Colin Metcalfe has wonderful memories of his school days in Hartlepool.
OK, it may include being part of a rugby team which lost its first match 77-0. “We were lucky to get nil,” he said.
But they were still great times at the West Hartlepool Technical Day School for Boys. Here’s Colin on the bottom row, far right in this photograph from 1955.
He has lived in Gosport in Hampshire for 43 years.
But Hartlepool remains in his heart and he said: “I still follow the fortunes of Hartlepool United and I get up to see them at least three times per season while going to their away games at Havant, Eastleigh and Aldershot.”
Colin told why he and the other new starters were not welcomed with open arms at Tech that year.
Our first match was against Rosebank High under-13s and we lost 77-0 (and we were lucky to get nil). This wasn’t our biggest defeat in the first couple of seasonsColin Metcalfe
“This class was one third of the intake of September 1954.
“We were the most unpopular bunch of 11-year-olds as we were the original 11-plus pupils to be admitted to Lauder Street. Before this year, Tech had been a mixed 13-plus school.
“Our arrival had therefore ‘deprived’ the remaining 4th and 5th formers of female company as the girls had been relocated to Tunstall Court.
“As for the photograph in question, the first year pupils were eventually re-streamed by the beginning of the winter term 1955. At least two of the original class transferred to the Grammar School and were replaced by boys from the secondary modern system.”
Classmates that Colin remembers – from the time when they all eventually left to ‘join the big wide world’ – included John Mcloughlin, Brian Oram, Ronnie Milburn, Alfie Nicholson, Malcolm Kirk, and Arnold Million.
Colin said: “I joined the Mill Office in the North Works of British Iron and Steel Corporation straight from school. In January 1962, I joined the Royal Navy and ended up serving 30 years, leaving as a Chief Petty Officer.”
And what about those sporting links?
“Tech was very much a successful football school and the PT Master was Joe Burrows who was also a qualified coach,” said Colin.
“The top 30 football players were therefore creamed off and the first and second team squads for the next five years were formed.
“Unfortunately yours truly didn’t make the squad, but thankfully the Mechanics teacher (Sam Lindlay) effectively started the Tech rugby team with a bunch of 11-year-olds, some of whom had never ever seen a rugby match. The decision to join this group was probably one of the best I’ve ever made.
“Our first match was against Rosebank High under-13s and we lost 77-0 (and we were lucky to get nil). This wasn’t our biggest defeat in the first couple of seasons.
“In our third season we managed a 3-3 draw against Dyke House. Our assembly hall was the Town Hall and when the headmaster John (Boss) Howard read out that particular scoreline, we all walked that little bit taller on that Monday morning.”