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Balshaw's Grammar School
31-Jan-2003, 06:21 PM
Post: #141
OK - here goes. I'll try not to repeat any that have already been identified, except where I think an error has been made, or to clarify any confusion.

Back row: 4. Schofield; 11. Birchall; 12. Frank Yates; 14. Derek Hodgson; 15. Wiggins; 16. Frank Wilson; 17. Unsworth; 22. Baxendale; 23. Neil Speakman; 33. Derrick Robinson (Head Boy, 60-61); 34. Ken Jolley; 35. Dickinson; 44. Derek Houghton; 48. David Briers; 49. Jeffrey (Geoffrey?) Gray; 50. John Lawton; 65. Tom Taylor

Next row: 5. Lester Briers; 19. Roger Hoyle; 33. Roger Thrippleton; 34. Alan Mattinson; 54. Mervyn Robinson

Next row: 45. Sheila Mayor

Next row: None

Next row: 5. Elsie Speakman; 6. Sandra Snape; 7. Dorothy Grimshaw; 10. Pauline Afflick; 26. Cynthia Davies?; 27. Margaret Smith; 37. Eileen Hoskins? ; 50. Margaret Freeman; 54. Barbara Hill?; 56. Judith Prendergast; 59. Margot Fraser; 79. Audrey Bland

Next row: 12. Alan Davies (Head Boy, 59-60); (TeachersSmile 26. Hewitson (woodwork); 31. Bull; 34. Rahill; 37. Lewis; 38. Ife (formerly Probart); 40. Ball; Pickersgill (formerly Hutchings); (PupilsSmile 58. Jean Walsh; 59. Barbara Hitchen; 64. Mary Ellis; 65. Edmondson; 66. Ann(e?) Smith (Head Girl, either 59-60 or 60-61)

Other rows: nothing to add

Quick note on myself: a confirmed globetrotter, my places of residence after leaving Balshaw's went London, Lancashire, London, North Wales, New Zealand, Surrey, New Zealand, Germany, Dundee, North Wales, Surrey, West Wales. Last post was Professor and Head of Physics at Kingston University, now semi-retired and living in Pembrokeshire. I married Elsie Speakman (see above) in 1965, but Elsie sadly died of cancer in 1985. We had no children. I have since re-married and have two stepchildren, now grown up, of course.
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31-Jan-2003, 10:34 PM
Post: #142
Yes I can remember a lot of those names now David.
I've been staring at them thinking "umm, I know that face.!!! "
Very sorry to hear about Elsie . But glad to hear from you. How's Lester? I think we were in 1b together or was it 2a,3a,etc.
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16-Feb-2003, 05:20 PM
Post: #143
Hi everyone I have just spent a very cold Sunday afternoon reading about your escapades at Balshaw's.

I particularly relate to Lady Griffin as I seem to have followed in her footsteps. I too went to Lostock Hall Council School from 44-50. I lived on Leyland Road close by Eccles furniture shop.I am Joan Eccles (nothing to do with furniture) and I remember a teacher at school called Miss Griffith (I think)she taught the nursery class where you had a sleep in the afternoon on camp beds which I strongley objected too.
I took the 11-plus there in 1950 and found myself at Balshaws in 1c I think Miss Dougherty was our class teacher. I refused to take Latin in the second year because Mr Leathley would teach me.I had forgotten that we called Mr Oldfield Victor Eustace. He used to come into the hall to teach us R.E and tell us to read some passage out of the Bible, then disappear until the end of the lesson only returning if the noise rose so that he could hear us in his office. You have mentioned many names that I recognise but none in my year.I left in 1956 when I was in the lower sixth because I did not want to be a teacher or a scientist and it seemed that they were not interested in any other career. I am only in contact with a couple of people, Valerie Ashton and Irene Ainsworth but I hear bits of news from Val. I married Ken Heywood who went to Wellfield lived in Farington and we now live in Derbyshire on the edge of the Peak District.

Keep up the good work I really enjoy reading all your messages.
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16-Feb-2003, 11:34 PM
Post: #144
Penny, you must have been at Balshaws the same time as my sister, Judith Burrell.
I also remember 'Vic' taking R.I., he used to sweep into the hall with his gown flowing behind him, give us something to read and then leave, what a waste of time.
I also encountered the 'if your not an academic, you're a waste of time' attitude that 'Vic' had, he refused to let me have time off to go for an interview for an apprenticeship with UKAEA, I got 3 nights detention for going anyway. I got the job, and it's served me well throughout my career.
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17-Feb-2003, 10:10 PM
Post: #145
John you are so right about the 'if you are not academic attitude of the time'at many schools of the era.
I'm sure that many young people met that personal challenge and did well despite the put offs.
I've said this before but I can still remember the individual interviews in the sixth form by Victor Eustace.Took place on the stage in front of the whole pack of the sixth formers assembled.Very intimidating, and he said to me you'll never make a teacher because you're too quiet.
Would love to have been able to tell him I did and survived a lot longer than most. Still those were the sort of words that got my dander up and still do if anyone says I can't do anything.
Maybe that was part of his master plan to spur you on.
Incidentally a memorial bench has been placed in the school garden in memory of Tom Speakman-a lovely man.
I read in the Leyland Today paper that there are huge plans for the school-900.000 pounds to be spent on upgrades.
There were less than 800 students when I went first in 46.
Penny, I was in 1C to start with, with Miss Doherty- she was new then and I believe still attends the re-unions.It was a pre-fab at the back left of the school.
The 50th year of my lot leaving has just been held in September.
Miss Smith at St James Council School was the infant mistress when I arrived in 1939 barely 4 years old.They took us early because of the war and I do remember the sleeps.She retired about 1964 and am not sure whether she actually married Mr Griffiths -the headmaster later on.
A remarkable woman and loved by all the countless numbers of children who passed through the front door to her and then progressed through the double doors at the back of the infants area to the BIG school.It was a source of great mystery -what was behind those doors that lay ahead of us.
The place still looked the same when I looked from Moss Lane two years ago.I remembered the school yard being criss crossed with the trails we made as we made slides in the ice, and the cookhouse for school dinners -not forgetting the bomb shelters that we seemed to spend so much time in.
Cheerio from NZ
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18-Feb-2003, 04:48 AM
Post: #146

You're both absolutely right about the Balshaws hierachy's antipathy to careers other than "the classics". I think they wanted us all to go to Oxford and become Greek or Latin teachers!

I decided in about 3rd form that I wanted to go into engineering. Once that became known, I was immediately excluded from even the rudimentary career counseling that Balshaw's had. I very specifically set things up to do A-levels in Pure Math, Applied Math and Physics. Imagine the shock to find, at the opening assembly for the new Lower 6th., that I was placed in French, English and Latin, particularly as I failed O-level Latin (admitted this was a deliberate act!). I was in Vic's office before he'd had chance to sit down after "flowing" out of the assembly. I think he was taken aback by my belligerence - I called him quite a few choice names. His argument was that my natural aptitude was for languages and "the staff" thought that was my best career path. He was sufficiently "impressed" by my attitude that he did fix the class assinments. Unfortunately, "Wilkie" was so oriented towards the girl students that I got no help at all (in two of my majors) so I decided to bail out in April of my lower 6th year. I got on immediately at EE-Warton as a Student Apprentice.

They may have been right about the aptitude, but I sure didn't want to be an interpreter/translator. Like Rocketman, I've had a very rewarding career as an engineer. It's not the most remunerative career in the world, particularly if you decide not to chase the line management career path, but it's a very satisfying job. Maybe, if I'd known more about the field back then(thank-you, Balshaws, for the career guidance!), I'd have gone for an apprenticeship with BOAC/BEA rather than English Electric/BAC/whatever they're called now, and ended up in airline engineering oroperations instead of the airframe manufacturing side of the industry.

On balance, though, being in the airframe side of the business made a job with Boeing possible. My wife and I are very grateful that Boeing moved us to this part of the world and also alloowed me to travel extensively as part of the jobs. We wouldn't swap NW Washington State for anywhere else in the world.

Frank Damp
Anacortes, WA, USA

Frank Damp (wife Eileen, nee Nixon)
Leyland resident 1941-1965, emigrated to the US in 1968,
retired to Anacortes, Washington State, USA in 1999.
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18-Feb-2003, 12:28 PM
Post: #147
Hello Forum, I feel that I have to break my silence to join in the discussion on the denigration of engineers. I have read the comments made about the attitude of staff to potential engineers at Balshaws, you were not alone. At Leyland Secondary Modern School, pre-war I let it be known that at the age of 14 yrs I was joining Leyland Motors to become an indentured apprentice to Tool Making. Derisive laughs all round, however, I took the entrance exams and was accepted. Due to this, I was in a reserved occupation until the completion of my "time", then into the Army to be told to forget all I had learned at Leylands, the Army would make me into an engineer. Under silent protest I did as I was told, and "did it their way". Proud and proficient I waited to put my new found skills to use, only to be moved at a moments notice to the staff of the Provost Marshall, of which I shall say nothing, until the final day of service I was informed that, as I was not prepared to become a "Regular" I was transferred back to REME for one day for Demob. Back to Leylands to my old trade, only to be told that there was no time for "fancy" tool makers, output was all that mattered. I realised that the pride of being a time served engineer counted for nothing, so it was time to make a change. It would take too long to chronicle the following years, suffice it to say that I was able to apply my knowledge in "true" engineering in the Paper Industry and the Friction Industry. I was head hunted because I was "available" and to be in a position because I was regarded as a "proper" engineer was compensation for the years of being regarded as second class because I had not been to College or University. Such phrases as "good fault finders should be good fault menders" and "we want men to do things, not talk about them" mean nothing to me now, for I see that there is now a shortage of artisans, people to work with their hands, people who can manage when the power goes off, people to get you going again. I look back down Life`s highway and see all the mistakes which were made, and all the artisans who got the wheels back on the track to progress to where we are today. Engineers are not, and never have been second class, they are the men (and women) who keep us going. Long may they flourish. Sorry if I`ve gone on a bit, but I`m very sad about the way the industry of this country has been traded for frivolous things we regard as essential to our way of life today. In deference to Martin, should I say that the foregoing is my opinion, and does not reflect on any person living or dead., Cheers, William R.
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18-Feb-2003, 02:15 PM
Post: #148

Originally posted by William R

In deference to Martin, should I say that the foregoing is my opinion, and does not reflect on any person living or dead., Cheers, William R.

I think we know what you mean Bill... by the way have you noticed that the member rankings have changed slightly?

Martin ~
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18-Feb-2003, 06:23 PM
Post: #149
I too remember Tom Speakman with some fondness - he was one of the few teachers to strike the right balance between strictness and fairness. I also remember his account of a trip to the States, and having tea with Einstein!

Here are a couple of stories about the other charismatic teacher of those days, Mr Wilkinson (Wilkie). Remember his fan club? To find him at lunchtime or break, all you had to do was look for a crowd of junior girls, and Wilkie would be at the centre of it. He also used to choose one of the girls to take on holiday - to act as model for his photography. He had the approval of her parents, and I believe he may also have taken a chaperone, and I am sure it was all above board (he even showed us the photographs afterwards), but can you imagine this being acceptable behaviour today? The other incident concerned the Chess Society that Wilkie used to run. He was a former county chess player and had a standing offer of five shillings to any pupil who beat him. In my final year, I used to wander down to the Chess Society on Friday afternoon and have a game with him. On one occasion, he made a fundamental error and I had him checkmated. I'll never forget his reaction - he pushed the board away in disgust, stood up and without a word walked over to watch one of the other games. He never did pay up - but the incident gave me enough confidence when I went up to university a few months later to join the Chess Club and I soon found myself playing for the university second team (and my college's first team).

David Briers
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18-Feb-2003, 09:56 PM
Post: #150
David ,the seat was I believe fairly recently organised by the Old Students' group of the year of my leaving .Barbara Ward was Head Girl then and Tom Speakman until his death in his eighties used to drive from London to attend- a very staunch supporter of the group.I didn't join them, being quite pleased to escape after 7 years at the school, but I do hear news from time to time.
Miss Venn -present Principal- is apparently very welcoming of ex- students.
I've lived in many parts of NZ both South and North in the 45 years since we arrived here and presently live in the West of Auckland - close to the Waitakere Ranges.Was living in the Avalon area of Lower Hutt at the time you would have been there in the 70's close to the recording studios, as my husband was stationed at Shelly Bay and I taught Latin at Naenae college.
Nice to hear from you and welcome back ,Bill.
Our first home was in Marlborough -currently known for its wineries- but back then it was very quiet - a beautiful spot with the picturesque Marlborough Sounds and many references in the names of Bays and inlets to Captain Cook in his journeys round the area.
St Heliers is a lovely part of the Bays around Auckland Harbour.
Sir Peter Blake would have been disappointed to see the way the yachting is going especially after the defections to the Swiss team.
He was a great man and a great Ambassador for this country with tremendous vision and energy.
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