Granddad talks about bread in a video

We have been fortunate to get our hands on a video clip of a bread making session that looks like great fun. It was part of a challenge to make a video each day for a month. Now this appears at first sight to be rather easy but after a while the inspiration dries up and the last few days are nearly impossible. One of the characters is an ex-Minster School Student and I am sure you can guess who? Just click on the link to 'Bread' or the image of the loaf itself.

SMGS in the 1950's

The following is a personal view of life at Southwell Minster Grammar School in the 1950's, using the content from the Southwellian Magazine and personal memories. It also draws from the experience of his classmates and friends that were broadly contemporary to him. He goes through the inevitable growing up period in his life and the effect that the school had on him and his final trying to understand how such a remarkable school came to pass Read More...

Church Street Grammar school site

Renovated Church Street Site
I have visited the site of the Church Street site of the Minster Grammar School (1964 version and not the victorian one which still stands) several times recently and have been increasingly dismayed at the state of it. I am now delighted to say that the site has been purchase by a Trust who appear to be dedicated to preserving it in the state that you can see from the image. What is so pleasing is the fact that it opens up a view of the Bishops Palace and the old ruins that I have not seen before. Let hope that it all lasts. Read More...

Story Behind the Image

Holidays 1958
This photo was taken about 55 years ago and shows three friends at lands End; or perhaps that would be a caption to it anyway. So what’s the backstory, as it is fashionable to say, and how did it come about? It was just before the long summer holidays and Richard (Dicky) Parker, Dave Crisp and David Padley were talking about what to do in the summer holidays and the idea came about to do something different which wasn’t too surprising as we were 17 or 18 years old. The idea came up of get a car and get away somewhere different. Read More...

A Morning with Alan (Chocker) Yates

St Pauls
It's mid August 2010 and we are visiting Alan (Chocker) Yates in a care home in Southwell. Alan is now 96 (his son says 97 but non would argue) but still has bright eyes a strong handshake and a lucid voice that commands that you listen. We are taken to the library on the first floor, which Alan handles with ease and the help of the lift and a wheeled walking frame. This is the story of what came to pass over the next one-hour and a half of fascinating and revealing conversation. You can also read in an interview with the Nottingham Evening Post Read More...

Wartime Grammar School

I well remember it was one day during the Easter holiday, 1940, the year of Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain. I was nine years old, and not a little apprehensive. I stood at my father's side while he rang, by appointment, the bell of the front door of the Southwell Grammar School. I was aware that this was to be a significant event in my young life. Read More...


School Yard
A few years ago a small group toured the Old Grammar School (Victorial Version) and we were keen to repeat the event. We had been informed that the building is now a mixture of public spaces, conference facilities and private offices. The building is not in its original form and we would not have access to all the rooms but we were still keen to see if a few ghosts would still linger. Read More...

More About Caps

Caps Image
The use of the tassel (and its status) on the school caps appears to have changed over time. So far the story appears to look like this

Pre 1951. (Inputs from Michael Boon)
Sub-prefect - braid on either side of front panel
Prefect - braid along all panels
Colours - tassel for rugby, alternate white panels for cricket and nothing for athletics Read More...

Pony and Trap

From an old school magazine telling of a 9 year-old boy from Bestwood near Nottingham. The date is 1920 and the destination Southwell. His father had leant about a decent school and had places for 20 boarders. They traveled, on this first day, by foot, by bike, tram, train and station trap. All this was endured without complaint and the whole piece is written in a charming yesteryear style. Link to pony&trap..

Tour of Minster School

6th Form Art
For those who have never been inside the New Minster School, never mind a proper tour by the current head Canon Blinston, you have missed a rare treat. It is frankly huge, architecturally inspiring, full of technology and best of all, even on a Saturday morning, was full of bustle, music and people enjoying themselves. To do it justice would need a small book but here are a few things that will stick in my memory Read More...

Don Fox's Recollections

It all started with an NUT outing to Cambridge on which our respective spouses, who taught together at a school in Carlton, had persuaded us to go. This was how I first met the redoubtable Dudley Doy. Within a short time I found myself invited to play in the Dudley Doy X1 against the School and managed to resist the worst that Johnny Bell could hurl at me. Read More...

Caps, My First Day

School Bus
My first day at the Minster Grammar School started by leaving home at 07.45 and walking a mile in my brand new blazer and cap to catch a bus to Southwell. I came from a Secondary Modern School at 13+ and had NO choice of where I was going. This was a day that would influence the rest of my life. I asked one of the others if I had to wear my cap on the bus. If you want was the reply. Read More...

Memories from the 50's

Choir Boy
My first memories of Southwell are of attending the audition/entrance exam for a choral scholarship in 1949 at the age of 8. I distinctly remember answering the question, ‘give the opposite of the word POOR’ my answer ‘POSH’. My arrival at the boarding house Sacrista Prebend the following September was truly memorable as being the most awful day of my life up to then. The headmaster Mr. Rushby-Smith seemed to have an aura of immense power and authority from the very beginning. Read More...

Oxton Flyer

Oxton Flyer
I guess that we all think that we can recall the happenings and feelings on the first day at big school and certainly I thought I could but in practice the details are sketchy and only a few stood out. Here are my personal recollections: A windy morning and I seemed to be a long time since my Dad woke me up but its still only eight o'clock: I have been on one bus and would catch three more that day and every day to come. Read More...

Even the Pigs Complained

Flying Pigs
My love of rugby took a severe knock at the end of the forth school season. I was playing in the school under XV’s and in the dying moment of the game I dived onto the ball to stop our opponent scoring a vital try. Fr my pains, I received a mouthful of apposing boot and staggered to my feet with blood pouring from my mouth. The final whistle sounded to end this the final match of the season, and I was cursing my bad luck. Read More...

Isn't Science Wonderful

Science Appartus
After the poverty of the Undergraduate years, two years in the army and a further year at University, I was sufficiently desperate for funds to come to Southwell in the September of 1956 to teach Chemistry and some Biology. It was the third time that I had made the journey; in May I had attended interview for the post and in July I had come to play for the staff/pupil cricket match. A few days before the game I had fallen off a bicycle (don’t ask); some facial damage resulted and hence the nick name of Basher/Bruiser. Read More...

Choristers Musical Heros

Musical Heros
Being involved at a young age in music in a Cathedral setting, one could hardly avoid becoming entranced by both the ethereal beauty of the surroundings and the aesthetic nature of the music that one heard on an almost daily basis. As youngsters we all had our heroes, most often these were the great athletes or sporting champions we all would hope one day to emulate. Yes, I had those heroes too, but also great musical heroes who calmly and assuredly went about their daily business with the confidence and professional expertise allied with genuine modesty that only the true genius has. Read More...

Wrong School, an 11+ Mistake?

Bike B&W
We did get the letter about the school but Mam said that they must have got it wrong. They said I was going to Southwell but we never put down Southwell.
It all started one day near Easter at the Junior School (Hardwick Street Juniors if you know it) when they said that we had to do a test that afternoon but not to worry because it was only a practice. Read More...