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Where is the site?

Maybe start a new one.

Anyone remember the wires to the caretakers house being cut?

Circa 1960

I was hit by a hockey stick. Several stitches later I never did like competitive sports.

A prize list I have tells a tale.

Ghostly voices from the past

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Where is the site?

Maybe start a new one.

Anyone remember the wires to the caretakers house being cut?

Circa 1960

I was hit by a hockey stick. Several stitches later I never did like competitive sports.

A prize list I have tells a tale.

Ghostly voices from the past

Aye..!..Wat happens ti the sites?!

A came back ti catch up on new postings and thi pics....nowt there!!!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Maggie! I still have my old school badge with St Cuthbert's cross,and the School Motto embroidered on it...."De Profundis"...

which was latin for "From the depths",to indicate Bedlington Community's links and heritage due to CoalMining.

I wouldn't part with it,it dates back to the day Westridge School opened in 1956 after the summer holidays ended,we all got sent

home the first day cos the stationer's failed to keep contract on time,and we had no books,pens or pencils etc!

We started the next day,but all that week we wandered around the school freely,on Mr Hemming's permission,to familiarise ourselves with the layout of the school.

"Gymnasium....."???...we from the old Whitley Memorial School hadn't heard of the word,so didn't know what we looking for!

It was forbidden to walk in there with shoes on,cos the floor cost over one thousand pounds,a lot of cash in 1956!

So what did Wilma do?..i was with a few of my friends,Martin Nicholson,Dennis Green,[his Dad was Engineer at the A pit]...

and a few others,and when we saw the gym....i couldn't resist running straight over the virgin floor..[i was probably the first ever pupil to walk on it/!]..caught one of the virgin beautiful thick white climbing ropes,and shimmied straight up to the roof in seconds,using only my hands,my feet dangling loosely.A rough sargent-major's voice boomed up to me.."get down from there...now!!!.......i had just met Danny Douglas,our new P.T. Teacher!

Well, i shimmied down quickly,hand over hand,and stood to attention....expecting a few canings,like aad Nicky at the Whitley would have done....but Mr Douglas said " Very impressive boy,where did you learn to climb like that?"

I replied that i learned it by climbing trees down the woods from a young age.He said "Well,unfortunately,it's the wrong way,so i'll show you the right way,and if i catch you doing it your way again,you will be in trouble,right?!

He never mentioned the fact that i broke rules by being in the gym unsupervised!Danny was A great character,he clipped you,and made friends within minutes....R.I.P.Danny Douglas..the best P.t teacher ever lived.

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"De Profundis" I seem to remember the music teacher Mr Drinkwater composing a piece of music to represent the school and the motto.

He took us with the choir to the hall in Ashington on top of the coop.

He also took a trip to see opera at the Theatre Royal.

So many memories.

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De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine;

Domine, exaudi vocem meam. Fiant aures tuæ intendentes

in vocem deprecationis meæ.

Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine, Domine, quis sustinebit?

Quia apud te propitiatio est; et propter legem tuam sustinui te, Domine.

Sustinuit anima mea in verbo ejus:

Speravit anima mea in Domino.

A custodia matutina usque ad noctem, speret Israël in Domino.

Quia apud Dominum misericordia, et copiosa apud eum redemptio.

Et ipse redimet Israël ex omnibus iniquitatibus ejus.

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Psalm 130....

From the depths, I have cried out to you, O Lord;

Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive

to the voice of my supplication.

If you, Lord, were to mark iniquities, who, O Lord, shall stand?

For with you is forgiveness; and because of your law, I stood by you, Lord.

My soul has stood by his word.

My soul has hoped in the Lord.

From the morning watch, even until night, let Israel hope in the Lord.

For with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.

And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

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Anybody remember Mr Epsley,the metalwork teacher,he was very stern and strict,which in a class with a forge burning,and a £600 lathe...[in 1956!]...he would HAVE to be strict......!Taught me a lot, he did!

Mr Abrahart,the History Teacher,used to crack the whole class up,we couldn't write owt for laughing,when he was giving us "dictation".

He used to take on the characters of Disraeli,and Gladstone,in the wars,and stride back and forth across the classroom floor waving his arms about and shouting the characters words from the book...very dramatic,but very much like Harry Worth,the '60s sitcom comedian.

Everybody,including the lads,were really sorry to see him go,when he left to take up a post at Westmoor,Newcastle.

Mrs Nicholson,music teacher,was really lovely,so was Miss Thew,art teacher,but she had a temper like you've never

seen!She nearly bust my eardrum with an almighty crack across the side of my face from behind,[i didn't see her coming]because i spoke to my friend for a second!...you soon learned not to talk in her class!!

Mis Short and Nancy McLean were the P.T. teachers for the girls,also both lovely,i worked with Nancy's Dad at

Bedlington A pit,as the years went by,he was a Deputy underground,a real nice bloke,he was.

Eeeee,a could gaan on and on aboot the teachers at Westridge....

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Wonder if Councillor Alan Stewart,and he's friend Alan Spowart,can remember Mrs Nicholson,asking them to bring their guitars into the next music lesson,and little Alan[?]Dixon[?]"Dicka" as he was known,they all played and Dicka sang his heart out for an hour...no mikes..just straight from his heart!

"the story of my life" was in the charts,by Michael Holliday,"he's got the whole world in his hands",was another one Dicka belted oot,with the whole class singing along with him...!!

That was the best music class i ever had throughout my school life!!

It helped inspire me to take up guitar when i left school and could afford a cheap one,bought at Gallons shop in Morpeth, in 1959,for £7 10shillings.[paid for at 5shillings a week for six months!]

Now,in 2013,at 69 yrs old,in July coming,i still plonk on with my beloved instruments..all 15 of them!!!

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I joined the clan at Westridge from Nedderton at a later date than you, so I was not there those first days.

Your memories sure stir up some ghosts for me HPW.

You have an amazing memory.

Mr Abrahart, his history lessons were inspirational.

Cannot imagine being so involved with local history without his input.

With his style of dress and ties he made History trendy, I suppose he was a Dan Snow before Dan Snow.

I remember all the other teachers but stayed under the radar, so was never in trouble.

Quiet revolutionary.

My kids and grandchildren do not believe me.

However our opinions were nurtured at Westridge and I think we all became rounded individuals thanks to their guidance.

I know of characters who did not take up Grammer School placements in order to go to Westridge.

One girl turned up from another secondary and had to return to her original school.

We felt no need to take the 13 plus.

We did Northern Counties and in only one year we did the syllabus for O levels.

Now one argument for getting rid of Middle Schools is that they need extra time for exam preparation.

They could well examine what worked so well for us at Westridge.

Music has a special place in my life.

One son says if you say you do not like Mum's music she plays it until you do.

I now find I like strange music that they make me listen to.

My Gran in Bedlington had a wind up gramophone which was brilliant when it wound down playing MacNamaras Band.

And you tell the kids these days and they don't believe you. To quote Monty Python!

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Westridge is very dear to my heart as I had a wonderful time there and tons of great memories. I was very upset when I heard that the County scrapped the place - it felt a bit like them erasing my past (bastards!). Nevertheless, it was a cog in the pernicious system which I'm sure must have harmed countless 1000s of kids over the years and I'm glad the whole revolting 11+ selection system was binned in most of the country.

Maggs, you're right about the decent education offered there. I did the Northern Counties in the Fourth Year, stayed on into the Fifth Year* to do O levels, then went down the Sixth Form at the Grammar School for A levels ... then down to London to become a hardworking student :rofl:

High Pit - are you sure Mr Abrahart left during your time there? I'm sure there was a Mr Abrahart there during my time (62 - 67). The metalwork teacher during my time was Edgar (Taffy) Williams; Miss Short was the Deputy Head during my time.

*I have some photos of the Fifth Year class which I'll be posting soon on the Westridge Photo thread when I finished naming names.

Oh, and I heard that Bill (Danny) Douglas died not that long ago.


Why not consider putting all the Westridge stuff together in one thread?

Edited by Symptoms
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Maggie,i had a heart attack seven years ago,and the life-savers i take each have affected my short-term recall..like i canna mind what i did yesterday,but i hav vivid memories of all my childhood as far back as i can remember the riens my mother put on me when iwas learning to walk....brown leather with three leather and white felted star-shaped decorative "buttons" across the front of the harness.

Symptoms,Mr Abrahart left about 1958,not long before i left in 1959,the girls cried when he came to say goodbye,and mind,one or two of the lads,if not all of them,were at least...full,but wouldn't visibly show it of course.

Maybe he came back after a while,cos my barber told me the reason he left.

Maybe it's not a co-incidence that he was there in '62,precisely when the head had also changed,i'm saying no more!!!!

He had taken up a post at Westmoor school at the time.

When us kids started the first day,exam gradings had nothing to do with it,i didn't pass 11-plus,,there was no Northern Counties exam.

The idea was to stream out potential G.C.E. candidates,of which none of us from the Whitley Memorial School had ever heard of!

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Heh heh!Thanks Maggie!

Another thing we set of 12 yr old lads from the old Whitley School could never figure out , was the House system,where you gained [or tried to gain!] "House-Points" ,as rewards for doing homework on time,picking litter up in the yard etc.

All 500 kids were split into groups,and allocated a place in a particular house...I was in Bamburgh House,my friend Martin Nicholson [deceased..R.I.P. Martin...]was in Dunstanburgh...and so on.

My group of Pitmen's sons - friends all thought they were trying to make the school like a college,what with having a head boy and girl...never been heard of in old Bedlington community before...

Mind,the first ever Head Boy,David Lees,was so well liked by everybody in the school-including Staff,that Mr Epsley,the Metalwork Teacher Planished out a small trophy cup,out of brass sheet,[personally],Silver-plated it to a proffesional standard,and engraved it to read..."The Lees Trophy".

The Trophy was fought for by the different "Houses",and whichever House gained the most House-points each month,

then the trophy was displayed on a shelf in front of that House's Heraldic coat of arms shield.There was a diagonal row of hooks upon which each shield hung,in the order of how many points had been gained overall,and the top-gainer's shield always hung on the top hook, where the little shelf was mounted to stand the Lees Trophy.

This display was directly in front of the main doors in the vestibule.

See? All this heritage was lost,when the clever for-seeing council of the day,[who also demolished the old hall

and keep...a priceless piece of history!!],decided in their wisdom,to hand over OUR school,to the richest establishment in the world!!

Eeee...let's keep the entertainment light ,Maggie...eh?

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Aam wound up Maggie!...."Upper-remove"....! Who the hell thought up a stupid name for a class of pupils who were selected to sit for the G.C.E.?

Also,"Middle Remove",and "Lower Remove"....I am sure that "G.C.E. Stream" or summick else simple like that would have sounded better!!

I still have some of my work from the Upper Remove,i did pretty well in English,Science,Technical Drawing,but was rock-bottom in Maths,so i left at 15 yrs old and went down the pits.

My memory,Maggie!....I have a class photo taken at the Bedlington Village Infants School,opposite St Cuthberts Church,in about 1949,when i was 5 yrs old,and there was 43 pupils in that class.

I have named about 90% of them,basically cos we went all the way through our school life sitting beside the same friends in every class,and also a lot of us were friends and neighbours at home,playmates out of school.

I am trying to find it,to post up here ,for the benefit of all,but especially Vic's good lady!

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Wonder if the older generation can still go for lunch at the old school.

My mother used to go along in the 90s before she died.

Would be good to have a look at the old place, vestibule and all.

Do not get wound up HPW, not good for the heart.

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HPW's recollections of the House system and House points reminds me (I had truely forgotton this) of the 'Great House Points Racket'. In my time the HPs were small yellow tickets with an image of the School's badge printed on the front and I discovered where they were stored ... an unlocked stock cupboard next to the Art Room. Anyway, a sizable bundle of these things were removed by me and ended-up on the 'blackmarket' - I was kept in snouts & sweeties for ages until caught. Whacked by Geordie Hemming for my troubles.

Spot on with the location of the Display Case.

What's this about the School Hall being demolished?

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Maggie,i've always wanted to go back,to have a look around,but in these days,where a man is a perv,if he says isnt that a bonny babby in the pram...[like we used ti!],a wudn't think aboot it noo...the society we live in has poisoned everybody's brains.Mr Johnson,[science teacher and an old R.A.F. WARTIME RADIO OFFICER],used to coach me in electronics,from age 12yrs,and by the time i was 14,i could build a 2-valve short-wave radio set from the theoretical circuit diagram.We used to stop in the science lab till 10-pm most nights,engrossed in our electronic building work,cos we had to physically make the steel plate chassis,and drill out for all the huge components,big radio valves,heavy mains transformers,wind our own aerial coils....it was a lot of work!

Mr Johnson was a typical down-to -earth person,better to me than my own father,who had no interest in what i did,and it would have been inconceivable to even think about him,or any other of our teachers,to act "improperly"!!

I wanted to be a radio/television engineer,but failed maths miserably,rock bottom!!,so just gave up and went down the pits!

I just couldn't grasp numbers...like dyslexic people with words.....

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Symptoms,you reminded me,Mr Hemming had a proud? record of never EVER having to use a strap or cane in all of his teaching career.

Until the Suth. twins,and a lad called Ken H. decided to smash milk bottles all over the brand new toilet blocks,damaging hand-basins and breaking tiles on the floor...

Mr Hemming hauled them all up in front of the morning assembly,500 of us,in the school hall,wept openly,and wiped tears from his cheeks,

as he announced how sad he was to have to break his record of never using corporal punishment,until today.

All thi lads in the assembly quietly sniggered as Mr Hemming proceeded to give them [the bad lads!] three of the best on each hand with a leather strap!

Whey ,for the damage they did to an expensive brand new school,he would hae been better ti send for AAD NICKY....HE would have had them shaking in their shoes!!

Anybody who ever had the strap across the hands,knows it was a hell of a lot better than the cane!

A think a have Ken's name right,i always got him and his brother's names mixed up..it might have been Brian...

Funny thing was ,in adult life,Ken.[or Brian]...whichever one it was,grew up to be a real nice lad,running his own business!!

Musta been one of those testosterone moments when they just went crazy for a few minutes....still no excuse..i wouldn't have dared to

do owt like that...mutha wud kill me!!

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