Hawarden GS reunion; 20 Nov 09

The third Friday in November is a regular date for Hawarden Grammar School old pupils from the late 50s/early 60s to meet, reminisce and exaggerate. I’m not a great person for staying in touch which I regret so this year I went.

For those whose memories don’t go back that far it’s maybe worthwhile describing secondary education 50 years ago. First of all of course there was the 11 plus which effectively split the youth of the day into two at the age of 11. However because primary schools were pretty good it wasn’t that divisive. My cohort included a large percentage from the council estates in addition to the inevitable middle class kids.

There were 4 forms of entry at Hawarden and that meant class sizes of over 40. That was not unusual. In the firsts and second years there were 2 mixed forms, one all boys and one all girls. And then in year 3 we ‘specialised’ which meant splitting the boys from the girls because boys did science and girls did languages. Actually there were 5 girls doing science in my year and 3 or 4 boys doing languages. However this meant excluding generations of girls from careers in science and engineering. And although the boys did one language their choices in the humanities were also severely limited.

O levels came in form 5. Many kids left and maybe one third stayed on until the 6th form. I seem to recall that most of the council house kids left at this point leaving just the middle classes with a focus on university or ‘teachers training college’. These latter institutions have now morphed into or merged with universities but were an essential part of the career path in those days.

Anyway this year there were about 25 people at the reunion including 8 from my year. I would have recognised none of them but it was excellent to meet them again and to find out that life had treated them well.


35 thoughts on “Hawarden GS reunion; 20 Nov 09

  1. Can someone tell me when and where teh next HGS re-union will take place. I would love to attend. I went to HGS in 1956 and left in 1963.

    • I’ve got it in my diary for 19 Nov 10 this year. I think it’s supposed to be the 3rd Friday in November.

  2. I was one of the 5 girls (Lesley Davis). The other 4 were Angela Latham, Elaine LLoyd, Carol Bryce and Beryl Steeden (Beryl left science to do Welsh, extremely successfull she has been too)! Beryl and I have kept in touch (and recently Angela) but do not know the whereabouts of elaine or Carol.

    • Hi , this is a long shot but would “Beryl Steeden” be from Hawarden who went to teach welsh in Welshpool High School 1978 ish? She was a wonderful tutor and person and I missed her very much when she left. Regards. Trudi.

      • There were 5 girls in our class. One was Lesley Davies who’s already commented on the blog. Another was Carol Bryce. I also remember a Beryl; was she blond? There was also an Yvonne but I don’t recall the 5th.

      • Hello Trudi
        I have only just seen your lovely (if undeserved )remarks of several years ago!!!! How are you? I always remember most of my first ever class….most of the names at least. I hope that life has been kind to you.I married in 1976 And have two daughters and five grandchildren. Are there many of the class still in Welshpool area?
        Beryl (Steeden) Jones

  3. Hi to all,I’m just getting around to looking at the past and have found your weblog,David.I am not sure who I know but I come from shotton and attended HGS from 1953 to 1958 after O levels and went to work in the Chem. Labs.at Summers Steelworks.I would be interested in coming to a reunion so would you be so kind to let me know when the next one is and where it is held.
    Harry Treadwell

      • Thanks for your prompt reply.The friday is the 16th Nov so is this the corrct date of the reunion? Also do you know the venue and the time,please?
        harry Treadwell

    • Harry, me old mate … we used to rig our phyics results together. You used to live in Henrietta St ???? I’d love to hear from you.

      • David,

        The Harry I was referring to was Harry Treadwell who lived in Shotton and attended HGS until 1958. I also left in 1958 and went to sea as a Midshipman with the Blue Funnel Line. I became a Ship’s Captain 12 years later, spent a year and a half in the Antarctic on an expedition, lived and worked in Japan, Indonesia, was Tow Master moving those giant oil rigs around the world. Built and ran a HP natural gas pipeline in the Australian desert, and eventually became General Manager of a shipping company. I now live in Tasmania and write books on horse-racing.

        Some of the 1958ers I’ve tracked down are Ron Rainbow who now lives in N.Dakota USA, Arthur Lyons who’s in Kent, Terry Ratcliffe in Newcastle (after working on CERN). God knows where the rest of us ended up.

        Kind regards,

        Roger Biggs

      • Sounds like you’re about 5 years ahead of me. I left in 1965 before heading off to Uni etc. I started work in London then did New York, Indonesia (maybe we overlapped there?), Hong Kong and Switzerland before returning to the UK.

    • same as every year. this year it’s Friday 16 Nov 12 at the St David’s Hotel in Ewloe.

    • I attended HGS 68/69 anyone out there remember Geoff Penrose (me) from Sealand getting hit in the back of his scalp during lunch hour break with an old penny thrown by Helen Keys form Aston ( what a shot that was from such a distance!) He gave chase caught her up & let her go ! he laughed it off later because of the look on her face when she was cornered like a fox ..happy days now just distant memories …

  4. Does anybody remember Rhona Dewar or Julie Steed, both lived in the officers quarters at RAF Harwarden, Manor Lane?

      • Having only recently discovered this site and being an ex pup of HG in the 1960s, I was pleasantly surprised and enjoying going down “memory lane” until I noted your rude comments regarding “council house kids” not progressing to university. As an ex council house kid myself, I am amazed at your audacity to make such a comment. Was Henrietta Street so exclusive an area back then?

      • Please don’t get all politically correct with me! I was reporting what I recall. The fact that some council house kids did get through and succeed is all to their credit but they were in the minority. That’s why I’m very much in favour of non-selective education at 11 and am appalled at suggestions that grammar schools return. They reinforce the ‘class divide’.

    • Sorry for the late response but I’ve only just found this site. I do remember Rhona Dewar, she joined my class of 1b late in the term in about 1964. I dont know what became of her though.

      • Wow Gill, I just found this page by accident! I was in the first year in 1964 too. I honestly do not remember which class.. 1c perhaps? Were there 4 classes a,b,c and d; alternating boys girls?I have never given it a thought since then until now. I can hardly remember anyone.. Chris Thompson, Catherine Griffiths, Janice Barton, Alan Davies, Annette Saint…… Engage brain into archive retrieval mode…

  5. To Rob White, i think I remember you . I was in class 1A at HGS in 1964, 2A in 1965 and then the system went comprehensive and we were all moved to Deeside Senior High. I have mixed feeling about HGS, it was very ‘Tom Browns Schooldays’, corporal punishment was normal, but a very high academic standard. Personally I was more suited to Deeside and eventually did OK. Some more names – Ian Bellingham, Martin Gibson, Bill Green, John Coppack, Peter Dodd, Janet Lancaster, Peter Fay, Dianne Totty. Teachers – Mr Foulkes, Miss Harbig, Mrs Guy, Mr Fred Williams, Mr Grundy, Mr JS Williams and course the headmaster Dr A. S. Gaught.
    Rob – did we once go waterskiing at Conway? Will be glad to hear from any old HGS pals who remember me, I am now retired from Space Industry and live in Bedfordshire. Stephen Evans

    • Hi Stephen
      Yes indeed, I remember most of those names and yes we did go waterskiing at Conway, I was there most weekends! You will probably remember my Land Rover towing the boat. I still have it and still drive it every day (It is like Trigger’s Broom if you know what that means).
      I went off to Liverpool to do Physics and then Oceanography. Then off doing research for Plessey and Marconi before doing my own thing – still at it. West of Scotland now for many years. Drop me a line at rob at blue-wave dot net and we can see what else we can remember 😀
      Rob White

    • I guess I was two years ahead of you. I think I remember your name. This year’s event is this Friday and there will be an informal dinner at 6pm, not sure why it has to be so early but it is. Maybe see you then?

      • Sorry that I cannot make it. Perhaps next year. Keep me posted when next re-union is being held. Have a great time on Friday.

        Monty White aka Allan White left HGS June 1963

  6. All the comments I’ve seen so far are from ‘youngsters’ Is there anyone around from the early 50’s? I left from the 4th form in ’53 to join the R N. (And I’m not from the council estates – bwm bwm).

  7. Beryl Steedon came from Hawarden. Her mother was a single parent, which was unusual at that time. She took up Welsh at school and was brilliant at it! She went to UCNW Bangor and married a Methodist minister, as far as I know.

  8. I am John Edwards also known as Ted .I was there in the mid to late 50’s played for the under 15 football team.Does anyone remember the time

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