The Prescotian Webzine

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Prescot School Headteacher, Judy Walker has informed the editor the following news, “I am not sure if you are aware but former Music teacher Edward ‘Ted’ Fielding Kirk died aged 90 at the weekend, early November, 2017. I have been contacted by several ex pupils to let me know the sad news. I thought you would wish to post something on The Prescotian”. 
"Sad news indeed such a big influence on my school life". John Wilson
"I knew him as Joe Kirk". Peter Reddington
Me too. Joe used to take me to concerts at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall at his own expense in an attempt to persuade me, unsuccessfully to take up music as a career. RIP. Gordon Evans
"I knew ‘Ted’ Kirk for nearly 30 years. I run a weekly quiz night in St. Helens (Bull & Dog, Clock Face Road), and Ted was a regular player. I first him via a mutual friend who introduced me to him as I wanted someone to create and produce my quiz stationary and he did so. Ted was a ‘true gentleman’ and I and all our regular quizzers will miss him terribly. He never failed to pull me up on spelling or grammar mistakes. He used to leave a footnote saying ‘must try harder’. R.I.P. TED". Andy Gerrard
"Much of the music we played in the orchestra at Prescot School in the 80s with Mrs Williams and Simon Gay conducting was arranged by Edward Fielding Kirk. There were many fabulous arrangements that we played at school concerts. I never met him but the work he did influenced many people long after he left and I hope in the future". Andy B.
"I was saddened to read of Edward Fielding Kirk’s passing. I had the good fortune to be one of his students and a member of the newly formed school orchestra in 1952/54? with David Baty as Leader. He also made his mark on me with a size 10 gym shoe – talking in music class!" Jeremy Collier
"Our music teacher was Edward Joseph Fielding Kirk (Joe). A couple of the lads used to see him outside school, I think to play golf. He insisted they called him Ted; he hated the name Joe. He was the only teacher to recognise my abilities. I was very quickly promoted (that may not be the correct word) to the groaners. Whilst the rest of the class sang sea shanties, and the like, we were sworn to absolute silence.

He was a real character, with an obsession with the colour green. His clothing was all green, as were his pens, and even the frames of his glasses. He carried an old leather attaché case in which he kept ‘the slipper’. In fact it was a soft gym shoe, but it was always known as the slipper. Punishment involved the miscreant bending over in front of the class and being belted on the backside with it. It was known as being slippered. One of the class, I think called Haralambos, must have been the original dead-end kid. The slipper never had any obvious effect on him. Eventually Joe had to devise a new punishment, just for him. Joe would grab the hairs on the side of Haralambos’s face, in front of his ears, and pull them until the miserable wretch was hopping and yelping with pain. Punishment administered, and entertainment for the rest of the class. In those far off days this treatment was considered perfectly acceptable and in not at all unreasonable.” David Tyrer


"I remember Joe very well he also taught English and every other week he would set us as homework an essay. This exposed my inability to string two words together in a written format. If he marked your effort with 5/10 or less it meant the slipper and as I never scored above 5 this became a regular ritual and in fact so much so that I would wait at the front of class to await my punishment. He always brought the slipper down from a great height as if it was a golf club but the impact was not as painful as it looked and I became immune. I was in iv b 2 at the time and our form room was the one between the Woodwork room and the Sixth form room the year being1955/6". Clive Baxendale
"I too remember ‘Joe’ at the same time 1952- 1957.
The boy who got the most slippering in our class was Charlie Weston, it didn’t bother him at all, he bent over a desk took the beating and then just walked away.

The year I left school I went to Somerset for a Holiday with Tony Dickenson and his parents. We stayed near Watchet and Joe’s parents lived nearby. Joe invited us over one day for afternoon tea. Joe’s dad had been a bank manager in Blackpool. He was one of the best". David Jones


"Joe was my form teacher from 1968-73..often threatened by the slipper but despite being hopeless at school (because I loathed the place) never actually recieved it..He told my mum that I would end up as a bin man..sometimes I had wished he was right as they seemed to earn rather more than my nursing career paid..I met him much later in a car park where he was parking his old Ford Fiesta..I was parking my brand new Austin Montego and had recently been promoted to Charge Nurse..the devil in me made him come over so I could gloat and happily remind him of his words.although he did actually appear to be pleased he had been wrong". Craig McIntosh
"Is this the same Mr Kirk who used to issue “20 lines all different” ? it’s not as easy as it sounds." Steve Clark
"He was our form tutor in 63. He told me I was crap at music. I said the same about his dress sense. He whacked me. I told him there was more to life than Dave Brubeck’s Take Five. I said Jazz was about 10 guys on the same stage playing 10 different tracks. He whacked me. Within a few years I’d been signed to Apple, Sony Epic, Warners, Fontana – erm not bad for a crap musician! I’m still a pro musician/writer and have depped, toured and sessioned with global iconic Rock and R&B artists. Got a global deal with Dreamworks on the front burner. Shamefully I once depped on bass (guitar, that is) for Kenny Ball’s Jazzmen!!!!! I was his roadie during a lull in session work. I still carry a slipper in the eternal hope of dishing some payback on behalf of the chaps he tortured, sometimes with verve that in today’s climate would merit GBH !!" Norm Bellis
“As a young man, I was privileged to go to Prescot Grammar School on Merseyside where I was taught by Edward Fielding-Kirk who was head of music. I played all sorts of instruments, tenor saxophone, clarinet and flute, sang in the choir and enjoyed music". Bill O’Brien
"I, too, was a 'groaner' condemned to sit on the back row bench in the old gym! In the mid sixties, Mr. Kirk was my formteacher in both 4 Lambda and 5 Lambda. While we were in 4 Lambda, it transpired that there was a glitch in the timetable which left us with a 'spare' period. The school solution was for Mr. Kirk to entertain us as our form master.

At the first of these 'lessons', he struck a deal with us. He told us he had lost a valuable non-teaching priod and wanted to maintain the time for marking etc. So, in return for our silence, we could get on with our homework. "Joe" would put a piece of music on the gramophone with a short introduction/explanation. As a result, he introduced us to a whole range of music genres. I remember being amazed at Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin, baffled by Stockhausen and jazz, impressed by the blues. I learned a lot from just listening in while catching up on latin vocab etc, that has stood me in good stead in quizzes at least!" Trevor Powell


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