Frank Fowkes (1927- 1934)

Memories of Nether Edge Grammar School

Frank Fowkes
As an old boy I hope I can add further interest to your previous contributors. The school had its first complement of pupils in 1926 but the premises in Union Road were not completed ready to receive them and until early 1927 they had to lodge at other schools, mostly at King Edwards in Broomhill.

The school was originally a secondary but in common with others was classed by government reform as a grammar school after several years. The first Headmaster was Luther Smith a Quaker and a very fine man. I joined the school in September 1927 but unfortunately after only a year or so Luther Smith was transferred to the Central Secondary School (later High Storrs Grammar School) as Headmaster and the science master Mr Ritchings at Central became Head at Nether Edge.

The 1928 photograph of form 1b (I hope to over come the technical problems in transmitting this photo- E Y) shows me left-of-centre middle row with a fringe. Our form master (I wish I could remember his name) had lost an arm probably in W.W.1. Mr Cooke was liked by most of the boys and it was to his great credit that form 4a in 1931 obtained at least 6 distinctions in geography in the School Certificate Exam. Fred Potts liked his job as inorganic chemistry master ( Mr Richings taught organic chemistry for the 5th and 6th year students). Mr Potts was keen on chess and was responsible for the school chess club of which I was a member. We had moderate success against other schools. Len Buchan cannot be forgotten. His rendering of Milton¹s Paradise Lost! and fetish for awarding ridiculous marks for essays of two & a half and three & a half out of ten were subjects which amused everyone.

Mr Builtcliffe was a very important member of the staff. Although he had the appearance of an expert musician, he also had a good sense of humour when in the right mood. With his connections in local music business he was able to arrange some enjoyable interludes in the school hall.
A local string quartet which he accompanied on the piano were frequent visitors as were the singers Ida Bloor (soprano) Rispah Goodacre (contralto).
I remember when the Sheffield City Hall was built he arranged a trip for the senior boys explaining the intricacies of musical acoustics and demonstrated the capabilities of the wonderful organ.

Since leaving the school in 1934 (see the prefects photograph ­ I¹m right hand side middle row) I have had a chequered Career. I left Sheffield in 1952 and now reside in Solihull West Midlands. I¹m now in my 87th year and fortunately in fine fettle.


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