The Prescotian Webzine

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My memories of my time at Prescot Grammar, 1964-69 were largely brought back to me by visiting your website. As in "A la recherché pertemps perdu" it acted as a catalyst to release long forgotten memories. However the taste was more of spotted dick than a madelaine.

As I looked at the lists and photos the names and associations came flooding back of my happy time at the school.

Following are some of my random memories to give a flavour of school life in the 60,s from my perspective.

What may be of wider interest is the means of punishment administered which has now sadly disappeared, although I believe certain ex schoolboys keep the tradition going.

The "Beak" for instance had a habit of hitting you over the head with the soft side of the duster, not painful but hell to remove. I think this reflected his gentle nature.

Joe Kirk had the sole of a tuff boot which he used with relish , selecting a boy from the offending row making a noise.

One time he called out a boy who was suffering emotionally and he ran off out of the school never to be seen again or at least I didn't see him again.

Charlie?  the new craft teacher at that time had pattercake, which was to gently but repetitively beat your backside with a dowling rod till you thought it was on fire.

Whilst on this subject was the nude female statue in the art room based on anyone in particular?

Overall these punishments didn?t do me any lasting harm but the odd schoolboy did suffer.

At lunchtime we would listen to grace in Latin or that's what I think it  was , Benedict dominie nos et , etc. Our year was one of the last to be taught Latin which was dropped along with many other traditions.

The new boys would sit at the bottom of the dining tables and as you progressed through the years you advanced up the table. As a newt I would have to recite some German precisely, for the head of the table, before he would dish out the grub which was excellent especially the puddings.

Eventually in the fifth I became head of a  table and have to admit to eating 20 roasties one lunchtime and still played footie afterwards.

One day a particularly fat boy sat down and I gave him a small portion to help with his dieting. Unfortunately he took this out to Spud Heyward who came back and swapped our dinners around. Fortunately I'd seen what was coming and off loaded some grub to my mate.

After finishing no lower than fifth in any class one year, the house master, who didn't take me for any subject, wrote a stinker of a comment on my report. I decided to amend this more favourably but this was spotted and I was whacked by Weekes the headmaster, who was a good man and didn't lay it on too hard (unlike Dixon).

What was funny was that the housemaster (Stoddart) in his eagerness to show my crime tripped over a painters trestle and the whole report was covered in paint.

This same report had subject remarks such as "I  will comment when he does it." This related to p.e which I would only do if it was pirates. I usually wrote out sick notes and supplied these for other mates. "Stephen has a head cold and sore shins and it would be prudent if he was not subjected to strenuous exercise."

I was whacked so many times in the headmaster's study that I felt I had a season ticket  and should just turn up for the hell of it. I used to chat away to the school secretary like old friends. They certainly were the swinging sixties.

At football l was flattened by a rugby league player with metal studs who simply ran over me, leaving the stud marks. Hardwick was refereeing and when the opportunity came did the same back to the lad and then sent him off for ruining the game.

In the local café (not Maisies) we would put raisers under the pin ball and achieve enormous scores and on beating say 200000 score you got 200 fags. Eventually this was achieved and the fags dished out. These were smoked up the jiggers of  Prescot with our gang of misfits.

Outside of one class the rather large "Victor Ludorum" holder started to strangle me with my own tie for some reason. I was so embarrassed that I tried to butt him but being so short and he that tall, I fell well short. The fight progressed into the classroom and I must have thrown a hundred punches but virtually none connected whilst shipping god knows how many. By this time we had progressed from the door to the back of the class and he had me in a head lock and I was attached to more of his delicate parts. We agreed to stop. My eye was cut and blackened and when Des Roberts came in and enquired about it I told him I'd been hit in the eye with a cricket ball. This seemed to put me in good stead with the other classmates.

The beak had an old green van that appeared to be held together by a rope. He was quite absent minded and some boys took to swapping desks behind his back, to confuse him further (not me I would add). Surprisingly he was a good tennis player, as observed when I was ball boy with Windle when we were on detention. He was playing Des Roberts and the standard of play was excellent.

I sporadically played for the school football team which depended on the teacher running the team but  they  favoured boys whose parents turned up to watch, which is natural. One teacher remarked that they needed one ball for me and one ball for the rest of the team, which was probably true.

The first game of one year was against Holt Grammar and we beat them 11-1. I scored a hat trick and dribbled one through from the kick off right up to their goal, I hit a terrible shot but fortunately it bobbled and went over the goalies despairing dive. The single spectator was jumping up and down, the only witness, Jug Ears.

I can remember going to the police ground in Mather Avenue to see the great team of the early sixties play and win in the finals and am surprised more of them didn't end up as professionals.

In 1966 (the World Cup started that week and River Deep Mountain high was number 1), we went to Seefeld in Austria with the school. Hiking up a mountain it started to rain, the rather attractive tour rep invited me under her large coat, I declined but  Dave Charnley asked if he could take her up on the offer to which she replied in French "piss off!"

Subsequently in France I found out that my French lessons proved virtually useless in communicating. After a week of Salami we stopped on the way back and ate the café out of chips. We bought a crate of beer but were spotted and had to take it back. Someone threw a boy's silver cufflinks, given to him by his father, out of the window, only to be found after much tears and searching. Someone shoplifted keyrings as momentos and on getting back to the hotel there was a police car, so he thought they'd come for him, which we encouraged but as it turned out they were looking for a lost schoolboy. Most of the day was spent running after a roommate who wouldn't take his turn carrying the packed lunches.

On return England won the world cup, what a year!!

Despite all the whacking, the bullying, the intense academic pressure, I thoroughly enjoyed every day and feel it has led to a well adjusted upbringing which I intend to write about fully once I have completed my present course of treatment/rehabilitation.

I would like to thank my friends Steve Waite, Paul Windle, Paul Curran, Phil Kelly, Brian Melia, Spencer, O, Brien, Metcalfe, etc apologies if I've missed anyone out.


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