was much better suited to playing the fool! Norman Sutcliffe, when he returned to teach in Oldham became an acting stalwart for many productions of the Lyceum Players, in whose theatre we are gathering for our re-union. Like Mr Sutcliffe, Charlie was a keen cricketer, playing for Werneth and it is said, had he applied himself, he could easily have played for Lancashire.
Another skill he had was an excellence at snooker and billiards. Apparently Jock Collister and Nori Clegg had taken a party to Castleshaw camp and Nori had beaten everyone at snooker. When Charlie came on a visit to see how they were getting on, Nori challenged him to a game and Charlie soundly thrashed him!
All these were qualities I learned about later. To me, he was the Headmaster presiding over an excellent school. He was adept at choosing the right staff to teach his pupils and his only instruction to them was to ‘get exam results’. He wanted Hathershaw to be up there on a par with any other grammar school. When he introduced Speech Day in 1960, he presided in a dinner jacket and black bow tie whilst the rest of his staff wore gowns. I always thought that was very brave.
I was once reported by Miss Hufton, when I was in the Sixth Form, for smoking at the bus-stop at the bottom of Copsterhill Road. She wrongly identified Vinnie Waldron as the other smoker, when in fact Vince never smoked and the actual smokers were John Evans and Nigel Marland! Charlie sent for me and lectured me on the evils of smoking; on the propensity of younger members of staff to want to enforce rules rigorously and that I should have held my cigarette so as not to have been detected. He took one of his own cigarettes out to show me and then tore a long spill on paper to light it from his electric fire. “Here, sir, use my lighter” I said, passing it to him. It was only when he’d lit his own cigarette that he realised the impertinence of what I’d done and dismissed me without any punishment!
In modern schools, there is a body now called the Senior Management Team (SMT) which organise and run a school. It consists of the Head, the Deputy Heads, the Assistant Heads and sometime the Pastoral Team. Hathershaw didn’t have, didn’t need a SMT - they had CCB with Jim Mills as Senior Master and Jessie Moorhouse as Senior Mistress. When Miss Moorhouse retired, Mrs McPartland became Senior Mistress.
Jessie Moorhouse (nickname Minnie) was the daughter of a well-known and well-respected headteacher in Oldham. She read English at Manchester University and when she graduated, she went to Oxford to complete her teacher training. She taught at East Oldham High School (later Counthill) and came to Hathershaw at its opening in 1955 as Senior Mistress.
I was lucky enough to have Minnie for English Lit in the Fifth Year, when several boys gave up woodwork (a certain exams fail for me) for the joys of Eng Lit. She was an inspiring teacher and loved reading all the parts in the Shakespeare play we did as well as the selection of poetry. She read one poem, The Hand of Glory in a suitably serious voice and gave us the notes on it. She must have read a crit. of the poem that said it was mock Gothic and should be read in a ‘hammy’ way. Without saying anything to us about her previous rendition of the poem, she floated in one day and calmly read the poem in the new way. No-one dared point out the difference!
We had Eng Lit on Monday morning and you could tell when Jessie had a headache - we had to learn great chunks of Shakespeare or The Lady of Shallot. She was always kind to the boys in her Lit set, kinder than to the girls. I remember Jane Coban asking if she could fill her pen from one of the large bottles of Stephens ink that were in each classroom. Jessie gave permission and as Jane sat down she said “Ta, Miss.” “Ta! Ta!” erupted Jessie, “With impoverished language skills like that, you’ll only be fit for putting cherries on cakes at Park Cake Bakeries!” Jane, being blonde, blushed a deep red and I noted that language could be used to terrorise people!
I visited Miss Moorhouse when she retired and when she was eventually confined to a nursing home on Lees Road. I went a couple of times to visit. It was harrowing! Jessie has been so proficient with language had had such a distinctive, not to say theatrical voice. In the home she would suddenly break off into incomprehensible drivel that it was heartbreaking to hear. On the funny side, one of the ladies who looked after her was a regular member of our audience at the Lyceum Theatre and she knew me.
The first time I arrived to visit Miss Moorhouse, this Lyceum lady met me and said “Hello Mr. Russell, who have you come to see?” I told her and she said, “Just a moment, I’ll see if she’s ready” and went into the residents’ lounge. I could hear her lecturing Miss Moorhouse “Jessie, Jessie, sit up straight. You’re very lucky today, Mister Russell has come to visit you!” Talk about role reversal!
Jim Mills (nickname Nat, Tan (Nat reversed), Jungle Jim) taught Physics throughout out our time at Hathershaw. We had him in 1A in the Dining Hall and I remember he was absent for a whole term doing something at Manchester University with the Sixth Form Science set. He picked us up again in the Third or Fourth Year and prepared us for Physics ‘O’ level, which I managed to pass!
He was a keen photographer and in September 1959, when we arrived at Hathershaw, the walls of the corridor down to the PE block were lined with photographs of low reservoirs around Oldham. If you remember it was a truly Indian Summer that lasted well into late October. He frequently went on school trips abroad, to London, and hiking in Wales and many of the photographs we have on display for our re-union are from his albums. He was famed for his pocket watch and for always eating apples at lunchtime. But my abiding memory was having sex lessons with him in the labs during lunchtime in our Third Year. He started by asking us “Why do dogs smell each other?” and by the end of our sex lessons, I still didn’t know! I think he was a very lonely man. When he had to retire, he would often drift back to Hathershaw to talk to people with whom he had worked. Along with Nigel Marland I went to his funeral and apart from Geoff Rayson and Harold Wareing, it was family only.
The Academic Departments
During our time at Hathershaw there were several changes in the English Department. The sour-faced Mrs Wellens was Head of English when we first arrived and mercifully in her remaining two years of teaching she never taught us. As 1A we were lining up outside Room 1 when she came out and barked “Which form are you?” Some brave soul answered “1A Miss.” And with a contemptuous curl of her sardonic lips, she said “Oh, so you’re 1A are you!” and marched off, leaving us feeling distinctly unwanted! She retired at the end of our Second Year to be replaced by ‘VAM’ - Vincent Alan McClelland, double MA, so Jessie Moorhouse told us. He was the first man I had seen in the flesh to wear a dickie-bow. A slightly plump figure, he had been in training for the Jesuits but had left over a disagreement as to the future of his vocation; he wanted to do Education but the Jesuits wanted him in the Overseas Mission fields. He had been Head of English at St Anselm’s secondary modern and now he moved up to a grammar school to widen his experience. Again he never taught us but was adored by the Sixth Form English set and proved an entertaining speaker at the Debating Society. He left at the end of our Third Year to go to Christ the King College in Liverpool, then on to become Professor of Education at Cork and later Hull university. He still lives in Yorkshire. He was succeeded by Kenny Wright (nickname, Wilbur) who came to us from Greenhill Grammar School. The boys at Greenhill told us he had been a prisoner-of-war of the Japanese, who had tortured him by suspending him from the ceiling by his hair; he hated the Japs, they told us and if anyone ever said ‘Kamikazi’ he would go wild and hit everyone in sight. No-one was keen to try this until, in a Sixth Form English Lit lesson, I dropped the word into an answer I was giving on Hamlet: I sat back and waited for the fireworks but all he said was “Good point, Russell.” It was hard to realise I was gullible!
Teaching in the English Department during our time at HTHS were Mrs Haughton, who taught me in 1A but who had left by the time we were in the Third Year, Miss Diane Simons, the needlework teacher and Miss Catherine Green the cookery teacher. In Miss Simons’ case, she fell back on the typical approach of the uninspired non-specialist allegedly teaching English: use a text book! All I remember doing with her was going through the exercise after exercise on the different types of adverbial clauses. She never taught it; I don’t for one minute think she understood it, but it kept us quiet and we had learned (sometimes painfully) not to ask questions or annoy teachers!
Miss Green was different. Although she too taught a practical subject, she was an active member of the Lyceum Literary Society, which met weekly to study novels, plays, poetry, rising to be the Chairman of that learned society before she left Oldham to marry her sweetheart, Mr Micklesfield, a director of Everton football club and start a new married life in Merseyside. We made our first visit to the Library Theatre with Miss Green, to see Julius Caesar and she was inspired enough to let us act out the assassination scene on the stage. She was also kind enough to take six of us boys to learn the rudiments of cookery on a Monday night after school. We made Cornish pasties, a Victoria sandwich and a Christmas cake, which we iced and decorated. She was a teacher who was deeply interested in her pupils and I very much enjoyed having her as a teacher.
The Maths Department
I cannot say that Maths was by any stroke of the imagination a favourite subject: very much the opposite. I found it hard; I found the teaching (with the exception of Mr Lamb’s enthusiasm) to be non-existent. A new topic was introduced; we were shown one, possibly two examples on the board and then it was “Do exercise 43, 44, 45 and 46-50 for homework.” The mathematically bright did just that; the partially competent learned after a few mistake but the mathematically incompetent, like me, floundered. There was no attempt to take you through slowly and individually, to actually teach you maths. If you got it, that was fine; if you didn’t, that was your fault and your look-out. When I failed GCE Maths with a miserable grade 9 (grade 6 and above were the pass levels), Mr Bell called me into his office and said “When it comes to Maths, Russell, you’re a complete woodhead so you’ll never be allowed to take it again.” I don’t think he appreciated my heartfelt gratitude as I said, “Oh thank you sir!”
The Head of Maths during our time was Bert Fielding (nickname Brickbasher, Bricker) but we had to wait until we were in the Fifth Year before he deigned to teach us. He would loll at his desk, extend the board compass and scrawl figures on the blackboard. I once saw him coming out of the Oldham Central library after I had left and he was positively enthusiastic in his greeting! He died last year. His second-in-department was Ron Healey (nicknamed Nev) who had married Miss Kretchmer the PE mistress the year before we arrived. They are living in Beaumaris, Anglesey but Mr Healey does not enjoy good health. Perhaps the maths teacher most people remember is Keith Lamb (nickname Sam Lamb) and he taught me maths for my first three years. He had come from Clarkesfield Secondary Modern, headhunted by Bert Fielding who thought him a good maths teacher. He was certainly an enthusiastic teacher but also a strong disciplinarian, as I know to my cost. He whacked Colin Waldron with ‘Henry’, the board ruler and I muttered under my breath, “Oh I felt that for you Wally!” “You will feel it Russell!“ said Mr Lamb, “Come out here!” and I was duly ‘henried’ Mr Lamb was keen on exercise books being neat and tidy and he once looked at our English books in the Second Year. I got strapped on both hands for what a Maths teacher had decided was untidy English work! When I got my book back from Miss Simons, it said ‘Good work. Well done.’ We had a student teacher when we were in the Third Year, a Mr Palmer, who taught us maths. He explained what we were going to do, showed us how to do it and then said, “If anyone has a problem, put up your hand and I’ll come to you.” Pretty soon we had him dashing all over the classroom and this was great fun. Then Mr Lamb came in and we reverted back to docile, passive children. But generally Mr Lamb was a teacher who took great care and paid attention to each of his pupils and I liked him for that.
The History Department
Mrs Kathleen McPartland (nickname Mrs McP and Tizzie) was the Head of History and she lived in Room 6. I first encountered her in the Fourth Year as she began the syllabus for GCE History with us. Her method of teaching was typical of the time - dictated notes which then had to be copied up neatly for homework. When I began the A level History course, the method was exactly the same but whoever was responsible for the timetable during our Upper Sixth, had the crass idea of us having History periods 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7. You can see from my notes where I was dozing off after being dictated to for a whole morning and most of the afternoon. Mrs McP had a boring, droning dictation voice which readily encouraged dozing off but when she wasn’t dictating but rather teaching, she was very interesting. She gave me a real love of History and the rigour with which to write about it. Forty-five years later when I called to see her, she told me she waited with interest for my essays to be handed in because she so much enjoyed reading them; indeed she still had some of them! What a pity she never told me when I was writing them, it might have given me some encouragement. But then again, that wasn’t the grammar school style to give praise! Mrs McP died a couple of years ago.
There were other splendid History teachers during my time at HTHS. We had Geoff Rayson for the first three years and he was a splendid teacher. He made the Past come alive for me, especially Ancient Egypt and the Reformation. He was one of the few to take a real interest in pupils and he gave up a Saturday morning in May 1960 to take half a dozen of us to Manchester Museum to see the large Egyptology section and as a result, I’ve visited the Museum on a regular basis. He also bought balsa wood etc out of his own pocket to ensure the newly-founded History Club could have something to do/build when we met weekly after school. I remember in the Third Year he asked me whether I’d like to walk the Roman road at Littleborough,so I met him in Oldham; we went out on the bus and had an enjoyable day walking the road, even though it rained. You wouldn’t be able to do that as a history teacher today: you would have had to have completed a risk assessment form and going off with just one pupil would be definitely suspect! Who says times have changed for the better?
Geoff Rayson also took us hiking in Wales during the Whit holidays and even after he’d left, he joined us ‘a wandering in Wales’ for the next two years. I was lucky to be in his form in the Third Year and on the day he left we were going to make a presentation to him. We had collected money and I had been sent out to buy a rather nice wallet for him. We had the wallet wrapped and a card signed by all his form. We were going to present these gifts to him after lunch. However on his last morning, all the boys who had opened their school reports in Nori Clegg’s metalwork room the day before were sent for and Mr Rayson promptly delivered six of the best on our backsides! There were about 20 of us and I thought I’d go last, then he’d be tired! How wrong I was - I’m sure I got 7 and they all hurt like blazes! He showed no embarrassment in the afternoon when I presented him with his leaving present! I kept in contact with him over the years but now he is in a home, saddled with that most cruel of conditions, Alzheimer’s.
Geoff Rayson was succeeded by an old boy of HTHS, Jim Chandley, a clever, smart young man who also taught us R.E. He only stayed a year and the only things I remember about him were that he was a Unitarian and he caused consternation when he asked Graham Sager to repeat the Lord’s Prayer in one lesson. Graham’s mind went blank but with much sotto voce prompting from those around him, he managed to do so. Chandley didn’t stay long enough to acquire a nickname and was succeeded by Ron Jackson, who again didn’t really receive a nickname. I have to say Ron was another inspiring teacher who taught us British Government in the Sixth Form and gained tremendous academic results for us. His approach to History was very different from Mrs McP’s. If she was ‘facts, facts, facts’ Ron’s view was ‘Yes, but look at other opinions’ of the same topic. He had just come from doing a Politics and Modern History degree at Manchester University and we benefited from this. History was never boring after Ron Jackson! He moved on to Poulton-le-Fylde training college a year after we’d left the Sixth Form and he now lives in the Southern Lakes and is in good health.
The Geography Department
Harold Wareing (nickname Jap) was Head of Geography throughout my time at Hathershaw and well beyond. A much feared teacher, we escaped his attention until the Third Year when he issued us with folders rather than exercise books and we began studying Australia. Jap’s method was simple - you analysed the states of Australia by climate, agriculture, mineral wealth, population, industry, commerce, all neat subheadings, “underlined only once, main headings underlined twice, and only with a ruler.” The effect was a stunningly neat method to revise for exams. Added to this were rolled-out maps that we coloured in to add to the beauty of the display. However whilst we had rolled-out maps, Harold would draw the state, country, whatever freehand on the board, and more excellent blackboard work I have never seen the equal of in 33 years of teaching. Whilst he could be a tyrant in the classroom, he accompanied Geoff Rayson and Jim Mills on our hiking trips, where he was almost human. He married an ex-pupil and they live now in Bourton-on-the-Water, in the Cotswolds. Alas in his mid-80s he is now very deaf and this has deprived him of one of his great loves, music.
The Religious Education Department
Mrs Irene Hines was the RE department for the first three years of my life at the Tech. Strangely I only remember doing RE for the first year and Mrs Hines was a saint. Towards the end of term, she would ask questions and write the answers on the board and tell us to copy them down. A week later we would have the Scripture exam, based on the previous week’s questions and so we all scored in the 90%s. If you showed an interest in the subject she would lend you books and talk about her subject. I remember we sat in alphabetical order, boys first and girls after. On the first lesson, she doled out the Authorised Version of the Bible and told us to turn to the first Book, Genesis and Les Andrews was told to begin reading; one verse per pupil.
Les read it in a measured manner but the next pupil was Andy Barlow, who had a terrible stammer, which he exaggerated, the third pupil read it at a machine-gun speed, the next a long, drawn-out reading and so we all played the game. That was the saint in Mrs Hines, she never shouted at us, admonished us or got angry. She merely said “Thank you all.” at the end of each lesson. We ought to have felt ashamed but we didn’t!
As I said, Jim Chandley took us in the forth year and then Emma Collins came (nickname Ma Collins and the Sacred Cow by the male staff!). She was Austrian and had taught at Fitton Hill Secondary Modern before coming to us. She was well-read and sought to open up Scripture into discussions about religion. She founded a branch of the Schools’ Christian Movement and during the summer holidays, Vincent Waldron and I went on practical workcamps with them for three years, to different parts of the country. Young students, local and international, like ourselves would go to help an aging community with the DIY jobs their church or village needed doing. The camps lasted a fortnight and I still have at least one good friend from those days. I suppose I had a lot to thank Mrs Collins for but she had a personality that precluded warmth and appreciation.
The Modern Languages Department
Although it was rumoured that some classes in the past had been taught French, when we got to HTHS, the modern language was German because that was the language of science, industry and technology. The Head of Department was Peter Halliwell (aka Slim Jim) but we didn’t have him until the Fifth Year. At the start of our fist lesson with him in Room 2 he began by addressing us in German! This was a novelty to us, as German had only been translating passages into English, learning declensions and verbs and mastering the Gothic script of Deutches Leben book 2. To have someone use the language in its natural form was quite unknown to us. Mr Halliwell also produced the school plays and did a splendid job. We knew he was theatrical because he used to come to school dressed in riding boots, a thick donkey jacket, gauntlets and a crash helmet with goggles all to ride a 50cc moped!
Other German teachers included Brian Foster (aka Taffy) who inhabited Room 10 and who used to disappear frequently into his stockroom whilst we were doing some exercises. You’d hear the click-click of his cigarette lighter and he’d quietly have a smoke whilst we worked. I don’t think Mr Bell got that far up the corridor to catch him! He was a quiet-spoken man, not to say a mumbler. On one occasion in the Fourth Year he told Roger Yearn to speak up whilst translating and quick as a flash, Roger replied “Pardon, sir, I didn’t quite catch that.”
The other member of the department was Ron Armitage (aka Ron, Barmy Armi). He taught first and second years, not only for German but also History and Geography. We had been told by older boys that the reason he was eccentric was that he’d been a bomber pilot in the War and had sadly dropped a bomb on his own home, killing his wife and child. One evening after school a lady stopped me on the corridor and asked me where he was. “Is he expecting you, Miss?” I asked “I hope so, I’m his wife.” She said. It was on the tip of my tongue to say “No you can’t be, she was killed by his bomb in the War” when it struck me I’d been gullible yet again. Stories about Ron are legendary and every one probable true! He called me Michael Greaves for the whole of my Second Year and I answered to it rather than correct him and get a clout round the ear!.
The Science Department
The Science Department was housed in a separate block, reached by the Girls’ End. As you entered, there was a cloakroom for hanging outdoor coats whilst lining up for the labs. The first lab was the Chemistry lab and housed the infamous Cyril Kerrigan (Killer) who prepared us with all the tender encouragement (“You piece of half-chewed corrugated tripe!”; “You see that spot on the wall? That was the last boy who only scored 7 out of ten in the weekly chemistry test!”) for ‘O’ level chemistry. In the two years we had him we were not allowed to conduct any practical experiments (“What and have someone blow up the lab? - no chance!”) but we watched Killer do countless experiments and we drew them up in rough, received dictated notes for two hours and copied them up in neat for homework, to hand in for marking the next day. The last lesson was a chanting lesson - “Turn to your notes on Iron. Begin!” and off we would chant, page after page of notes. As we got to the end, the ghostly voice from the Prep room would command, “Again!” and off we’d go. One time one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors dropped in and after witnessing our chanting skills, went into the Prep room to remonstrate, “Mr Kerrigan, this isn’t teaching.” Killer’s withering reply was “Charlie Bell told me to get results. This method gets results. I’ve never had a failure at ‘O’ level Chemistry. If you have a complaint, see the Head.” and dismissed him, whilst crying “Again!” to us.
We had a student teacher for six weeks of chemistry, John Evans, who later joined the staff. I remember he gave us notes on iron, we did no chanting and the lessons were relaxed by comparison with Killer’s. Once he’d left, Killer said “Take out your twelve inch rulers. Place them on the blue margin of all the pages of notes on iron. Rip them out and throw them in the bin. Get your rough pads out and we’ll now do iron properly!” What had taken John Evans six weeks to do, Killer dictated to us in three lessons! He was having no variation from his Authorised Version of Chemistry notes.
The next lab was the Physics lab and we had Jim Mills and Dennis Townley(aka Thumper Tom) in this room, as well as Jim Mills’ sex lessons for a week in the Third Year. Thumper Tom was well-named. We had him for Physics in the Third Year and it is in these lessons I learned to pray most earnestly, usually “Please Lord, don’t let him ask me for the answer because I don’t know it!” A wrong answer could result in him bounding off the dais, grabbing your arm and pummelling the top of it; it could result in a piece of chalk or the blackboard duster being flung at you! Mr Townley was later diagnosed with some sort of brain tumour and confined to a wheel chair. Mr Bell kept him on the staff as long as he could until he was no longer able to function and he died soon after.
The bottom lab was sometimes called the Mechanics lab because Ben Vaughan (aka Ben Yawn on account of his boring voice) taught mechanical physics there, evidenced by car and motorbike engines that our predecessors had stripped down and re-assembled. There were pullies and chains attached to the roof to facilitate this. I had him in the Second Year, when I had dropped down to Form 2. I have often told the story of how we sat round the front of his demonstration bench and he would close his eyes whilst talking at us. I thought I remembered Roger Yearn quietly moving his place from one side of the class to the other so when he pointed at where he thought Roger was, he was in fact at the other end! This has often brought a great laugh from audiences but Roger was never in Form 2, he was in 2A and didn’t have Ben Vaughan for Physics. Tricks of the mind? Or is it “Pity to let the facts get in the way of a good story?"
The Practical Subjects
For the girls, the two practical subjects they were taught occurred at the Girls’ Eng of the main teaching block, namely Cookery and Needlework. Mrs Hobson (nickname Ma Hobson) and Miss Green were responsible for the Cookery side whilst Miss Simons was the Needlework Mistress. In the First Year we had an ancient Needlework teacher, Miss Jenny Jones but not for any practical subject: she was the only member of staff available to supervise us in the Library for ‘Prep.’ No-one ever told us what ‘Prep’ was and as long as we were quiet, we could do what we wanted - homework, read a library book, read a subject book. She caught me eating an iced lolly at the bus stop at the Hathershaw terminus and told me I had no business to be eating in school uniform and she would report me. She never did, but I kept out of her way from then on.
She left to retire at the end of our First Year to be succeeded by Miss Simons. I have no recollection as to who taught Needlework after Miss Simons left. Perhaps someone will enlighten me?
For the boys, practical subjects numbered three; woodwork, metalwork and technical drawing.
We had George Gartside (aka GOG) for five years of technical drawing and all I remember from his lessons are “Grey lines are poor lines, boys.” I sat next to Les Andrews and copied his work. When it came to exams I was on my own and floundered. Mr Garside always wrote on my reports “Does well in term time. I do not understand why he doesn’t do better in exams.” If he’d let me sit next to Les in the exam, I would have done! He was a fair man. In the Fifth Year he was our form teacher and in September we had to pay 2/6 to something called ‘School Fund.’ All I remember is that once we’d paid, Charlie used to come in new suits in October. I didn’t know the tailors had October sales, I thought we’d bought him the suits with School Fund - again gullible, you see! In his form, I asked what this School Fund was used for. He looked at me and said, “Have you never been told?” and on hearing we hadn’t, the next day he produced a balance sheet that showed what it was spent on - flowers for Speech Night, refreshments for visiting sports’ teams etc. No mention of Charlie’s suits! Perhaps that came from a secret slush fund that Mrs Sykes creamed off!
Continue to Page Two
The Staff of Hathershaw Technical High School
during the period 1959 - 1966
By Mike Russell