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Sorry TBI. I really don’t understand why the system was junked - unless it was to bring “ equality”, meaning mediocrity, to every kid. We are NOT equally academically gifted, and thank God. I went to

I think the difference between Grammar and secondary education was vast,,, Qualifications GCEs etc were hardly in our vocabulary at Padstow............i soon realised after a visit from the ''Youth Em

Never intended.........Digging owt,,Mending owt,,Making owt,,Screwing owt,, or anything Physical really,,      So along with having no Educational Qualifications things didn't look too promising......

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Hi, started at Mellish in mid September 1963, strangely, term started a week later than secondary moderns! I can still remember that first morning being marched round to the new part of the dining hall (proper chairs and smaller tables as opposed to the big tables and forms in the old part). I can still recite all 1b form list, 28? names, starting Beeby, Binch (me), Bott, Bridgeman, etc and ending White, Whitney, Wilkinson, Williams, apologies for any mis-spelling. 1b form room that year was on the ground floor overlooking Kersall Drive yard and form master Mr Crabtree, who took us for general science (we only took physics,chem and biology from second year). How sad (and typical) that it's easier to remember 50 odd years ago but can't remember when I last had a pee!

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I attended HMGS from 1957 to 1964, therefore at the same time as several posters here. This site was drawn to my attention by Robert Dawson during a recent exchange of e-mails following the sad death of our friend Robert Newton. I last saw Newton in 2009 at one of the gatherings to mark the closure of the school - a bittersweet occasion, given the sad state of the buildings (though not as sad as when the whole lot was demolished). The school had moved from being a pretty decent grammar school sending a stream of boys to universities and into the professions, to a comprehensive and then a sports college, latterly in special measures. The archive displays were good, however, and much of this material is now in the care of Nottinghamshire Archives.

From our year I met Dick Hallam, Ian Talks, David Payne and Robert Newton and, on the previous day, Gil Stenson - Dawson was there too, but somehow we missed each other. Tried to upload photographs here but they are too big, apparently. Watch this space.

Good to see Rob Johnson here ('Hey, you, curly, sheep ...'), We were in the same form. Your profile says you are now in Melbourne, which I assume means Australia, not Derbyshire. Cliff Wragg, too: do you still live in Potters Bar, not far from me in north London? Your father was a non-Conformist minister in Hucknall, where I grew up. Visiting Handel House in London a few years back one of the members of staff was the daughter of John Chastney, whose father Alec was also a minister in Hucknall.

Picking up on some of the previous comments: Will anyone ever forget the Barry Fisher business? But surely he was not expelled? Pig Hutchinson was always supposed to have been doing something very hush-hush during the War. Nigel Press, David Lovibond and John Spolton have recently died. Roger Burton was a baritone (and a very good one), not a tenor, but I agree that his singing of 'Three Kings from Persian lands afar' at the carol service was very memorable - as was his annual Family Day duet, singing 'The Bold Gendarmes' with Jim Spolton!

Robert Dawson reminds me that when David Peberdy acquired a cine camera we did a 'day in the life of the school', which caused a certain amount of comment when David Sibley was espied processing around the school dressed as a Roman Catholic priest. I'd love to see that film. Anyone know the whereabouts of Peberdy, who at the time lived at Hucknall?

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Bob McCandless was a dear. We used to look forward to his announcements in assembly about TEA on family day and how, to avoid disappointment (and the wrath of 'Missus Frorst', as he always pronounced it!), it had to be ordered in advance. Forty years on, after many years living in London, I was visiting Nottingham and realized I was quite near to his home in Carlton, and walked down the road past his house and, to my amazement, there he was standing in the window, waiting for a taxi to take him to church (it was a Sunday morning). I couldn't just walk on, so I went up to the house, rang the bell and introduced myself. He claimed to remember me! I'm so glad I saw him then, after so many years, for he died shortly afterwards, and I remember, after writing to his wife, I had a very nice letter from his daughter Janet.

Spud Morrow was always a bit of a romancer, I thought, even claiming that he was once a member of the IRA, blowing up bridges, etc.! When I left school and went to work at Nottingham Central Library he used to come in occasionally and I noticed that on his reader's ticket he was described as 'Flight-Lieutenant' R. S. Morrow. Despite this, he always used to refer to CCF members as 'playing at soldiers'. But he was my form master in the second form and always very fair and encouraging at a time when I was a bit downcast at having gone from 1A to 2C. Thanks to him, the next year I went up to 3B! He was the object of many practical jokes such as unwanted deliveries of coal, etc., to his house, as a result of which, it was his wife (Dorothy?) who was listed in the telephone directory, not him. I remember he came from County Sligo, a contrast with Paddy Brook (A. P. R. Brook) who came from Cork (and taught maths).

Somebody earlier refers to the lab steward and his connections with the CCF, but can't remember the name. This was Horace Lovett, always the most splendidly turned-out on parade days!

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Welcome Rob J. I wasn't a Mellish lad, but I married Bob McCandless's daughter, Janet. She told me about going to Rome in 1960 with all those lads. In fact I've still got all her photos. She died in 1999 and I have since re-married. Bob was a good father in law. Treated me like the son he didn't have.

Welcome aboard Gary. I enjoyed reading your recollections of the Mellish.

As I noted earlier in the thread Bob McCandless was a great guy to be around. I always got on well with him.

Hope you'll keep posting. You'll soon make some good online friends here.

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Hi Garry. I'm the one who couldn't remember the name of the lab steward - Horace Lovatt. A friend of mine, now Professor Malcolm Peaker was a keen zoologist and stayed an extra year in the sixth form to do scholarship level, working with Horace as his assistant when not in class. Malcolm had an impressive mini zoo in his back garden at home. Horace told him that he was also interested an animals and had just acquired a water otter. Would he like to see it? Malcolm eagerly went to Horaces's house one Saturday morning to see the creature. Horace put on a stout pair of gloves and reached into a tank and produced a kettle! Malcolm, with whom I am still in touch, went on to greater things and became an FRS of both London and Edinburgh. At one time he was the director of London Zoo. He instigated the visit of the television animal man, George Cansale, to the school where he gave a slide illustrated lecture. He also brought a bush baby which ran round the hall and a large snake which relieved itself down David Lovibond's jacket! I also went to the closing ceremony and was saddened to see what a dump the place had become. In conversation with the headmaster I discovered that he was the successor to Fred Sutherland who was i/c pt in our day. A a pt master in charge of what was once a fine school I came away disheartened.

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Welcome Garry. Although I obviously didn't go to the school, I've enjoyed reading your posts. My brother went to Mellish from 1947 which was way before you, but I sort of feel a vague connection because of that. He used to get the train from Daybrook station. Hope you'll carry on posting and not just about the school. I'm sure, like the rest of us, you have lots of interesting memories of Nottingham and the area.

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Hi Phil. Coming new to this site I've enjoyed your posts in particular - thank you! I was in fact in touch with Malcolm Peaker around the time of the closure because I had an idea to put together a book about the school based mainly on items that exhibition and in The Centaur, but nothing has come of it. However, we keep in touch occasionally. When Nigel Press died Malcolm had some entertaining memories, not least because Nigel used to prefer to take his morning coffee with the lab stewards rather than in the staff room! I remember Malcolm very well and have a vivid aural memory of his name being uttered by Mr Sparrow ('Peee-kuh'), He would be a great asset to this site! He was also a great admirer of Harry Hadwen (as was I) and HEH even features on Malcolm's website! As for DBS, he would make an impassioned announcement each year at assembly as winter approached for the continued consumption of ice cream from the tuck shop, 'otherwise', he ended, ominously, 'Walls will come and confiscate the refrigerator'. Once slightly unkindly described as 'the only man who can eat a banana sideways'.

I remember George Cansdale visiting but had forgotten it was at HMGS; I do remember a very large snake!

As to the decline of the school, where are the Malcolm Peakers and Neil Cossonses of today? Blame it on politicians who have a lot to say (and much influence) over things they know absolutely nothing about.

I mentioned earlier David Peberdy's 'day in the life of the school' film, but I also discovered in a commemorative edition of The Centaur mention of a whole series of photographs Peaker (as a member of the Photographic Society) took, possibly in the mid-/late-fifties, but have never been able to pin him down on what happened to them? Do you recall anything about this?

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Garry

He was always an avid photographer and does a photography blog which is regularly updated. Contact him - he'll be delighted to delve into his archives. Tell him we met on this site (he'll probably say "that old reprobate" or something worse). The only problem is that he regularly goes on safari to distant parts of the globe, shooting, by camera, the wildlife. He lives in Ayrshire as his position before retirement was director of the Hannah Research Institute. I also rember Neil Cossons, former head of English Heritage. He was a few years ahead of me. You probably saw him at the closing ceremony. All my contemporaries became pretty successful in their respective fields. It was a great school. I loved every minute of it. So sad to see how it declined.

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'Ode to a sparrow'............by chrissie Williams.............have you read it Jill?

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Well, his full name was David Beecher Sparrow. He was my form master in 1a and he taught physics. At the the time he was upgrading fro BSc to MSc externally and studying particle physics which, with CERN, is the flavour of the month at the moment. He lived in the Wilford Hill area, his wife was Scottish and was a nurse. As Gary said, he had an extremely wide mouth and was said to be able to eat a banana sideways. He moved on to become senior science master at Apsley Grammar School. He ran the school tuck shop and was an all round nice bloke. You may be able to do some delving from this info.

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#140

There have been a number of teachers in my family, myself included, but I don't think this chap is related to us although, like him, we're all extremely good eggs.

Very wide mouth, eh? Well, I have to admit that it's a Sparrow trait to open the mouth too wide at times! Usually without thinking first.

Incidentally, my father (whose name was also Sparrow...now there's a novelty these days!) was taught by Arthur Cossons, father of Neil. This was when Cossons Senr was head of Church Street School in Beeston, around 1930. He often spoke of those days.

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#139

Yes Ben. Just goes to show that Sparrows should be appreciated while they're around!

At school, my name when in the classics class, was 'passer' which is the Latin name for the Sparrow family! I thought it better than 'conclave', the name given to my friend whose surname was Chambers.

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#144

My Sparrows came from Gloucestershire, where the name originated. Great grandad Sparrow was illegitimate (there are a few barstools in the Sparrow family!) and was born in the workhouse. He ended up in Canada and is rumoured to have died a wealthy man. No doubt he discovered that he couldn't take it with him!

If his mother had been married, my name wouldn't be Sparrow. It would probably have been something like Clutterbuck or Collywobbles. I'm rather attached to it and have certainly never been tempted to change it. For one thing, I've got more sense and for another, I'd probably have ended up being called Smith!

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5 hours ago, Garry Humphreys said:

Here's a picture of D B Sparrow taken from a staff group photograph on the Apsley Grammar School archive website just a year or so after he was at the Mellish. Apsley G.S., like the Mellish is, alas, no more ...

n9GKKpG5gb8XwAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==

Garry, Would that be Apsley near Hemel Hempstead? 

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