Aged 15, and determined to have a scientific career, but stuck in a school that though encouraging, could not help, Christine Hughes wrote to Kenneth Hutton directly asking for a chance to join Hatfield School. Kenneth’s reply changed the rest of her life.
I transferred to Hatfield School from a secondary modern school where I could only take two ‘O’ levels, in English Language and Biology. I wanted a career in science, so I wrote to Dr Hutton and explained what I wanted to do. It felt quite rebellious at the time… He interviewed me, and made me take an intelligence test. I don’t know what the results of that were, but he offered me a place.
When I found out I had a place at Hatfield School, my friend across the road, Olive Norton, passed on her school uniform, as she had recently left. This was a great help with getting kitted out with completely new gear.
So, in September, began what I can honestly say were the best three years of my school life. Mr Tagg was my 5th form teacher, and Mr Pidcock in the sixth forms. Mr Jackson was History, Bernie Mills was English, as was Stella Mills, and Vic ‘Dark Satanic’ Mills was RE. Mr Huntingdon was Physics. Mr Morss was a brilliant maths teacher who got me through ‘O’ level maths in one year.
The social life at school was amazing, with regular dances and and school plays. There was the sailing club, with the camp at Barton Turf on the Norfolk Broads every year, organised by Mr Eustis, at the time the sports teacher. Also numerous drama productions such as ‘Ruddigore’ and ‘Sons and Lovers’, musicals written by Ken Burleigh and David Cregan. Later, when I was doing Biology ‘A’level, I went on a field trip to Wales.There was an atmosphere of informal discipline, and importantly being taught to question presented ‘facts’.
I duly passed a clutch of ‘O’ levels, and the required ‘A’ levels over the next three years. This enabled me to train as a biomedical scientist, a career that lasted for over 40 years.
I have been very grateful to Dr Hutton and Hatfield School for equipping me to follow a scientific career, unusual for a girl in the early 60s. He listened and gave me a chance that at the time seemed a remote possibility.
As a ‘side effect’ of my years at Hatfield School, I would like to mention that a few years later Michael (Mick) Hall and I were married, and still are more than 50 years, two children and six grandchildren later.
Chris Hall, nee Hughes.
NB If anyone wishes to get in touch with Christine, please email your contact message to Chris Hepden who acts as a point of contact. who will forward it to Christine (now Chris).
Have you checked recently the other HS Pages/Posts hotlinked in the list at the top right of this page ? The titles don’t say everything, and new edits and new Posts are being added often.