Shrewsbury Technical High School, Nearwell and Sutton Lodge

Phil(ip) Tebble writes :
I attended STHS from September 1958 until July 1965, which makes me a 58er.

During this time I was also a boarder, first at Nearwell next to the column and then the hostel moved to Sutton Lodge in Betton Street. During my first 4½ years (or was 3½?) the hostel was run by a Mr and Mrs Yeomans – Mr Yeomans taught Engineering Drawing (then called Technical Drawing?) at STHS. The boys hostel was then taken over by Mr and Mrs Nicholls (who had two daughters!). For the first two years of STHS Mr Nicholls taught maths but then transferred to the new Technical College on London Road.

NearwellA brief story concerning Mr Nicholls and Nearwell. As you probably know Nearwell was demolished to make way for the new Shire Hall in 1963. Mr Nicholls had been told that this was to happen but had not been given a date. In August 1963 the family set off, by car, to Scotland for a holiday. When returning, and on entering Nearwell’s gateway, Mrs. Nicholls removed the front door key from her handbag. As the car emerged from amongst the trees it became evident that there was no longer a front door – indeed there was no building, just a pile of rubble. In their absence Nearwell had been demolished. Fortunately all their belongings had been moved into the nearby girls hostel (The Elms?) and accommodation was also available for them there.

In the cricket photo I recognise the following boys who also boarded at Nearwell – Ian Pinson, Juris Aleksejeus, John Cartwright and Roy Weaver. I shared a room with Ian for 5 years and was a particular friend with John. I also knew Ian’s twin sister, Jill (now Jill Turley), and Roy’s younger sister, Janet – both of whom were boarders at the girls hostel. Although Ian and Jill were twins they were born 3 days apart and in different years (30/12 and 02/01, I seem to remember).

For my first year at STHS the headmaster was Mr Daley who then became principal of the new Technical College. He was replaced by Mr Gower. A short tale regarding Mr Gower and myself. A number of boys were wearing non-regulation shirts to school – other than the regulation grey or white. A notice appeared stated that boys MUST wear grey and white shirts. I duly turned up the next day wearing a grey and white striped shirt. On passing Mr Gower in the corridor he congratulated me on following his notice to the letter. 10 minutes later the notice had been changed to, “boys MUST wear grey OR white shirts”.

A friend of mine has a cousin who was teaching at STHS for its last few years – I will find out her name.

Ross Nicholls asked the name of the German teacher – it was Mr Ibram.

A few years ago, via Friends Reunited, I made contact with two fellow 58ers – Christine Humphries and Susan Burton (I had a crush on her!). Christine gave me the sad news that Janet Weaver had died in Hull of salmonella poisoning.

After Sutton Lodge closed in 1966 Mr Nicholls became Principal of Further Education in Ludlow for a few years. This was followed by a move to Cosham (north Portsmouth) to a similar post which he held until he took early retirement. He died, in a care home near Stroud in Gloucestershire, in late April last year (2016). I know these details because I married his older daughter, Pat, in 1969. This younger daughter, Sylvia (obviously now my sister-in-law) has lived on Jersey for more than 40 years.

After leaving STHS I undertook an Engineering Apprenticeship at British Aircraft Corporation (now British Aerospace) at Filton, Bristol. During the apprenticeship I gained an HND in Production Engineering. After 7 years at BAC I moved to a smaller company in Cheltenham that manufactured and sold computer-controlled machine tools – my position as Application Engineer required me to give technical support to UK customers and overseas agents and customers. During my 10 years with the company I worked in all 4 Scandinavian countries, many European countries, Russia and Hungary. Then I was ‘head-hunted’ to open up and run a west of England branch of a company based in Romford, Essex that provided software to generate the programmes that ran computer controlled machine tools. After a few years of this I then run my own company providing sales and support on similar products until one of the companies whose products I was selling offered me a position with them. When this company merged with another I was made redundant and my final job was as Policies and Procedures Manager at a small company providing data base services to large companies and organisations such as Center Parcs and the National Institute for The Blind. When it became obvious that this company was in financial difficulties I took early retirement at the age of 63.

I have two daughters and the older, Nicola, has just given us our first grandchild, Imogen now 8 weeks old. Nicola has a senior position in the marketing department of Dyson. Our younger daughter, Anna, lives in Sheffield and works for a publishing company that produces regional cookbooks based on recipes provided by the chefs in restaurants (the books also provide background on the chefs and the restaurants). Last year we sold our house in Stroud and are now renting whilst we search for a replacement.


Phil(ip) Tebble January 2017.



Possible spelling : Juris Alexejevs (Ed.)

The couple looking after Nearwell Hostel and its incumbents in 1957 – 1958 were Mr and Mrs Sadler. (Ed.)