Clubs & Societies 1961

1961 Magazine Reports

The Potholing Club

The club has been increasingly active in its second year, and in November we explored a very wet Dow Cave. After a few hours’ great sport in the turbulent, cold waters the exploration had to be abandoned owing to the fact that the waterfall was impossible to scale. Undaunted, we turned our attention to Sleets Gill Cave, which was ‘done’ in record time.

We also made a return visit to Attermire Cave, which with its many interesting surroundong caves provided another good day’s sport.

This year we joined many of the Bradford Pothole Club’s meets and explored Sunset Hole and the Lost John system. We also joined them on their Easter and Whitsuntide meets at Grange Rigg and Gaping Gill.

Next year it is hoped to have a more extensive programme as we shall be able to acquire more tackle. So, you 5th and 6th formers, let’s see some ‘hard men’ please!

I must thank all those who have given assistance and guidance to us, especially Mr NT Walker, Mr DJ Ackroyd and Mr KV Rhodes, whose generous help is greatly appreciated by the members.

(PF Wilkinson 6B Mod)

Table Tennis

As at present we have only one table - and the 6th form monopolise that, although they sometimes let the staff play if they ask nicely - it has not been possible to arrange House games this year. We did hold, however, our usual knock-out competition. There were 86 entrants and the last survivors were JR Mitchell of 6A Mod and Mr A Clarke. The final drew a large audience who saw Mr Clarke, who has the big match temperament, triumph in straight games over his opponent.

Mr DG Wright especially asks me to mention that he reached the semi-final.

Chess Club

In the Staff Room, it is rumoured, there is frequent and perplexed discussion as to why an activity so dependent upon mental effort as chess should flourish among a community whose members, confronted with a demand for mental effort in any other cause, react with alarm and despondency. We of the Prefects’ Room, however, smile indulgently and resume our study of the King’s Gambit, for we know that the standard of chess in the school is probably higher than it has ever been. The Chess Club itself, it is true, has dwindled in size, owing to the fact that league matches are played on Friday nights, but amongst the 2 teams and the reserves competitive spirit causes enthusiasm to run high. Compared with our efforts in the league last year (when, it may be remembered, we did not win a single match) our core of keen players in both Junior and Senior teams have put up a very fine performance. In the Senior league, 7 matches were won and 3 drawn out of 12 played. Eks 8 wins, Schmidt 5.5 wins, Hargreaves (captain) 7 wins, Walker and Pfeiffer each 7.5 wins, Mitchell 4 wins; Emsley, Dalby and Bennett were useful and accommodating reserves.

The Juniors won 3 matches, drew 2 and lost 7 (Bannister 7 wins, Sutcliffe 6.5; other regular players were Ogden, Vinette, Lawson, Holland and Foster.

In the Silver King tournament there were about 60 entrants and Eks beat Schmidt in the final. When one considers that Eks and Schmidt have played each other hundreds of times - literally - it was vaguely disappointing that the result should depend on a single game.

Last, but by no means least, our sincere thanks are due to Mr David Wright, who was kind enough to take over Mr Reynolds’ position as master in charge.

(JD Hargreaves 6A Mod)

Dramatic Society

Once again the school dramatic societies collaborated with the music department to stage two evenings of varied entertainment entitled “Words and Music”. In the two previous school years these have been performed at the end of the winter term, but the demands which Speech Day makes upon the school’s musicians, together with the need for a darkened hall, led us this time to accelerate our efforts and take advantage of the festive spirit abroad at Christmas time.

It must be admitted that owing partly to the traditional precedence which football takes over other school activities, our progress through the term was somewhat erratic, but nevertheless a commendable standard of performance was reached by zero hour, Monday 19th December. The principal failing of the entertainment was, perhaps, excessive length, but we feel that in a school activity this is an encouraging fault.

The musical contributions are reviewed elsewhere, but some mention should be made of the two plays presented. The senior boys, with a Hardcastle farce and a Marlovian tragedy to their credit, provided further variety with the Italian playwright, Luigi Pirandello’s one-act play “The Jar”. It was a light-hearted frolic for the boys who found some of the fruitier dialogue a joy to roll their tongues around. Good performances came from Alan Walker, Michael and Robert Smith, David Lussey, Ronnie Farley, Peter Wilkinson, Donald Stowell and Jeffrey Hutchinson in the men’s and boys’ parts, whilst Jeffrey Pearman and Malcolm Lusby manfully - or womanfully - tackled the traditional schoolboys’ nightmare: wearing skirts. The jar itself proved quite a problem, a compromise was finally achieved with the aid of an old oil drum and some deft jiggery-pokery by Lussey and the metalwork department. All praise to the art department, too, for a very fine setting which really did capture the character and warmth of a Sicilian farm. The play was produced by Mr Baines.

The junior society presented a novel little play called “Nothing but the Truth” with a cautionary “road safety” theme, but which had plenty of lively humour to sugar the pill. Those who failed to see it may be surprised to learn that the cast included two Roman legionaries and a centurion (all very realistically armed and protected by Mr Wess and some boys from 3B), a motorist and a motor-cyclist! The whole cast rose splendidly to the occasion, more than satisfying the producer, Mr Jackson, but especial mention might be made of Keith Narey as “Sailor”. His enunciation might have offended the purist, but his performance was admirable for vigour and expression, and for that happy knack of making the most of a funny line.

It might also be of interest to recall that the play began with most realistic sound-effects simulating a motor accident off-stage. The recording of this provided a good deal of fun, the ingredients including a baby Austin, a motor-cycle ridden by Mr Steele, several sheets of metal, some broken flasks from the chemistry lab and two small boys. A microphone was suspended from the library window whilst the car and the motor-cycle were braked hard on the cobbles of Stratford Road, to the peril of Mr Steele and the brake linings. The resultant impressive tyre screams culminated in a startling crash, superimposed later when the various objects mentioned earlier were dropped on the floor (not the two boys, of course - they obliged by screaming most frighteningly to order).

All concerned in the productions owe a very great debt of gratitude to Mr Green, not only in his capacity as set-designer but also as the all-important co-ordinator of the whole evening’s entertainment. The producers are also very grateful for valuable help before and during the performances from Mr Walker as stage manager, and the 6th form thespians as his assistants.

The Film Society

This year the society continued its activities into its 7th season with a programme, between early November and late February, of 13 two-and-a-half to three-hour shows. The membership fee remained the same and each evening’s entertainment cost each member less than sixpence.

Filming time at the meetings was increased this year and this enabled the committee to add more educational and interest “shorts” to the main films. This cost an extra £10, total film hire being roughly £80 for the season.

Direction came from a committee consisting of the president, the chairman, the secretary, ten members of staff and four prefects. Membership, which was drawn from forms 6 and 5 of the Girls’ School and from forms 6 to 2 of the Boys’ School, has continued to mount and is round the 350 mark.

Main films shown came under the following classifications: comedy 4; drama 4; classical 2; travel 1; documentary 1; adventure 1. One of the films, “City of Caesar” was made and presented by Mr J Warburton, an old boy of the school.

The smooth running of the society has depended, as in past years, on the technical skill of its secretary, Mr Jones, and on his apparently inexhaustible energy and receives the committee’s best thanks.

Senior Forum

Our 6th form discussion society filled another interesting session with a programme of debates, discussions, brains trusts and addresses by visiting speakers.

Mr Boothroyd was again persuaded to mount his hobby-horse for an entertaining evening and we have had a number of speakers from the College of Technology. Most dealt with scientific subjects but one lecture on trade unionism was of more general interest and prompted a lively discussion in which GB’s economists played a knowledgeable if superior role.

The event which attracted our largest audience was a retrial of “That Book”, before Mr Justice Hargreaves. Ian Pedder was appropriately scathing as prosecuting counsel, with the Headmaster and Mr David Wright as his chief witnesses, and Roger Mitchell an eloquent defence counsel whose skilful leading questions prompted Mr Hardcastle - that well-known flogger of dead horses to 6th form discussion groups - and Miss Aspy to a prolonged defence of the author’s message and motives. They were unable, however, to convince more than half the jury, some of whom seemed quaintly miscast as guardians of teenage morality, that DH Lawrence was a good influence. This was an evening we approached with just a little trepidation, but in actual fact the atmosphere throughout was one of seriousness and good sense, so that the experience was well worth while.

We have been pleased this year by the way the boys have run this society quite by themselves. Ian Pedder was chairman and moving spirit and he received good support from secretary Bedford and his committee. In the actual meetings, many boys spoke to good effect. The girls were seen more often than heard but just to see them is sufficient reward.