BULLOCK, Phil (Beefy)

In 1973 Moseley Grammar School held a Festival to celebrate its Golden Anniversary. To mark the event a booklet was published, (a copy of which is available online now by searching the archive), which contained reminiscences from the staff and a fairly complete history of the school. The following is an extract written by Phil (Beefy) Bullock, who went on to be Deputy Head of Moseley School with John Lockwood until his retirement in the 1980’s. On retiring he moved to Cornwall, Penzance I believe, took up a second religious vocation and spent his remaining days administering to his flock..

Phil J Bullock Remembers…

Phil BullockFor me it all began at precisely 9 a.m. on a September day in 1947. Writes Phil Bullock former Deputy Head of Moseley School. I found the staff room and opened the door with no great confidence – there was but one man there. We eyed each other for a moment or two, then he said, ‘Good morning’ I acknowledged his greeting and asked where every one else might be. He replied that he had no idea, he was new too. During the next hour various shapes and sizes of staff drifted in, and we discovered that school began at 10 a.m. on the first day – no one had told us.

I soon contacted my head of department and, with the enthusiasm; of youth, asked for a copy of my time-table. He informed me that it was not ready and that I might as well sit and read the newspapers. This I did for about three weeks – incidentally, I have never found time, since that day, to sit and read newspapers at school!

On a Monday morning in October I received a slip of paper measuring 6″ x ?”, giving me a timetable for that day; Tuesday’s slip followed the next day, and so on, until, by Friday, I had a complete set. True to my recent college training I spent the weekend constructing a super copy for the week, including rooms and class subjects. On Monday I received a slip of paper 6″ x £” giving me an entirely new programme for that day’. I forget how long this went on, but I was fully employed by the end of October.

I had applied for a post as second teacher in the Biology department, but found myself teaching mostly chemistry and physics. This seemed to be the Moseley pattern; the head of biology was a geologist; the head of geography was a biologist; that of physics, a chemist; and that of history, a Latin specialist.

This principle, if it was such, extended to the sports field, and having discovered that I knew little of track events, and even less about rugby, I found myself in charge of a group of sprinters, and refereeing rugby matches.

If I must say that our academic results were very good, and we were one of the leading Midland schools in rugby and athletics. Perhaps it works if you take a reasonably capable person who has enthusiasm, and give him responsibility, he will l get good results.

If ‘Robin’ (E.H.Robinson), was headmaster, a charming man who had, in my view, two outstanding qualities. He was a perfect gentleman, in that he was courteous at all times, to both boys and his staff, and secondly, he would never listen to, nor act upon, gossip. Here I must pay tribute to ‘Robin’ who, as founder headmaster, built up a stable staff of loyal colleagues, and evoked that affection for the school which has become a major factor in its success.

The only out of school activities apart from games and athletics were the Cadet Corps, and the Dramatic Society. All the clubs which exist today (1973) were resurrected from pre-war days or had their birth after 1948. One hang-over from the war was the summer farm camp at Newbold on Stour. If Fifth and sixth year boys volunteered (!) for two week sessions through-out the summer holiday, and pairs of staff volunteered (!) to take charge. We slept on straw mattresses in marquees, erected by the army in the village green. The kitchen was another marquee, and the village hall served as a dining room by day and a club room in the evening. Boys left at 7.30 a.m. and worked on local farms until about 5.30 p.m. Two staff chores remain in my mind to this day. One was to get up at 6.30 a.m. and cut, by hand, some 280 slices of bread to make sandwich lunches for the workers. The other was going into an adjacent field, late at night, with a torch and a spade. The object was to find a freshly deposited heap, kindly supplied by the village bull. This material’, was then spread copiously, over al l the cracks and draught holes of the coke-fired, hot water boiler, which stood out on the green. This was the “Bill Whetton” method of preventing the fire from burning out over night and so depriving the boys of hot water washes the following morning. We took our cook and her assistant with us from Birmingham, and they did a splendid job, but the food was starchy, the table was clothless, and the cutlery and crockery strictly government surplus. After about 10 days of this we two staff decided to enjoy a brief moment of luxury at the local. That night we toyed with our camp food, then, as soon as we were unobserved, slipped across the road to the White Hart. A wonderful mixed grill, white table cloth and napkins, and fine tableware. However, we had forgotten the village telegraph system! The cook’s landlady’s daughter was a waitress at the hotel, and cook knew before we had finished our coffee. Next evening our table was covered with a white sheet, there were paper napkins and a bunch of dandelions in a jam jar; crockery and cutlery had been borrowed from the landlady and Mrs C. served us at table, wearing a fresh apron. She said nothing, but she had made her protest – we didn’t do it again! Once one begins to reminisce memories come flooding back, but I have written enough and, as one of the two oldest inhabitants, just wish to say “Thank you, Moseley, and happy anniversary”.