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November 2012

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A word from your Editor OAS Calendar

King James’s is now an academy … and back at the School OAS Membership

Annual Dinner/Founders’ Day

Terry’s Teaser The aliens of the CalderValley Confessions of an under-achiever Stage-struck at the age of 12 Farnley Lines Cricket pavilion: the latest plans Reputations: Felix Aylmer Cricket Tennis Football Golf Badminton Cupid: teacher, producer, printer Postbag Obituaries

(Opposite): This very early multicolour lino-cut from the OAS achives is by former art master Edward Akroyd (1922-1957). It shows a scene behind the ‘small’, with the ODH and Dorm 4 in the middle distance. The buildings on the left include the former chemistry laboratory and classroom known as ‘The Cloisters’, later used as a small gymnasium and outside cloakroom before being demolished in 1938.

The ALMONDBURIAN Editor: Roger Dowling

November 2012

The magazine of The Old Almondburians’ Society

A word from your Editor



)E reported in the last issue of The Almondburian that the School proposed to seek academy status and that it was hoped that this would be completed by the start of the new school term in September.The good news is that this has now been achieved (see announcement on page 5). The conversion process is not simple: it involves lengthy consultation processes, staff transfers, the establishment of a new Academy Trust, funding agreements, transfer agreements and land transfers – all by their nature somewhat uncharted territory. The School and the Governors are to be congratulated on their success in meeting their timetable, which augurs well for the future. As Andrew Haigh reports, the School is 3

already starting to reap the financial benefits of the new arrangements, and we believe that in the years ahead the School will flourish from its new independence from local authority control. The Society’s biggest yearly event is, of course, the Annual Dinner. As we report on page 8, this year’s dinner – on 24th November – is a very special occasion as we are seeking to mark the centenary of the birth of Fred Hudson, one of the finest-ever teachers in the School’s long history. There will be guest speakers for whom geography has been a major career influence and we are delighted that Fred’s daughter Ann Walker will also be amongst our guests. Finally, a reminder that articles, photographs and letters from readers are always welcome: further details on page 10.



FOUNDERS’ DAY The traditional Founders’ Day Service will be held at All Hallows’ Church, Almondbury, at 11.30 a.m. on the day following the Annual Dinner: Sunday, 25th November. Almondburians are invited to assemble in Big Tree Yard at 11.00 am for the traditional procession up the hill. The Executive Committee would urge all Almondburians to make every effort to attend this event. It would help if you are able to indicate in the space provided on the Annual Dinner ticket application form whether or not you expect to attend the Founders’ Day Service as well, but it is not essential and you are most welcome to turn up on the day if you are able.

MEETINGS 2012 The Executive Committee of the Society meets upstairs at the ‘Woolpack’ in Almondbury. Meetings are normally held each month at 7.30 pm.Any member of the Society who would like to attend one of these meetings will be made most welcome on the following dates this year: Monday, 5th November and Monday, 3rd December.

ANNUAL DINNER 2012 The Dinner will take place once again in the main Banqueting Suite at the John Smith’s Stadium (formerly Galpharm Stadium) on Saturday, 24th November, at 6.30pm for 7.30 pm. Please put the date in your diary now to make sure that you don’t miss out on a great evening. This year is the 100th anniversary of the birth of former Second Master and Head of Geography, Fred Hudson, and we hope that many geographers or those with an interest in the subject will make a point of attending. An application form is included with this issue of The Almondburian; alternatively, you can book online at

BADMINTON Badminton has resumed in the sports hall on Thursday evenings during term-time, from 7.30 pm until 9.30 pm. Fee: £6 per person per evening.

CRICKET Presentation Evening: Saturday, 2nd March, 2013 at Lockwood Park. Booking:Tim Taylor (

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING The Annual General Meeting of the Society will be held at the ‘Woolpack’,Almondbury on Monday, 7th January, 2013 at 7.30 p.m. Nominations for office on the Executive Committee are required by the Secretary in advance of this date, so that the election of officers can take place at the Annual General Meeting in accordance with Rule Eight. All members are urged to make every effort to attend the Annual General Meeting. Andrew Haigh, Secretary 4

King James’s is now an academy



S expected, King James’s School became an Academy on )1st September, 2012, in time for the start of the new academic year. The school will continue to be known as King James’s School, but there now exists a King James’s School Academy Trust. The five Founding Trustees held the inaugural meeting of the Trust at the school in the O.D.H. on Wednesday, 5th September, 2012 and they are: John Eastwood (Chairman of the Governors’ Finance Committee), Andrew Haigh (Vice-Chairman of the Governors’ Finance Committee, a Trustee of the King James’s School

Foundation and Secretary of the Old Almondburians’ Society), Patrick O’Brien (a former Deputy Headmaster of the school and a Governor), Brian Stahelin (Chairman of Governors) and Vanessa Thomas (a Trustee of the King James’s School Foundation and Chair of the Governors’ Staffing Committee). TheTrustees are members of a company with charitable status and they are responsible for leading the school’s strategic direction. Day to day responsibility for managing the school still falls to the Governors of the school, who are effectively Directors of the company,

History in the making: the new Academy Trust holds its inaugural meeting in the ODH. Left to right: Andrew Haigh, Brian Stahelin,Vanessa Thomas, Patrick O’Brien, John Eastwood


year lease on the part of the site owned by Kirklees Council, together with a supplemental agreement for use of the land owned by the King James’s School Foundation, which effectively safeguards the future of the school on its present site for that period of time. Furthermore, the school is now enjoying a significantly increased level of funding which has already enabled the employment of two additional members of teaching staff.

with delegation to senior members of staff. All five Founding Trustees were, and still are, Governors of the school and the structure of the Governing Body remains the same, with all twenty-one Governors initially transferring onto the new Governing Body in the interests of stability. The inaugural meeting of the new Governing Body took place immediately following the inaugural meeting of the Trust on 5th September. The Academy Trust now has a 125



In order to comply with its financial responsibilities, the new Academy Trust needs to appoint a ‘Responsible Officer’.This is a suitably qualified or experienced individual who can oversee the financial affairs of the Academy. It will not be an onerous role and it is envisaged that the Responsible Officer would need to spend perhaps half a day per half term visiting the school and examining the finances to confirm that everything is in order. Ideally, the Trust would like to appoint a suitably qualified Old Almondburian with the interests of the school at heart – a retired accountant would be ideal – to work on a voluntary basis in a similar way to the Governors and Trustees, although a sum to cover expenses incurred could be made available. If you hold the necessary qualifications to fill this post and would be prepared to help out the school and the new Academy Trust, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please contact Andrew Haigh on 01484 432105. 6

…and back at the School



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been achieving some of the )fastest improving GCSE results in the country – and that’s official. In 2008, 53% of students gained five grade A to Cs including English and Mathematics. By 2011, the pass rate had increased to 72.5%. The improvement has been marked by a certificate awarded by the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT). Sue Williams, chief executive of SSAT, said: “King James’s School should be congratulated for their stunning achievement in improving their GCSE results. “King James’s School has proved itself to be one of the best schools in the country at improving GCSE outcomes for their students. There is plenty that other schools could learn from King James’s School’s success. “These results are testament to the commitment and hard work of the students, teachers and leadership team at King James’s School and a vindication of iner



their belief in high expectations, good teaching and ambition for every young person. “Successful schools like King James’s School understand the value of data, such as these progress measures, in helping to ensure all young people perform to the very best of their ability. The progress measures show how schools make a difference and raise achievement above expectations.” Head Teacher Robert Lamb said: “The SSAT award is stunning. What is impressing SSAT is that we are showing constant improvement. This is the result of a lot of hard work on the part of the staff, the students and their supportive parents.We take every child in the School and try to get them to achieve their maximum potential.” King James’s School remains the most over-subscribed school in Kirklees.

SSAT is an independent membership organisation that works with schools and partners to shape a world class education system.It has over 5,000 members in England.

OAS Membership



subscription for 2012-2013 fell due on 1st September. If you do receive a letter with this newsletter pointing out that your subscription is not up-to-date, please do send your payment without delay. It does make life much easier if you can complete the updated standing order mandate that accompanies the letter and return it in the envelope provided. Alternatively, you may renew online, using PayPal or a debit or credit card, by visiting and clicking on the ‘Join/Renew Online’ button.

INCE the last magazine was published, we have been delighted to welcome three new members to the Society:

Robert Maurice Hughes (1953-58), from Taunton,

Robert Corcoran, from Huddersfield

Judith Bowler (née Dawson, 197881), from Lampeter. Thank you to those of you who have recently brought your subscription up to date. However, for the few of you who do not yet pay by standing order, please remember that your £10.00

Annual Dinner/Founders’ Day


HIS is a final reminder that this year’s Annual Dinner at the John Smith’s Stadium (formerly Galpharm Galpharm) will take place on Saturday, 24th November at 6.30 pm for 7.30 pm. It’s not too late to apply for tickets: the price is £27.50 and an application form is included with this magazine; alternatively, you can apply online at As most readers will be aware, this year’s Annual Dinner is a very special occasion as we shall be marking the centenary of the birth of former Head of Geography and Second Master Fred Hudson. There will three special guest speakers (see panel opposite) and we shall be presenting the £1,000 Fred Hudson Exploration Bursary to the lucky winner, together with two substantial awards to the runners-up. It’s an occasion not to be missed. The traditional Founders’ Day Service will be held at All Hallows’ Church, Almondbury, at 11.30 am on the day following the Annual Dinner, Sunday, 25th November. Almondburians are invited to assemble in Big TreeYard at 11.00 am for the traditional procession up the hill. 8

Annual Dinner 2012 Special guest speakers PETER TRACEY (left) graduated from Manchester University with a degree in Geography with Economics He has been a teacher all his life and became the deputy Head Teacher of a large Community High School responsible for Adult Education as well as youth activities beyond the main school curriculum.After he retired from teaching in England he was invited to teach at Gymnasium Schools in the Czech Republic. He is currently Chairman of the Northumberland Schools Football Association and secretary of the Northern Counties Schools FA, and he works as a newsreader and story teller for Tyne Sound News, a charity for blind people on Tyneside. Peter was president of the Rotary Club of Newcastle upon Tyne last year. GERALD STEAD (right) left school to read BA (Hons) in Geography at Durham University. He has had a long-term career in the textile field, became an Associate of the Textile Institute and lectured for many years in the Textile Department of the College of Technology in Huddersfield, later to become the Polytechnic and then the University of Huddersfield. Gerald was President of the Huddersfield Textile Society during its centenary in 2003 and became an Honorary Life Member in Apnl 2006.

Fred Hudson's daughter ANN WALKER (left) is a former teacher herself and now lives in retirement in Otley,West Yorkshire.Ann's career began on Merseyside where she developed a keen interest in special needs teaching. She then taught in Bradford and did supply teaching in Kirklees and Leeds, before returning to full time special needs posts with the Leeds authority for some 20 years. In retirement Ann is deeply involved in church and community activities and is a member of the Fairfax Singers performing for charities and local events. 9


Compiled by Terry Buckley (1948 - 1953)

Entries to the Editor by 1st February 2013 20
















Prize: 12 months free OAS membership






































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20 20

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25. Citizenship Study: 104 and 99S (6) 26. Set joint badly, and reject (8) 27. Eye trouble diagnosed in test yesterday (4) 28. Mature and melodious (6) 30. Gaudily for you, totals sent, I gather (14)

DOWN 1. On reflection, she’s just the same (4) 2. Auction rooms are open to them (6) 22 23 24 20 20 25 3. Receptacle for sticks? (7) 20 20 26 20 20 20 4. Arranges a salary increase, it’s heard (6) 5. Import counterbalance (6) 27 20 20 20 28 29 6. Run the class too badly for for the 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 Educational Establishment (5,3,6) 8. At once, instructor ordered a re-enactment 20 30 of events (14) 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 10. A top mine succumbs to poison (8) 13. No parking – MacAlpine turned to lotion (8) ACROSS 16. The girl’s a darling, through and through (3) 7. A crooked, narrow gulf set right can be 15. As a form of wit, tries a new arrangement (6) 17. Grazer of the wetlands (3) 16. Consume repast (3) an injustice (8,6) 21. S American grows a lichen (7) 18. Wasted runs around the warden (7) 9. Pacers used from scratch (6) 23. With or without the right, throws out ! (6) 11. With difficulty, I get holiday home abroad (4) 19. Eroding hearing aid found in part of 24. Procession on the Strand (6) hospital (7) 12. Pining after one stumbled, heard and saw 25. Send down in the company of two foreign 20. One card (3) a three-part picture (8) gentlemen, it states (6) 14. ‘Saint Rosamund’ contains short preludes (6) 22. Charlotte and Anne, but not Emily (6) 29. Praise the Almighty, audibly (4) 18 20

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The winner of Terry’s Teaser No 6 (July 2012) was Bryan Hopkinson

Across 1. Quinguagenarian 8. Engines 11.Aloha 13. Ola 14. Elm 15.Anew 16,17, 21, 10 down Nan Edith Beth Naomi 19. Formidable 22. Icon 24.Thermostat 27.Talon 29.Tun 30. Ovid 31. Ebb 33. Fra 35. Motto 37. Effendi 38. Summer lightning Down 2. Queen of diamonds 2. Nail 3.Apse 4. Enameller 5.Ago 6. Ivanhoe 7. Notwithstanding 9. Goner 12. Hat 18. Machine oil 20. Men 21. Bus 23. Optimum 25. On off 26.Titan 28.Ado 32. Berg 34. Rein 36.The

Articles and photographs

The Editor is always delighted to receive articles for The Almondburian. Photographs are also welcome; if sent as email attachments the preferred format is jpeg (.jpg) with a minimum resolution of 300 dpi.Alternatively, send your photographs by post and we will scan and return them.When submitting photographs, always provide a suitable caption.



The aliens of the Calder Valley


R E G G I E B YRAM (1946-1954)

An ex-publisher laments the many tales he receives about spaceships visitingTodmorden, but keeps going with the help of his daily porridge

lishing houses. (I have a good knowledge of books but had to learn the hard way about business.) I could go to the office in the motor car, a small Chrysler Matiz (I think) but most mornings I catch the bus. It takes thirty minutes, door to door, and is free, thanks to my Metro Pass. I engage strangers in conversation – usually pretty young things. Never men: I don't want to be accused of playing the pink oboe. Arrived at the office, I open the computer and read the Telegraph. I look at the Obituaries. These trouble me: not only are my contemporaries shuffling off this mortal coil at a rate of knots, but also people much younger than me. Then the Letters, to which I occasionally contribute.

HERE was a time, not long ago, when I sprang out of bed as soon as dawn touched the sky. Not these days.The sciatica, you know. Time was I used to sing out loud, but this caused my wife displeasure. She is a wonderful and patient woman – we have been married 38 years – but even she draws the line at my singing. Breakfast is always the same – oats porridge. The full English breakfast is for when we go away on holiday, which is less frequent than it used to be – but porridge is constant.When I worked in Africa, I sometimes tried maize or sorghum porridge in the morning, but they did not do the trick. After breakfast, I clean my tooth. We live in Birkby but I work in Elland. I used to be in the publishing business, but no longer; I simply could not compete with the large, multi-national pub-


Next come the e-mails. I still receive ing chocolate); it is there on a small Business letters. I get offers from people table beside my desk. Making drinks on four continents. Many quite clearly helps to flush my kidneys, and is an excannot write. Some are local.They offer cuse to stand up and stretch my legs, of me tales of being abducted by aliens and which I have 1.5. My right leg is becomtaken up into spaceships that hover ing more useless every day, precluding aboveTodmorden or Sowerby.What is it my returning to the tennis and badabout the CalderValley? It cannot simply minton courts on Thursdays at the be the strange shapes of lenticular school. As is the case with other old foclouds.There must be something in the geys, I suffer from back ache. I ascribe Pennine water. The authors are all dif- the pain to sciatica. If it is anything more ferent people but their tales are the serious, I don’t want to know. Luncheon. My wife and I may eat here same. They are taken up; instruments are inserted into their rectum; and then in the office, or drive to a restaurant. they are allowed back on earth. Who, I Visits to restaurants are becoming wonder, as I look out of the window fewer: 15 quid for sausage and mash I paid the other day – over Lower Edge, my mother must be analyses (that has to be spinning in her grave. the word) the findMy wife – a fine ings? Are there clerks woman whose name on other planets who is Hope Ludo (Ludo find pleasure in prois SiZulu for love) – ducing graphs comusually opts for a paring the flatulence large piece of best of Hebden Bridge beef. It must be her with that of MytholmZulu ancestry. Shaka royd? Polite letters are encouraged the eating written to all my corof beef before going respondents. None of orn in Brighouse, Reggie out to do battle. The this adolescent stuff Byram spent five years as a psychiatric nurse before cuts of meat Hope such as c u Friday lol. embarking on teacher training in The difficulty is being chooses are the dear1963. He lectured in Health for est on the menu, but I honest without being five years and then departed for Kabwe in Zambia to teach rude. Never an easy do not argue with English. her. Never argue with conundrum for aYorkAfter taking a B Ed (Hons) at shireman. a Zulu – they have Leeds Metropolitan University in 1976-77, he returned to Africa to There is always a 110 ways of bringing teach English in Botswana. Since warm drink available, tears to your eyes. 1990, he has pursued a successful be it coffee, tea or If you think I’m career in writing and publishing. Reggie is a former editor of cocoa (which has bemarried to a halfthe OAS newsletter. come, I notice, drinkdressed warrior jab-



Family man: Reggie and Hope pose in this 1977 studio portrait with Rachel and Rodney. Sitting on Hope’s knee is daughter Laura.

bing at me with an assegai, you’d be wrong. My wife is an educated woman with two degrees from the University of Huddersfield, and she has a PGCE in Education – all gained when it was necessary to work for them. I gather that today you can get a first degree by purchasing a certain brand of margarine. Late afternoon, I take a nap, the welcome siesta, something I have done since first going to teach in Zambia in 1971. I dream about dying or being dead. I am always pleased when I awake. Refreshed, I spend a couple of hours writing my own books. These are varied. Some are fiction, some nonfiction. All keep my brain active. The evenings? Coronation Street? On your bike!You can shove that where the aliens hovering above the Calder Valley put their measuring instruments.Where the sun don’t shine. My wife and I read a great deal. I enjoy crime novels from the golden age of the ’30s and ’40s, and books about politicians and writers of the same period. My wife likes a good substantial literary biography I rarely think of the past, my years as a nurse at Storthes Hall Hospital, or my


happy years as a teacher in Leeds, Zambia, Botswana, Yemen (ouch!!) and at Bolton University. I live for the day. Carpe diem. In 1990 Downing Street offered me the OBOE for services to dyslexia, but I declined. Retirement?That’s for shy people.Television? Don't insult me.The television set is for watching movies. Gardening? There is pleasure in communing with the elements of which I shall soon be a constituent part. My wife says I’ll live till I'm a hundred. I’ll settle for that. I sleep well. I have a rich dream life, in full colour.

Confessions of an under-achiever


D E N IS TAY L OR (1956 - 1959)

You often carry articles by those who achieved success at King James’s, complains a reader. But what about those of us who were heroic failures?

T is with some trepidation that I school in 1956, complete with short attack my one-fingered keyboard trousers, shiny satchel and Dartmouth to put my thoughts and memories cap, I was placed in the care of Harry on paper. It is some years now since I Gledhill in Form 1 alpha. A couple of became a member of the Old involuntary trips down the Bunk took Almondburians’ Society, and I have read care of anything shiny, and I was rapidly with much interest the articles, letters converted into a first form scruff. During my time at King James’s, I got and expressed opinions of so many to know and fear various members of erudite contributors. staff, members of the Senior School, and In view of the fact that during my time prefects. I remember Happy Harry as a at school I occupied the position, with basically kindly man who had nonetheless some success I think, of School Idiot, I strict ideas on what conthought that perhaps my stituted good music. He fellow members might once waxed most angrily appreciate the views of eloquent about what he one who was an underregarded as the misuse of achiever, and certainly the word ‘lyric’, when not an example of what used to describe the the place could offer. I words of a song. still possess my AGS As for the rest, I felt report book, and it does myself terrorised by make, even at this Messrs Anderson, Haigh remove of time, dismal and Toomey, never realreading. I am glad in ising that it was my own fter an initial career in passing, to report that local government, Denis inability to learn what my own two sons, Taylor spent seven years in they tried to teach that though neither taught at Scotland building oil was at the root of my platforms.He returned home Almondbury, have to Halifax in 1980 and miseries. Had I been able restored the pride in worked on the buses until his to apply myself more, education which took a retirement in 2010. He has then my academic life been married twice and back seat when I was divorced twice, and has two could have been very difyoung. sons. ferent. Things were not When I joined the



I wonder…

I wonder if I’m right in remembering a neat round hole in the plate glass window

of the art room. I heard from someone that it was caused by a catapult-impelled marble (or perhaps I dreamt it?).

I always wondered what ‘Transitus’ meant, or what part of the school it referred to.

I have always wondered about a poem which once appeared in The Almondburian under the heading of ‘Original Contributions’. It began: "Gorgeous Dido of Tunis, by the nine gods she swore, that the football team of Carthage should suffer defeat no more". It then went on in a mixture of English and Latin. I have wondered who wrote it, and how much of it was the work of Mr Toomey?

The poem, which appeared in the Summer 1956 issue, was signed by ‘Michaelus Iacci f Nigel’ (Ed)

all doom and gloom, as I found that art classes under the delightful Mr Akroyd were much more to my taste. He was replaced during my time by Mr Roofe, with whom I at least got on. I remember that during my time at Almondbury, the position of Head Boy was ably filled by David Morphet. His brother Alan, now sadly passed on, was in my class. I remember him as a frighteningly clever classmate, who seemed to have the answers to all our questions. He and I were so different in ability to learn that we were unable to find common ground, although he was a pleasant lad.We did, however share one accolade in that we were always joint last in cross-country running. In spite of the fact that I was an academic disaster, I was never a particularly ill-behaved pupil. There were plenty of others whose evil-doing was legendary, and who tested the power of the Gaffer’s arm frequently. I think that in retrospect, I didn’t have the ability to misbehave in an intelligent manner. Neither did I trouble Harry


Taylor’s secretary, whose supply of Green Paper (used for ‘lines’ punishment in those days) remained intact. In 1959, my father’s employment required us to move to Halifax, where my further education was entrusted to the Crossley & Porter Boys’ Grammar School. The move did not cause any improvement in my ability to learn, or to become in any sense an academic. I eventually left school with a small handful of GCE passes, and embarked on a mixed career of assorted jobs, culminating in my retirement after 30 years on the buses. It comes as something of a surprise to me that, in spite of the above ramblings, I have such an affection for the School. It must also come as a surprise to the editor after so many vastly experienced and educated people, all of whom must be a credit to the School and various Universities, to receive such a missive as this, from one whose departure would, no doubt, have caused a sigh of relief!

Stage-struck at the age of 12


J O H N WAT S ON (1948 - 1953)

EEING the photograph of Wifred Pickles in the March issue (Booking a place in British history) reminded me of an event that took place in the postwar austerity years when people were encouraged to ‘Holiday at Home’. Every summer a Children’s Talent Competition was held at the Open Air Theatre in Greenhead Park. Gerald Stead unearthed some old photographs of those events in the effects of his late cousin, who performed as a Young hopefuls at Greenhead Park: John Watson is top left, Peter Clark wearing his AGS tie on the right with George dancer. Law behind his right shoulder. Mr Pickles is in the centre. The final in 1949, when AGS boys took part, was judged by a Pickles, pleting the ensemble (no political correctperhaps not the famous man himself but I ness then);and he vice versa if I had a booking. As a 12 year old I think I got away with believe one of his brothers. I was one of those stage-struck hopefuls and if I remem- my amateur performances from sheer ber rightly was awarded second place with bravado, nerve and audience sympathy. my Punch and Judy show. Peter Clark, also Also on the bill was George Law (class of from the class of ’48, appeared with a 1951) playing a piano duet with his magic act, and as we both did magic shows brother Gwyn who attended Hudders I would work as his Chinese assistant in field College). mother’s dressing gown, with yellow Can any reader identify the ‘Mr Pickles’ in greasepaint and Mandarin moustache com- the photograph? If so, please drop us a line.


ohn Watson studied graphic design at the Royal College of oArt in London and achieved success as an entertainer as banjo player inTheTemperance Seven (far right). John is still a busy banjo player and entertainer with Bill Posters Will Be Band, and he also continues his graphic design activities.


Farnley Lines



HE season of mists, mellow fruitfulness and examination results is upon us. We certainly had sea mists two days ago here on the South Wales coast, the fruitfulness has been less productive this year with blight affecting both my potatoes and tomatoes but A level and GCSE results have caused chests to be puffed out with grandparental pride. Grandson Jordi gained 5 very good A Levels to become top performer in Year 13 at Porthcawl Comp. In Economics he achieved an amazing 98% in each of his two papers. This is the subject he is to read at the University of Birmingham. Of course, I had to communicate this to Bernadette Stephenson, formerly Head of Economics at King James’s before moving on to a similar position at Greenhead College. She with her strong Brummie connections was delighted and offered her husband Jimmie as interpreter should Jordi need any help with the local lingo. A week later we

learnt that his younger sister, granddaughter Anna, had achieved remarkable results in Year 11. If we include her Spanish A* gained at the end of year 9, her Maths taken earlier in the year and the distinction in Further Maths this time she has ended up with the equivalent of 12 A*s. Bob Field expressed the hope that she would continue the family tradition by studying Languages at A Level; I was able to assure him that French and Spanish were among her five Tessa poses for her many admirers chosen subjects.

Tessa is the prettiest bitch Theirs was not the only success to bring delight to the Bush household. Earlier in August there had taken place a Fun Dog Show in Porthcawl. Category 7 was ‘The Prettiest Bitch Competition’. I needed little encouragement to enter Tessa Bush.There were 46 other entries. Bernadette came to King James’s – then a sixth form college – in 1975, the only economist ever employed at the School. She is the only person in Huddersfield to have worked in all three sixth form colleges. 17

two locals. ‘You speak very good Spanish,’ declared one. ‘How long have you been in Vilasar?’ ‘Six days,’ I replied. He must have thought I was a quick learner.

Just as at Crufts the final ten were selected. When the judge pointed at Tessa as the winner I must confess to feeling quite elated. Sad, isn’t it? Well, at my age every rosebud is to be grabbed rather than gathered.

Reinventing the wheel It’s usual in my Surprise ‘Imps’ Epistle to the Old plunge relieves ‘The Imps’ are Lincoln City Football Club, Almondburians to pressure on Mancini named after the legendary 14th-century imps who were sent by Satan to wreak have a good old and Ferguson havoc in Lincoln Cathedral. moan about some So having let off my boastful steam - please forgive me, aspect of the modern education system. gentle reader but as one gets older more However, let’s be positive for a change. pleasures have to be indulged in vicari- For change is in the air or rather ‘plus ca ously – let’s mention football and plunge change, plus c’est la meme chose’. The to the nadir in this field.Yesterday saw my Powers That Be have now declared that beloved ‘Imps’ fall to third from bottom pupils must go back to basics, learn gramin the Blue Square Premier League. I mar and spelling and punctuation, and should like to say ‘How are the mighty reinvent the wheel.Anna, for example, as fallen’ but they have never been mighty – an introduction to her A Level English although they did once win 4-0 in a course, came home today with a 16 page league match at Liverpool. As I said to a booklet illustrating English Grammar. My neighbour, it’s rather worrying when I got main worry is that a whole generation of a bit of a buzz recently when I read ‘Liv- teachers never had this grounding so how are they going to be able to teach it? A bit erpool Ladies 2 Lincoln Ladies 3’. My family connections with Barcelona like the pedagogic equivalent of ‘Quis have led to an increasingly keen following custodiet custodes ipsos?’ Daughter, of its soccer team. I mention‘family’ for Catherine, during a recent Inset Day fear of being accused of simply support- squirmed as during a presentation the ing a highly successful club. Its achieve- Head of English repeatedly confused ments help to offset my many Lincoln ‘practice’ and ‘practise’ on his flip chart. let-downs. On holiday inVilasar, north of I perform my pedantic part.Well, once a Barcelona, in August I watched Barca de- teacher… When for example, researchmolish Real Sociedad (San Sebastian) 5- ing travel to Australia the Thompson’s 1. I was sharing a street side table with agent could not spell ‘itinerary’ and nor 18

could Cook’s. I eventually usedTrail Finders but before I completed the booking I asked him to spell the word. Somewhat nonplussed , he nevertheless spelt it correctly and with no hesitation.The booking went ahead and the trip was, of course, faultless. Bob Field is a fellow pedant and with his knowledge of Italian likes to point out that ‘panini' is already a plural and so does not warrant an extra ‘s’. He would have been apoplectic to see outside Porthcawl Pavilion last week ‘panni’s’. Now three mistakes in a single, short word, that is some achievement.

timetabler like me. In the days of the two stream Boys’ Grammar it was comparatively simple.Yet when King James’s became comprehensive, in Year 10 (4th form in the old currency) there were columns and options. Before these computer-generated printouts, it was a case of assembling a year in the dining room and shouting out, “If you have chosen French in column one then you are in N.1 with Mr Redfearn. If you have chosen Metalwork then…” It was a long and arduous process and led to short tempers, sore throats and considerable confusion. When I succeeded Fred Hudson as Deputy Head in 1972 I inherited his task of producing the timetable.This task was made easier by the immaculate notes he had made in earlier years regarding timetabling, as were those relating to Speech Day, Founders’ Day and other such annually recurring events. I shall think of all this when I join fellow Old Almondburians in November to celebrate his centenary; I do hope there is a large gathering. Having missed last year’s dinner. I dare not miss this one. “Not off on another adventure, Dave?” asked JackTaylor during a recent telephone call. No, Jack, but the most adventurous trip so far for February 2013 is at the early planning stage. Report to follow…

Producing timetables – then and now Back to granddaughter,Anna. Fastened to our fridge is her new timetable. Nothing unusual about that you may say. However, what to me is still remarkable is that it is her own, individual timetable. Again nothing unusual for those who have been at school during the last 15-20 years; it’s the norm isn’t it? Not for an ex-


Relief: Alex Ferguson rejoices at the news of the Imps Blue Square Premier League plunge

Cricket pavilion: the latest plans



Old Almondburians’ Society and School as to their requirements from the new facility. We have also been mindful of the original aims of Gaffer HarryTaylor, and sought to offer a respectful nod to

T is with a great deal of pleasure I present to you the plans and renders of ‘The Pavilion’, after several meetings garnering opinions and then distilling the thoughts of the

Chris West RIBA


Chris West RIBA / Charles Ryan-Hicks 21

the superb original thrusting optimistic plans of the Brook-designed building. I am delighted with Chris West’s interpretation, which for me ticks all the boxes, internally and externally. We have been mindful of its setting and the expected target cost throughout. I had promised a final costing for this report; in this I am a little short of the crease and whilst I could have attempted a despairing lunge I felt it better to get the vision as sharp and crystal clear as possible. At this moment detailed technical drawings are being prepared which will then be passed over to John Aspinall for costings. Legacy seems an over-used word at present. I remain still aware though this

building – if made flesh – will be exactly that: a legacy from our generation that enjoyed the previous Pavilion yet allowed it to fall into near-dereliction. I hope that together we can deliver to the next generation something that they and the wider community in turn can be proud of and – most importantly – use. Thank you to all the benefactors to date: your contributions will be recognised at a later point.We will of course be delighted to welcome any new ones. CALL TO ACTION Contributions to the Pavilion appeal may be made online at Cheques, payable to King James’s School Foundation, may be sent to Keith Crawshaw (address on back cover) marked ‘Call to Action’.



Felix Aylmer


Star of stage, film and television


G E R A L D H I N CH L I FF E (1933 - 19 40)

We salute Old Almondburian SIR FELIX AYLMER, one of the finest and most versatile English character actors of his generation

N the 1930s at Almondbury

of this School. His name is Felix Aylmer Jones. How many of you have heard of Grammar School, morning him?” assembly was held in the ‘Big’ (now the School library). In those days it Not a single hand went up. “He is better known today as Felix Aylmer, consisted of two classrooms divided by a a famous actor on stage and in films. partition.Each morning the partition was How many of you have heard of him?” drawn back and the rank and file stood A prefect sheepishly put his hand up. behind the desks to await the arrival of the headmaster, Taylor Dyson. In he But I had heard of him too, though I was would come, gown flowing behind him, too shy to own up. I had seen him in a to take up his position on the platform film. The Gaffer talked of seeing him perbehind the ancient desk. After our attempts to sing a hymn in form in a play at the Coliseum in London. We awaited his harmony there would be explanation of how and a dramatic pause before when Felix had been a the Gaffer would deliver pupil at the School. And his customary oration. there I will take up the One morning, after hastory. ranguing us about the Felix Aylmer Jones dire consequences of was born on 21st Februsmoking behind the outary 1889. His father was door toilets, there was a Welsh, as were most of pause before he quoted his family connections. the line: He was a military man “Let us now praise faELL known to every Old and in later days he mous men… Almondburian as the would be involved in the On this occasion it School’s official historian, Boer War. Felix’s godfawas not about Disraeli or Gerald Hinchliffe graduated in 1943 with an Honours ther was none other than Lloyd George but about degree in English from the a certain Leonard Grifsomeone closer to home. University of Leeds He was fiths, destined to become “…My famous man formerly Senior Lecturer in headmaster of AlmondEducation at the University today is one of our own, of Nottingham. bury Grammar School in an eminent former pupil



1897. When he took up his appointment, Griffiths was accompanied by his wife and daughters – and also by Felix, at that time eight years of age. It was not uncommon in those days for boys to start their education in a small boarding school before going on to a larger public school. Whilst the family lived in the school house, Felix was with all his fellow boarders in what we nowadays know as Dorm 4. When I was writing the History of King James’s Grammar School I visited the retired village general practitioner Dr Maffin and had several interesting conversations with him. Maffin had the distinction of having been a pupil in the days of Rev Francis Marshall and subsequently Leonard Griffiths. He was amongst an elite group which Griffiths ‘inherited’ from Marshall. Maffin, several of whom went on to Oxford and Cambridge. Maffin himself went to the medical school of Leeds University. Maffin remembered Felix as a tall boy, keen on cricket and a fearsome fast bowler at the age of 10. The deputy headmaster, Alfred Baker, often played for the village cricket team and would occasionally take Felix with him to make up the numbers. Felix


later wrote of an occasion when the opposing team had a particularly fearsome bowler. “… [The game] was written off in advance owing to the other side’s possession of someone whom nobody could play. At the last moment we heard that we had been reprieved by the summoning of the dreaded adversary to make his debut forYorkshire. His name was Wilfred Rhodes!” Maffin, like Felix, remembered experiences in the old science laboratory when the boys had to cope with fumes in their pursuit of scientific knowledge (see page 206 of school history). The lab had been built in 1874 and was reputed to be one of the earliest in the country; it is a pity that it was not preserved. Maffin said that Felix was popular and very much ‘one of the boys’. Mrs Griffiths kept an eye on him. He did not recall Felix displaying any dramatic talent but, he said, “playacting was not on the curriculum!” When Griffiths left the School at Christmas 1900, Felix also left. He continued his education at Mag-

Leonard Griffiths, his wife and daughters with the entire School around 1899. Felix Aylmer (ringed) is thought to be on Mrs Griffiths’ left.

rence Olivier in Hamlet (1948) when he played the part of Polonius. He was the Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1964 film Becket, and he played as an old man Merlin in Knights of the Round Table (1953). I also remember seeing him in an adaptation of Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara (1941). Felix was the perfect character actor, with a distinctive presence; tall and with an expressive face, he compelled attention. In most of his roles, he had a relaxed, quiet dignity. Bishops, headmasters, politicians, judges – these were all well within his grasp. His mannerisms were unique, and he had a smile which could convey every emotion from affection to menace. His films still appear

dalen College School and thence to Exeter College, Oxford. There he joined the university dramatic society. He found he had an aptitude for acting and after his graduation he was trained by the Victorian actress and director Rosina Filippi. After some time in repertory he made his first West End appearance, at the Coliseum, in 1911. He dropped the surname Jones in favour of the more distinctive stage name ‘Felix Aylmer’. It heralded a stage career of some 50 years, all the more remarkable because it paralleled his active work in films. In a screen career of over 60 years he appeared in well over 100 films, major and minor. He ranked with the best. He played parts in several Shakespearean films, notably starring with LauFelix Aylmer as the Archbishop of Canterbury in Laurence Olivier’s production of Henry V in 1944.Aylmer appeared in an astonishing 139 films in a career spanning 63 years.


Ten things you may not know about Felix

 One of his brothers was Air Chief Marshal Sir John Whitworth-Jones, senior RAF commander during World War II.


took degrees in mathematical moderations and physics whilst at Oxford University.

 He met his wife Cecily when playing Prospero to her Miranda in The Tempest.  He was president of the actors’ union Equity from 1950 to 1969.  Although he appeared in many Shakespearean productions, he was not very keen on Shakespeare and preferred George Bernard Shaw.

 One of his favourite hobbies was composing limericks and clerihews for newspaper competitions.


wrote a book Dickens Incognito (1959) which, amongst other revelations, suggested for the first time that Dickens had had an affair with the actress Ellen Ternan.

He always claimed that film acting, under the ‘pitiless eye of the camera’ was much more demanding than appearing on stage.

He spent some time in Germany as a student and later translated a number of plays from German.

He achieved television fame through the successful comedy series Oh Brother! with Derek Nimmo.

on television today: be sure to watch out for them. Returning to Taylor Dyson’s morning assembly, Felix told us of the day in 1931 when he returned to the School he had left over 30 years previously. It was a ‘homecoming’ and he was particularly delighted when he was taken in Dorm 4, his home for three years. He was amazed how little had changed. He had lunch in the old school house with Taylor Dyson and his wife and said he had a great sense of belonging. I met Felix once at a dinner in London. I went with an ‘influential friend’.When the occasion was concluded (as indeed Felix was on the point of leaving), my friend introduced me to him as ‘a fellow


Almondburian’. He was taken aback for a moment but then, with his trademark wry smile he said, “But not, I think, at the same time!” We laughed. He said that someone had sent him a copy of the School history and he had found it interesting. As he was about to go, I plucked up courage and said, “I’ve always been a fan of yours and I’m particularly pleased that we share the same birthday date.” He chuckled “Ah, a belated twin!” and we all laughed again.We shook hands and away Felix went into the mists of time: he had made my day.

Felix Aylmer Jones was awarded the OBE in 1950 and was knighted in 1965. He died on 2nd September 1979 at the age of 90.



HE ‘wettest British summer on record’ has affected our cricket on a grand scale. Abandoned matches, delayed starts and truncated games have all resulted from the adverse weather conditions. In fact, it was Saturday, 5th May – the third fixture – before the first game got underway. However, Arkenley, even on a wet day, always has that special appeal so that even though the start of a game may be in doubt because of the weather, one is always lured to the ground to savour its location and memories. A glance at the final league tables for 2012 shows that the First Eleven, whilst never threatening to achieve promotion, nevertheless, finished in a ‘comfortable’ mid-table position in Section A. The Second Eleven, after a stuttering start, continue to consolidate their perennial position in Section E. Both teams, with a resurgence in form in the latter part of the season were in a good position to lift the ‘George Mear’ Trophy, awarded to


FINAL LEAGUE TABLES 2012 First Eleven: Section A SECTION A

Mount (Champions)

Old Almondburians’ CC 1st XI 6th)


20 20


11 6

Second Eleven: Section E SECTION E

Upperthong (Champions)

Old Almondburians’ CC 2nd XI (9th)


20 20


11 5













The First Eleven narrowly missed winning the ‘George Mear’Trophy, with twenty six points from their last six games; whilst the Second Eleven gained twenty four points. The winners, from Section C, were Denby with thirty six points.

the team gaining the most points over the last six games. The younger members of the ‘squad’ have contributed greatly to this situation. Our new, very young and inexperienced First Eleven captain and vice-captain, ‘Cola’ (see The Almondburian, March 2012) and Sam, have distinguished


FIRST ELEVEN Back row, left to right: ‘Chammy’, S Slack, S Lyons, T Taylor, M Garside, W Atkins Front row: J Mansell, A Pearson, ‘Cola’ (captain), S Atkins, M Brook

SECOND ELEVEN Back row, left to right: J Clutterbrook, R Taylor, J Headey, S Sykes, A Bottomley, ‘Cyril’ (umpire), G Brady (scorer)

Front row: P Smith, C Jones, R Rainsforth, R Wimpenny, B Ellam, G Brady, C Brady (captain)

themselves by their exuberant leadership and we look forward next season to further success under their guidance. The Second Eleven captain and vice-captain, Carl Brady and Stuart Sykes, much more experienced than their senior counterparts, are to be highly commended for resurrecting their team after an early season hiccup, which almost saw the demise of the team. In late May they were languishing at the bottom of their league, due to a combination of bad weather and unavailability of players, leading to points deductions with the


consequence of a grand total of minus two points! Most of the younger players have made good progress, which augurs well for the First Eleven in the future. In particular, Jack Ingham has benefited from his pre-season coaching experience at Lord’s, supported by the Harry Taylor Trust. PRESENTATION EVENING Saturday, 2nd March, 2013

Venue: Lockwood Park Booking:Tim Taylor (




STONISHINGLY, despite the notoriously damp nature of this )summer, the Tennis Section lost only two Thursday evenings to rain this season; both of these were during term-time and so we were able to retreat into the sports hall to play badminton instead. Perhaps inspired by the exploits of Andy Murray, Laura Robson and Jonny Marray this summer, nine people turned out to play this year compared to a disappointing six last summer. Consequently, the 2012 season can probably be regarded as something of a success and much enjoyable tennis was played. It has long been a feature of Almondburian tennis that there are a remarkable number of deuce games, especially games where your scribe is serving at 40-0. As a result, this season saw the introduction of some new scoring terms, such as ‘deuce point’, ‘two deuce points’ or even ‘three deuce points’ (when the aforementioned scribe is serving at 40-0!) Of course, such games don’t just go to one deuce; they often go to four, five, six, or even more deuces. Eventually, of course, Some of the 2012 Old Almondburians’Tennis Squad on court at towards the end of the second or the school. third set (depending on the available Back row, left to right: David Parry, Ron Jones, Neil Gledhill row, left to right: Andrew Haigh, Annabel Haigh light – although there is often very Front Not present: Ian Daffern, Darren Mablethorpe, Hazel Pacuriblittle available light by this stage) we Parry, Alan Murray reach ‘pub point’ and the resistance Inset: Andy Murray and Laura Robson having just received their Olympic medals on Centre Court at Wimbledon. Will the of the trailing pair dwindles as the Almondburians’Tennis Section produce an Olympic medallist one day? Conservative Club beckons. 30




Jack Mulhall who will be a real threat on the left and Danny Mazarek who is showing some promise up front. It’s great to see young Almondburians coming through. Two new sponsors have been secured and the finances are healthy and sufficient to prop up a small South American economy (or Greece if you would prefer to keep the money closer to home). Training is now on Tuesday evenings 7.30 to 9.00 pm outside (under floodlights) on the new 3G pitch at Mirfield Grammar School.

OT a massive amount to report because at the time of writing the new season is but a twinkle in our eyes. The important thing to report is that we now have two teams up and running, and I still get a kick out of filling in a match report and adding the detail ‘Almondburians’ Reserve XI’. (But not as much as when I added Almondburians’ Thirds and Fourths in the past...; who knows what the future will bring?). The atmosphere in the club is very positive with two new Almondburians playing regularly:

Golf: Gothard Cup

Simon Russell

For the first time since the revival of the Gothard Cup in 2002 this year’s event had to be cancelled due to the flooded course at our usual home,Woodsome Hall Golf Club. Originally scheduled for 22nd June, we had 19 confirmed players (plus the wonderful catering team at Woodsome) who had to be contacted at the last minute. Rearranging has proved impossible due to the fact that so many of our supporters still work fulltime and in this tough economic climate find it hard to take time from work.Their preference of late afternoon starts becomes very difficult once we are past July so sadly there will be a gap on the trophy this year. It really has been a miserable summer and one can only hope that next year will have no problems. 31




HE 2011-12 badminton season was not a success.Attendance was low and we raised insufficient funds to pay for the hire of the courts, which resulted in those who did play last season being surcharged 60p per evening played in order that we could settle our debts. As a consequence, we have been forced to increase the weekly fee, which covers the hire of the sports hall, shuttlecocks and showers, to £6.00 per evening this season. Having received assurances that everyone was keen to continue to play, is happy to pay the extra pound per week and would try to attend more frequently, the 2012-13 badminton season started on Thursday, 6th September with just four people playing! Fortunately, the following week Matthew Booth, a former regular player who now lives in Cambodia, where he owns the Ocean Walk Inn, declared his intention to return to the United Kingdom and make a reappearance at badminton. Such is Matthew’s popularity that players whom we haven’t seen for months flocked from far and wide to the school sports hall, just for the privilege of playing

Old Almondburians’ Badminton Section players on court in the school sports hall. Left to right: Craig Watts, Matthew Booth (without shin pads), Emily Comer, David Parry, Hazel Pacurib-Parry, Martyn Hicks, Neil Gledhill, Andrew Haigh

with Matthew once again. The only disappointment was that he didn’t play in shin pads, as he often used to! It was good to see Matthew again, but his is only a flying visit and, after one more appearance, he will be returning to Cambodia. Therefore, your Badminton Section needs YOU!We require only a couple more regular players to remain solvent. Or, indeed, just for those who do play to play two or three evenings more per season.We play in the school sports hall on Thursday evenings during term-time, from 7.30 p.m. until 9.30 p.m., until the season ends on Thursday, 23rd May. So, why not come along and join us? However, please note that, due to school events or examinations, there are two dates during term-time next year on which there will be no badminton: Thursday, 10th January, 2013, and Thursday, 28th February, 2013


‘Cupid’: teacher, producer, printer


RO G E R D OW LING (1952-1959)

The Editor of The Almondburian shares some memories of former English master and printing enthusiast Albert Makinson who died in May 2012

took a keen interest in The Almondburian and not surprisingly his first concern was the quality of the printing. For years, the magazine had been printed by the longestablished Holmfirth printer Eli Collins and Co, but it has to be said that the print quality was somewhat variable: occasionally, the print was so grey that one began to imagine that the cost of printing ink was becoming an excessive burden on the company. The typography was also somewhat dated, and Albert set to work to freshen up the magazine and appoint a new printer. The fruits of his labour appeared from the Spring 1958 issue (no 132), impeccably printed with new typefaces throughout by the printers of The Huddersfield Examiner, J Woodhead & Sons. The same issue also heralded another subtle change. The

OR many, the name of Albert Makinson – invariably known as ‘Cupid’ on account of his ‘arrow’ tie-pin – will be synonymous with that of the Printing Society which he set up in 1957. It was located in a small room just off the corridor leading to the music room and we had a single press: an Adana 8 x 5. As it happens, I was the first Secretary of the Society, and I reported in The Almondburian that the main job that year was the printing of addressed notepaper ordered at the 1957 School Fair. The Printing Society became a flourishing enterprise, and my successor R E Leake proudly reported later in the year that 269 jobs had been completed, involving more than 39,000 impressions. Albert always


The Printing Society was a thriving group for many years, eventually acquiring a second press

As junior English master, it was only to be expected that Albert would throw himself energetically into the traditional annual school plays in the Spring term. The main producer of these plays was the acerbic senior English master, Frank Anderson, but Albert was always ready to offer his ideas even if they did not always find favour. I recall the production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night in 1957 in which I – in the absence of any other volunteers – was invited to play the part of Duke Orsino. One day, Albert came to rehearsals with the joyous news that he had identified the perfect piece of

school crest on the cover had traditionally carried the words: ‘YE GRAMMAR SCHOLE OF KINGE JAMES IN ALLMONBURY’. Albert believed that these words were incorrect (see panel), and as I was editor of The Almondburian at the time he asked me to re-letter the crest with the words: ‘THE FREE GRAM'AR SCHOLE OF KINGE JAMES IN ALMONBURY’, wording that has been retained to the present day.

A thorny problem for ye early printers


LBERT’S objection to ‘ye’ was that it is a word with no legitimate place in the English language, other than as an archaic plural of ‘thou’. Its origin lies in a curious and nowadays little-known typographic character called a ‘thorn’ (þ). In Old English, the thorn was used to represent the sound ‘th’, so that a scribe would often represent the word ‘the’ as ‘þe’. Over time, the shape of the thorn gradually degenerated into a character looking rather like a present-day ‘y’. When printing took over from handwritten manuscripts in the 15th century, many fonts were imported from Germany and Italy where the thorn was unknown. Printers therefore had to resort to using a ‘y’ to represent the thorn, so that ‘the’ often became ‘ye’ or ‘ye’. Albert also made the point that, in any case, the scribe who prepared the School charter (below) used neither the word ‘þe ’ nor its variant ‘ye’: he preferred the full ‘the’. [However, Albert failed to notice that the scribe also referred to the ‘king’ (not the ‘kinge’), an inconsistency that remains uncorrected in the present crest]. Oddly enough, the thorn is nowadays again readily available, thanks to the ubiquitous computer. It is an essential character in the Icelandic alphabet and can be found – if you know where to look – in most good international font sets.


music to play during my opening soliloquy If music be the food of love…: the opening bars of the second movement of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. According to Albert, the piece even had a ‘dying fall’ at just the right moment, and there was no doubt, to Albert’s ears at least, that at this point the music was no longer ‘so sweet now as it was before’. To demonstrate the point, he had brought along a gramophone record (remember those?) and I was required to deliver my lines repeatedly to Mozart’s accompaniment while the two producers listened carefully. Actually, it worked quite well; but Frank was not impressed, pointing out not unreasonably that Eine Kleine Nachtmusik was composed nearly 200 years after Shakespeare wrote Twelfth Night and was such a well-known work that the

incongruity would be apparent to the audience. A crestfallen Albert retired to lick his wounds. Undaunted, he went on to produce his own school plays while continuing to assist with Frank Anderson’s annual epics. In 1958, he produced James Bridie’s Tobias and the Angel with P Swinden in the title role. The following year, it was A A Milnes’ The Man in the Bowler Hat, a curtain-raiser to Frank Anderson’s Alice in Wonderland. In 1960, Albert produced Richard III with another masterly performance from P Swinden. Frank Anderson took the lead again in 1961 with an impressive production of Caesar and Cleopatra, with E Royle and D M Ward in the title roles and Albert providing ‘able assistance in all respects’.

Obituary: page 39

Albert’s production of Tobias and the Angel in 1958 was well received. Left to right: H E Taylor, P M Westerby, R I Mallinson, C G Mallinson (seated), W M Thornton (recumbent), R N Sykes, P Swinden, J Dobson




YOU W RITE … I too went to St Bede’s Grammar School

From Peter Burns (1945-1948)

MUCH enjoyed the July issue. Like nmany other subscribers, I always felt that Fred Hudson was a teacher and manager of boys par excellence. I was bemused to read that he started his career at St. Bede’s Grammar School in Bradford, for I spent my first term there also, but never dreamed that Soapy had beaten me to it. Cirencester, Gloucestershire


St. Bede’s Grammar School opened on 12th June 1900, in Drewton Street, Bradford. and moved to its present site at Heaton Hall in 1919. Although it has retained its name, it has been a comprehensive school since 1960. Former pupils include the novelist John Braine (whom Fred Hudson may well have taught) and the chief executive of The Co-operative Group Peter Marks. (Ed)

Getting into a lather about ‘Soapy’

From Barry Livesey (1953-1961)

)HILST I enjoyed reading the various articles on Fred Hudson it did occur to me that the vast proportion of younger members (like me, aged 70) will wonder why exactly he was called ‘Soapy’. “Something to do with Hudson’s Soap” has been passed down over the years and people nodded knowingly when told this; but the reality is that Hudson’s Soap Flakes were withdrawn from the market in 1935. Hudson’s didn’t make soap. They bought in soap and turned it into dry soap flakes at a factory in Liverpool. Shefford, Bedfordshire

Barry Livesey is quite correct: although the flakes and powder were marketed as ‘Hudson’s Soap’, Robert Spear Hudson bought his raw


material from a company in Widnes. In 1908 he sold the business to Lever Brothers, who manufactured the soap flakes at their Crosfield factory inWarrington. Although Lever Brothers (now Unilever) withdrew the widely advertised Hudson’s Soap in 1935, the name would still have been very familar to the pupils at the School at that time. This would suggest that the nickname ‘Soapy' was coined very soon after his arrival.

Bob Goldsmith joined AGS in the same year as Fred Hudson and reports that the nickname was in use by September 1936. It clearly stuck and from that point on was handed on from generation to generation, as with ‘Isaiah’ Bareham, ‘Foz’ Ash, ‘Dusty’ Binns, ‘Teak’ Akroyd and the rest. Incidentally, a variant of Hudson’s Soap is now available again on the market. In 2007,


an enterprising chap in Devon called Hudson left the Royal Navy (where, needless to say, he was known as ‘Soapy’) and started making soap for his wife who had a particularly delicate skin. It was so successful that he set up a company to sell the soap more widely. Mindful that Unilever no doubt still retained the trade mark ‘Hudson’s Soap’ he prudently markets his product as ‘Hudson Soaps’. (Ed)

‘Soapy’ commended our nature project

From Dr Wallace Brown (1944-1949)

suggested a nature project, invited me to join in, and Mr Hudson gave us enthusiastic support and guidance. We picked a narrow strip of land, a short walk from school, that had trees, a bit of meadow, a stream and a pond. We aimed and largely succeeded, I think, in making a complete inventory of all the flora and fauna in the strip. We listed the flowers, the grasses, the fungi, the birds, the butterflies, the frogs, the fish (the only time I successfully ‘tickled’ trout) – whatever we could find. We wrote a substantial report, which we proudly presented to Soapy. With his praise ringing in our ears we walked away to our summer holidays and the rest of our lives. Keith, of course, ended up as a distinguished biology professor. Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

THOROUGHLY enjoyed the latest edition of the magazine. The Fred Hudson material was a joy. I particularly relate to Soapy’s immediate postwar years at KJGS; he must have arrived about a year after I did. He remains my favourite and most remembered master from a gallery of the extremely memorable. Nice that I later retraced some of his RAF steps in Alberta and the American west coast, including the obligatory Hollywood tour. My fondest memory concerns the period in 1949 when, having finished writing O-level examinations, we fifth formers were obliged to remain at school for maybe three weeks, with nothing to do. We were invited to come up with projects. My great pal Keith Vickerman


Let’s have a buffet dinner at the School

From Christopher Fry (1957-1964) OR several years we have heard talk of the annual dinner being shifted back to its original venue at the school but nothing ever seems to happen. Obviously the size of the gathering


prompted the move to the Galpharm stadium but what has been lost are the surroundings which many would regard as equally important as the company of people.

Whilst it would not be acceptable to downsize the number of people attending, could not the formality of the occasion be reduced? Why, for instance, could we not have a buffet dinner rather

than a formal three-course dinner served by waiters/waitresses? This might also serve to counteract the increasing price of the dinner. Food for thought? Coventry,West Midlands

The OAS Executive Committee discussed Christopher’s suggestion in some detail at its meeting on 3rd September. In fact, similar suggestions have been made from time to time in the past and we do understand the disappointment that some members feel about the Annual Dinner no longer being held in the School.The problem, however, is that times have changed and there are significant difficulties in terms of security, cleaning and catering that can erode any apparent financial benefits from returning to the School.There is also the question of surroundings: at the end of the day, a school hall is a school hall, and there may be many who, having enjoyed the ambience available to us at the Galpharm Stadium (now the John Smith’s Stadium), would now find the school hall a less attractive meeting place. A possible halfway house which the Committee could explore would be to make the School available for guided visits on the afternoon of the Annual Dinner so that those wishing to look around could do so before adjourning to the John Smith’s Stadium for Dinner in the evening. We would welcome YOUR views, either by writing to The Almondburian or by emailing us at PRIZE SPONSORSHIP

Members of the Old Almondburians’ Society are noted for their generosity and have lent their names to many prizes awarded each year at the School’s annual Presentation Evening.

The School would welcome sponsorship of the following prizes at this year’s Presentation Evening on 13th November:

Prize for Humanities

Year 10 Work Experience

Performing Arts The value of the prizes is typically in the region of £15 to £30 but this is entirely flexible.

If you would like to sponsor one of these prizes, please contact Joanne Hodgson, Business Support Officer, King James’s School, St Helen’s Gate, Almondbury, Huddersfield HD4 6SG.You can email her at or ring her on 01484 412990, ext 217. 38 33



ALBERT MAKINSON (Staff 1953-1962)

English master who produced many school plays and founded the Printing Society Albert Makinson died on 27th May 2012 after a long and difficult illness. Born in Accrington, his family moved a few years later to Mere Brow near Southport. He subsequently attended Hutton Grammar School where in due course he became Head Boy. A triple graduate of Jesus College, Cambridge in English, French and History, Albert arrived at King James’s Grammar School in 1953: an auspicious period that also saw the arrival of Denis Hockley (mathematics), Jim Toomey (Latin), Chris Perraton (biology) and Bill Rennison (history). A teacher who ‘liked to be liked’, Albert soon acquired the nickname ‘Cupid’ on account of his ‘arrow’ tie-pin, a present from his Grandmother which he continued to wear throughout his academic career. Albert threw himself into school life, producing numerous plays (some in partnership with Frank Anderson). Having been taught how to print by his father, he set up the Printing Society in 1957, and very soon the Society was producing a vast range of tickets, programmes and headed notepaper for its appreciative customers. Albert left King James’s in 1962 for a Head of Department post at Bolton Boys’ Grammar School and during his time there he moved back to his home town of Southport. During the 1960s he began to have articles published – mainly in the History Today magazine – and many of these were the subject of broadcasts on BBC Radio. Albert then became a college lecturer at the teacher training college C F Mott at Prescott where he became a close friend of Alan Durband (author of the study guides Shakespeare Made Easy and co-founder of the Everyman Theatre). The college later be39

came part of Liverpool Polytechnic which in turn became Liverpool John Moores University. He married Maureen, Head of Department at a girls’ grammar school in Liverpool, in 1982 and a year later their daughter Sarah was born. Albert took early retirement and thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of life as a family man. The family toured the UK and Europe for several weeks every year in their caravan and later in their motorhome, and it was natural that Albert should start writing articles on a regular basis for the relevant magazines. Albert and Maureen both continued with that over the years until Albert became too ill to travel. Albert maintained close links with Hutton Grammar School, and later became Head of Governors, and then President of the Old Huttonian Association. Former teaching colleague Jim Toomey writes: Albert’s teaching was ‘different’, I would say, in what was a very traditional boys’ grammar school. His classes clearly enjoyed their lessons, which must have come as a breath of friendly fresh air, and the whole school enjoyed the dramatic productions in which he played a major part. As a colleague, I remember his smiling, rather jolly, personality and his general good nature; these extended to lifts in his treasured Morris Minor which was the envy of us all.

‘Cupid’: Teacher, Producer, Printer: page 33.

GORDON TEAL (1936-1943)

Civil Engineer who specialised in major water projects around the north of England Gordon Teal died on 5th December 2011. He and I met in 1936 as new pupils at AGS. We found ourselves allocated to Form 1a and were together until we left the school seven years later. He lived at 23, Somerset Road and caught the trolley bus to Almondbury just outside his front door. The next stop was the Rookery and I boarded the bus there together with Bill Darby. So the three of us walked down St Helen’s Gate and back up again at the end of the day. It was natural that we became good friends. Gordon’s nickname was Claud – after the detective Claud Eustace Teal of the Leslie Charteris Saint stories. I can never remember referring to him other than Claud. His father was a professional singer, a tenor, who also taught the finer points of singing from the house where he 40

lived. He was well respected but had no success with tutoring his son. However Gordon did take part in the last Gilbert & Sullivan opera before the war brought the run of the operas to an end. He played the silent part of the executioner in TheYeoman of the Guard. He was reasonably tall and well built so fitted the part well; I can still see him standing there, blindfolded, with the great axe in his hands. I also played a part in the opera, not as a singer but as one of the four guards standing around Gordon who were there to ensure the doomed man did not escape. Gordon was a very happy and pleasant person to be with. He was also very forgiving. When we were in the lower sixth form he introduced me to his then girl friend. About a month later she became my girl friend and seven years later we were married. For that I will always be eternally grateful to him and I do not remember any animosity towards me from Gordon. During his school days his big hobby was model making. He must have been a major contributor to the profits of Airfix by the number of model aeroplanes he had at home. He also made a most impressive model landscape on which he constructed buildings, a river, roads and bridges. It was at least 10 feet square and took up a large corner of their living room. With hindsight we should have known it was his destiny to become a Civil Engineer We owed much to the teaching of Mr. Burn who became a fatherly figure in the sixth form and there is no question that maths was our strongest subject. Gordon, Bill Darby and I had excellent results in Maths A levels and all three were awarded State Bursaries.We then found ourselves studying at Leeds University - Gordon taking Civil Engineering, Bill taking Mechanical Engineering and myself Physics & Maths. On graduating, National Service was still in force and one was directed either into the army or into industry or to become a Bevin Boy down the mines. Bill Darby and I were sent into industry whilst Gordon found himself in the REME (Royal Mechanical and Electrical Engineers). Because he had gained Certificate A in the Leeds University Training Corps he immediately went to OCTU and was commissioned a short time later. He attained the rank of Captain and used his Civil Engineering knowledge to supervise the construction of roads and bridges on the Indian North West Frontier. He was demobilised in 1947 and his first job was to be involved in the construction of the first runway at Heathrow. In 1949 he married Mary, the daughter of his father’s Northern Irish friend. He then came back to his native Yorkshire to supervise the building of Blackstone Edge reservoir and from then on he seemed to have a passion for water. His next venture was the building of a tunnel in Clitheroe which was to be used to feed water from the Lake District into Manchester. Following that he worked for Tees Valley Water board 41 33

building a dam near Barnard Castle. Finally he settled in a position with theYorkshire Water and took up residence in Adel. He remained with them until he took early retirement in 1983. There were a couple of reunions in Huddersfield with old school friends in the nineties culminating with our big 70 year reunion in 2006 and we often spoke on the telephone bringing back fond memories of our time at the old school. Gordon is one of many, including myself, who have so much to be grateful for the education and upbringing we had at AGS which underpinned so many successful careers. Gordon was cremated at Lawnswood on the 12th December 2011 and I would like to think he was remembering the military training he had with Leeds UniversityTraining Corps at the University playing fields just opposite. Our deepest sympathy is extended to his wife Mary and to his family. Ron Edwards .


Former principal of Greenhead College who went on to set up the ‘Alps’ consultancy We are sorry to report the death of Kevin Conway on 28th August at the age of 65. Dr Conway was brought up in Beragh in Northern Ireland. Schooled by the Christian Brothers, he went on to gain a first class honours degree in physics at Queens University, Belfast. He followed this with a PhD at Queens before taking up an appointment in Belgium at the British School of Brussels. After eight years, he moved back to the UK to take up posts in Broadstairs and Bristol. He moved to Greenhead College in 1987. His success at Greenhead was rooted in his faith, creating a culture in which every student and member of staff felt valued and nurtured. He was described by many as ‘a wonderful listener’ and ‘a magician’. After retirement from Greenhead, Dr Conway set up an educational consultancy ‘Alps’ to spread the good practice he had developed at the college. Based at the Media Centre in Huddersfield, it now has some 20 staff. Dr Conway was honoured many times for his work in education, including a CBE and a degree from the University of Huddersfield. He was married to Mary for 42 years and the couple have four children. 42 33

Now on sale

All who remember Harry Taylor will enjoy this new book about the School’s respected Headmaster from 1951 to 1973. A well-known Almondbury figure, he was also a regular reader at All Hallows’ Church, the transcriber of the local parish registers, and one of the authors of a respected history of Almondbury. He played cricket for Almondbury Casuals, and earned a reputation throughout Huddersfield as a witty and entertaining after dinner speaker. Morning Assembly gives a fascinating and often humorous account of Harry Taylor’s life and includes, in facsimile form, 100 prayers – ancient and modern – which he assembled over the years for use in School assemblies.

Get your copy NOW!

Copies of Morning Assembly cost just £10 plus £1.30

pp*. Please send your cheque, payable to the Old

Almondburians’ Society, to Andrew Haigh,

R D Haigh & Co, Oakhill Road, Brighouse, West

Yorkshire HD6 1SN. Alternatively, you can order on

line at or through any good bookshop.

*in UK. Mainland Europe: £4.25; Rest of World: £6.75 33

Chairman NICK BRIGGS 17 Fair Street, Huddersfield,Yorkshire HD1 3QB Tel: 01484 305734 Mobile: 07595 175835 Email: Secretary ANDREW HAIGH 2 Arkenley Lane, Almondbury HD4 6SQ Tel: 01484 432105 Email:

Treasurer KEITH CRAWSHAW 5 Benomley Drive, Almondbury HD5 8LX Tel: 01484 533658 Email:

Media Editor ROGER DOWLING Editorial address: Orchard House, Oughtrington Lane, Lymm, Cheshire WA13 0RD Tel: 01925 756390 Email: Archivist NICH BRIGGS Tel: 07771 865330 Email: Website:


The Almondburian is distributed to OAS members free of charge. Price to non-members: ÂŁ3.00

The Almondburian: November 2012  

The magazine of the Old Almondburians' Society