MY EARLY YEARS AT MERCHANTS – Derek Rolinson (1949 – 54)
To escape the war damaged city centre of Liverpool and with my Father returning from active military service, my family moved to Maghull in 1946. I continued my primary education at Maghull Church of England Infants School and was fortunate to have the inspirational Miss Beck as my teacher. Prior to this point, conversations regarding secondary education were non-existent in our household for, neither of my Parents, Aunts or Uncles had any significant secondary education rather, gaining employment, was considered of greater importance to education.
This attitude changed with guidance from Miss Beck who, in 1949, was able to achieve the great success of gaining entrance to Merchant Taylors Boys School for four of her pupils namely Messrs Anson, Fairley, Vibert and myself.
The Cotton Exchange in Liverpool where my Father was employed, had been Nationalised and he was not happy with the changed format so he was very responsive when approached by a Company in Texas USA, who offered him employment at a senior level. Upon accepting, he left for Texas in 1950, to be followed by my Mother the following year. Upon my return that year from spending my Summer Vacation in Texas, I entered Harrison House to become a Boarder which to me was a most enjoyable experience.
For the following three years, and with the permission of NEJ Wylie, I left School upon completion of exams, travelled to Gladstone Dock on the Mersey, went aboard a U.S. registered freighter bound for a port in the Gulf of Mexico, to spend an extended summer holiday with my Parents. I was allowed to return in the first week of the new academic year in order to extend the time with my Parents, it being the only time in the Year that I could enjoy their company. Unaccompanied trans-Atlantic travel in my early teenage years was certainly character forming and complimented the benefits of Boarding and education at MTS. Any attempts at academic excellence were wasted on me but Boarding life, sporting and extra mural activities including CCF featured greatly.
Employment and the outside world beckoned, so at the first opportunity, having gained four mediocre “0” levels, an Engineering Apprenticeship was accepted at Rugby in heavy engineering.
On completion of the Apprenticeship at the age of 21 I was made a Foreman in a section of skilled men, followed by promotion to Machine Shop Superintendent some three years later.
I firmly believe that this was due to the education and character development gained at MTS which more than made up for the limited academic achievements.
A spell as a Management Consultant in the North West, led into a variety of Directorships in engineering, culminating in setting up my own Engineering Company in 1980, which was sold when I retired in 1996.
I look back upon my time at MTS with great affection and was so impressed that my three sons followed the Independent route at Silcoates in Wakefield, two Grand Daughters went to Wakefield Girls’ High and I enjoyed a stimulating period as a Governor to Rishworth School in West Yorkshire.
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