In Memoriam – John Reader Blackton MBE

 John Reader Blackton MBE co-Founder of Derby Grammar School, former chairman of RB MacMillan Ltd., the Walbrook Housing Association and the fundraising committee to establish the first Nightingale MacMillan Hospice in Derby died recently on 27th December 2018 at the age of 89. He was a former pupil at Derby School at St. Helen’s House in King Street, Derby in 1937 and 1938, prior to moving to Denstone College. He became a member of the Old Derbeian Society.

 His experience and expertise in education as a fellow of the Woodward Corporation led him to become the driving force in establishing Derby Grammar School as an independent day school for boys between the ages of 4 and 18 and now girls between the ages of 16 and 18.

 With the help of both Old Derbeians, alumni of the original Derby School and others, the buildings and grounds were acquired to establish a new school, primarily for boys which would uphold high academic standards and a strong extra-curricular programme. My Blackton had proven skills which suited him to this new venture. He was the former chairman of RB MacMillan label printers and a past president of the British Printing Industries Federation. He donated the MacMillan Prize for Upper School Mathematics which is awarded each year to a deserving pupil at the school’s speech Day.

 He was a person who immersed himself in charitable works and the consideration of the comfort and improvement of others and their living circumstances.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He later became the chairman of the fundraising committee to establish the first Nightingale MacMillan Hospice in Derby. Today, many gain support from the Nightingale MacMillan unit for palliative care now based at the Royal Derby Hospital.

 A keen sportsman, Mr Blackton played cricket for Duffield, hockey for Belper and was a life member of Chevin Golf Club and was always keen to use the development of sport at the school.

 Mr Blackton’s memory lives on in the form of Blackton House, one of the four houses at Derby Grammar School that compete in a variety of extracurricular activities and sporting competitions. Blackton House is named to honour all that he did in establishing and supporting the development of the School.

 Those at the School will be forever grateful and indebted to him for his generosity of spirit, benevolence and vision. He will be remembered fondly by governors, staff, alumni and pupils.

 Mr Blackton is survived by wife Joan and their daughters, Sarah and Katie. His funeral took place at St. Helen’s Church in Etwall on January 23rd at which the OD Society was represented. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and our thanks to his widow, Joan, whose support of her husband’s work has been invaluable.

 For 15 years, from 1970 to 1985, Mr Blackton was chairman of the Walbrook Housing Association in Derby, a charitable Housing organisation that repurchased properties to provide accommodation for families and individuals who need support with housing. During this time the housing stock increased from 15 to 1,000 properties. In 1964 he was awarded the |MBE for his work.

Another Piece of New News

Early December 2018 saw your three OD archivists enjoying a meal and a pint during their Christmas lunch get together. Usually meeting informally approximately three times a year future strategy is discussed and planned for the following year, so that each particular specialist can add their expertise where needed.

For example the recently completed research about Percy Heylyn Currey (1875 to 1882) who as architect was chosen to design and supervise the construction of the School Chapel has been placed onto the new website for all to read and enjoy. If you wish to see IT working at its very best this new site is a must. (The pages actually turn on your click!)

Shown on the accompanying photograph taken at their working lunch are from left to right -Maurice Cass (1961-1966), Barrie Sheard (1945-1950) and Andrew Polkey (1961-1966)

It goes without saying your support in recording the school’s very long history by submission of old B&W photographs, leaflets, memorabilia of all sorts (Cadet Corps, School Sports Colours, old copies of ‘The Derbeian’, souvenirs, diaries, school reports or similar) are always welcome.

Are There Any Sleuths Out There?

Recently found within our ever-expanding electronic archives are a pair of most interesting coloured photographs taken in September 2017 just prior to the School Chapel being demolished. We were wondering if out there are any sleuths or OD’s who like History?
If so could they let us know the possible links between Derby School and the School Chapel? 
On the south elevation facing the large playground were two stained glass windows. Does anyone know their history and reason for being there? Please send your responses to OD Society Secretary, Alan Draper at oldderbeians@gmail.com

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