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KBGS Old Boys' Forum

A place to discuss Keighley Boys' Grammar School. 


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Lord Asa Briggs

Asa has died today aged 94. He was a friend of my Dad's (Still with us), and they used to swap stamps. Asa's parents had a greengrocers on Bradford Rd somewhere near the end of Emily Street. ....http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35813749

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

Current location (optional) Wirral

Re: Lord Asa Briggs

Asa Briggs was a role model, regularly proffered to me by a spinster lady, a neighbour, to whom I had to show my KBGS school report every term.

Asa had already moved on to higher things when I started at KBGS (1952) and although the Briggs lived across the back street from us, I never knew him.

His father was a fitter at Prinnies where my dad worked at the time. Mrs Briggs would often come out with biscuits for “us kids” playing in the street.

Our spinster neighbour was clearly proud of Asa’s achievement. If I had a good result in History , she always would say to me “Ee, Terry. Do you think you’re going to be another Asa?”

I hope she wasn’t too disappointed.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1952-1960

Current location (optional) Nirvana

Re: Lord Asa Briggs

Did anyone hear Asa Briggs: The Last Victorian Improver (7 Jan 1917 Radio 4, Archive on 4) - a 58 minute appreciation of the historian: KBGS, Cambridge, Bletchley Park, Oxford, biographer of BBC, Vice-Chancellor Sussex, Chancellor Open University etc.

Many interesting recordings of interviews with the man himself. You can hear it again on iPlayerRadio.

But one rather trivial thing about the programme jarred - everyone called him "Azer" whereas I always think of him as "Acer".

Is this a South/North thing, or a class thing? Or have I just got it wrong?

What do you call him? What did he call himself?

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 54-59

Re: Lord Asa Briggs

My dad. a school mate called him 'Acer'

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

Current location (optional) Wirral

Re: Lord Asa Briggs

All his contemporaneous neighbours in Bfd/Emily Street refered to him as "Acer" - which has just got me thinking about my spinster neighbour. My address one time was "Acer" - but that was as near as I got to being "another Asa".

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

Current location (optional) Nirvana

Re: Lord Asa Briggs

You may be interested in the following which I have just received from my brother Howard:

In a chapter in his book 'Special Relationships', published in 2012, entitled 'What's in a Name', Asa comments about both of his own names.
As regards Asa he writes:

'There are two ways of pronouncing the 's', as an 's' and as a 'z'; my mother and father always used the 's'. I began to be called Asa , pronounced both ways, not Briggs, during the 1930s when first names were not in general use ........... The French always pronounced it with a short sharp A. How can three letters sound so different?'

Well, all I know - and I was a quite close friend of his at KBGS, and a regular visitor to 87 Emily Street - was that he was always called Asa with the hard 's' by his mother and his sister Emmy at home, and by absolutely everyone at school. I had never heard the soft 's' used by anyone - and that includes all the folk from all over the country who used to attend the Bronte Society meetings when he was President twenty to twenty five years ago - until this recent radio programme.


Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1937-44

Current location (optional) Huntingdon

Re: Lord Asa Briggs

David - not Asa related but I noticed via your posting that we are almost neighbours, since I am in Hemingford Grey. And I am meeting another Old Boy on 8th Feb, just in case you fancy a lunch.
Chris

Current location (optional) Hemingford Grey

Re: Lord Asa Briggs

Chris
That sounds interesting. I would like to meet you. I actually live in Spaldwick. My contact details are davidstowell@onetel.com Phone 01480 890065
I look forward to hearing from you.
David

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1937-44

Current location (optional) Huntingdon

Re: Lord Asa Briggs

Thanks Brian, Terry and David. Great to read that he discussed the pronunciation himself. That his mum and dad used 'acer' is pretty definitive. Just one little doubt remains: in the programme Asa himself mentions his own name and to my ear it was more of a zed than an ess. It was, however, in reported speech, and may have simply been a very accurate report of what the person using it said rather than an endorsement of the pronunciation.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 54-59

Re: Lord Asa Briggs

Tha'll find it on 'ere, sithee........

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b087p473

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

Current location (optional) Nirvana