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Redhill Comprehensive School

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I wondered if there were any members or visitors here that attended Redhill Comprehensive School. I've noticed a dearth of comment about it.

Some of the staff members during my internment there in the 1970s' included:


Mr Weddle

Mr Evans

Miss Abbot

Mr Pilgrim

Mr. Fowler

Miss Dabell

Mr. Ballham

Miss Ball

Mr. Smith

Mr. Strachan

Mr. Pettit

Mrs. Hough

Miss Wharmby

Mr. Spikings

Miss Wilson

Not too many fond memories to be honest. I did quite like 'Pear Tree Avenue' and 'The Jungle' though! One or two epic scraps with other schools such as Arnold's Robert Mellors School too...

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I was there from September 1958 to June 1962, then Digby Avenue College.  Walter Weddle was the Headmaster and Miss love the Headmistress.  Misters Pilgrim, Fowler, Pettit, and Misses Dabell, Hough, Ball? were there then as far as I can remember.  I had to take evening classes to qualify for Digby Avenue, because Red Hill didn't do things like exams in those days.

Mr. Fowler lived not far from us and used to give free extra lessons at home for boys who were good at technical drawing.  He couldn't do enough for anyone who tried, but could be harsh with those he thought were slackers.

Mr Pettit lived across from the Redhill council estate on the road up beside "Pendine", George Brough's mansion.  Cherry Close, I think it was.  It was claimed that he was having it off with Miss Dabell in his Volkswagen up by Arch Bridge after school.  We called him "Colonel Pettit" because of the way he marched with his cane along Mansfield Road.  It was rumoured that he'd only been a sergeant in the RAF.  I'd like to heat the truth though.

Mr. Pilgrim, the gardening teacher.  It was my job to water the lawns, because any plant that I touched died.

I'll sit and comb through my memory and see if I can think of any other names.  I remember Mr. Hartley, our form teacher and Mrs...  Argh, it's gone, the music teacher.  Shepley, that's it.  

We used to call the school Stalag 17.

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I knew Walter Weddle very well. He lived not far from us on Park Road in Woodthorpe. He used to drive a Hillman Minx and later an MG Magnette. I used to go out with his daughter Eleanor who went to the Girls' High School. His sister Dorothy was the headmistress at High Oakham school at Mansfield. 

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I quite liked Walter Weddle, he was a bit distant, but I guess not intrusive.  He encouraged me in theatre, before it was popular and in my drawing as well.  For years after I left Red Hill he had a map of the county that I and someone else drew framed on the wall outside his office.  I guess he was also instrumental in getting me into Digby Avenue College, by working with the county to allow me to stay on at school after the Christmas holidays when I should have left because my birthday came just into the new year.  I think that someone actually wanting to go into further education from Red Hill was unheard of in those days.  He also would have been the one to authorise the four nights a week evening classes.

I'd not thought about it before, but I suppose that he's directly responsible for me moving to Canada, by allowing me to get started on the engineering qualifications that I needed.  I imagine that Mr.Pettit and Mr.Fowler must have had a say in it too, from the metalwork and technical drawing angle.  Nowadays, starting college at fifteen from a secondary school, would be unthinkable.

The theatre thing was a part time job for years and I even worked at Nottingham Playhouse for a while.  Then much later I went to university here in Canada for a Fine Arts degree and the Master's Program in Theatre Design.  And it all started because we were allowed free rein to write, design and act our own stuff for the Christmas Concerts.  I sometimes wonder if the current Theatre Arts direction that Red Hill has taken started with that Christmas Concert.

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Some familiar names there I remember.

Mr Spikings the art teacher. He looked like the singer from Manfred Mann, so we would hum "Do wah diddy" whenever he was around.

No mention of the dreaded Mr Rutt. I truly fearsome maths teacher, who I think during my second or third year died suddenly. He was replaced by the easy going My Fahey.

Mr Fahey had rather large ears and a long nose and was known as Dumbo.

Mr Petit was known as Chromedome, due to his shiny bald head.


My favourite teachers during my time at Redhill from 1963 to 1968 were:

Mr Pilgrim. A great guy if you got on well with him, and like me enjoyed cricket. He could have a foul temper if you upset him, or destroyed any of his plants.

At the time the school day started with assembly in the main hall. Hymns were sung, and one that appeared regularly on the list was "He who would valiant be" , which contained the words, "to be a pilgrim". I was among a group of us who sung hymns with the usual lack of gusto, only piping up with a very loud "To be a pilgrim" when we got to that part of it. Eventually Mr Pilgrim was oddly absent from assembly when the hymn was die to be sung.  

Mr Allsop a brilliant geography teacher.

Mr Fowler, mentioned previously, who was very enthusiastic about his subject Technical drawing.

My Inskip our science teacher.

There were one or two who clearly loved dishing out corporal punishment. The names that come to mind are Mr Fosterjohn,  and a history teacher who's name I have forgotten.  


I remember doing impersonations of Mr Pilgrim, Mr Balham, and My Fahey, possibly other too.


Mixed memories of my time there, some good, some not so.




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