When Francis Cooke came to Harrow County, he was older than most of the staff, and at first glance was just an old duffer. Then he taught me economics, with a passion. He spoke about William Beveridge and the Beveridge Report as if he knew him personally, and encouraged us to go down to the Gayton Road Library for books on Economics and Economic History, as the school library had a pitifully small selection. Thanks to Francis Cooke I read John Maynard Keynes in the original and got my 'A' level economics and a place at LSE. - Jeff Maynard.
From Gaytonian 1971:
A not-to-be-overlooked landmark is missing from the vicinity of B2 these days -- Mr. Francis Cooke. It is some five years since he came to support not only our economics department but also to participate so actively in the life of the School. The setting up of a tennis court in the inner quad is evidence enough of his work in this sport, but much of his work, of course, was to be seen with boys at the Herga Club. With his aid, the School tennis club achieved no mean distinction at inter-school Wimbledon against very fierce competition.
We shall also remember his commitment, passionate at times but always fully argued, to various policies on the political, economic and social scene, but above all to his native heath (some say Common, some say Down), at Bristol. It was infectious. Many of us have been infected by his enthusiasms, and that for Bristol resulted in an absorbing industrial visit to the area last year. As with anything he did, it bore the marks of painstaking preparation.
Above all, however, he will be remembered by all those boys who had occasion to consult him on any issue. His ever-ready presence was always available to reassure and comfort. One never lacked for aid when needed, given at length.
Many were surprised to find that so active a participant in the life of the School was about to retire. We thank him for the contribution he made to Harrow County, wish him a happy and active retirement and hope that he will be back to see us whenever he can.
R. A. Goff
Reggie Goff's room, B1, is now the Headteacher's room at Harrow High School. Francis Cooke's Room, B2, where I sat for my two sixth form years, is now a conference room. - Jeff Maynard.