The Old Almondburians' Society
OAS Written Archive
Written archive 1946-1954

The Written Archive summarises, in their own words, the careers and other activities of former pupils of King James ’s School. If you would like us to add YOUR details, please click here.
A. Hull (1946-1949)
After qualifying worked locally for the West Riding County Architects and Kirklees Architects. Now retired chartered architect. Married. Two daughters, five grandchildren. Have attended several re-unions of year 44.

Colin Robson (1946-1953)
After gaining a degree in physics at Manchester University in 1956, I trained as a teacher at King ’s College London. I then taught electronics in the RAF as an Education Officer at No 1 Radio School, RAF Locking in Somerset for three years. This was followed by teaching physics at Colfe ’s Grammar School in London for five years, ending up as head of science. For four of these years I studied for a degree in psychology in the evenings at Birkbeck College, University of London. On graduation I accepted a post as lecturer in Experimental Psychology at the college and lectured there for five further years while completing a doctorate.

In 1971 I became the first Head of Education at the newly created Huddersfield Polytechnic with responsibility for the training of school teachers. Following the development of new courses in psychology and sociology I moved over to become in charge of a Behavioural Sciences Department. I was then appointed to a Readership with mainly research responsibilities and since the 1980 ’s have directed a series of nationally funded research projects mainly in the field of special educational needs.

I was appointed as one of the first Professors at the then Polytechnic and became Director of Postgraduate Programmes at Huddersfield University in 1990 and led a Masters Course in Social Research and Evaluation. I retired from my full-time post in 1995 and was honoured as an Emeritus Professor of the University in 2002.

In semi-retirement I acted for ten years as chief consultant to a major international project on the education of children with disabilities, learning difficulties and social disadvantages under the auspices of the Centre for Research and Innovation of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris. This was followed by a consultancy with Eurostat, the statistical arm of the European Community on the same topic. I also continue an involvement in the supervision of research students and writing books on carrying out applied social research.

My wife Pat and I celebrated our Golden Wedding anniversary some years ago. We have two children, five grandchildren and a great-grandson. While in Huddersfield we lived for over thirty happy years at Kirkroyd in St. Helen’s Gate, built on the site of the chantry which was moved down the hill to form the original grammar school. We moved eleven years ago to Bath to down-size and be closer to family.


REGGIE BYRAM (1946-54)
I entered the school after the war and made friendships that endure to this day.

After school, I served two years of National Service, as a non-combatant. Then, being idealistic, I trained as a nurse at Storthes Hall Hospital, Kirkburton. After six years, which I enjoyed, I turned to education. I qualified as a teacher and taught for five years in FE in Leeds.

In 1970 I applied to the Ministry of Overseas Development and was sent to Zambia. I worked as HOD English in a secondary school and in teacher training. Toward the end of my six years in Zambia, I married Hope, and we have enjoyed a wonderful marriage.

In 1977, again through the Ministry of Overseas Development, we went to Botswana., and stayed for twelve years. On our return, I worked as a lecturer at Bolton University (then an Institute), teaching English to foreign and Commonwealth students studying for the Master's degree.

I have had published many textbooks - for Anglophone Africa, Turkey and China - and novels (the latter usually under pseudonyms) from Macmillan, Pearson International imprints, Continuum and   Profile Books. My best-selling novel has been Dead Men Don't Talk by John Tembo from Pearson/Heinemann. If you want to sell in Africa, you need an African pseudonym.

My wife and I still live in Huddersfield. We have three adult children who are all doing well in their chosen professions. My one regret is that I can no longer play badminton and tennis at the school.

My contact address is reggie.byram@gmail.com


Fred Shaw (1946-1954)
From school studied at Manchester University and graduated in Electrical Engineering 1957. Seconded to defence research work in lieu of military service until 1962. Worked in industrial automation at GEC and Thorn Electrical Industries until 1975. Involved in the Fire Protection Industry from 1975 based at the company Gent in Leicester. Managing Director for 6 years then Business Development Director for a group of associated companies worldwide until retirement from full time work in 1995. Continued involvement in British and European Trade Associations for a number of years. Still active as a trustee of the Fire Service Research and Training Trust. I am a fellow of the Institute of Engineering Technology, a Freeman of the Company of Firefighters and a Freeman of the City of London. In 1959 married Muriel, a Greenhead pupil who I met on the No. 30 trolleybus on the way to school. We have two children and three grandchildren. Retirement hobbies are canal boating and race horse ownership in partnerships with fellow old boy Ian Shaw.

David Bradley (1946-1952)
I trained in the electricity supply industry, taking the part-time route to professional qualifications as an engineer. Apart from two years in the Royal Air Force, I worked for the whole of my career in electricity generation. Having been drawn into the Scout movement I worked for some years with young people and then became as Assistant County Commissioner training adults for 18 years. I am retired now, with a wife, two daughters and five grandchildren. There is still time for a few voluntary jobs though!

Michael Sykes (1946-1954)
There were four Sykes boys in my year (A.E., I.M., J.M. and R.I.) and I’m the J.M.! After leaving School I did National Service in the RAF for a couple of years before reading Forestry at Oxford, the result being a First Class honours degree and a few prizes after the 4-year course. Susan Pearson (Royds Hall) & I were married in 1960, three days before leaving for Canada where I had a one year Beaverbrook Fellowship at the University of New Brunswick. This resulted in a Master ’s degree and then a job with the Ontario Government working on various forestry research projects. We stayed in Ontario for three years, after which we returned to the Forestry Dept in Oxford, with our small son, where I did research on tree physiology and Sue produced a daughter. After three years, a job offer at a Research Station in Grange-over-Sands (a town of which we had never heard) with the Natural Environment Research Council led us to the fringe of the Lake District, where our second son was born and where we have lived happily ever since. I was involved in ecological research and research management, travelling to many parts of the world, as well as singing in choirs, playing golf, gardening, walking, running a local charity, and enjoying life. Now thirteen years into retirement everything is much the same, except less work and less money.

Roger Ian Sykes (1946-1953)
For any friends from my schooldays who want a few lines of update since I retired:
*I have been secretary of the local village hall for 7 years hard labour!
*Wraxall and Failand Councillor for 8 years, Chairman for the last two.
*Steam railway enthusiast, building locomotives, helping to maintain and run a passenger hauling railway, working two days a week plus Sunday Open Days in summer – anyone visiting Bristol will be guaranteed an enjoyable time, we take an average of 2000 passengers a day.
Such is the retired life of an ‘old engineer’, but it is rewarding to explain and demonstrate the power of steam propulsion to a very much younger generation.

David Earles (1947-1952)
In November 1952 joined Martins Bank, Huddersfield. 1954-1956 National Service with RAF active service June 1955/Dec1956 at RAF Butterworth, Malaya. 1957-1966 Re-joined Martins Bank at Huddersfield and nearby branches, qualifying as ACIB. Married Pat Easter (Ex Longley Hall GS and Ex Martins Bank) in 1960. Son Graham born 1965, played soccer for OAS throughout this period. 1966-1993 Transferred to Cheshire, living in Wilmslow 11 years and Marple 17 years. During this period up to retirement, served as bank inspector for Martins Bank and Barclays Bank respectively (merger 1969). Then branch manager at Barclays, Stalybridge, Winsford, Hyde and Altringham branches. 1994 to date following retirement, returned to live in New Mill, Holmfirth. Until 2003 owned a holiday home in Florida, USA.

Norris Bonser (1947-1954)
Mechanical Engineering degree at Leeds University. Worked at ICI (Huddersfield), David Brown Industries, Stone Platt Industries, Oldham Hansen Transmissions, Kent & Leeds BTR Industries and finally Brook Motors and retired in 1996. Was secretary of the OAS in the early 60 ’s.

Carl Stanley Goldsmith (1947-1955)
Deputy head boy in 1955. University College London 1955-1958. Solicitor in London firms 1961-1989. Solicitor in Hong Kong firm 1989-1992. Married Margaret in 1958, her father was headmaster at Netherton school, 3 daughters and 8 grandchildren. Main interests and hobbies now are Times crossword, Golf, Bridge and I am a life member of MCC.

Peter Clarke (1948-1956)
Since my last contact with the OAS, when I was one of the ‘class of 1948’ who attended the 1998 dinner, I have had no direct contact with Huddersfield. Our family are now living across the UK, Margaret and I have been living in the Isle of Man since 1997. We moved there after I took early retirement from my job as Principal of Harrogate College. Since then I have developed another ‘career’ as a management consultant with clients in the Isle of Man, North West England and The Channel Islands. I keep saying each year that I will retire, but never actually do anything about it. However, the fact that I have just reached 70 and have bought a 2nd home in France might prove to be a catalyst! I received letters from John Dyson and John Earnshaw (members of the 1948 brigade) following my 70th birthday and hope to meet up with them and other friends from the past at the 2008 dinner.

John Earnshaw (1948-1956)
The OAS Magazine (September – February 2008) is a masterpiece. Hence, public appreciation to Vicky Taylor and all those who are working towards a joyful 400th.

What better ‘warm up’ for November, details of an imaginative programme, recognition of ‘The School’ today, a variety of photographs, a touching tribute to Jessica Taylor and – to remind us of change! – details of www.oas.org.uk (yes, it does merit more than a peep!).

When you live over 150 miles away (and some are much further than that), are 70 years beyond birth and over 50 years from KJGS, it would be folly to pretend that one was flavour of the month just for going to Stamford Bridge to bemoan the 1 – 3 scoreline! However, Andrew Haigh and a team of dedicated committee members, some of whom are also over 70, have ensured that 400 years will not be forgotten by hundreds of former lads who did the daily down & up of St. Helen’s Gate in years gone by.

So, to officers, committee members, envelope stuffers et al, thank you. God willing at least one further trip to the old school will be more than worthwhile. I ’ll keep taking the tablets and keep fingers crossed!

John GeoffreY Watts (1948-1953)
I could not wait to leave school in September 1953 and rushed out into the world with my three GCEs but without an idea in my head as to what my future direction would be. In common with many of my contemporaries I became apprenticed as a fitter at William Whiteley in Swan Lane, Lockwood. At this firm I did all the things that apprentices did, swept floors, made tea, fetched and carried sandwiches, chips and cigarettes, occasionally fitting in a little fitter ’s work. The princely wages that I earned at this job were not enough to keep me in any style at all and certainly not one to which I wanted to become accustomed. Following the advice of Ian Tunnicliffe I changed jobs and went to work at Washpit Mills in Holmfirth. Here I would learn a skill that in later life would enable me to recognise all the locations in “Last of the Summer Wine” and little else. Now a definite uplift in my life came when the Queen changed my life and invited me to join her Royal Air Force. First as a National Serviceman and later extending my service as a regular. During my time with the “mob” I served in many stations in the UK, Aden, Germany, Cyprus and the Far East. Along the way I collected a wife, two sons and a daughter and we left the RAF in 1973 to live and work in Stockport for a firm of engineers. Unfortunately I was released for alternative employment in 1989 (made redundant) and became a Technical Author at Vickers Shipbuilding in Barrow-in-Furness. The work involved writing the instruction manuals and other technical documentation that are needed by crews and maintainers of the Royal Navy ’s nuclear submarine fleet. One catchy title that comes to mind is “The Maceration, Compaction and Ejection of Submarine Garbage”, certainly a must for anybody’s bookshelf. Anyway as I became more senior in the job the common business practice of holding interminable meetings at which much was discussed but little decided led me to accept a voluntary redundancy package in 1993 and retire on my laurels. So now I have come full circle. Out in the world without an idea in my head as to what my future direction will be. I currently keep an interest in local history and affairs having published books on Vickers Built Submarines and Barrow Pubs. I delve into Family History and to be honest I do not know how I used to find time to go to work. I find it curious that having disliked my time at Almondbury Grammar School so much I am eager to meet again my former fellow internees at the 400th Anniversary Dinner. Floreat Schola Almondburiensis to you all.

David M. Hirst (1949-1957)
On leaving school I read chemistry at Oxford and stayed on to do research for a D. Phil.  My tutor and research supervisor overlapped with Harry Taylor at St John’s College, Oxford where they both played cricket.  After Oxford I spent a year and a half in the Chemistry Department at Harvard.  While in the US I met Judy and we were married in Boston in July 1965. I took up an Assistant Lectureship in chemistry at Warwick University when it opened in October, 1965, and retired as Emeritus Reader in 2003.  As well as teaching in my own area of expertise in physical and theoretical chemistry, I taught maths for chemists and also computer skills.  In addition to being active in research in computational chemistry, I published three books:  Mathematics for Chemists, Potential Energy Surfaces, and A Computational Approach to Chemistry. Judy and I have lived in Leamington Spa since 1970.  We have three sons and five grandchildren.  We are very keen gardeners and have opened our garden for the National Gardens Scheme for charity.  We are very active in the local branch of the University of the Third Age.  Other interests include listening to orchestral and chamber music, reading and pottering around the countryside.

John Anthony Smith (1949-1957)
Nickname at school was Jaz. Graduated in Pharmacy at University of London. Joined University of Bradford, School of Pharmacy 1966 as Assistant Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and retired in November 2005 as Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, almost 40 years of UoB. Three children, Carolyne, Andrew and James. Enjoy supporting Huddersfield Town AFC in spirit, watching cricket in summer, gardening, walking and travelling.

Stuart W. Roebuck (1950-1955)
My Life – Edited Version:
1930s Born
1940s WWII & Junior School
1950s AGS & Work
1960s Marriage and parenthood
1970s University & Ordination (Methodist)
1980s Boarding School Chaplain and Teaching
1990s Boarding School Chaplain and Publishing
2000s Grandparenthood and Retirement
2010s To be arranged

Robert Anthony Bailey (1950-1955)
Chairman/Treasurer 59 (Huddersfield)
Secretary Royal Air Force Association (RADA) Huddersfield
President Huddersfield Commercial Travellers Association (HCTA)
Director and Shares Secretary – Marsh United Bowling Club Ltd (MUBC)
Now semi retired with two children and four grandchildren. Ex committee man for the OAS.

John David Jenkinson (1952-1957)
Joined Lloyds Bank in Milnsbridge in 1957, subsequently moved to Leeds for a management position, subsequently managed branches in Leeds, Sunderland and Carlise and retired in 1997 as Group Manager, Durham. Married since 1964, daughter Sara is now married with 3 children and living in Aberdeen. Pass the time with golf, gardening, allotment, fell walking and foreign holidays.

HENRY LAYCOCK (1953-1960)
Having gained a scholarship to the University of Oxford, I chose to study Philosophy, first as part of the Philosophy, Politics and Economics degree programme, and subsequently in the Philosophy, Psychology and Physiology Programme. I was then fortunate enough to take a position as Lecturer in Philosophy at Queen's University in Canada. Since that time I have been a Visting Fellow at Clare Hall in the University of Cambridge, and a Visting Professor at the University of Padua in Italy.

My area of specialisation includes the fields of semantics and metaphysics, in which I have a number of major publications. In 2006 I published Words without Objects with the Clarendon Press of Oxford University. The book attempts to advance our understanding of the difficult and theoretically important category of matter.

The education I received at King James's, particularly in physics and mathematics, was invaluable for my future career.

Barry De Boer (1953-1961)
BSc in Zoology at Sheffield University
Went into IT
Project Management roles across Europe
Wrote book “Project Skills” (Amazon)
Formed own consultancy company in 2002.

Gareth Lynn Davies (1954-1956)
Since leaving Almondbury I was educated in South Wales and Warwickshire, then Trinity College Cambridgeshire. I trained as a language teacher at Leeds University and taught French, Russian, German and Spanish in various secondary schools. At present I am tutoring adults in Welsh at a language centre and contemplating retirement.