A place to discuss Keighley Boys' Grammar School.
That Mechanics building was a veritable labyrinth. There were some stairs and corridors and entrances you could use - and those that were out of bounds - although you only got to know which were these if you were caught out. Sharing the building with the Art College and departments of the Tech College (plus the Mechanic's civic function) was the cause of the confusion. But everybody had to endure the tunnel through the bowels of the building. That no one suffered a serious injury is a marvel. Bernard's description must be everyone's recollection. If you needed an experience to help you understand the Hillsborough tragedy - this was it. Occasionally a hardy member of staff would attempt to establish some order "below deck". I remember Phil Croft chancing his luck and Basher threatening to dismember kids who were pushing - but that was everybody! I remember the comment of Jim Whittaker, standing at the top of the stairs as the surging groaning horde of kids emerged into daylight, who described them as a "seething mass of inhumanity". Usually the last lads through the tunnel picked up any shoes, satchels and sports kit that had been "lost" and left them on the railings at the top. An inspiring start to morning and afternoon lessons - the Eton Wall Game twice daily.
Can't fathom how 600 of us squeezed through that tunnel. But then I also find it difficult to imagine 600 in that minute yard every day. It was a miracle that the close confinement of huge numbers of lads didn't result in such stress that there were many more fights.
Stories were told by men of my father's generation that the town centre air-raid shelter had been accessed down those steps that led to the tunnel. Does anyone know if this is correct?
I can confirm that the tunnel also provided access to the air-raid shelter underneath the playground. I seem to remember that it was possible to get into the shelter when I first got to KBGS in 1950, but that it was sealed off fairly soon afterwards. Probably a significant health hazard!
Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) email@example.com
If my memory serves me correctly,wasn't there a changing room and showers off the the side of the tunnel.I seem to remember changing in there on a Saturday morning and then catching the bus onto Rose Cottage to play House rugby matches.
Yes - I remember the grotty changing room with its wash-basins, etc. Its entrance was about mid-way along the passage, on the right hand side when entering the building.
Near the bottom of the steps, entering this dungeon from the yard, was an extensive lavatory. Had this previously been the entrance to, or part of, the air-raid shelter mentioned earlier?
There was also a short L-shaped entry leading from those bogs into the main passage, via a sort of boiler room or similar. Anyone else remember it?
Didn't the prefects have their room down in the tunnel on the right hand side going in from the yard?
I remember having to report to their room. I knocked on the door, it opened about an inch, and smoke came bellowing out.
Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) firstname.lastname@example.org
I think the corridor containing the prefects' room (about which David has jogged my memory) led directly from the North Street main entrance - where the milk drinkers used to gather each morning. It was a long corridor running parallel to Cavendish Street and led to what was the music room in the pre-fire era. Another "subject" displaced by the fire was art - from the attic floor of the same building into a more traditional classroom in the heart of the school.
I concur with Brian's recall of the whereabouts of the Prefect's Room - which was an institution of AEWatthey - it was adjacent to the cloakrooms etc that were used for functions at The Mechanics and was underneath the Mechanics Hall itself. On entering the building from North Street,turn left through the vestibule into the school and then right - and down the steps (before the staircase leading to the office - "the Old Man's staircase" named after Old Nick) and into the corridor which ran parallel to North Street (not Cavendish St - and at a subterranean level). There was another classroom along that corridor before you reached the old Music Room (with its tiered benches) on the left and numbered (I think D7 ). I pitied the poor sods who had it for their form room. I recall that one year Gilbert was form master of 1B who were stationed in the bowels of the school - always under electric lighting.
The form room in the tunnel was room D6, we had it in the first year in form 1A with Percy Peart as Form Master. Our very first lesson at KBGS was in that room and was Geography with D K Vincent Firman. Keith Sunderland failed to call him 'Sir', and his voice nearly blew the ceiling down, we were scared stiff of him after that. (Home work - learn the key to the 1 in Ordnance Survey Map)
Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) email@example.com
I discovered the tunnel on my third day at school.
My mother told me not to be afraid of "bullying" at school,and that local boy Pat Durkin would look after me.
Imagine my disbelief when visiting the toilets in "The "Tunnel" when I was grabbed by three older boys and received the "Ducking" initiation.
The chief instigator was of course Pat Durkin
At least I got it over in quick time,and was never bullied in any form after that day.
There certainly was an air-raid shelter underneath the playground. Again my recollection of it is as a long tunnel with bench seats along one side. We had 'air-raid practice' frequently and at one point in the drill had to wear gas-masks.Pretty claustrophobic it was too. What I don't remember is at what point these procedures were discontinued. I think probably 1944 or so.
Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1940-48
This thread revives a few memories.The air raid shelter---was known in my time as the black hole of Calcutta---only had a look once when for some reason it was left open.Yes,the cloakroom was on the right of the corridor in.The classroom down the corridor to the old music room was where we were educated by Gilbert Swift on Len Hutton capturing the record for highest score in a test.Talk of the music room amphitheatre bringsback memories of "Gobbo" Pickles who was a lovely old man(to us).He had this habit of creating two pencils from one if he caught you doodling.His successor was a big guy called Marshall,very softly spoken,mild guy,who when provoked would remind us that he was a "veteran of the Mat" !!!
Mention of Pat Durkin---we were both Cross Roads lads who met up again downunder and in 1964 I acted as Best Man at Pat's wedding and in 1966 he reciprocated at mine.
Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 47-51
Current location (optional) Auckland NZ