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- Page 87 - Mar thru Sep 2018 -

JRGS Alumni Society


 Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-66) recalls a favourite Sixties TV show ...

A couple of days ago I caught on YouTube several songs from that seminal Sixties TV show, Ready, Steady, Go! and then discovered these vintage images of The Beatles, reportedly taken during their second appearance on the show on Friday, 20th of March, 1964. RSG! began in August 1963 - the month before I entered the JRGS sixth form - and lasted until December 1966; it was produced by Associated-Rediffusion - later just Rediffusion – the company that ran the ITV franchise for London.
   The band’s performances were recorded at Television House on London's Kingsway; following a quick rehearsal, The Beatles appeared on the show, which was broadcast live from 6.15 pm to 7 pm. They mimed three songs: “It Won't Be Long,” “You Can't Do That” and “Can't Buy Me Love". They also took part in a mock fashion parade and received a “Billboard” award for simultaneously having the Top Three singles in the US chart, and were interviewed by host Cathy McGowan, pictured below-left with Paul McCartney.

This image seen upper-right is a composite of the various artists, including Gene Pitney and The Rolling Stones, who appeared on the show, which was essential Friday night viewing during my years at JRGS.

Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, USA; September 2018 Email

David Anderson (JRGS 1964-1971) adds: RSG! was a great show; one of the shining lights of the Sixties - live TV pop music for young people. Was it a first? Very little in the way of technology but masses of raw talent. It seem sometimes that today we have the opposite. See your favourites on RSG!, then next day go to the record shop, buy a "45" disc for about 6/- (six shillings), take it home and play it to death.
   YouTube is amazing; there is very little you can think of from the past that is not on there! Get on with one search and spend a few hours hopping from one link to the next. Try Pirate Radio, TV Themes i.e. I Spy, Route 66 , 77 Sunset Strip, groups like The Rolling Stones, and maybe the Car Chase from the film Bullitt ... it goes on and on!
   I can recall the arrival of small, battery-operated transistor radios from Hong Kong. Everyone seemed to have one and weekend mornings folks would be outside cleaning their car or tinkering with their motorbike or scooter listening to Radio Caroline , or London, City , or King, or whatever was playing the latest hits from The Groups. Never mind the BBC or Radio Luxembourg; this was the radio to tune into! Pirate Radio was the soundtrack of the Sixties until the stations were outlawed by the Government in 1967, to be replaced by the "type-approved" copy: Radio One. Prior to transistor radios I recall boys bringing Germanium Crystal radios to school. No batteries - or tuning - but you could hear the strongest signal around in your earpiece by clipping a wire onto the wire fence (aerial) which went around Mr. Percy Eagleton's bungalow in the playground.
   I went to see The Rolling Stones live in Southampton back in May, part of the No Filter tour. Yes, full-strength and they went through the back catalogue from '64 onwards. They played all the tracks you would want to hear. It was a brilliant stage show, sound and light. Jagger just turned 74; Charlie is a bit older [born in 1941 - ML]. I had to go as I had not seen them live and you never know when "This Could Be The Last Time, I Don't Know". Not cheap, but two solid hours of great music. It was an amazing atmosphere and audience average age, about 70!
   Thanks again for a great website!

Doug Ford (JRGS 1966-1972) adds: Early on in my career I was a cameraman at Thames Television in the Euston Road. Most of the staff there were former Rediffusion employees (at the studios in Kingsway) and had many stories to tell about the Ready Steady Go! days.

Mike Beaumont (JRGS 1955-1960) adds: The Beatles show aired on 20 March 1964, eh? My 20th birthday!

ML adds: Many years ago I rented three US-format laserdiscs and illegally dubbed them to VHS tape. In 2011 I copied the RSG! shows to DVD for long-time storage – and ease of playback. The two compilation volumes and a Motown Special looked like this, with a track rundown. Email if anyone would like a Region 1 DVD copy.

Dave Clark – yes, that Dave Clark – purchased the rights back in the Sixties and has exclusive use of the shows. So it goes.

John Byford (JRGS 1959-1966) adds: Thanks for the mention of the Keith Moon radio programme [in an email alert to JRGS Alumni].
   Browsing YouTube is a pleasant pastime and it's good to revisit old favourites. I'm sure the alumni is not unaware of the almost total absence of Ready Steady Go tapes, but one I remembered well was the Otis Redding special (along with Eric Burdon and Chris Farlowe). Today [Sunday, 9th September] is Otis's birthday - he would have been 77 years old.

   We were fortunate to live in those times!

ML adds: I did manage to locate several RSG! sequences on YouTube, including that Otis Redding show:

“5-4-3-2-1” opening theme by Manfred Mann + assorted Sixties stills.
The Who + The Rolling Stones | ● Freddie & The Dreamers + The Fourmost
The Isley Bros + Martha & The Vandellas + Marvin Gaye
Jerry and The Pacemakers + Peter Cooke & Dudley Moore
Helen Shapiro singing “Look Who It Is” to The Beatles
Otis Redding Special with Chris Farlowe & Eric Burdon | 30 mins of stunning sound and B&W pictures!
The Sound of Motown with Dusty Springfield | 50 mins of, sadly, not so-stunning material.


 Michael Penn (JRGS 1945-50) recalls school life at Tamworth Road and after...

Being in my 85th year, and having survived cancer on two occasions, I recently found myself looking back over my life and decided to commit to paper some of the more important events I had experienced. My motive was mainly for the benefit of any of my two children and six grandchildren who might at some future time be interested enough to research their family history.
   When I came to create the chapter covering my school days I had little to say, but then I found The Mill website. The amount of material accessible is quite astonishing, some of which is relevant to my own experiences. The numerous contributors should be very proud of the result of their labours.
   I was very fortunate to be able to attend John Ruskin Grammar School in Tamworth Road from 1945 to 1950.The standard of education was very high and I performed sufficiently well to prepare me for a modestly successful career in banking.
   I was delighted to be able to identify myself with a red circle in the 1950 School Photo, as shown below. I could also identify a couple of my fellow students and remember a few of the masters.

I am also delighted to be able to fill the gap for 1951 in the Speech Day Section, the seven-page programme for which is now available on that page.
   Regrettably, I retain a very limited stock of memories from my days at JRGS. I certainly remember Mr. Cracknell and Mr. Pearman for good reasons, but I did clash on a number of occasions with Mr. Smith. I was very enthusiastic when it came to sporting activities but not very talented. I tried cricket and football and I think I was house captain for the former. I fancied myself as a bit of a spin bowler my hero being D. V. P. Wright. [Douglas Vivian Parson Wright was an English cricketer, serving as a leg-spinner for Kent and England from 1932 to 1957, and who took a record seven hat-tricks in first-class cricket. He played for Kent for 19 seasons and was their first professional captain from late 1953 to 1956 - ML] I also recollect the horrors of mixed hockey and that there was an attempt made to introduce rugby.
   I don't think Mr. Smith was ever very impressed with my efforts, particularly in the gymnasium, and I incurred his great displeasure on walking out to bat on one occasion wearing only one pad. He shouldn't have worried though, since I was bowled first ball!
   I think I may have been over-sensitive at the time but that was only to be expected having lived through the war. I have vivid memories of the Battle of Britain, particularly the first air raid on Croydon Airport that my sister and I very stupidly observed from a bedroom window. The Anderson Shelter had not yet been delivered. There followed many sleepless nights as the Germans turned mainly to night bombing. I witnessed a German Stuka dive bomber release two bombs that hit a factory a couple of hundred yards from the house and killed many workers. There was also a V1 which fell about 100 yards away that caused many casualties and resulted in severe damage to our house. Then the family and I went to stay with relatives in Oxford for a year until things quieted down a bit, and while the house was being repaired.

Life After JRGS
Needing to start to contribute to the family budget it was decided that I would forego sixth form and university, and in August 1950 take up a position with Barclays Bank. My school certificate in eight subjects is shown here:

Apart from National Service with the RAF from February 1952 until February 1954, I spent my career with the bank Micahel Pennuninterrupted until I took early retirement in 1984, by which time I had served nine years as manager of a medium-sized branch located in Victoria, London. Subsequently I worked for two years as a part-time finance manage with an insurance broker followed by another two years as practice manager of a doctors' surgery. At that stage my wife and I had the opportunity to move in 1988 from Tonbridge to Christchurch, Dorset, where we still live, both now retired. During the early years here I spent a couple of years as a volunteer with the Citizens' Advice Bureau, and also helped out a friend who owned a local golf shop.
   My most satisfying achievement post-retirement was my involvement with Christchurch Probus Club, where I am still a member after 23 years, and pictured left. Click in the thumbnail to view a larger version.
   I was honoured to serve as club president during its Silver Jubilee Year 2002. I compiled and published a history of the first 25 years of the club and wrote an update for the 40th Anniversary last year.

Michael Penn, Christchurch, Dorset; June 2018 Email


 Dave Anderson (JRGS 1964-71) recalls a fascinating reunion in Somerset...

I thought that the Alumni might be interested in an event that took place recently.
   This story started off with a photograph taken of a group of us friends who met at JRGS on our motorbikes at Winchelsea Beach caravan site, Sussex, in August 1969. We had all ridden down from the Croydon area through the small lanes of Kent and East Sussex. Our aim was to get to a caravan which we had the use of, gratis, courtesy of Dennis O'Neill's mum. Very important for schoolboys with very little money. The photo was taken with Grahame Hadden's camera, by someone else - GH is far right in the photo. I can't recall who took it. Thank goodness someone had a camera as photos of the period are few and far between. Unlike today when we all have far too many!
   We were waiting for our O-Level GCE results to come through, and later on gathered around the site's telephone box to receive the results which had been collected by Keith's mum and dad at their house in Addiscombe. I had passed my motorcycle test in the previous March, and had been more worried about that than the O-Levels!
   The black and white photo below shows (left to right): Dennis O'Neill on his Triumph Tiger Cub; Me on my Honda C200 90cc; Keith Chaplin on his Honda C100 50cc, with Dave Calderwood seated behind him. Far right is Grahame Hadden on a 150cc Ambassador machine. A motley collection indeed but far better for Dennis and Keith as they had cycled the whole journey before getting motorbike licences!

   Dennis moved to Dawlish in Devon shortly afterwards, and then went "off the radar" completely. The rest of us remained intermittently in touch, despite being scattered across England and Keith moving to New Zealand about 10 years ago.
   Fast forward to 2017 and Father's Day when my daughter, knowing my keen interest in motorbikes (I still own and ride them), bought me a copy of Classic Bike, a motorcycle magazine for those with an interest in bikes from the past. I don't normally buy this one but I was interested in a feature called "The Way We Were", which asks for photographs of the old days to be sent in to be published in the mag. I thought the Winchelsea photo might be right for this and sent it in. To my surprise, it was published in the September issue with some text describing the people and bikes. I think the fact that Dave Calderwood is in the photo might have influenced things, since Dave went on to spend a lifetime in journalism (and is still in it now), including working for titles such as Motor Cycle, Motorcycle News and Bike, which was a newcomer to the scene and a breath of fresh air!

©2017 Bauer Consumer Media. All rights reserved. Reproduced under Fair Use Doctrine for research & educational purposes only.

So, to continue, another school friend, Peter Ward, who lives in Devon and gets Classic Bike on subscription, was very surprised to open his copy and see the photo I had sent in. He was not there when it was taken, although he was part of our group of friends interested in motorbikes. On reading my text, he was prompted to look for the missing Dennis and looked in Facebook around the Devon area. Quite amazingly, there was an entry from a Dennis O'Neill but with no photo of him - just his dog! - but it mentioned "JRGS". It could only be THE missing friend. So, after something like 48 years, we were all back in contact and were keen to meet up and compare our lives!

A Memorable Meeting
During a recent weekend in mid-June, we all met at a large house near Wiveliscombe in Somerset. This gathering was arranged by Dave Calderwood (many thanks to him), who is now living in Dorset after a spell in the Pyrenees Mountains of France. Dennis and Peter Ward travelled up from South Devon; Grahame Hadden from South West London; Keith Chaplin from Watchet, South West Somerset, after returning from Auckland, New Zealand, for a holiday. Two others not in the original photo but also our friends from JRGS days, are John Hutchins from East Sussex; and Andrew Brown, who is based just north of Cambridge but who also returned from New Zealand after an extended holiday. I travelled from Hampshire. We were all with our wives, except for Den, Andrew and John Hutchins.
   It was quite amazing to all be together again. Some of us brought along memorabilia retrieved from the dusty archives, so the memories came thick and fast of the fun times and the recollections of school life we all had together as friends all those years ago. It was just as though we had never been separated, and had seen each other the week before. This was true for one or two, but for others it was 48 years!
   I attach two photos taken at the house - see how the years have changed those 16-year old boys into distinguished gentlemen of retirement age! Same people but many more miles on the clock!

From left: Andrew Brown, Keith Chaplin, Dennis O'Neill, David Anderson,
Grahame Hadden, John Hutchins and Dave Calderwood.

From left: Andrew Brown, Dave Calderwood, Keith Chaplin, John Hutchins,
Peter Ward (seated), Dennis O'Neill (seated), and David Anderson.

We looked back on our lives and recalled what we had been up to - in 1969 it was all in front of us; in 2018 a lot of it was behind us but there's still a lot to look forward to! From our grammar school education we all had quite different working lives, for example journalist, HGV maintenance, swimming pool management and later supplies, nuclear power station worker, laboratory technician, broadcasting technician, and two in computer work - this, of course, did not exist (to any degree) when we left school! We plan another meeting in New Zealand in 2020. In the meantime, if anyone recognises us and wants to get in contact through The Mill, please do. One friend that is still missing is Michael "Mike" Coppen of Claygate Crescent, New Addington, who cannot be traced, Mike: if you are out there, please come forward! We all wonder what you got up to!
   We were all at JRGS from September 1964 to 1969 or 1970 or 1971; Graham joined us for the sixth form 1970-1971 (I think!). He was friends with KC before coming to Ruskin.
   I hope you all find this interesting and are spurred on to do something similar.

David Anderson, Southampton, Hampshire; June 2018 Email


 Your webmaster reports the sad death of Peter Wilson (JRGS 1956-63)...

Peter WilsonI have just discovered that Peter J. B. Wilson (JRGS 1956-63) - pictured right at the 2009 JRGS Reunion - passed away on 16th October, 2015, aged 72. Born in the Midlands on 25th July, 1943, Peter lived for much of his later life in Guernsey. According to the English Chess Federation website, he was an International Arbiter, Organiser and Candidate Master; he also served as chairman of the FIDE Computer Chess Committee and the Commonwealth Chess Association from 1998-2002, representing Guernsey six times in the Olympiad. After he switched allegiance back to England, while continuing to reside in Guernsey, Peter became ECF Director of Marketing for some years. He also received the President’s Award for Services to Chess in 2014.
   The website states that Peter "excelled at being a match captain and that will be his major chess legacy. He was co-founder of the very highly regarded Mushrooms Club which won the ECF Club of the Year Award in 2008. He represented England in the European Senior Team Championship from 2004 to 2010, captaining one of the teams each time."
   As Peter told The Mill a few year ago, he contracted cancer in 2010, after which his health deteriorated sharply. His wife, Mary, was also an International Chess Arbiter.
   Peter will perhaps be best remembered as founder of Mushrooms Chess Club, with which he remained active for several years until his health began to fail, remaining its Life President. The club was founded 50+ years ago when, under Peter's initiative, Surrey teenagers founded their own club, which reportedly won events by massive margins.

Mel Lambert, Burbank, USA, April 2018 Email

Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) adds: Sad news indeed, but maybe not unexpected. Peter had been unwell for many years. The image shown left is one I snipped from the 1960 school photo. Also note that Peter and Graham Beales ran the JRGS Chess Club for many years and encouraged generations of youngsters in a love of the game. Peter tirelessly organized trips to chess tournaments outside the school, ran lunchtime and after-school sessions, arranged for well-known chess players like England International R. G. (Bob) Wade to take part in simultaneous displays at the school, and promoted high standards by annotating the game records of younger players – it was practice even at school to record complete games with your moves and your opponent’s. I’m sure Peter’s exam results suffered as a result!

ML adds: According to the March 1963 Speech Day Program, Peter secured two A-Levels in Pure and Applied mathematics. He also earned seven O-Levels in 1959, and taught me to play chess in my first year at JRGS.


 Chris Harman (JRGS 1963-69) recalls his school-day musical connections...

I came across The Mill website only recently by chance when searching John Ruskin for other reasons. I found it very interesting and reminiscent. I was at Ruskin from 1963 to 1969: 1N, 3U, 4U, 5U, Lower 6 ScA, Upper 6 ScA. Much to Mr. "Joe" Lowe’s disgust, after going through the U forms I left school at 17 with just one grade E at A-Level, didn’t go to university but did pretty well in financial services and retired at age 58.
   I’ve always lived in Croydon, now in Purley. Last Saturday I went to a concert by the Orato Orchestra, a local amateur orchestra. I was recommended by a friend and I recognised the name of the Musical Director on the advertising flier. Mr. Ian Butterworth, former JRGS music teacher, conducted the school orchestra; he was director of Croydon Schools Music Centre and went on to become Director of the Croydon Music Service. In the concert interval I went up to Ian and said: “You won’t remember me but 50 years ago you conducted me in the John Ruskin School Orchestra”. He said: “Try me. I usually remember people I’ve conducted in orchestras”. I gave him my name and he immediately said “horn”. That’s the instrument I played in the school orchestra. I was amazed at his recollection, but that just shows the passion he had for music and imparting that to youngsters. Ian is now 77 and obviously still doing much to promote music locally. I’ll continue to go to the Orato concerts when I can.
   When I left school I just handed back the instruments I had borrowed - I also learnt the trombone. However, that experience of playing in the orchestra and the Croydon Schools Music Centre under Ian Butterworth gave me a love of music and the sense of belonging when performing with other like-minded people. Apart from going to concerts, after I left school I did nothing actively in music until I was 50 and joined a choir. I’d never sung in earnest before, even at school, but I could still sight read music. After that I’ve never looked back and now sing in two choirs and get the same sense of belonging and excitement of performing with others as I did in the JRGS orchestra.
   Another recent encounter with a JRGS master after about 50 years occurred at one of the Shirley Windmill open days. I went in the information hut and behind the counter was someone I recognised immediately: Mr. Martin Nunn. He didn’t look any different even though I overheard him telling someone he’d just had his 80th birthday. His name label confirmed my original conclusion, but it wasn’t needed. I told him that he was my form master probably 53 years previously but he didn’t remember me. He is obviously a member of The Friends of Shirley Windmill so retains his connection to the old school.

Chris Harman, Purley, Surrey March 2018 Email

Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) adds: I recall being in several classes with Graham Harman (JRGS 1959-66), Chris' elder brother. We shared multiple lessons in 1M with Mr. Kenneth Maggs, 2C with Mr. Anthony Crowe, 3M with Mr. Alan Murray and 5U with Mr. David Rees. Our scholastic paths then diverged, because I went into Lower Sixth Science Beta with Mr. Dennis Green to study Chemistry, Zoology and Physics at A-Level, while Graham went into Lower Sixth Science A to study Pure Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and Physics; we did share lab time, I recall, during the latter practical sessions. Having secured a BSc in Mathematics from Imperial College, London University in 1969, Graham is reported to have worked in the finance industry for several years. Sadly, his exact whereabouts are currently unknown to your webmaster.

Cliff Preddy (JRGS 1963-65) adds: Although I am not currently in touch with Graham Harman, our form master in Lower VI Science A was Mr. Kenneth Cripps; I'm fairly sure that in Upper VI Science our form master was Mr. Leonard Chaundy. Mr. Cripps also took us for Applied Maths in both years, while Mr. Chaundy took us for Physics in both years. As I remember, Graham did very well in exams and was exceptionally conscientious. He was a nice chap, but seemed quite shy
    After a spell in Hertfordshire, my wife and I lived in Croydon near Lloyd Park from 1976 to 2007. I thought I spotted Graham a few times cycling along our road but, although there were small hints of recognition, we never engaged in conversation. I believe he became an actuary, but can’t remember where I heard that.

Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) adds: It’s good to hear that Mr. Martin Nunn and Mr. Ian Butterworth are still going strong. I remember Chris’s brother, Graham, reasonably well, but not socially outside school. Except for the first year, we were in the same forms. In school we had a friendly rivalry to be as close to each other as possible near the top of the maths exams results. Graham went on to study Maths at Imperial College, London University, whilst I went to Durham University. I don’t remember Graham as having any particular friends, but remember him looking out for his younger brother Chris when he started at JR in 1963. It was never easy for “brats” in those days!


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