"Jock" Thomson was undoubtedly one of the more eccentric characters
of the Grammar School in the 60s, and is described variously as being "extremely
volatile" or having "with a wicked temper" or "most forthright".
He was a broad Glaswegian, attending Whitehill Secondary School in the east
end of Glasgow, which he left in 1928. He gained entry to Glasgow University
in 1930, and later started on a 7-year theological course, which included 3 years
at the methodist Hartley Victoria College, in Manchester, and 4 years of extra
He gained his Ministry of Education Certificate at the Alsager TrainingCollege,
Cheshire, in 1949. What he did next is not recorded in his staff record but in 1960 he gained his Bachelor of Divinity at London University.
In September of that year he joined the staff of the South Shields Grammar-Technical
School for Boys in September, 1960, teaching Religious Instruction and, later
in his career, "logic".
He played the bagpipes, and on more than one occasion did he regale his RE class
with the techniques of "silently" playing the bagpipes on his chanter.
But describing Jock Thomson as "eccentric" perhaps conjurs up an image
of someone quirky but kindly and fair. He was certainly quirky! However, his anger could be
readily sparked and he bore his grudges with some ferocity. .
Some who encountered Jock Thomson recall him as a "lovable rogue", and
it's true that he could be very entertaining, but there are many for whom the experience
was less than pleasant.