b'HANDSWORTH GRAMMAR SCHOOL 1949-1957Having been born on 29th January 1939, Icompetitions, such as athletics, swimming, just qualified by a few days to take the 11-pluscross-country, drama, music and chess. The exam for admission in September 1949. music competition was always rather serious Living in Woolmore Road, Stockland Green,music, but in 1953 we were all surprised when my route to school was to catch the numberone of the chosen pieces was I Believe, 11 bus in Marsh Hill, alighting in Soho Road,which Frankie Laine took to the top of the hit and then walk down Dawson Road to enterparade; rumour had it this was chosen as the the school by the back gates. I was allocatedheadmasters wife liked it. One tradition of the school was to stage Gilbert to Form 1a (there was also 1b, 1c, and 1d)My parents were not happy with myand Sullivan operas each alternate year, and with Miss Keeling as our form mistress. Sheprogress and this led to a discussion with thea play in the other year. I recall Journeys End also taught us maths and I recall being totallyheadmaster, Rev J. J. Walton. As a result Ibeing staged one year, but I didnt appreciate confused by the algebra homework. Myremained in Form 2a at the end of the year,its full significance till I saw it again a few mother took me to a neighbour who was aand found myself amongst boys of my ownyears ago at a local amateur theatre. I saw science graduate who explained it to me, notage and I was always around the middle of theThe Mikado whilst in my first year, and also that I ever shone at maths. class in exam and test results. recall Ruddigore and The Pirates of Penzance being performed. All the parts were played by It was all very strange to us boys, as havingIn the third year, we had the opportunityboys, so, as a boy soprano, my first role was been taught all subjects by the same teacherto join the CCF (Combined Cadet Force),as a bridesmaid in Pirates; a few years later I at primary school we were now taught bywhich I recall took place on Wednesdayreturned as a pirate with a tenor voice. One of specialist teachers for each subject. There wereafternoons. If you didnt join, then you hadmy friends, Michael Newman, took the lead often specific class rooms to assemble in fora free period. At that time Mr West, a newas Rosebud and went on in later life to be a that subject, such as the science labs. Our firstEnglish teacher, formed a Naval Section, whichprincipal tenor with the DOyly Carte Opera task on starting school was to record our dailyI joined (influenced I suppose, by the fact myCompany under the stage name of Henry timetable. grandfather had served in the Royal Navy bothNewman. In the late fifties Mr Page was a key We had to line up to receive an allocation ofbefore and during WW1). player in the formation of Erdington Operatic exercise books and text books. Text booksTeachers I recall: Mr Hilbourne, known asCompany, and as HGS had recently performed were on loan for the year and had to beCharlie Peck, deputy head and MathsPirates he recruited many of us to appear in his handed back in at the end of the school yearteacher; Mr Pot Hutchinson, Physics andfirst production.or, if missing, paid for. Exercise books were alsohead of the CCF; Mr Mop Gregory, History;All the scenery for the school plays and operas free; when full, one queued at break time at theMr George Howdle, Biology; Mr Froggywas painted by pupils at the school under the store room where Mr Knight, one of the FrenchKnight, French; Mr Wally Hammond, English;direction of the Art teacher, initially Mr Llewelyn teachers, would inspect your exercise book toMr Butcher Lindley, German, who wasand then Mr Yates. Of particular note here is ensure it was full, tear it a short way down soreputed to have been a submarine commandera boy called Jimmy Leon, who went on to be you couldnt use it to get another, and gave youin the war and had run in the 1936 Olympics;quite a renowned painter.a new one. Mr Baggy Lindon, Maths; Mr Gobby Gilbert, In tests and exams, I was always near theEnglish; Mr Pete Ross, Divinity; Mr Malkie, bottom; but even so, in my second year, ILatin; Miss Keeling, Maths. Brian Tuckwellmoved to Form 2a. We were all arbitrarilyMr Page, the Music teacher, would lead us allocated to one of the eight Housesfirst formers to sing such songs as Linden which were, I believe, named after formerLea, Annie Laurie and DYe Ken John headmasters and were Guest (my House),Peel, and would walk around the classroom Clendon, Hodgetts, Peel, Edge, and herelistening to each boy as we sang; if he felt my memory fails me for the other names.you had a good voice you were chosen to Throughout the year, there were various Housebe in the school choir.10 Brian - Front row, seatedright hand side with a drum in front of him.'