Two former pupils of Richmond’s Old Grammar School have visited the redundant building of their school days.
Sir Deryck Maughan, along with his brother David, attended the Grammar School in the late 1950s and 1960s when their family moved from Consett in County Durham to take over running the town’s Fleece Hotel.
The brothers’ father, Rennie, was born in Consett and started his working life as a coalminer, but met his wife many miles away during the Second World War, when he was serving with the RAF in South Africa.
Muriel had a degree in domestic science and was teaching in a girls’ school. When part of an aeroplane fell through the roof Rennie was sent to deal with it, meeting his future wife at the school.
At the end of the war Rennie returned to Consett. Muriel sailed to England on MV Carnarvon the following year. Their four children were born in Consett but all received their secondary education in Richmond.
On leaving the school Sir Deryck attended Kings College and the London School of Economics from where he was awarded a Joint Degree in Geography and Sociology.
Following university, he was employed for ten years at The Treasury moving to Goldman Sachs in 1979. Sir Deryck moved to Tokyo and then to Manhattan and for five years was chairman and CEO at Salomon Brothers on Wall Street.
He also served as vice chairman of the New York Stock Exchange for a number of years.
Earlier this year he retired from Wall Street where he had been a member of the Executive Committee of Blackrock the global American investment company.
He met his wife, Lady Va, in London and the couple became known for their philanthropy. Gifts have included a substantial donation to Kings College London where the Maughan Library is named in his honour and Sir Deryck is a Trustee of the British Museum.
Had Richmondshire Building Preservation Trust’s (RBPT) Old Grammar School project been going ahead, Sir Deryck was to have made a substantial donation for the restoration of the school. The main hall was to have been named after him and his brother, David, who was a former head boy of the school and captain of rugby.
From Richmond Grammar School David attended the College of Ripon and York St John. He became a highly successful and respected teacher in the South of England, enabling him to continue his love of sport through his profession
Sir Deryck and David have two sisters; Diane who attended the Convent of the Assumption and Denise who was educated at the Girls High School.
Diane was able to join her brothers and Lady Va on their tour of the school building last week.
Musing on his journey from Richmond Grammar School to Wall Street, Sir Deryck praised the spirit of the school.
“The Grammar School was fundamental to how I think and was the foundation of all that followed in my life. I was swept away by a wave of emotions when I visited the school.
“Every room seemed to crystallise a specific memory of a teacher, a class or a place where we would gather. Every room had a different resonance.”
Sir Deryck added; “It would be an act of folly if this building were not brought back to life to serve the community. I would have been pleased to honour my brother and everything he has meant to me throughout my life be making an endowment to our old school”.
David agreed with his brother’s sentiments saying, “The Grammar School gave me very many happy memories. The school and its ethos have been fundamental to my whole life. A lot of memories came flooding back during our visit. It would be very sad indeed if the building were not to be restored”.
The Old Grammar School remains in the ownership of Richmondshire District Council.
With reluctance the RBPT has stepped away from the project but trustees join many people’s hopes that a new use will be found for the historic, Victorian building.
The RBPT continues to run the highly successful Station Project in Richmond and will continue to work for the preservation of historic buildings in Richmondshire, including considering applications for small grants to help preservation projects of buildings at risk.
Please go to www.richmondshirebpt.co.uk for further information