Bygones: My 'magic' memories of time at Grammar
JACK Beeson, of Cheesemans Lane, Waltham, got in touch after reading about Clee Grammar School in Bygones recently.
Jack said: "Martin Pask's excellent piece brought back so many memories.
"I started at Clee Grammar School in 1945, having passed the 11-plus at Barcroft Street Junior.
"The most outstanding first memory was the morning assembly which the Roman Catholic boys were allowed to miss. How I envied them at the time.
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"The other memory was during the hymn singing, especially 'Bread Of Heaven' when Sam Osborne and Sid Boot would be away with the fairies singing descant – it sounded pretty good.
"If you were late you had to present yourself to Colonel Thomas on the stage and hope for the best!
"Martin Pask mentioned the Pirates Of Penzance. This was produced and directed by Mr Parr, the geography teacher.
"I starred in that production as a back row pirate. Garments worn included one of my mother's headscarves, a cut down shirt from dad and lots of black shoe polish!
"Cecil Smith, the French teacher, achieved fame at the first open day after the war in charge of a stall featuring 'the singing kettle'.
"You paid a penny or two and he would make the kettle sing, simply by boiling the water and starting off the whistle! Quite innovative in those days.
"One teacher not mentioned was a Mr Lawley, otherwise known as 'Gosser' Lawley. He taught scripture and walked up and down between the desks showering us all as he did so. Looking back it could have been the result of loose teeth.
"Miss Davis was a French teacher, who I believe joined the school in the late Forties. We thought we were on a pretty easy wicket until she gave the whole form 100 lines within her first lesson – this sorted out our behaviour pretty smartly.
"Col Thomas would walk around the glass-fronted quadrangle at intervals during the day and if you had been sent out of class to stand in the corridor for being unruly and the headmaster spotted you – then you were in deep trouble.
"A system was devised whereby if you were sent into the corridor (and of course this never happened to me) you could spot the head as he came round and just before he turned into your stretch of corridor you made a move towards the toilets and with a differential "good day sir" moved smartly on to the toilets before returning.
"The Latin teacher was, I think, a Mr Rouse or Rowlands, and was not popular with me.
"I was not any good at Latin and the only time I managed to get all the answers right on one of his test papers he accused me of cheating – and I hadn't! I lost interest in Latin altogether after that.
"Miss Stowell was a very nice person who tried to teach us art and handicraft – it was most unfortunate that when she was in the store cupboard the door occasionally would self close and lock. We suffered for that.
"My time at Clee Grammar School and attaining the School Certificate was a period in my life I shall always cherish – great teachers and an atmosphere of security and realising how lucky one was.
"One final memory – while playing football at school one Wednesday afternoon I sustained a rather nasty injury which meant I had to be carried off. How to get home? None other than Col Thomas took me in his car. Magic!"