St. Nicholas Grammar School, Northwood

*** News & Updates from 2023 ***

👉🏻This page contains 2023 updates only.👈🏻

22nd December 2023

Very sad to report the recent passing of Ken Gathergood after a short illness - his cancer was diagnosed in June. Ken features in many, many school and Old Boys photos, reports etc.

Geoff Lee wrote this about Ken in the Outstanding Games Pupils section of his Recollections: "An excellent all-round games player. One of the best team Captains in the school".

I will post more details in due course.

22nd December 2023

Trevor Holden (1972-79) sends OBs A Merry Xmas and Happy New Year from Oz and apologises for not being able to attend the annual lunch.

19th December 2023 - funeral details added 29th December

Sad to report the passing of Dave Neal who attended the school from 1972 to 1979.

Tim Hughes and Martin Searle write.. HERE (includes Bridge Competition local news cutting)

Photos here:  Rugby 74,  Cricket 17Cricket 20, Unknown 06 

Funeral details:

Thursday 11th January 2024: There will be a private, family burial service followed by a memorial service to which all friends are welcome. It will be held at Christ Church, Chorleywood (WD3 5SG - parking available) at 12.30. There will also be a live stream for those unable to attend. Following the service we will head to the ‘Pennsylvanian’ Pub in Rickmansworth (WD3 1AN).

The family have asked that if you have photos of your memories with David that you would like to contribute please email them to: Alternatively please bring hard copies for a table display. David requested no flowers at his memorial service but instead, donations towards two charities close to his heart: Smile Train and Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust.

14th December 2023

Another fabulous photo. London: Dick Pooley, Malcolm Newing, Graham Parish, Martin McClelland, Graham James

See the full size photo HERE

23rd November 2023

Very sad indeed to report the passing of Ian Clarkson in February of this year. Ian taught mathematics at the school from 1967-72. He also ran a number of school sports teams, notably the cricket 1st XI and was Kevere, then Kings Housemaster.

He left us for Commonweal, Swindon and later taught at Marlborough College.

I have included a local newspaper link from July 2000, when he moved to Marlborough College and reflects on his time in teaching, and also a link to a newsletter announcing his recent passing.

His widow, Carolyn, tells me they had happy memories of St. Nicks and some will remember both Ian and Carolyn from our ski trips to Einsiedeln and playing cards in the hotel in the evenings. Ian carried on teaching in retirement - computing, bridge, bowls and family history.

Photos on this site - Cricket 45 (1st XI), Cricket 46 (Staff vs School, including scoresheet), Staff Photos (Spring 1968)

27th October 2023

Details of the forthcoming annual lunch (February 2024) can be found in the latest SNOBS Newsletter. Read it HERE

Newsletters are published on this site and sent out via email. If you would like to subscribe to, or unsubscribe from the email, use the link available at the foot of every page.

17th October 2023

Amsterdam: Dave Banks, Graham James, Mark Huddleston, Tom Roscoe, Pete Johnston. 

See the full size photo HERE

Another photo added on 21st December

17th October 2023

St Nicks Class of 65-72 in York on Saturday 14th October. 

Clockwise from front left:  Eric Harvey, Keith Knight, Ian Platt, Steve Martin, Dave Crombie, Steve Cooper, Richard Phillips, Simon Wayne, Chris Gowers.

See the full size photo HERE

16th September 2023

Dave Lockwood, Chris Parsons, Joe Noble and Geoff ‘Stan’ Horn. 

Bigger, better quality on the Informal Reunions page HERE

9th September 2023

Celebrating England's hard-earned win over The Pumas. 

Dave Banks, Byron Mason, (Bob Mordell - Rosslyn Park & England), Tim Hughes, Tom Roscoe, Alistair Bishop

Improved quality on the Informal Drinks page HERE

7th September 2023

Sad to report the recent passing of Mr David Rayner at the age of 74. He was a Kevere housemaster and taught maths from 1973-80. He left for a post at Haberdashers Girls.

Funeral details: Harwood Park Crematorium, Watton Road, Stevenage, SG2 8XT. 11.45am Monday 25th September.

Photo here.. Mr D Rayner 

10th August 2023

Old Boys Cricket

Mike Sampson writes.. HERE

22nd July 2023

Mr Thacker's Haberdashers obituary page is HERE

2nd July 2023

Mr Thacker's funeral will be at Chiltern Crematorium on Friday 14th July at 11.30am.

28th June 2023

A few photos added - mid 60's, Lakes and Broads. I'm not sure where they came from, I think they were on the very first website.

See them HERE

16th June 2023

There is now a Gymnastics page within the Sport section - even though we only have two photos (which is twice as many as the Swimming photos). Have a look HERE

14th June 2023

Recollections of Tony Smith and the music department.

Simon Poulton (1967-74) writes..  Read it HERE

14th June 2023

Sad to report the passing of Mr. Tony Thacker, who taught maths at the school between 1972 and 1982. He was head of Maths at the time of his departure. He moved to Haberdashers Girls where he was head of Maths and Computer Studies from 1982 until his retirement in 2001.

Mr Hawley writes on Facebook that he last played Bridge with Tony several months ago, and he believes Tony was 86.

A larger version of this photo can be found HERE and he appears in several team photos.

Alan Postlethwaite (1967-74) writes:

Sad indeed that Mr Thacker has passed away. He was a terrific teacher. Blessed with a very small class size for applied maths, he could explain the most complex stuff with just a few crisp, carefully chosen words. So articulate.

I remember his introductory words in our first lesson in the lower sixth: "Good morning. I'm Mr Thacker..... and that's how I like it pronounced!"

Alan adds: "I never had cause to pronounce his name otherwise. Such a nice demeanour."

11th June 2023

Kindly supplied by Richard Finer. Here we have a recent photo from The Saxon Arms, Stratton, near Dorchester - featuring Richard and Kate Finer with Ian and Derryn Few who live in Ottawa. Richard and Ian hadn't seen each other for 64 years.

6th June 2023

John Boston left these memories and updates back in February but I omitted to post on this page. I hope you had your Spring pub lunch, John. 

When I started at St Nick’s in September 1956 I was arbitrarily put in the D stream, where I resolutely stayed for the next 5 years, despite the best efforts of the founding staff. My five particular friends were Peter Hilburn, David Goodwin, Tony Barker, Michael (Fuzz) Piears and Mervyn Peck. The ‘Gang of Six’ stayed in touch over the years until Peter died in 2001. Mervyn went to live in Bahrain where after many years of ill health he died in early 2023. Michael retired to Portugal although he was a regular visitor to the UK when he, Tony, David and I would meet up when we could. The last time we did so was in November 2018 since when we have lost both Michael and Tony. So now it is just me and David meeting up for a pint and a natter 2 or 3 times a year. Our next pub lunch will be in the Spring when we will raise our usual glass to Absent Friends – not only from amongst our own group but to all those we knew at St Nick’s and with whom we came into occasional contact over the years.

Looking at the website I was struck by the 23 February 2023 photo – I can just smell the wet, muddy rugby kit even after all these years. There is a pupil photo taken by Ian Parker, stated to be 1957/58. I am sure it is Clive Mitchem second right, but he looks older than he would have been if the date is correct so maybe a year or two later? I am certain I also remember some of at the other faces, particularly the person third right but his name escapes me.

4th June 2023

Greg Powell remembers Tony Westray:

We were in the same year  ( 1959 onwards ) but very different classes, Tony in the A stream for the higher flyers, perhaps best characterised by the offer of French and Latin  while in the C stream it was French and metalwork, a less than subtle indication of our potential future occupations.

Our connection  was in the sports teams. It was in Rugby where Tony excelled as a powerful inside centre in tandem with the very swift Martin Cook  It was a formidable team as various school magazines record. It had that first priority, a strong pack,  comprising a front row of Colin Knight, Max Parish and Geoff Horn. Two huge second rows in Alan Trueman and Roger Alleyne and a backrow of Dave Lockwood, Ian Jones at number 8  and Chris Prior.

The ample ball they provided was well utilised by scrum half Geoff Lucas and the standoff Rob Speck but it seems in memory that the focal point and scorer of try after try was Tony who powered his way through the opposition backs and then kicked the conversions.

Whilst some memories can be attributed to the great significance of an event in life  many others are mundane moments that remain crystal clear when so much else is lost in the haze of barely remembered years . So here are two of Tony.

We are the last two left on a rain drenched mucky field after practice and chatting while Tony practised his goal kicking in that strange fashion of the time, the ball perched on a small mound of mud and the kicker making a straight approach and unleashing the boot in a most unnatural awkward attempt to propel the ball in an equally straight trajectory. I think I was collecting the ball and returning it  for Tony to have another go. I wish could say I suggested, “why don’t you try a curved run up, like a footballer“ but that came later along with long hair.

The other memory must also have been a practice session but this time cricket. The two of us hurling a cricket ball as hard as we could onto the slip cradle, a curved wooden slatted device, and then hurling ourselves to catch it,  just great fun.

On sports day I turned up to watch and can simply recall what in memory was Tony’s domination of the year group.

Just returning to that rugby team for the sake of completeness its star in the first year was Seymour on the left wing who seemed years older and seemed to score whenever he got the ball. In the 3rd and 4th years Barry Craske had joined the school and was on the left wing (Martin Cook tells me Seymour had musical interests that he pursued instead of rugby), I was on the right wing trying to keep up with Westray and Cook, and Jim Scarlett was full back. So often we came off the pitch and it seemed that Tony had won the game for us.

We met again only last year and had lunch with Geoff Horn, Chris Prior and Dick Wyse and of course promised ourselves future meetings. I am sure Tony could have recalled so much more and I wish we had had those opportunities.

26th May 2023

Greg Powell replies.. Sporting memories

21st May 2023

Sad news just received. Malcolm Newing writes (on Facebook):

Very sad to report that a dear friend and St Nick from 1964 to 1971, Derek Warby, passed away this week having battled cancer bravely for the last 6 months.

Derek made his mark whilst at School, at Loughborough Colleges, in the the RAF and his post military career.

At school he was Vice head in his final year, House captain, a member of almost every sports team and skipper of 1st XV rugby. Not just a sportsman he performed in two school plays , playing the role of Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet which was pretty much typecasting as he was a joker, full of fun and life in whatever he did.

He played representative rugby whilst at school , made the England U23's rugby squad whilst at Loughborough and played for the Wasps first team before joining the RAF.

In the RAF he led the Falcons Parachute jumping display team and was awarded an MBE for his military service. On leaving the RAF he served in Africa at the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping training Centre where he was further awarded an OBE for his services to peace keeping in Africa..

Wherever he went Derek left his mark, and will be sorely missed by his family and friends, sadly gone far too soon.

RIP my friend.

10th May 2023

Peter Schweiger remembers.. Memory Lane - pupils' stories

(Send in your recollections - if it's raining, do it today)

*** If anyone has any old exam papers, please get in touch, let's put them on the site ***

29th April 2023

New cricket items, including this - Staff vs School annual cricket match photo
(1971). Scoresheets (1970 and 1971) also available from main cricket page. Thanks to Malcolm Newing for this, and thanks to Malcolm and Jeff Miller for so many superb photos. 

Full size, with all names HERE 

23rd April 2023

Brilliant. And I'm speechless - 3 prefects photos in a week. Thanks to Steve Martin for this photo: Honorary Senior Prefects 1971-72.

Full size, with all names HERE 

21st April 2023

Two new prefect photos in the same week - just fantastic. This one is 1967-68 and it's from Jeff Miller.

Full size version is HERE

L-R Back: Alan O’Neill, Gavin Smith, Jeff Miller, Ted Hopper, Neil Marsden, Jonathan Jones

Front: Joe Mist, Howard Pankhurst, Alan Sanderson, David Horne, Chris Howard  

All names now allocated.

Click the photo to send me some names---->

20th April 2023

Old Boys Cricket Team c.1972 added to the Cricket photos slide deck HERE
With thanks to Malcolm Newing for this photograph.

20th April 2023

There's no greater pleasure in life than adding a new prefects photo to this website. So thanks to Malcolm Newing for this one from 1969-70. The full size version is on the prefects page HERE.

(In fact, I was so thrilled I've added a cutting to the top of the Newspaper Archive section HERE)

19th April 2023

I've done what I said I wouldn't do - I've used 3rd party software. Google does not provide any smart ways of entering comments, so I have used an add-on provided by "Padlet". It's not perfect but it's a start, and it's free. There is a new Comments Page and a new Memories page in the main menu. I have copied all the Headmaster stories, Memory Lane stories and old Comments Forum posts onto the new pages. You can Reply to posts and you can Like posts, you can remain anonymous or you can create an account. I have no doubt I'll be messing with the style and the format, but it's there and it's available.

14th April 2023

Tony Westray sadly passed away recently following a stroke, his funeral details are as follows:

Monday 17th April 2023, 2.15pm, West Chapel, Breakspear Crematorium (HA4 5SJ), and afterwards at the Barn Hotel, Ruislip (HA4 6JB).

14th April 2023

Greg Powell remembers:

The Old Boys Cricket Team

Entirely the brainchild of the indefatigable Peter Fitzgibbon who brought a team into existence, organising all the Saturday and Sunday fixtures, recruited players and kept it on the road although I am not sure for how many seasons.  We had no home ground so played  all away matches.

Peter organised a meeting, I guess in about 1967,  which took place in the old Geography room at the school which had also been the form room of lower VI and Middle VI Econ  in one of those modernising reorganisations of the forms that took place in about 1964/6.  (In the 5th form for GCSE we had been reorganised into 5 Modern, 5 Science and 5 general). The meeting was the catalyst to get the teams formed and for one season I was  captain of the Sunday team without any clue about how to go about the task.

We were very average but Peter kept it going for a few years. Players I recall were, Martin Miller, Doug Root, “Biff “ Bailey, Malcolm Newing - our best quick bowler, Tony O’Sullivan, Dave Pullen and Peter himself, Derek Warby, David Chapman?, Mark Haddon? and John Sawyer and one special guest appearance by Tony Douglas, a fast bowler of great stamina. I am not sure how the team wound up and hope others might be able to flesh out the history.

This and other memories can be found on the memory lane page. Send in your stories before.. sorry I've forgotten what I was going to write.

6th April 2023

If you have any school memorabilia, please think of others. Scan it and email it, I will add it to the site. Or send it - everything sent in over the years has now been lodged with Hillingdon Library Archives. We have an Archivist / Collections Officer allocated to our account and I will ensure anything submitted ends up in the St. Nicholas Grammar School Records archive. It goes without saying that none of us are getting any younger - so do it now.

31st March 2023

I've been asked about 2 teachers, Mrs Margaret Scott (1959-75) and Mr John Tully (1960-66). If anyone has any recent information about either of them, please get in touch. Thanks.

UPDATE (1st April): John Tully sadly passed away in 2012. He became a leading ornithologist, based in the Bristol area. There is a superb obituary towards the end (page 32) of this document HERE. I will add a page to our obituary section in due course.

UPDATE (2nd April): Mr. John Tully obituary page added HERE

30th March 2023

Thanks to Tim Hughes for pointing out a full obituary of Dr Peter Gosden on the Leeds University website. I have added a link to it HERE

27th March 2023

This morning we heard the sad news that Mr. Elwyn Cox passed away yesterday, 26th March. He started teaching at the school in 1964, leaving us for Harrogate GS in 1974. He sacrificed an enormous amount of his free time for the school and, as a consequence,  he features in many, many photos, annual reports, tour reports, training camps and school trips. And we recently added the superb staff photo from Spring 1968. HERE

24th March 2023

Very sad to report the passing of Tony Westray. There are many photos of Tony on these pages. Tony was a stalwart of the Old Boys and a fine all-round sportsman. As well as the Old Boys, he also played rugby for London Welsh Dragons and for a short while he played in France with Grenoble. 

22nd March 2023

I've never seen one of these before today. It's HERE

18th March 2023

I've added a few links to the TV programme "Press Gang", parts of which were filmed at the school between 1989 and 1993. They can be found near the top of the Links page.

9th March 2023

"The Saint" was the magazine of the Old Boys Association. Several copies have been added from 1967, they are available - HERE 

4th March 2023

Three new school buildings photos added. Have a look.. HERE

4th March 2023

New addition from 67 or 68. Superb quality.
It's on the Staff Photos page

26th February 2023

Just arrived - great photo from 1966 but I'm short of names. Click the photo to use the form (opens in a separate window).

Looking good, thanks to everyone who submitted names.
Only number 8 is missing.. missing no more, Bill Sawyer informs me it's Alan Dawson

L-R Back: Simon Dennis, Anthony / Richard Lott, Richard Mindel, Jez Harvey, Tony Crawford, David Phillips, Murray Hughes, Alan Dawson, Mr. Cahill

Front: Tony Silver, Phil Goulding, Tom Roscoe, John Checkley, Bill Sawyer, John Cannon, Ian Frazer-Barnes

23rd February 2023

Saddened to hear of the untimely passing of Nigel Newton. This from the Senior Cross-Country report in the 1976 School Magazine.

19th February 2023

Various items taken from the original school website:

19th February 2023

This website only exists because old boys and their families have submitted photos, programmes, magazines, cuttings, names etc. In moving from the last incarnation of the site to this one, many credits have been dropped off. I will add credits wherever I can but I just want to thank everyone who has taken the trouble to provide input to the site. Some of those whose names are missing, are: John Tippetts, Nick Kohl, Steve Bacon, Roger Saunders, David Wyatt, Douglas Dodd, Bob Butterfield, Brendan Maguire, Andy Sebley, Tim Deacon, Tim Hughes, Keith Tucker, Paul Maynard, Neil Round. There must be many, many others. Thank you all.

Can I also thank everyone who has provided finance for the website over the years. As of today, our site is hosted on Google Sites which is completely free, but there are no guarantees it will remain so. The website URL ( is a separate expense but is fully paid-up until August 2029.

And finally, of course, if you find any school memorabilia tucked away in the wardrobe in the spare room, or the ottoman in the attic, please get in touch.

16th February 2023

14th February 2023

Speech Day - another part of school life that passed me by.

9th February 2023

New school photos added. See them here.

4th February 2023

23rd January 2023

Just arrived and added to Rugby photos.

See also Newspaper archive section.

21st January 2023

...We alighted to the welcome of a Transport Police Officer, whom we assured the door opened by accident, and we assured him that no "Tomfoolery" of any kind had taken place...

Memory Lane (pupils' stories) - it's a great page and it's here

Feel free to submit your stories but state clearly if you want your story published anonymously
(there is a Contact button at the foot of every page).

20th January 2023

According to The Felix Dennis Foundation website, the most famous St. Nicholas Old Boy of all penned over 2000 poems and wrote his first poem on a post-it note, aged 54 - but this is not true.

This superb, powerful piece by 15 year-old Felix was published in the 1963-64 school magazine. Read it here.

NOTE: I emailed Felix's Literary Executors more than once to attempt to clarify 'rights' and 'ownership' regarding this piece of work, but I have not received a reply, so I'm making it available for all to enjoy until I'm told to take it down.

NOTE: As I said above, I'm making it available for all to enjoy - however some may not. This is reproduced exactly as it appeared in the magazine, some may find the language somewhat inappropriate and unsuitable for the current age. So I say again, I'm making it available until I'm told to take it down.

Read it here

20th January 2023

I hope everyone who attended yesterday's lunch enjoyed the occasion as much as I did. 

A few photos available here.

5th January 2023

More artwork added

3rd January 2023

Many new pages added: House reports, Societies & Clubs, Speech Day


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)