60 thoughts on “Grangefield Grammar School 1960

  1. I remember Trog or Dr Death well.
    Sorry, Trog, I was far more taken by Tashy Lee’s approach to physics – firing iron rods into blocks of wood from an ancient electrical coil – and learning maths by rote with Mr Byrne (no nickname?). I went on into the oil business, and great times. Mostly owing to the inspiration of Tashy Lee, and the belief shown in me by a supportive Head Mr Bradshaw.
    Heartfelt thanks for that if you, your families, or your successors are out there!

  2. I was at Grangefield Grammar from 1971 to 1977. First year was a grammar school then it went comprehensive. As a girls grammar school we had to have our uniform skirts measured to the right length by kneeling on the floor so the hem just swept the floor in front. Bottle green knickers, indoor and outdoor shoes required, full sports kit with hockey stick and tennis racket and woe betide any girl caught talking to one of the boys on the premises!! Boys were let out first at the end of the day and girls were let out when the last boy had gone through the gates. Mr Tier was our history teacher, Mr Brooks was our form teacher in the prefab classroom and Mr Neilson, the sports master, was the girl’s eye candy. My hairdresser tells me he’s now teaching at Conyer’s School. I remember being scared witless by Harry Horseman, and I was a tuck shop monitor for “Daddy” Ken. He used to insist we unwrapped all the Mars Bars, Milky Ways, etc, prior to selling them – food hygiene nightmare! lol! Mr Tier passed a comment that all the girls in his history class would be married by the time they were 20. I laughed and he said “yes, including you King”. And you know, you were right Mr Tier! The Queen’s jubilee year was the year I left and all the leavers that year were given a commemorative coin at the end of the exams.

  3. I have varied memories of my time at Grangefield Grammar for Boys prior to 1969.Alas I cant recall many names of teachers.I wasn’t much of an Academic then and only passed 1 O level in English Language.
    I do vividly recall Mr Horseman and his music lessons and day trips in his Jaguar.I can honestly say he was responsible for a lifelong interest in music and classic cars.
    My history teacher… I cant recall his name,taught us a lot about WW1 and is responsible for an enduring passion for military history and 12 yrs in the Army!
    Mr Bradshaw the Head… quite handy with his cane!
    I’m not sure if I have happy memories of Grangefield but it and its Teachers definitely helped shape me into the person I am now.
    I would be really interested in hearing from anyone who recalls me from those days.

  4. Being at Grangefield Grammar school between 1971 and 1976, I remember one dark winter’s afternoon (during a terrible storm) Harry Horseman played his music class ‘Danse Macabre’ by Saint Saens. I’ll never forget it. His explanation of the skeletons dancing their dance of death and us listening to the music as the rain lashed against those tall windows and the severe thunder and lightning outside was truly magical and spooky! Frank Tiesing taught me Biology both at Grangefield Grammar and Stockton Sixth Form College – I had a lot of respect for him. Would love to find a full listing somewhere of all the teachers around at that time (as both establishments).

  5. Mr Tiesing taught me Biology at the Sixth Form College 1974-1976. after years of teaching at the boys grammar school I dont think he particularly liked teaching girls, especially not one that would fall asleep during class. I had also endured Mr H Horseman for Music for 1 year 73-74 I will never forget the smell of his cigars ! My other teachers were Ian Ellis ( Chemistry), Mrs Estruch (Physics), the late Arthur Carr (Pure Maths) and Mr Hindson (Applied Maths).

    • Is that the Lindsay Allen that was in 2G up 4G when we were joined with the boys grammar and put into different forms? I remember you as always being bright and successful at most subjects. I too remember Harry Horseman when he took us for the last year of music O Level. He made Miss Dubbin seem like an angel!

    • Frank Tiesing’s nickname (during my time anyway) was Trog. I remember getting into trouble with him when I completed my entire biology exam in red pen and he could not mark it.

  6. He was Dr Death, occasionally Trog. I was at GGS from 65-72, some great teachers, fondly remembered even if they were a bit handy with the cane on occasions. Anyone recall Mr Charles who taught history with a passion bordering on obsession? He also coached cricket and if you survived catching practice with him you were doing well. Likened to a Mr Geoffrey Boycott by many.

  7. I remember sex education with Trog – A slideshow. Slide 24 – Penetration and Trog’s comment ‘I am told it is pleasurable’ with his normal deadpan delivery. BTW Martin (Davies) the Head was Bradshaw and Sedgewick taught english didn’t he? I was there from 64-71.

    • “Haggis” Coates? We shared a room in Florenville in the summer of ’66? We did not find out England had won the World Cup for about 5 days after the final as we spoke no French or German

  8. I was taught Biology by Trog from 1956. Being the class clown we soon fell out and I sat at the back of the class taking the mickey and getting very friendly with Trogs slipper. I wasted my time at Grangefield, apart from the sport. This was due to every teacher comparing me to my eldest broher, Tony, who was always getting glowing reports from staff. He now lives in New Zealand, a retired professor and faculty head of science and a well known Geologist due to Les Thornton.

  9. I remember Trog vividly as he collared me for not having my tie on on the way home, late after doing basketball, gymnastics or whatever. He ‘Trog’ marched me into his Biology classroom and proceeded to give me 10 of the best! That was the one and only time I had any verbal or physical communication with him for the whole time I was there [70-75]. If I remember rightly, Harry Horseman used to dish out the same sort of punishment for similar trivial infringements. Both fondly remembered? I think not!

  10. I remember the machine shop in Church Row, I was there for a year during my 1st year as an apprentice. It had a line shaft for driving the lathes. First time I used it I set the tool too low & the whole lot went up in the air. I think you may have the name right Norman, I believe he had a glass eye. This is taking my memory back, I believe he was an old marine engineer, lost his eye in an accident at sea. He would tell us many weird & wonderful stories. One such story was about the family who used to live in that building before it became a machine shop, apparently a large family and very poor, where the strongest lived & the weakest died. He was a great advocate of Doxford diesels (I might have the name wrong) which I think were built in Stockton. In my 2nd or 3rd year we transferred to Oxbridge Ave. He only taught 1 year there, his Nephew took over the teaching of practical. A very interesting gentleman.

  11. Ah! a proper teacher, one who could command respect by presence alone. How refreshing. People of this type are rare and it is a gift which in the old days would have been called ‘a vocation’, something again getting very rare in this life today. Reading this article and correspondence it has been a joy to receive this insight into Grangefield Grammer School. Is that the one started to be built about 1939, and then abandoned until the end of the war when materials and costs could be met? If so the wait was well worth it. As my dear old Mum would say, there is a moral to this, don’t undertake what you can not afford!

    The best teaching for me occured at Frederick Nattrass and Norton Open Air Schools and Stockton Technical College enginering workshop in Church Row, who at the time were busy teaching females how to become engineers for war work. That is where I was taught the basic use of the file and scrappers and to make a set square by hand. We had a good teacher there with a wonky eye, but a good chap!(I think his name was Mr Williamson) Such things taught me respect for people who matter in life and who formed a pattern on which to build and how interesting that has been. Believe it or not I am still learning each day at 82.

    To all my friends of Norton and Stockton I send my Best Wishes to you all, with great respect.

    • J. Norman Kidd prior to attending Grangefield in 1958 I had been educated at Tilery Rd school, the old school right at the top of Tilery Rd, not at St Anns. The majority of the male teachers were ex forces personnel who had undergone the ‘conversion’ courses to teach in primary schools. They were with out doubt in the class of teachers you describe, i.e., those who had a vocation & I consider myself lucky to have been taught in that environment.

      As for Grangefield some stand out. The science teachers were excellent especially Messrs Boyd (Dickie Bird). & Lee (Tashy), chemistry, & physics respectively.

  12. Trog moved to Stockton VI Form College when it opened in 1973. He was a strict disciplinarian and a stickler for scientific detail and correct spelling, however he was one of the most capable and highly respected teachers of that era and I will always be grateful for having him as biology master through O and A level. We had a little rhyme at the time which alluded to one of his catch phrases: ‘My name is Frank N Tiesing, And I find this very pleasing’.

  13. Dr Death taught me biology from 1965 – 1970. He scared me. He made us touch that skeleton – I managed with the tip of one finger to touch one bone. The blinds were always down. The narrow door at the end of the corner of the cloakroom in darkness. Because of him, I decided to give up biology and opted for math at A level. He always wore a long white lab coat. He looks younger in this pic than I remember him.

  14. I also remember Trog heating his reddish soup, or drinks water, in a lab beaker with tripod, gauze and bunsen burner, often slowly stirring it with a glass rod whilst reading. Blue flame with bit of yellow at the top, just as Mr Durrant (Chemistry) taught at Grangefield. Given Trog’s aura pupils were not especially keen to look through the upper windows into his lab from the cloakrooms. Unlike most Grangefield teachers of my era, I do not recall Trog being a form-master, which only added to his reputation as different. He was one of a dwindling number of teachers who often wore a black masters gown, which always looked different and demanded respect, others being Bradshaw (Headmaster), Rattenbury (Deputy Headmaster), Daddy Ken Whitfield, the unforgettable Harry Horseman, sometimes Bull Wright and Ducks D’arcy, generally the older generation.

  15. Mr Tiesing was still teaching biology at Grangefield when I left in 1969. He was one of those teachers you never forget. He had many idiosyncrasies which make recollection of him very vivid. He always wore a white lab coat, and his classroom (the biology lab) was set apart from the other classrooms, situated next to the cloakroom and beside the back (cycle) driveway. He seemed to spend most of his spare time in that lab – at lunchtime (much to the amusement of pupils looking through windows from the cloakroom) he would often have a can of soup, which he emptied into a 500 ml beaker heated on a tripod and gauze by a bunsen burner. He would then slurp the warmed soup direct from the beaker. He would freqently practice his cello playing at lunchtime, accompanied by very deep brething which he appeared to use to mark time. As others have mentioned, his nickname was ‘Trog’ or ‘Dr. Death’ – he would not have looked out of place in a Dracula movie or, as I thought, as Sherlock Holmes. He had a great ‘presence’ – some other teachers would struggle to maintain order at times, but Trog’s arrival in the room was sufficient to immediately induce a respectful hush. He had a keen sense of humour which was usually well concealed. I liked and respected him, and I think most of us in the 6th form did.

  16. Trogs sex education lessons – legendary. I remember a slide of a rabbit and a slide of a bike propped up against a lamp-post. Trog asked us what were the differences. Yes – a rabbit can reproduce! As far as I remember that was it!

  17. ‘Trog’ Tiesing was a great teacher with a very dry sense of humour. He loved playing up to his Gothic/vampire image, warming his lunchtime tomato soup in a glass lab flask over a Bunsen burner. The 1st Years were convinced it was blood.

  18. I joined the school in the 4th form from Kenya in April 1967 until June 1971. I arrived at GGS way behind but teachers like Trog got me through Biology O levels, Boffer Burns through O level Math and Berty Bingham, History – these were great teachers. I also went on a school trip, a “Toads Wild Ride” bus tour thru Holland and Belguim, under the leadership of Harry the Horse. Other teachers I recall were Rock and the Face (our 5th form home room master) both Gym teachers, then there was Spring Heeled Jack… and of course the hobbit-like diminutive headmaster, Bradshore I think? Known affectionately as ‘The Boss’, who had occasion to beat me.

  19. Andrew Clark – if you were at Grangefield 69 to 74 you must be the Andrew Clark that I met in the mid 70’s. The Picture Stockton Team has my email address if you want to get in touch.

  20. Mr Tiesing was my biology teacher at Stockton 6th form college, I left there in 1977 so he would have been there 75-77 certainly.

  21. Trog was teaching at Grangefield Grammar in 69 -73. I don’t remember him making the transition to The Grange in 73. I don’t believe he was at the 6th form College from 74-76.

    • Andy Clark, You were right that Trog did not stay on at The Grange. As you will see from Ken McDonald’s note above, he went to Stockton Sixth Form in Autumn 1973, where he stayed until he died in – I believe – 1978. The story goes that he was discovered in his biology lab one morning, having been working late the evening before. A heart attack, I believe. I remember, when I heard the news, two or three days later, that I had walked past SSFC that night having been for a drink in Fairfield with some friends. A strange feeling. He was an unforgettable teacher and person, and seemingly one mainly seen by the pupils he came into contact with in a positive light. Not for everything and by everyone, of course, and some of the tales above allude to that – and it was a different era….
      And Andy you beat me into third place in the cross country each year bar one. Marty Street won five out of five between 1969 and 1973. The time I was second, in 1972, you missed the final turn, and but for that would have – narrowly – beaten me again. It was a moral victory to you. I, however, had no morals: I should have shouted to you to ‘Turn left Andy, Turn left!’ I did not. Here is my public apology 42 years later. Fancy going for a run?

  22. My hazy memories of ‘Isaiah’ were of a practial session when a cows eye was dissected. I beieve Tim Brown a farmers son from the Bishopton area provided ‘a bag of eyes’ for the session.

  23. Howard Spence’s mention of Mr Jackson, history teacher at Grangefield, brings to mind his preferred method of dealing with inattentive pupils: namely his deadly throwing accuracy with anything that came to hand, usually chalk or a board rubber. I believe he took cricket after school!

  24. It was said in our class around 1959 that Isiah was his name on the basis that one eye was higher than the other – many believed this. Does anyone recall the history master called Jackson around that time?

  25. I still remember his sex education class where he explained the physical aspect of the process by showing how a 3 pin plug fitted into a wall socket. It worked for me because I managed to create 2 kids.

  26. The skeleton was called Fred – allegedly Indian – owing to beetle juice stains on the teeth. Trog also taught cello. One particularly hot afternoon, several students arrived in the biology laboratory without a tie, which led Trog to remark – “How dare you turn up to my class in a state of semi-nudity?”

    • Harry Horseman…roll up stuck to his bottom lip, playing the piano and talking, the roll up never fell off. Lol. The dreaded ‘bacon slicer’ was his punishment tool of choice

  27. I never learnt to type or spell at Grangefield either- tongues not tounges. Its true Trog resided in his lab. I never saw him in the staff room. Full scale riots occurred in the cloak rooms most mornings before school in the 1960″s with dozens of old rugby boots and sports shoes being thrown between the first form and the fifth form with other years engaging both sides. The various forms were only protected from this onslaught by wire mesh partitions for hanging coats, thus direct hits and injuries were common. If Trog came out of his nearby lab the riot instantly stopped, such was the force of his personality. Around the corner parents hard earned dinner money or pocket money for their sons was traded daily for old british and foreign stamps, records, football programmes, railway magazines, and old army cap badges.

  28. When I was at Grangefield my form started to dip the covers of Grangefield labelled exercise books in acid solution, dry them out until they disintegrated, and then put the bits of paper on their tounges where they tingled like acid drops. The treated bits were named Trog Drops also Tingletite since the process was perfected in Trogs biology lessons. Happy days, but a silly story that illustrates why we have Health and Safety now.

  29. He also got the knickname Boris (after Karloff)partly because of the eerie atmosphere of his lab which he seemed to frequent at all hours. I recall him actually being a good teacher (O level Biology option in mid 60s)and very dry in his humour. He also was the make-up artist for Shakespearean stage productions and lead up Gilbert and Sullivan operattas (not that I was involved) with Harry Horsman. A strange combination. I did have the pleasure of going on a school trip to Belgium with that pair and a history teacher called Sedgewick, I think.

  30. Between 1976 and 1979 I was taught by “Trog” when I was at sixth form college – he was alive and well in 1979 – however I heard via my brother that Trog had been found dead at home quite unexpectedly in the early 1980″s.

  31. Mr Tiesing borrowed a book off me about 1970. Several years later when I phoned the school to go and see him and retrieve my book I was told that he had died suddenly whilst at his parents in London. Having said that, I have just checked the on-line index of registered deaths and can find no entry for him!

  32. Are you sure it was Tiesing that died then, Cliff, and not Harry Horseman? I know Harry died but thought it was more likely early 80s.

  33. I remember that in the biology lab Trog had a rather magnificent cello – not sure whether it was his or not. Assuming it was, he was obviously a multi – talented musician.

  34. I believe that Frank Tiesing died suddenly in the mid-1970s. I remember him playing the timpani in the orchestra during school plays.

  35. Similarly, physics and chemistry was not taught at Grangefield Girls Grammar up to about the same time. I went to the boys school for lessons but after a term, I found it convenient to have a career change! Too embarrassing!

  36. Trog was still there in 73 when the school went Comprehensive and mixed gender but really can”t remember if he retired at that time, as some did, or continued on.

  37. Trog was also at Grangefield in the late 1960″s. He pricked his finger for blood for some biology demonstration and most of the front row of my form fainted. I remember his skeleton too, you got introduced to it on your first lesson.

  38. Up to 1954 biology was not taught in the boy”s section of Grangefield Grammar School. I order to get the A-level in biology for entry into Medical School I had special permission to attend classes in the girl”s school. This was considered quite extraordinary at that time (I only wish I had been able to attend typing classes too) Things were run on very rigid lines in those days – for example the girls did domestic science and the boys woodwork and metalwork.

  39. Frank Tiesing taught biology throughout my time at the school (1955-62). I”d be interested to hear more of him. I have seen references on the Picture Stockton website about a biology teacher at GGS who was known to the boys as “Isiah” but this name is not familiar to me. In my day, Mr. Tiesing was known to one and all as “Trog”. I know nothing of his career after 1962.

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