Does anyone remember me?

1959-1961 at Shephalbury School

By John Mcbride

I haven’t been back to Stevenage for over 50 years but I have to see a friend there tomorrow and decided to go and see my old school Shephalbury Secondary Modern at the same time. I was completely surprised to learn the school no longer exists.

I remember my art teacher Mr Trotter (does anyone else remember him?) and Mr Chapman the metal work teacher. I also remember the headmaster Mr Earnshaw. Mrs Godden was a large lady with grey hair and seemed very forbidding as I was only about 13 when I first arrived there.

I used to love the art lessons where Mr Trotter would leave me to my own devices and let me paint or draw whatever I enjoyed doing. He would sometimes bring in his own painting to complete in oils. I loved the big cedar tree in the grounds where we would sit under it and talk amongst our friends.

I was a school prefect at about the age of 15 and had to keep pupils outside in break times unless the weather was bad.

Anyone remember any of this? If you do please get in touch. Unfortunately I don’t seem to have any photographs.

This page was added on 11/09/2012.

Comments about this page

  • i was there from 1961- 1967 in the alpha classes. I dont remember many teachers by name -only mr nash as he was very strict( he chucked chalk across the room to shut pupils up) but very patient and a brilliant teacher. But i can remember my science teacher who let me and my friend keep mice and guinea pigs in the lab and a fantastic English teacher . I moved overseas for years and on returning was heartbroken to find the school closed

    By frances garrett nee gamble (17/06/2017)
  • My husband went to this school. Les Rogalski He is Polish and all he can remember is looking out of the window wondering why he had been sent away and having his pockets stitched up so he could walk around with his hands in them!

    By Olwen Rogalski (16/04/2017)
  • I was at Shephalbury from 1961-1968. Headmasters I remember were Mr Earnshaw and Dr Kitching. Teachers: Mr Tate -sport; Mr James – Geography; Mr Clements – Science and his wife Mrs Clements – English; Mrs Bowen – English; Mr Thomas – RE; Mr Chatfield – Metalwork; Mr Topham – Gen studies; Mr Nash – Maths. I was one of the three original sixth form pupils and the first ex-pupil to go directly to University ( Manchester ). I don’t have any thing but good memories of my time at Shephalbury. Any one remember me ?; it would be good to make contact after all these years.

    By Ian Blunkett (13/03/2017)
  • I’m envious, I cant remember much, just looking out of the window a lot, at traffic and the trains. I remember doing cookery classes after 4pm, was new then, helped metal work teacher making rail track. My name was Dennis then but later in life I changed to Paul fed up with Dennis the menace. Wish I could go back to school, I would have studied better.

    By dennis Johnson (27/02/2017)
  • I used to go to Shephalbury School with my triplet brothers Alan and Raymond, and had a boyfriend named Gerald Brown. I remember some of the teachers you mentioned, especially the P.E teacher Mrs Randall, I also remember Mr Tate, my own teacher used to think I was a dunce, little does he know I went on to become a primary school teacher.

    By Valerie Caplen, nee Usher (16/02/2017)
  • I attended Shephalbury school 1960-1964, living in Knebworth. I went to the school by coach along with the other pupils from the village. I was in the B class throughout the school years. In the beginning I remember Mr Earnshaw being the headmaster ,then some time later Mr Kitching was head then the deputy head Mr James (Sid) geography, Mr McHugh known to some of us as Fluke or Flukey who taught maths, Mrs Bowen English, Mr Marshall  also English , Mrs Doodie, French. Woodwork and metalwork Richards and Chatfield science with Mr Smith and Mr Clements. My friend and classmate through the years was Ken Mc Aleer and we would always sit together in lessons, as much laughing, (or perhaps more) than learning was done by us. I remember the science lesson Ken has mentioned but there was also a science lesson where we were told not to mix the 2 chemicals in the test tubes, of course someone had to have their own experiment resulting in a probably toxic cloud of fumes in the room. Ken and I were good friends in and out of school, I would like to know how he is doing, I was told he moved away from Stevenage. I found this page which brought back great memories of my school days and the good old 60s                                                                                                             John Styles 29/7/2016

    By john styles (29/07/2016)
  • I’ll keep this going a bit longer – as I have very fond memories of Shephalbury SM School too. Remember the names of the big lads (in trouble) being called-out in assembly, seemingly almost every morning?  “Meadows, Rancontre – to Mr Earnshaw’s office” – these looked like seriously tough guys to me when I was in year 1 – and at play-times my main aim was to be inconspicuous – which mostly worked – but most of us got a kicking occasionally too! Not sure what it was about me that the big lads took a disliking too, but I did breath a large sigh of relief at the end of year 3 when most of the tough nuts left to inflict themselves on the outside world.

    Mr Wooding (head of Maths) was the most patient gentlemen I ever met, and Mr Nash (Maths) although never my teacher, was also good-hearted. Mrs Godden was larger than life, but talked to us like adults and was a great English teacher, as was Ms Bowen. 

    By Alan Balcombe (06/04/2016)
  • Yes I remember Tony. I was friends with his elder brother Dave. He was a good friend. They moved away to Basildon I think. I would like to know what happened to my best friend John Stiles.  I still remember the school with great fondness . Old ‘chatters’ was a good metalwork teacher. I also remember earlier teachers such as AItken the science teacher, Richards, Dolling, Mchugh Trout( who was french and a fantastic teacher) James’ Sid ‘of course who had a good heart, Mr Tate, Wally, Ms Doodie. Ms Boeing and Mrs Boeing, Smith the science master who we drove nearly insane,I mean who would tell a load of boys not to cross the poss and neg as it would fuse his board and not to muck about with the gas taps!,Mr and MRs Clements and of course Mr and Mrs Trautman ( my dear brother nearly got it right). Mr Trautman was a typical artist with a beard with limited ability but a nice man and I remember my Dear Dad saying on meeting him and commenting that he was a good man ‘but if you can’t paint grow a beard ‘ I don’t do Facebook and its rare for me to look back but I loved my time there despite some of the horrible teachers and have fond memory’s of some dear friends. needless to say I am sad those memories have been bulldozed but they remain in my memory forever!!

    By Ken McAleer (01/12/2015)
  • I went to Barnwell but am searching for tony rowlands who went to Shepalbury late sixties lived  oaks cross area anyone know of him. Thanks

    By jackie (04/03/2015)
  • @ Pam Farquhar: the fourth house was Lammer

    By Peter McAleer (05/02/2015)
  • I also remember these teachers also Mr Austin was an art teacher & also my form teacher also Mrs Valerie Doody. I was at the school between 1960 – 1964

    By Diana Tullet nee buckle (20/10/2014)
  • Yes I remember you John, and Robert Clay, we were classmates.I remember all the mentioned teachers, as well as Mr Morgan who taught music. I am in touch with a few found recently on the web. I have not been back for 50 yrs but am about to make a pilgrimage,there is also a reunion for all years of ex Shep. My nickname then was Jonah! John Pierce Jones, Cardiff.

    Editor - There are links to Shephalbury School website and the reunion in section on ‘Shephalbury School exterior in 1958’

    By John Pierce Jones (16/04/2013)
  • I. my sister and brother in law went to Shephalbury in the 60’s. We are trying to remember the ‘house’ names but can only remember three which were Rye, Tring, and Ashridge. Can anyone remember the 4th one?

    By Pam Farquhar (nee Deboo) (31/03/2013)
  • Hi John, I can’t remember you but I do know the teachers you mention. I think you mean Mr Trottman, the art teacher. And there was a metal work teacher by the name Chatfield who was always clearing his throat. Does that ring any bells?

    By Peter McAleer (29/01/2013)
  • Yes I remember you John and all the teachers you mention. We were classmates for the final year I think. Like you I have no photographs from that time other than the ones I have culled from the net.

    By Bob Clay (01/10/2012)
  • I also went to Shephalbury but from its opening in 1958 until December 1961. My 2 brothers (Peter & Raymond David) also attended but would have been 2 and 5 years behind me respectively.

    By Mike Downes (27/09/2012)
  • Hi John you can find many ex Shephalbury pupils here http://www.facebook.com/about/login/#!/groups/Shephallbury/ also some pics can be found at http://www.shephalbury-school.co.uk If you visit the Facebook page there is a Big Reunion planned for September 2013 for anyone who was at the school, pupils, teachers or workers 🙂

    By John Galleymore (19/09/2012)

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