By Neill Hargreaves
Beyond a Little Learning is a collection of biographies of 25 of the most distinguished Old Boys of Leeds Grammar School, charting their education there as the foundation for the impact they have made nationally and internationally in later life. Written by the former English teacher and senior librarian at the school, Neill Hargreaves, who is currently the joint-archivist of its successor GSAL – where the motto is ‘Be Inspired’ – this is a collection of lives humbling and inspiring in equal measure.
The book covers such fields as medicine and engineering, science, politics and law, the military and religion, art and music, literature and journalism. From John Harrison, John Smeaton and Field Marshal William Gustavus Nicholson – who all have school Houses named after them – through Barons and Knights of the realm, to entertainers Barry Cryer and Ricky Wilson, all aspects of the school’s 450 years of known history are celebrated in these pages. The portraits – encompassing astonishing feats that include lighthouse building, composition, horology, heart surgery and intelligence – offer fascinating insight into a group of men of vision, entrepreneurial spirit and deep-rooted commitment to others. Every one of these Old Boys of Leeds Grammar School made an impact that was – and is still – felt far beyond the boundaries of Leeds.
Memoirs from a ’70s Yorkshire classroom
by Kath Padgett
Kath Padgett arrived as a naïve, newly-qualified graduate teacher of modern languages just as the pop band Dawn were topping the charts with ‘Knock Three Times,’ Spangles were the sweets of choice and orange mini skirts with shoes from Freeman, Hardy & Willis all the rage.
‘In those first two years, I laughed and cried, encountered wonderful and inspirational people, many of whom turned out to be lifelong friends and, in addition to learning how to teach, was taught how to learn. I learned about strength of character, tough love and the things that really mattered in life.’
This is the story of those early teaching years. The characters and black humour, the rawness, deprivations and an instilling of hope as much as education.
As much a social history of the time – including original letters received from parents – she deals with playground tragedy, first foreign trips and staff room politics, emerging on a career path that saw her ultimately spend 46 years as a teacher.
These recollections of inner-city secondary school life in early 1970s Yorkshire are
as poignant and entertaining as they are nostalgic.
“My story is in no way all sweetness and light, cute and slushy. It’s earthy, gritty and heartbreaking, yet at the same time rewarding, challenging, life-changing and vital…”