Farnborough Grammar School

Prospect Avenue, Farnborough, Hampshire

Telephone : Farnborough 539
Robin Hamilton (Memories) - 1960 to 1967

I have happy memories of my years at Farnborough Grammar School, and I think I got a lot out of my time there. Maybe I just fitted in.

I got on well enough with all the members of staff I came into contact with, even the ones the subject of others’ unfavourable reminiscences. But then I guess I tended to keep my head down and toe the line. Those of my peers who were less compliant were sometimes subjected to harsh, even vindictive, treatment.

As do others, I have fond memories of ‘Nuncs’ who taught me Latin – kindliness embodied. Interestingly his easy-going manner didn’t seem to get exploited as a weakness. I also remember Mr Bullock (‘Beefy’) – a gifted teacher - who instilled in me an interest in maths that endures to this day.

Latterly I was also taught maths by Dr. Duke. I believe he had a Doctor of Science degree; quite how he came to be teaching in a school, I don’t know, but the insights he imparted got me through the university entrance exam.

Although I ended up specialising in the sciences, I enjoyed modern languages too. I was taught French by, among others, Mr. Sadler, a very nice man. I heard later that he sadly suffered a serious nervous breakdown a year or two after I left.

Other memories: driving old bangers round the field in the CCF on Friday afternoons; prefects dressing up to serve Christmas dinner to the younger pupils; gazing out over the playing fields from upstairs classrooms on sultry summer’s afternoons; debating society meetings held jointly with the girls from ACHS.

I don’t have a clear memory of my first day at FGS, but I do remember my last day, the end of term, December 1967. Jerry Rudge and I went down to the Thatched Cottage pub at lunchtime for a celebratory drink. At 4 o’clock, as on so many previous afternoons, I cycled out of the school gates without a backwards glance; it was only later in the evening it hit me that one of the most significant periods in one’s life, one’s school days, had come to an end.

I Googled the FGS website after going to a Farnborough 6th Form College open day in October 2014. I went to see how things had changed since my day. The facilities and range of courses on offer are amazing. The original Grammar School brick building is barely recognisable; sadly the grass quadrangles have been built over. The atmosphere is very informal: students and staff are on first-name terms.  One can only speculate as to Dr. Bourne’s reaction had any of his pupils addressed him as ‘John’!

Robin Hamilton : February 2016

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