M.G.S. Magazine - July 1958

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MGS Magazine 1958
Information Pages

Editors: P. D. Senior, Mary F. Shaw, Catherine M. Walker


Some years slide imperceptibly into the mists of the Past. They bequeath no permanent feature to live in the memory; a little happiness here, a little sorrow there, and before the New Year is firmly with us we have forgotten the one which is gone.

Not so 1957. With whatever feelings we look back on it-and they will certainly be mixed-it will be long remembered in our history.

We mourned the Rev. C. A. Jeffery and Mr. Fred Berry who both loved the School and, Governor and Teacher, worked for it to the last, unceasingly and well.

We said goodbye to Mr. W. Hepworth who served the School for thirty seven years and was our Headmaster for twelve of them. As Mr. Evans says, in a tribute printed on a subsequent page, his life was "dedicated to the welfare of the School" and his record was one "of continuous service which is regrettably rare nowadays." A leader, teacher, adviser and friend, we are grateful to him and wish him many years of active and happy retirement.

In his place we welcome most heartily Mr. J. D. Fairs who came to us from the King James I Grammar School, Bishop Auckland. Though he is already far from being a stranger in our midst, we are glad to be able to print an introduction to him from our Opposite number at his old School. We look forward to a long period of progress and prosperity under his leadership.

The past year has been one of outstanding academic successes. Three State Scholarships and seven West Riding Awards out of a total entry of sixteen candidates at Advanced Level-such an achievement speaks for itself and we will say no more, except further to congratulate J. C. Carter on winning the "Firth Scholarship" at Sheffield University.

And not only in scholarship: though our Senior teams have had an off-period, we had eight young footballers in the Spen Valley F.A. team which was preparing so resolutely to crush representative teams from the North Riding, Leeds and Sheffield, before losing to Hull in the Semi-final of the Yorkshire Shield.

From Roberttown to Kirkburton, from the Lake District to Wales, from Edinburgh to the Isle of Man, from London to Belgium and Austria, the new badge of Mirfield Grammar School is becoming known. At this rate we shall become famous! Let us continue to build securely on the Past, looking backward in gratitude and forward in confident hope.


Mr. Berry came to the School on October 20th, 1936, as part-time Assistant Master for Handicraft and devoted the rest of his life, which ended on June 21st, 1957, to service in the School. He taught Woodwork throughout the school and was able to impart to others the enthusiasm he had for his subject. Of his craftsmanship there are several souvenirs in School, such as the carving on the Headmaster's rostrum in the Hall and the beautiful Honours Board which adorns the Library. One of his greatest delights was when he became a full-time member of the Staff. We are grateful for the happiness he had in the School and for the happiness he brought to others.


For thirty years the Rev. C. A. Jeffery was a Foundation Governor of the School and for many years a member of the Appointments Board. He was most devoted to the School and very diligent in his duties even when failing health made it difficult. His zeal for the rights, duties and privileges of the School was unbounded. The School owes much to his services and we are grateful that his memory will be perpetuated in the founding by Mrs. Jeffery and Miss M. R. Jeffery of the Jeffery Memorial Medals to be awarded annually to a boy and a girl in the Sixth Form for meritorious work.


Mr. Hepworth came to Mirfield Grammar School in 1920 to take up the dual role of Science specialist and youngest master. Progressing from these humble beginnings he became in turn the Headmaster's right hand, then officially recognised Second Master, and, finally and inevitably, Headmaster. Such is a bald outline of a career spanning a period of thirty-seven years, dedicated to the welfare of our school, and constituting a record of continuous service which is regrettably rare nowadays.

During this time the school has grown from a total of some 120, occupying in comfort a single line of classrooms, to a bustling community three times as large, packed tightly into the present imposing buildings, and overflowing into Towngate.

Older generations of pupils will recall Heppy's prowess on the cricket and football fields, his expertise with the camera, and his majestic tread on the boards of the school's home made stage. Whether portraying the erudite omniscience of a modern Major-General, the devotion to duty of Sir Joseph, the tribulations of a too susceptible Lord Chancellor, he was ever master of the situation, and of the audience. When, as John Wellington Wells, he made his final exit, downwards into the nether pit reserved for wizards and suchlike, the avid interest shown as to his fate remains a vivid and gleeful memory.

Other pictures include Space exploration by hydrogen-filled balloons in the interest of Form III, strange-coloured chemical gardens, analysis of the school coke supply, and observation of the activities of painters and decorators, much to the benefit of the school.

He leaves many monuments to his industry and vision, notably the Honours Board gracing the Library, the new school badge, and Founder's Day Service. He introduced the laudable custom of school journeys to events of national importance and inaugurated the tradition of winning Scholarships in Science. The School Leaving Scholarship Fund inseparably associated for so many years with Stage productions of all kinds was due to his inspiration, and a project dear to his heart.

His forthright Yorkshire toughness has made its mark On Mirfield, and with his departure an era has closed. Past and Present unite in wishing him a long, active and happy middle age in retirement.



It is with very great pleasure that we print this appreciation of Mr. Fairs, written by one of his old pupils, Brian Armstrong, of the Upper Sixth, King James I Grammar School, Bishop Auckland.

"Mr. Fairs was brought up on Tyneside, in the midst of Industry and Science; surely there could have been no more fitting or auspicious environment for a scientist-to-be.

"He attended Rutherford Grammar School, Newcastle, from which he entered the Newcastle division of Durham University to read Chemistry, in which he gained his B.Sc. degree.

"Mr. Fairs first came to teach at Bishop Auckland Grammar School in the late nineteen-thirties. However, his career as a teacher was interrupted by the war. He took up a post in an explosives factory where he did invaluable research work. After the War he returned to what should have been comparative tranquillity and leisureliness. Such was the variety of his interests, however, that leisure must have been only a pipe-dream to him.

"He will be best remembered in South West Durham for ability on the football field. Like so many footballers Mr. Fairs' love for the game was nurtured in his childhood. His ability was recognised at the University by the award of a 'palatinate' which is only given to sportsmen of exceptional skill. Even more outstanding were his successes in amateur football. As a member of the Bishop Auckland football team he played in the Amateur Cup Final of 1946 at Stamford Bridge, which Barnet won 3-2. The following year he was a member of the same team which lost to Wimbledon in the semi-final of the same competition. Even after he ended his playing days, he still retained an active interest in the club as a member of the committee. He also served on the committee of the Bishop Auckland C.C., for which he occasionally played.

"Sport, however, was not his only pastime. He had a fine baritone voice, which is now sadly missed in morning assembly at Bishop Auckland. I understand that Mr. Fairs often sang the lead in productions of neighbouring Amateur Operatic Societies. He was also baritone soloist in numerous sacred oratorios such as Handel's "Messiah" and Stainer's "Crucifixion" which earned him well deserved praise.

"No description of Mr. Fairs would be complete without an assessment of him as a teacher. No doubt in the short time he has been at Mirfield, he will have impressed you with his frankness and fairness. Indeed, when it was learned that Mr. Fairs had been appointed to the Headship of Mirfield G.S., everyone at Bishop Auckland was certain that he would be extremely competent in his new post. Perhaps the best testimony to the excellence of his teaching methods is that his first pupil to fail Ordinary Level Chemistry did so in 1956.

"All his duties as Deputy Headmaster and House Captain of Neales were carried out most conscientiously to the benefit of both House and School, and we feel sure that in his capable hands the pupils of Mirfield G.S. will prosper.

"The Headmaster and Staff of the King James I Grammar School join with the Sixth Form in wishing him, and the school now under him, success and happiness in their work together."

Webmaster's note: Mr. Fairs died in 2002


Last midsummer we said goodbye to Mr. E. Hargreaves and Miss E. I. Swannack. Mr. Hargreaves worked here for ten years; his ability as a teacher of Physics was amply shown not only by the string of successes gained by his pupils but also by the popularity of his subject in the Upper School. He will be remembered for the visits he organised to Edinburgh and to the Isle of Man, for the interest he showed in School teams, for his musicianship and rousing commentaries on Sports Days. It will perhaps come as a shock to certain narrow-minded gentry in the Sixth who can see no further than their own particular subject that his French accent was almost approved by Miss Young!
He has moved nearer home, to Dewsbury and Batley Technical College, and we wish him all success in the future.

It was with regret that the School said good-bye to Miss Swannack at the end of the summer term last year. After three years with us she left to take up a senior post at Grantham Girls' High School. We shall not easily forget her happy, carefree manner. During her stay at Mirfield, the girls participated in many rallies and it is largely to her that the success of the hockey team was due.
We send our good wishes on her forthcoming marriage.

We welcome Miss I. Cunningham, P.E. and Games Mistress, Mr. G. J. Howlin, Physics Master, and Mr. F. Bevers, Woodwork Master, and hope that they will enjoy life at Mirfield.

Until Mr. Bevers' appointment, we were glad to have with us Mr. E. E. Rayner who quickly became popular in both workshop and Staff-room. The Masters' rooms contain at least two permanent and valued records of his craftsmanship.

Speech Day was held on 12th December, 1957, and prizes were presented by Professor A. N. Jeffares of Leeds University. A list of prize and certificate winners is printed later in this issue.

The Founder's Service was held in the Parish Church, by kind permission of the Vicar, the Rev. E. H. Hargrave.
The Choir sang the Introit, "Lord, for thy tender mercy's sake," and the Anthem, "Jubilate Deo." The Head Boy, J. C. Carter, and the Head Girl, Carol J. Elliott, read the lessons.
The address was given by the Venerable Eric Treacy, M.B.E., Archdeacon of Halifax, and prayers were conducted by the Rev. E. H. Hargrave and the Rev. F. H. Tysoe.

Our late Editor, Rachel A. Hirst, will be greatly missed. We thank her for the tireless energy and cool efficiency she showed in the production of this magazine. We congratulate her on her State Scholarship and wish her a bright future at Bedford College.

Our congratulations go to Patricia E. Kershaw who has won a degree at the London College of Music and to John T. Wilson who has been awarded a post in the Civil Service, Executive Class.

During the year a number of excursions have taken place. The Historians have visited Leeds Assizes with Mrs. Hopwood; Mr. Saywell and his Scientists have been to the British Belting and Asbestos Co. at Cleckheaton, the English Steel Corporation at Sheffield, Leech's Photographic Co., Brighouse and Rowntree's Factory at York.

J. C. Carter, Carol J. Elliott and P. D. Senior came first, second and third respectively in an Essay competition organised by the Rotary Club of Mirfield. The winning essay was entitled, "International Understanding and World Peace."

On the 30th of May, Miss Hellawell went to sing in Vienna with the Huddersfield Choral Society. Two concerts were given, one on 1st June when the "Messiah" was sung and the other two days later when William Walton's "Belshazzar's Feast" and Gabriel Fauré's "Requiem" were sung. The soloists were Elsie Morrison, William McAlpine, Norma Proctor and James Milligan.
On the 9th of July, Sir Malcolm Sargent, the Choral Society, the B.B.C. Symphony Orchestra and four vocalists will fly to Brussels to give two concerts at the Exhibition. At the first concert Elgar's "The Dream of Gerontius" will be performed, and at the second, "Belshazzar's Feast" and Holst's "The Planets" (in which Miss Hellawell will sing in the Semi-chorus). The soloists will be Dennis Noble, William Herbert, Elsie Morrison and John Cameron.

The late Headmaster has founded a William Hepworth Chemistry Prize, to be awarded annually, which will consist of books on Science or Applied Science up to a certain value.

Lectures have been given to the Upper School by Mr. Judd, a Director of the United Nations Association, by Lt. Col. G. E. Lane on "Rolls Royce Careers," and by Sqn. Ldr. E. R. Morris, R.A.F. and Flight Officer Laing, W.R.A.F.
R B. Wills has been selected to train for a Direct Commission in the R.A.F. He will start training in August and after three months "Square-bashing" will go to flying training school in Kent. Eighteen months later we hope he will receive his Commission and perhaps give us "a waggle" over School, sometimes.

In early February the countryside round Mirfield was made unusually beautiful by a heavy fall of snow which put the School timetable in complete chaos. For three days the number of pupils in School was reduced to 150. One or two stolid individuals battled through the snow and one notable member of the Sixth arrived three hours late on the sixth day of February. All too soon we had to return to the usual timetable.

The Chess Club held meetings in the Library on Tuesday evenings during the Autumn and Spring Terms.
This year's champion is B. D. Newman (2 Alpha) who beat C. Milnes ( 4 Alpha) in a very entertaining game.

A sport which is soon due to come into the limelight is canoeing. The Upper Sixth boys, under the capable guidance of Mr. Bevers, have built an extremely fine canoe. A race is eagerly awaited between the Sixth and the (family) crew of a noted Mirfield oarsman!


J. C. Carter:
D. Wroe:
M. Batty:
K. H. Breare:
M. H. Dodgson:
D. B. Milner:
M. Shaw:
M. Sinclair:
R. B. Wills:
Carol J. Elliott:
Patricia E. Kershaw:
Mary F. Shaw:
Claire Skellern:
Doreen Stringer:
Catherine M. Walker:
D. Carolyn Walker:

Elizabeth Brook:
Elizabeth M. Smith:

Other Officials:
C. R. Healey:
P. D. Senior:
Norma Ellis
Head of the School
Deputy Head of the School, Captain of Football Captain of Brontë
Captain of Thorpe
Head of the School, Captain of Brontë
Deputy Head of the School
Co-Editor of the School Magazine
Captain of Priestley, Co-Editor of the School Magazine
Captain of Hockey


Captain of Priestley
Captain of Cricket, Co-Editor of the School Magazine
Captain of Thorpe

G. Bray, P. J. Brook, A. E. Brown, R. M. Darley, W. H. Price, B. Shaw, L. Sheard, D. W. Williams, C. M. Woodhouse, Donald Wroe, J. T. Wilson, Evanne E. Bleakley, Frances A. Hepworth, Rachel A. Hirst, Helen C. Jackson, Jean M. Lister, Margaret E. Peace, Margaret D. Richardson.
A. S. Armitage, J. W. Dodgson, K. J. Easingwood, S. Ellis, T. Fearnley, B. Griffith, K. Hinchcliffe, B. Howells, A. L. Hough, B. Kelly, A. Kitson, N. J. Lawrence, K. Le Geyt, R. W. Lynn, G. C. Lodge, D. R. Matthews, D. Oates, M. Peace, S. M. Richardson, E. R. J. Savage, D. Squire, K. Stead, B. Symons, J. M. Walker, J. S. Walker.
Janet Armitage, Patricia Binns, Janette Booth, E. Ann Burnett, Eileen M. Crisp, Valerie Court, Christine M. Elliott, Judith M. Fox, Linda M. Gee, Edith Gomersall, Valerie Greenhalgh, Nora Greenoff, Mavis Hickman, Brenda Kaye, Patricia Kingswell, Jennifer Lawton, Ann Lodge, Gillian Martindale, Patricia R. Medley, Carolyn Paley, Jennifer Renton, Judith M. E. Scott, Rosalind Shepley, Valerie Smith, Christine M. Taylor, Norma G. Tyrell, Vilma J. Wilson, Christine Wroe.

J. Briggs, A. Denton, T. Downs, B. Dunderdale, S. E. Elliott, H. G. Grason, C. Harpin, D. Halstead, P. L. Hatfield, R. F. Heath, B. Highe, D. J. Lawrence, R. Midwood, J. R. Paley, D. N. Pinder, R. A. Rose, R. Sykes, J. Varley, H. Walsh, A. R. Wilson, J. Wroe.
Christine Armitage, Janet Armitage, Sylvia Barker, Ann Booth, Barbara Evans, Patricia M. Franks, Janet Mitchell, Dulcie W. Parfitt, Sylvia E. Thornton, Audrey Walker, P. Margaret Wilkins, Elizabeth B. Williams.
G. Anderson, A. Blacker, C. Brotherton, R. A. Ellis, A. Firth, R. Hampshire, A. Hirst, R. C. Gibbotson, M. Jessop, R. A. Maughan, S. J. Mear, J. Mills, G. P. Stancliffe, G D. Stocks, P. Wyatt.
Pamela A. Broadhead, Joan M. Charlesworth, Elizabeth Dugdill, Margaret Dugdill, J. Margaret Hirst, Judith A. Hirst, Rowena Ison, Sandra E. Kilburn, Susan Ounsley, Christine J. Peace, Janet Pickles, Doreen Scargill, Gillian Sutcliffe, Andrea, R. Tunningley, Helen M. Walker, Elaine Wattam.
N. F. Greenhalgh, D. Marsden, R. Mosedale, R. A. Shaw, J. E. Pearson.
E. Ann Fairs, Judith M. Fairs, Carol M. Brearley, Maxine L. Pecksen, Henrietta M. Smeaton, Rona M. Butterworth.