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Bilborough Grammar School

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Old Building Demolished

The original BGS buildings were demolished in 2005 to make way for new construction.

The Final Bilborough Grammar School Reunion, Saturday, July 16, 2005

There were no tears, no gnashing of teeth, no verbose eulogies, no rowdiness as 165 former students and staff wandered around the old building, in small groups, in threes, in pairs, chattering quietly – "do you remember when we put treacle in the piano and . . .?", "can you recall the name of that maths teacher who used to throw the chalk . . .?", "who made that nitrogen triiodide that snaps, crackles and pops when you tread on it?" The memories came flooding back.

We were welcomed in the entrance hall, the space which at 12 noon each school day used to be converted into a dining room for 200 pupils in two sittings. The serving hatch metamorphosed over the years through a tuck shop to a reprographics room to . . . We were invited to sign in the ‘visitors book’ and note a memory of our schooldays. We were offered a glass of wine or squash and told that there would be a formal presentation in the hall at regular intervals. Meanwhile we were free to wander round the old building. There is no need here to provide a description of the changes to the building over 38 years – that is available elsewhere on this website.

In the formal presentation, the current principal, Martin Slattery, welcomed his guests and gave a brief history of the College. We were then shown a video, produced internally with voice over by Gilly Archer, of the new college building – and what a contrast there is. The four storey college lies to the north of the old building, and beyond this, the former playing fields have been converted into a housing estate.

Not all visitors identified the years in which they attended school/college, but eleven indicated that they were among the first intake in 1957 – Susan Day (ne Clay), Pamela Foster, Dick Harwood, John Slater, Sue Staples (ne Brown), Liz Taylor, Spud Taylor, Eric Tomlinson, Patrick White, Frank Winter and Mick Yard. The furthest travelled were Dave Brierley (from Kerikeri in New Zealand), Grenville Wilson (from Phuket, Thailand – or had he just come off holiday?) and Pete Pitchford (from Biggar in Scotland).

Here are one or two memories quoted from the visitors book: great school; detention, leaving, school uniform [berets] and thick tights; a superb two years of my life; all the great mates and student nights; splendid hours inhabiting the music room; and finally, from one who studied here in 1957-1961, this was a wonderful school – fond memories.

The function started at 11:00 a.m., and the last of the guests departed at 2:30 p.m. A number went up to the Broad Oak to continue their reminiscing. That Was The School, That Was.

Michael T. Robinson

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John Martin
May 29, 2017