City Grammar - Memories - Ron Leigh

Some recollections from Ron Leigh CGS 1943 to 1948

Year 1 1943/44:-

Our form room was the Hall, remote from any other goings on in the School. Here, amazingly, we fought tournaments involving riders mounted on pianos jousting with curtain poles . Another  hazard of the Hall as form  room was that of being pushed by one's friends into the voids behind sliding panels to be left in the darkness there, alone save for the odd  stored bust of Caesar.

Form rooms in later years:-

In year 3, our form room was Room 50, the Music Room, which had an operational open coal fire and a blackboard that stood, supported by pegs on an easel.
In year 6L, our form room was Room 60, the Geography Room. One of the hazards of having this as form room was that of arriving  home to discover a lump of calcareous schist, or similar, in one's schoolbag-this having been taken from one of Room 60's glass specimen cases by some prankster

Fond memories of the teachers:-

My general recollection is that, with notable exceptions,  the female teachers were  very formidable and  the  male teachers  benign.

Mr Moulson was probably the most benign , followed closely by Mr Cawton  who always signed off one's homework with a large scrawled CAC logo and who  called each of us boys "Old Man" as a kindly form of address.
Mr McIver, who told us that he came from "the home of contented cows" (ie Dumfries), instilled in me a detailed knowledge and concern for Scottish topography, such that even to this day I carry round, against my will, many  names such as Ochill Hills, Pentland Hills, Campsie Fells and the Dunbar to Girvan fault line.

Mr Hum would probably not have survived today's assessment-oriented school environment. As I recall, his opening words throughout the year on entering to teach our chemistry class were  always; "I've forgotten to mark the books"

Mr Callister could be quite stern and I well remember attending his first lecture  to 6L in the Chemistry Lecture Theatre CL. He looked at all of us very intensely  and said in a slow threatening tone; "You think you know some chemistry, well--------------you haven't even ---------scratched the surface", accompanying his statement by a superficial scratching gesture of the bench.

Miss Gilham , the girls' PT teacher, occasionally came into room 60  to consult Mr McIver during a class. She would be  dressed in her white pullover and little black skirt. When this happened , there was always a discernible drawing of breath and a change to the collective heartbeat of all the boys present.

Some things that stick in my mind
During an English Literature Class, where the girls heavily outnumbered the boys, seeing the heavily-built Tom Stevenson insisting on playing the part of Cordelia in a class reading of King Lear.

Travelling on the buses to the sports afternoon and always  bursting into collective song just as soon as it was legal, that being as soon as the bus had traversed the railway bridge at the foot of East Bank Road.

On alternate weeks we were required by Miss Hibberd to bring specified biological specimens from home for examination in the biology afternoon practical class. We boys invariably forgot to bring these specimens to school, realising our problem  only when we saw the girls carrying their specimens in the morning. This always meant a desperate search of the Albert Hall ruins for relevant specimens such as worms or samples of our garden soil. Regarding the latter, Miss Hibberd was scathing about the quality of our gardens, of course based on the rubble samples we all had gathered from the Albert Hall site.

Verbatim (except for italicised insertions) Extracts from my 1947 diary which I just recently found.
January 29   Sea froze at Folkestone
February 4  Snow 30 feet deep at Fox House
October 27  Travelled home on the tram with Muriel Stocks (CGS)
October 31  Holiday. Cycled to Ashford-in-the-Water where I was chased by a bull. On the return journey,  got a puncture at Baslow. Four garages wouldn't help and the blacksmith was ill in bed. I pushed the bike through Grindleford and almost up to Fox House when I got a lift on a lorry as far as Totley. Here by chance I saw Peter Roscoe (CGS) so we went to his house and restored my bike.  In the evening, Countess Maritza at the Lyceum.
November 7  Lost badge, broke ruler, bought poppy
November 18 Vickers absent, Physics practical was the deflection magnetometer
November 19 Snow, therefore no field . Instead went to YWCA to dance with June Pinder, Joyce Holliday, Shirley in green who takes Geography and Margaret Bowls. Then to PL to listen to England v Sweden on the radio ( !!). England 4 (Mortenson 3 , Lawton 1) Sweden 1
December 12 Party at night. Danced with June Royles, a freckled girl from Form 4, J Mills, J Allen and Brenda Sawle. Took Margaret Bowls to supper.

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