Memories and More Memories of Wellingborough Grammar School
by David and Graham Tall
|Launch Photo's||Launch Transcript|
Memories of Wellingborough Grammar School £17.95 (to buy contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
By David and Graham Tall
Comments from the forewords:
... this excellent book about Wellingborough Grammar School ... Sir David Frost
You are about to read an all-embracing (I won’t say “comprehensive”) and thoroughly researched history of a highly successful Grammar School. Richard Temple (French Master)
What a wonderful, inspiring and truly magnificent reflection of WGS! Gentlemen, I stand in awe of your superb effort. Thank you for drawing together memories of a place, and its outstanding people, that has had a seriously profound impact on shaping my life. Arend Hoogervorst (Head Boy)
This will, I’m sure, be a very popular work and you should be congratulated on putting it together. Graham Sharp
I received this at 11.30 pm, and what do I do but get hooked on browsing through it till the early hours of the morning! What a masterpiece – I will find time to read it much more thoroughly. Paul Robinson
A super book – please let me know when I can buy a copy (signed by the authors!). Chris Talbot
Book looks excellent, congratulations to you both. I assume you will be letting us all know when it is out and how to get hold of a copy! Nick Tompkins
The publication is very impressive, so congratulations to you both on a task which, although no doubt giving you both a great deal of pleasure, is also a finished work which reflects not only your dedication, but also your love of a school which has meant so much to so many people. Peter Godfrey
What an excellent book, I can’t wait to have a copy. I regret not having contributed more information on the photo club. I have been looking for trick photos that I did of Bill Holmes in the Fleming Lab standing on a soap box entwined with various bits of apparatus and of our dear friend RVS with a woman’s body peeling potatoes. I will keep on looking for these pictures in case you want them for a sequel. Richard Adkins
Graham Tall and his brother David have written a very interesting book, Memories of Wellingborough Grammar School, over 350 pages long. It is an enjoyable book with many stories/anecdotes from former pupils. I am sure we will all enjoy it! Pedro Howes
Post Publication Feedback and Comments on Book Launch
I have yet to get down to a serious read because at the moment I am rather like a child at Christmas wanting to open all the parcels of goodies, in this case chapters, to find the contents as quickly as possible,
I must say it is a splendid tome and has rekindled so many memories of WGS especially when I see photographs of some of the earlier members of staff who were at the school in my days as a pupil and of course many still there when I joined the staff. It was this that was the secret of the school’s success, a solid core of excellent staff with few comings and goings. Sincerely, John Hyde (40s and Master)
Hi Graham...........Brilliant launch......superb book..my pal wants a copy..how do we get one? I've thought of loads more stories so when you are ready for the next book let me know!!! Regards Roger Brown
Thanks for the invitation on Saturday, it was great to see you in the flesh! What a SPLENDID turnout as Beery Ward would say. I am 1/4 way through book already, fascinating All the best Richard Houghton
Many thanks for the amazing efforts of you and your brother, (and ladies), that made Saturday so enjoyable. Best regards Richard Adkins
I am still reeling from the fantastic build up and reception I received at the launch. Thank you for a really special day to remember.
The whole event seemed to go really well. Its good to see that some parts of the school still have that smell of fear in the corridors, but it is slowly being eroded, and building on the quad is pure sacrilege.
I’m proud to be associated with the book and hope it sells out. It will keep me in reading material right up to Christmas. Thank you for the book and the recognition. Looking forward to the sequel….. Best regards Paul Titcomb Paul's Nostalgia site: www.wellingboroughgrammarschool.co.uk
I'm halfway through the book - it's excellent. It really gives you a taste for the school and it has been fascinating to learn about my grandfather's time there. Edward Wrenn (Harold's grandson)
Wow - that was a great little get together on Saturday. Have thoroughly 'browsed' the book at this stage and am very impressed - congratulations and well done. John Maddock.
Book launch went beyond expectations!!! There must have been at least 200 people - mostly ex pupils from all years past!! Everyone went around the school - into all the old nooks and crannies - nostalgia ran riot - some superb pictures reproduced by David and Graham and many younger members of the Tall family!! Bruce Liddington added to the occasion with a very witty opening gambit - David and Graham presented various helpers with a signed copy of the Book and added to the occasion with more wit and a bit of cheek!!! Ricky Wrenn gave a moving insight into his father's thoughts and background - and said how proud he would have been at the thought of the Book! Geoff Cooksey added his bit of wisdom to the occasion - what with his chat with David Frost and all that!!! Don "Rocky" Riach was there enjoying the occasion and the idolatory. In all a super day enjoyed by many more people than we could ever imagined!! John Garley (1952)
Great occasion yesterday - I really enjoyed it, and the book of course. Geoff Coles
I was delighted to attend the launch yesterday with my good lady and I can say that everything you arranged was first class. I met so many lad's from years ago and one I had not seen since leaving WGS. For your good selves I think you have undertaken a very good thing and I am pleased to have assisted. When I left the WGS I did go back to school on Saturday's for Rugby and apart from using the means of getting ready for Rugby and a wash afterwards, that is how I saw the school. I was pleased to see how it had changed. I was pleased that many of the boys came to the Saturday launch and enjoyed it as much as we did. I believe that you both worked hard to produce a great book of interest. Many thanks to you both. Keith Gennis.1940s
An absolutely wonderful afternoon! A just reward, for all the work you and Graham have done. It takes special people to see a project like ‘The Book’ through to the end so quickly and with such style. You motivated us to contribute and you researched with a diligence that I can only marvel at. On top of that you used your skills and knowledge in computers and publishing to achieve “The Right True End” (as Stan Barstow would have put it.) CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!! David Wilson 1952
I would just like to say on behalf of everyone in the Jackson family how grateful we are for the wonderful things said about my Grandad, there was so many touching comments and especially the last comment which revealed a side of my Grandad I never got the opportunity to see for myself (I was just eight when he passed). My aunt Alice bought the book to my attention a week ago and since then I have pushed my dad to borrow my Grandma's copy so I can have a quick flick through, and I just really wanted to let you know how happy it's made my aunt Alice and Betty, my Dad, me and of course my Grandma Congratulations to you and to David Tall, it certainly is a success. Kate Jackson. (Spike's granddaughter)
Just a quick line to congratulate you on a great turn out for the book launch. Thanks too for the thought with signed copy it was much appreciated. Sue wants to congratulate you also on the beautiful new addition to your family, what a little smasher ! Hope you make mega sales and congrats once more. Roy Pettit 1955
Thanks for everything. It was a real delight on Saturday to be with old friends again and of coursr there was plenty of time to read the book on the train journey home. Had an interesting find on Monday. I know you put in the back cover photo to show your tired father and mother at prize giving but what i saw courtesy of a magnifying glass is that immediately behind them in the white coat is my mother! What with the Overstone connection it made some sense that they would choose to sit near each other. I'll keep re-reading to see if there are any more hidden treasures. Regards to all, Barry Ashley Clark (1952)
A Cry from the heart:
Graham, I have to send you this note to describe how I think I felt over last Saturday, because I am not sure even now how I do feel, and maybe someone else who
was there can help me think it through.
Firstly, I must make it crystal clear to you 2 gentlemen, that the occasion itself was excellent, and the plaudits you and your brother received were more than justified, and I would like to add my own personal congratulations on a marvellous book, and a superbly organized event.
The problem I have is purely in my head, and it started early in the week, when I gradually became quite nervous about going to the launch, not sure why, perhaps
the thought of seeing faces that had been long gone for 42 years, and although I was meeting one old classmate there for sure, Malcolm Rash, whom I had met and had a drink with a couple of years ago, the thought of others
being there caused me to hesitate, and even to mail you to see what dress code if any would apply.
I drove into the yard initially, just as I used to when in the Lower 6th on my B.S.A. 250 back in 1963/4………..the bike sheds were still there…………. the outside toilet block where Geoff Billet threatened to “beat-me up with his bike-chain “………… the steps down to the dining room where Ernie & Jock used to dish out the milk………..the tuck-shop window………...this is great I thought, minimum changes !!
I then turned the car around and parked out the front, where only the masters used to, then to walk through those front doors again was great, certainly not the normal way in during school times, but the “Bozeat Lot” always did, because we were late almost every day due to our bus timetable, but immediately I saw huge differences inside the entrance, to be expected I know after all this time, but nonetheless, a blow to yesterday`s child.
Having signed in, and walked around to the library, seeing the quadrangle built on, which I did know about, but again, what a shock not being able to see from one
side to the other, across that mostly immaculate grass, with Harry`s path across the middle.
Did they really have to do that !!
The library (Main Hall) was smaller than I remember, and much lighter and airier, no more sombre dark woodwork, and it was only just possible to remember the games of Pirates we had in there, plus the fact that how did they shoehorn 600 boys + masters in there every day for assembly !!!
I wandered around to all my old form rooms, except of course the prefabs, and for some reason, was surprised to find that all the desks had gone, replaced by
modern chairs & tables…..silly that I should think they would still be there, but I did all the same.
I did the same with Gus Leftwich`s lab, Mr Bantoft`s, Spike`s Room 3 (?), Charley Ward`s Room 5, and even had a look through the door into where Mr. Pine dominated his little empire (nb: I`m with Graham Sharp on the subject of him !!), and then onto Eddie`s art room and the room at the end of top corridor, my form room when we had Tony Sulch as master, from both of which we used to be able to overlook the playing field, sadly no more.
From just before and during the launch, I was scanning the crowd all the time, looking for anybody that resembled someone that I knew, but apart from Mick Owen, a
year older than me, who I had seen a while ago in town, the only faces that were vaguely familiar were all quite a bit older than me.
In fact, most of the faces were older me, and I suppose, amongst my other minor disappointments of the day, the main one is that there were almost none of my contemporaries, or from the years either side, to be found, or at least, ones that I recognized.
I don’t know what I expected, but I did expect more of them to be there, and it did disappoint me. I know that many have spread their wings to foreign parts, almost certain never to return, but with the publicity you had, and the website etc, surely there are more that are in reasonable spitting distance of School that could have come.
Perhaps I expected too much. Perhaps I should have stayed away to avoid any disappointment….. but if I had, I know that I would have regretted it, knowing what I might have missed.
My last little knock-back was not seeing “Lonnie” Pritchard, my very first form master, in 1A in 1959.
I asked several people if they knew whether he was there, and nobody did, so I left soon after the speeches, but on the way out, I scanned the signatures in the entrance, and saw “Tony Pritchard, 1958-1967”……….too long a time for a boy to be at School, so it must have been him.
So I set off back around the quad again, but halfway back to the hall, I stopped, turned around, and went home, without attempting to see if Mr. P was still there…..now why did I do that ??? No idea !!
If he reads this, thank-you Mr. Pritchard for helping me have a very reasonable start to my Grammar School life. I was in a gang of 1 from a very small village, not easy to cope with at 11, and he was not a bad bloke at all, and whilst on the subject of thanking masters, much grovelling thanks to “Ron” Bentley for never having handing over to anybody more important that amazingly explicit written piece of pornography that he confiscated one day in the middle prefabs while we were “off-games” in the third year I think.
If that had got to Harry, I would have been hung, never mind caned…… but we did get the feeling that it had been passed around the Common Room to the “younger” element in there, and much to my surprise, 48 extremely nervous hours later, Ron gave me it back !!
May his piano playing last for ever.
Anyway, enough of these late middle life ramblings, to sum up, I`m glad I went, but a little sorry that I did, as the image of 1964 is somewhat altered now in my 59 year old mind, and if you can work that out, good luck !!
N.Q.P.S.: I must admit, I did not get along very well with Ricky Wrenn during School time, not that he would remember me at all, he being that much older, and (most of) us being a tad suspicious of him being the Heads` son, but I did enjoy his speech, and I had no idea that H.A.W. went and actually worked for a living (!!) after retiring from the School…..good for him.
I`ve actually purchased a couple of Harry`s detective stories from eBay in the last couple of years, and one day, I just might get around to reading them.
Very best regards, Keith Brealey 1959/64.
My response to Keith's e-mail was as follows:
You are not alone with respect to your feelings about going round the school. When my 1955 crowd did that we were all horrified of the destruction of the oasis of peace - the quadrangle; my brothers 1952 year was luckier the quadrangle still existed. I was in a much better position than you when I first went round, because it was the day of our reunion and I was surrounded by 40-50 friends I hadn't seen for 50 years.
The early 50s were well represented because they have had successful reunions then from 1956 - 3, 1957 - 4, 1958 - 7 (including Rash!), yourself 1959, none 1960, Bruce Liddington and 4 others 1961 ALL of whom live in Wellingboro' and at least one is an OG. Only 6 with dates 1962 -1975. Basically, the retired and those who live abroad are my major contacts. For the former (age 60+) families are grown and if not retired they are running slowly! For the latter, their distance makes old experiences more important. In 2009, if you are interested, a reunion would draw together 50+ from your year - hard work but 1952, 54, 55 and 56 have proved it is practicable. Then, a walk round the school will come alive. 1952 had a mock Spike lesson, and I did a more watered down version for 1955. I guarantee there will be a substantial minority of your year living locally. The OGs will give you a list of the names and addresses of all they know.
It was Lonnie Pritchard from the dates - I've checked them. I was so busy, I didn't see him and you did ask me, my apologies! The phone number he left is 01933 225551. I spoke to Lonnie at Buzz's funeral - I'm sure he'd enjoy a chat with you (for me check if he has an email address. He too disappeared quickly and clearly Geoff Cooksey didn't realise he was there - perhaps he too felt something amiss in the ghost of the school, held alive only really in the boys and old masters memories.
Finally, we were ALL suspicious of Ricky being head boy, its noticeable that his picture was taken more on speech days etc. I too was impressed and interested in what he said about his father. Certainly his family came with a vengeance, his mother, both sisters and three of Harold's grandchildren (good for us, they also bought books to complement the one we gave Ricky). Incidentally, Buzz's funeral was the first time I met Ricky since school.
I enjoyed reading your letter and if allowed, will put it on the web it's a truly human letter. Graham Tall Nov 4 2006
I am all sorted and about a third of the way through the book already. Dad attended the launch and bought a fully autographed copy for me, he said that the launch was a good turn out and I am sorry that I couldn’t be there. (Especially as Joe Keep’s sons were there, used to be neighbours and haven’t seen them for decades)
The only comment on the book so far, other than that it is generally excellent, is that no-one (at least not in the bit directly about him, apologies if I read it elsewhere later) has recounted how 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 tears 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)
Just a quick e-mail to thank you for THE book which arrived this morning. I really must congratulate you and David on such an
excellent publication. Just taking quick glances in it brought back lots of memories and produced much that I didn't know or remember
about the school. Regards, Richard.Hall
What a splendid event your book launch was. I am really pleased I made the effort to drive up to Wellingborough. It was good to meet some old friends and to see the likes of Geoff Cooksey and Rocky Riach. Thanks also for your personal message in my signed copy.
I have now had time to skim through most of the book and will enjoy reading it thoroughly over the coming weeks. David and yourself have produced a remarkable record which really brings the school back to life and I find the sections covering all of the years before our time in school as fascinating as our own period.
Best wishes with your on-going sales. Graham Chapman. (1955)
the book arrived on Saturday , what a great piece of book binding , superb presentation !! I still haven't had a proper browse through as it is a Christmas present from my wife ( Josephine ) , nearly 54 years now . So you can imagine what my Christmas is going to be about . Peter Ward (1940s)
The book is an impressive production. I have only read Chapter 1 so far but I have found it very "readable" - you and your brother are to be congratulated. Arthur Warner (1940s)
It was very good to meet up again the other Saturday at what was WGS and after so many years. I have now had a chance to look at the book that you and Graham have produced. I think that it is a rather nice commemoration of the school and captures the atmosphere of those days. Terry Griggs (1953)
More and more suggestions - a basis for another book? Further Memories ON Wellingborough Grammar School?
Thank you very much for the book - and congratulations to you and Graham on such an amazing piece of work. I'm sorry I missed the launch. It was bloody wet in Herefordshire that week, I can tell you.
I've only had a chance to flick briefly through it but I can already see that it's going to jog a lot of memories, whether you want them to or not. Where do I start?!
Page 214. I don't remember seeing this particular cast photo before. Thanks! The D is for Derek. He was in Lions and I think came from Rushden or Higham and was the first person to ask me to be in a House play, as a bellboy. He preceded me to Sheffield where we met from time to time.
Page 273. I think this must have been the prize for Senior Public Reading Frostie was getting - the one and only year I was beaten, dammit!
Lennie Bratt. There was a shortage of A-level French textbooks and I had Lennie's own copy of the infamous Whitmarsh. It was inscribed "L. E. Bratt, Swaffham" in that very neat quasi- copperplate handwriting of his. I remember one Spanish lesson when someone handed in an exercise book which had been shot through with an airgun or something similar. Lame he may have been but Lennie took that book's unfortunate owner by the front of his blazer, buttons flew off and I swear he lifted him off the ground on the way to putting him outside in the corridor! I didn't know he was on medication - I just thought it was siesta time after a heavy school lunch. But we certainly did go quiet when we saw his head start to droop!
Father Holmes. Graham Willey's story reminds me of the day I was leaning back on my stool (against the lab rules, of course) and overbalanced. I put my elbow through the row of chemical bottles on the bench behind and sulphuric, hydrochloric and God knows what else poured into the sink and over Graham's book. Mr Holmes demanded to know what had happened and I quickly said that I felt faint, which was, by then, perfectly true. He sent me to the sick room and Graham later congratulated me on my quick thinking.
Gus Leftwich never actually taught me - but didn't everyone go to the tuck shop and buy Polos to suck in his lessons because he hated the smell of peppermint? I do recall seeing a six-legged lamb that a local farmer had brought in and which Gus had put in a sink and was proudly displaying to anyone who dropped by.
Were you in Sparky Pfaff's Junior or Senior choir in A1? I missed one practice and got 50 lines - "I must remember my important engagements" - but as a reward for singing in the carol service we had a choir outing to Peterborough, first to the cathedral for evensong and then on to the Empire to see Old Mother Riley and Kitty. I have since learned that by the time we saw them, Arthur Lucan and Kitty McShane had fallen out bigtime and were each touring their own show with another partner. Either we saw the real Arthur Lucan and a spurious Kitty McShane or vice versa. I suppose it's too late to ask for half our money back.
I know just what Dave Wilson means when he writes about Jock and Glad's enthusiasm for the school's activities and I too remember going round next door for tea during school plays. She made no secret of her views and told me in no uncertain terms that Twelfth Night was not a patch on The Party Spirit! We kept in touch for years afterwards, and she always signed her letters "Mrs Jock". I still exchange Christmas cards with their daughter Jayne. Whether she is still the mad Cliff Richard fan she was back then, I'm not sure. There was also a story that went round about David Frost going to see Jock with a sure fire way of winning the treble chance. Jock thought it a great idea until Frostie told him how much his stake would have to be and sent him packing. Apocryphal, perhaps?
Lord above, all that rambling and I haven't even read the book properly. Oh, one slight caveat. Is there something missing from the last paragraph of Peter's essay? It doesn't make it clear that the penfriend was French and that the tickets were for a rugby international. I don't have a copy of the original so I can't check it myself. We're having a family reunion in a couple of weeks and I'll let Peter see my copy then. He was pleased to be in touch with Geoff Coles again and has emailed him his CV!
Sorry for clogging up your e-mail system with this stuff but whether you actually hear from your readers or not, I'm sure this is the sort of effect you'll be having on lots of people. Good on ya, as they say round those parts and congratulations again to you both.
Cheers. Jim Wilson (1952)
The book....absolutely great. Unfortunately, the more things I read, the more the memories come back about my days there that might have been of interest. Never mind, at least they might be ok for the website. I will try and cobble my thoughts in to something worth reading, and send something later on. Martin Percy (1970s)
I was at your book launch recently and purchased a copy which you were kind enough to sign. I have now read the book which I found most absorbing and a pleasant and long trip down memory lane. David Pratt (1943-1947)
I thought I would just drop you a line to say what a thoroughly excellent job you and David have made of producing "Memories of Wellingborough Grammar School". It is a delight to read. The quality of paper and binding is first class and the memories it evokes are marvellous!
I was there from 1967 to 1973, so I remember vividly so many of the characters that made the school such a wonderful place to be. Thankfully, I still regularly see a few of my old classmates and I attended the reunion a couple of years back. To see the laboratories almost unchanged from how I remember them was enough to bring tears to your eye!
I treasure the book. I dip into it when I feel nostalgic (which is more and more often these days!). My days at WGS, though I perhaps didn't know it at the time, were the best of my life. You are both to be congratulated. All the best, Tim Kearsley (1967-1973)
The book is a real joy to read, best so far this year. Is it at the top of your best sellers list? Brian Horn 1945
I have sent my copy of Memories of WGS to New Zealand and would like to buy three more copies from you. I should be happy to drive to Warwick or where-ever or meet you halfway for lunch or whatever you suggest.
Before I sent it abroad I did read it thoroughly from cover to cover and my earlier tribute to you on the quality you had achieved - based on my dipping into it - must now be multiplied a thousand fold. You really did achieve a gripping story with everything in its right place and I was genuinely sorry when it came to an end. Geoff Cooksey (Teacher)
A Full Review: WGSBOOK.2006. Dr. David Payne. WORDS = 1,148.
COMMENTS ON THE WGS BOOK BY DAVID AND GRAHAM TALL.
Having now completely read your WGS book, I thought you might find a comment on it interesting: as an author myself I am always pleased to receive them. Actually, to claim I have completely read it – i.e. every single word – is not strictly true. About five years after I retired it suddenly occurred to me I no longer was obliged to compulsively read every word of every document put before me in case I missed some vital piece of information! Accordingly, since then I have developed a modus operandi where from time to time I use various ploys such as speed-reading, and even page skimming, and now these have become pretty much automatically self-deploying. No doubt the age related lowering of my patience quotient has something to do with it! But I do believe I now have a pretty good grasp of the content of your book.
So, to the comments.
1. The format of the book is excellent. It is nicely bound and logically divided up into reasonable sized chapters. It is of reasonable to-be-read-in-bed dimensions and weight and is printed on excellent quality paper. The font is admirable and well suited to the ocular limitations of an ageing readership. With the red binding and the rose logo it will stand out clearly on the bookshelf. Strangely, the rose logo looks very much like the logo on one of my own books which is a stylised version of a human malaria parasite called Plasmodium malariae. A strange coincidence indeed.
2. I note, without any surprise at all, the total absence of the mention of myself and many of my contemporaries in the book. Although, of course, we old-boys are being increasingly identified by your sterling efforts to recreate the name lists of the panorama annual school photographs. I say lack of surprise at our non-appearance as to my knowledge quite a large number of my contemporaries were able to pass through the school in an almost totally undistinguished and anonymous manner when compared with the blazing trails forged by John Hyde and the like. Much of the anonymity was indubitably due to our own lack of effort and initiative, though as I recall we were mostly, at least then, not very strong or confident personalities. Mediocre, perhaps best describes most of us. Certainly, the school could have tried harder to motivate we individuals a bit. Many of the 1946 boys were from working class families who were not generally aware of the mores of a Grammar School education, except in the most general of terms in that it was ‘a good thing’. Certainly in my case, having lost my father at 15, I cannot recall anyone in the school offering me any special interest, or guidance, in my crucial pre-O levels preparation period. Jim Wilson relates a similar story. I suppose, regrettably, in the final analysis that must come down to the headmaster. Did he ever send out round-robin ‘information/guidance’ letters to the parents? I suppose the School considered the Term Report served that function, though it patently didn’t.
3. Although I travelled extensively for over 50 years and worked in 43 countries in five of the six continents, I never met a single WGS old-boy or master. The only mention I ever heard of WGS was apropos David Frost. The first post-1951 contact I had was with David Howes a couple of months ago and that was by email. So I am rather amazed at the various old boy contacts that were mentioned in the book.
4. A particular point that struck me was how easily I recognised all my contemporary schoolmasters from their photographs in the book, the panoramas and also the caricatures. And how readily I could put a name – and nickname – to most of them with hardly a thought. Of course, for the relatively brief period of our period of contact their features had fully been formed in adulthood. But the impact that their images had, and the way the intervening 50+ years were annihilated, was quite astounding. One could image oneself once more in their actual presence in the classroom. Or in Chunky Pine’s case, in the gym.
I found the recognition of my contemporaneous fellows less straightforward;
particularly so in the 1946 panorama (First Form in my case) and I could not put a name (first or surname) to quite a few of them. (The Class lists eventually helped a lot in this regard). The 1949 panorama provided much easier identifications. No doubt these photographs were closer to the boys as I remembered them in the last year of my schooling at WGS.
5. Until I read the book and saw the panoramas I had quite forgotten that my two brothers had attended WGS in their time. Both are dead now and I cannot recall previously seeing their respective panoramas of 1936 and 1940. Nevertheless, I managed to identify them fairly easily.
6. Anyone who reads the book digilently cannot but be reminded of the forceful impact H.A. Wrenn had on the school. I can recall him as totally dominating the running of the school and determining its ethos; you convey this scenario very well. Equally, I can see your inference that John Dunning was a sort of eminence gris behind the scenes at WGS as correct. The man had almost charismatic effect on the things he took an interest in. Nick Nicholas was also a very dominant figure and rather Svengali-like to us younger boys who much feared him for some inexplicable reason. Maybe it was his haircut! Your appreciation of ‘Albert’ Richmond as a grotesque figure of fun and a pretty hopeless teacher is also well on target. He taught me Algebra and after a very promising start in other hands he led me completely adrift. Even whilst I was at WGS I was in agreement with your incomprehension of how G.E.R ever put up with such a prolonged and sustained martyrdom. And today I am amazed that such an informed person as H.A.W. allowed it to go on unimpeded for full five years of his ‘reign’. But then, as you state H.A.W. also ‘suffered’ other teachers for 25 years. One can only wonder what happened to G.E.R. post-1950?
My path crossed that of Dr. Jackson fleetingly, if at all, but I read in the book of his eccentricities and exploits with great amusement. He truly comes across as THE character of the WGS.
I found David Wilson’s ‘Lines on the passing of WGS’ highly entertaining.
There will be, I am certain, other points that will raise themselves as time goes on and I reflect on the digested content of the WGS book. But I trust this short appraisal will provide some post-publishing interest and thought. David Payne (1940s)
Re;David Payne's recollections,
Very succinct and spot on except for his appraisal of Dunning who I thought was, at best, a psycho ( He beat me for" impudence" when I regularly chose purple rather than blue crayons !!!! That I might be colour blind didn't occur to this humourless educator) Mike Beeby( -1954)
Incidentally the book is FANTASTIC !!!!!!!!!! Only half way through at the moment but there is a deluge of awakened memories .Peter Ward (1938-)
Hi Graham, Your book arrived safely and thank you very much. Well done! It is very impressive. I'm pleased with David's and your inscriptions at the beginning...a nice, personal touch. I have perused the book quickly gleaning impressions here and there. You have given an intensely personal viewpoint of the school from different sources, all of which brings the school to life. I am familiar with many of the names of the special guests invited to speak at the school such as Mountbatten, Bader, Horrocks etc. etc., an impressive list, indeed. You and David have done a superb job in assembling all the information and presenting it in an attractive and interesting way. I'm very proud of my "distant" cousins...not so distant as I feel, more like brothers to me. I plan to sit down in quieter moments and read it now from the beginning. I loved the comment, "Caramba, is that all I learned in Spanish?". Great effort and I am so very pleased to have a copy for my library. I thank you again both so very much. Ted Ball a relative from Canada
Regarding memories of the school - it seems to me your book has become a definitive work on the subject and there seems little to add. Colin McCall (1940s)
My brother-in-law (Keith Tompkins, WGS 1940s) gave me a copy of your book last year. Great stuff! David Powis