I was at the school in the very early days. I transferred from Tuxford Primary School to the Secondary Modern in September 1959 and stayed until July 1963. I have many memories from those days.
The school was a three form entry. We were streamed into A, B and C classes. I was in the A class! Our teachers were:
Miss Marsden who transferred with us from the junior school. She was very strict. She taught maths, which being one of my better subjects, meant we always got on well. I seem to think she retired whilst I was at school. I certainly remember visiting her on one occasion at her small cottage in Caunton.
Mr Forster taught English. Not my best subject, but I well remember many of the lessons. I can still remember class readers and poems. I remember giving a class talk entitled, 'The railways of Tuxford' and causing amusement when we thought up words for other pupils in the class to spell - my offering was ARITHMETICAL seen by me on the back of an exercise book and pronounced ARITH MET TICKLE! Mr Forster may not have solved my spelling problems but he certainly instilled the correct use of the apostrophe. In his room was the only tape recorder in the school! I wonder if you have been able to trace him - I did hear that he was living in Yorkshire.
Mr Freeborough and later Mrs Pickering taught geography - a favourite subject of mine. 16mm films were a real treat - I think I might have taken as much interest in the projector as in the film!
Mr Ellis taught the History and the basketry and some P.E. He was new to school - straight from training. There was a lot of copying from the blackboard but I still enjoyed the work. I remember a kindness one day, when in the rain I was taking home a tea trolley I had made in woodwork (balancing it on my bicycle). Mr Ellis stopped in his mini car, put the trolley into his car and I followed on my bike up the road. I last saw Mr Ellis when he brought his daughter to a discotheque at the Tuxford Village Hall where I did many years of youth work. I understand he still lives in Sutton-on-Trent and hopefully will be present on the 21st.
Science (then called Rural Studies) was taught by Mr Ball and Miss Midworth. Miss Midworth was straight from college. Mr Ball was very enthusiastic, having the farm unit under his jurisdiction and obviously having much knowledge of farming. The Young Farmers' Club was run by him and was very popular. We met during the long lunch times and often had outside speakers. I became very involved in the farm unit and often volunteered (with David Smith) to go in during the holidays and look after the animals. (There was always a rota of interested pupils). We would milk the two cows and prepare the milk for collection. Feed the battery hens and collect the eggs. Feed the pigs and check the greenhouse. On one occasion when the stockman was not available we were entrusted to look after the unit entirely on our own for a weekend. Local television news did an item on the unit and as a result our photograph appeared in the Farmers' Weekly! I met up with Mr Ball again whilst at Eaton Hall. I remember asking him if he remembered a Peter Stread and a David Smith to which his reply was, 'Yes I do Peter'! He used to live in the Sutton in Ashfield area. I would dearly love to meet up with him again.
Mrs Snowdon was the music teacher. Always very popular and giving much time to her music, both in and out of school. She will probably still remember me. My main complaint about Mrs Snowden was that in her enthusiasm her lessons used to over-run into the lunch hour and I used to cycle home for my lunch! Her classroom was on the stage. The rear of the stage could be moved backwards and forwards so creating another classroom.
Mr Grasby taught the woodwork. He had a great influence on me. He taught me the practical skills which I still make use of today. I still have in my home the items I made - bed side cabinet, tea trolley, stool to name but three. Early this year I visited Mr Grasby at his home in East Markham. He still remembered me but sadly his health was poor. We arranged a further meeting for after Easter but unfortunately he died before we could meet again. He was able to tell me a little about some of the old staff, many of whom were still in contact with him.
Mr Maw (I think that is how his name was spelt), taught R.E. I enjoyed his lessons - he was good fun and his habit of arriving at the classroom with a cigarette impressed me (thank heavens I never followed the example). His wife also worked at the school on girls P.E. Mr Grasby had kept in contact with Mr Maw, so I hope that he is another you have been able to trace. I remember him arriving at school with a new Skoda car and other members of staff gathering around to inspect it.
Mr Jeffcott (nicknamed the General) was deputy head. He taught both Maths and P.E. He obviously had military training. He ruled with a rod of iron! He always stood at the main exit door as pupils left at the end of the day.
Mr Hardwick taught both maths and technical drawing.
Miss Anderson (later Mrs Mason) was the art teacher and was our form teacher in the second year.
Mrs Graham was the textiles teacher and our form teacher in the fourth year. Mr Grasby said that she is now living in a home for the elderly in the Newark area.
Mr Woodward was the head.
I think school started at about 9 am and finished at 4.15 pm. We had a long lunch time to enable various clubs to run. Many pupils travelled by coach. These parked in the bus park on Landa Grove. Coaches travelled from Caunton, Sutton, Norwell, Elkesley and Dunham. Many teachers also used the coaches to get to school (few had cars then). Wrights of Newark had most of the contracts.
The school uniform consisted of jacket, tie and cap. Both jacket and cap bore the school badge. Most boys wore short trousers until well into the second year.
Break times were always spent outside no matter what the weather. Pupils were expected to gather in the undercover barn. (I remember arriving one morning to find that the end wall of the barn had blown down in the night and the debris was scattered across the barn where normally we would gather. I think that led to a bit of panic at County Hall and remedial measures were taken to reinforce all such structures.) When the morning bell rang we lined up by form in the barn and were sent single file into the hall for morning assembly. Most staff sat on the stage, some at the back of the hall. Prefects sat down the side of the hall on the raised section. We stood when staff entered and left the hall. The head always addressed the assembly. The school was then small enough for all to gather together in the hall. On Friday we took part in the BBC Radio schools' service which was relayed from a speaker on the stage. Sports results and reports, plus news of any visits that had taken place were always read out by pupils to the assembly.
As I remember there was no use of television and the world of video recorders was still some distance away. We did have a radio speaker socket in most rooms to allow live BBC broadcasts to be heard. I well remember listening to the live broadcast of the first American in Space which must have been in 1962.
At morning breaks we were supplied with our one third pint of milk in the dining area. Movement around the school was supervised by prefects. One stairway was used for movement up the building and one stairway for movement down the building. All pupils had their designated locker to keep their books in. Lockers were in corridors, but had no locks. No one would dream of interfering with another's locker.
I still remember many of the pupils in my form. I wonder if you have heard from any of them. Michael Sheffield, lived at Lodge Farm on Marnham Road. Ross Lee. William House, who became a research scientist and when last I heard he was working in the south. Brian Dronfield from Elkesley always wanted to become a jockey - and I think he succeeded. Desmond Moody from Bothamsall. Alan Lacey from Hillside, Tuxford. Patrick Parkes, who I think emigrated. David Bennett. Alan Hall, from Plantation Road, East Markham. David Bell. David Fox from Merryfields Farm. David Smith, who still lives in Tuxford and with whom I have maintained contact. Peter Jackson from West Drayton and Roger Chambers, who was very keen on farm machanics and won a scholarship to study agriculture. Eric Allman, David Lobley, Granville Rushby, Patricia Bland. Patricia Kirby, who went to Worksop College and then into the nursing profession. Ann Blades from Askham who became head girl. Mary Olive, who lived in Sutton on Trent and Susan Woodward, who lived in Dunham on Trent. Beryl Jackson, who lived in East Markham and went on to do a course at Worksop tech. Sheila Rhodes. I struggle to remember many of the girls' names. I may also have included pupils from the 'B' form.
School visits were not frequent. I remember going to Scunthorpe steel works and Goole Docks. On this occasion, having all been seated on the coach, we were told that there was one too many pupils for the number of staff - one pupil would have to stay behind. Were there any volunteers? When that failed we drew lots and poor Pat Kirby was the loser. However, as far as I remember she did take part in the visit, but it must have been an unpleasant experience. On other occasions we visited Lincoln agricultural show and the Newark Show. I also took part in a Young Farmers inter-school quiz and was part of the winning team which took the championship at Brackenhurst. We were taken there by Mr Ball in his car and afterwards were taken to The Fox public house at Kelham to celebrate. I can still remember being asked what I would like to drink and having no idea about drinks I settled for 'whatever the rest were having' - so I had my first drink at a pub - a shandy! I have a photograph of the triumphant team.
Pupils left school at the end of the fourth year. We took the East Notts Leaving Certificate Examination. Those who wanted to continue their education did so by going on to Worksop or Newark Colleges of Further Education. I went on to Worksop. We were collected by coach from Tuxford each morning. At Worksop I spent four years gaining my 'O' and 'A' levels. I went on to be a teacher. I did not finally sever my links with Tuxford until 1985. For many years I was a member of the Tuxford Village Hall Committee representing a youth organisation which myself and Keith Isart (now living on Bevercotes Lane in Tuxford) had formed in 1970. We called ourselves 'Committee for Youth' and provided monthly discotheques and live bands in the Village Hall for the young people of the area. I'm sure many of your ex-pupils will remember these events.