Acklam Hall Grammar School Teachers

22 December 2020

This must have pretty much been the staff when I entered 2nd year in 1965. When I first saw the photograph I recognised some of the faces immediately - Mr Matthews, Mr Small, Herr Pütz, Mr Illingworth, Mr Forrest, Mr Pickersgill, Mr Dixon, Mr Illingworth and Mr Barnes. I could also work out Mr Codling and Mr Falconer. The rest of the names came from Dave Harper's post on the Acklam High School (ex pupils) Facebook Group pages and by trawling through the comments that followed it. There's more about the school here: Acklam Hall Grammar School.

On 5th May 2021 I had a very nice chat with Mike Selby. Mike went to Acklam Hall 1960-68 and had a younger brother, John, who was in my year. Mike gave me more names of teachers, as well as confirming those that I already had.

1. Andy Matthews (Subject: R.E.) Mike Selby tells me that Andy Matthews replaced the previous R.E. Teacher, Rev. Birch. Rev. Sometimes referred to as Diddyman (Ken Dodd and his diddymen must have been big at the time). He was a very nice man and must have taught us for several years. I think he started the '64 Club; a sort of youth club for those who started the school in 1964 i.e. our year. Also referred to as Randy Bathcube.

2. Lennie Masterson (Subject: English)

3. Herr Pütz (Subject: French and German) As I remember it he was our form tutor in 2nd Year, and possibly 3rd Year. He also taught us French and German, so we got to know him quite well. I certainly worked for him; he was one of those that you didn't mess about with. A good teacher. I think he was Austrian.

4. Bill Dixon (Subject: Biology/Chemistry) I remember him as a nice man and a good teacher. He taught us, that is 2G, Science. Rumour has it that he was born on Valentine's Day, so one of his names was Valentine. When Acklam High School was formed I think he became Head of Balliol House, which I was in.

5. Mr Codling (Subject: Geography/History) Known by all as 'Fred Cod'. Treated mercilessly by our class and most others, as I recall. Did he really say, "Every time I open my mouth some idiot speaks."? I do remember one occasion when Ray Johnson was put across his knee to have his backside smacked. Mr Codling was sat behind his desk. Ray's feet could be seen, sticking out at one end of the desk. His head could be seen at the other end, face turned towards us, grinning away.

6. Lab Technician?

7. Bob Steele (Subject: Russian) This name came via Herbie Oxley who was taught Russian by Mr Steele. He also taught rugby. Tempted though he was, Herbie didn't pursue the study of Foreign Languages beyond 'O' Level. Mike Selby says that Mr. Steele was from London.

8. Mr Baum (Subject: Maths) This name came via Mike Selby, who says that Mr Baum was a former pupil of Acklam Hall.

9. Mr Henderson (Subject: P.E.) Not to be confused with Barry Henderson. This one was Scottish and also taught either English or History.

10. Barry Henderson (Subject: Physics)

11. Tom Forrest (Subject: P.E.) 'The Bull'. He could be quite brutal at times. However, not too long after starting at the school, I remember the class sitting in the changing rooms as he went around asking each person, in turn, what certificates/achievements they had in swimming. I assume the school championships were coming up. He was delighted when I told him what I had achieved. Being a big lazy lump, I'd been hoping to quietly retire from swimming and have an easier life. Anyway, I won the school championships (freestyle) and got school colours in 1967 and 1968. It also meant that I got on quite well with him. Apparently he also taught Maths and did weight lifting after school.

12. Mr Allison (Subject: Maths) I assume this is the man who taught us Maths for at least one year up to '0' Level and who, I think, taught me for some of the 'A' Level course. If it is him, I liked him. He was partly the reason why I was good at Maths.

13. Neil Small (Subject: Physics) I thought he was great. He taught me 'A' Level Physics (Well I was in the same room for the duration of the course). I also worked with him on the lighting for school plays. I'm not sure how I know this, but he is exactly 10 years older than me (my d.o.b. 21 January 1953). I think he started teaching immediately after completing his degree, aged 21. By chance, in 1984 or 1985 I bumped into him at a CND march in Barrow. I became a Physics teacher. Say no more.

14. Mr Slater (Subject: Geography) I don't think he ever taught me, but I think he was the form tutor for 1S and 2S in our year.

15. Mr Oakes (Subject: Biology/Maths) 'Titus'.

16. Mr Robson (Subject: Maths) Also took hockey, at which he had played to international level.

17. Mr Illingworth (Subject: English) I recognised him immediately, although I don't remember him teaching us. Maybe he produced one of the school plays when I did the lighting. There was also an English teacher called Harris. 'Bomber' Harris. I assume he came later.

18. French Assistant?

19. Mr Crossfield (Subject: French)

20. Dave Pickersgill (Subject: Technical Drawing/Woodwork) 'Piggy'. In reality, Rugby was his main subject. He put me in the first team because I came from Bingley. "He comes from Bingley, so he must be good". I was also big for my age. He must have given up so many Saturdays taking us away to matches - Normanton, Morpeth, Newcastle, Scarborough and many more. I have very fond memories of him. He became a Head of House when Acklam High School was formed.

21. Mr Sargeant (Subject: Art) Also gave careers advice.

22. Ken Midgley (Subject: English)

23. Tom Pollock (Subject: Music/English) Long Tom Pollock

24. Don Barnes (Subject: French) I don't think I was ever taught by him. He was one of those teachers you didn't mess with. I don't know why. Some of them just have that effect. Frequently refereed school rugby matches on Saturdays.

25. Clem Heath (Subject: English)

26. Mr Lane (Subject: Biology) Apparently a good teacher. Surprisingly nicknamed 'Bronco'.

27. Bob Baker (Deputy Head) Taught Geography. A favourite teacher of Mike Selby. He helped to get Mike back into school after he had left prematurely in Lower Sixth.

28. Joe Hurst (Headteacher) An imposing figure. Taught German.

29. Fred Brown (Subject: Chemistry)

30. Mr McDonald/MacDonald (Subject: Maths) Black Mac.

31. Alan Falconer (Subject: History) 'Pop' Falconer. Taught me what a mnemonic is, in what were possibly the most boring lessons on Earth. He was actually a very nice man and probably a very good teacher. It just didn't do much for me. On a more positive note, he also took us walking in the Cleveland Hills (where there is now a monument to his father). At least the mnemonics meant that I passed History.

32. Mr Hodgson (Subject: Chemistry)

33. Mr White (Subject: Woodwork) 'Chippy' White.


Staff not on the photograph:

Mr Narey (Subject: French)

Mr Robertson (Subject: Art)

Mrs Maudsley (School Secretary) Probably ran the school.


Mr M Rowlands was appointed as the new headteacher (probably about 1968) to lead the amalgamation of Acklam Hall Grammar and Kirby Girls Grammar, as well as the subsequent transition to Acklam High School. It must have been a big job at the time. We all referred to him as 'Matt Rowlands', so I assume that really was his name. Unfortunately, it seems he was an enthusiastic smoker and died too young.