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Class Act? A history of Newcastle schools

School education in Newcastle has gone through many changes since the mid nineteenth century. Using research undertaken while writing a history of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) in the northeast, in April Peter Sagar will guide us through 170 years of history and show how the lives of Newcastle schoolchildren, of which Peter was himself one, were affected by when, as well as where, they were educated.  This will be a fascinating talk, of interest to anybody who went to school, whether in Newcastle or not.

Chillingham Road pupils, c 1908

Our speaker

Heaton History Group member, Peter Sagar is a well respected local historian who has many published articles to his name and has taught history and geography for over 30 years.

Peter has an M Phil in the regional identity of north east England from the University of Northumbria and is a founder and company secretary of A Living Tradition, which seeks to help people in our region to learn more about our great traditions of human rights and community cohesion and to be inspired to help continue them.

High Heaton Infants School Pupils, 1935
High Heaton Infants School pupils, 1935

Book now

Our talk will take place on Wednesday 24 April 2019 at The Corner House, Heaton NE6 5RP at 7.30pm (Doors open at 7.00pm. You are advised to take your seat by 7.15pm). All welcome. FREE for Heaton History Group members. £2 for non-members. Please book your place by contacting / 07443 594154.

Chillingham Road School prefects
Chillingham Road School prefects,1962


  1. Does anyone remember ? the old Northumberland Road Boys Secondary Modern School (Newcastle) which closed finally in 1963. A Mr G.W Stabler was the Headmaster. (It the became an annex of the nearby University before final building closure) in the 198Os.

    • My Dad was the caretaker at the College of Commerce opp. City Hall and knew Bob Johnson the caretaker at Northumberland Road..Mr Stabler was still the Headmaster cannot remember the teachers names think I was there from 1960 until it closed then went to Sandyford Road.

      • Hello Dennis,
        you may remember me from Sandyford Road Primary School, Northumberland Sec. Mod., and Sandyford Road Sec. Mod.
        we played for the football team,
        I played in goal and you at inside left,
        hope you are well !

        • Hi Gary- I too was at Northumberland Road Sec Mod school (from 1957 to 1959- Then I went to John Marlay Tech Grammar). You mention teachers but forgot some of their names: Here’s some I remember: Robert(?) Stabler(head); “Killer” Lawson (Deputy Head); Tommy Carr (geography); ??Lowe (Tech drawing and Metalwork) ??Scott (Craft); ?? Scraton & ?? Wells (art); ?? Baker and ?? Spoors (Woodwork); Jackson (RI); ?? Forbes; ?? Savage (History); “Awful” Ormston; “Basher” Basham; ?? Finlay and ?? Bean (Science)…to name a few… Hope this jogs the old memory!

  2. I attended Northumberland Rd Secondary Modern School in September 1957, in form 1A (form master T Carr), then form 2A *(form master R Finlay). In 1959 the 12+ and 13+ exams were introduced. I think, twelve of us in 2A passed, and we went to either to the newly opened John Marlay Technical Grammar or Kenton Comprehensive Schools. So I never saw 3A or 4a! When the results came out, Mr Stabler (head master) paraded us infront of the school, in assembly!
    We had a range of teachers, from very good ones to positively awful ones. The ones that stood out from the crowd were:
    Tommy Carr, (geography) good but strict-
    Mr Bean (science) quiet, and enthuiastic about the RAF and his exploits in WW2.
    Mr Finlay (science) excellent teacher
    Mr Lawson (english) incredibly strict and hard.
    Mr Spoors (woodwork) Quiet and a good teacher, and made everyone love woodwork!
    Mr Lowe- (technical drawing and metalwork)- A real friend who would do anything for anyone- a true treasure.
    We had two new teachers arrive in 1958- I’ll not mention their names (unless I’m contacted!) We gave them nicknames- “Awful …” and “Basher …” I never met such tyrants- I guess they’re long dead by now…
    The school was not was not knocked down immediately after it closed… I went on to University, and during one onf my vacations (1971) I got a job as a labourer working for Brimms construction. They were building a new wing for Newcastle Polytechnic nad had demolished the school hall and the toilet block at the west end of the play yard.
    I now see from Google Maps the school is all but gone…. happy and sometimes unhappy memories…

    • Hello Paul,
      apologies just seen your earlier post,
      I went on to study at Newcastle Polytechnic and was a Quantity Surveyor with Brimms when they went into receivership,
      really sad it was a good company and should never have folded, purely a cash-flow problem, the money was there but tied up in claims and disputes!

  3. Hello Paul,
    I remember some the teachers you mention,
    Lawson was a bully,
    Savage by name and nature,
    Low for metalwork, strict,
    Jackson for RE, a bit crazy,
    Stabler as a head was ok,
    House 6-a-side tournaments were great,
    It was a good school pity it had to close,


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