Previous Page

Woodwork was originally one of the Technical School's main subjects. The High Lane campus was well equipped with two woodwork workshops housed in the original 1947 concrete Technical Block. However from the early 1960's the School became focused on academic achievement and for most boys the roof trusses on Harry "woodwork" Taylor's Senior workshop walls were artistic decorations.

JTS - Woodwork class - 1942 JTS 1940s Woodwork Show
JTS 1942 Woodwork class JTS 1940s Woodwork Show

SCTS - Senior Woodwork workshop - 1960 Haywood High - STHS workshop remnants - 2002
SCTS 1960 Woodwork class in Harry "woodwork" Taylor's Senior workshop Haywood High 2002 RCDT room.
Remnants of STHS Woodwork and Metalwork workshop fittings

Woodwork class - pen stand assembled Woodwork class - pen stand showing stopped dovetail Woodwork class - table lamp

Raymond Dean (1951-54) says
"There are two photos of the pen stand to show that it was an exercise in through & stopped dovetails. It simply slides together, it was never glued. My GCE practical exam involved a stopped dovetail. Did Harry Taylor know what was coming!!? The pen stand is either Utile or Sapele going from the crossed grain on the base. The lamp is French polished Beech."

Woodwork class - pen stand assembled

Raymond Dean (1951-54) says
"My hobbies are woodcarving & walking. A recent carving made from part of a sapele newel post taken from a skip. I believe there is a mathematical formula for the shape which has one face & one edge. Ring any bells? "

Woodwork class - hardwood dovetail box

Chris Horrobin (1959-66) says
"Mr Yates was my Woodwork teacher in the First Year, and then Mr Nixon for the Second/Third Years. Both were kind, considerate teachers who instilled a love of wood in me. I still have my last formal piece, the hardwood Dovetail Box, that I made in Woodwork in the Third Form in 1962. The previous set pieces had been a softwood "Mud Remover" and a "Marbles Arch". The box has dovetail joints which surprise me by their delicacy - a feat I would never achieve again.

Mr Yates's rules for hand tools are still ingrained in me:
1. carry a chisel by your side, edge down and with two straight fingers masking the tip.
2. only put down a saw, or plane, in a wooden bench's central well; the plane on its side.
3. keep your fingers behind the cutting edge.
4. always use controlled power.

At the end of the Summer term the final class was occupied with the ritual of oiling all the chisels to keep them free from rust during the long holiday."

The Hobbies Clubs encouraged use of the workshops for work outside the syllabus, even for boys not taking those subjects to GCE level.

Woodwork - Sapele turned bowl Woodwork - Oak turned bowl

Chris Horrobin (1959-66) says
"The 1962-3 experimental "GCE 'O' Level Express Stream" boys had to give up all craft subjects in order to meet the probable ambitions of Mr Potts to produce Oxbridge candidates - which John Shemilt duly achieved. However Mr Yates encouraged me to turn wooden bowls on the lathe in my spare time. I recollect that he used to make many of the turning chisels from otherwise broken tools. I managed three bowls before a craze started and the lathes became oversubscribed.

There is an almost incense-like smell of Sapele being turned that is still a Proustian "madeleine moment" for me. This hardwood was used a lot in the School woodwork classes and it showed streaks akin to metallic gold when polished.

I still have two of my bowls. One is in the beautiful Sapele. The other two were made from pieces of wood gathering dust in my father's shed. Mr Yates fretted that the nail-pitted block of oak might still contain a hidden piece of metal. A derelict Windsor chair's seat produced a wafer-thin ash platter. Unfortunately it was mislaid during my return from Africa where it had warped in the dry heat.

If you have pictures, drawings, or memories of the woodwork classes please send the Webmaster an email.


Previous Page