M.G.S. Magazine - July 1958

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MGS Magazine 1958
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This year the school presented 'Jane Eyre,' adapted by Helen Jerome from the hundred years old novel by Charlotte Bronte.

It tells the story of Jane's love for the embittered, tragically lonely Rochester (David B. Milner) who has employed Jane (Carol J. Elliott) a governess for his young ward, Adele Varens (Rosemary Halliwell).

Rochester's tragedy lies in the existence of his insane wife (realistically played by Mary F. Shaw) who is kept locked away in the mysterious west wing, under the care of a somewhat dour Grace Poole (Claire Skellern). Jane remains ignorant of this terrible secret as the love between her and her employer grows.

Feeling unable to sacrifice his one hope of happiness, Rochester decides to go through the marriage ceremony with the innocent, unsuspecting Jane, but fate steps in in the person of a somewhat grisly attorney (Kenneth H. Breare) and proof of Mrs. Rochester's existence is given to the horrified clergyman (Robert B. Wills).

Jane runs away from Thornfield Hall and is taken in by her (unknown) cousins, St. John Rivers (Michael Batty) and his sister Diana (Doreen Stringer).

Meanwhile, Rochester, after unsuccessfully searching for Jane, resigns himself to a life of loneliness. He loses his sight in a heroic attempt to save his wife during a fire at Thornfield Hall.

Jane, about to consent to marry St. John, hears Rochester calling her. So certain is she that he needs her that she flees at once, and returns to Rochester still attended by the faithful housekeeper, Mrs. Fairfax, (Patricia E. Kershaw) and Leah (Jill M. Daniels).

Other members of the cast were Lord Ingram (Andrew Broadbent) Lady Ingram (Norma Ellis), Blanche Ingram (Shirley Clarke), Richard Mason (Graham Heeley), Hannah (Christine Haigh).

One of the major difficulties of an adaptation like this is to reduce the story to suitable proportions for a play. Something obviously had to be left out but here we feel that Miss Jerome has been over severe with most of the action in the book. She has also made unnecessary alterations in the story, which we hope will not rebound with discredit to those members of the Fifth Forms who either acted in or saw the play.

The two principals, D. B. Milner and Carol J. Elliott, heavily burdened with long speaking parts and certain unfortunate lines rapturously received by the Friday audience, acquitted themselves well. Carol effectively captured the pertness of Jane, though Milner's Rochester tended to be too placid, losing much of the dynamic quality shown in the novel.

Pat Kershaw (for a finely restrained performance), Doreen Stringer and Christine Haigh are to be particularly commended, and in Rosemary Halliwell we have an actress obviously destined to be a star on our stage for many years to come.

Thanks are due to our enthusiastic producer, Mr. S. W. Evans, who (as usual) worked long and tirelessly to make this play the success it was, to Miss Jeffery and Miss Sheard for the effectiveness of the costumes, and to the Treasurer, Mr. Charnock, who was later able to report a profit of £78 which will go into the School Leaving Scholarship Fund.



To Old Grammarians, at home or far away, we send our greetings. Of some of you we hear much; of many of you little or nothing; of all of you we would hear more. Three most interesting articles appear in this section-many of you could write similar ones and these would be very welcome. During the year 1957, we held two notable functions, the 22nd Annual Re-Union on September 21st, 1957, and the presentation on December 14th to Mr. Hepworth on his retirement after 31 years at Mirfield Grammar School, 13 years as Headmaster. We were very sorry to say goodbye to him but we are glad to know that he has retired to Mirfield, and so is still, as ever, an active member of the Old Grammarians. We hope that his retirement will be a long and a happy one.

In January, 1958, we welcomed Mr. Fairs, our new Headmaster, who has already proved to be very helpful to our Association. We wish Mr. and Mrs. Fairs and their daughters a happy and successful stay in Mirfield.

1958 sees the revival of the Dramatic Section and we hope to produce a show during the Autumn, so come along all you dramatically minded ones and do something to help! Two enthusiasts have started a Table Tennis Section and hope for more members soon. May the efforts of the supporters of these two sections be blessed with success!

Finally, we would remind you that the Annual Re-Union this year will be held on Saturday, 27th September, at M.G.S. and we would like to see as many of you there as possible. Make a note of the date now.

President: C. Riley, Esq.

Life Vice-Presidents:
Miss H. Conyers, Miss M. E. Todd, Miss E. M. Young, C. C. Bracewell, Esq., W. Hepworth, Esq.

Vice-Presiclents :
F. Brearley, Esq., W. H. Brook, Esq., S. W. Evans, Esq., J. D. Fairs, Esq., H. Jessop, Esq., R. Lockwood, Esq. J. Martindale, Esq., W. S. McLauchlan, Esq.

Hon. Secretary: Miss M. L. Sheard

Hon. Treasurer: Mrs. M. E. Jessop

General Committee:
Miss J. Burton, Miss N. Hardy, Mrs. D. W. James, Miss M. R. Jeffery Miss M. Sheard, Miss M. Stead, G. D. Barrowclough, Esq., D. N. Bruce, Esq. J. Butler, Esq., G. Kilner, Esq., M. Storey, Esq., F. Storey, Esq.

Dramatic Section:
Hon. Secretary: Miss S. M. Kilner, —— Hon. Treasurer: Mrs. E. Chandler

Table Tennis Section:
Hon. Secretary: D. N. Bruce, Esq. —— Hon. Treasurer: M. Storey, Esq.


The Falkland Islands Dependencies comprise a section of the Antarctic Continent which stretches to the Pole, together with numerous off-lying islands. The territory is administered from Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands themselves. A number of bases occupied by from six to eleven men are maintained and carry out investigations of many kinds. The principal object of these is scientific, the acquisition of knowledge, although there is the possibility of practical return in the form of minerals of economic value, whilst the meteorological information collected is of practical value for much of the Southern Hemisphere.

Some bases are devoted entirely to studies like Meteorology, Geophysics Ionospherics, which consist of routine observations in one locality. Others have Surveyors and Geologists like myself, whose work entails travel with dog teams or man-hauled sledges across sea, ice or over glaciers.

The person stationed at one of these 'Sledging Bases' has a rewarding and also busy life. In spite of popular impressions of Polar boredom there is seldom time to. spare, for a hundred jobs clamour for attention. Dogs must be fed whatever the weather, food cooked, sledges and dog harnesses repaired and teams trained. If a new base is being established scientist and radio operator must become stevedore and carpenter. If boots need repair the wearer must do it. Under such circumstances even an unenthusiastic attendance at woodwork classes may be of value, and a willingness to try unfamiliar jobs from wire-splicing to cooking a Christmas cake is essential.

During journeys away from base, the Surveyor maps mountains and coastline by means of a sledge wheel traverse controlled by astronomical fixes. The Geologist drives his dogs from outcrop to outcrop, visiting the places where mountain tops stick up through the snow, or where rocks are exposed by wind action. The longest journeys have exceeded a thousand miles, and one hundred days, and dogs will average fifteen miles a day in reasonable conditions. Time is, of course, lost when bad weather precludes travel and the party remains in its tents sleeping, playing cards or reading, perhaps several times, the one 'Solid' book it is customary to take.

When the second annual visit of "John Biscoe" or "Shackleton" comes round the person whose two years in the Antarctic is over may feel, as I did, a certain sadness mixed with his joy at returning home.

James A. Exley (M.G.S. 1943-1951)


I have just completed two enjoyable years "Down Under" and would like to tell you a little about it.

In June, 1956, I was sent to Australia to do, some "Loan Service" with the Royal Australian Navy. They are rather under-manned down there so the R.N. weeds out a few people they would like to see less of, and packs them off, rather in the same manner as most of Australia's first white settlers, though in my case, without the ball and chain. I sailed in a normal passenger ship and we just sneaked through the Suez Canal before Nasser nationalised it. We had a few hours ashore at Gibraltar, Naples, Port Said, Aden and Colombo before reaching Fremantle in Western Australia, and we were blessed with good weather and a flat sea for most of this journey.

My first impressions of Australia were good ones and I liked the Australians whom I had met on board. The true Australian is a rough, honest man and I think I could always recognise one by his eyes. Surprisingly bright, clear eyes, deep set in a tanned face, and the eyes surrounded by creases like a tortoise's!

After proceeding round the coast to Adelaide and Melbourne I finally disembarked at Sydney on a dull day and made my way to a Naval Shore Station built attractively on one of the many narrow peninsulas jutting out into the drowned valley that is Sydney Harbour. I crossed the famous bridge in a Sydney taxi, which has been described by the racing driver, Stirling Moss, as "the most frightening ride in the world" and stayed two days in the outskirts of the city. No need to take an alarm clock! the Kookaburras in the gum trees giggle and chatter at first light, and you would have to be deaf to sleep through their din.

Nowra is a small village of 4,000 inhabitants, 100 miles south of Sydney and wedged between the Cambewarra Hills and the coast, and it was at Nowra that I spent the next 20 months. The Naval Air Station here is the second busiest in Australia and I enjoyed myself tremendously in a variety of flying jobs, not the least enjoyable of which was an aerobatic team tour of the larger towns and cities of New South Wales and Victoria.

I enjoyed Kangaroo and Wallaby shooting in the early, steamy mornings (though I could hardly bear to help skin the beasts while they were still warm!) and a gold panning weekend up the Shoalhaven River Gorge will never be forgotten. I visited many places by air, including Hobart in Tasmania, Broken Hill, where the town boundaries look straight on to the Desert; Mildura, where we sampled Australia's wines, and bought much in bulk which we flew back to the Mess, and Canberra, the Capital, where you never feel that you are in the city itself because it is thinly scattered over such a wide area.

During the Christmas Leave period 1956, I spent much of my time helping to fight bush fires. They were a very real danger around Nowra as we were surrounded by many thousands of acres of Virgin Bush, and the effects that three or four of us with a water-bowser could make on a fire advancing at about fifteen miles an hour were almost negative. We were usually able to save a house or property, but could rarely stop the general advance of the fire.

The beaches at nearby Jervis Bay drew large numbers of us for swimming and surfing and I took a great interest in Gliding, for the Nowra Gliding Club had two excellent machines.

We had a mixed bag of aircraft at Nowra and for a long time I had a job which entailed flying them all, so I was happy. They included Fireflies and Sea Furies (piston), Gannets (turbo-prop) and Vampires and Venoms (jets).

I left Australia in March this year, when the temperature was 96° in Sydney, and took ten days leave in New Zealand. I only saw North Island, which, I am told is not as beautiful as South Island, but I was struck by its varied scenery (mainly volcanic) and by its greenery. Trees and birds are New Zealand's pride, but I am ashamed to say I didn't see a single Kiwi. A visit to Auckland Zoo proved unfruitful, for its habits, like most of ours at Nowra, are "Strictly nocturnal." I had an interesting visit to the Government Geothermal Research Station at Rotorua, where they are putting steam from bores straight into a generating plant.

Sailing from Wellington in April, I returned via Panama, visiting only Pitcairn, Panama and Curacao before reaching Southampton. We were honoured to have travelling on board Sir Vivian Fuchs and his Antarctic Expedition, and very interesting they all were.

No doubt the Admiralty are planning some other remote place to lose me for a time if I dare to stay in the Navy, but until then I intend to bask in the sunshine here in Mirfield!

J. David Eagles, Lt., R.N. (M.G.S. 1947-53)


One of our members, Mr. Bernard G. Kaye, Editor of the "Yorkshire Evening News," some time ago flew 20,000 miles to Hong Kong and back to visit the famous Green Howards Regiment which is stationed in the colony. He records some of the highlights of his trip in this article.

"After the long haul across Europe and Asia-taking in the High Alps, the deserts of the Middle East and India's plains, and hopping over the South China Sea, we skirted the gap through the hills that leads you to the Kai Tak Airport and slipped down into the most mystical colony of the Commonwealth, which is Hong Kong.

For mystical it is, and modern, too. It has all the inevitable fascination of the Orient; it is but a few miles from the borders of Red China itself; it has one of the three finest harbours in the world-and 95 per cent of its people are Chinese. Possibly, too, it is the swiftest growing city in the world, both physically and in population.

When the Japanese quitted in 1945 there were 600,000 people there. Today, there are all but three millions. Many have swept across the border since China became Communist and not fewer than 300,000 of them have no homes but incredibly primitive wooden shacks clinging to the sides of the surrounding hills.

The Colonial Government, unaided by the United Kingdom, the United Nations, or any other authority, is making the most fantastic effort to cope with one of the world's most urgent refugee problems. It is building scores of blocks of seven storey flats which will house more than 2,000 people per block; thousands of "cottages" and one of the worlds biggest blocks of working class flats—great twelve storey multi-coloured buildings in which nearly 13,000 people live, but beyond all this literally scores of blocks of luxury flats are going up in an astonishingly restricted building area. Many of these will rent at not less than £600 a year. Rate of building would leave even the Americans a little short of breath—and I say that after seeing three storeys added to a scheduled 45-storey building in New York inside three days.

In Hong Kong they have just built a 17-storey bank in fifteen months-start to finish, complete down to the last inkwell. The Chinese may like tea but the builders don't drink it on the job!

And building is going on in Hong Kong every day on at least 800 sites; every contractor, incidentally, uses bamboo scaffolding. It looks flimsy, but it never seems to collapse.

Across the harbour from Hong Kong are the New Territories which are due to be returned to China in 1997. There one can step back deep into history where villages look the same as they did a thousand years ago; where women share the hard work of the labourer with their men; where (if they can dodge the police) the people still catch, kill and eat stray (and even pet) dogs for dinner; and where, surrounded by brown hills and the blue sea inlets, a Scotsman might so easily think himself at home.

Here, too, just as they did ten centuries ago, water buffalo drag wooden-bladed ploughs through the rice paddy fields guided by coolies in conical hats and trunks.

Here, then, in short compass, I drew from a kaleidoscope of scenes—just a few of the memories of a flying visit to one of the most fascinating showpiece in the Far East:

A day in the New Territories in which I looked over the border into Red China, and saw women of over 60 carrying loads of up to 70 lb, on bamboo sticks slung fore and aft across their shoulders; visited an astonishingly modern N.A.A.F.I. shop in the heart of the mountains where troops and their wives could buy everything from York hams to punchballs, all flown out from the United Kingdom and all foods frozen and fresh as the day they went into a London fridge; overtaking "bicycle taxis" propelled by strong-thewed Chinese youths with passengers varying from light young ladies to large middle-aged men—warm work in 85 humid degrees by any standards; the vistas of craggy peaks and blue sea inlets which took me in imagination right back to the West Coast of Scotland.

A Rickshaw race between two Army officers and myself with a coolie apiece as enthusiastic and highly competitive hauliers and my man being beaten by the major's man by a forehead, so to speak, and each of us very willingly giving them three times the fare for putting up such an effort at two in the morning and in about 80 degrees of wet heat.

Flying through a tropical thunderstorm into Calcutta and watching, every three or four seconds the most hair-raising forked lightning I have ever seen throwing into Wagnerian relief cumulus cloud rising high above us—and we at 20,000ft.

Leaving Istanbul (40 degrees Fahrenheit) at 5 a.m. and, five hours later, after flying over the remote snow-capped ranges of Northern Turkey, getting out of the aircraft at Basrah, at the head of the Persian Gulf (98 degrees) and firmly believing that one was stepping into an oven which had caught fire.

The Navigator pointing out Mount Arrarat, snow-covered, 150 miles away to the North, and a young soldier on his way home for demob, promptly launching into a treatise on the Biblical significance of this 17,000ft. peak, highest in Asia Minor.

Looking down on the utterly uninhabited coast of Persia on to great barren rocks fantastically fluted by millions of years of wind and weather.

Looking down too, on to Rangoon three miles below us and marvelling how much it resembled nothing more than a vast four-sided cube of light, iridescent in the tropical night, with a brilliantly illuminated temple, perhaps the most famous in Burma, at its very heart.

Seeing more diseased beggars in the streets of Calcutta than I have ever found collectively in all the cities I have visited in any part of the world; the bus ride from the airport to the hotel in Calcutta through streets lined with broken-down, oil-lighted shops, with Indians of many tribes squatting characteristically on the counters—and scarcely a pane of glass to be seen in eight or ten miles of concentrated steaming slumdom.

And lastly, a prospect of Rome from the air on a clear spring evening with all the classic show points picked out in vivid relief below us; the romantic holiday playgrounds of the Mediterranean slipping back beneath as we climbed 19,000ft. to cross the glistening ramparts of the Swiss Alps; then Mont Blanc with a three-quarter moon lighting up its eastern massif, and the afterglow of the setting sun flooding its westerly frozen face with soft but lovely colour, and the towering peak itself seeming to be 400 feet underneath us, although it was really 4,000.

The glare that is Paris by night away over on our port beam and then, quite soon, London Airport at midnight."