Memories of Nether Edge Grammar School:
Noel Makin (1928-34)
I went to NEGS in 1928, passing that vital 11+ exam., and you will appreciate that my recollections are at best sketchy.
The head was called (I’m fairly sure) Mr Richardson & was certainly known as “Punch”, being short, stout & red-faced, with a large beaked nose. He conducted Assembly & the obligatory hymns and prayers, seemed not to interfere much but his wrath was best avoided. I clearly remember an occasion, in my early days there waiting to see a master at the staff room door; the bell had gone & “Punch” suddenly erupted from his study (where the cane was kept), charged into the staff-room & began to bawl out the inhabitants at the top of his voice, saying he would not tolerate people hanging about there after the bell. I was really shocked at hearing the masters treated as we were, I though they lived on a level far above such things.
The senior French master was Mr Hill, and you knew when he was near because the smell of tobacco preceded him. He kept strict discipline because he was feared; he punished rarely, but there was something about him, a sort of unpredictability that made you wonder, apprehensively, what would happen if …..
His junior, Mr Robertshaw would begin French dictation in a loud clear voice while still on his way across the Hall to the class room. God help you if you weren’t scribbling as he entered. A good likable teacher though, especially if you made an effort in French. Mr Potts taught chemistry & was the only man with transport: motor cycle & side car. A genial man but too kind & easy-going to be effective. Back to Philpotts; he too was an effective teacher, & very good on the sports-field, but my friend Dennis Best & I helped make his life tougher than it should have been. We were both keen on physics, but it was our fancy to carry texts on e.g. Relativity about rather ostentatiously & leave them title up where he had to see them, while pretending total boredom with what he was teaching. He once even appealed to our better nature, but at that age (about 14) we hadn’t any.
Noel lives in Holton Hall, Holton cum Beckering, a farming area in Lincolnshire. Noel and his wife are 82ish, married for 50 odd years. They are an amazing pair, fit and healthy and very active. Noel used to be a school teacher and has recently found some fame as he taught a local born man called Jim Broadbent who, as an actor, has just won an Oscar in the last awards a few weeks ago.
We also have a local theatre group called the Broadbent which is named after Jim’s’ father who founded it many years ago. We have had press and tv articles about Noel and his wife, their connections to the theatre and to Jim Broadbent. The theatre even used the Hall for its productions in its early days when the original theatre building burnt down