Mr Newton P.E. Teacher

Mr Newton took us for Physical Education. I suppose he was in his mid forties although I have often been surprised that teachers were inevitably much younger than the age we would imagine. My mental image of him always includes a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth and a dark blue track suit. I remember his favourite form of punishment was making pupils hang from the wall bars and hitting them on the backside with the end of the gym ropes which were bound with leather. We had one classmate who was from London and of course his accent drew much abuse – his name was Matthews. Actually, he was extremely annoying and the only boy I remember every having a fight with (twice). Mr Newton was doling out the Rusholme Rope Trick to Matthews which gave him so much pain that he started crying. He turned round, shouted that the teacher had no right to be hitting him and left the gym. Not long after, I am fairly sure he was expelled. Didn’t fit in, you understand.

Mr Newton was also responsible for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme at the college. I remember that I managed to achieve the bronze award. I always thought I wouldn’t receive the medal as I hadn’t filled in all entries in my log book and had only camped in my back garden (and then only for a couple of hours) but Mr Newton must have stepped into the breach and filled in the missing entries himself. I remember the medal came to an unfortunate end when I dropped into a beaker of acid in a chemistry lesson – it partially dissolved proving to me at least, that it had a copper content.

13 thoughts on “Mr Newton P.E. Teacher”

  1. Mr Newton also played the sousaphone in the school orchestra – I think he was the only one with enough puff and muscle to lift and play it.

    • Well remembered John. I can see him now with that big brass thing wrapped round him. I had completely forgotten about that. I do remember big John Doyle who took over the timpani – when he started banging away on the kettle drums it was the perfect match.

    • I remember Harry Newton and You. Newton had the air of being ex military. Punishments included hanging off the wall bars, ‘Thumbs off’ and whacking with a climbing rope end. He seemed a decent no nonsense bloke.

  2. Harry Newton was the only non Catholic teacher in the school. I think he married a Catholic. His son Andrew is a well known show business style hypnotist. Harry used to let me tidy his office at the end of term during lunch hour. He was a real wheeler dealer renting plastic footballs for use at break and lunch times. For clearing his office I regularly got the tail end of a house points book, often with a dozen or so left in, all pre signed. Boosted my average quite nicely. He went to Canada and stayed for a couple of years on an exchange.

    Another teacher who went off for a while was Kev McEvoy who taught French. He went to Kiev in 1961 to learn Russian to teach it so that it could be offered in school. Kiev at the height of the Berlin crisis must have been an interesting experience.

    • You must be joking!!! A all round thug, along with “Jock Burns” another headcase. Looking back with the benefit of age and time looking at people I get a feeling that they were affected by the Second World War. They were at a age were they could have served in the services.

  3. Harry Newton was dad to Andrew Newton who I was in the same class with. He would slope off to smoke whilst we were told to run several laps of the cricket field as part of PE. We would hide behind the cricket pavilion to save running a lap or two whilst he had his smoke. His very unassuming son Andrew went on to be a well known hypnotist. Mike Cannings Xaverian College 1968 -1973

    • Mike,
      I was there the same years as you. Your name rings a dim bell. Do you remember John ‘Doc’ Doherty? Mike Eckersley (spelling?), zarcovski (spelling?, tall guy), Kevin Mould.

      • Hello Paul
        I was there from 1968 to 1975. I think we were in the same class for some time. The names that you mention all resonate. What did you do after you left?
        Best wishes,
        Paul Smith

    • Hello Mike
      I was in the same class as you and Andrew Newton. What did you do after Xaverian? I hope things are going well for you.
      I was at Xaverian from 1968 to 1975.
      Paul Smith.

  4. i was told he was in the RAF in WW2 … his job was taking photographs to confirm the success or otherwise of bombing missions.
    That must have taken some courage.

  5. If I recall correctly, Harry Newton told us he had been a PE instructor in the RAF and had spent some time with an RAF training unit based in the U.S. during WW II.
    On one occasion he explained to us how the American street numbering system worked.
    At the start of every PE lesson he would tell those who were not planning to be involved -‘the sick, lame and lazy’- to line up and give their excuses. Unlike certain masters who took football on the weekly sports day, he did not subject the defaulters to ritual humiliation! But he wasn’t soft and bad behaviour could be met with a whack across the backside with a doubled skipping rope.
    Sometimes, if the weather was good, and to break the routine of gym and runs around Victoria Park, he would take us onto the cricket field and we would play baseball.


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