Appleton School - The Early Days

We Need Your Help

taken approx 1966/67
Mr Edward Haynes, Headmaster. Photo February 1972
© Echo Newspapers
Mr Edward Haynes, Headmaster. Photo November 1969.
© Echo Newspapers

Photos from the 60s and 70s

Of all the pages on our website, our schools section frequently receives the most attention. One visitor to our website, Kevin Oakley, recently sent in a request for information on a photo he had seen on one of the Appleton School pages.

This is Kevin’s original request:

I would like to buy a hard copy of the photograph from 1976 which is wrongly listed as 1966 can any one help me achieve this?

Unfortunately, we were unable to help due to the poor quality of the scan that we had. Further communication with Kevin proved of interest. It seems that a keen new teacher arrived at the school in the  1970s, whose interest was photography.  Kevin recalls….

I remember a young teacher who joined in 1974/5 who headed a new department of photography which never existed before. The school had its own dark rooms and back then developed and printed its own photographs. It later morphed into media studies. The teacher used the school photography as his pet project and took school photographs on the steps at the front of the school.

I just wondered what happened to all the school negatives which he had. We were all given a chance to buy a photograph back then but I was too much of a rebel. Something I have always regretted ever since then. Maybe some other students have original copies to share if asked, I don’t know? Its worth a try if only for school history.

I think it would be a good idea if a new school tradition could be started and a video or yearly photographs taken of the school for the current students and in fifty years from now it will be like us looking at old Victorian school photographs. They become true history as the decades and even centuries pass by. You are making time capsules for the future and it doesn’t cost much money in the present. Besides the pupils will all buy a copy that should cover the cost.

I left Appleton in 1976 and the photography had started in 75 or 74 in the tower block on the second floor I think. I don’t know what happened afterwards.


Lastly, for those who have taken the time to read this page, it is assumed that you were lucky enough to have attended Appleton School in the 60s and 70s, therefore, you may be interested to see a couple of photos of the then Headmaster, Mr Eddie Haynes.  Mr Haynes features in many comments placed on the other school pages on this site and it is evident that former pupils have many happy memories of him and their days at Appleton School.


Comment received from Brian Lazell on 15th August 2023

I was also at Appleton school 1970-75. My class was “V” and our form teacher was Mr Vouvray. I can still (48 years later) name most (but not all) of my classmates. Sadly lost touch though – I left Benfleet and Essex in the early 90’s. I knew many of the teachers mentioned by others and my memories are the same – Mr Keetch a great PE teacher; Mr Edmondson for maths; John Steer throwing board rubbers at you and Mrs Mills for English. Cutmore (which always made me laugh) for woodwork.

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  • I was at this schools 1969 -73 and the entire time was wretched and hellish, a living hell from the bullying that most of teaching staff witnessed and looked away. I will never forget or forgive .

    By Tea (29/10/2023)
  • I attended in 1965/1966 until 1969.
    I was in 1L to 4L. I enjoyed my days there. I remember most of the teachers. Mrs Lill was my form teacher for registration, who was a lovely sweet lady. Mr. Mussan shouted at me on the second day at the school, in his lesson talking about semi quavers etc., l nodded off – oops. I remember Mr. Yardley, Mr. Peacock, Mr.Cutmore, Mr. Jones P. E. teacher, Mr. Ashdon, history teacher and blackboard rubber slinger, Mrs Suglini, biology, Mr. Thomas/Mr. Jones science, R.E. Mrs Hanson, she was nice. I cannot remember the French teachers names.
    Mr. Yardley taught boys’ cookery, and was overseeing us for those lessons in my final years. I took up catering as my career, and trained to become a Chef in London, and studied at Westminster college. I am now retired.

    By Del Moreton (24/09/2023)
  • Who would of thought so many of you had happy memories of the place, my self on missing out on King Johns ( all my brothers attended ) by one year because they decided to send us to a school that wasn’t built yet.

    Bit of a joke really.

    By Les Robertson (16/03/2023)
  • Can any one help an old lady Pauline (Girst) Price. Her details Pauline Grist Moved to 90 Shakespeare Ava NW 10 in about 1963 ? Allen Price, was her husband he was born in Stonebridge , There was Glenys price as well ? Her brothers were Michael and Brian.
    My dad was Robert my mum Laura Lived at number 90
    Moved in 1963 And lived with Allen’s mum and dad At Shakespeare Ava , She 79 now and went to Appleton School

    By Conrad Asquith (30/12/2022)
  • Attended Appleton 1967-71 oh and do I remember Mr Haynes. Form class was 1,2,3 H . Some good teachers and some who would be up on assault charges today.

    By John Rowley (27/11/2022)
  • I cannot believe that it is only now that my web browsing has turned up this comments page.
    Yes, what a marvelous school Appleton Comprehensive was in 1965. All new and inviting.
    I remember how insenced my late Father was at the time, that I had not passed the then 11+ that would have taken me to Grammar School, his wish not mine, and now I would receive this “new fangled” Secondary Comprehensive Schooling.
    Let me say right now, Appleton School gave to me an exceptional learning experience from dedicated teaching staff, whom, under the strict, but fair, leadership of Mr. EDWARD HAYNES, produced some very worthy and success pupils, many of whom have achieved rewarding careers and enjoyed Life through the foundations tutored and encouraged by the school.
    1965 to 1970 was the making of me. Therefore, The Appleton School,….. Thanks for the Memories.

    By Alistair Farmer Class 1W to 5W (26/06/2022)
  • Was a founder member 1965 back row on the right – only 100+ pupil had brand new school to ourselves – the whole area was still an ongoing building site for a few years. Remember first day in classroom which was brand spanking new, fresh and bright and had that particular smell of newness and paint that lingered the whole time I was there 1965-70. Form teacher for whole duration was Mr Yardley – lovely man. Headmaster Mr Haynes – very scary old school type and Mr Mussan was his right hand man till Deputy Head Miss Jeffries came along. I believe Appleton was either the first school in Essex or the country to have wall paper going up the two staircases. Morning assembly was through the front doors and to the left and remember the brand new grand piano being delivered and taken out of its cover. No school kitchen for a year or so and would have lunch in the library which was brought in. Remember seeing the school playing field being seeded by hand – did not have the swimming pool though. Remember all the teachers on the front of photo – Mrs Leach – domestic Science – She lived in same road as me and would often take her dog for walks. American teacher – I think was called Mr Sutorious (was a mormon). Mrs Suglini did science and french – very scary and really should have not been a teacher. Remember us girls being excited when we had our summer dress uniform in dogs tooth design – we all took ours home and raised the hem up high ( it was the 60’s after all) only to be told by a teacher “that’s a nice pelmet you’re wearing!! Lived in Uplands Road so would come in the back way to school. Photo brought back names I new, Sue Claxton, Jimmy Cochrane, Roy Harrington, Caroll Abbott, Lyn Parsons, Christine Bagshaw (lived at the top of my road and would walk to school together), Marilyn Austin, Teresa Walker, Sheila Belton, Valerie Bolt ( her mum always kept her off school most of the time) Janice Brown (lived in the road leading into the back of school (remember her getting a pony which lived in their garden for a while – we were all horse mad – still am) Lovely memories, could go on and on. Looking back I think we were all privileged to be the founder members but to be fair it was pretty bog standard teaching – only one girl went on to college and going to university was unheard of then. Glad I was there!

    Glynis (Glen) Cameron / 16/6/2022

    By glen cameron (14/06/2022)
  • Have you got Lyn Wells email address? if possible I would like to get in contact with her.

    By Sharon jones(peck) (11/04/2022)
  • Would love to get in contact with Lyn Wells.

    By Sharonjones (peck) (10/04/2022)
  • I remember Lyn Wells my name is Sharon Peck I was in Mr Robson class with Tracey Moore, Sharon Marshall, Jill Nash to name a few.

    By Sharon jones peck (09/04/2022)
  • I went to Appleton Comprehensive School. I can’t remember my first year there, but I remember my last year – 1968. At that time my name was Pat Gregory. My best friend was Karen Drewer. I believe she married Stephen Wright. I was in the netball team and played a lot of sports as well as being involved in gymnastics. I left school at the end of ’68 because my parents decided to emigrate to Perth, Western Australia in Feb 1969. I remember some boys Tony and Steven Munday. One of the girls I was friends with was Sharon (I can’t remember the last name).

    By Pat Gregory (23/01/2021)
  • In response to K. Pollitt about the sports teacher. Hi Keith, yes, he was a monster and creepy. However, the female sports teachers i.e. Mrs Clarke, and especially Miss Stewart were just as bad. Glad those days are behind us.

    By Wendy Pedder (07/01/2021)
  • I was in the foundation year September 1965. On the first day we assembled outside the main entrance and were then sent home as the school was not ready to receive us. We all returned a few days later. I had a happy time at the school and made some good friends. Tony halls, Phil Webb, Phil Howarth (Big and little Phil), Mick Toleman, Andy Gipps, Steve Watkins, Lester Ferguson, and Donald Findley to name just a few. I was in Mr Williams class (He taught Geography) I remember in the final year, when many of the boys were growing their hair, having to avoid Mr Haynes as he was a strict short back and sides man. He did catch up with me once and bellowed with his stentor Ian voice “Do you realise boy, I can see the hair at the back of your head from the front” I returned to the school in 2008 and spent 7 happy years as a school caretaker until I retired in 2015. The main fabric of the school hadn’t changed that much but in the time I spent there many improvements were made with a new canteen and sixth form. Many happy memories!

    By Dennis Franklin (13/07/2020)
  • I was at the school from 1972-77, class 1-5T. Mr Lovegrove was headmaster but did not have a very high profile. Stuart Blackshaw was head of upper school and had a lot more impact. Always grateful to him for getting me through my maths ‘O’ level (he noticed I was falling asleep in class and had a ‘word’!!). Favourite teacher has to be Mr Ashton who put the life into history. Also remember Mrs Hyde (English), Mr Ellis (PE and Science), Mr Portwain, Mr Norbury. I haven’t kept in touch with any class mates but remember Julie Shaw, Janice Speed, Sharon Smith, Wayne Smith, Phillip Spong to name just a few.

    By Lyn Wells (25/03/2020)
  • I went to Appleton between 1976 and 1981. I have no fond memories of the place other than its where I met my lifelong partner.
    Unfortunately I also can still recall a bully who was head of PE and should remain nameless. His favourite punishment was to give boys a hard kick up the backside with his football boots when out on the field. If you couldn’t swim he’d also take great pleasure in threatening to force you into the pool against your will. I witnessed a couple of boys close to tears at his threats.
    Glad to hear some people fared better than me there. As one other contributor said, it was a case of surviving the place.

    By K Pollitt (12/01/2020)
  • I attended Appleton from 1975-1980 under head teacher Mr Lovegrove. I cannot comment on him as a head teacher as he had minimal impact on my time there which was frankly miserable . I think anarchy prevailed at the time and there wasn’t much aspiration for more academic children. Anyway, I survived!

    By Paula Jenkins nee Lazell (16/12/2019)
  • I attended the school between 1970-75 and can attest that Mr Haynes was an excellent headmaster.

    By Brian Lazell (13/12/2019)
  • I attended the school from 1966 to 1968. I have fond memories of my time there. I especially enjoyed Mr Pennington classes and his field trips. I am keen to get in touch with old school mates . My name is Christine Tingey, now Bowman

    By Christine Tingey) Bowman (28/04/2018)
  • My older brother (David Jones) was in the first intake at Appleton when it opened. As he was born in 1954, and would have left South Benfleet Juniors aged 11, this would have been September 1965.  I remember him saying that at first there was just year 1, and at first the school kitchen had not been completed so the children got meals delivered in a van, served on paper plates.  My mum made him bring these home, and in 2010 when we were clearing her house after her death, the paper plates turned up!  I remember my younger sister and I refusing to eat off them as children, because they were marked by the Appleton meal.  In the next year (1966?) they were year 2 and another year 1 joined.  This continued every year  for the 5 years he was there, so by the time he left in July 1970 the school was full.  I can remember, before the school was built, being taken by him to play on the land that the school was built on.  There was a pond with newts in it, so it would never get planning permission today!

    By Stephen Jones (27/04/2017)

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