N.B. - I would like to point out that Derek was prompted to write this letter, when he mentioned (at the Rememberance Service) that he had witnessed the Fire - Webmaster
From: Derek Corlett 1955-1960
Having recovered from the trauma of sitting the scholarship one snowy day in February 1955 and sampling the ambience of the School surroundings I have many vivid memories experienced up to the time I left in 1960.
One such occasion was when Miss M Hill, who was deputising as form Mistress in place of the passionate but sick Ben Evans, included in her term report that I was a "nice boy". I took this in the literal sense but have often wondered if she was reporting on the right lad! Ma Hill drove a green Jowett Javelin but was remembered for her unique teaching technique. Clearly not the most popular member of staff but undoubtedly one whose mark will never be forgotten. Sadly, an incident occurred when she was assaulted by a scholar in the Physics lab and assistance was summoned by using the old style telephone which connected the two Physics labs.
Initially I found myself in Form 3D under the care of Mr Derbyshire who himself was a scholar at school. At the end of that year I was first in form and found myself elevated to form 4A. For my part this was step too far and at the end of that year I had been unable to match the abilities of other very bright pupils and finished at the bottom. At that time I had been playing football and still remember many successes at Uplands and travelling to away fixtures by Sunniways coaches. Their depot was in Shaw Street opposite school. Registration of their fleet always had distinctive plates with common numbers , ie 222, 333 etc . These were good days.
From that day on I did little to cover myself in glory but did manage six O level passes. This was sufficient to obtain immediate employment with The Motor Union Insurance Company in Liverpool. This was my one and only post until I was able to retire on very generous terms at the ripe old age of 50 in 1993. During my time there, I graduated to become Area Life Superintendent in the Company which by that time had become Guardian Royal Exchange Assurance. This had proved to be a challenging but satisfying career during which time I had been a founder member and ultimately Chairman of the Liverpool Life and Pensions Society.
It was always my wish to revisit School after I left in 1960 but sadly the privilege never arose. Returning home by car and driving up Islington I witnessed the fire which by that time in the afternoon had turned into a raging inferno. Out of curiosity I turned the car and took up a vantage point in the Erskine Street estate to oversee what was happening. The intensity of the fire was increasing by the minute. In no time the whole building was enveloped in flames and smoke. Some years later I accompanied other old boys to the rooftop of the restored building. I then realised the height of the building and with just a light breeze it is not difficult to imagine how this would have been ideal for fanning the flames from one end to the other.
Since then I have attended our School on Remembrance days and on each occasion I have relieved many nostalgic memories. What a School and what memories of those Masters who did their best on our behalf!
I would encourage everyone to relive their own memories and the Remembrance Day service provides an excellent opportunity.
Derek Corlett 1955-1960
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