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Physics Lab circa 1951

I have recently uploaded a photograph of the old Physics Lab circa 1951, which was passed to me originally by Mrs Jean Speak, whose late husband, Michael Speak, is standing(left) in front of the blackboard with the teacher, "Basher" Braithwaite. I hope it is of some interest to older, old boys and brings back one or two happy(or otherwise) memories.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1945-50

Current location (optional) Keighley

Re: Physics Lab circa 1951

Are you sure it's Basher, David? On a closer examination, he resembles "Wiggy" Wigglesworth who was Head of Physics when I started in 1952. If it is he, he tragically died quite young before I started Physics in 3A (9A in modern parlance). In my first year of Physics, I was taught by three teachers - 1 per term - Messrs: ? ; Naylor and S.S.Peters.

This latter joined the staff in 1955. Introducing himself to the lads in one form, he said, "My name's Peters. Anyone heard that name before?"

In the full expectation that one of these lads from 4C was going to say " Yes,sir, Jim Peters" (the national Marathon hero who had doggedly refused to give in at the climax of the 1954 Vancouver Empire and Commonwealth Games), he had his introduction to KBGS humour when some lad called out, "Aye, Sylvia" who was then a BBC TV continuity announcer, rather twee. He was "Sylvia" from then on.

"Much has been written on the horrific ending of the Empire Games 1954 Marathon. It is sometimes forgotten that Peters entered the stadium 17 minutes ahead of the field. There is film on the Internet for those who wish to see his agony as he staggered and fell many times. Reports vary on how far he was from the finish when he was taken from the track—from “only yards from victory” to 140m and 200m. According to eye-witness reporter Frank Keating, Peters took eleven minutes to cover 200 yards in the stadium. Peters was suffering from severe dehydration and heat-stroke from the 28-degree sunny conditions. Eventually the team’s masseur Mick Mayes stepped in, called for a stretcher and probably saved Peters’ life. “I was lucky not to have died that day,” Peters told Frank Keating later, adding that since that day he had often suffered from giddiness and what he called “my Vancouver headache.” (Observer, Jan. 7, 2007)"

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1952-60

Current location (optional) Lincoln

Re: Physics Lab circa 1951

Its a bit before my time, but I dont think that's Basher Braithwaite. (Was he there as early as 1951?), though he did have a roundish face and glasses.
Samuel Louis Riley became Head of Physics in about 1958. (He was a former boyfriend of my mothers, and later was engaged to Mollie Sugden)

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 58-64

Current location (optional) Wirral

Re: Physics Lab circa 1951

Where do I find the photo?

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1958-65

Current location (optional) Leeds

Re: Physics Lab circa 1951

Try "Inside the building", Shaun - I think you started that collection.

Naughty Schoolboy tricks ---

Sam Riley followed Sylvia. He started as our 5A form master (1956) and fourth Physics teacher in 2 years. He had a permanent smile until he came into our form room on the D corridor.

In Physics, he would invite the class to stand around the front bench while he did a demo or conducted experiments. He often wore his black gown rather than his brown lab court. Some youths (pas moi!) closest to the bench would attach crocodile clips and connectors to his gown while he filled the bb with formulae. Each time he turned thereafter the clips would rattle against the bench or bb - which had him turning every which way.

Under the furthest pupils' bench (in the photograph) ran at foot level a horizontal series of (4/6?)heating pipes. There was the bench to be on a cold day. In the lab was a copper ballcock, filled with lead, which was probably used in demo/experiments. Some naughty boys found it made a thundering noise if it was rolled along the heating pipes. It could be propelled from one end to the other by foot without giving away the identity of the miscreant. Poor Sam was invariably scurrying to find the source of the noise at the wrong end of the bench - until he realised that making the whole class stand brought the panto to its finale.

I failed Physics but I was later always a step ahead of the kids I taught.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1952-60

Current location (optional) Lincoln

Re: Physics Lab circa 1951

Thanks Terry.
I can confirm that Terry and Brian are correct in their thoughts. It is certainly not Basher in the photo.
Like the teacher in the photo Basher never wore a gown to my recollection.
Did they have to have a degree to be allowed to wear one?

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1958-65

Current location (optional) Leeds

Re: Physics Lab circa 1951

Definitely Wigglesworth, Terry. He did indeed die young. After getting off the 'piggy' bus at the bottom of Granby Lane, he suffered a massive heart attack. Rumour had it he just couldn't face the prospect of taking the next year's 3A.

Might your first magister absconditus in Physics have been a Mr Steadman? Or perhaps Mr Pickawing?

Braithwaite was certainly there in 1951 - I still have the scars to prove it!

As for poor Sam Riley; what can one say? After such promising beginnings, wandering among the stars, to end up as Senior Physics master at KBGS! What a come down! O tempus! O mores! Sic transit gloria.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1951-58

Current location (optional) Bed, in Cottingham...

Re: Physics Lab circa 1951

Hi Terry(and others) Nice to see a good response to the photo, albeit mainly aimed at the mis-naming by me of the master involved. I always did get those two mixed up! My apologies! I should have checked the 1948 Masters photo which I uploaded onto our site some years ago, and on which I inserted the names of all but two of the masters shown. Wigglesworth and Braithwaite are both on that photograph!!. 'Nuff sed' I have come by one or two more Rugby photos recently which I will be uploading shortly. I might well be needing some help with dates. Keep watching. David

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1945-50

Current location (optional) Keighley

Re: Physics Lab circa 1951

I can't help but include another prank we played on Sam. Remember magnetometer experiments ? In the cupboard we found a large but quite strong horseshoe magnet. We placed it on a lab stool and slid it under where Sam was demonstrating. The magnet was strong enough to penetrate the bench and make his experiment go haywire.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 58-64

Current location (optional) Wirral

Re: Physics Lab circa 1951

Having looked at the photograph of the Physics lab I can definitely confirm that that master is Wiggy. There are two other faces on the photo that stand out for me, 1, Keith Reddiough from Glusburn who is the lad wearing glasses and facing directly at the camera, in front of the radiator by the desk, and 2. Barrie Stirk from Steeton. He is the lad on the extreme left of the photo. Both are still around although a little older.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1949 - 53

Current location (optional) Bingley

Re: Physics Lab circa 1951

Hello Alan. In addition to your rare entry identifying two of the schoolboys in the Physics Lab, may I also point out a youngish George Feather, brother of 'J.J.W.' whose obit was placed on the Family Notices section back in May 2010. George is standing at the far table, 8th in from the left, wearing a pale jacket with a small badge in his left lapel. He is gazing directly at camera. It is well worth reading his obit entry again, which was placed there by my brother Arthur, from an Email sent direct to him from George's brother, John. I have a Form photograph which I will be uploading shortly, showing the same Form in the Physics Lab, with Robinson as Form Master and George seated, extreme right of picture, wearing the same pale jacket, with badge! A lovely lad!

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1945-50

Current location (optional) Keighley

Re: Physics Lab circa 1951

My recollections of the Physics Lab are entirely about mercury. There were benches in which there were gaps between the pieces that made them up. In those gaps was gathered the dust of ages. I used me pencil point to 'mine' this dust teasing it until a bright shining globule of mercury emerged and as I continued it grew larger. As the end of the lesson loomed I used to give it a slap and delight in its sudden disappearance. I only got a "pass' in my school cert.There were no questions about mercury on the exam paper.
I wonder how long that mercury had been there?

Re: Physics Lab circa 1951

It was still there some years later Arthur, we use to do the same. No doubt it came from broken thermometers/barometers etc. Of course mercury is very toxic too.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 58-64

Current location (optional) Wirral

Re: Physics Lab circa 1951

Another two students on this photograph identified. Also in answer to Terry Marston's problem regarding the third physics master, Could he mean Mr. Phil Croft? He was my form master in 1953 and taught Physics.
The students are 1. John Firth, standing in front of Wiggy's desk and leaning over the shoulder of the lad in front of him to place something on a block.
2. The student next to Barrie Stirk at the left of the picture who looks to be standing on a buffet, is the elder of the Fox brothers from Eastburn. Sorry I cannot remember his Christian name.

Re: Physics Lab circa 1951

Apart from 'Wiggy' (and the young Keith Riddiough) I recognise nobody in the Physic's Lab Photo, but I smiled to myself when I first looked at it because of an incident which took place there back in 1947. At that time I was a pupil in Form 1A and Mr Wigglesworth was our Physics master. On that occasion we, the boys of 1A, had collectively decided to wind Wiggy up. Instead of entering the lab as a group we decided to enter one by one. Each boy would open the door, enter, close the door behind him and make his way to his seat at the bench. Then the next boy would enter in the same way. After six or seven had done this, Wiggy twigged what was going on and he picked up the board duster (a heavy one made of wood with a felt face), waited for the next boy to come in and launched the duster at him as he came through the door. Whether it was luck or whether he was a natural brilliant shot who could have relieved a fair ground coconut shy of all its stock I know not, but he caught Trevor Driver with a terrific whack just above the right ear! I do believe that a profanity was uttered by Driver - something like, 'Bloody Hell Sir', after which he shouted at Wiggy that he was 'going to see the old man and tell him what had happened and that'Wiggy' would be out on his ear! He didn't and after a few minutes of verbal exchange I think an apology was issued by a red faced master and we got on with the lesson.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1945 - 50

Current location (optional) Norfolk UK

Re: Physics Lab circa 1951

Hi Dennis. Loved the story about Wiggy and the duster but I just have a small query for you. Are SURE that it was 1947 when you were in 1A when you started in 1945? Reason I ask is that I was in 1A in 1947, my first year and I haven't heard of that incident.Cheers. ps if you reply within 24 hours I will pick it up, otherwise I will have to wait a while as I leave for Keighley in 24 hours for a flying visit on our way to Italy. Will only be in town for 7 days and I will be on the run the whole time.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1947-51

Current location (optional) Auckland NZ

Re: Physics Lab circa 1951

It's my age! Sorry Bill. I would have been in 3A at the time. I started in 1A in 1945 and transferred to the X form in my fourth year. {when my results improved no end as soon as soon as I dropped Latin}
Enjoy your trip to Italy. Where are you going? I was there [Tuscany] painting 3 years ago. Wonderful!

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1945 - 50

Current location (optional) Norfolk UK

Re: Physics Lab circa 1951

Piedmont region. Our daughter went there 11-12 years ago to teach English and never came home! Lovely spot but it costs an arm and a leg to see your grandchildren from NZ! We enjoy visiting there Dennis, I usually amuse the locals with my bad Italian. Cheers.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1947-51

Current location (optional) Auckland NZ

Re: Physics Lab circa 1951

In the early 50s science was confined to General Science in years 1 and 2. Physics and Chemmy were introduced to year 3 and onward.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1952-60

Current location (optional) Lincoln

Re: Physics Lab circa 1951

It was still so when I started at KBGS in 1958, we had Ben Tren for General Science, and in second year Mike Hardstaff (who was an incoming Biology teacher). We started Chemmy and Phys with Stoker and Sam in Sept 1960. Also we had the choice of 6 periods Latin or 4 Biology with 2 Art. I did Latin with Gus.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 58-64

Current location (optional) Wirral

Re: Physics Lab circa 1951

Yes Brian, I well remember following the same program as yourself (the only difference being Rev.J.F.(aka"Creep")Moore for Gen.Sc.in 1C).
Like you, I followed the latin option, feeling excluded from biology by the hideous spectre of continuing art. I suspect you might share the sentiment!

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1958-65

Current location (optional) Dudley, West Midlands

Re: Physics Lab circa 1951

Absolutely Brian, no way was I going to do Art ! I was 1A which is why we had Ben Tren. But Latin was supposed to be a posh subject to do and was still required by one of the Oxbridges at the time we started Latin in 1959. My parents wanted me to do it, though I never aspired to go to an Oxbridge .
Anyway were off the thread of the Physics lab.
Ha Ha, just had the thought of Sam saying 'And now I will demonstrate the dust tube experiment attributed to Kooooont '

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 58-64

Current location (optional) Wirral