Thursday 12th September 1963
1. The date of my return after the long summer holidays to start my third year at Fleetwood Grammar School, according to The Georgian, No.64, Summer Term 1964, page 3, was “September 12”, which in 1963, in common with every year there except the first, was a Thursday:
Sept. 12—Beginning of Christmas TermI was placed again in the top-achievers’ class, Form 3A. This year, we began our learning for the General Certificate of Education, Ordinary Level. Most pupils at the school would take their O-levels, aged 16, at the end of the fifth year; but we 3A ones were set to do it a year early, aged 15.
We were to be examined in nine subjects. At the end of 2A, the choice was put to us whether to study Latin or Biology. To be accepted at Oxford and Cambridge Universities one would need a pass in Latin. I had no aspiration to enter either of these establishments; and having no interest in Latin, or the Arts in general, but having a keen interest in Science, I chose Biology. The other eight subjects were: Chemistry, English Language, English Literature, French, Geography, History, Physics, and Mathematics.
The Cedar Block
2. Our form room was the one coloured yellow in the plan, below. It was in a block of four classrooms, called the “cedar block”, close to, but not physically connected to, a metal extension of the main school building. It was a wood-framed building on a brick base, with a pitched though shallow-rising felt roof. Steps led up to a door giving access left and right to the two rooms in one half of the building, and similar steps led up to the rooms in the other half. The frame was covered with vertical cedar slats on the outside (which was why the building was called the “cedar block”) and with plasterboard on the inside. My form room was at the end of the building away from the metal extension, just across from the canteen.
Unlike the previous year when we each sat with a companion at a double desk, this year we had single desks. Mine was at the back of the classroom, in the right corner. The wide window looking across to the main school building didn’t quite reach me, so I had a wall to my right. The plasterboard of the wall was damaged just there, and had a big hole in it extending down to a horizontal strut of the wooden frame, just above elbow height when I sat there.
 This memory becomes significant in Andrew Pickup, par.7.
3. The afore-quoted issue of The Georgian is useful for reminding me of a number of forgotten and half-forgotten facts about teachers and classes that year (page 6):
We… wish success and happiness to Mr. Bacon in his new post as Head of the Geography Department at Queen Mary School, Lytham.… A cordial welcome is offered to… Mr. Cooper who is in charge of the Chemistry Department, and we hope [he] will be very happy with us. We also welcome Miss Pennington who is with us temporarily until the end of term to teach Religious Instruction.The edition of The Georgian before that one (No.63, Autumn Term 1963), issued shortly after the third year started, also helps to set the scene for my time in Form 3A (page 5):
On behalf of the School, we welcome Mr. E. M. Hall as Deputy Head Master. Mr. Hall comes to us from Rhyll Grammar School where he was Head of the Classics Department. We hope he will be very happy with us, and that he and Mrs. Hall will find the Fylde coast as congenial as that of North Wales. We also welcome the following new members of staff who have joined us this term: …[eleven people, including] Miss E. Hodgkinson (Religious Instruction);… Mr. K. P. Clegg (Chemistry)…. We hope they will enjoy their work with us.We… wish success and happiness to Mr. Bacon in his new post as Head of the Geography Department at Queen Mary School, Lytham.
4. Mr. Bacon was the father of Kathleen Bacon in my class. I remember him vaguely; I think his hair was thinning on top. I remember that he taught us at some time, and since it was Mr. Cox who did Geography in the first year, it must have been Mr. Bacon in the second and/or this year. (It was Miss Annis in the fourth year.) It was strange to think that his daughter was in the same class; if she wanted to ask a question, would she address him as “Mr. Bacon” or as “Dad”? We perhaps had the lessons in the actual Geography Room at the north-west corner of the main school building.
A cordial welcome is offered to… Mr. Cooper who is in charge of the Chemistry Department…
We also welcome… Mr. K. P. Clegg (Chemistry)…
 Andrew Pickup, par.3 onwards
Mr. Harding — French
9. I remember that Mr. Belshaw took us for English — or English Literature, at any rate. He fancied himself as an actor, I think, and would read all the parts from Shakespeare himself — very dramatically, very “affectedly”. I couldn’t understand the language of Shakespeare, and would get very bored in these classes. Once, however, I was shocked from my somnolence very suddenly when Belshaw shouted, at the top of his voice, “O HELL-KITE!” It caused a stir in the whole classroom, not just with me. This, I have now ascertained, was Macduff’s outburst in Macbeth, Act 4, Scene 3, when he learned of the death of his wife and children:
…All my pretty ones?
We also welcome… Miss E. Hodgkinson (Religious Instruction)… We also welcome Miss Pennington who is with us temporarily until the end of term to teach Religious Instruction.
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