Last time I mentioned the ways in which boys used to come to Nottingham High School before the cossetted era of luxury cars, luxury trams and luxury city buses. They walked. They cycled. They came in Papa’s carriage.
But there were other methods too. Just look at this photograph of the school piling out of the North Entrance at top speed at 4 o’clock and 30 seconds in 1947 or perhaps 1952 or even 1957 :
In other words, I don’t know the exact date. Here is the view from inside the yard in 1932. As far as I know, both pillars of the gate have now been replaced. Years back, a bone headed lorry driver backed his bone headed lorry into the left pillar and down it came. The other pillar, I believe may also have been replaced, perhaps for a similar reason:
And here is the view, outside the gates, on Forest Road in 1932. Look at the spindly trees…
Hopefully, during these periods of building work, the graffitti from the early 1940s is still there. The link will take you to what I wrote about them a little while back:
I’ve managed to enlarge sections of the original photograph of all those boys, all eager to get home to see if Dad has bought a television yet. This is the left hand side:
Notice how all the boys are wearing their caps, presumably all of them black with the lozenge of Dame Agnes Mellers attached. I did do some posts a while back examining the truth of the idea that the school badge is the coat of arms of the Mellers family. Needless to say, my ideas were different from what you might have expected. Just take a look if you have the time.
Anyway, if you’ve seen the caps, don’t miss those old black and white scarves, no doubt obtainable only from one retail outlet at a rather inflated price. Back in 1932, somebody drew and painted the permutations of ties. Here is the top half of the drawing, with thin yellow stripes for the Colours tie, awarded to those who had represented the School at sport:
And the bottom half. I believe that purple is the extra colour of these ties, worn by the Old Nottinghamians :
Now the boy on the bicycle. What’s he carrying in his right hand? Is he riding a Raleigh bike? I’m no expert but I think he’s got one of those front lights that is powered by pedalling the bicycle. And look at his huge hands, clad in those heavy knitted gloves of yesteryear, eminently suitable for wearing while digging an Avro Lancaster out of deep snow:
And what is the boy behind him wearing? A coat which appears to be striped in a rather strange fashion. Perhaps he was an expert in some field and he has a special garment to prove it. He does look a little young to have School Colours, though. And the boys’ faces. The thin faced little chap on the right, looking so, so worried. He won’t lose that look of terror until he’s got home and done his homework.
Now look at the right hand side:
This part of the photograph shows the star of the show. He looks so very young to be a motor cycle rider. But at least he has the equipment. The voluminous mackintosh, pulled tight with a plastic buckle. The collar turned up like Eric Cantona. No crash helmet though. Nor for the young gentleman on his left, sitting on what must surely be some kind of moped, unless, of course, it’s one of those Hell’s Angels Easy Rider motorbikes with huge handlebars. But how will his cap stay on? Especially if he can reach 28 mph again on some steep hill. He is wearing what almost looks like the little boy’s version of the motorcyclist’s gloves, but not as hard or stiff. And why has the boy standing behind them got a black and white hooped tie? If he is wearing a Junior School tie, then why has nobody else got the same thing?
And finally, the back of the crowd:
All those different expressions. All those different angles to wear a cap. Boys climbing the gate. And behind all of them, the windows of the Assembly Hall, dare I say it? Wreathed in smog. It’s certainly a day in late autumn because of the top coats and the scarves and the gloves. But it’s not so far into December or January that it’s dark. Any more conclusions gratefully received.