Memories of old Tech school

YOU asked for people to let you have their memories of the old Technical College in Lauder Street.

A friend of mine, Norman Larkin, is to send you a photograph of the Technical Day School cricket team in about 1946.

He is one of the team members. Others are Bill Patterson whose father had a butcher's shop in Elwick Road. Arnold Lithgo who was a Tees pilot for many years and Alan Lamplough who became a naval architect and moved to Australia. Your readers may be able to identify other team members.

Would you like to share your memories or a photographs with Memory Lane readers. If so, write to Tom Collins, New Clarence House, Wesley Square, Hartlepool TS24 8BX; or telephone (01429) 239333; or email Tom at

The Technical Day School occupied the same building as the Technical College and there was also a Commercial Department, mostly girls, where the main subjects were shorthand, typing, bookkeeping etc.

They later transferred to Tunstall Court. One of the teachers was Anne Webster who, I think, taught shorthand.

Mr R S Reid was the principal of both the college and the school but in about 1943 there was a split and Mr J S Howard became the headmaster of the school leaving "Dickie" Reid to continue as principal of the college where the students were all following part-time courses.

At that time the TDS, as it was called, was notable for having an operatic society which began by presenting Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas in 1943.

The inspiration behind this very impressive period was Bill Walmsley who taught metalwork at the school. He was a gifted musician and pianist and he collected together a group of pupils with real talent.

Fred Sinden was a notable member of the society and he was later to become a principal singer with the D' Oyly Carte Opera Company in London who specialised in Gilbert and Sullivan operas.

The first production under Bill Walmsley's baton was The Mikado in 1943 or 1944, followed by Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore.

Other notable performers were Alan Dinsdale, Lillian Brackstone, Joan Eskdale, Jean Charlton, Sheilagh Mooney, Brian Kitson, Desmond Armstrong and Norman Larkin who was a memorable Lord Mayor in the ''Dogs of Devon',' their first show not written by Gilbert and Sullivan. All the operas were presented in the hall at the Sacred Heart school in Hart Lane.

Other teachers at the TDS were Bill Meadows (woodwork), Geoff White (geography) and Arthur Eyre (history) who also played the piano in Bill Walmsley's small orchestra.

Cyril Spawls taught science and kept order without ever raising his voice. His personality was all that was needed.

Dr Williams taught Chemistry and was followed by Mr Harrison. The first German teacher was "Clicksy" Clark followed by a young lady called Dilys Phillips who created a stir amongst the boys when she first arrived.

Fred Middleton was a gifted footballer who played for Lincoln City in the Second Division and Alan Parkes who scored over 100 goals in one season for the TDS old Boys team in the Church League.

He signed as a professional for Charlton Athletic. Ralph Guthrie was a goalkeeper with Arsenal for a number of years.

Happy days at the TDS, with no bullying, no significant discipline problems and good teachers.

Jim Allan,