KBGS Old Boys' Forum

A place to discuss Keighley Boys' Grammar School. 

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KBGS Old Boys' Forum
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Holiday jobs

On mature reflection, KBGS during my years was very much a working class grammar school. Blame Butler and his '44 Act if you must. Few of the lads there (in the '40s and '50s)were from families that could easily supply the uniform, games kit etc AND forego the income that 14/15 year old school leavers in other homes were bringing into the family as mill labourers, apprentices, white collar and professional trainees.There were real struggles in many homes - educational opportunity for the lad versus keeping the family out of debt. I was fortunate in that my dad had won a free scholarship (was that the county bursary that was won by Chris Firth's dad??) to KBGS and that had carry-over consequences for me. As he put it to me - "I wasted the chance - and I don't want you to do the same." His very words to me after I cycled down to the engineering company ('t'black shop) where he was working overtime to tell him "I've passed 't'scholarship, Dad " were "Well dooan't let it go to thi bluddy 'ed!" Perhaps it had gone to his. If it had I know he had ollus rued it. So come the first school holidays when I was of employable age - in my days 15 - I got a job at Leighton's sawmill in Bradford Road at the bottom of Bradford Street where I was born and lived.To me this was the compromise between seeking the Holy Grail that my parents wanted for me and bringing in some cash like the other lads of my age in the street. I could become verbosely lyrical about amusing incidents in the many jobs I had from that first one to my last before I took up my first proper job in teaching - although critics at the time did not class teaching as such. Whilst at KBGS I worked as:a labourer for Leighton's; a doffer and testing assistant at Hayfield's Knitting Wools; labourer of varying sorts at Mariners/Heatons Mill; postie and parcel deliverer for HM Royal Mail; an office, canteen and bog cleaner for the West Yorkshire; a bus washer and cleaner; an accounts clerk for John Smith's Cranes; a slipper packer and warehouse dispatcher for Peter Black's. I have a fund of tales and memories from each of these invaluable life experiences that I will never forget - nor the lessons they taught. All in all, they amounted to a gentle crossing of the working class Rubicon - from the kind of work us lads were born to - to the freer field of opportunities that presented on leaving KBGS with some paper qualifications but we were not always equipped sufficiently to cope with the scheming bastards who had made the crossing a generation or two before us.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 52-60

Current location (optional) Lincoln

Re: Holiday jobs

Yes it was always useful to have a job or too for extra pocket money. Whilst I never actually had a job specifically at holiday time, I had three paid jobs running all the time. Like many lads I had a paper round (initially for Halls in Victoria Rd, later for the shop on Queens Rd near to where Shaun lived). I was paid for being organist at Fell Lane Methodist Church from age 14 - 16 the Lund Park Methodist Church from 16 - 18. Finally I played the piano for a school of dancing run by Shaun's sister Barbara in Haworth and Cross Roads. None of these jobs made me rich, but it all added up.
Part of the (second) paper round involved also collecting money from some houses on Friday evening. There was one young woman in Caister Rd who always answered the door wearing usually just a negligee, but I never got asked in!
I worked at Harrogate ICI from leaving school in Dec 1964 until going to Uni in Sept 1965, and again there in my first summer vac. Second summer vac I worked at Thomas Parkers mill in Goulbourne St doing painting and decorating.

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

Current location (optional) Wirral

Re: Holiday jobs


I actually remember you delivering Xmas mail in Haworth one year, I must have beenin 1st or 2nd Form and a bit in awe of you, so I kept my distance, but I did lob a snowball at you whilst you weren't looking and ran for my life.

Current location (optional) Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Re: Holiday jobs

Yes, John, I did deliver the post in Haworth - I think on 2 Christmas periods. It seemed the right setting for the build up to Christmas - I don't remember your snowball but I recall the cheerful atmosphere of the residents and passers-by up the Main Street. What confused me was some of the addresses on the cards used alternatives - eg Brandy Row and other streets named after grog. I learnt later that Haworth had been a sink of iniquity and heavy boozing but John Wesley's preaching in Merrall's (?) Mill yard brought abstinence to the village (for a week or two!). One elderly lady used to stop me every day in the street and ask if I had letters for her. I would have to dig out another bundle, sort through them and get them mixed up. Nooan too pleased. On Christmas Eve she scurried across the street to me. I had my frosty refusal ready but she spiked my guns by thrusting out her hand and offering me 1/- -inwardly and secretly ashamed I had nearly enough for a pint in the Fleece on the way down.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 52-60