JRGS News Archive Page 81
JRGS Alumni Society

Archived News/Activities

- Page 81 - Oct thru Dec 2015 -

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.

 Dave Anderson (JRGS 1964-71) reflects on schoolday odours and aromas ...

"Another year over and What have you done?" sang the late John Lennon.
   Well, for The Mill, it has hosted just about the best School Alumni website ever, so thanks so much for our webmaster's efforts, and all the best for 2016.
    It all seems (is) a long time ago - for me about 45 years since I left the school. To put in to some kind of time context take 45 from, say, 1965, and you get 1920. Now that seems like another age completely!
   I watched a recent TV programme about issuing of free school milk. Does anybody remember this at JRGS? (It was well before Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher stopped the practice for school children over the age of seven in 1971 - earning her the nickname "Thatcher, Thatcher, Milk Snatcher".)
   Sometimes, you could walk along the cloakroom bays on the school's ground floor by the playground entrance where the crates of 1/3rd pints were stacked, and see someone's rain coat hanging on its peg with a steady drip-drip-drip of milk falling out where some bright spark had put a bottle into a pocket upside-down, and the contents were slowly empting. Nice! (I'm not sure why that happened, but maybe it was the result of some schoolboy dispute?)
   On the floors above outside the classrooms were the lockers that you were allocated but for which you had to provide your own padlock. Naturally, some schoolboys lost their key - or combination - and, moving onto the next year and a different locker, just left the old one and its contents to fester. There could be smelly plimsolls (what are they?) and other fetid items (or worse) in there.
   I was present when a locker was sprung only to reveal a horrible fungal mess which had erupted and spread out from a full milk bottle and slowly decayed over months! Penicillin or what - Yuk!
   Other parts of the school had their own distinctive aroma; the food hall and any rooms near it - cooking, obviously. For the gym changing rooms, it was sweaty sports clothing and for the science wing there was a permanent whiff of a sort of fart-like smell. (Was it hydrogen sulphide - H2S?) The gas is now recognised as harmful, but in those days no-one seemed to be bothered.
   What else can The Alumni recall? There's surely lots more.

David Anderson, Southampton, Hants, December 2015 Email.


 Peter Hurn (JRGS 1967-73) reports the sad death of Richard Inman...

Richard Fred Inman (JRGS 1967-73) sadly passed away last April, aged 59, after a long battle with cancer. His old schoolmates discovered this very recently by way of a Christmas card from a mutual friend. It’s almost as sad that none of us was in his address book – but then Rick probably never had an address book – he certainly didn’t have a mobile phone and was a very reluctant user of his kids’ computers. He was a great bloke, always fun to be around, and one of those guys who you always heard before you saw. He was always at high volume.
Click on either thumbnail to view larger versions.

/Kitzbuhel in 19722 at Praxmair's Ruskin Reunion for Rick Inman's 50th birthday- Feb 2006

Taken in Kitzbuhel, Austria, in 1972; Richard
Inman is pictured third from right

Taken at the Duke’s Head pub, Wallington, in
2006; Richard Inman is also third from right.

I first met Rick in September 1967. We were in different JRGS classes but were both in the football team and then the cricket eleven, in which Rick was slow left-back and slower left-arm, respectively. We also both reached the U-stream so were in the same class from there on, and with shared interests in Palace, a decent pint, a curry, Python and loud music.
   These passions kept us close for about a decade, travelling all over the country watching Palace in Division 3 with a beaten up Good Beer Guide for a map, always with one or more of our fellow alumni Chris Mann (JRGS 1967-73), Rod Bayes (JRGS 1967-73), Martin Burch (JRGS 1967-73), Dave Johnston (JRGS 1967-73) (who was also at primary school with Rick) and Barry Chappell (JRGS 1967-72/3) in either his Ford Anglia or my Morris Minor. One night spent cocooned in the latter, marooned in the middle of Snowdonia with waters rising on both sides, on our way to Rod in Bangor and then on to Chester v Palace will live with me forever.
   Then Rick got a job in a hardware store in Horley, which occupied his weekends and kept him away from Selhurst Park, and we all found partners and our lives changed. Most of us kept in touch but being such a Luddite with modern technology Rick didn’t. He also played a lot of golf so met up with Chris many times on various courses.
   Then in 2006 we all enjoyed a brilliant reunion - shown above-right - when we were all 50 (give or take). Rick was in fine form as Palace won 4-1. But the chosen curry house had lost its licence, so Rick and Barry quickly (but not quietly!) sorted that out with an emergency trip to the nearby offie. Normal service seemed to have resumed after a gap of about 25 years.
   We were intent on another reunion in 2016 when we will all be 60, but now we won’t have Rick with us. He will be badly and sorely missed – and it will be so quiet without him! I for one particularly regret that we didn’t keep in touch after our 50ths.
   I should end by saying “RIP” but it won’t be very peaceful with Rick around!

Peter Hurn, Wallington, December 2015 Email


 Graham Donaldson (JRGS 1962-69) sends seasons greetings to the Alumni...

Here's what the weather sometimes looks like in the UK at this time of year, although the photo - taken in January 2013 - represents the last time we had a substantial snowfall in this area. The 403 bus depicted is one of Arriva London's DAF Lowfloor Alexander bodied vehicles, which in 1999 represented London's first foray into fully accessible double-deckers. The last examples came out of passenger service this year, so it's (sort of) historic now!
   Route 403 is now a very much truncated remnant of the old Country route that extended from Wallington through Croydon to Tonbridge, running hourly seven days a week. However, you couldn't use Green Rover tickets beyond Hildenborough since that section lay outside London Transport's "Special Area", as laid down in 1933. And, of course, the site of Chelsham Garage is now a large Sainsbury's, although the Bourne Society has thoughtfully put up a blue plaque to remind us of what was once there.
   Thanks for all the webmaster's work on The Mill. The recent Grand Ruskin Reunion was most enjoyable and it was good to see such a range of opportunities available to students, recognising that there chances for all to achieve.

Graham Donaldson, South Croydon, Surrey, December 2015 Email


 Malcolm Reid, son of Frank Reid (JRCS 1921-25), unearths a letter from 1925...

Frank Reid's school-leaving letter

Frank Reid's Prefect's Badge

Having recently come across The Mill website, I thought the Alumni might be interested in the attached letter from former headmaster Mr. William Field - shown above left - regarding my father, Frank Reid (JRCS 1921-25), when he left John Ruskin Central School in 1925. My father was at the school from the age of 12 to 16. Although I was born in Croydon, our family moved away when I was 4 years old.
   I also attach a photograph of my father's prefect cap badge, shown right, which still seems to be in remarkably good condition.
   Click on either thumbnail to view larger versions.

Malcolm Reid, Danbury, Essex, December 2015 Email.

ML adds: In his original correspondence, Malcolm Reid has suggested that the vintage badge shown above right was a school badge from that era. As we have learned from recent discussions here on The Mill, it was a Prefect's Badge, whose inner color scheme - in this case red - signified the house to which the pupil belonged. In subsequent years, red indicated Alpha House. Does anybody know if that as the case back in the first decade of our school's founding?

Karl Smith (JRGS 1946-51) adds: I don't think the comment about house colours applied to prefects' badges. Mine from 1949/50 also has the red "J". Admittedly, I was in Alpha House but I don't recall any differences from those of my colleagues. Of course, memory could be fading with old age (83 next week) - maybe someone else knows better?
   Happy Christmas to all of JRGS Old Boys.


 John Byford (JRGS 1959-66) discovers artwork from an Alumnus member...

I recently came across The Art of Typewriting, a new book that features leading artists in the field of typewriter art, including several examples of the best work that Michael Gibbs (JRGS 1960-67) created in a distinguished career.
   Click on the thumbnail to view a larger version.
   Published on 26 October by Thames & Hudson, The Art of Typewriting by Marvin and Ruth Sackner is described as "the first definitive overview of typewriter art in decades―with a unique algorithm giving each volume its own cover design - the beloved typewriter - its utilitarian beauty, the pleasing percussive action of striking its keys, the singularity of the impressed page―is enjoying a genuine renaissance across the creative industries."
   The book contains examples produced by more than 200 of the world’s finest typewriter artists during the past 40 years.
   Each book features a cover with a unique combination of front and back image, meaning that no two books are the same. ISBN-10: 050024149X | ISBN-13: 9780500241493.

John Byford, Camberwell, London, December 2015 Email


 Karl Smith (JRGS 1946-51) recalls several school friends from the Fifties...

When browsing the JRGS website this morning I inadvertently discovered a posting by the late Terry Morris (JRCS 1942-50) of our old school prefects' photograph taken at Tamworth Road. I can add just a little to that.

Some of the Upper VIth - the summer of 1950

As Terence Morris (JRCS 1942-50) told The Mill in September 2005: "A photo of some of the Upper VIth in the summer of 1950. It is taken from the Tamworth Road site and it is possible to see how much attention some of the window frames needed – I don’t think they had been painted since before the war."

Back row standing (from left): Derek Howes, John Prevett, Vic Carter, Philip "Flapper" Bamford and Karl Smith.

Middle row standing: Terence Morris.

Seated (from left): Andrew McIntyre, Peter Heath, Tony Nye, Peter "Percy" Prevett and Owen Everson.

Photographer: R. J. Hawkins.

He mentions Philip "Flapper" Bamford, and says that he doesn't know how that nickname arose. Well, it came in 1946 or '47 when Philip and I - among others - were in the Forth Form under Mr. C. E. Smith as form master. We had Mr. George Manning as our English teacher and he encouraged creative writing. One of our favourite scribes was a schoolboy named Alden (sorry, I can't recall his christian name) who wrote several radio-like commentaries on boxing matches between "Batty" Butler and "Flapper" Bamford (two of the most peaceable lads in the class). These stories were always hilarious and had us in fits. The names just stuck.
   Terry Morris wasn't in the same year - I think he was a year ahead at the time - but remained in the Sixth Form for an extra year, so we overlapped at that time.
   While still in writing mood and in context of old school plays, in my time The Importance of being Ernest was performed one year [December 1949]. Among the cast were Owen Everson (John Worthing), Tony Nye (Lady Bracknell) and Derek Howes (Lane, Mr. Moncrieff's servant). More
   Many of my contemporaries are long gone but, if I may correct Terry, I didn't make it to the Royal Aircraft Establishment but went direct from school to a design job with Handley Page in north London. There I worked on the top-secret Victor bomber - capable of going supersonic in a shallow dive - and, through a company sponsorship, learned to fly 20-year-old Tiger Moths that flew at about 80 mph.
   After several retirements I received an offer that I couldn't refuse: to help resurrect the last Vulcan bomber, which was designed and built in direct competition with the Victor 50 years earlier. Vulcan XH558 is about to make its final flight before running out of CAA Permit to Fly time. It is, incidentally, the largest aircraft to operate under conditions that are normally applied to home-builds!

Fate of Avro Vulcan XH558
That Vulcan, serial XH558, just about the last one to be built and supplied to the RAF. (I tend to forget that our webmaster does not live in England and is are probably not too familiar with our flying machines.)
   The Handley Page Victor, Avro Vulcan and Vickers Valiant were conceived as requirements in 1946; they were deemed necessary to be able to deliver nuclear bombs almost anywhere they might be needed. The Vickers Valiant was ordered as a simpler fall-back should the Victor and the Vulcan be too advanced. In fact, many of their systems - state of the art, at that time - were virtually identical, as were their perceived performances. The two firms, Handley Page and Avro, had provided Halifax and Lancaster bombers, respectively, that were used successfully by the RAF in World War 2.
Victor Models at Newark Museum   The Victor and Vulcan were advanced at that time, capable of remaining airborne for up to 16 hours, flying up to 50,000 feet and at 0.9 times the speed of sound while carrying at least 10 tons of bombs. Both were unarmed but the Vulcan was a tail-less triangular shape. Our "Powers that Be" were indecisive so, instead of ordering 50 of one type, they split it into 25 of each. Those were both Mark 1; Mark 2 followed.
   Shown right is an image taken at Newark Air Museum, which has an outdoor static Vulcan and is located northeast of Nottingham, only 20-odd miles from home. The picture shows, center from left,  four Victor models: the black and silver one, which is first prototype: the all-white Mark 1 production version; the camouflage one with rear air brakes deployed is a Mark 2 version; the camouflaged one with "Kuchmann Carrots" on the rear of the wing is also a Mark 2. Click on the thumbnail to view a larger version.
   The "Carrots" alter the airflow around part of the wing and, I believe, reduce aerodynamic drag. To use their internal space, they were filled with "chaff" - strips of aluminium foil that could be dispersed and reflect radar beams to give a confusing return.
   The two white triangles to the extreme left are Vulcans showing how the wing's leading edge was altered from the pure triangle of the prototype. (I'm researching a lot of this material because I'm trying to write a book! objectives. One of my points is that, without government funding, the aircraft industry would never have got off the ground. It's been a bone of contention here that cuts in government spending have always adversely affected our industry but, without that funding, we'd have been doing something else, probably a lot less interesting.)
   In the Falklands War of 1982, a single Avro Vulcan was used to drop 1,000 lb bombs on the Port Stanley airfield. En route there from and back to Ascension Island - England was too far away! - the plane had to be refueled in flight umpteen times from Victor 2 tanker conversions which, themselves had to make Victor-to-Victor fuel transfers just to get the range. In all, some 12 Victor tankers - also flying from Ascension Island - were needed to get the Vulcan to the Falklands, where it managed to hit the runway with one or two bombs. Nevertheless, it was deemed successful because the field was out of commission for a few vital days.
   There were, I think, two such raids, under the code name Black Buck. One of the RAF pilots who flew a Vulcan for that mission is currently flying XH558 based at Concaster Airport (formerly RAF Finningley). XH558 is intended to become the highlight in a new museum there, with an associated technical school.
   It's a long story, not part of JRGS memories, just FYI.
   I seem to have finally retired after more than 60 years in aviation, where most of my work has been mathematical, inspired by my JRGS mentors, Mr. R. N. Alexander, Mr. "Puncher" Pearce and Mr. S. G. Evans.

Karl W. Smith, CEng., FRAeS, Heckington, Lincolnshire October 2015 Email

ML adds: Here are two recent publications that might appeal to Alumni interested in the fate of the classic Avro Vulcan.

This is a revised edition of Issue 7, published originally in November 2010, and now updated and re-issued "to celebrate XH558's 2015 farewell to flight."

The Vulcan B.Mk2 - from a Different Angle - By Craig Bulman (second edition), describes "everything you could wish to know about the Vulcan B Mk2 variant that includes XH558," one of the last airframes to be built and supplied to the RAF.


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