Greenhill Grammar school, Oldham

Life at the (East) Oldham High School in the Late 1940s



Doreen Simpson (nee Capewell) originally contacted us in response to an appeal by the site for names for the newly posted 1952 EOHs (Counthill) Panorama. In addition to three formal group photos, her mail included several observations about school life at that time. The following is a series of extracts taken from her mails, with her permission.

Doreen is the second person to refer to staff regularly inviting groups of senior pupils to their homes, the first being Derrick McGarry in About 46-49. It's obvious that they both enjoyed this experience and benefited greatly by it. I doubt if it would be permitted these days, for a variety of reasons, even if staff were prepared to offer such facilities.

The other point of interest is that Doreen mentions WWII. It's easy to forget looking through these photos that the war took place during the time span covered by this site. The only outward sign is the roughly built wall that appears to the right and rear of the 1946 series of photos. We have been told in another private mail that this was the entrance to an air raid shelter in the changing room / gym facility.   KD

From Doreen: ..... Mr Barlow and Mr Brodie are missing.[from the staff group] Mr Barber "taught" me German. i.e. he set the work and promptly fell asleep. We had more sense in those days than make a noise and waken him up. I was most embarrassed a few years later when his son married my best friend.

Mr Brodie was a real heart-throb and nearly every girl in the school was in love with him. The fact that he had been a pilot in the war was a big help to his image. Miss Platt used to tell us how all the girls who were at the school during the war used to knit socks for him and send them off to keep him warm!

Madamoiselle Levy was the French Assistante, quite an innovation at the time. She stayed for a year. Miss Moorhouse was my form teacher and was very much a Miss Jean Brodie character. She tried very hard to refine her girls.

.......... I attach the recorder photo. Here's a little background to it.

Miss Hulme, the school secretary ran the recorder group. She was a fascinating person, was a friend of Carl F. Dolmetsch C.B.E. Hon D. Litt. F.T.C.L. F.L.C.M., the most famous person internationally in the world of recorders. All children who were made to play the recorder can blame him as he invented the cheap plastic recorder to encourage all children to have the opportunity to play an instrument.

Miss Hulme used to invite sixth formers who played to her home which was a wonderful experience for me, a girl from a council house. It was a large house which I assume she had inherited, beautifully furnished with a wonderful collection of instruments, many of them old and valuable such as a harpsicord. No tele no computer, just a quiet cultured evening. We were being educated.

.......... So far as I can remember only two girls in what was the top steam actually got to university, me and Sheila Simpson although a lot went to teacher training college.

Doreen Simpson (nee Capewell) Nov 2009