"The Mill" - JRGS Alumni Society Home Page

"... To make your
children capable
of honesty is the
beginning of education,"

- John Ruskin (1819-00)

Our School Song:

"When the light of truth is fading and the torch
of faith burns low."
>>full lyrics


This web site serves as a repository for various images from our days at John Ruskin Central, Grammar and High Schools, as well a place to share personal memories and recollections from that era.

Our school started life on the 12th of January, 1920, at Scarbrook Road, Croydon, as John Ruskin Boys' Central School, before moving in 1935 to Tamworth Road, where it achieved Grammar School status in April 1945. (Reportedly, the Scarbrook Road site was near a house in Market Street that was occupied by John Ruskin's Croydon relatives, The Richardsons.)

The first principal teacher was William Field MA, followed in 1934 by Arthur William McLeod MA. Mr. Field died in February 1938, and Mr. McLeod in July 1956, at the age of 71. The 36-year-old John Christopher Lowe MA, who took over as headmaster of the newly upgraded John Ruskin Grammar School from Mr. McLeod in 1946, spent 27 years at the school until his retirement in 1973, and was replaced by William Patterson. Mr. Lowe also built up a small collection of newspaper cuttings, photographs, books and pamphlets by and about John Ruskin.

In January 1955 John Ruskin Grammar School for Boys moved to a new site on Upper Shirley Road, Shirley, several miles south east of Croydon, which location featured an elegant windmill in the grounds between the main school buildings and a sports area.

During 1971 the school was renamed John Ruskin High School - instead of a three-form entry at 11, the school offered four forms for boys and girls aged 14, the latter transferring from Shirley High School - eventually to became a 14-18 Co-Educational Comprehensive School. Anne Smith, who had joined the school from Selhurst Grammar School for Girls in 1970, and was a long time English Teacher at JRHS, became principal in 1990.

Sadly, in 1991 the school was demolished to make way for a new housing development, the upper forms relocating to a Sixth Form College in Selsdon, the former home of John Newnham Secondary School.

Today John Ruskin College is a Skills for Life College, with courses that lead to BTEC (Business & Technology Education Council) qualifications in a variety of vocational subjects. In February 2019 it merged with East Surrey College, a further-education college based in Redhill, Surrey

Interestingly, 1938 coveras a tribute to Victorian Architecture, the building in Tamworth Road, West Croydon, remains beautifully intact. (Click on the graphic right to download a larger image of the April 1938 school magazine's front cover; click here for contemporary images taken in November 2002.

John Ruskin is considered by many to be the greatest British art critic and social commentator of the Victorian Age. His ideas are said to have inspired the Arts and Crafts Movement and the founding of the National Trust, and the Labour Movement. He actively promoted art education and museums for the working classes. Ruskin died on 20 January, 1900, at the age of 80. A Ruskin Library exists at the University of Lancaster.

>> LATEST NEWS/UPDATES... More fond memories, recollections and images <<

Ruskin Reunion in September 2015...
At JR Sixth Form College, Selsdon

Anne Smith recalls 29 years at school...
As Senior Mistress, Deputy Head & Principal

Our "Top Ten Favourite" JR teachers...
Who did we like best of our schoolmasters?

Charles Smith, 1912-2012 - Rest in Peace
A long career teaching PT & mathematics

Alan Murray, 1914-2005 - Rest in Peace
A popular teacher at the school for 25 years

Clive Whitehead probes school origins...
Research at Croydon Local Studies Library

From 100 Years ago: first school mag...
John Ruskin Central School July 1920 issue

More from Mr. Lowe' s School Record...
Various press clippings, letters and photos

Memories from a former pupil & teacher...
Clive Whitehead recalls his experiences

Latest JRGS School Magazines:
December 1936 and July 1938
, scanned by Roger Adcock: "I found these editions in my father's papers, amongst a pile of school magazines." More.
  Help in filling any of the gaps after 1971 would be very much appreciated. [email]

GCE O-Level exams from Summer 1968...
Kevin O' Brien rekindles some memories

Frazer Ashford's photo recollections... 
from Your Croydon's From Here to Modernity

Can you help? Brian Lancaster asks if anyone remembers the Ruskin painting the school received in 1957/8 from the Whitehouse bequest. [email]

There are no formal membership requirements for the JRGS Alumni Society; anybody connected to the school is welcome to contribute to The Mill website and hence become part of our Society.

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Last revised: 23.04.19