As part of our 50th anniversary celebrations we are catching up with former staff and students to share their memories of the college.

We were delighted to hear from Douglas Dodds a student when the college opened in 1972.

I was a student at Bede Hall from 1967, then transferred to Bede Sixth Form College when it opened in autumn 1972. We were taught in temporary accommodation at first, but soon moved into the newly refurbished building. I particularly remember the brand-new library, stocked with hundreds of pristine paperbacks on all manner of subjects, just waiting to be read!

I still have my school report from April 1973, which is quite entertaining in places. I took A levels in English, history and maths, mainly because those were my highest grades at O level. I was never really interested in maths to be honest, and it certainly showed. One of my teachers wrote: "Douglas has very little mathematical competence. I did wonder, at one time, why he is studying this subject. I have since found out that he isn’t - at least, not very often."

Predictably, I did badly in the maths exam but fared much better in English and history. Thankfully I'd also taken general studies and did quite well in this too. Luckily there were a few universities that accepted it as a “proper” A level, and I went on to study English Literature at Sussex. I ended up working at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, most recently as a senior curator. I finally left the V&A a year ago, after more than 30 years at the museum. 

I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who worked at Bede Hall and the sixth form college, for being so patient and supportive throughout my time there.  I can think of several teachers who went out of their way to help me along the path I subsequently took, and I'm especially grateful to them.

I particularly remember my history teacher, Glyn Jones, encouraging me to read a serious newspaper - which I did - and my English teacher, Brian Wain, saying kind things about essays on books I’d barely read. Many years later, I was glad to be able to meet Brian again and thank him in person.

I also have fond memories of the first principal, Dr Ashley-Smith, and the deputy, Miss Rees, who both tried to set an example for everyone to follow.

In short, I have a huge amount to thank the college for, and I’ll always be grateful. I hope the next 50 years will be equally fruitful for my successors, and for the staff!

If you are a former Bede student we would love to hear your fond memories. Email: Marie.Turbill@the-etc.ac.uk


Douglas Dodds 2022 1971 Ish Douglas Dodds 1973 04 DD Maths Report
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