learned that there was no weakness in his caning
technique when he spotted me from his office as I
climbed to the top of the wall bars in the hall
and then waved my hand through a broken pane of
glass. I made a mental note not to be invited
into his office again! Rumour went round in my
second term that he had caned an Upper Sixth lad
for wolf-whistling the petite blonde English
Teacher, Miss Williams in the staff room
I remember that he
had allowed the fifth form the privilege of not
needing to wear school caps. Then, a further
concession came when he announced at the start of
the Summer Term that fourth years were exempt as
well. The next morning he appeared incandescent
with rage as he had been walking his dog in
Prescot Park. He had then discovered the emebrs
of multiple fourth year school cap burnings. He
the ordered a cap check for the following day.
How many newts were temporarily relieved of their
caps that day?
I managed to keep myself out of
Michael Brown's reach when horror of horrors, he
joined Prescot Cricket Club playing alongside my
father in the 3rd. XI on the back pitch in
Burrows Lane. At the time I was the scorer for
the 2nd. XI so my acquaintance with MJM was
limited. However, the fear of my father
discovering any misdemeanours was the stuff of
One Saturday afternoon as Prescot
3rd. XI were batting, my father got into
conversation with MJM and enquired about his
approach to parental complaints about the school.
In an answer that would do justice to Brian
Clough, he replied that he would listen quietly
to the complaint in his study and then challenge
the parent's "bottle" to continue the
complaint to a higher authority. He would simply
explain that it was a privilege to have a place
at PGS and that any pupil only had, according to
the 1944 Education Act, a legal right to a
seconday education. So, the unfortunate parent
was given the option of a rightful entitlement to
a secondary modern place and the tacit
opportunity to climb down gracefully on the
In my third year, my form 4B1 were
less than excited to find out the identify our
history master was MJM. I have to admit, it
worked in motivating me to have my homework in on
time for a change. There was also the added bonus
of greater than average chnace that we would have
a cover teacher as he was preoccupied with some
school emergency or appointment!
Later in that year, I was batting in
the cricket nets in Burrows Lane when I top edged
a pull shot into my left eye. On arriving at my
next history lesson, Mr. Brown asked me to
explain the black eye that I was sporting.
Nothing could convince him that I had not been
fighting after school. perhaps his caning wrist
was twitching for a victim.
Without warning, he had resigned and
was moving on at the end of my fourth year!
Rumours spread that he was taking over a
prestigious private school as a protest to
creeping comprehensivisation of state education.
Whatever the truth, he was my headmaster,
burnished concurrently with me at PGS.