Richard “Tom” Thomas (1957-64) identifies dates for 2020 Centennial Reunion...
JRGS Reunion co-organiser Ian Macdonald (JRGS 1958-65)
and I have attended two meetings at John Ruskin College regarding
celebrations in 2020 of the 100th Anniversary of the foundation of
Ruskin Schools in Croydon. Three possible Wednesdays have been
identified in June 2020 when we would be able to hold the JRGS 2020
Centennial Reunion at John Ruskin College. At the suggestion of our
webmaster we are polling JRGS Alumni on their availability on those
Richard "Tom" Thomas, Shrewsbury, Shropshire; August 2019 Email
Your Webmaster reports on alumni meetings during a recent London trip ...
During a recent five-week trip to London for family and business meetings, I had the opportunity to get together with several JRGS Alumni and a former head teacher, comprising Martin Preuveneers (JRGS 1958-65) and John Cobley (JRGS 1958-65) for an Indian meal near Mayfair; Anne Smith (JRGS/JRHS Teacher & Principal 1970-99) for a tour of Croydon; John Byford (JRGS 1959-66) at a restaurant near the Young Vic in Southwark; plus Richard "Tom" Thomas ((JRGS 1957-64) and Ian Macdonald (JRGS 1958-65) close to the South Bank.
On Friday 7th of June, I travelled from Richmond, West London, to Mayfair to visit Martin Preuveneers' townhouse close to the former American Embassy in Grosvenor Square, where John Cobley was staying the night before journeying to Eastbourne later that week to visit his sister and other relatives. The image below features Your Correspondent (left) with John and Martin.
was in town for a few days with his wife Maxine from their permanent
home in Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco in Northern California. As we learned, the former US Embassy is currently being converted into a
seven-star hotel at a
reported cost of £1 billion. (The Grade 2 listed building's unique façade
will be preserved, however, while the
interior is completely demolished, and new levels constructed
below ground level; the renovation project is scheduled to take five years.)
After our nearly three-hour lunch, during which we caught up with all
kinds of domestic matters, plus retirement plans, our party strolled back to
Martin’s house for a welcome cup of tea, and more chat about the world.
Because all three of us have now lived in California for several dozen
years, comparisons between England in the Eighties and now were
inevitable. All in all, it was a wonderful opportunity to fall back into
the company of true friends. We promised to get together again in the
very near future.
Within the reading room/library, John commented that such book collections are becoming a rarity, with most reference texts now available on-line or central servers at university libraries. (John also commented on the use of custom software to spot plagiarism and downright copying in essays and submitted journal papers, but that might be the subject of a future submission.)
On Friday 14th of June, I journeyed down to Croydon for lunch
with Anne Smith, and to catch up with progress on the planned Ruskin
Centenary Celebrations next year. We met at Croydon Park Hotel
near East Croydon Station, for a pleasant buffet lunch and
catch-up. I had not seen Anne in person since a
in December 2009 at the Beefeater Coombe Lodge with other alumni. The
venue on Coombe Road was close to our former sports grounds on Oaks Road,
Because I had arrived on an early train, I took the opportunity to spend 40 minutes wandering west along George Street from the station towards the town center, to revisit locations I had not seen for several years.
Anne and I discussed the upcoming Ruskin Centenary Reunion, which will
comprise two complimentary events. On 12 January, 2020, The Ruskin Sixth Form
College, now part of the Redhill-based East Surrey College, will
celebrate the 100th Anniversary of our school opening for business at
Scarbrook Road. In mid-June, on dates still to be finalized, JRGS Alumni
will join with college staff and pupils to celebrate 100 years of the
school's history, including displays of memorabilia and related
materials. As Anne explained, the current planning committee of six
individuals, including herself, Richard "Tom" Thomas and Ian Macdonald,
are finalizing dates and content, with details being shared soon here on
The Mill. Please stay tuned!
On Tuesday 18th of June, following a matinee performance
of Githa Sowerby’s new play, Rutherford and Son, at the National
Theater, I journeyed to Southwalk for dinner with John Byford,
who had selected a favourite venue: The Baltic Restaurant. Specialising
in the cuisines of Eastern and Central Europe, the menu is extensive,
with a cornucopia of fresh fish and vodkas for the curious. For my
starter I opted for Sledz - marinated herring with pickles - followed by
Blinis with a selection of smoked fish and aubergine caviars.
On Monday 1st of July, I journeyed into London via
Waterloo for a very
pleasant lunch at Brasserie Blanc restaurant, close to the South Bank, with
Richard "Tom" Thomas and Ian Macdonald. It was my first time meeting Tom; I
last got together with Ian at a
Express in Victoria in November 23, 2002.
Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, USA. July 2019 Email
Karl W. Smith (JRGS 1946-52) adds: Thanks to our Webmaster for all these updates, which are most interesting. My problem is that you all seem so young, having attended JRGS so long after I went to the school in Tamworth Road. Since I've not been back to Croydon - other than to pass around it on either Purley Way or Beddington Lane - since my parents moved away from there in the early 1970s these pictures show so many changes. Mind you, my Teddy Bear bought from Hamleys in George Street still has pride of place in my home, having comforted several of our sons in the intervening years. I'm not sure if he left the shop in December 1934 or 1935!
Michael Beaumont (JRGS 1955-60) adds:
With regard to our webmaster's
report of his recent
visit to Croydon, it was great to see the photos of central
Croydon, which brought back a host of memories.
Your Webmaster reports the sad death of Peter Hylands (JRGS 1958-64)...
have just discovered that Professor Peter "Pudge" Hylands,
pictured left, died after a short illness on 10 June, 2019.
According to a news item on the website of Sibelius Natural Products, a
company Peter worked with for several years, "As well as being a highly
valued member of our Science Advisory Board, he was also the Head of the
Pharmacy Department & Joint Head of Institute of Pharmaceutical Science
at King’s College London. He will be greatly missed by all."
And here, third from left, Peter is pictured during a JRGS Botany Field Trip to Thursley Common Ecological Trail in 1964; click on thumbnail to view a larger version:
Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, USA; July 2019 Email
Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) meets up with a fellow alumnus in Somerset...
Last week, my wife,
Jane, and I were on holiday in north Devon and Somerset,
walking the coast path and exploring Exmoor. It was wonderful countryside and
coastal scenery. We chose Porlock as a base because it was so central but, of course, it had the added advantage of being able to catch up with
Roger Hall (JRGS 1959-66) for the first time after a gap of 54 years. We
both lived in the South Norwood area for a time, and also had drama
productions and the Chess Club in common.
Paul Graham, Iver, Bucks; July 2019 Email
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