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Was there a sixth form debating society or suchlike?  I didn't enter the sixth form and therefore wasn't involved in any of the societies available but HPGS was occasionally mentioned.

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Jill, there was certainly a debating society, but whether it was restricted to just 6th Form I don't recall.  The only societies I joined were the Science Society and the Jazz Record Club.  A friend and I had to seek special permission to attend the Jazz Club as we were only lowly Third Formers, but it was there that I first heard the true range of talent possessed by Ray Charles.. IMHO, the greatest 'all around' popular musician of the 20th C.  I was only familiar with a couple of his chart hits, and ignorant of his huge output in Jazz, R&B, Blues, Country, Gospel, Soul..... but I digress...


I've been doing a bit of research in my copy of 'High Pavement Remembered'.. and it seems that the school was  always 'co-ed'.. from 1788.. pretty much until the creation of Manning.


Your mention of what sounds like a pretty extreme 'early feminist' world view as inculcated by Manning, is rather at odds with the generally respectful view of all humanity which was engendered in HP., under the leadership of Harry 'Taff' Davies.. a truly great Headmaster and Educationalist, who went on to become Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Nottm.  That said, as I recall.. the only females on site at HP were a couple of office staff and some canteen staff.  There was never a female teacher in my day.


Harry Davies was committed to the idea of the Grammar School, as a way of giving opportunity to 'mainly working class' boys, but he was keen to make their education as wide as possible and to include 'culture' in its widest sense.  A long way from the mechanistic 'hoop jumping' regime which is so spectacularly failing much of our current youth.



A boy could leave HP with a top Oxbridge scholarship, but he was a failure in his Headmaster's eyes if he wasn't interested in music, art, architecture, the theatre, books, the sciences, politics, girls, family and neighbourhood and the rest of mankind.


On those terms and despite my relative lack of of success in the career, wealth and fame dept..I think  he succeeded with me.

A determined opponent could I suppose construct  a fake argument around homophobia because old Taff wished his boys to be interested in Girls, but given his times, I suggest we can forgive him.


You also expressed envy for the fact that HP (Bestwood) had changing rooms.  I can see that.  There's no doubt that by the standards of the times, HP Bestwood was exceptionally well equipped.  It was after all built around 1955,  ( fairly) hot on the heels of Atlee's 1944 Education Act.  When I was there, we were told the school was designed to accomodate 600 boys, but by 1960 had 800+ (Some things never change) That said I was never conscious of overcrowding, shortage of teaching space etc., apart from the odd lesson in the hall, or on the stage.


I was very excited by the place when I started.  Apart from plain old classrooms, some of which were largely adopted as bases by certain subject heads, we had the following:

Separate Junior and Senior school libraries

Separate and very well equipped woodwork and 'Metalwork' shops. Metalwork in particular had machine tools, (lathes, shapers, milling machines, saws etc.) plus a fully equipped forge, with every tool the blacksmith or Farrier could wish for, plus both arc and gas welding kit.

Separate Junior and Senior labs for the three main sciences, each with their 'assistants' room/store.  Each 'station' in the labs, had the basic kit needed for all kinds of experiments, with the rest being provided as and when by Lab Assistants.

A 'Science Lecture Theatre'.

A decent sized hall, with a well equipped stage including lights, curtains and whatever the rest of the stuff is called.

A good sized 'tarmac' yard.

Tennis Courts.

A proper bike shed.

A well equipped Gym, with all the usual 'apparatus', plus  all of the stuff for Rugby, Cricket, Hockey and Track and Field sports.

Large playing fields, on three levels and overlooking much of Nottm.

Extensive grounds connecting all of the above.


I went to an open evening, shortly before the place was demolished.  With an old classmate I walked the corridors and soaked up the memories.  We finished up out on the playing fields on a glorious Summer evening and were both deeply affected by the view and the atmosphere that we'd no longer be able to see in quite the same way.  I've commented elsewhere here, about the particlar soft light and atmosphere which seems unique to Nottm at the height of Summer.  I still haven't worked out whether it is  real...or some sort of emotional response to 'home'.


At least the builders of the housing which inevitably replaced the HP site, put the names of notable teachers from HP as street names, so some of my old teachers will exist in the general consciousness for a little longer. I hope they do the same on the old Padstow Secondary site, which is I believe up for  'development' and has even better views.


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We did have changing rooms: gym changing room, games changing room and a space at the rear of the hall where we changed for dance. The footbaths were opposite this space, at the rear of the hall. Cold water only. No soap!


Manning had no mod cons and no state of the art equipment, apart from a tv which more often than not didn't work. It was, basically, as it had been built in 1930/1 during my time there.

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