The launch and signing for the revised edition was held on Thursday 4 November from 15:30 hours in the Old School, now the Outwood Academy Adwick, Windmill Balk Lane, Woodlands, Doncaster. Sixtyfive people attended, including former teachers Alan Dixon and Ron Cockroft.
This is a revised and extended second edition - "The 70th Anniversary Edition", marking the school's Grand Reunion held on 19th September 2009. This edition contains a full report of the Reunion.
Visiting the old school again after forty years evoked many memories. The ever familiar building wrapped me in a warm embrace. "Walk - don't run" echoed the old school rule, as I proceeded along the corridors past the quadrangles, and "At all times act with due consideration for others". On these rules rested the ethos of the school - rules devised to civilise its raw recruits from the hard-working families of the surrounding mining villages. It was this visit that inspired me to delve into the school's history.
The first head, Mr Field, with the reponsibility of establishing the new school, had to cope with the complications of World War II whilst his pupils decorated their gas-masks and speculated on a romance between their teacher and the captain of a battleship. His successor, "Chas" Elliott, was obliged to cram extra pupils into prefabricated buildings and to worry about high wages and Rock 'n Roll diverting pupils from staying on in the sixth form. And the last head, John Atherfold, prepared to impose the comprehensive system on the more privileged and more up-front generation of the Baby Boomers.
During the War eighteen-year old boys were called up to serve their country, whether in the armed forces or as Bevin Boys, cutting coal. Gas-mask training and air-raid shelter drill became integral parts of the timetable and the school acquired a new German teacher who had managed to escape from Nazi oppression on the Continent.
Sixth-form geographers in the 1940s had the opportunity to learn weather-watching on the school roof with an RAF officer - "Not the most glamorous type" reflects one of the girls disappointedly "carefully chosen as such, I imagine, by the Senior Mistress." Another 40s boy wonders if the "Splat!" marks remain in the classrooms where he and his colleagues held their crab-apple fights, whilst travellers on the 1949 school trip to Switzerland will never forget the "impression" of the slatted wooden train seats of the third class carriages on their thirty-hour journey home.
In 1951 half the school entrained for a visit to the Festival of Britain whilst in 1952, facing neighbouring Hemsworth Grammar at cricket, our school bowler took Geoff Boycott for a duck. In the mid-1950s popular music, especially Rock 'n Roll, ushered in changes in fashion, in attitudes and in behaviour. It exposed the talents of "Robbo" who, some lunchtimes, would entertain on the piano at the local pub rather than hand in his homework on time.
So much for the pupils. There was the French mistress who over-indulged in corporal punishment - only on the boys - who got her come-uppance when one of her victims "expired" of alleged heart failure. A young English teacher was wont to tease fifth-form boys with her offer of chocolates and an excessive show of stocking. We were privileged to have as senior maths master Biggles's pal, Algie, with his goggles and leather flying helmet. Another maths teacher during morning classes seemed inordinately concerned with the contents of his open briefcase - the day's crossword, one supposed.
A late-night jazz-playing history master tended to doze off during class and a history mistress was confident enough to assure us the the textbook was wrong! Wilf, the woodwork teacher, could wrap your mortice and tenon frame round your head, whilst physics master "Deadshot" Dixon, would refresh the attention of chattering girls with an accurately-pitched piece of chalk. Things were not so terribly PC in that era.
Those were the days! Read all about it in "Percy Jackson's" second edition which includes a full report of the 70th Anniversary Reunion, 19 September 2009.
After leaving the Percy Jackson Grammar School, Ken became a biologist and enjoyed a career in the chemical industry, largely with the French multinational Rhône-Poulenc. He travelled widely and for some years specialised in sugar cane agronomy. He professes a special affinity for the Caribbean and Latin America, but retains close ties with his old friends in Germany
Since retiring he has organised a series of bilateral reunions, celebrating the old school's exchanges with Germany in the 1950s. As well as German he converses in three other European languages and has an amateur interest in linguistics.
In October 2004 he and his old German friend Heinz Wartenberg featured in BBC Radio 4's 'Home Truths' with John Peel, discussing the original exchange and their fifty years of Anglo-German friendship.[See www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hometruths/20041009]
Now retired and living in Ilkley, Yorkshire, he was until recently habitat adviser and trustee of the Darwin Gardens Millennium Green. He has campaigned for improved management of Ilkley Moor which suffers from excessive visitor pressure and the encroachment of bracken.