David Crawford – “The Colossus”

Blantyre Project reader, Tommy Stewart sent a message recently about David Crawford, former Headmaster of High Blantyre School.

Tommy told me, “Hi Paul, I was born and raised in Blantyre but now live in Colchester. I attended High Blantyre Primary School from 1962 – 1969. If it is of any interest to you, I attach a poem written about our headmaster at the time, David Crawford, affectionately known as ‘Big Croff’, Tommy”

and here is that excellent poem about a headmaster I’m sure many people will remember. I’ve just realised I don’t have a good photo of Davie Crawford, so if anybody has, please feel free to send in.

1953/54 High Blantyre Primary School

“The Colossus” by Tommy Stewart

I do recall when my gaze first fell upon this giant of a man

He stood like a Colossus – I almost  turned and ran

Barely 5 years old and in a flock of same

Frozen like a statue – I stared up at this frame

He bellowed out his words with such authority

They grabbed me quick and gripped me tight

Transfixed, I dare not look away

Part of it was awe and part of it was fright

He bestrode the school with enormous shoes

God knows what size they were

“He’s goat a heed shaped like a mallet” 

With bristly upright hair

He had a tiny narrow clipped moustache

His billowed suits were vast

There really just was too much cloth

As he loped from class to class

Seasons passed and I moved class around the school

Different teachers every year and more began to change

I began to see this strange headmaster

In a different light – How Strange!

He was a learned, educated man who wanted same for us

A pioneer, a visionary, he bought us a reading lab

We raced to soak up all we could

With its brightly coloured tabs

I began to lose my fear of him as respect began to grow

From the top deck of the 63 bus I could see his house below

He’d waltz in to our last-year class on a Friday afternoon

A cheeky weekend puzzle left – he’d come back Monday noon

With only months to go before we spread our wings

He shone a little light on subjects yet to come

Like algebra and Shakespeare and various other things

“I’m not supposed to teach you this” he said the word was mum

I’m older now and looking back he was a Colossus, true

But not his size, his booming voice or his giant suits

He was a nurturer, a kind man who sought to help us grow

He helped us lay down firm, strong learning roots.

So my old Alma Mater head – I’ve you to thank so much

Those firm roots helped me all my life and my hat I do doff

In reverence and respect to you

A colossus called ‘Big Croff’

1 Comment

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  1. With a Nod and Wink to The Great McGonagall, King of Dogerrel, but OK for a 12 year old!

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