1971 Patchway High, my survival guide.

Thursday 20th May 1971

me school first year

The photo is taken in my Patchway High School uniform complete with merit card, school tie and a random blue badge. The actual timetable isn’t a real day but has some examples of that year and lessons I remember.

Bus to school from Beach Hotel

Registration 1C1 Mr Pike

English – Balloon Debate – Bill Shankly – Mr Howe

Maths – Right Angled Triangles – Mr Chamberlain


Geography – Film – Coffee from Brazil – Mr Hitch

History – World War I songs – Student teacher


Art– Pointillism – Mr Lewis

Music– Nutcracker Suite – Mr Pullin

Cricket practice in Gym – Mr Potter

Late Bus home


Paper Round – Beach Road and Beach Avenue

Homework – Maths, Geography, Music


I made some notes about how to survive the day.

Bus to school

There were two buses to school from Severn Beach. The one I caught today went the direct route via Pilning and Easter Compton, along Over Lane and on to school. The other goes via Hallen and takes for ever to get there. Western Roadways doesn’t have any of their so called luxury on our coach. Pop, the driver, has to put up with constant hassle from Crunchie and Tats Taylor. Smoke poured out of the engine through the floor into the bus when we climbed Blackhorse Hill. Where you sit in the bus is a question of political skill. Do not sit at the back or front. Try to sit on your own and let someone else have the decision to sit by you. Never, ever, sit by a girl but pray that they might sit next to you. When things get thrown around, get your head below seat level and look out of the window. Never talk about homework. Always have an opinion on Football or T.V. from last night. Never ever wave out of the window when you go through Pilning and see your friends at the bus stop.

Registration – Notices about the school teams and not playing on the tennis courts when the nets are up.


Mr Howe was in top sarcastic style today. I talked in the balloon debate about the chaos that would happen should Bill Shankly be thrown out of the balloon.

As usual Jackie Cash gave me a hard time. She is always critical of what I write but I don’t really care. I am in the final basket next week. I have to think of another person and will need to make sure it isn’t a sports person. I think I will be someone like Richard Nixon.


Mr Chamberlain tried to talk to the class about right angled triangles and how to work out lengths using Pythagoras’ theorem. We made notes and then did practice examples. We talked about football and cricket.

Break time – football in the tennis courts.

Geography – Another film on the cine film projector. I made notes that have to be written up for homework from note book.

History – This was really embarrassing. The student teacher wanted us to sing songs from the World War I. He sang things like “It’s a Long way from Tipperary” and thought we would enjoy singing with him. He lost it when we didn’t join in and called in Mr Janes to stop us laughing. Now we have to write up a lesson with no notes to work from and I have learned nothing.

Lunch – first sitting – Nick Sharp won the water drinking competition but was sick in the P.E. corridor. Karen Coghlan spent most of the time playing footsie under the table. I should give her a good kicking but can’t be bothered.

Football in the tennis courts – no nets up

Art – Pointillism. We looked at some pictures by Georges Seurat and then we had to draw a scene out of the window. Spent 25 minutes doing dots of the tennis courts and grass outside the art class windows, I managed to stay awake (just).

Music – Nutcracker Suite – Daisy Pullin played the music on the stereo. We then had some questions about what it meant. We had to write up the story

Cricket practice in the Gym. The rain has stopped outdoor nets again. We played quick cricket and did some slip fielding catching.

Bus home- Only cricket practice and people who had detentions on the coach. I sat at the very front with Chris Studley.

Paper Round – late start – picked up from Mrs Hopkins and took 26 minutes. I managed to read it from back to front as usual. Clare Hollyman ignored me again.

Homework – Done by 7

Thoughts on the day

Patchway School is good for me. The class I am in, 1E, is the top set and the teachers are expecting us all to go to University when we leave school. I have some good friends in the class who are very clever and good fun. I usually come top in tests in Geography or History. Neil Catford comes top in Science and Keith Clarke or John Butler in Maths. Everyone is very different and no one is miles better than anyone else. I can’t say the teachers are particularly inspiring. It used to be a secondary Modern and we seem to have teachers from the old school rather than those of a Grammar School. Mr Scarborough was head when my brothers and sisters were there as well. So too were many of the class teachers who knew my brothers and are happy to tell me what they were like. I am not sure why we have so much woodwork and metalwork. It must be that they expect us to work in the factories when we leave.

We have to look out for some serious bullies in the school. The Cockings and Terry Allen are the most likely to start a fight for fun. I am captain of the Rugby team so they usually leave me alone.

These are the jobs I imagine the rest of my class doing in twenty years from now.

  • Steve Baldwin – professional cyclist
  • Marian Barnes – singer
  • John Butler – pilot
  • Jackie Cash – author
  • Neil Catford – Scientist
  • Keith Clarke – Managing his own business
  • Karen Coghlan – Working at BAC in office
  • Robert Gane – Accountant
  • Liz Gully – Nurse
  • Graham Harris – Politician
  • Karen Hawkins – Teacher
  • Deborah Humphries – On the stage
  • Beverley Jackson – Teacher
  • Aileen Martin – Something in the legal business
  • Hazel Meachin – Farming
  • Hazel Miller – Working in the church
  • Steven Rutherford – Draughtsman
  • Nick Sharp – Estate Agent
  • Denise Sheppard – Librarian
  • Heather Singer – Selling Insurance
  • Muriel Smith – Teacher
  • Richard Stedman – Professional Cricketer
  • Chris Studley – Office manager
  • Julian Turner – Farmer
  • Tony Wakeford – Scientist at I.C.I.

On this day

1978       Stoke Gifford H L 4

1984       Presidents XI W 8 5-1-16-1

1989       Hawridge and Cholesbury H W 37

1992       M.K.A.C.A. H W 1c

2014       Kent


  1. love the bit about the student history teacher and by the looks of your music lesson and others, it seems as though your teachers were much the same as mine except that mine WAS a grammar school that had always been one so I think there wasn’t much in it between the types of schools and the sort of uninspiring lessons we got in those days. It was just down to poor teacher training or none at all that the teachers then had before they were let loose on us! Would love to know what the different classmates’ real careers ended up as being.


  2. For the record, I loved science and took up engineering because I couldn’t see how academics earn money. Quite foolish in hindsight. Engineering has been good to me and now I am selling analytics software that combines maths, engineering and natural sciences and helps the insurance industry manage their risks of natural catastrophes.
    Neil Catford


    1. Cheers Neil. Now to get the info on the others. We must have a beer when you get to Bristol next. I still drive around here expecting Steve to be one of the cyclists hogging the middle of the country lanes.


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