The Prescotian Webzine

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[Rod Crook PGS Jan 1942 - July 1951]
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A few years ago when visiting the UK and doing some research work, I discovered a number of notebooks belonging to F.A.Bailey which at that time were located in the Museum at Prescot.  I read them closely, fascinated with the information and the mind they displayed.  At the same time they took me back to the world of Prescot Grammar Scool as it was when I was young.

Bailey was quietly spoken, austere, and looking back probably a shy and private man.  He had a passion for History, teaching British History with a strong emphasis on the social and economic apsects of historical processes. Bailey was a tank of a man, solidly built and one had the feeling he could do serious damage if aroused.  Perhaps this, combined with his manner and demeanor meant that he rarely found it necessary to become angry.  Maybe once a year or even less one boy received a single wallop on the backside with the blackboard duster, the door to the corridor carefully opened first to receive the propelled body; the message was not lost on us.  Whereas others raised their voices, Bailey became quiet.  'Five lines' - pause- 'the next boy who talks;'  no one did!  Impossible to imagine anyone else saying that with such an effect.  For the last lesson of each term FAB would read aloud sections of humourous verse.  The incongruity of this intense man staring straight ahead without a hint of humour in his face while reading hilarious verse stays with me.

    In the third form we frequently learned by having 'questions round the class' in which we took it in turns to address questions, and then took the place of the person who was unable to respond correctly.  He was a mine of information and was always careful in giving his assessments of events. The idea of serious debate and the stress on marshalling evidence seriously impressed me, and looking back it was my first experience of a genuine scholar at work.   Bailey took you seriously;  the issue was the important thing, not the age or the particularities of the person raising it.  He was an historian of note and a regular contributor to the professional journals.

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