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News > Memories at Hymers > Opening the Archives: Harold Ellis Hopper, OH 1926-33

Opening the Archives: Harold Ellis Hopper, OH 1926-33

His daughter contacted the Development Office to find out more about her father's academic history

Harold Ellis Hopper, OH 1926-33 attended the Senior School at Hymers College and was recorded in the school's original ledger.  At that time, information was recorded relating to his father, J.E. Hopper, who was an auctioneer, his address in Hessle and his previous primary school, Hessle C of E.

Harold started at Hymers on 16 September 1926, in Form LiiiA and left 26 July 1933, continuing his education at Westminster College, London.  He participated in Rugby (or football as it was called then) and was awarded colours for it.  He was also a sub-prefect in his final year at the school.

He secured his first teaching post at Drax Grammar School in 1937.  He left during the WW2 to serve in the forces before returning to the school.  In 1952, he moved to Greenhill Grammar School in Oldham, followed by a move to Bradford Grammar School and then to Caludon Castle Comprehensive School in Coventry, where he became Housemaster.

In 1958, he left Coventry to take over the Headship of the new Wilby Carr Secondary School in Doncaster, where he spent his remaining years.  Following a period of ill health, he passed away on 22 May 1962, attributed to complications from diabetes and pneumonia.

Obituary from ‘FORUM: for comprehensive education’: *

Harold Ellis Hopper, B.A.

Harold Hopper, a founder member of the editorial board of FORUM, died suddenly on 22nd May, 1962, after a very brief illness. This tribute to his memory is contributed by Mr. E. Harvey, of the FORUM board.

Looking back on the many years I knew Harold Hopper, I find no difficulty in accounting for the very great regard in which he was held by a host of friends, professional colleagues and pupils. He evoked admiration from all who knew him.

Born in Beverley, Yorkshire, he was educated at Hymer's College, Hull, and entered Westminster College in 1933. He took his B.A. degree in 1936, and after securing his Teacher's Diploma in 1937, he was appointed to the staff of Drax Grammar School, near Selby.

His service at Drax was interrupted by the war, but on leaving the forces, he returned to the school, where he was to stay for seven years. The years at Drax, with its fine traditions and happy staff, gave much to Harold, and in return, he identified himself with every facet of school and local life. He was a most successful schoolmaster, but equally as important, he gained a measure of esteem from his pupils that was quite exceptional and equaled only by the high regard in which he was held by parents and by his colleagues. He will long be remembered by the Old Boys' Association for his enthusiastic support of all their activities. He still found time to serve as a Parish Councillor in the neighbouring village of Camblesforth, where he lived, and for three years he was Choirmaster at Drax Parish Church.

In 1952 he left Drax to take up an appointment at Greenhill Grammar School, Oldham, later moving to Bradford Grammar School and then to Coventry, where he became Housemaster at Caludon Castle Comprehensive School.

It was at this time, in 1958, that Harold joined the editorial board of FORUM, attending the first meetings that decided to launch the journal, and from that time consistently attending every board meeting, often taking the chair, always contributing fully to the discussion and planning of successive issues, and giving the journal in every way his full support and co-operation. There is no doubt that FORUM owes a great deal to the enthusiasm, energy and drive that he devoted to it.

He left Coventry in the same year to take over the headship of the new Wilby Carr Secondary School, Doncaster. Here he gathered round him a devoted staff whom he inspired with his own great enthusiasm and forward looking ideas, so that in the short space of four years he had established a school that was held in the highest regard by pupils, parents and Education Committee alike. To visit his school was to know at once that its course was plotted by one who intended, and knew how, to realise the best potentialities of the non-selective secondary school.

During the last ten years of his life, Harold's health had not been robust. He had, characteristically, accepted this without allowing it in the least to affect his spirit. Only his close friends realised to what extent he had drawn on his reserves in maintaining the pace he had always set himself. On Sunday, 20th May, 1962, he was taken ill when returning from a visit to his widowed mother. He set out for school on Monday morning but was so ill that he had to return home. In the early hours of Tuesday morning, Harold Hopper passed away, for he had no more reserves to draw on.

The deepest sympathy of all Harold's friends and colleagues goes out to his wife and to Pat, his 17-year-old daughter. They are facing their bereavement with a fortitude that must owe much to the example of Harold, and Pat is continuing to attend Doncaster High School for Girls as her father would have wished. They will remember with pride and gratitude, a husband and father who tried to do so many good things, and who, in spite of adversity, did them so well.

* For over 60 years FORUM: for comprehensive education has been the pre-eminent focal point for topical and informed analysis – very often highly forthright and critical – of all aspects of United Kingdom government policy as it influences the education of children from primary through to higher education.

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