Capturing memories of Whitcliffe’s glorious past

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WHITCLIFFE Mount Grammar School has recently celebrated its centenary which has provided many with an opportunity to look back over its past — as well as looking to its future as it begins a new chapter in September when it loses its sixth form.

Among those with fond memories is former teacher Peter Smith, who has kindly loaned us this photograph which was taken in 1953.

Annual events in the grammar school calendar were the staff and school matches against the 1st XI cricket and 1st XI hockey teams.

The photograph was passed on to Peter by a former ‘Old Boy’ who took it at half time as pieces of lemon were being sampled and spans 62 years of teaching service.

Percy Gingell is on the far left of the picture. He was appointed in 1925 and was head of English, becoming deputy head in 1958. In the 1960s he retired to Wooton Basset, becoming active in local societies and lived well until his 90s.

Peter is next to Percy and was appointed in 1950 was a geography teacher and was in charge of boys’ games from 1951-68. He became in charge of lower school arranging transfer from middle schools. He retired in 1987 and became active in local cricket at both local and junior levels, and was chairman of Mirfield Sports Council.

Next in the line-up is Arthur Bartle who was a biology teacher, having been appointed in 1951. He became head of science in 1973 and retired in 1985 to buy land and develop a market garden. However the deal fell through and be bought a pub at the bottom of Sutton Bank in North Yorkshire. He died in Helmsley in 2008.

Donald Phelps went to Whitcliffe Mount in 1947 and taught modern languages before becoming deputy head in 1961, and retiring in 1980. He continued as a Methodist local preacher and did some work for Bradford University as a liaison officer. He died in the mid 1990s.

Jack Patrick, who was appointed in 1948, taught boys’ handicraft and was also musically gifted. He retired in 1975 and was an organised at Buttershaw Church. He died in 1986.

History teacher Ken Horton, is next in the group. He was appointed in 1949 and, according to Peter, was a real ideas man. He will be remembered for his drama productions. In 1956 he moved to a large comprehensive in London and then on to Worcester College of Education as a lecturer. He died in 2001.

Esme Cooke, appointed in 1936 was a Latin and music teacher.

“She was very talented musically and could turn her hand to any aspect,” said Peter.

“She was the founder of house music competitions and was very involved in several musical productions. She decided to retire on hearing that Latin would disappear from the comprehensive curriculum in 1973 and she died in 1998.”

Pam Credland (Mrs Kelly) was a maths teacher, appointed in 1953. She left two years later to join her husband, a geologist, in the former Peru oil industry and now lives in the Poole/Bournemouth area.

Chemistry teacher John Ball, joined Whitcliffe in 1950 and left in the late 1950s to lecture at Bradford Technical College.

Girls’ PE teacher Betty Barr joined in 1948 and was on the staff until 1953 when she married.

The final member is staff is Sheila Naylor (Mrs Conder) who worked at Whitcliffe from 1951-61 when she left to have a family. Her husband was also a member of staff, from 1955. They moved to Paignton and she died in March this year.