Mel Lambert (1959-65)
is with a heavy heart that I relate news of the sad death of former
biology master Reginald Baldwin Whellock, BSc, MA, CBiol, FSB (JRGS
Teacher 1946-56) - pictured
right - just one day before the recent
Fifth Annual Ruskin Reunion,
and a few days shy of his 101st birthday. This image secured at the 2012
Reunion is courtesy of Frazer Ashford (JRGS 1962-69). Click on
the thumbnail to view a larger version.
Mr. Whellock died in the early morning
of Friday September 4 at the
Hall Grange Methodist care home in Shirley Church Road,
not far from the former JRGS site on Upper Shirley Road. However, his
daughter Pauline Whellock was able to attend the reunion on the
following day, despite
suffering a cut head and a bruised hand in a recent fall.
co-organiser Ian Macdonald (JRGS 1958-65) reports: "I had arranged
to pick up Pauline on her return from France and, although shaken by her
accident, she spent Friday at my home [on Upper Shirley Road]. Her
brother John arrived from the USA on Sunday, the day after the reunion.
"Reg had been active on 3rd of September, completing seven laps of
the garden path at the care home while using his wheelie frame. On the
morning of Friday the 4th, he was walking along the path again and
collapsed. This was witnessed by the gardener, who applied resuscitation
but, sadly, in vain.
"Pauline was in France and John in USA, both having previously
travel to the UK for Reg’s 101st birthday on 8th September. She spoke to him
on phone on the 3rd and he sounded fine. While travelling in London Pauline
fell, breaking a bone in her hand, injuring her temple and sustaining a
black eye. Nonetheless, she bravely attended the reunion, hand in
plaster, arm in sling
and presented Mohammed Ramzan, Ruskin College Principal, with the
Alumni Society cup and a cheque by way of initial donation to the
bursary being set up by Mohammed to fund IT for a worthy student.
"Further monies were donated during the reunion and will be forwarded in
due course. Pauline was warmly received, enjoyed the reunion and spoke
at length to several attendees.
"John Whellock will be attending to funeral arrangements; I will update The Alumni
with subsequent news. My wife Anne took Pauline Whellock to St. George’s Hospital for a follow-up to
the Mayday Hospital visit during the early hours of Saturday 5th of
September; more details will follow."
Reunion, Reginald Whellock showed attendees a signed card of
congratulations from The Queen for his 70th wedding anniversary - his
late wife Doreen passed in 2013 - with cuttings from a then-recent article in
the Croydon Advertiser. He also recited a poem on old age, though
himself seemingly immune to its effects, and told guests of the
royalties he received from his text books, one of which supported his
children through university despite being rejected by David
Attenborough. As the oldest male ex-teacher at the 2012 Reunion, Mr.
Whellock received a bottle of wine.
Early History in Croydon and South
As Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66)
reported to The Mill in 2010, Reginald B. Whellock was born
in September 1914 in Croydon, Surrey, the son of Harry Samuel
Whellock, shipping clerk and engineer, born 2 May 1882, in
Bermondsey, south London. His mother was Minnie Charlotte née Baldwin,
born 12 January 1886 in East Malling, Kent, and later a housemaid in
Upper Norwood, Lambeth, South London. His parents married in Bromley in
1913. His paternal grandfather was Henry Whellock; many of his direct
Whellock ancestors were River Thames lightermen.
Mr. Whellock lived at Cranbrook Road, Thornton Heath. As a child he
attended Ingram Elementary School, Thornton Heath, and then Selhurst
School from 1926 to 1932, before obtaining a BSc at University College,
London. In 1936 he was appointed as biology teacher at King James VI
Grammar School, Knaresborough, Yorkshire, and, aside from WW2 service in
the Royal Navy from 1940 to 1945, taught there until 1946.
He married Doreen T. Kitching in Knaresborough, Yorkshire,
in 1942; the couple had two children: Pauline M. Whellock (now Sandeman), born
1946 in Knaresborough, Yorkshire; and John G. Whellock, born
1947 in Croydon.
Mr. Whellock joined John Ruskin School in September 1946, as Head
of Biology, living in Shirley, and later in Sanderstead. He also ran the
Film Society. He is mentioned in two issues of the JRGS school magazine:
March 1947 (page 2)
and December 1956 (page
Brian Thorogood (JRGS
remembered Mr. Whellock dressing in a dark grey two-piece suit with
his teaching gown worn on top. "As well as being the senior Biology
Teacher he was also our fifth-form master," Brian stated. "I must say
that I had a good mutual relationship with him, mainly due to the fact
that I came top in the mock Biology O -Level exam. Also, I had always
learnt by visual appreciation, the 'symbol' being prominent in my own
intelligence. Mr. Whellock had published his own course book for use in
O- and A-Level examinations, and I was able to grasp the fundamentals of
the subject by assessing his excellent diagrams. Many years later I was
able to purchase a second-hand copy in an antiquarian bookshop in
"A few boys who excelled in biology were encouraged by Mr. Whellock
to make applications to the Wellcome Laboratories for a career. I am
grateful to Mr. Whellock as I certainly matured under his direction
during fifth-year studies. Sadly, he left JRGS at the same time as
myself, in July 1956."
Career after John Ruskin Grammar School
Mr. Whellock left JRGS at the end of the summer term in 1956 to join
Wandsworth Comprehensive School, London, as Head of Science, and was
later appointed head teacher of the McEntee Technical High School in
Walthamstow, London. In September 1967, he was appointed head teacher of
the Greenshaw Comprehensive School, Sutton, London, and retired in 1979.
He is listed in Who's Who in Education.
Mr. Whellock also had a career as examiner and writer of biology
A fascinating interview appears within a ZIP file
accessible from the Old Croydonians' Association/OCA
website. (Our thanks once again to Steve Palmer, former student at Selhurst
Grammar School, and now webmaster for TheOld.Croydonians.org.uk, for permission to link to the file.)
Mr. Whellock is pictured
left at last July's annual reunion of OCA, the official website of
past pupils and staff of Selhurst Grammar Schools for Boys and Girls, in
addition to Selhurst High School. Reginald Whellock attended the school from
1926 to 1932. (Image by OCA's Valerie Heathorn.)
In May 2012 Mr. Whellock
recalled the following career achievements:
• His successful textbook General
Biology, based on his teaching notes, and published
by Harrap in January 1955.
• Examiner : London University. Advance
Level Zoology and Biology.
• Cambridge University. Chief Examiner for
• Oxford & Cambridge. Visiting examiner
for Practical Biology and Zoology.
• Dept of Education. Committee member
checking marking standards of eight exam boards for AL Science Papers.
• He ran courses in Biology for Cambridge
in India, Uganda, Kenya, Malaysia.
• Head of McEntee Technical High School,
• Head Master who created Sutton's first
Comprehensive School, Greenshaw High School, 1967-79, in competition
with six Grammar Schools.
He was also chairman of the
Croydon Branch of the Incorporated Association of Assistant Masters;
during 1960 the London County Council (LCC) appointed him as Assessor to
the Education Committee of the London Zoo.
In September 2014, Tony Childs (JRGS 1947-53)
reported on the occasion of Mr. Whellock's hundredth birthday, and
that he was moving from Sutton into the Methodist Care home in Shirley.
A large family gathering was also planned to celebrate his birthday on
the Isle of Wight.
During his time at the Tamworth Road location, Mr. Whellock shared a prefab
in the back playground as the site of a laboratory with Mr. George "Percy" Pearman
and eventually had the opportunity to plan and design the new
laboratories for the Upper Shirley Road buildings, which eventually were
occupied in the Spring of 1955. "The architect designed the Biology
Department and the garden and the pond all around my requirements," Mr.
Whellock recalled, "whereas in Tamworth Road I was in a pre-fab."
Thomas (JRGS 1957–64) reports:
funeral of Reginald “Reg” Baldwin Whellock, well known and much admired
former teacher at John Ruskin from 1946 to 1956, took place on Wednesday
16th September 2015 at 12.30pm at Sanderstead United Reformed Church,
Sanderstead Hill, near Croydon.
The Reverend Bryn Thomas officiated and some 250 mourners were present.
Tributes included those paid by Marlar Lawrence, Chaplain to Hall Grange
Methodist Care Home, where Reg spent his latter days, painting water colours and interacting with the other residents;
Brian Self, a Selhurst
School Alumnus, read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, better known to many in the
form of Pete Seeger’s song of the late 1950s, "Turn! Turn! Turn! (To
Everything There Is a Season)"; Charlotte, Reg’s grand-daughter spoke
sensitively about her grandfather; Pauline and John remembered their father’s ever-enquiring mind and love of imparting
knowledge, especially about plants and nature.
Tony Childs (JRGS 1947-53) and Ian Macdonald spoke jointly in their capacity as John
Ian first related how, on his first unannounced visit, Reg turned up
after the 2010 Ruskin Reunion closing time, at
The Surprise public house, asking if he was
too late. Ian described this as a "Lonnie Donegan Moment", to which he was
tempted to reply “No; jump up on the cart”. (The mainly elderly mourners
at Reg’s funeral understood the allusion.)
Ian continued, stating how Reg
was delighted to see that four of his old pupils were still present at
that Reunion, despite his late arrival. At the next
in 2011, which he
attended with his wife, Doreen, Reg spoke at length of his ties with
Croydon, through attendance at Ingram Elementary School then Selhurst
School from 1926-32, prior to reading for his biology degree. Reg
continued by recounting that during the war, whilst in Greenland on HMS Chitral, he was transferred to HMS Hood with
five others. On arrival, they
were informed that there was no space aboard and his party had to
disembark. Three weeks later, HMS Hood sank with near total loss of
life. But for that lack of space, none would be present at this 2015
funeral service. Reg joined John Ruskin in 1946.
Tony continued the Ruskin recollections by speaking warmly of being a
pupil of Reg. Tony recalled that Reg encouraged and persuaded him to
take up medical studies at Cambridge or to study biology, regarding
which Reg had advised that the latter might have meant visiting swamps
to collect specimens. Unsurprisingly, Tony chose the former.
Ian concluded by praising Pauline for attending the
2015 Ruskin Reunion
just a day after her Dad died and when she had fallen in London,
breaking her hand. He thanked the family for them both being invited to
address the congregation.
A truly splendid buffet was provided in the adjacent church hall, as can
be seen from the following images.
Click on any thumbnail to view a larger version.
Exterior of the Church,
taken in falling rain; it was raining for virtually all
of the time from before the funeral until after the
follow-up gathering for refreshments.
Reverend Bryn Thomas,
who lead the funeral service, flanked by Ian Macdonald (JRGS 1958-65)
on the left, and Tony Childs (JRGS 1947-53) on
Front row, from left:
John Whellock, Pauline Sandeman, Pauline’s daughter
Charlotte and Anne
Macdonald. Back row, from left: Tony Childs,
Richard "Tom" Thomas and Ian Macdonald.