Remember! You had to wear this!  

Sowerby Bridge Grammar School

"Non scholae sed vitae discimus"

'Between 1963 and 1969 the staff at Sowerby Bridge Grammar School taught me to think rationally, argue logically, to reason and consider but more importantly to open my eyes and ears, and learn to interact both with my peers and the adult realm I was about to join. In the end SBGS spat me out to make my own way through life but I took with me a huge number of endearing memories and many life long friends.
I wouldn't have missed it for the world.'
DP - 2004 Floor plan of the old building.
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Latest News - August 2015

It's difficult to believe but this site has now been online for nearly double the length of time I actually spent at the school. Over eleven years since the reunion that sparked it all off. Time really does fly by.

It's great to see that people are still actively using the site and uploading photos and memorabilia. A very special thanks for the recent addition of the speech day programmes from 1969 and 1971 must go to Margaret Whiteley and Roger Sutcliffe. You can find these towards the bottom of the SBGS memorabilia page.

Illness has meant that Roger is now a full-time resident of White Windows Cheshire Home in Sowerby but despite this he still gets down to Sowerby Bridge regularly on his mobility scooter and you may bump into him in The Works on Hollins Mill Lane. Through Margaret he has extended an open invitation to any old friends who may be in the area as he'd be delighted to see you and meet up for lunch. If you need any more details please leave a message on the guestbook or contact Roger directly at White Windows.

If you are interested in the history of the area, or just need a fix of nostalgia you'll find the DVDs from Pathways Productions delightful, informative and a must have for anyone with millstone grit in their veins. If you're looking for a Christmas or birthday present for someone, or just want to treat yourself then look no further. Their series includes:

Ripponden and the Ryburn Valley Around Calderdale Halifax

and is well worth a look. All can be ordered online from just £12.99 postage free to the UK.

More old photos, scans of memorabilia, memories, or documents are, as always, very welcome.

Old News
August 2012
Looks like Google has come up trumps again - big thanks guys - and a search for 'sbgs' now puts the site back at number one position after the slight faux pas in June.

Thanks also to everyone who has uploaded new photos recently. They'll be online as soon as humanly possible.
August 2012
Just to say a huge thank you to Richard Akroyd and Paul Brown for alerting me to the fact that the site was down (and apparently has been since June). A simple error in one of the fundamental files meant that none of the pages have been available online.

I could of course have said that this was simply down to the fact that, as a result of pure greed/macro-economics, I'd outsourced all the development work to a company in India but in reality I'm just beginning to realise what it feels like to work as a programmer for NatWest. However, as this time no one has lost any money as a result there will be no need for a compensation scheme. Banks, you gotta just love 'em.

One fairly major problem however has been that 'sbgs' has lost its normally excellent Google ranking so if you know of anyone trying to access the site via Google please tell them to just paste into the address bar of their browser software. Fingers crossed that Google will restore the site eventually. Even better, if you run a web site of any kind and can add a link to that really would help.
May 2010
2010 is the Centenary of the school and the Centenary celebrations are being held at the new school on Wednesday 30th June from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. Tickets are £5.00 to cover the cost of the buffet/refreshments. To reserve your place please forward a cheque, made payable to Sowerby Bridge High School, direct to the school and state your name, years attended, your contact phone number and e-mail address. An application form is available to download from the school's web site. For more details please contact the school on +44 (0) 1422 831 011, or by email at

Many thanks to Margaret Whiteley (Stansfield) for providing the information about the event, to Lynda Brown (Dean) for providing a superb repro copy of the 1960 panoramic photo, and, of course, to all those who have provided other photos, names and other details that help make the site what it is.
December 2009
Pauline Carr (Mitchell) has very kindly written a few words as a tribute to Peter Brook.

"It was a really sad day for me when David's email arrived telling me about the death of Peter Brook. We had been on his web site on the very day he died looking for yet another of his haunting northern landscapes. Marian Darby and I were very fond of Peter. He rather 'saved our bacon' in the 6th form and if it had not been for his encouragement and confidence in the pair of us we would have both jacked it in and gone off to work in Woolies.
  Peter Brook - The Pennine Landscape Painter
He was an inspiration to us, both as an artist and a human being - kind, sensitive, gentle, funny but also a hard task master. He encouraged Marian to go off and sing, and me to head for Art school. He opened our eyes to the beauty of the north-west and helped us understand where we came from and to be proud of our heritage and our people. I have spent my life trying to pass on to my students the love of art Peter gave to me. His influence has affected many of the things I have done and the way I have raised my own children. They are both passionate about our Ryburn and Calder valleys. There is nowhere quite like it and no-one who encapsulates it as Peter has done in his paintings. I can hear him when I am teaching and I hope I may have had a similar influence on those I have taught. I am slowly beginning to paint again as the thought of retirement looms and though I will never be a Peter Brook I am going to have a stab at it. Thanks Peter."
Photo of Peter courtesy of David Walker at Peter Brook Art
29 November 2009
As you may already have read in the guestbook and in the Halifax Courier, sadly, Peter Brook passed away yesterday at the age of 81. During the years he taught at SBGS Peter provided tremendous inspiration to a huge number of pupils and his death is a great loss to us all.
November 2009
Christmas is rapidly approaching and another year almost over. A huge vote of thanks to the many people who have added photos, memories and comments throughout the year.

The Guestbook continues to grow in popularity with over 150 messages left during 2009. A complete redesign now means that the messages are displayed by year, and that you can contact old friends directly without email addresses being published and harvested by the spammers.

If you're looking for a Christmas present with a difference, the second volume of Trevor Simpson's fine Small Town Saturday Night is now available and offers a great insight into the music in and around Halifax in the mid to late 60's.

If any of you can recall Paul Mountain's club, Clarence's, in Crown Street have a look at the Lily Fogg web site and get a few memories jogged. It was a bit like the rest of the sixties. If you can remember it, you weren't there!
December 2008
Loads more photos in the 1940s and 50s sections of the photo gallery courtesy of Keith Walsh. Even ones from the earliest days of the school in the 1910s.

Many thanks to Chris Wright for successfully scanning his 1972 panoramic photo which is now numbered and has some 300 plus names added already.

The Kenny Hoyle memorial gig in November was a superb night with an outstanding performance by the original members of Kenny's band, The Blues Revelators. Well worth travelling down from Newcastle for. Kenny would have been well pleased.

Christmas is now nearly upon us so a very Merry Christmas and a great New Year to everyone.
November 2008
Firstly, a huge vote of thanks must go to the following people for adding so many names to the 1954 photo - 350 in just a couple of weeks: Alec Crabtree, Celia Normanton, Tony Hirst, Lesley Parker, Molly Green, Brian Rhodes, Margaret Sutcliffe, Trevor Simpson, and anyone else I've forgotten to mention.

Next, more thanks to Lesley Parker and Keith Walsh for what must be some incredibly rare photos from the 1940s, 50s and 60s, and also to Keith for his copy of the 1972 panoramic photo. Unfortunately it's a bit battered but almost all the faces are still visible. Thanks also to Chris Wright for a brave attempt at scanning his 1972 photo.

If you're in the Hebden Bridge area on November 22 there's a gig in memory of Kenny Hoyle at the Trades Club. Tickets from Muse in Hebden Bridge and from the Puzzle which is now open again. All proceeds to Overgate Hospice and Melanoma Research.
October 2008
The 1963 photo is now numbered with names added where known, and kind thanks to Geoffrey Greenwood for supplying his copy of the photo from 1954. I've numbered this as well so if you can add any names please leave a message in the guestbook. It's worth checking this photo out as you might be surprised to see a few familiar faces even if you didn't arrive at the school until the 60s or 70s.

The 1967 photo now also has the pupils listed by year group where known. Scroll to the bottom of the photo to see them. If I've got you in the wrong year just let me know. A big thankyou to Linda Bridge for her help with the 2nd and 3rd years.
August 2008
Thanks must go to Linda Binns (Salkeld) and Kathleen Holder for adding their photos from the early 1960's. Linda kindly sent me her copy of the 1963 panoramic photo, and Kathleen uploaded a small photo of a group of her friends. Both are available at this link. I'll eventually annotate the panoramic photo but please be patient as this is a very time-consuming task.
June 2008
Firstly a bit of very sad news. Word has reached me of the untimely death of Kenny Hoyle from melanoma at only 55. Although he was at Ryburn, Kenny would have been well known to many from SBGS as not only one of the finest drummers ever to grace the planet but also as one of life's real good guys. I last saw Kenny at the Puzzle August music festival a couple of years ago doing what he really loved, drumming in a fine band, and as always he had a huge grin on his face. It was simply a privilege to have both known and played in a band with him and he'll be greatly missed by an enormous number of people.

On a lighter note, I also hear that the Puzzle may be re-opening its doors shortly, so watch this space.

Fiends Reunited seem to have now totally screwed up the SBGS listing with their appalling new site 'redesign'. If you can't find the people you'd expect on their SBGS listing try Sowerby Bridge High School as they now treat them as two completely separate entities. While this may physically be the case, last time I looked SBGS pupils were on their High School listing and vice versa. It's not really surprising they can't get anyone to pay for membership any more.

Thanks for the photos that someone (Chris?) recently uploaded. Pressure of work has so far prevented me from posting these but it will be done ASAP.
February 2008
Those of you interested in local Halifax music history and nostalgia will find that the following two books by local authors make fascinating reading.

The first, the incredibly detailed Small Town Saturday Night - Vol 1 (Pop music memories of Halifax in the Sixties) (ISBN 780954 896027 - colour printed softback 192 pages £15) is by Trevor Simpson. Trevor's a long-term Ripponden resident and a old SBGS pupil (coincidentally he's also John Howe's brother-in-law).

The second is John S Wharton's wonderful Plebs - The Halifax Jazz Club 1961-1968 (ISBN 1870682 15 7 - mono printed softback 163 pages £15).

Both books are the result of many years very detailed research and offer an enormous insight into the local music scene of the 1960's. Having read both from cover to cover I can highly recommend them and they'd make great birthday or Christmas presents. To sweeten the pill even further, all proceeds from Trevor's book are going to Calderdale Hospital Radio charity.

Whether you remember jiving in the aisles of the Gaumont to 'Rock Around the Clock', Don Lang singing 'Six-Five Special', Craig Douglas at Bolton Brow WMC (yes that's right), the package tours at the Odeon, the sweat of the Jazz Club, or were even lucky enough to meet the Beatles at the Cavalier Country Club, these are two books not to miss.

Both authors are now working on new related projects. Trevor on Volume 2 of what may turn out to be a series and John on a mighty tome about the Krumlin festival. Support their sterling efforts and get a great read into the bargain.

Whilst we're on the subject of heritage, on 2nd January 2008 The Puzzle Hall Inn on Hollins Mill Lane closed its doors (Courier article) and will be sadly missed by many from Sowerby Bridge. Another casualty of our love of ever cheaper booze and the supermarkets' continual erosion of our national heritage!
November 2007
Names for the panoramic photo coming thick and fast now so a big thanks to all who've contributed so far. Excellent stuff!

I just must add a word of 'thanks!' here to those kind souls at Friends Reunited. I attempted to add a message to their noticeboard for the school to inform old pupils about this site. The FR moderators not only removed the link but also trashed the message completely, rendering it meaningless. So, next time they're asking you for money maybe you'd like to consider just how helpful they really are before shelling out your hard earned cash.
August 2007
Thanks to Chris Wright and Hilary Maskill for the two new photos. I've also added the panoramic school photo taken in April 1967 which might also jog a few memories. I've added the names that I remember. If you can add or correct any names please leave a message in the guestbook and I'll update the details as soon as possible.
July 2007
Oops!! Thanks to everyone trying to upload photos over the past couple of weeks. Unfortunately there was an error in the upload script that stopped it working. This has now been fixed so please try again.

If you have any more old photos, scans of memorabilia, memories, or documents please keep them coming.
June 2007
Thanks again to Chris Wright for the latest archive photos, and also to the people who left updates and name corrections on the guestbook.

The photo gallery is now split by year group to make it more relevant. If your year group isn't represented then why not upload some photos now?

I've just dug out some old 1960s copies of Hill & Dale and will scan these as and when time permits. If there's a specific article or section you'd like to see, again please leave a message on the guestbook.
May 2007
Thanks for the latest anonymous uploaded contribution to the photo gallery. If anyone has any more details about it please add them via the guestbook and I'll update the page.
November 2006
Thanks to Chris Wright for the latest addition to the photo gallery Class of 1967-74 photo. If you have any information or names for the roll call please add the relevant details via the guestbook and I'll update the captions as necessary.
September 2006
By kind courtesy of Keith Walsh, two new photos in the photo gallery from the sixties. Do you recognise yourself or any of your friends on The Netball Team or The Hockey Team? Keith attended SBGS in the 1960's and went back to teach there for a brief period prior to the demolition of the old building.

'When one of the senior members of staff found out that I was an "old pupil" of the school she showed me to a store-room in the old building which had some old photographs and pupils' records laying around in boxes.
She told me I could take whatever I wanted since it was all going to be thrown out anyway due to the impending demolition of the building.
I rescued a couple of dozen photographs going right back to the earliest days of the school - the legendary Mr Helliwell crops up everywhere!.'

Good to see that history is still riding high on the curriculum then!
July 2006
Firstly, a vote of thanks to those fine upstanding people who did actually turn up to the scaled down reunion last August and especially to Virginia and Margaret for their sterling efforts in trying to get people there.

After rather a loud start in the upstairs area of Bar 11 - nice idea but if I'm being brutally honest it's not really geared up to catering for a bunch of 50 year olds - we adjourned to the comforts of cardigans, pipes and slippers outside god's (take your pick, there are plenty to choose from) own ale house, the Puzzle Hall Inn in Sowerby Bridge. Much fine ale was drunk and banter flowed free. Julian and I swapped hernia and gallstone tales (too much football and fine dining respectively), and we all parted having sort of made plans to meet up again. Nice one. Anyone with photos, it'd be good to have some to stick on here.

It's great to see that this year the guest book is attracting comments from a number of ex SBGS pupils. The more the merrier, so if you have something to add or say we'd love to hear from you - don't worry whether you fit the 1963-70 mould, all are welcome. From the comments I've had it's also good to see that others do check it fairly regularly for new contributions. The downside is that it has also attracted some moron from the snake-oil salesman community and he (or she) seems rather insistent on regaling us with tales of their latest scam. For you my friend I have a simple message. Two words and they involve sex and travel. The upside is that their efforts enable me to add the relevant anti-scamming filters to all my other sites so, ta very much!

Apologies to anyone who has either been trying to upload photos or trying to view the floor plan of the old school. There was a bug in the upload script and the floorplan image locations were wrong so you had no chance. However, both have now been fixed so no more excuses.
July 2005
Due to lack of interest, and despite all the effort put in by Virginia, the reunion at Bar 11 has been cancelled. Thanks must go out especially to those who asked for tickets but were somewhat reluctant to put their hand in their pocket when it came to actually paying for them, and also to those who said they'd love to come along but could quite be arsed to get their act into gear to get a ticket. Much appreciated!!

The stunning stars of the show (and those who brought/sent sick notes typed at home and signed in green biro) - you know who you all are - will get details of the revised plans via email shortly. A special thanks must go out to Ms X who sent in her sick note scribbled on an old school diary actually stolen from the cupboard next to the secretary's office. I only used to manage to get pens and exercise books and so obviously missed a trick or three.

Anyone who thinks they have a reasonable excuse can try putting it to a G Whiteley, who they may find somewhere in the region of The Railway in Hebden Bridge. While you're there ask him about a Mr Blunt who he may vaguely remember.

PS The old school building (and the Ronjes/Faraways/whatever they were called) are now dead and gone and I'm sure you'll be seriously impressed to know that the new buildings on the campus now cover almost every square inch of green space we used to enjoy - that's both the top and bottom playing fields - and accommodate less than 300 additional pupils (or are they clients these days?). Now I wasn't that hot at maths (or PFI calculations) but am I missing something here?
March 2005
Tickets for the reunion - Bar 11, Harrison Road, Halifax - 20 August 2005 - are now ready. Partners are welcome and the room is booked 8.00 pm to midnight. Numbers are limited to 90 so if partners are coming then there's only room for 45 ex pupils/teachers. Get your tickets now!

Apparently the old school building is scheduled for demolition in April 2005 so if you'd be interested in having a last look round please email me now and I'll try to get something organised. Apparently they've already had one 'last tour' so don't hold your breath. Walking round the walls seven times while breathing in on your trumpets apparently won't work either!
November 2004
Virginia now has a time and a place for the big reunion next year. Bar 11, Harrison Road, Halifax - 20 August 2005. Tickets 10 quid each including buffet.
More info coming soon.

In late May 2004 a few old Sowerby Bridge Grammar School friends from the 1960s decided a school reunion would be rather a fine idea.

Janet was over from Oz staying with Jackie and suggested the idea to Virginia who roped Margaret in and then emailed me via Friends Reunited. As I hadn't heard from any of them for over 30 years it seemed like a great idea; so between us we managed to round up some of the troops and met up at lunchtime on Thursday June 3rd in the old mill - now a rather nice little cafe/restaurant - in the centre of Hebden Bridge.

The initial feeling all round was one of slight apprehension after a gap of some 30 odd years. Would we recognise each other? Should we be wearing name tags just in case? Would only the people who'd been super successful turn up and flaunt their success? None of it! - we might as well have last seen each other a few days ago. Where had 30 years gone? Almost everyone was instantly recognisable despite a few laughter lines well earned along the way.

All the people there that I've spoken to since had an absolutely fab time and are looking forward to the next one. For those of you who couldn't make it there's a few photos and videos on the following pages. If you'd be interested in coming along to the next one (assuming we can get it together before another 30 years pass us by) email me.

More contributions/additions/suggestions for this site would always be welcome.

David Paterson
September 2004
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