JRGS News Archive Page 85
JRGS Alumni Society

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- Page 85 - Feb thru Sep 2017 -

JRGS Alumni Society


 Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) reports on the sad death of Anthony Hasler ...

Anthony HaslerI have just heard from his oldest son, Andy, that Anthony John Hasler (JRGS Schoolmaster 1960-72)  - pictured left - sadly passed away on 16th September 2017 "having been suffering from dementia over the past two or so years, with a significant decline over the past nine months."
   A service of thanksgiving to celebrate his life will be held on Tuesday 3rd October, 2017, at 2:00 pm, at Old Coulsdon Congregational Church,  Old Coulsdon, Surrey CR5 1EH. A buffet tea will be served afterwards in the church hall.
   If alumni members wish to mark Anthony’s life, the family respectfully ask that you do not send flowers, but that donations be made to support the work of Alzheimer’s Research UK.
   Donations should be sent to: A.H. Griffin Funeralcare, 167a Lower Blandford Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8DH.
   The attached PDF document has more details.
● Born in 1931, Mr. Hasler joined the school in
January 1960 from Loughborough College, with a D.L.C. (Second Class Hons), an external BSc (Economics) from London University, and a BA from Loughborough University. He departed in the summer of 1972 to join Toldene Primary School and then to St. Luke’s Middle School, Reigate. His interests included double-bass for the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain when he was 17, and the Croydon Symphony Orchestra. He retired in the late 1990s, but was still active in 2009. More

Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, USA; September 2017 Email

Colin Taylor (JRGS 1959-64) adds: Very sad news - I remember him as a nice guy.

Ray Brett (JRGS 1959-66) adds: I was sad to hear of the passing of Anthony Hasler. He had a great impact on the direction of my life. In the sixth form when the school got a trampoline he spent many of his lunch hours coaching myself and another pupil - I believe it was David Orange - and this motivated me to become a physical education teacher. A previous pupil had gone to Madeley College of Education, one of the 10 wing PE colleges, and Mr. Hasler recommended this to me. He was very encouraging and allowed me to assist him in teaching lower form classes during the year in my free periods.
   After finishing college I got a position at Alleyn's School in Dulwich as a PE and mathematics teacher, and had the opportunity to return to JRGS while coaching Alleyn's football team. Mr. Hasler was there and greeted me with: "Brett, how are you?" I was surprised he remembered me.
   I spent a year at Alleyn's and then emigrated to Canada where I have had a long career managing a private athletic and golf club. Attending the School Reunion in 2009 I was pleased that Mr. Hasler was there and I had the opportunity to let him know how much I appreciated what he had done for me at JRGS and the impact he had on the direction of my life.


 Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) reports on Palace appointment for Roy Hodgson...

News broke yesterday/12th September that Roy Hodgson (JRGS 1958-65) (pictured right) has been named as the new manager at Crystal Palace FC, to replace Frank de Boer after just four Premier League games in charge of the club. As The Independent reported, the former England manager is ready to step in after being out of work for 15 months, and "is set to become the latest former England manager to take over at Selhurst Park after chairman Steve Parish's patience with Dutchman De Boer wore out." According to a news item, "De Boer was working with limited resources and a squad that had been thinned out by those above him."
   The 70-year-old has not coached in the Premier League since leaving West Bromwich Albion, and he is expected to sign a deal to take him through to the end of the 2018/19 season. According to The Sun, he is set for a £1million "survival bonus" if he keeps The Eagles in the Premier League. And The Mail has reported that the new manager has been offered a two-year contract worth £2.5m-per-season.

   And this article in The Independent written by Richard Edwards - who contacted your Webmaster for information about other football-playing JRGS alumni - includes an interview with John Walker (JRGS 1958-65), a contemporary of Roy's.

Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, USA; September 2017 Email

Karl Wingett Smith (JRGS 1946–1951) adds: Hmmm! I reckon Roy has quite a task ahead for him. The last time I attended a Palace game was during my time at JRGS; at that time they were at the bottom of the Third Division with likelihood of relegation to the Fourth. Is history repeating himself?
   Let's hope that Roy Hodgson can work some of his magic close to home ground. Wouldn't CES have been proud, but would have done his damndest not to show it. Good luck to him.


 Cliff Preddy (JRGS 1963-65) recalls schoolmasters from his time at the school...

Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) and I were in touch recently. I mentioned that we were fortunate to have been taught by three particular masters - Messrs. Pearce, Chaundy and Cripps - when we were A-Level students together at JRGS in the two school years 63/64 and 64/65. Paul agreed and suggested I write down for The Mill a few fond and grateful memories.
   My pre-JRGS school background was different from the many boys who spent the whole of their secondary education at JRGS. My family emigrated from the New Addington council estate to Canada at the end of what would now be Year 5 of Primary School, returning to Croydon (as a result of my mother’s homesickness) during what would now be Year 8. Hence I missed the 11-plus. As a result, during my six years at UK secondary schools I experienced a mixture of what was on offer at the time: one year at a boy's secondary modern in Central Croydon; three years at a co-educational “selective secondary” (John Newnham, after the 13+ examination); and two years at grammar school (JRGS). Whilst at John Newnham my family returned to live in New Addington.
   The time at the secondary modern in Croydon was tough. The staff were mostly trying hard to do the right thing, but there were fights at almost every break with a lot of bullying, and the cane and corporal punishment book was on a continuous circuit of the form rooms. By way of contrast, John Newnham was lovely. The fact that it was mixed was a civilising influence; the cane was rarely used; and the school did an excellent job of preparing students for O-Level GCE. During my last year at John Newnham, a full inspection led to a recommendation that the school should become a grammar school with a sixth form.
   However, the re-organisation that took place soon after meant that this never came to pass. The boys in my cohort at John Newnham had a choice of applying for Selhurst Grammar or JRGS if they wished to stay at school for the sixth form. We largely opted for JRGS, and I found myself being taught mathematics and physics by these three excellent teachers at JRGS.
   David Larman (JRGS 1953-60) has pipped me to the post in singing the praises of Mr. Ronald Douglas Pearce, pictured left. It is hard to do justice to the positive influence that I feel RDP had on me and my prospects. During my first week in the Lower Sixth he set what he referred to as “copious examples” for private study. Unlike the rest of my group, I took him at face value and spent hours doing the lot. After handing them in for marking I was alarmed when, the following lunchtime, a much younger boy came up to me and said, “Puncher wants to see you”. With some trepidation I eventually found him and was mightily relieved when it was actually some praise that he wanted to pass on. This raised my confidence and motivation enormously for the courses ahead.
   In an environment where there must have been a lot of pressure to conform, RDP seemed very much his own man, doing things his way. In the classroom he was energetic, entertaining and inspirational. This may not mean much to alumni who studied arts subjects, but I can still recall the lesson where he exposed us excitedly to what he called the “remarkable result” that links the five most important symbols of mathematics (1, 0, π, e and i).
   Around this time it became possible to take three maths A-Levels (Pure, Applied and Further). RDP encouraged me to sit Pure Maths after four terms and take the other two, alongside Physics, in term 6. Rather like David Larman’s special lunchtime lessons, RDP laid on special sessions for Ian Davies, Ian Castro (who had just been accepted at Cambridge) and me so that the three of us could take the new Further Maths exam. (The extra studies in the sixth form meant that I had already been exposed to many of the topics that appeared during the first year of the undergraduate course at Bristol).
   Mr. Leonard Walter Chaundy (pictured right) took us for physics for the whole of the A-Level course. This was largely text-book driven with a bit of practical thrown in, but supported by sessions of the Scientific Society where external guests came in to speak. For example, somebody from Mullards gave us a talk and demonstration on lasers, which were novel technology at the time. However, my main memories of Mr. Chaundy are in the areas of what would now be seen as one-to-one careers and relationship advice. He told me about the lucrative opportunities in the actuarial profession for mathematicians, but this was not a path that appealed to me when the time came. I still chuckle over his personal advice to “marry a woman who can teach you to hold your knife and fork properly”. This was advice I did take! He probably had the council-estate background in mind.
  Mr. Kenneth Cripps (pictured left) was our Applied Maths teacher. I believe that he had only recently come into teaching after many years in industry or government research, so he was able to pass on different experience from some of the other masters. [He joined JRGS in January 1960 from Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar School - ML.] After one batch of work that I handed in he told me that I had “got there in the end, but with feet of clay”; this encouraged me to look for more elegant solutions to mathematical problems whenever I could.
   The other masters that stand out in my memory are Messrs Murray, Lowe, Woodard, Smith and Graham. There have been many tributes to Mr. Murray since our webmaster set up The Mill site, and I came across his special qualities when attending 15 Society meetings.
   In the Sixties there was a lot of talk about C. P. Snow’s ideas regarding the split between two separate cultures: humanities and science. Our headmaster, Mr. John Christopher Lowe took this to heart and tried really hard to see that we all spent some time bridging the gap. He ran some sessions in the dining room for the whole of the sixth form that included readings from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam by Edward Fitzgerald, and the code of practice of the Guild of St George. I assume he chose to talk about the Guild because it had been set up by John Ruskin. Many of us found the content hard going. Sadly, attendances dipped as the weeks went by, but the head’s heart had been very much in the right place.
   Mr. Ronald Woodard ran English classes for sixth formers not studying the subject for A-Level, and some of us took a Use Of English examination at the end of our time at JRGS. In my case this may have been the course that turned out to be of the most practical use for the longest time.

Mr. Murray Mr. Lowe Mr. Woodard Mr. Smith Mr. Graham

  I played football for the First Eleven in both of my years at JRGS, and was team captain in the Upper Sixth. Ian Paye was captain during my Lower Sixth, and I found myself playing alongside other older boys such as Michael Noakes, Stuart Smith and Rod Simmons when they were taking a term of third-year-sixth (for Oxbridge entrance exams?). During my time in the Upper Sixth, quite astonishingly with hindsight, the First Eleven that I played with on Wednesdays included Roy Hodgson, Bob Houghton, Lennie (Rob) Lawrence and Steve Kember. (Steve was the stand-out player. He was younger than the rest of us, but debuted for the First Eleven whilst a fourth former! Barry Tyler, an outstanding athlete and games player in the year below me, was a first-team regular from fifth form onwards.)
   Some of the Wednesday side - including Roy - had Saturday jobs and were unavailable for the Saturday first team, but both sides were strong. We only lost one game all season in 64/65 - the final one against the Old Boys when I messed up checking availability and we only had nine players. Mr. Charles Smith was not a happy man! He and Mr. Neville Graham did a remarkable job of coaching highly successful JRGS and Croydon Schools’ representative teams. It must have been beyond their wildest imagination that during this brief period they were passing on skills and ideas to four future, top-level managers of England, several other international sides, clubs that reached European finals, and Premier League Clubs.

   At 18, I mostly fantasised about playing for England at football, perhaps occasionally about becoming a renowned academic - but my working life took a different direction. I gave up Maths after taking a BSc and MSc at Bristol University, and was taken on as the first graduate recruit by a start-up software company called Logica. This was a case of being in the right place at the right time; when I left in my late-Forties Logica employed thousands and operated around the world. The last 15 years or so of my career were spent in what has come to be known as “portfolio mode”, acting in non-executive roles at a number of IT companies. I retired completely from business in 2013 and am enjoying a quieter life that doesn’t involve putting on a suit most mornings.
   Incidentally, when my family returned from Canada I attended several different schools, and between Year 6 and leaving school we lived in six different flats or houses. First, we lived for a year with grandparents in Northcote Road, Croydon, whilst waiting to move up the council-house lists. We were then briefly given a council flat in Laurel Crescent, Shrublands  - the scene of a recent dreadful attack on an immigrant - followed by transfers to council houses in New Addington, first in Headley Drive, and later in Wyndham Avenue. Before going to Canada we lived in one of the last houses in King Henry's Drive before you leave the estate in the direction of Biggin Hill.

Cliff Preddy, Maldon, Essex; May 2017 Email

John Walker (JRGS 1958–1965) adds: I don't really remember Cliff, but what a great piece he posts, rekindling many a memory in an affectionate and accurate way!

Karl Wingett Smith (JRGS 1946–1951) adds: Elsewhere on The Mill I have written some of my JRGS memories about being taught Pure Maths by Mr. "Puncher" Pearce and Mr. Ronald Alexander; Physics by Mr. Chaundy; Applied Maths by Mr. Stanley Evans; English by Messrs. "Wally" Cracknell and George Manning; French by Mr. Jerry Myers (later head of John Newnham School); and History by Mr. "Stinker" Cresswell (so-named because he wore that rare thing in those days, a men's cologne!).
   Those were quite remarkable days in my life that I didn't really appreciate at the time. Nevertheless, I went on to use most of my early JRGS education throughout my 62 working years and finally retired shortly after turning 80. I still miss the companionship and leg pulling of most of those years, too.
   My contemporaries included Terry Morris, Owen Everson, Anthony Nye and Roy Baldwin (who later also taught at Ruskin).
   As Bob Wane (JRGS 1945-53) remarked, I spent most of my time in the aircraft industry, beginning at Handley Page. I also taught Maths as a part-time lecturer at Hatfield Polytechnic, St. Albans College, full-time at RAF Halton and RAF College, Cranwell. I also did a stint or two as a visiting lecturer at Cranfield University and, on their behalf, at the Embraer Aircraft firm in Brazil. And I attribute all of this to the grounding received from the JRGS staff I named, plus most of the others whom I didn't!
   I was also most interested to see the images from the Biggin Hill Airshow because aviation has been a lifetime passion. I grew up in Croydon, where my father and godfather (married to sisters) both worked for Imperial Airways (now British Airways), where my godfather was a founder employee and their first-ever chief inspector). They met two or three times every week and largely talked shop, so my joining the industry was a natural progression.
   Handley Page subsidised some of its employees to learn to fly and I was one of the lucky ones, receiving a subsidy to do so at Croydon Airport with the Surrey Flying Club. When Croydon closed, the club made a sort of formation flight over the town with two or three Tiger Moths, a Hornet Moth and a Leopard Moth, in which I was a passenger. Incidentally, these planes were all De Havilland products, unlike the VC10 shown at Biggin Hill, which was built by Vickers at Weybridge, Surrey. My private flying days came to a virtual end with the arrival of our first child.
   Now retired, I have a couple of projects, working as under gardener to my wife and - when she gives me the time - on the restoration of another Surrey-built car: a 1949 AC two-litre saloon from Thames Ditton.
   So, that's how time passes and I rather grieve for the passing of the entire team who contributed so much to my foundation education. Mr. Charles Smith was the last of those who taught me; I loved his self-deprecating comment that some thought him "somewhat to the right of Attila the Hun", of whom I was one. Mr. Whellock was the last survivor of that period but he didn't teach me.
   My regards to Bob Wane; he can be reassured that I do remember him well from our maths days at college - also his unusual OHV pull-rod engine that was supposed to assist his daily cycle ride from Norbury. In those years I was a keen motorcyclist, which proved one of the best ways of getting around London - except when one had a full week of rain and never put on a dry coat!


 David Larman (JRGS 1953-60) recalls his schooldays and time as a teacher...

As well as attending John Ruskin Grammar School during the late Fifties, I also taught mathematics there whilst I was waiting to go to University College, London. I also came back to give the speech at prize-giving day in the 1970s. I remember the fund raising campaign to obtain an organ for the school. Is it still there?
   My father was manager of the New Addington Woolworth store and we lived above the shop. I became Professor of Mathematics at University College London and Head of the Department of Mathematics at UCL; I am still there although officially retired. in 1973 I was awarded the Junior Berwick Prize of the National (London) Mathematical society for being the best young mathematician in Britain.
   I believe that I still have my school prefect’s badge somewhere.
   I was brilliantly taught by Mr. Ronald David "Puncher" Pearce. We knew him as RDP from his signature for house points; I still have his photograph on my bookcase.
   I recall a dummy being hung by students from one of the windmill blades and the caretaker having great difficulty in getting it down.
   It was good to see the website and recall memories of my teachers. Mr. Pearce was a brilliant maths teacher. He could see that I was talented at mathematics - despite coming from New Addington - and hence gave me special math lessons during lunch times at the school. His contribution to my career was enormous and enhanced my role at UCL. Mr. J. C. "Joe" Lowe was headmaster and Mr. "Sam" Chaundy head of physics. I recall sending Mr. Lowe an eskimo carving from Vancouver, Canada, to celebrate his retirement in July, 1973, after 27 years at JRGS.

David Larman, London; May 2017 Email

ML adds: I found the above image of David Larman on his Facebook page.
   Staying with the New Addington theme for a moment, the following images of a cricket match and carnival parade were taken on the council housing estate in the Sixties by Nick Anderson, who attended John Newnham Secondary Modern School with my sister, Lesley, for two years in 1964-66; his family then moved to Kent. Nick's father worked as a night-shift foreman at DIAC (Aircraft) Ltd, a light-engineering company on the local factory estate that also employed my father until his untimely death in 1975.
   Nick tells me: "We used to walk from 433 King Henry's Drive to The White Bear public house; even though I was a youngster I loved that walk, and the bottle of pop + packet of salt and shake Smith's crisps with the twist of salt. Halcyon definitely but only realised as you get older.
   "I find it amazing that people are interested in these New Addington photographs, but New Addington was a little village in its own right. Scouting ran through my veins and school life; I used to meet scouting mates that went to Fairchildes School. My old scout group in New Addington packed up in the mid-Nineties. In 1987 John Newnham ceased to exist, about the same time as the college I attended was knocked down. My university is still going, so I'm not a complete Jonah."
   Click on any thumbnail to view a larger version.

Bowled out during what Nick recalls was a staff cricket match of DIAC employees in the mid-Sixties.

The match continues on the Milne Park playing fields.

A carnival procession through New Addington ...

... probably during the mid- to late-Sixties, from the vehicle types and "C" license-plate letter.

My best guess is that the parade was along the southern end of King Henry's Drive close to Arnhem Drive.

Bob Hyslop (JRGS 1953-59) adds: After reading this new website entry I went checking using a 1958 Speech Day Programme I've kept since then. I noticed The Mill doesn't have a copy on the site and so I'll forward a scanned version. [It is now available here - ML.]
   I think that David Larman started at JRGS in 1952 and not 1953. From the 1956 Speech Day Programme we note that "Harry" Cockman was in IIIW, along with myself, but in 1958 he's with David Larman in LVI, while I'm still recorded as being in VP. "Harry" had joined with me in 1R in September 1953 at Tamworth Road. (He alone had been privately educated and it took us four years to catch him up!)
   One ghoulish note intrudes into my memory. I sat at the back in 1R (Mr. Richardson) and the windows overlooked a warehouse roof. Why of interest? On 2 November 1952 Christopher Craig (aged 16) and Derek Bentley (aged 19) were breaking into those premises when spotted by a young girl living opposite - and who later became a close friend of my wife. She told her father who went to a nearby call-box and summoned the police. They arrested Bentley but, before Craig was arrested, he had shot and killed PC Miles. Both were tried and under-age Craig went to prison, while Bentley was hanged in Jan 1953. So you can imagine what our view on the world evoked - and not only in us.
   The late Terence Morris - and John Ruskin old boy - wrote "The Criminal Area: A Study in Urban" (1966) based on earlier research inspired by the crime in his hometown's history; he was a life-time opponent of the death penalty. As Terence was born in July 1931 he must have been there when John Ruskin passed from being a central school to being a grammar school. I don't know whether he's included in any list of notable JRGS Old Boys but he certainly should be.

ML adds: Nick Anderson also supplied the following images taken at the Biggin Hill Airshow in the mid-Sixties. And, yes, I was also an avid "Aircraft Anorak" during that period, constructing many Airfix and Revell models.
   Click on any thumbnail to view a larger version.

Biggin Hill Airshow - mid-Sixties

Biggin Hill Airshow - mid-Sixties

Biggin Hill Airshow - mid-Sixties

One of the UK's trio of V-Force bombers - Avro Vulcan | More | Operation Black Buck in Falklands Islands, 1982

Biggin Hill Airshow - mid-Sixties

Biggin Hill Airshow - mid-Sixties

Biggin Hill Airshow - mid-Sixties

A Vulcan with wheels down

 North American F-100 SuperSabres?

Hawker Hunters?

Biggin Hill Airshow - mid-Sixties

Biggin Hill Airshow - mid-Sixties

Biggin Hill Airshow - mid-Sixties

English Electric Canberras?

De Havilland VC10 or RAF version?

BAC Jet Provost trainers?

And finally, only because it's such a good image, here is a Sixties color slide from Nick Anderson of a Bristol Bloodhound surface-to-air missile - "Blokes with binocular cases and interested boys, often clambering over equipment to get up close," as Nick points out. Developed during the 1950s as the UK's main air-defense weapon, according to Wikipedia it was in large-scale service with the Royal Air Force, and the forces of four other countries, including Australia.
   Part of the UK's defense posture, Bloodhound was intended to protect the RAF V-Bomber bases to preserve the deterrent force by attacking foreign aircraft that made it past the Lightning interceptor force. Bloodhound Mk. I entered service in December 1958, the first British guided weapon to enter full operational service. The entire defense was to be handed to a longer-range missile codenamed Blue Envoy, but when this was ultimately cancelled, parts of its design migrated to Bloodhound Mk. II, which replaced the original version from 1964.
   A relatively advanced missile for its time, with two ramjets and four solid-fuel primary boosters, the Mk. II was roughly comparable to the United States' Nike Hercules in terms of range and performance, but using an advanced continuous-wave semi-active radar homing system, as well as a digital computer for fire control. The last Mk. II missile squadron stood down in July 1991, although Swiss examples remained operational until 1999.
   Incidentally, the Biggin Hill Air Fair was started in 1963 by former RAF squadron leader Jock Maitland, who opened RAF Biggin Hill as a civil airport, to promote the site as an up-and-coming facility.
   Sadly, the fair ended in 2010. More

Bristol Bloodhound missile

However, Biggin Hill Festival of Flight returns on the 19th and 20th of August, 2017; the fourth year of the show in its new guise has been extended to two days, and this year celebrates the airport's centenary. The flying display line-up includes the Belgian F-16 and the Patrouille de France aerobatic team, together with participation by the Czech Air Force, The Red Arrows, Typhoon and Wingwalkers, the Great War display team. More


 Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) reports on his post-Ruskin teaching experience...

In response to a recent enquiry from Carole Roberts (JRHS 1974-78), who joined the school in its first year of the comprehensive intake and, incidentally, was looking for more information on music teacher Mr. Vernon Rees, I have been thinking back to my time as a teacher in a secondary school, and the role we played prior to and during the examination process.
   After A-levels, I went to Durham University for a Maths degree. I then did a Post Graduate Certificate of Education and taught in two London schools – one primary (1970-73) and one secondary (1976-91) until 1991, when I left the teaching profession to work in local government.
   While grammar schools that selected pupils according to success in passing the 11-plus exam were phased out in 1965, and replaced – along with secondary modern schools - with a comprehensive system, the government has been looking at re-introducing then in England. (Recall that during the 1950s and 1960s, Labour politicians and educationalists argued that the selective education system reinforced class divisions and middle-class privilege; today, out of approximately 3,000 state secondary schools, there are only some 163 grammar schools in England 69 in Northern Ireland - there are no state grammar schools in Wales or Scotland, and, although some retain the name, they are non-selective and have no special educational status.)
   The quickest changes away from grammar schools occurred in Labour-controlled areas, while strongly Conservative counties moved slowly if at all. For example, several local authorities in England – including Kent, Medway, Buckinghamshire and Lincolnshire - retained largely selective schools systems, others now have a mixture. In other areas that were otherwise fully comprehensive – including Birmingham, Bournemouth and some London boroughs – a few grammar schools survived. (The Labour governments' 1998 School Standards and Framework Act prevents the establishment of any new all-selective schools, and provided provisions for local ballots on the future of existing grammar schools. In 2000, Ripon, North Yorkshire, voted 67% to 33% in favour of keeping Ripon Grammar as a grammar school. )
   Labour still opposes the creation of more grammar schools, arguing that instead of improving equality, they make it worse. Conservatives party support for grammar schools was considered lukewarm under previous prime minister David Cameron, but its current manifesto states that the party will allow all good schools to expand “whether they are maintained schools, academies, free schools or grammar schools.” Liberal Democrats would maintain the status quo, rather than opening any more or closing any existing grammar schools.
   For many years I was exams officer at the secondary school where I taught; prior to that the exams officer was a colleague I knew and trusted. In the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and still today, to a lesser extent, many CSE and GCSE syllabi - especially arts and practical subjects; not so much science, and never maths - had a large component, often worth 50% of the total marks, of coursework set by the exam boards, assessed by the member of staff teaching the subject.
   The assessed marks were externally moderated by sending samples to an external examiner, but it was relatively easy for the member of staff teaching the subject to get too involved in the “doing” to such an extent that the finished coursework was significantly better than the pupils would have achieved on their own.
   Obviously, the line to be crossed was rather subjective, and creating good staff-pupil working relationships is not only good in itself, but was part of the whole ethos of examined coursework. None the less, in my view and that of others, some staff did cross that line. I don’t recall anything blatant in the school I taught at, but it does happen – see this for an example.

Paul Graham, Iver, Bucks; May 2017 Email


Ian Butterworth (JRGS/JRHS master 1963-80) reports on sad death of Dr. James...

As reported in a recent edition of The South Wales Evening Post, Dr. Thomas Terry James passed away on 22nd October, aged 83, in his native Wales, with a Service of Thanksgiving held on 5th of November at St. Peter's Church, Carmarthen. Dr. James joined the school in September 1965 from Selhurst Grammar School for Boys, and departed in July 1973. He lived in Los Angeles for several years, writing film music, but returned to South Wales in later years.

Dr. Terry James - 1971

Pictured in 1971

A recent image

Born in Kidwelly, Dr. James lived on the outskirts of Carmarthen at Cwmffrwd and in Ferryside, along with London - where, reportedly, he lived at The Savoy hotel for almost 15 years - along with time in Los Angeles. His later years were spent living in Bolahaul Road, Carmarthen.

   This is the front page of the Order of Service for his Memorial Service held after a private funeral; I hope that The Alumni can make out the wonderful caricature of Terry conducting. We had kept in contact over the years and I know that he had been unwell for some time.
   When I was Terry's assistant at Ruskin there was never a dull moment, and the impact he had on the school was tremendous. Through his enthusiasm and training we were able to perform such works as Mozart's Requiem and Carl Orff's Carmina Burana His performances on the organ during assemblies - ranging from Handel to improvisations on Beatles tunes - always raised a smile. Terry and Alan Murray were great friends, and I regard it as a privilege to have know two such wonderful people during those days at Ruskin.
   As reported in The South Wales Evening Post, Dr. James first made his name in the world of classical music as a composer and conductor at London's famous venues, including The Albert Hall and T he Festival Hall. However, he is perhaps better known outside the classical world as a composer for film and television, having worked with some of Hollywood's biggest stars, including Michael Douglas, Jodie Foster and Kris Kristofferson. While in London he was appointed musical director of the Eldorado Operatic Society.
   One of his finest hours was conducting the London Welsh Choir when they appeared on Sunday Night at the Palladium, and the Massed Choirs at the St. David's Day celebrations at the Royal Albert Hall. He was also director of the popular TV programme Land of Song for two years, and has written incidental music for films and documentaries. He recorded for Decca, Delyse, EMI and Qualition.
   I wrote this memory of his days with the school back in March 2006, including archive photographs taken of the School Choir & Orchestra from March and May 1971.

Ian Butterworth, February 2017 Email

Colin Peckham (JRGS 1967-73): A Channel Four Wales/S4C video tribute in Welsh can be found on Facebook. It contains various silent video footage from TV interviews, plus Dr. James playing the piano at home.

Paul Johnson (JRGS 1965-73) adds: I was really very sad to hear the news, as "Docco" was ... well ... just "Docco", a massive character and a quite unique person and teacher.
   I was particularly grateful to Dr. James. One of my first encounters with him was the "disguised" auditions for the school choir. Many will remember arriving in their first year, and the whole class taking it in turns to stand up and sing the first verse of "Once in Royal David's City", and afterwards being told whether or not they were in the school choir. That determined your JRGS choral fate!
   It was both pointless - and dangerous - to try the "But I don't want to be the choir, sir" line; some tried, but few were successful. I'd been singing from the age of eight, so I was dutifully signed up. Never looked back, actually.
   I was musically unremarkable, not being an instrumentalist. At the end of the first-year exams, in which I managed to blag second in form, I was interviewed by "Docco" and Mr. Ian Butterworth, to find out if, indeed, I did play anything. I proudly told them that I played descant recorder, but that everyone did! Amazingly, they put in a special item for me at the next school concert, with couple of established and senior woodwind players, and I proudly played my descant recorder. The programme of that March 1967 concert is on The Mill website.
   "Docco" was unique. Many teachers kept a slipper or some other means of punishment in their cupboards, but his was a de-strung cello bow! I often saw him wave it around as a threat, but am not sure I ever saw him use it in anger! It was rumoured - and is most likely apocryphal - that he handed in his resignation to Mr. Lowe more than most teachers, largely due to his unorthodox approach. I well remember "Joe" waxing lyrical in assembly with Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem, Ring Out Wild Bells. "Docco", apparently, had picked up the bell used to call us into the dining hall - but was normally kept behind the organ stool at the back of the school - and was making a play to the sixth form at ringing the bell, whilst being very careful to hold the clapper still. Until, that is, he put it down again, just as "Joe" had given us a stanza of "Ring out Wild Bells". Uproar ensued, and I suspect another resignation letter written.
   Others will have many, many more stories. Overwhelmingly, I'll choose to remember a unique teacher who, along with Mr. Butterworth, gave me a lifelong love of music. And I guess that was exactly what they set out to do. RIP Docco.

ML adds; The Latin motto on the Order of Service included above - "Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis" - translates as follow: "Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them." A fitting tribute, I suggest. (Incidentally, for the Latin translation I used Eprevodilac.com.)

Paul Johnson replies: Have been further Googling Dr. James, and I don't think I'd realised just how fortunate I'd been to be taught music by this man, who many thought had a screw or two loose. I found this entry from The University of Scranton, Pennsylvania, on the occasion of his receiving a Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa degree in May 1988, and which includes a tribute: "For some composers, and Terry James is one of these, music is a reaching out in love. This helps explain why his composition for Julius Caeser: A Work in Progress is more than a supremely effective piece of theatrical music: it is eminently capable of standing alone, as are all of his compositions. Just one of the many amazing things I found. He also has a Wiki entry ... but it's in Welsh!


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