- Page 93 - May thru July 2019 -
- Page 93 - May thru July 2019 -
Chris Rook (JRGS 1961-68) reacts to school memorabilia found on The Mill...
I have enjoyed the JRGS web-site for many years, and am
truly grateful for our webmaster's commitment to it. It must have soaked
up many hours, but I guess from the content it has been a labour of
Chris Rook, AnyTown, AnyCounty; July 2019 Email.
Your Webmaster adds: Regarding our school photographs, Panora Ltd.'s negatives were deposited in 1986 with the Documentary Photography Archive (DPA) by the firm's managing director, who had sold his business but retained the negatives. These date from September, 1968, to July, 1985; earlier negatives have not survived. Panora Ltd was subsequently dissolved in 1989. DPA is an independent registered charity whose collections are now housed at The Greater Manchester County Record Office.
Graham Donaldson (JRGS 1962-69) reports on common school experiences...
During the recent
Reunion Planning Lunch at The Surprise pub in Shirley,
it was particularly interesting to talk to Ken Woolston (JRCS
1934-39), who was at John Ruskin Central School in Tamworth Road at
the same time as my Dad. Ken couldn’t remember him, but it was a long
time ago. However, in a further coincidence, both of them joined the RAF
as soon as they were eligible.
David Anderson (JRGS 1964-71) recalls an historical event from 50 years ago...
Saturday, 20th July, marks the
50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing in 1969; the mission was
launched today, 16th of July. Where were we
all five decades
ago? I had just finished the O-Level exams at JRGS. What a relief!
We watched the TV coverage in black and white and very poor quality. But, no
matter, because it was history in the making. Sir Patrick "We just don't know"
Moore and James Burke presented the BBC-TV coverage.
Not much long afterwards, someone that us JRGS lads knew acquired a colour TV (!) and
we all used to visit his house to see the new comedy programme Monty
Python's Flying Circus with its vivid animations by Terry Gilliam.
It was Marvelous fun and some still can recall the words used in the sketches.
(Most of it now on YouTube). Watching it was like being at the cinema with
various friends arriving; the room got quite crowded. I missed the
few episodes because I had not latched on to it being comedy. I do not
David Anderson, Southampton, Hampshire; July 2018 Email
Roger Hall (JRGS 1959-66) adds: I sat up watching the tele and ... woke up to find them walking on the moon.
Anne Smith (JRHS/JRC teacher/principal 1970-99) adds: My daughter was born on 23 June, 1969. So in July I was awake nursing her and looking out of the window at the moon - and at the same time looking on the television at the moon. And although I was rationally sure that man had just landed there, and I had witnessed it, yet I simply could not accept that this was so.
Your webmster adds:
I recall being at home during the summer between my first and second
year at the University of Sussex and, with little else to do,
watched the real-time coverage of the Apollo 11 landing and moon walk.
It wasn't until several years later that I discovered that astronaut
Neil Armstrong messed up his landmark speech, which was supposed to have
been: "The Eagle has landed. That's one small step for a man; one giant
leap for mankind." As we now know, he omitted the word "a" before "man."
Duncan Smith (JRGS 1957-63) adds: Where was I in 1969 when the moon landing took place? I had just finished doing two years of farming experience in order to qualify for entrance into the Harper Adams Agricultural College (now University College) to study agriculture and farm management. I was there for two years there, and then studied plant pathology at Wolverhampton Polytechnic, which is now a university too. After two more years there, I went to Exeter University - finally an actual university! - where I again did postgraduate studies in plant pathology.
Julian Smalley (JRGS 1959-66) reports on his career after leaving the school...
Before boring everyone with a potted life
history, I have two thoughts. The first is that, looking back, how lucky
I think I was going to that school and how much I owe to that incredible
set of young and middle-aged men who, having recently participated in
the most awful of wars, spent their days attempting to educate a bunch
of callow, self-centered youths.
So the years roll on from
2000 AD with alarming speed, and I look back at that kid of 15 and
Karl W. Smith
(JRGS 1946-51) adds: All power to
Julian Smalley. I too have only recently fully appreciated just how much
I owe to the JRGS staff of my time there. It's too late to thank them
personally but, despite the lack of co-operation from some of us, they
did succeed in getting a lot home that has stood the test of time.
Mr. "Puncher" Pearce, in particular, had his own very effective
methods for getting Maths into our heads!
Colin Taylor (JRGS 1959-64) adds: My sentiments exactly! Well said, Julian.
Your Webmaster recalls his first day at the school six decades ago...
As I mentioned in a recent
email to The Alumni, I started at JRGS in September, 1959 - almost 60
years ago. And what a terrifying experience it was. I was weedy for my
age and, with a birthday in August, younger than most of the incoming
boys in 1M. Also, the sixth-form lads were larger and more fierce-looking
than I was used to at my mixed junior school. And the all-male
teachers, with their black gowns, were much more intimidating, I recall.
Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, USA. May2019 Email
Colin Taylor (JRGS 1959-64) adds: I also started at Ruskin in '59 and I'm sure I was in the same class as our webmaster: 1M with Mr. Kenneth Maggs. I was also terribly skinny in those days - I grew up with very little appetite for food. I remember people like Derek Powis and Roger Holcombe who seemed very beefy to me. Also "Robbo" Robertson. I thought Ken Maggs was a lovely guy. (Incidentally I heard he lost his hand during the war when the field gun he was on got hit by a German shell.) I was very much into football in those days but my pathetic body didn't get me very far. I was always a defender and recall usually playing left back with Martin Loveday playing right back. Fond memories.
(JRGS 1955-60) adds: My one overriding memory of that first
day arriving at the new school on Shirley Hills in 1956 was of being
corralled by older boys, who tied my shoe laces to the railings. It was
impossible to untie them so I had to snap the laces and walk around with
loose shoes! Then there was the threat of the dreaded foaming “lurgy”in
the tanks outside the kitchens.
Geoffrey Farmer (JRGS 1959-64) adds: Thanks to our webmaster
for forwarding all the emails relating to the 1H and 5U
class photos; I was busy
moving house at the time and never got round to responding. However, the
current correspondence was a welcome distraction at a stressful time.
Bob Hyslop (JRGS 1953-60) adds: I have three memories of my first day at Tamworth Road in September 1953:
1. I felt VERY lonely and miserable in a corner of playground dominated by much larger boys charging about in front of a rather bleak and unwelcoming building.
2. I cheered up tremendously when I secured my place in the back row next to a large window. So? I quickly realised I could look down at the site of the murder in November 1952 of a policeman by Christopher Craig. Even then the case had already leaped into notoriety. Craig (16) pulled the trigger but it was his partner, Derek Bentley. who hanged in January 1953. Why? Nobody under 18 could be hanged then, but anyone involved in the crime ran that risk. The case caused controversy for nearly 50 years, producing several books and a film, Let Him Have It.
3. I nearly forgot. Just in front of me sat Pete Grey, and we've been friends for nearly 70 years.
Quite a day, I would say.
Bob Wane (JRGS 1945-53) adds: Here are some of my
recollections of early days at JRGS.
Peter Baron (JRGS 1959-66) adds:
I too started at Ruskin in September 1959 and was in 1G with the art
teacher Mr. "Vic" Gee. (What did he do all day? I don’t
recall Art being high on the agenda of learning at Ruskin!)
John "Jack" Jackaman JRGS 1951-1953) adds:
My arrival at JRGS was a transfer from the Heath Clark Central School in
Thornton Heath. I passed my 11-Plus examinations but had been evacuated
to Perth in Scotland, and was hence unable to attend the usual
associated interview. As a result, I ended up at Heath Clark where I
passed the Oxford School Certificate and met my future wife.
Richard “Tom” Thomas (JRGS 1957-64) meets Martin Preuveneers for lunch...
I was very pleased to travel down from Shrewsbury to London on Saturday, 18th May, to meet for lunch with Martin Preuveneers (JRGS 1958-65), pictured below on the right. Martin was over in the UK for one of his periodic visits from the USA. We first met for coffee and a chat at his London townhouse in Mayfair, before going to Corrigan’s in Mayfair for lunch.
We had an excellent meal and
were able to put the World to Rights over a glass of red wine. Following
that, in brilliant sunshine, we walked around Grosvenor Square to see
the complex conversion works underway on the former American Embassy
Building, which is Listed, as well as similar such works on several
other buildings around the Square. It seems the ongoing rate of
development and conversion work in London remains very high.
Karl Smith (JRGS 1946-51) recalls life and schoolrooms at Tamworth Road site...
It was most interesting to read a report on the 2019 Lunch Meeting and to know that there are plans to mark the centenary of the John Ruskin schools in Croydon. And also note that the Tamworth Road building drawings are still around.
I attended JRGS from December/January 1945/46 on my return to
Croydon following my father's displacement to South Wales from October
1940 to November 1945 when he negotiated his return to Croydon Airport.
attended the school from shortly after its change from Central to
Grammar and was in the first year to sit the London General School
Certificate Exam that superseded the Oxford ones; that was in 1948. I
was also in the last year to sit these at Higher Schools Cert before the
introduction of GCEs. During the later part of this time there was much
interest in the feasibility of a new school to be purpose built at
Shirley incorporating the old windmill into use.
The school had two tarmac playgrounds, the larger facing
Tamworth Road which afforded access to the building at two doorways. One
of these was at ground level, between Music & Woodwork rooms, the other
via a flight of steps to an intermediate level leading (a few steps up
again) where the School Secretary’s office was located (Mrs. Vera
Garwood for most of my time), through which two smaller rooms
overlooking the rear yard. One of these was the Headmaster's Study, the
other being used as Lower Sixth Common Room. In my year there were 13 of
we lads using it. Being so close to Mr. Lowe meant that our misdeeds
there were carried out quietly.
Karl W. Smith, CEng., FRAeS, Heckington, Lincolnshire. May 2019 Email
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