WMGS Teachers - circa 1959-66

Mr Davies Mrs Hill Mr Solomons

Pictured above are Mr Davies (History debates, film society and Welsh Nationalist) , Mrs Hill, (English, history and deputy headmistress) & Mr Solomons (French) Click here for Mr Solomon's web page  - Pictures by Gillian Hartley (1971) sent to me by David Solomons) I have recently contacted Gillian, who is now in New Zealand and she has given me permission to use the pictures above and below.

In the Autumn 2003 edition of the Old Pupils Newsletter Maralyn Windsor (Shine) wrote an article which included the following statement: "Some of the teachers were in the wrong profession and some were probably on the wrong planet". I wonder which ones she was referring to? Check them out below.

Listed below are the ones I remember- Let me know of any others by email

Class 2B 1960 was managed by Miss Day (Latin Teacher) who then retired at Christmas 1961

An admission from another pupil:

I was so badly behaved in Miss Day's form (for Latin), that I got put at the front of the class. The problem was that everybody, except the front row, cheated in Latin tests. I used to get terrible term marks, but came second in exams.

Maths Teachers: Mrs Johnstone, she was a young teacher when she taught us. Her husband taught at W'ton Grammar. I think Mr Foxon was head of the Maths department until he left in 1962 to go to Regis School

German Teacher - 'Frau' was Ms Walters/Mrs Goater - she re-married whilst at WMGS and left to live and teach in Nigeria.

French - Mr Parsons in my early years, he became deputy head in 1960 and was referred to as Batman by another pupil because of the way he flew round the balcony with his cloak flying out behind him.

Later I had Mr Dudley as my French teacher. Mr Dudley used to issue automatic detentions to anyone getting low marks for French Homework. Mr Dudley was at the School for 38 years, retiring in Autumn 1964, I believe he died soon after that. Mr Southall also took French and so did Mr Reece. David Solomons tells me his father was teaching French at the school as well.

Geography - Mr Jackson made us work hard, he arrived at the school fresh from the British Antarctic Survey. Also in the dept was Mr Thompson, who also took us for games ocassionally. Mr Thompson also taught at Colton Hills after the school moved there. The Birch Thompson Memorial Fund which funds the school's house in Porthmadog, is named after him and another former teacher. His wife, a tireless worker for the fund, died in February 2002.

Mr Purvis also took us for a while, I had memories of him (see my memories page) although I had forgotten his name until Bill Griffiths reminded me. Mr Sharpe was also a Geography Teacher from 1955 to 1962 although I have no memory of him. He died in 2011 and was remembered in an article in the Autumn 2012 OPA magazine

History --I am told Mr Pearce (Des?) was a great History Teacher. Personally I only remember he used to..... (well can you remember a distinctive habit?) I understand he later became a vicar. There  was also a Mr Bente. Mr Pearce arrived at the school to replace Mr Wright who left for a school in Dudley.

Biology with Mr Askew could be gruesome, but I guess it's that kind of subject. Mr George Hawthorne also taught Biology and was, to quote one of the girls from my year " A lovely man - he was one of those teachers you felt you could always talk to." He was also one of the founder members and a past vice chairman of this Old Pupils Association and continued to support it until he became too ill to continue. Mr Hawthorne died on 6th February 2001.

Chemistry- I remember we had a couple of lessons with Mr Darby, who was very animated and amusing when explaining atomic theory. Most of the time we had another teacher whose name escapes me. Strange really since my best 'O' level result was in Chemistry. Kathy Fowler thinks there was possibly also a Mr Bishop who sometimes had difficulties controlling his classes.

Physics - Mr Terry Langford made Physics really enjoyable, but it was still a difficult subject. He continued to teach me after I left school as I attended a night school Physics class (in the Muni building) as part of my ONC Electrical Engineering course. (Update 2006 - Terry Langford has recently joined the Old Pupils Association) Mr Wallbank also taught Physics but I only remember him for giving us detentions when he caught us up Molineux Alley not wearing our school caps.

English Language and Literature- I remember Mr Renwick (from Alnwick!) teaching us English Language and Literature. At the school from 1945 to 1967. He set us some homework in May 1964 that was almost identical to one of the questions on the Literature 'O' level paper in the following month. - Well done Mr Renwick, that really helped, I passed!

Mrs Hill also taught English - but I have only vague recollections of her as she never taught me. I believe she banned me from School Trips after I once backed out of one at the last minute.

Mrs Applegate and Mrs Knott also did English and general Arts subjects.

Mr Steel was a stern looking english teacher who I managed to avoid while I was at the school. I came across him after I left when I was in the REMO Players amateur dramatic group, from 1969 to 1979. For part of that period, Mr Steel was the Adjudicator for the Wolverhampton and District Drama Federation and used to come and mark our plays for the annual drama competition. It became apparent to me from his comments on our plays that he liked classical music, so I always liked to find pieces of music that I thought he might enjoy, to play before the play started and during the interval. I never advertised what music I was playing, but he never failed to identify it in his written reports of our plays, even when I found what I thought was an obscure piece. I'm sure he gave us extra marks if he liked the music, as long as it matched the mood of the play.

Games/PE - Mr Jones. Not to be trifled with and always had to be called sir! (Update 2002- Now aged 71 living in Wakefield.) The girls had Miss Rachel Heyhoe for a time (Later to be England Ladies Cricket Captain, also on Board at Wolves FC) and then Mrs MacTier, I'm told.

Music: Mr Greenway - always used to play the music too loud so that the office staff would ask for it to be turned down. He would walk round the class when we were singing to see that no-one was not singing. Lynda Chugg (Roper) advised me in 2005 that she was still in touch with Ken Greenway. He still lived in Tettenhall. He left WMGS in 1969 to go to Avery Hill College of Education in Eltham, London, took early retirement and eventually became organist at The Abbey Church, Shrewsbury.

Mr O'Brien was our Form Master in 1964 (Class 5B) for the crucial year leading up to 'O' Levels. He was the replacement for Mrs Goater in the German Department, but I had given up German to do Physics. ( I'm sure German would have been easier!)

R.E.(Religous Education) We had Mr Williams as far as I can remember and refered to him as Holy Joe. This could be as a result of his large bushy black beard, or am I confusing him with someone else.

Does anyone remember Mr Lindsay? Was he a physics teacher by any chance?

Miss Mountain was headmistress and Miss D.G.Outlaw(Doggie) was a very old Art teacher who was still around for part of my time at the school. (Officially retired in 1960)  They drove around in a Morris Minor I believe. Mrs Thrift took over from Miss Outlaw in the Art dept.

6th form 1966 present Miss Mountain with a retirement present

(Picture from Woolpack magazine - Autumn 1966.)

Mr Nixon was at the School when I arrived and taught Spanish I believe, but he left around 1960/61. The School then stopped teaching Spanish, which is a shame when you consider how many pupils have probably been there since they left.

First form teachers 1959:-

1A was Mr Blackham.
1B was Mr Cleeton (says Kathy Fowler) - Phil Smith says he was a maths teacher, well known for saying "You fools" (and of course he was right!) Mr Cleeton emailed me in December 2003 - he was still teaching! -  at the age of 69, in Buffalo New York

Mr Cleeton wrote as follows :

"Yes I'm Gil (Gilbert) Cleeton.  I don't know what my nickname was there - do you?. I did my teacher training at MGS and remember the tips given me by Ivor Blackham though Smith's Blocks was my idea. He once said he could go into a class and just look at the kids and say what Grade they would obtain! I remember once being put by Mr Meacham to teach in the cycle shed and also remember the stove in the playground hut catching fire when I was in it. I remember Rachel Heyhoe teaching there for a while and she was our secret weapon on the Staff Cricket team. I remember Mr. Askew hitting a six into the sweet shop and the ball went bouncing round breaking the sweet jars - the old lady came out and gave us all a good piece of her mind in doubtful language. Askew was a big hitter but never lasted long at the crease."

1C was Mrs K Guggenheim, (nee Fenton) according to my report. She left shortly after and was living in Bridgnorth.

1D was Mr T Wright. Bill Griffiths has a report that was signed by T Wright and remembers him as a tall thin and quietly spoken historian

Click here to read two emails received from Clive Pearson (1945-51) received in June 2006 from Clive, now a retired consultant living in Australia.


Additional Info received from Andrew Turner before he died:

Further to your bit about "teachers": (1959-66 approx:)

"Joey" Steele sadly died a few years ago but his wife (whose Christian name I have forgotten but who also I think did some teaching at the Muni) is still alive (although very frail) and living at the Woodlands Quaker Home on the Penn Road, opposite where Church Road joins it. Barbara Hill has also sadly passed away.

I'm surprised no-one's mentioned "The Colonel" (real name I think Mr. Graham) who (tried to) teach Maths and had tremendous problems with class control. Virtually everyone played up in his lessons, even small, shy swots like me! I remember clearly Geoffrey Dillow smuggling into the classroom what he referred to as a "perpetual motion machine" he'd made which he let off inside a paper bag. The Colonel couldn't work out where the sound was coming from. Or there was the time someone put an alarm clock up the chimney behind the board, timed to go off during the lesson...!

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John Williams (1960-1967) added the following teachers to my list:

Mr Shepard (Latin). Mr Whitehead (Chemistry), Mr Kelly (French) and Mr Richards (Art)

I don't personally remember the teachers below, but younger pupils may remember them:

Mr Makins

by Gill Hartley

Gill also remembers Mike Boulby - music teacher
and Mr Beavis who taught French and Russian

Mr Sutton

by Gill Hartley

This space was reserved for Gill's picture of Mr Parsons (also known as batman) but she says she couldn't quite get the flight motion correct as he careered around the balcony in his gown. I'd forgotten that a lot of the teachers still wore their gowns when teaching.  

Nowadays a gown is something hired for the day when you graduate from University, but when we were at the school quite a few of the teachers wore them all the time.

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