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A Grammar Grub

by Michael Boweren

  I was born on 9th June 1944, just three days after the D-Day Landings, in what was then Upton Nursing Home. My parents lived at the time in Diamond Road, which was behind the gasworks. As I understand it we moved soon after VE day to a place known as "The Camp" in Cippenham Lane. Apparently it had been a transit camp for soldiers prior to the Normandy invasion and home was a Nissen Hut. It was home until 1950 and I have some fond if distant memories of the wild life living in country, surrounded by fields and trees. Rationing was still in force but my father kept chickens and rabbits and tended a kitchen garden so food was never a problem. In 1950 we moved into a brand new council house on the Priory Estate, just south of Burnham village. After early schooling in Montem, then Cippenham I graduated to Priory Junior School as soon as it opened. We were looked after by Headmaster Spolton and his team...I particularly remember Harold Spencer with is amazing head of hair! Life really began in 1955, when having passed the 11+, I became a Grammar Grub (a not so affectionate title bestowed upon pupils at Slough Grammar School). Every morning I would catch the bus which took us to Slough through the Trading Estate past some of the early multinationals, the likes of Westons Biscuits, Mars, Citroën, Aspro Nicholas, Johnson & Johnson...Little did we know just how important our town was becoming for future generations With hindsight, I now realise what an amazing opportunity we were given to be part of such a great school...if only I had taken full advantage of it. Our Headmaster, Dr Wilfrid R V Long (The Hopper) ruled with a bendy cane and was as keen on sporting prowess as he was on academics. He was backed by a team of real characters all of whom has our interests at heart..."Lottie" Collins, "Dagwood" Binstead,"Jock" McCabe and many, many more. It was not until I had left school that I came to terms with what Dr Long had given us all. As a result, many of the former boys went on to illustrious careers. I can think of the Timms brothers, Colin and Clive, Phil Hinchcliffe all of whom combined sporting talents with academic distinction which was to stand them in good stead for their future. Living in Slough, we were all caught up in a dynamic which spurred us onwards and upwards, our school motto was after all "Ad Astra", perhaps so as to fend off those "friendly" bombs which John Betjeman would have fall on Slough. It was sometime later that I heard the greatest compliment that anyone could have paid to our alma mater...when an Old Etonian told me that his prestigious school was known by the inverted snobs among its pupils as Slough Grammar School.

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