»  Letter: Saturday, February 9, 1974

    E.A. Derbyshire to John Derbyshire

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  Transcription of Letter

From
Mrs J.R. Derbyshire
62 Friars Avenue
Delapre
Northampton
England

To
Mr John Derbyshire Bsc
2 Habor Lane
New Rochelle
New York 10805
U.S.A.

9 — 2. 74

My dear Son

Just to let you know a card came from Hong Kong on 7th posted on 5th to say thank you for your application & it is receiving attention. Will send anything on that comes. Its cold & pouring with rain for 2 days. I long for Spring & sunshine. I've painted the bathroom this week & put down carpet very "Ritzy"

I suppose you've heard about the forthcoming Election, what a farce, it will solve nothing. There'll be some sore heads no doubt. You're well out of it. We live in such a beautiful & wonderful world, what a mess man has made of it. I've always longed to see the mountains & valleys, the seas, deserts, the quiet & strange places & people, silly isn't it. You'll understand. I wish I was a bird, then I expect some silly bugger would shoot me down!!

I saw Mrs Gotch yesterday, here is Gary's address,

3A Quarry High St.,
Headington
Oxford

They would like to hear from you. The U.S.A. job fell through & Barbara is very pregnant till April. They are not enjoying the standard of living they've got used to & will move after this baby comes. Gary has to travel 50 miles to work every day so they are not very settled.

There's a petition around to try & stop the Grammar School going "Comprehensive"[1] Mr Oliver[2] Mr is leaving, though I think he came after your time. Hope every thing O.K with you my love.

We are fine.

Loads of love

Mother

X  X  X  X  X

X  X  X  X  X  X

Take care.

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  Notes

  1. The old tripartite system of secondary schooling in England was being dismantled at this time. The former "grammar," "technical," and "secondary modern" schools (respectively more, less, and not much academically-oriented) were to be replaced with a uniform kind of "comprehensive" school, embracing all levels of ability. The better grammar schools, though, were a unique way for working- and lower-middle-class children to get a good academic education. People didn't want to lose that. Some grammar schools — including Northampton Boys' — survived more or less intact to the present day.
  2. The headmaster, I suppose. He was indeed after my time. I don't know who replaced him in 1974. Frank Holmes, who tried to teach me German in 1957-58, was headmaster from 1977 to 1985. He died in 2008. There must have been a headmaster between Oliver and Holmes, but I don't know the name.