Grange Council School, Standard 2A of school year 1960/61. (Mr Walton's class). All present and correct, except for one
absentee, Leila Hassan. (I bumped into her in the mid seventies. She said I hadn't changed a bit! Really? I was thirty years
old then, and just nine in this photo.)
You can probably tell that classes were somewhat larger than they are today (41 on the roll here). You can also tell
from our clothes that Grangetown wasn't exactly an affluent area, although our parents - bless 'em all - did their best, despite
the sometimes straitened circumstances.
I'm the handsome one, right at the end of the front row, on the right-hand side.
Six boys in this photo were offered places at Cardiff High School a couple of years later in 1963 - I think that was
probably a record. My best mate at the time, Jeffrey Purnell (also sitting in the front row, on the extreme left-hand side)
was one of them, but he turned it down (silly sod!) and went to Fitzalan instead, where his elder brother was already. I have
to say that at the time I was tempted to go with him, but I'm glad I didn't in the light of the subsequent reorganisation
of Cardiff's secondary education system a couple of years afterwards, when they turned Fitzalan, almost overnight, from one
of the few technical grammar schools in the country (and a very good one at that) into a de-facto 'secondary-modern'
for the children of the underclass, dumping the clientele of every 'sink' secondary-modern in south Cardiff into
it. The city fathers of Cardiff should hang their heads in shame over what they did to that school.
It's a position that it has never recovered from, even today.
I haven't seen Jeffrey since we were eleven. We just lost touch now we were in different schools, and that was sad. I
didn't have a problem finding new friends at Cardiff High School, and made some good ones too, but you do like to keep
your old friends as well, don't you. The last time I saw him was just after we had started in our respective secondary
schools, when he came round to see me. Naturally, we were both interested in how our new schools compared with each others.
I remember this part of our conversation, which was almost the last words we ever spoke to each other:-
Jeffrey: " Have you got to have showers with nothing on after games in your school?"
Me: " Yeah. "
Jeffrey: " So have we... Have you had one yet? "
Me: " Nope. "
Jeffrey: " Nor have I... I'm not looking forward to it at all. "
Me: " Neither am I! "
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