Starting Year 1950
I have a few memories that might be useful in filling in a bit of the history.
I noted that from the pictures of the old school frontage that a question remained about the small building at the front adjacent to the entrance to the school.
This building was in fact a Public Toilet with entrances just off Prince Consort Road - there were also entrances to these toilets from inside the school grounds.
I, of course, recognise many of my old teachers such as:-
Mr James - Chemistry Master
Mr Ure - Physics Master - ( he also recruited Alan Foster and myself when we were in the 4th Form to assist with lighting at the Little Theatre for all school productions there )
Mr Clayden - Maths Master ( our nickname was Tubby Clayden )
Mr Mock - also Maths Master ( His initials J.M.L. stood for Jasper Masculine Lynn Mock and I believe he had been an Oxford Blue. This is disputed...see entry in the Staff section)
Mrs Flintoff - French Teacher
Mr Cleasby - My French teacher in final year. First name Ralph.
Some of my classmates through most of my school career were:-
I would be delighted to hear from others in my year group -my e-mail is
I know that John Errington and Margaret Crowther became man & wife some years after leaving school and last I heard ( many years ago ) they were living in the Midlands area.
Any other info. i could help with, you only have to ask"
Brenda Aynsley, now Graham, in Intake Year !950, writes
went to Gateshead Grammar School from 1952 – 1954 when I was transferred from Queen Anne Grammar School York, following a family
move. I did not settle there and missed my other school a lot, all girls and quite modern. I found it very difficult to adapt but there were some good times nevertheless. Some of the lads were very funny and full of cheek. I will never forget one lesson we had with Mr Ridley. We went to his classroom and he came in to start the lesson, he was always very stern. He rolled down the blackboard and I will never forget his face as a caricature of him appeared, very well drawn by someone, I guess one of the boys. He went ballistic, his face went very red and he was very, very angry. I doubt if it had been done by anyone in our class but we got the blame and the punishment. I wonder if the culprit ever owned up In 1963 - 65 I was in Bahrain with my husband and two small
children and we visited the Navy establishment there. A young sailor
realized I came from the North and it transpired he had also been
educated at GGS, I have now forgotten his name but the back of the
photograph attached, which he kindly gave to me, is signed N Hughes.
(The photo is the 1955-56 Soccer Team shown in the Sports Team Photos section) I believe the lad , top row second on the left facing, is John Steel. (He is currently identified as McIntyre and here
the teacher shown in the photo, who ran the soccer teams of the early
50's, said there were no boys paying soccer below 5th year...the mystery
deepens) I recognize other faces but I cannot put a name to them. I
will be sending a copy to Bill Crow and
he may be able to give you some names. We were all in to the Animals
at the time and this was why he gave me the photograph.
I found the photograph when I was sorting out some things which had been put in a box many moons ago."
Brenda has sent in these further recollections
We moved from York so that my parents could be near to their relatives, my father had suffered an accident and my mother was in constant pain with rheumatoid arthritis, I too had been very ill and had lost a lot of time at school. GGS was a complete culture shock to me, I was nervous when I discovered it was co-educational as I had never been taught by a male teacher in my school life. For me it was like going back several eras in history, the pupils actually stood in lines before entering the building. Discipline was a very strong point and punishment was meted out regularly, by both stony faced teachers and overzealous prefects. At times the punishment the boys received was gratuitous, though it has to be said that some boys were guilty of winding up some of the women teachers. I had done well in my previous Grammar school where we were taught self discipline, not only in our demeanour but in our study. Mr Mock absolutely put the fear of God into me and I was useless in his class, which made him even more averse to me. I dreaded the pieces of chalk which he threw with precision and accuracy. In later life I went to college and gained a qualification in accountancy, amongst other things, which would, I am sure, have completely surprised Mr Mock. The teachers I remember as being firm but fair were the eccentric Miss Greenstone – a brilliant English teacher, Miss Clunie, Miss Oates, Miss Mordue and the gentle and kind Miss Simpson. Of the men I liked Mr Reed, Mr Doxford, because I loved art and Mr James. I had two good friends, Margaret Dryden and Margaret Iredale, who were quiet sensitive girls and I appreciated their kindness and friendship. Some of the male teachers strode around with their dusty gowns flying out behind them and they were on the prowl always looking for trouble. Mr Rimer, who if he detected one particle of insubordination shouted out ’40 theorems’ to be handed in the next day. I found the snobbery from some of the pupils who lived in private houses to the ones who didn’t very disagreeable and this came about by the influx of council house children after WW2, at that time there was a definite division, which I think gradually petered out. I handed in my books, when I could legitimately leave the school, with mixed feelings. I recognised the school had a history of academic achievement and wished I could have coped better with the environment. I took and gained a lot of academic qualifications after leaving GGS and in my 60s I achieved a teacher’s qualification and taught at college and night school. I was drawn to teaching adults with literacy and numerical difficulties and adults with life time learning difficulties. I also taught foreign students English and stroke victims to help them read and write again. I have no doubt that the teaching at GGS had, in fact, proved beneficial, some good teaching must have penetrated my brain cells.
Gateshead Grammar School building was splendid architecture and the front facade should have been preserved. The fabric of the building was in dire need of repair especially the toilets and cloakrooms, but the front could have been kept and built on to, I have seen this done several times, not only in this country. However, Gateshead council had a love affair with concrete at the time, no doubt a cheaper option but a terrible legacy for the good folk of Gateshead.
My brother joined GGS in 1956 and academically thrived there. He thought Mr Mock was fantastic and loved his classes. My brother became a Chartered Engineer. My family and I regained our health and despite the smoke, coke ovens and general pollution, we thrived too.