- Page 92 - May 2019 -
- Page 92 - May 2019 -
Richard “Tom” Thomas (JRGS 1957-64) reports on Reunion Planning Lunch...
A total of 15 Alumni and guests attended the John Ruskin Informal
Reunion Lunch at The Surprise gastro pub on 2nd May, 2019. The
lunch was held to initiate planning for the JRGS 2020 Reunion,
which will celebrate the Centenary of the Foundation of John Ruskin
Schools in Croydon.
The attendees enjoyed a very good lunch in the comfortable surroundings
at The Surprise. During lunch, Mike Etheridge (JRGS
1963-65) circulated drawings showing the school buildings in
Tamworth Road and Upper Shirley Road. The drawings had been produced by
the Croydon Council Structural Engineers who used to be based in
In 2017 several factors led the Sixth-Form College governors to decide that the operation would not be able to survive financially for longer than three years, unless:
a) Things changed massively for the better, or
b) A sugar daddy could be found.
The factors which led to this decision were:
a) Demographics had led to a
reduction in the number of 16+ year olds, which would not start
b) Croydon Council’s allowing all secondary schools to open sixth forms
c) Croydon Council’s reducing
the existing 14+ contract with John Ruskin by three quarters without
d) The government’s changing the rules on apprenticeships which further reduced numbers of apprentices.
The governors therefore decided to look for a partner college or group of colleges to help us out by virtue of their greater numbers. This process was taken over by the FE Commissioners, who made it clear that the governors would have the final say but that they could ensure reduced funding if the decision was not seen to be the right one. The FE Commissioners made a list of interested parties and the Governors made a short list. After visiting the college (one group withdrawing at this point) the shortlisted parties made presentations to the Governors who selected as their partner East Surrey College in Redhill (about 20 minutes’ drive away except in the rush hour).
Our reasons for choosing East Surrey were:
a) East Surrey is a college
which has massively improved, especially financially, over the last few
b) It has a large 16-19 group
of students although of course it has adults as well. It wants to
c) It is not too large, though larger than John Ruskin
d) It already has a
partnership arrangement with Reigate College of Art and the Academy of
e) It takes 20% of its 16+ intake from Croydon
f) It understood from the
first that though JRC’s future was untenable it was currently solvent,
and had just
We merged on 1 February, 2019, much to the
annoyance of some Croydon Councilors, who thought we should have gone
with Croydon College. Both colleges retain their location, their name,
and their independent character although, of course there will be
changes as time passes. The changes will be expansion changes and not
reduction changes. The colleges, with Reigate School of Art, now operate
under the over-arching name of South Orbital Colleges/SOC, and
are operating more as a federation than as a takeover. Four of the JRC
Governors were taken onto the new Board of SOC, along with the two staff
and two student governors; next year there will be one staff and one
student from each college.
Can I firstly thank Tom and Ian for their
hospitality and their very warm welcome. It was very interesting to
listen to wonderful experiences from the past, and I am looking forward
to hearing more in the future, especially during the course of the
• Countdown on social media platforms/ websites – weekly? Monthly?
• Internal celebrations for current students
• An open day/weekend at the
current John Ruskin College site for current students and alumni-
• Press releases leading up to the event
• Display of past principals photos/paintings
• Possible souvenir?
Obviously these are only initial
considerations and we welcome ideas from
all of you so we can ensure
that we embrace both the past and present history to reflect as much of
the 100 years. I am intending to set up a working party of people who
are interested in assisting with the planning, from the current staff
and students and members of the Alumni.
Mike Etheridge (JRGS 1963-65) secures images at JRGS Reunion Planning lunch...
The lunch on 2nd of May at The Surprise
pub in Shirley went very well; a full report will follow.
Michael Etheridge, Sanderstead, Surrey. May 2019 Email
adds: One additional memory from the Reunion Planning Lunch at
The Surprise. When I arrived the
only former student I recognised was Ian Macdonald. However, the
place names on the meal table meant that I was sitting next to Pete
Goulding and Geoff Boyce, pictured above.
Geoff Boyce (JRGS 1958-65) shares three images from his Sixties schooldays...
Here is a trio of new images
for the alumni. On the left are three of the 1958 intake who went on to
teach in local schools: Myself, to Ashburton, Sylvan and Addington;
together with Pete Goulding (JRGS 1958-64) to Ashburton, John
Ruskin and Selsdon; and below is Roy Hodgson (JRGS 1958-65) to
Selsdon (and a few other things beside).
The Rover comic from 12 April 1958 is one that I am sure we
all read regularly - good schoolboy stuff.
This snippet shown below is part of a panoramic school photograph taken on the morning
of the 18th September 1962 in the
school playground when lessons were
abandoned for the whole morning. It shows good examples of typical "Rock 'n'
Roll Era" hairstyles; I am on the left with Pete Goulding on the right.
Pete and I have been pals for 61 years - he was the best man at both of my weddings. He is staying with me at the moment - one of his bi-annual trips to Blighty from his home in Thailand - and we will be attending the informal lunch at The Surprise later today [02 May] to assist in the planning of the celebrations for 2020. I persuaded someone to snap us together. Here it is, with Pete on the left and myself on the right. Click on the image to view a larger version.
Geoff Boyce, Croydon, Surrey. May 2019 Email
Your webmaster discovers several paperbacks about his schoolboy interests...
As mentioned in past contributions, I'm building a small library of
books about key developments during my teenage years. These three
books published by Shire Library, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing,
focus on Dinky Toys, British Motorcycles and the declining fortunes of our
As the publisher's website
explains: "Dinky Toys were introduced in 1931 as 'Modelled Miniatures', and these
delightful die cast metal toys, which instantly became bestsellers, still
give pleasure to both children and adults. More than 1,000 different
subjects were modelled, mostly transport related; they include cars,
vans, lorries, busses, trains, military vehicles, aircraft, ships, and
figures. Using colorful illustrations, David Cooke explains the history
of Dinky Toys, which were also masterminded Meccano and Hornby trains.
This introduction to one of the best-known and-loved ranges of toys is
ideal for both toy collectors and for those with a nostalgic interest in
the toys of yesteryear."
And here, just in case they are of interest, are images of
three vintage Dinky Toys from the Fifties and Sixties: No. 27B
Halesowen Farm Trailer and No. 686 Field Artillery Tractor (lower);
plus Bedford Dust Cart (top).
With a more recent No. 972 Supertoys Coles 20-ton Mobile Crane that I purchased a decade or more ago from Old Boys Toys in Windsor for, I recall £50; it's probably worth a lot more now.
Finally, these are four contemporary Dinky Toys made in China by the firm's new owner, Matchbox International, but reportedly based on original moulds from the Meccano factory in Binns Road, Liverpool. Note that the Heinz and Radio Times vans share the same 1950 Ford E83W body; the Dinky Toys van is based on an Austin A40 10cwt body and the Sharp's Toffee van on a Commer 8cwt body.
Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, USA. May 2019 Email
Richard Winborn (JRGS 1961-68) adds: I still have my collection of Dinky Toys and Corgi Toys stashed away in boxes in my bedroom - including the Bedford Dust Cart shown in the photo. I keep promising myself that one day in my (very busy) retirement I will get them out, along with my large Hornby '0' gauge train set, and play with them again!
David Anderson (JRGS 1964-1971) adds: The paperback book 1960's
Childhood Moon landings, The Kinks and the 1966 World Cup by Derek
Tait (ISBN 978-1-4456-3762-4
Amberley Publishing) might well be of interest to our webmaster and
other alumni. The cover is shown right.
ML adds: David Anderson is indeed eagle-eyed. The footbridge over the roadway and the crane mounted on the garage were made from Airfix kits. I never got around to painting the grey plastic, but the size fitted well with the 1/43rd-scale Dinky and Corgi toys. I don't recall where I got the decals I added to the crane.
Bob White (JRGS 1959-67) has been reading Lenny Lawrence's autobiography...
Published in 2009, the autobiography of Robin Michael "Lennie" Lawrence (JRGS 1959-66) makes for fascinating reading, especially if, like me, you are still playing soccer. Co-written with Kevin Brennan, the 198-page book details the life of this highly esteemed football manager, coach and former player. He is currently employed as a First Team Management Consultant for the League Two side, Newport County.
Click on either the front- or back-cover images to view larger versions.
Bob White, Ashfield, Massachusetts, USA, April 2019 Email
Roger Fuller (JRGS 1951-56) reports sad death of Vic Bivand (JRGS 1951-56)...
eldest son, my wife Anne and I attended the funeral on the third of this
month in Whitstable of Vic Bivand, pictured left at the
in September 2009. Vic and I were at Ruskin together from 1951 to 1956.
He was the most popular boy of our year and the best all-round sportsman
in the school. He starred at football, cricket, basketball and
athletics. He was, incidentally, popular with the staff, including Mr.
"Smut" Smith, Mr. Warne and others, in spite of testing them
and their patience further than one imagines possible.
Roger Fuller, Basingstoke, Hants, April 2019 Email
Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) adds: Back in September 2007, Roger Fuller shared some fond memories of his long-time friend. They related to music master Mr. Hancock who, because of his short sight and thick glasses, was nicknamed - probably by Vic Bivand - as "Squint." "Like a number of his colleagues, 'Squint' wore a gown in class," Roger recalled. "Some of the worst behaved class members, including Bivand and myself, would use chalk to play a game of noughts and crosses upon his gown as he moved around the room. Cruel sport, but daring as we saw it. That was over 60 years ago. Wrong it may have been, but happenings such as these were a part of what actually made schooldays the happiest of one's life."
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