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Lessons for life were on the cards at old school.

Byline: Lee Maddison lee.maddison@trinitymirror.com

A NUMBER of former Stockton Secondary School pupils lamented on all that no longer existed in the town when the class of 1949 reunited some 50 years later.

The dawn chorus of factory sirens, market stall holders and local shops were those recalled in yesterday's Remember When, while the group also keenly recalled that cinemas such as the Odeon, Empire, Globe, Hippodrome, the Cinema and The Plaza supplemented the visual entertainment of a generation which had yet to enter the television age.

Yet for the Stockton Secondary lads, their reunion was also about their school and its staff.

Headmaster Dr Kinnes had a bantam-sized figure, was known as The Boss and reputed to be a boxing blue from Aberdeen who had won a gallantry medal in the First World War and returned with lungs damaged in a gas attack.

Fergus McLellan, who was organist at Stockton's United Reformed Church back in 2000, particularly recalled how The Boss would stand on a box to play his double bass in the school orchestra.

Sid Dumble, said Fergus, wore his trilby hat when refereeing rugby matches; French teacher "Creamy" Manners was so named because of his constant use of the phrase "creme de la creme" no doubt springing from the spirit of competition he engendered in his young charges.

The brightest pupil in his class always sat in the right hand back seat - the dullest in the left hand front seat, but seats were changed when correct answers were given.

Teacher "Taffy" Rhys taught English, but inculcated the need for fitness, both physically and moral, often opining: "Never lower your manhood by a vulgar joke or vulgar action".

Rhys would ride to school on a large bike, wicker basket on handlebars and lit at night and in the fog with a carbide lamp.

History teacher "Jute" Armstrong always encouraged his pupils to argue with his interpretations of the past, though the contest was rather uneven.

Other teachers recalled included "Bull" Wright, "Rats" Rattenbury, mathematics teacher "Pop" Laverick, Latin teacher and wielder of the big stick "Tot" Munday, while "Tibby" Brookes taught English and led the after-school musical appreciation class, passing on his enthusiasm for composers such as Cesar Franck, Saints-Saens and Brahms.

Freelance journalist Robin Hosie, living in Kent at the turn of the Millennium, said the reunion confirmed that the Stockton Secondary School served to encourage both individualism and a team spirit. And all those present agreed that the relocation of the old Nelson Terrace school to Grangefield and its replacement by a car park may have been called progress by planners. "But we call it tragic".

CAPTION(S):

| Stockton Secondary School's badminton team of 1949; from left, back row: Peter Sawyer, Keith Matson, David Balmford and Clive Sherris. Front: Alan Welsh, Fergus McLellan, David Oliver, Lol Lloyd and John Brunt

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jun 30, 2016
Words:476
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