I’ve entitled this series “School Misery”, for when I was attending Fairfield Grammar School, it indeed was a miserable time. But my memories sometimes belie this.
Other Old Fairfieldians have told me something similar. They hated F.G.S. whilst they were there, but look back with fond memories.
I suppose that we chiefly remember the teachers, an odd, but mostly dedicated group.
I have previously mentioned “Gadger” Gay and Dot Worthington. F.G.S. pupils delighted in the nick-names we assigned to our teachers.
Senior Master, Mr. Jervis, was of course “Jerry”. I seem to remember that he walked with a slight limp, and that he swanned around the School wearing an Academic Robe. He was never one of my classroom teachers, and I haven’t the slightest idea of his teaching subject, but he seemed affable enough.
Mr. Parrott, who taught Geography, was one of my favourites, (don’t ask me why!). He, of course, was known to the students as “Polly”. I can even now see him teaching us about the regions of industrial Great Britain, with coal in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Wales, cotton in Lancashire, wool in Yorkshire, and ship building on the Clyde and Tyne. It’s an industrial scenario long since gone.
Then there was Mr. Hayes. He taught Physics and Chemistry. Guess what we called him? “Gabby” of course.
I remember being seated on a high stool in the chemistry lab, with its test tubes and Bunsen burners. “Gabby” would walk around as he lectured, and whenever he passed behind me, he would poke his finger through an unravelled seam in my blazer, right by my arm pit.
One day I could take it no more, so I turned and shoved him.
He said not a word; I was not disciplined; and he never did it again.