Gateshead Grammar School,
formerly Gateshead Secondary School
(Higher Grade School)

Gateshead Boys' Grammar School,
The Grammar School for Boys, Gateshead.
Among the many names the school had in its history starting with The Anchorage School

Sister Site to Gateshead History
Gateshead Pictorial History
Gateshead Pubs
The Felling


A reunion for everyone is planned @
Gateshead Fell Rugby Club
Sunday Morning 12th November 2017

Just turn up..but it would be helpful for some idea of numbers involved


History, Memories, Old Boy/Girl Updates, Reunions

And on the subject of Old Boy/Old Girl Updates, howsabout hearing from you?


Four Newish Items

An article on the Ducket and Locket, the Prefects' Hangout, A Theory by the Webmaster, Sixth Form Size  and Montakitty
These are articles of the ilk of those found in a School Magazine and such submissions are invited from regular visitors to this website.

Facebook Page

Have you considered contributing to the GGS Facebook Page ? It's another way to give feedback on /make a contribution to this website. The less public way is Contact

Foggy's Friday etc

I awoke one morning recently with Foggy's Friday on my mind and wondered "did I ever write of this" I discovered this in the basement. I did write of it about 6 years ago, about the same time as I wrote of the Chair Legging and The Effigy. They were buried on sub pages and took an age to upload, presumably due to the cobwebs and rust acquired through lack of use. If you trawl to the bottom of this page you'll see them in the Footer Navigation. Do have a look and if you've anything to say I'd love to hear from you Contact

The Mystery of the Missing War Memorials

 In August 2013 it was discovered that the War Memorials were destroyed some time ago on the instructions of an official in Gateshead Education Dept. It was not theirs to make this decision. The Memorials were commissioned using funds raised by public subscription and were placed into the safe keeping of the Local Authority. It is known from many comments to this website in the past 8 years or so that there is much interest in this very special centrepiece to Gateshead Secondary/Grammar School. It has been suggested that some approach should be made to the Council and comments would be appreciated. Go here to see the latest and here to lodge your comments

Jim Harker Intake Year 1960 is a pet portrait artist. Here's his contact details if you fancy having your hampster painted

G Alan Smith Intake Year 1956 has a book out about his childhood, including time at GGS

available from Amazon

Here's a snippet

'At the age of eleven I was still in short trousers, as was the norm in those days, but now there was a grammar school blazer to wear over a formal shirt and tie. There was even a schoolboy cap, but this tended to fall off or get mocked by secondary modern children, so most boys did not wear it. On the badge was a picture of a goat's head (Gateshead - get it?), with the motto Toil No Soil. Strangely, no one could work out the meaning of the motto. Some boys joked that it was advising us not to become gardeners'.

'Gateshead Grammar School was not really a posh school, except in the eyes of the secondary modern crowd. Anyone properly posh would have gone to the private Royal Grammar School in Newcastle. At the time of the eleven-plus the teacher had offered me the chance of taking the entrance exams for a free scholarship to the RGS, but I refused. Even at that age I knew my place'.


The Caprians 
60 years on..a living legacy of Gateshead Grammar

For your classmates, go here to find your year group and to tell your recollections or just to record your existence (this will be visited by genealogists of the future) and to send your contribution go here

G L R Brown became Head in 1933, this is the earliest photo of him (so far). It's from the long photo of 1937. I'll bet that Hitleresque growth beneath his nose was gone by 1939!

 There is now a Gateshead Grammar Group on Facebook
and a Wikipedia entry


Left click the image to enlarge it
From Reg Snowdon we have the first 5 magazines. These are not the first magazines ever but they are the first five of the newly named Grammar School. The first one is dated July 1945 so there was no waste of time after the cessation of hostilities, Mr Brown, not knowing the reason for the name said "It might, with some degree of truth, have been called "The Phoenix" rising from the ashes of its predecessor, decently interred many years ago. From another comment elsewhere it is possible that the expression "many years ago" is a euphemism for 1939.
 We are missing the 6th but we do have the 7th, courtesy of Ken Norton and, as best we know, that was the last before the name was changed to The Caprian.
Stay tuned for there's good stuff to come


If you haven't seen this, it's well worth a watch!!


“Memories of Gateshead Grammar School”,

edited and published by Hugh Hedley

This book is NOW AVAILABLE. It contains contributions from 49 ex-GGS pupils, mainly, but not entirely, from entry years 1939 to 1949. There are 167 pages of text and 20 black and white photographs covering different aspects of school life. Both the text and the photos are indexed.
The book is £16.50. Postage and packing, if required, will add another £4.50 to the cost of each copy within the UK. Pre-payment is required. Orders stating number of copies required and enclosing a cheque (payable to H Hedley) for the required amount should be sent to Hugh Hedley, 6 Musgrave Road, Low Fell, Gateshead, NE9 5TA (Tel.0191-4877684) Please also enclose details of your address and telephone number.

Left click the image to just how massive a tome this is as thick as three quarters of a penny is tall

Jon Bratton writes

I'm part way through reading my copy and I can tell you it is WONDERFUL. A collection of Memories is always, by its nature, a  hotchpotch but it is lovely to get a picture of life at the school as it emerges piecemeal and through so many different pairs of eyes. It is chronological and for the most part covers the twenty years from 1935 to 1955 and includes that group who spanned the war when the school had two different names

There is some excellent writing as one would expect from 'the cream of the town' and it would be unfair to pick any one out, but I'm going to, just as a whetter.

Eileen Little, brainy sportswoman who married Walter Waistell, brainy sportsman, was also a singer and the force which led to the formation of a girls choir.

She initially talks of her schooling while evacuated and how staff 
'had been carers, not simply teachers, particularly, for me, Mr Brown, "The Boss"....always took a great interest in my ball skills...He taught me to throw really fast with just a flick of the wrist.
He taught me rather less history in fifth form. He would come, always late...storming along the corridor...gown a-billow, brows a-beetle....Half an hour later he stormed out again, leaving us with cramped fingers and very little wiser
After singing a solo at a school choir public performance

"Miss Ramshaw said 'I don't stand beside you in assembly to keep you in order but to hear you sing...It was the Boss's remark that floored me 'Eileen, that was wonderful. All is forgiven' To this day I still wonder what crime prompted that remark....
Off we went to Harvest Camp..with Miss Ditchburn (maths) and Miss Ramshaw (French) rained almost every day...My friend..and I were allotted to a taciturn, po-faced plum grower who, every morning answered our query 'Will there be any work today?' with the words 'Eh, I don't know, I couldn't say - t'all depends on t'weather. By the end of the fortnight we secretly mouthed the words with him...I don't remember picking any plums. What I do remember are the wonderful meals served to us by our mathematical and French cooks...Their blackberry and apple duff was not so much a pud as a sublime experience I shall never forget. Miss Ramshaw, all is forgiven.....
The following year...we planted and weeded in mud...It was definitely not as pleasant as not picking plums....
Round about the age of fifteen I became aware of boys as something other than people who could throw a ball farther than I could.. fell madly in love with.. Derek Bates...schools goalkeeper...loved in evening we took our work to Gateshead Fell Cricket Club where Low Fell Juniors were playing. Some of them were from our school team, and one medium-fast bowler, who smiled all the time, took several wickets. Seven years later, Derek was a pleasant memory, and I married the fast-bowling smile....'

My clumsy editing does not begin to do that justice, but it serves to illustrate that memories go much beyond the naming of teacher nicknames or who dished out the lines " I must eschew the chewing of chewing gum in class"

Many of the contributors are linked by their membership of the Caprians choir but there are many more besides.

I couldn't fail to discourage you less to purchase this book and, at just a little more than a tenor, it's a steal.

Somebody should do Volume 2

There is a limit to the amount of Hugh's book I will nick, I suppose, but I couldn't resist lifting Reg Snowdon's fabulous word picture of the school buildings

And if you like reading memories you must read those of 101 year old Olive Utting. Go there immediately...borrow my magic carpet

You missed a trick there, Hugh
Take heed, Creator of Volume Two

 Gateshead Grammar School was coeducational and later became a Boys' School but it began life in1883 as a private boys' school called Gateshead High School For Boys. In 1894, now in the Municipality's hands, it became Gateshead Secondary School and, though most of us never noticed, that was the name carved into the ornate wood WWI War Memorial that was the centrepiece of the Old School Hall and which was transferred to the New School Hall. After WWII it was renamed Gateshead Grammar School. Read about the War Memorial's fate here

Cast your mind back to the Shipcote area of canny Gateshead in the 40's 50's 60's ... All cobbled streets, short trousers and Syd Appleby's Newsagents shop, or in 6th form, the Springfield Hotel. If spotted in there by a teacher he would politely point out the protocol...masters in the bar, pupils in the lounge ........
Who wore a cap beyond the first day at Gateshead Grammar/Secondary School? I'm Jon Bratton and I went there in 1960. I've just described life then but on this website, with your help, we'll find out what life was like at the Grammar when girls were there in the 40's and 50's. See here

Welcome to the website of Gateshead Grammar School ,formerly Gateshead, Secondary School. After the war, most people called it Gateshead Grammar and until 1956 that was OK because it was the only Grammar School in Gateshead and it was coeducational. In 1956 Gateshead Girls Grammar School was established so it was necessary to add the word Boys

Photo of badge from Brian Harrison (1958)
  We are told that even in 1961 the title seemed still a bit vague ...almost left to choice. The 'must use' title of 1963 didn't have a long life...comprehensives were only 4 years away.

Submitted by Alan Jeffrey

If you are a Caprian, an old Boy/Girl this is your website for reunions, reminiscences, nostalgia and a chance to contribute to a piece of living history...and an altogether more friendly place than Friends Reunited
And if, between us, we create not only a fantastic piece of living history but, as is already evident, a sense of real belonging, even after all these many years, to what was a special institution, it might persuade the politicians that there was something of value in the free publicly owned Grammar Schools

On the subject of reunions the intake year that, by a country mile, wins the reunion race
is 1958

Their first one (and they've had three main ones) was in 1987 when most in that year group were celebrating their 40th birthdays and it is presumed that, for the occasion, this magnificent school tie was produced. Lee Hetherington has kindly donated it to the box of stuff eg photos, school mags etc that has accumulated while this website has been developed, starting in 2004. Ultimately it will end up in the archives of the Local Studies Dept of Gateshead Central Library
Because in the 40s/50s/60's many career opportunities eg accountancy, insurance, banking were available with O Levels or equivalent many people left at that stage (5 years), while others stayed on to do A levels (7 years). Rather than use the American system of using the end year, each year group is therefore described by the INTAKE or STARTING year

We have

Photos of Gateshead Grammar School

We have many photos of the original school buldings, thanks mainly to Mal Burns.

This is he, Mal Burns. Intake Year 1956. His hair was a different colour when he took the pics

If you've got anything to add to the gallery, please get in touch
What would be fantastic is a picture or a word picture of the 6th form common room. Was it full of rescued road work signs and other street furniture? Or who could paint a picture of the inner sanctum of Mr Doxford's domain

Photos of the Gateshead Grammar Staff
We have photos of most staff but probably not all. Do you have a photo of a member of staff that we don't? 

The Panoramic Photo of 1929

The Panoramic Photo of 1933

The Entire Panoramic Photo of  Oct 1947
This covers those who attended 1941 through 1947

The Entire Panoramic Photo of 1961
This covers those who attended in the years 1954 (2nd year 6th Formers) through 1960 (First Formers)
These are not necessarily the only panoramic photos taken so do any others survive? Is there one in which the same boy appears twice or is this, as suspected, an urban myth?

Famous Old Boys/Girls
Did anyone become Prime Minister? Who made it big as Captains of Industry?
Who are the Famous Academics, Pop Stars, Clergy? We know of some but we need your help

Famous Incidents
Including the Chair Legging

Are you planning a Reunion? Announce it here.
If you've had one, post the photos here

Have a look at 1960 Starting Year Group where current photos and bios have been provided. The same can be done for your
Year Group

A blast from the past..This is a 1960's Gateshead Grammar School Christmas Greeting Card which was finally used, 40 years on, Christmas 2008 sent to all Old Goats

This, the only card ever produced, was designed and produced by Richard Merelie (S/Y 1956)

Do you have any memories of the Springfield Hotel now sadly demolished? We have a page just waiting for your reminiscences

Haversack...a two shoulder strapped bag for carrying school books that had to be carried using only one strap to make it as unergonomic as possible
Why? I think it was a Gateshead Bye Law 

Go thro the former guest book to see entries from Lyndsay Brydon, Leslie Searle, John McKenzie, Philip Latheron, Andy Muir, George Charlton, Lee Hetherington, D. Rice, Dave Hogg, Roger Scholes. Their email addresses are shown in their entries