The opening of the Percy Jackson Grammar School in September 1939 coincided with the onset of World War II, an ominous start for the life of his old school, which the author chronicles in this 'informal' history. It was a coeducational school (boys and girls) and with a light touch he considers whether school days are indeed the 'best days of your life'. He draws upon abundant recollections from former pupils, many of whom, like him, were the children of mining families and the first generation to attend grammar school.
The first head, Mr Field, with the responsibility of establishing the new school, had to cope with the complications of a world war whilst his pupils decorated their gas marks and speculated on a romance between their teacher and the captain of a battleship. His successor, 'Chas' Elliott, was obliged to cram sardines into prefabricated buildings and to worry about high wages and rock n' roll diverting pupils from staying on in the sixth form. And the last head, John Atherford, was daring to impose the comprehensive system on the more privileged, more upfront generation of the Baby Boomers.
Topics covered include war-time evacuee children, the school visit to the Festival of Britain in 1951, the coronation of HM Queen Elizabeth II, reactions to the conversion of the school into a comprehensive, a look at the social and cultural circumstances of the era, as well as the achievements of some of the school's alumni - from scientists to bandmasters, to an Olympic cyclist.
This history is faithful to the facts and true to the sentiments.
Publisher: Troubador Publishing
Number of pages: 140
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Edition: 2nd Revised edition