60th anniversary of starting school

Former pupils who started West Hartlepool Grammar School in 1951 gather for a reunion at Hartlepool Cricket Club.
Former pupils who started West Hartlepool Grammar School in 1951 gather for a reunion at Hartlepool Cricket Club.

FORMER pupils gathered to mark 60 years since they started at a prestigious Hartlepool school.

Ex-pupils of West Hartlepool Grammar School for Boys, which was based in Blakelock Road, got together for a reunion at Hartlepool Cricket Club, in Park Drive.

Twenty-three former students of the prominent school, which was in the top 15 grammar schools in the country while the group attended, turned up on the night.

Organiser Ken Williams, 71, said: “It was a pleasant evening.

“It’s been 60 years since we all began life there together. That’s why I called us all together.

“The purpose of the evening was to get this bundle of lads together who had come from various junior schools in town and passed their 11-Plus exams, who were now thrown together in Class 1A and Class 1B.”

Grandfather-of-four Mr Williams, a former teacher and headteacher who taught at various schools, including Elwick Road Secondary Modern School and Hart Primary School, said Barry Grieveson had travelled to the event from his home in France.

Jon Robinson, who has lived in Switzerland for 40 years, also attended.

As a schoolboy, Mr Robinson played rugby for England and Brian Anson had been a top sprinter who ran for his country in the 1960s.

Others travelled from as far as Edinburgh, Shrewsbury, Carnforth in Lancashire, and Harrogate and Knaresbrough.

Fellow former pupil Gav Smith, who travelled from Hull, had been a trumpeter with the National Youth Orchestra and was also a fine cricketer and rugby player, said Mr Williams.

Rob Bateman had been a senior officer within Hartlepool and Cleveland’s education authorities.

He played rugby for the county around a dozen times and opened the bowling for Seaton Carew Cricket Club.

Barry Brownless was a captain and president at Seaton Carew Cricket Club.

Mr Williams, who lives in The Oval, Hartlepool, with wife Jean, who taught at the grammar school’s successor, Brinkburn Comprehensive School, and its successor Hartlepool Sixth Form College, remembered his old headteacher Mr EN Houlton, whose nickname was Nobby.

“He was legendary,” said Mr Williams, whose children David Williams and Claire Pascoe also attended Brinkburn.

“He went to the school as a boy, then became a teacher there and then headmaster and continued to do so for many years after we were there.

“He was one of the town’s prominent personalities.”

West Hartlepool Grammar School became Brinkburn Comprehensive School in 1973.

It was founded in 1902 and became known as a grammar school in 1939.