The late 1960s to early 1970s

Moulsecoomb Secondary Modern
Paul Clarkson
The girls entrance before the new hall was built
Paul Clarkson
School report 1968-73
Paul Clarkson

Original building in 1929

Moulsecoomb primary school was built in 1929 and then extended over the years. The entrance to the infants was from Hodshrove Lane and the juniors was from Hillside. The main building on the Lewes Road came next and was the secondary school for over fifty years before it became part of the primary school. My Mum and Dad both went to the school in the 1940s as they lived on the estate.

Some classes in ‘nissen huts’

While I attended a new hall was built which took up half of the girls’ playground. This unfortunately meant that the girls had to go through the boys’ playground every morning, and on snowy days had to run the risk of being pelted with snow. There were additional classes in buildings similar to nissen huts, which were situated behind the school going up towards the primary schools. 

My off white shirt

I went there from 1968-1973 when the Headmaster was Mr Evans, a rather fearsome chap nick-named by the pupils as ‘Streaky’ although we never knew why. The teachers were very strict and the cane and slipper were readily used to instill discipline. Detentions were given out for bad behaviour, lateness and poor work. We mostly did as we were told and if you didn’t then there was hell to pay, even worse was being sent to see Mr Evans. I once wore a slightly off white shirt and my teacher deliberately sent me down to the office with the register, so it would get noticed by Mr Evans. The relevant punishment was to be sent home to change and make up the time after school.

Did you attend Moulsecoomb Secondary School? Share your memories by posting a comment below.

Wide open spaces

We were very lucky to have the wide open spaces around the school for break-time and sports lessons. I loved playing football and we used to play on the field between Moulsecoomb Way and Hodshrove Lane. On a cold day the wind would cut you in half and as the ball was usually of the old style leather with laces you didn’t want to get in the way of it too often.

Remembering teachers

The teachers I can remember were Mr Widdup, Mr Bear, Mr Rex, Mr Drakeford, Mr Nix, Mr Leckie, Mr Catchpole, Mr Gregory, Mr Merritt, Mr Peskett, Mr Hindmarsh, Mr Stockbridge, Mr Homer, Mr Tiller, Mr Welch, Mr Hargreaves, Miss Cowl, Miss Dawson, Mrs Merryfield, Miss Mitchell and Miss Dixon. My Mum was taught cookery by Miss Neat in the 40’s who was still there in the 60’s to teach my sister. 

Comments about this page

  • I remember my first day at Moulsecoomb seniors in September 1968. My parents had been given a list of all the items I would need which included things like the blazer, tie, PE kit, football boots and gym shoes. It was the first day I had ever worn long trousers as well. It was quite scary because some of the teachers’ reputations had gone before them, especially Mr Evans, Mr Widdup and Mr Rex. Mr Widdup was the PE teacher who made our lives a misery in that first year, luckily I never had Mr Rex as a teacher but I did clash with Mr Evans on a couple of occasions. Added to this was the rivalry of the other pupils who had come from other primary schools in Brighton, some of them were friendly but some of the others wanted to make their mark on us ‘Scoomber’s’ as we were known then. I believe now that it was a good school and I’m glad I went there even though it was tough at times, it gave me a good basic education.

    By Paul Clarkson (11/09/2015)
  • I was there the same time as you Paul. I left in 1974, and we were the first year to have to stay on for the 5th year, depending on when your birthday was!…Happy days! 

    By Sandra Sibbald (Harris) (15/06/2016)
  • Hi Sandra, yes you’re right because I left in 1973 and we were the last year to have the option to leave in the 4th year. I enjoyed the 5th year as the teachers tended to treat you more like equals. I got the ‘O’ level I wanted which was Art with a top grade under Miss Dawson, she was very supportive and there were only two of us in the class for the whole year.

    By Paul Clarkson (17/06/2016)
  • I attended this school and loved it.  I left in the summer of 1972 at age 14+ and worked at Woolworths on Western Road until I was old enough to join the Navy.  I can remember Mr. Homer’s predictions of the yellow peril coming over the hills at Wild Park, Mr. Drakeford and the cane, changing the words to some songs in his class as we sang them made him lose it.  I spent hours learning about manners from the Tech Drawing teacher who we would distract with questions about boxing and watch him wander off into the subject.  I remember being in the school plays. I remember Mrs. Merryfield – Oh how I loved that woman.  I once stopped at her very beautiful house during a cross country run.  I think she was my first love as an infatuated young boy.  Remember putting iron filings in the furnace in the metalwork shop to make sparks and will never forget the glue pots in woodwork.  Mr. Leckie made me love literature and have a tolerance for cricket.

    By Andrew Deacon (04/07/2016)
  • We moved from Boston Street, Brighton in the mid 50s to Moulscoomb and went to the Moulscoomb infants/ juniors and seniors from 1956/ 66. l remember all the teachers from the seniors, and it’s true the cane/slipper came out if you as much were to run along the corridor. We had Mr Widdup as class teacher also he took PE which l hated, l left school in 1966 and straight into work and for me l learned more than l did at school but that was my fault. The only thing l enjoyed was the art class, the only thing l was any good at.

    By Dave Guildford (24/07/2016)
  • I went to Moulscoomb School in 1972. My teachers were Miss Thompson, Mr Holmer, Miss Cow, Mr Hargraves was my form teacher, Mr Tiller was my art teacher and Mr Bear, Mr Merit and Miss Mitchell. I hated going to school so when I was in the fourth year Mr Homer told me I looked too old to be in school so I used to bunk of with Sue Southern. We would go over to the shop opposite the school, Woolvens, get a quarter of sweets, go back to Sue’s house in Southall Ave, stay there till 3.30 then I’d go home. Bless him I loved that teacher! Mr Catchpole was deputy head, Mr Evans was headteacher, Miss Dixon was cookery teacher and I still see her now up at Asda bless her heart. Don’t see anyone from my class now. I remember Linda Ockenden, Tayna Jackson, Sue Barcock, Lisa and Jackie Gibbs, Amanda Lord, Lorraine Chambers, Beverley Dawson, Kevin Beard, Paul Chippendale, Ian Sinclair, Steve Bean. I wonder where these people are now.

    By Lesley Shortman (nee Hope) (07/08/2016)
  • I also went to Moulsecoomb School. I took sewing classes at the school and borrowed £25.00 off my dad to buy a sewing machine and paid back out of my paper round money. I then worked in a factory making under wear for M&S. Have my own business now.

    By Kim petts (21/08/2016)
  • Thank you Paul for the intriguing article. It brought back vivid memories.I taught English 69-74. Would be privileged if anyone would like contact me. I certainly remember Andrew Deacon and Sandra Harris. Pls use my email…..

    Cheers All

    Jon Leckey


    By Jon Leckey (23/03/2017)
  • To Jon Leckey, first of all many apologies for spelling your name wrong, it was a long time ago. You were my form teacher in 1971-2 when I was in my 4th year. I am very pleased that you have seen my page on this site and I will email you very shortly with some more memories about my days at Moulsecoomb School, after which you may remember me!

    By Paul Clarkson (24/03/2017)
  • Hi, I was at this school from 1965 through 1970; I stayed on for the extra year to get my O levels. 

    By Tony Wright (06/11/2017)
  • I remember the school with fondness, I used to do the late book, but never booked anyone more than once or they got detention. I hated assembly and refused to go hence getting the job from Mr Rex. I remember Widdup who regularly left a Dunlop imprint from a trainer he used to whack me with every time I had a shower, don’t think he liked me. Highlight for me was when Johnny Banks called him out on the cricket pitch and they got into a scrap on the grass outside Tillers room out of sight of pupils. Guess who won! Mr Merritt was a great teacher and I had a soft spot for our French teacher Miss Merryfield, bit of a schoolboy crush I think. Mr Hargreaves, boxing mad, and Mr Gregory our woodwork teacher, a great shot with a lump of wood if you misbehaved. And Mr Drakeford RI teacher, I was a regular to his cane, probably because I kept looking after his KitKats for him, couldn’t afford one out of my pocket money. And oh for those broken biscuits we used to buy in the shop opposite the school near Bates Estate. So many memories to share, get in touch if you remember me.

    By Roger Heath (01/03/2018)
  • I moved down to Brighton from Essex with my Dad in 1966, but didn’t go to school until about 3 weeks before the summer holidays, I must say, I thought my dad had sent me to a school for problem kids at first, as everyone in my class seemed very strange, but after the holidays I did start to make friends like John Alexander, David Prodger, Barry Pledge, to name a few, as I was fairly small for my age, I was bullied along with some of my friends, almost on a daily basis, & it wasn’t until I left school, that I started to stick up for myself.  I have met some of the bullies over the years since leaving Moulsecoomb & they all seemed apologetic & lonely, (Karma). I do remember Mr Stockbridge,( what a gentleman) & Mr Widdup ( what an arse), because I had Asthma quite badly, I obviously wasn’t very good at PE & sports, but that didn’t deter him from making my life hell. I do look back on my school days, & unlike a lot of older men who often say ” I would love to be back at school” I have never wished this, I have obviously learned something, but I have learned a hell of a lot more since leaving school.  


    By Ron Porter (22/03/2018)
  • Blimey this brought back loads of memories, I left in 1974. Mrs Merryfield was so lovely, I actually bumped into Mr Homer a few years ago and had a lovely chat with him and he remembered me and my brother (who was always in trouble). Mr Leckey taught me English and it was always the highlight of the day as all the girls adored him. Mr Rex used to terrify me and his wife taught there also and was totally the opposite. I remember learning the violin with Miss Cowell and playing in the orchestra and singing in the choir, I was always put in the front as I was quite short along with good friend Julie Hewett. My other friends were Sandra Harris and Karen Bonwick. 

    By Toni Stevens (Villiers) (07/08/2018)
  • I taught there from 1974 until the merger with Dorothy Stringer. I have some photos particularly of the staff, if you are interested email me. When I joined the staff I was Miss Hawke … I left as Mrs Merrett. 

    By Sally Merrett (14/11/2018)
  • So many memories for you all. You may wish to know and help us fight against Moulsecoomb Primary School being forced into an academy after a visit from Ofsted, who rated our school as ” inadequate ” which is complete BS. The report is marked completely different to every report done previously ( 14/3/17 required improvement. 17/1/13 Good 27/4/10 satisfactory) You know that it’s the land they want. Please help us fight this. Like you I went to this school and now my kids do.

    By Dyan Pepper (21/06/2019)
  • I went to Moulsecoomb juniors from 1970-1974. Remember being made to stand on veranda facing the wall many times. If you washed up the staff room tea cups you got extra milk.

    By Chris Morgan (03/11/2019)
  • To all who attended Moulsecoomb Secondary 1969-74:
    I taught English at the school. I have received and read some very nice things ex pupils have said about me. Thanks especially to Paul Clarkson, Sandra Harris, Andrew Deacon and John Summers and Toni Villiers. Sandra and John kindly sent me some old photos. Unfortunately I lost them due to a serious malfunction of my iPad. Any chance you could resend them? Any further info from anyone else reading this would be most welcome. Please use my email: Kind regards to all.

    By Jon Leckey (15/11/2019)
  • Hi, just read some amazing comments from Paul Clarkson, Andrew Deacon and Mr Leckie, yes I remember you all. So, Andrew you were always the star of the school plays and I have to admit to having a very big crush on you and Paul and Mr Leckie, do you remember when you instructed us to write our own version of Lord of the Flies, I still have a copy of my story, I believe Robert Fogden featured heavily in it. Mr Leckie, you inspired my love of writing and poetry, even though my punctuation was a bit suspect.

    I am now an Insurance Broker for a large global company (the careers convention had a lot to answer for). It would be very interesting to see what career paths you all took after school, maybe we could form a whatsapp group. Anyway for now, it would be lovely to hear from you, my e mail address is Janie 5724 @
    Oh you will remember me as Diane Price

    By Diane Stevens (28/11/2019)
  • Thank you Diane for your comments, yes it would be great to hear what career paths our fellow class mates chose. From the people I have been in contact with we all did pretty well from a secondary modern. I have emailed you, but don’t know if you’ve received it. I look forward to hearing from you and seeing other comments from our contemporaries.

    By Paul Clarkson (02/12/2019)
  • Hello everyone, Happy New Year to all! I was delighted I stumbled upon this thread a few months ago, some great memories came flooding back. I went to Moulescoomb School from 1970-1975 and have some really fond memories of my time there. I remember a lot of my class mates, some of whom I’m still in contact with now. Here are a few: Terry Grayer, Peter Lincoln, Anthony Miller, Anthony Brown, Lorraine Murray, Carol Jellicoe, Nigel Odey, Anthony Fogden, Robert Dickman. Stevie Windsor, Paul Moss, Martin Maskell, Tony Lake, Gary Aston (who has sadly just passed away), Mikey Roddis, Andy Taylor and many more.
    I remember all the teachers mentioned in these posts very fondly, especially Jon Leckey (I will resend the photos Jon) thanks to these teachers we had there, although it wasn’t always plain sailing, in the end we all left school pretty well equipped for what life was to throw at us. I often refer to my education and time at the school to my own children as good grounding (I’m not sure if they really believe some of the stories I have told them over the years). However from what I have seen around our city, it seems to me there are a lot of pretty successful people in all fields out there who went to our school, so that speaks volumes. I would love to see some kind of WhatsApp Group set up as Dianne has suggested. My email address is I would love to hear from anyone who was at the school both teachers and pupils, our school needs to be remembered, documented and put firmly on the map.

    By John Summers (05/01/2020)
  • Hi all, I attended Moulsecoomb primary and juniors. Must have been from 1978 to 85, a little later than most of you it seems.

    I have very few memories of the infants. I remember my favourite teacher being Mrs. King (perhaps Miss) and I still have a photo of myself on her lap on her last day. I remember being devastated she was leaving haha! But I think I was happy in the infants in general. Weirdly what I remember mostly are the walks to school in all weathers from 150 Moulsecoomb Way. They always seemed like an adventure and it often included a stop at the sweet shop opposite Hodshrove road.

    After that the only teacher I can vaguely remember was a Mrs. Lawrence (Laurence?) who I hated. I hated being in the juniors in general really which is why I have very few recollections. I must have blocked them out. I’m trying to remember the head teacher’s name as it was unusual, maybe even of French origin but I can’t. I remember my desk being next to a girl called Beverley. My next door neighbours, the Matheson’s (best mate at the time Scot) all went there. I vaguely remember lads called Stacy and Stephen. We had Wayne Emmin (sp?) who was meant to be the school hard nut and who I also met a few years back. He was fine 🙂 I know I bunked off a lot as I hated school. Being the smallest I got picked on a lot. My mum was a dinner lady in the infants so I’d often fake illness to be allowed to go up and sit with her where I’d be fed leftover butterscotch tart or cornflake tart!

    In a way I’m glad I didn’t have to go on to Falmer as everyone else did because nothing would have changed I dare say.

    By Gary Mason (11/02/2020)
  • Hi everyone, I went through infants, juniors and seniors at Moulscoomb and left in 1976. My last experience was with Mr Harvey the English teacher at the time. Mr Catchpole was head if my memory serves me correctly?

    By Mark Bayley (16/02/2020)
  • Hi ,I am setting up a watts app group for the ‘ Coomer Boomers,” if you are interested in joining , in the first instance contact me at my e mail address
    Let’s share some memories….photos…and fun

    Diane xx

    By Diane Stevens (25/02/2020)
  • I went to the senior school there from 1970-74. I remember well all the teachers mentioned and got caned or the slipper by most of them. I’m sure there was a PE teacher called Mr Turner there at some point. I was most scared of Tiller who I was told took a run up and caned your backside. I was never witness to this but it did enough to make me very nervous around him. Luckily I had Miss Dawson most of the time for art. My favourite teacher was Mr Homer who taught history. He’d walk around the class as he was talking and hit you on the head with a leg from a stool if you were not paying attention. Gosh, how we were spoilt. I was in the top grade throughout and the classmates I can remember were Stephen Barnes, Graham Martin, Christopher Beaney,Gary Richards,Simon Eden who was brilliant at art, Graham Verral,
    Julie Hewitt, Susan Prince, the Brackenridge twins, Lem Kwok who appeared at some point having emigrated from the east somewhere, and John Garret, who was a scouser who had a memorable fight over bates estate green with Lem. I remember the infamous school strike when all the kids walked out and met up with Patcham fawcett school, the teachers just stood by and let it happen. Can’t remember what it was all about. It seems funny now looking back, if a teacher physically abused a child in the way we were treated today he would be locked up.

    By Andrew Angel (11/04/2020)
  • Hi John Summers,
    I too was at Moulsecoomb Juniors from 70-75 and remember a lot of those names:

    Peter Lincoln, Anthony Miller, Anthony Fogden, Robert Dickman. Stevie Windsor, Paul Moss, Martin Maskell, Tony Lake, Gary Aston (who has sadly just passed away), Mikey Roddis, it’s more tricky finding the girls because we often take another man’s name, again.
    I’ve just lost hundreds of photos so it has been great coming here and wandering down memory lane.

    By Lisa Elford (05/05/2020)
  • Hi everyone.
    I was at Moulsecoombe secondary before heading off to Falmer High School 6th Form. Yes Lisa Elford, us gals do tend to change our surnames. Do you remember Joyce Thompson, Barbara McNee, Hazel Sweetman and Annette Taylor? These were my partners in crime lol.

    By Christine Chenery (Knight) (08/10/2020)
  • Hi, left summer 1976 and joined the Royal Navy.

    By steve smith (04/11/2020)
  • Just found this page, really enjoyed reading through all the notes and messages! Jim Tiller is still going strong and racing his Allard J2. I attended from 1968 – 1973 and remember many of those teachers mentioned. I was also in Paul Clarksons class.

    By Steve Jennings (27/04/2021)
  • I research old cars and was chatting to Jim Tiller and his wife about Brighton Speed Trials and a particular Allard Special only the other day! TCS.

    By Tim Sargeant (28/04/2021)
  • Steven Jennings! I remember you very well. I walked home with you a couple of times as you lived in the area around Coombe Road if my memory serves me well. You were also in Balcombe house with me and we had the notorious Mr Bear as the house master, he was a bit fearsome especially if you didn’t get any house points or your shoes weren’t clean!

    By Paul Clarkson (29/07/2021)
  • Anyone went to Switzerland for school trip in 1968 me and my brother went and had a great time I was at school 67 for 3 months then went to Spain. I came back 68 left in 69 at 15.

    By Derek evans (28/11/2021)
  • Long shot! but I am trying to contact Paul Bryant or his siblings who attended Moulscombe Secondary from 1970 to 1975 as part of my family research. If you are able to help please contact me

    By Russ Davies (09/12/2021)

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