Roy and Dorothy Smith (n. Cook)

I had a lovely letter from a gentleman called Roy Smith. He'd read the articles in the Lancashire Evening Post newspaper about the digitisation of the archive and wanted to donate his extensive collection. He and his wife both attended Balshaw's from 1949 until 1956. I called him and arranged for him to come into school to bring his archive. Sadly, Roy's wife, Dorothy, passed away on January 12th 2021 and they'd had the funeral on 29th January, but he'd said he wanted it to be full of joy not sadness and apparently everyone left with a smile on their faces as he, his daughter and son each presented about their long life together and what laughs they had and, of course, precious memories of their time at Balshaw's. 

Roy only noticed Dorothy at a House Party (Farington) where she was all dressed up in heels, make-up, dress and diamante earrings. He said up until that point she was just "some girl in a gymslip who sat over there in class" who he'd never noticed before. As Dorothy lived in the Fulwood area and Roy in Eccleston, the walk to the bus stop was longer (the one to Chorley was only across the road, but the one out to Preston or Eccleston was by the cross near St. Andrew's Church) and, he said, if things were going well, the young man might suggest a detour round the back of the church. He often wondered if the Vicar ever complained to the Head about the amount of kissing going on by the alcoves formed by the buttresses at the back of the church! Once Roy had left school, he did his two years national service in the airforce swiftly followed by two years teacher training as a Geography teacher and he and Dorothy married in 1962. So, it would have been 60 years of marriage in 2022! Dorothy, herself, had a successful career in banking, much to the chagrin of the then Headteacher, Vic Oldland, who wanted all his students to become teachers at whatever level!

Roy had lots of stories about his time at Balshaw's (he got his colours for playing Rugby and also played cricket for the Old Boys') and Dorothy was in school productions. Roy also told me about the star pupil who was good at everything and went on to go to a London University and work in California for NASA but sadly died in a car accident at just 25 (his name was Anthony John Richard Bourn). Roy remembered the summer dresses were in the four house colours with a small checked pattern superimposed. Mr Smith also brought in some of his and Dorothy's uniform, so, my dressmakers dummies will be dressed to the nines. He brought his blazer, two caps, Dorothy's school hat and the summer hat band for the straw hat which were the same shape, described as similar to a Panama hat and the felt hats were described as velour felt (i.e. they had a shiny finish to them). Roy also brought his first school tie, his tie from winning his "colours", his old boy tie and Balshaw's Griffin cufflinks and tie pin in beautiful condition. He also had a couple of memoirs he'd written and also every school report for both him and Dorothy as well as a file full of stuff all fantastic for the archive. A life of love and laughter all starting at Balshaw's is surely a bright note in these dark times?

If you would like to contribute your memories and mementoes to the Balshaw's Archive Project, please contact the school:

Kind regards,

Dr Naomi Breen

(School Archivist)

Lancashire Education Committee, Divistional Executive No. 6, Selection for Secondary Education, 1949.

Lancashire Education Committee, Division 15, Selection for Secondary Education, 1949

Roy Smith, Admission Letter, 23rd June, 1949.

Dorothy Cook, Grammar School Offer Letters, June, 1949

Dorothy Cook Prospectus, 1949.

Pictures of the School (mid-1950s)

Dorothy Cook, Original Uniform List , 1949.

Lancashire Education Committee, Divisional Executive No. 4, Secondary School Pupils' Travelling Expenses, School Years 1950-1952

Balshaw's Prevention of Infectious Illness form, circa 1949-56

This England Article, Memories of a Grammar School Boy, Summer, 2006, pp. 25-6.

Roy Smith, School Timetables, 1949 onward.

Value of Latin & Greek Letters.

Mr Cook calls for a re-mark of Dorothy's Pianoforte Music Exam Paper, 26-6-51.

Leyland Urban District Council, Festival of Britain Celebrations, Souvenir Programme, June 17-23, 1951.

French Trip Letter, 1955.

The Lancashire and Cheshire Branch of the Modern Language Association, La Troupe Francais presents Le Barbier de Seville, The Catholic College Preston, Wednesday, November 10th, 1954.

La France, Numero 1449, 2 decembre, 1953.

La France, Numero 1453, 20 janvier, 1954.

La France, Numero 1461, 17 mars, 1954.

Roy Smith, GCE O-Level results letter, 21-8-54.

Dorothy Cook, GCE O-Level results letters, 21-8-54.

Lancashire Education Committee, Division 10, Change to Controlled Voluntary School, 4th April, 1955.

Leave of Absence request letter, 2-5-55.

Roy Smith, GCE A-level results letter, August, 1956.

Rugby Union Football at Maine Road, North West Counties v New Zealand, Souvenir Programme, 1953-54.

Ruby Team Photographs, 1953-56.

Cricket Team Photographs, 1955-56.

Athletics, 1952-56.

Preston Grasshoppers RFC, Public School Boy Games, Tuesday April 12th.

Fylde Rugby Union Football Club, Parkes Trophy, Schools Seven -a-side Competitions, 1952-57.

Mee and Hosker Sports victor and victrix.

Old Boys Match Postcard, 11-9-57.


Roy Smith, French Vocabulary Book, 12 September, 1952.

Roy Smith, French Vocabulary Book, 6 March, 1953.

Roy Smith, French Vocabulary Book, 11 December, 1953.

Roy Smith, French Vocabulary Book, 10 February, 1956.

Roy Smith, School Cricket Pencil Game, 1949-57.

Roy & Dorothy Smith, Music & Drama, 1952-57.

School Photos from events in the mid-1950s.

Roy Smith, School Reports, 1949-56.

Dorothy Cook, School Reports, 1949-55.

Balshaw's Grammar School Old Students' Association Invitation.

Roy Smith, Testimonial Reference, 1960.