More groups of people at the High School

Once again, I thought it would be nice to see how the High School used to look some 60 or 70 years ago .Most of the photographs were taken by the Reverend Charles Stephens who must have spent the best part of thirty years documenting his workplace.

Fittingly, given his title, the first photograph shows the boys outside the Assembly Hall waiting for Assembly to start. I think that in those days, around 1955-1960, there would have been three assemblies per week. Some of the smaller boys seem to be drinking their “school milk” which was a third of a pint, issued to all children in all schools at this time:

People always seem to do a lot of waiting in schools. These expectant little boys are in the dining hall, then, I think, where the Music Hall now stands. They are possibly waiting for the monitors who are queuing up to get their meals before they hand them out. Well, that’s my best guess anyway:

The next three groups were photographed in the staffroom in 1959. The first picture is captioned “Entwhistle, Fallows, Forster, Lush, Leach”.

The second picture is captioned as “Sneyd, Pomfret, Fisher, Parker”. Here it is:

The third photograph shows a secretary as well as members of staff. The caption reads “Leach, Horrill, Jackson:

Let’s finish with a picture of Charlie Stephens at his happiest. He was in charge of the Photographic Society and here they are, from a spilt second in time in 1955:

They all look very happy, don’t they? Well, except for the little boy right at the front who seems to be practicing his “thousand yards stare”.


Filed under History, Nottingham, The High School

29 responses to “More groups of people at the High School

  1. Andy Jones

    More fascinating stuff John – many thanks

    • No problem, I’m glad that you enjoyed it. I particularly enjoy looking at pictures like these very carefully and noticing things that you’d miss at first.

  2. I left Wimbledon College in 1960!

  3. It’s fun to look back at our school years – some have fond memories and others are happy it’s over!

    • Yes, you’re right there. I was bullied for the first two years by a boy three or four years older than me, and once he had left, I started to have a great time. A couple of years ago, I found his address, still living in the village where he’d always lived. I think there’s the plot for a murder mystery there!

  4. Andrew Hammond

    Chas taught me to develop black and white photographs. I think I was in his form, was it 2AY?

    • I would say that that is a likely scenario. If you are keen to be 100% certain you could always contact the School Archivist, Ms Yvette Gunther, who can look up what form you were in in the form lists. I only have them up to 1950 for data protection reasons. Just give the school a ring. It’s only a five minute job.

    • Jan

      Chas’s form was 2AL(ancaster), Martin (Freddie to the boys)Jones 2AY(ork), John (Purple)Hayes 2BT(udor) and Rev Roger Stirrup 2BS(tewart).

  5. Good pictures. We used to have assembly first thing and milk at morning break. I remember the teachers/masters wearing those gowns – very professional!

    • At infants’ school, and possibly junior school, we could also get orange juice but instead of it being free like the milk, you had to pay 4d. That could have been something to do with Derbyshire, I’ve never heard of it anywhere else.
      I’ve never had to wear a gown to teach, but I was always an Assistant Master never a teacher. Even the women when I started back in 1975 were “Assistant Masters” rather than “Mistresses”. I suppose “Mistress” isn’t the best name for the job if you’re a woman.

  6. Jan

    John, did you ever consider rocking a gown?

    • Sorry, don’t understand that. We had to wear gowns for special occasions like Founder’s Day but not for ordinary teaching, although I didn’t miss the changeover by much. People of the same age as John Hayes will have taught wearing a gown, I would think.
      Nowadays I believe that gowns are voluntary at public occasions. I never wore one again once they brought that rule in. Gowns are quite heavy and awkward to carry and very hot to wear.

  7. I remember school milk and meal times where we were served by the older children. What great times. In that last photo, the ‘boy’ on the left seems to be wearing an army uniform? Do you know the story behind this John?

    • Oh thanks for that reminder. I’d forgotten how older children used to serve us at school dinners.
      To answer your question, from around 1900 onwards, Nottingham High School, and most other public schools, had “Officer Training Corps” where the pupils could be taught the very basics of soldiering. If they passed a government qualification called “Certificate A” that entitled them to be regarded as being of the correct standard to apply for a commission. In 1900 the OTC was a means, hopefully, of remedying our poor showing against the Boers, and providing Second Lieutenants for the coming war with Germany. In the thirties, the Junior Training Corps, as it had now become, provided young men with Certificate A who were capable of drilling raw recruits in 1939 and in due course, going on to become officers.
      Now, there are branches for the Navy and RAF and it’s called the Combined Cadet Force. They go to camps with special activities in the holidays, or go off to do walks in the wilderness, like in the snow on Skye or in the mountains of Norway. If you like that kind of activity, the CCF is a great thing to join.
      It isn’t warmongering either. Boys of 14 and 15 have their own ideas and opinions and they’ll only do what they want to do, trust me on that one!

      • Thanks very much for the explanation John. It’s certainly a good way to attract these youngsters into the armed forces and give them some pride and responsibly too. It’s a bit of a free promotion for the forces as well, these boys being quite impressionable at that time. Very interesting!

  8. School milk. I had forgotten completely the little bottles of milk we were given in kindergarten. That would have been in 1948/49. I don’t remember receiving milk in school after that. Since your mention of it, I have been remembering the excitement occasioned by the little bottles of milk.

  9. That is the beauty of these old photographs. There is always some detail that sets our memories off. It made me think of the orange juice we occasionally got and the actual glass of the bottle where the glassmaker’s name was written in raised lettering.
    It’s quite nice too, to regress for a few moments to being four or five years old and to think of where I used to sit, the teacher’s desk, and the huge classroom windows. Those were the days!

    • Jan

      Was there anything less appetising than a crate of school milk that had spent too long in the sun? Thank you Mrs T for sparing later generations that particular delight – but not for ending the scholarship boys.

      • She stopped school milk but the Scholarship boys, as I have believed all my life, were stopped by the Labour Councils in Nottingham, the county of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. As I was told, they were against anything that took bright kids away from their new comprehensive schools.

      • Jan

        As Ted Heath’s Education Secretary Maggie did nothing to hinder the move to comprehensive education. Maybe she had it in for Ken Clarke even then!

      • Comprehensives came from Harold Wilson’s government in 1964-1970. By 1970, 30% of schools were comprehensive. Labour local authorities continued under the Heath government to switch to comprehensives, but, according to Wikipedia “the Secretary of State, Margaret Thatcher, ended the compulsion of local governments to convert. “

  10. I liked your photos. They brought to mind our visit to Oxford in 2014. My husband and his colleague were attending a conference in London. One day both of us and my husband’s colleague and her husband went to Oxford. His old student was studying there. He was nice enough to show us around. I had always wanted to see Oxford or Cambridge. I have read so much about them.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the photographs. From programmes I’ve seen on TV, there are still quite a few schools in India which are based on the old English public school. As far as I remember there was one at Shimla where they interviewed the last Englishman who was still teaching in India. He had stayed there for a very long time, he enjoyed it so much.

  11. Pingback: Waiting – Mukhamani

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