From age 12 to 17, John Walter Brooks attended Rutherford College in Newcastle
and, on leaving school in 1911, he spent a year teaching in elementary schools in
Newcastle, and six years in Gosforth.
His University education was at Liverpool, which he joined in 1919. By 1922 he had
gained an ordinary BSc in Physics and Mathematics, followed by a BSc (Hons) in Pure
and Applied Mathematics. He stayed on a further year to complete a post-graduate course
to gain his Board of Education Certificate.
On leaving university, Brooks had a very short appointment at an elementary school
in Newcastle before he was appointed to Westoe Secondary School in January,
1925. He stayed there through the transition to the new school at Harton, and during
his time he was editor of the ATOM, and was twice elected President of the local branch
of the National Union of Teachers.
He was, for many years, an Officer in the Army Cadet Corps, and when the Air Training
Corps was formed in 1940 he took a commission, and for some years was the Commanding
But John Walter Brooks died suddenly on 2nd November, 1948. When the news was announced
at assembly the following morning, there was a deep awed hush of which the Headmaster
said, "no more spontaneous tribute to his memory could have been paid".
According to the Head, at a memorial service held at the school:
There were in his character many features that one might emulate but probably
the two outstanding ones were his utter devotion to duty and his integrity. He would
not tolerate either in himself or in others, the slightest deviation from the path
of rectitude ... perhaps his happiest hours, apart from his home life, were spent
on the cricket field. His knowledge of the laws of cricket and their interpretation
was almost perfect and he was always ready to give his services as an umpire.
Following his death, a memorial lecturn was built and many boys will have seen it,
as it is still on the stage at the school. Its curious slope is explained in the trivia