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I started by pinching some quotes from Friends Re-united, I have added photos and will add your memories as I get them!  Remember that memories are recollections they are not 'the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth'.  When we were boys the saying: 'little boys should be seen and not heard' was accepted, as was the readiness to inflict and the belief that one should accept corporal punishment.  For a negative perception of life at WGS read a 'C streamers view'     Changes in the staff of WGS 1962-1974.

It wouldn't take a genius to identify the master in the cartoon on the right even if a clue hadn't been kindly provided by Roy Pettit.  Whilst I have some comments on Spike on this page,  and elsewhere, the best are in an un-official site which primarily deals with WGS after we left the school

Can any of you remember the names of the favourite weapons of torture?    Who had Smink?   Can anyone remember the name of the teacher who became so fed up with my B stream class that towards the end of the lesson he stated something like - all those I haven't yet slippered come out to the front (It was a French teacher, surely not Danny Burrell?? ...)!

Please check the staff identifications below.  The first row of pictures obtained from www.wellingboroughgrammarschool.co.uk/.  Of the remainder, all but  Danny Burrell, and the un-named teachers (1955 panorama), were taken from the  Panoramic picture of 1958.

Information on Earlier Teachers:  Jeff Butterfield.   T.Cook

Teachers Joining the School:  No photos of the teacher
1956-57   J R Hollister, J A Stratfold.
1957-58   J L Greenwood, C McCall, G E Barker.
P J Delmon, J K Halliwell, P A J Pettit, E A Pritchard,
1959-60  P D J Johnson,G T Ridge, C F Taylor,A J B Tussler,
                R H Templar

1960-61  A Bantoft,
R Bentley, S W Brown, P Gillibrand, R Miles,
               A R Chesters,
R J Shaw.
A J L Alden.

Teachers Leaving the School:
1956-57     G W Cooksey.
1957-58     B R Burrell, T B J Mardell, P A Goodman, J R Hollister.
1958-59     M J Gray, D J Riach, A E Stratfold.
1959-60     J L Greenwood, P J Delmon, C McCall.
1960-61     E P Butcher, G B Stanley, P D J Johnson.
1961-62     B J P Tompkins, R E Knight.

For List of teachers and changes between 1955 and 1962
Click here

Pictures on right copied from unofficial WGS Site:





Bunny Warren


Brett Tussler
1955 Staff incl':
1957 Staff incl':
Help me to  discover pictures

Jock '58

Ernie Bryan '55
Recent pic of Ernie

Unknown '58

Nora Bavin

Cloddy Barker

Danny Burrell


Johnny Butler

Ivor Cheale

Geoff Cooksey

Jake Dunning

Bennie Goodman

Mr. Gray



Father Holmes

Ernie Huddart

Johnny Hyde

Spike Jackson

Mr. Knight

Gus Leftwich

Mr Mardell?

Mr. Parsons

Angus McCall



Eddie Phillips



Rocky Riach

Tony Sparrow


Jasper Stratfold

Tony Sulch

Buzz Temple


Charlie Ward

Beerie Ward

Harold Wrenn

Tussler was called Brett during my period, Stratfold was Jasper, Riach was Rocky, Pritchard was Lonnie, McAll was Angus   Neil Sinclair (1958).

Cloddy Barker





Nora Bavin


School Secretary



Danny Burrell


 French Teacher

SMINK (Slipper)


Jeff Butterfield.


Games & PE



Hobo Cooke





Ivor Cheale




Trips Abroad

Jake Dunning




Scouts   TocH

Sam Harris










Father Holmes





Ernie Huddart





Johnny Hyde





Spike Jackson



Twanker & George  (Cane)


R.  Knight





Gus Leftwich





Tinbum Nicholas


Dep. Head / Latin



Sparky Pfaff





Dr P.A.J. Pettit

Eddie Phillips




Puppet Society


Tony Sparrow















David Tall





Chunky Pine


 Physics (games/PE)

Bunsen Tubing

 Square Dancing!

Buzz Temple





Beerie Ward





Charlie Ward




Trips Abroad

Mr Wintersgill







Second Headteacher



Harold Wrenn


3rd Headteacher

When started at WGS


Jake Dunning                           Scouts         TocH           negative perception                 Home
Read the description of Jake in the following:   
Recollections 1946-1951

I read with interest the piece on Jake Dunning written by David Payne (See recollections above).

I think it was in 1945 that Jake returned from service in the RAF. We had been told for weeks ahead to look out!! The staff made us feel that this man must be a colossus and when we first beheld him we couldn't understand - quite diminutive, bespectacled and ordinary. However, we soon realised what the man was capable of when we were taught by him. He had so much influence that I think 70 percent of us on the Arts side opted for Geography in the 6th Form. He must have had a tremendous influence on me because I read Geography at Oxford and happily taught the subject at school for 39 years.

I recall how he would not allow you to pick up your pen while he was explaining and then he would allow limited time for you to make your own notes and diagrams. One Monday he swept in to a small room, next to the stairs down to the dining hall, used for 6th Form teaching, asked each one of us for our homework but got none, having heard all sorts of excuses. Then he picked up his maps and other teaching aids and exited as he said 'Well, if you cant do my work, I cant be bothered to teach you.'

In January 1948 I had peritonitis and missed a whole term of my A level course. I lived at Little Harrowden and Jake came out to my home one afternoon every week to teach me, and I am so indebted to him.

A wonderful man. Just a few thoughts, Geoff. Coles (1942)

A great geography teacher who kept us on our toes but still imparted an enthusiasm for his subject.
He was also rumoured to have a strong influence on the running of the school.
   Tim Thompson (1961)

No one in their right mind crossed Jake - I remember seeing him tear a boy's exercise book in half  because he was disgusted with the work presented.  He then gave the lad another book and told him to enter it properly.  He held tracing paper up to the light and if the lines on each side didn't coincide you were in trouble.  Yet, as a member of Toc H, I liked Jake he used his car to help us collect jumble for our annual sale (Coats 2/-, babies clothes were higher priced than children's) and used classes of boys as his printing press to write out jumble requests to slip through letter boxes.  (Graham Tall, 1955)

Jake Dunning wasn't one of my favourite teachers. I could never understand why we had to rush from PE to Geography for one of his tests and why I could only manage to arrive there in time for question 9. As result of my tardiness I was given a detention. I was the only detainee that evening and, having set me my task, Jake left the room. After about 20 minutes I needed a pee but to my amazement and anger, Jake had locked the classroom door. My feelings were really confused as my mind flipped between physical necessity and a sense of outrage that he had not trusted me to stay in the room and fulfil my detention.

I am amazed that this 46 year old incident can still raise such a strong emotion and it indelibly colours my view of a man who, to many, was an inspiration.   Pete Jackson (1955)



 His home class room was the in the first prefab closest to the bike sheds (right hand side as you entered the prefab). His specialty, besides teaching languages, was throwing the board duster (no doubt up with the best on masters’ sports day). Inattentive pupils were the sudden recipients of a high velocity missile aimed at some part of their upper body. On this particular occasion the dosing pupil was seated by the window on the right hand side of the class facing JKH, dreaming on the aspect of the Elysian Fields just outside the window (actually a bit of a wilderness). The target was identified, the missile placed in the launch pad and fired. A tricky shot given the angle and distance but not unduly difficult for an experienced hand. The aim was a little high but would have successfully impacted the cranium had not the intended recipient slumped forward even further in his seat. The missile exited through the glass with considerable terminal velocity and noise into the Elysian Fields leaving a large hole, a suddenly awake pupil and a class trying very hard not to laugh too loudly.

Nothing was said on our return to the classroom on the next day. The window had been replaced, although I would have liked to have heard Jock’s comments as he mended it. Subsequently it did seem that JKH’s missile serves were more down the center than aimed to the side lines so perhaps there had been a mention of the cost of window repairs, but we will never know.  Michael Eakins (1957)


Johnny Hyde  A pupil, but taught at WGS he was also the first , if not only, schoolboy ever to play rugby for England.   The statue is of the tackle on the left.  It transfixed Tubby Clayton (of Toc H) fame who asked Cecil Thomas (CT on old sixpenny coins) to make him a copy.  The statue was subsequently presented to the school.


Originally a boy at the school



Tinbum Nicholas

I can't remember what we called Nicholas but, as well as being deputy head, he was a key Rugby at school and instrumental in so many of our boys playing for the Saints. He always addressed us as O. 'Pray continue reading O Cook,', etc  John Cook (1947)


Mr. Nicholas:  I think "tin bum" must have followed the "nickel arse" we used in my time until 1948.  Alan Rudd (1943 to 1948)


If you had Tinbum for Latin you'll remember "Most iniquitous, most reprehensible, Page 64!" Graham.Walden (195?)


Dr. P. A. J. Pettit

 Dr. Philip Pettit was a local lad, hailing from Syresham. He arrived at WGS around 1958 to be Head of the History department joining the long established Dr. “Spike” Jackson in the doctorate set. He was somewhat unusual as a master in that he had strong political views which came out sometimes in class. He could be roused to vehemently defend the United Nations as an organization against those boys who proclaimed that it was useless (less out of conviction and more as a wind-up). He stood as the Liberal candidate for Wellingborough in the 1964 general election and came in third with 7,227 votes (15.6%). This strong showing may well have influenced the result as the seat was gained by Labour with a majority of only 47. He also continued his research and published “The Royal Forests of Northamptonshire. A Study of Their Economy 1558 – 1714” in 1968.  He seemed to be a person who would get on in life and so it is not much of a surprise that his time at WGS was relatively brief.

 He left WGS in about 1965 and he became Headmaster of Maidstone Grammar School in 1972 for a period of 20 years after short stints as Head of History at Ecclesfield Grammar  School and Principal of St John’s College, Jos, in Nigeria.        Michael Eakins (1957)

Obituary of MadPhil Pettit:   Supplied by Michael Eakins

 PHILIP PETTIT,   1932-2002,  Headmaster,   Maidstone Grammar School,  1972-1992

 Philip Arthur John Pettit was born at Syresham in Northamptonshire in 1932. He went to Magdalen College School, Brackley, and then to Magdalen Colllege, Oxford. There he took First Class honours in Modern History and gained his doctorate for his thesis on the forest laws of Northamptonshire in the Seventeeth Century. MA DPhil later became the nickname of which he was fond, Mad Phil.

 Dr Pettit went on to be Head of History at Wellingborough and Ecclesfield Grammar Schools before becoming Principal of St John’s College, Jos, in Nigeria in the aftermath of the Civil War. There, as well as a teacher and administrator, he was ‘building contractor, catering supervisor, boarders’ house master… able to suspect – if not to diagnose - such rampant diseases as malaria, infectious hepatitis, meningitis and cholera’. This was an excellent preparation for his twenty years as Headmaster of Maidstone Grammar School from August 1972. It was a distinctive and distinguished twenty years which Dr Pettit presided over. Though the Tories had won the 1970 election, grammar schools were not much loved. The 11 Plus was abolished and the Thameside scheme introduced. High schools, as they became known, handed over their brightest pupils at thirteen through ‘guided parental choice’. The return of Labour in 1974 meant planning, if the worst came to the worst, to become a Sixth Form college. In 1979 Mrs Thatcher’s long reign began, grammar schools were safe for the duration, and the new Sixth Form block was built anyway.

 Dr Pettit retired just before the re-introduction of the 11 Plus and returned to Syresham in 1992. He died there earlier this year in the cottage where he was born. In his last years, he vigorously pursued his many interests, including local history, local politics and Methodist lay preaching.

He often visited us and maintained a keen interest in the school, serving as President of the Old Maidstonian Society during our 450th Anniversary year. He will be greatly missed by his family, as well as his many friends, ex-colleagues and students.    Maidstonian 2002

 Eddie Philips                               Puppet Society      

Super chap. He influenced me greatly in art and gave me a love of gothic architecture. He ran the puppet club and was a very sincere man. he had a fabulous handwriting style , italic.   Norman Keech  (1963)

To think I shall never again be invited by my favourite Art master, Eddie Phillips???? to stand in the middle of it for an hour or so to reflect on my recent misdemeanour and to ponder on the progress of my academic career. 

1.         How clever had I been to get sent out from what I considered was a useless art lesson?

2.         How not so clever had I been to choose the early stages of a double lesson so that I had to stand there feeling an absolute prat whilst the rest of the school wandered by sniggering from 15 paces as they changed classes ?

3.         How bloody stupid had I been to get sent out on a b..... cold November morning instead of a nice summers day ?

4.         At least I know how a rain gauge works.           David Spencer (1955):

 P.S. I am still undecided whether it was the loss of that hour's tuition, my lack of interest in the subject or my inability to paint or draw that caused me to comfortably fail my Art 'O' level.

I must not fool around in Art class.

I must not fool around in Art class.

I must not fool around in Art class.

I must not fool around in Art class. etc. etc. etc.

Ah, but David, did you not realise that Eddie thought we understood his instructions!  I remember after doing a painting, he told me off for drawing the outline of everybody before shading them in.  I never understood his criticism, after all Frank Hampson always had outlines around his Dan Dare characters and, what was good enough for Digby, was certainly good enough for me.    Graham Tall (1955)

 Eddie Phillips used to tell us his war stories about advancing up Italy, and how they had to chop down Olive trees for firewood to keep warm despite the locals crying that they took years to come to fruit after they were planted. Funny how those little things stick in the memory, just his little personal example of the futility of war I guess.

All grist to the mill of volume 2…………………………………….. Nick Tompkins  (1969-75)


Ivor Cheale                   Trips Abroad
Legend has it that he came in once with a stinking cold and said "I've a chill" - henceforth to be known as Ivor Cheale.  I recall that at certain times of the year his maths lessons began with telling us to work through all the examples on pages X to Y, while he sat there working on the details of the next foreign holiday.
    Paul Robinson (1955)

Ivor taught Engineering Drawing and, I believe, Russian for a short time. I never had him,. but had some great time taking the *iss - " 'ere boy' "!   Richard Partridge (1972)

Charlie Ward               Trips Abroad 
Regularly went with the school parties abroad with Ivor Cheale.  A nice guy.

Charlie Ward taught me Algebra in the first, third and lower sixth forms.  He was infinitely patient, never got ruffled, and really helped me when I struggled.  To my knowledge he never used corporeal punishment.  He was, quite simply, one of the nicest of the masters.   David Pope (1956-1964).

Obituary by Ivor Cheale.

Gus Leftwich                   Sex education
Was so proud of the new biology lab (Cockcroft Laboratory) that he hated to see the wall marked in anyway. As a result, he  dabbed paint on any pencil mark/scuff etc. The result, by the end of the year the lab looked as if it had chicken pox - because his can of paint was a different shade than the original.       Graham Tall (1955)

Dear old Gus, bless him. Can you remember the times when the lab stools would be piled up at the back of the room while he was teaching, and everyone clinging to the benches to make it look as though we were still sitting?.  I also remember when we had a lesson in one of the pre-fabs and he stood at the door marking us in. He was rather confused when we arrived at the door again having gone out of the window and around the side.  Norman Keech  (1963)

Spike Jackson                     Vivid description of Lessons
Does anyone else remember Spike reading out stories he had written for boys comics (like Adventure. Rover, Hotspur and Wizard)?  Graham Tall  (1955)

A regret that schools today are increasingly lacking some of the characters on the staff who were so vivid and eccentric. I suppose 'Spike' stands head and shoulders in my memory - the goods, the fines, the glorious drama in one of the prefabs, an ability to wipe the board with the tail of his gown whilst remaining seated, the rusting Vauxhall Velox - and the English somewhere amongst all that!   Kevin Street (1963)

I've dozens of memories of Spike including the misfortune of being his namesake which apparently entitled me to 2 strokes from George when my less lucky classmates only received one. However, the most memorable was a story he told against himself, the images from which still make me chuckle.
Not long after the M1 had opened Spike decided to take his family for a ride on this exciting new road in his recently acquired Vauxhall. He had on some previous occasions suggested that his young brood were not always easily controlled and this proved to be one such time. Taken with the novelty of the journey and the vehicle, they delighted in rolling down the windows, sounding the horn, flashing the lights and generally creating a degree of mayhem which Alf found intolerable, so he stopped!   In the centre lane of the M1.
First period, Maths with Charlie Ward in Room 2. Jake and Ernie have just parked when Spike turns into the drive. Ernie has put his briefcase on the ground behind his car and is having a word with Jake. Spike seeks to park his car behind Ernie's but there is only a, relatively, small space into which to manoeuvre. So comical are these attempts that Maths is forgotten and even Ernie and Jake appear enthralled. Eventually success seems imminent when there is a shout from Ernie who rushes to the rear of his car but alas too late: Spike has crushed his case. 4B collapses into gales of laughter to be silenced by " Alright, joke over" from the wonderful Charlie "I think it's a record Mr. Pine" Ward.
If you were fortunate enough to have Spike in a period coinciding with any major horse race, you could guarantee his absence for a large chunk of that lesson.
I never saw him open his freestanding cupboard until in the 6th form he suddenly remembered that he might have some relevant notes on Thompson's "Winter" therein. After some difficulty with the lock he triumphantly flung wide the doors only to be deluged with paper. He took one look at the resulting chaos and decided to rely on his memory.
A wonderful man.
                   Pete Jackson (1955)

Memories of Spike getting us to mark each other's books. "At the sound of the tocsin pass your books to the boy to you left".   Norman Keech   (1966)

Anyone else remember his habit of awarding "goods" to pupils for anything and everything. I seem to remember that the pupil who had accumulated the most goods by the end of term got a prize. Great days!   Tim Kearsley (1973)

I am having a hard time remembering much about Spike. I had him only in the first form and that was far too intimidating to remember much of anything. I went the science and (later) the engineering route.  David Cooper (1951 to 1957)

It could be said that he tort us to deligate but not to spel.   Richard Adkins (1950-57)


Anthony Sparrow     

As others have mentioned it was Beery Ward that taught us to play rugby and then Tony Sparrow who gave us the special coaching that made the 1st XV of '66 and '67 what it was - brilliant! Still remember the pre-sixth form interview with Harry when he uttered those immortal words " Shurville, I am only letting you into the 6th form because Mr.Sparrow wants you for the first fifteen " to which I could only reply  " Thankyou sir ". Considering what I have done since it was a pity I never got round to telling Tony what he had done for me. Keith Shurville (1960)

Thoroughly enjoyed my time at W.G.S, my most enjoyable rugby memories are also of that era. Tony Sparrow remains my hero I'm only sad that he is not around for me to tell him. At 54 I am proud to say I am still playing although only on soft ground!   Dave Toseland 1959

For a longer comment on Mr.Sparrow and Rugby, click on:  Rugby

A play took place at the Congregational Church's Salem Hall and Mr. Sparrow was the murderer!

Buzz Temple   Died 11th October 2006

I realise now that he must have drummed a fair bit of French into me, since I recently took an evening class in French. I was amazed at how much vocab and grammar had laid dormant in the brain for 45-50 years. But he upset me a little bit by awarding me the nickname of 'Les Phares' (the headlights) because I wore glasses. He upset me a lot more by catching me and ANO sneaking round the streets along the back of the school as a shortcut to avoid the dreaded 5 mile run. We ended up doing 5 miles round the playing field after school. At the time he was out driving his new car, a Citroen DS (a lovely car, and what else would you expect from the French master).    Paul Robinson (1955)

David Tall
I think it was during one of your brother's chemistry lessons that something went bang and showered the lab with fuming Nitric acid.
My school blazer, lying on a vacant bench, had a small hole in its sleeve from then on! Health and Safety??!!!! 
Bob Buckler (1957)

Beerie Ward
I also remember the morning assembly where Beery Ward put his pipe in his pocket without putting it out properly and his pocket started to smoke.    Adrian Coombes (1967)


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