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The Liverpool Collegiate

Part of the series School Days

  Screen capture from The Liverpool Collegiate


Former pupils and teachers from the 1930s and 40s return to Liverpool Collegiate's magnificent building, which has been restored and converted into flats, to reminisce about their time there.

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The Liverpool Collegiate was a fee-paying grammar school for more than a thousand boys, however it closed in 1985 following a fire.

Find out about the rigorous academic expectations, the smells of the chemistry lab, playing hookey to watch the great West Indies cricket side on their tour of England, and the attempts of the teachers to teach sex education.

There is also a vivid description of what it was like to be at school in Liverpool during the Second World War, and gain a real understanding of the school's place in the social history of Liverpool.


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    • Collegiate Memories
      2 January 2009 - 16:44

      I was transferred from King Edward VI Grammar School Southampton in 1947. I remember being in Form Shell A - Form Master Vice Principle Keen (history) and 5C (might have been 5D) - our Form Master was 'Dicky' Darton (English). The Physics Mistress was the dreaded Miss Hill who drummed into us PD over C equals R. - Force = Mass times acceleration etc.
      I remember Major Chalk who taught us to shoot with a 303 rifle in the Army Cadet Force at the rifle ranges near Southport. The music master used to let me play the organ in the Great Hall - what a privilege!
      I can remember three class mates in 5C I.K.E. Jones, Brian Rimmer and Spud Murphy.
      Brian Rimmer and I were good at maths and physics and we used to sell cribs to our fellow class mates who couldn't manage their homework! We used to get 3 or 4 40 minute periods of homework to do every night. The Collegiate was hard work! 15 minutes time off for Dick Barton was a luxury!
      My father died of cancer in Febuary 1949 and my mother became a stewardess on the Cunard Liners. Before she went to sea mother consulted the Vice Principle on what she should do with me. Mum told me afterwards that Mr Keen asked her only one question. "What does he play with?" - "Meccano and electric trains" she replied. "Send him off to the Royal Navy to be an artificer apprentice". Three months before school certificate exams - I was out of school. No Liverpool University for me.
      I stayed in the RN (Fleet Air Arm) for 9 years before joining BOAC (British Airways) for 30 years as a flight engineer officer and flew the Britannia, VC10, DC10s and Boeing 747s.

    • Mr Pobjoy
      28 December 2008 - 16:04

      I transferred to the Collegiate from the Oulton in 1943 and in 1947 I went on the first school holiday after the war to Belgium and Holland with Mr Pobjoy and Mr Langton who had both been officers who had fought in Belgium. I remember them pointing out the white bridge where they had both seen action. In Blankenbeghe the side streets had still not been cleared of mines.
      They both became officers in the CCF under Major Chalk another great character and although bluff a very kind man. Only now I realise what a great school it was with characters like 'Nit' Griffiths, I still remember him demonstrating the French men promenading Sur Le Pont D'Avignon on a Sunday mornings.

    • Great times made even better by some great teachers
      10 October 2008 - 19:15

      Great video to watch and I have to agree with Mr Grimbaldeston that the year he started did lead to the decline - although I did start the same year as one of the first of the 'comprehensive' boys!

      I'm only kidding John for you were a great teacher and took me for both English and Rugby as well as being my form teacher for a year in 1976.

      I left in 1980 but bumped into you outside WHSmith in Preston about 15 years ago (1993) tapped you on the shoulder and you said "did I work with you"!!

      I dont suppose you would remember my name now - you didnt in 1993 but you did remember the day I wrote your name on the board and underlined the 'bald' bit!

      It all seems so innocent compared to the violence of today - although there were some tough times at the school.

      PS Have you retired by now?

    • memorable
      7 August 2008 - 19:28

      Having watched this piece, I realise that I probably got the very last of the very best having left the school in 1968.
      The school still had kudos then; sadly within five years that status had been wrenched from it by the government of the day.
      The staff during my time there still maintained a certain standard and I feel priviledged to have been educated there.
      KA Croft, CR Woodwood and JH Gawler all had that presence that is lacking in today's educators.
      My final feelings are ones of sadness for a once-great school unable to maintain its own very high standards through no fault of its own.

    • Re : Collegiate
      12 September 2010 - 17:08

      Top school, top teachers and top memories. i attended from about 76 to 83 and had the pleasure to be taught English a-level by Mr Grimbaldeston. He detected and encouraged my interest in surrealism and supplied me expensive books of art weighing several kilos each from his personal collection!!! An inspiration and motivator ,i occasionally look through past essays which i have kept just to giggle at his sarcastic comments in red ink !! Best of health Sir !!!