School Magazine

In the 1880s there was a school magazine called ‘The Lyre’. This was leather-bound and hand-written and illustrated so was not distributed in any number and soon ceased production.

There was another attempt to get a school magazine off the ground was in 1905. At a meeting in the Chemistry Lecture room, H.S. Staley was appointed as its first editor. He left at the end of that year to go to Birmingham Univerisy and later, to Cambridge and was succeeded by Aubrey Baggley. Mr W.T. Jeffcott who taught Latin, French and Shakespeare at the time, contributed an ‘Acrostic’, which were fore-runners of the modern day crossword, but he insisted on it not being published in his name. Despite the initial enthusiasm, it was only short-lived.

The first Cygnet, Spring Term 1919 – Issue 1

The next attempt was following the end of World War I in 1918. The end of the war prompted form 5B to cobble something together using exercise book covers with loose sheets stuck together and sew in. The first issue was signed by all 22 members of the class. Advertising had been offered at 1d for the first twenty words. Rather ambitiously, it was intended as a weekly journal but this quickly faded away and stopped after just six weeks. The magazine had though, caught the eye of the Headmaster of the time, Mr R.T. Robinson who fully endorsed the idea of a school magazine and decided to add some official weight to it and appointed himself as Chairman. Pupil, Waterton was appointed Editor with Richards as Sub-editor and Mr Parkin as proof-reader. Also appointed were a Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, Copy collectors (one in each form). The magazine at last had a solid footing and the result was the ‘Cygnet’, Spring Term 1919 – Issue 1.

The first two pages of the first issue

Very soon, it became an integral part of the school and a compulsory subscription required that every member of the school had to pay each term as part of the school regulations.

In 1957, the school crest was changed and the cover was given a fresher colour

This was to run with Spring, Summer and Winter term issues almost until the very end of the Grammar School with the final issue in Winter 1974.

The final ‘Cygnet’ just before the closure of the Grammar School
(* a PDF copy of this is available on request but too large to feature)

The first two pages of the last issue: Foreword by Brian Harris (Headmaster)



1933 ‘Taffy is a teacher’

The following poem, which has managed to survive trapped inside another item for over 75 years, probably didn’t make it to a 1933 Cygnet although it does provide a fairly clear picture of one boy’s feeling towards Taffy Davies (probably in the wake of being repremanded by him!). Long before my time so I can’t really comment.

Taffy is a teacher,
Taffy is a fool,
You’ll find him talking “tommy-rot”,
At the Burton Grammar School.

Mad old Taffy surely is,
He often has a bout,
When he “collars” hold of the nearest kid,
And gives him such a “clout”.

He can’t half get his “duck” off,
When the kids are getting slack,
He gets a “blinkin” queue of them,
And sends them for the “whack”.

His class is quite a mix-up,
A lot of fearful lads,
There are five or six “barbarians”,
And all the rest are “cads”.

Catapults and orange peel,
Peas of course are good,
They shoot them at old Taffy’s head,
To see if it is wood.

Now when Taffy marks the papers,
He developes an awful rage,
He takes a blue-lead pencil,
And scribbles over the page.

Now Taffy’s impositions,
He never lets them pass,
Write me twenty-five times,
I must behave in class.

He seems a very docile man,
But never go by looks,
It wouldn’t be old Taffy,
If he didn’t give “black-books”.

But still, old Taffy’s getting old,
So to keep the class in hand,
Just tell him when you see him next,
He needs a “monkey-gland”.


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