George Lancashire was a member of the Boys’ Division Common Room for forty years, and his inspirational teaching and wise guidance is credited by many Old Boys as being behind their success in later life, inspiring them to continue their studies in his subject at university and beyond.
Old Boltonian, Andrew Palmer, writes:
“I encountered George “Lancs”, as he seemed universally to be known, as a Sixth Former during the death throes of the Direct Grant era. He dragged me through an A level in Economic History but, much more importantly, instilled in me an appetite for learning and enough self-confidence to apply for Oxbridge. There are several teachers from that era, including George, who have helped define Bolton School – an embodiment of everything that is unique about the School, guided by the values which will always be its foundation stone.
George commanded respect instantly but without ever having to impose his authority – with George a wry smile or a slightly raised eyebrow said everything. He cared deeply about the School and about every pupil he taught, always focusing on the positives and encouraging every one of us to strive to achieve our own, individual potential. He had everybody’s respect instantly but over time he also earned their trust and affection.”
Below, you can read the tribute to George written by colleague RC Kirk, published in The Boltonian upon his retirement in 1983:
“To the readers of this magazine, the name George Lancashire must conjure up many varied memories.
Are they of the man, who, for some thirty-five years, from the time he came to Bolton School in 1943 until very recently, was in charge of the Middle School Library, and who saw it develop from that rather small and dull room at one corner of the school into the larger and well-organised set-up that exists at the moment — and it would be true to say that he was seldom away from the Library during the whole of his lunch-time period?
Perhaps you remember him as the man who was in charge of the Under 14 cricket for some thirty years, and who gave up at least one evening per week, and most of Saturdays in the Summer Term to see that the younger end of the school could boast of a squad of players worthy of the high position that cricket held in Bolton School life. He even came out of retirement in recent years to look after the Under 15 XI.
Were you at one of the School Agricultural Camps during the war where G. L. played such a prominent part in the organisation of events such as potato-picking at Wellesbourne, Hastings in Warwickshire — or it may have been on one of the varied school expeditions — Geography field trips to France or to Berlin; visits to the Cautley Country Pursuits Centre, or the Paris-Loire Valley trip for First and Second years?
You may have been one of the ‘vegetarians’ who sat at the vegetarian table with G. L. at the head. Although not a vegetarian himself, he volunteered to look after the table throughout all his time at Bolton School, and because his ‘customers’ were regulars throughout their school life it almost became a ‘club’ where master and boy really got to know each other. This understanding of boys contributed to the success of his form mastership, and in later years his Blockmastership — particularly as pastoral head of the O Level year. He had that happy knack of combining friendliness with firm discipline, of knowing when to criticise or encourage, to praise or, if necessary, punish – a combination which made him a much respected Blockmaster.
One could go on at length with the many other varied attributes which will rank high in peoples’ memories — Wigan/Deane Housemaster, Master-in-Charge of Transport, Liaison with the Police, his financial wisdom where his General Course in this topic was always oversubscribed; and where he was always ready to offer sound advice, too, within the Common Room. His many varied interests in Gardening, Cars, Medicine, Politics, Birds, Current Affairs, Wine and Food, all contributed to his success within the classroom.
In his early days he taught Latin, English, Geography, as well as his own subject — History — and he developed Economic and Social History into the prominent position it now holds at Bolton School, particularly at Sixth Form level. His teaching however was not confined to the narrow subject curriculum band — his success was based on broader issues. His enthusiasm for the wide topics he touched on was infectious; his lessons interesting and enjoyable.
We will all have our memories; a much respected and friendly member of the Common Room; a highly successful schoolmaster who demanded and achieved high standards; a man who thought a great deal about the School, and who contributed immensely to many aspects of school life; but particularly a man interested in people — which is largely reflected in the way many Old Boys call at school to have a chat, and in particular, to see George Lancashire — something he reciprocates by his interest in the Old Boltonians’ Association.
George will be greatly missed. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking him for his valued friendship to so many, and for his full contribution to the life and success of Bolton School.”