Home > Memories > Were You Taught By Mr George Hill and/or Mr Wobble Gobble Hewitson?

Were You Taught By Mr George Hill and/or Mr Wobble Gobble Hewitson?

If so how was it for you? I’m really interested even after all those years. For my view point they were somewhat disappointing.

I first observed George Hill at New Brancepeth School and later at Ushaw Moor. I always felt him to be a little haughty. Looking back now he seems to have been a bit like what I imagine a Victorian or Edwardian teacher to  be, that is stern and strict. I know he taught woodwork and technical drawing but I only knew him from technical drawing.

Before meeting him technical drawing was a mystery to be and it never got any better. I learnt absolutely nothing about technical drawing during the period he taught our class. Nothing. 0. I never troubled the scorers. I cannot recall him trying to help me and neither can I recall any homework set by him. I actually scored 0 in technical drawing in the easier of the two exam boards that we took; the very basic local leaving certificate, called the Central and Western Divisions School Certificate. No doubt I was partly to blame but I hasten to add that I did want to learn the subject and I did excel in most other subjects.

As for our English teacher, Mr Hewitson, he is a little more problematic! For one thing his surname might have been Hewison although, on balance, I doubt it. I received mixed messages from him; on the one hand he felt I was up to the job of office junior at the Northern Echo, with a view to eventually becoming a journalist, but on the other hand he did make a mild joke at my expense during a class.He likened me to Mrs Malaprop the fictional lady that frequently used the wrong word. Fortunately I doubt that many, if any, in our class had heard of that lady! Anyway William S and many other famous writers used to make words up! Not that I’m….

What disappointed me about our English teacher is that he failed to inspire me regarding the book Lord Of The Flies. For that matter he did not switch on my light bulb regarding The Thirty Nine Steps. 

I have experienced some top class teachers and lecturers e.g. Harry Barlow at school and several lecturers at Guildford College Of Technology, Surrey University and Reading University, so I feel I can recognise both poor and brilliant teachers.

So, how was it for you regarding the two teachers? I would not be that surprised to hear that your experience of them was good. Maybe I was taught by them when their performance dipped or maybe I was just not ready to fully appreciate them. 

Anyway, do tell.


Categories: Memories
  1. Marie Pawilowicz
    June 22, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    I remember Mr Hewitson , very formidable . He had a walking stick , that was more of a fashion statement than an aid to walking !!

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. david lewney
    June 23, 2014 at 6:14 am

    yes I was taught by both of them.

  3. June 23, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    The only Mr. Hill I recall was I think the music teacher at Ushaw Moor Modern School. He may have done technical drawing as well but of course us girls were not allowed! He was partial to throwing the board rubber at anyone not paying attention. I do remember being in the school choir and going to a competition – maybe in Stanley. We won second place I think with “Immortal Invisible” in the hymn section!

    It’s lovely to start thinking about these school days. Mrs Spence pushed us girls into cooking, sewing and cleaning tasks, in preparation the the “Northern Counties School Leaving Certificate” . I still have mine as a historical document for the Grandchildren to view! I left in 1963 and then did three years at Durham Technical College. From there to Dudley Teacher Training College. I retired from teaching after 30 years, just as OFSTED were getting going. So much pressure today for children and teachers those Ushaw Moor days seem like good times, though not perfect!


  4. June 23, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    I remember Mr Hewison at Ushaw Moor, while he never taught my class he somehow got the disrespectful name off “Choc-bot wobble” He always appeared very strict and a disciplinarian. I remember one day at the end of break time and the classes standing in lines, having him walk up and down inspecting us like troops. with his officers stick under his arm. He declared that class 4CSE in front off him was the most disorderly, scruffy unkempt shower he had ever seen in his life! – The comment from the back of the ranks had everyone in stiches!!! – “You obviously don’t have a mirror then fatso”! – All hell broke loose, but it was worth going to school that day to witness it!
    Happy days!

  5. June 25, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Wilf I remember Mr Hill, Mr Hewison and Mr Barlow well.

    I went to Ushaw Moor Modern in September 1959 until 1964. I was in the first “S” stream studying for the GCE to go through years 1S to 5S although for family reasons I left before taking the GCE. I did take the Northern Counties with total success in all my subjects.

    Mr Hill did take us for Technical Drawing. Constant reminders to use a sharp pencil and not a “poker”. He also did Music. I spent some time in his School Choir with our main claim to fame being a performance at a hall in Bearpark as the support act to Percy “The Birdman” Edwards.

    Mr Hewison (spelt that way in my school reports) took us for the English subjects. I must admit it was my weak subject. Geoffery Chaucer’s Pardoner’s Tale – translating the whole book into modern day English and basically learning word for word Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. He also organized I believe with Mr Barlow to take the whole class to attend a performance of the play at Newcastle. In my last year Mr Hewison also gave me some one on one support during breaks and at lunch times to help me with grammar. His help was very much appreciated.

    Mr Barlow was our Class Teacher for years 4 and 5 as well taking us for Maths, my best subject. He also took the boys for PE.

    Known as Michael West at school

  6. wilfb
    June 26, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Some really good comments.Thank you all. Lots of detail e.g. Dave Clarkson gave me a very, very, funny story and Michael Billing has helped me to reassess Mr Hewison a little bit; mind you I did like Wobble as a person. I am now able to spell his surname with certainty.

  7. June 27, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Michael you might remember Barbara Hutton who I think went into 1S in 1959. I went into 1A that year. Was there a Mrs Barlow (at the junior school)? Mr Barlow frightened me, or was it the maths? I seem to remember Miss Kidd in the juniors who did knitting (string dishcloths) and sewing with the girls. Despite this, I went on to like knitting and sewing.

  8. Michael Billing
    June 28, 2014 at 2:48 am

    Kate I do remember Barbara Hutton. We were both in the St Lukes Church Choir. I am sure she was in 1A to 4A because she left school before me. Sorry if I am wrong Barbara.

    A correction to my earlier piece. I was actually in 1A for the first term and went up to 1S for the second term and continued from then to the end. I don’t remember Mrs Barlow in Junior school but she did take us for Scripture at Ushaw Moor Modern. I also remember Mrs Thompson who taught English including John Buchan’s Prester John. She used to walk up and down the aisles reading. Other teachers I remember: Mr Riddle, Mr Grimshaw. Then there was the science teacher we called “Shack” – cannot remember his name – who was demonstrating how hydrogen burned with a blue flame. It exploded and glass flew all over the lab. It was a miracle no-one was injured. Shack’s white coat was in tatters.

    I was at Ushaw Moor Junior School for 4 years. The headmaster was Mr Fawcett. I don’t remember Miss Kidd. I remember some teachers names. Mr Ralph? and Mr Turnbull – I used to deliver his newspapers. I used to sit at the back of his class but couldn’t see the writing on the board clearly so I was moved to the front. Mr Turnbull sent me home with a note to my mother which got lost on the way home. 3 times. I got the shock of my life when one evening Mr Turnbull knocked on the door. “Mrs West did you get my notes. I think your son needs glasses”. What notes? I did get into trouble and finished up with those horrible national health round wire frame things. Yuck.

    I was known as Michael West from the age of 6 throughout all my school years. It was my step father’s name. I later found out that I was never adopted so I went back to the name on my birth certificate.

    • June 28, 2014 at 6:50 am

      Barbara was in the S stream I think, but left at 15 to go to the Tech college, like me. I didn’t make it to the St. Luke’s choir, although attended the church, I lived in Temperence Tce. from age 3 – 18. I remember your name, I was Kathleen Sayer then. I also had the National Health wire glasses!
      Barbara has lived in Sweden for 40 years, I visited her once or twice. I got as far as Birmingham, but I still enjoy coming back to Durham often.

  9. Michael Billing
    June 28, 2014 at 9:42 am

    I remember you Kate. I have lived in Australia for 36 years. I did find my way back to Ushaw Moor for a short while in 2010. Would be nice to catch up. You an get a message to me via http://www.crownprints.com.au

  10. John Bowery
    June 28, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Aye, Wobble was about when I was there, others included Mr Hay-by-the ton, Mr Barlow, always popping into our art lessons 😉 ,Mr Tweddle, RI and music, a lovely bloke who didn’t deserve us, Mr Riddle…Turnbull et al. Mrs Wilson, Ruddock (timber) Forster (metal) and gurney grimshaw who loved to thrash us all around the cricket field showing his batting prowess…..some of the younger ones will still be around but others must long gone. I wonder if anyone can recall the occasion one assembly when a furious Mr Gibbon stood on the stage, very irate about something and said, with his face reddening by the minute “your not gonna make a monkey out of me” aye…happy days..a younger teacher called Mrs Webster…french and pt…wonder where she went?. finally I think it was this school, My Bygate…french??…regards to all.

    • April 5, 2015 at 9:27 am

      I remember all of these teachers. Have very happy memories of attending Ushaw Moor Secondary Modern. I only remember having George Hill for music, he used to throw the blackboard rubber at you if he thought you weren’t paying attention.

  11. wilfb
    June 28, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    For those not aware – Harry Barlow born 1928 died 2004

    • john bowery
      April 5, 2015 at 9:56 am

      Ah reckon most will have gone now, though of course the younger may still be around…though they will be in their 70s.

  12. June 28, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    I think it must have been a boy thing to have all these nick names. Does anyone remember the Christmas parties at the Modern School? We all had to take a jelly/tin of fruit/cake and magically the next day there was bowls of red, yellow or green jelly with fruit set in it, plus plates of cake. There were probably other things but I stuck to the cake. We then had games… Postman’s Knock (?) and some dancing? Mr. Turnbull mentioned above was a nice man. He took me home in his car when I had sprained my ankle. I remember his two daughters, Judith and Margaret. Mr. Gibbon had his hands full, dealing with us all, but again he was fair. Someone above mentioned the French teacher… not on the curriculum in my day, not for working class kids!

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