Get with the programme: Shire Oak School opening day 1967

I’ve just had an excellent contribution from reader Caz, who’s sent in scans of the Walsall Wood County Secondary School opening ceremony program from October 20th, 1967. This contains a wealth of excellent information, including names of staff and pupils. This school would, of course, come to be known as Shire Oak and shared the same site as Shire Oak Grammar School until the two merged years later.

I’ve combined the files into one easy to download PDF file (Acrobat required, but you’ve probably got that already) or click on each page for a larger version. Sadly, the pages aren’t numbered so I’ve put them in the most logical order that appears to me.

Hello Bob,

I know you probably don’t have much time, what with work, cycling and all your other commitments,and yet you still find time to run the Brownhills blog for the benefit of others, so thank you very much. Keep up the good work.

I don’t know if you personally would find this booklet interesting, maybe not but thought I’d send it anyway for you to decide whether to use it or not. It would probably be better if there were pictures.It might appeal to anyone who went to Walsall Wood Secondary Modern School / Shire Oak and I think the people listed in the booklet, who would be aged between 55 and 60 years old now, may enjoy giving it a once over. I know that when I came across it,I enjoyed skimming through it, although it was depressing noting who’s now passed on. I also noted there’s a David Evans? in there but doubt if it’s the blogs David as from things he’s wrote about, I imagine him to be a little bit older. Sorry, if I’m wrong.

Anyway do with it as you wish, and don’t worry about replying to this email, I know your time’s limited and I know now that I’m scanning and sending them in the right way, so if you don’t use it then I’ll know it was unsuitable material.

best wishes Caz

Thanks to Caz for another wonderful bit of local history. I can assure her that this is exactly the sort of stuff I love. Thanks…

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25 Responses to Get with the programme: Shire Oak School opening day 1967

  1. Pingback: The pride of the community « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  2. CAZ says:

    Richard is right, Mr Parker loved his canes. He had a moustache , curled up at the ends and I don’t think i ever saw him smile. A very stern man who frightened the hell out of me.
    Mrs Sharp [known as Fanny……. but only behind her back]also scared me half to death.She taught French. I remember she had the girls walking around with a book on their heads, to try and turn us into ladies……..some hope? One lad, who shall remain nameless, really got her knickers in a twist one day because he kept saying “oon heure” instead of “une heure” pronounced with a ‘y’.Her voice got higher and higher , and her face got redder and redder as she got madder and madder.I thought she was going to explode. She ended up ordering him out of the classroom poor kid.
    Mr Simms, [geography] was another teacher who ‘threatened’ the cane. Drop dead gorgeous and the girls of a certain age ogled him, but he was strict.
    Miss Pamela J Hall was my first form teacher and she was lovely.
    Mr Hildred taught commerce and History, [I think]. Always promoting ‘Which’ magazine. I remember he gave me one of the most humiliating moments of my life.He made me stand up, infront of the whole class, which in itself was awful because i was really shy back then, and he told everyone to take a long hard look at me……..I was an example of someone without ambition, someone wasting their life, blah blah blah. The reason? I chose not to stay on for an extra year. In retrospect, I know he was doing it for my own good, hoping to get me to change my mind, but I was mortified and never forget the embarrassment.
    When my own child started at Shire Oak, I asked if he was still a teacher there and was told he’d committed suicide………depressed after his dog had died. So very sad.I actually liked him.
    Mr Murcott, was a small dumpy man, but so nice who went on to marry another teacher called Miss Barber?.
    Mr Ferris…..Maths ?
    Mrs Bird…..Needlework.?
    Mrs Goode……D.S.? or was it English?
    I liked Mr Rumball, but i think he taught R.E which was never a favourite of mine.
    One of my favourite teachers was Mr Simmonds, not listed in the booklet as he came a couple of years later. He taught science.
    Anyone else got any memories? I’d love to hear them.

    • Ray Reeves says:

      I have to say that I hated this school. They were over strict and restrictive. Thankfully u was thrown out and went to college. Best thing I managed to get to university get a BSc an MBA and a PhD. No thanks to that set of “teachers”. Although I vaguely recall a teacher called Simms that tought geography. He had a triumph car of some sort. Mean SOB but could at least show interest. I invested some time with some examples at a goveners day that didn’t go down well.

  3. clive says:

    Hello Caz, that booklet on the Shire Oak School got the old memory box working, Mr. Murcott was know as Teddybear, and Mr. Churchyard was know as spook, he teached rural studys. when we where at streets corner school our class room (wooden shed) became the livestock shed when it was transported upto Shire Oak.
    cheers Clive

  4. Andy Dennis says:

    In my day Mr Murcott was known as Benny the Ball after the Top Cat character. I liked his history lessons, but he was not to be tangled with at 5-a-side footie!

    This was later on when the schools were combined as upper and lower. Possibly the most sinister was headmaster E B Merriott, who terrified pupils and staff in equal measure.

  5. CAZ says:

    Mr Murcott was my form teacher in year 4,when he announced he was getting married and we were all delighted for him as he was really nice.I think It was actually Miss Barker,not Barber who he married.She was the girl’s PE teacher.
    Miss Hall, taught Maths and Science.
    Miss Heaton….Art. I liked her class, but worried about one of the lads, who behind the teachers back, drank the dirty water that we washed the paint brushes out in. Yuk.
    Mr Rumball took RE and Music.
    Mrs Bird did take us for needlework, and in the first year, all the girls had to make a red and white striped school blouse. Ghastly?
    Mr Pearce… English
    Mr Peach…. took English/Lifecourse and i really liked him.
    Mr Cane, was my 3rd year form teacher and very strict, but can’t remember the subject he taught.
    I can remember a Mr Merriot but can’t picture him.It was a bit strange when the 2 schools merged, as for a couple of years it had seemed like it was ‘them’ and ‘us’….. the Grammer Grubs and Secondary Slugs.Because the ‘secondary’ kids playground had tennis courts and was enclosed like a big cage and the ‘Grammer’ one was open, there was talk that ‘they'[ the Grammar kids] were offering ‘us’, monkey nuts.I never got offered any which is a shame really….i would have enjoyed them lol. After the merger, the older pupils went to the old Grammar school and the younger ones the ‘newer’ school.
    They also changed the class names during my time there. they started off as U / Ma/ Mb + L =Upper, Middle A, MiddleB and Lower. I can see how, if you were in Lower, it could make you feel demoralised, and I think it was better when they changed to N S E+W after the compass points.
    Hope this jogs some memories, Caz

  6. Andy Dennis says:

    I think Mr Cane taught maths.

  7. Matt says:

    That tennis course is still there, the new year 7s were put in there for a few weeks when they first started. Ironically it was nicknamed “the cage”. Was a horrible experience!

  8. Pingback: Family snapshot « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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  10. Hi All this is Amazing I’ve just found myself in the leaflet.. class M I B my names John Mainwaring im 56 now!
    Any one remember the language lab and the very sexy blonde miss hinds? i’m sure Mr simms and her were a bit of an item back then,.
    Mr simms stood no messing from the bullies in my class, i saw him lose his temper more than once he used to smash down hard with his fist on the desks and frighten us into complete silence.
    Does any one know what happened to them both id love to know?
    memories are flooding back mr simms drove a triumph vitesse if i recall,
    yes the tennis courts were our play time area and i used to hate and loath the cross country runs in the winter mr hughes was the PE teacher

  11. Caz says:

    Hi John, so sorry, your name doesn’t ring a bell, but i knew a lot of people by first name only. i was in U1, Carole Edwards, but i dont suppose you’ll remember me either. [i was very shy and quiet lol] There was another Carol Edwards in a younger year to us though.
    I hated the Language lab, it scared the hell out of me and i always sat in the last booth, on the back row, hopefully out of view of the teacher so she wouldn’t ask me any was the pride of the school back then,and i was terrified i’d press the wrong button and get the tape all tangled up.
    I never thought of Miss Hinds as a sexy blonde [i’m pleased to say] but i remember the gossip about Mr Simms and another teacher.I remember Miss Neil, the cookery teacher was also quite young and blonde.
    As far as i know, Mr Hughes is still there but semi retired now, and known as Mr Baynhem-Hughes now. I thought he was a lovely man and when my kids were going to Shire Oak, i couldn’t believe how well he’d aged.
    I remember those cross country runs in winter….the cold and mud, it would be called child abuse now lol although i didn’t mind them in the nice sunny weather.It was better than being whacked around the shins with a hockey stick. Kids today would probably use it as a chance to play truant.
    best wishes Caz

    • Caz i think i remember your name but cant put a face to you
      i was never really happy at the school and could never really remember a great deal about it until i saw the program booklet you posted,i probably blanked a lot of it out, i seem to remember my ogley hay junior school as if it was tomorrow.
      What you’ve done has jogged up happier memories for me though so its been a nostalgic delight i wish i was that age again, keep up the good work you should organise a reunion id come! easier said than done i know
      Best wishes

  12. keith giles says:

    What a great find,I’m there class 4e2.I remember the move as we had to carry our desks and chairs from the old school up occupation and across the playing fields to the new school.Talk of the cane reminds me that mr Rumball despite being a man of god gave me the sorest bottom of any of the teachers who gave me the cane. nice memories.

  13. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    Brownhills Urban District Council Meeting minutes
    Meeting of the council in Committee, 10 April 1957
    minute 1042..(precis, David)..”The Council was graveley concrned to learn that the Secondary Modern School proposed to be erected at Shire Oak did not appear in the Building Programme of the Staffs Education Committee..BUDC to send a depuation to press the claim.”

    Meeting of the council in Committee, 8 May 1957
    minute 1134. (precis.David) ” a letter had been received from the Divisional Executive…the first priority should be a new Primary School..would be fullest possible support from the Executive and the Education Committee for a Sec Mod School to be erected at the earliest possible date. The Clerk was instructed to write a further letter expressing the Council’s disappointment and pressing for a deputation to be received”


  14. maria fitzgerald says:

    Hi, What a interesting read.
    Even thou I went to ogly hay &Brownhills comp,I do know two names on the list.
    Well done to Caz and your self for such a read from the past.
    Keep up good work Bril.

  15. Linda says:

    Hi, Wow!! Brings back old memories, I remember all these Teachers and my name is in this programme. I remember Miss Neil, the cookery teacher and now we cooked meals then invited a member staff to join us.

  16. paul jones says:

    Hi Caz
    That booklet has brought a lot of memories back to me , I was in U1 with Mick Mason, Helen Stringer, Roy Smith and yourself.
    I can remember all the names of teachers and staff but putting a face to them is another thing.
    Mr Sims spent most of one lesson trying to get nicotine of helen’s stringers fingers, I can remember his triumph car and how his clothes always looked immaculate.

    Mostly good memories
    Paul Jones

    • ian aulton says:

      same class at some time then,ian aulton is my name,i remember you and names above,others being the stackhouse twins andrew and verity,graham anderson,another mason,please get intouch if you wish at live in stafford

  17. Just read that booklet, what memories it bought back family names and names I grew up with, remember the Vicar and his wife Mr Druce and thier daughter Rosemary.

  18. Steve Charles aka Charlie says:

    Brought back a lot of memories

  19. Sue Bignell says:

    I remember the plays we did in the newer school hall because it was bigger and better equipped. “Oh What a Lovely War”, “Close the Coalhouse Door” and the last one I did which was based on real life stories from the second World War. Such fond memories. All driven by English teacher John Bell. Does anyone remember him? Have any idea what happenend to him?

    • Wulfric says:

      I did the back stage stuff (Sound , Music) for “Oh What a Lovely War”. I had terrible memories of that school and couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I was more horrified to see the names I had mostly long forgot. It was a brutal establishment and thankfully after leaving I had a long academic career.

  20. Terence Burgoyne says:

    Terence burgoyne. I remember shore all clearly. Was there from 1972_1977

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