John Dobson recalls…

The Interview – got off to a great start by telling Mr Witcombe I was a left back – good job I didn’t tell him I was hopeless.

Buying and trying the uniform was a real experience. If only I had those baggy footie shorts now as they are back in fashion. Didn’t the compulsory wearing of the cap make you a target for the local yobbos !!!

Looking through the web site, the pictures of the old teachers bring it all back! Don’t they all look so strict and serious? They were too – I don’t think there was much of a sense of humour between the lot of them. It’s a true rogues gallery of hard taskmasters. Most of them never left school – junior school, senior school, training college and then back to school to teach.

I remember the laughs – the class shuffling into different seats so every time Mr Ede turned back from writing on the blackboard, the class was in a different position.

The geological display case which for years housed a housebrick labelled “Halfenderite” by some wag.

The Bunsen burner gassing of people’s lunchboxes etc etc

Remember Mr Kent. A nice chap, but if you came bottom in one of his daily tests you would get a slap around the head. Until one day an irate parent came in and gave him a taste of his own stuff. He ran a great trip to Germany however – memories still with me today.

All in all they were resposible for giving (at least me) a great education which I still call on. All of them decent, hard working blokes in their own way.

And weren’t we almost model pupils!

What about the time we spent at Hydes Road while rebuilding was going on. Good experience that – but the two schools just didn’t mix.

Remember the Railway club – Stamp club – Music club. What could be better than taking a day off school to travel to far off towns and walk around their engine sheds – my kids just cannot understand the appeal of this sort of stuff, but the interest in railways remains with me to this day.

Talking of railways – “Creep” (Mr Mason) always gave you 10 lines per wagon if he caught you looking at the trains going past.

The cross-country runs – what an experience. I used to be knackered after the first few yards and then that was before the smells of the sewage and the brooks got to you. Never mind there was still heaps of free milk to drink when you got back at school.

The kids were a real mixture – from potential criminals to kids who you would trust with your life. Did any go onto real fame and fortune?

I enjoyed the company of Nick Broome, David Taylor, Michael Turner, Peter Humphries, Neil (?) Woodcock (thanks to you for the great records you lent me) and Julian Young to name a few – but lost touch with almost everyone when I moved to the far side of Walsall then the far side of the world (Brisbane, Australia).

I guess we came out of WBHS with a good education – but where were the skills for picking a life partner, bringing up children, buying a house, buying a car, getting a job, investing in property or shares etc?

Last laugh was the book one made an entry in to say what career you had planned. More than one anticipated a career as a Shepherd or Rock Climber! Simpler days – happy days despite the teenage angst of those years. Thanks for bringing those days back…

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