SIR CHRISTOPHER WREN TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL
SCHOOL MEMORIES BY FORMER PUPILS (Page 8 )
HARRY DOWNES (continued)
I have a good memory or so I thought, but I had totally forgotten the Cornerstone. I couldn’t even remember playing cricket at HSB. In those days I was football and cricket crazy and spent more time dreaming about bowling like "Fiery Fred" when I should have been paying more attention to Pythagoras Theorem. Anyway, it wasn’t a total waste of time as years later I played cricket in the East of Scotland League until I was 55 years old.
The last time I saw Larry Baines was in late 1959. Just before he left HSB he told me that he was going to be involved with the setting up of the Potteries at Hornsea. Whether it was in partnership in the business or involvement in the Art & Design, I do not know. Started as a cottage industry in 1949, the Hornsea Pottery Company was founded in 1954 and
rapidly established a reputation for innovative design. I can recall in 1992 Hornsea Pottery Freeport was established at the pottery complex and I made enquiries about Larry but no one had heard of him. He was very popular at HSB and looked on as a bit of a character
I remember John Mooney very well. He was always involved in the sports activities at HSB.A good natured guy and was popular with everybody. He mentioned the Rugby Sevens and there is some info from pages 32-33 in the Cornerstone Magazine volume 5 about the event. I am not sure, but I think it was a one-off and was never repeated in the following years (although I may be wrong).
Every area in Hull at some time or other has had their fair share of characters. Larger than life people, who because of their unusual or eccentric behavior, soon became well-known and eventually part of local folklore. As a teenager in the 1950’s I lived on North Hull Estate and I soon became aware that I was living beside some rather unusual people. One person in mind stands out above all others was known affectionately by the name of Hot Lips. The story goes as follows - When you refer to the words Hot Lips, your mind conjures up thoughts of a very passionate and voluptuous woman or even better. Well, if you are thinking these things you can stand by to be disappointed. Back in 1958, I first heard of this person called Hot Lips from my two sisters. They told me that they saw him regularly on the bus and each time they saw him they never laughed so much in their life. For weeks on end they talked about this character and they used to look at each other, then shout Hot Lips and then roll around the floor laughing. Obviously, I was curious to find out more, but it was some weeks later when I found out for myself. As youngster I went to High School for Building which was an old spired Victorian Building in Osborne Street, directly behind Cecil Cinema.
When the bell went, I headed for the bus station to return home to North Hull on the no. 15 bus heading down Spring Bank West, I became aware of people continuously laughing the more the journey went on. The person causing all this mirth was the bus conductor, so he caught my attention. He was best described as being early fifties, medium build, slight paunch, receding hairline, and a thin pencil moustache - sort of an older version of David Niven. The first thing I noticed, was him admiring himself in the round fish eyed mirror half way up to the top deck and once upstairs he addressed all the passengers saying “Have your fares ready please and no foreign coins this time, it happens all the time I do this run to North Hull Estate, the place is full of cheats, drunks, and morons!” This brought a big cheer and applause from the passengers and the person next to me said “He says that everyday just to get people going”. I noticed he had something to say to everybody. As we passed the old cemetery on Spring Bank West he said to this old man “Won’t be long before your in there Granddad, you’ll be able to get your feet up and have a long rest” Once more this caused eruptions of laughter from everyone on the top deck. Then he came to me and looked at the badge on my school blazer, which had the three crowns of Hull plus the letters of HSB above it. He asked me what the initials stood for and I told him High School for Building. He then said “ger off, your having me on, it stands for Humberside Borstal!” He turned round to the other passengers and said “You had better keep a hand on your wallets folks this gut goes to Humberside Borstal!” I had just had my first encounter with Hot Lips.
Over the next few months, I made regular journeys on the same no. 15 bus route and Hot Lips was always there. Leaving the bus station, the route was down Spring Bank West, Chanterlands Avenue, Bricknell Avenue, Fairfax Avenue, Hall Road to Greenwood Avenue. The bus terminus ended at Greenwood Pub and turned round a small traffic island for the return journey. During the journey Hot Lips used to shout out and warn passengers of the stopping places such as
“If you need a rest Spring Bank West!”
“Hang on to your pants - ger off your at Chants “
“I’m on the bell so run like hell you’re at Bricknell”
“for those that’s bored 0 ger off yer at Hall Road”
“For the mentally insane - yer here Endyke Lane”
“If you’re needing the lav - Greenwood Ave”
There are many other stories that kept us amused on that journey home from the town centre to Greenwood Avenue but the above is what stands out in my mind more than any other
I was in Hull on 6th September 2009 and on Sunday (6th Sept) I was in the Town centre. I parked my car in a small car-park across the road from the Guildhall entrance (next to Hull College of Tech). Looking through a wort-iron fence, I was amazed to see the original prefab building that we attended for brick-laying instruction still in situ in Salthouse Lane. The photos (see photographs after year 2000) show the building in poor condition and overgrown surroundings. It brought back memories of our one period per week instruction from Johnny Redhead and the time I got a dog from him (which he kept on his small-holding on the outskirts of Hull). One day, he asked me if I knew anybody that wanted a dog and after asking my parents, I took it off him, it was a big black hairy thing, something like a Newfoundland but never knew its true pedigree and it cost a fortune to keep it fed. Seeing this building brought all the memories back and the thought of laying my very last brick there. After building a small wall (in Flemish bond), Johnny would then check your work and give you marks out of ten. I never got any higher than eight out of ten. Laying my last brick in 1959, it seemed strange standing on the spot exactly 50 years later.