- Page 80 - Sep thru Oct 2015 -
- Page 80 - Sep thru Oct 2015 -
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
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!
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.
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
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
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
Reunion in early September.
Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, USA, October 2015 Email
Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) recalls artist Bernard Robinson (JRCS 1942-47)...
By chance, I
recently I stumbled across a
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
As a very occasional visitor to the JRGS website, I was sorry to learn
of the recent death of
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!
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,
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!
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.
Geoffrey Blanthorn, Pierce County, Washington, USA, October 2015 Email
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.
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.
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...
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.
Early History in Croydon and South
Brian Thorogood (JRGS
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
Career after John Ruskin Grammar School
• 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.
Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, USA, September 2015 Email
Ian Macdonald (JRGS 1958-65)
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]
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).
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.
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 version.
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.
Robert Wane (JRGS 1945–53)
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!
A full list of archived News/Events Pages can be found here.
The content of this web site is provided for informational purposes only, and is subject to change without notice. The JRGS Alumni Society makes no representation about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the content of this web site, nor the results to be obtained from using any part of such content.
Please send any messages and memorabilia to
©2021 JRGS Alumni Society. All Rights Reserved. Last revised: 01.01.21