Reg Clayton was born in 1880 and came to Ayton in 1908 from Bolton, Lancs, with his first wife and baby son, during the Headmastership of Frank Rivers Arundel, as an electrician to run the turbine generator which powered the School’s 110v electricity supply. He came highly recommended by his previous employers, James Morris, Electrical Engineers in Bolton, who wrote to F. R. Arundel, 25th May 1907;
“I have very great pleasure and with every confidence in recommending J. R. Clayton for the situation he is now seeking. Whilst in my employ he has proved himself a most reliable and steady workman always willing and courteous……I have never had cause to make any complaint either with his work or his behaviour.”
Reg Clayton ran and maintained the Hydro Turbine generator, water for which came from the river Leven, dammed up at the north end of the lake (which served as a reservoir) and which which ran down the sluice near the laundry to the turbine. The turbine was eventually replaced by a diesel; a transformer was later installed to convert the DC input 240v AC.
In 1921, during Herbert Dennis’s time as Headmaster, he was appointed to the ‘Staff’, and taught metalwork & woodwork, which he had learnt at Summer Schools. Reg Clayton will always be remembered as patient and kindly man, and a very good teacher, his metal workshop being off the arch leading from the boys’ playground to the Mill Yard. At exhibitions of School work on General Meeting Days, the standard of pupils metal work never failed to bring forth admiration for craftsmanship and design.
During the War he was in the Great Ayton Home Guard then being over 60 years old (the photo shows him in Army uniform). His daughters Sylvia (at School 1944-51) and Edna (at School 1952-57) were born late in his life, as his first wife and son had died in the 1930s, and he then married their mother Emily in 1933.
He retired for a short period when Mr. Carr was head, but when John Reader took over, he was reinstated, and was still working until his death in July 1955 at nearly 75 years old.