Alleyne's School

The main hall under construction 1956

By Pauline Maryan

Alleyne's School main hall under construction 1956
Stevenage Museum PP1333
This page was added on 10/01/2011.

Comments about this page

  • I have many memories from my time at Alleynes (1968 – 1975). We were the last grammar school intake, when caps had to be worn by all except the sixth form. I recall many teachers from my time there – George Partridge, John Williams, Les Ransley, Mike Davidson, Mr Bickerstaff, Mr Jordan, Mrs Walpole, Mr Shorten, Alan Foxley, Mike Hogg, John Burridge, Mr Abbott, George Rich, Dr Splett, Mr Faulks, Mr Luxton, Mr Lillistone, Mr Welch, John Butcher, Mr Rushden, Cliff Rowe, and many more whose names I cannot recall. We worked hard, taught by traditional methods, got punished if we stepped out of line, but grew up respectful, hard-working, honest young men, fit for entering the adult world of work – we did OK didn’t we?

    By Jon Ingarfill (31/05/2019)
  • I went to Alleynes from 1967 until 1973. I was not a good student but I loved school. The famous Mr Burridge told me I was a useless piece and would never make anything of myself. Vic Verier scared the living daylights out of his 14 year old maths students. Baldy Rich took more stick than necessary and the famous Mr Bickerstaff handed out plenty of stick. I visited the school a couple of years ago and I was devastated to see the state of the organ that was Dear Mr Partidges pride and joy. Happy place for me in those days. Still have the scars from the cane handed out by Mr Jones !!!!!

    By Ron Baker (01/01/2019)
  • It’s strange how memories come flooding back just by looking at a few old black and white photos and reading the comments of other almuni. I was at Alleynes from 1972-1977 and have both good and bad memories of the place. I fondly recall Art lessons, taught by a teacher named Miss Hazel Boyles (on whom I had a crush, at the time), the somewhat sadistic Mr Bickerstaffe who made me run a cross country marathon (it felt like it) when I had a bad cold, only for it to then become a worse chest infection, the controversial headmaster, Mr Burridge (alumini will know what I refer to), Herr Splett (or was it Doctor Splett?), the German language master – why did all the German masters have elbow patches and blakeys on their shoes?…curious! There was an odd Chemistry teacher, I think he was named Farrell, who taught us the explosive qualities of sugar and flour (now that was a lesson! – today he’d be carted off by the cops for promoting terrorism) and he even had a small lab in which we could ‘experiment’ with radioactive material. Can you imagine kids doing that nowadays?

    I recall the long, hot summer of 1977, stuck in those damned language labs and sweating like a pig. It was made all the more uncomfortable for my merry band of 16 year old, hormonally rampant fellows and myself, by the arrival of a particularly attractive, young female French tutor in a low cut top and blue mini skirt. Oh boy, she fuelled a few fantasies! Then there was the day trip to Boulogne-sur-Mer and the ‘smuggling’ back into the UK of two packs of Disque Blue cigarettes and a small bottle of really rough Calvados (apple brandy). We thought we were so daring!

    George Partridge! A character who, if he didn’t exist we’d have to invent him. It was as if he’d stepped straight of the pages of a Tom Sharpe novel. Eccentric, wildly unpredictable, as old as ancient Rome (or so we believed) – and prone to whacking boys across the knuckles with a ruler. I recall he once called me to the front of the class for a whacking. I put my hand out, up went the ruler then down in a flash…and I withdrew my hand. He missed. I got a laugh from the class and the ruler round the back of my head. That damned well hurt, but it was worth it to beat the old boy at his own game. I won’t say I disliked him; in fact in an odd way I almost respected him as he had a fantastic mind. He’s just one of those characters you’ll never forget.

    I left Alleynes in 1977. Next stop – Hong Kong. A world so different from Stevenage that, at the time, it beggared belief. I had been there barely a few months when into my school and my class walked a new boy – a lad I’d been at Alleynes with! It’s a funny old world.

    One day, if I find myself in Stevenage once more, I’ll drop in to see how Alleynes is doing. Thanks for the memories.

    By Ashley (16/11/2018)
  • George Partridge – was the only teacher, who had a Rolls Royce and a Triumph Spitfire, which he drove to school. He had a love of all the arts and was committed to get the best out of people. He for many years was the fantastic organist at Aston and Bennington Church and was still swimming to the end of his life. I should add all the paintings of the headmasters in the school were painted by George, he was a fantastic artist. He was very clever and had strong passion for education. He loved the Passion Play and Latin. I was lucky enough to have him teach me “Ave verum corpus” in Latin to sing. Ave verum corpus, natum de Maria Virgine,ver e passum, immolatum in cruce pro homine cuius latus perforatum
    fluxit aqua et sanguine: esto nobis praegustatum
    in mortis examine, which he did patiently ! He was also a fine pianist on the Grand in the school hall. He also loved history and theatre and enjoyed the play Billy Liar which was based the 1959 novel by Keith Waterhouse. I thought he was fantastic as a person and very complex.

    By Keith Scivier (17/04/2018)
  • I joined in 1962 and have some great memories of the school and the Old Grange. Notable teachers included Patridge (Music), Hogg (Spanish), Farrell (Chemistry ?), Ransley (Geography), Wright(English), Bickerstaffe (PE) and head WC Jones

    By David Jackson (18/08/2017)
  • The methods of teaching would probably be frowned upon now, but the teachers at Alleynes did encourage us to think for ourselves and gave us a good foundation for life at university. Friendships were forged there which, despite living in the South of France for the past 25 years, have continued to this day. If it’s any consolation to my French teachers, who must have despaired of my incompetence, I finally got there.

    By Rob Fuke (04/06/2017)
  • I remember Alleynes. Many teachers were bullying sadists swing fit to assault pupils including [name redacted]. Terrible way to teach. Thumping hymns out on a boys chest with hours of pointless hymn singing. The school did me no favours. 

    By Duncan moss (28/02/2016)
  • Ah! Mr Partridge. Very much a man from the old days. He auditioned me for the Choral group and a production of Noyeh’s Fludd (B Britten). I sat my exams there too, no doubt on the same day as you David. Elsewere you’ll see comments from Paul Tooley who was in my class ( Class 1-4 start in 69).

    I remember Mr Partridge had a sense of humour too and can still hear him singing songs with ‘alternative lyrics’.

    By Stephen Cartledge (01/10/2015)
  • When we arrived from then Northern Rhodesia I started at Alleyne’s in 1959. In1963 we then immigrated to Canada. I give this background in case anybody remembers me. I, too, remember Mr. Partridge. He would line us up with our books open and snap at the page with his fingers  when he approved of our handwriting. Because I stayed after school and helped with the scenery for the annual production (Macbeth) and I lived in Walkern I got many a lift in the Rolls. 

    By Anthony Sutherland (01/08/2015)
  • I remember George Partridge well.  He was at Alleynes all his life from being a school boy to retirement.  He could perhaps have been the most charismatic teacher in the long history of Alleynes (from 1558).  He taught English and music.  If boys were out of line, he would line them all up at the front of the class holding their hands out (type of lowered ‘Nazi’ salute) and would then walk along slapping all the hands.  Marking homework he would put an SM (see me) in the book.  At the start of each leason he would ask for SMs and then tell the whole class what was wrong.  A very effective way of teaching, learning from every ones mistakes.  Ofsted today would probably scowl at his methods.

    By David Abram (28/01/2015)
  • I remember … that inside and against the end wall of the hall .. there was an organ … up high .. with steps up to a sort of rectangular mezzanine level.. it was a large church type organ .. with keyboards .. three maybe .. wooden ‘stops’ and foot pedals .. and organ pipes .. brass I think … amazing sound … both deep and low plus rich and high … The organist was often an older teacher named George Partridge .. who taught English amongst other things … he wore ‘old-fashioned’ round spectacles with small circular lenses … and used to drive an old Rolls Royce …. The Hall was in use every day … firstly for the morning service school assembly … and then later in the term for exams … I sat for my ‘A’ and ‘O’ levels in there …. I started at Alleyne’s in 1964 .. leaving to go to Bath University in 1971 …. Best bit about Alleyne’s was the school dinners … 14 to a table … main and desert … really good food …. enjoyed it … we all always stood to sing grace before eating … “Benedictas Benedecat per Jesum Christum Dominum Nostrum” .. followed by a long “Amen” … the shuffling of chairs and us all sitting down …. The date of writing this is March 2014 ……

    By Gordon Phelps (12/03/2014)

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