Hove Grammar School old boys

We have a website which is run by the remnants of the old boys association (now defunct) – for your interest and as an online archive of the school as we remember it – may even find an image of yourself as you once were.

We are actively seeking more images and anecdotes about the school so why not roust around in your attic (you know you always meant to) and scan those images, then send them by email to web@hovegrammarschool.org.uk. Arrangements can be made for you to send them to us and we will do the scanning for you and return the photos.

Our school days at the “County” (as it was commonly known until about 1957) raise a variety of emotions. Some loved it and wish that things were like that again but others have mixed feelings or even have downright distaste for the old order. The Guest Book on the opening page of the website gives you an opportunity to let us know you’re still around and you may even like to let us know how you are getting on.

Many have used the site to tell all what they think about their “grammar school education” and some try to contact old friends. Website at: www.hovegrammarschool.org.uk

Comments about this page

  • Well done Bob! It’s about time some of the old boys came out of the woodwork and made contact with others.

    By Nick Pattenden (12/04/2012)
  • Hi Bob, Just found this page. I was at Hove County until 1955. I am now retired for the 3rd time and living in Berkshire.

    By Mel Davies (17/12/2012)
  • 1963 Boxing competition Knoll v Hove Grammar - I have passed some photos and information over to the Hove Grammar website so watch that space, Its also on my Knoll Boys facebook page.

    By Derek Mann (30/12/2013)
  • Hi Bob – thanks for keeping something to do with the old school going.  I was there from 1960-67.  Generally I have good memories of my time there and remember the names of several former class-mates.

    By Mike Stephens (03/04/2015)
  • Interested to know where my old muckers are now. I know there’s a book on the old school. Says there have been no poets or writers…not true! I for one. I attended HCGS(B) 1963-1970 under two headmasters Greatwood and Williamson.

    By Ivor Guild (16/12/2019)
  • It’s sad that so little has been written about HCGS. And it seems the old boys web site is no longer available. I was there from 1955 until 1960, when Mr Greatwood, or Bouncer as he was known was head.

    By Rodger Olive (17/12/2019)
  • If anyone stumbles on this site, there is now a history of the school: William H. Brock, “Looking Back: Hove Grammar School for Boys 1936-1979” (Grosvenor House Publishing: Tilworth, Surrey, 2018). Copies are available at Hove Library, and The Keep, Falmer.

    By William H. Brock (12/01/2020)
  • I was at the school from 1947 to 1952 and knew Bill Brock well. I was in form 5b. I enjoyed the music class very much.

    By John Humphreys (24/06/2020)
  • Nice to know there is still some interest in the old school. I was there from Sept 52 till Dec 57. I can remember most of the masters, Greatwood was head. Funnily, years later, when it had become co-Ed, my daughter attended in the late 70’s & took great delight in trying to spot me in the old school photos in the corridors.

    By Gordon Coleman (08/02/2021)
  • I have just finished reading William Brock’s book which was fascinating. I was at the school from 63 to 71 and it bought back so many memories. For instance, I was in Switzerland when Mr Playll was hit by the tram.
    Although not actually in the 1970 production of “Pirates” I recorded the show for selling copies to the families to help raise funds. If anyone is interested, I still have the recording and more than happy to share (at no cost)!
    As I say, a great book.

    By Laurence Edwin Leng (26/02/2021)
  • A friend of mine commented recently, when we were jokingly emailing each other in French for some reason, how good my French was – I said it was thanks to Mr Hogwood, an inspirational teacher, that I retained it after over 50 years. Similarly, my love for literature and language is down to Bill Lawrence, my fascination with landscape to Ned Land….I could go on, but the point is that, whatever shortcomings the school may have had ( and there were many) we had some brilliant, inspirational teachers, to whom I will feel forever grateful.

    By Ian Gates ( 1960- 68) (02/07/2021)
  • I was at the school from 1947 to 1952. Bill Lawrence was my english teacher for two or three years and Ned Land was my form master in 4a plus geography teacher. I agree that they, together with others, created inspirational and lifelong memories.
    Further to the point made by Roger Olive (17/12/19), a great deal was written about the “old school” on the old boys website. A few years ago, I can’t remember how many, the original (?) webmaster, who had done the job for many years, appealed for a successor. None was forthcoming so, eventually, the site was taken off line. It was an excellent record of HCGS(B) ex- pupils and staff memories. It also contained a good range of school photos and information about the staff who had served at the school since since its beginning plus further, relevant information. I very much hope it is archived somewhere. Otherwise its loss is significant to those who still have a soft spot for the old school.

    By David Robertson (03/07/2021)
  • I,too had Ned Land as form master and geography teacher in 4a, but this was in the year 1953/54. At the time we were referring to him as ‘Yography’ in recognition of his pronunciation of the subject. He was a good and inspirational man who must have influenced me to choose geography as one of my A levels. The esteem felt by the form for their teacher brought about a collection to buy him a Christmas present in 1953 – a large slab of Stilton carefully and decoratively wrapped. He often mentioned local cheeses in his lessons, hence the choice of gift. I remember he was quite moved and grateful for the thought. Our collection probably did not run to the extent of including a bottle of port.

    By Tony Betteridge (01/08/2021)
  • It looks like I am another old boy (1952-57) coming slowly out of the woodwork. I was part of what Bouncer and Mr Tabratt used to call “Train Boys” when they would ominously announce “Train Boys will stay behind after assembly”. We were trained in from Haywards Heath and all stations south along with our friends from Brighton Grammar and Brighton Tech and HCGS for girls and usually blamed for any misdemeanours, rightly or wrongly on the journey from Haywards Heath via Brighton Station and Aldrington Halt. We even made the front page of the Argus about
    allegations of female underwear being flown from the windows of the 4.28 from Brighton.
    That has always been a bit of a mystery as we were always gender segregated on the 4.28
    but not on the 7.58 am , but that’s another story. I suppose it was a case of journalistic licence on a quiet news day!
    David Simm. 1Z 2B 3B 4B M5

    By David Simm (12/09/2021)
  • I was a train boy too, travelling down from Hurstpierpoint, via Hassocks, every day – my journey to school would take the best part of 2 hours and not much fun in the winter! I don’t remember the story about female underwear, but I do remember the segregation on the train going home – for some of my time we had a special train laid on for us in the evening, which bypassed Brighton and went through Cliftonville tunnel , joining the mainline at Preston Park. It was usually a 4 car train ( ‘ 4- Lav’, for the trainspotting fraternity), with the boys strictly confined to the rear carriage- the Guard made sure of that! I remember one occasion when we all conspired to run from one side of the carriage to the other, causing it to sway alarmingly. I remember feeling, as a train boy, somewhat excluded from certain school activities because of the need to catch the train home, and on reflection it was asking a lot of an 11 year old to endure that journey every day, but I don’t regret it – as has been said, some great teachers, and not so much of that quasi- public school ethos that they had over at B,H,S Grammar.

    By Ian Gates (29/09/2021)
  • I was at the Grammar 1960-68 along with Ian Gates.
    I was mates with Bob Greed and Alan Hyde just to name a couple.
    Emigrated to Australia with another old boy Mike O’Dell in 1970 and still here!

    Just put in an order for the book, and looking forward to reading it.Many great memories and a great education and set of values, which have stood the test of time for me.

    By Ken Hailey (19/12/2021)
  • Gosh, there are some names from the past! I do wish I’d known about the old boys’ visit to the school a couple of years ago ( Tony Andrews got his picture in the paper! ). I ’emigrated ‘ too, to the North East of England in 69, and have been there ever since, apart from an interlude back in Sussex in the 80s – I retired after 49 years in social work a couple of years ago, and I think the values inculcated at Hove Grammar served me well. I have fond memories of school assemblies , and joining in the hearty singing of songs from Hymns Ancient and Modern ( Mr Reynolds on the piano? ) : I recall a real sense of belonging to a community, including my membership of Kent House. I also remember the ritual of boys considered to require caning after assembly- thankfully never me, though I think I sailed close to the wind at times, including the occasion the Argus published a letter from me which was highly critical of aspects of the school regime!

    By Ian Gates (01/02/2022)
  • Just started reading Bill Brock’s book, and it is bringing back heaps of great memories. I was also a train boy, coming from Lewes and the Bexhill for the last 3 years, as my dad was in the police force and kept moving areas.
    The assemblies always set you up for the day, as the sheer volume of 600 plus boys singing their hearts out has always left a lasting impression on me. I remember being in sheer disbelief being part of it all when I was in first form! I got sent for a canning to Tabby when I was caught chewing gum at prize giving night, but he must have been teaching, as after standing outside his office for 2 hours, I got put in detention and sent back to class.
    I also remember someone sending off 2 fireworks rockets down the west corridor from the top of the toilet steps, and the whole year had to sit in the assembly hall each Wednesday afternoon and forfeit sport, until someone exposed the culprits! Needless to say this never happened!
    I still have some school magazines and school photos on my walls, and often think back fondly on my schooling when I walk past.
    I am now retired, and spend most of my life now on Phillip Island in Victoria, and have always regretted that there is no longer an old boys association where I could keep in touch.
    Still follow Brighton and Hove Albion though!

    By Ken Hailey (13/02/2022)
  • I’ve just finished Bill Brock’s book which is a great work of research, an unenviable deep dive into the material. As a pupil from 1965-72, it is particularly interesting for me of the effect the changes in wider society were having on the relations between boys and staff. There was clearly a generational difference between staff: by and large the younger were sympathetic to loosening of rules on hair and uniform etc. and the older ones keen to “hold the line”.

    The pupil who was suspended for rudeness to Mr Redford was Alex “Kipps” Maxey, who was a brilliant pianist and went on to be an excellent journalist for Reuters and the Independent, latterly in New York. Sadly he died of Aids in 1989. He was behind an alternative, but shortlived, school newspaper, the International Gremlin Tribune in 1969. Again a sign of the times. It was banned following a staff meeting where its only supporters were Bill Lawrence and Mr Balsden.

    The other initiative which is not mentioned in Brock’s book was the 1971 Outset Sponsored Community Work Week to raise money for the homeless. In collaboration with a full time Outset organiser Giles Pegram, a group of boys including myself, Martin Lerner, Andy Sutton, Bob Walder and others organised a series of community projects worked on by pupils from schools all over Brighton and Hove, including Roedean School. This was a great initiative for the school to have led on. My fondest memory is of recruiting Sussex and England fast bowler, John Snow, to give us some publicity which he did by putting in some work alongside the young women from Roedean.

    By Chris Mortimer (27/02/2022)
  • Yes, I also enjoyed Brock’s book. It is such a shame that the website had no one to take it over. I fear all the data and photos it contained from many pupils over the decades have been lost forever. Maybe this site could have housed the information.
    Being there at the same time as Chris (above), it was interesting to see the change in staff culture as younger more liberal staff started to replace the old guard but it was always going to be difficult budging those at the top of the tree who would still be there caning the backsides of kids today if they had half a chance. Overall it was a good experience and education – just a shame I didn’t have a role model at home to reinforce its values.

    By Mick Wright (28/02/2022)
  • The current awful situation in the Ukraine has reawakened memories for me of 1962, when I was in the 2nd form, and the Cuban crisis created a real fear that nuclear armageddon might be imminent. I recall that one of the masters ( can’t remember which one) gave some talks to the pupils about what to do in the event of a nuclear strike- he was a proper Civil Defence warden, with the uniform to go with it ( a bit like Fred in Call the Midwife! ), and I remember that his talk increased my already high level of anxiety. I think at that time the WW2 air raid shelters were still there, on the site latterly occupied by the squash courts, and I can imagine us boys having to troop in there if the balloon had gone up – I never went in there but I can’t imagine it being very pleasant.

    By Ian Gates (05/03/2022)
  • Referring to Chris Mortimer’s entry: “The pupil who was suspended for rudeness to Mr Redford was Alex “Kipps” Maxey, who was a brilliant pianist and went on to be an excellent journalist for Reuters and the Independent, latterly in New York. Sadly he died of Aids in 1989. He was behind an alternative, but shortlived, school newspaper, the International Gremlin Tribune in 1969. Again a sign of the times. It was banned following a staff meeting where its only supporters were Bill Lawrence and Mr Balsden.”
    It was Robert (nee Robin) Maxey not Alex. I still have a complete set of the International Gremlin Tribune xeroxed newspaper.
    I recall that wonderful Mathematics teacher Jack Liddell was also supportive of the newspaper initiative.
    I hope you are well Chris.

    By Martin Sinnock (19/03/2022)
  • Hi Martin, I’m well enough, thanks and I hope the same goes for you. I assume you are the same Martin Sinnock who wrote (writes?) music reviews for Songlines Magazine?
    Yes I still have some International Gremlin Tribunes myself – a true underground newspaper!
    “Kipps” Maxey was a man of many identities – his last (and his byline as a journalist) was Alex. But when you have a wonderful name like Robin Alexander Dylan Maxey you have names for several lifetimes!

    By Chris Mortimer (21/03/2022)
  • I never knew that he worked under the name Alex. I remember well that he hated the name Robin and therefore to us he was always Robert.
    Yes – I am retired now but still write a few reviews for Songlines magazine – just to keep my hand in journalistically.

    By Martin Sinnock (22/03/2022)
  • Looking at those recent posts, one is struck by the consistency of Bill Lawrence in taking a ‘liberal’ view of pupil activity ( and incidentally, I think there was an earlier attempt to produce an ‘alternative ‘ school mag which was suppressed) : another example of this was his support for the idea that, rather than force me to participate in games / sport, at which I was manifestly hopeless, I should be allowed to attend the Theatre Royal in Brighton one afternoon every couple of weeks to see the current production there, as a kind of extension to my Eng Lit studies. I recall that other members of staff ( Mr Lucas? ) were opposed to this : the first play I went to see was The Importance of Being Earnest, very appropriate for Brighton! Mind you , Bill and I didn’t always see eye to eye – he had an expectation that we would always have a book of our own on the go which wasn’t in the curriculum, and I remember his dismay/disapproval when I reported that I’d been reading a work by PG Wodehouse: I didn’t realise until later that this was based on his view , very common at the time, that Wodehouse had been disloyal during the war.

    By Ian Gates (27/03/2022)
  • Hmmm, Bill Lawrence and I didn’t see eye to eye much either. One classic was him going bananas at my refusal to run for the House in the annual cross country around Waterhall gold course. My reason was that in the previous week’s heats, his house captain and vice hid behind a hedge and counted 10 Gloucester boys as they went past so they didn’t get selected. I never told him my reason but I think it cost me the house captaincy for the following year.

    By Mick Wright (28/03/2022)
  • I must admit I used to hide during the cross country heats somewhere up near the Devil’s Dyke.
    I liked sport but found running very boring, but one year miscounted and ran 6th for York!
    Only year I had to run in the house final!

    By Ken Hailey (17/04/2022)
  • My pal Steve Howell lived adjacent to the cross country route, somewhere up near the top of Goldstone Valley, and I’m ashamed to admit that there was more than one occasion when we nipped into his house and rejoined the throng on their way back. Don’t think we ever got found out!

    By Ian Gates (23/04/2022)

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