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Paul Worrall

Hurlfield School For Boys

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Can anybody remember Hurlfield Sch for Boys in the mid to late 60's? I was a student between 1963-68. First most of this time Mr Egerton was the Headteacher until he became ill when I was in the 4th Yr. (1967)

Wazzie Worrall.

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Welcome to Sheffield History Paul and thank you for posting this new topic.

Unfortunately I am from Hurlfield's local rival schools, - Norfolk.

On Sheffield History we have around 20 or so Norfolk ex-students and as a result the topic on Norfolk is well developed and extensive.


When I left Norfolk I went to Ashleigh (formerly Central Technical School), another rival school to Hurlfield. There are fewer members that went to Ashleigh and so on this forum this less, - but still a fair bit, about it.

After leaving University I did a teaching practice at Hurlfield in 1977, so I do have a connection with Hurlfield. As well as you I think there are only 2 other forum members, to my knowledge, that attended Hurlfield and so there is no formal topic on this school, - yet!


Let's see if we can get a few posts replying to your opening question so that we can get a Hurlfield School topic started.


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I did go to Hurlfield, but it was much later when it had become a comprehensive. 1972-76.

I do know that Ashleigh though had been Hurlfield Girl's School at the time that my block was the Boy's school.

My teacher was Mr Lancaster, he looked like he could have been around when it was a boys school. Unless he came when it became a comp! Egerton had certainly gone when I went there.

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I did go to Hurlfield, but it was much later when it had become a comprehensive. 1972-76.

I do know that Ashleigh though had been Hurlfield Girl's School at the time that my block was the Boy's school.

My teacher was Mr Lancaster, he looked like he could have been around when it was a boys school. Unless he came when it became a comp! Egerton had certainly gone when I went there.

You are one of the two ex Hurlfield members of Sheffield History I was thinking of History Dude. I can't remember who the other one is as it has been a long time since he posted.

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I left Hurlfield in 1962 and I was glad to. The workplace was a scary place to a 15 year old but I still preffered it to school. Even now looking back and hearing all the adults around me saying that school days were the best time of my life, I still feel the same way. We did have a few decent teachers - Peter Jennings for science rings a bell and the tech drawing and metal shop teachers were OK too but I can't say much for the rest. Lots of caning and verbal abuse is what sticks with me.

Your milage may vary.

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I left Hurlfield in 1962 and I was glad to. The workplace was a scary place to a 15 year old but I still preffered it to school. Even now looking back and hearing all the adults around me saying that school days were the best time of my life, I still feel the same way. We did have a few decent teachers - Peter Jennings for science rings a bell and the tech drawing and metal shop teachers were OK too but I can't say much for the rest. Lots of caning and verbal abuse is what sticks with me.

Your milage may vary.

Hi Little Tyke and thank you for posting on Sheffield History. Hurlfield always was a "rough" school being situated where it is, I know History Dude will fully agree with you as I don't think he enjoyed being there mush either

I have several friends I went to Ashleigh with that came up through Hurlfield that did enjoy it, did well and went on to much higher education, - so it was a good a school (even though the current OFSTED report for Springs Academy, - the new version of Hurlfield on the same site, is pretty bleak)

Personally I do not wish to judge the school, - I have heard good and bad about it and while on teaching practice there witnessed both the best and the worst of it. I did attend another local school and it would be very easy and tempting for me to put the school down based on old rivalries, but that would be very unfair to what has been in the past a very successful school with a lot of successful ex students.

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Didn't the MP Richard Caborn go to Hurlfield?

Peter Jennings was still there in the 70's.

The main problem that Hurlfield had was too many students. It had a 1000 kids there when I left in 1976. 30 to 40 in a class, meant that classes for inexperienced teachers were hard. You only needed up to or about five troublesome kids to cause chaos!

I've, since leaving there, found out that the standard way of dealing with a large class was to get the kids to write down from (prepared) blackboards the lesson in exercise books. The teacher would first do a talk on say the Industrial Revolution, after which the blackboards would come out. As the kids were copying the teacher could watch the class and if anyone talked or wasn't working could send the chalk or rubber in the direction of the child doing the trouble.

For me this kind of teaching was a nightmare, because unknown at the time I had a hand speed slower than anyone else. So I was last to finish along with the kids who were thick! The teachers couldn't get their heads around why I never did well, because I was otherwise bright. But in timed exams of course I didn't do well!

Incidentally I discovered that the school had segregated pupils by academic ability from the previous junior school results. Each year had 9 or 10 forms depending on numbers of kids. You started at year 2 and ended at 5. But the clever kids went in forms 2.1, 2.2, 2.3. Basically all the A grades. 2.1 for example would have kids that got straight A's in the exam results. 2.4, 2.5, 2.6 where the average grades or "C" in exams. 2.7, 2.8, 2.9 and 2.10 (if needed) were the D and E grades. If you were in 2.9 you had nearly all E results. There was also a different curriculum for these sections, in the way I have split them up. So 2.1 to 2.3 were given the same work and given the best education. While the school did their best to get 2.7 + up to some form of standard. I discovered this by accident, when I ended up in the wrong history class once. One for 2.7 + pupils! The teacher was going over old stuff which I knew so I was top of the class! Then one of the pupils in the class I was supposed to be turned up to take me to the right class. Where they were doing the French Revolution which I didn't know, back down I went, with a pile of homework to catch up on!

By the way I was in 2.5. I could have been in 2.3 if my hand speed had been faster! Being in 2.4 wouldn't have made much difference, as we used to hang around with them in our classes doing the same work. Though later we had options on what subjects you could do. They were still based on the 3 way split.

The school was very sexist. But it was the 70's, so to be expected. One girl caused a right fuss because she wanted to do woodwork. And one lad wanted to do cookery. Both were refused.

They did have a sixth form, but very few lasted till that. Even less went on to University.

Bulling was shocking. Being slow with my hands meant that fist fighting was not an option! My legs were good and so running helped. I could get away quick! Failing that I went on my back and kicked the **** out of the bully! Much of the bullying was petty. Burning pens in gas burners etc. It was quite expensive for my parents too as the school had a uniform policy. These were generally purchased at Fashion Focus on the Manor Top and were not cheap. You had to have a games kit too. Some of the kids were jealous of the one's whose parents had done what the school said, buying all the stuff, such as a school satchel etc. Especially when their parents had bought them the bare basic, with an educational grant no doubt! This jealous was taken out on my clothes and school materials, by some of them.

The school used to bus pupils up from Wyborn. A big catchment area for the School. About 4 or 5 Double Deck buses!

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Hi History Dude, your first paragraph is right on with what I remember. I always looked toward the blackboard when I entered the classroom and if it was full of writing (the usual case in some of the classes) I'd let out a sigh of dispair 'cause I knew that I'd have a hard time getting it all down. If we complained about not being able to finish copying everything the standard answer was "copy it from someone who has finished". At the time my hanwriting was considered "bad" and I remember more than once being caned because the teacher had a hard time reading my writing. Then I was supposed to go back to my desk and write clearly while trying to hold the pen in my still stinging hand. I have to scratch my head at that one. The other image imprinted on my brain is of "Taffy" Morgan who taught religious instruction and was always a blackboard filler, would in every class I can remember, find a reason to cane someone. He always gave three strokes with the following words - God -whack, Loves-whack, You-whack.

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Didn't the MP Richard Caborn go to Hurlfield?

Peter Jennings was still there in the 70's.

Thanks HD,

It's always nice to know of a schools successful students and alimony.

I hope Richard and Peter promote the fact that they went to Hurlfield and they were successful at school, but I suspect they don't and that the schools poor reputation gets the better of them. Unfortunately very few people seem to want to stand up and defend this school against its often undeserved reputation. I even find myself, a lad from Norfolk who just happened to do a teaching practice there standing up to defend it quite frequently.

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The main problem that Hurlfield had was too many students. It had a 1000 kids there when I left in 1976. 30 to 40 in a class, meant that classes for inexperienced teachers were hard. You only needed up to or about five troublesome kids to cause chaos!

I've, since leaving there, found out that the standard way of dealing with a large class was to get the kids to write down from (prepared) blackboards the lesson in exercise books. The teacher would first do a talk on say the Industrial Revolution, after which the blackboards would come out. As the kids were copying the teacher could watch the class and if anyone talked or wasn't working could send the chalk or rubber in the direction of the child doing the trouble.

For me this kind of teaching was a nightmare, because unknown at the time I had a hand speed slower than anyone else. So I was last to finish along with the kids who were thick! The teachers couldn't get their heads around why I never did well, because I was otherwise bright. But in timed exams of course I didn't do well!

I have not come across this teaching style before.

The nearest we got to it at Norfolk was Man Dixon, the history teacher who would walk up and down in front of the class dictating notes about (dare I say this History Dude), Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabethan England and the Bard of Avon, for an hour expecting us to write it all down.

As a teacher this "board system" sounds rubbish and is not really acceptable these days, - it's not what you would call "teaching and learning" is it? If they are still doing it then they deserve to be getting bad reviews from OFSTED. I would fully agree with your comments on the "board system" and it is NOT my style of teaching.

When I did my teaching practice there in 1977 I was not aware of this system and did not see it in use, - although science was in labs and more practical, - probably with smaller classes. As an inexperienced student teacher there I also think you are right about the 5 or 6 troublesome kids per form being the limit before discipline starts to break down, - it's probably still the same today, - but there are better ways of dealing with it than the "board system"

When I was there in 1977 the school had around 900 students, I was told by the head of science that 33% wagged it every day, so only 600 attended. The Police had a permanent presence in the school, mainly as a community constable that chased up persistent truants. Although the kids didn't realise it, if they wanted to cause complete chaos at the school all they had to do was all turn up, all 1000 or so of them, in the same day as they were supposed to do anyway as the school barely had sufficient resources to deal with its full student roll.

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Incidentally I discovered that the school had segregated pupils by academic ability from the previous junior school results. Each year had 9 or 10 forms depending on numbers of kids. You started at year 2 and ended at 5. But the clever kids went in forms 2.1, 2.2, 2.3. Basically all the A grades. 2.1 for example would have kids that got straight A's in the exam results. 2.4, 2.5, 2.6 where the average grades or "C" in exams. 2.7, 2.8, 2.9 and 2.10 (if needed) were the D and E grades. If you were in 2.9 you had nearly all E results. There was also a different curriculum for these sections, in the way I have split them up. So 2.1 to 2.3 were given the same work and given the best education. While the school did their best to get 2.7 + up to some form of standard. I discovered this by accident, when I ended up in the wrong history class once. One for 2.7 + pupils! The teacher was going over old stuff which I knew so I was top of the class! Then one of the pupils in the class I was supposed to be turned up to take me to the right class. Where they were doing the French Revolution which I didn't know, back down I went, with a pile of homework to catch up on!

By the way I was in 2.5. I could have been in 2.3 if my hand speed had been faster! Being in 2.4 wouldn't have made much difference, as we used to hang around with them in our classes doing the same work. Though later we had options on what subjects you could do. They were still based on the 3 way split.

This type of setting was very common at the time. Norfolk had 5 sets called A,B,C,D and E graded on stuff from feeder Junior schools and tests given in the first 2 weeks of the first year. Fortunately I did well, but life in the lower sets was not so good.

Again I can empathise with History Dude on many points he makes here.

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The school was very sexist. But it was the 70's, so to be expected. One girl caused a right fuss because she wanted to do woodwork. And one lad wanted to do cookery. Both were refused.

They did have a sixth form, but very few lasted till that. Even less went on to University.

Sexism was just a fact of life at this time. At Norfolk all the girls did biology, - because they like flowers and animals and would leave school, get married and have babies. All the boys did physics because they would become engineers and steel workers and coal miners and that was it! no other choices. When me and Stuart argued our case to do chemistry we were the first students to do so since for 8 years! As History Dude says, craft subjects were even worse for this type of segregation.

I suspect that the sexism at Hurlfield may have been worse than at Norfolk as up until 1969 Hurlfield had separate, segregated boys school and girls school, while Norfolk had always been mixed sex.

I did now a woman called Margaret who went to Hurlfield Girls School, unfortunately she died young and is no longer with us for me to ask how she got on at her school.

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Bulling was shocking. Being slow with my hands meant that fist fighting was not an option! My legs were good and so running helped. I could get away quick! Failing that I went on my back and kicked the **** out of the bully! Much of the bullying was petty. Burning pens in gas burners etc. It was quite expensive for my parents too as the school had a uniform policy. These were generally purchased at Fashion Focus on the Manor Top and were not cheap. You had to have a games kit too. Some of the kids were jealous of the one's whose parents had done what the school said, buying all the stuff, such as a school satchel etc. Especially when their parents had bought them the bare basic, with an educational grant no doubt! This jealous was taken out on my clothes and school materials, by some of them.

Bullying happened at every school and still does.

Schools that say it doesn't happen are either lying, turning a blind eye to it or covering it up.

Unfortunately in inner city estate comprehensives it is often a big problem and a major problem trying to constantly deal with it.

Yes it happened at Hurlfield, it also happened at Norfolk, at Ashleigh and at every other school I have ever been in.

There is no easy answer to this one, - but it has to be constantly monitored and dealt with, a major headache for every teacher.

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The school used to bus pupils up from Wyborn. A big catchment area for the School. About 4 or 5 Double Deck buses!

In September 1969 all Sheffield schools went Comprehensive except Wybourn which was closed down instead.

The Wybourn kids had to go somewhere so they were bused out to other schools. Half went to Norfolk, giving us big class sizes, and the other half went to Hurlfield creating a similar problem.

We also received about half the Wybourn staff to cover the massive intake of extra kids, - I assume Hurlfield also received the other half of the Wybourn staff to maintain teacher - pupil ratios.

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I have not come across this teaching style before.

The nearest we got to it at Norfolk was Man Dixon, the history teacher who would walk up and down in front of the class dictating notes about (dare I say this History Dude), Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabethan England and the Bard of Avon, for an hour expecting us to write it all down.

As a teacher this "board system" sounds rubbish and is not really acceptable these days, - it's not what you would call "teaching and learning" is it? If they are still doing it then they deserve to be getting bad reviews from OFSTED. I would fully agree with your comments on the "board system" and it is NOT my style of teaching.

When I did my teaching practice there in 1977 I was not aware of this system and did not see it in use, - although science was in labs and more practical, - probably with smaller classes. As an inexperienced student teacher there I also think you are right about the 5 or 6 troublesome kids per form being the limit before discipline starts to break down, - it's probably still the same today, - but there are better ways of dealing with it than the "board system"

When I was there in 1977 the school had around 900 students, I was told by the head of science that 33% wagged it every day, so only 600 attended. The Police had a permanent presence in the school, mainly as a community constable that chased up persistent truants. Although the kids didn't realise it, if they wanted to cause complete chaos at the school all they had to do was all turn up, all 1000 or so of them, in the same day as they were supposed to do anyway as the school barely had sufficient resources to deal with its full student roll.

To be fair most of the other teachers at Hurlfield didn't employ this method much. But my form teacher Mr Lancaster employed it a lot. Including saying if you haven't finished copy it from someone else - as stated by Little Tyke! I always found this solution easier said than done since none of the other kids seemed to want let go of their books.

It's quite possible that this was because he was an old school style of teacher and yourself a newer style of teacher. Most of the time Mr Lancaster was quite happy to relate stories of his days in the army, which of course were nothing to do with the subject he was teaching. In fact many of the kids thought if he didn't spend so much time on these war stories we could get the things copied during the lesson.

From the research I did on Education following the 1947 changes to it, I believe Mr Lancaster was one of the teachers that were recruited from the armed services to fill the shortage of teachers, under a special scheme by the government. And so perhaps picked up this method during his teacher training.

For most of the first two years we had Lancaster for all but the specialist subjects at Hurlfield. After that we saw him less and less.

By the way the classrooms in the West Wing where our form room was (the boat shaped block) were basic, with just desks some very old! The Blackboard was one of those wall mounted ones with as many as four boards which could be taken out and turned around!

Another teacher that might still be operating in Sheffield is Meg Jepson. She was the drama teacher at Hurlfield. I believe she's still connected with theatre groups around the City. I saw her once at the Manor Lodge, when some children put on a Shakespeare play set in the ruins! She didn't recognise me though.

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The Headmaster was obsessed with school uniform especially the school tie! For years we all lived in dread of him and his school tie thing. I couldn't tie one for my life - still can't. Most days were fine, but games days were a nightmare! Getting the tie off without it coming apart. Again if it did you were in S.... Like the book thing asking another kid to tie it for you was on dangerous grounds. Asking the teacher even worse!!! The bullies also targeted the kids who couldn't tie the tie, and either hid them or undid them.

And the games teacher's was just like the one in the film Kes! Have you got your kit boy? Mum said it's in the wash.... The showers either too cold or too hot. Girls and Boys were separated except for swimming. The Baths were farmed out to use by other schools, so I suspect they put the girls and boys in together to get more use out of the baths. I didn't bother the boys much seeing half naked girls! Mind you after being in those baths you probably couldn't see the girls anyway for the stuff they put in the water was shocking and you were either covered in blotches from it or spent the next lesson with watering eyes :wacko:

There were several school assemblies, one in the east wing dinner area, also the west wing dinner area and the main hall. Because there were so many kids. I always remember the headmaster saying to girls who were Bay City Roller fans - "scarfs are for outside not for indoors". lol

By the way I still have the dinner tray I made at the school woodwork class. Just two handles and two long pieces of shaped wood screwed to a bit of plywood. The plywood has a small hole in it now and my dad says I should take it off a fit a new one. But I joke with him saying it's an historic artefact so I can't touch it! he he

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I attended hurlfield boys school from 65/66 after moving up from Arbourthorne central.

The head teacher was Mr. Edgerton,(nice chap). The assistant head was Mr. Houdmont, later to become head,(not so nice).Mr. Standing was tech drawing teacher, Mr. Carr woodwork, Mr. Marshall metal work,

Mr. France french (true!). There were two Mr. Hartley's one taught english and the other R.E.

Mr. Bromby took P.E. he replaced an older guy, whose name I can't remember at the moment but I can remember his favourite slipper, Percy persuader, which I felt on a number of occasions to my discomfort.

One teacher that sticks in my memory was Mr. Turton (Keith). He was my form teacher in the leaving class

in the forth year. We didn't give a monkey's and I don't think he did as he was due for a well earned retirement! The cane, or stick as we called it, was dished out on a regular basis right from the first year and was carried out in front of all the class as a deterrent, bit like a public hanging!

Happy days!

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It's quite possible that this was because he was an old school style of teacher and yourself a newer style of teacher. Most of the time Mr Lancaster was quite happy to relate stories of his days in the army, which of course were nothing to do with the subject he was teaching. In fact many of the kids thought if he didn't spend so much time on these war stories we could get the things copied during the lesson.

Could be right about the style of teaching. I don't consider just remembering stuff as being learning, you need to be able to understand it, apply it and use it as well and that seems a lot more difficult to get across.

We also had a lot of ex military teachers at school who had fought in the War due to our age and the time we hit school. Yes some of them were hard cases and tight on discipline as would be expected of military types. I always thought that if they were tough enough to take on the Japs and the full might of the German Third Reich then I don't suppose a few uncouth adolescent teenage lads were going to worry them very much.

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And the games teacher's was just like the one in the film Kes! Have you got your kit boy? Mum said it's in the wash.... The showers either too cold or too hot. Girls and Boys were separated except for swimming. The Baths were farmed out to use by other schools, so I suspect they put the girls and boys in together to get more use out of the baths. I didn't bother the boys much seeing half naked girls! Mind you after being in those baths you probably couldn't see the girls anyway for the stuff they put in the water was shocking and you were either covered in blotches from it or spent the next lesson with watering eyes :wacko:

At Norfolk Junior school we had to get a bus, provided by the school door to door) to Woodthorpe school (another school now long gone) as they had a swimming baths, looked over and taught to swim by the fearsome Mrs. Lyons.

For the first 2 years at Norfolk secondary we had to get a bus down City Road to Park Hill and went to Park Hill Baths, a public baths, but opened for school swimming to various schools while closed to the general public. We used the 95 bus and were given a "bus token", which looked remarkably similar to a plastic 1 pint milk token, to get there.

In the later years, when Hurlfield had its baths, we had to walk up to Hurlfield for our prescribed "guest school time slot", do about 40 minutes of swimming, and then walk back.

I didn't particularly like swimming like History Dude obviously didn't, but I don't think Hurlfield baths were any worse than any of the others we had been to.

I have used Hurlfield baths as recently as 1995 when my son was learning to swim, and at that time the baths were open to the public at certain times and at weekends.

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I left Hurlfield in 1962 and I was glad to.

Just a quick point Little Tyke.

If you left in 1962 were you in the teams of lads used to help clear up after the February 1962 hurricane which demolished many of the prefabricated houses on the local estate?

Hurlfield was used, as seen in a Pathe newsreel film, as a refugee shelter for people who lost their homes in this storm until alternative safe accommodation could be found. The school was briefly closed to students while this took place as camp beds and matresses and a food canteen were used in the school.

Some of the older, more responsible boys at the school were then used in "work parties" to retrieve as many serviceable personal belongings to the school as possible so that the owners could reclaim some of their property if it was found. Other lads were sent out with shovels and brooms to clear up some of the debris and mess.

Just wondered if you were involved in any of this admirable school community work in your final year.

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I attended hurlfield boys school from 65/66 after moving up from Arbourthorne central.

The head teacher was Mr. Edgerton,(nice chap). The assistant head was Mr. Houdmont, later to become head,(not so nice).Mr. Standing was tech drawing teacher, Mr. Carr woodwork, Mr. Marshall metal work,

Mr. France french (true!). There were two Mr. Hartley's one taught english and the other R.E.

Mr. Bromby took P.E. he replaced an older guy, whose name I can't remember at the moment but I can remember his favourite slipper, Percy persuader, which I felt on a number of occasions to my discomfort.

One teacher that sticks in my memory was Mr. Turton (Keith). He was my form teacher in the leaving class

in the forth year. We didn't give a monkey's and I don't think he did as he was due for a well earned retirement! The cane, or stick as we called it, was dished out on a regular basis right from the first year and was carried out in front of all the class as a deterrent, bit like a public hanging!

Happy days!

Houdmount was the guy with the tie fixation. Standing had left by 1972. Carr and Marshall were still there, as were the Hartley's. Keith Turton I think was a deputy head. He suffered from asthma and he used his inhaler in class. We had him for English. He didn't like me I think. So he didn't get his retirement, he was still there when I left in 1976!

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Just a quick point Little Tyke.

If you left in 1962 were you in the teams of lads used to help clear up after the February 1962 hurricane which demolished many of the prefabricated houses on the local estate?

Hurlfield was used, as seen in a Pathe newsreel film, as a refugee shelter for people who lost their homes in this storm until alternative safe accommodation could be found. The school was briefly closed to students while this took place as camp beds and matresses and a food canteen were used in the school.

Some of the older, more responsible boys at the school were then used in "work parties" to retrieve as many serviceable personal belongings to the school as possible so that the owners could reclaim some of their property if it was found. Other lads were sent out with shovels and brooms to clear up some of the debris and mess.

Just wondered if you were involved in any of this admirable school community work in your final year.

I was not involved in the clean up but I remember it well. From our house we could see some of the prefabs on the "eight foot" (that's what we called the road and I don't think I can remember the correct name - Errington mabe?). Anyway, that morning I was looking out of the window and saw one of the prefabs just blow away. It was a real shocker.

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I was not involved in the clean up but I remember it well. From our house we could see some of the prefabs on the "eight foot" (that's what we called the road and I don't think I can remember the correct name - Errington mabe?). Anyway, that morning I was looking out of the window and saw one of the prefabs just blow away. It was a real shocker.

Thanks Little Tyke, I did wonder.

At the time we lived in the prefabs at the bottom of Algar Place, fortunately we escaped unscaithed from the damage and devastation around us, by the narrowest of margins, - it was a close call.

However, there is a full topic on the site about the Sheffield Gale.

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I have to own up to being at Hurlfield between 1965 - 1969. It was in 69 that the school changed to comprehensive and girls were allowed in. The headmaster was Edgerton who was replaced by Mr Adams (a JP) then followed by a lady who’s name I forget, maybe Mrs Green. Mr. Houdmont was the deputy head and he ruled with his fist and fear. Bromley was the PE teacher, Hartly1 took RE, Hartley2 took music, KeithTurton (big man with the inhaler) I think took history. It was a tough school and I was in loads of fights but hey! That’s what kids do. lol

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Mr. Brombey P.E. replaced Mr. Machin who taught P.E. he was the guy with the slipper Percy Persuader.

Does anyone remember anybody who made a name for themselves from school? The labour counsellor and former lord mayor Ian Saunders was in my year ( but that's not my claim to fame!)

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