Arthur Shrimpton

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Arthur Neville Shrimpton
Nicknames Bolt Neck, Bolt
Education Stockton-on-Tees Grammar School; Keble College, Oxford; Cambridge
Roles Headmaster
Years at BGS 1978-1992
Subjects English, General Studies, Classical Foundations
Home town North East of England
Predecessor Philip Frederick Johnston
Successor John E Neal
Children Andrew (BGS 1978-80), Michael (BGS 1978-82)

Arthur Neville Shrimpton was appointed as headmaster of Boston Grammar School on 10 April 1978, a role he fulfilled until 1992.


Paul Mould Centennial Anthology

Arthur Neville Shrimpton M.A. was educated at Stockton-on-Tees Grammar School from 1948 to 1955. His National Service was spent in the Royal Army Pay Corps, then in 1957 he was admitted to Keble College, Oxford, where he graduated with a B.A. (Hons.) degree in English. He taught English at Scarborough Boy's High School from 1960 to 1963, Bede (Boys) School, Sunderland from 1963 to 1967 and then went to King James I School, Bishop Aukland as head of English. This was a mixed grammar school but, while he was on a years sabbatical to take his masters degree at Cambridge, the school 'went comprehensive'. He became head of the middle school in charge of the third and fourth year pupils, until he moved to Boston Grammar School in 1978.

He arrived just as Barbara Castle was losing patience with the Lincolnshire Education Authority and their delaying tactics to prevent BGS also going comprehensive. They held out for a timescale, which would entail one Lincolnshire grammar school to change each year from 1982 and Boston's turn would come in 1986. The cavalry arrived in time, however, in the shape of a new government, after the general election of 1979 and the new Secretary of State, Norman St.John-Stevas announced among other alternatives the choice to not reorganise at all.

Mr Shrimpton lived in the headmaster's house in Rowley Road for two years then moved home, as he desired to own his own property, while market prices were rocketing. The vacated house was sold to augment foundation funds. When the flat at No. 1 South End became vacant, the LEA with the financial help of the foundation governors adapted the ground floor to become a sixth form block with three classrooms, a social room, a kitchen and a bathroom.

In 1980 the senior common room was extended but in 1981, following the departure of its commanding officer, Paul Nguyen Van-Tam to Lincoln, the Combined Cadet Force was disbanded. The Boston Grammar School Association, which had been founded by Philip Johnston in 1976 and was composed of parents, pupils, staff and friends of the school, was a great success and by 1982 had raised £12,000, which was used to meet all manner of school needs, for which funds from official sources were either not available or were quite inadequate. For example £2,000 was given to help provide the school minibus and £1,000 to obtain audio-visual equipment, while a donation was made to help with stage lighting and a sound system for the hall.

A change to the curriculum in 1982 made German the first foreign language and either French or Latin to be the second language, after the first year. Provision was also introduced to give work experience for the older boys. Eighty local firms, ranging from banks and offices to small Industrial concerns, were pleased to enable pupils approaching the end of schooldays to learn at first hand something of industry and commerce.

Arthur Shrimpton retired for health reasons in July 1992 and Robin Gracey was made deputy headmaster, until January, 1993.

AN Shrimpton - Bostonian 1979

From the Headmaster's Desk

I have been assured by the Editor that he will accept my contribution to the magazine. Was there ever such an invitation to self-indulgence? (I'll answer my question when I've read his editorial).

From my desk during my first full school year in office I have seen paper: with statistics, with arguments for - and against, with complaints (plenty of these), with successes, about failures, congratulatory, condemnatory, investigatory, explanatory, etc. etc. etc. And here's some more - poor trees!

In September, we welcomed to the Staff Mrs. M L Doran and Mr M T Wright to teach Mathematics in place of Mr A Bell and Mr S Collins who departed for Chelmsford in the Summer of 1978. And Mlle. Yveline Cosquer and Herr Manfred Shotthoffer came as Foreign Language Assistants.

The death of Norman Haworth clouded the end of the first month of term as the School and the Town were deprived of a great servant. His memorial is the survival of the CCF which is his vital legacy through the Senior NCOs he trained and the officers he recruited, among them a master, Mr PN Van Tam, who now succeeds him as Commandant, and two parents, Mr WEP Cannell and Mr L Hall, both of whom have helped us enormously in this last, trying year.

Mr Haworth's role as a teacher of Mathematics was taken over by Mr P Livingston until Christmas 1978 and then by Miss SJ Fluck who came from Scotland to join us in January 1979, we were also joined by Mr C J Phillips who came to take over from Mrs Doran at the end of her valuable temporary appointment.

Charter Day saw a visit from Canon Peter Berry of Coventry Cathedral; he kindly answered the cry for help from an old college friend.

An Old Bostonian, Professor P A Young was the Guest of Honour at Speech Day and enjoyed his return to the School from which he had set out on his distinguished career as a mining engineer.

And then after the welcome of Christmas Holidays the crises started: Years 1 - 3 were excluded because we had no oil on 16 January, 1979; the school was closed on 22 January, 1979 because of the strike of NUPE members; the weather closed the school on 15 and 16 February, 1979 when even boys who lived in Fishtoft were unable to get in.

Not surprisingly escape to warmer climes appealed to some and for the lucky ones Athens and Crete proved a delightful lure.

But amidst all this gloom there was good news: David Moon was offered a place to read Natural Sciences at Girton College, Cambridge, the first boy from the School to be admitted to what was once exclusively a ladies' college. He will be joined in Cambridge by John Cridland who will be at Christ's College reading History.

And the Charity Club won a shield for its services to the community: this was a fitting tribute to the Club's generous work under Mr Anderson's direction.

However, the snow returned in March to show the Geographers on their field trip to Yorkshire that England does not have a climate, merely weather.

So followed the BGS Follies of 1979 of which it may be truly said "On with the motley!"

And the climax of the Soccer season saw the Under-15 XI triumphant in the Pitcher Cup against Kitwood Boys. Although not a team of great individual skill, they played well together and were admirably disciplined to gain a well deserved victory.

Here or hereabouts began the five hour day for some teachers - and some pupils - so that Sports Day had to be cancelled and then retrieved at the end of the term amid plenty of good spirit, especially from the Lower Sixth who participated manfully.

The First Form had a delightful day in Northumberland on the Roman Wall and at Vindolanda, though many, I think, will remember more vividly the return journey by "British Snail" which brought us back to Boston at 1.30 a.m. - almost twenty hours after we set off from Boston on the previous day. While we were looking at history, we did not have the chance to vote in the European Elections - it seemed unfair when we were acknowledging the significance of the first great Europeans.

Perhaps my overriding memory of the year will be of the enthusiasm and energy of the Boston Grammar School Association Committee as it danced, baked and 'jumbled' its way through the year. Oh, the jumbling! Mr Loader in Bermuda shorts - later auctioned for 51 pence - without him in them! And the queue! and the hordes! And the proceeds. It wasn't a Cecil B. de Mille epic, but it was Colossal in every other way. We did very well and a big "thank you" to all participants and contributors.

At the end of the year we said goodbye to our Language Assistants and wished them well. James Loader went on to higher things in a lower region, i.e. he achieved a well-earned promotion in Bromley (it is lower - down South!) His varied talents will be very much missed by his pupils and colleagues, particularly the latter.

John Grimble ended his forty-one year association with the School, too. His memories make me feel young (yes, even me). We all wish him a long and healthy retirement, though I am sure it will be an energetic one. I hope he will visit us often.

Thus the year ended in which the School had twice been a polling station. In returning a Conservative Government the School's support seemed to be country wide - but wait till I tell you next year of what happened then.

See Also