School Life then and Now

Secondary School life 100 years ago—Doncaster Grammar School  

Both academic and sporting achievements were highly valued by Doncaster Grammar School. This is something that continues to be embraced today at Hall Cross Academy. During the First World War, Doncaster Grammar School had a number of clubs on offer, such as a camera club, a choir, a swimming club and a cricket club. In the school’s Danensis magazine, articles documented the school’s sporting and academic successes. The magazine also featured contributions that the boys had made to the war effort.

Many of the ‘old boys’ went on to higher education after leaving school. Some boys even went to Oxford and Cambridge. Others found good jobs as clerks, architects and engineers. Many ex-pupils found their careers and studies disrupted by war, as they joined up or were conscripted into the military.

Oxford Place Infants Peace Celebration 1919

Title: Oxford Place Infants Peace Celebration 1919
Description: Heritage Doncaster by-nc

Secondary School life today — Hall Cross Academy

In the course of a school week at Hall Cross Academy (Formerly Doncaster Grammar School), your curriculum consists of four hours of English, four hours of maths, six hours of science, and nine hours of optional lessons. Students also learn about many subjects including religious education, citizenship, personal, social and health education, British values and sex and relationship education. This is an attempt at crafting the students of Hall Cross into responsible, thoughtful and open-minded young people.

Much like in 1914, there is still an Old Danensians’ club for past pupils and members of staff, which regularly holds meet-ups and evenings in which they can share their memories of the school.

Written by Lucas Huntington, student at Hall Cross Academy

Doncaster Grammar School boys at war

Thomas Alfred Leggott

Thomas Alfred Leggott was once described as one of Doncaster’s “best known young men”. In his time at Doncaster Grammar School, he enjoyed playing cricket and was involved in various choirs. He was described as having a “sweet alto voice”. After leaving school he worked as a sign writer at a wagon works in Doncaster.

Alfred Leggott fought in France in 1915 where he suffered severe gunshot wounds. Sadly, he died shortly afterwards in a field hospital on the Western Front. His Doctor said he “bore the pain well” in the time before his death. He is remembered at the St Sever Cemetery in Rouen, France.

Clifford Dyke

Clifford Dyke was born in May 1893 in North Winfield, Chesterfield. He had four siblings: Lily, Florence, Olive and John. In 1908, Clifford became a student at Doncaster Grammar School, after previously attending Clay Cross Higher Grade School in Derby. Clifford was a keen sportsman. He was involved in a variety of sports clubs: from 1914, he was a member of the school’s cricket club. Later on, he was part of the school’s swimming club. Just before he enlisted in the army, he took part in a musketry course, then going on to become a musketry instructor.

In 1916, Clifford enlisted in the 6th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment as a Lance Corporal. Later that year he fought in Mesopotamia, Iraq. Sadly, Clifford was killed in action on 18 January 1917 and is commemorated on the Basra Memorial in Iraq.

Norman Clark

Title: Norman Clark
Description: Doncaster Chronicle 1st September 1916 by-nc

Norman Pickslay Clark

Norman Pickslay Clark was an active leader of the boy scouts while at Doncaster Grammar School. His sister Winifred worked at the Arnold Hospital on Thorne Road.  He later trained to be a chartered accountant. He served with the Royal Munster Fusilliers 7th Battalion. His parents received a telegram detailing that he had been wounded while on duty, but remained in the field. Two days later, on 24 August 1916, he was killed in action.

He was buried where he fell in France. His name appears on the Thiepval War Memorial.

Researched and written by Sophia Lambert, student at Hall Cross Academy.