M.G.S. Magazine - December 1962

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MGS Magazine 1962
Articles written by pupils


A renowned authority on educational matters was once asked to outline the things he looked for in deciding whether a school was really serving its purpose. He replied that his verdict was based on the answers to twenty questions, formulated after years of experience. Here they are, given at random, i.e. not necessarily in order of importance:—

Would a substantial majority of the local folk agree that, in general terms, the school is an asset to their district?

Do the pupils appreciate that a smart appearance is important and is this shown by the wearing of school uniforms and the absence of litter on or about the premises?

Does morning assembly, with its service, play a real part in the school day, rather than being merely a habit?

Does the school have a full range of extra curricular activities such as Matches, Societies, Visits and Excursions far and near, School Play and Magazine: and do the pupils themselves play an important part helping in the organisation of these activities?

Is a visitor made welcome by the pupils in a manner neither servile, nor blasé, nor impertinent, but pleasant and polite?

Is the Headmaster approachable, both by visitors and, more important, by colleagues and pupils?

Is discipline based on the New Testament rather than the Old: "Thou shalt . . ." rather than " Thou shalt not . . ."?

Would the pupils agree that there is still a place for Christian Charity in the Welfare State, and do they give accordingly?

When school teams play matches away from home are they welcome visitors to other schools?

Do the pupils behave as well out of school as in?

Special Old Grammarians' functions apart, do former pupils take pleasure in visiting school?

Do the parents co-operate fully?

Is personal property sacrosanct?

Is school property treated as if it were personal?

School Governors are usually busy people with many interests: nevertheless does the school's welfare have an important place in their hearts?

Do the pupils come willingly to school?

Do the staff have a sense of satisfaction in doing a worthwhile job and do they accept that pastoral care for the pupils in their charge is an integral part of that job?

Does the Headmaster consult his colleagues before making decisions?

Does the school seem a living community of cheerful inhabitants rather than a dull, silent place of dreaded pedagogy?

Are the Staff held in respect, and even affection, by the pupils?

Of course these are counsels of perfection and if the answer, in every case and at all times, is an unqualified yes, then the title of this article perhaps needs to be altered to read "All this, and Heaven too!" However, they do pose a challenge which must be faced constantly by all concerned. And if the reader is wondering just where the curriculum, teaching, homework, and examinations come into all this, let him read the title again.



To be governor of a school for nearly fifty-eight years is, by any standard, no small achievement. That was the record of Samuel Gill, of Water Hall, who left behind him, as more tangible monuments to his passing this way, a gravestone in the Old Churchyard and a row of three cottages bearing his name, erected in 1756 at the junction of Huddersfield Road and Knowle Road.

He also figured in an unusual little incident in the School's history, which is the subject of my story.

In his Deed of Gift of 24th February, 1667, Richard Thorpe appointed four trustees, Robert Hurst, Henry Hurst, Robert Holdsworth the younger and Richard Brooke, to manage the affairs of the School and expressly stated that "whensoever two of the said Trustees shall happen to dye . . . then and immediately thence after the said surviving Trustees shall from time to time convey the said Landes and premisses to the use of themselves and two others or more able parishioners of the said Parish . . . Provided that if the said Trustees . . . shall faile or make default in the discharge and performance of the Trust herein expressed or if the said Houses, Landes and premises . . . or the Rents and profits thereof shall be misimployed or converted to any other use and not bestowed as herein directed That then these present Indentures shall be voyde and that then . . . it shall be lawfull for the said Richard Thorpe into the hereby granted premisses to re-enter and the same to have againe . . . Nevertheless to the intent to convey the same to other Feoffees . . . for the purposes aforesaid."

And so in 1718 Robert Hurst and Henry Hurst being dead, four more trustees were appointed, and again, in 1737, four more, their names being Joshua Hirst, Richard Shepley, Samuel Gill and Robert Holdsworth.

Nothing further occurred until 26th July, 1786, when Samuel Gill ("surviving trustee") conveyed the School to himself, the Rev. Matthew Cookson, Francis Ledgard and Thomas Holdsworth. Almost nine years after that, in a document dated 14th January, 1795, we can read that "whereas the said Samuel Gill on account of his great age is willing and desirous to resign his said Trust . . . at a meeting of the principal Inhabitants of the said Parish lately called by Public Notice and held at the Workhouse in Mirfield" the total number of Trustees had been increased to nine.

Perhaps news travelled slowly, or Richard Thorpe's scattered family had lost touch with each other and took time to reassemble their forces after the terms of their progenitor's gift had been twice ignored within a decade or, for reasons which will become clearer later, perhaps the Schoolmaster of those days was the most longsuffering of men. But the forces of law grind surely if at times exceedingly slowly and in due course Isabella Swire and Mary Thackwray of the Parish of Ashton-under-Lyne, Abraham Balme the younger of Whitley and Samuel Darnborough of Calverley, yeoman, all being the heirs of Richard Thorpe, solemnly re-took possession of the School and re-appointed the three new trustees of 1786 and one other.

A new Conveyance dated 5th January, 1796, stated quite simply that since the making of the 1737 Indenture "Joshua Hirst, Richard Shepley and Robert Holdsworth departed this life leaving the said Samuel Gill the only surviving Trustee . . . and not having appointed any person by any deed or Instrument in writing to succeed . . . in the execution of the Trusts . . . whereby and upon failure whereof the Estate became vested in the heirs of the said Richard Thorp . . . to settle the same premises unto other feoffees . . . have informed themselves of the ability and sufficiency of Matthew Cookson, Francis Ledgard, ]oseph Marriott and Thomas Holdsworth to undertake the Governance and Management of the same . . . "

Perhaps there were names among the nine Trustees wrongly appointed in 1795 that were not acceptable to the heirs of Richard Thorpe, but a further note adding that "the new Trustees have promised to see that the rents shall be collected promptly-half yearly, if possible, and paid within five days of collection to the Schoolmaster" is probably not without significance.

Even teachers must eat, and I begin to wonder how the Schoolmaster had been managing to live during the closing years of Samuel Gill-the trustee who, doubtless because of his great age, forgot a portion of his trust.

* * *

It was, after all, only a slight case of mismanagement. But it is right that conditions laid down in the bestowal of a gift shall be properly observed, and that any deviations from those conditions, when they have to be made, shall be made tidily and with all due respect for the law.



Lake Windermere is a ten and a half miles long stretch of water, and I know it by day and by night. There is a marked difference between the lake by day and night as seen from a rowing boat.

During the day, people in rowing boats have to be very careful, for the drivers of the large power boats seem to have forgotten the mutual agreement that power should give way to oars; they seem to enjoy immensely a little game of driving at full speed for the little defenceless rowing boats, and at the last moment swerving away, making it very awkward for the boats to "ride" the wash easily.

Large numbers of power boats have appeared only within the last few years, and when they come in, everything else has to go out, and quickly! It is not the boats themselves I object to, but the people in them. There are stretches of the lake where they could have their fun without disturbing anybody, and a ride in a speedboat is exhilarating and exciting for the more adventurous.

Another sport which has grown up on the lake with the advent of speedboats is water-skiing. This is a sport only for the more skilled person who enjoys excitement and adventure, for a spill at forty miles per hour could be dangerous, but how graceful and easy it is made to look by an experienced skier gliding over the water leaving a long, white trail behind him, and how light-hearted and carefree one must feel with the water scudding beneath one's feet, holding on to a thin rope on which so much depends!

But there is still grace and tranquillity to be found on Lake Windermere in the form of another fast-growing sport, yachting. I think this is the most rewarding water sport, for in this everything depends on the elements and the skill of the crew. A little "fourteen-footer" is not hard to turn over but, to my mind, there can be nothing more exhilarating than "tacking" across the lake in one of these frail boats with a fresh wind whipping the spray from the bows into your face, and getting thoroughly soaked to the skin! Seen from a distance, these boats have everything the speedboats have not: grace and serenity, a pleasing unhurried look about them, which is so hard to find in this world of rush and bustle.

But to get the real feeling of being alone and "away from it all," a row on Lake Windermere at the dead of night is the ideal thing. The water is now so calm and quiet in the pale eerie glow of the moon, just as if it, like all the waterskiers and boaters, is sleeping soundly after its day's sport. From time to time the lights of a vehicle can be seen moving along the road which runs along the side of the lake, now dipping into a hollow, and lost to view for a brief moment, now rising out of the hollow and shining up into the sky, now shining out across the lake, piercing the still night air with their fingers of brilliant light. All in all, night-time is the best time to be on the lake, with the silence broken only by the dip of the oars, with the ageless moon smiling down, and the reflection shining back out of the shimmering water.



The time had come for me to have my long hair cut off. I had been undecided for weeks: should I or should I not? Finally I decided that it was now or never and so I subsequently made an appointment at the local hairdresser's.

It was so long since I had been inside a hairdresser's shop that I had almost forgotten the smells and sights associated with such an establishment. As I pushed open the shop door the aroma of perfumed shampoos hit me full in the face. The air inside was stifling and I wondered how those people under the hair-dryers, looking extraordinarily like a feminine brigade of busby-clad Guards, had managed to sit there in a permanent state of deafness for three quarters of an hour.

I was greeted by a "Do you want it all off?" and without being given time to answer I was pushed into a fathomless leather chair. There was no waiting necessary here; they were so eager to scalp me.

I was beginning to wish that I had postponed this mass shearing ceremony for a further week. I began to think of the countless other people who had sat in this very chair, and what their thoughts had been, profound or trivial. On looking in the mirror, however, I was abruptly brought back to life by the figure of the hairdresser advancing towards me with a pair of scissors.

Whilst my hair, which I had taken so many pains to grow, was rapidly being sliced off in chunks I looked round at the other customers. Three of the Guards were trying to hold a conversation and I wondered how much village scandal had been delivered, marvelled at, and inwardly digested here.

Suddenly the air was rent with the shrill cry of a small girl declaring that she did not want to have her hair cut off. How I longed to be able to say the same thing; but it was too late by then. I stared, unrecognizingly, at the transformed face which I saw in the mirror in front of me.

I then joined the brigade of Guards for some time, during which my head and ears were roasted to such an extent that I began to feel like a lobster.

At last I was ready to leave the shop. As I stepped outside into the civilised world, the cold air blew into my face and down my neck. Subconsciously I tried to draw my hair around my neck, but then realised with a pang of horror that it was no longer there. Instead, it was lying in a large heap on the hairdresser's floor.



The vivid memories of the hills, sweeping down to the water, and the patches of heather, stay with me until the end of the winter. For our summer holidays, I now refuse to go anywhere else except Loch Tummel and Loch Rannoch because, having seen the rest of Scotland, I know which part I prefer.

The road twists so much that every corner is expectant and also disappointing. Presently one corner proves to be the one with the proud position and the two lochs are in full view. As far as I am concerned this is the most marvellous view in the whole of the British Isles. The water down below, lapping against the shores of the loch, stretches for a certain distance, then narrows and the second loch begins. In the distance are the two sisters of Glencoe and, if one's imagination is vivid enough, the mountains of the Western Isles, all set back against a foreground of the two lochs mentioned in the "Road to the Isles." Beyond is the rolling Lochaber country, dotted with the indigenous black-faced sheep, also mentioned in the song.

The pine forests slope down to the water's edge, in almost a defensive manner. The water is deep and clear and the stones on the bottom give the water an even cleaner effect. Excitedly I look for a certain field in which I hold a curious interest, because for the past few years I have always wondered who lay buried beneath the upright stone in the middle of the field. This year my curiosity hungered no more and I was told by a local laird that a tinker named Meg, who had seemingly loved the lochs as much as I do, had her last wish granted and was buried with the cool, clear waters lapping not far off from her resting place.

The formidable Schiehallion stands like a watchful guardian with her stern grey slopes and crevices of snow on the uppermost peaks. The lochs are the central interest and somehow the surrounding mountains, heather, pine forests and meadows stoop in obeisance to them, even though they themselves are quite as breathtaking and mysterious.

The horn-carvers' cottages are dotted on the side of the lochs about every four or five miles, adding to the mystic beauty of the area. Everything is so totally unspoilt, free from litter and the hubbub of the seaside resorts.

There is an awe of mystery almost like being in some vast cathedral and the effect is so great that you put your feet down lightly and tend to whisper. Here one smells the tangle of the Isles, which is a mixture of peat, heather and various other plants.

Under wet conditions the lochs are rather fearsome and eerie with mists lingering above them and it is impossible to believe that, when the sun is beating down on them, they are one and the same thing.



Contrary to popular belief, the prefects at M.G.S. do not live amongst the gods, nor do they feed upon ambrosia (not the tinned variety). The typical prefect is usually in great pecuniary distress and, because of his poverty, is obliged to perform some mundane task, outside school hours, by means of which he may earn the meagre pittance upon which to subsist during the rest of the week. In some cases this task is a paper round, which is usually completed just after 8 a.m.

Following his return home, the prefect throws his breakfast down his throat, struggles into his shirt and flannels, and gathers his books together, while combing his hair with one hand and brushing his shoes with the other. By this time the ever-whizzing minute hand points to 8-45 on the clock's face. Thus, saying goodbye to his mater the pre. rushes at top speed to School, where he arrives, breathless and untidy, with tie askew and bootlace unlaced, just in time to open the doors for two hundred screaming, yelling fiends-I do beg your paternal pardon-junior pupils to rush in, who probably prostrate him, trampling over him into the bargain.

Dusty, badly shaken, the prefect picks what remains of himself from the ground and dutifully hastens to his classroom, where he is met by such a delightful greeting as "Oh 'eck, it's 'im!" By 9-0 a.m. prompt the class has been safely stationed in its ranks for morning assembly-although this is by no means an easy matter. Having thus safely gathered his flock (no sarcasm here!) our prefect now has about ten seconds in which to amble round to assembly himself, arriving just before the Head appears and thereby receiving a sour glance from the Staff on duty.

When assembly is over, the prefect has the task of keeping the little dears (now let loose into the corridor) in some kind of order, which they, for some reason best known to themselves, resent, making this plain in terms by no means uncertain.

Our dazed friend must now ensure his possession of the correct books and hie him to his pleasant lessons, where he may freely breathe until such time as the bell-to-end-second-lesson goes, which marks the commencement of interval. At this juncture the prefect's duty is to clear the classrooms of their by no means passively unwilling occupants, which having been accomplished, he must away to the other end of the main corridor, arriving just in time to prevent that scruffy set of unrepentant little . . . from rushing back into School before the termination of interval. At his post he must remain, gnashing his teeth at the foe like a faithful watchdog, on some chilly eve, guarding his master's domain against unwanted intruders, until 11-0 a.m. when he must clear the Dining Hall (so called because of the din made by its occupants) and the empty milk bottles and heaps of litter with which the building has been decorated. He emerges from the Dining Hall several minutes late and minus the necessary books for his next lesson-for which he receives a ticking off.

At lunch time, if he is unfortunate, the prefect will have to carry out dinner duty, but the unmentionable, indescribable, even unimaginable horrors endured here are not fit for publication, and the Editor has requested their removal from print.

The afternoon may be a relatively quiet period and the nerve-racked prefect may settle down to peaceful study until the end, of School when he has the pleasure of ensuring that the headgear of all personnel is adequately adjusted, and that the bus queue bears no resemblance to a tired rugby scrummage. Breathing a sigh of relief the prefect watches the last bus disappear and sets off, homeward bound, at the end of another tiring but worthwhile day, to face four hours of homework, a little sleep, and then to School again to meet the onslaught of yet another day.



The members of the crew were talking quietly to themselves in Welsh. They included a man of about fifty to sixty years who sported a bristly beard on a face which most certainly had battled with all weathers, and a jersey and trousers which had done the same. The next two members of the crew were younger but had garments that were about the same age as the older sailor. The youngest member, a boy of about thirteen, looked far less bright than the rest; he was lying under a coat on a bench in the stern of the boat. There was also another gentleman who was playing a harmonica and a concertina, in turn, for anyone who wished to hear. The passengers in the main part of the boat were a varied lot. There was a family, minus father, with a large mother wearing a hat of the most brilliant hue at the most rakish of angles and carrying a basket out of which poked sticks of rock, paper bags of sticky sweets and a few tattered toys. The grubby children of the family were leaning perilously over the side of the boat, oblivious of their mother's warnings.

Next along the seat were a couple. The lady was dressed in a manner which contrasted greatly with her surroundings and she was wrestling with the spindly heel of her shoe that was caught fast between two slats in the bottom of the boat; the gentleman was watching her (but offering no help) and staring hard in a most unnatural manner at his lady friend's feet; he was feeling sea-sick.

Then came a man and wife and an only child who sat apart from the rest with a disdainful air. The wife was dressed in a way which made you wonder why she did not buy a yacht of her own instead of spending money on clothes. Every now and then the little bottle of smelling salts would come up to her nose or was offered to the little girl sitting next to her and was refused politely. The child looked the very image of mamma's darling as she perched on the edge of the not-too-clean bench so as not to dirty her nice new dress. The husband slouched in a corner, reading a cheap magazine and wheezing slightly.

In the bows of the boat, getting soaked by the spray, were two young ladies in raincoats who had obviously intended, as it was a fine day, to bring raincoats and get wet in this fashion. They were eating crisps and drinking lemonade as if they had not eaten for a month; indeed, they were so thin, it did not look as if they had. The only other passenger was a shady little character, hunched in a corner, wearing shabby clothes, reading last week's newspaper and smoking cigarettes by the dozen. He was not the slightest bit interested in the trip or the other passengers. And so the "Welsh Girl," a pleasure launch that had surely seen better days, continued on her voyage round the river Mawddach estuary.

RUTH TYSON (3 Alpha).


"Well, how did you come across my old cottage on such a misty night?" said the bald professor, drawing his chair a little closer to the blazing fire.

I began: "We were hunting deer when suddenly the mist fell over the bleak heath. When we found no sign to help us on our way we began to wander till eventually we found your cottage and thought you could let us shelter for the night."

"You may, with pleasure," replied the professor. "However, I have a little project which I would like you to see; but first of all I will have you make a promise not to tell anybody about it."

. . . . The space craft stood in the damp mist, a small amount of light being reflected from the smooth, shining surface. It was shaped like an inverted saucer, with windows all round the perimeter. It stood on five legs which were jointed half way. "How do you like her?" the professor asked. "Would you like me to show you her graceful flight?"

Not waiting for an answer, the professor dashed back into the hangar, from which he brought a small oblong box with four small knobs protruding from one side. The remote-controlled flight was perfect; the ship soared up into the now lifting fog with the gracefulness of a leaping dolphin.

After three days of preparation we were ready to leave Earth for Mars. The servant shut the door behind us after we had entered the craft, and as the ship left the ground a slight gravity pull was felt through the whole of the body. Once on our journey there was no thought of turning back. We ate and went about our business for eight days; then we saw our goal—a red, gleaming ball in the distance. Said the professor, taking another of his home-made caramels out of the bag, "That globe is red; and red on Earth means danger."

We orbited the red sphere twice before we saw any sign of life, but it was with great pleasure that we saw that the so-called canals of Mars were green with vegetation. We orbited once more, to see a place so bedraggled and miserable, an ancient town similar to those the Romans built.

Landing in the forum, we donned our space suits, opened the door and tumbled out onto the dust-covered stones. "Come on, then," the professor called through the intercom., "Let's do a bit of exploring." We searched through nine or perhaps a dozen tumble-down houses, not finding a sign of human life as we know it.

Then, when we entered another house, the professor leading, he suddenly stopped, stooped, and said, "Can you see, over there, a human body lying on that rough bed?" We all dashed forward and crowded at the side of the bed. It was obvious that the man was dying.

His story of fighting and of war is still strong in my mind as I write these lines. Of how the planet was divided into two halves over a political argument, and after much fighting and killing only a mere hundred or so people remained. Then another disaster eventually destroyed the remaining few—the plague; it spread like fire in a ripe cornfield, not taking its victims one at a time but as many as twenty a night. Eventually there was only one man left alive, the one we spoke to, and he now is dead. . .

C. LAMB (3 Alpha).


Ahem! The Haggis is believed to be a small woodland creature, possibly mammal, common to the Highlands of Northern Scotland.

A living specimen of this creature has never yet been seen by any surviving Sassenach (i.e. one who is not a Scot, not Scotch-that's whisky). This is principally because the secret of the capture is known only to the native Scots of which they are the staple diet (I mean the Haggis not the Scots).

These people are a very uncouth race, often seen in Glasgow on rainy Saturday nights, soaked but not necessarily pickled. They live on porridge, whisky, and haggis, of course, and are thus of very strong constitution. They are invariably decorated by the hides of the haggis, which come in a wide range of tartan patterns, suitable for the decoration of shortbread boxes and whisky bottles. They communicate by means of a barbaric unsavoury form of language known as Gaelic, pronounced Garlic-no relation to the Onion, which is frequently pickled.

The tracks of the haggis have also been found in the foothills of the Himalayas, and other reports of haggis bounding down hillsides have been brought back by members of expeditions formerly in search of the Yeti or "Abdominal Snowman" -huh!

This fact leads Haggisologists to the theory that the haggis may somehow be related to the Yeti and therefore much larger than previously supposed. This being the case, one tends to wonder why the haggis is so greatly reduced after cooking-the haggis being cooked, I mean.

Let us then suppose that the haggis is of such tremendous size, why is it always found solidly on a plate and never bounding (always assuming, of course, that it does bound) along the moorland tracks of Bonnie Scotland. One well known professor of haggisology declares that this is because the haggis is a very shy animal-he would know why, too, if he had ever eaten one.

Adapted from "Another Man's Haggis Farm" by MCSMUT, B.HGY.