Campbell College, Belfast

My first year at Campbell was in September 1958, and I left at Christmas 1963

John Cook was the headmaster for the whole of my time at Campbell. Francis John Granville Cook MA (Cantab) to give hm his full name, was head from 1954 -1971. Born 28 January 1913, died 15 September 1997. He retired to Yorkshire and we went to see him in his home near York, when we were living at Kirkby Fleetham

New boys spent their first year at a reception house, to break them gradually into boarding school life. I spent my first year at Ormiston, under the watchful , and a little frightening, eye of Bob Wells. He had a charming wife, who I see, celebrated the 100th birthday in November 1920

Campbell had two gate lodges. The main one was on the Belmont Road, and the back entranced was manned by another gate lodge on the Hawthornden Road - which was exactly opposite Ormiston, so I used to walk past it every day

The inside of the school has changed very little since my day. The only major change is the conversion of the Assembly Hall into a Chapel


I did fairly well at rugby all the way through. Both on the schools Junior XV and eventually on th First XV - though eventually the captain of rugby fell out with me over my views on fair play. Both he and the Rugby aster wanted total war on the rugby field, which I was not prepared to commit to."total rugby" in order to win at all costs - relegated to second fifteen for that.

On Swimming , I got my school swimming colours in the Upper Fifth, and was School Captain of Swimming when I was in the Lower Sixth.

Academically I did well too, specialising in Maths and Physics. I had a very good Maths master that motivated a bout 6 or 7 of us who eventually got into Oxford or Cambridge. With Physics we had to look after ourselves, as one of the Physics masters, Norman Eccles , was particularly clueless. My Open Exhibiton got me inscribed on the Honours Board

I stayed on for a term in the Upper Sixth to do Oxbridge Entrance exams. Campbell rarely had Oxbridge candidates, but in our year there were a group of us who applied and got places. From the exam I was offered a place at Worcester, which I had to accept or reject before the Cambridge results came out. I was all for turn it down, on the basis I preferred CAmbridge because they always won the Boat Race. When I broke the news to the Headmaster that I would turn down Oxford on the arrogant belief that CAmbridge would want me too, poor old John Cook went ballistic, So I accepted the place and went on to do the oxford Scholarship Exams, in which I got an Open Exhibition to Pembroke College, Oxford

The net result is that my name is on the Campbell Honours Board in the hall. The following year, as the Troubles bit, Campbell stopped sending pupils to Oxford for many years

An article I wrote for the Old Campbellian about 2013 when they wanted articles on what we were all doing 50 years on. I am writing this web page 60 years on, and the College must have thought we were all dead by now, as there as nothing special for 60 years on.


David Grant front page