St. Nicholas Grammar School, Northwood

*** News & Updates from 2022 ***

👉🏻This page contains 2022 updates only.👈🏻

31st December 2022

Changed format for Rugby reviews - all teams on one page. Work in Progress, here's 1973-74

27th December 2022

Original Work section (prose and poetry) is continually updated. Try these..

Time - the mollifier of war


24th December 2022

I've included a photograph on the obituary page for Mr Ralph Birch. It can be found here

23rd December 2022

School Orchestra photograph from the 1957-58 School Magazine. Added here 

15th December 2022

My Horn Playing Career

My French horn cost forty-six pounds,

And sometimes creates such musical sounds 

Or "gruffs"

Which is the horn player's name for musical fluffs 

Which are mistakes

Which one makes.

I belong to the orchestra of St Nicholas 

But some of the music we play is ridiculous. 

We study music from Bach to Bizet

(Whose "Farandole" is by no means easy), 

On Tuesday night we gather together 

Where we try by hard endeavour

To play such notes

As the score denotes.

I also belong to the orchestra of the borough 

Where the study of music is much more thorough 

And from time to time we have orchestral courses

Where musical people join forces

To create an orchestra and a band

Where we play a symphony or Sarabande 

Or concerto



Or Toccata.

And that sums up my horn playing career

But some people are very severe

While others are far more pleasant

But all my enjoyment came from one Christmas present.

(From 1971)

13th December 2022

I've included a "Recently Added" section on the Index page - there are many new pages.

Please let me know if you encounter any broken links / 404 Errors.

1st December 2022

Artwork section is growing. It's here

24th November 2022

Added a superb new section - Newspaper Archive. Have a look here

24th November 2022

London Borough of Hillingdon 1968 letters for parents added. here.

23rd November 2022

New photos added to the review of Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. here.

20th November 2022

Artwork reorganised. New pages added. here.

19th November 2022

Those who survived will never forget the 1974 Lake District Trip. Available to read, at no cost, here.

17th November 2022

Photographers and enthusiasts: Nothing to do with school, I just wanted to express a personal opinion.
By and large, I get extraordinary results using Topaz Gigapixel to enlarge and sharpen small, grainy, poor quality photos. This is a fine example of before and after. I can't get results as good as this with Photoshop/Lightroom.

15th November 2022

Brian Tilbrook's letter to David Dixon is long (13 pages) and difficult to read. I confess I hadn't read it, so I decided to type it up. It's here and it contains some wonderful stories (there may be a few mis-spelt words, missing commas and full-stops etc.).

13th November 2022

Journey's End available on BBC Sounds

Released On: 07 Nov 1970. Available for 29 days

A young military officer, fresh from school, finds himself facing the reality of war, and the tension and strain of life in the trenches.

Set on the British front line, before St Quentin, in March 1918. 

RC Sherriff's stage play - set during the First World War - was first performed in 1928.   

Starring Martin Jarvis.  

Enjoy the photographs and be sure to read about the magnificent school play here.

12th November 2022

St. NICHOLAS OLD BOYS v UNIVERSITY COLLEGE HOSPITAL. Played at Edgware on 18th December, 1963. 

This was the Old Boys first match.  Read about it here (page added today).

5th November 2022

A trunk in the attic? An old photo album in the sideboard? A shoebox in the wardrobe? A drawer in the bureau? A suitcase in the garage? 

Photos, cuttings, reviews - if you have anything relevant, don't let it deteriorate any longer, scan it, email it and I'll upload it.

4th November 2022

"Rugby Reviews" section has been added to the Rugby page.

3rd November 2022

From the Sport Section of the 1967 School Magazine, a tribute to Mr. Alwyn Williams.
At the end of the Rugby season which he reviews below, Mr. Alwyn Williams left the School to take up the post of Head of the P.E. and Games Department at Hertford G.S. He had been in charge of the 1st XV since coming to the School in 1962 and no rugby player who has been through his hands will need to be told of his tremendous contribution towards the game at St. Nicholas. Mr. Williams has a rare gift for communicating his own enthusiasm for the game to those in his charge and for getting the very best from them and the many anecdotes which still abound about "Killer", both in the Staffroom and the School, are evidence that St. Nicholas has lost one of its characters as well as a first-class school master and a loyal friend and colleague. Staff Changes (1967)

2nd November 2022

I have added left/right navigation arrows to all the sports slide decks (and changed the background colour).

I liked this photo from 1958-59. Mr Easom with the stopwatch, the headmaster on the left, observing. 

18th October 2022

The School Concert, 1957-58 School Magazine. Written by Mr Demmery - page added.

17th October 2022

The Grammar School, 1957-58 School Magazine. Written by Mr Gosden - page added.

16th October 2022

Brian Tilbrook (Art Teacher): I obtained my post as the assistant art teacher simply because Donald Plenderleith was so good.  It was he who designed the logos and uniform at the school's beginning.  Robert Watson wanted someone with the same background so he rang up Hornsey College of Art and asked them to select whoever most resembled Donald in college, training and outlook and I was the lucky one.  I simply went over to St Nicholas with my folder and a letter of recommendation.  We chatted about my army experience as a National Serviceman in Japan and my outlook on school art - I wanted it everywhere!  And then he said, ‘Very good.  See you in September'.  How fortunate can one get?

Read the full article here

12th October 2022

From the School Fair Programme (1962), referring to the Junior Common Room: Now the building is up for all to see and for the boys of Saint Nicholas to use. As the boys, the Parents' Association and the Old Boys' Association begin to exploit fully the building's possibilities it would be as well to reflect that in striving after such a rare amenity, one which official sources would never provide, both the school and the Parents' Association have been accused of 'money grabbing'. Perhaps those who made this discouraging comment will realise that they are really attacking the ambition of the school to do the very best for all its pupils. 

8th October 2022

From Expansion of the Universities, 1959-60 School Magazine. Mr Gosden writes: The real danger lies further ahead, for the day may come when some of our politicians will see votes in the cry of "University education for all who seek it", regardless of ability,  just as some have already seen votes in demanding a grammar school education for all whether suitable or not. That day has already dawned in some parts of the United States, but there is yet time in this country to ensure that standards of scholarship are not submerged beneath the floodwaters of mass education. 

26th September 2022

I notice there is a recent film version of Journey's End available on BBC iPlayer but only for a few more days:

22nd September 2022

Ian Summerhayes (64-71)
Very sad to see Ian Summerhayes passed away back in 2010. Ian wrote a number of the Sport reviews in the school magazines and features in several photographs, most notably, Badminton. He was also a Senior Prefect in 1970/71.

19th September 2022

The outstanding individual achievement of the year was that of Graham Curd who gained the School's first International Cap: he played in the England Schoolboys (15 Group) Rugby XV on three occasions, against Wales at Twickenham (lost 0-5) and at Cardiff (won 8-0) and against Leicestershire (won 22-0). At Twickenham, Graham had very few opportunities to shine but at the Arms Park, where England gained one of their very rare victories at this level, he received some very good "write-ups" in the National Press.
The School is very proud of his success; may he repeat it at Senior level in the future!

18th September 2022 - Poem of the day (But I won't be doing this every day)

Ode to a Cigarette Ad (1965)

So cool and modern, see him stand,
A pack of Woodbines in his hand,
Oh happy man - what can you lack
With such a handsome crushproof pack?

We others - fagless - stand aside;
We dare not swell our chests in pride;
We mortals have to stand and stare
While gorgeous women smooth your hair.

What would I give to join that band
In such a happy wonderland?
The ticket to this land of plenty
Is cheap at four-and-ten for twenty.

Oh man, who leads the life I crave,
I promise I will save and save
Until I'm rich and well-to-do
And smoke two packs a day, like you.

Some speak of cancer of the lung.
Their message, though, is said not sung
And what the ad-men have to say
They put in such a catchy way

The anti-fag campaign, you see,
Does not appeal to you and me
It isn't clever, or discreet
And won't appeal to our conceit.

To try and make me give up smokes.
Campaigner - use the lies and jokes
And flattery, which never cloys,
The advertising man employs.

14th September 2022

Added the following:

Several Pages of Staff Notes also added - dry humour, a very enjoyable read

10th September 2022 - new term, new year

Advertisement (1959-60) Royal Navy

CAREERS with a future in the ROYAL NAVY

1. Boys aged 14 years can enter as Junior Musician in the Royal Marines Band. 2. Boys aged 15-16 1/4 years can now enter three different Branches in the Royal Navy. 3. Boys used 15-17 1/2 years can try for an Artificer Apprenticeship. 4. Boys aged 16 years can enter all Branches of the Royal Navy. 5. Boys aged about 16 years can apply for a Naval Scholarship. 6. Youths aged 17 years 2 months-18 years 3 months can take the entrance examination for Dartmouth. 7. Youths aged 17-25 years can apply for a Commission in the Fleet Air Arm as Pilot or Observer (Helicopter Pilots 17-26 years). 8. Girls aged 17 1/2 to 28 years can apply for entry in Women's Royal Naval Service for home and overseas service.

It is strongly advised that application be made for details of
3, 5, 6 and 7 at least 12 months before the lower age limit.

Fully illustrated brochures, giving full details of pay, pension, gratuities and conditions of service are obtainable from


3rd September 2022

Colour.. one click in Photoshop. Fantastic.

Journey's End

Prefects (1971)

1st September 2022

Sometimes Photoshop does a worthwhile job of colouring with a single click.

27th August 2022

Many thanks to Messrs Bentley and Behenna for helping to fill in some of the many missing names.

Basketball photos added to the Sport section.

20th August 2022

Some of the web-based tools for converting black and white photos to colour are quite impressive (if you like green).

1961-62 Chris Sanderson, Dave Morgan, Pete Lawson and Alfie Harris 

24th July 2022

Marvellous rugby, cricket and cross country photos now available. May be slow to load, if that's the case I may need a different approach. One or two poor quality, one or two need adjusting, one or two duplicates. Otherwise superb.

19th July 2022

Recent news from Michael Timperley (1958-65):

Michael remains in contact with Art teacher Brian Tilbrook. Brian has lived in Hong Kong since 1966 and recently turned 90. He has had 2 major operations recently and caught an infection in his knee after one of them which kept him in hospital for 6 weeks. Brian remains in contact with several Old Boys but has been unable to return to the UK for the last 3 years due to HK restrictions.

From Staff Notes 1957: Mr. B. R. Tilbrook, A.T.C. (London), completed his education at Hornsey College. The school is now full of evidence of Mr. Tilbrook's gifts as an artist, but perhaps less well known is the creative genius of his chip shots approaching the green. Like many artists, he does not confine himself to one field, hence his knowledge of the contemporary theatre and concert hall. 

19th May 2022

Due to unforeseen circumstances our original site has been taken down.  I am  in the process of constructing a replacement which is based closely on the original but is several weeks away from completion.  Rather than offer nothing in the meantime, I am making the new site available and adding new pages when they become available, but be aware,  new pages are not always complete, links may be broken, some photos have not been optimised and may be slow to load, some photos may not fit, text fonts and formatting may be inconsistent etc.  Please bookmark the Home page and check back regularly. 

I will also be attempting to improve the quality of some of the old photos.

The School Magazines are fantastic, full of interesting information. Because they are large pdf files and the text can be blurry and not always easy to read, I have started to use a text converter to extract some of what I consider to be the best articles. I will make these available throughout the site, as and when I can.

The new site is being built using Google Sites, Google Photos, Google Docs etc, it should work for everyone but the experience may be better if you have a Google account.

Please feel free to contribute. If anyone has suggestions for improvements or wishes to submit new material please email me or use the Contact link at the bottom of any page.

Meanwhile, did you know England rugby captain Richard Sharp was guest of honour at the opening of the JCR in 1963?  Mr. Kinsey wrote about it here.

And can I point out the Search tool (small magnifying glass - top right). It's very, very useful.

APRIL 2022

!!! WONDERFUL NEWS !!! We have a new Editor. Keep returning to see the new site.

The life of the website is, now, guaranteed through to the foreseeable future thanks to one of our "younger" former pupils. You may recall Laurie Spragg (current Editor) and Rob Dunning (Builder of the original website and custodian of the website address), announced, some time ago, that they would be retiring from those roles in July 2022, and volunteers were requested to take over the running of the website. We are very lucky and grateful to David Bridgeman, who has offered and agreed to rebuild the website, and so a big THANK YOU to David from Rob, Laurie (and, no doubt, many other visitors to the site). The site will look refreshingly different, but with all the existing content still in place.

Web Site Updates

Here is the Updates Log from the old website:

sngs updates

Advertisement (1968) Barclays

A Career in the Bank

Never before have opportunities for young people been as promising as they are today in Barclays Bank.
Here is a brief outline of the career that awaits you.

The Bank wants young men of character and integrity, with a good standard of general education. Given these qualifications and an aptitude for the job, there is no reason why you should not find yourself a Branch Manager in your thirties, with a salary upwards of £2,100, and the chance of doubling your pay by the time you are 50. Looking ahead, you could be one of those Managers whose salary exceeds £5,000 a year - a man with a big job full of interest and responsibility. A goal worth striving for; and those who reach it will have a pension at 65 (without any contribution on their part) of £3,000 a year or more. For the early years there's a minimum salary scale for satisfactory work: £360 at 16 to £1,085 al 31 with a year's seniority for a good Advanced Level certificate and three years for degree, plus certain allowances if you work in large towns (£150 a year for employment in Central London). From 21 onwards merit can take the salary well above these figures; if the early promise is maintained the salary at 28 can be £1,280 instead of the scale figure of £955. 

For further particulars, write to the Staff Managers at 54 Lombard Street, London EC3.

Barclays Bank 

Money is our business


School Fair (1962)


Sporting Memories


Foreword to the First Magazine (1956)


Photos of Staff


A Visit to the British Museum (1958-59)


The Rivals (1972)