The Maltonian Web

Maltonians' Memories

Denise Barty

February 2002 Denise Barty wrote in February 2002, in response to the questionnaire published in the January newsletter.

Were you a pupil or teacher or other member of staff at any of the Malton Secondary Schools?

I was born December 9th 1922 at 15 Middlecave Road (in those days it was known as Claremont Terrace). My parents, Alfred & Gladys Barty had moved to Malton after the first world war from London. They had 2 daughters, Pamela, 3 years older than Denise. My father taught history, geography & music at the grammar school & eventually was appointed senior assistant master; he was my form master the last 2 years I was at school.

I started at M.G.S. at the beginning of the summer term 1934 so I was in form 1 for five terms. I was never the top of the class but apart from latin & maths I enjoyed most of the lessons, especially domestic science. I enjoyed playing my cello in the school orchestra & at concerts held in the Milton rooms. My father was the instigator of the orchestra & he was very pleased when a new science master, Ken Beverly joined the staff as he played the violin & viola. Later a new English teacher arrived & she, too, played the cello. Some of the happiest memories I have are the evenings we had a house party & at the end of Christmas term we had a fancy dress party, which was great fun. Very often my parents would have a girl friend from my sisters form & one from my form who would be "put up for the night', half the fun was wearing our party frocks,  (long ones) when you became a senior & changing in my bedroom where a coal fire was burning was considered a great luxury. Kathleen (Brayshaw) always reminds me of these times when I hear from her at Christmas!

If you don’t mind us contacting you, please give an address..

My name was Denise Frances Barty, now Mrs. Weston. I was married in April 1947 to Tom Weston (not from Malton) We have 1 daughter. I am still in touch with fellow O.M's, even if only at Christmas, & some have visited me though I have lived in Dorset since 1968, in Blandford Forum. Since I became a widow in 1987 I have lived in a small flat attached to my daughter & son in law's house.

Which version(s) of the School?

I was at the school, when it was Malton Grammar School & there were about 150 pupils there!! Even my mother knew all their names in those days.

What was your schoolday like - what subjects did you study and where (which rooms - can you describe them)?

School started at 9a.m. with prayers in the hall. Dinner was from 12-30 to 1-30 (I think). Hometime was 4pm. If any teachers or pupils had to wait for a bus or train they would often pop in for a cup of tea with Mrs. Barty. By the time I went to M.G.S. we had moved from 15 Claremont Terrace & were living at "West Lea", Middlecave Rd. next door but one to the school  The subjects we took were maths, rural science, (the lab. was next to the masters room, later it became the geography room when a new lab was built on the 4th side of the quadrangle. In 1936 (I think) the school had these extensions built and new showers & changing rooms for the boys & girls. Also a new gym near the cricket pavilion. I have already sent some photos. History & geography taught by Mr. Barty, English literature & grammar by Mr. Rolls, domestic science  (woodwork for the boys), singing, (Mr.Barty), French (Miss Foley, later Miss Orr) Science, Mr Williams (then Mr. Beverly who later went into the army in the war), art, Miss Douthwaite (never took her hat off)! Later Miss Fraser

Were you in a play(s) or a concert? Can you give dates (say Month and/or Year)

I was a fairy in the 1934 version of "The Tempest" in July, acted on the lovely grassy stage by the front entrance to the school. Now a car park I believe. I have already mentioned playing my cello in concerts. Usually in September at prize giving.

Did you play in a sports team? Who were the opposition? How far did you travel to fulfil fixtures?

I never played in any sports team. Matches would be at Lady Lumley's Pickering, Bar Convent at York & a school at Scarborough

Were you Head Boy or Girl, or prefect? If so, what were your duties, and who was your co-Head?

I was never a prefect. But did become a patrol leader in the guides, went to camp in August 1940 at Howsham Hall. For a week & we had to sleep in a barn as the war was on!

What House were you in?

I was in Holgate house.

What about holidays? What did you do, how long did you get?

Summer holidays were from end of July to early September. We always went to London for 2 weeks to see my mothers relations & then to Bournemouth for 2 weeks to see my paternal grandparents. We stayed at home for Christmas fortnight. The school broke up for a fortnight at Easter and we would go either to the Dales or to Goathland and stay at a farmhouse.


What happened at dinnertime - school dinner, or home? What was on the menu?

I have said that I always went home for my dinner, but the children from the country would either bring sandwiches or have the dinner provided and cooked by Mrs. Barker, the wife of George Barker who was the gardener. At lunch break at 10-30 we went to get our third of a pint of milk in the kitchen straight from the bottle drunk through a straw. There was also a tuck box where you could buy crisps and sweets.

What games did you play at breaktimes?

We would play tag, skipping, whip and top at playtime.

What type of exams did you take - School certificate, O-level, A-level, CSE, GCSE, - any others?

The first important exam was school certificate, sat for when in form four. Then there was matriculation and when in form six you sat for higher.

Are there any staff you have particular fond memories of? Any anecdotes?

My father taught history, geography, music. Mr. Williams, known as TAW, like my father was on the staff for about 36 years. Having served at Gallipoli in the first World War. His subject was agricultural science, and maths. He was the deputy head until 1936 when the headmaster, Mr Watt, died suddenly. Bruce Rolls - 'sos', as he was affectionately called, taught English, some Latin, and was games master, he was very popular, was educated at M.G.S., went to Leeds University and returned to the school in the early 1930's and taught there until he died suddenly in the early 1960's. Before 1934, Miss Slipper was P.T. for girls, replaced by Miss Fraser in 1934, when there was an inspection and several changes took place. Miss Orr replaced Miss Foley as French teacher. Mr. Bruin replaced Miss Turner for maths. Miss Cornforth took domestic science for the girls, Mr. Mudge replaced Mr. Metcalf, who, with Miss Slipper travelled from Whitby 3 days a week. Miss Cornforth had replaced Miss Tompkins who eventually married a Malton solicitor.

Do you remember any nicknames?

Mr. Bruce Rolls was a favourite, he was games master for the boys and the scout master. Nicknames I have mentioned in a previous passage. Ann Cornforth took over the guides in 1937 or approximately. She was popular. Mr. Barty, my dad, Mr. Rolls and Miss Orr were good disciplinarians, but Mr. Bruin had hard work controlling a form so did Miss Turner, who took junior maths. The boys would pass reels of cotton across the aisles between the desks and then a pupil at the back of the form room would ask the unfortunate teacher a question & have every one in giggles as he/she would get entangled in the cotton. Another trick was to tie a girls hair in plaits to the back of her desk chair, so when she stood up she pulled her own hair. About nicknames amongst the pupils, any boy whose surname was Grice was immediately dubbed 'coggy'. One boy from Wetwang was Canock Brown. My dad was sometimes referred to as 'abba' his initials were for Alfred Barty and the BA for Batchelor of Arts. Sometimes he was referred to as 'old Bart". Mr Thomas Arthur Williams was mostly named as TAW.

Did you wear uniform? What was it - any rebellious variations?

Yes we wore uniform and were proud of it. In winter the girls wore a navy tunic over a pale blue blouse - these were white before the 1930's. Navy tie, grey stockings, which were preferred to the black woollen ones. Black shoes, navy gabardine or overcoat and before the 1930's a round hat which had a flap on the top coloured red for Holgate; yellow for Carlisle, Green for Willoughby, and blue for Fitzwilliam. After 1934 these were not issued anymore, and the headgear for girls was a navy beret. The boys wore either blue or white shirts, navy blazer with M.G.S. monogram on the pocket and navy caps which had 3 light blue circles on it and a M.G.S. monogram. I do not recall any rebellious variations when I was at school from 1934 to 1940.

Is there anything else you can tell us that might help put the history of the schools together?

I thought I had seen a heading re school outings. But I cannot see it now. However I must mention that the idea of schools in England swapping some pupils on the continent was instigated by my father. In 1930 Mr. Barty, Mr. Williams and Miss Foley took a party of about 20 senior children to France for a week. It was also agreed to allow any senior to stay in each other's home for a month. I recall my father staying with a Belgium family near Arras. Pamela's 'swap' was a 13 year old girl called Jeanne. In 1935, 1 think, a second trip was organised by Mr. Barty to go to Belgium for a week at Easter, I know I did not go that time but I did go the next time with Dad, Mr. Williams, Mr. Beverley, and  Miss Orr. We went to the battle fields at Vimy ridge to the Isle of Walcheren, where the inhabitants were all dressed in their native costumes, went to Middleburgh, had tea at Flushing where TAW met a soldier he had known during World War 1. And we had a day at Brussels. We spent a night in London before catching the 'Coronation' train at King's Cross and back to Malton. Mr. Barty organised several day trips for the senior pupils. We went to Needlers sweet factory at Hull, to Recketts blue works at Hull and to a colliery at Featherstone and bottle works at Knottingley. Another 'outing' was to the Glasgow exhibition in 1938. We left Malton station about 4 a.m. It was a lovely day and we enjoyed looking at all the exhibits. We got back to Malton about 4 a.m. the next day.

I have really enjoyed this trip down 'memory lane', though it has been repeated in places.