- FINAL Page 98 - June 2020 & Sept 2021 -
- FINAL Page 98 - June 2020 & Sept 2021 -
Your webmaster has received sad news of two former JRGS Alumni
received an email from Sarah Burchett informing me that her
father, Bryan Burchett (JRGS 1941-46), passed away last January. Sarah's
sister is Jianna; their mother, Honor, died in 1997.
Dopson has written to let the alumni know that his father, Michael Dopson (JRGS
died recently. Born in 1936, Michael reportedly made several hundred
appearances for JR Old Boys FC, playing up until his Forties. Ian asked
if we knew of an archive that contained a record of his number of
appearances and the dates upon which they occurred. “Having scoured the
internet I’m unsure if the club still exists,” Ian wrote, “but, if so,
was hoping that it might be possible to place an obituary on their
Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, USA; September 2021 Email
Roy Seager (JRCS 1940-46) recalls his wartime years and a venerable staff …
September 1940 and WW2 had started just a year before I had won a
Scholarship to the John Ruskin
School in Tamworth Road, Croydon,
pictured right in 2001, from the Croydon Parish Church Primary
School. I had just turned 10 years old, having been born on 27th July,
Well, these are a small selection of school tales from 80 years ago. I think school life has moved on a bit. But is it for the better?
Roy Seager, West Milton, Dorset; Email July 2021
Your Webmaster adds:
Realizing that Roy recently celebrated his 91st birthday, and wanting to
hear more about his experiences after JRGS, I asked him to tell us of
his career achievements. Here is a short essay that he has entitled
After School - Jack of All Trades.
Myriad Hobbies, including DIY
Roy Seager, West Milton, Dorset; Email August 2021
David Cross (JRGS 1944-50) recalls the post-war years and two headmasters …
education minister, Lord Butler, created a host of grammar schools from
some of the existing central schools, as they were then called, to give
working-class children the chance to stay at school until 16, gaining
the School Certificate, or until 18 to pass the Higher School
Certificate and entry to a university. These new grammar schools opened
in 1944, and my first year at Ruskin happened to be the last year of
WW2. I left after one year in the lower sixth when my mother and I
realised that we would not be able to afford for me to attend a
David Cross BEd, MA, PhD; 10 Ave General de Gaulle, 34230 Adissan, France; Email;February2021
Terry White (JRGS 1952-57) recalls school life and teachers in the early Fifties…
I was born in Woking, Surrey, on December 2nd, 1940 - my Mum having been
sent down there because of the Nazi Blitz on London. Wentworth Road,
Broad Green, West Croydon, off Canterbury Road, was where my Mum and her
family lived, and Zion Road, Thornton Heath, for my Dad and his family.
We moved to Wentworth Road when things quietened down a bit. After I
passed my scholarship from West Thornton School (Boston Road), my Nan
gave me 10/- - a huge amount, considering that I was paid the same
amount for my first weekly wage five years later at Allders store in
Croydon. Two of my Mum's brothers had been to John Ruskin School, so my
going there was viewed with interest by them, to say the least.
Terry White, North Shields, Tyne and Wear; January 2021 Email
ML Adds: I asked Terry to identify members of Class 5R, which
is pictured along
the top row of the 1956 School Photograph. Starting at the left-hand
crease: Brian August (to the left of the fold), Freddy Robello,
Dave Larman, Tony Marks,
Charles, Dave Harding, Terry White, Terry Allen,
Frank Liddiard, unknown,
unknown, tba Rylands, Bill Penney, John
Lillywhite, Arthur Dobinson, Walt Conway, Harold
Fish ("Poisson"), Alan Charlwood,
tba Roberts, John
Bradley, Pete Rockingham, Mike Rockall and Anthony
Ian Macdonald (JRGS 1958-65) reports the sad death of Richard "Tom" Thomas…
It is with very heavy heart that I need to share some sad news. I
am informed by Fay, his daughter, that Richard "Tom" Thomas (JRGS
1957-64) died at her home in the early hours of Thursday, 7th of January.
Tom had been suffering from prostate cancer for some time. He was under
the care of the Guildford hospice plus carers, and passed peacefully.
I have lost four friends to prostate cancer and two to
abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA); two others are currently undergoing
treatment for prostate cancer. Treatment includes steroids, giving
weight gain and taking female hormones.
Ian Macdonald, Shirley, Surrey; January 2021 Email
Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) adds: My sincere condolences. What a dreadful last 12 months it has been, and now this. I’m so sorry. We just have to keep travelling on, working and hoping for better times.
Martin Preuveneers (JRGS 1958-65) adds: Tom was such a good and decent guy. I greatly enjoyed meeting up with him over the past years, and he was wonderful company. When he was diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer I was very impressed by his positive outlook. Although he did not always feel that well, I recall a couple of years ago that he made the effort to travel from Shrewsbury, where he lived, to London for the day, to meet me and other JRGS alumni. He was stoic about his condition, saying he had enjoyed a good life and was going to make the most of the time he had left. Tom is an example to us all. He also cared very much for his family. RIP
Geoff Boyce (1958-65) adds: I’m really saddened by this news. He will be a real loss to JRGS.
Peter Marchant (1949-56) adds: Sorry to hear of Tom's death. He was very much at the heart of JRGS Alumni.
Mike Etheridge (1963-65) adds: Sad to hear about
Tom's death. There have been five deaths of my friends and
relatives in the last year.
Duncan Smith (1957-63) adds: This is so sad. Richard was a hell of a guy and did so much for this website and beyond. My sincere condolences go out to his family.
Anne Smith (JRHS/JRC teacher/principal 1970-99) adds: That's very sad. He did so much for the alumni, with Ian, that it's a great shame he did not get to see the celebrations we were hoping for in 2020. And he was one of the nicest of men.
Your Webmaster reports the sad death of Barrie Sturt-Penrose (JRGS 1958-61)…
This past Tuesday, 7th of July,
The Times reported that its former investigative journalist and
interviewer, Barrie Penrose - pictured right at the
Reunion - had died two days earlier due to complications of
Parkinson's disease. The obituary's lead paragraph describes how, on an afternoon in May 1976, Barrie was standing in his garden when he heard
the phone ring. "Picking up the receiver," the article continues, "he
heard a voice asking if he would like to have a drink that evening with
the recently retired prime minister, Sir Harold Wilson. Assuming it was
a hoax, Penrose asked if he could call back. To his astonishment, he
heard the same voice saying, 'Sir Harold Wilson’s office'."
Barrie Penrose pictured in 1980 with Marjorie Wallace, a Sunday Times colleague. Image by Sally Soames.
The following biography written by Gary Day-Ellison (JRGS 1962-69) appeared on page 25 of the May 1970 School Magazine, and offers a unique, albeit short appreciation of the ex-alumnus, journalist and author. During his school days he included his mother's maiden name; subsequently, he dropped it during his professional career.
As Ian Lints (JRGS 1954-59)
in January 2015, "I tried to follow up on a Wikipedia link about the
late Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe, which mentions two books:
Rinkagate: The Rise and Fall of Jeremy Thorpe, co-written by Barrie
Penrose and Simon Freeman (Bloomsbury, 1996); and The Pencourt Files,
co-written by Barrie Penrose and Roger Courtiour (HarperCollins, 1978).
The two books are probably the most comprehensive accumulation of
In February 2003, Jim Hawkins (JRGS 1954-61) remembered a school production of Macbeth during which "Barrie Sturt-Penrose did his best to kill me in a sword fight because he wanted the part."
In July 2016, Bob Hyslop (JRGS 1953-60) recalled The 15 Society, of which he was a founding member in 1959, with the active encouragement of Mr. Alan "Ego" Murray. "I suppose the main drivers were Barrie Sturt-Penrose and Roger Courtiour," Bob wrote, "but immediately several other like-minded 'gentlemen' - as the Head insisted on styling us - joined in this 'search for truth'."
Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, USA; July 2020 Email
Julian Smalley (JRGS 1959-66)
adds: I remember buying a bright yellow mini from Barrie and
having great fun with the car - it must have been around 1974.
Graham (JRGS 1959-66) adds:
According to various school magazines and speech-day programmes,
Barrie passed A-Level English Literature, Economics and History in the
summer of 1961 and went on to study Economics at LSE.
Bob Hyslop (JRGS 1953-60) revisits his books whose hero attended the school...
Following my retirement in 2006 I have written historical
novels and thrillers, all of which are now online. As part of that
contribution to The Mill in July 2016, I provided an extract
from one of my books, entitled Stay-Away Runs Away. The book's
fictitious hero, Jonas Forbes, was an old boy of John Ruskin Central
School. As I wrote, Jonas left in the school in 1945; the book contained
several references to the then-headmaster Mr. McLeod.
“You don’t say much, do you, Forbes?” No response. “I hope you can speak
Russian – eh?”
As usual, the targets are pomposity and ignorance. Researching the 16 thrillers in "The Jonas Forbes Saga" revealed how much has changed in the world. I wonder, in fictional accounts of today’s world, how much would surprise, horrify, amuse or impress a reader.
Bob Hyslop, Chichester, West Sussex; July 2020 Email
Your Webmaster receives a fascinating image of the school hall from 1958 …
Recently, I received an email from Justine Bainbridge,
which reads as follows: "I’ll spare you from a convoluted story, but the
long and the short of it is that I found an old flash drive, and it has
some very cool photos on it. I think your alumni may like the one I
attach of John Ruskin School in 1958.
This image looks to have been taken at the conclusion of
a Speech Day in the main School Hall - parents seem to exiting before
JRGS pupils. Held in
Friday 28th of November,1958, at 7:30, the speaker
that year was R. M. H. Thompson MP, who at the time served as
Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Health.
Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, USA; June 2020 Email
ML adds: I have received an additional five images from Justine Bainbridge that show our mystery JRGS pupil, "John," in football kit and cricket whites, together with other unidentified locations. Click on any thumbnail to view a larger version.
Terry Weight (JRGS 1959-66) adds:
Which of these photos is labelled "263 Long Lane"? (My family lived
quite near there.) I ask because the area behind this house - Longheath
Gardens - was (I think) full of those small prefabricated homes that are
shown in the baby photo. It also seems possible that the gate in the
baby photo and the small boys photo could be the same, but I think the
prefabs were not replaced until the Sixties, and then with the
multi-storey buildings there now. So, I suspect it is not the same gate
since there is a house in the background. However, I don’t recognise the
road with John on his first day at school; I don’t think this is Long
Lane. If his first day was September 1958, he was of course one year
ahead of us. It looks to me in the
speech-day photo of 1958 that John is three rows back and three from
John Byford (JRGS 1959-66) adds:
The clue is 263 Long Lane; it would have been prefabs back in 1958. It's
part of the A222 from Croydon, imagine driving along Lower Addiscombe
Road; at Ashburton Park the A222 becomes Long Lane; and, not far from
Elmers End, it becomes Croydon Road. The prefabs would have been not far
from where Long Lane becomes Croydon Road.
Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) adds: I sometimes used to cycle along Long Lane on my way home - although via Portland Road in South Norwood was a bit shorter - and remember it well. I looked on Google Earth and there are newish houses replacing the prefabs.
Paul Johnson (JRGS 1966-73) adds: Isn't that a remarkable story! Flash drives haven't been around that long, relatively speaking, so someone will be missing it! I'm afraid that 1958 was a bit before my time, but I reckon someone's going to come up with a name or two!
Mike Beaumont (JRGS 1955-60) adds: I cannot spot myself in that 1958 speech-day photo - I’d have been 14. But it brings back memories of being in that hall about six rows back, with the rich sounds from the organ and singing the school song and, at Christmas, Adeste Fideles!
Roger Hall (JRGS 1959-66) adds: I have no idea who "John" is, but what a lovely set of photos that are very evocative of the era. I wonder if the perfabs are a part what became the Monkshill Estate between Shirley and West Wickham?
Your Webmaster adds:
Justine has confirmed that the
prefab image file is labelled 263 Long Lane. As she writes:
"You would not believe the lengths I've gone to over the last week to
come up with that Croydon theory! If I told you I'd turned the Internet
upside-down, then that would be a pretty apt description of my
investigative efforts. If anything, I'm dedicated when it comes to
Justine has also sent another batch of images from the flash drive,
covering a seaside visit, an office outing and more shots of domestic life.
A full list of archived News/Events Pages can be found here.
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