1960 – Luxembourg Trip

An Account by P. Cartwright:

The party, which was led by Mr Ellick (Ernie) Ward the French teacher, consisted of boys from the Senior section of the school and one boy from the Technical High School; there were eighteen of us altogether.

Our coach to take us to London left from Burton Town Hall at 4:45am on the Thursday morning after we had broken up for the summer holidays. The 10:00am boat train from London’s Victoria Station took us to Dover where we caught the 11:00am boat to Ostend, Belgium. The channel crossing was calm and we arrived in Ostend three hours later in bright sunshine, welcomed to the Continent but reminded of England and Burton by a large advertisement for ‘Bass Beer’ on the harbour.

We spent our first night in Brussels, where we arrived at 5:30pm by express train direct from Ostend. The city has a well used tramcar service and the small single-decker tramcars travel underground as well as on the streets,many of which are not tarmaced but instead surfaced with small square slabs of concrete. We stayed the night at the Flemish Youth Hostel, an old country building which had been restored and we were somewhat discouraged by both the accommodation and the food. Fortunately, this hostel turned out to be the worst one we stayed in.

At 8:30pm the next morning, we set out for the train station to catch a direct express to Luxembourg City. The train passed through the hilly, wooded countryside characteristic of Southern Belgium and Luxembourg. We arrived in Luxembourg City, the capital of the Grand Duchy, at 12:30pm and, after lunch, we walked round the old city of tall buildings until after four o’clock, when we caught the auto-rail to Ettelbruck, 25 Km north on the river Shzette. We stayed the night at the Youth Hostel here and next morning, caught the auto-rail to Goebelsmuhle. From here, we walked in the pouring rain across wooded countryside to the small village of Kautenback and on to the town of Wiltz, this time along the road because of the very wet conditions; a distance of 17 Km in all.

Soon after we arrived, the rain stopped and the sun shone for the rest of the day to raise spirits. Among the attractions at Wiltz was an Operatic Festival and an American tank which stood as a relic of the Second World War.

We left Wiltz the next morning, again in bright sunshine and headed on foot for Clervaux in the north. The weather and scenery were magnificent and, after stopping on the way to have refreshments and the usual mid-day meal of bread and jam, we arrived at Clervaux, a quaint old town in the bottom of a deep valley cut by the river Clerf. With its pointed roofs, a castle and a monastery, the town felt like one straight out of a fairy tale.

The next day, it was raining again so, instead of walking, we caight the auto-rail to Ettelbruck where, because of the weather, we hardly did anything until 5:30pm when we caught the train to Diekirch, ‘The Burton-on-Trent of Luxembourg’. We travelled by bus from Diekirch to Vianden where we stayed for the following two nights, again, in a Youth Hostel. Vianden is on the eastern border of Luxembourg, bordering with Germany and catered for tourists. The town is situated in yet another deep valley where a river had cut deep into the surrounding wooded country which seemed to characterize Luxembourg, and a chair-lift passes from the town, across the river and up to a chalet on the mountainside. At the top of the mountain was a 13th century castle overlooking the town. We could see a scheme in progress for damming up the valley to provide power or a supply of water.

After staying two nights at Vianden, we hiked to Beaufort to the south-east, a town with a another 13th century castle. Having spent a night at Beaufort Youth Hostel, we set out in more pouring rain for Echternach. Our route was through some soaked woodland but a spectacle worth seeing was the ‘seven sisters’; seven deep gorges or narrow faults in solid rock, each only a few feet wide. It was still raining when we arrived at Echternach, which is the second largest town in Luxemburg. It had an ancient Basilica and a very modern Youth Hostel where we spent our final night in Luxemburg.

From Echternach, we travelled by bus the next day back to Luxembourg City where we caught the train to Brussels. From Brussels, we travelled to Bruges. Bruges had long been a favourite destination for Burton Grammar School trips being a much visited tourist centre as one of the most important commercial cities in Europe during the 13th and 14th centuries. We marvelled at the buildings, monuments, churches, palaces and bridges with its network of canals which connected up with the wide sea canal to Zeebrugge. We also saw the white statue of Madonna by Michelangelo in the ‘Church of Our Lady’. The new Youth Hostel at Bruges was plagued with mosquitoes resulting in many bites but nothing stopped us having an enjoyable time. Back the same way as we came through Ostend, Dover and London, we finally returned to Burton on July 31st.



1946 – First French Exchange

ArrasDuring 1945, with a strong post-war enthusiasm for re-establishing friendly connections in Europe, recently joined Hugh Wood in collaboration with the ‘Alliance Francaise’ formed a branch of ‘Le Cercle Francais’.

The first visiting French lecturer to Burton Grammar School was Professeur Daniel Mornet and, on his return he forged the link with the ‘Union Fraternelle Franco-Britannique’ situated in Arras who were trying to establish exchanges between English and French school pupils.

Their Honorary Secretary, Monsieur F. Rosset, a retired Police Commissioner was a decicated supporter and was to eventually be awarded an MBE for his efforts. The very first Anglo-French exchanges were start that year, 1946, and were to flourish for almost thirty years.

French Exchange

First French Exchange – Ian Pidoux

This picture was taken in Arras, France after the 14th July parade in 1946 during the very first school exchange with that town. Four of us took part and in those days the four of us travelled alone from Burton to Arras!

From the welcome we got at Calais Maritime as we left the ferry I gathered that we were in fact the first British schoolboys to take part in an exchange after World War II but I may have got this wrong. We were certainly among the first. On the window ledge you can see two out of the four of us, myself second from the left and one other extreme right whose name now escapes me but who I know lived in Stretton Post Office at the time. I took part in three more exchanges“.



1949 – French Exchange

French Exchange

French Exchange – Ian Pidoux

This picture was taken during the 1949 exchange, the last one in which I took part. By now the numbers were greater and it was a shared expedition with the Girls High School – but we still travelled as a group without accompanying adults.

This photo was not taken in France but on the ‘English’ part of the exchange on the steps of Burton Town Hall after a reception there. Apart from myself (back row left), Mr Ellick Ward (front row left), Harvey Griffiths and Fred Mallett (front row right) I can see the spectacled face of Roy Harrison and one other Grammar School pupil third in from the right on the back row“.



1948 – London Trip

Back Row: Hunter, Julian Appleby, Roy Eden, A.W. Lyne (Burton Labour MP), Larch, Brian Sharrat, Ian Pidoux, Woolley
Front Row: Donald Warden, Carey Hopkinson,  F03, Derek Holford, Guy Smith, Ellick Ward

This was a Sixth Form day trip to London. As well as Ellick Ward, the trip was accompanied by Burton’s first Labour Party MP who can be seen trying to disguise himself as a pupil at the rear.

The MP is A.W. Lyne who won the Staffordshire Burton Division in the 1945 General Election – he defended the seat in the 1950 General Election but was unsuccessful.  Ellick Ward was the chairman of the Burton Labour Party which was part of the reason behind the visit. The picture is taken outside of the Houses of Parliament which was one of the main places visited.



1951 – Bruges (Belgium) Trip

Among those Standing:
A. Michiels (Proprietor), Norman Jones, Ken Parkin, J. Copley, I. Bloor, D. Batkin,D. Malintosh, E. Ranby, Ward, J. Aston, Chadwick, Tilling, Jones, Rose, Darby, Ellis, D. Hopkinson, Gilbert, Hunter, Woollett, Dawson, Ellick Ward, Wilkinson

H. Parkes, Wright, Meakin, Owen, Fraser, B. Bourne, ‘Tarzan’ Hall, Smith, T. Pigott, Rawbon




1952 – Bruges (Belgium) Trip

Back Row: Michael Darby, George Kay, Keith Miller, Ken Mellor, Dennis King, Alun Thomas, Roger Kerry, B08, Norman Harvey, Gary Farmer
Standing: A. Michiels (Proprietor), Ellick Ward, Norman Jones, Langstone, Joe Bailey, M06, M07, Kirk, A.E. Prevett, M10, John Hancock, M12, M13, M14, Iain Cotton, G.R. Prevett, ‘Squeaker’ Alliss, David Green, M19, Glyn Hall
Seated on Bench: Tom Parker, Dave Hobby, Dave Orme, Tony Docksey, F05, F06, F07, F08, Tony McGlynn, F10
Seated on Floor: FL01, Brian Bradbury, Bob Fletcher, Proprietress of the hotel with her dog,  Chris Goddard, John Adams.


An account by Bob Fletcher (seated on floor third from left)…

The school trip to Bruges in Belgium was an annual event during the time I attended the Grammar School. Please forgive my lapses in memory but it is over 50 years ago after all when I went – 1952 I believe, when I was 12 and in form 2A. One received an invitation at the beginning of the school year, I believe, and places were allocated on a first come first served basis as far as I remember. The trip took place in the summer, but I can’t remember whether it was during term time or during the summer vacation – I’m sure someone who went on one of the trips will answer that question.

On departure day we met up at Burton railway station, presumably in the morning, carrying our suitcases (or, more likely with the younger ones like myself, the suitcase being carried by a parent) shoes polished, hair combed and probably new clothes bought specially for the trip. We boarded a train to London, presumably changing at Derby. Once in London we travelled on the underground to Charing Cross station (or was it Waterloo?), where we boarded the train for Dover. At Dover we boarded the ferryboat to Ostend and I remember that the sea was very rough, so most of us spent the trip below decks feeling decidedly queasy. No doubt a few were actually seasick. I don’t recall very much else about the sea trip and can’t remember how long it took. At Ostend we boarded a train to Bruges; again I don’t remember much about it or how we got from the station to the hotel. I remember thinking that the railway engines looked different to the ones in England. At the hotel we were allocated rooms but I don’t remember how many to a room or who I shared with.

Whilst in Bruges we went on a trip to Walcheren Island which I think is just over the border in Holland. I took with me on the trip an old Brownie box camera which I left on a stall in the market place whilst making a purchase of some sort of souvenir, so I ended up with no souvenir photographs to show people back home. I don’t recall any other organised trips but I do remember having lots of free time to look around Bruges, which I remember as a quaint town (city?) with its canals and ladies in the streets spinning lace garments. A few of us made friends with a Belgian boy of around our age and he showed us around lots of places including the beautiful cathedral. He even took us to meet his parents. Some of us, despite our age, were smokers and purchased Belgian cigarettes, because they were cheaper than English ones, but the Belgian lad thought we were mad, as he only smoked English ones because of their superior quality.

One day a group of us were smoking in my bedroom, which was at the end of a corridor, when someone heard “Ernie” Ward at the other end of the corridor. The others quickly left to go to their own rooms leaving me to face him alone. I quickly swilled my face and rinsed my mouth out just before “Ernie” entered, sniffed and said “Has someone been smoking in here?” to which I replied “No sir, there’s only me in here, it must be coming in through the window.” Fortunately for me he did not question that stupid remark, but turned round and walked away.

Although my memory of the trip has been dulled by advancing years, I know that I thoroughly enjoyed my first trip abroad as did everyone else who went. It was interesting to find out that although we had a slight understanding of the French language, (but not Flemish which was spoken by many Belgians), most of the Belgian people we came across spoke very good English. I remember a group of us once getting slightly lost and asking, in schoolboy French, an old lady for directions back to the hotel. She started to reply in very fast French, which we could not understand, but once we explained that we were English she gave us the directions in perfect English.

Although it was 1952, there was still a great deal of rationing in England, seemingly more so than in Belgium, for I remember purchasing a bag of sugar to take home for my mum, who was very pleased to receive it. I was very grateful to my parents for giving me the opportunity to travel abroad, something which they themselves had never done at that time.

My final recollection of the trip is that carrying a suitcase around left me with a blister on the middle finger of my left hand. A few days after returning from the trip I was on my travels again to attend a cadet camp in South Wales. Whilst there, the blister on my finger turned septic and I ended up in the camp hospital where they lanced the finger to remove the poison within the wound. At least I did not have to get up early every morning and go on exercises with the rest of the lads, but spent several days lying or sitting around getting pampered by the orderlies because of my young age.

Because of the time spent in hospital I was unable to finish smoking the packet of cigarettes which I had in my army shirt pocket. I forgot to take them out of the pocket when I got home and next morning was horrified to find that my mum had removed the shirt from my bedroom and had washed it. When she subsequently started ironing it she discovered a mangled pack of cigarettes in the pocket. I don’t remember what punishment I received for that, but believe it was tempered by the fact that I had been in hospital.



1957 – Bruges (Belgium) Trip

By 1957, the Bruges trip seems to have found some popularity with school masters; aside from the usual Ellick Ward and Norman Jones, also present are Walter Chadbourne, Raymond Crowther, Hugh Wood and Jake Hammond. I wonder how pleased the pupils were to find such a conspicuous staff presence ?!

Among the pupils are Roy Chamberlain (M02), Robin Langton (M03), David Smart (M04), A. Dytham (M05), Noble (M06), David Berker (M08), Gordon Marjoram (M09), David Brunning (F02), Jack Richards (F08) and Woosnam-Savage (F09)




1956 – London Heathrow Airport

Front Row: Measham, Sarginson, Elson, Peter Smith, John Monk, Elder, Smith, Clemson, Bloss
Middle Row: Hambling, Murkin, Peter Tripp (half hidden), John Lings (slightly behind), Marshall, Whitewood, David Moore, Andrew Limb, Williams, Chinnery
Back Row: John Hodgson, Bob Ash, Walter Chadbourne (master), B04, Michael Hill (both hidden and slightly forward), Brambley

This was a visit by Class 3B of 1957 to the ‘New’ London Heathrow Airport. The Queen had opened the first permanent terminal building, the Europa Building (now known as Terminal 2), in 1955.




Unidentified School Trips


« Previous Page

Website by Kevin Gallagher