Latest Archivist Outing!

Latest Archivist Outing!

Continuing their research our three archivists, namely Andrew, Barrie, and Maurice recently undertook a working lunch and tour of the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) in Alrewas, Staffordshire.
Following their usual practice, they regularly meet together every 3 to 4 months to both consider and undertake future research work that needs to be undertaken on behalf of the OD Society. Obviously, the recent finding of 93 Kedleston Road in Derby where they found it had been built in the 1880s as an annexe for 25 pupils who were school boarders has been top of their agenda. Plans were also made where to concentrate their studies into 2020.
It is hoped to be in a position to announce the culmination of their major 2019 research work undertaken once we get to mid to late Autumn. SO WATCH THIS SPACE.
1947’ers Reunion 2019

1947’ers Reunion 2019

We are delighted to report that on Thursday 27th June the 1947’ers met once again for their Annual Reunion and that the venue used on previous occasions, namely the Georgian House Hotel on Ashbourne Road came up with their usual great hospitality.

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)

CCF Ceremonial Sword Acquired By Our Archivist

Yes, gentlemen, the OD Society are now the proud holders of the original CCF Ceremonial Sword and Scabbard as worn during all official parades of the OTC, JTC and CCF from the early 1900s until 1973 when the CCF was disbanded.
The last holder of the sword Mike Foulke as the RAF Commanding Officer at the Moorway Lane site has so very kindly donated it to the OD Society.
Farewell to Lesley Reynolds

Farewell to Lesley Reynolds

Lesley Reynolds , Deputy Head of Derby School has retired from teaching after an illustrious career.

We have reproduced our President’s farewell address to Lesley below.


Lesley Reynolds is leaving Derby Grammar School after 24 years service, in recent years as Deputy Head.
She was the first member of staff to be appointed by Roger Waller, the founding first Headmaster in 1994; they were teachers together at a Comprehensive School in Northampton. Roger taught Chemistry and Lesley, Biology.
A Farewell Garden party was held in Lesley’s honour on Sunday 9 June 2019 attended by up to 150 members of staff, Governors of the School, Old Derbeians, Parents of past and present pupils and many more well wishers.
Ralph Holden, President of the Old Derbeian Society, amongst other speakers, spoke in tribute to her enduring work and support as an honorary member of the Society, and presented her with the Society’s ladies silk scarf, assuring her of our best wishes for a successful next stage in her career.
The President’s Address is given below :
“Dr. Norris, Governors, Members of Staff, Pupils of Derby Grammar School, Parents and Old Derbeians
I am here as President of The Old Derbeian Society whose members are from both the old Derby School and this wonderful new School, Derby Grammar School. I say “new” as a relative term – the old School had a history going back at least 870 years when the Bishop of Mercia placed it in the hands of the Abbot of Darley Abbey in 1150, but if you know your history of Derby, the tradition is the old school was founded by King Alfred’s sister when she captured Derby from the Danish Kingdom 200 years earlier. All schools have to be “new” at some stage, and proudly next year on its 25th anniversary, this School will no longer be “new”.
This is both a sad occasion and a joyous occasion, and also a milestone event in the emerging history of the school. Sad because we are losing Lesley, but joyous because we are celebrating her unique achievement in helping to make this school the great school it has become.
I speak on behalf of our 700 alumni of the Old Derbeian Society from all over the world, not only to thank you, Lesley, in person for all you have done for the school, but also for all your support for The Old Derbeian Society over the past 24 years.
We remember that in 1995 you were, dare I say, in the “Gang of Three” who came to Littleover, with Roger Waller and Paul Hilliam, to these unique buildings, set in their beautiful mini park, to found a new school. Incidentally, I nearly called you “The Three Musketeers” but in all your many battles with the authorities to get the school up and running, I don’t think you ever swiped anyone with your sword!
From the word go, when the Old Derbeian Society changed its 100 year old constitution to embrace in its membership the school leavers of the new school, you gave the combined Society your full, unqualified support and encouragement, contributing to the flourishing Society it is today. Your input has been enormous, attending all those boring Committee meetings, supporting us at our annual social functions and vitally, for the Society, ensuring that we were brought within the consciousness of the school leavers who presence now ensures the Society will live on for posterity.
Lesley, I haven’t got an anecdote about your amazing time in launching the school, but I love the story that says it all – when little “Johnny” was brought by his parents in the summer of 1995 to view the school, they stopped by the gardener pushing a lawnmower over the vast lawn. They said “Excuse me, my man, can you tell us the way to the Headmaster’s Office?”. The gardener wiped his hands on a dirty rag “very nice to meet you – I am the Headmaster!”.
Lesley, we insist you write your memoires of those early days, with Roger and Paul as a historical record – you must have been chief cook and bottle washer to the fledgling school on a daily basis.
As a Society, we especially admired all you did in those difficult days when Richard Paine’s failing health forced him to give up his headmastership and you took over the stewardship of the School, ensuring its seamless day to day management for 12 months until the appointment of our new Head, Dr. Norris.
Lesley, as a small gesture of our appreciation, please accept this gift of the Society’s silk ladies square in the colours of the old and “new school” – not everyone’s favourite color combination but I’m told by the fashionistas silver, black and green go well with shocking pink!!
Lesley, a huge thank you from the Society for all you have done for us and our sincere best wishes for your new future career.”
Derby School War Memorial – Remembering the Fallen

Derby School War Memorial – Remembering the Fallen

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:


Derby School
Annual Cricket Match

Annual Cricket Match

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.

Derby School After WW2

Derby School after World War 2

An article submitted by Alan Hancock (1946-1953)

This article was the winning entry on the latest website competition.

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.

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