Attention: You are using an outdated browser, device or you do not have the latest version of JavaScript downloaded and so this website may not work as expected. Please download the latest software or switch device to avoid further issues.

News > Memories > Memories of Miss Hornsby, the History Society and School dance and a trip to Stratford upon Avon

Memories of Miss Hornsby, the History Society and School dance and a trip to Stratford upon Avon

Stuart Heatherington, who left Dame Allan's in 1972, shares with us three things which stand out from his school days.
16 Aug 2022
Written by Katherine Leonard
Boys' School Staff, pictured in 1969
Boys' School Staff, pictured in 1969

Memories of Miss Hornsby, Rev. David Johnson, the School History Society, the School dance, Mr Smith and a trip to Stratford upon Avon

1. I started Dame Allan’s in the mixed class of Lower 2 before girls and boys were separated into respective senior schools where the redoutable Miss Hornsby, who was our form teacher, wore thick round spectacles - not unlike Harry Potter. She had our best interests at heart, but at the time it felt like we were ruled with a rod of iron. At the start of each term we had to bring brown paper to wrap around any school book covers to maintain their pristine condition. However, more unusually we were asked to bring in furniture polish and a duster as she would insist we polish our desks!

My parents moved house from Benton to Ponteland during that year. Many of us travelled home on the then No.5 bus from Brighton Grove to Darras Hall. So it was amusing for us when we had an end of term school trip to Kirkley Hall just outside Ponteland and then Northumberland college of Agriculture. On this occasion Miss Hornsby insisted we all took travel sickness tablets before departure in case any pupil was prone to vomit in the hired coach!

One more Miss Hornsby anecdote. Some of us joined the school Scout group, 72nd Newcastle and Scout camps were always in Scotland. I remember Miss Hornsby insisting we bring in our sleeping bags for her to inspect prior to travelling in order to see if they were of a suitable quality. Not like today’s children whose parents are required to drop them off at school in the early hours for a trip - we were dropped off in the evening and then we slept in our sleeping bags on the hard parquet wood floor of the school hall! We had breakfast in Crawfords on Princes St before 7.30am which set us up for onward travel. I recall a steam train from Inverness to our destination of Achnashellach in Glen Affric!


2.Like many school children we had our own circle of friends, cliquey and somewhat eccentric and one of them was the late lamented Reverend David Johnson who studied Theology and became President of the Cambridge University Union before going on to have a colourful career in the Church of England. David wasn’t a typical Geordie boy, he had a very clipped accent rather like P G Woodhouse’s Bertie Wooster and he always wore a waistcoat where he kept his half hunter watch, sometimes he’d sport a monocle rather than wear glasses. One morning there was an inquest by the Headmaster Barry Harvey at assembly as to which boys were responsible for putting David into a large dustbin upside down!

David chaired the DABS school History Society and despite me failing Maths O Level four times, he appointed me Treasurer of said society. One memorable coach trip David organised was to visit obscure churches and chapels in the wilds of Northumberland, somehow managing to persuade the coach driver to stop at as many pubs as possible along the way. A fun day out with not much history as I recall!

In the Sixth Form there was an annual school dance where boys got to meet the girls from whom we were normally segregated in almost apartheid fashion! David Johnson took it upon himself to organise this highlight in the school calendar. The Newsom Hall was decorated with all sorts of garlands, adornments and other accoutrements. A few weeks later I was suddenly asked to see the Head - the ever stern Barry Harvey. I can remember literally quaking in my boots as I knocked on his door. He told me he’d received a huge outstanding unpaid bill which I was totally unaware of. This was due to David who, in his renowned extravagance, had ordered a quarter of a mile of crêpe paper from The Kensington Karnival company for the school dance! I pleaded my ignorance and managed to get away without being caned or other admonishment.

The History Society in 1972

3. My final recollection took place while studying A Level English Literature. "Ed" Eric Smith, our affable English master, took us by train to Stratford upon Avon for a few days of non-stop Shakespeare plays at the RSC theatre whilst staying in a modest guesthouse.

On our last day we were allowed a free afternoon from Shakespeare. Ed Zappa, as he was dubbed by us, advised us to do something constructive with our time, perhaps visit Shakespeare’s birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s cottage or Warwick Castle. We listened to this advice attentively but then decided to go and see our first X rated film at a sleazy cinema. Despite being underage, we managed to get a half pint of beer each afterwards at the Dirty Duck pub on the riverside!


Stuart Heatherington (1972)

We'd love to hear about your school days. Please email Katherine Leonard to share your memories.


Similar stories

Bill (pictured) and his wife have now settled in Canada

As the Dame Allan's community prepares to mark Remembrance Day, former pupil Bill Greenwell shares his wartime schoolboy memories. More...

Fowberry Crescent 1955

Brian Dale, who left Dame Allan's in 1955, shares his memories of school meals, swimming lessons and a memorable day More...

Boys' School Staff, pictured in the 1970s. Keith Moodie is front row, far left seated.

Stephen Morrall, who attended Dame Allan's from 1965-72, shares his memories of languages, Music and Drama and the teachers who inspired him. More...


Dame Allan's Schools
Fowberry Cres, Fenham
Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 9YJ


Contact Details

0191 275 1500


Discover @DameAllans

This website is powered by