The Maltonian Web


Gordon Bratt

A tribute from The Maltonian July 1971


Mr. Gordon Bratt, our Head of Geography, retired from teaching in April. He was near the age when he could think of retirement; after undergoing a severe operation he accepted medical advice to retire now rather than to risk damaging his health. So ends a long and deeply personal association with M.G.S.; Mr. Bratt, who was for a short period a pupil of the School, had taught here since 1947.

To Mr. Bratt himself his retirement will seem the departure fromSchool of one of the "old guard." Whenever he referred to himself in terms of this sort, he was speaking half with pride and half defensively; it is worthwhile to reflect why. He was soberly proud, and no one more deservingly, of the high standards of service and conscientiousness which he had striven to bring to his teaching and to his pastoral duties at school: the tidiness of his room and the good behaviour of scholars in it reflected the pupils' willing acceptance of what Mr. Bratt expected of them. When he spoke defensively of himself as "an ordinary sort of chap on the whole," it was because he knew himself to be in one sense luckier than his younger colleagues. The son of a Methodist Minister, he had imbibed Christian ideals of conduct before that new questioning of morality arrived which begins sincerely but often seems to end by being purely destructive. Mr. Bratt never saw any reason to change these ideals, for he felt instinctively that they were right.

For the School, having Mr. Bratt on the Staff meant that here was a point of stability, a man who in his natural simplicity and modesty embodied quiet and civilized communication between fellow-seekers after knowledge. The term "generation gap" seemed shallow to him, for there is no gap between people of however different ages who agree to pursue a common quest. On their part our scholars were happy in the realization that they were acquiring in Geography and Modern History a sound and thorough foundation, useful to them alike as citizens and as future students and teachers.

In his younger days Mr Bratt played a large part in the School's out-of-class life: he was for many years the leader of an excellent School Scout Troop, he was prominent in our Music, he supported many a keen scholar photographer.  These two latter enthusiasms, music and photography, no doubt will play a large part in his retirement.

The Staff room will miss his stout championship of old-established values; the scholars, many generations of them, will remember with affection this master whose aim was simply to do a good job without fuss.

We wish him a long and happy retirement punctuated by frequent visits to see how his old colleagues are "coping with Comprehension.