A recent School production, Les Misérables was a real hit and is often still talked about now! The costumes, scenery and standard of acting and singing was brilliant, and all who attended the show agreed that it was a true BGS spectacular!
All BGS pupils, past and current, enjoyed singing Christmas carols in our fantastic assembly halls at Christmas time. Everyone joins in and the atmosphere is wonderful! Over the years our pupils have sung Christmas Carols to raise money for Charity and at residential care homes for the elderly, something that we still do today.
The Christmas Tree in the Roger Kay Hall is always a welcome sight and means that Christmas is coming soon! Many pupils comment on how much they look forward to seeing the tree sparkle and how wonderful it looks at both assemblies and at the Christmas events held in the Roger Kay Hall each year.
Many Old Boys and Old Girls remember the pool of yesteryear! Originally built in the 1930s all pupils who attended BGS after this date have experienced the pool. Nowadays it looks very different, having undergone several refurbishments over the years, the most recent of which is a new heating system which makes swimming lessons a bit more comfortable!
Before the Boys’ School was built in 1966, BGS Boys and Girls shared what is now the BGSG building, but boys and girls were kept very much apart. The gym which is still in operation today was therefore used by boys and girls (separately!) until 1966 and just by girls after this date. It still retains the wall bars, ropes and other original equipment but of course, the School has a range of modern equipment now that test the gymnastic ability of all who use it!
In the past, girls loved Domestic Science and there are many stories of both brilliant and disastrous outcomes, but one thing all girls remember is how much fun they had in these lessons. Our refurbished food rooms and fantastic teachers mean that nowadays, in Food Preparation and Nutrition, success is far more common than calamity!
In days gone by the teachers wore academic gowns in School and many of our past pupils remember the teachers walking quickly down the corridors, gowns billowing as they went. Nowadays gowns are worn by the Headmaster and Second Master in Assemblies and by all teachers and Heads at Prize Giving and Founders' Day.
This modern, well-equipped gym brings back many fond memories for many of our Old Boys and current pupils alike. Boys play a wide range of sports and games in the gym/sports hall from fencing to cricket, gymnastics to futsal to name a few!
All pupils remember walking from the School through the town of Bury to Bury Parish Church where our Founders' Day Service commemorates the School’s incredible founders who had the foresight to establish our wonderful School all those years ago. The CCF band and cadets head up the Founders' Day March followed by the rest of the senior school pupils and staff. Many well-wishers from the town watch the parade. The Mayor of Bury meets the parade at Bury Parish Church and before we all enter the church we show thanks and commemorate the town’s fallen war heroes at the War Memorial.
In 1954 Dr Arnold Meier, a teacher at BGS, established an exchange programme with Deutzer Gymnasium, a School in Cologne, Germany. On seeing the horrors of WW1 and WW2, Dr Meier, himself from Germany with Jewish parents, wanted the pupils from both schools to get to know one another and to understand a bit about each others country and culture; the aim being that this sort of interaction, knowledge and understanding may prevent another WW and help heal the scars caused by both WW1 and WW2. Many of our Old Boys have fond memories of the annual exchange programme which often included day trips and the annual football match and volleyball match. The annual Cologne Exchange is still going strong today and celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2014. It is one of the longest running exchange programmes in the country.
The CCF band lead the CCF processions and marches at formal events. The band is an integral part of the CCF and helps keep the cadets marching in time. The School is very grateful to the Old Boys' Association who recently purchased new and incredibly smart uniforms for the band. The band members practise hard and are quite rightly held in high esteem by all the pupils, staff and those members of the British Army who have links with the CCF at BGS, one of the oldest cadet forces in the UK. Many Old Boys and Old Girls who were part of the CCF have fond memories of marching in time to the CCF band!
BGS has had an astroturf football pitch since the 1990’s and many Old Boys remember playing on the original astroturf pitch back then. Of course, since 2016 the School has new sports surfaces in the form of a 3G pitch for football plus two additional artificial surfaces, multi-use games areas (MUGA’s) for rugby training, tennis, hockey, cricket training, basketball and volleyball plus a 50m sprint track. Hopefully, our current pupils will enjoy using the new facilities as much as the Old Boys enjoyed the original astroturf.
All pupils from Kindergarten to our sixth formers love the Christmas decorations and many Old Boys and Old Girls remember making their own decorations when they were in the lower years at BGS! Many of our parent community give their children’s hand-made Christmas decorations pride of place each year in their homes at the festive time!
Many Old Boys and Old Girls have fond memories of Sports Day where all competitors tried to win not only for individual glory but also to bolster their House’s chance of gaining the prestigious Sports Day victory over the other Houses! It was always a noisy and lively event and remains so today.
Many of our Old Boys remember woodwork lessons at BGS! Nowadays woodwork lessons have been replaced by Craft, Design and Technology (CDT) which teaches boys about resistant materials, electronics, computer-aided design and computer aided manufacture, including laser cutting and etching and the development of 3D printing options... we’ve certainly moved with the times!
Many past and current pupils comment on how emotional they felt when the CCF Bugler played the Last Post in front of the War Memorial at Bury Parish Church as part of our Founders' Day commemoration and celebration. This happens every year and members of the School community and spectators and supporters from the town stop what they are doing and listen and remember our fallen heroes who gave their lives in WW1 and WW2.
For all the Old Girls who attended BGS in the 1980s and 1990s while Miss Batty was Headmistress, do you remember Dan? Dan was a Cairn Terrier who followed Miss Batty along the corridors of BGSG and sniffed around the girls’ feet when pupils entered the Headmistress’s Office!
The BGS flags have been carried by the Head Girl and Head Boy as they lead the Founders' Day Parade for many years. The flags are on proud display as the Parade makes its way from BGS to Bury Parish Church and are lowered in respect when the CCF Bugler plays the Last Post outside the War Memorial as a mark of respect to those former pupils who lost their lives in WW1 and WW2. The flags are heavier than they look and have solid silver swans at the top made by former staff in our CDT studio.
Originally written in 1957 by two BGSG teachers, Miss Daisy Orme and Miss H. Shuttleworth, it is a rousing song that girls sing on special school occasions. Many Old Girls remember how much the music teachers emphasized the importance of singing the final 't'.
The Roger Kay Hall is one of the most iconic images of Bury Grammar School and the mere smell of its polished floors bring back vivid School memories. The beamed and vaulted ceiling was inspired by the Main Hall at Harvard in the USA.
The Roger Kay Hall features several Memorial Boards including one bearing the names of the 98 ‘Fallen Swans’ who fell in WW1 and the 47 who died in WW2. Replicas of both lists appear in the Boys' Assembly Hall.
The original Boys’ School Song was written in English but translated into Latin in 1949. Sung in great voice in School Assemblies, Founders’ Day Dinners and Prize Giving it evokes many memories of great School occasions.
Standing proudly above the town of Bury, high upon Holcombe Moor, the Peel Monument was erected in honour of Sir Robert Peel, believed to be a BGS Old Boy, who founded the first police force known as ‘the Peelers’.
Memories of peaceful, balmy summer afternoons punctuated with the sound of leather hitting willow; many BGS Boys spent several hours in leisurely cricket combat with local schools. The cricket scoreboard hut, whilst still in use, now houses a healthy family of bats!
The sunny, oak-lined office held by the Headmistress of BGSG overlooks the playground and features the famous Ajax mirror over the fireplace. The ‘BGS Swan’ is displayed within the stained glass windows, whilst the secretary’s office, hidden in the School eaves, is accessed by a small and decorative staircase. The Headmistress’s door still features the automatic ENTER green light - although it is no longer in use.