FINAL JRGS News Archive Page 98
JRGS Alumni Society

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- FINAL Page 98 - June 2020 & Sept 2021 -

JRGS Alumni Society

 

  Your webmaster has received sad news of two former JRGS Alumni

Recently I 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.
   Back in August 2008 Bryan supplied a fascinating account of war-time teachers and his contemporaries. “A retrospect of the 40s indicated it was a great time to be a schoolboy in an establishment like JR,” he wrote. “We benefited from some fantastic masters (a few ‘not so’), many of whom were approaching retirement age or even returning from that ‘happy valley’ as part of the war effort. They were aided by a number of younger men who were not selected for war service.”
   Humorously, Bryan commented on my use of the accolade “JRGS Alumni Society” for The Mill website. As he stated: “Seeing [the website] linked to the title and word alumni caused me to think the Old Boys Association had moved into a rather ‘posey’ sphere, and recalled the music of a Harvard mathematics graduate and prolific song-smith, Tom Lehrer, who dipped into soggy nostalgia to write hilarious musical items; one recalling ‘ivy-covered professors in ivy-covered walls’. I am quite certain the classes of 1940-50 did not see themselves as potential Society members or ‘Alumni’, but we are forced to accept that attitudes do change!”
   "I'm sure that my dad would be pleased to be remembered by fellow alumni," Sarah writes. "He thoroughly enjoyed school and remained friends with boys who were there at the same time as him for the rest of his life."

And Ian Dopson has written to let the alumni know that his father, Michael Dopson (JRGS 1947-54), 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 website.”
   "I have found my father in the school photo from 1954 - he’s the serious-looking chap pictured here top left," Ian continues. "If the photo had been taken in 1954, Michael would have been 18 the following December. I’m unsure if he would have been at JRGS until 1955, since there is no photo from that year, only 1956. But he was definitely at JRGS in 1954."
   Searching through The Mill website, your webmaster could find no specific mention of Michael Dopson, or any alumni with that surname. As Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) confirmed: “Regrettably, your father’s name does not appear in our records, and we do not hold any records of the JR Old Boys Association, apart from a brief summary of their activities in each school magazine, usually towards to the end of that issue. A large number of these magazines have been scanned (but not indexed), and appear on our website; you are welcome to browse any and all copies. No magazines were produced after 1971 and, as you probably know, the school ceased to exist after the 1990s, although the name lives on having been transferred to the former John Newnham School.”
   However, Paul did discover an alumnus named P. A. Dopson, who left JRGS in the mid-1950s. “I was at junior school (South Norwood) with a Roger Dopson and briefly corresponded with him about 20 years ago,” Paul added. “After junior school he went on to attend Stanley Technical School.”
   Ian replied in an email from Paul Graham that included the latter's research, plus news of The Mill’s dormant status. “It’s a shame the website is in permanent stasis,” Ian wrote. “It’s a fantastic resource; very interesting. I don’t think my father was aware of its existence, which is a great shame as I’m sure he would have been delighted to recall his school days in such detail.” Ian confirmed that P. A. Dopson was Peter Dopson, his father’s younger brother.
   “Unfortunately Peter passed away earlier this year, Ian confirmed. “I will have to scour the website to see if there is any mention of my father; if not it will still be interesting to gain an insight into school life at JRGS during the years he would have attended."

Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, USA; September 2021 Email

 

Roy Seager (JRCS 1940-46) recalls his wartime years and a venerable staff …

It was September 1940 and WW2 had started just a year before I had won a Scholarship to the John Ruskin Central 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, 1930.
   Assembled in my new short grey trousers, cap and blazer emblazoned with the school badge and motto Age Quod Agis - "Whatever you do, do well" - l was deposited at the school gates by my mother after a 15-minute walk from Scarbrook Hill. The school held about 300 boys in 3, 4, 5 a, b and c grades, there being no sixth form at that time.
   Come playtime, l was unceremoniously dumped on the drinking water fountain by two older boys, as were all new entrants. I sat shame faced in soaking shorts until l went home to lunch and could change. In the playground was a heavy surface concrete air raid shelter where we frequently took cover as the sirens wailed during the Blitz Years of 1940/42.
   The teachers were mainly men who were too old to enlist in the services, and just two ladies: Miss Hancock and Miss Phitt. (You can imagine the schoolboy jokes their names entailed.) Mr. Smith, or "Smithy", was the PT instructor and maths teacher, and ruled us with a rod of iron. Heaven help the boy who couldn't do 10 press ups or vault a horse. Physical punishment was normal in those days, and children were god-fearing of parents, teachers and policemen. I remember "Smithy" once knocking an Irish lad twice his size to the ground.
   Dr. McCloud was the headmaster: a very large man in height and bulk who billowed through the corridors in a large black academic gown. How often was I sent for some misdemeanor of cheek or action to stand outside his office awaiting a punishment verdict. It was usually six of the best on each hand, as he selected a whippy cane to tame us of our crimes.
   His buddy was Mr. Myers, the French teacher, who was as tiny as Mr. McCleod was large; they were companions, The Little and Large of Academia. Mr. Myers always wore a mortar board and gown and, being so short, would stand outside on tiptoe to reach the window in the classroom door, while attempting to peer in on us and spot troublemakers.
   I never stayed for school lunches - which my parents probably could not afford - but would play energetic table tennis for 45 minutes before running back and fro to home to gulp down lunch of fried cod roe and chips and roly-poly suet pudding from yesterday, fried and served with custard. We were on sparse food rations of meat, fats and sugars for six years. There was no central heating, motor cars or TV; our entertainment was the "pictures" and our cycles when we got to 12. You got your first long trousers at 14 for Sunday's only at first. I was a choir boy for those six years, which entailed entailing three practices a week and Morning and Evensong Services on Sundays.
   At Ruskin l also remember Mr. "Basher" Pearce, the Physics Master, with his broad cockney accent. He probably stood in during the war when another teacher was bombed out. Recall that Croydon had the only airport in the UK surrounded by small engineering factories making plane parts and so, from 1940, was constantly being bombed. Many high-explosive bombs and incendiaries fell on civilian property. At school, we used to pinch short pieces of glass tubing from the lab to propel split peas into the backs of other boys necks.
   Mr. Smoothy
, the Art Master, wore paisley neckerchiefs and colourful corduroy trousers and, unusually for the times, very long wavy hair. His table-tennis abilities were as sweeping and smooth as his name when playing against the aggressive lunges of "Smithy". During art classes, Mr. Smoothy laughed at my green horses. I didn't find out l was colour blind until l was called up for national service in the Royal Navy aged 18 years.
   Mr. Cresswell took us for English Language and Literature, and was more sporting than others. We stupidly put a drawing pin on his seat which, of course, he saw and just said: "Come out to the front Smith, Seager, Maclusky, Tots and Bingham. Who put it there"? Everybody in the row turned and looked at me!! A clever man. He never turned me in to Mr. McCloud though
   I was not a sportsman. If, as a full back, l got the football l could never pass but would try to score by running the whole pitch before being brought down by a larger lad. Both of my parents were only 5ft 3 inches, so l was also quite small. In cricket l was inevitably out first bowl, as l raised the bat to swipe the ball for six on the rare occasions between air raids when we went to our playing fields at Duppas Hill. But l did excel in gymnastics and swimming, winning bronze, and passed matriculation with two distinctions and six credits.

A childhood image taken on Brighton beach ...

And a Rotterdam pub visited during a Saga cruise.

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.
"Now pay attention you little boys" barked Dr. McCloud as the leavers of classes 5a, b, and c - about 60 boys - stood for the last time in the school assembly room of John Ruskin Grammar School. "For those interested, l have job recommendations for clerk/messengers in London: Bank 32/6p (£1.65) a week; Shipping Office 35/0p; and Stockbroker 37/6p."
   It was July 1946. WW2 with Germany had ended 14 months previously and Japan had just capitulated. Hundreds of thousands of demobbed men were coming home for jobs so l went for 37/6p to a City Stockbroker. My job entailed taking piles of stock transfer forms to the Stock Registration Office in Drapers Court, delivering stock transfer forms and certificates to other brokers around the City, and collecting cheques for these after lunch at the Mecca with its String Trio, for banking. From 3.00 pm l sat in the office hand writing new stock registration forms with three other clerk/messengers.
   In November 1948, l was conscripted into the Royal Navy for 18 months. Being red/green colour blind, l was not allowed to become a deck rating but had a choice of Clerk, Cook or Sick Berth Attendant. The later was a better choice and so, after six weeks square bashing, was sent to RNH Stonehouse Plymouth for an intensive six-month tutoring in anatomy, physiology, tropical medicine and hospital practice with 100 others, including some very pretty female nurse probationers. I later served as medical assistant in RN Barracks Portsmouth and RN Haslar Hospital Gosport. The only ship l went on was the Gosport Ferry!!
   In 1950, after demob there were no stockbroker jobs. l met Margaret. my wife-to-be, and took a job as electrician's mate. But after a year putting thread on iron tube, and pulling multitudinous wires through them, I decided that l needed money for marriage, and selling something was the answer.
   I made a small pile becoming a Kleeneze Brush rep for six months, and graduated to a commercial traveller for Wrens Shoe Polishes. There were very few cars so every sample and delivery was by foot or bicycle. Six weeks before marriage l resigned after an altercation with the sales manager and went to join the magazine The Field in London as a copy man for £8 a week as a married man. After a succession of promotions I joined Odhams Press as advertisement manager of a new magazine entitled Retail Gardening. Following a successful launch, l was head-hunted to join an exhibition-organising company for the Hardware Trades Fair at Olympia as organizing director for £2,500 pa. After four years l joined an entrepreneurial company, Mack-Brooks Exhibitions, eventually becoming managing director and a board director, organising large machinery shows throughout Europe, particularly Switzerland, plus USA and Japan. I retired from the company in 1993, aged 63. That small company started in Hatton Garden by Bryan Mack and Kenneth Brooks in 1966 with me and a couple of girls was sold in 2020 just before the Covid crisis by Ken's son for £160M.
   I've enjoyed every bit of my working life, travelled all over the world, worked in Switzerland and nearly every country in Europe and the USA. In 1975 l was selling in Leningrad, Nigeria, Hong Kong, Thailand, Tokyo and Singapore.

Myriad Hobbies, including DIY
My hobbies at 91 years are quite a different story. Aged 63, my retirement year, l had achieved three ancient houses. It had taken my wife Margaret and l five years to make habitable a two-up/two-down cottage in Dorset. Whilst working, we had gone down from our house in Buckinghamshire every third week. There was no running water; no power except for lighting; no bathroom or toilet. Grass grew out of the deep window recesses inside the house. The staircase had rotted away, water laid in the hollows of the flagstones - all for £7,000.
   I did everything myself: plumbing, wiring and carpentry. Later, the adjoining cottage came on the market, which we bought. l now live there after a major joining-up 15 years ago. Meantime, an inheritance for Margaret meant we were able to buy a small Perigoidian cottage in the Dordogne region of France, in a tiny hamlet next to a farming family.
   So my hobbies became spending three separate months in France with all the DIY that three old houses entailed, plus the gardening and motoring. When my wife died of Alzheimer's Disease nine years ago, my daughters thrust water colours and a pad of paper at me, and so l joined classes for water colour and acrylic painting and, later, life drawing and oils.
   I still paint two water colours a week, and six years ago joined a short-story writing group called Story Traders. and so write I now a story a week. Age has curtailed my gardening but, with help, l now grow all my own vegetables.
   l'll try for the 100 and then completely retire ...

Roy Seager, West Milton, Dorset; Email August 2021

   

 David Cross (JRGS 1944-50) recalls the post-war years and two headmasters …

The wartime 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 university.
   My mother was delighted when I won a scholarship, and she took me down to the big shop in Church Street, Croydon, to buy the school uniform and the various items of sportswear. We were very poor indeed, so she chose a uniform somewhat on the large size, and I wore that for two years before getting a new one and passing down the old one to my younger brother, Kenneth, who had also passed the selective examination.
   My memories of the first year include being shut in the bicycle shed at Tamworth Road during playtime by the bigger boys, who rounded up us “brats”. But we were not handled too roughly. Mr. McLeod was the headmaster, a very large, kindly person who had no need of a cane. We were sad when he left at the end of my second school year, to be replaced by a young, single gentleman who believed in corporal punishment. Mr. Lowe MA had once been a batsman for a county cricket team (Leicester, I believe). I can assure readers that he did indeed have a strong wrist; I bent over for him on many an occasion. So did my brother Kenneth - I remember the agony of seeing my little brother waiting to be caned outside the headmaster’s office.
   Other teachers were permitted to cane but few did. Instead, they preferred to send boys to the headmaster. Mr. Manning was one who applied his own punishment, though. Many years later I myself became a teacher and went to Addiscombe School, where he was the new head of the new school. I asked him if he recognised me. He didn’t. So, I turned around, bent down and lifted the back of my jacket, saying “Do you recognise me now?” We laughed and reminisced. I am glad to say that years after this I located Mr. Lowe in his retirement and on a few occasions had him round to my home for a meal. He didn’t remember me either! By then, though, I had become less of a rascal and holder of several degrees, so I gained his respect in his last years.
   The teachers wore academic robes and tried to impose the protocol of a public school, whence most of them hailed, of course. Poor Mr. Chinnok, the crafts master, had no degree and hence no robes. In consequence, he never went to the staff room at break times; he stayed in the woodwork room and drank tea alone. Mr. Smith, the bullying gymnastics and sports teacher, was another with no degree because he sported no robes at assembly or on speech days; he did, though, teach mathematics, so he was allowed in the staff room. His name was linked by us boys to that of the school secretary. He was in her office every chance he got, and rumour was that they were doing whatever consenting adults did in those days.
   As far as lessons were concerned in the early years, I most vividly remember my first (of four, in all) French teacher, Mr. Myers, who used a most bewildering script on the blackboard. This meant that once we went to a higher standard and began using proper French spelling, with accent symbols that we had never seen, there was considerable difficulty. For example, "eight girls" was written as uit fij in Mr. Meyer’s class. In Miss "Fanny" Hickmott’s class we had to learn to write it as huit filles.
   I realized much, much later that Mr. Myers was following the latest, now discredited, linguistic method of the times, teaching by phonetics. By representing the actual sound of the words in phonetic script, our pronunciation (so it was believed) would not be influenced by the English sounds that we anglophones attribute to the letters of the alphabet. Mr. Myers also taught us Latin and, again with hindsight, I realise that he followed the method now known as “grammar-translation” whereby most of the words uttered during a lesson were English rather than Latin. (Unlike in his own French lessons where he avoided English entirely, thereby adding total misunderstanding of speech as well as script!)
   Miss “Fanny” Hickmott took over from Mr. Myers as French teacher in my third year and, as a woman joining an all-male staff teaching high-spirited boys, she probably felt a need to be strict. She was not likeable in any way; there were no moments of light-heartedness in her classes, and she made no effort to induce a liking for the target culture despite her own years spent in France. Miss Hickmott rode to and from school on an old-fashioned bike, and most evenings she would be seen pumping up the tires that a vengeful boy had managed to deflate.
   Later, Mr. Richardson took over our French lessons and he was a most likeable man. I was a somewhat disruptive pupil, but I did my best to defend Mr. Richardson from my fellow culprits because he was so gentle. He inspired me, and French became my favourite subject. (And I write these words in France, with a French wife in the next room.) I remember his coming to school in the very first “modern looking” car of the post-war era – a brand-new, curvaceous Morris Minor. I remember, too, his attempt to start it after school one day as we all stood around casually. A lad had rammed a potato into the exhaust pipe; the engine turned, and turned, and then suddenly started with a loud bang as the potato shot out.
   One prank in particular stands in my memory. Mr. “Stinker” Cresswell always dressed fastidiously in morning clothes. One day somebody in the class spread cod liver oil - it was dished out to us during the war to compensate for dietary deficiencies - on his seat. In came "Stinker"; he moved around, he went to sit down but didn’t. He moved again and we all held our breath as he went once more to the chair. Just before lowering himself he spotted the shine and checked it. He was furious. “Had I sat down,” he thundered, “every boy in the class would have had to pay sixpence to pay for a new pair of trousers”. To his credit, he did not ask the culprit to own up and no-one was punished.
   Mr. Hancock taught music and wrote the music for our school anthem. Short and portly, he played piano and violin. One day Mr. Hancock showed us how a violin is played. “You place it under your chin,” he said, moving the instrument up to his neck. From the back of the class came a voice, “Which chin, sir?” He taught us a lot of old British songs, shanties, folk songs and patriotic songs; I still love them and have sung them to my children and grandchildren at bedtimes over the years. Mr. Hancock liked me because I played trumpet and we performed the occasional duet at concerts.
   Some of those masters are pictured here, in a photograph taken at the new Upper Shirley Road site, which was completed after I left the school. Click here for more details.

JRGS School Masters in 1954 at Upper Shirley Road site
   Looking at the photos of staff on the website, I remember the strengths and weaknesses of so many of them. One teacher still owes me coins! I was playing in a friend’s garden when we unearthed a cache of a dozen or so Roman coins. We cleaned them and agreed that the best person to consult would be our new Latin teacher, Mr. York. I admired him tremendously because he was young, had served as a lieutenant in the Royal Navy in the war, and taught well a subject in which I excelled – Latin. He told me that he would get them checked out at the museum of London. If you are still around and happen to read this, Mr. York, may I have my money back?

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.
   My first-year 1R form master at the Tamworth Road site, was Mr. Richardson ("Bon"), one of the French teachers. He always called you by your French equivalent, where possible. I was called "Blanc' - but that was later changed to "Blank" when my lack of aptitude came to light. I can remember the difference in school uniforms - the better-off boys' had gabardine worsted blazers and trousers; the less well-off had woollen ones. The latter wore well but were a pig when wet. I lived less than 10 minutes away from the school by bike, so I cycled to and from on most occasions. Later, after friendships were established, we might meet on the bus for a change. There was also the annual Oxford versus Cambridge Boat Race scrap in the playground, and the occasional Conservative versus Labour "do's".
   For the first three school years we were referred to as "Brats" by the more senior boys. When was the shape of the school badge changed - the original was much more attractive?
   The teacher I took most to was Mr. Warne, who taught French and PT. He was always relaxed - hardly ever out of his track suit - and used to throw bits of chalk at anyone not paying attention in class, whilst he sat there with his feet up on the desk! Mr. Chinnock, the woodwork master, had a favourite saying: "Now, boys, come round my bench", which we did - to the awful smell of wood glue bubbling away. What a gentleman he was. My Mum thought that my attempt at a teapot stand was waste wood and nearly chucked it on the fire!
   I remember Mr. Fisher, dark and mysterious, not one of our French teachers, and Mr. "Spike" Hancock, our music ("tadpoles on lines") teacher. To my parents' dismay, I had given up piano lessons before I got to JRGS; I was very good but for some reason I never showed any interest at the school. Mr. "Wally" Cracknell, was our English-language teacher; we thought that he was a dead ringer for "Chalkie", the headmaster in the Giles cartoons. He used to try and catch us not working by wandering out of the classroom and then suddenly appear looking through the door window at the rear of the room. Mr. "Smuts" Smith took us on our games trips down Coombe Road when the school moved to the Shirley site; at Tamworth Road the games field was a trek to Duppas Hill. I never saw Mr. Smith in his gown and mortar at school events. He always seemed a bit uptight, but put on ballroom dancing lessons during lunch break, which were great fun. Mr. "Puncher" Pearce was our Maths teacher. He knew my old headmaster at West Thornton and brooked no slacking from me. He referred to us as "scallywags". Mr. "Egghead" Murray, was our English History teacher, another personable chap.
   Our European History teacher was Mr. "Chico" Culcheth; he had a sort of mid-Atlantic accent and I loved the subject. His gesticulations when explaining something on the blackboard, resembled a modern-day TV weather person. Mr. "Rhino" Rees was our Latin teacher, heavy-set and smoked like a chimney. Mr. Badcock was our science/physics master and also the Commander of the Army Cadet Force which, to his chagrin, I declined to join. Mr. "Percy" Pearman was the Chemistry teacher. Mr. "Knacker" Neale was our English Literature teacher - a good man, but we teased him a bit. Mr. "Vic" Gee was our Art master. At Tamworth Road, if the weather permitted, we used to trek down to Wandle Park for some of our lessons. "Vic" was a brilliant artist and a real friend. There was another, younger, Mr. Murray, who took PT. He also established an after-school jazz club where we could bring records along and discuss the merits thereof. He was a fan of Dennis Lotis, I believe, and also married to Patricia Bredin, the UK's first Eurovision Song Contest representative. She came to the school on several occasions which, I must admit, caused the hormones to rumble. Mr. "Dad" Peacock was our Geography master and also brooked no slackers. A great teacher of his subject, field day trips out into the sticks around Caterham were terrific.
   In fact, Mr. Peacock, Mr. Gee, both History teachers and Mr. Neale contributed the most to my post-JRGS interests and activities.
   When at Tamworth Road, we used to meet up with the girls from Old Palace School in Croydon, and try to avoid the "enemy" from Whitgift Boys' Grammar - not always successfully. By the time we moved to Shirley, friendships had been cemented; some boys had left and others joined. I travelled to school more often by bus - the 130 - rather than bike.
   As a youngster, I used to walk up to Shirley Hills with my friends and play on and in the ruined Windmill - our Mums would have had a fit if they'd seen the antics we got up to. The Hills themselves had those places where we could eat our sandwiches and not hear any traffic. Great days. So, seeing the renovated Windmill in the school grounds - which was utilised for the school stores - was really interesting. We were allowed out at lunchtime to "train" on the Hills but, in fact, we used to look out for girls from Coloma Convent Catholic Girls School that had moved from Croydon to a site opposite JRGS at Shirley. We were soon caught, though, so that little escapade soon came to an end; no St. Trinian's there.
   One unfortunate aspect of my surname was that the form was divided into groups of three and, on a rota basis, we had to take measurements and readings from the weather station at the end of the field behind the school. We, being "W", always copped the Winter months and the mud.
   I enjoyed the games and gym periods, some of which were held in that field where we were encouraged to try things like discus throwing, shot putt and pole vault - a danger to anyone nearby! We were allowed to practice tennis down at the Shirley Park Hotel courts ... once. Apparently, we didn't leave a very good impression. The trek down Coombe Road to the games field opposite Lloyd's Park, was always a laugh and those with 'bikes had it easy.
   Despite our headmaster, Mr. 'Joe' Lowe, not being a very enthusiastic promoter of sports, JRGS had some very good sports personalities - "Hairy" Pike being one - a brilliant swimmer. I did manage to make it into the school football team as goalie. We got to the final and played on Crystal Palace's ground at Selhurst Park. We lost 2-1 to Ashburton School. Gamma was my House, (Yellow) and along with Beta House, (Blue), we usually came third or last in any school sports activities. Alpha (Red) and Delta (Green), were always vying for first place.
   When reaching the hallowed heights of the fifth form, the sixth formers allowed us to partake in some of their extra-curricular activities - one of which was being let up, on occasion, into their hideaway 'den' in the roof above "Wally" Cracknell's English Language room. I can distinctly remember one of our form members - Freddy Robello - playing happily on his ukulele to our "seniors". Did "Wally" ever find out? About a month before we finally left JRGS, there was a "future employment selection meeting" with a number of local firms on the lookout for suitable employees: solicitors, bankers and the like. How privileged we were to be given that opportunity.
    Well, there is much more I could relate but at this point it's worth winding up with my last couple of days at JRGS. Some members of our class (5R), decided to make a "show" on our last day. We hatched a plan to make a life-sized stuffed dummy and a couple of flags, with which to decorate the school buildings. Three or four of us met in the school grounds late in the evening of the penultimate day. The windmill was unlocked - a sign of the times - so we went up the stairs inside to the top of the mill and out to the rear of the wooden wagon top. Tying a bucket handle to a rope around the dummy's neck, we threw out the handle, which caught on a metal strut of the windmill sail. Gently letting go of the dummy, it swung out and hung from the sail. Terry Weight - 1956The flags - rather unkindly in hindsight - we fixed to a pole on top of the roof of "Vic" Gee's art room. Someone rang the local newspaper early next morning - either The Advertiser or The Times, letting them know that a "body" was hanging from the Windmill. Headmaster "Joe" Lowe jumped onto it immediately and any cameras spotted were confiscated, film removed and the press informed of the "scam". I don't if any photographs were printed, because school pride was at stake. It was a treat, therefore, when we were all gathered in the school hall for the last full assembly, watching through the windows at the school grounds man trying to get the dummy down with a window pole!
   I am to be found in the 1956 school photograph shown right, standing in the back row, eighth from he fold, strangely without a tie.
   If any of the "Team" are out there, or any of 5R, I'd love to hear from you. As a footnote, I moved up to North Shields, on the River Tyne, in 2000 and our local pub, The Magnesia Bank, was/is directly opposite from my old workplace. I was in there on New Year's Eve, 2002 and got chatting to a friend. He said, "Let me introduce you to Richard, the proprietor." To cut a long story short, his name was Richard Slade; he was from Croydon and he went to JRGS - two forms below me! And so did his older brother. Now, how small is the world?
   I had my first job in Christopher's The Baker on the corner of Sutherland Road and Canterbury Road, delivering rolls to the local pubs every morning before school, and working in the bakery on Saturday mornings. That's when shops had half-day Wednesday or Saturday. Football in the afternoon. Happy days!
   Finally, I visited The Windmill several times when down in London to visit my family. On one occasion, I was out for a drive with my Mum, As we were coming down Upper Shirley Road, we witnessed the school being demolished. We stopped the car and I chatted with another old pupil who was there in the playground about days gone by. The demolition team kindly stopped work and let me enter a safe area for a souvenir.  I retrieved a wicker chair and wooden stool from the photographic room (an addition after I left) which I still have in our garage. Happy days!

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, unknown, tba Charlton, tba 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 Tuck.
There are a few more names that I remember but cannot recognise their faces: Trevor Morgan, Chris Whaler, tba Smalley, John Appleton, tba Waterman and tba Phimister.

  

 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.
   Despite knowing he was terminally ill, Tom had kept as active as possible and was instrumental in contributing to plans for the John Ruskin 100th Anniversary celebrations, which became impossible because of Covid-19 Pandemic.
   On a personal note, I found him great company and full of enthusiasm for any activity, a truly great person, embodying all the best qualities of a former Ruskin pupil.
   The following image was captured in July 2019, when I journeyed into London via Waterloo for lunch at Brasserie Blanc restaurant, close to the South Bank, with (from left) Tom, Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) and myself. We talked about promoting the John Ruskin Golden Alumni 2020 Reunion, celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the foundation of John Ruskin Schools in Croydon, and initially scheduled to be held at John Ruskin College in Selsdon in June 2020. More

London Trip - July, 2019

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.
   Often prostate cancer is symptomless or the growth presses on the urethra and causes difficulty in urinating. A simple blood test for prostate-specific antigens allows diagnosis. I had that test, followed by 10 years of active surveillance before a radical prostatectomy saved me.
   AAA is totally symptomless but detectable by a two minute lay-down, fully clothed test on a scanning table and gives an instant result. The reading shows either 1. Get treatment pronto; 2. Slight chance, but merits further investigation; or 3. You have not got it and never will. Sadly, AAA is 80%+ fatal, and much more common in males. Stay well.

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.
   I have just spotted the article below on Long Lane. I was not aware that there were prefab houses there. In about 1973/4, I was allocated the scheme electrical design for the Long Lane Housing project on that site. Originally, the houses proposed were of traditional structure but eventually, to save money, the properties were changed to timber-framed, Llewellyn "Quick builds". By coincidence, the architect with overall responsibility for the scheme lived next door to my sister and her husband in East Dulwich Grove, and is still in the same property as far as I know.

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)…

3Barrie Sturt-Penrose - September 2009This past Tuesday, 7th of July, The Times reported that its former investigative journalist and interviewer, Barrie Penrose - pictured right at the 2009 JRGS 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'."
   At the time, Barrie was working as a freelance reporter in the BBC newsroom, but had never met Wilson before and had no idea why he might want to see him. Still unable to believe what had happened, he called a BBC colleague, Roger Courtiour; they decided to go along together. Subsequently, his career stepped up to a higher level.
   During his long career, Barrie worked for the New York Herald Tribune in Paris, The Observer in London, BBC Television and The Sunday Times. His several book include Stalin’s Gold: The story of HMS Edinburgh and Its Treasure (1983); Rinkagate: the Rise and Fall of Jeremy Thorpe, co-written with Simon Freeman (Bloomsbury, 1996) and The Pencourt File, co-written with Roger Courtiour (HarperCollins, 1978), which was based on interviews requested by Harold Wilson about conspiracies in the final years of his government. (The former Prime Minister's belief that he was the victim of a secret service plot to discredit him is been well documented.)

Barrie Sturt-Penrose - 1980

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) reported 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 sources."
   Roger Courtiour (JRGS 1960-62) is pictured on that page. "He and Barrie were at JRGS a year below me," Ian adds. "They both went on to become BBC journalists. Barrie also wrote quite a bit on art, while I think I saw Courtiour's name on the credits of a BBC documentary on Afghanistan and British Army involvement."

   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.
Bob Hyslop (JRGS 1953-60) adds: Barrie Sturt-Penrose joined in September 1958; he entered the sixth form, I believe, Davidson Secondary Modern; his cousin, Martin Penrose, joined at the same time. We were together in History Advance Level but I'm not sure of his other subjects (possibly Economics). I left in 1960 but we remained in sporadic contact. I know he went to the London School of Economics but dropped out in the First Year; he also "door-stopped" Bertram Russell, the philosopher; and talked himself into journalism. We went on the 1961 CND Aldermaston March with other ex-pupils from JRGS.
   On 9th of July, there was an extensive obituary in The Daily Telegraph, which demonstrates his skill at oozing out a sensational story teetering on the boundaries of truth and libel. He would have admitted that the thrill of the chase outdid the toil of writing.
Julian Chenery (JRGS 1969-75) adds: That is sad news. As a sixth-former we welcomed Barrie and his investigative partner to one of our evening gatherings at the newly-constructed Sixth Form Centre to speak about his Jeremy Thorpe investigation. As you can imagine, to young ears the revelations were astounding and we in effect had the scoop almost a year before the news became widely reported.

Paul 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.
   His father was Percy Penrose, born on 14 August 1911 in Cardiff; he was a glazier and tiler in 1939 and died in November 1963. His mother was Dorothy Maisie Sturt, born 5 June 1910 in Croydon, and later worked as an estate agent’s shorthand-typist; she died in February 2000. His parents married in 1935 in Croydon, and in 1939 were living in Selhurst Road, Selhurst, and in 1963 at Avondale Road, South Croydon.
   Barrie had one sister, Marilyn K. Penrose, born in 1947 and who married in 1966. He married Maria Curuvija in 1963 in Chelsea, London, and had one son with her, Edward Percy Penrose, who was born in 1966. He re-married to Maria Le Breton in 1990 in Tunbridge Wells.

  

 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.
   Recently, I came across the following quotation from John Ruskin (1819-1900) that so sums up the worthless individual entrusted to Jonas as an escort to safety in London, with the Mafia in pursuit: "When a man is wrapped up in himself he makes a pretty small package."
   Here, in an extract from Dare Call It Treason, is one of the lighter moments, revealing a common response to encountering grammar school pupils 60 ago:

   “You don’t say much, do you, Forbes?” No response. “I hope you can speak Russian – eh?”
"Dare Call it Treason" by Bob Hyslop   “No, sir. Unfortunately, I don’t. My school tried to shove French down my throat with limited success and Latin just wasn’t on offer.”
   “One of those Grammar School types – eh?”
“No sir! Perish the thought, sir. My school didn’t turn Grammar till after I’d left, sir.”
   “Form of celebration?
   “I don’t think dear old McLeod would have bothered with all that rubbish,” replied Jonas, remembering how his Head had managed to keep the school going through wartime shortages. He had to admit the old man had been fair – on the whole.
   “That was a joke, Forbes,” snapped the bureaucrat, upset that a rare lapse into humour had been ignored.
   “Sorry, sir. “The apology didn’t approach the eyes. “I didn’t have much to do with languages until I joined the army.”
   Another foray into a folder – this time the one relating to Jonas Forbes. A frown appeared. “But your overseas war service was limited to Korea! You didn’t tackle Chinese?”
   “Good God, no, sir!” The laughter in the eyes grew. “It was hard enough trying to communicate with our allies, sir – and I do include the Yanks.”
   “So what languages can you speak?”
  “A smattering of this and that – “
   “’Smattering’ isn’t good enough, Forbes!”

   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.
   "I'm about to post some of the other pics to Facebook, to see if I can locate the rightful owner."
   Click on the thumbnail to view a larger version.

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.
   Does anybody spot a familiar face? Maybe their own?
   I confirmed with Justine that she was not a former pupil. "No," she says, "I didn't attend the school. I'm actually in Scotland and I was a (mature!) student at Forth Valley College in Stirling, and went on to degree studies at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland. At some point - although I don't know where, when, or why - this flash drive ended up in my toolbox here in lower Perthshire. It's an absolute mystery as to who it belonged to prior to that.
   "On the flash drive there's a file named 'Family History'. I opened it up just the other day whilst looking for an old birth certificate, thinking this was a drive and file of my own that I'd forgotten about. Of course, that was when I realise that it isn't mine Each file has either a first name, a date, or a location attached to it, but the information is scant. There are no surnames, no full addresses, and some folks are simply labelled as 'Mum,' or 'Granddad,' or by their first name.
   "I'm a big fan of family research so I've been using Ancestry.com alongside Google Maps and Facebook to see if anything at all registered. That's when I found The Mill website. From census books, old maps, etc. I've established that the pic labelled '263 Long Lane' may have been taken in Croydon in the mid 1950s/60s.
   "I'd love to track them down so that I can return this flash drive to the rightful owner. I'll send some other pics shortly, once I'm on my laptop. There's no more like this big group shot, but some of the other pics may be of former pupils. One may have been called Michael."
   Justine also supplied this image shown right of a JRGS pupil named John, in his new school uniform and about to set off for his first day at JRGS in September 1957. Does anybody recognise these streets or the setting?
   Click on the thumbnail to view a larger version.

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.

 

John in soccer kit - July 1958

John in cricket whites - 1958

John and friend - date unknown

John in Long Lane front garden - date unknown

Families at an unknown event

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 the left.
   I am puzzled by the photo labelled John in cricket whites - 1957. He is wearing a JRGS cap. If he started in 1958, he would not be doing this in 1957 or 1958. [ML: This has been corrected; see below.]

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.
   There were 102 prefabs built on the Longheath Estate from 1945-49 (By way of comparison there were 320 in New Addington, where my family lived, together the webmaster's.) More information from this website. An image of a pre-fabricated Arcon house taken on Longheath Estate can be seen here.

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 research!"
   Regarding the image shown above of two children on a garden gate, "I had sent this one to you as a location reference as houses can be seen in the background," Justine says. "There's definitely a few kids in the family, possibly two or more siblings - or perhaps cousins - by the names of Michael, Maureen and Karen. Their mother may be called Irene/Rene or Esther."
   Justine also clarifies:
   ● John in uniform dated Sept 1957.
   ●
John in football strip dated July 1958.
   ●
John in cricket whites is dated 1958 only.


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.
   As she writes: "Some pics add context to the story and, in particular, to John. In addition to the seaside photograph, there's an additional folder named 'Hemsby' within the main 'Family History' folder. These show family members together on holiday in Norfolk. It looks like there are perhaps five children in the family. To recap, four of those names, so far, are Maureen, John, Karen and Michael. [Hemsby is a seaside resort some 7.5 miles/12.1 km north of Great Yarmouth - ML]
   "I have no idea what school was the scene of the schoolgirl picture, but that seems to be John's sister Maureen sitting bottom right.
   "In the family group besides a caravan, the car number plate was registered in London in 1957. I'm wondering if John and Michael were twins!? If not, they do seem very close in age.
   "I've added the final picture below because it would appear to provide some info about the occupation of John's dad. According to the bus board, it's an annual staff outing. The firm of Percy Trilnick made women and children's clothing, and was located in London's Regent Street.
   "I'm still no closer to a family surname but I've yet to post these to Facebook."
  
Click on any thumbnail to view a larger version.

Front Garden- April 1958

 Seaside Visit - TBA

Family Group - 1956/7

Playing in front garden - April 1958

Family holiday in Hemsby, Norfolk

Family outing in a Vauxhall Wyvern

School Photograph - May 1958

Works Outing - 27_August, 1938

John's sister, Maureen, seen center row far right

Annual staff outing - 27 August, 1938

Finally, here is a map from Google.com of Long Lane, Woodside, where John's family may have lived, and an image of the house at the end of the street - 263 Long Lane - pictured in July 2019. ©Google.
   Click on either thumbnail to view a larger version.

263 Long Lane - July 2019

Terry Weight adds: What an interesting detective story! I assume alumni know that old electoral rolls are available either in the local library or in document form at the British Library. Perhaps someone living in Croydon might look?
   As we see in Google Maps street view, 263 Long Lane is a red brick house of a very similar age to where I lived. My old house was built in 1947. I suspect these houses were built at virtually the same time. The Baby Photo shows prefabs opposite. John would have been born in early 1947 or late 1946, and therefore the photo could therefore be at the front of 263 (just). In this case, it is possible that three prefabs were at that time on the small piece of land between 263 Long Lane and the main road, which you can see in Google Maps.
   The Playing in the Front Garden Photo a puzzle. The house is pebble-dashed, suggesting this is not 263 Long Lane nor does it look like a prefab. I also note that the house in the Cricket Whites and Football Kit photos is also pebble dashed. I think there were pebbled dashed, pre-war houses in the area of Long Lane, look at the houses in Mardell Road and also further up Long Lane, going towards Croydon, between Bywood Avenue and Stroud Green Way.
   I also note that there is no "twin" in the photo by the Car and Caravan; perhaps Michael was a cousin, or took the photo. It seems slightly unlikely that John’s "twin" would not also be attending JRGS, and they would probably be much more memorable to The Mill readers. If he was a twin, it is possible Michael died before 1958.
   The photo John and Friend also may not have been taken at 263 Long Lane. The house in the background is a similar vintage to those of my house and 263. I don’t think this is opposite 263, although the houses now on the other side of the main road are much more modern.
   I am also still puzzled by the Cricket Whites photo. John could have been trying them on for the photo in 1958, but he would not have worn them for a game or sports afternoon until 1959.
   Other than that, I still have no names to suggest. I'm not sure that this contribution helps much in finding the family except perhaps the electoral roll suggestion.

Vernon Rees (JRGS 1958-65) adds: "John" was a couple of years behind me so I don't recognize him. However, close scrutiny of the 1958 School Photo may put him in the second row from the front and ninth from the far left. Identifying those either side of him may prove fruitful. The picture of John sitting on the gate with a friend shows them both wearing caps from The Life Boys, the junior branch of The Boys Brigade, so that may be an avenue of research. Regrettably I am a duffer at this new fangled technology, although I did find a number of sites relating to the Boys Brigade.
   I hope that may be some help.

Bob Hyslop JRGS 1953-60) adds: I’m sure I’d have been somewhere at any Speech Day in those years – if it was for the event on 28/11/58 then I appeared on the programme. In the photo, on the front line, second from the right) is Peter Grey (with glasses), who accepted O-Level prizes for History & Geography; on his right is Terry Procter who, two years later, received A-Level prizes for English & Latin. We three, after 60+ years, are still friends and intercommunicate regularly, though time has undermined personal visits.
   In 1974 I attended the function for the retirement of headmaster  John Christopher Lowe MA. Two scraps of conversation remain with me: Mr. David Rees regretting the advent of girls into the school (and I’m sure many ex-pupils will know why); and the only fellow classmate there commenting that nobody was interested in what he’d done - he owned two small companies - unlike ex-pupils who’d thrived in the academic world. (I was then a lecturer at Chichester College.) In a way, both comments sum up changing attitudes.

   

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