School show

Even Latin Masters could show their funny side when on stage at the school show.
Cowley boys school, St.Helens, later 1970s.

Substitute teacher

Cowley High School. Mixed 6th form class sometime between 1978 and 1980. Our master was away so we got to revise our coursework as the substitute teacher carried on reading his paper (no doubt lifted from his break period in the staff room).

No talking at the back of the class.

French lesson in progress, Crowley boys school 1977 or 1978. Unseen by the teacher I got out my Zenith E camera and took a few shots. The shutter was loud so I’m not sure how I managed to take more than one before the teacher noticed but there are two adjacent negatives rather than one.

I generally sat at the back of the class to avoid being noticed too much by the teachers. Not that I was up to no good, I just didnt think of myself as academic. Taking photographs seemed meaningful though my activities seemed not to really register with others. I’m glad I took the picture as I dont think there are many images of live classrooms from the period, true documentary.

A later documentary project of a Nottingham school allowed me to take similar images of a real life lessons in a private boys school but the difference was I was there as an outsider and conspicuous, here I was part of the scene.

Ray French

Friday 21st April 1978, quite a busy day for me, shortly after taking the class pictures in the quad at Cowley boys school I photographed Ray French demonstrating rugby techniques. This was for a book he was writing on the subject.

Mr French was my English teacher (not to be confused with my French teacher who was Irish ). Before being a teacher Ray French was a top level rugby player (both codes) as well as subsequent work as a BBC radio commentator for the sport. He has a wikipedia page here.

Other pictures from this session were to be my first published work in book form, my only previous published work being a news item in the local paper.