South Shields Grammar-Technical School for Boys
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Viewing messages 121 to 130

Alan Whittaker(53-59)
Hi Neale, I think your suggestion that Robert Purvis had a part-time job at the Odeon is the likely answer. I wouldn't have gone to the Odeon at age 9! I was probably in my early teens when I saw him.

Adding to the coincidences in your earlier messages how about: you living at the top of Watson Avenue when I lived just round the corner on Sutton Way?

Another: I was part of an MOD Procurement Executive team based at Boeing Seattle in the late 80's and we used to get the ferry to Victoria for visits and to go to Marks and Spencer to buy British bacon and sausages to take back to Seattle.This was probably an illegal act but considered worth it!!

Fri 19-Nov-2021 16:01 - Langford Budville, Somerset
alan wightman | aconlan111~AT~gmail~DOT~com

When on visit recently to our school I recalled an enquiry as to modes of maintaining discipline. There was only time to glean that involved 'detention without communication' as an option.

'Getting the cane' at my time was a punishment that unlike detention, meant that one's parents would not hear about it due to our self-imposed 'Code of Silence'. Could be an astute 'choice' as parents invariably supported the teachers and thus the risk of incurring their wrath in turn as a 'bonus'!
Fri 19-Nov-2021 10:37 - south shields
Neale Backhouse | nealebackh~AT~gmail~DOT~com
Hi Alan. The plot thickens.
You say you were never a member of the Odeon Saturday morning cinema club.
Certainly that was the time I saw Robert Purvis at the console of the organ. This forced Liz and I to sit down and check my timelines. She says she was about thirteen at the the time I describe. That puts the date at about 1951, which puts you at nine, since your High School career started in 1953. I was 16 in 1951, which suggests I was suffering from arrested development if I was still a member of the Odeon flick club. Even though some may well agree with this assessment,I know that Purvis was two years behind me at school, which would make him 14 while I was witnessing his "organic" virtuosity.
Therefore if you saw an organist in action at the Odeon, other than on a Saturday morning,we may well be talking about another performer. Unless of course Purvis had a part time job at the Odeon, during the week, to display his talents. In which case your question must remain unanswered. Sorry about all this but you know at 86, one must do something.
Fri 19-Nov-2021 02:10 - Victoria BC
alan wightman | aconlan111~AT~gmail~DOT~com

'How Junior Turner's song has turned into the fans' anthem of Newcastle United'.
YouTube song: 'Banks of the River Tyne'.

Remembrance Day Sunday included the famous Northumberland Hussars founded in 1794. They remain easily identifiable by their red & white plumes on their berets.

In football terms the 'Magpies' & 'Black Cats' are both in dire need of such talent as our Old Boys, John Talbot, Ronnie Fenton and Charlie Appleby.
Thu 18-Nov-2021 13:18 - south shields
Alan Whittaker(53-59) | alan~DOT~diwhittaker~AT~gmail~DOT~com
Neale, thankyou for answering my query about the Odeon cinema organ player.I don't know why I was thinking of him but once he came to mind I couldn't let go!
I was never a member of the Odeon kids club. Some of us from the Sutton Estate would go to the Palladium (the Lid) for the Saturday afternoon kids film show.
My Mum would give me 8d (6d entrance and a penny each way for the bus). I used to walk each way and spend the 2d on a stick of Spanish(a thin hard stick of liquorice) and a small bag of sherbet.

Those were the days!!
Wed 17-Nov-2021 20:06 - Langford Budville, Somerset
alan wightman | aconlan111~AT~gmail~DOT~com
My request via Jeremy Paxman's publishers for a signed copy of his book 'Black Gold' for the school library has to date not been acknowledged. I have now repeated the request with a proposal
that they might consider the following topic for his next publication.

The Report states: 'UK Primary schools libraries are so underfunded that teachers are forced to buy books out of their own pocket. This Report is of particular importance to the North-East
with four in 10 disadvantaged children in Middlesbrough leaving school unable to read well. Teachers state they rely on donations from families or forced to buy books from charity shops themselves to fill shelves'.

Therefore I again wait for a response with the belief that Mr.Paxman shares our pride in the North-East as a Yorkshireman and we here as 'Geordies'.

Wed 17-Nov-2021 11:04 - South Shields
Neale Backhouse 1946- 1951 | nealebackh~AT~gmail~DOT~com
Hi Mike. Hope you are keeping well.
I have an answer for Alan Whittaker concerning the organist at the Odeon Cinema. In fact I can make a story out of this.
Many years ago I was a member of the Odeon National Cinema Club for children, who filled the seats of that establishment every Saturday morning. As a birthday gift we were sent a greeting card and a free pass, which included a friend. As we normally sat in the stalls, this was a big deal, as we were able to sit in the balcony among the posh kids. I remember we sat high up ,one row from the back. We soon became aware of this yappy guy behind us who waxed knowageable on a variety of subjects. In fact just like holding court amongst two or three male and female friends. During a break in the proceedings Mr Yappy left his seat and after a couple of minutes arose, like Orpheus, at the front of the stage ,sitting at the console of the resplendent Cinema organ.He proceeded to entertain the assembly with a series of popular tunes.(he was very good).At the end of his recital he returned to his seat like a conquering hero. Many years later my wife and I were reminiscing about old times and I brought up this memory. "Why", she said, "I was sitting in the back row that day with Robert Purvis and Billy (?).Robert lived a couple of doors from me, at the corner of Chester Gardens and Sunderland Road .He told everyone at the High School that I was his girlfriend. Which Iwas not!!"
The whole Purvis family eventually emmigrated to Australia, where Robert apparently did famously. Liz is a little dubious about my timelines, but it is the best that my octagenarian memory can do.

What a small town. What a small world!
Tue 16-Nov-2021 15:23 - Victoria BC Canada
alan wightman | aconlan111~AT~gmail~DOT~com
(1951-58) Reference to David Phillips. By checking the 1955-56 photos we were in same 5th. Form but different classes.

There was a lot of talent amongst the lads in those "vintage" years! We shall not forget including the pain for the gain!

Mon 15-Nov-2021 19:00 - south shields
Alan Whittaker(53-59) | alan~DOT~diwhittaker~AT~gmail~DOT~com
Adding to the comments from Bruce about Mining being a lifetime career I retrieved a GTSFB Sports Day programme from June 1958.On the back page is an NCB recruitment advert headed "Would you like to help spend 1,000,000,000 Pounds'
It then goes on to state the intention to spend that amount on reconstruction of the British Coalmining Industry over the next 10 years and to highlight the " "unrivalled career prospects" in the South Shields/Sunderland area!!

I would imagine most High School pupils accepted the wording without question!

Tue 9-Nov-2021 17:20 - Langford Budville, Somerset
Bruce Graham | bsgraham~AT~btinternet~DOT~com
Good to see a "new" contributor. Alan Wightman's reminiscences of the coal industry in the North East reminded me of several things. First of all was the fact that mining was then regarded as a "job for life" as was the ship building industry. I also reflected in my autobiographical reminiscences that at that time you couldn't travel anywhere in County Durham and be out of sight of the coal industry.

Who knows, in our declining years we might still get more new contributors It occurs to me that as Alan Wightman was 1951 - 1957 he was a contemporary of my old friend David Phillips (see famous old boys).

Hang on to that perch!
Thu 4-Nov-2021 19:57

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