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Bilborough Grammar School

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Last time I went into the old Bilborough Grammar School building was when it was a 6th form college and my son attended for two years from 1988 until 1990. Mr Yarnell was still there and Mr Jacobs. I think also Mr Bristow. It was a lot different - somehow seemed not quite so tidy and organized.

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Bilbraborn - if you were in 1L and had Miss Louden for Maths and a Form Teacher then we were in the same form! Also you talked about Mr Pither - I think you will find that Mr Bartlett was i/c music when we were in the first year. I think it was a shame that the place was allowed to fall into disrepair. When I went to the Re-union in 2005 before it was knocked down I was astonished at some of the delapidation. There are schools near where I now live which are much older and still being used, in fact I used to teach in some!

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Astwood I was in 1C (for Clumber house) when I started in 1962. Miss Louden was our maths and form teacher. She was about as inspiring as dead grass. All the older boys used to call her glamour girl (but not to her face). You had to call her Miss Louden. If you called her Miss she shouted BOY! at you (or Girl! if you were a girl). Mr Pither (Beethoven the second) was always the music teacher so you must be a bit older than me. My brother (who left the year before I started) used to talk about Mr Bartlett. We used to take the mick out of Mr Pither. How I wish I had learned to read music. I have always been good at writing poetry and would love to write songs.

It was not the same when I attended a parents evening when my son was at college there in 1989. Like you say, uncared for. Can you remember Mr Beadsworth (Harry) the caretaker?

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I don't remember any of the teachers you mention, Bilbraborn, but remember Mr Beadsworth, so he must have been around for a few years. The Music teacher where I was there was Colin Jones.

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Ol' Pither must have left just after I did. Miss Louden left during the time I was there. Definitely not a very inspiring teacher. I think my last Maths teacher was Miss Conway.

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Anyone remember Morgan Nilsen, who was my teacher for O and A level German ? I see in the Post online, today, that he has died. Sad news - he was a nice man.

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He was probably after my time there but sad that he has died.

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I was at Bilborough from 1967 to 1974, the era of Mr Williams and later, Mr Bristow. I never thought of Mr Williams as a poor headmaster, though we were pretty terrified of him. His attitude to long hair was legendary - and "long" meant anything below the button in the middle of your ear lobe.

Teachers I remember include Mr Bland (Biology) - more for his corny jokes than the calibre of his taeching, Mr Jacobs (English) - who always wore his academic gown, Mr Mahoney (Maths) - one of the best teachers I've ever come across but sadly he only taught me for one year before he moved on, Mr Broadbent (also Maths) - a good teacher but very strict, and Mr Higginbottom who tried to be pally with the kids and no one respected him.

Bilborough was a good school, it got me to university anyway.

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Alan

You must have been in the year above me at Bllborough Grammar. I remember all the teachers you mention, particularly Mr Bland with his Urea jokes and Mr Jacobs

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I still see Mr Jacobs walking up Aspley Lane now and then. I must remember to apologise for the hard time I gave him.

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Pleased to hear Mr Jacobs is still around. I used to see him in town years after I'd left school but as I've got no close family left in Nottm now, I very rarely go there. He must be in his 80's??

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Apart from Bilbraborn and myself intensely disliking Williams, the feeling extended around our circle of friends too. When I went on into the 6th Form in 1967 he became insufferable, behaving towards us as if we were still 1st formers, I can't think of anyone who had any respect for him whatsoever. It was an honour to meet Dr Peake at the 1995 reunion, he was a classic headmaster in every sense, he could remember some of us very fondly too, he actually said that our intake of 1962 were the best group of pupils that he taught in his entire career, praise indeed.

Was it Miss Louden or Miss Lowdham, I thought it was the latter. She may have been an awful person, but thinking back on it, she obviously saw the maths potential in me. I always thought that she was instrumental for getting me put on report in the second year, she certainly humilated me for it. When you were on report you had to carry a card with you at all times which was supposed to be put on the teachers desk before a lesson. The first time I did this was at one of Mr Pithers music lessons, he just gave me a puzzled look and said 'What am I supposed to do with this, I know you're on report, no need to keep reminding me of it'. This attitude was taken by ALL the other teachers bar one, yes, Miss Lowdham. She dragged me out in front of class and demanded I presented that bloody silly card at EVERY lesson without fail or I'd get a detention, bitch. On the other hand, the next term she gave me an 'A' for effort which went towards me having my name glowingly read out by Harry Peake at assembly for getting 'Commended' for my effort across the board. At the end of that year we were streamed into sets, I found myself in the top maths set and doing an extra 'O' level in additional maths, clearly all down to Miss Lowdhams reccomendations.

Mr Pither was a very nice bloke but clearly a bad teacher, he couldn't handle our bad behaviour and didn't exactly encourage or draw out any musical talent we had inside us. As far as I was concerned, in his eyes, I couldn't sing in tune and had no musical talent whatsoever, despite my father's ability to play a trombone and read music. He was clearly wrong, when I went off to college, I was encouraged by some of my new pals to learn guitar, it didn't stop at hammering out a few chords, within a few weeks I'd developed a finger picking style that took Lennon and Macartney 10 years to master and even then they had to be taught by Donovan. I also have perfect pitch, I can tune up without any reference and can sing in tune, well thats what my missus says and she's a trained classical guitarist. So after being told that I was hopeless and had no musical ability at all by Mr Pither, the keyboard, banjo, guitars and harmonicas stacked up in our dining room prove he was wrong.

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I just looked back at some things written on here. Bilbraborn I do remember the lovely Miss Trails Austin 7, she was a real sweetie but a bloody good teacher, she taught us Geography in Year 3 I think. I seem to recall that she'd lived and taught in West Africa and had that car out there, I recollect that she brought in some photo's of herself out on the plains including some of her and car being charged by an elephant which looked pretty scary. Can you recall what happened to Miss Scott's mini. One April Fools Day there was an evening staff meeting so with the teachers out the way a group of 6th formers opened up the external double doors into the Gym and carried Miss Scotts mini inside, they were very careful and even put down some mats on the floor so no oil could drip on it. I thought that there would be fear and loathing from Harry Peake the next day at assembly, but I can't remember that a great issue was made of it. Mr Robinson the PE teacher thought it was hilarious, the only downside being that Miss Scott broke down and sobbed when she saw what had happened, I think all the teachers rallied round and managed to get the car out OK so she could drive home, I don't think she ever left it unlocked again.

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As you may have guessed, I'm having a very unproductive day at work, the weather isn't good and I haven't had a single hire all day, I've done all the paper and computer work and banking already and can't fix one of the bikes as I haven't the right sized inner tube.

I was just trying to remember the names of all the teachers we had in the first year and what they were like, it was a big step going up to Grammar School from the juniors, having to wear a uniform and learning how to cope with the formality and strictness of the whole regime.

Our form teacher in 1W was Miss Cherry, my old man really fancied her, she also used to teach us History and RE. She was a very pleasant person and a good teacher but had a bit of a mean streak, I was never totally comfortable with her, my complete lack of interest in RE never went down well with her either.

For English we had Mr Jacobs, I think everyone agrees he was a bloody good bloke as well as a terrific teacher, I don't ever recall him not having a smile on his face, his vice was his fondness for the older girls, you could often catch him in the corridor having a good leer, but I think he was pretty harmless. He used to carry a notebook with him as he was the editor of the school magazine and during a lesson if you said anything he thought that was in anyway amusing to him he would burst out laughing and say 'Now that's another little gem to put in my book for the school magazine', get out his pencil and write it down.

For maths we had Miss Lowdham, need I say more.

French was taught by Mr Newcombe, despite the fact that we never knew any French, he hardly ever spoke English to us, he too was a pretty decent bloke, fairly unflappable, he must have been a good teacher as I did quite well in French taking my 'O'level a year early and actually enjoying it.

Geography was taught by the late, great David Singleton, he came across at first as a very quitely spoken, mild mannered type of bloke, try to mess with him at your peril though, he was a strict as the rest of them and you got a detention if you ever tried to mess him about. He was a very religious bloke and had some sort of Crusaders Club, which I avoided like the plague. He also ran the Railway Society, Model Railway Society, Film Society and I think initially the Stamp Club as well as being involved in all the hiking activities. Having a liking for steam trains certainly endeared him to me, we always used to get on really well, right into the 6th form. I was saddened to be told by Mr Whitfield at the 95 reunion that he'd previously died of cancer, he reckoned that Mr Singleton was one of the nicest blokes he'd ever met.

Chemistry was Mr Henry, known to us all as 'Foghorn' because he always shouted his way through the lessons. I got into trouble with him during my first chemistry lesson for mixing chemicals without his permission, he was OK about it though, pretty decent bloke, I can't recall him ever giving us detention, his wife taught Cookery.

Physics was the dreaded Mr Tebbit, he gave us a detention on our first day. He once ordered me down to the gym after talking in class and threatened to hang me from the roof if I did it again. He was not popular around the school, oddly enough I got on OK with him, he used to call me Fred after his cricketing hero, he even did this when he got annoyed with me, bloody good teacher, I remember trying to pull his Magdeburg Hemispheres apart.

Biology was Mr Hay, he was Scottish and blonde haired going thin on top. Very quietly spoken in contrast to Messers Henry and Tebbit, another good teacher.

Metalwork was Mr Kirton, what a character, he seemed to be having affairs with every decent looking 6th form girl in the school. He was always dissapearing on the pretext of smoking his pipe, but I don't think it was always the case. He did it once and left his locker undone, it was full of girly mags. He used to get us all to collect milk bottle tops, after months of saving them up, huge sackfulls were brought out of the store and melted down in the forge to produce one tiny ingot. I don't recall him ever getting annoyed with anybody.

Music of course was Mr Pither, he was obsessed with trying to perfect the school orchestra and would manically conduct them at school speech day like a man possesed. The first speech day at the Albert Hall my parents went to, the orchestra sounded terrible, no stopping Pither, he acted like he was dealing with the London Symphony orchestra. I looked around at the parents and they were either cracked up laughing ( my old man ) or sitting there looking stunned, it was that bad.

Who've I forgotten, Mr Robinson and PE. His problem is that he was obsessed with rugby which, being small, I hated. Again, a teacher that wasn't able to bring the best out of people, because I disliked rugby he decided I was no good at any sport and that was the end of it, he reckoned I had no co-ordination, bollocks, I played for two senior football teams outside school, hockey, and in later life was captain of our considerably good office cricket team as well as playing for Finchingfield in the village league. Can you recall Bilbraborn how he scoffed when I attempted to beat the school record scree running attempt down Langdale Pike, I smashed the record by miles, so would you have done if you hadn't fallen over, he grudgingly accepted my achievement. He also had a fondness for giving you a good wacking on the backside if you forgot your sports kit, it was a ritual I think most of us went through. Despite all that, he was a decent enough bloke, it really affected him though when our head boy got killed in a rugby match at Bramcote Hills school, he'd lost a kidney himself playing rugby when he was at school.

I think that's all of them, funny how I remember all the teachers I had in the first year, yet I can't recall the names of some of those I had in the 6th form.

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Mr (Pete) Robinson was as you said, a damned good bloke. He taught me to believe in my running skills. I even ran for the school Cross-Country team. I did like Rugby but the likes of Paul Wynds and Iggy put the fear of god up me. And yes I remember Langdale Pike. Weren't we so bloody fit in those days. Five days hiking in the Lake District staying in Keswick Youth Hostel, and others. (Pete. Remember that Railway sign that weighed a ton?) Mr (Fruit Gum) Robinson, Miss Scott, Miss Skedge and Mr Sullivan all supervised us on those Autumn holidays. God Bless 'em. I had Mr Hay for Biology and Mr Henry for Chemistry but never was taught by Mr Tebbut. Thank goodness. I remember Mr Kirton giving us work to do, a plumb bob or maybe a record rack then he would clear off to the Domestic Science room to see who he could chat up. Imagine leaving a bunch of kids with such equipment as brazing gear and acid pickle. There would be hell to pay these days. But what did we do? made half - crown shaped metal for the fag machine at the top of Aspley Lane.

Mr Robinson would slipper you if you forgot your kit, then you would have to wear a smelly school kit that had been rotting in that big wooden box in the changing room. We called it the coffin.

My first Geography teacher was Mr Roberts, but later we had Mr Carlson. Our first English teacher was Mr Robshaw who left soon after. He was a really nice bloke. We were also taught French by Mrs Butler but later it was Miss Scott. And yes I remember the incident with her mini. But how did she drive it? She was very tall.

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Ahh! Mr Pither and the school orchestra. Remember Charles Hawtry in that Carry on Film where the head teacher was leaving? or was it Goodby Mr Chips. My terrible memory! But he played a music teacher and just reminded me of Mr Pither. I was a little sod in music lessons and how I regret it. I can write good poetry and would love to do song writing.

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Most of those teachers must have left by the time I went to Bilborough - 1968. The only ones there that you've mentioned that I remember are Mr Robinson (Chemistry), who was great, Mr Jacobs, who was lovely and a great teacher (you're right, he did leer at us girls but definitely harmless), Mr Kirton and Mr Singleton, both of whom I remember but they never taught me.

Some of the ''older" teachers who were there in my time, were Mr Downing (History), Mr Redding (Maths?), Mrs Bielby (DS), Miss Betts (French). Do you 2 remember any of them? We may have discussed Mr Downing before, I think.

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Ahh! Mr Pither and the school orchestra. Remember Charles Hawtry in that Carry on Film where the head teacher was leaving? or was it Goodby Mr Chips. My terrible memory! But he played a music teacher and just reminded me of Mr Pither. I was a little sod in music lessons and how I regret it. I can write good poetry and would love to do song writing.

Carry On Teacher was the name of the film, Bilbraborn.

By pure coincidence, it was on the television down here at midday yesterday and the school name was Maudlin Street.

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Having a hectic and very hot and bothering day at work today.

I have to make some corrections to my first year teachers list. My first form maths teacher wasn't Miss Lowdham, it was Miss Pickering, poor girl! She had a very broad Yorkshire accent and I'm sure it must have been her first teaching job. She had absolutely no control over us whatsoever, her disciplinary skills were totally non existant. We would swap desks when her back was turned, talk incessantly, throw paper aeroplanes and be generally horrible. Our pet name for her was 'Missis' which we would shout at her behind her back. She used to get very frustrated with us but never lost her temper or gave out any detentions, she left after the first year, probably to a psychiatric hospital, poor thing.

I forgot about Art lessons and Mr Manners. I arrived at the school with a good reputation concerning art from Firbeck School, I'd already had paintings exhibited at an art exhibition in London. Fine, things went swimmingly well in the first year and I constantly got good marks for my work and got on extremely well with Manners. Things changed drastically in the second year following my being 'On Report'. None of the other teachers held that against me, not even Miss Lowdham, they were generally very helpful, not Manners, he turned into a right b#st#rd and no matter what I did, he started to give me crap marks and picked on me all the time. Things came to a head at the end of the final, exam term. We had a student teacher getting work experience, he and I got on very well. For the exam that year one of the topics was 'Rush hour', I promptly did a tongue in cheek pencil drawing of commuters battling to get on a train in Midland Station. The student took me to one side for a chat, 'What have you done to upset Mr Manners', 'Nothing except be on report'. 'Well', he said, 'I thought your picture was great and gave it an A+, Manners thinks it's rubbish and wants to give you a D, he says it's not art, just a cartoon, but that's art in my book, I've persuaded him to give you a B-. Quite frankly I get the impression you'll never get anywhere as long as he's here'.

I took his advice, dropped art and didn't take art 'O' level. Not long after that Manners left, I can't remember the name of the replacement teacher, he was doing up a farmhouse near Stanley Common, had a beard, really great bloke, I eventually went back to art because of him as an ancillary subject when I was in the 6th Form.

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Thanks Trev I remember now. Daft really. I have all the DVDs and also the old videos.

Pete, Mr Manners was a strange character. I don't think he ever liked me. I'm trying to think of the name of the female English teacher who also couldn't keep control. It'll come to me soon.

Mr Downing was a mediocre History teacher but used to take the pi$$ out of various pupils. Like Rob Catchpole used to get called 'Tadpole' by him. I remember Miss Betts. She never taught me but was still there when my son attended when it was a sixth form college. Mr Redding taught us a couple of times when our maths teacher was absent. I remember the seat of his suit used to almost touch the floor. At some point I was taught English by Miss Skedge. She tried to get me interested in Shakespeare and Wordsworth. But W Auden and Robbie Burns would have been of more interest to me. I have more of an interest in Shakespeare and Wordsworth now.

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I liked Mr Downing - don't think he was mediocre! He taught me for History O Level. Miss Betts was very strict but a good teacher. When was your son there? - surprised to hear she was still around, although at that age we always thought people were much older than they actually were. Anyone over about 25 was ancient!

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Mr Manners with his hook nose and general facial features always reminded me of a dead spit image of the Duke of Wellington, I can picture the miserable git now! Mr Stone, thanks for reminding me, he was everything that Art teachers were about in the so called 'Swinging' 60's. Fortunately, through his help in the 6th form, I was able to recapture my artistic abilities. What with Mr Kirton's brilliance in teaching Technical and Engineering Drawing to 'A' level, it really set me on the road to a career in Architecture. Thanks to those two, I have done some amazing projects in the past, working with the top Structural Engineers in the world as their advisor, drawing up famous London landmarks in secret Government projects, I've been told by one of the top Structural Engineers in the country that my drawing style is the best they've ever seen, thanks to messers Kirton and Stone I reckon.

Bilbraborn, the English teacher you talk of was Mrs Elizabeth Burton, she never taught me, but her uselesness was well known, pupils actually called her 'Lizzie' to her face, I rather got the impression that she had a nervous breakdown and had to leave, or was pushed.

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I know for a fact that she ran out of lesson in tears on more than one occasion.

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I'm really enjoying reading these reminiscences. Some of the teachers mentioned must have left before I started, but who hasn't been mentioned yet? Miss England, my first form teacher, Miss Clarke (Geography) - she was quite strict as I remember, Mr Day (RE) - a really nice man, Mr Littlewood (Physics), Mrs Gotheridge (Chemistry) - I remember one of her favourite sayings was something along the lines of "whatever mark you get in your exam doesn't make any difference to my pay," Miss Brailsford (Chemistry again, I think), Mr Dossiter (Biology) came when I started 6th form, Mr Hutchinson (PE) - another one who has died.

I was also surprised to hear Mr Jacobs is still alive as I thought he was getting near retirement age when I was at the school.

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