School secretaries

When I came to the school in 1936 ‘The Office’ was run by a pupil, W (Bill) Fletcher (no relation), possibly staying on to work for a university scholarship. He eventually became chief chemist at Capenhurst Nuclear Power Station before returning to teaching. He was followed by Jeanne Shoesmith, sister of John H. Shoesmith, and in turn by Margaret (Peggy) Breaks, sister of Harry L. Breaks, and Kathleen (Katie) Place, daughter of Games Master, C.H. Place. Later there was Margaret (Peggy) Livermore and Cynthia Eames, the last secretary to serve on the old Heath site.

John Fletcher [Heath 1936–1943]

Cynthia Eames, the last secretary at Heath, had earlier written:

One day in January 1969, I received a phone call from Mr W.R. Swale. I need someone to help me with dinner money, he said. I told him I was not sure if I could do that but his reply came, Of course you can; be in my office at 2pm tomorrow. What a way to get a job! So began my almost 17 years at Heath Grammar School. Margaret Livermore was the secretary then and I worked part-time alongside her until Margaret retired in March 1973 and I became full-time secretary.

My days were busy and varied. The staff were easy to work with and became friends rather than just work colleagues. The boys were something else! Some wonderful boys all with their curious ways and excuses to get out of things they didn’t like:— Miss, I can't do games on Fridays because we have peas for lunch. Miss, I can’t do PE because ‘somebody’ has moved my kit. (Is this somebody still around in school, I wonder?) Miss, I’ve lost my books/rugby boots/dinner tickets/raincoat/shoes! The list was endless and on the first winter day with a flurry of snow, Miss, are we going home early?

And the talent we had for drama and music, rugby and cricket. Such happy times at events appertaining to these subjects. I remember all of the boys with affection and have been, and still am, interested to learn what careers they all chose — especially some of the ‘naughtier’ ones.

To all the staff, three headmasters and most of all, all the boys between 1969 and 1985, my thanks for a wonderful job — made easier because of you all.

Cynthia concludes that she would have stayed longer than 1985 had the school remained the same, and not moved ‘up the road.’

First appeared in Newsletter dated