South Shields Grammar-Technical School for Boys
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Welcome to the Guestbook
Feel free to add messages relating to the site and the school. The only rules are: real names only, no personal attacks and no unrelated messages (inappropriate messages may be edited/withdrawn without warning).
It would be appreciated if you gave an email address, where you now live and said when you were at the school, but you don't have to.
Plase note that if you click on an email address below you will need to replace ~DOT~ with . and ~AT~ with @ in your email program. The Guestbook presents these this way to avoid email address harvesters collecting your email addresses from the page. I know it's a pain, but it's very much better than the alternative.

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alan wightman | aconlan111~AT~gmail~DOT~com
Black Dust' many, 'Black Gold' the few.

'In 1936, George Orwell spent one day down a coal-mine described in his 'Road to Wigan Pier'. It was vivid as he struggled
to describe the heat, noise, darkness, foul air and above all, unbearably cramped space. Just the walk from shaft to coalface, much of it spent stooping, crouching or crawling, reduced him as a fit 32 year-old, to agony. He noted that many of the miners had 'buttons down their vertebrae': life-time scabs stained with coal dust.
Coal was central to the war effort. It not only kept people warm but powered industry, railways and shipping.
Many coal mines used explosives to loosen the rock and coal for removal by using shovels and trucks. Pneumoconiosis
known as 'Black Lung Disease' was caused by long-term exposure to coal dust. The disease subjected miners to a shortened and debilitating existence until they ultimately succumbed to the ravages of the illness / 'Black Death'.

(I hope it will be agreed that we 'Old Boys' present a copy of 'Black Gold' for the school library which I shall be happy to purchase.)

Tue 19-Oct-2021 13:38
alan wightman | aconlan111~AT~gmail~DOT~com
'The History of how coal made Britain'.
Literary review: J. Paxman approaches his topic with characteristic panache. His book covers almost every aspect of British history in the last couple of hundred years. It is punctuated by accounts of those moments - usually a result of pit accidents - when miners attracted national attention'.

(I sent the request to his Publisher's to be forwarded at their discretion.
Let's hope he continues as Presenter of 'University Challenge')
Sun 17-Oct-2021 09:04 - South Shields
alan wightman | aconlan111~AT~gmail~DOT~com
Bruce Graham wrote: 'Some time ago,
I suggested that it would be good to know that today's students were being taught something of the heritage of their town'.

Jeremy Paxman has just published his book, BLACK GOLD, based on our local heritage. In this context I have written suggesting he might consider signing a copy. We 'Old Boys' will in turn present it to the present Headteacher for the school library.

Tue 12-Oct-2021 13:16 - South Shields
alan wightman | aconlan111~AT~gmail~DOT~com

Hi! Robin and 'Old Boys'. Hope you are all well as I found our school on my visit yesterday guided by most-helpful acting Headteacher.
The 'old' school of 1951-58 is mainly recognisable as per the Headteacher's /
Secretary's offices. However, Prefects' room now used by Staff. I walked the same corridors and we are remembered by photos displayed on the walls.
Teaching facilities are excellent due to a huge financial investment.
Maybe we can request a group visit with Mike as much to compare and admire as per the 20 metre length swimming-pool!
I'm sure all staff, teaching and support share a pride and passion for the school which has been a light burning bright throughout its impressive history.


Maybe one day we can organise a group visit with Mike?
Wed 6-Oct-2021 10:25 - south shields
Robin Leslie | robin~DOT~leslie~AT~yahoo~DOT~com
It is good to hear that Alan Wightman is still around because I was at the High School for a brief two years from 1952 to 1954. I remember Billy Edgar, Ronnie Kemp, Jack Talbot( the England schoolboy international) Geoffrey Hilcoat, Ian Murray and many more. I enjoyed the High School but left for Barnard Castle School in Summer 1954. The masters I remember were Jimmy Emerson, Pan Hedley,Dickinson, Pablo Dunstan, Ellis, Halling and the Head. Happy days. Keep in touch and thank you Mike for a wonderful website.
Tue 5-Oct-2021 10:53 - Cobham Surrey
alan wightman | aconlan111~AT~gmail~DOT~com
non illegitimi vos carborundum

non desperandum
Fri 1-Oct-2021 18:18 - south shields
alan wightman | aconlan111~AT~gmail~DOT~com
I refer to my era of 1951 - 1958. Those were the days!

Wed 29-Sep-2021 18:42 - south shields
alan wightman | aconlan111~AT~gmail~DOT~com
Hi! Mike,

I'd like to add my thanks for your work on our behalf. I'm visiting the now Harton Academy next week by kind invitation. Hope I can recognise something of our past era which was special!
Wed 29-Sep-2021 18:36 - South Shields
Bruce Graham | bsgraham~AT~btinternet~DOT~com
I was disappointed that this years Great North Run was forced (by Covid limitations) to adopt an "in and out" route from Newcastle depriving me of my annual view of South Shields and occasional glimpses on the TV coverage of our old school site.

I suspect that this contribution to the Visitor Book will be one of a dwindling number as there seems to be little or no interest among the younger (Like 50 years of age) generation in keeping information flowing.

Shame, but there it is. I realise that today's students regard our generation as being part of history though whether they are taught history as such is another matter.

"non illegitimi vos carborundum"

Thu 16-Sep-2021 19:49
Alex Patterson, 1946-1951 VUA | ad1935ap~AT~gmail~DOT~com
Hello Mike and other readers and contributors,
I was surprised not to see my annual Christmas letter for 2020, it was obviously pilfered en Merry Christmas and Happy New 2021. We have spent the last 15 months or so like most people, trying to stay safe and keeping away from crowds and spending much more time at home. We have a newish great-granddaughter that we haven't seen in person yet, but hope to in the next year or two (because of Ontarios mishandling of the vaccine roll-out). We've had one shot eight weeks ago but have no idea when or if we'll ever get another!!
Mike, I refer to an earlier letter regarding 'John Rex'. Perhaps it was the artist's version of 'King John'. Also in the same email, the 'South Shields Boulevard' was named after John W. Shields, a local Oklahoman realtor and developer. I was glad to read letters from Neale, Eric and Bruce to see that they're still around and as erudite as ever
Regards, from a COVID hot-spot in Toronto,
Wed 5-May-2021 05:59 - North York, Ontario, Canada

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