JRGS News Archive Page 80
JRGS Alumni Society

Archived News/Activities

- Page 80 - Sep thru Oct 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.

 Roger Hall (JRGS 1959-66) reports on progress with his oyster farming project...

As I mentioned in a recent news item, the Porlock Group of the Exmoor Society's oyster project here in Somerset is really taking off. A few months after I moved to Porlock I was invited to join a group of six people, mainly retired business people to look into ways of generating employment and improving the local infrastructure. The oyster project is the first one that looks like reaching fruition. Next week, we are receiving a team of assessors for a £75k grant application we have applied for to turn our very successful trial into a commercial business. More
   I am pictured below in typical wet-weather gear.

Roger Hall in typical wet-weather gear.

So I am now a director of Porlock Futures CIC. A Community Interest Company/CIC is a limited company but with extra legal conditions attached to ensure that all the profits go back into the community; we are all unpaid directors. With the myriad of health and safety legislation, we need 10 different licenses and permissions. Setting up the new business is proving seriously complicated. We will have to harvest and sell between 300,000 and 500,000 oysters per year to make a decent profit and logistically that is difficult. It is, hopefully, keeping the aging brain cells going.

Roger Hall, Porlock, Somerset, October 2015 Email

Richard Winborn (JRGS 1961-68) adds: Roger might be interested to know that I retired three years ago from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), having spent the last 17 years of my career giving grants to the fishing industry, including oyster farms. During those years I was in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Defra, the Marine Fisheries Agency, the Marine Management Organisation and finally back to Defra. Same job - the Department just moved around me!
   I expect that Roger knows that the grants are now available from the Marine Management Organisation.


 Tony Skrzypczyk (JRGS 1966-74) unearths a vintage school-play program...

I recently came across this combined school-play programme for "Androcles and The Lion," by George Bernard Shaw, and "The Business of Good Government" by John Arden. I'm not sure of the year it was performed at the Upper Shirley Road site in mid-December.
   Click on any thumnnas to view a larger version, or here to view three-page PDF file.

RGS School Play Programme JRGS School Play Programme JRGS School Play Programme

Tony Skrzypczyk, Croydon, Surrey October 2015 Email

Roger Adcock (JRGS 1963-68) adds: I remember this school play, which I went to see; there were a lot of my form in the productions. I believe it was Winter term 1968.

Peter Hurn (JRGS 1967-73) adds: Same comment as Roger - I saw "Androcles & the Lion," so it must be 1967 or later.


 Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) attends a West Coast reunion in The City by The Bay...

While in San Francisco last week on a brief business trip, my partner Merelyn Davis and I met up with a Trio of Ruskinites for a very pleasant lunch on Thursday October 8, and what we are hoping will be the beginning of a regular series of West Coast Reunions. Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) was spending time on the West Coast with his wife Jane visiting friends and family, while Martin Preuveneers (JRGS 1958-65) and John Cobley (JRGS 1958-65) live in that fair city. John was playing hooky from his post as Professor of Chemistry at The University of San Francisco, and lives close to the campus adjacent to the Golden Gate Park, while Martin is based across the San Francisco Bay in Alameda, and consults with a number of pharmaceutical and biotech companies.
   The venue for our gathering was The Presidio Golf Club high within the famous Presidio, the former military base established in 1776 as Spain's northern-most outpost of colonial power in the New World. In 1847, following the Mexican-American War triggered by a border dispute in Texas, the US Army took over the post; it soon became the nerve center of a coastal defense system that eventually included Alcatraz and Angel Island. In 1994 the post was closed and transferred to the National Park Service, together with more than 700 buildings. Today, the Presidio is home to a community of residents and diverse organizations, including a fascinating museum.
   We had travelled from our hotel in Berkeley to Alameda, from where Martin drove us through city traffic to the luncheon venue; Paul and his wife Jane were staying locally with the latter's long-time American friend Kitty, who gave them a lift.
   As we discovered, John lives and works near the eastern end of the Presidio, which is close by the Golden Gate Bridge, and obviously knows the location well. The Golf Club and park turned out to be perfect: quiet and convenient, with a reasonable lunch menu and with stunning views in every direction of the city, San Francisco Bay and the communities across the expanse of water, including Alcatraz. Click on any of the thumbnails below to view a full-size image. All pictures are courtesy of Merelyn Davis.

JRGS West Coast Alumni Meeting - San Francisco, September 2015 JRGS West Coast Alumni Meeting - San Francisco, September 2015

The JRGS Crew at the Presidio Golf Club, on the western edge of the city, adjacent to the Golden Gate Bridge.

From left: Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65), Martin Preuveneers (JRGS 1958-65), John Cobley
(JRGS 1958-65)
and Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66).

JRGS West Coast Alumni Meeting - San Francisco, September 2015 JRGS West Coast Alumni Meeting - San Francisco, September 2015

A view from the Presidio State Park looking
north-east across the SF Bay To Alcatraz Island.

Under Golden Gate Bridge looking east
towards Alcatraz Island, during Fleet Week.

JRGS West Coast Alumni Meeting - San Francisco, September 2015 JRGS West Coast Alumni Meeting - San Francisco, September 2015 JRGS West Coast Alumni Meeting - San Francisco, September 2015

Maturing nicely: Professor - and
talented guitarist - John
Cobley (JRGS 1958-65)

Martin Preuveneers (JRGS
telling Mel Lambert
(JRGS 1959-65)
about recent trips.

John Cobley (JRGS 1958-65),
Jane Graham
and Paul
Graham (JRGS 1959-66)

Time spent in the company of these former JRGS School Pals passed very pleasantly. We all played catch-up - your webmaster more than Paul, John and Martin, who last met one another at the recent Grand Reunion in early September.
   John revealed that he is working part time at the university - and closed his laboratory some five years ago - but greatly enjoys teaching a class required by all undergraduates on evolutionary theory, a subject that he considers underserved in America. Martin has been travelling to England on a regular basis, visiting family and on business; he is also planning an memorable birthday celebration next year.
   Paul and Jane were coming to the end of their six-week US and Canada Sojourn, having travelled extensively around the West Coast; the week following our luncheon reunion they were scheduled to visit Monterey and Carmel, south of San Francisco, as well as Yosemite National Park. "We just missed the Friday/Saturday US Presidential visit to San Francisco, Paul says. "I think he was reviewing the Fleet." [According to the KCBS-TV, president Barack Obama travelled to the Bay Area to address the US Conference of Mayors, and attend Democratic fundraisers.]
   John remains an avid fan of Crystal Palace Football Club, catching regular games via his US cable service, while Martin reports using his PC and a VPN connection to access BBC programming.
   Everybody thought that the recent reunion at John Ruskin College went very well, with John telling us that he and his fellow Reunion Band members - John Turner (JRGS 1958-65), Mike Balme (JRGS 1958-65), Bob Hawkins (JRGS 1958-64) and Pete Curtis (JRGS 1957-62) - rehearsed on the Thursday night prior to the gathering, working on a number of Sixties songs, including Telstar, Johnny B. Good, Green Onions, Knocking on Heavens Door and others. "We hadn't played together since the Sixties," stated John, who performs regularly on guitar at The Pig&Whistle, a local pub owned by a chap from Croydon.
   Later we visited the Presidio museum, which contains a number of interesting exhibits about the history of San Francisco and the military camp. As shown above, we also stopped at an observation post with views of The Bay, and at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge for a closer view of Alcatraz.

Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, USA, October 2015 Email


 Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) recalls artist Bernard Robinson (JRCS 1942-47)...

Bernard Herbert Robinson (JRCS 1942-47)By chance, I recently I stumbled across a website profile of Bernard Herbert Robinson (JRCS 1942-47). Born on 28 April 1930 in Broad Green, West Croydon, the only surviving child of Herbert and Lillian Robinson, while at JRGS Bernard reportedly developed an interest in art and photography, as well as printing photographs in a home darkroom.
   During World War II he was moved away from the bombing in Croydon for several periods with his grandparents in Ovingdean, Sussex, where Bernard began to cultivate a passion for the natural world. Throughout his life he had a prolific number of interests and hobbies; as a child he wrote and illustrated a book on microscopy and wrote articles in the John Ruskin school magazine (May 1944).
   He then went to Croydon Art School, where he developed his interest in figurative art and jazz music. In his teens he painted in oils and also taught himself to play jazz piano.
   From 1948-1950 Bernard did National Service based at RAF Cardington, where he became friends with several musicians. He also formed his own jazz band, playing piano in clubs and pubs around Croydon and at dances at the Royal Academy of Art.
   He met his wife Margaret while they took the train to work from Waddon station, and married in 1956 at Morden Register Office. Initially, he worked for Chamberlain Studios on Ludgate Hill near St Paul’s Cathedral, where his job involved technical drawings for the Navy and some advertising work. But, disliking commuting and much preferring working from home, he set up as a limited company in 1961 and worked on various projects using pencil and then watercolours painted onto art board. He often worked from photos, with his wife and four children often acting as models for book illustrations, as shown below.

   Bernard’s work for Ladybird Publications from 1965 to 1980 included books in several series, including Achievements, How it Works, Learn About, Story of Plastics, Road Sense and Girl Guides (1980). He also worked for Cherrytree Books and specialised in illustrations of nature, dinosaurs and children’s science books.
   Sadly, he developed symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease during his last two years and a relapse of bowel cancer from which he died on 15 September 2004. Details ©ladybirdflyawayhome 2003

And on a totally unrelated topic, I received an email from somebody that works at The Cedars School, Croydon, located in what was formerly Coombe Lodge House. The correspondent, who wishes to remain anonymous, was interested in the former JRGS site in Shirley, since the area is sited to the rear of the school's former playing fields.
   This Google map shows the areas within some colored lines drawn on; click on the thumbnail to view a larger version.

Sports Ground Map

The red-lined area was John Ruskin School's school cricket pavilion and ovals, but we are unsure about the green and black lined areas. On Google Maps the black-lined area is named Coombe Park, but was it also part of the JRGS playing fields?

 John Cobley (JRGS 1958-65) adds: I took the following photos on Sept 5th 2009 when I attended the first JRGS Reunion. They are all shots of the old JRGS playing field off of Oaks Road. Click on any thumbnail to view a larger version. Here is a link to a website for the John Ruskin Playing Field, which lists two grass cricket pitches and a single grass football pitch, each with floodlights.

JR Sports Ground JR Sports Ground

I  think the line of evergreen trees - way behind the sign - runs beside the straight lane that connects to Oaks Road.

See under the letter "l" in the word "Field" on Google Earth image.

JR Sports Ground JR Sports Ground

I particularly like this shot, since it captures something for me - perhaps the view you would get as you came on to the pitch at the start of games period.

The familiar changing rooms and equipment storage

Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, USA, October 2015 Email

Stephen Tyler (JRGS 1966-74) adds: The old school playing fields are still in existence but the fences aren't as robust as they should be, especially when coming up against the travelling communities. (A rare occasion of political correctness for me, which won't last!). These unwelcome visitors occasionally drive on and cause a mess for a few days, before being send packing by the council to their next site. Although on one occasion - at Coombe Lodge as well - they kept over the boundary's edge for the most part!
   Coombe Farm was used by the school although it has been a tad unkempt for the past few years. There is a patchwork of paths that can be discerned from the aerial shot and which are used by local running clubs and walkers alike.
   I don't know about the original John Ruskin Old Boys FC, which played in the Thornton Heath & District League under, I believe, Alan Montague, but Rusmill FC - who emanated from the John Ruskin Old Students Association -  played in that competition on both of those playing fields for a number of seasons, up until possibly 1980.There was a pitch in the top right corner where the black and green lines meet and also one along the care home fence.
   I don't recall the green area ever being part of the school but this again is utilised by walkers and runners, and is part of the Lloyd Park cross-country course. (It was also utilised by Mr. "Jock" Hasler for cross country when most of us would rather have played football.) I can also recall doing sprint work up that infernal slope as well!
   Slightly away from that on the far left is a hedge with leads into Lloyd Park proper. One or two of you will have heard of the Park run phenomenon - you can just about make out some of the tracks used by the Lloyd Park run every Saturday morning. Now that's an idea before the next reunion!

Stephen Lander (JRGS 1959-66) adds: I'm sure that the area ringed in black on the Google map was never part of the JRGS playing field. The areas ringed black and green were - and are - public parkland; I have walked across them several times. It is possible to walk straight from Coombe Park on to Lloyd Park and thence to Coombe Road, at a point nearer Croydon than Coombe Lodge.
   Coombe Lodge House is the other side of Coombe Road from Oaks Road and the JRGS playing field. When we were at JRGS, Coombe Lodge was an old people's home; now it's a Beefeater Restaurant, as shown on the Google map. The line that can be seen running parallel with Coombe Road is the Tramlink, which opened in 2000.
   I see that there's an interesting Wikipedia entry for "Coombe, Croydon" that refers to the history of several old houses in the area, including Coombe House (now The Cedars School) and Coombe Lodge (now the Beefeater).

Roger Hall (JRGS 1959-66) adds: I have enjoyed the photos of the school playing fields. I remember walking along Oaks Road (spelling?) on the way to games when two cars screeched along the road, one forcing the other to stop. Men leapt out and I was so astonished that as I was looking back at them I walked straight into a lamp post and gave my head an almighty crack. At that stage I saw the film cameras!
   And on the accolade below from Geoffrey Blanthorn to Mr. “Puncher” Pierce, I too thought he was a wonderful man and teacher. I remember him declaring with his strong London accent: "Remember the 3 Ms, boys – 'Maffs, Music and Muvver tongue." Wonderful memories.
   Mr. Pierce was my form master in the Upper Sixth. Instead of attending assembly, we had to practice answering A-Level Maths questions. “Plenty of time for spiritual nourishment later boys. You need ‘maffs nourishment now.” He was a dedicated and brilliant teacher. At the start of the year in his form, we were all made to identify what job or university we wanted to go to¬ - he had loads of careers’ literature. So he made us have a target to aim at or aspire to.


 Geoffrey Blanthorn (JRGS 1945-1952) recalls life at the school in the Fifties...

I've just been browsing the JRGS site, and was spurred into some reminiscences! I was at JRGS from 1945, amongst the first intake after it became a Grammar School, joining Mr. Lindsell's 2A. (There wasn't a Form 1 until the following year) and leaving in 1952 from Mr. Chaundy's Upper Sixth Science. Those seven years were more than my time at the previous six schools I had attended put together! The wartime necessitated a lot of changes of school.
   My cousin, Harry Clack (JRCS 1935-38), had attended John Ruskin prior to the war. On leaving the school he joined the RAF, and was killed in an accident very soon after. I have been told that he was the youngest airman to be killed in the war, but I don't know if that really is true. He was 16. He is pictured on the right in the attached photo; click on the thumbnail to view a larger version.
   Is there a picture on the site of the Memorial plaque that used to hang in the school hall?

As a very occasional visitor to the JRGS website, I was sorry to learn of the recent death of Mr. Whellock, but delighted to see he had had a good long life. On a list of my favourite teachers, he would be near the top at number three or four, rubbing patched elbows with Mr. Pearman. I see also that my old form mates Tony (Charlie) Childs (JRGS 1947-53), Bob Wane (JRGS 1945-53)and John Crumplin (JRGS 194x-5x)are still around and active. I would occasionally ride along with Mr. Whellock  on the way to school. He would sometimes emerge from Spring Park Road as I cycled past from New Addington along Shirley Church Road. I had to drop back along Frith Road to don my school cap, before the Prefects saw me!
   Above Whellock & Pearman I could say head and shoulders above them (literally) I’d put the 6S and Physics master Mr. Chaundy - he was tall! - and, unlike the other two, did teach me enough to get an A-Level pass. I had failed O-Level Chemistry, and didn’t sit Biology in School Cert, being deemed by some politicians or bureaucrats to be too young. The eyebrowless Chaundy, who carried a concealed weapon - a cane - in his gown, was a great teacher and inspiration. He used to say the “Old Boys” would occasionally drop in and thank his for his inspiration. We never really believed him then, but it wasn’t long after leaving that I could have done the same had I been in Croydon. I’m ever grateful that I knew and was taught by him.
   But for me, the greatest teacher of them all was Mr. “Puncher” Pierce. A truly great guy, who was definitely the one who pushed and inspired me to A-Level success in maths, and my subsequent career as a Chartered Engineer. He would give me his Times, which he always read, to do précis of the editorials, saying there’s no point teaching me maths if I didn’t pass English! (I had failed at my first attempt at the end of my first sixth form year!) It was very sad to read of his very premature death not long after I had left the school. I now live in Pierce County, Washington - which as far as I’m concerned was named after him, or should have been!
   There were of course many other great teachers who helped me on my way. In no particular order: Mr. Lindsell, Mr. Hart, Mr. Hatfield, Mr. Neave, Mr. Alexander, Mr. Chinnock, Mr. Cresswell, Mr. Cracknell, Mr. Evans et al. Mr. Smith is not on the list, I’m afraid. Anyone, like me, who was hopeless at football, cricket and athletics tended to be ignored by him. Mr. Hancock? Maybe ... perhaps he introduced the spark that gave me an interest in music. Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture, a record of which he played in one music lesson, always reminds me of him! But I never really forgave him for kicking me out of the choir back in the second form! My interest in classical music may, however, owe just as much to Mr. Ford (?) the physics lab assistant, who would tune his radio into the Third Programme (when it wasn’t tuned into The Goon Show!).

Life after JRGS - sporting achievements

After leaving JRGS I moved to Bristol and an Aeronautical Engineering apprenticeship with Bristol Aeroplane Co (Engine Division) and, much to my own utter amazement, within a year I was conned into playing rugby for the apprentices team. Yes, I really was conned! As I am over 6ft tall, I was told by my fellow apprentices - many of whom were Welsh; hence Rugby Crazy! - that I would make a great second-row forward. Although I explained that I had not only never played Rugby, but had never even watched a game, I was persuaded to go along one Saturday afternoon to watch their match. When I arrived at the sports ground, I was informed they were a player short, so could I help them out. “But I have no gear,” I said. “That’s okay, we can lend you some - get changed!” “I don’t know the rules,” I replied. “They are Laws in Rugby, "The Three Chefs"but you’ll soon pick up the basics!” I continued to play for them and later for the company side for the next 12 years!
   Among my team mates there was one ex-Selhurst Grammar lad who had played in the team that trounced the John Ruskin side put together by Mr.  Evans, a Welshman who briefly joined the JRGS staff, in what was, I believe, their one and only match. Another team mate, but only for one game, was Darth Vader. Well Dave Prowse did go on to play the part in Star Wars, but back then he was just one of the lads!

   I’m third from left in the form 5S photo already on the site, next to Tony Childs and Ian Cartwright (second and first at the left).

   I’m also in the picture shown left, which was submitted previously to The Mill by Bob Wane, and taken at the school playing field on Duppas Hill at a cricket match where (from right-to-left) Bob Wane, Alan "Nunc" Webster and myself were doing the teas, circa 1950/1. The old tin shed - sorry, changing rooms - is clearly visible behind us. Alan sold me my first motorbike! I still have my second.
   Click on the thumbnail to view a larger version.
   I also located a scanned version of the 1953 JRGS Speech Day programme, which the Alumni may not have seem before.

Geoffrey Blanthorn, Pierce County, Washington, USA, October 2015 Email

ML adds: Regarding the sad death of Harry William Clack (JRCS 1935-38), pictured above, I located on the internet a report of the incident by Julian Evan Hart who, in the book "War Torn Skies of Great Britain - Vol. 3 Cambridgeshire," reports that on 25 October, 1940, "a young 16 year-old RAF engine fitter Harry Clack and 2nd Class Aircraftman Harold Frank Hooker died, whilst a third man Leading Aircraftman James Leatherland was burned." The trio was attempting to recover the wreckage of a downed Dornier Do 215B German aircraft in the fields beside the Crown Inn at Eaton Socon, Cambridgeshire, close to the west bank of the River Great Ouse.
   As Evan Hart continues: "Harry Clack and the two other men were assisting in the salvage of one of the Dornier’s engines with a recovery crane when the jib touched some overhead power lines carrying 11,000 volts, and they were all electrocuted. Harry William Clack had only just completed his accelerated training on 5th October 1940, and was then posted to Cambridge on salvage and repair duties. His tragic death on 25th October 1940 means that Harry Clack was the youngest member of the RAF to die in World War Two as a result of enemy action. He was later buried in plot 6363 in Cambridge City Cemetery." The inquest into the accident was held at the Crown Inn just a few yards from where the Dornier fell and a total of five men had been killed. More
   Harry Clack is also mentioned in the ProPartia list of
nearly 70 JRCS pupils that died in World War Two, and which was included in the March 1947 school magazine.

Geoffrey Blanthorn adds: I have just read the webmaster's footnote about my cousin Harry Clack. I knew the way he was killed, but there is much there that I hadn't known. I was only four at the time, so only have a very vague memory of him, but I knew his mother - my mother's sister - and his younger brother Fred very well. Fred's daughter and son will be interested in seeing this; many thanks for researching it.
   Harry was born 11th November 1923, so was nearly 17 when he was killed. However, if he left school at the end of summer term 1938, he would have been 14, which was the "school leaving age" until 1946 at least, so that's possible. Had he left at Christmas time, he would have been 15, of course.
   I suppose that Harry may have left early; being the eldest boy with a widowed mother and younger brother, they may have needed him to start work and get some income. That is only speculation on my part, but he wouldn't have got much as an RAF apprentice!
   Page 1 of the April 1939 school magazine reports that: "Roy Andrews, Ronald Rose, Harry Clack and Ronald Noakes have passed the RAF Apprentices Examination and have entered the Service." So perhaps JRGS War MemorialHarry had not left school until Christmas.
   The same magazine also contains a story by my cousin, entitled "This Liberty," on page 10 and page 11 about an escaped ferret; I assume there's no objection to my sending a copy to his brother's daughter. I've asked another cousin, who knew Harry quite well, if he had a pet ferret, and if this story is at least based on a true incident. Harry lived in Waddon, quite close to the airport, so I'm sure there were plenty of wild rabbits around.
   By the way, his father, also Harry Clack, whom I never knew at all, had been killed on 5th December 1935, aged just 36 years, in a railway accident a few years earlier - crushed by trucks being shunted at South Norwood. That event happened before my first birthday.

Anne Smith (JRHS/JRC teacher/principal 1970-99) adds: The memorial plaque that Geoff asks about above was located on the western wall of the school hall at the Shirley location - to the left of the school organ - and is currently on display in the foyer of the Sixth Form College.

ML adds: I contacted Debbie Wright, Head of Facilities, Health & Safety at John Ruskin College, regarding the current disposition of the memorial plaque mentioned above. She kindly sent me this image, right, with mention of Harry Clack. Click in the thumbnail to view a larger version.


 Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) reports on the sad passing of Reginald Whellock...

Reginald Whellock - 1914-2015It is with a heavy heart that I relate news of the sad death of former biology master Reginald Baldwin Whellock, BSc, MA, CBiol, FSB (JRGS Teacher 1946-56) - pictured right - just one day before the recent Fifth Annual Ruskin Reunion, and a few days shy of his 101st birthday. This image secured at the 2012 Reunion is courtesy of Frazer Ashford (JRGS 1962-69). Click on the thumbnail to view a larger version.
Mr. Whellock died in the early morning of Friday September 4 at the Hall Grange Methodist care home in Shirley Church Road, not far from the former JRGS site on Upper Shirley Road. However, his daughter Pauline Whellock was able to attend the reunion on the following day, despite suffering a cut head and a bruised hand in a recent fall.
   As reunion co-organiser Ian Macdonald (JRGS 1958-65) reports: "I had arranged to pick up Pauline on her return from France and, although shaken by her accident, she spent Friday at my home [on Upper Shirley Road]. Her brother John arrived from the USA on Sunday, the day after the reunion.
   "Reg had been active on 3rd of September, completing seven laps of the garden path at the care home while using his wheelie frame. On the morning of Friday the 4th, he was walking along the path again and collapsed. This was witnessed by the gardener, who applied resuscitation but, sadly, in vain.
   "Pauline was in France and John in USA, both having previously booked to travel to the UK for Reg’s 101st birthday on 8th September. She spoke to him on phone on the 3rd and he sounded fine. While travelling in London Pauline fell, breaking a bone in her hand, injuring her temple and sustaining a black eye. Nonetheless, she bravely attended the reunion, hand in plaster, arm in sling and presented Mohammed Ramzan, Ruskin College Principal, with the Alumni Society cup and a cheque by way of initial donation to the bursary being set up by Mohammed to fund IT for a worthy student.
   "Further monies were donated during the reunion and will be forwarded in due course. Pauline was warmly received, enjoyed the reunion and spoke at length to several attendees.
   "John Whellock will be attending to funeral arrangements; I will update The Alumni with subsequent news. My wife Anne took Pauline Whellock to St. George’s Hospital for a follow-up to the Mayday Hospital visit during the early hours of Saturday 5th of September; more details will follow."
   During the 2012 Ruskin Reunion, Reginald Whellock showed attendees a signed card of congratulations from The Queen for his 70th wedding anniversary - his late wife Doreen passed in 2013 - with cuttings from a then-recent article in the Croydon Advertiser. He also recited a poem on old age, though himself seemingly immune to its effects, and told guests of the royalties he received from his text books, one of which supported his children through university despite being rejected by David Attenborough. As the oldest male ex-teacher at the 2012 Reunion, Mr. Whellock received a bottle of wine.

Early History in Croydon and South London
As Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) reported to The Mill in 2010, Reginald B. Whellock was born in September 1914 in Croydon, Surrey, the son of Harry Samuel Whellock, shipping clerk and engineer, born 2 May 1882, in Bermondsey, south London. His mother was Minnie Charlotte née Baldwin, born 12 January 1886 in East Malling, Kent, and later a housemaid in Upper Norwood, Lambeth, South London. His parents married in Bromley in 1913. His paternal grandfather was Henry Whellock; many of his direct Whellock ancestors were River Thames lightermen.
   Mr. Whellock lived at Cranbrook Road, Thornton Heath. As a child he attended Ingram Elementary School, Thornton Heath, and then Selhurst School from 1926 to 1932, before obtaining a BSc at University College, London. In 1936 he was appointed as biology teacher at King James VI Grammar School, Knaresborough, Yorkshire, and, aside from WW2 service in the Royal Navy from 1940 to 1945, taught there until 1946.
   He married Doreen T. Kitching in Knaresborough, Yorkshire, in 1942; the couple had two children: Pauline M. Whellock, born 1946 in Knaresborough, Yorkshire; and John G. Whellock, born 1947 in Croydon.
   Mr. Whellock joined John Ruskin School in September 1946, as Head of Biology, living in Shirley, and later in Sanderstead. He also ran the Film Society. He is mentioned in two issues of the JRGS school magazine: March 1947 (page 2) and December 1956 (page 7).

   Brian Thorogood (JRGS 1951-56) remembered Mr. Whellock dressing in a dark grey two-piece suit with his teaching gown worn on top. "As well as being the senior Biology Teacher he was also our fifth-form master," Brian stated. "I must say that I had a good mutual relationship with him, mainly due to the fact that I came top in the mock Biology O -Level exam. Also, I had always learnt by visual appreciation, the 'symbol' being prominent in my own intelligence. Mr. Whellock had published his own course book for use in O- and A-Level examinations, and I was able to grasp the fundamentals of the subject by assessing his excellent diagrams. Many years later I was able to purchase a second-hand copy in an antiquarian bookshop in Colchester.
   "A few boys who excelled in biology were encouraged by Mr. Whellock to make applications to the Wellcome Laboratories for a career. I am grateful to Mr. Whellock as I certainly matured under his direction during fifth-year studies. Sadly, he left JRGS at the same time as myself, in July 1956."

Career after John Ruskin Grammar School
Mr. Whellock left JRGS at the end of the summer term in 1956 to join Wandsworth Comprehensive School, London, as Head of Science, and was later appointed head teacher of the McEntee Technical High School in Walthamstow, London. In September 1967, he was appointed head teacher of the Greenshaw Comprehensive School, Sutton, London, and retired in 1979. He is listed in Who's Who in Education.
   Mr. Whellock also had a career as examiner and writer of biology textbooks. A fascinating interview appears within a ZIP file accessible from the Old Croydonians' Association/OCA website. (Our thanks once again to Steve Palmer, former student at Selhurst Grammar School, and now webmaster for TheOld.Croydonians.org.uk, for permission to link to the file.)
   Mr. Whellock is pictured left at last July's  annual reunion of OCA, the official website of past pupils and staff of Selhurst Grammar Schools for Boys and Girls, in addition to Selhurst High School. Reginald Whellock attended the school from 1926 to 1932. (Image by OCA's Valerie Heathorn.)
   In May 2012 Mr. Whellock recalled the following career achievements:

• His successful textbook General Biology, based on his teaching notes, and published by Harrap in January 1955.

• Examiner : London University. Advance Level Zoology and Biology.

• Cambridge University. Chief Examiner for 15 years.

• Oxford & Cambridge. Visiting examiner for Practical Biology and Zoology.

• Dept of Education. Committee member checking marking standards of eight exam boards for AL Science Papers.

• He ran courses in Biology for Cambridge in India, Uganda, Kenya, Malaysia.

• Head of McEntee Technical High School, Walthamstow, 1963-67

• Head Master who created Sutton's first Comprehensive School, Greenshaw High School, 1967-79, in competition with six Grammar Schools.

   He was also chairman of the Croydon Branch of the Incorporated Association of Assistant Masters; during 1960 the London County Council (LCC) appointed him as Assessor to the Education Committee of the London Zoo.
   In September 2014, Tony Childs (JRGS 1947-53) reported on the occasion of Mr. Whellock's hundredth birthday, and that he was moving from Sutton into the Methodist Care home in Shirley. A large family gathering was also planned to celebrate his birthday on the Isle of Wight.
   During his time at the Tamworth Road location, Mr. Whellock shared a prefab in the back playground as the site of a laboratory with Mr. George "Percy" Pearman (JRCS 1936-69), and eventually had the opportunity to plan and design the new laboratories for the Upper Shirley Road buildings, which eventually were occupied in the Spring of 1955. "The architect designed the Biology Department and the garden and the pond all around my requirements," Mr. Whellock recalled, "whereas in Tamworth Road I was in a pre-fab."

Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, USA, September 2015 Email

Ian Macdonald (JRGS 1958-65) adds: The funeral took place on Wednesday 16th September at 12.30 PM at United Reform Church, 3 Sanderstead Hill, CR2 0HB. Family flowers only, but donations can be made to Ebbutt Funeral Service, Sanderstead, payable to Red Cross or Woodland Trust. [More]
   There were refreshments afterwards in the nearby church hall and all were welcome. The service was expected to last about an hour. Parking was problematic as there are yellow lines around, so attendees were asked to allow walking time to the church from Briton Hill Road or other side roads. Passengers could be dropped off outside. The 403 bus stop was nearby.
   If any alumni planned to attend, I asked them to please let me know as soon as possible via email for the catering. Mr. Whellock’s daughter Pauline was anticipating around 100 mourners. I offered to give up to three persons a lift, should they have difficulty getting there and were not too distant from my Shirley base.


 Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) reports from Fifth Annual Ruskin Reunion...

The Fifth John Ruskin Grand Reunion was held between noon and 6:00 PM on Saturday 5th September, 2015, at John Ruskin College in Selsdon, just a few miles away from the former school building on Upper Shirley Road. The event attracted a total of 47 former pupils, teachers and their guests. Our sincere thanks to co-organisers: Ian Macdonald (JRGS 1958–65) and Richard "Tom" Thomas (JRGS 1957–64). Full report
The start of the day was overshadowed by the sad news that that former biology master Mr. Reginald Whellock (JRGS Teacher 1946-56) had sadly died in the days leading up to the reunion, just before his 101st birthday. However, his daughter Pauline Whellock bravely attended, even though she was suffering from a recent fall injury.
   One the most interesting contributions was from present John Ruskin College staff member and marketing director Sally Obertell who, as well as introducing us to four students, revealed that she had started at JR just six months before the move from Shirley to the present site. I hope that she will be able to recall some of her memories of this phase for The Mill website.
   The only ex-member of staff there was Mr. Martin Nunn (JRGS Teacher 1957-73), who brought along old school-mark books and an impressive ability to remember names and faces from over 50 years ago! He is still active as a Friend of Shirley Windmill and plays the organ for his local church.
   The film show by Richard Thomas concerned an Army Cadet Force event from 1965 – more details will follow.
   Many alumni had come from far away, including John Cobley (JRGS 1958-65) and Martin Preuveneers (JRGS 1958-66) from California, Russell Ead (JRGS 1959-66)from Cheshire, Grant Harrison (JRGS 1959-66) from north Norfolk, whereas Neil Henderson (JRGS 1964-71) only had a 10-minute walk from his home. I came across London by train, and was very impressed by the fast Number 3 tram journey from East Croydon to the bottom of Gravel Hill – just 11 minutes.
   We are all looking forward to the 100th Anniversary of the school in 2020, not to mention the 15th Anniversary next year of The Mill website, which was established in December 2001. (Thanks, Mel.)
   We also ought to thank Ian M and Tom for organizing the day so well, and The Reunion Band for rolling back the musical years.
also secured the following images at the reunion, which started at noon with attendees being greeted with live music provided by five Alumni, as can be seen below. After introductions from the co-organizers and a welcoming address by Ruskin College principal Mohammed Ramzan, a three-course lunch was followed by visits to the Hair and Beauty Department, the Media and Student Center and the Virtual Hospital, with pupils serving as guides.
   Other high spots included a presentations by Tony Childs (JRGS 1947-1953) on “The Tamworth Road Days,” together with Peter Marchant (JRGS 1949-56) commenting on other Ruskin history.
   Click on any image to view a larger

John Ruskin Ffith Grand Reunion - September 2015

John Ruskin Ffith Grand Reunion - September 2015

Exterior of John Ruskin College, Selsdon,

site of the Fifth Annual Ruskin Reunion

The Reunion Band from left: John Turner (JRGS
, Mike Balme (JRGS 1958-65), Bob
Hawkins (JRGS 1958-64)
, John Cobley (JRGS
and Pete Curtis (JRGS 1957-62).

John Ruskin Ffith Grand Reunion - September 2015

John Ruskin Ffith Grand Reunion - September 2015

From left: Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66), Russell
Ead (JRGS 1959-66)
, Grant Harrison (JRGS
, Stephen Lander (JRGS 1959-66) and
Martin Preuveneers (JRGS 1959-66) - all five of
whom were members of 1962/3's Form 5U.

Ann and Stephen Lander (JRGS 1959-66)

John Ruskin Ffith Grand Reunion - September 2015

John Ruskin Ffith Grand Reunion - September 2015

Peter Marchant (JRGS 1949-56)

Tony Childs (JRGS 1947-53)

John Ruskin Ffith Grand Reunion - September 2015

John Ruskin Ffith Grand Reunion - September 2015

From left: Russell Ead (JRGS 1959-66)
and Grant Harrison (JRGS 1959-66)

Geography mark book from 1960-61's Form 2C,
courtesy of Mr. Martin Nunn (JRGS Teacher 1957-73).

This year marks not one but four important celebrations: the 95th Anniversary of the school’s opening as a central school on Scarbrook Road in 1920; the 80th Anniversary of the school moving to Tamworth Road in 1935; the 70th Anniversary of it becoming a grammar school in 1945; and the 60th Anniversary of the school moving to the Upper Shirley Road site in 1955. Progress

Paul Graham, Iver, Bucks, September 2015 Email

Anne Smith (JRHS/JRC teacher/principal 1970-99) adds: Thanks for the account of the reunion, which I was sorry to miss. However, I also could not miss the chance of paying my first visit to the Holy Land and am writing now from Bethlehem before we leave for Tiberias and Galilee. But I send all good wishes to The Alumni.

Nigel Ellis (JRGS 1968-70) adds: Thank you for all the hard work put into organising in the reunion. Although there was no-one from my year there it was great to meet others from different times. It was also fascinating to look around the college and hear from students. I knew the college was very different from our time but I was most impressed by the diversity of opportunities it gives - a great successor to the "old" John Ruskin and, of course, John Newnham schools. Once again, many thanks for all your efforts.

Elisabeth Smith (widow of teacher Charles E. Smith) adds: I was delighted to read the two latest epistles, which I passed on to my son and daughter. They will be interested particularly in the recorded significant dates and will check on their possible effects on family history. Congratulations on The Mill's continuing excellent care of Ruskin history.

Harold Fish (JRGS 1951-56) adds: Once again, very, very many thanks to Tom and Ian for organising such a wonderful event in John Ruskin College - I enjoyed every minute of it. I am getting used to the idea that there is no one around from the same year intake as myself, and I am also getting used to the idea that each time I come to the reunion I meet people I have never known yet inevitably find that there is a lot of interesting things to talk about. There is something about JRGS, at least, that goes beyond time. It has probably a lot to do with the "ethos" that many of us will have experienced. And the more I talk to people the more I find that difference and the "unknown" are as, if not more, interesting that having lots in common.
   At first I had a few doubts about not going to somewhere near The Mill. Now I realise those doubts were quite ill founded. The warm and generous reception we as a group and, my guess is, that each of us as individuals received was remarkable. At first I found those underground-type gate mechanisms a little intimidating but any apprehension was immediately wiped away by the kindness warmth and spontaneity of Sally Obertell's offer of help to a road-weary traveller! I found the presentations all extremely interesting, and was grateful to have had a quick peep at one aspect of education in Britain in the 21st Century!! My daughters finished their degrees back in the mid-1980s and I have been working and living overseas ever since. I found all the students presentations most fascinating, perhaps because of the differences!!
   The presentations in the library were nothing short of breathtaking. Again, the CCF film was for me in a way something quite "foreign" - I was actually in the Sea Cadet Corps at the time - yet, at the same time, very close. I remember Fridays when some pupils turned up at school in their uniforms and senior boy called Davidov had a stick and a red sash!! On Trafalgar Day 1955 I was given permission to wear my SCC uniform to school, as I was to be part of a guard of honour in a ceremony in Trafalgar Square that afternoon!! All these long buried memories came warmly back last Saturday thanks to your dedicated efforts. I really am grateful.
   I cannot describe how impressed I was by Pauline Whellock. To turn up to our meeting under such circumstances and to engage with us as she did was nothing short of angelic. I was amused to learn that her father had brought her, as a young girl, to see a production of Toad of Toad Hall. This was probably in 1955 because in the February 1956 edition of the school magazine (page 21) there are photos of the show. I discovered this to my joy some months ago when browsing The Mill website aimlessly. The reason for the joy was that my stage début was in that very production. You will find , however, it difficult to identify me simply because my role was the back legs of Alfred The Horse! A very fine pair of back legs, as can be seen from the middle photograph.
   This brings me to one more thank you. Please let The webmaster know how grateful I am for all his wonderful work on The Mill. The site is a master piece in the hands of an extraordinary "master". Discovering the Toad of Toad Hall pictures went right inside me for a host of wonderful reasons. I only hope Mel manages to get to Bonn, Germany, one of these days so I can offer him a tipple or two!
   And I was thrilled to see a picture of my German-registered [Renault Laguna] car at the College entrance. When I make a short trip to almost anywhere in SE England outside Central London I find it much more enjoyable to go by car. I enjoy driving at night and thus avoid the nightmare jams around Brussels or Antwerp. I cross from Dunkirk because I find the two-hour crossing long enough to relax and doze somewhat. I find all this much more pleasant than dealing with LHR, LST or LGW, although I did consider the latter [Gatwick airport] this time but the flight schedule would not have allowed a day return. The ferry and petrol probably cost me only a little more than flights plus trains, car hire, etc. - and of course more time - but I prefer to do things I enjoy totally whenever possible. Driving and a couple of hours at sea suits me very well!
   I am delighted the webmaster spotted that my car is a Renault because it means he's aware that a UK citizen lives in Germany and runs a French-made car - very European!!
   Below are copies of my completed Reunion Feedback Questionnaire; click on either thumbnail to view a full-size version. As you see, I am more than delighted with everything the co-organizers have done. If I have only ticked one AQA box in the evaluation sheet put it down to the fact that I was in teaching for many a year and hardly ever gave 10 out of 10!
Harold Fish's questionnairefrom Ffith Grand Ruskin Reunion - September 2015
Harold Fish's questionnairefrom Ffith Grand Ruskin Reunion - September 2015
Ian Macdonald (JRGS 1958–65) adds: So glad you enjoyed the reunion, Harold, and took the time to write such a detailed appreciation. I shall be seeing Pauline at Reg’s funeral and tell her about the play. I shall also mention your admiration for her fortitude in attending the day after her Dad’s passing. I sincerely hope you will be able to attend any future reunion.

Robert Wane (JRGS 1945–53) adds: I was looking forward to meeting the webmaster last week, but it was not to be; he missed a good reunion. Overall, it was an experience to meet up with other Alumni, including two of my contemporaries, Tony Childs (JRGS 1947–53) and John Crumplin (JRGS 1945–50). It was a great day, but for how much longer these reunions can survive may be another matter. In my opinion, the "glue" tha binds us together is Tamworth Road and Mr. Lowe's tenure as headmaster at Tamworth Road and Shirley. My perception is that later and current JR pupils/students do not have the same affinity and clearly do not have the same history as us, and thus will not become the next generation of Alumni. Thus, we will become a diminishing group as age takes its toll. I apologise if I sound pessimistic and hope I may be proved wrong in the fullness of time. Nil desperandum!
   Recently, I came across an old autograph album and inside were all the signatures of form 5S (1950), which might it be of interest to Alumni of that year. I also have also included a few teachers' autographs, but they may not be as appealing. (The bottom one is curious as I think it is that of Mr. McCloud, the first headmaster before Mr. Lowe, who joined the school in 1945, so the timeline a little suspect. Maybe I got it much earlier and pasted it with the others later.)
Click on either thumbnail to view a larger

Pupil autographs from 1950's 5S class

Master autographs from Forties and Fifites

Pupils' autographs from member of form 5S (1950).

JRGS teachers' autographs from the same period.


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