Author Topic: Manchester Central Grammar School for Boys  (Read 42731 times)

soulman1949

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Manchester Central Grammar School for Boys
« on: 01:00:12, 29/07/13 »
I'm continuing this discussion from the "Trolley Buses" thread (http://www.manchester-forum.co.uk/index.php?topic=7918.new;topicseen#new)


Hi Alec

I've started a new thread, rather than continue the discussion in the original thread.

I think most of us have been disenchanted with the suitability of Friends Reunited for our requirements. Quite a few people have reservations using Facebook so Terry who organised the reunion is planning for the school to have its own website, with the intention of making it easier for us to share photos and memories. No doubt, we will be advised in due course when that becomes a reality.

The deputy head you mention was, in fact, Mr. Bowcott, from memory he retired around 1962 or 1963. Yes the new building was at the corner of Kirkmanshulme Lane and Pink Bank Lane, at the time opposite Belle Vue Zoo! :-) When Kirky Lane was no longer used as a school, Manchester City Council took over the premises for use as a Sports Centre and Call Centre plus the housing of various council departments. It's still being used as a Sports Centre but, unfortunately, the main building has been demolished over the last couple of months. I was there last week taking photos, currently 3 JCBs are sitting on a massive pile of bricks clearing the site. Ironic that the building has been flattened after just over 50 years, whereas Whitworth Street is still in good nick after over a century! The only remaining parts of the original structure still standing are the dining hall and the gyms at the back of the building, not that this will mean anything to you as you were never there!

As for Whitworth Street, after we left, Mather College of Education opened up on site. Then it became Shena Simon College before being absorbed into Manchester College, a further education college. The Shena Simon campus is a sixth form college, reknowned for performing arts and music courses. I struggled to recognise any of the classrooms or much of the layout of the place - well it is over 50 years since I was last in the building and the fittings of the day have all been removed. The Assembly Hall, however, was instantly recognisable and is now a computer room but it still has the stained glass window with the Coat of Arms above where the stage used to be. The building which is Grade II listed, is in excellent condition and as beautiful as ever!

I'll post some piccies in the next few days.

Best wishes


Alan

PS I'm not sure when the Girls left the building, I left a question in a separate thread but haven't had a reply yet.
« Last Edit: 01:04:40, 29/07/13 by soulman1949 »

Hovis St.

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Re: Manchester Central Grammar School for Boys
« Reply #1 on: 00:46:59, 30/07/13 »
Good idea Alan, the girls have had their own thread for a long time now.

What happened to the old school then, was it amalgamated with other schools and so lost its identity.? When did it become a Grammar school ? it was always called Manchester Central High when I was there.

You are right about the old deputy head, he was Mr. Bowcott and not Mr. Boycott as I called him.

It's amazing that the "new" school has been demolished after 50 years whereas Whitworth St. is still standing in all its glory. I spent a lot of time in the school library in my lunch hour as it had some lovely nautical books and I was very interested in ships, in fact eighteen months after leaving school I joined the Merchant Navy. I remember that we had a "jobs" master, Mr. Judson, who helped us to get employment on leaving school. Everyone got a job in those days, I feel sorry for todays kids, most have got a bleak future. I got a job in a shipping office in Brazennose st. off Albert Square, I didn't spend much time in the office as I was always traipsing round the docks going aboard ships in Salford, Barton Oil berth and Partington coal basin etc. It was a nice little job but it made me more than ever determined to go to sea.

Looking forward to seeing your pics.

Regards, Alec.

PS. I remember the school motto on the lectern in the Assembly hall, was it "Et Virtutem et Musas" ?

soulman1949

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Re: Manchester Central Grammar School for Boys
« Reply #2 on: 02:45:41, 30/07/13 »
Hi Alec

I'm sorry, I don't know when "Grammar" became used, rather than High, I only ever knew it as "Grammar"!

Well, as you will remember, in the 11+ days, there were only a few Grammar Schools in Manchester (I think my choice was between North Manchester, Central, Poundswick and Burnage) whereas there were more Technical High Schools and even more Secondary Moderns. So some of us Grammar School boys might have had to travel rather further than others, whereas most Secondary Moderns had a fairly local intake.

I left in 1967, just as the school was going comprehensive and it merged with Victoria Park Secondary Modern. I think the name of the school reverted back to Manchester Central High School - within just a few years it was on a fairly rapid slide downhill as the pupil demographics changed. In 1982, it merged with what had been Ducie Technical High (in fact the nearest school to where I originally lived in Greenheys) and that's when it really plummeted, gaining a dreadful reputation. After its failure, it became one of the Academies and under its new banner seems to have been more successful.

When I was at Kirkmanshulme Lane last week, I spoke to one of the staff at the Sports Centre reception. She had been at the site for around 30 years which would tie in with the merger with Ducie in 1982, presumably making the "new" school redundant.

Anyway, I got the impression that a fair number of the staff took the move to comprehesive education in 1967 as their cue to leave, which would have affected discipline, morale and academic standards. Certainly we lost some 60 or so years history, it's very gratifying perusing the list of alumni, not that this mattered to the politicians of the time. Just look at the Wikipedia article on Manchester Academy, which is the current name of the school!

But returning to Whitworth Street, by the time I was there, we were winding down for the eventual total move to Longsight. I can't remember the library, only our classroms and the Asembly Hall, which doubled as our Gym, the canteen in the basement and the Head's office on the ground floor.

Mr Bowcott's name is indelibly fixed in my brain for a very good reason. Although he took us for RI in the first year, somehow he found out about my interest in science and being a Science teacher, he presented me with his Inorganic Chemistry texbook, which I treasured for many years. I think it was a lovely thing to do for a young kid interested in science and it certainly inspired me to study the subject further. Wow, Mr Judson, I remember that name, was it History or Geography that he taught?

You're quite correct about the school motto - I had totally forgotten the motto, until last week's reunion when one of the Old Boys was passing around an old Speech Day programme. In my day, that event used to be held at the Free Trade Hall. Christmas Service was at St Anne's and Easter service at the Cathedral.

Yes, it was a very different world then. While I applaud and embrace the technological and medical developments since then, I do miss some of the "old world" values of those times. And it was certainly less stressful in those days! As you say, the job situation was much more positive then - I know that youngsters are full of dreams, which life often beats out of them over time, but I think it's awful to be young in a world where there are so many negatives and to be deprived of those dreams. Sad.

I was saying to one of my school colleagues how glad I am to be the age I am. We really lived through the best of years. I had a brilliant education - a kid from the slums ending up at University - the Swinging Sixties and, of course, an NHS that was the envy of the world. Even an outside lavvy doesn't detract from those benefits!! :-)

Best wishes

Alan

JillR

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Re: Manchester Central Grammar School for Boys
« Reply #3 on: 10:52:50, 30/07/13 »
Alan, I am guessing that 1949 is your year of birth, so you are a similar generation to myself (b. 1947), and I agree: we are lucky. Brilliant education, unlimited prospects, retiring age still as it always was, no having to wait until you're 90 to retire  ;)

soulman1949

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Re: Manchester Central Grammar School for Boys
« Reply #4 on: 12:24:54, 30/07/13 »
Yes Jill. It's frightening really, on Saturday, the Beatles record "When I'm 64" becomes a reality for me!! I was 17 (nearly 18) when Sgt Pepper was released and awaiting my A level results. Where does the time go? :-(

Alan

Tonysavage

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Re: Manchester Central Grammar School for Boys
« Reply #5 on: 12:05:14, 23/09/13 »
Can anyone help locate Tom Dawson who went to the NMGS from1948 to 1953 I think.  He lived in Harpurhey at that time.  Any leads would be welcome since I lived with Tom and his parents as an evacuee    In 1943/44 and I am trying to locate him after all of these years.


Holmes

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Re: Manchester Central Grammar School for Boys
« Reply #6 on: 14:13:32, 29/01/14 »
I was at Manchester Central Grammar School between 1959 and 1964, the first year being spent at Whitworth Street and the next four years at Kirkmanshulme Lane.
The Headmaster was LP de la PERRELLE, the Deputy was Charlie BOWCOTT, and my Form Master for the first three years (1R, 2R and 3R) was Ron RYDER, who also taught me Geography, followed by Mr BLAND in year four (4Sc1) and Mr LAWS in year five (5Sc1).
I was never a lover of academics (how I've survived 66 years without the need for Algebra, Trigonometry, Logarithms and a Slide-Rule is beyond me), but I lived for the sport.
My first Rugby Coach was the great Aiden WALTERS who left in 1962 and went to a bigger school and Lytham St Annes, and he was followed by an ex-RAF man called Mr POTTER.
Football, Rugby and Cross-Country Running were played at Parrs Wood, Didsbury on the banks of the River Mersey, and the school was divided into Houses, I was in DALTON House (colour green), and represented the school at Rugby (captained by the recently-deceased Alan Keith BOTT - the best schoolboy athlete I have ever seen) and Athletics, again competing with Alan in the Inter-Schools 4 x 110 yards sprint relay team.
Like a lot of schoolchildren I can recall teachers I liked and others I did not, for various reasons.
Best for me were Mr RYDER, Mr SALMON, Mr LAWS, Albert WINTERBOTTAM and the great headmaster Mr de la PERRELLE.
Worst for me were Charlie BOWCOTT and the sadistic (in my personal view) Harry CALDBECK, the Woodwork and Metalwork Teacher at Kirkmanshulme Lane.
The old building in Whitworth Street always reminded me of Tom Brown's Schooldays - smelling of polished wooden floors and ink - whilst the new building on Kirkmanshulme Lane reminds me now of a Taxation Office.
I have never been back inside Whitworth Street since 1960 - the year that old London Road Station was demolished to make way for Piccadilly Station - and will do so one day soon I hope.
I have made numerous visits to Kirkmanshulme Lane and was saddened by its demolition at the end of 2013 - I now wonder what ever happened to those beautiful iron gates with the name of the school in white letters and the beautiful Manchester crest on them?
I live in the Loncolnshire Fens now, but still visit the West Gorton area where I was born about once a month, just to photograph the "progress" that further demolition seeks to make, and to visit the sites of the school.
I hope somebody might remember me, or the people I have mentioned here.
I will write again, and enjoy everyone's comments on here.
John Holmes (66 years).


 




Charles Lee

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Re: Manchester Central Grammar School for Boys
« Reply #7 on: 22:10:18, 29/01/14 »
Marvellous to find people who were at Manchester Central Grammar School for Boys.
I seem to be older than many of the posters.
I was there between 1956 and 1962.
I've enjoyed seeing all the old names - the very grand headmaster Dr de La Perrelle, Bowcott and Caldbeck.

And Albert Winterbottom, who had endless stories about the war years but - you know what - he was an excellent French teacher! I'm still pretty good at translating French, even though I haven't spoken it for years.

But who could forget the greatest of them all - Charles Edward Stewart, better know as Piggy Stewart, the Latin master. Ferocious and terrifying to those who didn't know him, but kind and gentle ato those who did.
Bob Acton, the maths teacher.
Rogerson the chemistry teacher.
Josh Horrocks.
All these lovely ghosts from my memory.

I'd mostly like to know what happened to all my friends from the time - David Hayes, Ken Sutcliffe, red-headed Howard Gilmartin (Gilly), Mike Galley, Ken Whitehead and all the others.
I hope they've had good lives.

Charles Lee (70 this very day!)

Holmes

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Re: Manchester Central Grammar School for Boys
« Reply #8 on: 22:22:07, 29/01/14 »
To Charles Lee:
Happy Birthday mate.
Piggy Stewart was in charge of discipline in the School Hall at Kirky Lane, and like you say, deep down he was a decent bloke.
By the way, are you a Bolton or Horwich Lee?
My grandmother was born at Horwich in 1880, Mary Lee of Belmont Cottages, Rivington Pike, Horwich.
Cheers,
John H.

Charles Lee

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Re: Manchester Central Grammar School for Boys
« Reply #9 on: 22:38:36, 29/01/14 »
Hello John!
Nice to hear from you.
I was born in Cheetham Hill. down Halliwell Lane.
Feeling nostalgic, I've just had a look at Google Maps.
The house where I was born is long gone, and even part of Halliwell Lane has vanished.
I'm glad you remember some of the same people at Manchester Central Grammar that I do!

Best wishes
Charles


celeste

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Re: Manchester Central Grammar School for Boys
« Reply #10 on: 22:54:40, 29/01/14 »
HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHARLES

With best wishes


Celeste :)
All that's necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing

soulman1949

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Re: Manchester Central Grammar School for Boys
« Reply #11 on: 16:48:53, 30/01/14 »
Hi John and Charles (a very happy birthday to you).

Nice to see you both here. As a 1960-67 pupil, looks like I'm the baby here! :-)

Good to see some of the names mentioned here though we probably won't agree on a few likes/dislikes! ;-) I was a weedy skinny totally non-athletic kid, more into academia, especially Sciences, so that probably determines my likes and dislikes. But you've certainly sparked a few memories from half a century ago!

Dr LP de la Perrelle, the head, of course, stands out, such a gentle man, IIRC he was from the Channel Islands. I was amazed by his ability to learn the names of each pupil - the first he met you, he greeted you by your surname, from the second time on by your first name. How he did that with an annual intake of around 150 and a total school roll of approx 850 remains a mystery.

My first year was in Form 1B (at Whitworth Street), the form teacher was Charles T Hale, who taught French and was also in charge of the School Recorder Society - my half hour trying to get to grips with that instrument made me realise just how cack-handed I was! Mr Hale had this strange nasal voice and never seemed to show much personality, but was a great teacher. General Science was (Cecil?) Millington. RE was Mr Charles Bowcott, not that I can remember us doing much religious stuff, for which I was grateful - I must have been one of the few who got on with him, somehow he found out about my interest in Chemistry and gave me one of his Chemistry text books which was a prized possession for many years. We had also Josh Horrocks, think that was for History and Mr Eckersley for Geography, or was that the other way round? Can't remember who took us for Maths, surprisingly enough. We had a particularly nasty piece of work, Mr Powell, for Woodwork and Technical Drawing. Mr Rourke for singing, memories of him throwing PE slippers through the air to awaken dozy pupils from their slumbers, LOL!

From the second form onwards we were at Kirky Lane, forms 2X, 3X and 4X (the Express stream). The form teacher was Norman (Nozzer) Bland, who took us for History, one of my weaker subjects, which bored me senseless. However, I do recall in the third or fourth year doing my Project on the History of Aviation - I excelled in this, much to Mr Bland's surprise - my project was 3 times the length of everyone else's - but, being science/engineering oriented, it was the first thing that had interested me that was historically linked! I now realise that dates, kings and queens do nothing for me, although social history does. French was Albert "me le, me la, me les" Winterbottom, one of Monty's closest advisers! ;-) A good teacher, nonetheless. Maths was Bob Acton - he couldn't pronounce my surname so to him I became Smiler, he was another great teacher. English was Mr Salmon (I think) - "Yambo" (why that?), all I can recall was his bad stammer. Physics Was Robert Stelfox (in 1962 Susan Maughan had her hit record "Bobby's Girl" which was sung to embarrass him) - I liked him but I don't think others did. Art was "Maverick", Mr Garner - I was lousy at this, except "perspectives" as that was basically straight lines disappearing into a point at the horizon. My dad did my painting homework, but I'm sure I was rumbled at exam time when my true lack of ability showed itself for all to see!

In the fast stream, we had a choice in our second foreign language. My dad could speak fluent German and promised to teach me that (but never did), with my Polish roots, Russian was a total "nyet", so Latin it was. Enter "Froggy" Wilkinson, a nasty horrible specimen with round specs, looking like the murderer from 10 Rillington Place! ;-) In the third year, I got impetigo (which is an infectious skin disease) and he embarrassed me by setting fire to my notebook in front of the whole class. I wasn't good at Latin at the time, but the lessons learned in mental discipline and language structure have been useful in general and specifically from a linguistic standpoint. I vaguely recall a massive ginger haired guy (must have been 6'5") taking over in the 4th year. I think Russian was taught by Dr Sutcliffe (?), a bearded bear of a man, but I can't recall who did German. Strangely, even though it was my favourite subject, I can't remember who took us for Chemistry (a Mr G???).

At Kirky Lane, we came across Caldbeck for the first time, standing on stage in the morning in front of the whole school, with some wooden implement in his hands as a disciplinary threat, a nasty sadistic thug who took us for Woodwork, Metalwork and Tech Drawing (I hated the first two). At our get-together at Whitworth Street last summer, someone mentioned he had subsequently been convicted of assaulting a pupil after he left MCGS. Although we didn't have him as a teacher, Mr Pedler was a really nice guy, I don't know what he was doing in that department of thugs and sadists!

I'm afraid I didn't like Piggy Stewart at all, but was never taught by him, so never got to know him the way you guys obviously did. I seem to recall Joss Harwood teaching us, a creepy guy, but what subject? Without exception, I found the PE teachers to be horrible bullies and because of that and my total lack of sporting prowess, I loathed all sporting activity and I came up with all sorts of inventive ways to avoid it.

I'm trying to remember who became deputy head once Bowcott retired. I'm sure at one stage it was Mr Pope.

Being in the express stream, we did some 'O' levels at the end of the end of the fourth year and then went into a three year Sixth form where we were mopping up some of the subjects we hadn't taken in addition to starting our 'A' levels. A mixed blessing as I lost focus on the 'O' levels as I was delighted to ditch some of the subjects such as English Literature and History but it was frustrating not to ditch them fully. The result for me was only 4 'O' levels by the end of the fifth year, but there was a benefit doing material not on the 'A' level curriculum.

In the sixth form, Mr Panter (the English Literature teacher) became our form teacher. We had Mr Smith for Chemistry - he was a chain smoker and used to send the African lab assistant to the shops to get 3 packs of 20 ciggies a day. He used to have a cigarette permanently stuck to his lower lip! Can you imagine that these days?? Anyway, things changed when he had a stroke or heart attack - he came back multiple stone lighter and without the facial tobacco appendage. Johnny Hopley took us for Maths and Alan "Alf" Dobbins for Physics - the latter was another teacher who wasn't popular with the pupils but I always got on very well with him. He is the one teacher I wished I'd kept in touch with. I vaguely recall the Head taking us for some aspects of General Studies.

I vaguely recall Mr Panter becoming Head after I left (which is when we went Comprehensive), but maybe that was at a different school. I know that in the summer of 67, there was a mass exodus of staff. Speaking with one of the Old Boys I met at the get together last year who was a year younger than me, I got the picture of a steady decline from then on. So so sad. I know that Grammar Schools have had their critics, but even as a Labour supporter most of my life, all I can say is that for me, the son of Polish refugees, coming from the slums of Manchester, Central provided a passport to another world - I loved learning (although I did take my eye off the ball somewhat in my mid teens) and I'll be forever grateful for being given such a solid foundation that served me so well in adult life.

John, whereabout in West Gorton were you, as I started work at the ICL factory on Wenlock Way in December 1970 and was with the firm till April 1982, when I left along with thousands of others as part of the mass redundancies of 1981 and 1982. I've been going back to the area this past year as they have started demolishing the "new" properties from the 1970s - amazing that they only lasted 40 years whereas some of the terraced housing is still there, well over a hundred years old.

Happy days, for me anyway!

Holmes

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Re: Manchester Central Grammar School for Boys
« Reply #12 on: 20:16:37, 30/01/14 »
For Soulman 1949.


I was born at 124 Clowes Street, West Gorton in a small terraced house in the centre of the block between Elizabeth Street (Mrs Parry's Pawn Shop on that corner) and William Street, later Hoyland a Street (Beswick Cooperative Wholesale Society grocer's shop on that corner), and directly opposite Bert Hall's butchers shop.
You may recall that heading up Clowes Street towards Belle Vue Street, St Marks' Church stood between William Street and Robert Street.
Hope this gives you an idea of the location.


Ps Avoiding Harry Caldbeck meant metalwork with the be-spectacled Mr DENT, who used to stride purposefully along Kirkmanshulme Lane from Gorton Railway Station on Hyde Road every morning swinging his umbrella like a Regimental Sergeant Major would swing a pace-stick.


John.

soulman1949

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Re: Manchester Central Grammar School for Boys
« Reply #13 on: 01:15:05, 01/02/14 »
Sorry John, struggling to remember now, time marches on and the grey cells get less reliable. :-(

Oh boy, totally forgot about Mr Dent, yes I can picture him well.

Michael-D

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Re: Manchester Central Grammar School for Boys
« Reply #14 on: 02:42:10, 09/03/14 »
How amazing to discover this board!  I went to Whitworth Street in 1952 and began in form 1a with a very young Mr Panter as form master!  He was splendid.  Good memories of the head, Mr de la Perrelle, a most polite and courteous person and gentle on the one occasion when he had to give me two strokes of the cane.  Good memories also of Laws, Winterbottom, Pope and also Wilkinson, despite his fearsome reputation was a great maths teacher and broke down my barriers to this mystical subject.  I left in 1956 when my family moved to Reading in Berkshire, a real cultural upheaval, just before the "O" level exams which cost me a lost year in the 5th form.


After University (Birmingham) and a few years of working, I began what seemed an endless movement around the world, living and working in Canada, USA, Australia and SE Asia before finally settling a few years ago on a property on the mid-north coast of NSW, Australia.