The World is our Tortoise.




By Eric Crookes.

Eric 14 2.jpg

In September 1957 I started at Brook Secondary Modern School after attending Woodthorpe Junior School for four years. Woodthorpe Senior School should have been the natural continuation for me but my brother Leonard had gone to Brook so I wanted to follow on. I actually went to Brook a day late because we never had official notification that I could go so I went to Woodthorpe on the first day.

I went straight into 1A1 the highest class for the first years and Mrs Dolly White was the Form Teacher - a pleasant mature lady who eased us into Secondary school life.

I remember names such as: John Graham, Nicholas Platts, Clive Wood, “Jimmy” Moorhouse, Philip Cryan, Peter Gordon, Jean Howard, Ena Lowe, Vivian Large, Janet Hill, Maureen Birch - I am sorry I've forgotten some names but it is more than 50 years ago.

In the second year I was in Mr Roy Cox's class 2A1. Roy Cox was Ok - a bit strict - a methodist I learned later who was liberal with the cane. He taught us Maths in particular and I already had a keen aptitude for numbers so I fell straight into his work. Mental arithmetic has always been a strong subject for me though I reckon I had developed that acumen long ago in Mr Waddilove's class at Woodthorpe Juniors.

I had always been very keen on football. We played football in the street on Spinkhill Road like most young kids. There were not many cars about the roads in the mid fifties so we felt safe, except for the "Bobby" (Bobbies really did cuff you round the ear with their gloves in those days). Somebody would stand look-out for us whilst we played. Opposite the house on Spinkhill was a stretch of spare ground on which they later built pensioners' flats and beyond that was a huge "farm field" where horses would graze. We were always fond of a horse called Eagle and we fed it old bread. Shortly after houses were built on the farm land and became Lamb Hill Close which started on Richmond Road and stretched all the way down to, but didn't quite meet, Spinkhill Road.  One of the last houses on Lamb Hill Close overlooking the front of my house was occupied by the very attractive Brook School teacher Mrs Greaves.

Richmond Park was the hang out when we got into our early teens. Football into the dark and muddied up to our eyeballs. we had great dreams then My old Dad had been a supporter of Sheffield Wednesday and so I naturally followed suit. He had bought me soccer diaries and I had played at the Junior school. Roy Cox was a Sheffield United supporter and so there was always lots of banter around the class room. I went to my very first Sheffield Wednesday game in September 1958.

The first photograph shows the Brook School Junior Football team that played in the "Wednesday Shield" final against Shirecliffe and lost 0-1. We had beaten Burngreave in the Semi-Final 4-3 the previous Wednesday evening.



Back Row: Roy Tunnard, David Shutt, George Barnes, Mr Headley, Eric Crookes, Brian Haley, Philip (Jimmy) Moorhouse, Douglas Hebdidge.

Front Row: Paul Brindley, Rodney Hawkesworth, Raymond Mackley, Tony Webb, Philip Cryan, Peter Gordon.


In the third year I was in Mr Barton's class 3A1. Mr Barton was the School Librarian and the class room was right next to the Library. In truth we didn't read many good novels or poetry at Brook though I do remember Mr Barton taking us through The 39 Steps I'll be eternally grateful to him for that. He also got us to read Leisure by W.H. Davies. What about Brother To The Ox as well - he read that with us - can't remember the author though - yes I can it was Fred Kitchen!!

Football was always prominent and we played till long gone dark in the park at Richmond even trying to form our own teams and taking on teams from the area. Brook had a team from the third years - they were always good for football with some lads having made the grade such as Mick Ash who played for Sheffield United.

But in the third year some of us played for the Senior team along with the fourth years and during this season we won the City League and we all got a certificate for that.


1959-1960 Third Year Team.

Back Row: Mick Hancock, Paul Brindley, Tony Webb, Philip Cryan, Mr Jones, George Barnes, Eric Crookes, David Bottom, Andrew Harper.

Front Row: Roger Shepherd, Brian Haley, David Shutt, Philip (Jimmy)Moorhouse, Peter Gordon, Roy Tunnard, Rodney Hawkesworth.



1959-1960 Senior Team

City League Winners.

Back Row: Roger Barrett(Sec), Philip Cryan, Roger (Eno) White, Roger Bostoque, ----Buck, Philip Thorpe, Eric Crookes, Mr Frith.

Front Row: Peter Gordon, George Barnes, David Shutt, Malcolm Smith, Eddie Lennox, Philip (Jimmy) Moorhouse, Malcolm Cummins.


In the fourth year I went into Mr Stokes' class 4T in readiness for leaving at Christmas. I was fortunate enough to go along to Sheffield Boys at Beaver Hill School at Balliefield. Although I was chosen as reserve goalkeeper against Nottingham Boys at Hillsborough I never had a full game. But it was an experience nonetheless. I captained the school team during these last three months at school but could not wait to leave. The head master Mr Edwin Shaw (Humbug we called him) arranged for me to have an interview at Brown Bayley Steels at Attercliffe for a job as a Lab. Assistant. I got the job and left school just before Christmas 1960.



Philip Moorhouse and Eric Crookes (c.1963 in Sheffield on a Saturday night.)

The biggest friends I had from school were Peter Gordon, Stuart Conley, Philip Moorhouse and Philip Beaty though I knew Philip from being a small child.


                                                                                Eric Crookes and Stuart Conley at Skegness c.1962.

In relative terms it was a good school. The facilities were good, After all it had only opened in 1954 I think. The staff was good and the pupils of mixed back grounds. I guess our family was amongst the poorer ones but in truth we did alright.

If anyone who knows me or my time at Brook School reads this web-page contact me one way or another. You will be in your late 60s now (2014) married with grown up children. The girls I knew will have different names so use your original names to contact me I will remember you.

My postal address is:

Crowden House

9 Wateredge Close

Pennington Lodge

Leigh WN7 3UP.

e-mail me at:

My homepage is