Slice of history: teacher remembers his school days

The middle section of the metre-long school photograph which has prompted so many memories. Mr Shambrook is second from the left.

The middle section of the metre-long school photograph which has prompted so many memories. Mr Shambrook is second from the left.

First published in News Northwich Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

AN overwhelming response greeted the publication of a school photograph from the Verdin County Grammar School in 1957.

We have covered the pupils and their lasting memories of the school rules and their classmates.

In the second of our Remember When two-part features we look at the teachers that made schooldays memorable in 1950s Winsford.

‘A HAPPY SCHOOL’ is how a retired teacher remembers the Verdin County Grammar School in 1957.

Whitegate man Bill Shambrook spent his 32-year teaching career at the Winsford school, from 1950 to 1982.

He taught religious studies and was one of a number of long term teachers there.

“It was a very happy school,” he said.

“In those days teachers stayed at the school and it’s the long stayers that make a school – you had to deal with your own mistakes and if you did something wrong you had to put it right.

Former pupils remember all the school rules, from no running in the corridors to always wearing full uniform until you are at home, but Bill said teachers were lucky with pupil behaviour.

“We didn’t have that many discipline problems at all,” he said.

“A lot has to do with the homes and they were good kids who were disciplined at home.

“By and large I think the kids who went to grammar school had the right kind of background, which made life easier for us.”

Bill, 91, thoroughly enjoyed his time at the school, which became a comprehensive in 1970, but had been destined for a very different career until the Second World War changed his life.

“When I left school originally I was going to go into mining engineering,” he said.

“I was in the war in Australia and came back by ship, which incidentally took us six weeks, and on the journey there were a lot of evacuated children.

“My commanding officer put me and friend in charge of the children – keeping them happy and motivated.

“I enjoyed it so didn’t go back to mining engineering but went into teaching, which wasn’t my intention before I joined up.”

Bill must have made the right choice as he is still fondly remembered by his former pupils.

He said: “I get recognised a lot, for better or for worse.

“It’s very satisfying in a way that they don’t mind speaking to you and coming up to you – I take it as a great compliment.”

  • MANY former pupils have very vivid memories of the teachers at the school.

A number of people have been in touch with the Guardian and named the headteacher Mr Bellamy, art teacher Mr Morris, geography teacher Mr Pearson, woodwork teacher Mr Walton, PE teacher Eric Rowley, physics teacher Mr Rutherford, English teacher Mr Parker, maths teacher Mr Hatton, chemistry teacher Mr Cooper, maths teacher Mr Parry, English teacher Mr Reece, French teacher Mrs Reece, domestic science teacher Mrs Sergeant, and music teacher Mrs Wise.

Former pupil Niel Hodkinson said: “A long lasting memory of Mr Bellamy was queuing up outside his study with around 40 other lads waiting for a couple of strokes of the cane.

“Our sin was throwing wet clay balls at the lads from the adjacent High Street school.

“What we would have got if we had hit anyone, who knows.”

Niel remembers being in Mr Walton’s woodwork class stirring a vat of wood glue when the death of King George VI was announced.

He also remembers Mr Rutherford cracking a piece of rubber gas tube on to the wooden desks to startle sleepy students and Mr Parker’s wooden stick that he called Polyphemus.

“I don’t think he ever used it ,but it was there as a threat,” he said.

He added: “Though the teachers look stern most of them could bring a sense of humour into class.”

He also remembers Mr Shambrook and described him as ‘one of the nicest men you could meet.”

Comments (0)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree