Prefects' Hangouts
"Within the divine and sacred portals..."

Jon Bratton writes..

The Ducket (Male) and The Locket (Female), as the Prefects' Hangouts were called, were in reality, cramped little spaces but becoming a prefect and thus entitled to cross the threshold was seen as a rite of passage. The article below, written by a Ducketeer, waxes lyrical about the space and elsewhere a poem exists entitled 'Ode To That Centre of Discussion, That Seat of Learning, That Miniature Leipzig, THE DUCKET'. More realistic descriptions of the space are provided some 60 years later when those former incumbents were writing for the book "Memories of Gateshead Grammar School" details of which are on this website's Homepage. Nevertheless, these, now pensioners, while recognising the squalor still acknowledge the specialness using words like hallowed, sanctum and haven.

From the first issue of the magazine "The Apple Cart"

Left click to enlarge

It would seem that the "privileged" males were dwelling in an inner sanctum called "thirteen" 
I realise that the name "thirteen" must have been a short lived term for what was always known as The Ducket, which was, in fact, Room 13
I thought The Locket was merely a feminised take on The Ducket, which of course it was, but it was more than that. The Head Girl at the time of The Locket's inception was June Lockey

Here is a description of The Ducket by Peter Miller (Intake 1942)   "...the Ducket's (prefects` own room) conversion into a Museum. The room was at the bottom of the science block and through it was the private lavatory of W.R. James. One of us miscreants decided to obtain a sign well known in wartime on buses “we are trying to get you a wider seat”. After that we obtained a blue Chemistry note book, into which were entered details of articles like ash trays from cinemas, signs Keep off the Grass from Saltwell park etc. WRJ then, after waiting it seemed weeks and observing without comment, suddenly ordered the Caretaker (Crackers) to remove our Objects, including our Roll. 

All Hell was let loose, the police were called, and most of the prefects were dismissed by WRJ. The Headmaster redeemed the situation which was just as well for us."

Ian Wells (Intake 1947) says it was "actually a cleaner's cupboard with a WC opening off it. It was nevertheless a prized haven, warm and fuggy even in the depths of winter, with its radiator and its crush of bodies"

Patricia Banham (later Johnson) (Intake 1949) says wearing a "gold prefect's badge to show that you had a certain authority to boss the younger pupils about! It really was an honour, because you had been chosen by members of staff as a reliable and trusted pupil...and you  "gained entry to the hallowed ground of the Locket (girls) and the Ducket (boys). They were really no more than large cupboard spaces where the prefects could hang out during free time but it made us feel very special-almost like members of staff"

Pragmatic Maureen Stone (Intake 1947) says of the Ducket and Locket "They were both fairly disgusting, but the boys' domain had the edge as regards squalor"

Wall decoration varied over time. The article above talks of walls adorned with "photographs of deities past". I personally remember stolen street furniture. At another time beer mats and pin up posters were favoured

So there you have it.
If you want to see a picture of the Ducket as it was in the Fifties, (including 
Elsa Martinelli,)
 go here.
You will be disappointed.

"Ducket" the new school
photo printed mirror image..note: badge on wrong side and word MEN