M.G.S. Magazine - December 1959

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MGS Magazine 1959
School Trips

During the year, senior pupils have been on numerous interesting visits. The Senior Biologists have spent a week at Malham Tarn Field Centre. The sixth form scientists have been with Mr. Saywell to the Clean Air Exhibition at Dewsbury and, in the same week, the linguists accompanied Mr. Elliott to a French film in Huddersfield. In December, the newly-formed Current Affairs Club visited Leeds Assizes with Mrs. Cashdon and the scientists went to an interesting lecture on "Man-made Fibres" at Leeds University.

During the Spring term, Mr. Booth and his artists visited an exhibition at Huddersfield Art Gallery, and the Science Sixth went to the Coal Tar Research Establishment at Gomersal, accompanied by Mr. Saywell and Mr. Howlin.

The Geologists have had their annual expedition .with Mr. Jessop, this time along the coast from Whitby to Scarborough.

During the summer term, Mr. Saywell has organised further visits: to the Steel, Peech and Tozer Steel works in Sheffield, and to an Industrial Chemical Works at Saltend, near Hull.


The School Party under the care of Mr. Saywell left Mirfield station early on Thursday morning, the thirteenth of August, on the connection for the London train from Wakefield. That night, after a calm crossing of the Channel, we reached Paris, and after a first taste of Continental food, we retired to bed on the sixth floor of our hotel. The next evening, after member's getting left behind at the top and nearly missing the train, thanks to them spending the day seeing the sights of Paris from the Eiffel Tower, we left Paris for Spain. After a sleepless night on the train we negotiated the Customs at Port Bon and that afternoon we reached Barcelona where a meal awaited us-although we wondered whether one banana was an adequate reward for the ascent of five storeys. About nine-o' clock at night on the fifteenth, we reached Farragona and after a meal we explored the town before turning in. although one of us nearly spent the night with the Spanish Police on being caught trespassing.

The town was well supplied with ancient evidence of its occupation by the Romans, such as the Roman Wall, Amphitheatre and Aqueduct although the latter was far from a ruin.

For many of us the warmth of the Mediterranean was experienced for the first time and bathing became the most popular pastime during our stay.
Some of us saw a soccer match between Barcelona and Farragona and later we visited a wine factory (with free samples) and also a Bull Ring to watch the bulls being chosen for the bull fights. Then next day came the highlight of the holiday when we went to the Plaza de Toros to see the local bull fights. There were six fights, each lasting twenty minutes; three matadors taking on two bulls each. Although the arena was not filled to capacity, around ten thousand people were there and the atmosphere was one of excitement. First the bull was infuriated by sticking in its back "baunderillas" or pairs of spears, and then the "picador", who was mounted on horseback, would tire and bleed the bull by piercing it with his "pica" which was a long pole with a sharp steel end. Then the toreador, handsomely dressed and armed with his "estoque" (or sword) and his "capote" (or red, silken cloak to taunt the bull) received the animal. To the disappointment of some of our party, the bull was killed every time. Each fight did not vary very much, although "Chamaco" used to kneel in front of the bull's horns just before he killed it. He was very popular and was carried round the arena shoulder-high at the end of the show. Many of the crowd threw things, such as hats, at him when he was carried round and this seemed to be an estimate of his popularity. At the end of each fight the toreador was awarded an ear, both ears or a foot from the bull he had killed, according to the amount of skill he had displayed.

Throughout the holiday we usually went to bed at about two a.m., but we had a siesta every afternoon although a certain member used to stay in bed all day when he was not chasing girls with a beetle or pushing them in the sea.

The holiday, like all good things, quickly came to an end, and a fortnight after the start of our outward journey we began our return home with an early rise at four am. After a thirty-six hour journey we reached home, tired, but full of the memories of a very enjoyable holiday and our thanks go to Mr. and Mrs. Saywell and their friends for putting up with us all.



This year the school Continental excursion will be to Cadenabbia, on Lake Como, in Italy. A party of about twenty five boys and girls will sally forth to this mountain beauty spot.

Lake Como is one of the places to which people go to forget things, and on arriving there open their cases and find that they have. The journey will not be as long and arduous as last year's visit to Spain; it will only take us thirty hours to get there. But, of course, the journey from Spain is exceptional the Spanish believe in putting all their Basques in one exit.

Once more we shall be sampling the strange, and exotic food of a foreign country. Last year we dined well on octopus and this year we shall properly have our fill of spaghetti. This is all part of the holiday and we all enjoy it (I hope). Then, of course, we shall endeavour to copy the manners, customs and dress of the locals. "When in Rome do as the Romans". I remember someone saying to me in Spain, "I don't know your name, but your fez is familiar".

The scenery and colours in this part of Italy are magnificent, and artists have been attracted to it for hundreds of years. An enthusiastic friend of mine wished he could take the glorious colours home with him. He got his wish - he was sitting on an artist's palette.

Finally, a word about the journey itself. We shall go by boat and train and the last part in Switzerland will be in daylight so that we shall be able to enjoy, to the full, the magnificent scenery. From Lucerne to Lugano we go through three hundred tunnels and over eighty bridges, some on the edge of sheer drops. One traveller was heard to remark to another on this part of the journey, "Have you vertigo?" and the other replied, "Yes, sixty miles".

Whilst we are there we shall be going on several excursions, to Milan and to Lake Maggione, so that the locals of Lake Como will at least have something to look forward to during our stay. I am sure that we shall get on well with them whether we can speak the language or not and that all will help to make this a customary first class Mirfield Grammar School Excursion.



Once again Mr. Evans organised a walking tour during the Whitsuntide holidays. The venue was central Wales and the base of operations was the Holiday Fellowship hostel at Devil's Bridge, twelve miles or so up the Rheidol valley from Aberystwyth.

A somewhat unbalanced party of eleven girls with Kathleen Appleyard as leader and some twenty boys left Mirfield on the morning of Friday, May 22nd under the charge of Mr. Evans, in a Longstaff's bus, carrying an adequate range of waterproof equipment to meet the usual rainstorms of Wales We had a sweltering journey.

We found the hostel, a group of green painted timber huts with a central large dining room, somewhat rustic facilities for toilet for the girls and primitive sanitation for everyone, amongst the trees.

Whilst the majority of us were spending a rather talkative first night, some of the male members of the party were finding a 'back' way down to the famous Rheidol Falls. Sleeping briefly, we were rudely roused at 7.30 a.m. by the rising bell.

Shortly after 9.30 a.m. the party set off in fine style to cross the river at Parson's Bridge and then climb over all obstacles (including a barbed-wire fence) until it was time for lunch among the fir trees at Pont Syfydrin. In brilliant sunshine we carried on describing a rough circle until we arrived back at Goginan. After a brief rest we continued our journey home, the majority being footsore and exhausted. The senior members noticed how remarkable it was that the Fourth form girls found an unlimited store of energy as soon as the party of boys from Rochdale arrived back in camp.

Sunday was a free day when the majority went to morning service at Parson's Bridge. The afternoon was spent around the countryside in blazing sunshine.

Although it invariably rains on a wash day, this week was an exception as not a drop of rain fell, With the result that the water had to be stopped for parts of the day owing to hot sun and dry weather. Monday morning saw us all walking nine miles on roads via Ponterywd to Nant-y-moch. Sandwiches were eaten on the slope of Plynlimon. The party then split into two: Mr. Evans and Mr. Barker led the majority round the tarn and then up the steep hillside to the summit; the minority, led by a capable Sixth former, kept to the heights and arrived at the summit of Plynlimon half an hour before the rest of us! On the way back we stopped at a 'pub' but refreshed legitimately. In the evening our boys played the Rochdale boys at Soccer. Although the rules were made for the occasion, I am sure everybody enjoyed the time between tea and supper, which was at nine o'clock so that the girls could get their 'beauty sleep' (although to my knowledge only one girl took advantage of the offer!).

Tuesday was spent in and about Aberystwyth; some went sunbathing or walking whilst others did all they could to keep out of the wav of the glaring sun. Another, even rougher, football match took place in the evening.

Cader Idris was attempted by the boys and Mr. Evans on Wednesday, while the girls had an enjoyable time with Mr. Barker on the Precipice Walk at Dolgelley. An interesting evening was spent watching, or taking part in, the riding of a small Welsh pony which must have been very strong because he supported our senior boys.

Our last 'hike' took place on Thursday. The pony owner showed us the way over sheep land to Llynoedd Ieuan (a lake high in the hills) where we had our sandwiches. The party then divided: five boys accompanied Mr. Evans while the rest set off with Mr. Barker. I think some of us were afraid Mr. Evans would walk us off our feet again as he had done several times during our holiday. "B" party almost lost their feet anyway, trying to run down scree slopes and up almost vertical inclines, until they followed the Afon Myherin to Devil's Bridge where they saw "E" party eating and drinking enough to give the impression that they had walked over twenty miles!

I think the only thing to be said about the last night's events is that a party in the girls' quarters was interrupted because "Hermann", our Polish warden, did not think it proper to have a party without chaperones.

The long journey home was broken by a stop in Chester but we arrived back In Huddersfield at about six o clock. Everyone had a very enjoyable holiday even though some of us had been tortured by the scorching weather. We ended up sore tired and sunburned, but very happy.

Thank you very much, Mr. Evans and Mr. Barker, for a holiday I am sure we will always remember.



Early in September four of the Upper Sixth Biology students spent an enjoyable week on a course at Malham Tarn Field Centre along with about fifty others from various schools in the country. The courses at Malham endeavour to provide the student with a practical approach to his subject and there is great scope for geography students, geologists and ornithologists.

We arrived on a Wednesday afternoon and spent the first evening listening to an after-dinner lecture about the Tarn and the surrounding countryside. For the next two days we became botanists (of a sort) and spent some interesting hours searching for, and identifying, the overwhelming array of plant life. Walks on the moors were supplemented by work in the laboratory, where conditions affecting the growth and distribution of plants were considered.

On the Saturday we started exploring the animal life of the Tarn but sorting out all the small organisms into their biological classes and orders became rather laborious, and work continued, as on previous evenings, until after ten o'clock. Faces brightened however, for Sunday was a free day; it was really hot, and we took the opportunity to see Malham Cove and Gordale Scar, appreciating the change from being held in vicious sedge beds by Wellington boots as we searched for snails in the mud. Here one has to be careful, for an unwary step often results in a boot being left among the sedges, half full of water.

Although it rained on the Monday, this did not deter several people from rowing out on to the Tarn to haul up some of the vegetation from the bottom. We sorted out the multitude of animal life from the plants, and spent several hours grouping and classifying it all. Tuesday was "initiative day" when we had to show what we had learned during the week. Several tasks were set, and Doreen, Graham and I undertook to find out all we could about the salad burnet, a plant which grows on the pastures up behind the Tarn Centre. We were aided by a new friend from Manchester, to whom we were grateful for delivering our lecture to the rest of the students during the evening. Victor forsook us to go and learn more about the curlews.

Wednesday was our day of departure; we had to make way for another party who would be undertaking a similar Course. It was a wrench to leave the quiet peace of Malham Tarn with its faithful curlews wheeling about the splendid crags of Great Close Scar, and on the slow journey back into the grime and smoke of the Industrial West Riding, we were able to think back over our new experiences in an unspoilt part of the Pennines.


Illustration by Jeffrey Barrow
Illustration by Jeffrey Barrow.

With the spirit of adventure and exploration not yet being quite dead, a party of notable Geologists set off from the Leeds Bus Station on the morning of Wednesday, April 15th, bound for Whitby and the East Coast. Our party included Mr. Jessop, without whom we should not have been able to embark upon such an expedition; a very revered friend and former pupil of this school, and last but not least, the lads, who constituted the nucleus.

We had an excellent trip to Whitby, with a break at Malton where everyone disappeared into the Station cafe, to be discovered avidly consuming hot soup, and indeed it was - hot! We were honoured on the bus, when a dear old fossil boarded with the speed of greased lightning, and then commenced to stoke his rather Pre-Cambrian looking clay pipe with what revealed, on combustion, to be a mixture of the foulest-smelling something or other. We were all sorry to see him depart from our presence, with the same agility and speed at Pickering, I don't think!

On arriving at Whitby, we held a summit meeting, and whilst it was rather the general opinion that liquid refreshments should be sought, we came to an agreement that, being pure Geologists, we should journey down to the West Cliff and study the succession of rocks afforded by it. As we marched along the shore, certain conjectures were hailed at us by some of the local peasants. We managed to ignore them, but the originality and meaning of one particular remark was appreciated tremendously by the lads. Whilst in deep thought and consultation as to whether the beds of rock belonged to the Lower, Middle or Upper Deltaic series, we decided that it would be of great help if we postponed the meeting until we had dined. This was a most welcome suggestion, and it was realised that even Pilgrims such as we could not carry out our eager observations without sustenance. After we had partaken, notebooks and pencils were brought to the fore, and in an unbroken silence, we awaited a few words of wisdom from our lecturer. After the dictation, we journeyed back towards the Harbour and paid a visit to the Khyber Pass, and thence on to the Museum. After having looked at nearly all the interesting specimens and documents, including those of Geological interest, we decided to retrieve our belongings, having been deposited at the bus station, and ascend the many steps up to the Abbey, and Youth Hostel, where we stayed the night.

Since it was the first night the lads were in a somewhat merry mood, and even late on into the night, some rather caustic remarks were heard to be made, and some anonymous person tried to play the National Anthem on Hammer and Chisel.

On Thursday, our second day, we traversed the coast from Whitby Harbour down to Robin Hood's Bay, along the cliff-top path. It was a very pleasant walk, except for the last few miles, when the elements decided that they were no longer in our favour. We landed in Bay Town, wet, bedraggled and badly in need of a drop of something. There were mutterings about some such prospect, but we finally slumped into a cafe to enjoy tea and buttered scones. After a comfortable hour had been spent therein, our zeal for exploration was re-kindled and we slogged wearily round the corner, exploring a small cove for a fossil called Inoceramus, or some other ceramus. With little or no luck, we abandoned this happy pastime of removing great chunks of cliff with hammers and chisels and plodded wearily and squelchingly along, condemning every kind and form of Geology, we ever knew or didn't know, eventually arriving at our next 'base camp', the Youth Hostel at Boggle Hole. A most enjoyable night was spent at this exceptional Hostel, and with a well earned meal behind our belts we tended to change our outlook on the experience of the day.

On Friday we set out from Boggle Hole prepared for the worst. We planned to take a look at the old Alum workings, explore the Peak, and to get as far down the Coast as possible in a reasonable time. We were reward with many prize specimens and a rather Biologically-biased member of our Expedition found a happy hunting ground in the many pools and shallows near Peak Steel. We explored Peak Steel, and one crony, with the sea in his blood, would persist in getting nearly drenched by standing in the spray. No need to mention any names, when I say that the nigh-on seven foot length of him nearly disappeared under the gurgling foam. When we arrived at the Hostel, we again had a most enjoyable meal, and then commenced to lend all hands on deck to get the chores done. After this we spent a night on the tiles, and acquainted ourselves with the Geography of Bay Town, fulfilling to the greatest capacity, the question of "What Chores?"

Saturday was our last day, and we had before us an arduous trek of some fifteen or sixteen miles to Scarborough. We set off from Boggle Hole in good time and got well on the way. However, we were impeded a little. The change in terrain meant a change in footwear every time for one of our members who, by the appearance of his footwear, I could have sworn was President of some Miners' Welfare, or even the N.C.B.

However, we completed the journey, quite to schedule, and arrived in Scarborough in good time. The wolves disappeared into various places in search of victuals.

Finally we boarded the homeward-bound coach, and arrived in Leeds, just in time for the night-life, which appealed to one certain friend rather more strongly than completing the journey home. The rest of us did amble down to the station, and rode home in the Best that British Railways could offer, looking back on the last few days, not in anger, but with happiness, and deep gratitude to our tireless organiser and teacher, Mr. Jessop.



On Friday, April 24th, 1959, the Wembley Excursion, once again headed by Mr. Salton and Mr. Jones, set off by coach to London.

We stopped at Barnet, where tea had been arranged, and then we proceeded to the Queensway Hotel, London. We arrived at 8.30 p.m., and after going for a short walk we all retired to bed.

We awoke next morning to find rain falling, and it was still falling when we arrived at Regent's Park Zoo, where we spent a very interesting morning.

Then to Wembley; after battering our way through a record crowd, we took up our positions, although our spirits were somewhat dampened by the weather. This was soon forgotten when the match began, and we were all very pleased when England Won by 2 goals to nil.

In the evening, we went to Wembley again, this time to the Empire Pool. Here we saw the Wembley Lions defeated by the Canadian Royals in a very exciting game of ice hockey.

The next morning we were taken to London Airport. After a conducted tour around the airport, we were allowed on to the Roof Gardens, where we had a splendid view of the aircraft landing and taking off.

Then we set off for Windsor, where we had dinner. We resumed our journey home once again. We arrived in Mirfield at about 10 o'clock on Sunday night.

The trip was most excellently arranged by Mr. Salton and Mr. Jones, to whom we express our thanks.

HARRY D. NEWMAN (4 Alpha).