Before reaching this age I had, at Pomona Street School, taken the dreaded 11 + examination.

The year was 1951 and all the children in the photo below ( a little younger than 11 at that time) were due to take this exam ( I'm back row, centre).

The teachers said several of the pupils, Terry Furnace, Norma Day, Gloria Loukes, Alan Biggin, Roger Mathews and Tony Jackson were all certain to succeed. Well, they were correct except for one pupil - ME!

My mother and Father were devastated. My mother put it down to me being ill just before the exam.  I prefer not to use that excuse - I believe my future had already been pre-destined.

My father went to the Education Offices to ask about my failure. He was told I was a border-line case and I would be allowed to resit the exam next year. ( although I would have to achieve more marks than 11 year-olds).

My form teacher, Mr Wragg, had other plans for me. He said to me, forget Secondary Modern and Grammar Schools, you are more suited to attend the Sheffield Central Technical School. The following year I sat both examinations and was successful in both. On my teacher's advice I chose the Technical School, a decision I have never regretted. Thank you Mr Wragg!

Before we leave the above photo I would like to mention the girl on the front row, centre 7th from the left, Gloria Loukes.

When we were about 7 years old Gloria and I played Mary and Joseph in a nativity play at school and I liked to think of her as my girlfriend.

After passing her 11+ she moved to Kent and eventually became a school teacher. 50 years later I found her on FRIENDS REUNITED. We conversed by Email and as her mother still lived in Sheffield she visited Sheffield occasionally. Jacqueline and I invited her and her husband to Sunday lunch:

Reunion after 50 years.


The main hall of the school was situated at the corner of Leopold Street and West Street:

When I joined the school in September 1952 I got a shock. Subjects were taught that I had very little, if any, knowledge of- Physics, Mechanics, French, Geometrical & Mechanical Drawing, Chemistry and Metalwork. Many pupils in my First Year Class had been taught the basics of these subjects - I hadn't. Pomona Street School was obviously lacking in something.

In addition, the discipline here was unbelievable - misbehave and you wouldn't be given lines to write out, you would be flogged with a cane, rubber tubing or anything the teachers could get their hands on.

I worked hard throughout my first year but only just managed to get into the top third of the class. At the end of each year the school held a Speech-Day and parents and pupils would attend. I remember sitting there seeing pupils who had done exceptionally well in their exams being given books as prizes. How proud their parents must have been.

This is a photo of the school assembly room as it was in the 1930's:

In my two senior years there, I sat upstairs in the position shown by the red arrow. Each morning, before assembly, the younger pupils could be seen below with their exercise books open trying to finish the previous day's homework. A favourite trick played by us would be to position our fountain-pens vertically above the books below and then  allow blobs of ink to fall like bombs on to their homework.

The Headmaster Mr Herbert Wadge ruled the school with a fist of iron:

One day he entered our classroom and walked straight over to a lad sitting at his desk. Without speaking a word he smashed his hand across the lad's face sending his glasses flying to the other side of the room. Then he said " You don't chew in class, boy!" I think our form-master was as surprised as the lad at the Headmaster's aggression.

I'll give just one more example of our Headmaster's strict code of discipline which I'll call "Six of the Best". It was 8.45am and hundreds of pupils were milling around, unsupervised, in the school assembly hall waiting for the arrival of teachers to conduct the 9.0am daily assembly procedures. A lad in my form called MaChalI had bought a comic that morning and inside was a free gift. It was a large balloon to which a sort of adapter could be fitted to its neck. When the balloon was inflated and then released the air would rush through this adapter and make a loud screeching noise. Well the lad launched his balloon which flew up to the ceiling emitting its noise, but this noise was eclipsed by the shouts of glee from a few hundred pupils.

Then, on the balcony the Headmaster appeared, his face bright red and seething with anger. He quickly identified the culprit responsible and summoned him to his office. When the lad returned he told us two teachers had held him down over the Headmaster's desk while the Headmaster administered six extremely painful lashes to his backside.

You may be wondering whether I continued my defiance of the teachers' punishment for bad behaviour - Well, I didn't!

I did get the cane once for talking in class and one other time I suffered a different punishment that was much worse. The Geography teacher, Mr Firth, was an ex-commando. Again, I had been talking when I shouldn't and he called me out. As I approached him he cupped both his hands and at lightning speed he crashed them against my ears. There was a terrific, loud bang inside my head and I almost passed out. Maybe it was some military trick he had been taught.

During my time at the school I continued to improve my class position but again at the end of the second and third years I didn't manage to get a prize at the Speech Day.

In my final year, at the school Speech Day, held at the Montgomery Hall on Norfolk Street, I received a pleasant surprise.

My mother and father were there watching when I was called on to the stage to receive my school Diploma and six GCE "0" levels. To my amazement I was presented with so many book prizes I could hardly carry them all.

At last, I felt I had repaid my parents for letting then down when I failed my 11 plus. 


After 4 years at the Central Technical School it was time to decide whether to stay on, take "A" levels and then go to university. All my friends had left school and seemed to have plenty of money from their employment. This influenced me to leave school.

Our school Career's Teacher told me that because I had done well in my Geometrical & Mechanical Drawing "O" Level he would like to try and get me a job at British Steel as a Draughtsman.

My Year 3 Class.

One afternoon, in class, I spotted Alan Bradley, (the lad in the centre of the back row in the above photo) applying for a job with POST OFFICE TELEPHONES.

Something clicked in my mind and told me to do so too. Just like I mentioned when I failed my 11 Plus I felt I was being guided along a pre-destined path.

After applying for the P.O. Telephones job I had to take a written test and was then invited for an interview. I was asked by one of the interviewers if I knew why the Central Technical Career's Teacher didn't steer his pupils to P.O. Telephones. I didn't know why and he went on to say that applicants from the Central Tech always out-performed applicants from all the Sheffield Grammar Schools.

He backed this up by saying that my marks in the P.O. Written Test were in the high 80's whereas a candidate from Firth Park Grammar ( one of Sheffield's better Grammar Schools at that time ) were in the low 60's.

I was successful with my application and went on to work for over 37 years for this company. Had I been born 3 months earlier my career would have been interrupted by two year's National Service. Conscription into the Armed Services was just finishing, and I didn't get called up.

I started work at his place:

The Head Post Office, Fitzalan Square, Sheffield.

One lunch-time, I was walking up past the Sheffield Cathedral when a voice said "Are you Tony Jackson?" It was one of my school teachers. He went on to say that at that morning's school assembly the Headmaster had asked if I were present. Not knowing I had left he said that I was the only pupil in the entire history of the school ever to attain a 100% mark in the subject of O Level Geometrical & Mechanical Drawing. I walked on feeling quite chuffed with myself.


Just like the teenagers of today who want to dress in the latest fashion so did the teenagers of the 1950's.

Saville Row tailors brought out gents' suits that dated back to EDWARD VII. These caught on with teenage males hence, from the word "Edward" came "TEDDY" Boy:

Coats were long and colourful, trousers were tight-fitting and called "drainpipes". Shoes were crepe-soled and shirts were accompanied by a boot-lace tie. The hair style was also distinctive, Long side-burns, hair brought over the forehead and most important, the hair at the back was swept into the D.A (Duck's Arse).

At this time my parents were still buying my clothes and in spite of all my pleadings to them there was no way they were going to allow me to look like the lad above. We did, however, reach a compromise and I was allowed to wear drainpipe trousers and purchase several pairs of luminous pink and lime-green socks.

This was about the nearest I got to a Teddy-Boy haircut:

Photo taken in the days when I had real hair.

A certain young lad in Chicago called Michael said, when he saw this photo, that I looked like the actor KEVIN BACON in the film Footloose.

I can't see any likeness but I better do a comparison:


Oh maybe there is a resemblance in the next photo:



In the description of my father's life I mentioned that we had a caravan up Long Line, Dore. I spent many happy weekends at this van often helping a local farmer on his tractor. The house above our site was owned by a Milkman and I used to go with him in his van, delivering milk. I'll never forget the first time when we returned - he gave me two Half-Crowns ( 5 Shillings or 25 new pence). A colossal amount of money at that time.

The caravan came to a sad end and we had to smash it up for scrap. The site owner sold the land to a builder who wished to build himself a house and live in it. I helped the builder do this before we left the site:

My parents and I became good friends with this builder, so much so that he offered to build them a house next to his at cost price. I believe they were able to cope with the financial liabilities involved but they declined on the grounds that it was too far out.

Well a house was subsequently built there:

This is the house we would have moved into and which would have been passed down the Jackson family.

You may remember that I said earlier there was a small wooden-glazed kitchen attached to the rear of 28 Pomona St where we lived. Originally, this kitchen had in it only a sink, cooking range and a kitchen storage cupboard. My father had plans drawn for a larger brick kitchen, with a bath, and employed our builder friend to complete it. He did so using me as his labourer.

( gobbo-mixer and hod carrier)


When Bill Haley recorded " Rock Around the Clock" in 1955 Rock & Roll was born and it presented teenagers with pleasure and excitement that has never been equalled since. I recall my mother and father saying the new craze would be forgotten within a year. They were wrong!


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