- Page 79 - Jun thru Aug 2015 -
- Page 79 - Jun thru Aug 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.
Bill Hoskin (JRGS 1954-59) recalls his post-Ruskin career in South Africa...
Ruskin Grammar, I attended Sir John Cass College in London, where I was
awarded a BSc (Eng), and then worked at Decca Radar. Since then my
involvement - not only in a work environment - has been in "light
current" or, as some would say, Electronics.
Today - A Quartet of Motorcycles
Bill Hoskin, Durbanville, Cape Town, South Africa August 2015 Email
John Brigden (JRGS 1959-64) adds: I think the metalwork teacher at the time was Mr. Probert - he also took some of us for soccer on games afternoons. Woodwork was taught by Mr. Thomas. Like Bill Hoskin - and our webmaster, I think - I never got to enter either of these workshops at Ruskin. As a result, I can be quite dangerous.
Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) adds:
John is correct; being in the U/academic stream from 3M onwards, I never
was able to study metalwork or woodwork at JRGS. However, my father was
an experienced toolmaker and encouraged me to tinker with saws,
files and other implements from an early age, and always had pieces of
wood around for my projects, including carts made from old pram wheels
and the like, with easy access to his shed full of bolts and fasteners.
Having carefully explained their intended use to me - and simultaneously
instilling a sense of safe operation - he let me at it. Sure, I cut
myself and smashed my thumb on more than one occasion, but the
experience also gave me a healthy respect for artisans and the ability
to perform basic car and household repairs. (He once explained that his
father forbade him access to my grandfather's tools, simply because he
was concerned that his son might try to saw through a nail, or the like,
and ruin his good blades. While my dad wasn't unaware of the costs
involved to replace such hardware, he seemed to reason that it was
better for me to master their application and risk his tools, rather that raise
a son who was ignorant of their use.)
John Brigden replies:
I certainly envy our webmaster's training; I have difficulty
putting anything together square or level and certainly not both, unless
it has come from IKEA.
Geoffrey Farmer (JRGS 1959-64) discovers the website & brings us up to date...
On leaving school I
completed an apprenticeship with the GPO Long Distance Area - which
later became BT International. In 1972 I moved to Cornwall, where I
worked as an engineer at Goonhilly Downs Earth Station. In 1976 I moved
to Hereford to work at the Madley Earth Station. I returned to London in
1982 to take up my first management post. I had several roles
from buying and commissioning and installing equipment for satellite TV
uplinks at the London Teleport to training and managing apprentices.
Geoffrey Farmer, Seaford, East Sussex, August 2015 Email
Grant Harrison (JRGS 1959-66) recalls a school trip to France in early Sixties...
I came across these photos sent to me by
Geoff Farmer (JRGS 1959-64) some time ago. They relate to a trip
to Louviers in northern France somewhere around 1962. We performed a
number of excerpts from plays in the école there, which was our French
exchange school, and also in Dieppe.
For many of us - me certainly - it was our
first trip to France, or anywhere abroad. We arrived at Louviers station
and were billeted out to various families. Roger Searle and I
were together but our family was away. We were taken to another old
rambling house for dinner with a large extended family of about 12-14
people and were immediately handed large glasses of weak red wine to
drink with our meal, and such strange cheeses!
Grant Harrison, Tatterford, Norfolk, August 2015 Email
ML adds: Wasn't this the infamous occasion when "Mick" Horner supposedly delighted the French Dignities with his humble - and very brief - speech in schoolboy French: “Je suis content," or similar? I wasn't there; I just heard about it later at school.
Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) adds:
I was there too – though not
in these photos. The trip was a great success. It was June 1962. In Louviers
we all stayed with different French families; quite an education. We
also went to places in Paris, Normandy and Dieppe too. Mr. "Fred"
Field and Mr. Robertshaw were the staff. There is a report on
page 5 and
page 6 of the
July 1962 school magazine.
replies: Yes, I was Lorenzo in the Merchant of Venice.
He’s the person who runs off with Shylock’s daughter Jessica. There’s a
long speech about music towards the end of the play.
Talking of John George
- who played Shylock in the school production of Merchant of Venice - back in 2007 Maurice Whitfield (JRGS 1959-66)
reported bumping into him on a tube train at Earl’s Court, sometime
in the early Eighties. "What a fantastic character!" Maurice recalled. "[John]
said he was editor of Art International, or similar.
Michael "Jack" Horner (JRGS 1959-64)
adds: It was my first attempt to amuse/entice a French
mademoiselle, with a "nil point" outcome that was to be repeated many
times afterwards (and not only with French women).
Clifford Cummins (JRGS 1956-62)
adds: In the second
photo down, the lad between the French schoolgirl and David Orange
is Richard Hayward and then, on the far right, is - I think -
Howard Brierley. Howard was about the same age as my cousin who was
at Ruskin - Colin Bunn, now Ashworth - so about 1961-67).
Sarah Smith (ex-Archbishop Tenison 1969-1976) recalls former Ruskin teachers...
As The Alumni may know from the website,
several ex-John Ruskin teachers joined Archbishop Tenison's Grammar
School in Croydon after their time at JRGS.
Just in case it isn't fully legible, I have typed here the complete inner sleeve dust-jacket notes. (Incidentally, the book's front cover photo was taken at JRGS.)
MASTERPIECE And Other Plays - This volume contains nine plays for schools (age group 10-14 plus)
The author’s aim has been to provide the “larger” themes of adult drama
in forms acceptable to the “in-betweens” (the junior and middle form
pupils of Secondary Schools). The dialogue presents the young players
with all the used forms of dramatic language and many various theatrical
“devices”. These are therefore plays of transition. The literary
folk-tale has here displaced the fairy-tale of the Primary School play.
The “around the world” theme of the series allows for variety of stage
movement and for correlation of drama with social studies or literature
to be established. Most of these plays have parts for about half a form.
The remainder can be used as an alternative cast or in crowd scenes or
as an audience. Since the original productions, these plays have been
successfully “in the round”
“Good plays, enthusiastically produced can only result in the first rate performance of this. Mr. Powe and his splendid cast must be fully aware”. Croydon Advertiser reviewing EVE’S OTHER CHILDREN and MASTERPIECE.
“No other presentation I saw had the piquancy and novelty of what the Archbishop Tenison’s School called ‘a dramatic exercise’ and which turned out to be three delightful playlets”. Croydon Advertiser reviewing LOS VECINOS, WHAT MEN LIVE BY and THE GENTLE RAIN.
Photograph: PITY THE SINNER OF A LESSER LAND at the John Ruskin Grammar School, Croydon (Boys).
The book also contains black and white photos of Ruskin and Tenison pupils performing four of the plays, as shown below with the cover illustration; click on any thumbnail to view a larger version.
Finally, a colleague spotted Mr. Powe
around 15 years ago working as a volunteer at Nymans Gardens, a National Trust property in West Sussex. He had a quick
chat with Mr. Powe and got the famous "furrowed brow" look when trying to
Sarah Smith, Bournemouth, Dorset, August 2015
(JRGS 1959-66) adds:
I don't recall ever being taught by Mr. Powe, although he may have done. Also,
I was never in any of his drama productions, only Mr. Field's and
Mr. Crowe's. I think Mr. Powe started producing junior school
drama later at JRGS.
ML adds: Mr. Powe's LRAM stands for Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music, a professional diploma that formerly was open to both internal students of the Royal Academy of Music and external candidates in voice, keyboard and orchestral instruments and guitar, as well as conducting and other musical disciplines. More
Although it may not have been on a regular basis, I remember Mr. Powe teaching us English in maybe 2C or 3M; he was a very dapper gentleman, with immaculate handwriting. (His “Qs” looked like curly "2s", which was proper, I think.)
Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) recalls a prominent painting in a school corridor...
During a recent Google search I came
across an image of a painting reproduction that used to hang in one of the school
corridors at the Upper Shirley Road site; it was either next to Room 1 -
Mr. Charles "Smuts" Smith's form room - or on the floor above,
adjacent, I recall, to Mr. David "Rhino" Rees' home room.
Wikipedia, "As well as being a double portrait, the painting
contains a still life of several meticulously rendered objects, the
meaning of which is the cause of much debate. It also incorporates a
much-cited example of anamorphosis in painting." Some scholars have
suggested that the painting "contains overtones of religious strife. The
conflicts between secular and religious authorities are here represented
de Dinteville, a landowner, and Georges de Selve, the Bishop of
Lavaur. The commonly accepted symbol of discord, a lute with a broken
string, is included next to a hymnbook in Martin Luther's translation,
suggesting strife between scholars and the clergy."
Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, USA, July 2015 Email
Cliff Cummins (JRGS 1956-62) adds: I do not recall the Holbein painting and I don't recall the silver-paint vandalism, so that must have happened after June 1962, when I left Ruskin.
I do though remember a painting situated outside the prefect's
room - or was it the sixth-form common room? - of Christ on the Cross;
think it was this one shown right by Salvador Dali (Christ of St John on the Cross,
painted in 1951.) Click on the
thumbnail to view a larger version.
Anne Smith (JRHS/JRC teacher/principal 1970-99) adds: Certainly the Holbein painting was not there when I joined the school in 1970, after the vandalism episode.
Nigel Ellis (JRGS 1968-1970) discovers the website and recalls Sixties teachers...
from John Newnham Secondary School to John Ruskin for “A” levels in 1968
and, apart from writing one or two stories about the future of The Mill
while a reporter on the Croydon Advertiser, finding this website
is my first contact with the school since I walked out the gate for the
last time one sunny day in July 1970. All summer days were sunny back
then, if I remember rightly!
Nigel Ellis, Preston, Lancashire, June 2015 Email
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