Grove Park School – Top of the Form winners 1968

by Frederick Czulowski

Top of the Form winners 1968

Grove Park Boys’ School Wrexham had been invited to compete in the 21st Anniversary series of the BBC radio quiz programme “Top of the Form”. That year’s contest was restricted to previous finalists. The school had previously won the trophy in 1954/55.

The team consisted of M Partridge, P Hughes, J D Griffiths and N J Griffiths.

In October 1968 the Boys’ School faced Grove Park Girls, who had won the trophy in January 1961. Under the rapid fire of questions by Tim Gudgin and John Ellison, the Boys won by 42 points to 30.

Round two was against Newtown High School Montgomeryshire. The team held the lead throughout and won 42 – 30. Grove Park were now Welsh champions and national representatives.

The semi-finals were held in the first week of December, against Royal High School Edinburgh.  Having taken an early lead, the School finished well ahead at 47 points to 35.

The final was held on 22 December, against Leyton County High School for Girls. Grove Park School took an early lead and won 46 – 44.

Mr Aneirin Talfan-Davies, Head of Programmes Wales presented the trophy at the official ceremony early in the New Year. In the words of the Mayor, “Grove Park were the Champions of Champions”.

The  achievement won the school a replica of the original edition of the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

Mr Oliver Saunders (French) was the master in charge.

Writing a few years later in 1972, the final year of the Grammar School,  Mr E Haddon Roberts, a former headmaster (1950-1966) said in the school magazine,

‘Grove Park distinguished itself in the “Top of the Form” Series. The Girls and Boys Schools have been Top of the Form once and twice respectively. Is there a town or city in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales which can boast of its two schools achieving such distinction? – I think not.’

He added

‘When my wife and I were on a cruise two years ago, we linked up one afternoon for a shore excursion with the Assistant Medical Officer on the ship –  a lady doctor and a Londoner. In the course of the conversation came the usual “where do you come from etc.” We said we were from Wrexham, Denbighshire; she had no idea where it was, but when I mentioned Grove Park School, – “Grove Park” she exclaimed “that’s the Top of the Form School!”  There’s a moral to this, but I shan’t labour it.’

Grove Park Boys winners. Michael Burke, Martin Thomas, Eric Stansfield, Colin Bowen. They beat The Academy Dumfries (Girls) on the 9th January 1955.

Grove Park Boys, Television Top of the Form finalists. Runners up 24th December 1962. J Salisbury, R G Thomas, J S Williams, D Williams. They were beaten by Kingston Grammar School for Boys.

Grove Park Girls, winners. Pictured at the Guildhall Wrexham. Josephine Boenisch, Gwenllian Awbery, Caroline Griffiths, Veronica Lloyd (Capt). They beat the High School for Girls, Dungannon on the 5th January 1961. 

Grove Park Girls were also finalists on 9th January 1950. They lost to the Elgin Academy for Boys, Moray.

Grove Park Grammar School for Boys

                                                                                  Postcard . writer’s collection.

Founded in 1895 from the school which had previously been The Groves Academy , Grove Park provided Grammar School education to a high standard for boys from  Wrexham and the surrounding area. A new red brick building, facing Chester Rd was opened in 1902. Girls, who were also educated at the school, moved out in 1939 to a newly built school on the opposite side of Chester Rd. The School was renamed Grove Park Grammar school for Boys in 1945. Beginning in 1958, during the next 6 years there were 3 phases in a building programme which gave a Science Block, Classroom Wing and a Main Hall and Gymnasium. The Grammar school came to an end in 1972, with the introduction of comprehensive education throughout Denbighshire. The new mixed-sex comprehensive school retained the name Grove Park until its closure in 1983, when its pupils and staff were absorbed into the Groves High School, across the road in the former Girls Grammar School. After closure Grove Park Boys was empty for some years before becoming the site of the relocated Yale Sixth Form College. Today (2021) it is  the site of Coleg Cambria, Yale Campus.

Top of the Form

Top of the Form was a BBC  radio and television quiz show for teams from secondary schools which ran for 38 years from 1948 to 1986. Originally on BBC’s Light Programme it progressed to also become a TV series from 1962-1975. Top of the Form was last broadcast on 2 December 1986.  

Listen: Top of the Form theme:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-JzUwdeUN0

Sources

“Top of the Form” an article by J H Jenkins,  Editor.  The Wrexhamian – Magazine of Grove Park Boys’ Grammar School Wrexham. Vol 68 July 1969.

“A former Headmaster remembers” an article by E Haddon Roberts. The Wrexhamian.  Vol 71 July 1972.

Grove Park County School. The Encyclopaedia of Wrexham. Bridge Books. W Alister Williams.

Grove Park Grammar School Wrexham. The Old Wrexhamians – website by Roy McMahon.

Top of the Form (quiz show) Wikipedia.

Written by Fred Czulowski October 2021.

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