"The Alan Gregg" Letter

From: Alan Gregg (1960-67)
Date: 5 May 2013
Subject: Collegiate memories

I literally ran into Jimmy Rimmer recently after 12 years, and although I had worked with Jimmy for 15 years, I've just found out that he went to the Collegiate.

I was a pupil from 1960-67. School remained in session while they reinforced the floors with RSJs. Imagine that, these days with HASAWA.

It is the first time I have logged into the Old Boys Association. I've read with interest the memories of students and was immediately back at morning Assembly, in the hall; or rather outside, waiting to parade into the front row, so that everyone knew that I was late again, more detention. And years later the terror of reading the Bible Lesson for the day!

Off to first period. Someone may remember being there.

It always started with roll call, in common with every period:

Armstrong (Lloyd), Bennett (Alan aka Agricola thanks to Jimmy Gawler), Bonner (Colin?) Brown (Colin aka Skull), Clough (Tommy), Dean ( Geof?),Dunne (John),Edge (Michael), Ellis (Jimmy?), Fung (Jimmy, from Hong Kong joined in Remove A, I think), Gregg (Alan), Huckell (Dave?), Hudson (Paul?), Jip (James), Kelly (John), Lim (Paul), Madden (Paul?) with the smallest handwriting in history,McLaren (?), Metcalf (?), Murgatroyd (?), Newton (Les) went to Oxford, Parry (Alan), Reid (Alan), Simpson (Paul), Spanner (Mally), Valiant (Steven?), Warburton (Ron?), Williams (Steven). Apologies for any omissions my memory is not what it was!

In those days I thought KR Crofts was Head. A wave of silence preceded his progress along the corridor while we waited outside classrooms. C.R. Woodward was VP, a keen photographer; does anyone remember his holiday snaps in Dorset?

Magister Jimmy Gawler presided over Latin. What was "ut and the subjunctive", or "accustive and infinitive", all about anyway? I remember 5% for my first Latin paper for spelling my name correctly and getting right date.

Geography with the soft spoken Mr Greaves(?) who wrote on my report "often appears tired and listless" after waking me up several times during his periods.

Roy Shillaker parled Francais for the first 4 lessons pointing at fenetres, planchets and les garçons while we all looked on with blank expressions? It must have worked because I've never forgotten what I learned in his periods.

Down to the ground floor to Harry Hayes, Chemistry, mixing foul concoctions to recipes from "Physical Chemistry" by the same H.H. (Excellent and Recommended).

Physics was along the corridor with Mr Langton(Wally?) assisted by lab Assistant Mr Hewitt who ran and organised brilliant school camps at Kirkmicheal I.O.M. Who secretly bought bottles of brown through the hatch of the Mitre only to be immortalised on RD Jones' Boll'x (Bolex cine camera).

Over the corridor for metalwork with "Chalky" Chalk MC. Those like me, who were not members of his CCF were unaware of his illustrious war service.

Who remembers Nippy Jim Gain (Greek &Latin) with his end of term renditions of PG Wodehouse and Jeeves' exploits.

And Mary Hill that 5ft terror that introduced us to Physics; the quietest hour of the day!

Who else? John Elwell, (Maths), Dapper Dicky Darton? (English), Mr Bradbury (Spanish) who married every 6th formers' fantasy Enerys Allanson.

Who was the Maths master in the room opposite the Biology Lab, the one that could draw perfect circles by pivoting around his elbow? Was it Mr Stock or Short, excellent demonstrations of why maths? Not to forget Mr Gillespie, and Jack Clancy or am I mixing them up?

Then there was the weekly games outing, catching the 12 in Brunswick Road for Holly Lodge or the 75 for Leyfield Road, followed, in my case, by the fortnightly visit to Casualty after the brawl that loosely resembled Rugby. It was official "You (that's me) couldn't tackle a Sunday Dinner" - E.Clark.

Oh, I'd almost forgotten the 6th Form debating society and the philosophical arguments with "Yatty" Yates (Divinity). There were the naps in Art Appreciation on the top floor. The Prefect's room where miscreants were summarily dealt with. And the Tuck shop, under the South Stairs.

Other memories include:-

Teachers wearing their gowns during class; all standing when any teacher entered a room, the Central Staircase being out of bounds to all but staff, prefects and 6th formers'- except to leave the Gallery after Assembly; the lions every couple of feet on the banister that prevented a good slide.

And the highlight of every day when gorgeous Miss Tan,the Administrator, came to the class with messages for the Teacher.

I remember the competition to design a new the Liver Bird blazer badge, inspired by the mosaic in the foyer, that replaced the intertwined LCS.

My ambition to make a career in manufacturing was treated with shock and derision; the only negative memory that I have of seven enjoyable years at the best school in Liverpool.

Alan Gregg