Clive Whitehead (JRGS 1950-52) reports sad news about Mr. Neville Graham…
On 23rd December, 2019, I attended the funeral in Perth, Western
Australia, of Neville Graham (JRGS Teacher 1957-69). He was 87 years old and had suffered for
several years from facial skin cancer the result, he said, of spending
most of his life working as a PE master in the sun. “Nev” was a popular
master at John Ruskin from 1957 until his departure for New Zealand in
1969. He was forever endeared to his beloved Form 5G.
Clive Whitehead, Perth, Western Australia, January 2020 Email
Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) adds: I admired Neville Graham; he was fair and sympathetic and had high standards.
My top memory of
Mr. "Piggy" Graham is more prosaic. As our
PE/games teacher, in the autumn of 1959 I recall that he supervised our showers
following sports activities, either in the gym or on The Mill Pitch. I
recall being a skinny member of 1M and taking my first communal shower
with some 30 other skinny schoolboys. To defuse our embarrassment, Mr. Graham advising us how to grow hair of our chests. “At night,
sprinkle some salt on your chests,” he said. “Then, when the hairs come
out for a drink, tie a knot in them!” He was a lovely, caring teacher.
He will be much missed.
And here is a link to a contribution to The Mill from April 2006, when John Byford (JRGS 1959-66) reported that current Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson (JRGS 1958-654) had spoken warmly of Neville Graham.
Chris Rook (JRGS 1961-68) adds:
At Ruskin during
the Sixties, Neville Graham was a constant feature of my school life,
due to the fact that I and a few friends spent much of our time in the
gym or on the Mill Pitch under his tutelage. He was a "good egg" - firm
but friendly, with a strong sense of purpose towards his subject and the
ethos of the school. His track suit bore the initials LCPE (Loughborough
College of Physical Education).
And when the one great
Of course, anyone could have put it there, but I rather think it was Piggy. Rest in Peace Mr. G.
Jim Thomas (JRGS 1959-66) adds:
Mr. Graham started
lacrosse at the school in my second year, and I joined at the beginning.
I played lacrosse from the second year to Upper 6th in the school team.
We practiced on The Mill Pitch behind the Windmill and played [at the
sports field] down Oaks Road – at start it was like a ploughed field but
then it was flattened out.
According to Wikipedia,
Lacrosse is based
on games played by various Native American communities as early as 1100
AD. By the 17th Century, a version of lacrosse was well-established and
documented by Jesuit missionary priests in the territory of present-day
Canada. In the traditional aboriginal Canadian version, each team
consisted of about 100 to 1,000 men on a field several miles long; games
lasted from sunup to sundown for two to three days and were played as
part of ceremonial ritual. By 1900 there were dozens of men's clubs in
Canada, the United States, England, Australia and New Zealand, the
women's game being introduced in Scotland in 1890.
Martin Burl (JRGS 1961-63) recalls A-Levels at the school and offers a poem…
During our recent table-tennis match at the Redhill
Methodist Church Hall, Mike Etheridge (JRGS 1963-65) told me
about The Mill. I'm afraid that my memories of the two years I
spent there doing A-Levels are very hazy. I came with a great sense of
inferiority from a secondary modern school. I scraped through a couple
of A-Levels, and did the first year of a general science degree at West
Ham, but dropped out and got a job.
Roses, Rings & Parakeets
A windmill still stands on the site
As the JRGS Alumni may know, rose-ringed parakeets have made their home in the windmill on the site of the old John Ruskin Grammar School in Shirley, Croydon, which is now a housing estate. The birds have done about £50,000 damage to the sails.
Martin Burl, Woldingham, Surrey; November 2019 Email
Mike Etheridge (JRGS 1963-65) adds: I remember Martin telling me, with a smile on his face, about school trips to Croyde Bay in North Devon with John Adkins and Mr. Anthony Davey, and their excessive driving in Adkin's Morris 1000 and Davey's Triumph Herald. (I also remember a trip in the latter.)
Dave Anderson (JRGS 1964-71) uncovers an interesting YouTube video ...
During a recent very wet and windy Saturday, I came across an old film on YouTube entitled "A Car Journey from South London through Kent in 1964'" - the year that I started at JRGS! (More). I think the snow was from that wicked winter of 1962-63.
While the film is a bit disjointed and out of order, it is still a
memory jerker. I'm just glad someone recorded and uploaded it all those
years later. I am sure the alumni will recognise some of these places; I did.
The video takes you back to a simpler uncluttered South London when
nearly every vehicle was British; vast change in this area now. Take a
look at the comments below the posting, which are interesting.
David Anderson, Southampton, Hampshire; November 2019 Email
Your Webmaster adds: The six-minute YouTube video uploaded by Mackenzie Rough reportedly follows a road trip through Kent and Surrey driving along the A20 through Sittingbourne, Coulsdon North, Crayford and other towns, in addition to Thornton Heath and Crystal Palace, plus Redhill, Hooley, Bexleyheath Broadway, Forest Hill, London Road, past Devonshire Road and Coulsdon, Surrey. This British Pathe video from 1964 might also appeal.
Richard “Tom” Thomas (JRGS 1957-64) announces program for Alumni Reunion…
Co-organiser Ian Macdonald (JRGS 1958-65) and I have been
developing a program for the planned John Ruskin Golden Alumnus 2020
Centennial Reunion, which will held at John Ruskin College on
Wednesday 10th June. The program will commence at around 11:00 AM with
Alumni collecting their name badges and registering their arrival. This
will be followed by a welcome at 11.15 AM and then tours of the college
given by current students. Lunch will be at 1.00 PM. A programme
including a performance by the Golden Alumnus rock band "Alumnirock",
videos and presentations will follow. The Reunion will wind down from
about 4:00 PM.
Richard "Tom" Thomas, Shrewsbury, Shropshire; November 2019 Email
Richard “Tom” Thomas (JRGS 1957-64) announces Golden Alumni Reunion…
held at John Ruskin College, the then-principal, Mohammed Ramzan,
coined the name “John Ruskin Golden Alumni” for schoolboys of John
Ruskin Grammar School and earlier JR schools. Our webmaster has raised
this term again within recent postings. Reunion co-organiser Ian
Macdonald (JRGS 1958-65) and I find this a very appropriate
reference, and so use it in this announcement.
To help us with planning of the Golden Alumni Reunion, if
you intend to attend please reply to
register your interest and that of your spouse or partner, as
appropriate. Please let us know, even if you had previously replied to
the polling for the reunion's date. Firm bookings and payments will be
taken later, starting between two or three months before the event.
Richard "Tom" Thomas, Shrewsbury, Shropshire; October 2019 Email
Your Webmaster adds:
Please note that this event on 10 June is separate from the now
cancelled John Ruskin
2020 Centennial Celebration which, as
Anne Smith (JRGS/JRHS Teacher & Principal
told me during a trip to the UK in June, was to be held at the
sixth-form college next year on 12 January,
2020, the 100th Anniversary of the school's formal opening date at the
site with 210 schoolboys.
(JRGS 1946-51) adds: I've got somewhat mixed feelings about
becoming a Golden Alumni - it might create a sort of "Us & Them"
division, although we older members are falling by the wayside. Too many
of my own years are already long gone. This year I've been forced to
limit what I do since having a stroke in April - my first ever enforced
stay in hospital; I've got balance and stamina problems. I also had a
fall in the garden last Sunday when I tripped while pushing a loaded
barrow that tipped over me! It took my wife and two sons 40 minutes to
get me up again because my legs had become useless. Oh, the joys of
David John Waghorn (JRGS 1950-55) is looking for fellow classmates...
l was a pupil at the school between 1950 and 1955, and would like to
make contact with any of my year group who may still be around. l left
prior to the move to the new school in Shirley. However, I was given the
task by the Mr. Lowe, the headmaster, to record an index of loose
furnishings such as pictures, etc. ahead of the school move.
James Daniell (JRGS 1954-59) recalls his era at the school - and two encounters...
I’m fairly certain that amongst my treasures I have a 1956 School Photo.
There isn’t one on The Mill website. Surely someone must have
provided one; if they have not, I’m your man. And here is the
James Daniell, Margate, Kent; October 2019 Email
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