John Frederick Hearn (Teacher)

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Following notification from his son, we note the death on 4th July 2023 of John Frederick Hearn, teacher at the School during the 1960s.

Mark Sayer (OBA Committee) offers this personal tribute to his old teacher:

We mourn the loss, but celebrate the life and contribution, of John Frederick “Ernie” Hearn, Physics teacher in the Bryan Short era.

Observationally, one might have commented that Ernie was somewhat shorter and somewhat rounder than many members of staff, but within that stature was the incredible hulk of a Giant of a man bursting out.

Ernie was always personable, fair, and liked by the Boys.   Ernie was dynamic and spontaneous – none of these deadpan tickbox lesson plans – he could be drawn off at a tangent to the lesson (something of a sport, at the time) by some Physics-In-The-News, and deliver gripping insight to enrich our lives and understanding, and then seamlessly reel us back in to the objectives of the day.

He taught us Physics up until O-levels (predecessors of GCSEs for the shorter in the tooth), and then John Mac – Kipper – Macrae took over for A-levels, at least for us.

Ernie loved colour and neatness in presentation.   So even if the Physics Homework was lacking slightly the Nobel touch, if your Apparatus was neatly drawn, all headings and subheadings were prominent and neatly underlined in different crayon colours, scribed with a ruler, you could be assured of some appreciation marks.

And that sums up the mutual relationship between Ernie and the Boys – Appreciation.

Of course, Ernie’s anthem was penned by Benny Hill, and could be heard echoing around the corridors close to the Physics Lab ...

You could hear the hoof beats pound
As they raced across the ground
And the clatter of the wheels
As they spun round and round
And he galloped into Market Street
His badge upon his chest
His name was Ernie
And he drove the fastest milkcart in the west


And he was a dab hand at teaching, too.