John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Second year at Fleetwood Grammar School

Early Days

Thursday 6th September 1962
1. It was a disappointment to me, on starting the FIRST year at Fleetwood Grammar School in September 1961, that our form-room and many of our lessons were not in the school at all, but in hired rooms down the road from there.[1] So, the following September, starting the second year in the school itself made me feel that I had finally “arrived”.
 The actual date of our return to school, according to The Georgian of the Grammar School Fleetwood, No.62, Spring Term 1963, page 3, was “September 6”, a Thursday:
Sept. 6—Beginning of Christmas Term. 800 pupils.
 It had been put to me by my parents that, although I had come top of the class nearly every year at the Primary School, I shouldn’t expect the same at the Grammar School, because there would be others there who had come top of
THEIR class. Despite being thus prepared for the worst, I found myself in Form 2A, which was the class for the pupils who had gained the best exam results in the first year. (The four classes, 1A, 1B, 1C and 1D, into which we had been divided in the first year, weren’t “streamed” according to ability — supposedly: but it raised a few of our eyebrows to notice how many from my class, 1A, had gone on to 2A!)
[1] See Early days at Fleetwood Grammar School, par.4 onwards.
Class photo
 2. Not long after the start of that school year, we were ushered outside to have a class photograph taken. (The location looks like the outside of the Physics or Chemistry Laboratory in the boys’ playground.)

Click on the photo for larger views. Stanley Dickinson (back, left) still has the short trousers that he wore in the first year. David Doyle (back, right) is now wearing long trousers. I was in short trousers all that term; I got my first pair of long trousers at Christmas-time.

David Jones, with whom I had become friendly in the first year — though he’d not been in my form, 1A — was not in my form, 2A, either. He and his classmates had their photo taken around the same time that we did.

David Jones is in the centre of the back row. To his right (left as we look at the photo) is Peter Gooding, with whom I was not yet acquainted. The form teacher is Mr. David H. Smith.

The form room
 3. Our form room (“F” in the plan, below, and coloured yellow) was adjacent to the hall; the wall it shared with the hall was largely taken up with a wall-mounted blackboard, but to the right of that there was a door which led via a few steps to the back of the stage. Thus, during theatrical productions, our room could be used as a props room or changing room.
 It was in this room that we had had Physics lessons the previous year;
[2] indeed, just in front of the blackboard there was a long workbench equipped at one end with a sink and a tall gooseneck tap. Most classrooms would have a table at the front for the teacher to sit at, but this one, as I say, had a bench, suitable for conducting laboratory-style demonstrations and experiments. The usefulness of the room for Chemistry was limited, though, because it was not equipped with a fume cupboard.

CL = Chemistry Lab
PL = Physics Lab
F = Our form room
[2] See Early Days at Fleetwood Grammar School, par.39.
 4. The room was furnished with double desks. If the full class complement is shown in the photo, above, there could have been four rows and four columns of desks, each seating two persons; but perhaps there were more. My desk was on the front row and the right column, against the windowed corridor wall, just behind the entrance door. Next to me sat David Doyle: “Doyly”, I called him, following the practice of others; he, however, called me “Cooper”, not “Coops”.

 5. Our form teacher, who marked the attendance register at the start of the day, and did various other class-related things, was Mr. Price, who latterly had taken us for Physics in that room in the first year.[3] I think it was he who took us for Physics again in that second year.
 Although for the first year I have quite clear memories of which teacher taught us which subject, my memories for the second and subsequent years are vague.
 Mrs. Salmon continued to teach History, I do remember that — and did so till 1965 when I took, and in the case of History failed, O-level.
 I remember that a Mr. Dawson took us for English, because of a couple of incidents that I shall relate elsewhere.
[4] He was, in fact, new to the school this year, for I notice in The Georgian, on the same page as that from which I have already quoted:
A cordial welcome is offered to Mr. Dawson who has joined the Staff to teach English, and to Mr. Fletcher who is teaching Art.
 I only remember Mr. Fletcher vaguely — he was not as young a man as Mr. Dawson — but the mention of him does bring to mind that he taught us Art, perhaps that year. The art room was on the other side of the hall from our form room. All I remember about Mr. Fletcher is that he would stress, rather melodramatically, with a rolled “r”, that the only way to competence in Art was to “prrractice!” The thought occurs to me, on saying that word out loud to myself, that he may have been Welsh.
 I think it was the Head Master, Dr. Grieve, who took French. I remember that his accent sounded very “English”, and that he trilled his “r’s” rather than use, as one might expect, a uvular fricative.
 That year, we started Latin, and Mrs. Huss took us for that. “The sailors and farmers wounded the queen with arrows and spears in the island” — “Nautae agricolaeque reginam…”
[3] See Early Days at Fleetwood Grammar School, par.42.
[4] Mr. Dawson — English

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