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News > Windsor Alumni News > Derek Bishop Reminisces

Derek Bishop Reminisces

Student from 1950s recalls student life at Halesowen Secondary Modern School for Boys
Derek Bishop, 2016
Derek Bishop, 2016
Following Derek Bishop’s post on the Alumni website in April 2017, we invited Derek to write up his memories of the school from the days when it was called Halesowen Secondary Modern School for Boys.  Derek attended the school between 1956 and 1960.
These are some of Derek’s memories of Windsor!
The times of school day were 8.30am until 4pm – much longer than today with regular assemblies.  There were 4 Houses: St Andrew, St David, St Patrick and St George – Derek was in Andrew House. He recalls that the subjects on offer were very basic, as was the case in Secondary Education with nowhere near the choice that our students have to select from: the most popular subject was sport, showing that sporting excellence has always been ingrained within the school!
Derek’s favourite subjects were music, woodwork, geography, English, arts and craft, gardening and science; he also enjoyed poetry and maths.
Derek reflects that, looking back, the expectation was that most of the boys would leave school at 15 to begin a local factory job. In fact, Derek went on to own his own company for over 40 years and was a magistrate in Birmingham until moving to the US in 1992 to begin a new life. He thanks Windsor (or Halesowen Secondary Modern as it was then called) for his skills in woodwork, art and maths that enabled all of this to happen.

Some of the beautiful pieces of furniture Derek crafted after successfully moving his company to the US in the 1990s.
Teachers and students (1956-1960) remembered by Derek:
Teachers and classes: Class 1B, Mr. Morgan. Class 2B. Mr. Bryce. Class 3A. Mr Crompton. Class 4A. Mr. Attenborough.  Other teachers he remembers, Mr. Stott. Ms. Hackett who taught History (and was known as ‘Katey the old Brit’!) Mr. Haile, Mr. Cooper and Mr Jones.
There was a metalwork teacher, known as "Rommel", a former R.A.F. pilot - he was the Head’s "Enforcer" and scared the living daylights out of us!
Mr Beresford, Head and Mr. Denton, Deputy Head.
Fellow students: John Bissell, Colin Westwood, Phillip Wootton, Mick Jones, Derek Thew,  Graham Hackett, David Powell.

Form 1A, Derek middle row, fourth from right.

Form 3A, Derek back row, second from right.

Form 4A, Derek middle row, third from right.

A few more things Derek remembers (out of many!):
  • Very few cars among the staff.
  • Bike sheds.
  • Air raid shelters
  • Playing trumpet in the School Orchestra with Derek T. and M Jones.
  • Awful school dinners!!!!!
  • Dreading school reports and having to take them to parents for signing, with the teachers’ comments "could do better".
  • Getting to like art taught by Mr. Cooper who used to show us copies of famous paintings from large art books.  Many years later when Derek was in an art gallery in Florence, he found himself looking at the real thing!
Derek would be glad to hear from anyone who attended the school between 1956 and 1960.


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