JRGS News Archive Page 84
JRGS Alumni Society

Archived News/Activities

- Page 84 - Oct thru Dec 2016 -

JRGS Alumni Society

   

Lack of space prevents our including the following items on the main News Page, but here are some interesting
events/comments from the past several months.
   

 Max Alan Zoller unearths a unique form prize awarded to his grandfather...

JRGS Metalwork Certificate

Although I now live in Italy, I used to reside in Selsdon. While looking through my collection of Richard Crompton's William books I found this tucked inside.
   Apparently, in 1934 my grandfather, Alan Zoller, who attended the school during the Thirties while it was located in Scarbrook Road, Croydon, had won the book, "William in Trouble," as a third-form prize for metalwork. The flyleaf is signed by the school's second headmaster, Arthur William McLeod (JRGS 1934-46), who had recently joined the school.
   I thought I'd share!

Max Alan Zoller, Viareggio, Italy; December 2016 Email

 

 Terry Weight (JRGS 1959-65) reports on a recent mini-reunion in London...

As encouraged by our webmaster, here is a recent photo of a few of the 1959 JRGS intake.
   In this photo (from left to right): myself; Peter Baron (JRGS 1959-66); Tony Charles (JRGS 1959-65); and Brian Dyer (JRGS 1959-66). It was taken on 7th of December in central London.

    This has become a regular annual get together, at least our fourth. We meet up near Leicester Square for drinks and a meal ... suddenly five hours have passed and it is time to go home again. What happens in between is slightly a mystery - in the sense that it begs the question what we have to talk about for so long after all this time - but very enjoyable. Crystal Palace, of course, gets a mention since we were all keen footballers and note the new England manager is ex-CP, thereby maintaining the Croydon connection.
   As you can see, we are all pretty well despite some aspects of age creeping up on us!
   Both Tony and I managed great trips to New Zealand this autumn, although Tony managed to meet up with Colin Taylor (JRGS 1959-64) in Rotorua; Colin and his wife Sandy having been living in NZ for many years. In the photo to be found here, you can see Tony, Sandy (Colin’s wife), Dorn (Tony’s wife) and Colin.
   Best wishes to everyone for the New Year!

Terry Weight, Herefordshire; December 2016 Email

    

 Graham Donaldson (JRGS 1962-69) reports on a visit to the Shetland Isles...

I think one of my most abiding memories of this year was a trip to the furthest-flung part of our Island Kingdom, namely the Shetland Islands. I've travelled pretty well extensively around Britain, and done a number of European rail tours, so I thought there was nothing really spectacular in these islands that I hadn't seen - but I'd reckoned without Shetland. Indeed, our Railway Touring Company leader said much the same.
   It's surprisingly green - unlike the Outer Hebrides, which struck me as rather bleak - and some of the coastal scenery is just outstanding, with very few visitors. There are rock stacks, caves and natural arches carved out by the sea in abundance - the geography field trip to end them all! Mr. "Paddy" Peacock would have had us drawing Annotated Sketches all day, but fortunately a digital camera does the job much quicker!
   The visit took place in late June - just after the referendum! - and the weather was superb. Shetland actually clocking up more hours of sunshine that month than anywhere else in Britain. And, of course, it never really gets dark that far north, just what they call the "Summer Dim" between about midnight and 03.00 hours. (A bit different this time of year though, when it barely gets daylight).

 

   This picture shows the coast in an area of Shetland's North Mainland known as Esha Ness. If it looks familiar to British TV viewers, I'm pretty sure this was one of the locations used in filming the BBC Crime drama series Shetland, broadcast early in 2016. This would tally as there is a large cafeteria nearby - a rarity in the Northern Isles - that would have been able to cater for the cast and film crew.
   Thanks, as always for the webmaster's work on The Mill.

Graham Donaldson, South Croydon, Surrey; December 2016 Email.

  

 John Byford (JRGS 1959-66) reports on a recent visit to Amsterdam...

I'm not long back from Amsterdam, where I attended some of the events and exhibitions forming part of Let it keep secrets, which is a series of exhibitions, lectures and performances celebrating the early work of the writer, visual artist, critic and publisher Michael Gibbs (1949-2009). The festival, lasting two months, has been planned and curated by Michael's widow, Eva Gonggripp (an artist in her own right), Gerrit Jan de Rook (artist and critic) and Jan Voss (artist and bookseller, Boekie Woekie). The festival website covers all aspects of the events, with a news section that is updated regularly.
   All or nothing and other pages, a book edited by Gerrit Jan de Rook and Andrew Wilson (Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary British Art at the Tate London), was published in November by Uniform books. It consists of a selection of Michael's work brought together from journals that he edited and published, as well as articles from journals for which he wrote regular columns. In addition to many illustrative examples of his work, there are a series of biographical pieces, including one from this writer on Michael's early life. More on the book here.
   Over the course of a long weekend, I visited the exhibition at the Soledad Senlle Art Foundation, which also financially supported the festival, an evening at the WG Kunst art space that included newly developed performance works by young artists and rare screenings of Michael's performance works. I also made a short presentation about Michael's early life, including his time at John Ruskin, at the artist-friends event at the Boekie Woekie bookshop. More.
   It was a splendid weekend for so many people young and old, some of whom only knew Michael through his work. Yet everyone I spoke to was full of admiration for his achievements and the inspiration that he has been to many. In January 2010, I reported on Michaels' death and his schooldays at JRGS in a recent posting here for The Mill.

John Byford, Camberwell, London; November 2016 Email

 

 Nigel Ellis (JRGS 1968-1970) unearths several A-Level papers from 1970...

Much to my surprise, my wife found my GCE A-Level papers from June 1970; I thought they had long since made their final journey in the back of a Croydon Council dustcart! I can remember the effort that went into the exams in English Language, History an Economics, and was happy not to repeat the process!
   I wonder how many boys sat in the school hall straining to recall the wise words of teachers such as Messrs Murray, Rowlands and Cracknell? I have attached the papers should they be of an interest to The Alumni. Click on any thumbnail to view a lager version.

^ English Literature 1:
 Chaucer and Shakespeare

English Literature 1:
 Chaucer and Shakespeare

English Literature 1:
 Chaucer and Shakespeare

English Literature 1:
 Chaucer and Shakespeare

^ English Literature 2:
Set Books

English Literature 2:
Set Books

English Literature 2:
Set Books

English Literature 2:
Set Books

English Literature 2:
Set Books

English Literature 2:
Set Books

English Literature 2:
Set Books

English Literature 2:
Set Books

English Literature 2:
Set Books

English Literature 2:
Set Books

English Literature 2:
Set Books

English Literature 2:
Set Books

^ English Literature 3:
Comprehension

English Literature 3:
Comprehension

English Literature 3:
Comprehension
English Literature 3:
Comprehension

^ History 1:
 English History

History 1:
 English History

History 1:
 English History

History 1:
 English History

History 1:
 English History

History 1:
 English History

History 1:
 English History

History 1:
 English History

^ History 2:
 European History

History 2:
 European History

History 2:
 European History

History 2:
 European History

History 2:
 European History

History 2:
 European History

History 2:
 European History

^ History 3:
 Special Subject

History 3:
 Special Subject

History 3:
 Special Subject

History 3:
 Special Subject

History 3:
 Special Subject

History 3:
 Special Subject

History 3:
 Special Subject

History 3:
 Special Subject

History 3:
 Special Subject

^ Economics 1

Economics 1

^ Economics 2

Economics 2

 PDF version of English Literature 1 | PDF version of English Literature2 | PDF version of History1 |
PDF version of History2 | PDF version of History3 | PDF version of Economics1 | PDF version of Economics2

These are multi-page PDFs of the seven O-Levels I took two years earlier in June 1968 at John Newnham. (I also passed British Constitutional History O-Level at JRGS, but there is no sign of the paper as yet.)

PDF of Biology Paper

PDF of English Language1

PDF of English Language2

PDF of English Literature Paper

PDF of French Paper

PDF of Geography1 Paper

PDF of Geography2 Paper

PDF of History Paper

PDF of Religious Knowledge

Incidentally, I transferred from the former John Newnham Secondary Selective School in 1968 to join the JRGS sixth form for A-Levels and then, instead of going to university, I worked as a reporter on the Croydon Advertiser Group. We were indentured for three years in those days. First I was on its papers covering Epsom, Banstead and Leatherhead, then in Croydon, including several years on the news desk, which was probably the most fun time of a varied career, none of which was really a proper job!
   I had a few months as chief reporter of the Beckenham and Bromley papers before going to the GLC as a press officer in the days of Ken Livingstone. After that I joined the Ministry of Defense as an army press officer in the North West, which is why we now live in Preston. There are not many people who can say they worked for Ken Livingstone on the Friday and a Major General the following Monday!
   After six months secondment in the Falkland Islands – July 1987 to January 1988 – I returned to the Central Office of Information, the Government’s regional press office in Manchester, where I stayed until early retirement in 2010. It was long hours sometimes, especially the night shifts during the first Gulf War, but brilliant jobs. At COI I looked after dozens of Ministers – from Michael Heseltine to John Prescott and was involved in major events such as the Cumbria floods (twice), Commonwealth Games and much else besides. Those were the days! You had to get out and meet people which was great, the media was full of characters then, not rely on social media.
   Life now is centered around my family. We have four grandsons which means quite a bit of time spent standing on muddy touchlines and a static caravan on Anglesey where we retreat to as often as we can
. More.
   These O- and A-Level examination papers are ©1968 and ©1970 University of London. All rights reserved.

Nigel Ellis, Preston, Lancashire; November 2016 Email

    

 Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) reports on meeting Jim Thomas in Long Beach...

On the 12th of October my partner and I travelled to Long Beach, some 30 miles south of where we live in Burbank, to meet up with Jim Thomas (JRGS 1959-65) and his wife Lynn. The pair were over for a three-week sojourn across the United States, traveling primarily by train - a trip they had been planning to take for several years. The excursion comprised some 34 individuals, including a tour manager; the majority or the participants were from the UK plus two from Holland.
   The trip started in New York on Tuesday, 27th of September, and after two days in the Big Apple journeyed to Washington DC by train, spending two nights in the nation's capitol. Their journey continued via an overnight train trip to Chicago and then on Day 9 to Denver, where they took a coach trip through the Rocky Mountains in some early-autumn snow. On Day 11 they journeyed to Grand Junction on the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad, staying at the Hampton Inn Hotel. The group then took a coach to Silverton for a trip on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, staying overnight in Durango before travelling to Monument Valley and then Flagstaff for two nights. They then visited the Grand Canyon before catching a train to Los Angeles Union Station and hence by coach to the Queen Mary Hotel in Long Beach, where we all met up with Lynn and Jim for dinner.
   I had not seen Jim since late-December 2001, when five JRGS Alumni - including Paul Graham, John Byford and Stephen Lander - met up for the group's first reunion at The Sandrock pub, close to our school's former location on Upper Shirley Road. In the intervening 15 years, Jim has taken retirement and now spends more time with Lynn traveling across the UK and Europe, often in their motor caravan/recreational vehicle.
   We compared notes on our recent fortunes - including my accident back in February, when I was accosted by a Honda Civic while out jogging in the neighborhood. Jim and Lynn are spending more time with their three daughters in various cities around England, and taking extended trips like this American Sojourn. Jim is also interested in possibly attending the planned JRGS Reunion, dependent upon his busy schedule!
   It was perhaps hard to believe that I have known this fellow, man and boy, since we were both 11 and started at JRGS in Class 1M with Mr. Kenneth "Hooky" Maggs, followed by 2C with Mr. Anthony "Jim" Crowe, 3M with the highly esteemed Mr. Alan "Ego" Murray and 5U with Mr. David "Rhino" Rees. Our paths then diverged, because I went into Lower VI Science Beta to study Chemistry, Physics and Zoology at A-Level, while Jim went into Science Alpha to study Pure Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and Physics. It is also heartening to reflect that, for both of us, the school had such a positive influence upon our subsequent careers, as it did on so many of The Alumni reading these pages.
   Click on any image thumbnail to view a larger version.

The Queen Mary, Long Beach - October 2016

Your correspondent with Jim Thomas (JRGS 1959-65) beside various models of the Queen Mary.

The Queen Mary, Long Beach - October 2016

The Queen Mary, Long Beach - October 2016

Lynn and Jim Thomas about to tuck into their fish dinners in the Chelsea Chowder House.

The Queen Mary, Long Beach - October 2016

The Queen Mary, Long Beach - October 2016

Main entrance gangway into The Queen Mary.

Interior companionway along port side of the ship.

The Queen Mary, Long Beach - October 2016

The Queen Mary, Long Beach - October 2016

Thirties furniture from a high-end state room.

Art Deco styling around one of the passenger lifts.

The Queen Mary, Long Beach - October 2016

The Queen Mary, Long Beach - October 2016

More Art Deco styling at the Promenade Cafe entrance.

Interior of Lynn and Jim's cabin.

The Queen Mary, Long Beach - October 2016

The Queen Mary, Long Beach - October 2016

Original fan in Lynn and Jim's cabin.

A choice of salt or fresh water in their bathroom.

The Queen Mary, Long Beach - October 2016

The Queen Mary, Long Beach - October 2016

Your correspondent's Fish & Chips dinner.

A decorative Art Deco window into a lounge area.

The 27th of May, 2016, marked the 80th Anniversary of the Queen Mary's maiden voyage in 1936. In 31 years of plying the North Atlantic Ocean in war and peace, she would become what many consider to be the world's most celebrated ocean liner, carrying some 2.2 million passengers in peacetime and 810,000 military personnel in World War II. The Cunard ship was built in Clydebank, Scotland, by John Brown & Co. and carried 1,957 passenger plus 1,174 officers and crew; she boasted 346 staterooms spanning three decks, including nine full suites.
   Since her retirement as an active liner in 1967, after 1,001 Atlantic crossings, the Queen Mary has become a popular Southern California attraction, hotel and venue for special events, hosting to date an estimated 50 million visitors. More

Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, USA; October 2016 Email

Jim Thomas (JRGS 1959-65) adds: On our trip the next day, we were up early and left on the coach by 7.30 am to get to Los Angeles Amtrak station; traffic was horrendous but we made it with a little time to spare. Then onto the Coast Starlight with great views up the coast, arriving in Oakland [east of San Francisco] about 9.30 pm. We then had a coach guided tour around SF next morning and the afternoon and Saturday free to go on a cable car, etc.
   When the group left on Sunday to return home we had a half-day wine-tasting trip to Sonoma, and then a full day on Monday to the Napa Valley Wine Train – that was great fun.
   Tuesday was finally packing and off to SF airport for the flight home - which went fine, arriving at Heathrow ¾-hour early! We are now recovering from the adventure and catching up on washing!
   Here are two more images we secured on the Queen Mary. Click on any image thumbnail to view a larger version.

The Queen Mary, Long Beach - October 2016

The Queen Mary, Long Beach - October 2016

The Quartet outside the Queen May entrance.

A beautiful Art Deco screen in a lounge area.

David Anderson (JRGS 1964-71) adds: I was very interested to see the inside of The Queen Mary liner.
    I recall travelling with my family by steam train ("The Cunarder" boat train), I think, in about 1965. (I must somehow have gotten a day off from JRGS!) We traveled from Waterloo Station to the Southampton Ocean Terminal (now demolished) and arrived alongside the "Mary". We met my sister on board - no security checks in this days - and had a look round while they loaded the return train. She had sailed from New York on a Winter crossing and my sister had tales of spray from huge waves in a North Atlantic Storm flying over the top of the ship.
   The liners were built for this weather, not like today's "blocks of flats on a barge" modern cruise liners - they avoid the storms. I recall the 1930s decor, the loong passageways curving and dipping as they followed the lines of the ship, and the fug in the air as it was such a long distance to the far end.
   This was the time of change in North Atlantic travel as my sister had flown to New York a year previously from Heathrow on a new Boeing 707. Quite an adventure at that time; she was 18 and travelling alone. The Liners were the old guard, the jets the shape of things to come and would shortly destroy the demand for slow sea travel.
   The inside of the Queens - The Queen Elizabeth, too, but sadly she is no more - were a step back into the 1930s, with their Art Deco decor, the marquetry and all. I'm so glad that they are so well preserved in this floating Time Capsule. I hope to visit Long Beach one day to see the ship again.
   If Alumni would like to see another example of 1930s travel, I suggest they take a look at Brighton Belle on its website. The project to restore this other piece of transport history which, I believe, was withdrawn in 1972, is well under way and the five-coach train should be back on the mainline for fare-paying passengers next year. Again, the wonderful craftsmanship apparent in its decor and style is direct representation of the '30s.
    I used to trainspot The Belle - as did a lot of schoolboys - when it came through on the main line at Thornton Heath/Norbury but never went on it, again something I hope to do before too long.
   By the way Jim Thomas' journey across the USA by train sounds amazing. I would love to ride on the steam narrow gauge in the Rockies, in particular. Another one for the Bucket List, which as fast as I tick things off I put something else on. Just don't take your time/health etc for granted. Do it sooner rather than later. Its a long time since we were all at JRGS.
   On a different note, I see that BBC2 TV are currently showing The Fall, written by ex-5G pupil Allan Cubitt (JRGS 1963-69), and I am told that actor Mick Ford (also ex-JRGS) is also often on TV (both worth a Google).
   Thanks, as always, for the website.

Jim Thomas replies: This is a very interesting update; I can give Dave Anderson a link for our trip with Great Rail Journeys.
   On the subject of the Brighton Belle, I was at Brighton College of Technology from 1966 until 1969 - it's now part of the University of Brighton - and often travelled from East Croydon to Brighton. I once saw The Belle going through East Croydon, but it was not in Pullman colours by then.
   When Lynn and I got married in 1972, we went on one of the last trips by The Belle from Victoria to Brighton before it was closed down. It was very special to have afternoon tea in armchairs racing through East Croydon!

  

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