Looking Back


LOOKING back over the years since retiring, I realise that I am unknown to most of the Staff and to all of the pupils in the Grammar School. Such changes in personnel are normal to the life of any school. The steady development of the School has, however, entailed a more uncommon change - a new building. A somewhat similar event took place when I was a member of the Staff, the long awaited transfer of the girls to their new premises, in Plashet Grove. Until this time the School was really in two sections, since we did not have mixed classes, the girls occupying the rooms on the south side of the old building. We got on very happily together and might have continued so but for the demands of progress.

Many Old Esthameians will remember Miss Foreman's history lessons. I had a limited amount of mixed teaching, being responsible for some of the girls' science, the rest being taken by the Headmistress, Miss Cross. It was enjoyable work and happy memories remain of some of the pupils, mast prominently perhaps of Eileen Garson of whom, with the whole of the Combined Schools and Staff, I possess a photograph taken in the playground by a revolving camera.

Many other pupils who have since become well known could be recalled. To mention a few - Alan Hunter, who has been on TV in connection with talks about the moon, and an elder brother of his who came to take the blood pressures of the whole School, including some of the Staff, as an aid to his researches at the London Hospital; Tyte, who assisted in the designing of the atom bombs tested in Australia; and, more recently, W. Mankowitz, who is rapidly rising in public favour as an author with a unique, style. When first engaged in University Examination work my chief was L. Hunter, another member of the renowned family and, at that time, in charge of the chemistry at Leicester University College.

From 1905 for the next forty-one years the whole of my full-time teaching career was spent in the small area east of the Town Hall, twelve years at Napier Road and the rest at the Technical College. Mr. Griffiths and I followed Drs. Dunstan and Thole, who left to form the nucleus of the research staff of the Anglo-Persian (now Iranian) Oil Company, thus forming a link between the College and the famous refinery at Abadan.

In 2005 the Grammar School may be celebrating its centenary. We hope so, and, as its years grow, so may its fine reputation and tradition.