The latest Derbeian Magazine containing an article by our archivist, Barrie Sheard.
(Our appreciation to The Derbeian management for allowing us to include these pages.)
(Our appreciation to The Derbeian management for allowing us to include these pages.)
It is hard to believe but these lads first met way back 72 years ago in September 1947 within the walls of St. Helen’s House in Derby and are all therefore reaching or have already reached their 83rd year. The day kindly dawned a little cloudy but importantly dry and relatively warm, enough to all sit outside in the hotels covered porch partaking of several of the interesting range of their own locally brewed beers or those from Derby itself.
As per usual partaking from an excellent lunch menu it is this unchanging nature of these lifelong friendships, which all began 72 years ago in our beloved alma mater, namely Derby School, long may they continue. Due to another commitment the OD Society’s archivist Barrie Sheard arrived somewhat later and endeavoured to update those interested in the latest happenings with both the OD Society, with Derby Grammar School and of course the shocking vandalism of the 1925 built Parker’s Piece Pavilion. To think this 90-year-old building beloved by hundreds of school boy sports men should now be readily the receiver of modern attack from people who have no concept of Derby’s history or born to be proud Derby citizens!
Report by Russ Jones (1947 Reunion Coordinator) and Barrie Sheard (OD Society Archivist)
You can now apply for membership of the society through this website. If you have been a student or a member of staff at Derby School or Derby Grammar, then you are eligible to apply for membership.
Please complete the form on the Membership Application page or use this link to apply;
By scrolling the images below you will find details about some of the fallen on our memorial situated at St. Helen’s House.
The post gives further information about some of the names on the memorial and also images of their gravestones in the various cemeteries in Derby and further afield.
These images have been reproduced here by courtesy of Derbyshire War Memorials and Flickr.
To head over to Flickr use the following link: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmyofPPW
The annual cricket match between Derby Grammar School and the Old Derbeians took place on Sunday May 26 at Hilton Cricket Club.
The Old Derbeians gathered from across the UK, called together by their captain Ananth Srinivasan.
Top scorers for the Old Derbeians were Jack Smith (82) and the captain, Ananth (48). For the DGS side, top scorers were Toby Ganley (47) and Varchas Swamy (28). The Old Derbeians won with a score of 184.
Barrie Sheard, Archivist with the Old Derbeians, presented the Alan Sanders trophy to ODS captain, Ananth. He thanked everyone for turning out and said: “Another year of great cricket – thank you to everyone for turning out. It has been good to catch up, good fun and good cricket. I award man of the match to Jack Smith, and on the school side must mention Toby Ganley who put in great performance.”
We will announce the date of the 2020 match soon.
I entered Derby School in 1946 and left, to take up National Service in the Royal Navy before going on to university, in 1953. Looking back after more than 70 years, I appreciate what a momentous period of social and political upheaval that was. In 1946, I had little idea. But I believe that I understood, even then, that I was in a very unusual and progressive school, with an eclectic mix of staff driven by the post-war fervour.
The teaching was effective, and some of it inspired, but what I remember best is not what went on in the classrooms, but more the extra-curricular life. At least, that is what exercised the greatest influence on my future. I could cite the school plays (I appeared in two major productions, of St. Joan and Murder in the Cathedral) or the musical tradition (I played violin, abominably, in the school orchestra, my voice broke during a performance of Messiah and I made a few attempts at composition). But the school trips abroad were probably the most influential part of my school life – they were responsible for a lifetime of international work and travel. And in retrospect, they must have been quite unusual at that time, taking young students into a Europe which was still trying to recover from the devastation of a world war.
The first trip for me was an exchange visit to Grenoble in the French Alps, when I believe I was twelve. It was my first trip abroad, and made even more exciting by our stopover for a single night in Paris (and a first taste of an illicit glass of cider). Our placements in Grenoble were eccentric: one of our party spent his time in a chateau, complete with servants, while another was taken to the local market each morning to help the family sell shoes. My friend and I were lodged together in a bourgeois apartment in the centre of the city, with weekend sorties into the Alps (where we ‘helped’ to hunt wild boar). We were rather poorly matched with two brothers who were much older, and who created a sensation when we returned together to Derby (they were both good looking, and one of them, on the wilder side, hooked up during his stay with a girl working in Woolworths).
The second trip was also an exchange, with Bruhl, a small town south of Cologne dominated by a lignite mine and notable mainly for its native painter Max Ernst. There we spent a week or so in a local school, which was an enlightening insight into the culture of a German high school (especially the raucous end-of-year celebrations). We must have been very early young visitors to Germany after the war, though we weren’t particularly aware of it.
The third and final school trip was to the small town of Pont Croix, close to the wild peninsula of the Pointe du Raz in Western Brittany. This was not an exchange visit: we stayed in some kind of boarding school or convent and lived (in my unreliable memory) on artichokes. We must have developed curiously accented French, as this was largely a Breton-speaking region. My most vivid image though is quite different. The toilet facilities were primitive, and we used an outside latrine, without running water. I kept my identity card and paper money (what there was of it) in my trouser pocket, and on one occasion, they slipped out of their moorings and dropped into the latrine. One of the staff heroically volunteered to be held by his legs and lowered into the pit to retrieve my funds and identification, something clearly beyond the call of duty (let alone sense). He was successful, and my money was laid out to dry on the grass, though it – and my identity card- were best located through a sense of smell for the rest of the holiday.
For me, there was one other memorable trip to come – also thanks to the interest and tutelage of Mr (WOB) Butler, geography teacher. I was not studying geography, but that did not deter him from tutoring me in writing an essay for a competition organised by the (then Overseas League), on the intimidating theme of demographic problems in the British Commonwealth. Possibly because I was younger than the other competitors, I was awarded third prize, which took me on a month’s study tour to Cyprus at a time when the island was not yet divided, but when nationalistic pressures were already visible, even to a young student. I was not then politically aware, but the island itself was a joy – full of exotic Mediterranean landscapes that I had never seen before and a culture (and a cuisine) far removed from Derby. To cap it all, I experienced my first flights, and stopped off in Rome and Athens for a couple of days on the way. I even had the excitement of being delayed in Athens on my return journey (and the additional excitement of sending a telegram to warn my parents, ending up on a return flight abroad the new Comet aircraft. That created a thirst for travel which led to a professional lifetime of living and working abroad in an international arena. Without my time at Derby School, I imagine that my life would have been very different, and much poorer.
Derby Grammar School’s final whole-school assembly before the GCSE and A-Level examinations begin focused on celebration this morning.
We were delighted to be joined by Gil Bowles and Sarah Crane from YMCA Derbyshire who presented us a huge cheque for the Tanzania Project.
The relationship between the YMCA and the school has developed over the years and this year, as well as their annual cake sale to raise funds for the Tanzania Project, the organisation wanted to donate back to us part of the funds raised by the DGS staff team who took part in the SleepEasy event in March.
A team of five staff braved the wind and rain to sleep out for the evening, raising over £2000 and contributing to the fantastic £55,320 raised by the SleepEasy event. This morning a cheque for £1066 was presented to the Tanzania project leads Mrs. Sly and Mrs. Charnock.
On receiving the cheque Mrs. Sly said: “We are truly humbled that the YMCA as a charitable organisation itself, and for whom fundraising is so vital, can make this gift to our Tanzania Project charity. Thank you, this will make a huge difference to the children at Gedeli B school.”
The focus then changed to the inauguration of our Year 13 students, who are shortly to begin their A Level examinations, into the Old Derbeian Society (ODS).
Ralph Holden, President of the ODS, addressed the school saying how honoured he was to present each one of them with a gift which symbolises them leaving school and joining the society.
The ODS exists to ensure Derby Grammar School ex-pupils can retain and rekindle friendships, and it keeps the link with the school in perpetuity. All ODS members are life members.
Miss Stebbings, Head of Sixth Form, finished the assembly by wishing Year 13 well in the coming months and in their careers. She said: “I wish you success, that you strive for the things that you want and, most of all, that you are happy.”