Alleyne's School Founder's Day

Founder's Day service 1966

By Pauline Maryan

Founder's Day service 1966
Stevenage Museum PP1340

The annual Founder’s Day service was originally held in St. Nicholas’ church, but as the school grew, St. George’s [now St. George’s & St. Andrew’s. Ed] church was used instead, as in this photo.

This page was added on 10/01/2011.

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  • In my earlier post I should have mentioned that I also well remember Trevor Williams who has posted on this page.

    By Peter Bailey (05/03/2021)
  • I was at Alleyne’s from 1964 to 1970. I remember the Queen twins, and Dereck Harkiss, who have commented on this page. Hi to all of you if you read this post.
    I had some complaints about Alleyne’s at the time, but in retrospect realise that I was just a grumpy adolescent teenager.
    The school was very good on the whole, with good teachers in many subjects. It was also excellent for sports, although it was a shame that they did not play football – they dropped football maybe 10 years or so before I got there, The excitement of England winning the World Cup in 1966 made it feel like we were missing out in not playing football at school.
    Even so I loved rugby for the first 2 or 3 years, and also really liked the hockey and cricket. I also liked the swimming and athletics, but had to give them up fairly early because I just did not have time to do everything.
    In addition the school was very good for the school plays. Dr. Splett and co. did an excellent job in putting on the plays Julius Caesar and – oh dear, I’ve forgetten the one the next year – and I was in both!
    I did not see or know about any paedophile behaviour while I was there. The only bullying I saw was us pupils playing up with some of the teachers – we effectively bullied them. I did not see any undue violence – and really not any violence. Except for one boxing match which was apparently arranged by Biggarstaff for 2 lads in the year above to settle a score, with hundreds of lads looking on in the gymn. Unfortunately it was a complete mismatch because one was much bigger than the other and he won very quickly.
    The school may have had a better atmosphere if it had been mixed, but maybe it would not have made much difference. Grumpy teenagers are probably grumpy in whatever setting, and just need to grow up. I did eventually grow up, I think, but they do say that ‘all men are boys’. They also talk about ‘boys and their toys’, meaning men as well.

    By Peter Bailey (05/03/2021)
  • Very interesting trip back. Quite cathartic. The names mentioned… it’s interesting that some behaviours was regarded as quirky, eccentric.

    I’m 62 can can’t recall what year I left….late 60s? I recall decimalisation.

    I recall mr v who thought teaching was best done by terrifying and constantly shouting

    Mr p who beat you to near death

    Mr b who insisted and checked no underpants under shorts and topless. Dodgy??

    Mr p who ridiculed a peer out of a class

    A head who glared, dismissing pupils as guttersnipes

    Mr g who thrashed a peer across his head

    Yes. Good old days and we’re all much more rounded eh?

    But the kind mr k, mr m who encouraged my chemistry

    By Duncan Moss (25/10/2020)
  • I was never “proud” of a school with Elizabethan pretentious that apart from a few golden teachers, many were cruel and over punitive. I really can’t join in with the ‘ah the good old days’ comments where some behaviours bordered on sexual and physical abuse and would never be tolerated now thank god. Interested to see Dave Abram here, once a close friend. Would be good to reunite…..

    By Duncan Moss (24/10/2020)
  • I attended Alleynes from 1965 to 1968. In retrospect I would say the teaching was poor and the teachers often violent (sometimes dangerously and criminally so).

    Lefty Wright was my geography master, one of the few teachers who was of the time (60s progressive).

    [Name redacted. Ed.] was my English teacher and form master who succeeded in concussing me by smacking my head against the wall. Happy times indeed!

    I could go on, but I won’t.

    By Stephen Morris (15/02/2020)
  • Members of staff in the orchestra are Mike Davidson, Trevor Moore (with ‘cello) and Mrs Miriam(?) Walpole. I think that is David Hamid seated to Mr Davidson’s right.

    By Trevor Williams (05/01/2020)
  • I attended Alleyne’s School from 1965 – 1970 and yes, it was a wonderful school. I always loved the Founders Day service at St. Nicholas, the school song being particularly memorable… “In fifteen hundred and fifty-eight when Beth [I’m pretty sure it was “ere Bess”, Edmund, not “when Beth”*. (I was at Alleyne’s about the same time).Ed.] to the throne ascended / What shall I do said [quoth] the Reverend true for [my] fame when life is ended…..”. My favourite physics master was Jack Starkey, an avuncular man, with perfect diction, who owned a beautiful dark blue Humber Super Snipe. I remember also the eccentric music and RE master, George Partridge, a real character, who used to drive down the school drive in a Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith, his forehead just visible above the bottom of the windscreen. His thick ‘beer bottle’ spectacle lenses gave him an air of a German aristocrat from the 19th century. The Avenue, along which the entire school paraded to St. Nicholas Church on Founders Day, was also an important starting point for the many Cross-Country fixtures I competed in. Visiting school teams included Haberdashers Askes, Merchant Taylors, Richard Hale etc. Proud to announce that I was one of the top 3 runners for Alleyne’s and received the School colours which I wore with pride. Looking back, I’d say that Alleyne’s was the nearest thing to a public school both in the discipline it instilled and also it’s academic achievement. A piece of ‘Olde England’ long since gone.

    * [The point being, that Queen Elizabeth I came to the throne later in the same year of 1558. See the post Alleyne’s School Song. Ed]

    By Edmund Queen (05/12/2019)
  • Well well! Memories come rolling back! I was at AGS 1954-1960, and travelled by bus and sometimes train, from Knebworth. Teachers (masters then) whose names spring to mind are Rich, Cross, Partridge, Ransley, Speck, Ma and Pa Bung, (Jones) Brendish, (miserable sod!) Starkey, (Humber Super Snipe owner) and headmaster Francis Cammaerts, who went on to head a teacher training college in Leicester. Lots of good memories, and I suppose those years there were “character building” although I don’t think I realised that at the time! You probably do not get an education like that these days, except at a minor public school maybe. What I would say is that I was given virtually nil career guidance in the 6th form, and it took me another 40 years to become a journalist – something that was rubbished by all when I had suggested it at the age of 17! Nisi Dominus frustrating! Best wishes to anyone who remembers me!

    [Telegraph obituary of Francis Cammaerts, who played a remarkable role in WWII, at https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1523256/Francis-Cammaerts.html. Ed.]

    By Victor Harman (23/12/2018)
  • Fond memories of not only Founders Day, but many other events at Alleyne’s Grammar School (1968-1975)

    By Jon Ingarfill (13/06/2017)
  • As an Old Alleynian (69-75) I also used to make this annual trip up the avenue. One thing I do remember about the church was the now HIGHLY valuable ‘Mouseman’ pews. each had a mouse carved into them somewhere.

    By Stephen Cartledge (01/10/2015)
  • I was at the school from 1964 to 1971. I remember vividly the procession to the church. I think i was in 4c at that time. I am also in the photo near the orchestra. 

    By Derrick Harkis (29/05/2015)
  • The Founders day service was a major annual event at the school.  We all walked up the avenue of trees from the school to Saint Nicholas church for the service.  I remember the teaching staff all being dressed up in their gowns and mortar boards, whilst us lads, proudly walked in line, bearing the Alleynes red rose on our uniforms.  And yes, as above, the event left not much time for lessons.  Alleynes, in those days, was a wonderful school (that is not of course to imply it is bad now.  I have absolutely no idea).

    By David Abram (27/01/2015)
  • When I attend the school we were back at St Nicholas church, used to take all day to get the whole school through the service

    By Andy (11/12/2013)