Nottingham High School: The Anecdotal History of a British Public School
Hardcover, 394 Pages
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Nottingham High School is one of England’s finest public schools with a long and rich history spanning five hundred years. In this landmark account, John Knifton takes an entertaining and absorbing look at the fascinating events since King Henry VIII gave Nottingham High School his royal seal of approval. Leaving no tale untold, this all-encompassing history considers the highs and lows of the school, as well as the pivotal role its alumni have played in many crisis points of British history including the execution of the King, the gunpowder plot, and World Wars I and II. This history is rich in anecdotes, with engaging accounts that feature the whole sweep of English society, from fearless war heroes and record-breaking sportsmen, to the schooldays of the notorious author, D.H. Lawrence, and the glamorous flying ace, Albert Ball. This history of Nottingham High School is a substantially rewritten publication based on an original e-Book called Lauda Finem: The History of... More > Nottingham High School (2012).< Less
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Nov 2, 2016The author and his publisher, Dr Lauren Knifton, have succeeded in producing an especially handsome volume that contains a wealth of fascinating material that will both inform and delight in equal measure. Potential readers may be surprised to learn that the book's contents do not take the form of a continuous narrative, but rather an extensive series of carefully selected dates relating to specific events and people associated with the School. The effect is to create a kaleidoscopic insight into the rich tapestry of this remarkable school's history and development. The entries are of varying length, some detailed, others very brief. Space permits mention of just three examples, which collectively convey something of the substance and spirit of the book. First, on Saturday, November 22nd, 1913, "The 1st XI played the City Asylum, in a match watched by the strangest crowd in the long, long history of High School football. It certainly gave the Nottinghamian an original excuse to... More > offer for a very heavy defeat: perhaps the presence of so many lunatics unnerved the team, for it did not come up to its usual form.'" . . . second, on Friday, June 12th, 1931,"'Healey was well beaten today, six strokes being delivered - the first three being useless as the culprit was wearing four pairs of trousers and one pair of pants.'" . . . the third example is generalised, quite different in tone and content and yet distinctively characteristic of the book, namely the many poignant and affectionate tributes paid to those former members of the School who died during the two World Wars. Those of us who have enjoyed the privilege of association with the School owe the author a considerable debt for reminding us in such detail and with such clarity and warmth that this admirable institution is so much more than a collection of classrooms and examination results. It is and always has been a community of individuals whose lives are invisibly bound together by common interests and aspirations. At the beginning of the book, the author writes "Now you, dear reader, can read the book, and judge for yourself whether a success has been made of it". It most certainly has.< Less
Sep 23, 2016This is very much the kind of book that anyone who knows John Knifton or who has been taught by him over the course of his thirty eight year career at the High School would come to expect: witty, idiosyncratic, irreverent at times, and always with an eye for the unusual, the eclectic and the downright absurd. This is not a sequential narrative ; rather it takes the format of identifying key dates in the early history of the school and, as the twentieth century approaches, days on which anything that has taken the author’s fancy has occurred, whether it be an outstanding sporting or academic achievement, or just something that seems so out of touch with educational practice today to warrant attention. It becomes easy to indentify the author’s interest in football at the school and his admiration for his heroes such as Tinsley Lindley. Likewise his fascination with the names and initials carved in fireplaces around the school; painstaking research has revealed the characters behind... More > these scratchings which have caught the imagination of generations of High School boys since their first appearance. I began by saying that this book was at times irreverent – but there is no irreverence whatever in the chapters dealing with the two world wars, where John Knifton brings to life those old boys of the school who died in action, recording their families, their achievements, and their unfulfilled promise for the future they never had In the book’s later stages, particularly in the years when the author was teaching at the school, it becomes more of what the Scots might call a gallimaufry – a kind of lucky bag that repays dipping into to see what emerges. Personal reminiscence mingles with almost random recording of key fixtures – but not only the kind of achievements recorded in the Speech Day programme or the pages of the Nottingham Post, but also of those heroic failures, when teams were defeated by huge margins. It acknowledges that a great deal of school sport isn’t about winning and about silverware being presented in assemblies, but about cold, wet games sessions when the wind, the rain and just about everything else seems to be against you. This is a fascinating book not only for anyone (staff or student) who attended the school in the last third of the twentieth century and the opening years of this, but for anyone interested in the byways of social history in general and of Nottingham in particular.< Less
Sep 21, 2016This is not just a unique history of Nottingham High school but a valuable social history of an English public Day School from 1513 to 2012. Compiled from material in the school magazines and other school archive documents, AW Thomas' History of the school published in 1958, and from first-hand experiences of 38 years teaching at the school, John Knifton has created a tender, amusing, poignant and at times heartbreaking account of the pupils and staff, teaching and support, who built the school into what it can be today. The voices who created most of the stories, anecdotes and small histories are treated with affectionate respect if sometimes selected with tongue in cheek. Reading it is a joy.
Sep 21, 2016No toilet should be without one! I mean this as a compliment since you can read as much or as little as “circumstances” necessitate and start at whatever chronological point in the 500-year-long story, 1513-2013, you wish. This is not just a book for the Nottingham High School community, whether current or past pupil, parent or member of staff, for there is something here for readers of all ages, which cannot be said of most books. It is also refreshingly free from the propaganda/marketing approach which seems to affect many school histories adversely. John Knifton tells the very human story of Nottingham High School in an engaging way, “warts and all”. There are classic tales of practical jokes, schoolboy errors and serious misbehaviour – one major eighteenth century incident of fisticuffs led to troops being summoned to quell the disorder and sadly four pupil fatalities. Those who prefer to read about the famous have a wealth of individuals from which to choose: politicians like Ken... More > Clarke and Ed Balls; captains of industry like Jesse Boot (founder of Boots); sportsmen like the late Victorian England international footballer Tinsley Lindley and the hurdler Andy Turner; writers such as D.H. Lawrence, about whom several pages are devoted. Poignantly, there are many stories about the casualties of the World Wars, many of whom had only just left the classrooms and playground of Nottingham High School. This is an ideal birthday or Christmas present.< Less
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- John Knifton (Standard Copyright License)
- First Edition
- Lauren Knifton PhD
- September 8, 2016
- Hardcover (dust-jacket)
- Interior Ink
- Black & white
- 1.33 lbs.
- Dimensions (inches)
- 6 wide x 9 tall
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