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It was so sad to see such a beautiful building go. It held so many happy memories f or me – my first teaching post where I laid the foundations of my career, the place where I met Ann Rowland, the junior secretary, who became my wife for 44 years before her early death in 2010, and where I met so many wonderful people, many of whom became good, lifelong friends.
Mr David Robbie (Teacher of History and Sports 1961 – 1966)
Grammar Schools are often old, even ancient, foundations, but ours was very new, and needed to establish its own direction, ethos and traditions. It is plain from the gratitude and affection the name Percy Jackson’s still stirs in so many former pupils, that our old school did exactly that.
I have written a chapter about my own experiences at PJGS, warts and all, in a memoir, ‘In Parallel’, which was published in 2008. Through this I was able to resume contact, after nearly 60 years, with my second-form English teacher, John Good, and, on his 90th birthday recently, to thank him properly at last for all his help and encouragement.
The return visit to the old building during the superbly-organised 70th anniversary reunion, the sight of the honours board, containing the names of several of my school-friends, still hanging in the hall, and the singing of “Lord behold us with thy blessing,” – the hymn of Assembly, by a gathering of now much older voices, were just three reminders of what a wonderful school we had lost.
Janet Greenwood (Barker) (1944 – 1949)
At this distance, I won’t be able to make the pilgrimage for a final view of the school before it comes down, but hope you’ll shed a tear for the old originals still breathing. As I noted to Ken Cooke, it’s a sad thing to have witnessed not only the construction, the opening, but also the closing of the building. Jimmy Lane, the Adwick Alderman who, with County Councillor Sir Percy Jackson himself was one of the ramrods behind the school’s establishment, (Jimmy’s house was just beyond the park, facing Adwick church) would be especially sad. I claim even earlier association; I was born just a hundred yards beyond the Adwick primary school, and as a toddler I used to play in the field that in 1939 became PJGS. In 1935, the local fest in celebration of King George V’s golden jubilee was held in the park and that field. It all holds a lot of memories.
I have always been grateful for my education at PJGS. It seemed to me that many of our teachers were cultured people – not just specialists in their own subject, and that we benefited from that. It was a good humoured environment. I personally do not remember any bullying. Maybe some insensitive nicknames but that may have been a Yorkshire thing. Yorkshire people not being given to delicacy of feeling. I enjoyed school dinners and thought the cooks performed great feats with wartime rationing. (I was in the 1943 to ’48 intake.) I liked the social grouping of 6(?) to a table. I’ve never come across this anywhere else. Finally, I owe my life-long love of reading, and now, a modestly succesful career as a writer of short stories in very large part to Mr Goode.
Betty Moulder (nee Read)
I just wanted to put on record the rich and deep education I received at PJGS, 1948-1956. It put me in a good place to understand government, run a family, earn my keep (one-time Principal Psychologist, MOD), and enjoy more hobbies than I can fit in the time available (principally history, drama, music). Sad to see the place go.
Jo Henry Huddleston
I started in September 1954 and still see my time there as one of the highlights of my life. I had 100% attendance record because I loved going every day. I enjoyed most lessons (not cookery or games though) and soaked up all I could from wonderful teachers such as Mrs Severn, Mr Brookes and Mr Mayman, who inspired my love to music to this day. We were not privileged children as far as money and possessions were concerned. Most were children of miners, though my father was an ironmonger, but we were a generation that can look back and see that we respected education and appreciated the dedication of the staff (though we didn’t realise that at the time). The school produced people who would go out into the world with far more “value added” than when we arrived and this is what every school can aspire to. The building may disappear but I hope these attitudes will continue with generations to come.
Carol Edgar (née Pearson)
Although I wasn’t the brightest kid at school I totally believe that the standard of education at P J G S has helped me in many ways throughout my working life, from Saturday lad on the market to owning my own company and also through everyday life. I am proud to have been a pupil there.
Bernard Warner (1956-61)
I was very sorry to hear that the old school was scheduled for demolition in the near future but feel sure that the educational legacy will remain for posterity .
I was one of three siblings who passed through the school between 1943 and 1956 so PJGS had a profound effect on our family members who all gained from the opportunities and experiences .
In my own case I was lucky to be at the school between 1949 and 1956 when we had a group of inspirational teachers with varying backgrounds teaching a group of students who were keen to learn and who went on to make their mark and to ” REPAY PERCY ” during their careers .
That legacy will have been passed on to their children and grandchildren so PJGS will have a positive effect for generations after the buidings have gone .
Roy Rasdell (1949 -56 )
I will speak well of Adwick School because somebody has to!
Times changed. I am aware of the challenges Adwick School faced towards its end. Nevertheless in its day, it was regarded as a very good school. I was transferred there from Don Valley, and whilst I did not appreciate it at the time, the place made a lasting mark upon my life. I am grateful that I went there. I am also sorry to see its demise.
Even so, I wish the new academy the very best. I wish you every success in the new state-of-the-art buildings.
I’m sure the standard of education at Percy Jackson Grammar School was superior to that of other Secondary Schools in the area. It is unlikely I would have had the opportunity to go to University otherwise.
I really enjoyed the competitiveness of football and tennis inter-schools’ games and was proud to represent the school successfully in both throughout my time there.
My most treasured memory is that of meeting my soul mate and future Wife Janet at the School; we had out first date at the School Valentine’s Dance on February 14th, 1963.
John A. Roberts (1955 – 1963)
I am saddened that my former school was closed to students on St Valentine’s Day 2013, after 73 years as a fine example of an active Art Deco educational building.
The history of St Valentine’s Day and the story of its patron saint is shrouded in mystery just as The Percy Jackson Grammar School was for me before I started there in 1959.
Things used to be very different then. There were no induction days for prospective pupils. I had never even seen the school because I didn’t live close by. Therefore, I asked my Father, ‘Please will you take me to have a look at the school before I go there?’ ‘Why do you want me to do that?’ he replied, ‘You will see enough of the place once you start!’. Well, you cannot see too much of a good thing! Excellent education, tremendous teachers and super School! We were all privileged to go there.
If I had but one wish for the new Academy students, it would be that one day, in years to come, when the name of their Academy is mentioned, they will say with pride, ‘I went there!’
Janet Kitson Roberts (1959 – 1964)
On the subject of tributes to the old school, an old classmate Brian ‘Mac’ McGarrigle avers that my book on the history of Percy Jackson’s is a whole collection of tributes. And it is: not just mine, but those of many Percy Jackson alumni, from 1939 to 1968.
When I joined in 1950, the buildings, the facilities, the teachers opened a world that was almost magical to me. Some teachers were not to my liking, some I found great. I have retained an interest in all their subjects throughout my life. In the Conclusion of “Percy Jackson’s” I write: “To me, joining Percy Jackson’s was the beginning of an era of adventure.”
I hope and wish that all students of Outwood Academy Adwick can find magic and adventure in their school life.
Ken Cooke, (1950-1958)
I am very sorry to hear about The former Percy Jackson Grammar School premises closing. I’m yet another who has the happiest memories of it.
The more I think back to those days, the more I feel thankful for starting my teaching career with Mr Elliot as the Head, (the kindest and most understanding Head in all my career) and with such a lively and, underneath it all, kind crowd of children. As a Somerset man by birth and everything else I couldn’t have had a more helpful introduction to Yorkshire, and I will always be grateful to you all at P J G S.
Dr Glyn Court (Teacher of Languages 1953 to 1957)
As an 11 year old joining a Grammar School on my own, whilst all my friends went to the local Secondary Modern, filled me with apprehension. My fears were not allayed by the strictness of some of the teachers who appeared to be even more sinister in their black robes. Miss Marsden, Mr O’Malley, Miss Mayers and Mr Cockroft soon began to prey on my weaknesses.
Thankfully, I soon adapted and for the next five years received an excellent education which I didn’t really appreciate at the time. Throughout the years up until this day I have benefited so many times and in so many ways from my experiences and tuition at this fine institution.
I learned to play chess there when I was 13 and still play competitively both at local and national levels and now also internationally via the Internet.
I was fortunate enough to be interviewed for my first job by the brother of Miss Tagg and the mere fact that I had attended PJGS guaranteed my appointment which was the first step on a successful career path.
I attended the final tour of the school in December 2012 and, when setting foot on the premises for the first time in almost 50 years, it felt like I’d never been away. It was hard to imagine that three months later it would all be destroyed.
Fortunately, I am still in touch with quite a few friends from PJGS so whilst the buildings are no more, the spirit lives on.
David Hatfield (1959 – 1964)
I was a Percy Piglet for just two years. I enrolled in 1949 and left in 1951..
My initial enrolment was as a result of passing the 11 plus Scholarship examinations, and my leaving in 1951 was a consequence of my mam and dad deciding to emigrate to New Zealand.
So, holding my mam’s hand and decked in short pants I boarded the vessel MV Rangitoto for an unforgettable voyage free of ration books, and with jelly, ice cream, bacon and eggs, plus masses of other yummy food.
The schooling experience in New Zealand was not a happy place to be and I have often reflected on what might have been had I stayed with the Piglets.
I was placed in Form 1AL in year one,and 2AL in year two. I have very fond memories of several teachers at Percy Jackson’s the most notable being “Jake” Jevans who helped me excel in Maths and General Science.
Kathleen Norton guided me successfully through English Language and I remember her as young and rather well endowed. I believe we 12 year olds going on 13 quietly knew her as “milkshakes”. Ah to be 13 again with the knowledge I have now.
Harry Maiman(?) taught us music and he had an uphill battle with me and nothing has changed to this day. We had to get up on stage and sing a short solo for one of the term tests and I claimed a breaking voice, cold, and other lergies but finally had to sing a few bars from “Early one morning” Save Me !
I was similarly inept at Art, but I have managed to turn that around recently in retirement and have learned to paint acrylic landscapes reasonably well.
German was my true forte and I topped the class in both years with Brian Parnell coming a close second. He went on to become an accomplished concert pianist. I can visualise my German teacher now but her name slips my memory. Mature and German. Fond memories.
There is a very good neighbour and mate from all those years ago by the name of Stanley Doyle. My last memory is of a small cycle tail light as he set off from Chesterfield to Doncaster after farewelling us. I’d love to contact him again if he should read this.
About fourteen years ago I logged on to a site called Alumni Net, and a chap by the name of Keith Swinscoe , a close friend then, found the entry and wemailed me. He was so thrilled he woke his wife at 1am and told her about “Pommy”. He was able to send me photo’s from 1952-3 and an aerogram letter I wrote in 1952. It had been in an air crash and the edges show signs of water damage and there is slight singeing on the edges but the mail got through. What a thrill that was to receive my letter from all those years ago!
I still correspond occasionally and also with Peter Blanshard, another scouting mate and Piglet.
Another; Dave Pulman died about two years ago but about that time I was delighted to get a phone call from his sister’s best friend and her husband. They were visiting from Switzerland and we were thrilled to feed them some lovely roast NZ lamb on a barbecue, accompanied by a few beers
John Riley (1949 - 1951)
Below are some Staff photos, who do you remember?
The photos below were generously supplied by Ken Cooke & Gary Goodlad (1956er) who compiled and captioned them.