In March 2003, the Wellingborough Heritage Centre mounted an exhibition of photographs of the history of schools in Wellingborough. Pride of place goes to the collection from Wellingborough Grammar School (1931–mid 1970s) based on two scrap books compiled by Nora Bavin, who was the School Secretary for 42 years. On Friday March 14, 2003, David and Graham Tall went to visit the exhibition. It was a highly rewarding experience, full of rich memories. Some material from the exhibition is shown below.
This experience led to our writing a new book on Memories of Wellingborough Grammar School:
You can find out about the book here.

Miss Bavin (WGS Secretary, Easter 1931 - Easter 1973)

Her scrap-book starts with the school, at its opening in 1931

This picture shows the Grammar School at its opening. The main structure is essentially as it is today, but it lacks the chemistry laboratory on the second floor at the back, and the far end front later had an additional pair of classrooms added on the ground floor and first floor.

David Tall (left)—a pupil of Wellingorough Grammar School from 1952 to 1960, and a teacher in the summer term of 1960—studies the scrapbooks of Nora Bavin with Robert Wharton, who mounted the exhibition at the Wellingborough Heritage Centre.

David (1952-60) and Graham Tall (1955-1962) look at the scrapbooks which contain so many personal memories.

David points at the photo of his contemporary Tony Doyle receiving the Biology Prize for performance in the GCE in 1956 from the Duke of Bedford. (David was awarded the Mathematics Prize that year.)

The old school badge.

Councillor Steele, Chairman of the Governors, with Douglas Bader and Headmaster Harold Wrenn. Mr Wrenn persuaded a galaxy of national and international figures to present the prizes, including Sir Alexander Fleming, Lord Birkett, Sir John Cockcroft, Earl Mountbatten, Sir Compton Mackenzie.

David Frost, the schoolboy, receives a prize.

Wellingborough MP George Lindgren welcomes a group from the Grammar School to the Houses of Parliament. David Tall is in the front row flanked by Colin Garley and Martin Spriggs. Cousin John Greenhalf is in third row (wearing a grey mac) behind Colin Garley.

The scrap books contain many references to the successes of Wellingborough boys at Rugby. The greatest of these was Johnny Hyde who is (still) the only schoolboy to have a full cap for England.

An amazing picture of a tackle by Johnny Hyde.

This inspired the Reverend Tubby Clayton (founder of the Toc H movement) who saw the photo on a visit to the school in1949 to recommend the picture to the sculptor Cecil Thomas, who made a sculpture of the tackle. It could never quite match the original because the model needed a foot on the ground to provide support. Cecil Thomas designed the head of the queen on the 6 penny piece in the 1950s. His initials CT are on the coin.

The School Toc H Group was founded following the visit to the school by Tubby Clayton. It was the only School Toc H group in the country. Both David Tall and Graham Tall were members (see the picture of Graham above from the Bavin Scrapbook). When at Oxford in 1962, David met an Australian student Bill Cornish, who had worked with Tubby. He made contact and was introduced to Cecil Thomas, who lived in a flat near South Kensington Tube Station. This led to Johnny Hyde meeting Thomas and seeing the statue. Several years later, after being given by Thomas to Tubby Clayton, the statue was presented to the Grammar School.

One of the many rugby players produced by Wellingborough Grammar School was Alan Hall. He is the cousin of David Tall’s wife Sue. Like David, he spent a term teaching at the school prior to going to university.

In the exhibition is a picture of the audience at a Prize Giving.

In the centre of the picture is Harry Tall (looking down, and probably asleep after his night shift at Stewarts and Lloyds Iron Company), Lillian Martin, the Grandmother of David and Graham Tall, and Nancy Tall, their mother.

David receives the Sixth Form Science Prize. In other years he was awarded the Senior Mathematics Prize and the Senior Music Prize.

In the two books of cuttings are several references to the Tall family. There are half a dozen or so references to David, being awarded prizes, obtaining a state scholarship to Oxford, and open scholarship to Wadham College, a first class degree, the Junior Mathematics prize for the top performance in finals at Oxford, and then the award of a Doctor of Philosophy (above). Meanwhile, cousin John, the son of Edna Tall (the sister of Harry Tall, father of David and Graham) distinguishes himself in medicine, cousin Barry Tall (once removed, the grandson of Harry’s brother killed in the first World War) gets his university degree, followed by Graham, who obtains a degree in Biology, followed by a Master’s degree in Education, then (in 1999) with a doctorate, to become the third of his generation to obtain doctoral status after education at Wellingborough Grammar School. Three of the Tall family, John Greenhalf, David Tall and Barry Tall, played rugby for the Northamptonshire County Schoolboys.

The Under fourteen Rugby Team of 1953-4. It was an all-conquering team for three years, beating all-comers. David Tall broke his collar bone in the trial and never played for the team, although, in the fifth form, Johnny Hyde was impressed with his vigour and committment and gave him a few runs in the School Second Team. From 1956 to 1959 he was first choice front-row prop for the school first team, playing front-row prop for the county schoolboys with Andy Johnson as hooker and Bob Taylor as captain. Bob Taylor, later a teacher at the Grammar School eventually becoming captain of the full England Rugby team.

A house play presented by Dragon’s house around 1956. Left to right at the back D Roberts (?), Barry Clarke, Fred Murdin, John Betts, David Tall and Fred Nutt, with Murray Robinson in the foreground. Fred reminded David that he (Fred) was killed in the first 30 seconds and spent the rest of the play lying dead.

‘Alibi’ (around 1956) with (seated) Brian Whitney, D. Roberts (?), .... Standing Jim Wilson, Geoff Martin, Michael Bolton, ?, Barry Clarke, David Tall, David Frost, Max Wyman (part hidden), Martin Spriggs, David Cooper.

Gary lived a couple of hundred yards away from David and Graham, and all three attended Victoria Infants School before moving to the Grammar School.

Pat Moreton was another Victoria School boy who went to the Grammar School. David spent time with Pat and with Tony Doyle catching lizards and grass snakes, moving up to these levels via frogspawn, newts, including Great Crested Newts. Unlike Pat, David never graduated to Adders....
The Bavin Scrapbooks include many stories reporting subsequent activitivies of the students of Wellingborough Grammar School. This picture of David Tall comes from 1963 when he worked in the Hind Hotel in the Summer as a waiter, barman and night-porter. There are hundreds of other references to the successes of students of the Grammar School. Those of us who were lucky to attend the school had a very special privilege. The class of 1952 met 50 years after their first day in the school to share their reminiscences. A video/DVD of the occasion is available from

Click here for information about Wellingborough Grammar School.

Click here for information about the class of 1952.