JRGS News Archive Page 88
JRGS Alumni Society

Archived News/Activities

- Page 88 - Sep thru Nov 2018 -

JRGS Alumni Society


 Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) reports death of Geoff Forbath (JRGS 1952-57)...

Geoff Forbath (JRGS 1952-57)I have just received an email from Suzanne Smith about the sad death this past weekend of her father, Geoff Forbath (JRGS 1952-57). As Suzanne wrote: "I've been going through his emails and found an email from you. Although I don't know you personally, I thought I should let you know. He was diagnosed with cancer in July so it's been a very short illness."
   I replied that The Alumni was very sorry to hear about her father's passing, and confirmed that I corresponded with him briefly a few years ago.
   Geoff is pictured left in a photograph of the school orchestra taken in 1955 by Keystone Press Agency, just after the new school site opened on Upper Shirley Road. Click on the thumbnail to view a larger version, and here to examine all the images secured on that occasion
   In 2009 Geoff provided some vivid memories of his time at JRGS in the 1950s. With a theme of school discipline back in the Fifties, Geoff quoted Mr. David "Rhino" Rees: "There will be no talking during lunch," an instruction that not only silenced schoolboys for the whole of the meal, but also "had the curious effect of silencing the ladies serving lunch ... and the staff sitting at their tables along the side of the dining hall," he wrote.
   As Geoff concluded: "I look back on my school days at JRGS with pleasure; they were good days, and I was sorry when they finished. But I would have liked to talk during lunch!" 
   In 2010 Tony Hollands (JRGS 1952-58) recalled his school friend, whom he knew as "Ferdy". Tony also remembers digging a pit to trap "Brats" - first-year pupils - and breaking into the roof space over the Sixth-form area, an adventure that apparently was brought to an end following an inspection by the Fire Brigade, accompanied by Mr. John Christopher "Joe" Lowe.
   Finally, I have found a 1996 internet reference to “Geoff Forbat, higher education manager for Greater Peterborough Training and Enterprise Council”. And note that, although he was born Geoffrey Peter Forbath in London in 1939, and used that spelling at JRGS, Geoff seems to have adapted his surname to "Forbat" in later life – I'm not sure why. He lived in Bourn, Lincolnshire.

Paul Graham, Iver, Bucks, November 2018 Email.


 Paul Johnson (1966-73) shares three original carols from teacher Martin Nunn...

I have just received a letter from Mr. Martin Nunn, a RE and Geography teacher at the school from 1957 until 1973, and who also ran the school's Scripture Union. Some alumni may know that he is also an organist who occasionally played at JRGS. Most will not know, however, that Martin has also dabbled in composition, and sent me three scores of Christmas music that he has wrote over the years. Sadly, because his own church choir at Hayes Free Church in Bromley is now disbanded, the songs are no longer performed. Martin has been organist and choirmaster at the Church for many years and, in retirement, at the age of 70, turned his hand to composition.
   His work includes a number of Christmas carols that Martin's church choir have performed in the past. Three examples of Martin's talent as a writer and composer are shown below; click on the thumbnail to view a larger version of the opening page and the PDF link to access a multi-page version. All compositions ©2022 Martin Nunn. All rights reserved.

"The Stars Burn Bright" - Martin Nunn "Hark! O Hark! Celestial Voices" - Martin Nunn "Mary's Lullaby" - Martin Nunn
The Stars Burn Bright - PDF File Hark! O Hark! Celestial Voices - PDF Mary's Lullaby - PDF File

Despite his advanced years, Martin continues to enjoy good health, on the whole, although he is currently having a few tests for arrhythmia. At the grand age of 85 he still leads regular rambles, and remains grateful for good health!

Paul Johnson, Haywards Heath West Sussex, November 2018 Email.

Colin Taylor (JRGS 1959-64) adds: My abiding memory of the school organ is standing near the instrument while Mr. Field played Bach's Toccata and Fugue. It gave me an everlasting love of that rousing piece of music.


 Your webmaster sparks a conversation about Sixties bus ticket machines...

My inclusion in a recent email to The Alumni of this image of a ticket machine used on London Transport and other buses during the Sixties initiated several interesting responses.
   Incidentally, these days Route 260 runs north between White City Bus Station and Golders Green.


Graham Donaldson (JRGS 1962-69) adds: Ah yes, the old Gibson machine, so named after its inventor [former London Transport Superintendent of fare collection, George Gibson]. You can almost hear the distinctive noise as the ticket was issued and the call: "Any more fares please!" Route 260 would have been rather longer in those days, running from Hammersmith to Barnet, having taken over from the 660 trolleybus (Hammersmith-North Finchley) in January 1962.
   It was notable that Country Area tickets displayed the date instead of the route number - this being because vehicles generally did not stay on the same route all day, and it was rather time consuming to keep changing that as well as all the blind displays. This difference lead to an eventual decision to issue Gibson Green Rovers, which was all right at first when you'd get one 3/- (15p) ticket as a child and two as an adult. However, by the time London Transport relinquished control of the Country Buses on 31 December 1969, the cost had risen to 8/- (40p), which meant that an adult received two 3/- and two 1/- tickets, as the machine couldn't do 2/-. This meant that a family of four would end up with half the ticket roll!
   It was soon realised another drawback was that naughty people could keep the ticket for a year and use it again, so they introduced different coloured ticket rolls - pink, yellow and green in rotation - on Country Buses, which meant that by the time a colour came round again the price would have gone up. Although Gibsons were phased out by London Country in the 1970s (partly because they still displayed "London Transport") they remained is use on crew operated red buses into the 1990s. More
   I'll be off to mark the passing of another piece of transport history tomorrow [Friday, 5 October]. The existing Woolwich Ferry boats, dating from 1963, are retiring to make way for new hybrid-powered vessels with more space and better disabled access. But there'll be no service until the New Year while the landing stages are adapted, particularly to incorporate an automatic docking system. The other Thames crossings are going to be rather busy

David Anderson (JRGS 1964-71) adds: Early in the summer, I was able to visit the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden, London, while my wife looked around the shops nearby. It is well worth a visit and both parties kept happy.
   The museum has an RT and an RM (Routemaster) bus in there. One of the staff let me use a Gibson ticket machine, the LT standard issue, to print out a ticket that I kept and is right in front of me now. My ticket for the school journey was marked C , for child and cost 9 pence (old pre-decimal money). I used to ask the conductor for a "nine half" for the three miles from Thornton Heath to Shirley through Central Croydon. (I saw it all being rebuilt as a "Mini Manhattan".) I travelled to JRGS on a number 130 bus every day. The Routemaster was the Rolls Royce of buses - smooth, comfortable and warm in winter, unlike the heaterless RTs. They put Routemaster  on the 130 route as, being new and more powerful, they could cope with the steep climb up past "The Sandrock" pub by Oaks Road. The 130 route is now much changed - the Tramlink made it partly redundant - and the Routemasters are gone apart, from a couple of "heritage" routes in Central London.
   If you are keen on buses then also take a look at the London Bus Museum now at Brooklands near Weybridge in Surrey. It's a great Big Boy's Day Out with lots of other interest.
   You know you are getting old when:
A. Buildings you went in have been demolished and redeveloped.
B. Vehicles, cars and motorcycles you once used are in museums!

John Byford (JRGS 1959-66) adds: Marvellous fayre!
   One assumes that Graham Donaldson (JRGS 1962-69) is the same Graham Donaldson who wrote and published the very interesting and lavishly illustrated The Routemaste
r Years in Croydon & District. More Highly recommended!

Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) adds: I came across these images of regular and coloured tickets - the lower ones with dates in place of bus routes - and an ad for the Gibson Automatic Ticket Machine from Ticket Equipment, Ltd. I recall asking conductors on the 130 route for spare rolls of paper, which I used for ... I forget!


 Jim Thomas (JRGS 1959-66) unearths an autographed Speech Day Programme...

I was searching through some old files, and came across the Speech Day brochure from November 1963, signed by the event's keynote speaker, then-BBC newsreader Michael Aspel!
   See the image below, which brings back memories!
Click on the thumbnail to view a larger version. A PDF of the four-page programme can be downloaded here.

JRGS Speech Day Progrramme - November 1963

Incidentally, I started the year celebrating my 70th birthday for two days with my wife Lynn at a hotel in Windsor! Then in February I slipped and tore the tendon in my knee, and had an operation to tie it back together that put me out of action for over six weeks! - no driving either!
   In April we had a night at the “Pudding Club” in the Cotswold, and then a night in Stratford-on-Avon with my sister and brother in law. Luckily, by May I was fit and mobile enough to go on a cruise in the Med for another celebration for my birthday, starting in Malta and going to the Monaco Grand Prix!
   In June we went to Cornwall in our motor home; this was during the heat wave here in UK! Then we were off to the Jurassic Coast in the motor home again. We went to see the film Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Club and so decided we need to visit Guernsey and had a great trip.
   Now we are off to the Pyrenees for a week by train, and then going on several of the small trains there.
   So we are making the best of our retirement!

Jim Thomas, Camberley, Surrey; October 2018 Email

Colin Taylor (JRGS 1959-64) adds: I do remember Michael Aspel speaking at the 1963 Speech Day. Unfortunately, the only part of his speech I can recall was when he spoke in a Welsh accent - I think it was the first time I had heard someone speak "live" in an accent like that, and I recall being very impressed!

 Maurice Whitfield (JRGS 1959-66) adds: Am I right in remembering that Michael Aspel's interpretation of our 'Age Quod Agis' motto was to concentrate on what you're best at, thus putting Mr. Lowe's nose out of joint because his interpretation was to try your best at everything?


 John Turner (JRGS 1958-66) recalls two European school trips from the Sixties...

I recently unearthed two diaries written in standard-issue blue exercise books, about school trips to Austria, Switzerland and Italy. I attach two small photos taken during the April 1963 school trip to Austria: one of me, our webmaster and Mike Balme (JRGS 1958-64) paddling in the lake in Zell-am-Zee, Austria; and the other of Mr. "Ron" Woodard and Mr. "Jim" Crowe, together with three boys, including Roy Lemmer. Click on either thumbnail to view larger versions.

   I took very few photos of people but plenty of the views and buildings. I would be interested to know if any of the other members of the school parties have surviving photos.

School Trip to Austria - April, 1963 School Trip to Italy - April, 1961

Mike Balme (left), Mel Lambert and John Turner.

Mr. "Ron" Woodard and Mr. "Jim" Crowe (center),
together with three JRGS school boys.

A few notes on the April 1961 journey to Lugano and Venice:

  • The itinerary included the ferry from Dover to Boulogne, overnight train to Lugano via Lucerne. We took a cruise on the lake at Lugano and a funicular railway to San Salvatore. We also visited Milan, before travelling to our hotel on the Venice Lido.

  • We visited Murano, Burano and Torcello, and still have some glass animals and a decanter from these trips. When exploring Venice Mike Wrigglesworth (JRGS 1958-65) "wanted a photo of St Marks". The two of us made our way there and then decided to go back a different way, taking the wrong exit from St Marks square. After becoming lost in the maze of narrow streets we conjured up courage to ask: "Dov'e il Ponte Rialto?" Two Italian chaps actually took us back to the bridge to meet the others.

  • I noted that Hills bravely took a photo of the waitress whose name was Piola. Tony Patterson beat me in the table tennis tournament which was eventually won by Roy.

  • I shared a room with Chris Shaw and Lawrence Max, but didn't write down the names of all the other boys on this trip except those mentioned above.

  • We returned to Folkestone on the "Isle of Thanet," which had taken part in the Dunkirk evacuation.

The second boat and train trip was in April1963 and took us to Vienna, Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna Woods and a ride on the Ferris wheel.

  • We spent one evening in a night club with a zither player and apparently drank wine. We then moved on to Salzburg and witnessed the organ playing full blast in the cathedral. We stayed at the Hotel Schwezehof in Zell-Am-Zee, and Ian Davies (JRGS 1958-65) and I were the first to encounter a party of 37 English girls from Hammersmith, some of whom showed us places in he town where the beer and coffee were cheapest.

  • Mike Balme sat on his bed and the back fell off - the first of several incidents involving the "rather weak and hard beds".

  • We visited the Kimml Falls and took the cable car to the Weissee Gletscherwelt resort at 7,593 feet and enjoyed a snowball fight beaten the sixth and fifth formers. Tony Woods and Harper jumped on a sleigh and shot over a precipice dropping 15 feet into deep snow. No one was hurt!

  • The sleigh was retrieved by Ian Davies, Mel Lambert, Tony Woods and me - at the cost of Ian's shoe.

  • That evening John Wheal (JRGS 1958-65), Lawrence Max, Ian Davies and myself went out for the evening with three "unattached" girls - Theresa, Sheena and Janice. A "fitting end" to the holiday, drinking coffee in a restaurant and listening to music on an ancient radio.

  • We played cards with some of the girls on the train home, but at 12 o' clock we were pushed out and back to our own couchettes, as the girls were moved to a different train. That was the last we saw of them...

Austria Field Trip - April 1963

Austria Field Trip - April 1963

Members of the party were Mr. Woodard and Mr. Crowe; Group Leaders - Ian Davies, Mike Wrigglesworth, John Wheal and myself; Fifth Form - Chris Shaw, Tony Woods, Lawrence Max, Mel Lambert and Roger Taylor; Fourth Form - Turner, Frank Forster, David Orange, Paul Rayner, Peter Watson, Dick Fencott; Third Form - Dixon, Regester, Jenkins; Second Form - Rice, Guthrie, Donatie, Fridd, Harper, Martin, Cambridge and Jones. Please click on either image above to view a larger version.

   I wonder if anyone has other memories? The above was condensed from two quite detailed diaries.

John Turner, AnyTown, AnyCounty, September 2018 Email

Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) adds: I vividly recall that trip to Austria during the Easter 1963 vacation while I was in 5U with form master Mr. David "Rhino" Rees. The train journey across Europe was surprisingly unrowdy, probably because we respected the teachers travelling with us, and that the sixth formers were very eagle-eyed. At one German station - Cologne, I recall - somebody in our carriage purchased a bottle of brandy ... the result was predictable! (We did not have couchettes going out; coming back I recall that we did.)
In Vienna, I have fond memories of hearing live zither music - The Third Man remains one of my favourite films - and sampling watered-down red wine. "To be sipped; not swigged" we were warned in the Instructions to Parents prepared ahead of the trip.
   After Zell-Am-Zee and Kimml Falls I remember our journey up a mountain cable car at the Weissee ski resort. We all frolicked in the snow - it was a dry, powdery composition that I had not encountered before; far less wet that Croydon snow - but I also recall that the mist was almost complete, preventing us from seeing very much in any direction.

Paul Rayner (JRGS 1960-66) adds: I have dug up a couple of photos of the 1963 School Trip to Austria. This was my first holiday outside the UK and maybe not appreciated as much as it should have been.
Click on either thumbnail to view larger versions.

JRGS School Trip - April 1963

JRGS School Trip - April 1963

I recall Dick Fencott buying 200 duty-free Viscount cigarettes from the duty-free shop on the cross-channel ferry. These were then smoked between Ostend and Cologne, at which time we were roundly abused by the lady train cleaner, who waded through the cigarette butts on the floor of our compartment, yelling at us that it was “nichtraucher” (no smoking).
   I also remember going up to the top of a mountain and watching as a younger boy (Donatie) was pushed forward into the dense cloud. No one realised that he had in fact gone over the edge of the path we were standing on. Fortunately, he had not dropped too far so was rescued by some other intrepid mountaineers from our group.
   The photo above right, taken in a park in Vienna, shows from the second left: David Orange, Dick Fencott, Peter Watson and Frank Forster, who at that time were all in form 4U with me. The man on the right seems to be an East European spy, who was attempting to remain anonymous. However, I regret that I cannot recall the name of the group member pictured on the far left. Happy days!

ML adds: Your intrepid webmaster is pictured top-center in the left-hand image, sandwiched between Mr. Anthony Crowe and Roger Taylor (JRGS  1959-64). More.


 Your webmaster reports the sad death of Brian Dunning (JRGS 1947-52)...

I have just discovered that Brian Eric Dunning (JRGS 1947-52) passed away on 5th of September, 2015, aged 78. According to an email from his son Stephen, Brian was born on 12th of July 1937, and after JRGS served his national service in Korea. During a meritorious career as a police officer, he received a Queen’s long-service medal for services to the crown in the capacity of law enforcement. Reportedly, Brian died peacefully after a short illness. His wife Patricia followed him a year later, and was survived by Stephen and his sister Loraine.

Brian Dunning in 1954, during national service

Brian is pictured here in an image he supplied to The Mill in 2003, showing his "unauthorized growth." As he explained: "Frequently, I was told to shave it off, an order I completely ignored since it was my pride and joy. In fact, whilst doing my National Service in Korea I waxed it 'military-style'. When this picture was taken I was aged 18 years and doing my national service with The Royal Sussex Regiment attached to and liaison with Intelligence Section of the 24th US Infantry Division on the 38th parallel of Korea. This probably was the reason that I spent the remainder of my working life as a detective in Special Branch!"

Mel Lambert, Burbank, USA; September 2018 Email


A full list of archived News/Events Pages can be found here.

The content of this web site is provided for educational purposes only, and is subject to change without notice. The JRGS Alumni Society makes no representation about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the content of this web site, nor the results to be obtained from using any part of such content.

Please send any messages and memorabilia to webmaster | Terms of Use [home]
©2022 JRGS Alumni Society. All Rights Reserved. Last revised: 06.03.22