St Chad's visit to North Wales

By Eddie Pugh

The video was shot on the first of our visits to the centre in Llandudno with the arrangements made for it showing the esteem St. Chad’s was held by the organisation used to book the hotel. The dates I needed for the trip were dictated by the school calendar and by the availability of staff to accompany the trip. When I came to make the booking I was told that the dates had been taken already by a public school. However, I was asked to call back. This I did and was told that the dates that I had requested were available after all. It later transpired that the organisation had cancelled the prior booking so that St. Chad’s could use the hotel on the dates they wanted.

Once again we borrowed Torrels School bus to augment the travel there and yet again the Head, George Fry, came with us, as did Mrs. Whitbread who makes a very appearance in the video. We made the obligatory visits to the industries of the area. Of note was a trip to a slate quarry. Here we learnt of the dangerous gas that puffs out of slate when it is split into tiles (an early example of fracking ?) and samples of crystals of the ‘fools’ gold’ (iron pyrites) were avidly collected to add to the growing samples of geological specimens back at school. We visited also a woollen mill where traditional samples of cloth were woven to make the goods sold to feed the tourist trade.

More traditional fieldwork was done in Llangollen, Conwy and at the Aber Falls. The latter required quite a long walk to reach and Mr. Fry left me to get on with it as he took the chance to soak up the sun as can be seen in the video.

Regrettably, this visit has faded from my memory and I’m unable to recall too much about it. It’s unfortunate as this was the last one that I made with the kids. The following year a party from the school went again to Llandudno and though I set out the work to be done and arranged the visits Mr. Beynon led the party. However, both Mr. Gray and I had an unexpected involvement at the end. We made a very early start in our cars to collect some of the party so that there was space in the bus for all the luggage. It proved an eventful journey back to Tilbury. Made in torrential rain, I had a car spin out of control along side me on the M1, fortunately just missing us, whilst Mr. Gray had an incident at a roundabout on the A6.

I have to conclude these accounts by saying that I think that the times covered by the four videos were the golden era of the school. The late sixties and the seventies were when the school was a happy place to work with the staff having the time for the pupils, but most important, time for each other. We had a stable staff of very good and capable teachers who got the best out of those in their charge. It saddens me that in a few short years a decade or so later this was lost and the ‘Academy’ was deemed to have failed. I won’t go into the reasons for this but it certainly wasn’t the kids. To my mind, Tilbury kids were the best and I wouldn’t have swapped them for anyone else.

This page was added by John Matthews on 29/08/2014.
Comments about this page

I remember the trip so well. At the stop at Llangollen, some of us went in to a pub to get a drink, but it was just shutting! I can recall the visit to the slate quarry and the men working the machines cutting us a piece of slate to take away. I cannot recall the woollen mill at all, but have a vague memory of a aluminium works at Dolgarogg. I remember Aber Falls, the coast at Dinas Dinlle and the Great Ormes Head, where we used the stones up there to make our names. I recall being woken by Mr Pugh to say if I was caught in the girls bedrooms again I would be sent home!

By Alan Benson
On 15/09/2014

I only ever went on a trip abroad that was to france. I too enjoyed my years at st chads i left in 1976. Im not sure if you remember me Mr. Pugh. With the aid of facebook i am able to still keep in touch with my friends from my school years and have many good friends. I loved school and cried when i left but i could be a pain to the teachers at some point in my years lol but i still think of them as the best years of my school time. I work in a school environment and i see how times have changed. Bring back our school years they were the best and thank you to all the teachers that were there in that era.

By susan mccrory nee malthouse
On 10/11/2014

Alan, I'm not sure the video is of the trip we went on. We went in 1974 as I recall. The only other people I remember that were there were Linda Grigg and Tracy McKendrick and that's only because I fancied them. I think I may have a diary tucked away somewhere with some details. But this was a long while ago now. I remember the places you've mentioned and I remember like in the video it was bloody hot and sunny. I remember I got in trouble with Mr Beynon I think as I went across the falls skipping from rock to rock near the edge of a reasonably large waterfall just yards down the river. 

No - you're right, this is the year we went Tracy appears in the footage at the Slate mines and I think you're in it right at the end! I can't see me, but I don't ever remember anyone with a camera and Mr Pugh used to scare me, I didn't think he liked me so I'd have kept out of his way, he always struck me as being very strict, a touch of the Mr Holt about him. 

By Dave Thompson
On 19/10/2015

I love llandudno. Mind you i never went with the school as ive said previously. Its lovely that we can see videos and photos of so many of our school friends. Thankyou for putting these on here.

By susan mccrory nee malthouse
On 03/05/2016

I was there! I've not been able to spot myself, but I'd have kept out of the way of Mr Pugh the camera man as I didn't think he liked me and he always struck me as being very strict. Some of the people I do recognise are at 2.42 Tracy McKendrick is clearly visible and Alan Benson is clear at the very end.

By someblokecalleddave1
On 09/06/2016

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