John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Fourth year at Fleetwood Grammar School

Early Days

Thursday 10th September 1964
 1. According to my school magazine, The Georgian of the Grammar School Fleetwood, No.65, Summer Term 1965, page 4:
Sept. 10—Beginning of Autumn Term.
 So it was that I entered my fourth year at Fleetwood Grammar School. I was again in the top-streamed class, the one which would take its O-levels a year before the others. I had been in Forms 1A, 2A and 3A, so expected that this one would be called “4A” — but it wasn’t; it was “Form 5X”: “5”, perhaps because O-levels were usually taken in the fifth year, and I suppose “X” for “express”. The boys and girls who had been together the previous year or years were now joined by half a dozen others who were genuine fifth-formers, for they had been in the “express” stream the year before and were repeating the year to try to improve their GCE grades.

The form room
 2. Our form room was the one at the south-east of the quadrangle, which I have already mentioned:
That room was furnished with workbenches, not desks, and high stools, not chairs with backs; also it had a fume cupboard.[1]
 The room was already familiar to me, because “house meetings” for the boys of Bailey House were held there.[2]
 Every pupil at Fleetwood Grammar School was assigned to one of three “houses”: Bailey House, Grange House and Wyre House. This, I think, was to create competition in the areas of learning achievement and sports, because each year, on Speech Day, the Bonaventure, a model of a three-masted ship, was awarded to the winning house, and a little flag in that house’s colour would fly from the main mast. I was in Bailey House, and so I wore a blue shirt in Games for Rugby and shorts with a blue stripe down each side for Athletics. Grange’s colour was red, and Wyre’s yellow.
 House meetings were held from time to time instead of morning Assembly, six meetings in all: three for the boys, one for those in Bailey, one for Grange and one for Wyre, and likewise three for the girls. The House Master for the Bailey boys was the abrupt mannered Mr. Huss (“Tusker”). He was cross-eyed — blind in one eye, I think — and until you got used to him you couldn’t tell whether he was looking at you or not. I found his appearance and manner rather alarming, especially earlier when I was a new pupil at the school. He would start off the meeting with a token prayer taken from the Book of Common Prayer; he might say, “I shall read the Collect for the fourth Sunday after Epiphany,” then proceed to do so. Then the business of the meeting would begin.
 As I say, such meetings were held in what was now my form room, and the boys would sit on the benches situated on the floor and also ranged round perhaps two sides of the room, rather than sit on the stools.

[1] Third year at Fleetwood Grammar School, par.6
[2] See also Early days at Fleetwood Grammar School, par.56, Tuesday 8th February 1966: House meeting.
3. Because there were no desks in the form room, with space below a hinged lid to store textbooks and exercise books, we were provided with wooden lockers against the wall of the room outside in the corridor. I have the impression that these were painted light blue. Each door was held shut with a ball catch, and there was a black or dark brown bakelite knob screwed into the door to enable it to be pulled open.[3] There was also a hasp so that one could secure the locker with a padlock.
[3] The reason for recalling the locker doorknobs becomes clear in “A petty vandal and a bully”, par.2.
The form teacher — Mr. Cooper
 4. Our form teacher was Mr. Cooper,
[4] who was in charge of the Chemistry Department and who had taught us Chemistry the previous year. I’m not sure whether he took us for Chemistry this year, though, because I have a vague memory of Mr. Clegg doing so at some time. (I already mentioned this previously.)[5] 
[4] He was the form teacher in January 1965, anyway (see I go back to school, par.2), and in April 1965 when we had a class photograph taken (My class photograph).
[5] Third year at Fleetwood Grammar School, par.6
Geography — Miss Annis
 5. Ageing Miss Annis took us for Geography, actually in the Geography Room at the opposite corner of the school. Whether she had ever been able to maintain discipline, or not, I don’t know; but we regarded her as “soft”, and misbehaved in her class. By “we”, I mean one or two of the boys, obviously including myself. I think the girls, by and large, were more “mature” than the boys. I always thought of “mature” as being synonymous with “miserable”, though. I would make silly noises when Miss Annis’s back was turned. She eventually did face me and tell me off for this, and I felt ashamed. Although I’d come under the influence of the misbehaving minority, I lacked the “balls” to be really bad! I heard somewhere — I don’t think it happened in my class — that boys would even sit on the back row, hidden behind open desk lids, smoking. She retired at the end of that school year.

“Miss H. Annis, B.A., 1932–1965”
(The Georgian of the Grammar School Fleetwood, No.65, Summer Term 1965, facing page 11)

[6] The Georgian, No.65, Summer Term 1965, pages 7 and 11–12

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