Lads From Robert Atkinson School, Thornaby c1972

The photograph is from around 1972, and it was taken while the group were at Lanehead Outdoor Pursuit Centre near Coniston in Cumbria, hence the matching anoraks. Starting bottom left, going clockwise the group is Paul (Billy) Gorthorpe, Anthony (Bomber) Boult, Shakir Rajput, Neal (Nelly) Toulson, Tony Lonsdale, Dave Elliot, Mike Reed, Alan Walton.

Photograph and details courtesy of Neal Toulson.

4 thoughts on “Lads From Robert Atkinson School, Thornaby c1972

  1. If you lived in Barnard Street you must have went to the Arthur Head we left Barnard Street to live in Lanehouse Road. l remember your family in Barnard Street and going in your house, we lived in No 9 my brother and l found the Robert Atkinson a good school. And my other two brothers liked the Arthur Head. The teachers should be the same today from Tom do you remember our Benny?


  2. You lot were lucky they sent us to an ex prison camp near Hexham called Dukehouse Wood Camp School. I swear they were trying to get rid of us, Knew Neal Toulon and Dave Elliot from the photo. They were in the year above me at the Robert Atkinson Penal Colony run my a sadistic moron called Irvine.


    • David, I share your adverse thoughts on the Robert Atkinson school, Thornaby, and the teaching staff there. I claim it was much worse in the 1950s. The then headmaster and the ever so snobbish school staff lost sight of the fact that 90%+ of us were from poor working-class homes whose fathers were either unemployed blue-collar workers or labourers. For instance: One morning during morning assembly we were told about the death of the richest man in the world J D Rockefeller, Standard Oil and Exxon, and how his great wealth and declining health could not save him, this headmaster failed to mention that when Rockefeller died he was aged 96, and for over 50 years had lived a life all boys from Thornaby and Teesside could all envy (mansions, horses and yachts) and this headmaster never mentioned if we followed his example we would all be better off. The fact that Rockefeller had great wealth and worldwide success was derided, scorned and overlooked. This indicates perhaps what’s wrong with UK schools and why our sons and daughters so rarely go to Oxford or Cambridge. May I add here my grandson just scored the highest marks recorded this year in the USA Entrance Law Exam, which is quite an achievement? Something the former citizens of Barnard Street, Thornaby can be proud about?


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.