- Page 90 - Nov 2018 thru Jan 2019 -
- Page 90 - Nov 2018 thru Jan 2019 -
Steve Tyler (JRGS 1966-74) reports on football-playing alumni from the Fifties...
Wearing my hat as Croydon Amateurs
historian and archivist, I noticed that The Mill recently
included an image of school
football teams from 1949-50, as can be seen
Oxlade (JRCS 1940-44) supplied these files after a visit to see
Charles Smith (JRGS teacher 1942-78). The
names in the caption caught my eye: namely Bill Prior, Laurie
Montague and Melvyn Williams, as players of those names
turned out at the Croydon Arena in the Fifties.
Stephen Tyler, South Croydon, Surrey; January 2019 Email
(JRHS 1969-75) adds: I played in the same Ruskin team as
Reggie Gaston, Cliff Gould and Teddy Dunne - all
superb players. We won the U16 Croydon Schools Football League in 1973,
and lost the Cup Final 2-0 against Selhurst (I think) which was played
up at Fairchildes.
(JRGS 1947-53) adds: In reply to Steve Tyler, I played school football with Laurie
Montague, Bill Pryor and Melvyn Williams - I appear in
the back row of the photo). Although I have no concrete evidence, I
think it very likely that they are the same as appear in the archive of
the Arena. All three left school at 16 (Laurie at 15) in, I think, 1951.
Laurie went to Fulham for two years but was deemed too small.
Ray "Sprout" Young
(JRGS 1950-55) adds:
I played in the school football teams from the Fifth Eleven (Class 1) to
First Eleven in the fifth form. When I was in the Third Eleven, Mr.
"Smithy" Smith would sometimes slip me into the Forth Eleven or even
the Fifth Eleven, as I wasn't a big player. I was, though, very nippy
and fast - I tried to emulate the late great Jimmy Greaves, The
Burglar. He always stayed just on-side and scored most of his goals from
inside the six-yard box.
(JRGS 1946-51) adds:
Thanks for all our webmaster's efforts with The Mill. It
continues to make interesting reading, although it contains few names
from my era! Among those I recognise are Tony Childs, whom I
recall as being a fair-haired lad in my day. Bob Wane, too, was a
year or two behind me but I got to know him rather better later when we
were on the same Maths degree course; I think Bob had started it
straight from school while I'd spent a year out with Handley Page doing
design and performance calculations for the Victor aircraft fuel system.
After the first year, that included some rather obscure aspects of pure
maths so I switched to Mechanical Engineering that was more relevant to
my experience at HP, since I was expecting to return there during all my
future summer vacations and later.
Anne Smith (JRHS/JRC teacher/principal 1970-99) reports on JR college merger...
Last Tuesday, 22 January, John Ruskin
College held its last governors' meeting as an independent college. On 1
February, 2019, it is to merge with East Surrey College, a further education/FE
college based in Redhill, Surrey, with over 1,100 full-time and more
than 9,000 part-time students that are studying courses ranging from
vocational qualifications to community leisure. The decision to seek a
partner was not an easy one; alumni members acquainted with the FE
sector in UK will know that there were about 30 college mergers last
year, and that many of them were of smaller colleges with larger ones.
Some, but not ours, were between totally insolvent colleges with solvent
We had taken up the government's challenge to increase our apprenticeship offer, and had at one time more apprentices than any of the FE colleges in our area (Croydon, Sutton, Merton, Kingston, Richmond). The provision was, for the most part, successful and problems with providers were dealt with as they became apparent. But then the government changed its strategy for funding apprenticeships. I will not go into the details, but the result was that nation-wide the apprenticeship starts fell dramatically. Although there has been an increase, it is not for 16+ but for 19+ starts.
Short fall in expected income
Anne Smith, Croydon, Surrey, February 2019 Email
Wane (JRGS 1945-1953) adds:
I read Anne Smith’s above contribution about the merger of John Ruskin
College with East Surrey College with a growing sense of profound
sadness. Judging from her narrative of the evolving situation that lead
to the merger, I do not share her optimism for the future of our school.
Rather than a “phoenix rising from the ashes “. I would say that over
the years, John Ruskin Grammar School fought the good fight and died an
honourable death. R.I.P.
In another 10 years or so, who will remember us?
It's all very well to be gloomy when your relationship with JR is
nostalgic only. But if those of us still associated with it today
allowed ourselves to wallow, the quality of the service would go right
down. We need to hope that we bring enough to the table to be taken
seriously after merger.
Historically, I tended to refer to the website as "JRGS" for two simple
reasons. One, the majority of early contributors came from my
contemporaries that attended the school in the Fifties and Sixties,
during which period the operation was, indeed, John Ruskin Grammar
School; the name stuck. Secondly, it was a grammar school for a total of
26 years (1945-1971), compared to 25 years as a central school
(1920-1945), and 20 years as a high school (1971 to 1991). I readily
acknowledge that for the past 28 years (1991-2019) it has been a
sixth-form college, but that is at a different location with a different
educational focus. Mea culpa.
Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) adds: Bob Wane's comments demonstrate a rather negative attitude. Anyway, the "GS" part of JRGS died years ago. I think that we should try and celebrate John Ruskin school in all its guises over the past 99 years.
Roger Adcock (JRGS 1963-68) adds: Regarding the plans for next year's Centenary Reunion, "at which time it might may sense to draw a reluctant veil over an adventure that began in December 2001 ... freeze the site and offer a self-running DVD version as an archive," My Answer: I have no objections whatsoever. It's perfect timing, and a perfect end to a great interlude, a copy of which I will retain in my papers.
David Anderson (JRGS 1964-71) adds:
I read the suggestion that it might be time to freeze the JRGS website
and offer a DVD of its content. Just to say: "Yes" - I think this is
good idea. The Website is brilliant but let's quit while it's at its
best, and I think its time to release our webmaster of its burden.
Thanks for the years Mel has put in; it is truly is a wonderful archive
that I'm sure many other schools are envious of.
Richard "Tom" Thomas (JRGS 1957-64) adds:
I consider that continuing The Mill is our webmaster's
choice. However, my strong preference is for its continuation. In my
opinion, The Mill provides the particular benefits of updates of
Alumni news, memories and "electronic" memorabilia; together with being
a point of contact for Alumni. It is a valuable history of John Ruskin
Schools in Croydon since 1920, and a repository of many elements of
local history in that period. My thanks and due credit to Mel for the
considerable time and effort he has devoted over the years to
establishing and maintaining The Mill.
(JRGS 1947-53) adds:
Although I appreciate that The Mill produces a lot of work for
our webmaster, which is much appreciated, I agree with "Tom" Thomas
that it would be a great pity for it to cease to be active. The regular
"bulletins" always produce something of interest and I enjoy reading
them. It provides a medium for the transmission of information - for
example, Anne Smith on the latest re-organisation - and also a
means of communication that which would be otherwise unlikely to happen
between alumni - for example with Karl Smith.
ML replies: It is a DVD that, when inserted into a Windows-capable PC's optical drive, automatically launches the website. Users of Macintosh OS will need to manually run the home-page HTML file, labeled index.html; instructions will be provided for neophyte computer users! And it has to be a DVD because The Mill's component files currently occupy 2.13 GBytes; a CD would not be large enough.
Your webmaster updates progress with the ongoing Fairfield Halls renovations...
According to a
news report in the current issue of MyCroydon News, Fairfield
Halls in Central Croydon will finally re-open for business in September
2019, following a £30 million makeover. Often referred to as "The
Southbank Centre's younger sister," the site - pictured below -
has undergone extensive remodelling and revitalisation since being
shuttered in July 2016. (Apparently, the discovery of asbestos within
the 60-year old building delayed the project.)
foyer will form an open-plan area with a bar that will host free events
throughout the year; it will be known as the Arnhem Foyer, named
after Croydon’s twin town in The Netherlands with which is has been
linked since 1944. The foyer will also host exhibitions, the first from
Jim Grover, a South London photographer, with his portraits of the
Windrush generation. It is claimed that the new venue will be more
eco-friendly, with LED lights, modern insulation and heating systems.
also are planned for the main 1,759-seat concert hall, now renamed the
Phoenix Concert Hall after Phoenix Pianos, which supplied seven
pianos worth £500,000 for the venue. The new grand and upright pianos
will join the venue's original organ, which currently is in storage
along with original chandeliers. A mirrored dance studio suitable for
classes and rehearsal space will be added behind the stage.
Finally, here is an black&white image that my father captured during the early-Sixties, showing the rear of Fairfield Halls during final construction. The two huts seen at the bottom of the ramp are the pay booths into the car park adjacent to the Technical College before the parking area was covered over. The entertainment complex opened in 1962. It was built on the site of Croydon's historic "Fair Field," which hosted a well-known fair up until 1860, and above the disused railway cuttings that used to link the main London to Brighton railway line to Croydon Central Station in what is now Queen's Gardens. Between 1930 and 1962 the land was home to both a car park and wartime air-raid shelters. I recall my parents using the car park when our family drove into Croydon from New Addington aboard my father's Sunbeam-powered motorcycle/sidecar combination. The car park was sited at the sunken level of the former railway sidings, and involved a climb up maybe 50 feet of wooden steps to the street level on Park Lane.
Incidentally, the Central
Croydon railway station was a largely unsuccessful venture by the
London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR) to bring trains closer
to the centre of Croydon, since East Croydon station was considered to
be located too far from the town centre. Originally opened in 1868 the
station closed in 1871; it re-opened in 1886, before being closing
permanently in 1890. Its site was used for the Town Hall, erected
between 1892 and 1896.
Mel Lambert, Burbank, USA; January 2019 Email
Mike Beaumont (JRGS 1955-60)
The bit of railway
history being the reason that there was such a vast derelict space we
knew as a dusty car park - and which became the Fairfield Halls - was
all new to me, and really interesting.
Your Webmaster adds: I have also found these images from a book I mentioned in 2009, following a visit to the Croydon Library. Published by Croydon's Parks Department in 1983, the 100th Anniversary of the town's incorporation, the top image from The Queen's Gardens shows the railway sidings across the original Fair Field, while the lower graphic details the route of railway lines from East Croydon to the planned Central Station, parallel to Katharine Street.
Your webmaster receives two books from Graham Donaldson (JRGS 1962-69)...
Further to an
contribution from Graham Donaldson (JRGS 1962-69) about
Gibson ticket machines, and mention of several books he has written
about London areas buses, Graham kindly left review copies of two of
these publications at The Petersham Hotel in Richmond, west of London,
to await my arrival in early December
for a month-long sojourn to complete my in-progress book project, and
spend the Christmas holiday with
relatives and friends.
As Graham wrote in a recent email: "I
didn't realise that you did not know about my Routemaster book. I don't
have many left now as it was published nearly 25 years ago, but I'm more
than happy to send you a complimentary copy."
Mel Lambert, Burbank, USA; January 2019 Email
Karl Smith (JRGS 1946-51) wonders about some of his school contemporaries...
Maybe I'm behindhand with news, or my
memory isn't what it used to be; after all age takes its toll in some
ways. Anyway, I don't recall ever seeing a mention of Owen Everson
on The Mill. So, while web browsing
earlier today I was saddened to see that he died in March last year at
the age of 85. His importance was as Hon. Canon of Southwark Cathedral
and an Oxford Tutor. I knew him as my contemporary at JRGS Sixth Form
when he was Head Prefect and School Captain in 1949/50.
Karl W. Smith, CEng., FRAeS, Heckington, Lincolnshire. January 2019 Email
Mike Etheridge (JRGS 1963-65) adds: Just a short comment regarding Avro Vulcan XH558, the last flying example as mentioned elsewhere on The Mill. A few years ago I visited the Model Engineers exhibition at Alexandra Palace. During the lunch break, my friends and I sat with an exhibitor: a former RAF man who claimed to have fitted a replacement fuel tank(s) to the Vulcan. He explained that when the planes - Valiant and Vulcan - went out of service with the RAF all the spares were scrapped. That included any spare fuel tanks which, for the Vulcan, were profiled to fit into the delta wing. However, to have produced a replacement tank of the same shape would have been very costly and, because the Vulcan did not need the same range, tank(s) of cubical shape were constructed and fitted. Regarding the Hawker Harrier, my nephew Nigel had an extensive input with their construction and maintenance; he was quite upset to recognise planes he had worked on in the final fly past of the planes.
Tony Childs (JRGS 1947-53)
to Karl Smith, I am still around and was a contemporary of Bob Wane
and, two rears behind him, Karl. The only one of my contemporaries
that I know anything about is John Crumplin, whom I met at the
Reunion, but that was in 2015.
A full list of archived News/Events Pages can be found here.
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