Bolton School Former Pupils

Jean Hemingway (nee Haslam, 1949-1957)

Jean wrote to us recently of her memories, after reading an article in the Magazine about her old Classics teacher, Mr Fisher.

"He joined the staff about the time, I think, that I entered the Sixth Form, and taught me for the two years of A-level Latin.  At that time, Miss Sturrock was Head of Classics, and also the School Librarian. I became Library Prefect in my last year at school, and have employed ever since the skills she imparted in that setting.

"Mr Fisher was familiar with a number of modern foreign languages and would show how the vocabularies were related.  Or he might write on the board a sentence in a Slavonic language in which there were no vowels, just vocalic consonants. Another topic was the wealth of rules for turning Latin into French.  I studied Philology as part of my BA degree, and I am sure that Mr Fisher's asides from Latin declensions stimulated my interest at that later stage.

"His sense of humour was delightful, always generous and never bitter.  Once, when I wrote an English-into-Latin translation, I missed off the last clause of the final sentence from the neat copy.  In red biro he completed the paragraph thus: "...........fed oop?"  It made me laugh, but I was more careful after that.  And it was he who reminded us that but for the disastrous fire at the great library in ancient Alexandria, our studies at A-level could have been far more onerous.  Quite a contrast from the earnestness of girls' school teaching in those days.

"I cannot say I was a very successful student, although I did pass the exam, but I can say that I became aware that there was a lighter and less-rigid side to learning, and that the examination syllabus was not everything."