Updated 2020[!] based on John Palmer's CD archive!

Retford Grammar School

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Retford Grammar School with Photos and History

Click on a section to VIEW the 1954 Panorama PHOTO of all the pupils and staff on the front lawn, with many names (can you add more?).


Description of section



Pictures of the school, and webmaster's memories


School History

Extracts from published works about the near-700 year history of the school


Description 1818

Details of the school in 1818, and including another description for 1552, including the Timetable and the Syllabus during the reign of its founder, King Edward V1.


Founder's Portrait

The portrait of King Edward VI, donated in 1904, its past locations and history


School Photos

A collection of photos of the school, inside and outside.


Old School

Photos taken 1900-25, showing the old buildings...


Retford of the Antarctic

Retford Grammar School's connection with the South Pole and Captain Scott. Researched by Sam Curtis of Retford.


KEGS to Kites

ex-King Edward VI Grammar School boys and the Flying Services during World War One. Researched by Sam Curtis of Retford.


NAB Huey 1914-17

A biography of Nelson Alexander Brian Huey (1902-1972), at RGS 1914-17, by his grandson Dale Huey


Robin Hood

"The English schoolboy's Epic" by P.E. "Boss" Hammond, Art master at RGS 1916-1949. There are over 800 lines of verse.


WW1 Memorial

Memorial for Great War 1914-18 listing 44 ex-pupils who died.


The Fives Court

A landmark at the bottom of the field, where a painful kind of hand-tennis was sometimes played.


Gerald Walsh 1929-36

Memories at RGS 1929-36 by Gerald Walsh (1919-2010)


Clarence Braithwaite 1931-37

Application, Invoice and School Handbook


Panorama 1933

Pupils and masters of the school in 1933.


David Dickinson 1940-47

David Dickinson sends a description of life at RGS during the War, and a list of some boys and masters he remembers.


Joe Almond 1941-49

Joe Almond sends pictures and description of life at RGS during the war, with women teachers and sharing the school with evacuee Yarmouth G.S.


Gerry Brooks 1941-43,47-49

Gerry Brooks sends a description of life at RGS during and after the war.


Roy Cordall 1942-49

Roy Cordall (1942-49) sends pictures, description and exam papers of his stay at RGS, during and after the war.


WW2 Memorial

Memorial for 1939-45 War listing 36 ex-pupils who died.


Panorama 1947

Pupils and masters of the school in 1947.


James Lees 1947-50

James 'Dickie' Lees (1947-50) sends memories and photographs


Exam papers 1949

Exam papers set for the 1949 Higher School Certificate, taken at the age of 18 at the end of Secondary Education.
(Because of memory size, this only works on CD).


John Frankland 1949-54

John Frankland (1949-54) sends memories and pictures of his time at Retford.


Admissions 1950-60

Details of pupils joining 1950-60, and the catchment area for the Grammar School.


Class of 1951

Details of 60 pupils joining RGS on 6 Sep 1951


Panorama 1951

Pupils and masters of the school in 1951.


John Palmer 1951-58

John Palmer (1951-58), the webmaster, writes what he can remember of a vivid 10% of his life at RGS.


French Trip

John Palmer's first published effort.


Roger Kemp 1951-58

18 photos of school life taken by Roger Kemp


Ian McIntosh 1951-59

Ian sends these Memories of his time at Retford


Richard Allsopp 1952-8

Richard Allsopp (1952-58) sends information about his stay at RGS.


Manoli Rigg 1953-57

Manoli Rigg has passed away in Greece recently He lived near the webmaster in Worksop and was a good friend. Mike Garrs, a friend of Manoli's, sends these photos and documents in memory.


Peter Burton 1953-60

Peter Burton (1953-60) sends memories of his stay at RGS.


Masters in 1954

Masters who taught the webmaster 1951-58. Pictures, subjects and nicknames.


Mr Bernard Beasley, Physics

Bernard Beasley taught Physics at Retford from 1925-1962. His sudden death while Second Master was a shock to all. His interests given in obituaries.


Panorama 1954

Pupils and masters of the school in 1954.


John Dernie 1955-62

John Dernie (1955-62) sends memories of his stay at RGS.


Panorama 1957

Pupils and master of the school in 1957


The Roof Expedition 1957

Four boys climb on the school roof one night and leave chairs on the summit as evidence of their ascent. A full photo record from 1957


Exam Papers 1958

Exam papers set for the 1958 Scholarship Level, taken at the age of 18 by some pupils at the end of Secondary Education.
(Because of memory size, this only works on CD).


John Olsen 1959-63

John Olsen (1959-63) sends form pictures of his 4 years at RGS, with many names.


Panorama 1960

Pupils and masters of the school in 1960


Geoff Hughes 1960-65

Geoff Hughes (1960-65) sends scans of teams, form photos, the School List and Prefects Duties. The List dated Sep 1964 has all 419 pupils with their form, age and House.


Rocket Research

The British Amateur Rocket Research Association, set up in the VI form in 1962 by Tom Randall et al. BARRA's honorary president was renowned rocket engineer Wernher Von Braun!


Panorama 1963

Pupils and masters of the school in 1963


Mike Dunstan 1964-71

Mike Dunstan (1964-71) sends a scan of a form Panorama and memories.


Steve Hill 1965-71

Steve Hill (1965-71) sends scans of form photos, Panorama photos and memories.


Panorama 1966

Pupils and masters of the school in 1966




An outline of the school magazine 1950-60


Retfordian on CD

Scans of each page of the school magazine 1914-61.
(Because of memory size, this only works on CD).


Speech Day on CD

Scans of the booklet issued for each Speech Day, containing details of prizes, examination results, sporting cups, and exam results of Old Retfordians at the Universities.
(Because of memory size, this only works on CD).


School from the Air

Two aerial photos of the school, 1973 and 2004.


Retirement Village

Retford Times reports the sale of the old School Site for development as a "Retirement Village for the over 55s". Some "Then and now" photos are included to indicate the magnitude of the job.


Retford School Buildings 2014

School Buildings 2014, taken by photographer Jasmine Wang.

The famous CD is temporarily not available (John himself no longer has a working email account) but we do have a copy of its contents which should appear on this site in time.

If you have pictures and memories to add, we will be soon asking for these and you'll be able to send them to a new email address oldretfordians@gmail.com

    Hello Folks,

    I was raised in Worksop and passed my 11+ exam in 1951. Only 5 passed from 60 at my Primary school. There was much joy in the family when they learned I was going to Retford Grammar School, but I was scared stiff on the first day. Almost everyone was bigger than me and there were no girls at all. The prefects were unsympathetic and frightening near-adults.

    In 1958 I left RGS to go to University. I was now the tallest pupil at RGS, a prefect, the best at Squash and throwing the javelin, and even the best at Physics as well. My whole physical and mental condition had changed out of all rcognition in just 7 years. From being bullied by everyone few now dared to touch me. I sharpened my wits by competing academically against my peers and betters.

    The masters and pupils who filled much of my waking day are shown in this panoramic photo taken in July 1954. I had been addicted to steam-train spotting and so did poorly in class. In 1954 my parents told me to give up train spotting and work hard at school instead. When the photo was taken, I had just come near the top of the class, and with ten more boys skipped the 4th forms entirely and moved into "Junior Fifth" as an experiment. We got individual tuition in the class of only 10, and did well academically as a result.

    We made fun of our masters behind their backs, but respected them for the knowledge they had. They all wore collars and ties and academic gowns. They were the 'source of all knowledge' for us. These odd-looking men introduced us to some of the great secrets of life: how calculus works, the language of Shakespeare, how carbon atoms join, and discovery by inductive reasoning.

    Today all the masters have gone and most of the boys are contemplating retirement. Many have raised families and some are now grandfathers. The great wheel of life has turned and a new generation feels the thrill and despair of Youth. I look at this photo of my life 53 years ago and say to myself "What I owe you is beyond compare".

    John Palmer now living in Dorset, England
    contact me on:

    Updated 20 May 2007

Compiled, formatted, hyperlinked, encoded, and copyright © 2007, All Rights Reserved.