Talk:Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne

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Thank you for your interest in the Royal Grammar School, Newcastle. If you have a comment about whether specific people were Old Novos (former pupils), please add it to the section Specific Old Novo claims below. If you have a comment about how Old Novos are listed, please put it in the section Citing Old Novo claims (policy) below. Otherwise, look for an appropriate existing section, and add your comment there. If there's no appropriate section, don't hesitate to add a new section title at the bottom. Do this by clicking the "+" like to the right of "edit this page" at the top of the page.

Citing Old Novo claims (policy)[edit]

This section is for general policy on how to cite Old Novo claims. For claims about specific people, see section Specific Old Novo claims below.

One area where it might be easy for inaccuracy to creep into this article is in the list of Old Novos. There are so many such people, stretching over so many years, it's hard for an editor with a general knowledge of RGS to be sure whether a newly-added name on the Old Novo list is correct or not. And currently none of the names have references to validate that the people attended RGS. Perhaps it would be good to work on adding such references. Discussion of specific cases follows. --Jdlh | Talk 19:24, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

It might be sufficient to ensure that each Old Novo listed has a main article in Wikipedia, and that the main article mentions and cites their attendance at Newcastle RGS. As of today, almost all of the Old Novo entries have main articles that mention their attendance, and almost none cite their attendance. --Jdlh | Talk 20:15, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

A group of WP editors came up with a policy on citing alumni claims. This discussion happened for a few weeks in December 2006 at Wikipedia talk:Notable alumni (and Wikipedia:Notable alumni). The result of their discussion is a new section in Wikipedia:Notability (people)#Lists of people:

Several articles contain lists of people - for instance, an article on a college usually includes a list of alumni. Such lists are never intended to contain everyone (e.g. not all people who ever graduated from the school). Instead, the list should be limited to notable people: those that already have a Wikipedia article or could plausibly have one, per this guideline. Editors who would like to add themselves to such categories are advised to use categories of editors for this purpose, e.g. Category:Wikipedians by alma mater. --Jdlh | Talk 21:12, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

This policy doesn't include an explicit requirement that the Wikipepedia include somewhere a citation of a verifiable source saying that the specific notable alumnus attended that specific school. I'm uncomfortable with that omission, frankly. But citing a source is still good practise (per WP:Cite policy), and if there's a dispute the burden of proof is on the editor making the claim of alumni status. --Jdlh | Talk 21:12, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

In the interest of having consistency across Wikipedia, I'm ready to support applying the rules at Wikipedia:Notability (people)#Lists of people in the RGS article. --Jdlh | Talk 21:12, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

  • I've added in lifespans for all the old novos, renamed the section to "Famous Former Pupils" (mor easily understandable to someone who doesn't know the school, even if the article does explain it further up), added in ..., and changed to using a comma rather than brackets around their description. The list should still be sorted in order of birth date, though. Tyrhinis 12:03, 4 June 2006 (UTC) [Refactored to this section by --Jdlh | Talk 18:45, 22 December 2006 (UTC)]
  • In truth RGS has so many notable Old Boys that it would be inappropriate to list any but the most famous. What of Piers Ibbotson (Black Adder) and Brian Hawley (2001 A Space Oddessy) the actors? Probably best to keep to to the top dozen or so. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
    • Wikipedia has infinite capacity, so there's no reason to limit the number of people in the list of notable former pupils. If the list gets too long, we can move it to a separate List of notable former pupils of the Royal Grammar School, Newcastle article, or create a category for Former pupil of Royal Grammar School, Newcastle to put in the articles of the former pupils. See Wikipedia:Categories, lists, and series boxes for the editorial tradeoffs. We may eventually want to change how the information is represented. I don't think we should throw the information away. --Jdlh | Talk 18:51, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
  • next policy issue goes here

Debate about whether notable alumni must have own articles, December 2006[edit]

  • [regarding policy that each Old Novo have their own article, and said article mentions and cites their attendance at RGS] Sorry, that's not right and it's not the usual practise on WP. Many people, places and events are listed in WP pages without having their own separate pages. The usual practise is to create a 'red link' and either fill it in later yourself, or hope someone else does so. Listed ONs should of course be notable - but they don't need to have a WP page yet. Anjouli 07:41, 30 December 2006 (UTC) [Moved to this section --Jdlh | Talk 20:21, 30 December 2006 (UTC)]
    • Anjouli, thank you for your comments. Can you point to where the "usual practise on WP" is described? The policy of requiring notable alumni to have their own articles evolved on this talk page, partly to stop edit wars about who was and was not notable, and partly to provide a way meet the Verifiability Policy about claims that a person in fact attended RGS. However, now I notice Wikipedia:Notable alumni, which has been covering the same ground since mid-December 2006. --Jdlh | Talk 20:51, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
      • Jdlh, the very policy you cite says if the person would qualify for an article, not that the person must already have an article. And a usual practise is simply what is usually practised. What does it have to do with whether it is written down or not? I think you are confusing usual practices with written policy. And are you seriously claiming that it is not the usual practise to create a red link if that reference qualifies for an article, but one has not yet been written? You can see red links everywhere. It's blindingly obvioous that this is the usual practise! 12:02, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
        •, you sound annoyed. I'm sorry if it's me that annoyed you. I'd appreciate it if you tried to bear with the difficulties in communicating in a discussion like this, and use gentler words with me. I suppose I was saying that I wanted more than a fellow editor's claim of "usual practise on WP", I was asking for a reference to a written WP policy. The discussion at Wikipedia talk:Notable alumni was coming up with that policy at the same time. Note that the draft text at Wikipedia:Notable alumni is not the policy that the group consensus came up with. The consensus was for a new section in WP:BIO. --Jdlh | Talk 20:58, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
          • Note that the draft text at Wikipedia:Notable alumni is not the policy that the group consensus came up with. Firstly, this is not draft text. It is written WP policy. Secondly, what gives you and a couple of other editors the right to make up your own policy as you go along for this article, in contradiction to overall written WP policy? 20:23, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
  •, you sound annoyed too. My evidence that "the draft text at Wikipedia:Notable alumni is not the policy that the group consensus came up with" is based on the discussion at that article's Talk page. Please read that Talk page and tell us here whether you think I summarised the situation correctly. And I'm not proposing to contradict WP policy, I'm proposing to go along with it. Please read my comment of 27 January 2007 above: "In the interest of having consistency across Wikipedia, I'm ready to support applying the rules at Wikipedia:Notability (people)#Lists of people in the RGS article." --Jdlh | Talk 05:17, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
    • Not surprising that everyone is annoyed with you when you act like an ***hole! 13:03, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
      • Seconded! You can't just make up your own 'rules' as you go along. Follow WP policy!!!!!!!!!! 16:11, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
        • (Sigh.) There's no accounting for some people. When you two are done typing exclamation points and asterisks, please take a look at Wikipedia:Notability (people)#Lists of people. That's the policy Wikipedia has settled on, and that's what I'm now following. Note that the discussion on this talk page started months before that Wikipedia policy appeared. --Jdlh | Talk 19:46, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
        • As I understand it, you were criticised because you and some other editors decided that no one could be listed as an Old Boy unless they already had a page at WP. It was quite correctly pointed out that this was against WP policy and people objected to you making up your own policy. It is not a new "policy Wikipedia has settled on". It has NEVER been the policy that people in lists needed to have a pre-existing page - just that they WOULD qualify for one. (Fortunately old policy pages have a history, so there is no disputing this.) If you try to go against the flow at WP, try to impose your own rules on others and will not heed polite requests, then of course you are going to find people are annoyed with you and are sometimes quite rude. Don't take it personally or try to wriggle out of what you said. It's sad. Take it on the chin and get on with life. 17:01, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
        •, thank you for the reply. However, I feel that you, and, aren't really being fair. You and others refer to "WP Policy", but don't provide a citation of a WP policy page. I think I'm the only person who's posted a citation of WP guidance in this discussion. Editors on this page started talking about policy for notable alumni in May 2006. The earliest WP Policy discussion I've seen didn't start until December 2006. (If you've got a citation for written policy about people in lists from earlier, I'd love to see it, but I think I'm correct that none of the critics ever posted such a citation here.) Is it fair to fault editors for trying to make a policy on our page in the absence of any guidance (that we knew of) from the larger Wikipedia? Is it fair to ignore the distinction between a claim of "usual WP practise", and written WP guidance? Is it fair to fault me for politely asking for a specific citation of written WP guidance, instead of accepting a claim of "usual WP practise"? Is it fair to continue to beat me up when I'm the one who finds the written WP guidance, once such guidance appears; who posts the citation here; and who suggests we follow it? And finally, is it fair to be rude to me, when (I think) I've consistently been courteous to others? --Jdlh | Talk 19:36, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
          • The pathetic bleating continues. You were wrong. 'Fess up and let it go, dude. 07:31, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
          • At first there was no policy. This is proven by the fact that you can't give a link to one in the policy history. It was the 'usual practice' to list old-boys who did not have their own pages, but WOULD qualify for one. This is proven by the history of the article (and countless articles for other schools) which shows old-boys (and girls) added by various editors, despite the lack of an individual article about them. In December you decided to make up your own rules, contrary to usual practice and opinion. As far as I can see, everybody who has commented on this has opposed your rules and a formal written policy (which is identical to the former 'usual practice' - how strange) has been established. Your requirement that ONs have a separate article BEFORE being listed was wrong, both before and after the written policy was established, and it was wrong to try to impose it on others. If you can't see that and graciously admit a (fairly minor) mistake, and keep trying to justify your actions, then you are on a losing streak and risk coming across as pathetic. Are you an ON? Woudl not have happened in Bill Hayden's time. We were tougher in those days. And arguing with IP numbers is like arguing with smoke. I can't see why you bother, although I applaud your politeness. 08:02, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
            • I support Jldh, and have done so since the start. Requiring a page for ONs on the list isn't a matter of snobbery, it's a matter of logistics - it would make little to no sense to have enough citations after their name in the list to prove that they are both famous and went to the RGS. It's much, much easier to simply say they need a WP article which has a citation of their RGS attendance, proving both in a single stroke. Of course, if you know of an individual you can prove went to the RGS and consider suitably famous despite lacking an article, you are obviously welcome to write them an article with a citation of attendance, even if it is no more than a stub - we'll let the AFD editors decide if they're notable enough - and if you can't scrape together enough references for their own article, what makes you think they deserve a place on that list? For instance, I personally feel that Nick Bell shouldn't really be on there - I wouldn't say he's famous enough - but he has an article which has survived a deletion review, and it can be proven he went to the RGS, so on it he goes. Regarding official policy, Jldh is the only one who has even wikilinked to policy pages, so don't even try arguing with him on that until you can find something that supports you. And yes, arguing with IPs is like arguing with smoke - for someone so interested in minor details on WP and with such an encyclopaedic knowledge of policy, I'm astonished you don't have an account... Tyrhinis 11:52, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
              • You do understand that you are arguing here to go against written WP policy which even --Jdlh has quoted? 04:51, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
              • Thanks, Tyrhinis. "Arguing with IP numbers is like arguing with smoke." I like that line. Well, smokes, you are wrong, but if you can't be bothered to get an account, than I can't be bothered to explain it to you anymore. .250, you are factually wrong on about six counts in your last post. .130, you have no arguments, only insults. Are you ONs? Would not have happened in Alistair Cox's day, they taught us how to create and convey intellectual arguments. Enough of this. I'm putting this thread under its own subheading to separate it from other policy issues. --Jdlh | Talk 20:16, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
              • I do have an account (with over 8,000 edits) and have been on WP since Angela was a tot. If you don't know who Angela is then you're a noob. I choose to remain anonymous and not sully my reputation by having it known I argue with trolls who want to violate WP wrtten policy. I am an ON and have taught at RGS. I took part in the 6th Form Strike when BH arrived. My name is carved on The Table. Again, if you don't know what that is all about, then you're no real ON. I suspect your're a kid. Stowell forever. Eldon sucks. 04:51, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
                • All those qualifications and still a breathtaking ability to miss the point of this whole thread. As it says in WP:Editcountitis, "Remember what we're all doing here is building an encyclopedia, not competing to see who makes the most edits." I don't think you are helping build an encyclopedia in this discussion. It's disappointing. --Jdlh | Talk 05:44, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
              • By the way, the ONs Association published names and details of all known ONs quite recently. There is no doubt about who did and did not go to RGS. There are also frequent articles on higher-profile ONs in the ON newsletter. You would have all this information if you were an ON or had done any research. As for needing an article before being listed, I refer you to Wikipedia:Notable alumni which supports my view. QED and slam dunk. (And please don't vandalise that policy to your own ends as per some questionable edits in your own edit history.) 05:08, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
                • "QED"? By "QED" you must mean something unconventional. Wikipedia:Notable alumni is not Wikipedia policy, it is a "historical page". It doesn't support an argument founded on WP policy. And since you have so many ON sources to which you can attribute claims for ONs, please cite them. I haven't found the newsletters the RGS sends me to be useful as sources. --Jdlh | Talk 05:44, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
            • Oi. WP:NPA. Tyrhinis 10:23, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
      • If you will allow an older and greyer head to comment, it appears to me that you are all in agreement. Tyrhinis says "I support Jldh". Jdlh has said "In the interest of having consistency across Wikipedia, I'm ready to support applying the rules at Wikipedia:Notability (people)#Lists of people in the RGS article." And that policy says those that already have a Wikipedia article or could plausibly have one. (My bold.) Isn't that the point the nameless ones are also making, or am I missing something? Perhaps instead of flaming each other, somebody could write an article on Thomas Horsley - always presuming we don't want him removed from the article on the grounds that he does not have his own page :) Anjouli 12:20, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
        • Anjouli, I'm glad to have you return to the discussion. Actually, I think we do not have agreement on policy. Instead, most of the words generated in the last week were the nameless ones making personal attacks on me ("***hole", "can't just make up your own 'rules' as you go along", "pathetic bleating") or making arguments that lacked citations and/or failed to distinguish between WP policy, WP practise, and WP historical notes that didn't lead to policy; together with me "arguing with smoke" asking for more helpful policy discussion. The named editors were largely silent until several salvos had been exchanged, so the nameless ones didn't face as much social pressure as I think they should have. I confess this discussion has been frustrating for me, and I was provoked into making statements that were less helpful than they should have been. I apologise to my fellow editors for that. Overall, for all these words we have collectively failed to come to grips with the actual policy issue. --Jdlh | Talk 20:18, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Could I ask us all to restart here? Anjouli, could you please look back to your comment of 07:41, 30 December 2006 (UTC), at the top of the section? Then please read my reply of 20:51, 30 December 2006 (UTC)? Then please make your reply here? And could we all please cite any WP policy to which we refer, and could we all please (myself included) stick to the issues at hand and not make personal attacks? --Jdlh | Talk 20:18, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

    • I think that is an excellent and sensible idea. I would also suggest that we adopt the time-tested method of dealing with trolls, which is simply to ignore them. As to my earlier opinion you mention, I feel it is not a requirement that a person already have an article to be added to a list (and I speak generically, since I'm sure you will agree that an individual article can't have a separate policy from the rest of WP.) but that the person WOULD QUALIFY to have an article. In short, people in lists should have at least a red link, not just plain text. The presumption is that someone else will later add an article (or will remove the link if not notable). Now you will notice that I am careful to say "is not a requirement" rather than "should not be a requirement". I'm stating what I understand to be the accepted way of doing things, not saying I AGREE with it. I'm not expressing a view one way or the other on the rights and wrongs of the matter. Why do I think this is the accepted way? Firstly, by observation. In my many years on WP that is what I have observed to be done. Secondly, this is now enshrined in written policy at Wikipedia:Notability (people)#Lists of people. I therefore feel that personally this is the policy I should follow. Others may feel differently, but I have always felt that one should follow WP policy and convention, even if one disagrees with it. This is required to maintain an organized structure and prevent WP degenerating into chaos and flame-wars. If one disagrees with the policy, then the proper way to manage things is to lobby to change the policy, before making other changes. At the moment we have a written (and locked!) policy at Wikipedia:Notability (people)#Lists of people which is in direct contradiction of the note at [[1]] which says PLEASE DO NOT ADD INDIVIDUALS WITHOUT WIKIPEDIA ARTICLES TO THIS LIST AS THEY ARE NOT NOTABLE AND WILL BE REMOVED. Obviously one or the other needs to be changed as we can't have different policy for one article. If you strongly believe this is the way to go, then I respectfully suggest you remove the note from the RGS article and lobby to change the WP policy before replacing it. That in my opinion is the way to go. However it's a personal opinion and I'm not trying to impose it on anyone. Just as a matter of interest, if someone did add a red link for someone who was clearly notable (say for the sake of argument there was no article for Collingwood as yet) are you seriously saying you would delete it? Again, I'm impartial on this, but it seems as if that woudl be a difficult action to defend. Interested to hear your coments. Anjouli 06:05, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
    • Anjouli, thank you for your comments. I actually don't feel strongly about requiring every person mentioned in the Notable Alumni list here to have an article. I do agree that they should at least be notable enough to deserve an article. I do feel strongly that Wikipedia must include somewhere some attribution to a reliable source that the person in question is indeed an alumnus. If there is an article on the person, I look for it to say that the person attended RGS, and attribution of that claim. If there is no article, the only place for the citation is on the entry in the list here. Citations on the list here are awkward, so logistics argues for making at least a stub for the person to hold the citation. My biggest reservation about Wikipedia:Notability (people)#Lists of people is that it doesn't explicitly remind people about attributing claims of alumni status. I lobbied for that, but I didn't win a consensus that it needed a mention. I agree with your point that if we decide here to go along with the Notability (people) policy, we should change the warning comment accordingly. Tyrhinis, others: comments? --Jdlh | Talk 08:11, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
      • In reply to your question, Anjouli, no - I'd try and find enough to write them a stub, put a cite-needed RGS mention on it and leave it for the RC patrollers. A bit lazy, but there it is. I'll confess to adding that hidden note on the page - it was borne out of frustration from people adding random celebrities (Rowan Atkinson was a favourite) which I had to then try and trace school attendence details for. I didn't know about the policy at the time - [User:Jdlh|Jdlh]], Anjouli, thanks for pointing it out. I appreciate that individuals may not already have an article, and in calling for one the page's current requirement goes against policy and needs to be changed, but at the same time it is logistically complicated by needing to cite all the facts from their fame to their school to their birthdate. The speed at which anon editors add to any list on WP would lend support to requiring articles, but I accept that in this case we should bow to WP policy and let people put Gary Morrison on there if they can cite everything here. Tyrhinis 10:36, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
        • Jdlh and Tyrhinis, I think that is an admirable solution. I would suggest that new red links are still removed if patently absurd (I suspect the last one was an attempt to provoke argument between us, probably as a result of this discussion), or if they may have some substance but none of us has time to research them, then a citation request is added to the link (and perhaps some boilerplate posted on the submitters page?). The citation tag would tip-off page users that the link may be bogus, or even better, may encourage them to do the research. When one of us, or a third party, eventually did the research, then the link could be removed, or the citation tag removed and a stub created, as appropriate. If a link kept its citation tag for a long time, then I think it could perhaps be removed - although it would be better to research it if possible. Anyway, it seems there are now at least three of us regularly monitoring this page (my interest is that my son is an ON) so it should be posisble to keep it in order. By the way, you might like to have a look at my personal page, where I have listed a few thoughts about references. Finally, I'm sorry to see that my sarcastic remark about Thomas Horsley seems to have inspired some vandalism. Thanks to whoever reverted it. Anjouli 07:08, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Outcome: No, it is not mandatory[edit]

The outcome was agreement that although it is clearly desirable that listed notable alumni have their own articles, current WP policy does not mandate this. However an article with proper references and citations would be valuable in authenticating listed alumni as the list is particularly prone to spurious entries. Anjouli 07:36, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree with Anjouli's paragraph as a bookend to the above discussion, but I don't think it's quite self-explanatory enough to give guidance to future editors. How about these four points? I'd like to refine them and propose them as refinements to WP:BIO. Everyone: Please comment below each bullet point. --Jdlh | Talk 06:30, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Follow WP policy on Wikipedia:Notability (people)#Lists of people. This says that "the list should be limited to notable people: those that already have a Wikipedia article or could plausibly have one, per this guideline." Entries that are clearly non-notable or spurious should be deleted. --Jdlh | Talk 06:30, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Where a person on the Notable Former Students list does not have an article already (i.e. has a red link), check to see if the person used to have an article, which was deleted because they weren't notable. In that case, delete the person from the notables list. Otherwise, they may stay on the list but, in the spirit of the WP policy on attribution to reliable sources, there should be a footnote attached to their name with a citation showing their local connection. If there's no footnote, it's appropriate to put on a "fact" tag saying a citation is needed. --Jdlh | Talk 06:30, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Where a person on the Notable Former Students list does have an article, but the article does not mention the local connection, then the editor adding the notable citizen to the list should add a statement to the person's article, documenting their local connection, with attribution to a reliable source. If there's no such statement in the person's article, it's appropriate to put a "fact" tag on the person's entry in the list to show the article is missing evidence for a school connection, and perhaps the person doesn't belong on the list. If it seems likely that there is no school connection, delete the name from the list. --Jdlh | Talk 06:30, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Where a person on the Notable Former Students list has an article, and the article mentions a local connection, but there's no attribution to a reliable source, then it's appropriate to put a "fact" tag against that unsupported mention of a local connection. In this case there's no tag on the name in the list. --Jdlh | Talk 06:30, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

I confined my remarks in the summary to the subject of the discussion, which was "whether notable alumni must have own articles", but I have no problem with any of the above. Anjouli 14:08, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree with these four guidelines, and I've reworded the hidden warning on the page. It now simply says that any additions or removals need to be discussed here, on Talk, to prevent them being reverted immediately. This might seem a bit harsh, but I feel it's justified given the amount of vandalism the page has had in the last few days. We can always undo the reverts if they turn out not to be vandalism. Tyrhinis 17:33, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

So despite the above discussions and agreement, he still plans to go against policy and Jdhl's suggestions and links will be 'reverted immediately'. What an asshat. 13:09, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Oi! first off, no personal attacks, please. Words like "asshat" are not welcome. Secondly, what are you talking about? Tyrhinis hasn't made edits since April 15, 2007. And I don't see how giving editors support for deleting vandalism immediately conflicts with the consensus on how to handle legitimate entries. --Jdlh | Talk 17:37, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Personal attacks aside, what are you suggesting? Do you think we should leave patent nonsense up until we have allowed a reasonable period (say two weeks) for it to accumulate references? All I'm saying is that immediate deletion of vandalism does not clash with a policy of allowing unsourced entries on the list. The page seems to get a large amount of vandalism, and referencing policy should not interfere with the antivandal housekeeping it needs on an almost daily basis. Tyrhinis 11:02, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Specific Old Novo claims[edit]

Not sure where to add my piece. In any case, Sir Douglas Macfadyen (father of Air Marshal Ian Macfadyen, Governor and Constable of Windsor Castle from 10th August 2009 and previous governor of the Isle of Man) b 1902 d 1968 became Air Officer Commanding in Chief (Home Command) in 1956. He was part of the air policy department in WWII. Of note (at least to those with RAF connections) both Sir David and his son Ian won the sword of honour at Cranwell, the only father/son combination to do so. I married Sir Douglas' grandaughter, and was a head boy at RGS myself, when they still sang the school song! Ian Comaish —Preceding unsigned comment added by Comaish (talkcontribs) 12:13, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

This section is for discussing claims about whether specific people were Old Novos (former pupils). For general policy on how to cite Old Novo claims, see section Citing Old Novo claims (policy) above.

  • There are numerous references to Bishop Nicholas Ridley having attended RGS and it is common chatter amongst old novocastrians of an old boy having been burned as a martyr - a distinction few schools can claim. However he supposedly left his 'local grammar school' to attend Pembroke-hall, Cambridge, about 1518. This predates the earliest commonly accepted date for the founding of the school. If the referenfces are true, then it seems likely the school had a former incarnation before the move to St Nicks. The date of the school's actual founding may be lost to time and the latest confirmed date is probably the one that should be used - although it may be inaccurate.--Anjouli 09:21, 1 November 2005 (UTC)
  • I can find no mention of Omar Soomro in connection with Goldman Sachs. Removing as suspected vandalism. James barton 13:52, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Someone added Graeme Le Saux (footballer) to the list on May 7, 2006. Le Saux is listed as having been born in Jersey, a long commute from Newcastle, and on a quick web search I don't see any mention of him living in Newcastle. His main Wikipedia article doesn't mention him attending RGS. There is a web page about two RGS Old Boys appearing with Le Saux on a TV show, but that was Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe, and Le Saux was not an old boy of that RGS. Can anyone add a reference? --Jdlh | Talk 19:24, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
    • As of May 7, 2006 Le Saux is the only listed Old Novo who's main article doesn't mention his attendance at RGS. --Jdlh | Talk 20:15, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Basil Bunting's main article didn't mention RGS, but I was able to find references that did, so I improved the main article. --Jdlh | Talk 20:15, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, BB was at RGS. I was at RGS with his son Tom in the 60s. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 16:30, 22 December 2006 (UTC).

No - Basil Bunting did NOT go to the RGS! This urban myth has been revealed as such in a number of authoritative biographies.. He did, however, have a daughter, Mrs Elliot, who taught art at the school in the 1990s/2000s. Haltwhistlehistory (talk) 16:57, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

  • bio mentions Gateshead as a stomping ground for Paul Henley, and there was another bio with him growing up in Newcastle. Anyway, he's prob interesting enough to list. Oh, and he's on [2] if you want to confirm it was the RGS (he was one of my group of friends)
    • Thanks for the links. I fixed the spelling in your FiveLive bio above. Yes, it mentions Gateshead as a stomping ground, but doesn't actually say that's where he grew up, much less that he attended RGS. Also, here's a Crossing Continents bio, which doesn't mention anything about school before Cambridge University. Do you think you could turn that Friends Reunited link into something that people can verify if they aren't registered with Friends Reunited? (I'm not registered, so I couldn't verify it.) In any case, what should happen is that someone write a Paul Henley article, and put his RGS connection in there. See my 7 May 2006 comments above. --Jdlh | Talk 03:42, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
    • There is now a Paul Henley article, and it claims RGS attendance, though without citation. I tagged that claim as needing citation. But given that claim in the Henley article, I'm comfortable with there being no "citation needed" tag in the RGS article. --Jdlh | Talk 17:48, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
  • I've added in lifespans for all the old novos, renamed the section to "Famous Former Pupils" (mor easily understandable to someone who doesn't know the school, even if the article does explain it further up), added in Nick Bell and Richard Southern on the basis of their articles, and changed to using a comma rather than brackets around their description. The list should still be sorted in order of birth date, though. Tyrhinis 12:03, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
Update: Anonymous user has cut Nick Bell out of the list. I wasn't sure he should be in it anyway, but if he's notable enough to have a WP entry then... *shrugs* Tyrhinis 13:17, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
I don't think Nick Bell should be in and suspect that he added himself, the WP entry is probably written by him too. I am going to delete him, unless anyone objects....
  • sighs* First, couple of tips: use edit summaries (the box at the bottom of the edit page) to tell us what you've done and second try not to addend your talk posts to other people's, hmm? Pretty confusing. Anyway, if you think Nick Bell is shameless self-promotion (inclined to agree) then put his article on AfD; as noted above, our current criteria for inclusion on this list is that they have both a WP article and a (not necessarily cited) ref to their RGS attendance in that article. Bell has both of those, so he stays - unless his article gets deleted, in which case off it comes. I don't personally care whether he's on or off the list, it's no big deal, but it makes things much easier if we're consistent. Tyrhinis 13:38, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Will someone add Frazer Forster to the list, he is afterall in the Newcastle United squad, and 2nd choice keeper for the game against palermo tonight. A significant sporting achievement for the once great establishment that is the RGS. [this comment by anonymous editor on 03:20, November 2, 2006]
    • I don't see an article for Frazer Forster yet. In order to be listed here, he needs to have an article of his own, and it needs to mention and cite his RGS attendance. Until then, no listing. --Jdlh | Talk 02:25, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
      • Fraser Forster is spelt with an "s" and not a "z", hense not finding an article on him! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
        • [Moved reply by Anjouli, about policy not Forster, to section above. --Jdlh | Talk 20:21, 30 December 2006 (UTC)]
        • He's not that good a footballer - almost 20 and he's never scored a goal? Joking aside (he's the goalie...) I've added the RGS to his page along with a cite tag, and I'm about to put him on the list here. Tyrhinis 12:54, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Lucio Costa, Brazilian architect, the designer of the Pilot Plan (the layout) of the city of Brasilia, attended the RGS. He righfully has an entry on our Wikipedia, and here are three external references, including one from another Wikipedia: How does someone get added having been discussed here? Dommar 21:35, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
    • Wow, great discovery! Since Lúcio Costa (note accent in name) already has an article in Wikipedia, and it mentions his RGS attendance, you can go right ahead and add his name in the main article. Your note here will serve to let all the usual watchers know that this is a genuine contribution and not a prank. Also, I encourage you to add the links you found here to the Costa article, as references to the claim there that he attended RGS. No need to add them to this RGS article. Thank you for a good discovery. --Jdlh | Talk 06:37, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
  • What about Geoffrey Wheeler, who was the presenter of Television Top of the Form, and was the creator and voice-over of Winner Take All (hosted by Jimmy Tarbuck)? He doesn't have an article on Wikipedia, which must be an oversight. I don't have details of when he attended the RGS; however, there was a feature in the last Old Novos News about the hundredth anniversary of the current school, and there was a photo of him at the open day with the dates he was there - unfortunately I no longer have it, but some of you must have. Dommar 21:35, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
    • The first question is whether Wheeler is notable enough to rate an article in Wikipedia, according to the WP:BIO policy. I have no opinion on that. If he does, then one thing you could do is create a stub article about him, following the WP:BIO policy. Include a mention that he attended RGS (linked to this article). The next question is whether you can dig up a reliable reference which says he attended RGS. If you can't, then the claim about the RGS in his article should be tagged as "Citation needed". Given confidence that he's notable enough for Wikipedia, an article for his bio, and a claim in that bio that he attended RGS, that is sufficient for you to create a link in this article to his bio. Does that answer your question? --Jdlh | Talk 06:37, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
  • I'm not quite sure why there is such debate about adding ex pupils? I have just added Sir Derek Wanless who according to "Derek Wanless, Doctor of Law" (PDF). Durham University. Retrieved 2007-09-13.  attended the school.— Rod talk 12:11, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

"Recent Developments", "Famous Old Novos", and Point-of-View[edit]

I'm concerned about a number of edits to the RGS article between 2006-03-13 and 2006-03-21. I think they don't meet the Wikipedia standard of Neutral Point Of View (NPOV). My concerns are listed below. I am reverting the article to the version of 2006-03-12 05:07:05 by Johnwalton, and adding back in a new School Uniform reference (see below).

  • On 2006-03-20 20:37:30, anonymous editor added the following three snippets, which I think have a clear Point Of View thinly veiled in "some say" language:
    • Many, including members of staff, current pupils and alumini severely questioned the wisdom of this expansion into female education. Some believe it strikes at the heart of a age old tradition of single male education - leading the presitgious RGS down the path of its more common nieghbours Dame Allans and the Kings School Tynemouth.
    • This installation is to say the least not aesthietically pleasiong and some may say grotesque. In winter this ground was traditionally used for Rugby training and formed part of the circket pitch at the RGS. Many alumni believe it smacks of irony that an ex-cricket master at Winchester would be the one to but the final nail in the coffin of on site cricket at the RGS.
    • More recently two major developments have occured at the RGS all supported by the heavily reformist James Miller. Firstly a plan has emerged for the removal of the pews and organ from the main school hall. This is to be replaced by a more 'modern' assembly in a Roman Forumstyle. Mr Miller would be in the middle hall, on a podium, like somekind of Holy proclaimer meets Anne Robinson reading the items of the day. There is a campaign, currently in its infancy promoting the pledge 'Pews in, Miller out!` which is available to any alumni wishing to express their views. Also changes have been made to the school emblem desplayed on advertisments and on the uniform. The latin motto at the bottom of the emblem has been ruthlessly slashed along with the colours being changed to somewhat more blaitant, and some may say tacky tones. Suffice to say not everyone in the RGS establisment past and present is impressed with the new emblem, but i'm assured the gaggle of 4x4 driving mothers of the new females to enter the school shall be.
  • On 2006-03-13 04:40:50, anonymous editor listed "Richard Miller, son of the headmaster and politics teacher at Highgate School" as a "Famous Old Novocastrian. On 2006-03-20 20:17:31, anonymous editor reversed this. Based on a cursory Google search for the name, and the subsequent POV comments about the current headmaster, I'm inclined to agree.
  • On 2006-03-21 05:49:35 Andrew Millne listed himself under "Famous Old Novocastrians". A few minutes later, James barton reversed this. I tend to agree, and perhaps the edit log indicates that Andrew Millne does too?
  • On 2006-03-21 10:04:03, Andrew Millne added a section on "School Uniform", with an image. Thank you, Andrew Millne, for recording the copyright status of the image. I've reinstated this after reverting the rest. I think the image could be presented better and the uniform could be explained better, but I don't have an NPOV objection to it.

It's great to have information on recent developments at the RGS recorded here. However, this is an encyclopedia, not Hyde Park Corner. If we want to record controversy, as in the walkout from Prizegiving mentioned elsewhere in Talk, let's make it verifiable, and record it in NPOV. I assume that some or all of these editors attended the Royal Grammar School (I did, 1975-78). I'm sure we are capable of shifting between NPOV here, and advocacy elsewhere, each in its proper place. --Jdlh | Talk 23:31, 21 March 2006 (UTC)


I just did some restructuring to the article. My main motivation was to give enough section titles that Wikipedia would let us edit by section instead of editing the whole article. But the article broke nicely up into a few sections. I moved around some text to improve the flow, and because most recent developments had to do with new buildings, I changed the "Recent Developments" section to be a "Buildings and Grounds" section. I don't think I changed much of the individual sentences, though. --Jdlh | Talk 17:35, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

I just refactored (restructured) the Talk page a bit, to move discussion out of the lead section and under headings where it can be edited in isolation more easily. --Jdlh | Talk 18:45, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

What a dog's breakfast the WP entry for the RGS is becoming! Does anyone who edits this actually have anything to do with the school? Here are just a few points that I noted in looking at the entry: Description (1st line): is the best way of opening the description of the RGS to say it's "opposite Central High"? Are we defined only by our relationship to them, a much younger school? Description (3rd & 4th paragraphs): after defining our location relative to CNHS and noting the house system, it then seems the next most important features of the school are the CCF and the Debating Society. Really..? Description: "Novo" isn't produced annually, it's published on a termly basis. Description: "Vox" is not "going strong" - it folded after only one issue. Otherwise, the school is currently undergoing a three-year £10M rebuilding scheme which started in Spring 2013. Attempts to record this - the biggest single rebuilding project in the school since it moved to Jesmond in 1906 - in the entry were removed by some know-all busybody (see below) who thinks this makes it looks like a press release. EskdaleEditor (talk) 22:08, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

EskdaleEditor, your comments relate to three specific areas, the Description section; the current renovation scheme; and a personal attack on another editor. First, I agree with your points about the description, so why not sort it out? If you feel that a complete rewrite is the best approach then why not prepare a draft in your user pages, e.g. User:EskdaleEditor/RGS_Description for comment by other editors before cutting it into the main article? This section should not be trivia. Why not look at Leeds Grammar School, Harrow School, ... for examples.
There is another talk section for #RGS Major New Building Project 2013-15(?) so please use this to make points on the renovation scheme.
Lastly, if you wish to edit WP content, then you have to follow WP:POLICY and one of these is to focus on content and avoid personal attacks. They really don't help anyone. (See WP:NPA). -- TerryE (talk) 18:05, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

Metcalfe at Durham[edit]

I just reverted an edit by anonymous editor to the last version by Garzo. The editor had deleted the {{fact}} tag on the statement that Richard Metcalfe, the Bursar, was previously at Durham University. The editor had also deleted a closing bracket on the link to Durham Universtiy, breaking it, and the closing parenthesis to the sentence.

The statement that Metcalfe was previously at Durham was added on 2006-07-07T06:14:30 by anonymous editor I have no information about whether it is true or not. I do think that in the spirit of verifiability we should have a reference that verifies Metcalfe was at Durham. I don't think this is a major issue. This note is mainly in case anonymous editor wonders why I reverted their edit. --Jdlh | Talk 16:35, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

As a current pupil I can confirm that he was indeed at Durham, and I believe that he is still a tutor there. I know that's not good enough for the article, but it's there in case anyone was wondering... AndrewBellis 16:10, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Richard Metcalf remains Bursar at the RGS. His previous job was as bursar to one of the colleges of Durham University. He is not a tutor at the university (as stated above). Haltwhistlehistory (talk) 11:53, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

School Mags[edit]

I've added in a bit of blurb about the Novo, the re-Issue and the grammar along with a link to the latter's website - can't cite sources for the first two, alas, but it should probably be put in. I'm not very happy with the wording though, so please change it if you feel it's wrong or could be put better. Tyrhinis 17:47, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Apols if I screw up the formatting here - my first bit of wiki-editing. Just wanted to mention that the Issue and the re-Issue were already in full-swing at RGS by the late `90s, rather than the 2003 date as mentioned in the article. I'm going to go ahead and edit it, if no-one minds.LudiMagister (talk) 13:42, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

The Grammar (the student magazine that replaced The Issue) has now also folded. The current unofficial student magazine is called Notnovo. Haltwhistlehistory (talk) 11:46, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

A further update on school magazines. Notnovo appeared only once (causing something of a furore over the endlass rugby vs soccer rivalry that is now, alas, a characteristic of RGS sporting life these days). The latest manifestation of student journalism is a magazine called Vox, which has appeared once (Autumn 2011) and shows every indication of producing a second issue in Summer 2012. Watch this space... Haltwhistlehistory (talk) 20:20, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

Link Cleanup[edit]

I've just fixed a few small points - several items were double-square-bracketed out, such as james Miller and Tony Bird, even though the first is a disambiguation for people called James Miller (and the only relevant one links straight back here) and the second is an (almost certainly) utterly unrelated singer. Might it be worth mentioning the co-ed controversy, where some parents walked out of the Prizegiving when JFXM announced it? I'll check the historical details tonight, I've got a history of the school. 13:23, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for your attention to this article. I think some description of the school going co-ed is valuable. The trick is to keep it neutral and cite your sources. --Jdlh | Talk 17:48, 17 February 2006 (UTC), RGS 1975-1978.

RGS Janitor rape conviction[edit]

Would it be appropriate to include this link and a description of the incident? Bearing in mind that the rape occurred before Stephen Wilson's employment at RGS. Chips 11:22, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Probably not relevant enough to the school - it doesn't really tell you much about the RGS itself. See if the list mounts up and we might be able to have a "Famous Former Staff Members Who Were Criminals" section (I can think of a few teachers for that list)... Tyrhinis 12:59, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Persistent vandalism[edit]

By - and all they do is revert the same edits... how odd. Clearly the Easter holidays are getting to some pupils. Tyrhinis 23:30, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

John Brand[edit]

Have added John Brand. Seems a surprising omission since he is mentioned in the school song (which is not mentioned int eh article!). 15:08, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for your extensive improvements (and careful citations!) This is how Wikipedia advances. --Jdlh | Talk 19:52, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
You are too kind. Nice to know it's appreciated. 10:05, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

William Elstob[edit]

And another obvious omission. He's already mentioned in the article, but not in the list of ONs!! Quite a lot of other very famous ONs also missing I see. Very odd. 15:36, 22 May 2007 (UTC)


Have added Ridley and also removed that unreferenced nonsense about "the third digit is not clear" which seems to have been a reaction to the error on the school's own website which gives the wrong date of foundation.

And more:

I just know I'm going to get flamed over the date since the school website mentions the "traditional" (i.e. accepted before anyone did any proper research) foundation date of 1545, so here's some more evidence. It's well-documented that Thomas Horsley founded RGS (or more likely upgraded the status of an already-existing 'hye school') as one of his first acts as Mayor of Newcastle (See Oxon Dictionary of National Biography). Horsley was mayor of Newcastle in 1525 and 1533. [3], therefore 1545 is wrong. QED. 16:34, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Note that 'A Topographical Dictionary of England' (1848) [4] says "Bishop Ridley, the Protestant martyr, is said to have received the rudiments of his education in this school, though more probably in some similar establishment in the town prior to its foundation." which makes sense since Ridley got his Masters at Cambridge in 1525, the year RGS was founded - further evidence that Horsley upgraded an existing institution whose origins remain obscure. The WP article says "Planning is believed to have begun as early as 1477" without giving a reference, which is a pain. It may be that the original school far predates 1525. 17:31, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

I'm not so sure I would go as far as to say that the school website is 'wrong'. What it actually says is "Although the exact date is a matter of argument, tradition has it that the Royal Grammar School was founded in 1545." And it IS a matter of argument. As you say, the evidence does seems to suggest that there was a school at St Nicks well before Horsley's time and his 'new' school was founded on that site. Can we claim it was the 'same' school? Hard to say. Can we say we have the same axe that Washington used to chop down the cherry tree if it has had three new heads and two new handles over the years? It seems that RGS did not have an exact founding date, but trails off gradually into the mists of time. It's even arguable that it was 'founded' later at the time Queen Liz granted the charter. The school feels happy with 1545 as the earliest provable date. You go with 1525 in the article which is also fine with me since you have given at least one reference to support this. It remains "a matter of argument" unless someone has a better reference. What IS very sad is that the school website (which sucks big time) has so little about the history of the school when so much documentation is available and the school has such a good histopry department. You would think they would be proud of such a distinguised history, but it seems not. Anjouli 10:18, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree. However Washington did not chop down the cherry tree. That's a myth :) 16:57, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Brian Hawley[edit]

How come Brian Hawley the actor is not listed as a pupil? I'm sure a lot of us who were at RGS in the 1960s remember him. 19:24, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

Because Wikipedia's policy on citing reliable sources calls for claims like Hawley's RGS attendance be backed up by a citation to a reliable source. There is no article at all for Brian Hawley right now, let alone one with a good citation. But this is a great opportunity! You are welcome to write the first version of an article on Hawley. Be sure to mention in that article that Hawley attended RGS, and cite there a reliable source for that claim. Then he can go in the notable pupils list here. --Jdlh | Talk 08:14, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Armstrong and Bourne[edit]

Armstrong and Bourne are both missing from the pupils list. It says to discuss here befor adding. What do we need to discuss? BOth are pretty famous ex pupils and are in the school song. Thanks. 09:28, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

William George Armstrong, 1st Baron Armstrong's article mentions his RGS connection, so that's fine to add. Go for it! There's no article for Henry Bourne (historian), so there's nowhere to document that he attended RGS. If you feel energetic, the best thing is to create a stub article on Bourne, mention and document his attendances at RGS, then add a mention for him in this list. The easier option is to add him to the Notable Former Pupils list, with a footnote citing a reliable source for his RGS connection. The reason why there's a note to discuss here before adding is because we get silly additions all the time. Your proposals are very reasonable, not silly. Thanks for your contributions to this article. --Jdlh | Talk 23:43, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

School song[edit]

I think it's fine to have the school song in the article. However, we need Wikipedia:Verifiability. Can anyone point to a Wikipedia:reliable source for a) the text of the school song, and b) the identity of the people mentioned therein? For that matter, what about a reliable source for the Head's decision to stop singing the song, and why; or for the translation of fortiter defendit triumphans? I've sprinkled "needs citation" tags throughout the Song section. Meanwhile, I'm off to find a reliable source for the "forty pence to mend it; frying pans" alternate lyrics. --Jdlh | Talk 23:53, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

Are you serious? You want a reference for a translation of of fortiter defendit triumphans? It's basic Latin for God's sake. Presume you are not an ON. 17:30, 14 September 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I'm serious. Thank you for your references, they improve the article. I see that once you checked a reference, you found mistakes in the original version of the song lyrics. That's why verifiability. Now, I'm not sure whether is really a reliable source, but at least it's a source. I couldn't find one myself. Anyone have an RGS-sanctioned source for the school song? However, the Michael Shanks personal page isn't a source for the decision to abolish the song, so I've removed it and replaced the "fact" tag. (And please, assume good faith, and don't call a fellow editor "idiot". Thank you.) --Jdlh | Talk 21:31, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

Sundry responses: I can't find any reference elsewhere to the text, but it's as I remember it. Isn't it enough that the people named in the song have their own Wikipedia pages? I started at the school in 1972, and I'm sure we sang "Forty pence to mend it" etc. then, and 40p was only introduced the year before (on 15 February, how about that for timing?). Crappublicschools, how very dare you? By the way, Jdlh is definitely an ON, I remember Jim's name, I think he was in the year below me. (Dommar (talk) 23:15, 15 February 2008 (UTC))

Founding date[edit]

Here's a reference that says RGS was "founded by Aselak of Killingworth in the 12th century". I've always felt uncomfortable with 1525 because Ridley is well documented to have attended RGS, but is equally well documented to have been at Cambridge by 1524. I'm not comfortable altering the article just on the basis of this web page, but does anyone have access to "Thomas Addison, M.D., F.R.C.P. 1794-1860" by C. M. Brooks to confirm? [5] 19:09, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

I looked it up in a library copy of the Brooks biography and whilst it's true that it does say RGS was founded in the 12th century, there are no references given. Very interesting; but not something I feel belongs in the article without further research and supporting reference. Yes, an earlier date would resolve the apparently contradictory Ridley references. It's not the first time Ridley's dates have perplexed RGS historians. There was an article about it in "The Novocastrian" (the old school mag) in the 80s. Must scan it and post it sometime. Anjouli 19:48, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

Tidying up, help sought[edit]

It's time to do some tidying up throughout the article. There are citations to sources by means of links in square brackets in the article body; those should become ref.../ref citations. Footnotes attached to notable former students and staff should be moved to the articles of those people. The recently added external link to a history of the school should be turned into citations with ref.../ref spread throughout the article. I'll be working on this, but I'd welcome help. --Jdlh | Talk 20:33, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Henry Bourne[edit]

Have added Henry Bourne. No dispute over that one I think? Pretty well documented.Anjouli 21:04, 6 October 2007 (UTC)


I have divided the ONs list by century as it was getting ridiculously long. I trust the regular eds on this page find that in order. Perhaps needs tweaking a bit and some indents.

Are we at the point yet where we need to split them into separate articles, like the Old Etonians?

I also wonder if there should be a separate page for the school history. Generally, the Eton article is a pretty good model to follow I think.

Opinions? Anjouli 18:08, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

Anthony Askew[edit]

Any objections to Anthony Askew going into in the ONs list? Anjouli 19:15, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

Askew has an article of his own, so he's notable enough. The article mentions him attending the Royal Free Grammar School, so that's good enough for inclusion in the RGS article. It would be nice if the claim in the Askew article had a citation to a reliable source, but that is for editors there to work on. IMHO. --Jdlh | Talk 18:52, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography referenced in Anthony Askew says he went to RGS. Anjouli 11:45, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

19th Century ONs[edit]

I'm filling in some of the 19th Century ONs as the article is a bit thin there. Nothing controversial, so I'm just putting them in. Hope that's okay with the regular eds. If not, or any doubts, just remove them and we can discuss here. Anjouli 16:48, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Oh, terribly controversial. I'm concerned that many of these Wikipedia articles on 19th century ONs were written by the people themselves under assumed usernames, as vanity pieces. For evidence, page back to the part of the edit log that covers the 19th century. I have equal concern about some of the 18th century ONs too. --Jdlh | Talk 18:42, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Modern ONs[edit]

What about fraser forster who plays pro football for newcastle united? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:26, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

What do we think of adding Peter Kellner to the ONs list? Looks like a possible vanity article to me. Anjouli 18:33, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Caspar Berry? I feel a bit happier about this one. Anjouli 18:42, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Norman Shiel, Mayor of Exeter? Anjouli 19:12, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

John Ashton (diplomat)? I'm happy with this one.Anjouli 19:11, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Samuel Segal, Baron Segal. Obvious omission IMHO. Anjouli 19:15, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Others have gone over this territory for us. WP:BIO#Lists of people says that basically anyone who is notable enough to justify an article about them (even if that article doesn't yet exist) is notable enough to be in our list of Old Novos. Thus I'm comfortable with including any of these people. If Kellner's article is a vanity piece, the correct response is to call for it to be deleted from Wikipedia. Then we should delete it from the Old Novos list too, for it will have failed the WP:BIO notability test. --Jdlh | Talk 18:39, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Caspar Berry was not born in 1954, more likely 1974. He was in the year below me at RGS, and on Friends Reunited listed as leaving in 1991. I've changed his birth date to 1974 and moved within article to keep chronology. (talk) 11:54, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

Alastair Leithead, current BBC news reporter and often based in places like Afghanistan, attended RGS between 1980 and 1990. He was in Eldon house, and in same year group as me. (talk) 11:54, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

I've just made a few changes in the 20th century ON listings. I wikilinked entries for Martin Stanley & Simon Bradley. I tagged Stanley, Bradley, and Alasatair Leithead as needing citations, because they have no articles in which to find a citation of a reliable source for the claim that they attended RGS. I deleted entries Anderson and Nalluri, since they've been tagged since Feb 2007 as having no citations for to reliable sources for their RGS connection, and still have none. --Jdlh | Talk 21:26, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

I'd like to propose Reevel Alderson for inclusion. ( , I believe he is worthy enough to be included, and I'm pretty sure that he attended the school but I don't have evidence. Can anyone oblige? (Dommar (talk) 22:58, 15 February 2008 (UTC))Reevel Alderson joined RGS from King Edward VI School, Edgbaston, Birmingham at the start of the summer term, 1964, and remained there until he left in summer, 1970. He was a prefect in Collingwood House, and gained full colours for Cross Country and Athletics.

Yup, he overlapped with me though he was a couple of years ahead of me, though I am not sure that personal testimony counts :-) TerryE (talk) 23:03, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

I just deleted Martin Stanley, Simon Bradley, Alastair Leithead, since they have no articles of their own, and no citations since Feb 2008 of a reliable source documenting their RGS connection. --Jdlh | Talk 06:06, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Martin Stanley was at RGS during period 1960 to 1967, and then at Oxford with me. He lived at Heddon on the Wall. Simon Chester, Horsley 1957-1967

Norman Shiel's date of birth cannot have been 1952 because he did his A-levels with me in 1967. Must have been 1949 or at latest 1950. Simon Chester, Horsley 1957-1967

Jeremy Beecham is mispelled in his title. Simon Chester, Horsley 1957-1967 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:53, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

Cite for Matthew Thompson here: . Article exists under Matt Thompson (Rugby Union), and can be linked. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:04, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

Basil Bunting did not go to the RGS. There is no record of him in the school archives. This urban myth is refuted in a number of his published biographies and works of criticism. The confusion may have arisen because his daughter (Sima-Maria Elliott) was an art teacher at the school in the 1990s. Haltwhistlehistory (talk) 11:49, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

    • Are you sure about that? His son Tom Bunting certainly did. He was in my year and I clearly remember him saying his dad was an ON. (talk) 10:27, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

Old Novos category[edit]

Jdlh, are you about?

These ONs just seem to go on and on. It sometimes seems as if half the world went to RGS. The Notable ONs list is getting rather large, but it seems perverse not to add very notable ONs, when those of less notability are already listed.

As an attempted solution, I have created an Old Novocastrians category. I would suggest that we use that for the lesser ONs and just list the VERY notable ones. Either that, or move the whole list out of the article to a separate page. That might mean pruning the existing list. What do you think? Or does having a WP article automatically mean we should include. Interested to hear your and others opinion. Anjouli 20:01, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

"These ONs just seem to go on and on", true, but that's just because we like hearing ourselves talk. It's not that half the world went to the RGS, it's that the RGS makes us so intelligent and good-looking that we rise to become half of all notable people in the world. An RGS education gives us better teeth too. Anjouli, I appreciate your efforts to document the results. That said, I think that we should follow the lead of WP:BIO#Lists of people, and include anyone on our Old Novos list who is notable enough to be worth a Wikipedia article in their own right. The Category is a good way to track that set of articles. But it also makes sense to have a "List" article, because we can keep track of related information (birth and death year, subheads by century, etc.) When the list becomes unwieldy for this article, the thing to do is to make it to its own article. This has been done for other schools. --Jdlh | Talk 18:51, 27 October 2007 (UTC)


As I understood it, "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" was just the motto on the Assembly Hall organ. The school motto was (is?) "Discendo duces": "By learning you lead". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:02, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Agreed —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:44, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" is a quote from Horace's Odes. It is usually translated as "It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country." The quote is used in this context as the names listed on the back of the stage are of the ONs who died in the two World Wars (and maybe other wars, I'm sorry to say I don't know). (Dommar (talk) 22:46, 15 February 2008 (UTC))

I once had the pleasure of discussing the translation of "Discendo duces" with an authority on the subject (one of the Classics Masters of the school). There are two possible interpretations: "Through learning one may lead" and the rather more pompous "Leaders in learning"! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:54, 3 October 2008 (UTC)


The article states "The accompanying picture, from a school brochure, depicts the new design." but there is no longer an accompanying picture. I came here ages ago and thought the picture was useful. No obvious debate about it here, apart from one mention above. Perhaps somebody would like to reinstate it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:14, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

School Song[edit]

The article states: "The RGS school song was abolished by the current headmaster on the grounds that it is dated and gender-specific (RGS is now a mixed school) and is no longer sung." I'm not sure which 'current' headmaster this refers to but the song stopped being sung at least several years before James Miller even took on the role. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:09, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

Wrong. It was Miller who stopped it for the reasons stated. I was present and actually remember the announcement, but I've searched and searched without finding a reference anywhere. Anybody got one? I guess not everything is on the internet :) (talk) 10:44, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

So was it Miller or Cox who abolished the song? The school wasn't a mixed gender school until the year 2000? And i didn't even go to the school! Would there ever be scope for the school song to return I wonder? Before it's too late... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Novos1899 (talkcontribs) 20:53, 13 June 2013 (UTC)

Stephen Lukes[edit]

CV Section of indicates Lukes is an O.N. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:19, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

Location of school[edit]

Location of School I don't wish to be a pedant, but Newcastle upon Tyne is not in Tyne & Wear. The county of Tyne & Wear only existed from 1974-84. It survives as a postal address in rural Tyneside, but is completely redundant if erroneously appended to major postal cities such as Newcastle (and, for that matter, Sunderland and Gateshead). Haltwhistlehistory (talk) 11:58, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

Notable Staff[edit]

William Feaver added (Art, 1970s). He is a well known art critic (The Guardian, The Spectator) and was the author of the original book "The Pitmen Painters", which inspired Lee Hall's play of the same name. Haltwhistlehistory (talk) 16:43, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

Yes, remember him well, with his little beatnik beard. Very controversial at the time. And old Marford-Smith of course, the senior art master. Have been meaning to add Bill Feaver for a while, but could never find a citation. (talk) 10:42, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia has very specific guidelines on the criteria for notability. These are a lot more severe than a test such as "well loved and remembered by Old-Novos". I have removed the references to Hazel-Jones Lee and Bill Gibson as there seem to little or no internet or published references to either outside of RGS produced material and they therefore fall far short of the requirements. Bill Feaver is a more arguable case because of the points given above by IP 36.... -- TerryE (talk) 17:14, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
Just to clarify, the WP:PEOPLE guideline is primarily to assess whether a person is sufficiently notable to merit an WP article on them, however, the convention in other articles is that the people listed in a "Notable" section should also broadly follow this test. -- TerryE (talk) 17:31, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
@, please read the above. Same reason for undo. -- TerryE (talk) 17:09, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

One doesn't wish to belittle the dead, but does Jeremy Thomas and his unfortunate and untimely death in 2006 belong where it has for some time been so prominently positioned in the main body of the article about the recent history of the school? I feel this sits rather uneasily here. It was terrible news at the time, but - if we are to be honest - is not a significant event in the long history of the school. Haltwhistlehistory (talk) 19:50, 7 May 2012 (UTC) With reference to the above, I hasten to add that for some reason the paragraph about Jeremy's death appears under the main "Description" heading for the school. Hardly appropriate, surely? Is it really part of how we would wish to "describe" the school?Haltwhistlehistory (talk) 20:15, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

+1. Sad though this was, it isn't now a "notable" (in WP terms) even for the description section. It also occurred 6 years ago, so I think it time to remove it. -- TerryE (talk) 10:10, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
I see that IP has reinstated this. I still think that this is incorrect. perhaps IP 46... can explain his/her reasoning for this? -- TerryE (talk) 22:34, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

William Feaver: I would strongly suggest that Will;iam Feaver be included on the list of notable RGS staff for thje following reasons: he is a regular art critic in The Guardian newspaper; he is a published author of significant repute in the art world; his art history book The Pitmen Painters is the source of Lee Hall's smash-hit play of the same name, which has played at the National Theatre, in the West End, and on Broadway - Feaver's book is acknowledged as such in all theatre programmes as well as in critical reviews of the show in national and international newspapers. For these reasons he has an entry in Debretts - I think that qualifies him for Wikipedia!! EskdaleEditor (talk) 18:17, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

RGS Major New Building Project 2013-15(?)[edit]

I thought you'd all like to know there's something we need to keep an eye on over the next two or three years. Work has just started (April 2013) on the first phase of a major £10M building/rebuilding project in the school. In this first current phase, the Plender Library, the two classrooms at the back of the hall, and the old reception office and foyer are being knocked through into one large new reception area. (The wood panelling and shelving in the Plender has all gone.) This is due to be complete by September 2013. Forthcoming phases include demolition of the existing swimming pool, the site of which will be taken up by a new library and classrooms. The new swimming pool and another sports hall will be built next to the existing sports hall on the south side of the school field. The present library will become part of an extended sixth form area. Other phases include a new block of Geography & History classrooms on the SE corner of the site; an extended school kitchen; and more Junior School classrooms. This hasn't been officially made public just yet (dotting i's, crossing t's on plans, contracts, etc) but if you walk past the front of the school you can see that the work of Phase One in the Plender has already started. EskdaleEditor (talk) 18:17, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

I've just backed out your change, with the reason "Sorry, but WP isn't a press release vehicle. Reinstate when an official announcement can be referenced.". In otherwords, please wait until announcements have been make in a referenceable source before including content. We can't expect WP readers to walk down Eskdale Tce to validate WP content, can we? -- TerryE (talk) 13:41, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
There's no need to be sarcastic - my reference to "taking a walk down Eskdale Tce" was addressed to a number of Old Novos and local residents, who I know keep an eye on this entry and on the Talk section, the content of which is always of a more conversational nature. It is, after all, called the "Talk" page...
Nor was my original entry worded in any way like a press release; it merely reported events as they were occurring. The official announcement has now been made, by the way (a week or so ago), but I don't think I'll bother making the entry. EskdaleEditor (talk) 17:59, 10 May 2013 (UTC)
@EskdaleEditor, I wasn't intending to be sarcastic. I spend quite a few years walking from Jesmond Stn to Eskdale Tce myself over 40 years ago. Yes, I am an ON, but I am also a reasonable experienced WP editor and just trying to explain the rules of the road that operate on WP without being heavy-handed. I still bear the scars of being on the wrong end of these myself :-( If you want the more formal version then browse WP:RS et al. The key point here is that WP content should only summarise reputable sources in the public domain. If the content has been published in one of the regional or national papers then this is could be a suitable basis for including a summary in this page. I hope that this helps -- TerryE (talk) 18:34, 10 May 2013 (UTC)
@EskdaleEditor, I see that the latest ONA magazine includes an announcement and overview on P4. This is in the public domain and verifiable. If you don't know of any third party sources, then why not reference that? And BTW, you didn't reference "taking a walk down Eskdale Tce"; that was my wording drawn from personal memory :-) -- TerryE (talk) 18:22, 3 July 2013 (UTC)


I notice we have hyphens in Newcastle upon Tyne here and elsewhere.

That is not correct. No hyphens and a lower-case upon is right.

I'm not the girl to fix it. Too busy.

Volunteers? (talk) 14:22, 3 July 2015 (UTC)

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