Memories of Billericay School

1959 - 1964

The author today

(Note: This post was updated on 27/2/19 to take account of comments below)

I attended this school from 1959 to 1964. In my first year, Miss Killeen taught us geography. She was a short elderly lady and I remember her giving me my first house point because I was the only one in the class who knew how many acres there are in a square mile! Mr Ellis taught us history in my 1st year and after he spoke for 15 or 20 minutes, he would write notes up on the blackboard for us to copy, but leave gaps in the text for us to fill in. This would reveal whether we paid attention to what he had said. Very shrewd! And we can’t forget dear Mr Drage who mass produced his own ‘music points’. In WW2, he suffered as a POW in a Japanese prison camp. My form teacher for the first 2 years was Eric Huggett. He was of the ‘old school’ and tried to instil some old fashioned values into us. He was well known for his involvement with scouting and amateur dramatics, but was also a keen chess player. He bought numerous chess sets at his own expense and started up a lunch time chess club. Mr Huggett did not always conform to the status quo (which I admired him for) and on one hot summers day when the Head (John Goldwin) and the Deputy (Monica Garton) were both away, we took our chairs out into the playground where we formed a circle and he continued the lesson in the sunshine. It was rather nice really. He disliked his lessons being disturbed and he entrusted one boy in our class with an ‘Interruption Book’ which was secreted in his desk. After each offender left the room, his name and time of the disruption were duly logged into the book.

I remember Mr Dennis Hewitt with affection as he was my Sunday school teacher at South Green Chapel in the 1950’s and by coincidence he was my R.E. ‘O’ level teacher at the School in 1963/64. Reverend Holley came along on a few occasions to preach at assemblies, in his words: “to give us all some religion”! In 1972 he conducted my wedding service in his church at Gt. Burstead. My R.E. teacher in 1962 was young, quietly spoken lady, Mrs Margaret Bell. A few years afterwards, she left and moved to Cardiff, where she tragically died in a car crash.

In the early 60’s there was quite an influx of new teachers. Four of them taught me and they lived near each other on the South Green council estate. In Langham Crescent there was Mrs ‘Zilla’ Westwood, my form teacher in 1961/62 (who taught maths and was married to a Curate), Mr Jim Ince who taught metalwork, Mrs Elspeth Lawson who taught geography and in Maple Mead lived Mrs Betty Simpson who taught English. In the main building (now block A), Mrs Simpson’s classroom doubled up as the library. In those days it just consisted of half a dozen book cases along one wall. One bookcase contained a set of Encyclopaedia Britannica and a few pages in it beginning with ‘S’ were well thumbed! Len Rosslyn and his wife joined in 1960. He taught me physics and she taught biology but only stayed a short time because she became pregnant. After the birth, she brought the baby back into school for the girls to ‘coo’ over.

When I started at the school in 1959, the new hall was under construction. It was interesting to watch, but the disruption and noise was not very conducive to our concentration in nearby classrooms. The cooks did a brilliant job pushing the heated food trolleys across a building site from the new kitchen block and then negotiate a steep ramp into Block A and along the corridor into the dining hall. The food was still warm and edible when it reached our plates.

For a couple years Mr Stan Elias taught me Technical Drawing in the new 2 storey art & craft block (now demolished). We used 3H pencils on cartridge paper pinned to old fashioned drawing boards with Tee squares. A far cry from the hi-tech AutoCAD technology of today. Stan later married Nora Beddingfield the cookery teacher. A new photographic darkroom was built between the 2 science classrooms in Block A and rumour has it that a couple of pupils used it for improper purposes during one lunch time! The so called ‘Cinderella’ subjects were not taken too seriously in my final year. During these periods, I together with a few others would surreptitiously disappear into an empty room somewhere so that we could immerse ourselves in some intense revision for our GCE ‘O’ levels. Once, Len Rosslyn (on his regular patrols) caught us but he didn’t take any action.

Irene Wooldridge

Although she is not mentioned in Sylvia Kent’s excellent book about Billericay School, probably the most internationally famous luminary from the school was Irene Wooldridge.  As a teenager, she was a talented singer and in the year below me.  Irene lived in Bellevue Road and is now is very famous in Germany where she lives using the stage name of Ireen Sheer. She sang in the Eurovision song contest in 1974 & 1978 and can be seen on YouTube singing many of her songs. Irene does appear however in the school photo on p.73 in Sylvia’s book. (top photo, very top row). I am in the same the same photo too, but not in the picture – if you know what I mean.

In 1960, the school arranged an outing to Clacton. It cost 12/- (60p) and we could pay by 12 instalments at 1/- (5p) per week. Buses were laid on to take us to Southend, where we alighted and walked (with some groans) the full length of the 1.3 mile long pier to embark the paddle steamer, The Medway Queen. It was very crowded and during the trip, John Goldwin had to use the tannoy to instruct children to disperse as the boat was listing too much to the port side! After disembarking at Clacton Pier, we spent an hour or two amusing ourselves in a park (and probably annoying the locals too) and then travelled back to Billericay Station via Shenfield in a specially chartered train. In assembly, the following morning, John Goldwin admonished us for our behaviour. He said we were supposed to enjoy the Essex coastline from the boat but some of us “spent too much time down below filling ourselves up”. I can admit to staying on deck at all times…..

During the 1960’s, the school had its own in-house newspaper called The Millside Recorder which only appeared about twice a year. My first foray into amateur journalism occurred when it printed a short article I had written on the subject of the School Camera Club, of which I was a member.
Class 5F in 1964The above photo shows the class in my final year. I am standing on the right hand side next to our form teacher Norman ‘Nobby’ Butler. I can remember names of most of the boys in the photo and some of the girls.

Class 5F 1964 Signatures

All the pupils signed the back of the photo. Is your signature here?

Mr Butler taught general science and he lived in Hunter Avenue, Shenfield. He always cycled to school in the rain, wind, snow, fog – you name it, even though he owned a car. When I occasionally cycled to my second job in Shenfield after leaving school, we would sometimes pass en route and wave to each other. During WW2, Norman was the navigator in a Lancaster bomber. On one sortie, the plane was hit and he parachuted out landing smack in the middle of the German factory his plane was trying to bomb!

John Goldwin was appointed Head Teacher in 1955 and became Head of the Lower School under Mr Lingard when it became comprehensive in 1968. He was a religious man and he drove to school each day in an Austin A35 van from his home in Alexander Lane, Shenfield. I personally owe him a great debt of gratitude as he found me my first job with John Strong, an architect and Rotary Club friend of his who had an office in the High Street. He was devastated when his daughter, Gillian committed suicide in 1974. John Kilgour Goldwin was a caring and honourable man. He died in 1976.

I was interested to read your comments Graham. If you remember, I sat next to you in Eric Huggett’s class (2B1) in 1960/1. You were a fan of Tottenham Totspur, or “Sparkling Spurs” as you once said! Noel Hunter sat nearby and he was a Man Utd supporter. He lived 2 doors away from me in Hickstars Lane and we often kicked a ball about in the Recreation Ground at South Green (see article entitled: South Green Memories). After 2B1, and having agreed to stay on into the 5th year, we were split into 3F & 3E and I think the chaps who wanted to leave after the 4th year were put into 3T. Regarding the 5th year class photos, I think you have confused 5E which you were in and 5F which I was in. For some unexplained reason. Messrs Lindsell & Steel appear in both 5E & 5F photos.

Class 5E – 1964

In my final year I drew a plan of the school, had it framed and presented it to John Goldwyn, the Head a few days before I left. He was so impressed with it, that he drove me with it to show an architect friend of his in the High Street and that is how I got my first job. The drawing was rubbish by today’s standards, but it hung on the wall outside the Head’s room for sometime. Two other achievements I can boast about are that I never had the cane and I never had to read in the hall. Being a shy young lad, that prospect just filled me with dread.
A few comments about those I recognise in my 5F and your 5E photos:

You mention Jeremy Purkiss. Nice lad. David Cottee sat at the front of Mr Huggett’s class in 2B1 and he kept the ‘Interruption Book’ in his draw. David Clewlow was a quiet polite lad and a brilliant chess player, Andrew Darroch excelled at Maths and went to Chelmsford College to study Structural Engineering. Stephen Reed had a photographic business in Billericay and Chris Bennett was the son of the vicar at Downham. In 1964 Chris, Andrew and I left school with the highest number of ‘0’ levels, i.e. 5 out of 6, which was the maximum number we could sit. I re-sat English and passed it the following November. Several lads lived on the Sunnymede estate, who were ex Walthamstow boys. e.g messrs Lindsell, Babb, Pettit, who I think he was afflicted with polio, Perrin and Stowe. Maurice Perrin was quite arty and I think he became a police motorcyclist at Southend. Michael (Mich) Stowe and I were friends for many years after. He attended my wedding and I attended his. Russell Mirty had snow white hair and was a good sportsman. He went to work at Fords. I have been in touch with Margaret Gentry (now Margaret Mead) who has had an interesting and successful life and also Margaret Cheyney (now Margaret Rochester) who lives in a remote part of Scotland. She and her husband have another home in Sri Lanka.

A few comments about our teachers:

In 2014, I tracked down and interviewed Len Rosslyn and Stan Elias. Both must be about 90 years of age. Len lives in Kent and is suffering from dementia and kept recalling his experiences in a Japanese POW camp in WW2. He was very pleased to see me and wanted to apologise for being so strict at school, but I think he was a bit of a softy underneath!

Stan Elias lives near me at Kelvedon Hatch, Brentwood. A good humoured man with a strong welsh accent. When he was married to his 1st wife he lived opposite me in Chantry Way. I was amazed at how much he remembered and he told me some amusing stories about other members of staff.

‘Chopper’ Jones taught maths. A good teacher and his classes achieved impressive ‘0’ level results Eric Huggett was our form teacher for the first 2 years in 1959/60/61, which were 1B1 & 2B1. He had a fascination with letters, words and alphabets and together with his chess playing, I thought he might have been involved in cryptography during WW2, but apparently he was incarcerated in a salt mine which caused the twitch he had in one eye. Mr Drage was the only music teacher I remember. He was kind and generous man and he suffers horrors in a Japanese POW camp. Nobby Butler was my form teacher in 5F. An innocuous and friendly man who kept his bike in the science prep room. Yes he did parachute out of a Lancaster which qualified him to belong to ‘The Caterpillar Club’. (look on Google) You mention Mr Legg. During a lesson we had once entitled ‘woodwork theory’, he was teaching us about trees and seasoning timber, when a clown put his hand up and asked “Please sir, do they season lolly sticks?” We all smiled with amusement,.

There were 2 Mr Robinsons. Bill Robinson taught woodwork and had endless patience showing us to how use sharp tools properly. A thorough gentleman and he helped build the school swimming pool. Eric Robinson taught art.

Betty Simpson was our ‘0’ level English teacher. She was Scottish, had red hair. A dedicated teacher who gave up her free time after school to give us extra tuition. I had great respect for her. We received a good grounding in grammar, sentence construction, letter and essay writing etc. How many kids get that these days? It was Mr Thomas who taught us French in 1B1 and drove the Morris Bulldog. For some reason we had to bring small mirrors to French lessons in that year presumably to watch ourselves getting our tongues round some difficult French words. However most of us used them to shine reflections around the room!

Basil Parfitt taught us French in the 2nd year. He was quite authoritarian and he rode to school on a motorbike and side car. I attended the after school French Club where we could watch grainy B & W films of French high speed trains. During lunch times we were allowed to play boules on the grass in the quadrangle. Sadly, there is not much grass left now as it is mostly built over. At Easter Mr Parfitt left and went to a school in Rayleigh. ‘Zillah’ Westwood taught us maths in the 3rd year. She was young and strict. She was married to a curate who later became a prison chaplain in South London.

Lastly, Monica Garton was deputy head, a well travelled and clever lady. She gave me a lift once when she saw me waiting at a bus stop and in our final year of Metalwork, when we could make whatever we liked, I knocked up a brass bangle and sold it to her for 3/6d! One day she had a row with the new Head Mr Lingard and she went home in tears. Next morning her husband arrived at school, in an intoxicated state and brandishing a knife to seek revenge. However, he was intercepted by Chopper Jones and Len Roslyn. You couldn’t make it up!

Sports Days were a bit of a farce because, unlike in the Junior School when winners were awarded prizes, here they were just given house points. Consequently, that didn’t prove to be much of an incentive, especially when sports days were held on Saturdays and clashed with the part time jobs that many pupils had. In the practice sessions, Len Rosslyn suspected that some pupils were running slow deliberately so they didn’t qualify!

By prior appointment, I visited the school some time ago, as an ‘old boy’ and was shown around the original quadrangle building by a member of the office staff. When I recalled some of the classrooms I once occupied, she would open the door and introduce me to the teacher and children inside. I even pointed out where I used to sit and the pupil at that desk was asked to lift the lid and see if I had scratched my initials on the underside! A wonderful day with bags of nostalgia.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings. I look forward to some of the classmates of that era adding their recollections and memoirs. By the way, this is me climbing on the 02 dome roof at Greenwich – just one of the things you have to do before reaching 70!

Me today on top of the O2 dome

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  • I agree with the fella who has posted Lenny was a psycho. I remember him as an angry, little bald man who I hated and still do 50 years later. I remember sitting in the science block, watching as he caned some lad in the corridor outside our classroom. He took a run up of about 6 steps. To an 11 year old who had been at the school a matter of days I found it very unpleasant to watch.
    Stan Elias was a vile bully in his teaching of the classes I was in. He belted me around the back of the head with a board ruler for no reason other than he mistook me for another kid who had annoyed him.
    I was a shy and timid lad who never made trouble and kept my head down to avoid the wrath of the psycopaths masquerading as teachers. I left school at 15 years of age in 1971 with no qualifications and zero prospects.
    I later went to Basildon College and got 6 “O” levels, thus proving I could actually learn in a kinder environment.
    I had a reasonable career and eventually owned my own business, before retiring in my mid 50’s to collect the rent from my property portfolio. Point being not to brag, but to show how badly Billericay School let me down.
    Thanks Basildon College. Shame on Billericay School.

    By Rich Wood (30/12/2020)
  • I was at the Newt pond at the top of Outwood Common Road with Danny and Chrissie Quinton. Danny said “Chris, show Jim what Lenny did to your A**e”.
    Chris pulled down his trousers and there were deep black bruises across both cheeks as thick as your thumb. Lenny actually took a run up through the door with the cane, according to Chris.
    The man was a psycho.
    I said “Crikey, what’s your old man got to say about it?”
    Danny laughed and said, “He won’t tell him, ‘cos he’ll get worse!”

    By Jim Brown (22/11/2020)
  • I attended Billericay School, leaving as a 5th former in 1961. These reminiscences certainly take me back to a time when the World was such a different place. I personally have fond memories of Mr. Rosslyn. As I wanted to pursue a career in chemistry, he took a keen interest in me and took me under his wing. He even issued me with my own personal lab’ coat so I could help him prepare the classroom experiments. For quite a while the chemistry store room became my lunch time refuge.
    I remember on one occasion deciding to conduct my own experiment. This resulted in all the classrooms around the quadrangle, including Goldwin’s office, smelling of bad eggs. I had contaminated an entire section of the school with hydrogen sulphide – Yes, that was me! Goldwin wanted to give me six of the best, but like a knight in shining armour, Rosslyn came to my rescue. He insisted that to punish me could kill my interest in chemistry. Nice one!
    I did in fact pursue a career in chemistry for a while, but not very long. I soon found that the wages for industrial chemists were very poor. That’s what eventually killed my interest in chemistry. I went on to do other things, and can’t complain how my life turned out. But I shall forever have fond memories of Billericay School which was the springboard to my career.

    By Neil Hart (25/10/2020)
  • Reading the various articles on Billericay Secondary School in the 50s -60s brings back so many old forgotten memories especially seeing the names of the teachers. I have many good and a few bad memories of school, so I thought I would write about detentions.
    Unfortunately I did seem to get quite a few detentions, mainly for talking in class I think. After school you would report to the detention class and write out 200 times “I must not talk in class”. I would go down the page with all the “I” then “must” and when the period was over have a uncompleted page and end up getting another detention.
    If you got more than one detention in a certain period of time you went on report where you would have to get every lesson signed off by the teacher regarding your conduct in class.
    Going on report more than once in a certain amount of time and you were sent to see Mr Goldwyn, unfortunately I did manage to achieve this once.
    In those days of course it was quite normal to get the cane from the male teachers. This would quite often be done in front of the class and on the palm of your hand. A few of us had perfected the timing of just dropping your hand at the moment of impact to take the sting out of it, hoping you had kept your thumb out of the way as well.
    This worked ok until it was from Mr Walker who would make you put your hand just above his desk so there was nowhere to drop it.
    Once you reached Mr Goldwyns office you knew it would be across the backside and it wouldn’t be nice. He would make you touch your toes and then bend your legs at the knee to tighten up the skin at the back of your legs and I was given four of the best.
    I remember walking back down the corridor with more than my eyes stinging and trying to sit back down in class.
    I am sure that in the war Mr Goldwyn would have been a sniper because when I got home I remember bending down in front of a mirror to inspect the damage and there was no more than 2mm between each welt. Today that sort of treatment would have scarred me for life no doubt, I don’t think it did ,on the other hand maybe I should bend over and have another look, or maybe not. Happy days.

    By roger whisken (23/09/2020)
  • Great to read about Billericay School. Thanks for putting this together. I am in the photo(extreme right) for E Class 1964. I left with no qualifications but eventually got to University and got a BA, then eventually an MA in Contemporary Fine Art Practice.
    I now live in West Tanfield, North Yorkshire where my partner runs The Bull Inn. If anybody from Class E wants to call in, please do so.

    By Philip Spellacy (18/09/2020)
  • Just stumbled across this and looking back through the various offerings came across one written by Barbara Bethel way back in 2016. In it she mentioned a Miss Killeen who was one of my teachers at the back end of the 1940s. She was a tiny lady and, boys being boys, she acquired a rather unkind nick-name. That of “six-foot dirty”. I truly hope she never realized.

    By Tony Taylor (26/06/2020)
  • Hi….I went to Billericay School from 1966 to 1971….I still have the school photo from 1966…cost my parents 5/6…hahahaha. Some of the teachers names I remember from your story….Very interesting read….

    By Pat Wooler. .was Ebdon (30/03/2020)
  • I’ve just chanced on this site after watching some memories of Billericay. I think I must have missed most of the teachers mentioned, but I was at the School from 1967/8 and remember Chopper Jones the Maths teacher and Stan Hewitt the Music Teacher. I went on to study music in London and Stan was a great inspiration. I vividly remember singing in Amal and the Night Visitors as well as other school productions- Carmen, Noah’s Flood and La Boehme in a group Stan took after school. The lad who took the lead had a beautiful voice, I seem to remember he was a shy lad and none of us realised he could sing! I played clarinet in the school orchestra at a time when Schools had orchestras!

    By Shirley Newman (15/12/2019)
  • I was at Billericay school from 1957 -62. Mr Roslyn was my last form teacher. I remember he was strict but fair and I have to say I did well while I was in his class and received a good last report from him, so it was good to hear he had lived a long life.
    Mr Elias was my technical drawing teacher and I really enjoyed that lesson. I am not sure which way round it happened but we were on the extended course at that stage and we were being taught on London GCE papers. When we got to the exam it was a Cambridge paper or vice versa and it was a problem, but I passed.
    I have looked back at my old school reports and whilst in primary school the class number peaked at 58, and during my time at Billericay secondary they peaked at 42. Looking back whatever we thought of the teachers at the time they did a good job with those class numbers, just got on with the job and your homework was always marked straightaway so they must have worked at weekends too.

    By roger whisken (09/12/2019)
  • I went to the school from 1963 to 1966, some of the teacher’s names mentioned bring back memories. Interestingly no mention of the PE teaching staff. I was very keen on trampolining and was great mates with Paul Burfitt. We were mad keen on trampolining and were taught by Mr England. I was not academic at school. But lead an interesting life in the army and later in the IT industry, funny really, did very well, traveled in business in IT would not change a thing. Billericay School was good news for me.

    By GEORGE Frost (19/10/2019)
  • I attended between 1961 and 66. Antony Bates who was in the same class as me for much of the time, I didn’t consider myself a good student, learnt very little and left with only an A level in art. I did enjoy wood and metal work, art and double digging, working in the gardens but I think they were sold for road works before I left the school, but overall school memories were not great.
    I have enjoyed reading the names of teachers and remembering with some affection those poor folk who tried to teach us in the lower forms. Chopper Jones, Mr Angle with one blue and one brown eye, Mr Drage for his efforts to teach music appreciation. I have even forgiven him for my disappointment at not letting me learn the trumpet, I wasn’t expected to stay for 5th form apparently, and that expectation excluded me from learning an instrument. I now play the cello Mr Drage and love classical music that you forced us to listen to.
    I have been away from Billericay since 1974, I imagine its not the town or school of my memories.

    By Siobhan Hall, this has changed since my school days. (26/07/2019)
  • Mr Legg the woodwork teacher, yes I remember him well, he used to have expectations of me because my dad was a builder. If he was alive today he would be happy to know that I became a successful carpenter and joiner and builder in Sydney Australia. One of my memories of his class one day was when a boy was told to look through some books to find his next project to make, we were making coffee tables etc at the time. He chose a small simple thing to make and Mr Legg berated him and told him to find something more substantial so he chose something quite grand but Mr Legg told him he was not up to that standard and told him to find a “happy medium”. He then spent the rest of the lesson looking under H for happy medium. I also remember one boy adjusting the blade on a wooden plane by tapping it with a hammer on the cutting end!

    By John Keeble (19/05/2019)
  • Hi Ian,
    If I remember rightly, we played at South Green in the 1950’s and I think you lived in one of those prefabs. I always thought they looked so warm and cosy.
    I can’t recognise you in my photo of class 5F taken in 1964, (unless you are standing between John Cooper and John Dickens) but the names and faces I can recollect are as follows – top row l. to r. – Malcolm Lindsell, Tony Babb, Richard Steele, Chris Bennett, Michael Stowe, Tony Lord & Clive Willis; 2nd row down, l. to r. – Andrew Darroch, David Clewlow, Peter Dolphin, Jeremy Purkiss, David Cottee, Maurice Perrin, Roger Huckel; 3rd row down, r. Steven Reed. David Green, John Pettit, John Dickens, ?, John Cooper Ray Durrant, ? Jenkins and me, Terry Lockhart standing next to Mr Butler. I remember some of the girls in the front row, starting from right to left this time – Margaret Cheyney, Pamela Garland, Margaret Gentry, Susan? Harding, Barbara Jaggard? Jennifer Simpson and the girl on the far left has completely stumped me!
    For some strange reason the photo of class 5E, which Graham Fry posted on the website, shows a few of the faces which also appear on the 5F photo!
    It would be good to hear from any of them

    By Terry Lockhart (14/02/2019)
  • I went to Billericay Seconday School where Mr.Goldwin was headmaster. I played trumpet in the school orchestra under Mr.Drage, and also recall the names of a number of the other teachers.
    The photographs above of Class 5E and the other of Class 5F are from when I was there. I recognise many of the faces and would be really pleased to be able to put names to them. Some I remember, some I don’t. If anyone can help I would appreciate it.

    By Ian Ashley (09/02/2019)
  • Anthony Bates do you remember Robert Grieve?
    There were three of us, you joined the RAF I joined the Army and the third I sadly can’t remember his name but he joined the Navy.
    I have added pictures of 1963 Juniors see this page:
    Billericay School Juniors 1963
    Have a look, see if you can find yourself.
    By the way, Stan Hewitt was Music and he put me in the lead part as Amahl in AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS.
    It was Burt Spur who ran the Rural Science Farm

    By Robert grieve (03/08/2018)
  • I was at Billericay School from 1961 – 1966 and being a bit slow I suppose, was put into the lower classes. I remember Mr Legg for Woodwork and Mr Ince for Metalwork. Both classrooms were side by side. I enjoyed that side of learning and did fairly well. Mr Legg seemed to take great delight in pulling the hair of your side burns when you did something wrong. Mr Ellis, he was our Maths and English teacher and I think he resented being put in charge of Group 4 pupils instead of Group 1 or 2 as he used to be. Anyway he would be running a lesson when in the middle of it he would fall asleep. I hear he unfortunately passed away a few years later. Four years of doing fractions and I still don’t know how to do them! All those names mentioned earlier I recognise plus some others namely, Mr Stan Hewitt, Drama teacher? Mr Martin Canter, he had something to do with drama I think. Mr Angel, R.E. teacher, very apt name I think. I remember the Head Masters daughter was Jane Goldwin, she was Head Girl but I don’t remember Gillian Goldwin. I seem to remember Irene Wooldridge was very good at running during sports days. This is a good oportunity for me to come clean and apologise to Graham Day for getting him the slipper from Mr Drage in a music lesson, I flicked a paper pellet at the teacher and Graham was sitting in front of me and got the blame. Sorry Graham. This was in our 3rd or 4th year class 3T / 4T. My academic studies were unremarkable and as our schooling drew to a close Alan Hampshire and myself both of 5T spent our time working on the school farm and I seem to recall that Stan Hewitt also ran that though I might be wrong. We also worked with the drama teachers on several school plays and operas as Stage Manager and Assistant Manager/Set Builder. When I came to leave school in ’66, I went into the RAF. Headmaster Goldwin gave me a lecture to the point that I was unlikely to succeed in this venture. I joined up in 1966 and finally left in 1997 for medical reasons. I did go back as a civilian operator until 2006 when the RAF unit closed. Not bad for someone unlikely to succeed! Now retired and living in deepest Norfolk after travelling the world. By the way I too lived in South Green on Highfield Rd.
    Ps, If anyone can remember what happened to or the whereabouts of Alan Hampshire I would like to know. I lost contact with him in the early ’70s. I know he married a lass from Laindon Wheatsheaf Inn, which has long since been pulled down but that is it.

    By Anthony Bates (15/07/2018)
  • I was interested to read your comments Graham. I have put together some further memories which can be seen here Memories of Billericay School II 

    By Terry Lockhart (22/11/2016)
  • i was in Mr. Elias class in 1963 as an 11 year old. I remember the swimming pool was being built but I was only there for one year as I relocated to Romford and it was a very poor school district… Will always remember taking the train into London with Mr. Drage for a concert at the Royal Albert hall. Is there someone who perhaps was in my class 1963 1st year?

    By Ronald Kozaryn (09/09/2016)
  • Hi Terry, I was in your class for 2 years with Mr Huggett and well remember the after school chess club. I played practically every day in the 2nd year (2B1?), and have never played a game since! I do remember some of the teachers you mention, although I can’t place Mr Drage, although when we lived in Billericay from 1978 to 1982 (Bush Hall Road), my wife worked with his wife in Billericay Library, although we didn’t realise that until later (she spoke of his terrible war experience). Some teachers you didn’t mention were Mr Legg (woodwork), and Mr Jones (Welsh guy – maths teacher), who made me captain of Chantry House in the 5th year (which I hated!). Dick xxxxx? was vice captain. Might be in the back row in your picture. Remember the Houses, Chantry, Stockwell, Blunt and Norsey. Len Rosslyn of course went on to become headmaster at Mayflower School, which I think had just started to build 1964. I have an end-of-term photograph of the other 5th year class 5F (which I was in). Our teacher was Mr Howard. I will try and upload it to this site, if I can find how to do it. I know some of the guys in 5E, 2nd row 2nd in fm left is Dave Clewlow. I have kept up with him since 1964. He lives in Inverness and just retired from BR/Scotrail after 51.5 years service! I will tell him about this web site, his memory might be a bit sharper than mine. Next to him is Peter Dolphin who became a bit of an amateur magician, although I didn’t keep up with him. He used to mimic Norman Butler (although we didn’t know he was in a Lancaster crash in the war) I think next to him is Jeremy Purkiss (father was a doctor), next is Dave Cottee (father was a coal merchant), next is Dave Moreton?? (a Liverpudlian). 5 in on the 3rd row is Wayne Boughen, who ran some sort of shop/business in Billericay High St in the late seventies/early eighties. I lived in Crays View on the South Green estate. I attended the sunday school run Mr Hewitt in the South Green Chapel (was it baptist/evangelist or what?) We met in South Green memorial school (still there). Dave Cottee and Noel Hunter also attended. Mr Hewitt was assisted by Alan Butcher who lived in Grange Road. We formed a football team and played other church groups. I remember the Chapel in Outwood Common Road was extended to include a full immersion baptising pool.

    I have to close now. More comment this afternoon.


    By Graham Fry (22/08/2016)
  • More comments continuing from previous comments.

    I was in goal for the school football team in year 5, and we won some sort of inter school competition, beating Felstead in the final. The team were paraded on the stage at morning assembly. The other thing I remember about the school was the one way system around Block A rigoureslesly enforced by Len Rosslyn. Other odd things was a cross country run which every pupil in the school had to take part. I think I came 4XXth out of 5XX hundred! I can’t remember what the point of it was. I remember a rugby match between the staff and 5th year, which everyone had to watch. I also remember a part time French teacher (fairly elderly) who drove Morris Bulldog. He wore a black berry (presumably to like a Frenchman – though he didn’t have a string of onions around his neck!). He taught me good basic French though.

    If you want to get in touch with me Terry, my e-mail address is

    I think I’ve got the class wrong. I was in 5E not F


    Graham Fry  

    By Graham Fry (22/08/2016)
  • Hello Terry, I really enjoyed your articles about Billericay School and Great Burstead Primary. I left the latter in 1955/6 to attend Brentwood High but my brother Bill Wortley who was two years younger than me went from Burstead to Billericay Secondary School.

     I live in Canada and have recently been writing some stories about our Billericay years. We lived there  from 1949 to 1968 (Mill Rd – I am sure there were Lockharts on our street)  Anyway I have  got to the point where I am writing about Bill’s school years (he died in 1999) and though I have some vague recall of some of his teachers wondered if I could ask you  a few questions  since you obviously have a great memory!!

     If you are willing to clarify some things for me  please could you contact me at

     Thanks so much


    By Aileen Wortley (17/02/2016)
  • So many names of staff I remember. I went with Miss Killeen to Switzerland on a school trip. She might have been small but she made us ‘toe the line’ at all times.

    One person I would love to know what happened to was Gillian Hope. She was a such a fine musician. 


    By Barbara Bethel(nee Potter) (08/02/2016)
  • I have very vague memories of Billericay High which I left in 1965. My previous school was a boarding school in Chigwell, but due to my parents moving to Billericay they decided to move me to a local school which unfortunately did not settle me well as I had been in the Boarding school since I was eleven and it was rather disturbing to be moved to such a large school, anyway I did make some new friends which I still keep in touch with today. I remembered some of the Teachers mentioned and did in fact belong to the Chess club and had very fond memories of those days. It was very strange for me at the time as I had not experienced girls being in the classroom and seeing them everyday at school, it was when I was experiencing what all boys experience the puberty period, and the change of voice octave which often came out shrill. I loved the farm set up as I was an E4 boy and not used to fields all around me. I loved sport but preferred running which I continued to enjoy in my time in the army. Unfortunately a lot of the Teachers I came into contact with did not make such an impact on me probably due to such a short time at the school. I still remember Reverend Holly, and his talks, also he presided at the Funeral of a dear friend of mine Ray Brown who was taken when he was only 17 years old, very hard for all us friends to understand at the time; Ray is buried at the Great Barkstead cemetery. There are other fond memories which I will always treasure which are probably shared by many who spent there time at the school. My life now is in Australia and has been since 1982, I still hold dear my life in the UK but Australia is where my children and there families are, so here I will stay.

    By Raymond Simpson (10/09/2015)
  • Really enjoyed reading Terry’s article.Terry had a Knickname ‘Terry Tuffers’ because of the large orange shoes he wore. Nice guy

    By Ray Durrant (31/01/2015)
  • Very interested to read your article, took me back a year or two! I was in class 5F. Margaret Gentry front row, third from the right. It would be interesting to hear what the rest of our class did during the interim years. Maybe you could find out.

    By Margaret Mead nee Gentry (29/01/2015)
  • When I last looked Sylvia, there were 640 acres in a square mile. I can still remember the formula to solve a quadratic equation – but don’t ask me now what a quadratic equation is because I haven’t got a clue!!

    By Terry Lockhart (05/08/2014)
  • Terry Lockhart’s brilliant childhood recollections will certainly unlock so many memories for those who attended the Billericay School during the 1960s. What we learn and experience in those early years really do stay with us for life – good or bad. So how many acres in a square mile, Terry?  Look forward to learning more about your school years at Billericay. 

    By Sylvia Kent (03/07/2014)

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