Grantham King's School pays tribute to former head of Maths who has died aged 93
The King’s School says it has been sad to learn of the death of a former teacher at the school.
Sam Branson has died aged 93. He was appointed as the Head of Mathematics at The King’s School in September 1961. He graduated from Bristol University with 1st class honours in Mathematics and began his working life first at a school in Wellingborough, and then at Hyde Grammar School, Manchester.
Whilst at King’s he established a ‘Maths Room’ in what was then the new ‘Tower Block’ and developed the Maths syllabus from what were considered as ‘traditional’ teaching methods to a more innovative approach. Sam retired in 1985 but he continued to take an interest in the school.
A few years after retirement Sam, with his good friend Mrs Joyce Barnes, went on to organise the school’s archives – an onerous task which they began from a very base level – and they did a sterling job, creating the basis from which the archives is run today. The school receives many enquiries from around the world about information it may have about Old Boys or events and the work done by Sam and Joyce is an invaluable source of information. Sam and Joyce retired from this voluntary role only a few years ago due to Sam’s declining health.
Dr John Manterfield, ex King’s School pupil recalls: “I first met Sam Branson when he was teaching at The King’s School in the early 1970s. I remember him teaching his Maths classes in his academic gown using chalk on a roller blackboard.
“Sam would write out complex algebraic equations very quickly which we, in turn, would try to copy accurately into our books to learn and understand how to multiply, divide, simplify and so forth. Sam’s black gown would become greyer as the chalk dust permeated the room! Sam was a patient and effective teacher and the whole group of sixth formers doing Pure Maths A Level, passed.”
Sam wrote a comprehensive history of the school after his retirement and it filled an important gap in the town’s history. Sam, with Joyce, has done much historical work around Grantham including transcribing and indexing the records of local primary schools including the Earl of Dysart, Spitalgate Junior and Huntingtower Road schools. Another important project was the transcription and recording of monumental inscriptions in churchyards. The biggest project was for Grantham Cemetery where they transcribed the burial registers from 1855 to 1989 and matched register entries with the presence or absence of monumental inscriptions in the cemetery. As a result of their diligent research it is now easy to establish whether or not individual family members are buried in the town cemetery, where exactly they are buried and whether a monument stands. Sam and Joyce also assisted in the recording of the St Wulfram’s churchyard and re-checked the recording of the graves at the now disused Manthorpe Road Burial Ground.
King’s Head Master Simon Pickett said: “Sam Branson was a true King’s Man – dedicated, hardworking and loyal to this school and we appreciate all he did for us over the many years of association we had with him. Our sincere condolences are extended to Sam’s three daughters and extended family.”