have uploaded here some fascinating drawings of the Upper Shirley Road and
Tamworth Road sites that have been imaged by Mike Etheridge (JRGS 1963-65).
Click on the thumbnail image to access a larger version.
As Mike notes: "On the top/first floor drawing of the Shirley building,
I certainly recognize what I think became Room 4, adjacent to the Library. This
room seems to be an after thought, since a large English Room in the Room 4 vicinity
seems to have been originally proposed. I also think the Prefects room was
located off the same corridor as Room 4.
"I expect that some of the JRGS Alumni who were at the school for up to seven
years can add the subject/tutor names to most of the class/division rooms. I'm
sure I can spot Mr. Smith's Applied Maths room where, apart from anything else,
I learnt that all equals signs should be placed 1/7/8 inches from the left hand
margin of a page! (I've never been the same since!)
"For myself, [these drawings] have brought back
memories of what I thought was a very good school. The fact that it was
demolished after a very short life still seems to me a destructive waste. After
all it was only 10 years older than Trinity School just down the road. Of
course, a number of other Croydon schools have been axed over the years - I
could not believe that Purley Girls High School was broken up and a council
housing estate constructed on the site. (I can just imagine how pleased the
local private householders must have been.)
"No doubt the school's character changed when it became comprehensive. Although
I did not witness this myself, I did see first hand the decline at Selhurst
school when it lost its Grammar status. The atmosphere only improved at Selhurst
when it became part of Croydon College; perhaps this influenced the creation of
We seem to have omitted mention of
Mike Etheridge in previous pages, so here is his background:
"I was at
Ruskin school for only two years from September 1963 until July 1965. I was originally at Norbury Manor
school with Guscott, Durr, Wheeler, Alan Gibbs and John White. We all joined
Ruskin's A-level course at the same time. My classes were Lower and
Upper Sixth Science Alpha, so at some time or another we [Mel Lambert and I] must have
been in the same class.
"I noticed that the only common subject we studied
was physics. Did you attend Mr. 'Sam' Chaundy's class? 'Uff, uff - firm it up at
home' was his usual expression, if I remember rightly.
"As I needed to retake a couple of O-Levels, I was
initially placed in John Byford's class and remember well his other colleagues,
including Roger Hall and Doug Edwards. I particularly remember saying goodbye to
Hall and Byford at the end the 1964 summer term on a Friday - only to meet them
again the next day by complete surprise in the same Youth Hostel room in North
Wales. So you could say I have slept with them!
"Can anyone confirm the story regarding stolen road signs? It seemed particularly funny at the time.
Rumour had it that some prefects had 'borrowed' the signs as a prank, much to
the annoyance of Mr. 'Joe' Lowe, who had the signs locked in the Prefect's Room
and called in the police. When 'Joe' showed the police into the Prefect's Room
the signs had apparently gone - smuggled into the roof space that was linked to
all the storage cupboards on the top floor in the three-story block, and removed
from the premises!"
Mike also recalls that when local councils decided to sell off assets to fund
other projects, there was a scheme to create John Ruskin College on either the
John Newnham or our old Upper Shirley Road school site. "Since the corridors were
wider (less stories?) in the John Newnham building and hence better suited
disabled access - the general building condition was also good - our old school
was chosen for demolition."
"Over the past years I had a minor input in building electrical works on the
site," he continues, "including the ROSLA [Raising of School Leaving Age] block
constructed in the school playground, and the forming of the girls toilets when
the school became co-ed. In fact, I did meet Mr.' 'Wally' Cracknell plus other
teachers at the time, but none of them remembered me!"
any messages and memorabilia to
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Last revised: 01.01.21