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Halesowen school memories – from sweet music to Killer Crampton

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: April 04, 2014

  • The school orchestra of the County Modern Boys' School.

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WE HAVE here a nice selection of photographs from Clent reader Barry Hipkiss, all dating from his childhood in the 1950s and '60s.

Barry grew up in Halesowen, and the first picture shows the school orchestra from Halesowen County Modern Boys School, and is thought to date from 1958. The music teacher, in the centre of the back row, was Mr Bryce, and young Barry is at far right in the front row, with his cello. Next to him is Leonard Lowe, and behind Leonard, third from right in the middle row with clarinet, is Clive Hodgetts.

One more name has remained in Barry's memory: Thomas McMahon, who is second from left in the back row with a violin. Thomas emigrated to the USA many years ago, where he is now a preacher.

Like all of us who played an instrument at school, Barry started on the recorder to grasp the basics, and another of his pictures shows him with a group of fellow musicians playing from sheet music. This was taken at Tenterfields Primary School, circa 1954/55. Barry is fourth from right, in the middle of the picture, and the only other player he can name is Robin Basterfield, who is standing next to him.

Back to the County Modern Boys' School again, and these are two formal class portraits. In 1959 Barry was part of Form IIA, Mr Hale's class.

Barry is in the middle of the front row, holding the board, with Mr Hale next to him; Thomas McMahon is there again, third from left in the front row, in glasses.

In the middle row are David Allard second from right; and Roger Greaves third from right.

In the back row are Keith White, second from left; Leonard Lowe third from left; then Robert Littlewood fourth from right with blond hair; Max Bridgwater two places along, and Roger Thomas next to him right in the centre of the doors.

The class was much smaller by 1960, when they were Form 3A under 'Killer' Crampton, a man who struck fear into all who crossed his path.

In the back row are Robert Littlewood (second from left) and Max Bridgwater (third left). In the middle row are Thomas McMachon (first left) David Allard (far right) and Roger Thomas (third from right).

Barry Hipkiss is second from right in the front row, with Clive Hodgetts on the end.

And finally, a press cutting headed

"MP Greets the Youngsters", which was taken when Barry and his fellow members of the local Woodcraft group were given a tour of parliament. The story ran as follows:

"Members of the Halesowen group of the Woodcraft Folk are greeted in Old Palace Yard by Mr Arthur Moyle MP, who made a special journey to Westminster during the recess to show them over the Houses of Parliament.

"Accompanied by their Head Man, Mrs Winifred Chapman of Dudley Road Halesowen and Folk Marshall Miss P Coley, they are camping this week at the Woodcraft Centre, West Hoathly, Sussex."

Barry is in the centre with blond hair; his sister Janet is at far right.

If you recognise yourself, a friend or a relative among these youngsters, let us know: you can write to us, pay us a visit, give us a call or send an email to gjones@blackcountrybugle .co.uk.

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