QUINCENTENARY LAUNCH Sir Howard Bernstein, the Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, hosted guests of The Manchester Grammar School at Manchester Town Hall to celebrate the start of the School’s Quincentenary year. To mark the occasion, the city’s top business people, dignitaries and MGS supporters gathered for the reception. Chairman of Governors, Maurice Watkins CBE and High Master, Dr Martin Boulton, welcomed the guests, who included many Old Mancunians. Dr Boulton said, “As one of the City’s oldest institutions, it is a great honour for us to launch our quincentenary year at the Town Hall which has been the heart of the political life of Manchester since 1877. We are proud of our heritage as an integral part of this great city and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our benefactors, from our founder Hugh Oldham to those who are helping us today, for ensuring that access to MGS is determined by academic ability and not the ability to pay fees.” As part of the celebrations, MGS has also launched ‘The Next 500 Appeal’. This aims to raise £10 million to provide more means-tested bursary places to deserving pupils. The School already has one of the largest bursary programmes in the country and has the ultimate aim of providing a needs-blind education based on academic potential rather than family income.
Maurice Watkins CBE with Dr Martin Boulton & Michael Wood
Bishop David Walker with Tom Bloxham
BUSINESS CLASS LECTURES Theo Paphitis Theo Paphitis, founder of UK retail brands including Boux Avenue and Ryman and a long-time star of the BBC's hit show Dragons' Den, was interviewed by Enterprise Ventures’ CEO and OM, Jonathan Diggines, in front of an audience of regional influencers, as well as past and current MGS pupils. Mr Paphitis, who lived in Gorton during his childhood before moving to London, talked about his rise to fortune, what he has learned in business, and his love of football. He entertained the audience by explaining that his name wasn’t actually Paphitis, that he had celebrated his birthdate on the wrong date for many years and arrived in the UK unable to speak English. On a more serious note, he also told the audience how dyslexia had actually helped him become the successful businessman he was today, as he had become “an excellent problem solver” during his school years, in an era when dyslexia wasn’t recognised. Earlier in the day, Sixth Form pupils presented their entrepreneurial ideas to Mr Paphitis in a Dragons’ Den style event and received his honest critique of their efforts, as well as his sound business advice. The winning group pitched a school information management system and app. Other ideas included pitching the commercial use of sea kelp and a translation platform to link SMEs to professional translators.
Mr Paphitis said, “Pitching and the ability to communicate is one of the most important skills any young person can be taught – the boys did incredibly well, I’m not sure I could do that when I was their age! If I could give them any business advice, I would say never underestimate the value of networking, make sure you have cash kept aside, be your own biggest critic and always make sure you
have a passion for what you do.” He continued, “What I have learned is to embrace change. We’re now living in the fastest rate of change ever known – the industrial revolution took 100 years but today industrial revolutions are happening every couple of years. You must learn to adapt if you are to succeed in business.”
BURNS’ NIGHT With this being the 500th Anniversary Year the Parents’ Society’s annual Burns’ Night celebration was one of the first major events of a very significant year in MGS history. In recognition of the importance of getting the 500th Anniversary Year off to a great start, attention was paid to making what is always a fantastic evening in the MGS calendar an even more memorable occasion for all who attended, and so alongside all the regular items on the evening’s agenda were a number of “firsts” for MGS Burns’ Night. With higher numbers than usual, the pre-dinner reception was not going to fit into the Entrance Hall, and so for the first time ever the reception
was held in the Memorial Hall. Junior School Deputy Head, Mark Crewe Read, and his son, Theo, ensured the guests were welcomed to the sound of traditional bagpipes and once in the Memorial Hall the Jazz Band played for the first time at the event to ensure the reception went with a swing! The guests were then led by the bagpipes into the Refectory for the main celebrations to begin. Looking as resplendent as ever, with tartan banners and candelabra-decorated tables, the scene was perfectly set for the Selkirk Grace and the Toast to the Haggis. Both of these were given by Catherine Mottram in her inimitable style, which got everyone in the mood for an evening
of fine dining, drinking and dancing. The meal was expertly prepared and served by Richard Palombella and his team, with an even more delicious menu than normal to mark the occasion. Another first followed the meal, as the Toast to the Bard himself was given for the first time by a woman, Vivienne Horsfield, who both captivated and amused the guests with her alternative take on the Bard from a female point of view. Before the dancing commenced, the raffle and auction took place. Under the expert control of Tim Bedell, the auction, with the generous contribution of Mark Chapman, raised a record amount which significantly contributed to the amazing total of £16,000 raised by the event. The night was then danced away under strict instructions from Catherine Mottram, supported by her dancers and music played by Brian and his band. MGS Burns’ Night is famed for its dancing, and whether it’s the drink or the expert tuition, nobody left without having thoroughly enjoyed the evening and truly immersed themselves in what has become a great tradition in the annual calendar at MGS. The Parents’ Society sends its enormous thanks to everyone for their generosity throughout the entire evening. Jenny Forshaw
BUSINESS CLASS LECTURES Jonathan Samuels Standard Chartered Bank’s residential mortgages division before deciding to take the leap and set up The Mortgage Point.
house and, in a deal too good to refuse, he sold the business, which, in hindsight, was fortuitously at the peak of the market.
He said, “At 27 years old, my education had without doubt equipped me with the confidence to articulate myself and execute what I wanted to achieve.”
At just 30 years old, Jonathan decided to make the move into bridging finance, setting up Dragonfly, and to date has lent £1.3billion in England in the last five years. The company recently provided a £30 million loan to Ability Group, which acquired Manchester’s Park Inn as part of a larger leisure portfolio earlier in the year.
After securing a lucrative contract with Nedbank, South Africa’s fourth largest bank, Jonathan was approached by a private equity
CEO and founder of property finance company Dragonfly, Jonathan Samuels was interviewed by fellow OM Marc Shirman of Muzinich & Co. Jonathan, originally from Whitefield, told the audience that his earliest school memory coincided with the infamous Strangeway riots. Jonathan recalled how the prisoners and pupils used to wave to each other as the latter drove past on the bus. He went on to speak about the healthy competitiveness that existed in the school and how it had been the driver for his successful career in business, which had always been in his blood. After leaving MGS, Jonathan went on to Oxford University to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) before joining McKinsey & Company management consultancy. Three years later he moved to South Africa to head up
CULTURAL EVENTS In order to celebrate the rich cultural diversity of The Manchester Grammar School, something which is right at the heart of our ethos, we organised a set of events to celebrate some of our most long standing cultural links. The first in the series of events was a colourful evening of Indian music and dance, provided by the Bhavan group. We celebrated our links with the Muslim community through a visit from Professor Mona Siddiqui who currently lectures at Edinburgh University and is a regular commentator on religious issues on BBC Radio 4.
Professor Siddiqui chose an ‘In Conversation’ style event and was interviewed by two MGS boys, Ali Abod and Ali Tahir, with no pre-interview discussion or prior warning of the topics which would be covered. The boys did not shy away from the most controversial of topics and Professor Siddiqui handled with skill the hot potatoes of radicalisation, FGM and the treatment of Muslim woman, amongst others. The audience had a chance to ask questions and a very lively, interesting debate was held.
Our next visit was from Professor Alister McGrath, Christian apologist and theologian from Oxford University. Professor McGrath spoke about the potentially controversial issue of the relationship between science and faith, in a lecture entitled ‘Warfare or Mutual Enrichment: Reflections on Science and Faith’. He delivered a very powerful argument about the interrelationship here, suggesting to the audience that we all need to ‘look at the bigger picture’. The event was rounded off by some very penetrating questions, all of which came from MGS boys, some of whom were the very youngest in the audience. Nobody could fail to be impressed.
The Cultural Links series of events ended on 2nd November with the visit of Martin Goodman, Professor of Hebrew Studies at Oxford University, who talked on the theme of ‘Religious Tolerance and the History of Judaism’. There was a very good turnout, particularly from Jewish Old Mancunians, who listened enthralled to Professor Goodman’s detailed and informed survey of relationships between a bewildering range of Jewish denominations over several millennia. It was a unique opportunity for those present to listen to a world expert paint a vivid picture of a fascinating topic in the history of a religion that has had close links with MGS for a very long time. Vivienne Horsfield and Dennis Brown
Extracts from the welcoming speech by Ashok Kallumpram (OM 70-77), Patron of the Next 500 Appeal: “My lasting feelings about MGS are very positive: the inspirational teachers who gave me a love of History and English, the truly wonderful group of friends who have stood by me through my life, and finally I would have to add the MGS attitude which I define as the ability to confidently communicate, to be balanced and well-rounded and above all tolerant. In short, quiet confidence. When my father arrived in Manchester in the early 50s, he was definitely an outsider. Institutions like MGS have helped the Indian Community become insiders, contributors and very high achievers. We in the Indian community owe a great deal to the tolerance and openness of MGS. The diversity within MGS today will come to be its greatest strength. There are so many Indian boys who have been educated here and who have gone on to achieve and become game changers in their field. So, as a Proud Patron of the Next 500 Appeal, I do support this school’s drive to promote diversity; even more so, because it is committed to increasing bursary places”.
THE HUGH OLDHAM LECTURE SERIES The annual Hugh Oldham Lecture is one of our most popular and high-profile academic events of the year and is attended by our own students as well as those from other local state and independent schools in the area. Speakers over the last few years include: Sir Andrew Motion, Professor Richard Dawkins, Professor Lord Robert Winston, Lord Douglas Hurd, Stanley Fink and Sir Nicholas Hytner. However, to celebrate our quincentenary, we decided to do the whole thing on a grander scale, turning the single lecture into an entire series. To celebrate the academic life of MGS, we took a broad theme ‘Education’ and heard a variety of different perspectives. Our series was launched in February in great style by OM and TV Historian Michael Wood, who took a spellbound audience on a journey which explored, in his own words, ‘The Excitement of History: from Alexandria to India to Kibworth’. He waxed lyrical, too, about his school days at MGS where he was encouraged and inspired by his teachers, and with incredible humility, accounted much of his success to his wonderful school days. We were then treated in March to a rousing talk from well-known writer and philosopher Professor A C Grayling on the ‘Value of a
Grayling has founded in London. In May we were visited by Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, Vice Chancellor of Manchester University, who gave a very engaging and useful talk on ‘Why Universities are Important’. Boys, parents and friends of MGS were treated to powerful avocation of the significant role of Universities, and not just in academic life.
Liberal Arts Education’. There was an appreciative audience who asked very stimulating questions and there was a very engaging debate. We were left in no doubt as to how much the Liberal Arts have contributed to society and, indeed, how they can be studied in an interesting way at degree level at The New College of the Humanities which Professor
At the start of the new academic year, CEO of UCAS, Mary Curnock Cook, delivered a lecture to a packed Memorial Hall. Entitled ‘Dare to be Wise’, the informative and thought-provoking lecture covered a wide variety of topics as she addressed staff, parents and students. She began by stressing how healthy the independent schools sector is in terms of the number of students applying to, and gaining acceptance at, universities and also talked about how the volume of applications has exploded exponentially over the last 50
years. Her advice was that students should be ambitious when choosing which university they wish to study at, and apply to the very best universities as the chances of being accepted have risen considerably over the last few years. She also had a surprising message for the staff, parents and boys in the audience, encouraging the next generation of university applicants to look beyond the traditional subjects of law, finance and medicine and consider other courses such as those focusing on digital skills, social enterprise and the creative industry. With 30,000 different courses on offer across the UK’s universities, she urged boys to be bold in their choices and follow their own path. The lecture ended with an encouragement to students to follow her maxim: Dream every day of a course that no-one you know is applying to. The Hugh Oldham Lecture Series feels a very fitting way to celebrate the academic life of this long standing seat of learning and we are very grateful to have been visited by such eminent speakers who gave up their time freely to share their wisdom about their particular field of education. Vivienne Horsfield
BIENNIAL LONDON MUSIC CONCERT Preparation began for the London concert at the start of the Lent term in January. This was the start of what was shaping up to be a challenging term of musical events to say the least! Included amongst these were our Easter Concert, held at the RNCM; the première of a newly commissioned quincentenary piece by Tarik O’Regan with Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra at the Bridgewater Hall; as well as the biennial London Concert for the London section of the Old Mancunians’ Association. We knew that, because of the limited performance space at the venue, we would have to prepare smaller ensembles for this concert. This included the world première of the winning piece from the school composition competition, Five Miniatures for Brass Sextet by George Strivens. We also prepared an arrangement of Holst's Japanese Suite for wind
dectet. This was an arrangement which was optimistically written to include two bassoonists. Yet even this nigh impossible challenge was overcome! On the day of the concert itself, the coach was loaded up and we drove to London without so much as the slightest mishap or humorous happenstance. Having arrived, we were impressed by the location and Concert Hall at the Royal Overseas League. The travel time from Manchester to London left us with only a small amount of rehearsal time at the venue and we were relieved that we were well prepared for the concert. Subsequently, our brief dress rehearsals proceeded without issue, and this helped everyone relax into what would be a successful performance. The items in the performance included the following: Loch
Lomond (solo by Tom Whiston) and Bushes and Briars both arranged by Vaughan Williams, sung by Close Harmony; Ryan Lam on the piano (Steinway Grand!) playing the first movement of a Beethoven sonata; an arrangement by Mike Baker of Tubular Bells played by the guitar quartet; several movements from Handel's Water Music played by Stravaganza. The concert finished with the Jazz Band's rendition of an arrangement of Paganini's Caprice No. 24 played a second time as an encore, at the insistence of the enthusiastic audience. This left the large audience on a high note and many of them stayed to offer the performers their own personal congratulations. This was very gratifying for all those involved, both pupils and staff, who had dedicated so much time in what was a very busy term to getting the music to such a high standard. Jules Jackson (13RNK)
EASTER CONCERT Traditionally the Easter Concert is one of the highlights of the musical year at MGS: in recent years we have performed Monteverdi’s Beatus Vir, Purcell’s Come Ye Sons of Art, Fauré’s Requiem and Britten’s St Nicholas. This year was no exception and to celebrate the school’s 500th anniversary we played a varied program of chiefly English music at the newly reopened RNCM Concert Hall. The concert opened with the rousing fanfare Convocate Sapientes composed specially for the concert by Carlos Gurnani in the Upper Sixth year. A wide variety of English works was played: Handel’s Water Music Suite in F Major performed by the Baroque ensemble Stravaganza which includes some of the most senior musicians in the school. The orchestra played Sir Michael Tippett’s Birthday Suite for Prince Charles, composed just over 230 years after the Handel. This piece incorporates some well-known English Folksongs and was challenging in many respects in terms of style and instrumentation, and the orchestra gave a very convincing performance overall. MGS is proud to have three separate choirs: the main choir comprises singers in the school from years 7 to 13; Close Harmony is a small chamber choir formed by boys invited from the Tenor and Bass section; and Thursday Singers is formed by members of Close Harmony as well as singers from Manchester High School for Girls and Withington Girls’ School, forming a
mixed voice choir which sings a very wide repertoire of pieces. This year, in keeping with our English theme, the main choir sang various traditional English folk songs arranged by John Rutter for choir and piano. English folk songs have played a very large role in the English musical tradition, with many composers spending their lives collecting and arranging folk songs from around the country. One such composer was Ralph Vaughan Williams, who collected, transcribed and arranged large numbers of folk songs, saving them from being lost due to the decline in the aural method of passing down songs ‘by ear’. Close Harmony sang two settings by Vaughan Williams: Loch Lomond, a setting of the Scottish song, and Bushes and Briars, an Essex folk song. A.E. Housman’s A Shropshire Lad, a collection of sixty-three poems, has been set to music many times by several different composers, most notably by George Butterworth. Loveliest of Trees by Liz Deane was sung by the Thursday Singers, conveying perfectly the poignancy of the text. In addition to this, Holst’s First Suite for Military Band was played in sparkling fashion by Concert Band. Holst was a contemporary of Vaughan Williams, and like him is often credited as being one of the defining English composers of the late 19th and early 20th
century. Like Vaughan Williams, his music is strongly influenced by folk songs from the British Isles. Members of Concert Band also gave a performance of Holst’s Japanese Suite for wind dectet. The ten wind players gave a virtuosic rendition of Holst’s arrangements of these traditional Japanese tunes. The senior guitar quartet performed Mike Baker’s hypnotic arrangement of the piano opening of the album Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield. To finish off a successful concert, the Jazz Band played an arrangement of Paganini’s Caprice No. 24. Rachmaninoff ’s variations on this piece for piano and orchestra have made this tune very famous, and this allowed the Jazz Band to show off the exceptionally high standard of playing of its members, and brought the house down! The Easter Concert is always a fantastic achievement thanks to all of the hard work put in by MGS boys playing and rehearsing in ensembles, and by the staff who rehearse, conduct and quite often play in the ensembles. It is also the last concert that most year thirteen boys will play in before leaving the school, and the contributions of the most outstanding musicians in particular were recognised with prizes announced at the end of the concert. James Pollard (13TJP)
THE 500th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT A Celestial Map of the Sky A highlight of the MGS quincentenary celebrations was the performance of a specially commissioned piece for MGS. Tarik O’Regan composed A Celestial Map of the Sky which was premièred in the Bridgewater Hall on 16 April, conducted by Sir Mark Elder. The performers consisted of the Hallé Orchestra, Hallé Youth Choir (HYC), Thursday Singers and the MGS choir, each led by their fabulous, albeit slightly quirky directors: Sir Mark Elder, Mr Richard Wilberforce, Mr Simon Hunt and Mr Robert Carey respectively. Tarik O’Regan took his inspiration from two woodcuts of 1515 by the German polymath Albrecht Dürer which represent a map of the stars in the northern and southern hemispheres as seen in 1515. He used a range of texts and it was richly scored for full orchestra and choir and was very challenging to learn, requiring a considerable amount of rehearsal time in addition to the normal MGS choir Friday lunchtimes. In the week leading up to the performance in April, there were a number of joint rehearsals with HYC and MGS choir held at Hallé St. Peter’s. For our first rehearsal with Sir Mark Elder, an event at which we were keen to create a good impression, the coach to transport MGS choir to central Manchester did not turn up, and a replacement had to be hastily arranged. Never to be fazed by such little obstacles as a lack of transport in order to rehearse, Mr Carey
ingeniously organised the choir into formation on the MGS Bus Park and had a warm up and rehearsal. We arrived duly warmed up only a little late and Sir Mark could not have been more understanding of the situation. The rehearsal went well, and both Sir Mark and the composer were very complimentary and impressed by the choir’s singing.
A Celestial Map of the Sky were professionally recorded and will be released along with other works by Tarik O’ Regan later in the year. Performing for such a well-renowned conductor, Sir Mark Elder, in front of such a packed hall and with peers of such excellent quality was simply an honour and a memory that I will cherish for a long time.
The piece was also not without challenges. But, as so often with quirky and unfamiliar music, the unusual nature of the piece and the words eventually became lovable and familiar and when it was put together with the orchestra for the first time, the instrumental colours brought home immediately Tarik’s celestial inspiration and vision.
Andrew Lacy (12DEF)
The performance was simply staggering! All of the hard work given by performers and directors alike paid off for a truly amazing concert, which worthily celebrated 500 years of education. The concert consisted of the commissioned piece, as well as Gustav Holst’s The Planets which were particularly breathtaking, performed by the Hallé Orchestra. The concert started with Johannes Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture – with the student song Gaudeamus Igitur sung loudly at the end from memory by the combined choirs (including the ladies of the Hallé Choir who were performing off stage in the Planets). The performance and some of the rehearsals of
BUSINESS CLASS LECTURES Tom Bloxham MBE Tom Bloxham MBE, Chairman of awardwinning regeneration company Urban Splash, was interviewed by David Walton, Chairman of the OMA and real estate partner at event sponsors DWF Solicitors. Tom spoke about his passion for regenerating challenging buildings and developments that others had failed to rescue. He also spoke about the important role that art and design has played in his life. He entertained guests by recalling how he started his career by selling fire extinguishers door-to-door, a job that had taught him the harsh lesson of how to “quickly deal with
rejection.” He then went on to sell posters and then, realising that the bigger margins were in retailing, subsequently leased space in Affleck’s Parade and sub-let to a number of tenants. Speaking about lessons he had learned, Tom said: “Business is all about adding value. You must find the work that you do challenging and interesting and learn from your mistakes – I have in the past become distracted with other ventures but in hindsight I realise now it is better to focus on one area well.” When asked by the audience about the northern powerhouse concept, Tom said, “Manchester is leading the way in terms of devolution. The
more independence we have, the more able we are to deal with issues such as planning. Manchester, like its European counterparts, will continue to attract more people to live here in the city, particularly older, more affluent couples who want everything that a city like Manchester has to offer on its doorstep, but require larger space to live in.“ Tom chairs the Manchester International Festival and is a trustee of The Tate and Manchester United Foundation. He is also Chancellor of The University of Manchester. Tom was awarded an MBE for services to architecture and urban regeneration in 1999.
OM RUGBY 7s TOURNAMENT Phil Wade The 13th Annual Phil Wade Memorial fixture took place on Friday 27th March, and this year it was decided to run a sevens festival instead of the traditional 15-a-side game. Numbers were good enough for a 5 team round robin competition with each team selecting players from similar age groups. The MGS Bears were captained by Angus Reid (1st XV Capt in 2012-13). The MGS Cheetahs were captained by Ben Robertson (1st XV player 2004-05). The MGS Lions were managed by David Rowland (1st XV Capt 2011-12). The MGS Leopards were captained by Adam Griswold (1st XV Capt 2008-09). The MGS Owls were captained by Will Sym (1st XV Capt 2013-14). The competition was intense from the first game and the players were keen to show off their skills to an enthralled watching gallery. Connor Frain (2012-13) was proving the most difficult to put to floor due to the 18st frame he was carrying around. Billy Wilson (2006-07) clearly had not lost any of his pace, and Sam Boyd (2006-07) was as cool as ever and never seemed to make any errors. Nigel Davenport rolled back the years along with the three Good brothers (1994-2003) and David Rowland (2010-11) was marching up and down the touch line urging his troops on. The games were played in a tremendous spirit
OM RUGBY 7s TOURNAMENT and the banter on the side-lines between matches was great for all to see. The 7s style format was very well received and has set the tone for future years. Phil Wade's father, Derek, was on hand to present the trophy to Ben Robertson and The MGS Cheetahs as they managed to win all 5 of their matches played. Steve Swindells
OLD BOYS’ FOOTBALL AFTERNOON In April, to celebrate the school’s 500th anniversary, over 120 Old Mancunians returned to the scene of their greatest football victories and participated in the annual Football Tournament held on the First Team pitch. The competition was tough, as the School’s Year 13s were also entered and widely held to be favourites. There were several ISFA representative players amongst them and it was felt that youth might provide better fitness. In an unexpected twist, the Year 13s did not make it out of the group stage, as they suffered three shock defeats by narrow margins. In what was to be Sam Dynevor’s penultimate game as captain, his side crashed out against the odds, with the final blow coming from the previous year’s Leavers, led by former captain Andy McAslan. The tournament also saw the return of several slightly more experienced captains, whose talents have been sorely missed. Toby Levy wowed the crowd with his wonderful turn of speed and instinct for goal, and Alex Haynes showed everyone why he had captained the ISFA national side, belying criticisms of a lack of pace from spectators firmly speaking tongue-in-cheek. Very welcome appearances came from Elliott Bullock, one of the best goalkeepers to have graced the School in my 13 years here, as well
OLD BOYS’ FOOTBALL AFTERNOON as Hayden Cooke, Mark Kelly, Fabian Ashurst, Paddy McCrudden and many others of his year group. For the first time, Old Mancunians AFC also took part in the tournament, and demonstrated how former players can maintain their links to MGS football, despite having left. The story of the day perhaps was the return of the Bentwood brothers, both Kyle and Jake having captained the School in their respective years. Playing on the same side for the first time – with Jake having travelled back from university in America specially to play in the matches – they helped their side achieve victory in the tournament overall. I hope all Old Mancunians left that day feeling that their time playing football for the School had been revisited, however briefly. It was a pleasure to witness the atmosphere which was competitive but inclusive. That is what MGS football is all about. Michael Strother
BUSINESS CLASS LECTURES Scott Fletcher MBE we now have more than 60 apprentices.” An established entrepreneur, Scott has since invested in other companies including software development company, Godel Technologies, which employs over 200 people in Belarus and Manchester, and Westlab Salts, which manufactures bath salts. Westlab has secured contracts with major retailers in the UK, is doubling its turnover every 6 months and is in advanced discussions to start exporting to the USA.
Scott Fletcher, Chairman of IT company ANS Group, predicted that Manchester will secure its position as one of the top five European destinations for technology start-ups over the few years. Interviewed by OM Nigel Collier, Managing Director at Skylab, Scott, 41, talked about the transformation of Manchester into a world-leading technology hub. After enrolling on a Youth Training Scheme, Scott started his business career at the age of 22. He has since grown his biggest business, ANS Group, to over 250 staff based in Manchester and London with a turnover of circa £50 million. He sits on the steering group for the recently announced Forward project in the Northern Quarter, a scheme which secured
£4 million of Government funding in the last budget and has attracted significant private sector investment to support and help accelerate tech start-ups.
Scott continued, “Regardless of the business, the principles remain the same. I would advise pupils that if they find an idea they think will work, then just do it and don't take no for an answer. If you fail, you’ll still learn.”
Speaking about Manchester’s technology sector, Scott, who also sits on the Greater Manchester Local Economic Partnership board, said, “There is a huge amount of technological knowledge and expertise in the City, but to capitalise on this, it’s crucial that we create a hub where organisations can communicate, share ideas and thrive. We need to equip young people with the right skills and give them opportunities such as enrolling on apprenticeships; similar to the in-house scheme we have created at ANS, where
TRADITIONAL CRICKET MATCH V MCC The annual cricket match between the School 1st XI and the MCC became the focus of the Manchester Grammar School’s celebration of its 500th anniversary on 22nd May. The majority of the MCC team were Old Mancunians, including former Lancashire and England batsman, John Crawley, and his brother Mark who represented Nottinghamshire. MCC, as is the tradition, batted first and scored 201-3 before declaring with John Crawley 60* when the declaration came. Earlier Scott Richardson, who played for Leicestershire and
Yorkshire, and Cheshire’s Charles Reid had entertained a large crowd of ex-MGS cricketers who had come to support the occasion. The declaration proved generous and the school knocked off the runs, losing only four wickets with time to spare thanks to an excellent 62* by U15 Lancashire star, Rehan Udwadia, who was awarded the ‘Spirit of Cricket Man of the Match award’ by the MCC Captain, David Otway. David Moss
JUNIOR SCHOOL 500 MILE WALK The decision to commemorate the quincentenary anniversary with a challenging walk was very much made in consultation with the boys. They were keen to make it an outdoor activity and wanted others to benefit from it, too. Consequently on a wet, wild and
windy afternoon the boys and staff set out on Fallowfield to collectively walk 500 miles! The course was set out and target distances allocated according to age. (Unfortunately, this didn’t apply to staff, who all had the same challenge!) The youngest boys led the way, with the rest of the year groups joining in at staggered intervals. Mr Mangnall provided music, with each group
completing their walk to the strains of ‘I can walk 500 miles’! During the afternoon the rain continued to pour down, but this never dampened our spirits. The boys walked, skipped and ran round the course in an amazing variety of wellies. Each had persuaded family members and friends to sponsor their walk and
SUMMER SIZZLE A day of celebration for the 500 year anniversary of MGS saw the school grounds transformed into a fairground for the day. I wonder what Hugh Oldham would have thought if he had seen boys swirling around in spinning teacups or eating ice cream in the Quad, exhausting themselves on the bouncy castles on the football pitch or having their faces painted!
donations reached a staggering £3000 towards our bursary fund. Simon Jones gratefully received this at a post-walk assembly, explaining what a difference such donations make to future pupils. Of course there’s no better way for boys to celebrate the end of a walk than with cakes, squash and swapping stories of their afternoon’s exploits.
I'm sure he would have enjoyed watching the Junior School walk the boards with their fantastic interpretation of Oliver! One of the big hits on the day was the bucking bronco. I'm sure that as many thrill seekers hit the deck, they contemplated the school motto Sapere Aude. Other activities included a tennis competition, where some of the boys carried their parents in a highly competitive doubles tournament. Great fun was had by all! Serena Rochford
LOWER SCHOOL FEAST 2015, the 500th year of MGS’s establishment, was in many respects a truly magical year for the school. Now, as the year draws slowly to a close, what better time to look back at the celebrations and fond memories of the year? All students in the Lower School, both Year 7 and Year 8, were invited to a Quincentenary Feast. From the carefully crafted invitations, drinks reception and delicious 6 course meal, the event was a huge success for students and teachers alike. Before the feasting began, we were invited, as groups, to take part in a treasure hunt. Soon eager Year 8s flooded the hallways, decoding the riddles and finding certain clues that related to the school and its history, and in turn collecting the decorative owls that would then adorn the forms’ feasting tables. Next was a drinks reception in our newly renovated Memorial Hall, where prefects poured us fizzy drinks; we duly quaffed from our champagne flutes, thirstily, after our exertions. The freshly made sausage rolls for Year 7, courtesy of the Bedells, were a welcome amuse-bouche. The old school bell, Bertha, rung by the High Master, announced that dinner was served in the Refectory. Each course related to a period in the school’s history and reflected the food the boys of the school have eaten over a period of immense and incredible history. The evening was all about us, and to reflect that, our meals
were served to us by our tutors; a great lesson to us in humility and decency. I should also credit Ben Manton, Middle School, who gave up his evenings to record the event, and he provided each of us with a tutor group photo as a memento. As we sank our spoons into our chocolate mousse wistfully, Mrs James, Head of Lower School, spoke about how proud our Founder, Hugh Oldham, would be of us; because we still endeavour to be both gentlemen and scholars. Then she asked us to make our way to the schoolâ€™s Quadrangle. We were surprised to find hundreds of balloons in the colours of MGSâ€™s quincentenary year, in a huge net. Each balloon
was tagged with the name of a member of the year group, including staff and boys, and each had a note to mark the 500th celebrations (by Monday, it was reported that one had crossed the Pennines). We stood in awe as balloons merged into the endless orange sky - what a wonderful end to an exceptional evening. It was something that would only ever come once in the whole history of the school, and it was a tremendous feeling to be a part of it. Leaving the school, we were given a slice of an epically proportioned quincentennial cake, prepared for us by Myles Monaghanâ€™s aunt. I am sure that the 400 strong team of Lower School boys would wish to join me in thanking all of the staff, for going to the trouble of arranging this special event for us - it is a memory that we will take with us long after we have left this magnificent school. Athar Shahzada (9TA)
BUSINESS CLASS LECTURES Michael Morley Coutts CEO, Michael Morley, was interviewed by the High Master about his career in banking. Before joining Coutts, Michael was Head of International Private Banking at Barclays Wealth and CEO of Barclays Switzerland.
Michael also spent eight years with Merrill Lynch, becoming Managing Director and Director of Private Wealth Services for Europe and the Middle East.
concluded with open Q & A from the audience which included some probing questions about the practices of the City of London.
Michael spoke clearly about the bonus culture, the financial crises in Switzerland and Iceland, as well as pay day lenders. The evening
OLD MANCUNIAN CAMP OPEN DAYS RETURN TO BORROWDALE
Left to Right: John Geary (63-70), Myk Saas (63-71), Colin Prestwich (78-85)
I set off from North Wales to rediscover Borrowdale after 10 years and wondered if I could bear the memories of carrying crates of pop down the track from the Barn, or the thought of seeing a thunder box again? At least Eagle Crag will still be there. I first went to Camp in 1965, and my old friend from school, Myk Saas, was meeting me in Rosthwaite. Would I be able to keep up with him on the walk he planned to Watendlath, the traditional first day? After all when we discussed going to the School Camp, in a pub in Bournemouth a few weeks earlier, he looked as lithe as he was in 2delta! We had started together in 1gamma and gone our separate ways, though we met up again in the 6th form, and Myk’s dad encouraged my colour chemistry career by arranging for a school party to be shown around Ciba Geigy in Clayton, now the site of Manchester City’s Academy, and the two reasons I never left Manchester, football and my ICI career.
Although I’d never really explored Rosthwaite, I can remember standing on the road by a gate to a field 10 years ago with my wife, enjoying the birdsong and the quiet at sunset, a magical colourful late evening in the Lakes. She couldn’t walk far but she loved to be in the Lakes, thanks to our many family trips in tents, youth hostels and even the odd hotel. At that time I was facing a complete change in my life, converting from a Research Chemist in Blackley to a bus driver driving 130s past MGS and heading for part-time training as a priest in the Church of England at Deansgate. Many years I had spent with ICI colleagues camping in their annual visit to the Langdale or Wasdale valleys, and in 1999 I sat on the slopes of Side Pike in Langdale and decided I had to follow the suggestion of my vicar and begin training to be a priest, and so I raced back to Manchester and told my family and friends of my destiny. A change of life decided on the slopes of the fells. So the Lake District is a special place for me, a constant place for a visit, ever since we set off in two double decker buses from Lower Mosley Street in 1965. Carrying my son over Stonethwaite Beck, or youth hostelling with Bill Barton, climbing Great Gable again, this time on a walk from Longthwaite Youth Hostel to Wasdale Youth Hostel with my son and daughter with my wife driving around the coast to meet us so she could join in. All things done after the baptism of fire from the Stonethwaite campsite. Yes tents have been blown away, I’ve succumbed to the cold or the injuries. But the
spectacle of the mountains and valleys, always there ever the same, ever changing light. Same smell of wood smoke but now just from the houses. But who moved the campsite? What a shock to find it in Rosthwaite, away from the looming presence of Eagle Crag, and the threat of a cold wash in the beck at daybreak. Why it’s on a bus route now, and handily close to the bar at the Scafell Hotel, in civilisation. I could use my bus pass to go to Seatoller instead of walking! Over the bridge and there we are, on the site, and welcomed by Mark, a Chemistry teacher. And what’s this? A woman teacher? And a dog! And a row of portaloos, and gas cylinders. How times have changed. The teachers have tents too. I never noticed when I was 12 where they slept. I didn’t think they did! Adrian Dobson assured me he too had been a pupil, now a teacher and camping with his wife. The kettle was on and Colin Prestwich arrived on his
Left to Right: Paul Shufflebottom (staff 81-2010), Adrian Dobson (OM 62-70 & staff since 1980), Mrs Dobson, Myk Saas (63-71)
motorbike. So we would walk to Watendlath for more tea, then down past Dock Tarn to the old campsite. The weather held off, just a little rain in the air, and all too soon time for a last chat with the staff at camp and meet the Kamp Kommandant. Then away to Grasmere, where my daughter‘s love for the Lakes was affirmed as she worked and lived there for 6 months. Buy another Heaton Cooper and saunter along the route to the M6, jealous of the Stagecoach drivers in their open top buses. Does it rain less now here? No. But we are better equipped for it and it is a place for all seasons. John Geary (OM 63-70)
RETURN TO BASSENTHWAITE CAMP The number 50 has been at centre stage at MGS this year. It has sparked quite a range of memories for me, since 1965 at the school is a year I remember well: 450 is not usually a top-rated anniversary, but there had not been anything to celebrate at the 400-year mark, and a royal visit and much else made it quite special. But 1966 was special in a different way for me, as it was the year of the first Wray Castle camp. After a change in what was then the pattern of camps held during the last week of May, the application list in February contained a hundred or so more names than the places available. A simple choice presented itself: turn away half the number of boys who wanted to camp, or –
applied as well. That camp could be planned with a view to permanency, and so was easier all round. It was memorable for just one reason – rain – but we survived, and then were told after 1968 that our bell tents spoilt the view across the lake, and we were not wanted again.
Left to Right: Ger Morris (Staff since 2002), Martin Leonard (Staff 62-70), Andrew Hunter (staff since 2001)
three months before the start date – set up an alternative? I thought it could be done, or at least that it should be tried. We needed a site, an activity, a staff team, tents and a marquee for over a hundred, and enough equipment to allow for cooking, eating, and the chosen activities. Also, of course, we would need at a later stage some detailed planning, among other things to ensure that we all ate well. Somehow it all worked, with 96 boys and eight staff. The chosen site was on the shores of Windermere, and the special activities which made it different from other camps were water-related. Planning for 1967 at Wray followed. Many from 1966 wanted to come back, and the new intake
So the Bassenthwaite stage in the sequence began, and June 2015 marked number 50 in the line. I was delighted to be able, with my wife, to visit, and to see so much of what was there in 1969-70 still in operation: boys and staff enjoying, and benefiting from, not just the activities but also the communal living which adds so much to school as lifetime preparation. There have been changes of course, most obviously in the staff team, which was all-male in 1966 but soon became a family activity, and now includes several female members of staff. Menus are much more ambitious. Bell tents have gone (their fire risk always worried me a little), and the thunder boxes with their associated holes in the ground have been replaced for good reasons, though I was pleased to see that one had been retained and used for a different purpose. My brief visit ended with a session in the marquee, as noted in over-generous terms in the September ‘Old Mancunian’. I fear I shall not be there in 2065, but I’m confident that Bass Camp will be. Martin Leonard (staff 62-70)
OLD MANCUNIAN CAMP OPEN DAYS RETURN TO GRASMERE Long before I had any thoughts about MGS, I had become familiar with the Arthur Ransome books about the Lake District, an area which, in wartime, seemed very far away for a 10 year old. So, when in my first year at the School in 1944, I was told that there were places available at the School’s Grasmere camp I quickly persuaded my parents to let me go there. I enjoyed the camp so much that I went most summers afterwards even as an Old Boy. I also found the Lake District every bit as good as I had expected. Since those early days I had walked in the area occasionally but preferred the more Western part of the Lakes; so when I received details of the Open Day, I realised this was likely to be a good, if final, look at where I had enjoyed myself so much. Unfortunately my legs were not in a good enough state to get me to the site but a phone call to Julie Wright at School soon fixed up transport from the village. In the old days vehicles could reach the site through the adjacent fields but this was not now possible, so access would have to be along the Helm Crag path in the School Land Rover. This journey proved to be the most exciting part of the day apart from the return journey! At most of the time no two wheels were at the same level! It was a relief to reach a level stretch and see the familiar monkey puzzle tree by the camp barn. I was delighted to find that there were, in total, seven OMs on site, the oldest having been to
Grasmere in 1943 and the others at various times in the 50s and 60s. As was to be expected we spent much time comparing our experiences at Grasmere and indeed at the School. We were kept fully refreshed with offers of tea and coffee. We sat on the upper field, surveying the actual camp area where a group of boys were enjoying a game of football on the miniature pitch where our white six-man patrol tents used to be placed. What at first appeared to be a mass of molehills on both sides of the stream turned out to be low green two-man tents. Those on the north side of the stream were spread over the old French Cricket pitch and near the former site of the latrines. On the upper field, cooking arrangements were far better than we ever had. Gas cooking was being done in what had been the ‘boudoir’ instead of
the open air coal fired range that boys had slaved over with the large dixies of corned beef stew or porridge. We were given an example of the more sophisticated meals that were being provided these days when the staff served us dinner before our departure. As we were leaving, dinner for the boys was being served and, judging by their speed up to the dining area, they were eager for their food! Were first formers so small in our day? The day was well worth the journey and our grateful thanks must go to all the staff who looked after us so well throughout our visit. Special thanks must go to my expert drivers who made my journey safer than it looked. Douglas Robinson (OM 43-49)
Left to Right: Ian Verber (62-68), Derek Thomson (NMS 36-40, MGS 40-43), Tony Bethell (50-57), Tony Revington (52-58), Douglas Robinson (43-49), Mike Meredith (59-65), John Shippen (55-62)
Alex Dunbar (34-39) Nova Scotia, Canada
OMs in Hong Kong
OMs in Sydney, Australia
FLY THE FLAG Old Mancunians have been flying the 2015 flag around the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Israel, Mongolia, Thailand and the US. OMs in Perth, Australia
David Williams (46-52) Ger District, Mongolia
Derek Murphey (47-52) on the Amazon, Brazil
Martin Allinson (46-52) Isaan, Thailand
OMs in New York, USA
Abbot and shrine, Isaan, Thailand
Chris Whitaker (58-66) Keep River National Park, NT, Australia
Jeremy Gilmour (03-09) New York, USA
John Saunders (45-52) Trinity Site, NM, USA
OM ISRAEL REUNION When I last sang ‘Forty Years On’ in Manchester Cathedral in 1965 I never imagined that fifty years later I would be present at a school reunion barbecue in a pine forest in the centre of Israel. But here I was with about forty other old boys in the presence of a charming Martin Boulton accompanied by Simon Jones. Israel's Old Mancunians last got together in Jerusalem in 2007, when two ambulances, donated by Old Mancunians in England, were transferred to the Red Star of David – the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross. Those very ambulances were in evidence at the barbecue - just in case I suppose! Local old boys, Leonard Gossels and Richard Clayton, came up with the idea of a reunion and deserve every credit for organising it. "But then it's not every day you celebrate 500 years,” commented Richard’s friend Diti Leehee. Leonard said that the first thought had been to hold the party at the British Embassy in Ramat Gan but the idea was dropped as Ambassador Matthew Gould is approaching the end of his stint. Old-timers were prominent among the guests. Dennis Gouldman (OM 46–52), wore his battered school cap. Peter Freedman, a forty-year resident of Kibbutz Neve Eitan in the Beisan Valley, had his on too. He claims to have worn it in the kibbutz chicken coop, where it came in handy. David Sugarman (OM 53–59) wore his Old Mancunians tie. Bobbie Lewis (OM 44–47), who spent a career in the Prime Minister's office,
rationing ended. He was ‘in heaven’ when you could buy choc ice creams. Peter Freedman recalled the day Eric James took him by the ear for throwing his school bag in the air, rebuking him with the magisterial pronouncement "you oaf!" David Franks was also nabbed by James for scuffling in the corridor and ordered to come to his office at the end of school. At 3:45 he crept, shaking, into the presence to be told, "Don't scuffle when I'm walking along with the school governors," but doesn't remember an actual punishment.
said his school days were so long ago that he didn't remember much. "I was a swot, so it was fine. I always came first, second, or third in Arts subjects. The teachers were so good. And I love the way the school has developed." David Franks (OM 48–56) was there with his wife Susan. He arrived at school very young and spent an extra year, moving laterally from 3β to 3α. He was chief executive of Freeman Hardy Willis. The youngest old boy present was Eitan Halon (2002–09) who came to live in Israel in 2014 and is now doing his military service in the Nahal at kibbutz Sha’ar Hagolan. The old school yarns flowed thick and fast. Food figured prominently - Sivori’s ice cream, the tuck shop, the chippy round the corner. Dennis Gouldman remembered when sweet
Sol Clynes, who was Second Master and took Jewish prayers for years, was also remembered. He had no compunction about editing liturgy to fit time constraints. He curtailed a rabbi in full flight with the loud whisper, "He's going to have to wind this up. I think you’ve got the gist of it.” I personally fondly recalled Sol’s pep-talk in which he argued that Jews didn't have big noses - which had been proved to originate in the Causcasus anyway, not the Holy Land. Suitably requited if not refreshed by abundant food and drink, we arrived at the speeches. In his speech Leonard Gossels said that he had been inspired by a tour round MGS in February 2015 and was proud of the changes he observed. What made him particularly grateful was being able to attend MGS though coming from a humble background. Besides thanking the High Master for coming to the reunion he also
thanked Hugh Oldham, a man of the Reformation, for daring to be wise. The toast to Hugh Oldham was proposed by Toby Green (OM 90–97). He observed that he had phoned up Leonard with an enquiry about sausages only to be picked for a speech. When he asked what he should say he was told to "wing it, like any MGS boy.” He said that if Hugh Oldham were dug up he would probably be appalled to be toasted by a group of Jews in a forest in Israel. But we are grateful to him and the school, which was a welcoming and tolerant place for Jewish boys. For a musical interlude Bobbie, Peter and David sang Hugh of the Owl “Too wit too woo." Martin Boulton was our keynote speaker. We were delighted to learn from him that he himself is an old boy. He thought that the boys hadn't changed. At the last Jewish assembly he attended, the rabbi played clips from the Life of Brian. He also told us proudly that there were assemblies these days for Hindus, Muslims and other denominations and everyone went to each other's assemblies. MGS still followed Hugh Oldham’s maxim of working for the boys’ godliness. He then moved on to fundraising and the school’s goal of raising an endowment fund of £100 million, even if this took fifty or one hundred years. Raymond Cohen (OM 58-64)
HUGH OLDHAM COMMEMORATION SERVICE David Swarbrick spoke of the many co-curricular activities available to pupils, from clubs and societies to challenging expeditions around the UK and across the globe. These complemented the academic life of the School and developed leadership, independence and responsibility. Dr Boulton (ex officio Section President) reflected on his two years as High Master, picking out highlights in drama, sport, music, camps, treks, and other activities, as well as the many events in the MGS 500 programme. He paid tribute to the dedication of staff, and to David Maland, High Master when he joined MGS as a sixth-former in 1984. The 49th annual service commemorating the founding of MGS by Bishop Hugh Oldham, held in Exeter Cathedral on Sunday 12 July 2015, was a major event in the programme of MGS 500 celebrations. Almost 80 people attended, including Dr Martin Boulton and former High Master David Maland (1978–85). The School was also represented by Simon Jones, Ian Thorpe, Pauline Gilmore, and the School Captain, David Swarbrick. The chairman of the OMA Executive, David Walton, was also present, along with Old Mancunians from five decades, with their wives, partners, and guests. After joining the congregation for the Sung Eucharist, the OM party gathered for the short commemoration service at the Oldham chantry chapel, led by the Dean, the Very Revd
Jonathan Draper. The High Master and School Captain laid a wreath at the founder’s tomb. Dr Boulton spoke of Hugh Oldham's origins in Manchester, and his rise through Tudor society to positions of influence. After lunch, at the nearby Southgate Hotel, S&W Section Chairman Richard Hall gave the toast to the pious memory of Hugh Oldham, and welcomed the guests, including those who had travelled long distances from Canada, the US, Belgium and Aviemore. He also paid tribute to Brian Berry, the senior OM present, whose MGS connections began at Sale Preparatory in 1939. A member of the OMA since 1947, Brian was a member of the Midlands section before moving to the South & West in 1983, and serving on the section committee for nine years, holding office as Treasurer and Chairman.
Paul Gelling (OM 59-66)
Hugh Oldham and The Manchester Grammar School - High Master’s Speech Hugh Oldham was born in 1452 to Roger and Margery Oldham. Early sources are unclear as to whether he was born in Oldham or in Manchester, but either way his family’s roots were strongly Lancastrian. His father appears to have been a relatively wealthy landowner, with extensive property in the Ancoats area of Manchester. Part of this land was later used by Oldham for his free grammar school. Information about Oldham’s early years and education are scant. It seems that his connection with Lady Margaret Beaufort,
mother of Henry VII, was established early on, and it is clear that his later advancement up the ecclesiastical ladder was in part due to her patronage. With her help he was able to study law at Oxford and Cambridge and his career in the church began in the 1490s with a series of posts: canon of St. Stephen's, Westminster; canon at Lincoln; dean at Wimborne and archdeacon at Exeter. In 1504 he reached the zenith of his career when he succeeded to the bishopric of Exeter. Oldham’s foundation of the Manchester Grammar School in 1515 came at the end of his life and career in the church. He may have been thinking of his on-going legacy. We know that he still had strong family ties in Manchester and at the time there was no educational establishment in the town. His friend William Smith had endowed a grammar school at Farnworth near Bolton in 1507 and Oldham followed suit in 1515. The foundation deed still retained by the school is dated 20th August 1515, and is signed by Oldham and his brother-in-law Hugh Bexwyke, amongst others. Hugh Oldham the Bishop is very much apparent in this early deed. At foundation the school had strong links to the collegiate church (later Manchester Cathedral) and the deed instructs the Master and Usher to attend “divine service in the choir”. An annual service of prayer for the souls of the founders is also set down in the document.
Oldham’s later endowment to the school in 1518 of £218 enabled the school to complete its first buildings on the land that he had inherited from his father. Oldham remained Bishop of Exeter until his death in 1519 and is buried in the chantry chapel of St. Saviour and St. Boniface which he built in Exeter Cathedral. His tomb is an ornate effigial monument, and the chapel is decorated with his rebus, the owl. The south west section of the Old Mancunians' Association attends an annual service of commemoration in Exeter Cathedral with a wreath of flowers placed at the tomb. The custom of the OMA sending a wreath to the tomb started in 1907 and the addition of a commemorative service began in 1967 and has continued to the present day. It seems fitting that in our quincentenary year, Old Mancunians and other members of the school community will make the pilgrimage down to Exeter to pay their respects to Oldham once again. So Hugh Oldham’s name has not been forgotten at Manchester Grammar School. He is the only person to have the honour of a statue created in his likeness on the school site, and it has pride of place in the school quad. His portrait hangs in the reception hall, and his rebus, the owl, is the official symbol of the school. There is no escaping the owl – it appears on school ties, blazers, letterheads
and even on the school fence. The school’s coat of arms originates from Oldham’s. Originally, the coat of arms used were his Episcopal arms. Heraldically, this is incorrect and the error was pointed out to the school during a visit from the Queen in 1965. To put this right, the Old Mancunians' Association funded an application for a grant of Arms personal to the school. The new coat of arms is very similar to Oldham’s original, but one of his Lancashire roses is replaced by the arms of the diocese of Exeter. In addition, the episcopal mitre which was originally on the school crest was replaced with a helmet and an owl with the letters “D.O.M.” across its breast. Oldham’s original rebus was an owl with the lowercase letters “dom” in its beak – indeed, one such example appears in Oldham’s chapel at Exeter – and is a pun on the original pronunciation of Oldham’s name. The new usage of “D.O.M.” is perhaps a nod to Oldham’s ecclesiastical history – an abbreviation of Deo optimo Maximo. The school has also taken Oldham’s motto as its own – Sapere Aude translated, Dare to be Wise. Long may Hugh Oldham’s memory continue and we hope in 500 years’ time he will still be commemorated in Manchester and at Exeter Cathedral.
BUSINESS CLASS LECTURES David Gill Former Chief Executive of Manchester United Football Club, David Gill, took to the floor to talk about his career, transfer windows and his relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson. David, who is a patron of the MGS Next 500 Appeal, entertained an audience of 200, including many guests from the business community, along with pupils from the School, by recalling how he had told his wife early on in his career that his dream job would be to become Finance Director at Manchester United, an ambition he would later fulfil.
Interviewed by 18-year old Edward Lees, from Sale, who completed his studies at the School this summer and is looking to pursue a career in the media, David recalled how each decision he had made in his career had been strategic, to help him gain experience in a wide range of areas, ranging from being Finance Director of Proudfoot, a quoted company on the London Stock Exchange, to moving to First Choice Holidays. A chartered accountant with Price Waterhouse in 1981, he spent two years in San Francisco before deciding to return to the UK and join the Corporate Finance Department of the BOC Group, an organisation which had a large US presence. He then left to work at car-leasing giant, Avis, where he was responsible for the sale of the European leasing business to GE Capital for US$1 billion in August 1992. After
this, he became Finance Director at Proudfoot PLC, the worldwide management consulting business, and then at First Choice Holidays PLC, the third largest UK tour operator, before joining Manchester United F.C. in 1997. Speaking about his career, David said, “It’s important to grasp opportunities when you have them, but to do that you must have the experience and the qualifications to be able to be considered for the role. It’s the same analogy as players: you have to work hard, hone your
DAN FARR & GER MORRIS Fundraising for Bursary Appeal skills and keep learning if you want to achieve success. Understanding how to treat people is vital if you want to excel in any type of business.” Speaking about the transfer market, he explained, "The issue of valuing a player is very difficult, but over a long period you get more right than you do wrong. I believe there is an issue with the transfer window being open after the season starts. I think it’s incredibly unsettling for the clubs, the players and the supporters.” Speaking about his relationship with the Club Manager, he said, "Alex was like a stick of rock at the club and the most important person there, but he also recognised that he needed the other parts of the club to work well to be able to achieve what he wanted to achieve. He also had a great ability to move on after a disagreement and pick players up after a loss." In reflecting on the experience of conducting the interview, Edward Lees enthused, "It was an absolute privilege to interview David, who is undoubtedly one of the most respected businessmen in the sporting world. He was really quite open in the interview and answered every question I asked without hesitation, the sign of a true professional! Not many graduates my age can say they have interviewed someone like David, and this will hopefully give me a head start in my future career as a journalist!"
Two members of the Manchester Grammar School’s staff have got in shape for the challenge of their lifetime, to raise money for the school’s Next 500 Bursary Fund Appeal. Ger Morris, who teaches Maths, and Dan Farr, who teaches Religion and Philosophy, undertook the UK Ironman competition and the Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle respectively, aiming to raise money for the appeal. Ger and Dan wanted to do something to support the school in its 500 year anniversary celebrations, in particular its Next 500 Appeal. Ger’s challenge, which took place in Bolton, involved a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run. He completed the event in an impressive 12 hours 28 minutes and 37 seconds. Dan chose the 1000 mile cycle between Land's End and John o' Groats to raise money for the bursary fund and for Alzheimer's Society, in tribute to his mother who is suffering from mixed dementia. The challenge involved stages through the Cairngorms, including an ascent of The Lecht, recognised as one of the most demanding hill climbs in the country.
millionaire or someone on a low wage. We can only achieve this by offering means-tested bursary places – more than 230 of them – to cover the school fee. These are provided by a Bursary Fund which receives generous donations from supporters, like me, who share our aims.” Dan added, “MGS was founded 500 years ago to provide an education of the highest quality to those who qualify by virtue of their ability regardless of their parental income and background. As a teacher at MGS today, I am proud that the School remains true to this objective in modern times. The boys that I teach do not concern themselves with their peers’ backgrounds, but respect each other for their individual talents and friendship.”
Ger, who was also supporting the charity Scope, said, “I really enjoy teaching at MGS and being part of a school whose pupils achieve excellence in and out of the classroom. The school has a long tradition of opening its doors to able pupils, irrespective of their families’ means - it really doesn’t matter whether you are the son of a
LONDON DINNER The Great Hall at Lincoln's Inn hosted the 2015 Annual MGS London Dinner. The event was opened by OM Michael Booth QC, who welcomed guests to the venue, before Jimmy Campbell, the Chairman of the London and South East section of the OMA, gave an opening address. Following the meal, the High Master, Dr Martin Boulton, marked MGS' Quincentenary with a talk about the School's 500-year history, which included three building moves and escaping financial ruin on more than one occasion. The High Master also outlined his vision that social diversity will remain at the
top of his agenda over the coming years, before thanking OMs for their continued support for the Bursary Fund. OM and Specialist Journalist of the Year Michael Crick then opened up a question and answer session, and expressed his views on subjects as diverse as Jeremy Corbyn, HS2 and the ex-manager of his beloved Manchester United, Alex Ferguson, in his traditional and insightful way. He also praised the quality of staff and teaching at MGS and the co-curricular activities open to boys. Sandip Jobanputra with guest speaker Michael Crick
NEW YORK DINNER For most Americans, a 500th anniversary of a country, never mind of a school, would be unfathomable. Yet they came, from across Canada, America and even some from Britain to New York for the same purpose, to break bread with northerners. Simon Jones has been instrumental in ensuring that OM sections in far reaches are established and, with this in mind, he used the lure of Dr. Martin Boulton and Ian Thorpe (or simply a good meal) to bring us together. Unlike most reunions, we spanned generations, were neither classmates nor peers but very quickly found that our MGS histories, positive or otherwise, formed fast bonds. As the night progressed, Old Boys shared their stories and we were humbled. Some,
sons of weavers and factory workers, told of how the direct grant system and MGS enabled them to shatter glass ceilings as they became academic pioneers and leaders of industry. Others just revelled in the joy of hearing English being spoken properly. In true American style, one led the charge and pledged thousands of dollars for boys to have the same advantages he received. With such a kick start, we hope that the North American chapter will not only play a significant part in the needs-blind objective but also become a touchstone for all the OMs who find themselves on this side of the pond. Robert Garson (OM 87â€“94)
WEST COAST GATHERINGS In the week following the New York Quincentenary Dinner, further gatherings of Old Mancunians took place on the west coast of the USA. Ian Thorpe, accompanied by his wife, represented the school first at a dinner in Los Angeles, then two days later at a brunch in San Francisco.
Top Row left to right: Ian Thorpe (1962-69), Howard Pollick (1956-62), Tony Long (1948-55), Norman Bardsley (1951-58), Tim Farrar (1979-86), Vernon Smith (1951-58), Tony Platt (1953-60), Bottom Row left to right: Nick Hughes (1986-93), Hugh McIntyre (1976-83), David Hargreaves (1980-86),Roger Pritchard (1950-58), Alex Ash (1991-98), Richard Sassoon (1967-74)
In LA Hiren Naik (96-03) arranged a table at Wolfgang Puck's Bar And Grill at LA Live for more than a dozen OMs and their partners, none of whom had previously met! The meal started with introductions around the table, revealing a range of experiences typical of MGS and including a casino manager and a physics professor. The food was excellent and the conversation was enlivened, lasting long after all other diners had left and testing the patience of the staff who were keen to close for the night. Everyone agreed that we should not wait for another major anniversary to repeat the event. In San Francisco Roger Pritchard (50-58) booked brunch for a dozen OMs at the John Muir Room at Murray Circle, Carvallo Point, overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. Weeks of patient emailing by Roger brought together a range of ages and backgrounds, and while 4 OMs living within a few blocks of each other travelled together from Berkeley, none of them had previously been aware of the others' existence. A splendid meal was served with wines selected by Tim Farrar (79-85). As in LA, enormous interest was expressed in MGS's next 500 years and, in particular, the progress of the School's bursary fund-raising towards the needs-blind goal which the High Master has set. Ian Thorpe ( 62-69 & staff since 1977)
Bishop David Walker of Manchester and Bishop Robert Atwell of Exeter presided over two services at Manchester Cathedral to celebrate Founders’ and Benefactors’ Day. The invitation was extended to the current Bishop of Exeter, Robert Atwell, in tribute to the school’s founder, Hugh Oldham, who was born in Ancoats before moving to Exeter, where he became Bishop. Bishop Robert commented, “Although the School is located in the North West, the city of Exeter has very strong ties with the School and the city of Manchester. To ensure we keep those links, each year we hold a service in Exeter which is attended by Old Mancunians who now live in the South West.”
of Zadok the Priest composed by George Frideric Handel. Speaking about the School’s 500th year, the Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, said, “As an Old Mancunian myself, I’m incredibly proud to play a part in the School’s quincentenary celebrations. The School is one of the city’s oldest institutions and it’s only fitting that this service takes place in the heart of the city centre where the school was founded.” In recognition of the multi-cultural nature of the school, the Founders’ Day services included readings from Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Christian scriptures, which were read by the School’s pupils themselves, including School Captain, David Swarbrick.
Dr Martin Boulton concluded, “Today is a landmark moment in the history of the school as we celebrate our foundation 500 years ago. We owe a debt of gratitude to those forward thinking individuals past and present who have helped to establish and maintain a school with a national reputation for excellence.”
The boys also performed an impressive rendition
THE FOUNDERS’ GAME It is once again time for the annual Founder’s Day, which celebrates the founder of our great school and community, Hugh Oldham, by whose bounty, we are still educated in godliness and good manners. We may have moved sites since 1515 but our foundations remain rooted in daring to be wise, and aspiring to be both gentlemen and scholars. This has led us to achieve, once more, the highest ever GCSE results in the history of our school (92% of all results being A*or A). This is why we celebrate and thank Hugh Oldham so sincerely every year,and not least in this Quincentenial year. One of the main and most renowned ways that we celebrate this special day is the much anticipated Founder’s Game. The game is played in October, on the last day before half term. Everyone in the school participates, and the pupils are split into two equal teams, one in green and one in red. The teachers then form a Capture Team. The aim of the game is to find all of the four hidden owls, which are actually exquisitely painted rugby balls, whilst staying away from the capture team. The unfortunate individuals that are sadly captured are taken to the Rectory; they are blind-folded and subjected to a variety of mild torturings. These can include white noise being boomed at them; being made to do what feels like an infinite amount of burpees, but worst of all, one might be forced to listen to a loop of Mr Mangnall’s jokes! Most teams assign about one hundred of their toughest students to interfere with the opposition’s team when they are looking for the owls. They do this in a number of ways including acts of menace, intimidation and extreme violence towards the
opposition, thus rendering their opponents helpless and stranded in the corridors, at the mercy of the Capture Team. If one team finds all of the owls whilst the other team is unsuccessful in finding any, this is known as a Straight Victory. This rarely happens; however, in two consecutive years, 1999 and 2000, Jordan Stone, also known as the Mastermind of the Game, captained his team to win with straight victories in both of the years. This astonishing event has never been repeated. Teams allocate fifty players to be defenders of the owls; they wear glow-in-the-dark bibs to separate them from the rest of the team. Defenders of the owls are also the only players who can handle an owl that has been previously captured by the opposition (i.e. they are the only players allowed to steal the opposition's closely guarded owls). Thieves stealthily sprint to the opposition’s base, which could be anywhere, and purloin their stash. Defenders are usually a mix of meaty sixth formers, who will defend the owls, and agile speedsters, who will act as thieves when required. There are no rules when it comes to defending and stealing the owls, which means that the game usually ends up in monstrous, ungentlemanly brawls between most of one team and the defenders from the opposite team.
bell-wielding leader along the corridor in the school’s faithful wheel chair. And so it begins! New boys will be surprised by the fact that the bell ringing also marks the point that the Deputy High Master switches off the electric lighting in school. Experience has taught us that this makes the game more challenging (darkness increasing the risk of ambush and kidnap) and means excellent teamwork is required. One of the most used tactics is to split up into little groups to avoid people being taken, but this can easily be countered if the opposition team comes through as one solid team and bulldozes through all of the little groups. They then smash through the defenders and the sly thieves steal the owls. There are many skills and qualities that are achieved by playing this game, but the main one is definitely team work. It also builds self-defence and strategic thinking. The game also helps the rugby coach to pick his starting fifteen for the next match, Kirkham Grammar School, our fiercest rivals. When the game finishes the half-term holiday begins and a much needed rest is granted. This is why, unlike other schools, we have two weeks off instead of one, which is truly for recovery from the great Founder’s Game which will be remembered forever. Alex Campbell (8H/LEN)
The start is signalled by the High Master. At midday, Bertha, the school bell, by kind permission of the Proctor, rings out along the corridors as the Medical Team, powered by the First XI, propel our
OMs TEACHING DAY & SPORTS HALL OPENING OMs Teaching Day and Sports Hall Opening Some of MGS’s most successful alumni returned to the classroom on Friday 20 November, but this time they were centre stage. They came back to the School for a day to teach lessons on a wealth of different topics, ranging from economics to time travel. The event was held as part of the School’s quincentenary celebrations, and began with a fascinating lesson by Rochdale-born Paul Ormerod, who is now partner at Volterra Consulting, about economics in cyber society.
Robin Forrest, Head of Corporate Credit at Ashmore Investment Management, answered questions from inquisitive sixth form pupils about investment banking and offered invaluable advice about which career path to choose. Old Mancunian Jonathan Fogerty, who severely damaged his spinal cord in a swimming accident at the age of 14, gave a remarkable and uplifting talk about how he adjusted to life in a wheelchair and impressed upon boys that life does not need to stop when you’re paralysed.
Jonathan also spoke about tackling discrimination in all its forms and the dangers of a craze known as ‘tombstoning’ but also about how disabled people can live full, independent lives, sharing his own experience of how he learnt to become a skier using a specially-made ski-kart. Hugh Mellor, Emeritus Professor in Philosophy at Cambridge University gave an extremely interesting and thought-provoking lesson on why he believes that time travel into the past is impossible.
OMs TEACHING DAY & SPORTS HALL OPENING Thanks to all the OMs who returned to teach at the School. Gordon Davies Jonathan Fogerty Hugh Mellor Simon Unsworth Neville Ford Martin Allinson
David Hoffman Robin Forrest Jim Pollard Ian Verber Chris O'Brien Paul Ormerod
The next day one of the countryâ€™s most celebrated sportsmen, Michael Atherton OBE, returned to MGS to officially open the news sports hall. The previous sports hall, also named after him, was severely damaged during freak weather in 2014 and had to be demolished. In its place a new, state-of-the-art hall was built which includes four cricket nets, an indoor hockey
pitch, a basketball court, a five-a-side pitch, a volleyball court and six badminton courts. Upstairs there is a large multi-use room which will be used by the Junior School for meetings and assemblies and also for hosting functions and fixtures, both by the School itself and local clubs. Michael, an Old Boy who left MGS in 1986, captained the Schoolâ€™s cricket team, scoring almost 3,500 runs and taking 170 wickets. He was introduced to an expectant audience of OMs, dignitaries and spectators by High Master Dr Martin Boulton, who joked that the previous sports hall had crumbled more quickly
than an England cricket batting collapse, drawing much amusement and applause from those present. Michael then gave an address, recalling his first time walking down the MGS drive to take his entrance exam, and how strange it is still to call his now ex-teachers â€˜Sirâ€™ some 30 years after he left.
He also spoke about his fond memories of playing sport for MGS, and how he only lost two games during his entire time at the School, one for the cricket team and one for the football team. As Michael said, it is those defeats that drove him on and in that spirit, he paid tribute to the fantastic facilities now on offer at the Sports Hall and suggested that, in being thrilled to open
them, they would inspire future generations of sportsmen with even more opportunities to hone their sporting skills than he had during his MGS education. Following the ceremony, the Lord Lieutenant of Manchester officially unveiled a new memorial in front of the hall celebrating the
OMs CHESS TOURNAMENT 2015 School’s founder Hugh Oldham, Bishop of Exeter. The monument was designed and erected by the ‘Life for a Life Memorial Forests’ charity, one of the many the School supports.
player having 10 minutes to make all their moves. Players scored 1 point for every win, and ½ point for every draw. The individual with the highest total won the title. The team of three with the highest combined total won the Cup.
Ten Old Mancunian chess players gathered in the MGS bookshop at 10.00am on Saturday 21st November to compete for the Clements Cup team trophy and, for only the second time, the individual title of MGS Chess Champion of the Generations. Three players from the School completed the line-up, with the Old Mancunians splitting up into three teams of three for the purposes of the team competition. The format was simple. All 13 players played one game each against the other 12. Games lasted a maximum of 20 minutes, with each
The two highest-rated players were the School’s FIDE Master Andy Horton, and Martyn Goodger of the 1970s Old Mancunians team. These two were paired together in the final round, and when they met, they were clear of the rest of the field, having conceded just one draw each. Martyn had the advantage of the white pieces, but got a move order wrong in the opening which cost him a pawn, and was unable to recover from this. Andy Horton thus succeeds David Shaw as the new MGS Chess Champion of the Generations – the first player still at the School to hold the title. Martyn Goodger has the consolation of being part of the winning team with fellow 1970s Old Mancunians Saul Richman (clear third in the individual event with 9½/12) and Mark Trevelyan (captain of the first Old Mancunians team to challenge the School back in 1984). Feedback on the day was terrific – even from those Old Mancunians who did not score quite as many points as the individuals mentioned above. Peter Webster
OLD BOYS DINNER The 211th Old Boys’ Dinner was held at The Point at Lancashire CCC, Old Trafford on Saturday 21 November. Numbers had swelled well past the 150 mark typical of recent years as almost 1,000 OMs packed out the venue, which made for a spectacular sight. The gala dinner marked the culmination of a year-long celebration to commemorate the School’s quincentenary, and OMs young and old came from all over the world to be part of the evening’s festivities. One OM literally came from halfway across the globe, flying in from Australia just to be there.
There was an early start to the evening for some OMs who attended at 5.30 by special request of High Master Dr Martin Boulton to watch Manchester City FC take on Liverpool FC. Sadly for the High Master and undoubtedly many of those present, Manchester City lost 4-1. However, this did not dampen anybody’s spirits as The Recorder, Mr Paul Rose, gave an opening address and settled down an excitable crowd. That was followed by a welcome by Chairman of Governors, Maurice Watkins CBE, who reflected on the year’s events, which included talks from successful businessmen such as Dragons’ Den star, Theo Paphitis, and the former chief executive of Manchester United, David Gill; academic lectures; a world premiere with the Hallé Orchestra; a cricket match at Lord’s; and celebratory reunions in Israel, London, New York and California. Among the OMs present for the opening speeches were theatre and film director Sir Nicholas Hytner, who was Senior Steward for the night, and award-wining journalist and Political Editor of Sky News, Faisal Islam, who was the Junior Steward. Other notable alumni present included former High Master Martin Stephen, who launched the School’s Bursary Appeal in 1997; former CEO of Pets At Home, Anthony Preston, award-winning ITN journalist, Michael Crick, former England cricket captain, Michael Atherton, Jon Aisbitt, chairman of Man Group PLC, the world’s largest market-listed Hedge Fund, and Lancashire Country Cricket star and former Director of Cricket at MGS, Mark Chilton.
The High Master, Dr Martin Boulton, then paid tribute to the strong emotional ties OMs have with MGS, and spoke of his pride in, and gratitude to, those benefactors who have generously donated to the MGS Bursary Fund. The High Master announced to the audience that not only had the Next 500 Appeal so far raised £9m, but that a benefactor had pledged a further £500,000 that very day, leading to an appreciative round of applause from the entire room. The High Master also spoke of the importance of MGS becoming a ‘needs-blind’ school, and not having to turn bright boys away if they did not have the financial means to pay for an education.
He also singled out Development Office staff Simon Jones, Julie Wright, Jane Graham and Laura Rooney for their incredible efforts to bring together and plan such a huge reunion, which was the culmination of many months of hard work and the fine art of creating a table plan and a menu that would satisfy 1,000 OMs â€“ no mean feat! The team were slightly embarrassed to have to stand up in front of 1,000 people and soak up the applause, but it was richly deserved for their incredible endeavours and dedication. The Bishop of Manchester and Old Mancunian, the Rt Reverend David Walker, said Grace before guests settled down to their starters and main courses.
It is safe to say that what then followed is a first in the history of Old Boysâ€™ Dinners and possibly a first within any of the hallowed walls of MGS. Comedian Chris Turner, a rising star
on the comedy circuit who left MGS in 2008, provided after-dinner entertainment with his signature improvised freestyle rap and stand-up comedy. Words can scarcely do justice to Chris’ talents, as he asked members of the audience to supply him with just one word each which he seamlessly incorporated into an incredibly funny and intelligent rap. He then moved about the room, picking up random objects on people’s tables and turning those objects into lyrics for his rap. At the end of his performance, Chris received a standing ovation from the entire audience in appreciation of his talents, and, as he sat down to finish the rest of his meal, received a string of congratulatory messages and potential bookings from OMs. His performance also sent the MGSMagic Twitter feed into overdrive! Following dessert, Junior Steward Faisal Islam gave an hilarious and witty speech, before Senior Steward Sir Nicholas Hytner gave the final address of the evening. Described as ‘the most famous OM’, Sir Nicholas gave a very well-received speech, including an anecdote about how he once tried to sack High Master Peter Mason as co-director of a school play. At the conclusion of the formalities and the dinner, the evening’s celebrations carried on long into the evening and into the small hours, as OMs reminisced about their time at MGS and caught up with a few of their old teachers. The morning undoubtedly brought a few sore heads for some, but it was a fantastic evening of celebration and anyone in attendance will not forget the sight of 1,000 OMs replete in black tie under one roof!
QUINCENTENARY FINALE Staff past and present celebrated the end of the quincentenary year with a Christmas party at the School. Four newly commissioned portraits of former High Masters Maland, Parker, Stephen and Ray were displayed on the stage in the Memorial Hall. The portraits, commissioned by the Governing Body, were painted by renowned artist Andrew Tift. Andrew is a figurative realist painter who has exhibited ten times in the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery and been short listed for the first prize on four occasions. In 2006 he won first prize for his portrait of the artist Lucian Freud's first wife - Kitty Godley, which is now in the collection at The New Art Gallery, Walsall. Other notable sitters that Andrew has painted and drawn include, OM Alan Garner, Tony Benn and Ken Livingston. Geoffrey Parker, who passed away in 2012, was represented by his daughters Kate and Georgina. Chris Ray was able to meet up with his former colleagues but unfortunately Martin Stephen and David Maland were unable to attend. Martin had already seen his own portrait as it was presented to him at the Old Boysâ€™ Dinner in 2014.
The MGS50 Objects Project The MGS50 Objects Project aimed to showcase and provoke discussion about some of the remarkable objects that belong to the school, and in so doing celebrate the last extraordinary 500 years of MGS history. It was designed as an entirely online experience where details of 50 objects would gradually be revealed during the year. Text, photographs and video were made available at www.mgs50.net, together with an associated discussion forum. A very broad definition of the word "object" was adopted, including places, people and institutions, as well as physical objects. Each Wednesday in 2015, a new object was added to the site. A poll to vote on what should be the 50th object from a short-list of 5 candidates was taken. Throughout the year, around 1,700 people visited the site on Wednesdays to read about each new object and over 170 people took part in the discussion forum. Old Mancunians in particular found it a most enlightening resource, one which generated a great deal of online interest and discussion. Simon Duffy
SIVORI’S ICE CREAM VAN
Siv’s has been so much more than the provider of ice-cream to MGS boys and staff since the 1950s – Siv's has provided so often and to so many the highlight of the day. For many years, their traditional ice cream van parked by the Birch Hall Lane entrance throughout the lunch hour. Summer and winter, it was rare for there not to be a queue. Ideally placed to fuel the football players in Birchfields Park (and not too far away, in those days, from the statue of the Founder whose outreached arm cried out to hold an ice cream cone) the van did a brisk trade.
One of the great Manchester ice cream families, the Sivoris serve real ice cream, made locally in Levenshulme. The van also provides a wide range of confectionery of a decidedly politically incorrect type – sugar overdose a real possibility! In the late 1980s the firm was invited to bring the van onsite at lunchtime, and modern tradition sees it by the flagpole alongside the cricket pavilion. Old Mancs may over time forget their lessons and even some of their teachers’ names, but Siv’s? –never. Ian Thorpe
FOUNDATION DEEDS Here at the beginning of 2015, 500 years ago seems very remote. However, we are lucky to still have a direct link back to 1515 in the archives - the foundation documents of the school. Below is a transcript of the text of the document. The document is dated to the 20th August, 1515, so we can even pinpoint the exact day of our foundation. The close links with the Collegiate Church (which became Manchester Cathedral in the 19th century) are apparent. The annual stipend for masters of £10 has increased with inflation!
Both Master and Usher must attend divine service in the choir. Every Wednesday and Friday, the Master Usher and scholars must go in procession before the Warden of the Collegiate Church round the churchyard or within the church. The Master and Usher may not be dismissed except for incontinence or incompetence. The Warden and Fellows of the Coll. Church Covenant to celebrate an annual service for the souls of Roger Oldom, Marjory his wife, Master Bernard Oldom, Richard Bexwik, William Galey, Robert Bexwik, Robert Chetham and William Bradford, chaplain, all deceased,
and for Hugh Oldom, Robert Clyff, Anthony Fitzherbert, Thomas Longley, Hugh Bexwik, Joan Bexwik, widow, Isabel Chetham, widow, Ralph Hulme, and Eliz. his wife, Robert Laborer, Isabel, his wife, Edward Becke, Isabel his consort, Stephen Hulme, Richard Hunte and Margaret his wife, Roger Bekwik and Margaret his wife and Alexander Bexwik when they are dead. The Warden and Fellows of the Collegiate church are to be bound in 100s to fulfil their duties
1 a) Hugh Oldom, bishop of Exeter b) Thomas Longley, rector of the parish church of Prestwich c) Hugh Bexwyke, chaplain d) Ralph Hulme, gent. 2) John, Abbot of St Mary's Whalley 3. Robert Clyff, Master of St. Mary's College Manchester (Mamcestr') All parties responsible for appointing a Master to teach Grammar as it is taught at Banbury. An Usher is to be appointed as his deputy. After the decease of the above parties nomination of new Masters is to be the responsibility of the master and Fellows of the Collegiate Church who are responsible for the annual stipends of £10 and £5 to be paid to the Master and Usher respectively. William Plesyngton is named as Master and Richard Wulstencroft as Usher. Vacancies must be filled within 2 months by Hugh Oldom, Thomas Longley, Hugh Bexwyke, Ralph Hulme and Robert Clyff, or else by John, Abbot of St Mary's, or their successors.
THE MGS ENTRANCE EXAM Following the implementation of the 1944 Education Act, MGS became a direct-grant grammar school, providing 25% of its places free of charge (Foundation Scholarships) with a further 25% supported on a means-tested basis by Local Education Authorities. The transfer test (11+) arranged on a countywide basis by LEAs involved arithmetic, essay writing and problem-solving tests, sometimes supplemented by verbal and/or non-verbal reasoning tests. From 1946, MGS introduced its own Entrance Examination, with different styles of Arithmetic and English papers completed on two different mornings as Part 1 and (for those invited back) Part 2. The examination attracted up to 2,000 applicants so the Part 1 papers were designed to be marked quickly, with multiple choice questions dominating the English paper and short answers characterising the Arithmetic paper. All the teaching staff were involved in invigilating the candidates during the morning and then in marking the scripts, a task which was completed the same afternoon so that the highest scoring 450 or so candidates could be invited back to Part 2 a fortnight later. The Part 2 examination was set and marked by members of the English and Mathematics departments. The English paper comprised an essay and a traditional comprehension test, with full written answers. The arithmetic paper involved longer questions, with marks awarded for working as well as for the ultimate answer. A tradition was established whereby many questions would introduce a technique before testing it: ‘boggling’ a number might involve
re-ordering and computing the digits within it, so 268 when boggled might become 4. Many advantages were seen in this tradition including a resistance to exam-cramming and the rewarding of candidates who could work methodically through new material. The marks of the Part 2 candidates in all the tests were closely examined, and in borderline cases the confidential reports of junior school headteachers were considered. Rarely were candidates interviewed. A candidate’s overall position in the Entrance Examination was not revealed to him or to his parents at any stage, but Foundation Scholars could assume that they had been in the top 25% of the entry.
From 1976, when the Direct Grant Scheme ended, the Entrance Examination continued with minor amendments until 2009, when, still eschewing the idea of a short interview, the School started to organise each year a series of assessment days for candidates to supplement shorter written tests. During the assessment days, groups of candidates are taught a range of subjects and their responses are measured by experienced observers. So MGS continues to try to choose those pupils best suited to our particular style of education. Ian Thorpe
ERASMUS NEW TESTAMENT For me, the most romantic (with a small r) book in the Rare Books Collection is an edition of the great scholar Erasmus’ translation of the New Testament into Latin from the original Greek. Erasmus first published his translation of the New Testament in 1516, one year after Hugh Oldham signed the foundation papers for this school. The book was part of a movement towards making the Bible more accessible that was sweeping through Europe, not without criticism and controversy. This edition was published in 1522, and quite how it came to Manchester, we do not know – but we can have fun making some guesses. At the top of one page quite near the front, is inscribed the name “Hugh Beswyke”. In other words, it seems very likely that this particular book was owned or at least read by one of our founders, the Hugh Beswyke mentioned in the Founders’ Prayer. Our founders knew and presumably approved of the new learning, and were investing in it as they looked after the well-being of the fledgling school which they had financed.
the willingness to push at old boundaries. It reminds me that while studying a subject may lead to passing exams, more importantly it may lead to a lifetime of discovery. And that of
course is what is behind our motto sapere aude, “dare to be wise”.
All books create a link between two people, author and reader, but this book does more. I cannot ever meet or speak to Hugh Beswyke, but I teach in his school and have seen his signature in this book, and those two scribbled words have made me think about his intentions and ideals more than 24 Founders’ Day services. I find I am glad that he owned this book, because for me it stands for the excitement of the Renaissance, the intellectual curiosity and Hugh Beswyke's signature at the top of the page
SHUTTLE BUS When I returned to the School as a geography teacher in 2004 I was struck by how the Schoolâ€™s catchment area for pupils had changed. Although the outer limits of our pupil recruitment still stretched from Buxton and Sheffield in the east, Preston to the North, Congleton to the south and Warrington in the west, it was clear that there were certain areas of the Manchester conurbation that were now under-represented on the pupil list. Parts of Oldham and Rochdale, Ashton-under-Lyme, Glossop and the High Peak were all seeing a reduction in the number of MGS boys making the journey to School. It would be simple to put the changes down to the loss of the Assisted Places Scheme having a greater impact on the less affluent suburbs. However, it became clear from discussions with current and prospective parents at the time that the major concerns were travel time, and the safety of boys crossing the centre of Manchester. A proposal was made to the Governors to provide an MGS Shuttle bus linking the School directly to the rail and metro interchanges at Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria Station. The new express service, which came into operation in 2005, provided quicker links to the city centre and removed the safety concerns linked to crossing the town centre and waiting for public bus services. The Shuttle bus also operates a late service at 5:15pm to cater for boys staying behind after school for clubs and societies.
The City Centre Shuttle has been such a success that it is now seen as a key part of the Schoolâ€™s infrastructure with over 100 boys using the service each day. Pupil populations in Oldham and Rochdale have been maintained and numbers have increased from the areas in the High Peak. MGS has the largest catchment area of any day school in the UK. We currently have a pupil travelling by train from York each day! With HS2 will we see boys commuting from London in the future? Simon Jones
HUGH OLDHAM STATUE
endowment of £218 made up the bulk of the money needed to finance the first school buildings.
The statue was paid for by an anonymous Old Mancunian (“a grateful scholar”) and was made by the sculptor William McMillan, who also created the bronze figure, “Youth”, in the Memorial Hall. Hugh was unveiled by Dr Percy Stafford Allen, president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, on 17 October 1931 on the occasion of the opening of the current school buildings. Hugh used to reside in an alcove opposite the gate to Telfer Road – in fact, on a clear day with little traffic and good eyesight he could be viewed from the Dickenson Road end of Birch Hall Lane! Previous generations of MGS boys will have been used to seeing Hugh every morning when arriving at school through the back gate. The statue’s empty right hand has been a gift for generations of MGS practical jokers, with the bishop found holding an ice cream cone or coke can on more than one occasion. Hugh Oldham is the only person to have the honour of a statue created in his likeness on the school site. This is fitting considering the fundamental role he played in founding the school in 1515. Information about Oldham’s early life is elusive. He was born in 1452 to Roger and Margery Oldham, but little is known about his education. We do know that by 1475 he had entered the church. Under the patronage of Lady Margaret Beaufort, he eventually became Bishop of Exeter in 1504 and remained there until his death in 1519. His
Current MGS boys and visitors are more likely to arrive at school via the main drive, and so the statue’s original position had become rather obscure. It was decided that Hugh needed a more prominent place, and so in 2014 he was promoted to the main quad, where he now watches every visitor arriving at the main entrance. Rachel Kneale
ONE DAY FORWARD - DAY IN THE LIFE FILM This silent film was created in 1965 by the Film Society to celebrate the school’s 450th anniversary, and depicts “A day in the life” of MGS. In spring 1965, the society noted that to help with the production of the film Assistants with influential dads are urgently required, as funds and equipment were limited. The film was eventually made on a budget of £26, and hence was a silent film made on what Ulula described as sub-standard film with an undesirably coarse grain. However, despite this it was used that year on school open days, and 50 years later it provides a fascinating glimpse into the MGS of yesteryear. A few things stand out as quite different to 2015 – fewer cars in the quad, exclusively male teachers smoking pipes, academic gowns, school caps, typewriters and school milk. Similarities also stand out – assemblies, the memorial boards, the fire and wood panelling in the High Master’s study, boys queuing for sweets, Sivori’s and a variety of lessons and extra-curricular activities.
It should perhaps be stated that there are a number of candidates vying for the honour of the title of “The” school song, and that the school has never officially had a single song as its anthem. However, if we have to pick, the frontrunners would be Hugh of the Owl, When August Suns Are Shining (or The Holiday Song as it is also known) and 40 Years On. The school for many years had its own hymn and song books which were used in assemblies and other corporate occasions. One particular series of sheet music, Songs of the Manchester Grammar School, seems to have been used frequently as an in-house source of songs during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This series included all three of our candidates. 40 Years On can perhaps be disqualified, having been “borrowed” from Harrow School – even if the song’s Wikipedia page lists MGS as one of many schools to have adopted the song as its own. However, it is mentioned frequently in Ulula and was sung at various school events.
The title seemed to imply that either the School or the film was capable of only limited success. If the latter was intended, the director-cameraman was too modest. One Day Forward was a remarkable success — honest, perceptive, occasionally amusing, neatly assembled — and a credit to its maker.
In contrast, Hugh of the Owl is certainly specific to MGS. The words were written by Michael Glazebrook, briefly High Master between 1888 and 1890. We owe a debt to John Farmer, a master at Harrow and friend of Glazebrook, who composed not only the tune to Hugh of the Owl but also those of Forty Years On and The Holiday Song. The lyrics centre around Hugh Oldham and his emblem, the owl. The song describes the foundation of the school and traces the development of Manchester from a “little village” to a “mighty town”.
The song appears to have been used frequently in
Ultimately, Ulula gave the film a good review:
assemblies and at school events from the late nineteenth century and into the 1930s. In 1931, an extra verse written by H.A. Field was added, which referenced the school’s move to Rusholme: But the owl has opened its wings and flown to a fairer, greener part, And has left the home he has known so long, here in the city's heart. The new version was sung for the first time at Speech Day in 1931. Presumably the extra lines were to compensate for the verses referencing Long Millgate’s urban location that were eliminated: Round us are factory, forge and store, Market and cattlepen But here in our factory, ‘mid the roar, Work we at making men.
It is not clear exactly when The Holiday Song was first embraced by MGS as a school song. It seems to have been written in the 1890s, with words by a Classics teacher, J.P.H Fowler. It appears in the songbook in 1909 and was sung to finish Speech Day in 1907. The style of writing is very similar to Hugh of the Owl, and like that song, it centres around the figure of the owl. However, the focus is not on the history of the school or of Manchester, but instead on MGS boys. The writer describes boys on holiday - playing in the sea at Blackpool, climbing Snowdon, rowing on Windermere or playing tennis and cricket. However, whatever the boys are doing, back they return to MGS and its brave old owl. Hurrah for the Brave Old Owl! It seems that both The Holiday Song and Hugh
of the Owl were sung concurrently. In the 1950s, the summer term would end with a rendition of Hugh of the Owl or The Holiday Song on alternate years. Ulula from 1970 states that boys would file in and out of assembly to the tunes of both songs played on the organ.
However, it appears that The Holiday Song has had greater longevity and it is still sung every year at the Old Boys' Dinner. Whilst singing no longer features as part of assembly, the most recent reincarnation of a school song was in 2013 – another Classics teacher, Paul Thompson, modernised both the words and music of The Holiday Song, and a choir of Junior school boys performed the new version at Speech Day. Rachel Kneale
Each will go forth to the world one day – Forth, but forgetful never; There must have been some sort of perceived decline in school singing in the early 1930s. In 1933 Ulula responded to an accusation that school singing was on the wane with the rebuttal that Hugh of the Owl had been sung at the previous three Speech Days. There were also complaints about the decline of school singing in the Manchester Guardian which referred to the London Old Mancunians' Dinner: when Sir Basil Clarke at the piano struck up the lively air of ‘Hugh of the Owl’ only two or three of the Old Boys sang it. After all, it is the School’s own song, and the spirited verses, which express exactly the character of the School as we would wish it to be, were written, I believe, by a former High Master, the late Mr. Glazebrook.
ADMISSIONS REGISTER Before the age of computers, every boy who entered Manchester Grammar School as a pupil was recorded in a handwritten admission register. The school archive holds eighteen registers, the earliest dating from 1730. These earliest registers are simply a list of names, fathers' names and occupations, with the date the pupils entered the school. By the mid-late nineteenth century, addresses and previous schools were included too. The registers provide a rich mine of information for the family or social historian. Tantalisingly, we have
several gaps with no admissions register; boys who started at MGS in the years 1837-40, 1852–62 and 1879–88 are hard to trace. We can discover the wide geographical area from which MGS boys travelled; the 1862-79 register records boys from as far afield as County Wicklow, Somerset and Robin Hood’s Bay. The wide variety of social backgrounds is also apparent from the “Father’s occupation” column. Nineteenth century admissions registers see sons of clergymen and cotton spinners, doctors and draughtsmen and lords and lamplighters recorded next to each other.
Some occupations sound unusual to the 21st century ear – the entry in the photograph below records the son of an “Inspector of Nuisances”. The admission registers provide us with a brief snapshot record of each boy who joined MGS. In some cases, it is the only record of an individual that we have. A boy may have not have come from a distinguished background or gone on to a distinguished career, but the register will have recorded him nonetheless. Rachel Kneale
My Dear Sir,
The school has four silver badges, each on a collar of dark blue and light blue ribbon, which are worn on ceremonial occasions by the School Officers. In 1899 Ulula reported:
Will you please accept the Collar and Badge for use by the head boy of the Manchester Grammar School on Founders’ Day, Conversaziones, and such occasions as you and your successors may determine, which some members of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society have great pleasure in offering, in the hope that it will be worn with pleasure for many years to come.
A new Badge was lately handed by the High Master to H. Eastwood, as the Head Boy, in the presence of the School. Mr George C. Yates wrote twice on behalf of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society to J.E. King, Esquire, Chairman of Governors , first to offer the gift of ‘a badge enamelled in silver gilt with the arms of Exeter Diocese and Hugh Oldham, to be worn appended to a collar of the School ribbon’ and then as follows:
Birmingham. Vaughtons also made the third badge, undated but marked as ‘Vice Captains Badge’ – again without an apostrophe. ‘Head Boy’ seems to have given way to ‘School Captain’ as soon as deputies were appointed. The appointment of a third Vice-Captain in 2006 led to the commissioning of the fourth badge, again made by Vaughtons and donated by the Old Mancunians’ Association.
It is not clear which of the two badges dated 1899 and inscribed as gifts from the L & C Lit Sty this letter refers to. Both are marked ‘Head Boy’s Badge’ but only one has an apostrophe! One was manufactured in Bradford by Fattorini and Sons and the other by Vaughtons in
M.G.S. HEAD BOYS BADGE PRESENTED BY THE LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY MAY 1899 (Fattorini & Sons Bradford) 18 M.G.S. 99 HEAD BOY’S BADGE PRESENTED BY THE L & C Ant Sty (Vaughton, Birmingham) M.G.S. VICE CAPTAINS BADGE (Vaughton) Presented in 2006 by The Old Mancunians’ Association (Vaughton) All hallmarked silver with the Hugh Oldham coat of arms in enamel with SAPERE AUDE Ian Thorpe
HANDBOOK FOR PARENTS
centre location at this point in its history:
This small handbook for parents was published in 1921 during the years that J.L. Paton was High Master. It is striking how much of the information contained in the booklet will be familiar to anyone who has had a child in secondary school – curriculum, homework, reports, examinations, clubs and societies, absence and school rules are all covered.
No boy is allowed to buy from any hawker in Long Millgate
The details of school life are often somewhat less familiar. There is a comprehensive explanation of how academic life at MGS was structured. From the time of their admission to the school, boys were placed in one of two departments in school, or “sides” – Classical or Modern. The Classical side is described as suitable for boys "who intend to study Classics, Divinity, Law or History, and educates for the Higher Civil service and the learned professions, such as the Church, Law and Medicine." Classical languages and civilisation were at its heart. The Modern side was "the natural resort of the boy who aims at business" and these boys studied Science and Modern Languages in lieu of Classics.
The second section of the booklet gives detailed information that probably would not feature in a modern prospectus or information leaflet to the same extent. Parents are advised on the amount of sleep their son should have, what time they should get up in the morning, their food, the temperature of their bedroom, clothing (there was no formal uniform at this time except the school cap), exercise, use of leisure time and adolescence in general. The flavour of the advice is very much of its time – rather austere, even puritanical:
School rules were also set out. Some rules have not changed much: The passages and corridors of the School are not to be treated as a playground. Orderly behaviour and tidiness are required there. It will be considered a grave offence for a boy to make any litter about the School premises (or streets of the city) by throwing down paper, peel or any other article. Other rules are indicative of the school’s city
Boys are forbidden to smoke, or to enter public billiard rooms, smoking cafes or smoking carriages on the railway. No boy is allowed, without special permission, to enter Victoria or Exchange Stations in the dinner interval.
A boy should be trained to get up sufficiently early to allow time for a cold bath…nothing is equally tonic and bracing for the day’s activities, or a better safeguard against catching cold.No money is more wisely spent than in giving a boy a fortnight in camp or buying him a football outfit: no greater wrong can be done a child than, through obtuse economy, or uninformed timidity, standing between him and that athletic training and “hardiness” which it is the distinction of English education to confer. Frequent indulgence in the theatre or the picture-palace is as harmful and wearing as gardening or carpentry is useful and restful.
However, it is clear that boys at the school were cared for by Paton. He writes of adolescence: It may be well to mention…that a boy’s brain often “stands still” for a time at the age of puberty, because of the demands made on his physical nature at this period…the remedy is patience and encouragement, not punishment or reproof. It is also clear that there were numerous clubs and societies at the school during this period, including Scripture Union, Music Study Circle, Literary, Debating, Philosophical and Dramatic Societies, Chess and Draughts and Model Engineers. Sport, camps and trekking were also popular. The aim certainly seems to have been a well-rounded education that took into account the whole boy and not just a narrow focus on academics. Rachel Kneale
RUSHOLME MGS in 2015 is something of a frontier enclave, lying close to the boundaries of four townships, Rusholme, Fallowfield, Levenshulme and Longsight. The school buildings are in Rusholme but the adjacent Toastrack falls within Fallowfield; the schoolâ€™s playing fields behind Old Hall Lane are still within Rusholme (although referred to as Fallowfield by both boys and staff) but once the university astroturf pitches are reached the border into Levenshulme has been crossed. However, before the 19th century these bureaucratic niceties were irrelevant as these areas of South Manchester were as one, a semi-rural backwater characterised by small farms, winding country lanes, numerous brooks, a few large estates centred on impressive halls, along with small village settlements like Rusholme. Did this arcadian world still linger on in 1931 when the young gentlemen of the Manchester Grammar School migrated south from their cramped, noisy, dirty, dingy birthplace in Long Millgate? By 1931, much of the pastoral character of Rusholme and Fallowfield had disappeared. In its mediaeval incarnation Rusholme languished as a virtually unoccupied wilderness (its name derives from the Anglo-Saxon word for rushes, implying a peaty, marshy terrain). In 1655 it boasted a mere 14 rate payers, by 1714 it numbered 40 families (about 200 persons) and as late as 1801 its population was a mere 726. Two large estates, Platt and Birch, with their accompanying impressive wooden, later brick, halls dominated, economically and socially,
20th century horses, carts and carriages were competing with trains and trams. Fallowfield railway station opened in 1891 (now demolished and replaced by the Sainsbury store near Owens Park). Wilbraham Road was little more than a country lane as late as 1919 but by 1924 trams were running along it to Chorlton. Improved social amenities - water, sewerage, gas, electricity and the like - raised living standards, as did the absorption of Rusholme and Fallowfield into Manchester Corporation by 1914. this provincial world. Fallowfield, the name implying an area of uncultivated land, was similarly desolate in character, numbering 15 houses or 60 individuals in 1774. The forest of Arden lay close by. The Industrial Revolution of the late 18th century was the engine of change for south Manchester. Manchesterâ€™s population was a miserly 43,000 in 1773 but by 1851 it had soared eightfold to 316,000 and had become the Cottonopolis of the world. In consequence, artisans as well as manufacturers and merchants moved out of the city centre into the network of villages on its periphery. Rusholme village, from its centre around the junction of Dickenson and Wilmslow roads, expanded on both sides of Wilmslow Road. Grand houses for rich entrepreneurs and working class housing for tradesmen and factory operatives provided accommodation for the growing population (of 12,000 by 1906). Roads, shops and schools multiplied and theatres and libraries were opened. A turnpike trust was set up to improve Wilmslow Road and by the early years of the
However, by the early 1920s, when plans were afoot to relocate MGS to Rusholme, the pre-industrial character of the area had not yet fully faded away. The Birch and Platt estates still survived in 1900 but were in the process of being sold off, thereby offering farm land on which the new school could be built. The school was desperate to expand out of its cramped inner city site and quickly did so, pupil numbers rising from 756 in 1903 to 1250 in 1939. There were no playing fields in Long Millgate and boys had to travel out by tram to fields in Broughton and Fallowfield. The new site revolutionised sport at the school, with its extensive playing fields, gymnasium and swimming pool. Indeed, some of the land on Birch Hall Farm, bought by the school, contained both a golf links as well as a cricket ground. The demise of the Platt estate, in the hands of the Worsley family for nearly 400 years, predated MGSâ€™s arrival in Rusholme. The estate and Platt Hall were sold to Manchester Corporation in 1907: the estate still lives on in
the shape of Platt Fields Park and the Hall itself, dating from 1764, and now a Museum of Costume. MGS was built on land previously part of the Birch estate, land owned by the Birch family from 1190 until 1743, covering around 30 acres, bordered by the Gore Brook and the Nico Ditch. It comprised a hall, a farm, a cottage, fields, roads, a church and a corn mill. The estate subsequently passed into the Dickinson family (hence, Dickenson Road) and thence to the Ansons (hence, the Anson council estate). Birch Hall, originally Tudor in design but remodelled in the 18th-19th
centuries, was sold and demolished in 1926: from its ashes – and the other buildings on the estate - the new school rose. Old Hall Lane itself had few houses in the early 1920s but 10 years later it had acquired its present form (and survived the blast from a German bomb which fell in the school fields in 1941). The Birch family also founded Birch Church (St James’), originally a small non-conformist chapel (like Platt Chapel at the junction of Old Hall Lane and Wilmslow Road). Neither now serves as a church, and the rectory of Birch Church is neither a restaurant nor night club but serves a more useful function as the home of the MGS Biology Department. The ghost of the rector, his wife and their four female servants who inhabited the building in the late 19th century still roam the corridors. Finally, Birchfields Park was created by Manchester Corporation from a chunk of the Birch estate in 1888 and MGS boys after 1931 no doubt enjoyed its numerous amenities.
length of Old Hall Lane (and can still be seen, in a sad, neglected state, in Platt Fields Park next to Platt Chapel). The university’s Ashburne Hall of Residence, to be found at the end of Old Hall Lane, as it meets Wilmslow Road, was formerly “The Oaks”, one of the few surviving splendid mansions built by 19th century capitalists, in this case a cotton owner in the 1830s. Sadly, one noteworthy local landmark, familiar to MGS boys from 1931 until the 1990s, is no more. The Fallowfield (later, Harris) Stadium now lies beneath a university Hall of Residence close to the Armitage Centre, pulled down in 1994. As an athletics, football and rugby stadium, as well as a velodrome, the Fallowfield Stadium had national prominence, staging the FA Cup Final in 1893, AAA Championships, an EnglandScotland Rugby international in 1897, as well as being the venue for the exploits of England’s greatest sports cyclist, Reg Harris, in the 1940s and 1950s.
Other relics of Rusholme’s distant past still rub shoulders with the school in 2015. The Gore Brook ran from Gorton to Chorlton and was a substantial feature in the landscape. Although now largely culverted and underground, it rises to the surface at the back of the school close to Birch Church. Well into the 19th century its 30 yards width offered opportunities for swimming and skating- as well as powering the mill at Birch Hall Farm. The Nico (or Mickle) Ditch was a prominent feature in south Manchester, of pre-Norman origin, running from Ashton-Under-Lyne to Stretford. Its purpose is still uncertain but, unbeknownst to MGS pupils in 1931 and now, it ran along the
MGS, thus, is no longer the semi-rural, green field site it was in 1931 but, like Rusholme and Fallowfield over the centuries, it has continued to adapt to changing circumstances. In 1913 suffragettes burnt down the second largest exhibition hall in the country, (it measured 600 feet long and 216 feet wide), located where the Toastrack and a corner of the school’s playing fields now stand. In 1960 the Toastrack itself was born on the same site. In 2014 the MGS Sports Hall was blown away: in 2015 a new and improved version will re-emerge, phoenix-like from the ashes of the old. John Shoard
PERCY BURNS FINAL REPORT This item from the MGS archive was purchased for the school on ebay in September 2012, priced £3.50. It dates from summer 1908. The words “Classical Side” printed at the top of this report indicate that Percy Burn's studies would have focused on classical languages and civilisation. Had he been on the "Modern Side" of the school, he would have studied modern languages and sciences. The system of boys being placed on the “Classical” or “Modern” side of the school was introduced in the 1860s by High Master Frederick Walker and continued, with various modifications, up until the 1990s. In 1908, the choice of side probably lay with a boy's parents. This report was filled in by High Master J.L.
Paton at the end of Percy Burn’s final year at MGS. This might explain why Paton writes more generally and informally than might be expected on a school report: Needs more joyousness & sunshine in his life. Needs also, as all creatures of flesh & blood do need, one day's rest in seven. A new man into new surroundings & new society sh[oul]d open him up & give fresh vitality to his mind Paton was clearly as interested in the boy’s physical wellbeing as in his academic. See the Handbook for Parents from 1922 (Object No.11) for an example of Paton’s advice to parents on boys’ food, clothing, exercise and study arrangements. Camps, trekking and the Officer Training Corps were all introduced during Paton’s time as High Master, and he was a staunch advocate of boys experiencing the great outdoors and physical exercise.
It may not seem polite to treat Ian as an ‘object’, but we hope that you will forgive us as he holds iconic status for generations of MGS pupils and staff. Ian was born in Glasgow in 1913 and, after his family moved to Manchester, he was a pupil first at North Manchester School (one of MGS’s prep schools) and then at Long Millgate from 1927 to 1932. In his final year he was School Captain, and represented the pupil body at the official opening of the Fallowfield buildings in 1931. He joined the Scots Guards in 1940 after holding a couple of teaching posts, and served
Sadly, it appears Paton hit the mark with his advice in this report. Percy Burn died of malaria in 1921 at the tragically young age of 31. He had been working in Hong Kong as Assistant Secretary for Chinese Affairs and Deputy Registrar of Marriages. Rachel Kneale
with distinction, famously guarding Rudolf Hess and more secretly serving with the Special Operations Executive in the Far East. His Black Watch tartan kilts and caps were subsequently his choice of dress on school treks and at camp. He taught History and English at MGS from 1949 and led many Scottish Treks (resolutely, he ‘bashed’ on in all weathers). Having first retired in 1973, he re-joined the staff after the death of his sister, with whom he had lived, and enjoyed a further MGS career of 31 years as our unofficial school historian and archivist. He camped at Grasmere until the age of 86. He was a great supporter of the Old Mancunians’ Association and the Old Boys’ Dinner. He agreed with one of his OM heroes, Sir Ernest Barker, who wrote in his autobiography, ‘having my school, I had everything.’ Ian died on New Year’s Day in 2007. The School archives are now kept in the ‘Ian Bailey Room’. Ian Thorpe
completely rebuilt in order to fit new windows. The building was further modernised in 1979.
The rectory is the oldest building on the current MGS site, and now houses the Biology department. It is the only physical remnant and reminder of the previous inhabitants of this part of Rusholme.
A member of the Biology Sixth wrote a glowing review of the conversion in Ulula, with only one reservation:
The parcel of land that MGS now inhabits used to belong to the estate of the Birch family, with Birch Hall at the centre. The estate also had a domestic chapel, with both chapel and hall believed to have been built around 1595. St James', as it became known, eventually began to be used by the wider population of the area, and had gained notoriety by the 17th century for the radical non-conformist leanings of successive ministers. As the population of Rusholme grew, the chapel was outgrown and demolished in the mid-19th century. The current church building was built in 1846, and a rectory to go with it in 1854. The first inhabitants were the rector, George Anson, and his wife Augusta, and he stayed as the incumbent of St. James' church until 1898. MGS bought the rectory in the early 1920s as part of the purchase of land that was to become our modern school grounds. St James' continued as parish church until 1980, when it was closed and the parish merged with Holy Innocents, Fallowfield. Its spire is still a familiar landmark, and visible from the rectory. The rectory was originally used as changing rooms for boys playing sports. However, when the pavilion was built in 1955, the changing rooms were relocated and freed up the rectory to be converted for use by the Biology department. The conversion required substantial reworking, with the east wall
The only disadvantage of the Rectory, if this be one, is its distance from the School, but who worries about being five minutes late for Chemistry? So the rectory is somewhat of an anomaly, being the only building onsite to predate the 1931 buildings and not be purpose built with school use in mind. With the (temporary) demise of the Sports Hall in 2014, it has also been the most remote of the school buildings. Visitors to Physics or Music can dash across from the main buildings and dodge the Manchester drizzle if they are quick. Biologists have a longer walk, but the rectory's position amid a backdrop of trees and shrubbery is perhaps a fitting place for the MGS Biology department. Rachel Kneale
THE PUNISHMENT SCHOOL It is difficult to imagine a time when MGS boys were not kept behind after school to complete missing or inadequate work. However, it remains unclear when such detentions were first formalised as Punishment School or “P.S.”. Just over 100 years ago, Norman Birnage recorded in his diary entry for January 15th: “John Pym” was rather raw and he gave us a test on irregular verbs. I only got one mark and with about six others I was sent to P.S. I asked him to let me off as it was my first in nearly three years, but he refused saying, that as he was coaching four boys from IV alpha he would not keep me in. So I went, hardly daring to be late as he might be raw the next day. We had to copy out some irregular verbs. We should have learnt more if we had stayed in. Norman seems to have preferred the idea of being kept in by “John Pym”, rather than having to attend the more severe and formal Punishment School to copy out verb tables. A 1922 handbook for MGS parents, explaining the system of punishments then in place, includes the following: Punishment School is a detention lasting three-quarters of an hour, to which boys are sent to do work which they have neglected on the previous evening. Interestingly, a different punishment was then reserved for misbehaviour, inattention and idleness:
Punishment Drill is an extra drill lasting either twenty minutes or three-quarters of an hour, according to the nature of the offence. It is the usual punishment for serious neglect or disorder, repeated idleness, prompting in class, etc. Boys sent to Punishment Drill reported to the gymnasium where they stood on the drill floor holding dumb-bells and unenthusiastically going through the motions of drilling. My father, Sydney Dobson, who entered the school
in 1933, has no memory of Punishment Drill, so I suspect it did not survive the move to Rusholme. In any case, the use of physical exercise as a punishment was bound to be questioned once we had acquired a new gymnasium and swimming pool. In P.S., lines and other repetitive copying tasks were set, inadequate work could be re-written, or boys were required to compose essays to encourage them to reflect on their
misdemeanours. Attendance was recorded in a punishment book, and work done during P.S. was collected in at the end to be handed to the masters who had set the punishment. When a simple P.S. was deemed an inadequate punishment, then a boy could be required to come in on Saturday morning for an extended P.S. The majority of boys would find themselves in PS at some point in their school career, and for most this represented a rite of passage. Those who avoided such punishment completely did so more out of luck than judgement. Many a P.S. had much more to do with coming to the attention of an irritable master than any genuine infringement of rules or lack of application. In practice, the system could be manipulated by experienced malefactors. These had spotted that certain masters seldom if ever checked whether punishments set were actually served. In fact, the phrase “Take a P.S.” was so often uttered by certain teachers, that it would have been a prodigious feat of memory to recall on the following day the names of all those boys thus punished. Even after P.S slips had been introduced to provide a way of checking attendance, it was still very easy to avoid serving the punishment. A possibly apocryphal story tells of parents contacting the school to inform their son’s form tutor that they had found 37 P.S. slips under their son’s bed, none of which had been served. Ledgers were kept to record lists of offences of those who attended P.S.. Back in the 1970s, most entries were mercifully clear and brief: "idleness, rudeness, lateness, foulness,
crassness, lewdness, oafishness, egregiousness, bumptiousness, tastelessness." Others reassuringly remind us that the essence of the teenage boy has not changed over the last 50 years: "dreaming, smoking, skiving, cribbing, stamping, brawling, humming, spitting, clowning, drawing-pin sticking, flicking ink, loitering with intent, yobbitude, thuggery, tomfoolery, evasions and excuses." Others again beg yet more explanation: "gross precocity, being “Christmas-like”, indecent assault, scrimshanking, wearing woad, being a windbag, trading in unacceptable produce and circumurination." No entries mention "dawdling", though several record "running in the corridor". "Lack of hymn-book" recalls an era when attendance at Prayers was obligatory for all, and "stupidity above the call of duty" reminds us that masters in those days had very realistic expectations of their charges. Of course, P.S. continues, though it is now only held three times a week, twice on weekdays and then again on Saturday morning for more persistent offenders. Records are now generated by computers, and non-attendance is instantly spotted and pursued by the Proctor and his loyal assistant. Certainly, fewer boys attend P.S. in these more enlightened times, but those seeking to recapture the gloomy atmosphere of Punishment School need only sneak up to Room 18 at 4pm on a Tuesday or Thursday evening in December. The same weary faces are there, the same hunched figures scrawling away as if their lives depended on it, the same darkness outside the misted windows. Adrian Dobson
THE COMMON ROOM As a master at MGS I always found the Common Room a welcoming, bustling place. As a pupil I realise that you would have little or no idea about the Common Room’s inner workings. In my 38 years I don’t think I ever saw a colleague lose his or her temper but I did see a few who were annoyed or upset. And I’m fairly certain that one of my colleagues once slept overnight in the Common Room and another, now passed away, occasionally had to have a fortifying drink there before starting work. There have been several successful courtships and marriages and one or two affairs but I couldn’t possibly say any more about them! The new Masters’ Common Room, later The Common Room, was built in the quadrangle between the Refectory and the Offices at a cost of £80,000 and opened in 1972. It is a light and airy place with a welcoming atmosphere and space to accommodate the 150 staff, although not all sitting down at once! It has computer alcoves, a pigeon hole for each member of staff, a kitchen, toilets and on the first floor, a Quiet Room with 81 lockers.At various times it has had a Bridge Club, a Bowls Club, a Members’ Wine Club, a Social Committee, and a Salaries Committee. Bryan Bass (Staff 1972-83), speaking at the 1979 Old Boy’ Dinner, remarked that the Common Room was 'a power station of enormous capacity and uncontrollable dynamism, staffed by supermen wearing thick spectacles.’
Ulula records: The staff are becoming accustomed to the unfamiliar luxury of the new Common Room. The old room (1931) was designed for 54 men and was, with a little extra space, now accommodating 93! Old boys’ recollections of the old common room include: ‘You were not allowed to knock on the door. There was no knocking at the Common Room door at break time! I never saw inside the Common Room. It was out of bounds! It was the holy of holies!’ By convention, High Masters have had the status of a guest in the Common Room. Over the years, the Common Room Salaries Committee had a robust relationship with High Masters and the Governors. A recent High Master told me that before taking up his appointment at MGS, he had been warned that the MGS Common Room was the most fractious in England! I couldn’t possibly comment!
Over many years there has been a shift of name from Masters’ Room to Masters’ Common Room or just The Common Room. Lately the name above the door has changed to read Senior Common Room. Today about 40% of the teaching staff are women. We know that there were Masters’ Rooms in Long Millgate. At Rusholme the 1931 plans show the Masters’ Room on the North Side of the main building. Its entrance was at the head of the main stairs that go down to the basement toilets. Room X was underneath it. It became the Language Laboratory and is now Drama Studio 2. The tradition of a high standard of bridge and chess play amongst staff was transferred to the new Common Room.
The use of pigeon-holes and gavel to facilitate written and spoken communication was gently satirised in Ulula 1987: ‘the pigeon-holes are storage areas with an unusual property: whatever is put into them can never be retrieved. They are widely used for administrative notices and, of course, pupils' work. The visitor to the Common Room may, if he is lucky, witness the ancient ceremony of the Announcement at Break. A colleague bangs the gavel to call us to attention, and, with profuse apologies, explains at length that the announcement will not take long. What follows is an instruction to carry out the instructions which have already been distributed to pigeon holes.’ Alan Pickwick (Staff 1975-2013)
POSTCARD FROM KEIR HARDIE This postcard, now in the MGS archive, was posted to George Benson after Labour leader Keir Hardie was sent the results of an MGS mock election in 1906. Hardie writes: Bravo! Thirty four votes for socialism is a very good record. And each year the number will increase. We have a report of the mock election in the 1906 edition of Ulula and it seems to have been a popular event judging from the results: A. E. Jalland (Liberal) .............................. 262 H. L. Hart (Liberal) ................................. 232 H. Nichols (Conservative) ...................... 222 R. H. M. Harvey (Conservative) ............ 218 H. Pankhurst (Women’s Suffrage) ......... 36 G. Benson (Socialist) ............................... 34 J. H. Doughty (Socialist) ........................ 28 Ulula reported: The candidates, who suddenly appeared to have added an inch to their stature, and it was even whispered, several inches to the circumference of their craniums, became marked men, and were looked up to with admiration by those whose privileges were confined to the franchise. For in this contest there were no domiciliary visits to pay, no patting of babies on the head, no specious promises to make to the lady of the household while the breadwinner was toiling his hardest to keep the rate-collector and the tax-collector at bay. No. The free trader, the tariff reformer, the protectionist, the women’s suffragist, the socialist, all stood on the same platform (parenthetically, we hope that none of our readers will draw a mistaken inference from the fact that labour found no advocate at the M.G.S.) Nichols (C.) set the
ball rolling, and proclaimed himself a “whole-hogger”, expressing the belief that nothing except red-hot protection could save the country from disaster. Doughty (Socialist) followed, and fortunately became clearer as he proceeded. According to him, Socialism was the only true remedy for existing evils, and would in time pervade the whole of society. Next in order came Jalland (L.), whose sentence was for open war against Chinese labour, protection, and the present management of Irish affairs. Pankhurst (W.S.) said that if women could win high honours at college, they were surely qualified to vote at elections. Benson (Socialist) proceeded on the lines laid down by Doughty, but to such an extent
as to excite fierce opposition. Peach, though not a candidate, was allowed to speak on behalf of Hart (L.), who was suffering from a severe cold. He made several good points, and promised a great improvement in social conditions. Harvey (C.) appeared as a staunch Conservative, and argued in favour of fair trade, the Education Act, Chinese labour, and the late Government’s measures generally. The recipient of the postcard, George Benson, initially became an estate agent on leaving MGS in 1906. He was imprisoned as a conscientious objector during the Great War and later went on to become Labour MP for Chesterfield
between 1929 – 31 and 1935 – 64. Whether he is referring to his time at MGS in the following Parliamentary debate on “Juvenile delinquency and Hooliganism” (April 1964) is unclear: It is possible to take the problem of juvenile delinquency much too seriously. In the Chamber today are 15 to 20 honourable members and, in one way or another, each one of us has been a juvenile delinquent of a sort. Which honourable member can honestly say that he or she has not committed even the slightest act of violence against a younger brother or sister? The danger of juvenile delinquency must not be exaggerated. Another notable candidate in the election was Harry Pankhurst, youngest child of Emmeline Pankhurst, founder of the Women’s Social and Political Union and leading suffragette. Not surprising then, that he stood as the Women’s Suffrage candidate. Unlike Benson, Pankhurst never made a name for himself in the political arena; he suffered from poor health throughout most of his short life and died in 1910, aged 20.
THE BUTTY BAR For many years through the 60s and 70s the ‘Butty Bar’, run by the School’s Catering Department, provided a basic but tasty menu of sandwich lunches for older pupils seeking an alternative to dinner contract meals in the refectory. Super-sophisticated sixth-formers may have chosen to go offsite to the Meldon Road chipshop, but for the rest of us the diet of homemade barmcake sandwiches and iced spongecake or fruit touched the spot. As school meals in general changed for the better in the 1980s, so did the offering in the Butty Bar, with a refitted kitchen and dining room, longer opening hours and a much
extended menu. Pasta bakes were introduced, and ciabatta and panini took over from the humble white barmcake. Drinks machines extended along one wall, and new French windows changed the ambience of the room.
The pavilion dining facility is not only busy on school days. On Saturdays, generations of MGS Society helpers have provided refreshments for MGS and visiting sports teams and parents. On a wet February Saturday morning, solace after a 6-0 drubbing comes from a hot-dog and a polystyrene cup of sweet tea. No wonder Old Mancs remember the ‘Butty Bar’. Ian Thorpe
The significance of this postcard is more than merely that of an impressive autograph to add to our collection. It puts MGS in its wider social context, and for our purposes, it illustrates the individuality and boldness of the MGS boy. There have been a wide range of politicians, writers and journalists produced by MGS in the twentieth century including MPs Frank Allaun, Michael Winstanley, Tom Normanton and Harold Lever, political journalists Michael Crick and Martin Sixsmith and last but not least, noted political theorist Harold Laski. Rachel Kneale
Nestling in a fold of the valley of Far Easedale lies a typical Lakeland barn, of dry walled rough stone. It is easily visible to walkers trudging up to Easedale Tarn although it is on the quieter side of the valley leading up to Greenup Edge and the head of Borrowdale. It has been a part of MGS since 1931, although we were camping on the other side of the river, nearer Grasmere and below Silver Howe, from 1904. Most boys at Long Millgate would have had few experiences of the countryside, let alone the high fells, so the notion of going away for a fortnight to live in the wilds must have been a real challenge and excitement. There the camp, encouraged by JLP, flourished for twenty years - camping, walking, climbing, playing the locals at cricket and football and boating on the lake. In 1931 the ranks of white bell tents recognisable to soldiers in Victoria’s army moved over the valley and in 1934 the school, through the generosity of Old North Boys Tommy Stott, Joseph Cantley, Harry
Thistleton, Geoffrey Heywood and Cedric Litherland, purchased the barn and twelve acres of land stretching up the fell towards Helm Crag. We now had a permanent base that would secure the school’s activities in the valley in perpetuity. The eighteenth century barn had been known as ‘Bob Kirkby’s Hoghouse’, a hoghouse being a barn for hoggets, one year old sheep, not pigs, although pigs were also at some point kept there and said to provide the ‘best bacon in Cumberland’. Clearly there were more buildings originally between the barn and what is now the bothy. The site is now entirely surrounded by the National Trust who own every acre of the Easedale Valley bar our twelve, and who in 1979 tried to claim we did not own it! Under Tommy Stott’s stewardship the camp restarted in 1946. He had come to MGS in 1904 and until his death in 1950 was fundamental to the camp and is worthily commemorated by a slate plaque above the barn. Apart from the glorious fells, the art of camping was the central activity. Fighting Lakeland storms and squalls; building trench fires; foraging, cutting and preparing the wood; cooking; collecting and carrying supplies; maintaining the site; and playing sports were the core activities. But MGS has always had the quality of being able to change and over the last century the barn and the camp have adapted in response to the changes the modern world has created. It was at this time that MGS boys began to go up to swim in both ‘Doc’s Pool’ just above
Stythwaite Steps, and Easedale Tarn. Expeditions to fells further afield began to be a more regular feature although any form of motorised transport was frowned upon. And in the mid 1930s we were visited by a contingent of the Hitler Youth! Later incarnations of the camp in the post war period saw three parties going out each day to follow graded routes. ‘A’ Party prided itself on doing lengthy routes, Helvellyn and back including both edges, for example, or all the Langdales with a return via the Langdale Valley and Chapel Stile. These walks often ended at the ‘Lakeside’ cafe where staff and boys could be seen taking tea and cake, with some hiring rowing boats, before the trudge up to the barn. By the eighties the camp had become more diversified with the introduction of orienteering in the Grizedale Forest, ghyll scrambling, high level camping at Codale Tarn, rock climbing on our own crag, sailing and canoeing on the lake, and even painting workshops. The tradition of carrying up all supplies by human hand gave way to carriage by Land Rover. But it did mean that being ‘on fag’ became rather less onerous and freed up time for this fuller programme of activities. The changing times also meant that ‘masters’ fag’ ceased and staff were expected to serve themselves! A generous donation by Ian Bailey enabled the construction of the mezzanine floor in the barn to create more space, particularly useful both in inclement weather and also to facilitate the introduction of weekend visits for walkers and readers of literature alike.
The fagging system, in which boys were organised into fag groups of about ten, remained a distinctive and valuable part of the camp. These groups, led by a Sixth Former and containing boys of all ages, produced breakfast and supper, along with packed lunches and cocoa in the evening. Hard work though it was, the skills of team work and team management were inculcated and it was good see boys who had struggled as first formers coming back year after year, finally leading their own fag group. It was, and is, a very special place. I will always associate it with Ian Bailey, that great MGS loyalist - also commemorated with a plaque inside the barn - the sound of whose bagpipes playing a lament drifting through the fells will always be with me. Nigel Reynolds Grasmere 1975-1998
LANCASHIRE CRICKET CLUB BAT
whilst at University at Durham. He was made captain in 2004. He played 196 first class matches scoring nearly 10,000 runs.
This signed cricket bat was received for the school by High Master Christopher Ray. It highlights the remarkable number of top-level cricketers the school has produced.
These individuals all attended the school in the 1980s and 1990s, a golden age of MGS cricket.
The Old Mancunians who signed the bat, all playing for Lancashire Cricket Club at the time, are: Michael Atherton, at MGS 1979 - 86 Atherton played for England in 115 Test Matches and a record 54 of these were as captain. He scored 7,728 runs averaging just over 37. He made 16 centuries with a best of 185 batting over ten hours to draw a Test Match against South Africa. He stepped down as England captain following the 2001 Ashes series. Gary Yates, at MGS 1979 - 86 His Lancashire career was from 1990-2002 during which time he played 82 first class matches. He remains on the coaching staff at Old Trafford recently being appointed Academy Director following spells as 2nd XI coach and assistant coach to the 1st XI. John Crawley, at MGS 1982 - 89 He played 37 Test Matches for England making four test centuries with a highest of 156. He was captain of Lancashire County Club before finishing his career with Hampshire. Mark Chilton, at MGS 1988 - 95
In addition, the bat is also signed by international cricketers Sourav Ganguly and Andrew Flintoff. The full list of names is as follows: J. Crawley M. Atherton I. Austin G. Chapple M. Chilton N. Fairbrother A. Flintoff S. Ganguly R. Green M. Harvey J. Haynes W. Hegg G. Keedy G. Lloyd P. Martin P. McKeown P. Ridgway C. Schofield J. Scuderi M. Smethurst M. Watkinson N. Wood G. Yates Rachel Kneale, with thanks to David Moss
Mark joined Lancashire County Cricket Club
If walking up the school drive for the first time is one memorable rite of passage for every MGS pupil, then, for anyone at the School between 1931 and 2008, sitting in the Lecture Theatre (as the MGS Theatre was formerly known) must be another. The auditorium, with its curved, hard wooden benches, meanest and most upright of back-rests and meagre leg room, could hardly be forgotten; utilitarian and uncomfortable in equal measure, nodding off was impossible (which was, no doubt, the intention). Remaining seated for a Lower School assembly might be bearable, perhaps, but sitting through a performance of Shakespeare was another matter. Wise directors might, out of pity for the audience, judiciously edit the script to ensure a pre-10 o’clock finish, but not all were so considerate. You could always spot regular theatre-goers – they brought their own cushions with them. This is perhaps a slightly harsh portrayal of a space which, when the School moved to
Rusholme, would have been a wonderful new facility, and one which for the first time provided a dedicated home for MGS drama. At Long Millgate, actors and directors had to use the Hall or one of the science lecture theatres as a makeshift performance space, with none of the technical facilities we take for granted today. (At other times the Hall had to double up as a classroom for Art.) The tradition of drama at MGS is a long one, stretching all the way back to 1759 and a performance of Addison’s Cato (one of the earliest recorded School productions in Britain). Occasional productions continued on into the 19th century and, from 1885 onwards, there is an almost unbroken tradition of regular performances. For many years, all roles, male and female, were played by boys. This all-male tradition lives on in the Year 8 Shakespeare Festival, as well as some recent productions, including (Wo)men Behaving Badly (a.k.a. Aristophanes’ Thesmophoriazusae) and Guys and Dolls. However, in recent decades many productions have involved girls from WGS and MHSG, doubtless to the delight of all parties; indeed, one OM recently thanked me for introducing him to his future wife by casting them both in a production! Such a long tradition has undoubtedly proved fruitful in nurturing talent, and the roll-call of OMs who have gone on to achieve real distinction is long and highly impressive. What follows is by no means exhaustive, and more can be found in Jeremy Ward’s excellent article in the 2010 edition of Ulula. Harold Brighouse and Stanley Houghton wrote
Hobson’s Choice and Hindle Wakes respectively, plays which have been performed countless times over the last 100 years. (Tradition has it that Brighouse and Houghton agreed that Hobson’s Choice would be a great title for a play and decided who would write it by tossing a coin.) Robert Bolt won an Oscar in 1968 for his
complemented by the introduction of drama as a curricular subject, and boys can now study Drama at GCSE and A-level. Further change came with the success of the Drama Centre Campaign (launched in 2006). Thanks to the generosity of donors the facilities for drama were redeveloped and expanded, to include a new drama studio. The redeveloped theatre not only gives audiences a far more comfortable experience, but also extends what can be achieved: few school theatres can boast a full height fly-tower, or offer pupils so many opportunities to contribute technically.
screenplay for A Man for All Seasons, and also wrote the screenplays for Lawrence of Arabia and Dr Zhivago. A more recent OM, Rory Mullarkey, has had his work performed at the Royal Exchange, the Royal Court and as part of the National Theatre’s Connections programme. He won the George Devine Award for The Wolf from the Door. Sir Ben Kingsley has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and won the Oscar for best actor for Gandhi. His contemporary, Robert Powell, played the lead role in Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth and has numerous film and television credits. George Coulouris’ film credits include appearing in Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane. Tom Lowe starred in Les Misérables on the West End in the 1990s, and Chris Addison has not only pursued a highly successful career as a stand-up
comic, featuring regularly on Mock the Week, but has also acted in the political satires The Thick of It and In The Loop and is now forging a directing career. Sir Nicholas Hytner and Stephen Pimlott went on to become two of the country’s most respected directors; Hytner ran the National Theatre for 12 years, and his film credits include The Madness of King George and The History Boys. Richard Lipson, who left MGS in 2002, was a production designer for Danny Boyle’s spectacular Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, as well as the FIFA 2010 World Cup Kick-Off Celebration Concert.
With the removal of those hard wooden benches we have seen the end of a rite of passage, but who would argue that this has not been a change for the better? We now have facilities which are, once again, the envy of any other school (much as they no doubt were in 1931), and everyone can see, and feel, the benefit. Floreat theatrum! Paul Thompson
Twenty-five years ago the position of drama at MGS changed: a flourishing programme of productions outside the timetable was
Prior to 1931, MGS had its home on Long Millgate in what is now the city centre, close to Manchester Cathedral. In fact, the school’s links to this street date back right to its early history. The original plot of land on which the first buildings were constructed was purchased by Hugh Bexwyke for the school in 1516, and they were completed in 1518. The new school was cheek by jowl with the medieval buildings of the collegiate church which still exist on Long Millgate today as part of Chetham’s Library. The library was founded in 1653 and in later years boys from MGS and Chetham’s Hospital School shared the same playground. The school added an annexe in 1685 and part of the building was replaced in 1776, as the school population increased from 150 to nearer 250. The owl, now on the wall in the refectory, was first displayed on the gable end of the 1776 building. In 1870, completely new buildings, designed by Alfred Waterhouse, were created on the Long Millgate site at a cost of £28,000. However even by 1876 the school had grown, and an appeal was started to raise funds for further new
buildings that were completed in 1881. This pattern of adding buildings onto an already crowded site continued as the school reached the tail end of the nineteenth century. The pupil population had continued to grow, and under Frederick Walker the curriculum had changed such that laboratories, a gymnasium and a swimming pool were required alongside more traditional classroom accommodation. These buildings were completed in 1914 and involved the filling in of part of the River Irk. However, despite the proliferation of building work, the idea of moving the school out of the city completely and into the suburbs was raised as early as 1808. Concerns were expressed about the undesirable influences on boys stemming from the school’s central location. In 1808, the Feoffees noted that Most of the scholars who come from a distance, lodge with the High Master or second master. Both their houses are in Millgate, closely surrounded by Old Buildings chiefly occupied by poor people, in situations neither healthy or comfortable. The street is narrow and also serves as the Apple Market, so that on two or three days a week it is crowded with horses and carts, making it difficult and dangerous to pass from the masters' houses to the school. There is no playground so boys have no other outlet but the streets where they are prematurely exposed to temptations to the great danger of health and morals. The resorting to taverns and intercourse with women of the town becomes a fashion amongst the boys in the higher classes of the school, which no vigilance of the masters can suppress. All this makes a serious impression upon the minds of those parents who live at a distance, with the result that for several years the number of scholars has declined.
The Feoffees' proposed solution was to move the school five miles south and build dedicated boarding houses. However, this plan was ultimately rejected as it was thought that poorer boys would find it impossible to attend the school. Nevertheless, the thought to move was continually in the minds of the Feoffees. In 1844, Engels described Long Millgate in The Condition of the Working Class in England: He who turns in thither gets into a filth and disgusting grime, the equal of which is not to be found - especially in the courts which lead down to the Irk, and which contain unqualifiedly the most horrible dwellings which I have yet beheld. Suggestions to move during this period were rejected too - the school’s reliance on the railways to bring in boys from outlying towns was seen as too big an obstacle to overcome. As the 19th century drew to a close, the emergence of competitive school sports created the desire for playing fields adjacent to the school buildings. Boys had to travel out to playing fields in Newton Heath and Higher Broughton to play cricket and football. In addition, demand for school places was still growing, and the Long Millgate site was feeling increasingly cramped and outdated. Reminiscences in Ulula of Long Millgate frequently describe the buildings as “grimy” “gloomy” “leaking” “cramped” and on one occasion, “cheese-ridden” and a “noisome rat-infested sewer”! The school porter, Jepson, noted that My uniform, and the fact that we were so close to Victoria Station, caused people to mistake my little room several times for a booking office. I
specially remember late one night an Irish couple rushing up the steps and asking for ‘two tickets to Holyhead at once’! Firm plans to move to Rusholme began in the 1910s, and the governors had acquired all the land needed by 1921, but both the strain and disruption of war and lack of finances delayed building work. Many boys were clearly keen to leave Long Millgate. Ulula reports that at the school debating society, a motion that “This house view with regret the removal of MGS to Rusholme” was defeated by 23 votes to 9. One speaker “urged the advantages of pleasant and healthy surroundings, as opposed to the present depressing conditions in Long Millgate.” 2,500 Old Mancunians attended a farewell
gathering at the old school in July 1931 and the new school was opened in September of that year. Despite the poor condition and location of the buildings at Long Millgate, Arthur Jalland was reported at the Old Boys’ Dinner in 1938: It has become the fashion, latterly, to decry the old building and the old days, to talk of them in disrespectful terms. To him, and he was sure, to many in that audience, the old buildings represented something which could never be replaced. They were glad that the School had moved. They wished it all prosperity in its new environment. They thought that the move was wise, but, all the same, the removal had taken something from them that could never be replaced.
Initially a buyer could not be found for the Long Millgate buildings and it would take until 1951 to finally sell the buildings to the Manchester Corporation. The 1870 building was the only one to remain intact after bomb damage and was first used as a teacher training college before being bought by Chetham’s School of Music in 1978. Evidence that MGS once owned the building remains – a plaque put in place by the Manchester Corporation and architectural decoration over the front door of owls with the words Schola Mancuniensis 1870 Rachel Kneale
THE CLOCK TOWER AND THE WEATHER VANE
A BRIEF HISTORY OF BORROWDALE CAMP
The clock tower and weather vane date to 1931 and the new school buildings in Rusholme. It has often been noted that because the buildings were completed during a time of financial austerity, they are somewhat severe and lacking in ornamentation. However, the exception must be the tower and weather vane situated directly above the main quad.
Borrowdale was not the first MGS camp, that honour going to the Alderley Camp at Whitsuntide in 1904, nor was it even the first MGS camp in the Lake District, as in the summer of 1904 MGS boys were already camping near Grasmere in the Easedale valley. By the 1920s the search for ever more mountainous terrain led to camps being held first in Snowdonia then the Lake District. However, it was not until 1931 that J.L. Latimer and H.A. Field first brought MGS to the Stonethwaite site in the field at the foot of Bull Crag, and the name ‘Borrowdale Camp’ was thereafter used in Ulula to speak of these mountaineering camps even after they relocated to Snowdonia or Langdale. In 1940, wartime and the threat of invasion put a sudden end to camping when Borrowdalers were summoned back to Manchester after only three days. Fortunately, the camp was re-established in 1946 and has existed in Borrowdale ever since, though with a couple of moves, firstly in 2003 down the lane to the Chapel Farm campsite, and then in 2007, when all camps were relocated to Activities Week in late June, to Stuart Bland’s field beside the Dinah Hoggus Camping Barn in Rosthwaite.
The weather vane depicts a teacher clad in gown and mortar board chasing a school boy with a cane. The vane and tower seem to have had an impact on generations of MGS boys.
A boy’s reminiscences of entrance examination day in 1970 mention: The large and somewhat menacing shadow of the clock tower in the quad reminded me slightly of a bat swooping in for the kill The bell and turret cost £130 and were paid for by the Old Mancunians Association. The clock itself was the gift of Owen Cox, who served as school Receiver (a forerunner of our modern Bursar) for 46 years from 1888 to 1934. He oversaw the moved from Long Millgate to Old Hall Lane. Not only did he give the clock, but he also provided money to create a dedicated fund to provide for its upkeep and maintenance. He also donated the cloister water fountain which is no longer in existence. His son Claude attended the school between 1905 and 1908 and then emigrated to Canada. He died of wounds sustained at Etaples in 1917 and is commemorated on the school memorial boards. Owen Cox himself died in 1945. Rachel Kneale
The image of Borrowdale as a tough, fell-walking camp for those of a hardier disposition dates right back to those early years and the saying, attributed to Field, that ‘only boys willing to eat little and live rough need apply’. Certainly, my own memories of Borrowdale in the 1960s, when we sweated up Dale Head from Honister Pass or scrambled up Scafell from the Mickledore Buttress, suggest
spirit of camp is far more relaxed than one might ever imagine, with an anarchic humour never far from the surface. Borrowdale is a timeless place where much that preoccupies Manchester is an irrelevance, and life runs along slower, gentler, less trodden tracks. Though first-hand memories of those early camps have sadly faded within school, it is clear that the early Borrowdalers would still be very familiar with our white canvas tents and marquee against a backdrop of wooded crags. The once ubiquitous bell tents have now been replaced by ridge tents, arguably easier to manage and less likely to let in the rain, and yet the smell of crushed grass, the bleating of lambs and the sound of the cuckoo in the early morning must be very much as they always were.
that this was a camp of constant physical challenges. However, we never once complained except in jest, and willingly came back for more, addicted as we were to height climbed and miles completed. How we revelled in that tremendous sense of achievement as we staggered back into camp for a well-deserved hot meal, sing-songs, tent shows and welcome slumber. Borrowdale remains very much a training ground for would-be trekkers, but the
Some things have, however, changed. Whether change has been for the better is debatable; let us simply say that they did things differently in the past. At the Borrowdale Camps up until the 1960s all cooking was done communally over wood-fires. Boys were regularly sent out up the valley sides with axes on ‘wood fag’, to fell, chop and drag dead wood down from the remnant forest. Certainly we played our part in the deforestation of the valley. Of course Stonethwaite Woods had not yet been designated as a ‘temperate rainforest’, with its dead wood providing a vital habitat for insects and liverworts. The cooking-fires disappeared long ago, first to be replaced by primus stoves and the constant battle to get these lit outdoors on rainy mornings. By comparison, cooking nowadays seems virtually effortless with bottled gas piped directly to water boilers and cooking rings in the marquee.
Stonethwaite Beck was used until the 1980s both as a water-source and drain, with water being collected upstream and washing being done downstream. Now the river itself is an SSSI with lampreys sighted near Rosthwaite Bridge. I would hate to say that washing has become a thing of the past, just that it is now done more discreetly and certainly more sparingly. The thunderboxes, squatting over trenches behind their canvas screens, have disappeared. There is no more digging of holes, no more burning of rubbish in sodden compost pits. Nowadays Portaloos are regularly emptied and cleaned, whilst refuse is bagged up and increasingly recycled.
Were those boys of the 1950s and 1960s really a hardier breed as they tirelessly took in peak after peak before descending for a supper of stew, steamed puddings and mountains of custard? Stodge is now ‘off ’, as is porridge, and the cuisine has developed an international flavour with a menu including muesli, spaghetti bolognaise, Moroccan tagine with tabbouleh, and colourful curries with naan breads. Compulsory jam butties at lunchtime have given way to salad, tuna, Nutella and Marmite, while any missing calories are made up for by deceptively heavy slabs of Old Mrs Dobson Cake. As for planting the flag on remote mountain summits, there are still staff young or fit enough to accompany such walks. In recent years after supper, Mr Cittanova has regularly encouraged groups up to Sprinkling Tarn for ‘high-level camp’ before a quick morning scramble up Scafell Pike, whilst more leisurely valley rambles have grown in popularity, taking in boat-rides and tea-shops, and providing, as
they do, opportunity for pleasant conversation and quieter contemplative moments for appreciation of the scenery. Anathema to Old Borrowdalers must be the introduction of mountain-bikes and canoes to camp, yet I can assure the disturbed reader that walking is still the principal and preferred form of locomotion, reaching spots otherwise inaccessible to human endeavour. There simply is no alternative to a scramble up Sour Milk Gill from Seathwaite or a traverse of Sharp Edge on Blencathra. However, there has been increasing acceptance that there are many other ways to enjoy and appreciate the big outdoors, all encouraging young people to engage more with the landscape and learn new skills. So as well as biking and water-sports, we have recently offered rock-climbing, orienteering and ghyll-scrambling, an unforgettable adventure which involves climbing waterfalls, sliding down rock chutes and plunging into deep pools. Global warming or no global warming, Borrowdale still has its fair share of weather. We will tell you how much the sun shone and how often we had to sit in the shade, yet
conveniently we fail to mention the day the heavens opened and we stayed in our tents until mid-afternoon. Memory is notoriously selective in Borrowdale, yet my abiding recollection of the camp in the 1960s is queuing to have calamine lotion applied to my sunburned back - evidence, I think, that the past was a sunnier place. My memories of days spent swimming in Blackmoss Pot suggest that it was a warmer place too. Conversely, in 2002, the weather was largely responsible for us abandoning the original site where the ground had become so compacted that whenever there was a downpour large puddles formed inside as well outside the tents. And already on the new site, we have twice needed to move boys off the water-logged field into the Rosthwaite village hall to escape rising streams and the re-emergence of ancient lakes. What else could be expected of the wettest, wildest valley in England? The continuing rude health of the camp has owed a huge debt to the Brownlee family at Stonethwaite Farm. Some 65 years have elapsed since a young Victor Brownlee first helped his father bring up our canvas to the field with a horse and cart. A mere 25 years ago we were still collecting our milk from Mrs Brownlee in a polished metal churn. Even now, after our move to Stuart Bland’s field in Rosthwaite, their daughter Christine Brownlee still delivers us milk every morning, though modern regulations dictate that this now arrives in sealed plastic containers. The warmth of the welcome we have received from the Brownlees over these years has contributed enormously to our sense of belonging in the valley, as guests yes, but as guests who have deserved their place in local history and myth.
Just as the arrival of the first cuckoo heralds the spring, so the arrival of MGS supposedly, according to local lore, brought the first warm sunny days, as well as the first coin-blockages in the local phone-box. But that was when camp was held at Whitsuntide. Since camp has been held in late June, MGS seems to arrive just as the warm, dry spring weather is beginning to break. Yet the weather never played by the rules. Those with longer memories may remember Borrowdale’s Great Flood of 1966, and a tiring day the following spring spent picking up the boulders deposited by the flood all over the Brownlee’s fields. We carried each rock to the trailer which then dumped its load as a flood-barrier against further incursions. Disasters have been mercifully few in more recent years, though 2001 saw camp cancelled completely. The restrictions brought in to combat foot and mouth disease effectively excluded us from walking the fields, paths and fells which are the very essence of Borrowdale. We never imagined that things could be virtually as bad in 2002, the following year, but they were. This was, as Alan McDonald records ‘a record-breaking camp’. It was the ‘earliest
camp, shortest camp, coldest camp, muddiest campâ€™, and the consensus was that it should be abandoned after only three days. Tents were flooded out, sleeping bags soaked, and the inside of the marquee had become a quagmire, with even the duckboards vanishing in the morass. Those of us with longer memories recall those high winds of the 1980s when the marquee used to blow down regularly at night, and one mid-morning gust deposited most of our tents in the next field. I shall never forget returning later that day after a wild and blustery walk, looking forward to my supper, to find an eerie absence of tents, shell-shocked boys sheltering in the barn, and a removalsâ€™ van loading up broken poles and shredded canvas. Nobody who was there will forget it. Some were prematurely aged by this experience, and others decided never to return, yet others again were filled with a sense of wonder at the power of nature. Once the initial shock had subsided and stories had been shared, then a sense of exhilaration took over and, dare I say it, pride that we had all survived unscathed in such exceptional conditions. Numbers of campers have fluctuated considerably as young men have adjusted their perceptions of communal life under canvas. The popularity of the camp grew steadily after the war, until by 1954 there were some 70 boys, divided into junior and senior camps. These numbers continued to rise until by the 1960s there were often over 100 boys choosing to spend their Whit holidays exploring the mountains. This was an era when foreign holidays were unknown to most, and adventurous young men were seeking their
challenges closer to home. These numbers began to decline in the 1980s as wetter, windier weathers took their toll. However, the smaller camps of some 50 keen walkers were much easier to manage, and meant that party sizes in the hills could be restricted to groups of ten. After camp was cancelled in 2001, then abandoned in 2002, only 28 boys signed up for the following year. One might then have predicted the demise of Borrowdale Camp and an end to serious fell-walking at MGS, but since then, numbers have built up again steadily until 2014 when some 80 boys attended. Alan McDonald continued to lead the camp for some twenty-five years in his own quietly efficient way. We owe him a great deal. His expertise in the fells helped us cope with the exponential growth of safety considerations, whilst his ability to make the right decision in the face of adversity gained him huge respect. Since Alanâ€™s retirement, Ashley Hern has proved a worthy, witty and wise successor, understanding that the formula for a happy and successful camp has evolved over many years and requires adjustment only when circumstances make it absolutely essential. I like to think that any Borrowdaler from the 1980s can walk into the marquee and find everything just as he left it, and I imagine too that he would find several staff just as he left them, though possibly a little worse for wear. It is easy to forget from one year to the next just how impressive our campsites in Borrowdale have been. Seemingly inaccessible crags draw the eye ever upwards from the moment of arrival. This is truly one of the most beautiful corners of England, a place where stream, pasture, woodland, man and mountain
co-exist in awesome harmony. We are privileged indeed to have a toehold here within striding distance of Scafell and Great Gable, privileged to spend a week in this magical landscape and its transforming stillness. It is also well-nigh impossible for a boy, on his first visit to the valley, to appreciate all the echoes which fill the place he is in. It is almost forgivable, though not quite, when he wants to leave the dale to spend a day eating fish, chips and ice-cream in Keswick. The special quality of the place has not touched him yet with its stories, ever-changing light and haunting sounds, yet it surely will. Those who once set foot in Borrowdale tend to return again and again, and, dare I say it, are better people as a result. Adrian Dobson
the 1990s and that is to pack down the replaced topsoil with a firm stamp. That is a very bad idea and the memory of the leg of the boy who did this still haunts me.
‘A commode for campers’ It is interesting to note that according to a World Health Organisation report in 2015 more people have mobile phones than have a toilet. Officially 1 billion people still practise open defecation and 1 in 3 on the planet don’t have access to adequate sanitation. At MGS camps, however, the situation is, of course, much, much worse. How to provide sanitation for large settlements has been a major problem for most societies. At Bassenthwaite and other MGS camps the situation was solved by the provision of thunderboxes. A thunderbox is a wooden crate into which a bottom-sized hole has been cut and to which a rudimentary lid has been attached. When on site a pit is dug below the box for the waste to accumulate in. I remember Mr Pickwick (who supervised the Bassenthwaite thunderboxes for many decades) was once asked by a boy with a shovel how deep should these pits be dug? His response was, “I think a 5 second plop is ample”. There were alternative options for those who feared the thunderbox. You could trek into Keswick and back in less than 3 hours and use the town’s public conveniences located in Keswick car park. This was not without its own potential perils and so most boys and staff braved the thunderboxes and the inherent risks that were associated with them. Not cholera or typhoid, the real danger was that someone would undo the guy-ropes that supported the
Like most rural things thunderboxes were all but wiped out in the early 21st century and replaced by chemical toilets (referred to as tardises). These blue plastic chambers lack the rustic charm of the green wooden crate but are not without their own danger as in a severe wind (external not internal) they have blown over, fortunately never whilst actually in use (yet). Only a solitary breeding pair of thunderboxes remains. One is lovingly preserved in the archives at MGS, the other is still in use at Bassenthwaite camp where it has re-trained as the lost property box and takes an active role in camp life through the nightly ‘What’s in the Box?’ show.
thunder-tent so it collapsed on the user, trapping him in a web of canvas, balanced on a crate, teetering above a pit of his peers’ body waste. This risk was even greater at night in the dark, where the only useful sense was smell. The ultimate punishment at camp for serious misbehaviour (such as talking after lights out, criticising the game of podex or spilling a teacher’s pint) was to be instructed to fill in the thunder-pits at the end of the week. There was no good way to do this. There was, however, one very bad way to do it that I witnessed in
There are still a few commemorative Bassenthwaite t-shirts that mourn the passing of the thunderbox. In a clear rip-off of Gerry Anderson's Supermarionated puppet series they bear the logo ‘Thunderboxes are gone -2012’. Truly a milestone date in MGS history. Paul Wheeler
HUGH OLDHAM’S TOMB Bishop Hugh Oldham died in June 1519 and had very specific ideas about his final resting place. His will stated that if he died outside the diocese of Exeter, he should be buried in Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Oldham had played a major part in the financing of Corpus Christi, in addition to his founding of MGS. However, if he died within the diocese of Exeter, then he wished to be buried in “in the southe parte of Seint Peters Church in Exettr in the chapel that I have caused there to be made”. He did die within the diocese, and so took up residence in the chantry chapel of St. Saviour and St. Boniface, in Exeter Cathedral.
Richard Fox. The president of Corpus has, since 1525, been an ex officio governor of MGS and until 1877 was tasked with appointing new high masters.
his tomb. The custom of the OMA sending a wreath to the tomb started in 1907 and the addition of a commemorative service began in 1967 and has continued to the present day.
The south west section of the Old Mancunians’ Association attend an annual service of commemoration to Oldham in Exeter Cathedral and a wreath of flowers is placed at
The chantry chapel was one of two built by Oldham during his time as Bishop as extensions to the cathedral. The other chapel, dedicated to St. George, became the mortuary chapel for Sir John Speke. Both chapels were built in local stone, and recesses were created to house later tombs. The walls and ceiling of the chapel are decorated with stone owl rebuses in honour of Oldham, and the effigial monument to Hugh takes centre stage, brightly coloured and wearing full episcopal robes and mitre. Part of the tomb was defaced during the Reformation and fell into a state of general disrepair. However, it was restored in 1763 with money from the president and fellows of Corpus Christi College in Oxford. The links with Corpus Christi date back to the foundation of the school. Hugh Oldham had given £600 towards the foundation of Corpus, having been good friends with its founder,
TREKKING In 1904, Ulula's record of that summer's Grasmere Camp speaks of excursions which involved spending a night away from the site, taking advantage of whatever shelter might be found. Evidently such outings quickly became part of the routine at both the Grasmere and Alderley Camps. In 1908 Ulula records fifteen boys from the Alderley Camp undertaking a ‘route march’ via Macclesfield, Buxton and Leek involving overnight camping, while in the following week there was a second march through Derbyshire with forty boys taking part. The word ‘trekking’ was still not being used when in 1910 the ‘MGS Wanderbirds’ set off on their German walking tour, yet this was a trek in all but name. Tents were carried and pitched, while fires were lit for the preparation of food. 'Trek’ was first used in 1912 to describe a long journey on foot through Northern France. It
took six weeks and covered all of 500 miles, and all for the sum of 4½ guineas. By 1913 trekking seems to have become thoroughly rooted at MGS, and the word ‘trek’ itself finally established, being used for all four walking tours that year: an Easter Scouting Trek in Belgium, the Donegal Trek and two other Scouting Treks in Ireland. Understandably Ulula articles tell us little of the everyday practicalities of the early treks, concentrating instead on the landscapes traversed and the incidents deemed worthy of immortality. Photographs of the earliest treks are very rare, and eye-witnesses have long since passed away. However, it seems likely that the style of trekking operating in the 1920s remained largely unchanged until the mid-1960s. Heavy canvas ridge tents were tied to tent-poles, then carried between two sturdy boys. Cumbersome dixies were likewise slung from tent-poles and carried on stout shoulders. Latrine-screens and digging-tools all needed
transporting, as well as The Bomb, the affectionate name for the weighty pressure-cooker which from time to time, as befits its name, exploded, distributing its contents, usually stew, over all those unwise enough to be lingering nearby. On arrival at a village, trekkers would first negotiate a place to camp which sometimes led to interesting encounters with local farming practices. Latrines were then dug appropriate in
depth to the planned length of stay, as well as a ‘tophat’, a pit where refuse of all kinds was buried. A wood-fag set about collecting firewood, and a shopping-fag foraged for food. Porridge featured frequently for breakfast. Lunches often consisted of bread, cheese, tomatoes, fruit and jam, whilst evening meals might involve a meat and potato stew, frankfurters and mash, or spaghetti with a meat sauce.
to have dry clothing after stormy weather, especially as rucksacks would not be waterproof. Capes were still standard wet-weather gear on the 1966 trek, cagoules not yet being invented. Boots would usually be the sort worn by workmen, probably rather stiff and liable to cause blisters. The masters and some of the boys might well have worn an old jacket, but as yet fleeces and anoraks were unknown.
Fag teams needed to rise early, often as early as 4 am, to coax life into a sulky fire and make scrambled eggs for fifty. It seems that the earlier treks believed in early starts to make best use of the light available, and also so that a good portion of the uphill walking could be completed before it became really hot. Sleeping arrangements meant that a member of staff slept at one end of each tent of boys, presumably to ensure some semblance of nocturnal discipline, decorum and silence once it was deemed time to sleep.
Foreign Treks generally lasted longer than in more recent years (six weeks in 1912, four weeks in 1938), and accounts of early treks suggest that life was mostly taken at a leisurely pace with time available for bathing, sightseeing and pottering about. Of course fag-teams worked hard, often under adverse conditions, but for the rest there was plenty of time for games and conversation.
“The School ground sheet may be used as a cape, but bring a light mackintosh if you wish. Bring a length of flannel, about four or five inches, to go round the waist if the nights prove unduly cold.”
For many traditionalists the rot must have set in on Foreign Treks from 1966 onwards. Wood fires were the first to go, especially as valley campsites were becoming increasingly reluctant to accept the lighting of fires. The following year another break with tradition occurred with the end of centralised cooking. Light camping-gaz stoves had been purchased for Foreign Trek, as well as small billies for each tent group of four. The result was that each tent group now cooked for itself, carrying all its own food and equipment. Primus stoves were, however, to remain in use on Scottish Trek for another twenty years or so, fuelled by paraffin carried in jerry-cans.
No mention was made here of a sleeping-bag or blankets, and clearly no trekker could expect
By the 1971 Matterhorn Trek new, lighter Vango tents had been purchased, each sleeping
Prior to the Second World War, there was effectively no special clothing prescribed for trekking. Certainly parents would not have been expected to visit a mountaineering shop to purchase expensively fashionable and lightweight items of equipment and clothing. In 1948, Hyman Lob advises:
four boys. Whether they were ever effectively waterproof remains a matter of opinion. Certainly many boys experienced wet nights to differing degrees of severity, depending on strength of wind, depth of flooding and the proficiency with which the tent was pitched. At the same time it was becoming considerably more difficult to find valley campsites. No longer could local farmers reliably be prevailed upon to allow trek to set up camp in one of their fields. Trek was going to have to spend longer in the mountains, carrying food for several days and camping in remote spots. Curiously the weight of packs is never mentioned in Ulula until the 1970s when boys are reported struggling under 40lb or even 50lb loads. Vango tents could suddenly become much heavier when wet. However, much of the weight could be accounted for by the quantities of food which were carried out from England, often dried, with some in large catering tins.
Ropes and crampons added to the load. In recent years the dreaded weight of rucksacks has also been drastically reduced. A glance at the kit-list and photos of the 1938 Dauphiné Trek, however, reminds us that travelling light is nothing new. The motto then as now was: “Take as little as possible, and you won’t regret it.” A typical rucksack today without food or drink weighs little more than four kilos, and many trekkers manage with 30 litre sacks. Trekking destinations too have changed a great deal. The Black Forest, Normandy and even Ireland must have felt very exotic before the Great War to boys who might otherwise never have travelled abroad. In the inter-war period Foreign Treks led by Hyman Lob explored firstly the less mountainous parts of France, Spain, Germany and Italy before finally settling on the Alps as a preferred destination. However, these did not take place every year. Foreign Treks became interspersed with treks to the wilder parts of Britain such as Scotland, Snowdonia, Devon and the Yorkshire Dales. When trekking resumed after the Second World War, John Lingard organised the first trek to Perthshire. He then led Treks to the French Alps and the Tirol. The French, Italian and Swiss Alps quickly became the preferred destination. Under the leadership of Lingard, Williams and Cooke among others, trek visited many of the most dramatic Alpine landscapes in Savoy, the Dauphiné, the Tirol, Bernese Oberland, Engadine as well as the areas round Mont Blanc, the Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn. A remarkable series of Scottish Treks was begun in 1956 by Ian Bailey, and
these have continued ever since. Allan Witton led an epic series of 15 treks to the Alps and Pyrenees during the 1980s and 1990s. Since he took over in 1998, Eric Cittanova has now led an incredible 34 treks, often 2 or 3 in a single year, to Alpine and Scandinavian destinations as well as the mountains and deserts of North Africa. At the end of the 1999 High Atlas Trek two days were spent at Zagora on the edge of the Sahara. Camels were hired for a short trip into the desert with a night spent in a Bedouin tent, and thus it was that the idea of desert-trekking
was born. Aided by his fluency in Arabic, Eric Cittanova has continued to lead Trek to exotic desert destinations in Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, and in 2014, Oman. Camels accompany such treks, and boys and staff alike ‘go native’ in their flowing blue robes and coiled headscarves. So many Old Boys refer to Foreign Trek as the highpoint of their school life, and many retain memories of trekking even after other memories of daily life at MGS have long slipped away. Adrian Dobson
MGS MISERICORDS Manchester Cathedral is particularly notable for its misericords, which are folding wooden shelves built into the choir stalls of a church or cathedral. They sprang from the rule that monks and other clergy were not to sit during services. To get around this, the misericord was introduced; the addition of the misericord converted the stall into a seat. Intricate carvings were used to decorate underneath the misericord, so that when it was folded away the carvings would be visible. Manchester Cathedral has a fine collection of thirty misericords. One was reserved for the High Master of Manchester Grammar School and another for the Usher; both were the gift of Richard Bexwyke. The misericords were created in the 16th century; one depicts a fox teaching its cubs to read whilst the other depicts a personification of knowledge slaying the dragon of ignorance.
The links between the cathedral and the school date back to 1515 and beyond. The cathedral was originally a collegiate church and had a chantry attached. Chantries, created for priests to recite mass for the souls of specific individuals, often had an educational role. The foundation of the chantry attached to the cathedral specified that the priests employed would also “teach a free school”, in addition to prayer. It is feasible that this chantry school was the forerunner of the Manchester Free Grammar School. Of course, the school buildings have been located right next to the cathedral for the majority of its 500 year history. The link continues with Founder’s Day which is held every year at the Cathedral.
THE OLD MANCUNIANS’ ASSOCIATION The Old Mancunians’ Association, or OMA, is a grouping for old boys of the school – termed Old Mancunians. The description has also come to include former members of staff. Even though a formal association was not created until the early twentieth century, Old Mancunians were congregating together as early as 1781 by way of the Old Boys’ Dinner. It should be pointed out that the Old Boys’ Dinner was, and remains, a distinctly separate endeavour to the OMA. However, participation of course overlaps. The first dinner was organised by Thomas Egerton and the tradition has continued, nearly without a break, ever since. There was a hiatus in the mid-19th century as Old Boys protested the changes made by High Master Walker, including the introduction of fees. Hence there were no Old Boys’ Dinners between 1864 and 1878. WWII also precipitated a 6 year break. The origins of the modern day Old Mancunians’ Association are fairly straightforward. The first reference in Ulula to anything named the OMA is to an Old Mancunians’ Association Football Club in 1894. However, the designation must simply have been an informal one, as the OMA itself was not formally constituted until 1904. High Master J.L. Paton called a meeting to discuss the formation of an old boys’ association and the wheels were put in motion to form the OMA straight away. In fact, officers were elected at this initial meeting. Paton became the first President, and since 1904 the serving High Master has automatically assumed the presidency.
Different divisions were created at this first meeting – Football and Lacrosse, as well as making administrative provision for the Hugh Oldham Lads’ Club and the Old Boys’ Dinner. A chess section was created later in 1904. As of 2015 there are a number of different regional divisions of the association, as well as chess and football sections. Membership of the OMA is now automatic for all old boys and staff and the current association is in touch with 10,500 old boys spread across 6 out of 7 continents. Although we currently have no knowledge of any Old Mancunians in Antarctica, it seems highly probable that an Old Mancunian at one time or another has worked at one of its research stations! Rachel Kneale
THE ORGAN The school has had an organ since 1890, when an instrument was installed at Long Millgate following a bequest from the will of Daniel Procter. His prizes for French and German are still awarded to sixth form boys in 2015. A prize for organ was set up at the same time. This organ was officially unveiled in 1891, and appears to have been well-used. Numerous mentions are made in Ulula of organ recitals accompanying conversaziones, open days and Old Mancunian events. The first school organist was Canon Charles Paul Keeling, who attended MGS between 1884 and 1893. It seems plausible that the winner of the Procter Organ Prize was given the title of School Organist, and that therefore the role was instituted at the same time as the organ itself. By the 1910s the instrument was at the centre of musical life at MGS. The reports from the Music Study Circle often record visits to the school by professional organists, and a number of school organists from this period went on to win Organ Scholarships at Oxbridge. These individuals often became organists and music directors, including William Oswald Minay, organist at Manchester Cathedral. Naturally, when the school moved to Rusholme in 1931, a new organ was purchased for the Memorial Hall. A three manual organ produced by Rushworth and Dreaper, it was described later in Ulula as “large, electro-pneumatic, Romantic in tonal design, heard but
remained unseen”. This was in contrast to our current organ which was installed in 1987. The new organ, made by Peter Collins, has a mechanical key action and a beautiful decorative casing made from oak. The limewood carvings include figures from the school crest and the pipes are prominent. As such, the organ is very rarely “unseen”. The organ was unveiled with much fanfare and launched at an Organ Festival with a recital and master class from Gillian Weir.
celebrated concert organist. The organ continues to be well-used and boys can often be heard practising early in the morning before school, the sound resonating through the Memorial Hall.
The tradition of a School Organist continues, and perhaps the most notable former holder of the role in recent years is Daniel Moult. He went on to win an organ scholarship to St. John’s College, Oxford and is now a
THE GATLEY MGS began its first organised running efforts with the foundation of the Harriers Club in 1889, under High Master Glazebrook. There is a report in December 1889’s Ulula recording the details of that first, ‘…desperate game’. The Harriers ran successfully well into the 20th century, greatly helped along by the Old Mancunians’ Association Harriers Section. Indeed it was in a report on the Harriers that the Gatley gets its first mention in Ulula, in 1906: ‘A long course of about 8 miles through some beautiful country had been worked out in the direction of Gatley and Cheadle, finally coming back by Didsbury’. It was under the stewardship of JL Paton (1903-1924) that cross country running in its own right really took off. Paton felt very strongly that the playing fields should be utilised as another means by which to encourage collaboration and teamwork in addition to the treks and camps which were also developing in the early years of the 20th century. Although many races were still run in the form of hares being pursued by packs, more conventional races became commonplace and, indeed, the School competed well against nearby schools and the Manchester Harriers and Athletics Club (itself founded in 1886). Despite encouraging beginnings, it wasn’t until the late 1940s that cross-country running really began to enjoy its halcyon days, helped in large part by the enthusiasm of Maurice Poole. Prior to the move to Rusholme, the Steeplechase was run over Kersal Moor and Drinkwater Park, but
new course on School grounds which at least allowed spectators to view the majority of the race, unlike before. Despite the relatively short history of ‘The Gatley’, and its subsequent change of location, it is perhaps due to the lasting influence of Maurice Poole and his dedication to cross-country running that the name has stuck. The Gatley is held in varying degrees of regard by Old Mancunians but it is certainly remembered, which surely says much for its influence.
after the move from Long Millgate a new venue was needed and the ‘Gatley’ was born. Gatley was the home of the aforementioned Manchester Harriers and Athletics Club, and it is likely that the convenience of the Club and its changing facilities were the reason for the School choosing it as its base. The Cross Country-Club gained its first entry in its own right in Ulula in 1947, as opposed to falling under the banner of the Harriers. This entry notes that ‘Since the reorganisation of the club, three years ago, we have had considerable success’. The races were held at the end of each Lent Term and in actual fact were held at Gatley itself for a relatively short time. By 1955 building and development programmes were increasingly encroaching on the course and in 1958 Ulula records that, ‘Owing to the limited changing accommodation at Gatley, home matches may have to be held at School in the future and plans are being made to devise a School course’. Poole duly devised the
H.A. FIELDS SELECTED POEMS This collection of poems by legendary MGS teacher H.A. Field was published in 1963. “Haffy” as he was known, was a prolific writer of poems and limericks, similar in style to Hilaire Belloc’s “Cautionary Tales”. Many were published by the school in Ulula and Field also managed to get his poems into Punch. The number of poems he wrote for school publications totalled 140. Hubert Astley Field attended MGS between 1914 and 1917, fought briefly in the Great War in 1918, and was a student at St. John’s College, Cambridge before returning to teach Physics
and Chemistry between 1923 and 1963. He was one of the last masters to be appointed by J.L. Paton. He packed a huge amount of activity and service to the school into his 40 years at MGS. He was the master in charge of lacrosse for 30 years, Chair of the Common Room, ran Borrowdale Camp, the 3rd Cricket XI and was involved with a number of treks. He was also committed to the work of the Hugh Oldham Lads’ Club, putting in many hours with the boys. He was an expert on lacrosse and authored the booklet "Lacrosse for Boys". He lived for many years at number 157 Old Hall Lane and continued to come and watch sports matches after his retirement. His obituary in Ulula paid tribute to his character thus: "Haffie" Field was a product of his age; he was a survivor of the Great War, and like other veterans of that conflict I could mention, he never lost his youthful freshness of spirit. Throughout his life he was sustained by a deep Christian commitment and this, combined with gratitude that he had survived the War that had claimed so many of his contemporaries, resulted in a life of service to his School and the community at large Of his poetry, the magazine added: He gave us poem after inimitable poem, nearly always puckishly describing the peccadilloes and innocent peculiarities of that genus, Ululae Alumni, the Children of the Owl. He unerringly
saw the "boy in the corridor", scoffing sweets, discussing his Mathy homework with a fellow sufferer, or, face contorted with unaccustomed cerebration, feebly coping with the Midsummer exam that has been so unfairly thrust upon him, the only certainty being a Saturday Morning detention as a fitting reward for his efforts. Rachel Kneale
MGS PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY The MGS Philosophical Society was founded in 1869, at a time when Science was beginning to flourish at the School. High Master Walker introduced the teaching of physics (or natural philosophy) and chemistry with the appointment of Dr Marshall Watts as Science Master in 1867. On discovering that Watts’ time was fully occupied with the teaching of Chemistry, the School appointed Mr John Angell in 1869 to teach Physics. In this, Walker demonstrated a high level of astuteness, when one looks back on the British social and industrial developments at the time, not to mention the interest in Darwinism and debates on the interactions between science and religion. Walker’s adventurous move was rewarded within two years; in 1869 a group of 16 Physical Science Sixth Formers sought permission for the “use of a classroom once a week to discuss Natural Philosophy in out-of-school hours”. The first gathering took place on 26 October 1869, in Mr Aldis’ room, and the following members were listed: Richmond, Hopwood E.O., Reuss, Chadwick, Fletcher, Roe, Hopwood W.F., Broadbent, Perkes, Briggs, Ferguson, Bedson, Jones, Hainsworth and Faulder. Many of these founder members went on to study Natural Science or Physics at Oxford or Cambridge. It is interesting to note that, although Aldis, Watts and Angell were patrons of the Society, it was run entirely by the boys who were expected to research, prepare and read their own papers at each meeting. In the second
meeting, on 2 November 1869, Richmond read a paper on ‘The Aqueous Meteors of the Atmosphere’. By the late 1890s members of staff began to chair the meetings, occasionally reading a paper they themselves had prepared. In 1919 Ulula described the Philosophical Society, run by ‘our friends the Physicals’ as a somewhat peculiar institution. This may or may not be true – this edition of Ulula also claims that the Debating Society is the oldest of the School’s Societies, which is itself disputed. Debating has a long history but it is likely that the Debating Society itself was founded sometime in the 1870s. The article goes on to describe Phil Soc’s activities in the 1870s, with subjects ranging from ‘Paragenesis and Pseudo-morphism of Minerals’ to ‘Milk’. In 1874, the Debating Society and Phil Soc actually joined forces for a while, meeting once a month for a debate or a paper but this ‘Union’ as it was styled didn’t last – five meetings later we read of a debate on the matter, ‘After the motion was carried the Debating Society was seceded in grim silence’. A shifting interest in subjects can be seen between the end of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth. Topics in the early years of the Society were largely speculative (leading to many contentious debates after the papers had been read), with topics such as cremation, photographic processes and balloon navigation being examined. A shift towards interest in facts saw topics such as ‘The Electric Locomotive’ (1914), ‘A Channel Tunnel’ (1915), and ‘The
Chemical Action of Light’ (1917) covered. Such was the rowdiness, a minute from 1870 reads, ‘That on account of the riotous behaviour of many members of this society all save the following: Messrs. Hopwood, Taylor, Nutter, Ohm, Steele, Broughton, Ferguson, Hainsworth, Roe, Fletcher and Richmond, should be expelled the society, and not again readmitted save by a fresh ballot. Mr Hainsworth seconded, and the motion was carried unanimously’. In 1928 CL Barnes, one who could remember
the early days of the Society, wrote a short history. In it, he gives his opinion on the best subjects for papers: ‘…those which lie a little outside the school curriculum, such as gyroscopes, soap-bubbles, cappilarity, harmonic curves and new advances in chemistry, physics, astronomy, meteorology, or geography, while biography is at all times a most valuable resource’. By the mid-twentieth century, the focus on boys presenting their own papers had well and truly shifted. Indeed, Ulula in 1965 notes that, ‘Back in the old days we did not have outside speakers… Indeed our secretary has been known to mutter through greying whiskers that this would save him a lot of work if it happened today. Nowadays progress in physics tends to be beyond our comprehension, and we can only understand vague third-hand generalities…’ Some topics from the 1960s include ‘The Psychology of Time’ and ‘Fluidics’.
THE OWL’S NEST Recently, I spotted a couple of pages of photos from a family album being auctioned on eBay, and dated April 1922. The images looked familiar: the rickety hut with Black Hill in the background, the kitchen with aluminium pans perched precariously on a cast-iron range, the solitary boy leaning on a table-tennis table. The caption perhaps predictably read: “Owl’s Nest”. My own schoolboy memories of The Owl’s Nest from the early 1960s involve catching the train to Disley on a damp Friday afternoon, then lugging a bulky and badly-packed rucksack up the hill for a mile or so in the driving rain until we reached a rather dingy timber construction, perched above Buxton Old Road. By day we filled coal buckets for the blackened cast-iron cooking range, played football among the cow-pats, walked up Black
Hill and competed in endless table-tennis tournaments. By night, we lit torches and played wide games in the fields, then processed along the eerily quiet road to the Murder Stone, told ghost stories, then lay awake for hours in bunk beds which rattled and wobbled whenever we moved. A local lady came in to clean and prepare the meals, though we were expected to help with the chores, and a corner shop just down the lane allowed us to supplement the stodgy fare with sweets, chocolate and fizzy drinks. For an eleven year old from suburban Manchester, this new-found life of adventure felt like heaven in contrast with the drudgery of school.
It was High Master Paton who presented the Owl’s Nest to the school as a kind of leaving gift. He first purchased Lane Ends Farm with its surrounding fields, then later acquired the hut which apparently had been a Sergeants’ Mess during the First World War. The hut was
In recent years, PhilSoc has reached out to surrounding schools and now enjoys successful connections with Manchester High School for Girls and Withington Girls’ School. The Society continues to flourish and its original concept, that of a science society for sixth formers, still holds true.
for the pupils of the Owl and their wanderbird friends. On trek in Germany in 1910, after being welcomed everywhere by Wandervögel groups, the prospect of a war must have seemed far away, as Ulula recorded: Some of us may have gone to Germany with somewhat disparaging ideas of the Germans; now, we have one and all put away such folly, and we are ready to allow that Germany’s claim to be famous for her hospitality is thoroughly justified. If German schoolboys pay us a similar visit, may they have as happy a time and so kindly a welcome.
transported to the site after hostilities had ceased, and early photos suggest that renovation was needed at this stage. Paton himself had spent time as a schoolboy being educated at the grammar school in Halle, and had retained a strong interest in Germanic culture. At the time of his arrival at MGS, there was in Germany a surge in outdoor activities, camping and hiking. Young people formed themselves into groups, known as Wandervögel or ‘wanderbirds’, and headed off into the forests and mountains for communal weekends of adventure. Inspired by this, Paton set up the camps at Alderley and Grasmere and launched the first treks. The Ulula reports of treks to Germany from 1910 and 1911 recall meetings with wanderbirds, and jolly sing-songs together. Every respectable Wandervögel group would acquire its own hut, known as a “Nest”. And likewise, Paton was very keen that MGS should also have its Nest. And so the vision of the Owl’s Nest was born, the home in the hills
However, war was to intervene, and the earliest Owl’s Nest ‘camp’ was held just after Christmas 1920 when a lively group of lads saw in New Year at Higher Disley. An article in Ulula records: It would be far more accurate to call this “camp” a home from home, for the residence (shame to call it a hut) was fitted up in a regal manner. What more could one desire than the sleeping bags, meals, and walks that we had, for these three things always figure most prominently in a camp. Besides, we were pampered with greater luxuries than these; witness the Omelette à l’Italienne, and the Stodge aux Pantalons Ellis; and with their aid days and nights passed in one whirl of feverish gaiety. Almost exactly a year later Ulula describes another New Year camp which: included glorious walks in crisp, cold air over breezy uplands; it numbered among its joys whist drives and singsongs, scouting games over the moonlit roads and fields, and pyrotechnic displays of extensive and alarming proportions. These latter were supplied by a contrivance of tin, taps and terror, suspended from the ceiling and rejoicing in the misnomer of a lamp.
Electric light was not to arrive at the Owl’s Nest until 1930, and the cast-iron range and smoky stoves remained in place until 1968 when they were replaced by an electric cooker, electric heaters and new pipes. Water used to come from a spring higher up the hill, but by 1950 mains water was connected. Though no one would have predicted it, the Second World War was to leave its considerable mark on the Owl’s Nest. At the outbreak of war in September 1939, the hut was commandeered for evacuee children from Miles Platting, as they were thought to be at immediate risk from bombing. A group stayed there for two months in a building with virtually no insulation, until driven out by the onset of winter. In 1940 the coal cellar was cleared out for use as an air-raid shelter, and the local Home Guard was given permission to use the hut. Fortunately, the entire detachment of the Home Guard was down the hill in “The
Ploughboy” when on the night of December 23rd 1940 the Owl’s Nest was hit by a stray Luftwaffe bomb. Only the new brick-built lavatories survived intact, while the timber structures were completely flattened by the blast. Remains of a crater can be seen near the steps leading to the current kitchen door, and there used to be another much deeper crater at the top of the field. This has since been filled in. Many bombs were dropped in this way on the Peak District as the Luftwaffe failed to locate their targets in Manchester by night in swirling mist. Remaining bombs would be jettisoned to ensure they had sufficient fuel for the return flight to Northern Germany. Though reconstruction was immediately discussed, the newly assembled hut wasn’t to be re-opened until October 28th 1949. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the new hut looked remarkably similar to the one it replaced. Apparently, a redundant barrack block was acquired from an RAF base, then re-assembled by a local joiner’s apprentice. Business resumed, and what had begun in the 1920s as infrequent usage grew steadily to a limit of around 35 weekends a year. Lower and middle school forms would plead mercilessly with their form-masters for their weekend away at the Owl’s Nest. In 1964 when I was in 2α, I went up there with my then form-master R. M. Simkins, who had taken his first Owl’s Nest trip in 1921. He had already served nearly 44 years at the school, but this was not to be his last trip, as he continued to chalk up his one hundred and eleventh in 1970. Younger colleagues, take note! My own personal preference when I was form-master to a 5th form in the 1980s was to book the Owl’s Nest for early February when frequently snow lay on the ground and boys enjoyed sliding,
sledging, slithering and pelting each other with snowballs. Prefects kindly agreed to act as targets and decoys during the battles, and were of course later amply rewarded with all manner of good things to eat and drink. Since then, systems and facilities have continued to develop. Showers have now been fitted, though not enthusiastically used. The kitchen has been re-fitted with new cookers and fridges. Insulation and sound-proofing has now been installed, and the walls and ceilings covered with a timber finish. The hut remains largely the same, but it is considerably cosier. Nowadays the boys arrive by coach on Thursday evening and spend Friday in Lyme Park, before being picked up on Saturday morning. And as Friday is a school day, every lower school boy now experiences communal living with his classmates. There is no longer anyone to cook and clean. Instead, a pre-arranged food-order can be picked up from Tesco, and a quick phone-call to the local chip-shop will arrange industrial quantities of fish and chips for hungry lads.
sustain the hut for the whole of this time. Almost as a footnote, it is particularly pleasing to note that a party of schoolchildren from our partner school in Germany, the Maria-TheresiaGymnasium in Augsburg, has in September regularly spent a few days at the Owl’s Nest for each of the last 20 years. Paton, I think, would be delighted that his inspiration has now come to full fruition, with his vision of the MGS Wandervögel and their Nest at long last welcoming young people from Germany. Adrian Dobson
As the Owl’s Nest has now been in use for the best part of 100 years, with only one significant break during war-time, it is interesting to reflect what an inspired location this was for a weekend camp. Even though the commuter belt has spread out from Manchester itself, there is still a sense of remoteness around the hut itself. The view continues to command a sense of awe, and the proximity of Lyme Park allows for boys to be sent off on orienteering courses and navigation exercises in relative safety. Even though few groups now travel up to Disley by train, travel remains easy, and rental income from Lane Ends Farm has continued to help
LETTER FROM GEORGE BERNARD SHAW
EVACUATION PROCEDURE In April 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, the ancient Basque city of Guernica was destroyed by German aircraft combining high explosives and incendiary bombs. Guernica became the symbol of the terrifying nature of air power unleashed on an unprotected city. On 3rd September, 1939, Britain and France declared war against Germany. It was widely believed that Germany might well launch attacks of considerable magnitude upon Britain’s industrial centres and port facilities.
This letter from George Bernard Shaw, to the organisers of the Stanley Houghton Memorial Fund, was written in June 1914. It reads: 16th June 1914 – The Stanley Houghton Memorial I shall certainly not support the monstrous proposal to make the drama a school subject and thereby propagate an incurable loathing of it among the future citizens of Manchester. Why not endow a guarantee fund to enable the Gaiety Theatre to give performances of his works every year, or to produce one new play by a Manchester beginner? That is the proper way to keep his memory green and fertile G. Bernard Shaw Stanley Houghton attended MGS for a year between 1896 and 1897. He went on to write a number of plays, the most notable being Hindle Wakes. With his contemporary at MGS, Harold Brighouse, he was part of the “Manchester School” of dramatists who were active in the early 20th century. MGS has produced a number of noted writers including Thomas de Quincey, Louis Golding, Ernest Bramah, Harrison Ainsworth, Robert Bolt and Alan Garner. In the letter Shaw replies to a request to donate money to a memorial fund set up by Houghton’s father and the Old Mancunians’
Association. The fund would be used to award a scholarship for the study of Drama. Despite Shaw’s misgivings, the scholarship was set up. Boys competing for the award took an examination on a dramatic subject and the successful candidate was given £10. Frank Voyce, who had written on behalf of the OMA, gave the letter to the school in 1970. Rachel Kneale
As war was approaching in the last few weeks of August 1939, boys registered for evacuation would be sent to a place judged to be a “safety area”. It had been an open secret for some time that MGS pupils with members of staff were destined to go to Blackpool. Subdued and orderly in manner, they boarded buses for the first part of their journey to Blackpool before finishing the journey by train. On arrival at Blackpool they soon discovered that there were no billets awaiting them and that they were to be accommodated in marquees at least overnight. The weather had been hot throughout the day and concluded with torrential rain and a thunder storm. Many of the marquees were flooded. The next day most of the boys were satisfactorily billeted. Inevitably, there were variations in the quality of the billets offered. Some were grossly overcrowded. It would take some time to arrange lessons. There were shortages of books, paper and chalk. Accommodation for lessons was in short supply. Parents became increasingly impatient with the inadequacy of the scheme of
evacuation, especially as no enemy bombs had fallen. Some parents soon began to withdraw their sons. It would seem that as the evacuation plans were the product of a government order, the Governors would not be able to abandon the evacuation plan even though it was potentially ruinous for the school. Thus, the Governors decided that the School should return to Manchester on 8th October and that the School should re-open on 18th October. Sir Arthur Haworth, Chairman of the School’s Governing Body claimed that the School’s independence ensured that the Board of Governors could authorise the School’s return to Manchester. In response to this, the Government’s Emergency Committee, led by Sir Noton Barclay, requested a meeting with the Board of Education and the Ministry of Health in London. With some reluctance it was agreed that the School’s return to Manchester should be accepted provided that the School had adequate shelter protection. It was considered that the School was regarded as being on the fringes of a sparsely populated area. The decision in favour of the School was influenced by the School’s dependence on payment of school fees and capitation grants from the Board of Education. Moreover, the Board recognised that attendance at the temporary school at Blackpool was far short of the complement. It is not inconceivable that Lord Woolton (an Old Mancunian and member of Winston Churchill’s wartime Cabinet) may have used his influence in the School’s interest at that difficult time. In December 1939, Douglas Miller addressed the annual business meeting of the Old Mancunians’ Association. Times were hard for
the school – 17 members of staff had joined the forces – but all the societies were functioning well. The Dramatic Society had been revived and was about to give performances of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.
So long as we all feel the [School’s] life surging strongly, in spite of sandbags and broken windows, we can be satisfied and can trust that we will emerge still strong and able to build afresh, to expand and to fulfil what I take to be the destiny of MGS In October 1939, the Manchester Emergency Committee acquiesced, but did not wholly approve of MGS’s return from Blackpool. The two preparatory schools to MGS – North and South Manchester Schools – were evacuated too, the former to Kirkham and latter to Uttoxeter. They did not take a full complement of pupils with them – they were not bound to go unless they had registered to. Financially, both preparatory schools were in deficit of more than £11,000. Falling numbers of pupils meant falling fee payments. Heads of the two schools endeavoured to be optimistic about the schools’ future, but numbers were falling sharply. On 24th June 1940, Sir Arthur Haworth, Chairman of the Governors, and the Headmaster of the two schools stated that the two schools would close on 25th July 1940 – “new pupils were not forthcoming in anything like the numbers required to carry on the Schools”. So, whilst MGS recovered from the evacuation, the same could not be said of its feeder preparatory schools. John Bever
EXERCISE BOOKS Every school child has surely experienced it – the fear, however irrational, of receiving one’s completed work back from one’s teacher. There will be red pen, undoubtedly, but how much? Will the feedback be positive, helpful, or negative and not even a little petulant? One inevitably takes a quick glance at the bottom of the page to see the final judgement before going back to the beginning and attempting to decipher the red scrawl squashed within the lines of one's own, neat handwriting. Yes, it’s exercise books, and what better time to consider them and their uses than what can still be considered the beginning of the new academic year? At the beginning of each book the pupil is filled with awe at the sight of the crisp, blank white pages – there’s a sense of hope, expectation and perhaps not a little smugness that this one, surely this book will be the one which contains the least amount of red pen, and the highest occurrences of the letter ‘A’ or even ‘A**’ where red pen does appear. As the pages are filled and turned, this may well prove to be the case but alas, history doesn’t always look kindly on those who harboured such expectations at the start of each academic year. Perhaps the expectations should have been set just slightly lower – hoping for a general trend upwards throughout the life of the book, from ‘B’ to ‘A’ for example, or from half a page of corrections to a single line. Regardless of our personal memories of them, school exercise books are unique sources to assist us in exploring a school’s culture and
approach to education in a particular historical context. The MGS Archives’ collection of exercise books is rather small, and so doesn’t allow a complete picture of teaching within a subject or within a timeframe to be built, but they are interesting nonetheless – there are History books dating from 1925-1930, 1980-81 and 1981-82, two 1970s Latin prose books, a Physics book from c. 1925-30, as well as offerings in the field of Botany from the 1920s and 30s. There are interesting contrasts in these books; so, for example, the History exercise book from 1982 contains the essay, ‘An Assessment of the Achievements of F. Roosevelt 1933-39’. The owner of this book is, in 1982, assessing a period of history in which E. Saxon (owner of the 1925-30 History exercise book) was completing his higher education, having left MGS in 1930. For the sake of completeness, you may wish to note that, according to the red
pen, for that essay in 1982 the pupil made 'Some good points… but need for a more detailed look at exactly was achieved – was employment reduced? By how much etc?’ That sense of ‘could have done better’ – it's familiar to the writer of this article, if not to all of its readers. Natural changes in the curriculum can be followed. The notes made in the History book from the 1930s have an inevitable focus on events leading up to the end of the nineteenth century, while those from the early 1980s spend the majority of their time focusing on just the period in which E Saxon was an MGS boy – America’s Great Depression, the Second World War, Stalinism. Would it were possible for the two boys to meet and compare their respective times at the School. Mary Ann Davison
DRAWING OF THE SCHOOL This artistic plan of the school buildings was drawn in 1965 by art teacher John Bell. He drew it as a gift to the school for the 450th anniversary.
John Bell taught art at the school from 1951 to 1981, and was head of department for his last 25 years. During his time at the school he was Vice President of the Dramatic Society, serving as an actor, producer, script writer and sound technician as well as creating beautifully drawn and painted set designs. He was Secretary of the Common Room from 1971 - 1975, and then became its Chair in 1975 until 1981. He reduced a series of broadcast talks for the BBC and was an after-dinner speaker at a number of Old Mancunian functions. He was taken ill at
school in 1981 and tragically died the next day, cutting short a productive career at the school. It is interesting to note the changes that have taken place to the school's physical environment in the last 50 years. Spaces on the plan have been filled by the Junior School, the Garner Library and Mason Building, the English block and the Common Room. The trees that are drawn have matured and more have been added. However, the memorable "core" of the school remains as it was in 1965 and in 1931 when the buildings were opened the quad, the neo-georgian arched windows and the clock-tower and weather vane. Rachel Kneale
The foundation stone for the current school buildings was laid on 1st May 1929, by Sir Arthur Haworth, the Chairman of Governors. It can be found under the archway leading into the main quad. The school had been desperate to move from Long Millgate for many years, and it was a slow and torturous process to achieve this aim. The topic was under discussion from 1808 onwards, and various obstacles had prevented it happening. In the 19th century, the school felt that the reliance on the railway for transporting boys from neighbouring towns was too great, and that moving the school to the suburbs would hamper recruitment. Improved transport links towards the end of the century began to reduce the force of this objection, and the lack of pen space for sports or room to expand strengthened the argument for removal. However, by the 20th century finance became the main obstacle. Plans were under way to move by 1910, and the governors had acquired all the necessary land needed by 1921. However, the disruption and cost to the school
and the country brought about by the war created a long delay. It took until 1926 for the governors to receive approval from the Board of Education to raise a loan for building work, but they believed the move would be made by 1928. The plan was to cover the loan using the proceeds from the sale of the Long Millgate buildings. Unfortunately, the depression of the 1930s halved the value of the buildings. A building appeal was launched to try to raise funds to cover the loan, and it wasn’t until 1951, when the impact of the depression and WWII was finally diminishing, that Long Millgate was at last sold. The building fund “List of Donations and Promises” from 1934 makes touching reading, indicating the affection in which the school was held. £150,000 was the target for the appeal, and by 1934 approximately £63,000 had been raised. Some of the gifts were large, ranging from sums of one or two hundred pounds or more, given by individuals such as Lord Colwyn and Sir Arthur Haworth, Chair of Governors, to larger sums from companies such as Barclay's and local cotton businesses. A sum of £258 was given jointly by “The Assistant Masters of the School” and the list also records a £1 donation from Form 4A, and 19s 11d from the Modern 1st Form as the result of a collection. Rachel Kneale
NORMAN BIRNAGE’S DIARY
We have no photograph of Norman Birnage in the school archives and he certainly doesn’t appear on the MGS ‘Wall of Fame’ along the main corridor, yet his contribution to our history and heritage is as important as that of any Old Mancunian due to the diary that he kept of his time at school. The physical diary itself was bought from Boots for sixpence (approximately £1.60 in today’s money) and, luckily for us, 14-year-old Norman chose to record his life during one of the most important years in modern history. At that time, MGS was based at the Long Millgate site in the centre of Manchester, and Norman would catch a train every day (‘dodging’ the ticket collectors as much as possible) to take him to and from his home in Eccles. Before the start of the war, the diary entries are what you would expect of a typical teenage boy; details were noted each time a P.S. was received as well as Norman’s attempts to avoid them. Norman and his friends had a fond dislike of their classics teacher Mr Mayo, whom they played April Fool’s Day tricks on, and regular entries in the diary moan about the amount of homework Mayo has set. Chemistry was another subject with which Norman spoke at length about, particularly the ‘frightful smells’ from the lesson, and he enjoyed the ‘fine fun’ of French. Aside from the insight into Norman’s life at school, his home life features regularly throughout. He enjoyed camping, photography
and playing with his model train set, as well as spending time with his family. His Grandpa in particular features prominently, from the humorous ‘Grandpa is not very well, he has pains, probably wind’, to the more serious description of his Grandpa being in a motor accident on Eccles Old Road. Thankfully Grandpa survived, albeit without the use of his right hand. The feeling quickly returned to
his hand, however, once Grannie rubbed it better! Despite the start of the war, Norman’s return to MGS in September 1914 was a normal one – “oh dear! SCHOOL AGAIN!” Yet, from the 19th September onwards, he decided to dedicate his diary to documenting the war, both in his own words and via newspaper articles, which are stuck in the latter pages of the diary. He was clearly very interested by the war, even noting on certain pages how many days had passed since the war began. It is unknown to us whether he fought himself either in the First or Second World War, but clearly war had an impact on Norman which meant that recording his everyday activities, once an important pastime to him, soon became secondary to adequately recording the events of war. From Norman’s diary I have been able to paint a picture in my head of the young boy who wrote it more than a century ago, and feel that I have experienced a window into the past that few others have known. Danielle Shepherd
THE OWL The owl currently in the school refectory is one of few items from Long Millgate to have survived the move to Rusholme, and, rare books and archive documents aside, one of the oldest. The owl dates from 1776, and decorated the gable end of the extension to the school built in that year. This owl is our earliest example of the school using Hugh Oldham’s rebus as its own symbol. In 1887, the school demolished the extension, and initially discarded the owl in a heap of rubble. Fortunately it was rescued by a master, Francis Jones, given a new coat of paint and moved to the Physics labs: The Owl which used to adorn the gable end of the old building, rescued from the destroyer at its demolition by some one loath to part from an old friend, still occupies the position assigned to her when she thus escaped destruction. With that benignant smile so strictly in keeping with the serenity of character, the deep wisdom, and lofty experience of her race, she seems to wish
God-speed to the new departure; and therein she shews that old age has not dimmed her mental vision, nor prevented her sympathy with the march of modern ideas.
When the school cap was introduced in 1889, a silver replica of the owl was included as a badge. The High Master, Michael Glazebrook, announced the introduction at Speech Day: When they [the boys] wear that badge of wisdom, I trust they will never be guilty of the smallest indiscretion. When the school moved to Rusholme, the owl was carefully taken down and moved to the new school ahead of time in December 1930. When the new school opened in September 1931, it was in place on the wall of the refectory where it remains to this day. Rachel Kneale
THE QUEEN’S VISIT The visit of Elizabeth II in 1965 was not the first visit by a member of the royal family to MGS. In 1920, the then Prince of Wales (later to become Edward VIII) visited Long Millgate. However, the Queen’s visit was the first at the Rusholme site. It took place on 16th March 1965, and was part of the celebrations for the school's 450th year. As would be expected, every aspect of the day had to be planned with minute attention to detail, from catering, invitations and seating, to plans for wet weather and press coverage. There were a number of rehearsals, with different elements of the day practised ahead of time. The day itself presented a busy programme for the Queen, with a celebratory masque,
unveiling of the coat of arms in the memorial hall, visits to the art hall, gym, swimming pool and workshops and laying of the foundation stone in the sixth form block. Numerous reminiscences were included in a bumper edition of Ulula following the visit. The school captain, Stephen Schaefer, recounted the huge amount of effort that had gone into planning the visit: With a week to go final decisions had only just been made. I spent two complete days planning the movements of the prefects to fit in with the very impressive scheme drawn up by Mr Stone and Mr McCorquodale—my notes covered about twenty-six sides of foolscap. Together with the Vice-Captains, I went over every possible
relevant detail (several times) until we knew just where everyone was supposed to be throughout the whole day. We finally emerged ashen and exhausted. Despite this effort, one first former seemed less than impressed by the day: On arrival under the marquee we were ushered into our places by some prefects. There we were filmed by the BBC while the ceremony took place. This wasn’t very thrilling and the Queen didn’t even lay the cement. When she blessed the stone there was nothing to be heard as the microphones were badly placed. On our return to Room 12 we had a sandwich lunch while six of our form had a very ordinary three course meal in the Refectory. After lunch we were told to play in Birchfields Park. One boy shrewdly noted: It was described as a normal School Dinner; but it did not escape anyone’s notice that there were three courses instead of two and that the efforts of the Kitchen Staff had been very much more
extensive than would normally be possible. However English master Bert Parnaby was suitably awestruck: By the time Her Majesty took coffee in the Common Room the Staff, like everyone else, was completely starry-eyed. Those of us who were due to be presented had stopped worrying about when to bow and how to say ‘Ma’am’, and were wondering instead about the line the coming conversation was going to take. When it happened it was crystal-clear, unforced and easy. It lasted for three minutes against a blurred background of Common Room green, the jockey colours of academic hoods, and the subdued chink of better china than we were used to: the voice had a crisp, light quality about it; it was not one that I had properly appreciated before, nor is it one I am ever likely to hear again in such comparatively intimate circumstances. And, like a lot of children that day, I was thrilled to bits. Rachel Kneale
THIRD XI FOOTBALL ULULA REPORTS It was a sweaty afternoon in May 2011. And, having just sedated another Politics set with a lesson on interest groups (surely one of the greatest misnomers in the English language), I set about reading some e-mails - the standard way of wasting time while pretending to be busy. Amid the mundane and humdrum, I came across one from Robert Chalmers OM, a journalist who now writes feature articles for various national newspapers.Thoughtfully, Chalmers was alerting me to a sardonic piece he had just written about school magazines and which was about to be published in the Independent. This article, Chalmers pointed out, made extensive reference to some reports I had penned for Ulula back in the 1990s reports which, ostensibly at least, concerned the School’s 3rd XI football team. The 3rd XI, it should be explained, was the MGS team I managed between 1983 and 2009: a team that attached little importance to training or tactics; a team that only occasionally fielded eleven players; and a team that was once described, at a Soccer Club dinner, as “an unqualified disaster”. (That this description was offered by the team’s outgoing captain now a distinguished accountant - only added to its lustre.) As 3rd XI manager, my weightiest task was to write an annual report for Ulula, supposedly recording the team’s achievements during the previous season. The problem, of course, was
that there were never any achievements to record, save the avoidance of serious injuries and the onset of criminal proceedings. As a result, these reports became somewhat ironic and escapist in tone, especially in the ‘noughties when there was much to escape from. Furthermore, as I could seldom remember any of the matches played, the reports only rarely concerned football or, indeed, the School. One, for example, focused on a film I had recently watched on a flight from Malaga; another lamented the spread of Irish theme pubs in Wrexham. But no matter, I thought. These articles were read by hardly anyone, and would have absolutely no impact on anything anywhere. Or so I surmised until that balmy afternoon in 2011. Chalmers’ email, of course, prompted a re-think - and a frantic one at that. Was he setting himself up, I wondered, as the 3rd XI’s
Solzhenitsyn, ready to expose venal practice in this shady corner of the private sector? Was he poised to reveal post-traumatic stress disorder among former players, linking it to humiliating defeats at Repton? Would his article “open the floodgates” to a series of “historical” accusations, mainly from ex-players “sleeping rough” in the badlands of Bowdon? With this in mind, I wondered, what could be done to avert personal and institutional disgrace? Quite properly, MGS staff had just been advised against talking to mischievous journalists, lest the School be brought into disrepute. So my response to Chalmers had to be guarded. Yet, with the travails of the MGS 3rd XI about to be disclosed to millions of Indie readers, the situation was somewhat tense. Such fears were countered, of course, by a giddy sense of possibility. If Chalmers’ piece “went viral”, I thought, might these 3rd XI articles give me “cult status” and a well-heeled “early retirement”? Might they even spawn a cinematic blockbuster, with various ‘slebs portraying the great High Masters of our time: David Tennant, perhaps, as David Maland, Jeff Goldblum as Geoff Parker, Steve Martin as Martin Stephen? And how about Ray Winstone as my legendary co-manager, “Deadly Doug” Herne (a man who once quoted Plato in a half-time team talk)? It all seemed tantalizingly plausible as we awaited Chalmers’ expose. In the event, of course, none of these things happened and nothing much changed afterwards. When Chalmers’ article did appear, it was measured, implicitly supportive of MGS
and, like most journalism, pretty transient in its effects. In fact, the only tangible consequence was an anguished letter from a middle-aged dentist, who refused to forgive me for substituting him at Malvern. When I re-read these 3rd XI reports last summer, I was filled with yearning for les temps perdus. I got particularly wistful when revisiting the 2009 report (see attached), where I effectively signed off my long and risible tenure as 3rd XI manager. Yet the reports also provoked something I hadn’t expected, namely, a faint pride in that rag-bag of boys I once “managed” on autumnal and wintry Saturday mornings: boys who, on the pitch, turned failure into an art form, but who have since done quite well for themselves. Winger Alastair Mann, for example (kneeling, second from left, in the Ulula photo of 1985) is now a regular commentator on Match of the Day. Midfield hard-man Bill Borrows (standing, fourth from left, on the same photo) wrote the definitive biography of “Hurricane” Higgins. Striker Chris Matheson (kneeling, far left, in the Ulula photo of 1986) is the MP for Chester. Anyway, with both soccer management and mid-life crisis behind me, and MGS in 50 Objects almost complete, it is certain I shall never write about the 3rd XI again. Indeed, it’s unlikely I’ll write anything again apart from School reports. So attention all Thirds’ alumni! For here, in the following two paragraphs, is a valedictory team talk… Crack open a bottle, you thirdsters, and dig out those old Ululas! Raise a glass to former
team-mates (particularly those who missed the bus to Blackburn, Bury and Bolton) and ponder anew why it always “kicked off ” at Bede’s! And, for those of you who played during my final season, ask whether it was really necessary for your captain, while running down the wing, to swear at a passing dog. To those ex-players now in “respectable” jobs (and I’m always staggered by how many are), I trust the articles will not prompt acute embarrassment, or a messy divorce from spouses now aware of your murky past. It would also be nice if you got in touch sometime (preferably not via a solicitor) with your own recollections. Don’t worry if you can’t remember anything specific. Let’s just meet up anyway at an OM dinner: I’ll say something senseless to you, you’ll say something senseless to me… and it’ll be just like old times. Salve Terti XI! Salve Ulula! Richard Kelly
THE MEMORIAL BOARDS The Great War had not been over long, but planning for a permanent memorial to the fallen was a priority for the school governors from as early as 1919, when a committee was set up. At this stage, the governors knew that the school's long term future was not at Long Millgate. Any plans for commemoration were focused on a new school building. When the school moved to Rusholme in 1931, a memorial was set in place in the hall, which from the start was referred to as the "Memorial Hall". The War Memorial Committee minutes show that the stained glass and statue in the hall and memorial book in reception were the first elements of our current buildings to be decided upon, long before plans for windows, electrics, sewers or classrooms were in place. The names on the panelling in the Memorial Hall are later additions to the building. These were added after WWII, with casualties from both wars commemorated at the same time, to the left and right of the main door. The initial lists were alphabetical by surname. However, by the 1980s, Ian Bailey had, during archival research, noticed an increasing number of Old Mancunians that had been inadvertently missed off the original boards. High Master Geoffrey Parker agreed to the creation of an additional board for these names to sit alongside the alphabetical lists. Additions to this board continue, and as research and interest in WWI increases with the centenary we expect more. Staff members were included on the boards, as well as former pupils. These names include
Charles Merryweather and Ernest Porter and of particular note is Hyman Lob, a long serving teacher of Sciences. Lob was tragically killed in 1941, whilst on Air Raid Warden duty. An incendiary bomb exploded on Burton Road, Withington, near where Lob was on duty. Two other staff members of note are Rene Claude Boisselot and Bernard Neuendorff. These two names are included separately on the WWI boards. Boisselot was a French language assistant who worked at the school between 1913 and 1914. Neuendorff taught German between 1905 and 1906. The inclusion of Neuendorff is particularly striking, as he fell fighting for the Central Powers. The location of the memorial boards at the heart of the school means that they still remain a prominent part of school life. The danger of the boards simply becoming part of the furniture is mitigated by the service of remembrance which is held on 11th November every year. Rachel Kneale
COAT OF ARMS The school’s coat of arms originates from that of our founder. Originally, the coat of arms used by MGS was Hugh Oldham’s Episcopal arms. Heraldically, this is incorrect and the error was pointed out to the school during a visit from the Queen in 1965. To put this right, the Old Mancunians’ Association funded an application for a grant of Arms specific to the school. The new coat of arms is very similar to Oldham’s original, but one of his Lancashire roses is replaced by the arms of the diocese of Exeter. In addition, the episcopal mitre which was originally on the school crest is replaced by a helmet surmounted with an owl holding a bishop’s pastoral staff in its right claw and the characters ‘D.O.M.’ on a banner across the owl’s breast. Oldham’s original rebus was an owl with the letters ‘dom’ coming from its beak – indeed, one such example appears in Oldham’s chapel at Exeter – and is a pun on the original pronunciation of Oldham’s name. The new usage of ‘D.O.M.’ is perhaps a nod to Oldham’s ecclesiastical history – an abbreviation of Deo Optimo Maximo. Rachel Kneale
Now in its 143rd year of consecutive publication, Ulula is the single most important source for the more recent history of MGS. Founded by F.W. Walker, it began life in July 1873 primarily as an academic journal with a few items of school news attached. Lengthy articles on classical poetry, recent scientific developments, historical topics and natural phenomena dominated. Articles were often unattributed but it seems the writers were a mixture of boys, OMs, masters and guest contributors. Occasional titbits of school news did creep in – a half-holiday awarded to celebrate the visit of the Shah of Persia, Speech Day held at the Free Trade Hall and the Athletic Sports in Heaton Park all get a mention in the first edition. By the 1890s however Ulula had taken on a more familiar look. There were sections of school news including the comings and goings of masters, sports reports with brief pen portraits of members of first teams, society reports, music, art and drama reviews and OM news, as well as original poems or prose pieces. The first photo to appear was of governor and benefactor Oliver Heywood in 1891, although a print of F W Hall (OM) was seen as early as 1886. Until the end of World War One Ulula appeared 8 times a year totalling about 260 pages – quite an effort for the Editor and his team. They, however, remained largely anonymous. In the Paton era new sections appeared detailing Camps, Treks, OTC and Scouting, while from 1914 to 1918 much space was given over to the mostly tragic war news. Photos
were now included regularly including “action shots” of camps and sports. But in 1919 Ulula appeared only 6 times and World War Two’s paper shortage saw that frequency sink to three. The basic format and appearance remained the same until 1966 when brightly coloured covers and a larger format were introduced but the publication now only appeared twice a year and that was reduced to one in 1976. From 1972 to 2004 Ulula was enlivened by the presence of “Dominie Dobbs” whose critique of national and school educational policy offered a different perspective. The current design, instigated by Nigel Reynolds, dates from 1997 with a vast increase in the number of photos many in colour. It now feels more like a book than a magazine.
This week’s object has the curious distinction of being older than the school itself – though only by about twenty years. Ulula is one of the school’s oldest institutions charting every major development and many minor ones as well. Nowhere else is the life of the school so vividly displayed. Surprisingly boys had to buy their copies until 1974 so to some extent it was designed to appeal more to members of the OMA who used to receive it as part of their membership. Now boys get it free and OMs must pay! 2015 will see the publication of the 588th edition of Ulula which remains in the safe hands of its current editor, Louisa Anderson. As an historian I hope that it will continue to record the school’s history through its myriad of activities but who knows if some radical editor might one day come along and turn it into something unexpected. Jeremy Ward
It is a printed missal: the book that a priest would need on the altar for the celebration of Mass, containing prayers, readings and some music. Prior to the Reformation, most of England followed the liturgical customs of Salisbury (a.k.a. Sarum) Cathedral; a fine example of an early printed Sarum missal can be seen at Lyme Hall, and that is probably the form of Mass that would have been most familiar to Bishop Hugh Oldham. However, the invention of printing made a greater degree of standardisation possible, and many people wanted books that conformed to the practice of the Papal court in Rome. The missal now at MGS is firmly within this family of “curial” liturgical books, but it was
inscribed his name on the colophon page as “Frater [Brother] Michael” – this is still a title that Augustinian priests often use. Unfortunately I have been unable to decipher Brother Michael’s surname. This 1494 edition is the first missal in which John Emmerich, the leading music type-setter of the day, printed the stave-lines, and then overprinted them with the notes, both in metal type. This new technique then became the standard way of printing plainsong notation. The edition is also notable for the large capital letters marking some major feast-days, with woodcut pictures illustrating appropriate scenes: e.g. the Child in the manger, for Christmas; Christ summoning the fishermen, for St Andrew’s day. Details picked out by hand in red-brown ink give these images a particular charm.
printed in Venice; and close examination shows certain deviations from the “pure” Roman liturgy. Great emphasis is given to feasts in honour of St Augustine, his mother St Monica, and St Nicholas of Tolentino (an Augustinian friar). An appendix includes a rite for blessing bread on the feast day of the latter saint, with detailed instructions on how the blessed bread was to be carried to the houses of the poor. This book was, then, printed for priests of the Augustinian order, and one early owner has
Our missal spent at least part of its working life in Hungary: there are handwritten prayers to Hungarian saints (e.g. Stephen, Ladislaw, Elizabeth) on the endpapers, and the word “Hungaria” inside the front cover. Given this provenance, and the fact that there was no Augustinian community in Manchester, it seems unlikely that the book has any direct connection with the early history of the school. So how did it get here? I like to imagine some Old Mancunian bibliophile, perhaps a traveller in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, spotting a well-fingered old missal that prompted thoughts of our episcopal founder, and buying it as a gift to the school. Ben Whitworth
The origins of the sport of podex (pronounced “Puddocks”) are not clear. The sport has been a memorable part of school life for generations of boys and yet there is no evidence that podex was an MGS invention. A number of different organisations also play podex – St. Paul’s School Christian Union, Oakley Holidays, Scripture Union, Lea Abbey and Urban Saints (once known as Crusaders). What links all these organisations, save ourselves, is a distinctly Christian ethos. The first mention of podex at MGS occurs in a 1912 edition of Ulula, as part of a list of expenditure for Alderley Camp. However, we have managed to find a reference to podex externally to MGS that dates to 1911. This reference refers to a group of boys being invited to play podex on the beach at Margate. Scripture Union, one of our podex-playing organisations, has been running beach missions at Margate from at least the late nineteenth century. It therefore seems likely that it was the Scripture Union who were running this form of organised podex on the beach in 1911. None of our other organisations, when contacted, could find any evidence of podex earlier than this. Scripture Union was formed in 1867, predating all the other aforementioned Christian organisations and the MGS camps. We know that High Master J.L. Paton set up and was heavily involved with the Scripture Union group at MGS. It therefore seems highly feasible that High Master Paton, both a committed Christian and camper, observed podex at a Scripture Union camp or beach mission and imported it to MGS.
Podex continued to be a constant presence on camps from 1912 onwards. The sport featured at Booths Hall, Deepdale, Nash Court, Bassenthwaite, Wray Castle, camps of the Hugh Oldham Lads’ Club and Scout Troops 1 and 2, as part of inter-form competitions back at school and on Scottish Trek. But what of the sport itself? Oakley Holidays describe podex as “a cross between cricket and baseball” and it has also been compared to non-stop cricket or “a bastardised form of cricket”. However, it seems that podex has evolved differently within each organisation where it is played. We are fortunate to have a copy of “The Rules of Podex” in the MGS archive and there appear to be certain elements which are unique to MGS. For example, a batsman is out when he scores 42, and other circumstances call for a batsman to be “half out”, such as if he is out on the first ball or hits his own wickets. Podex continues to be played at Bassenthwaite Camp and it pre-dates more famous sports such as basketball and water polo. Rachel Kneale
50 NON TEACHING STAFF
The non-teaching staff play an often unseen role in the life of the school, and yet they have made an immense contribution to the success of MGS. The earliest reference to a named individual not employed as a master or attending as a pupil comes in a nineteenth century edition of Ulula. Reference is made to ‘Pilling’, described as ‘either porter or Janitor’, and employed in 1848. There is also a reference made to an individual with the moniker ‘Old Wilson’, a porter during the 1860s. Old Wilson apparently carried a ‘silver-headed stick’ and is described in Ulula as ‘Purple-faced…gouty…and semi-clerical’. Quite a picture; the mind boggles! These early references aside, however, it was only during the late nineteenth century that a clearer picture of the extent and role of non-teaching staff at the school emerged. The first three notable names that arise are Owen Cox, Receiver between 1888 and 1934; Charles Pollitt, Head Porter between 1871 and 1919 and William Jepson, Porter between 1884 and 1934. Spanning nearly 60 years of MGS history
between them, these men appear to have made enough of a mark to be mentioned regularly in Ulula and to merit their own appreciations on retirement and death. In 1914, Ulula noted: On April 23rd Mr Jepson completed 30 years’ service at the School, and in the whole of that time he has only been off duty two hours through illness. This is a good record, but it is quite overshadowed by that of Mr Pollitt, who began in January 1871, and is still the same alert figure that he was in those far-off days. Evidently one of the healthiest parts of Manchester is Long Millgate. I do wonder how one would feel these days if a 30 year long service broken only by two hours’ illness were described simply as ‘a good record’. The porters’ relationship with the boys appears to have been particularly positive; Jepson in particular seems to have been well-loved by them. Ulula records: Pre-war generations of OMs will vividly remember the time-honoured ritual by which the
procession returning from the annual visit to HOLC used to halt outside the little hotel by the side of Victoria Station and call “We want Jeppy”. Pollitt is still remembered in school today; a plaque commemorating his service still adorns the wall near the porters’ lodge on the main corridor. A touching tribute to him, reminding us of his long-service and dedication, is found in Ulula in 1919: …he got his release from work here last November the 4th, dying, almost literally, in harness, after 47 years of loyal and most patient service. He knew that the School needed him, and with Pollitt duty not merely came first but filled his whole horizon. I never met a boy who did not regard him with trust and affection, and he had in an uncommon measure the esteem and confidence of all the masters. No servant ever gave more unstinted service than he, and no one in all the School contributed more fully, in his measure, to its efficient working. Another prominent non-teaching staff member at this time was the Receiver Owen Cox, who made a permanent mark on the school by way of his gift of the school clock. He thoughtfully included a sum of money for maintenance and indeed, the clock fund still exists. Cox was also the Receiver who supervised the move of the School from Long Millgate to Rusholme; he retired in 1934. Many former pupils will remember the school doctor or nursing sister of their day. One of the more prominent medics was Alfred Mumford, who was school doctor between 1909 and 1928, but he remained an honorary member of staff until 1932. His contribution is more than medical, however, as he also wrote an official
history of the school, The Manchester Grammar School, 1515-1915: A Regional Study in the Advancement of Learning in Manchester since the Reformation. There are many roles a member of non-teaching staff could occupy. So, for example, boys studying science or arts subjects will no doubt have been familiar with the technicians. Indeed, another long-standing member of staff has just retired after a highly impressive 49 years of service – Jim Leathley, Physics Lab technician. Sportsmen may well have appreciated the work of the grounds staff in preparing their pitches. Staff working in the secretarial, financial, communications and development departments will have been less visible, as will the buildings maintenance and cleaning staff – not less important, however! Ensuring the boys’ ease of access to information and historical resources have of course been the librarians and, in more recent years, the archivists. How will these latter roles change, one wonders, as paper resources compete ever more fiercely with digital ones? Today’s catering staff undertake more adventurous activities than their predecessors and meet the demands of reunion dinners as well as school lunches and the Butty Bar. Many porters in more recent memory have also been particularly popular with both staff and pupils – notably Wilf, Stuart Dale (the Pavilion Porter, remembered at an annual OM soccer tournament) and Harry, former head porter and now king of the security barrier and parking! A verse written as part of a poem to honour Jepson and published in a 1927 volume of Ulula could arguably apply to the work of many of our hard working and committed members of
non-teaching staff: Our thoughts least centre on the men “Who only stand and wait”, And we are apt to overlook The porter at the gate. That this category received almost half the entire vote in our poll to decide this, our 50th and final article, demonstrates that perhaps the non-teaching staff have not been overlooked after all. One wonders at the memories current boys will take with them, and indeed future generations of OMs. There will hopefully be as good a record kept in the Archives in the future as there is now. Mary Ann Davison, Rachel Kneale, Ian Thorpe