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News > Obituaries > Hugh Grimwade Obituary - 1964

Hugh Grimwade Obituary - 1964

OI MAGAZINE MAY, 1964 291 


7th February, 1901 - 30th March, 1964 

The untimely death of the Second Master, Mr. H. H. Grimwade, on 30th March was a grievous loss for the School. He was taken ill on the day following the end of the Lent term and died in hospital after a short illness. 

Educated at Hereford Cathedral School and Brasenose College, Oxford, he came to the School as physics master in September 1923. It was indeed fortunate for us that earlier in that year, while he was visiting Oxford, the then Headmaster, the Rev. E. C. Sherwood, called on Hugh Grimwade while he was working for his final schools and decided to make this appointment which has been of such inestimable benefit to the School for forty-one years. 

His arrival, coupled with that of A.R.Boeree two years earlier, began a new era in science teaching; in the words of one distinguished O.I. "his coming transformed the physics department," and it is in this sphere that he is chiefly remembered by old boys. In all his work he set himself the very highest standard and to attain this nothing was too much trouble. For the whole of his teaching career he served with unparalleled devotion—term and holiday alike were at the disposal of the School—and every task that he undertook was carried through to the end with care and precision. Not only was he very successful in the preparation of many senior boys for scholarships, University entry and the Services' colleges, but by an even greater number of less-gifted boys he was admired and respected for the patience and pertinacity with which he tried to remove their difficulties. He was an accomplished teacher, who was able to make the more abstruse parts of the work seem so simple that it could be mastered even by those with lesser ability. 

In 1929 he became Head of the Science Department, a post which he filled with distinction until his death. He was appointed the first housemaster of Sherrington House when it was formed in 1933 to cope with the increasing numbers in the School. He brought his abundant energy and exceptional powers of organisation to this task so successfully that, when he resigned in 1938 to become Second Master, his house had become a flourishing entity. In 1934 he founded the Scientific Society, which has prospered under his guidance in the intervening years and is still flourishing. 

Two Headmasters have had in Hugh Grimwade a supremely loyal Second Master, whose apparently endless capacity for work has eased their burden and has enabled the School to function more smoothly and efficiently. Much of the routine organisation fell on his shoulders and the conduct of the examinations was a responsibility which ever increased as the School expanded. He taught, he administered, but still had time to follow with real interest the careers of his old boys. With unerring instinct and his almost infallible memory he was able to recognise OIs and notices of their achievements in the columns of the daily press and so became an indispensable aide to the editor of the Old Ipswichian magazine. 

When he was a young man he found time to take an active part in Rugby Football in its early years here, and in Fives, while his appearances for the Masters' XI and other sides in the summer were watched by the younger boys with eager anticipation of his lofty hits into the Avenue. For three years he was an officer in the School contingent of the O.T.C but resigned his commission when he found that his increasing deafness was becoming too great a handicap. 

After his marriage in 1931 the quiet, unobtrusive but very effective support of his wife, Hannah, was a great help and solace to him, and it could only be due to her influence that however hard-pressed Grimwade was in his work, he always appeared calm, collected and unflurried. He did not decide on a course of action hurriedly nor without careful consideration of all the factors, but once a plan was decided he carried it through to a proper conclusion without hesitation or deviation. 

Grimwade had decided to retire in July and had already made plans for this, but it was not to be. The School has lost a much loved and respected master, his colleagues a tried and loyal friend. 

An Old Ipswichian writes :-

Hugh Grimwade was always ready to talk about what his boys had done. He seldom referred to his own achievements. Yet his teaching had a rare quality. It endured. As the years go by, the effects of having been subjected to it grow greater rather than less. 

Hugh Grimwade took a deep personal interest in those he taught. He kept in touch with brilliant scholars and plodders alike. His knowledge of the whereabouts and circumstances of Old Ipswichians was encyclopaedic. His enthusiasm for Physics remained untarnished throughout forty-one years. His patience and perseverance seemed without limit. If Genius is the infinite capacity for taking pains, then Hugh Grimwade had it in generous measure. It is said that everyone in the course of education should undergo the discipline of learning one subject thoroughly. For those who received his tuition Physics became that subject. As a result he not only imparted the knowledge necessary to pass examinations, he inculcated the meticulous habits of thought and action that would serve their recipients with lasting benefit throughout life. His moral courage was matched only by his modesty. For years he taught cheerfully, while handicapped by deafness—a particularly severe burden when dealing with high-spirited and by no means over-considerate youngsters. His post-war cure gladdened all who. knew him. 

More than four decades of Ipswichians, hundreds scattered round the world, each carry their private memories of him. Grimwade on the cricket field swiping triumphant sixes... Grimwade on the tennis court whose tremendous service shot the ball at one in an elliptical fizzing blur... Grimwade with his near-infallible gift of spotting forthcoming exam questions and his celebrated ' revision' sessions to prepare for them. 

Few seize the chance to live so thoroughly constructive and good a life as did Harry Hughman Grimwade. He brought his own very special contribution to every life he touched—and he touched a great many. His long and devoted service to the School made him as much part of it as the buildings themselves. We all got from him far more than we realised at the time and shall keep an affectionate memory of him for as long as we live. 

The following appreciation appeared in The Times  :- 

Mr. H. Hughman Grimwade, Second Master at Ipswich School, died at Ipswich on Monday after a brief illness. He was 63. Born at Bath on February 7th, 1901, and educated at Hereford Cathedral School and Brasenose College, Oxford, he came to Ipswich School as physics master in 1923 and remained for the whole of his career in the service of the School. For a short time he served as an officer in the school contingent of the O.T.C. Later he became Head of the Science Department and housemaster of Sherrington House, a post which he relinquished on being appointed Second Master in 1938. 

Mr. Grimwade was a first-rate teacher. While he was successful in preparing many boys for entry to the universities, he endeared himself also to an even larger number of less gifted pupils who discovered that he would take infinite pains to help them over their difficulties. Modest and unassuming, he gave all his powers to the school with a thoroughness and devotion which will not easily be matched. In 1931 he married Hannah Bunker. They had two sons. 

To view other OI and School Magazines please visit the Ipswich School Museum and Archive

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