Bob Capstick, Class of 1947 - 1949

I attended Welton High School in Hall Road, Hull when my woodwork teacher, a Mr. Heald, suggested that I sat for the entrance examination to the High School for Building. I must admit, I had
never heard of the school.

However, on the designated day, I sat for the exams and passed it. The next step was to attend the

interview. It was held in what appeared at first glance, to be a bombed out building situated on the
south side of Osborne Street between Midland Street and what is now Ferensway, in the middle of a
flattened area of some 10 acres?  I was asked the usual questions such as why did I want to attend the
High School for Building, what trade was I interested in, what sports I played and what did my father
do for a living. At that time, he was an Inspector in the Hull City Police Force.  I would have been, at
the time, the ripe old age of 13 years.

        I found The High School for Building to be a totally different school to any I had attended. Everything revolved around the building trade. English, maths, geography, history, science, all dealt
with building. The maths dealt with building quantities and calculations, geography dealt with the
types of building and their construction in various parts of the world.   History covered building from
the earliest cave dwellings up to almost the modern day including Roman, Greek, and Egyptian Building styles. [I still remember the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian orders to this very day Late 2008)]. 

Even English involved building when and where it could. Apart from these subjects, we took
building drawing and construction, practical and theory plumbing, brickwork, plastering and woodwork. Even the hours of study were different. We started earlier and finished later than
normal schools so as to adjust us to trade hours.

            Suddenly, school was a total, well almost a total, enjoy­ment. My marks skyrocketed, homework,

which I had never had much time for at any of the other schools, was now no burden. The challenge of being at the top of the class was accepted and I was happy.  

The War finished, I was being schooled in the centre, or what was left of the centre of Hull. This

meant  I had to either take my lunch to school or go to Jack Lavines’ fish  and chip shop in Osborne
St, one of the very few buildings still standing, I left from home earlier and arrived home later,
travelling by bus, met students all of whom were interested in the same things I was interested in,
namely building. In all, my educational life, in fact everything became a joy, a very exciting time for

I continued representing my school at Swimming, Cricket and Athletics. These unfortunately were
all summer sports.   I had noticed over the years that being good at sports could have some rewards.  
When representing your school you found little favours coming your way.  For example, not getting
into as much trouble if caught talking, being sent on teachers errands, only small things, but you
were being recognised. The High School for Building was no different.  One teacher and the sports
master, Jack Kitchen, would call me Edmund all summer and stand and talk to me in the school yard
because of representing the school in swimming, cricket and athletics, but come winter and soccer,
which was a game I did not excel in, it was Capstick and total indifference out of school. 
Still this was only a small matter.

            I was 14 years old at the commencement of the second year.   Everything continued the same way at

school except each pupil had to now make up their mind as to which branch of the building trade they wanted to enter.   The reason for this was that we would now and for the remainder of the time
at school, concentrated on that one trade, dropping the other two.   I picked plumbing; from then on
until the end of night school in 1953 there developed a friendly rivalry between myself and Peter
Ball, another plumbing student.   For the next four years we would be either 1st or 2nd in our class.  
As I recall I topped the class the 1st year, came second the 2nd year and topped it the 3rd and 4th.  

Peter had something to prove as his brother had topped the school some years before.   I still have the books I received in the way of prizes during this time.

            It was during my first year at the High School for Building that I was to form a friendship which was

to last a life time even though separated by half the world. 

My grandparents had lived for a time in the market town of Pocklington which lies about 25 miles

northwest of Hull on the York Road.  

            After a few days at my new school, I think it was a Wed­nesday morning, which was our schools
sports afternoon, one of my class mates was asking how to get to the sports ground in Inglemire
Lane, North Hull as he was from Pocklington and did not know his way about the city.    The sports
ground was only about a mile from my home, so I said to him that I would take him home with me
and then on to the sports ground.   He had a packed lunch so we had our lunch together at my home.  
In view of my grand parent’s connection with Pocklington, my mother was very interested to know where this lad lived.   He was 6 feet tall, thin as a lantern light, with black hair and very dark
brown eyes.   He was Geoff Banks.   After that first sports day, he came to our house each week and
had lunch with us before we went off for sport.  We later would spend weekends at one another’s

            He was a very good cricketer being a fast bowler.   There was nobody in the school or inter-school

for that matter that came even close to his speed when bowling.   One Saturday we were playing
against another school when he took 6 wickets for 3 runs.  The same game, Peter Boyd took 4
wickets for 2 runs and believe it or not, we still lost the match.   The only time I think Geoff ever got
anywhere near upset with me, was when I missed an easy catch in the outfield off his bowling?   He
was not the only one, as Jack Kitchen, the sports master, dropped me from the team the following
Saturday.   Geoff and I have kept in touch ever since. I have visited him in England on some eight
occasions and he has visited me in Australia some four times.

The staff consisted of:-

Mr. George A. Hanby, the Headmaster
Mr. Jack Kitchen - English, Geography and History teacher also our Sports
Mr. John G. Witty - Maths and Building Construction teacher.
Mr. Alf Pearson - Building Science and Mechanics teacher.
Mr. Suggden - Drawing Instructor.
Mr. Arthur Parkinson - Plumbing Instructor.
Mr. [Algy] Bray - Carpentry Instructor and a keen motor cycle enthusiast.
Mr. John Redhead - Bricklaying and Plastering Instructor.

And, not forgetting the head masters gorgeous secretary, Doreen Langton. [The
perfect ‘dream girl’ for a 14 or 15 year old school boy].

I visited Arthur Parkinson at his home on numerous occasions when visiting the U.K.

On the 14th day of April l949, at the age of 15 years and 8 months, I left the High School for
Building and commenced work with the plumbing firm of J. W. Brooks of 21 Victor Street, Hull.

In March 1954, I left the UK for Australia. I there worked as a plumber before starting  my own
plumbing business which I ran for three years.  In 1957, I joined the Victoria Police Force.  I married
and had two children, a girl who is a teacher and a boy who now runs his own plumbing business. I
have been retired 24 years (2008)

I leave you with this ‘imposition’ which was imposed on the class by John Witty:-

“In spite of repeated warning, I have failed to carry out the instructions of my master
and have consequently earned a just punishment.”  100 times!!!!

Edmund Robert [Bob] Capstick.
8, Riverwood Drive,
Victoria.  3579.
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