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August 8th, 2017

Concerning photograph SGHS Form 6 - 1939 (annotated as 24/25). Sixth from left is BRENDA MILLS. The caption is marked as Barbara ?. Brenda taught me English at Whitby Grammar School, where she was Deputy Headmistress and Head of English. She died in 1972, aged 50 and is buried, next to her mother and father in Woodlands Cemetery, Scarborough. 

Yours Sincerely,

Dr. Michael A. Williams

May 25th, 2015

I am trying to find Jean Armitage as I was a friend of hers at Hull University. Of course, you can’t give me her details, I understand that, but could you confirm whether she was a member of staff? She would have taught science. She would have come to the school in about 1974.

Hoping you can confirm one way or another,

Barbara Wheeler
Née Allibone
 Can anyone help?- Of course we were no longer SGHS by 1974!

February 22nd, 2015
I am an ‘old girl’ of the SGHS and left in 1973 before the merger of it with the Boys High School. At one time I was a member of the association, but then cancelled my membership as I was having to care for my elderly parents and still working, and was unable to attend any of the AGM’s or other get-togethers. I notice that I am listed under ‘Missing Contacts’, and assume that it is because I joined at one time and then left? Just to let you know that I am still about and in Scarborough!
One of the main reasons for writing was that I notice under the section relating to the Glauert Memorial Mathematics prize, that it is listed as ‘Not Known’ for 1973 – it was actually myself who won it, so thought I would advise you so that you can amend your records. As it was the final year of the SGHS as it stood alone, I was sent the prize after we had left – I don’t remember receiving it at any Speech Day.
Kind regards
Margaret Pettit (Mrs)
(previously Miss Margaret Wilkinson)
West Ayton

October 1st, 2012

 Hello.  Member Margaret Rusby (Dean 1937-42) has contacted me.  She has kept in touch with former pupil Alison Pottage (Gordon 1937-42) but has been unable to contact her recently, and wonders if anyone has news of Alison, who lives on Vancouver Island, Canada.  If anyone does have news of Alison please let me know so that I can pass on the information to Margaret. 
Many thanks 
Mary Barry

October 16th, 2010

It took me just a few days to copy all of the names featured in all of the photos in the albums and whole school pictures (1947 and 1955) and put them all together to create a database of over 1,100 Old Girls, showing which photos each of them was in! This is probably more than a third of all the Old Girls who attended the school between 1922-75. A few name duplications have been noticed and some spelling mistakes corrected, and there are even grid references to the whole school photos. (This is attached to this e-mail as an Excel file – SGHSNames.xls – down to my first class maths degree, crowned by a master’s.) Would have looked even better with the inclusion of that front row of 1950 Form 4R! 

In the 1930s (when the school had a prep department), the normal progression from main school to sixth form was Forms 2, 3, 4, Upper 4, 5, Lower 6 and Upper 6. Though there were A and B forms then (implying streaming by ability), it seems rather ironic that, of the 10 girls in both the 1939 second form (first year) and 1945 sixth form (upper sixth) pictures, 7 were members of 2B and only 3 were in the A stream! The girls in the ‘1936 Form 2?’ photo tended to be in the ‘1939 Form 5?’ pic (as if there was no Upper 4; a number of these were in 1938 Form 2B to really confuse the matter!). The ‘?’ Forms may have been house groups instead? (There was no streaming after the war – forms were based on surnames and ‘O’ level choices. I think that the small 1950 Form 5I may have been a ‘general sixth form’ group.) 

The most common Christian name among the Old Girls in the database was Margaret (1 in 18 had that name). The rest of the top ten reads as follows: Ann/Anne, Patricia/Pat, Jean, Joan, Barbara, Mary, Gillian/Gill/Jill, Kathleen and Dorothy. Maureen featured 7 times (1 in 162 Old Girls). 

Other sources of names of Old Girls are old school magazines and speech day programmes. Some other old school websites do have scanned copies of examples of these on their webpages, including Lawnswood High School for Girls (which was a grammar school in Leeds). 

I read in an education book that only around 1 in 6 children in the North Riding of Yorkshire passed the 11 plus to get into grammar schools in the 1950s. In the 1940s, around half of the North Riding’s 11 plus failures did not even go to a senior or secondary modern school, but remained in ‘all-age’ schools until they left school to go to work. The only technical school in the North Riding was the Scarborough Technical Institute (boys’ school with 13+ entry), which closed in the 1960s. Some other local education authorities had (in addition to grammar and secondary modern schools) selective central schools for the second layer of ability at 11 plus (those who missed the grammar school standard by a certain margin), and various types of technical school that one could enter at age 13 (e.g. engineering or building for boys, commercial or housewifery for girls, art schools, even schools for boot and shoe manufacture!). 

I remember I e-mailed you 18 months ago (see Message Board – doesn’t time fly), in which I wrote that I ‘sort of’ did my ‘A’ levels before my ‘O’s (GCSEs), despite my Asperger’s Syndrome and special schooling, and won two Daily Mail ‘Letter of the Week’ awards in 2005 (including a picture of myself in the paper with one of those letters, ain’t fibbing). Since that time, I’ve had a couple more letters published in the Mail, with a second photo of myself in their letters column accompanying an article on "Grammars Get Top Marks For Boys" (state grammars get 40% more working class boys into law or elite financial jobs than comprehensives, and even more into Oxbridge). I’ve also been on six cruises with my retired parents (including Alaska, both East and West of Canada, and New York twice). I’ve now been on 16 cruises and visited 30 countries (including Panama, Israel, China and Vietnam). 

You mentioned corporal punishment at your primary school – girls got the 'slipper' (a flexible gym shoe) and boys the cane. The special school where I spent 9 years also had the slipper (also a flexible gym shoe), and I think I had the schools’ record of most visits to the office (8 occasions, 14 strokes in total). Did convent schools beat their girls like they did on the Aussie drama series Brides of Christ? 

I look forward to receiving any replies. 
Best wishes, 
Chris Bird, 
[link to database HERE]

April 1st 2009

E-mailed to point out a few possible errors/ambiguities regarding the photo galleries of 1940s and 1950. 

  • The name grid for the front row of SGHS Form 4R (1950) was missing. Was this because all of the 10 girls in that front row were unidentified? [No - just webmaster error]
  • Perhaps the strangest finding was that most of those in the Lower Sixth (1949) photo were in the one for Form 5I the following year! How is it possible to ‘move down’ from L6 to 5I? For the record, June Bayley was in 4H in March 1948, followed by L6 and 5I. [Lower 6th (1949) has now been removed]
  • There were really two school uniforms at around this period (and that’s just the winter uniforms!) – older girls could choose to wear skirts instead of gym tunics. Numbers in each of the 1950 form photos (with numbers wearing skirts in brackets) were as follows: First 53 (0), Second 49 (0), Third 63 (5), Fourth 57 (26), 5H/5S 61 (42), 5I 13 (10), L6 15 (12), U6 17 (17). A few of the girls weren’t wearing ties (I wonder why?). Very impressive school pictures though.
  • Most schools were streamed around this period. SGHS forms were named after the surname initials of the form mistresses – was the school unstreamed? If not, what were the ‘A’ forms and the ‘B’ forms in the 1950 set? Of the 15 girls in Lower Sixth (1950), 3 were in 4H in 1948 – was the 4H of 1948 the ‘B’ stream (they were pictured doing Domestic Science instead of Latin)? [A was for Ashton; B was for Bailey!]
  • In the 1940s set, there is a photo of ‘Ball Boys at the Yorkshire Lawn Tennis Club, Filey Road, Scarborough 1949’. Were all the girls pupils of SGHS? If so, were all the girls members of house or school tennis teams? . . . [ Well?  Does anyone know?]
 . . .  Main differences between boys’ and girls’ grammar schools – many of the former (especially direct grant schools) had express streams (e.g. 4 years to ‘O’ level) and third year sixth forms aiming at Oxbridge entry, and virtually all of the boys’ schools had used corporal punishment. It was not unknown for a boy to achieve the Higher School Certificate in three successive years! On the other hand few of the academically selective girls’ schools had fast streams, and physical punishment was virtually unheard of in these schools. The drive for a broader education meant that few schools were still running accelerated courses for their abler pupils by the late 1970s. I believe that Tiffin Boys’ School (Kingston-upon-Thames) was the last state school to abolish the express stream, in the late 1980s. 

I look forward to receiving any replies. 
Best wishes, 
Chris Bird,
Cheltenham, Glos

Date: 17 Dec 2007 

Bill Potts, webmaster for the Old Scarborians (High School for Boys) put me on to your site when I recently sent him a load of archive material.  Among effects discovered in an old paper bag I found the attached photograph.  I scanned the whole photo and a section of it at 300 dpi.  Not quite sure what the event was or when, but it must be around 1956/57 and was taken in the basement of Westborough Methodist Chapel.  Left to right, June Ward, Sue Sharpley and Stephanie Ward (all SGHS). 

Somewhere I have a photo of Midsummer Night's Dream in which my first wife, Jennifer Lincoln, played Titania.  She later played Rosalind in As You Like It for which she was the only girl ever to receive the Drama Award at our Speech Day. 


John Hall (SHSB 1951-60) 

Click for full image


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