M.G.S. Magazine - December 1961

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MGS Magazine 1961
More Information Pages

Junior House Captains have been elected as follows:—
The following have begun University Courses this year:—
Oxford (St. Peter's Hall) M. W. ELLIOTT (French)
Cambridge (St. Catherine's) D. G. HALLIWELL (Engineering)
Aberystwyth R. CRAWSHAW (Agricultural Chemistry)
Durham B. WHITEHEAD (Geography)
Edinburgh R. DAWSON (Biochemistry)
Leeds E. ANNE FAIRS (Botany)
D. B. LAYCOCK (Engineering)
H. ROBINSON (Engineering)
G. J. SMITH (Agriculture)
King's College, Newcastle E. I. SHAW (Geography)
Dip. Tech. Courses:—
Bradford J. R. CRAWSHAW (Applied Biology)
R. DRIVER (Applied Biology)
Training College entrants:—
St. John's, York D. A. LAMB
Manchester College of Housecraft WENDY I. BLACKBURN
Full-time Technical or Commercial Courses:—
Huddersfield Tech. College R. M. BROADBENT (Architecture)
United Hospitals, Leeds JUDITH CAMP (Physiotherapy)
Leeds Tech. College ELIZABETH JAMES (Secretarial)
ANGELA MAUGHAN (Secretarial)
Dewsbury Tech. College J. R. HUDSON (Textiles)
University awards this year include:—
Leeds M. BATTY, B.Sc. Hons. Class I (Mathematics)
D. W. WILLIAMS, B.Sc. Hons. Class II (Geology)
J. N. WOOD, B.Ch.D.
Sheffield J. CARTER, B.Sc. Hons. Class II (Metallurgy)
Durham M. J. R. SHEARD, B.D.S., has added Diploma in Orthodontics (R.C.S.)


This is in no way an attempt to forecast the future development of Mirfield Grammar School in the widest sense. In these days of possible boundary changes, political upheavals which can have their effect on educational policy, not to mention local trends in changes of population, it would indeed be rash to make such a forecast. However, as far as can be foreseen, the School is scheduled to remain a two form entry Voluntary Controlled Grammar School though the intake could well become much more selective if plans affecting certain other schools in the district are carried out.

On this basis, that is two form entry, the Ministry of Education specifies the number, type and size of classrooms, laboratories and other special subject rooms, toilets and cloakrooms, playing spaces, cycle sheds, etc., etc., etc., and the Local Education Authority must plan the school accordingly. Where an entirely new building is concerned this can be done, but for an existing school "bringing up to specification" is a long drawn out affair of Minor Works Programmes, adding a little here one year and a little there another; and somehow increases in buildings never quite overtake increases in numbers. Thus, on March 16th, 1961, our buildings, designed for 250 pupils, were, in some way, managing to accommodate 380. Then on March 17th the fire reduced even this sub-standard accommodation by one physics lab., one biology lab., one library and two classrooms, as well as half a housecraft room and a staff room. It was then necessary for the L.E.A. to formulate plans quickly and as a two stage operation. The first, or temporary stage, can be seen already in the erection of the Terrapins; the second stage involves the entire remodelling of the School to bring it up to specification in one complete operation.

This remodelling of the School, from the drawing up of the sketch plans to the actual occupation of the new buildings, will take a minimum of three years and could well take five. However, the first hurdle, i.e. sketch plans and their agreement by the various advisers and experts employed by the W.R.C.C., has been safely negotiated and, while one awaits further procedural stages, visualising the eventual outcome always helps to while away the time.

The whole School is to be accommodated on the central main building site and the Annexe and any temporary structures are not to be included in the scheme at all. This means, in effect, that the Annexe and terrapins could well remain for overflow purposes in the event of further overcrowding or be taken over by the authority for other educational purposes, in which case the terrapins would be removed bodily. The present hall-gymnasium is to become the new library with internal spiral staircases giving access to a large study balcony for sixth form use. There will also be study rooms at each end, while the Headmaster's room will be on the present stage. Other remodelling involves the present geography room becoming a physics laboratory, the present kitchen and stationery store becoming staff rooms, the present staff room becoming prefects' rooms and certain other minor changes. Meanwhile the burned out old wing will be cleared to the ground and replaced by a new three-storey building. The whole of the ground floor will be occupied by a hall-gymnasium with showers and changing rooms for girls behind the stage and similar in size and quality to those for boys under the new biology laboratory. Incidentally, the floor of this new hall will be greater in area than the present hall floor by one thousand square feet, while the new stage will be just twice the area of the old. Above this at first floor level there will be two ordinary classrooms and three specialist rooms each as large as or larger than the present geography room; these are for Art, Science and Housecraft, and the latter will have a flat attached. Finally, the second floor will consist of three more large specialist rooms for Maths, Geography and Music respectively, these being fronted by an open terrace overlooking the quadrangle.

This then is the general picture, always remembering that the large field behind the School has also been acquired and will be developed in due course. The governors will be pressing for all this work to be carried out as soon as possible. We, for our part, can only be patient and await the outcome.



This year the School presented "The Nightingale," adapted by Dorothy Wright from "The Emperor and the Nightingale" by Hans Christian Andersen.

It is a fairy tale, the main theme being an Emperor's love for a nightingale. The play opens with the honourable compère (ROSE HALLIWELL) introducing the court who are awaiting the arrival of the Emperor of China (MICHAEL ELLIOTT). During tea the Emperor receives some books from his cousin, amongst which is one telling the story of a wondrous nightingale that, unknown to the Emperor, dwells in his own garden. Wishing to know more about this marvel, the Emperor orders his courtiers to search for it.

A touch of humour is added to the search by Cho Mung (TERRY KITSON), Lord Poy (EDWARD SHAW), and Ling (GODFREY ALDERSON). However, after many mishaps, they encounter Smallflower, the palace kitchenmaid (AILEEN SLATER), who has befriended the nightingale and who helps them to capture the bird and take it back to the Emperor.

The song of the nightingale is enjoyed by everyone for many moons. One day the Emperor receives a beautiful toy nightingale which has many advantages over the original bird. Whilst the court are in raptures over the new toy the real nightingale escapes through the window. The court are most upset over this but soon forget their sorrow when they hear the sweet melody of the new bird.

The Emperor is so fascinated by the music that he listens to it all day long, until eventually a spring breaks in the toy's motor. What a calamity! The Emperor is so upset that his health begins to deteriorate. Nothing can take the place of his toy. He is visited by Death (KAY HOLT) who demands all his possessions. He gives up everything but his crown, with which he is most reluctant to part. Being too weak to fight for it, he is just about to surrender when the nightingale's song reaches his ears, and gradually he is restored to life, He now realises how worthless the toy nightingale is in comparison with the living one.

Throughout the play, Saru (RICHARD HOLT) is becoming more and more attracted to Smallflower and, like all good fairy tales, the story ends with this wandering poet marrying the young kitchenmaid.

The antics of the property men (HOWARD ROBINSON and DAVID STEPHENSON) kept the audience amused, especially by the lowering of the golden disc which indicated the passing of another day.

Although there was no actual nightingale in the performance, the audience had no difficulty in imagining it, owing to the expert rendering of its songs by MARK BAWCUTT and ROGER STYRING.

The back room boys must also be thanked: MARTIN BROADBENT and JOE NICHOLSON, for producing such realistic scenery, and IAN LAND for the lighting effects.

Other characters in the play were Lady Wang (JUDITH FAIRS), Lady Feng GILL DANIELS), Slave (SUSAN YATES) and Fisherman (GRAHAM SMITH). Many thanks are due to Mr. S. W. EVANS who gave his undivided attention to the production of the play and to Miss M. SHEARD and Miss M. R. JEFFERY for the originality of the costumes.


On Tuesday, October 24th, a visit was paid to the School by the well-known Todmorden author, WILLIAM HOLT. He gave a most interesting and amusing talk to the members of the sixth form. He told us of his visits to many different countries and of his present journey round England, on his horse, Trigger, selling his most recent book, " he Wizard of Whirlaw."

Mr. Holt told us that his life revolved round two main beliefs. These are the use of initiative and living spiritually, as well as physically, in the open air. He said that you must decide what you want to do, then go ahead and do it. If your spirit lives a closed-in life it will miss many things just as you would miss many experiences if you lived behind closed doors and windows. Examples of this philosophy recurred throughout the talk.

Mr. Holt left school when he was twelve and became a weaver. Whilst working in the mill he taught himself many things, including four languages, and he soon began to write books. He has written many books including a best-seller, his autobiography, "I Haven't Unpacked." He now publishes his books himself as he wants the public to read what he has written and not something cut and edited by someone else.

Although he owns a beautiful house near Todmorden he spends most of his life travelling on horseback, as he prefers to live in the open air and to see as much of the world, and of life, as possible.

He has lived in many countries; his wanderlust has carried him all over the world yet he said that nostalgia always brings him back to the West Riding of Yorkshire. He finds a peculiar beauty in the smoke-blackened buildings, the mill chimneys and the bleak, barren moorland of his birthplace.

His life is full of adventure yet he said that adventure is not a thing that you go out and look for but something that happens to you. It is as if your life is a fragile craft on the turbulent river of life. You will come up against many unforeseen hazards which cannot be avoided yet, unless you take needless risks, you should come through unscathed.

Apart from travelling and writing and publishing books Mr. Holt has also broadcast in several languages for the B.B.C. and recently appeared on television.

He told us of several amusing incidents and also of some not quite so pleasant, such as the time when he found himself grappling with an armed mad-man on a boat in a typhoon.

Some time ago he went to India, principally to visit Chankanandra, a holy man who lives in a cave, and to seek spiritual guidance from him. Mr. Holt says in the past adventurers searched for new continents; now they are striving to conquer Space, but in the future adventurers will be outside Time and Space.

I think Mr. Holt is a truly remarkable man. Although some of us could not quite grasp all his beliefs about life, we thoroughly enjoyed his talk which gave us all plenty to think about.




Sports Editor:

Assisted by the biggest staff of willing helpers ever known in the history of the magazine;


Since the last issue of the Magazine, our School has suffered a grievous loss by fire. In the early hours of March 17th the School was unlawfully entered and a fire was started which resulted in the loss of almost all the "Old Block." To those of us who were pupils prior to 1939, when the new extensions were opened, this was Mirfield Grammar School. The fire destroyed nine rooms in all, including the Library which housed about five thousand books, Library Records, some valuable pictures and our Honours Board, of which we were justly proud. Eventually a new building will rise from the ruins and we wish to provide a new Honours Board, etc., when the time comes. To this end, the Parent-Teacher Association, together with the Old Grammarians, have launched an Appeal to raise at least £1,000. We have not yet reached this target and, if you have not already sent a donation and wish to do so, the Treasurer, Mr. A. H. Barker (M.G.S.) will be pleased to receive your contribution.

In August, Mr. and Mrs. Hepworth left Mirfield for a new home in Wotton-Under-Edge in Gloucestershire. They are known to a very great number of Old Grammarians and it is strange not to see them round and about this district. We wish them well and hope that they will enjoy many, many years of health and happiness in their new surroundings.

The Annual Re-union was held on September 30th and although the number of people was less than last year, it was a very successful and enjoyable function. Miss Conyers, our President, very ably responded to the Toast, "The 'Mirfield Old Grammarians" proposed by F. B. Lydall, Esq. It was a joy to listen to her words of wisdom once again. Mr. Fairs, in replying to the Toast "The Mirfield Grammar School" proposed by G. Stead, Esq., mentioned that it was rather a unique occasion in that four Headmasters were present or represented—Mr. Bracewell, Mr. Hepworth, Miss Margaret Todd and himself.

In July, this year, Mr. Bracewell retired from the Headship of Thornes House Grammar School, Wakefield. He and Mrs. Bracewell hope to live near Chichester, in Sussex. We wish them many years of happiness in their new home.

To all Old Grammarians, at home or far away—we wish you well—may all your ventures prosper-please send us news of how the world goes with you.


President: Miss H. CONYERS

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

W. R. Beaumont, Esq., F. Brearley, Esq., W. H. Brook, Esq., S. W. Evans, Esq., J. D. Fairs, Esq., H. Jessop, Esq., B. G. Kaye, Esq., R. Lockwood, Esq., J. Martindale, Esq.

Hon. Secretary: Miss M. L. Sheard

Hon. Treasurer: Mrs. M. E. Jessop

General Committee:
Miss J. Armitage, Miss F. Hepworth, Mrs. D. W. James, Miss M. R. Jeffery, Miss J. Ramsden, Miss M. Stead, G. D. Barrowclough, Esq., D. N. Bruce, Esq., J. Butler, Esq., G. Kilner, Esq., M. Storey, Esq., P. Storey, Esq.

Dramatic Section:
Hon. Secretary: Mrs. S. M. Harford, 1, Hopton Hall Lane, Mirfield.

Hon. Treasurer: Mrs. E. Chandler, Dormarlyn, 12, Church Lane, Mirfield.

Badminton Section:
Chairman: J. Butler, Esq., Portwey, 15, Wilson Road, Mirfield.

Hon. Treasurer: Miss J. Armitage, 43, Lockwood Ayenue, Mirfield.

Hon. Secretary: P. A. Swire, Esq., Briar Mead, Blake Hall, Mirfield.


October, 1961.
"Denehild," Castleton,
Whitby, Yorkshire.

Dear Mr. Editor,

Miss Sheard (your untiring Secretary) asks me to write something for your magazine. I am rather an "old fogey" for this task as it is 22 years since I left School (as a "school-marm" that is) and things are certainly "not what they used to be!" In addition I live a very lonely life—albeit in a beautiful moorland setting—and often for days together only hear a human voice "on the air!" It gives me very great pleasure when my old pupils call to see me as some of them do on their summer holidays: they bring their children which certainly reminds me of passing years. This reminder is very forcibly brought home when an "Old Boy" whom I knew as a charming little member of "Form II" introduces me to his equally charming daughter, now finishing a university career!

Mirfield Grammar School was small when I first knew it—fewer than 100 pupils: we brought our own lunches to School with our own cutlery and crockery. When we first had school dinners they were cooked in the Head Master's kitchen and wheeled across the School yard in an ancient perambulator! I was delighted to hear from Mr. Fairs that you hope soon to have a new octagonal dining hall and may you be as happy in it as we were in the old room.

The news of the fire came as a great shock to me but it is excellent to know how helpful everyone concerned has been. I hope that any "Old Grammarian" who has not yet contributed to the Fire Appeal Fund will do so quickly—or perhaps even double his first gift (I said this at the Old Grammarians' Dinner but I take an old woman's privilege of repeating myself!). I read in a contemporary magazine in connection with another appeal, "Have you received a blessing lately? then learn again the A.B,C. of Love in Giving"—Verb Sap.).

I also deplored in my "after dinner response," the lack of simplicity, generosity and good craftsmanship in some things today—in addition to the "rigmaroles" in speech I quoted then, I have since come across "dedicatee," "diarise"—horrors! If I were a noble spinner or weaver I'd hate to be called an "operative"—which reminds me that I am called a "square" whatever that may mean (apart from something with four right angles?) I do not know what is a "beatnik" or a "bingo" so you see I am hopelessly out of date to be writing in a 1961 school magazine! Like Mr. Hardcastle "I love everything that's old"—may I remind the music lovers among you of old Hans Sachs described in the superb Prelude to Act 3 of "The Mastersingers" as a man who takes a pride in and finds beauty in his trade; any old VIth Former of mine will tell you that "man's reach must exceed his grasp or what's a heaven for?"—and on that note I had better end. I should however like to express my most grateful thanks for all the kindly help and hospitality given me on my Mirfield visits and most especially to my "Old Boys" who take me around in their cars.

With every possible good wish and blessing for the School, its Head Master, Staff, and pupils past and present and their parents.

I am,
Yours very truly,