A COUPLE of photographs from 1950s Skipton recently sent in to us by John Buckman certainly sparked some interesting memories from Roger Ingham.

John, who used to live in the town, but who now lives in Darlington, came across the two old photographs while looking through stored ‘bits and bobs’ while stuck inside during the coronavirus lockdown.

The bottom picture is of a class at Ermysted’s Grammar School and belonged to his late, best friend, Ronald Walker, who at the time was in his second year at the school and is pictured in the middle row, third from the left.

Included in the picture, in the back row, second from left is Roger Ingham’s older brother, David, who despite being expelled from the school, went on to be a headteacher himself and also was called upon to paint the portraits of some Ermysted’s headmasters, including the one who expelled him.

Roger, Skipton’s ‘Mr Sport’, says his brother may have been smiling happily at the time the picture was taken, in 1955, but a week later, and to the horror of his parents, he, and another boy, were expelled.

“To coin a rusty colloquialism, David was ordered for the ‘early bath’,” said Roger.

“My mother was absolutely distraught and endeavoured t o achieve his reinstatement.

“Both she and the other boy’s father managed to get a special meeting with the headmaster at the time, Marcelus “Bru” Forster, together with the school governors.”

But Mr Forster was resolute and his final words to the parents of the boys was that ‘neither lad would ever make anything worthwhile’, so, says Roger off went the two expelled lads, with heads bowed and to pastures new.

However, the two lads had the last laugh, says Roger, both ended up as headmasters, just like the formidable Mr Forster.

David went to Keighley Grammar School, where he won a major art scholarship, then he gained a degree in f ine art and a teaching diploma.

He taught art in mainstream schools for six years before entering the old Approved School system, which catered for boys and girls with extreme behavioural and emotional problems and a history of persistent offending.

Eventually he became head of Tong Park Remand and Assessment Centre, at Baildon, instead of accepting a position at Ermysted’s, until the centre closed in 1996.

Then, more than 50 years after being expelled from Ermysted’s, he was invited by the school to re-paint the portrait of the then decreased Mr Forster, as the original had become somewhat dilapidated.

“With only a per-war snap-shot from which to work, David managed to produce a top quality job which when showing it for approval to Mr Foster’s son John – himself at the time head of King James at Knaresborough, John Forster remarked that it was “better than the original!”

“Thus, the expelled of 1955, David Ingham had not only been commissioned to produce the portrait of the headmaster who expelled him, but since then also to produce portraits of more recent departing headmasters, Tom Ashworth and Graham Hamilton.”

As for Ronald Walker, the original owner of the photograph, Roger also has fond memories, and like John, also remembers how he was always late, and traditionally, the last in line for school assembly.

John’s other picture, of Skipton Cricket Club in 1961 includes John himself, far left, the youngest player in the team, and with the bat, team captain, Glyn Fairhurst. It also includes, a certain Victor Moug, sixth from the left, who was the oldest player in the team, who had won the bowling prize that year.

Victor’s son, Chris Moug, was a friend of Roger’s.

“We both grew up right at the top of Shortbank Road and were a familiar sight hurtling down Shortbank, two on a bike, on our way to school,” says Roger.

“It was a time when the police were having a purge on such misdemeanours as riding ‘two on a bike’. Indeed, there had been cases of people being fined in court for what at the time was exorbitant amounts.

“The only officer in town who we could never prize a smile out of tried to stop us , but ‘masterful Moug’ living up to his title, swerved past beautifully at a fair rate of knots.”

The same officer was waiting for the pair the next day at the school’s bicycle shed, but to no avail, says Roger. They had left the bike to be repaired in Coach Street, and had walked to school the rest of he way.