Items from the 2003 Newsletter

The following short items appeared in the 2003 Newsletter.

Derek Bridge [1943–1948]

Derek Bridge has become the new President of the Halifax Antiquarian Society.

First appeared in Newsletter dated

Wallace Brown [1949–1952]

Wallace Brown writes from Canada with an amusing memory of Barrie Ingham:

Around 1950, when I was in the sixth form, I was associated with Barrie in the school theatre and at the Thespians - he certainly knew me quite well. Sometime in the mid 1960s, I was in the Salisbury pub in St Martin’s Lane, a well-known hangout for West End actors, when in came Barrie before curtain, dressed in fringed leather (his play I think, Buffalo Bill and the Indians). I said, Barrie, I wonder if you remember me: we were at Heath School together? No, he replied and joined his fellow luvvies.

First appeared in Newsletter dated

Michael Butler [1941–1949]

Michael Butler, as well as his memories of C.O.M. and the farm camps, writes that he last saw Hedley Whitely in Liverpool in 1955, when he, Michael that is, was on his first newspaper, the Liverpool Daily Post, and Hedley was still at Liverpool University. Michael is also in regular touch with David Connelly, another contemporary, and they recently found themselves discussing Heath’s round window, the last remnant of the original school, which I remember in its forlorn and ignoble position in the old Heath buildings, overlooking the lavatories and the bicycle shed. Michael asks whether there is any interest in listing it and preserving it.

First appeared in Newsletter dated

Roy Crossley [1943–1948]

Roy Crossley has written with regard to the brief obituary note for P.H. Haws that appeared in the last newsletter. Roy thinks that this must be Pat Haws, who was referred to as ‘Major’ in his Yorkshire Post obituary a year or two ago. Roy continues,

I knew him in my banking days - his father was Chief Cashier at the Midland Bank on Commercial Street when I started as a junior there in 1949 and Pat, who was older than me, was at Lloyds. I believe that he was involved later in life with the T.A., hence the military rank. I last met him rather more than twenty years ago, and at that time he had a position in the bank’s Personnel Department.'

First appeared in Newsletter dated

Ron Greenwood [1941–1946]

Your editor often encounters Ron Greenwood usually at cricket matches. Ron remembers being taught by, among others, ‘Oddy’ Brown (Maths), Charles Place (P.E.), and confirms that his daughter was the school secretary at the time. He recalls a Mr Watkin, who may have taught Latin. One lesson he drew a cake on the board and asked what town it represented. ‘Nuneaton’ turned out to be the answer! Ron cycled to school from home each day. He remembers being late one morning and skulking in the cycle shed, being caught by Keith McDonald, who gave him a prefects’ detention, and set him a poem to memorise, before he would be allowed home. Ron found this completely impossible. He was late home that day!

Eric Hunter [1954–1950]

Your editor met his old classmate Eric Hunter at the Victoria Theatre in Halifax recently. Upon asking for a contribution to the newsletter, it was pleasing that Eric’s first instinct was to reach for his wallet. The real contribution arrived from France shortly afterwards, scribbled on the pages of a cheap cahier. Ever one to court controversy, Eric claims that the editor’s motto whilst at Heath was ‘Never volunteer for anything.’ The editor denies that this was ever his conscious philosophy and anyway, he was always working too hard to notice what there was to volunteer for.

Perhaps Eric is trying to get his own back for the occasion when he was called upon to run a quick single by the editor and, unable to respond, was run out by yards! Eric also recalls signs of a mis-spent youth such as our visit to Bradford Gaumont around 1956 to see Bill Haley and his Comets. This was amusing as, rock '=‘n’ roll being a new phenomenon, the first half of the concert consisted of a dance band, a ballad singer, a comedian, and a penny whistler!

Eric also claims that the editor did his fair share of teacher-baiting (he uses another word, but never let it be said that the newsletter resorts to cheap laughs). He recalls an occasion when ‘Biddy’ Taylor was persuaded to read to the class a poem by Ezra Pound, claiming that it was a really exciting work. The poem, however, contained a bawdy phrase. Oh Eastwood! said Biddy, his face registering disappointment at the fall from grace of his star pupil.

Eric ends by urging Old Boys to write to the newsletter. Yes, please, but preferably without memories of the editor!

First appeared in Newsletter dated

Frank, Nigel & Simon Varley

Audrey Varley, whose sons, Nigel [1966–1971] and Simon [1970–1975], and late husband, Frank [1931–1936], were all at Heath writes from Devon that for some years she had a shop on Manor Drive and remembers that Biddy and Maud Taylor, Arthur and Maimie Owen, and even the ‘great’ Walter Swale bought a cowboy hat outfit for his grand-daughter!

First appeared in Newsletter dated

The Science Building

In the last newsletter, there was some discussion about the date of the science building. David Bottomley and David Crossland appear to have been correct, for the Heathen editorial of December 1934 states that:

the term has been notable for two reasons. In the first place, the erection of the long-awaited Science building between the Fives courts and the Gym has been carried out so rapidly that it is hoped the building will be ready for occupation by the beginning of next term. Both the rest of the school and Mr Phoenix will rejoice that he will now be able to carry out his experiments, occasionally malodorous, or dripping ‘like the gentle rain from heaven, upon the place beneath.’

Curiously, the other three Heathen of that year make no mention at all of the Science building; so the official date of opening remains unclear, though obviously 1934 was the year.

Incidentally, the second reason was the institution of a school camp at Filey, a subject amply documented elsewhere.

First appeared in Newsletter dated