JRGS News Archive Page 78
JRGS Alumni Society

Archived News/Activities

- Page 78 - Jan thru May 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.

Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) reports on a recent visit to a Shirley landmark...

During a trip earlier this month to the UK following a trade convention in Warsaw, I paid a brief visit to New Addington, travelling through Croydon and Shirley. Stopping off for lunch at The Sandrock pub, just south of the former JRGS site on Upper Shirley Road, I discovered that the establishment is now under new management, and offering a revised lunch menu. Sadly, the pub staff had only had few days to come up to speed with the changes, with the result that there were a few miscommunications with the kitchen and some revised menu options.
   The results were enjoyable, however, with my partner selecting a delicious nut-squash soup and this writer the steak and ale pie, as pictured below. I would recommend that former alumni check out the place for themselves; the experience, we are happy to mention, represented an improvement over the former, rather tired and weary public house of former years. (Incidentally, The Sandrock was where a group of alumni who attended the school in the Sixties met up in December 2001, a gathering that resulted in the subsequent development of this website.)
   Click on any thumbnail to view a larger version.

A visit to an Upper Shirley Road landmark. A visit to an Upper Shirley Road landmark.

Exterior of The Sandrock, now under new management.

The bar area with a fresh coat of white paint.

A visit to an Upper Shirley Road landmark. A visit to an Upper Shirley Road landmark.

The redecorated dining area is now far more inviting.

ML's steak-and-ale pie with mash and mixed veg.

A visit to an Upper Shirley Road landmark. A visit to an Upper Shirley Road landmark.

13th May - just two weeks into the revised operation.

The Sandrock's new menu.

I plan to return in week or so with further news of the planned Fifth Ruskin Grand Reunion, scheduled to be held at the John Ruskin College on 5th September.

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

Karl Smith (JRGS 1945-51) adds: I was delighted to a receive an update about The Mill; thanks so much. Also, mention of The Sandrock conjures up memories of Scouting on Shirley Hills in the late 1940s. It seemed far more remote back then.
   I would have been tempted by the September Reunion but I will be in Canada at that time. My joining JRGS would have been in December 1945/January 1946 because my father was working for Imperial Airways at Croydon Airport in 1939 (moving to Commerce Way when the RAF took over) and was then moved to Treforest in October 1940. The factory there became the major aero engine overhaul facility that is now owned by GE.
   I made the transition to grammar school at Pontypridd in 1943 and Dad managed a return to Croydon in November 1945. There were no vacancies at either of the Whitgift schools, so I went to Ruskin.
   This September looks to be my last chance ever of attending a reunion - I'm coming up to 83 - and I know quite a lot of my contemporaries have passed on. I knew Reg Whellock (JRGS Teacher 1946-56) but didn't study his subject of biology - which we knew as "Bilge". He had one of the two labs housed in a prefab erected in the rear playground in Tamworth Road; Percy Pearman (JRGS Teacher 1936-69) - chemistry - had the other. There was a room between the two in which was housed their shared lab assistant (Mr. McGuire in my day) with all equipment not located in the respective labs.

Grant Harrison (JRGS 1959-66) adds: Glad to hear that our webmaster had a good lunch at The Sandrock. I havenít been down that way since the last reunion and Iím very much looking forward to the next one.
   I was also fascinated by the pictures recently submitted by Geoff Boyce (JRGS 1958-65) of Mr. Rees at the blackboard in a Latin lesson. He must have taken his life in his hands to snatch that photo, and it brought back such vivid memories of us all sitting there while he worked himself into a fury. I remember one of his themes was not being able to get off a very hot boat in Egypt because they had to wait for General Montgomery to arrive.
   I actually passed Latin O-Level with a C, but mainly because I could memorise the poetry and Caesar. I didnít actually translate it at all. Just wrote out the passages from memory. If only I could have done that for the other subjects!
   On a final note, last weekend my wife Jean and I went to Dunkerque for the 75th anniversary. It was a very moving experience, since my father and his brother were both there. My father was an ambulance driver, but the convoy he was in had been dive bombed and strafed so he became a straggler and eventually arrived at Dunkerque on his own steam. Consequently, he could walk straight to the port and, after a few hours, got away on a destroyer. His brother was still in his unit and was ordered down onto the beach where he had to wait for four days before he got off.
   Shown below are two images. On the left is a picture of an actual WW2 ambulance of the time that was there on the beach (amongst many other vehicles) during one of the ceremonies; on the right a shot of me in the driver's seat, just as my father would have been. How uncanny!
   Click on either thumbnail to view a larger version.

Dunkerque Anniversary Dunkerque Anniversary


 Peter Townsend (JRGS 1947-54) reports on retired life in Middlesex...

In spite of having the flu jab, I'm fine now having recovered from the Flu over Christmas! I also had my 79th birthday in January, and hoping to get to 80.
   I have plenty of interests to keep on the ball. I am a member of the Uxbridge Rotary club, and produce the Bulletin now and again when I get enough material. I am also the Health and Safety Officer at our major fund-raising event called the Uxbridge Autoshow, held this year on 19th July when we raised £30,000 for charity. The office is beginning to be quite a responsibility. The UK is quite bonkers these days on this issue.
   Everyone is afraid of being sued for huge amounts of money should anything be identified as a risk. The club have sent me on several health and safety seminars in our district. I was recruited to this as I was a local dentist who, in my time, had to attend postgraduate lectures on the subject in regard to my dental practice. In fact, when my staff did a revue of the risks we decided it was a risk to enter the building!
   My wife and I play bridge at a club, and also socially.
   I have a greenhouse that contains many cactus and succulent plants. So I am quite envious of the Californian climate [our webmaster] enjoys. I manage to keep the temperature at about 3 degrees centigrade for most of the winter. That eats away at the pension, but it is worth it to me.
   Two or three months ago we had a knock at the door and there stood an American with cameras dangling all over. He said his Dad lived in our house just after the war, as he was in the US Air force. Working it out his dad was about 10 or 11 years old then. His son related how he used to visit a candy store in Hatch End (now gone) and went to a footbridge to view the trains. This was on the west coast line, LMS then. He had photos of our house and went around delighted to be where his father had lived then; I was able to show him the damage to my brickwork from a bomb that dropped nearby in 1941.
   In retrospect, I wish I had taken more details from him. He lived in California and motored through Burbank daily on his way to work [as does our webmaster]. Small world!

Dr. Peter J. Townsend, Hatch End, Pinner, Middlesex, March 2014 Email


 Doug Ford (JRGS 1966-72) reports on plans for taking early retirement...

At the end of February, and just ahead of my 60th birthday, Iíll fulfill a long-held ambition to take early retirement!
   When I started working, in 1974, as a very junior cameraman on The Benny Hill Show, I could never have imagined the journey Iíd make to bring me, finally, to Skywalker Sound in Northern California.
   In the past 40 years Iíve worked in live broadcast for both TV and radio, location sound for industrial documentaries, video editing (when it was still tape-based), audio post at the dawn of digital audio workstations. I moved from operational work to product development and training with AMS Neve, which allowed me to visit a large part of the globe. I first lived in the US in the mid-Nineties and now call California home.
   The last 15 years at the Skywalker Ranch, with a brief sojourn at Digidesign, are definitely the highlight of my career. The technologies Iíve got to play with, the artistes that Iíve worked with and the projects Iíve worked on are outstanding!
   I intend to stay in the Bay Area and am looking forward to having more time to devote to my recreational passion of sailing, as shown below.

The boat in question is a very nicely restored, late Seventies, Islander 36, named Wind Catcher, pictured right.
This was
the day we took some Brit friends - who now live in New Zealand - for a sail around the San Francisco Bay and then a hike on Angel Island.

Doug Ford, Marin County, CA, USA, February 2015 Email


 Sean Devlin (JRGS 1970-77) discovers website and has fond school memories...

I was just messing around on my iPad and thought I would tap in John Ruskin School, which took me to The Mill website. I attended the school from 1970 to 1977 - part of the last grammar school intake in 1970 - and ended up as Head Boy in my last year. My sister Maeve was one of the first girls to arrive from Shirley High School and was Head Girl at John Ruskin!
   I have fond memories of (most) of my time there. (Perhaps it is best not to mention Latin teacher Mr. "Rhino" Rees - strange how he doesn't appear in the teacher popularity stakes!)
   I would be interested in hearing about any upcoming events.

Sean Devlin, London, February 2015 Email


 Peter Eades (JRGS 1963-69) discovers a vintage image of Tamworth Road...

Tamworth Road in late-FiftiesI stumbled across this picture, shown right, while reading online about something else. Click on the thumbnail to view a large version.
   The image shows a boy wearing John Ruskin uniform walking south along Tamworth Road from West Croydon railway station towards the former school premises.
   I recall that the last trolleybus in Croydon ran in July 1960; the Morris Traveller dates the picture as being after 1952. The red and white car is an Austin Metropolitan, which didn't appear in the UK until April 1957. Also the picture is in colour, which didn't become widespread until the late Fifties.
   So I think we have a time frame of 1957-60. That means the school would have moved to Shirley at least two years previously.
Does anyone have a memory long enough to identify the boy seen here?
   Judging by the shadows, I would hazard a guess that the picture was taken late afternoon, so maybe the schoolboy is on his way home and just happened to live near the old school. He might be carrying a sports bag, because it has loop handles rather than the close handle of a brief case. And judging by his height he must be 5th form or above.
   The image is ©2007 David Bradley, whose website contains additional information about Croydon trolleybuses. The site's author states that the picture was taken on a Saturday in early 1959. "The trolleybus heading away from us would shortly make its way into Station Road after crossing North End," David advises, "and then proceed onto Crystal Palace; in the opposite direction, trolleybus passengers are travelling towards Sutton.
   "I canít be sure of the date nor day the picture was taken, but as route 654 was abandoned on Tuesday, 3 March 1959, I would have probably been out and about with my camera the previous Saturday and in Tamworth Road possibly during early afternoon. It was pretty good weather for late February back then. So why the school boy is seem in uniform is a bit of a mystery.
   "Having checked with a colleague who was with me on that day, I can confirm that the image was taken on Saturday, 28 February 1959."

Peter Eades, Phrae, Thailand, February 2015 Email

Peter Hurn (JRGS 1967-73) adds: A very interesting item about the JRGS schoolboy. I might suggest that, as he was out on a Saturday afternoon in school uniform with some sort of kit-bag, he was going home after playing football for the school It's only speculation but it may help narrow down the options a bit.

Graham Donaldson (JRGS 1962-69) adds: A wonderful photo and, as correctly stated, trolleybus route 654 ran for the last time on Tuesday 3 March 1959, to be replaced by new bus route 154 (Morden-Crystal Palace) and an extension of the 157 from Wallington to Crystal Palace.
   In those days the busmens' working week started on a Wednesday, so that was the day route changes were always introduced. After the trolleybuses had gone this was changed to a Sunday but, by 1968, when "Reshaping London's Buses" began to take effect, it had been changed again to a Saturday, which is still the case today.
   Croydon's other trolleybus route, the 630, ran for the last time on 19 July 1960, being replaced by new bus route 220 (West Croydon-Harlesden) using Routemasters, and an extension of the 64 from West Croydon to Wimbledon Stadium with a part allocation of RMs from Elmers End garage.
   Curiously, these worked in service "when required" between Elmers End and Addington, passing JRGS. However, this only lasted until the May 1962 when the allocation was more logically transferred to Thornton Heath. And to enter into the world of "Might Have Beens," route 630 was originally to have been abandoned under Stage 13 of the conversions in January 1962, but was brought forward due to construction work on the Hammersmith flyover.
   They were splendid vehicles and it's a shame that Transport for London will not countenance their return in modern form.
   As for the school uniform, bear in mind that there wasn't the money for fashion clothes in those days, you tended to have to wear the uniform whether you wanted to or not!

Tom Shaw (JRGS 1957-61) adds: Around about that time I used to regularly travel from Clapham Junction to the school in Shirley; this entailed me alighting at West Croydon trolleybus stop. The schoolboy isn't me because I would be going the wrong way, but the time frame is right. I went down that way occasionally to meet Roy Burton or Ralph May - better known at Ralph McTell - but never in school uniform.

David Anderson (JRGS 1964-71) adds: The recent entry about the trolleybuses at West Croydon got me thinking, as the website often does. I recall the trolleybuses at West Croydon where Station Road met North End, there was a spiders' web of wires over the junction. Sometimes a pick-up would come off the wire requiring the crew to get out and re-locate it with a pole so progress could continue! They were quiet and eco-friendly, and ahead of their time. That only went on a few times - perhaps some enthusiast could shed more light on what the crew did for heating, or were they like the RT diesel buses; there was none.
   Does anybody recall the Thirties-style curved building with "Woodhouse" in big letters on it?
   Our family lived in Thornton Heath in the same road for my first 18 years. We didn't (like most) have a car and only went in one a few times a year - in an uncle's car to relatives all of two miles away in South Norwood at Xmas, and in a neighbour's van to East Croydon station with our luggage to get the train to Bognor for our annual holiday! It was quite a journey, which took most of the day.
   However, lack of a car was not a handicap, since at the end of the road was one of the most frequent bus services in the country along the A23. The multitude of routes meant there was a bus about every few minutes on routes 109, 155, 50 , 130, etc. Later on I realised how fortunate we were, but this was not the case everywhere!
   Bus or bike and later small motorbike was a very good way to get around.
   Sometimes on a Sunday our family would get the bus number 130 up to the viewpoint on Shirley Hills, which was quite a way out for us. This was the first time I ever saw JRGS, a striking "new" school (I was then 10 years old ) with a - wait for it - a Windmill. Amazing! About this time the 11+ exam was looming and choices needed to be made about where next. Was it to be Selhurst ("Smellworst" to us junior schoolboys) or Stanley Technical (or others). Well, the new school "in the country" appeared so much more attractive, and so that was it. No academic reason at all.
   I recall the old RT buses struggling to get up the hill beyond The Sandrock and I believe the RM Routemaster bus was allocated to that route (being new and more powerful). What a stroke of luck; I got to ride on the newest and, to my mind, (and still) the Rolls-Royce of buses every day. They were bright, had beautiful upholstery, offered smooth riding, sounded lovely and made going to school much more bearable. So much better than the old RTs and RTWs. However, upstairs on a winter morning could be 'orrible with all the smokers coughing and thick with smoke. The best bit, however, was that they had heaters! On a cold morning it was lovely to get up the front upstairs to sit by the vent and get warm.
   My daily journey to school on the 130 route took me through the centre of Croydon, which was in the process of being flattened to make way for the "brave new world" of modern office blocks, as the Whitgift Centre and the underpass on Park Lane/George Street were being built. If only I had a camera to take a weekly photo of progress. But I didn't consider it eventful.
   If you recall, the games fields at JRGS were down at Oaks Farm, a fair trek from the school. I am sure that our lack of sparkling performance and interest on the games field was often down to the fact we were already knackered by the walk, carrying school bags kit etc. to get there. About this time of the year (February) we would be ordered to play games - I did Lacrosse, which could be vicious - and after a couple of hours out in the driving sleet or light snow we were frozen! So it was into the pavilion only to be told by a certain Maths/PE teacher: "You have two minutes to get changed and get out of the building!" Well, our hands were so cold we could not do up any buttons so we were evicted in a state of half undress.
   In order to cut the journey, some of us would walk over the hill to Mapledale Avenue and pick up the 130 bus on Upper Addiscombe Road. Trouble was that with frozen hands I (we) couldn't handle coins for our fare and the kindly bus conductor would let us stay on the bus and get the money out after we had warmed up on the heater. Good old London Transport; good old Routemaster! I look on them as old friends. A time when a ride on a bus could be fun, banter with the conductor, ding-ding of the bell, the ticket machine, etc. It's all gone now.
   So if you want a trip down memory lane don't bother with the heritage Routemaster bus route in London. These are re-engined eco-Routemasters - there's no bell and a digital (ugh!) ticket machine. They don't sound or go like the originals. Take a look at Brooklands Museum in Weybridge, Surrey, and London Bus Museum. Well worth a visit to some old friends!
   I hope you have enjoyed my ramblings and I have provoked some comments and contributions.

Colin Peretti (JRGS 1955-60) adds: The JRGS sports ground was originally located at Duppas Hill and was still in use until at least 1956, because the Oaks Road facility had not been completed. I often travelled from New Addington to Duppas Hill via the 130 to West Croydon and then by 654 T/Bus to the ground on Saturday morning for JRGS (home) football matches.
   The student [seen walking down Tamworth Road, and pictured left] is not me. If the picture was taken in 1959 it is unlikely that the pupil was going to or from the old sports ground.
   I was also interested in his uniform. We were expected to wear light grey trousers and, while some of the more radical dressers stretched that to charcoal grey, I do not think that Mr. "Joe" Lowe would have permitted black.
   We will be in UK during late-September until mid October but, unfortunately, will miss the Grand Reunion at the sixth-form college. However, I will have a few beers in The Sandrock and The Surprise, and will stay in the Selsdon Park which, as you know, is up the hill from the college.
   I will also be visiting my old friends Raymond Austin (JRGS 1953-58) and Mike Buffrey (JRGS 1956-60). Ray and I usually give Buffrey a rousing rendition of the School Song, but poor old Buffrey even with all of his O- and A-levels cannot remember the words! (Just joking!)
   Buffrey was in the year with Brian Hurn, Ivor Aylesbury and Sims (the latter two are in the prefect photo). Ray Austin was two years ahead of me and was in the same year as Woodcock, Drain, Langridge - some of our more outstanding sportsmen.
   Ray Austin, Michael George and Arthur Langridge all went to the Wolsey Junior School in King Henry's Drive in New Addington. They must have been close to, or actually, the first of a long line of gifted New Addington lads to attend John Ruskin Grammar School. When you consider that the estate's housed younger couples after the war, I suppose that it was only on the early-Fifties that the Addington children became old enough for secondary education. The group after Ray Arthur, included Ivor Aylesbury and Brian Hurn from Rowdown (1954) then, in 1955, Anthony Francis, Paul Sorrell and I all made it from Rowdown and then I guess it was the webmaster's group in 1956 or 1957. It would be interesting to hear from some of the young Addingtonians who made it to Ruskin.

ML adds: My parents moved to the New Addington housing estate in 1951, when I was three, from council housing on Beulah Hill, Upper Norwood. I joined JRGS from Rowdown Junior School in September 1959, together with Michael Hollidge (JRGS 1959-66); others in my intake year came from Overbury School and Fairchildes School, including John Byford (JRGS 1959-66) and Jim Thomas (JRGS 1959-65).

Graham Donaldson offers: Well, this discussion seems to have set quite a hare running!
   Regarding David Anderson's comments, most of the buildings around West Croydon have changed remarkably little since those days, though obviously the uses have. Certainly, a slight Achilles Heel of the trolleybus was a tendency to de-wire - the tight turning circle used by the 630's in Station Road was another favourite place for this to happen. As one former trolleybus driver relates in his memoirs: "You had to watch the road above as well as the road ahead!" Technically all de-wirements were supposed to be reported, but no doubt many weren't.
   And no, there was no saloon heating, the Routemaster was groundbreaking in this and other respects. However, after the very cold winter of 1962/63 London Transport received a lot of complaints about cold buses, and so a crash programme of fitting heaters was undertaken on all buses that had a life expectancy of seven years or more. This therefore excluded the Leyland RTLs and RTWs as well as the older RTs with roof-mounted front number boxes, and the single-deck RFs with no platform doors. The heaters consisted of fairly large boxes that were placed under the front-nearside seat upstairs and the front-offside seat downstairs, and utilised waste heat from the engine. They were controlled by a switch on the rear bulkhead and, whilst not all that effective, were better than nothing.
   Moving on to "new" Routemasters, although Croydon received half a dozen new ones in the Spring of 1964; most of those allocated to the 130 group in late Summer were actually older ones cascaded from Dalston and Hendon garages in North London. This was because the new ones being built at the time had offside illuminated advert panels and it was decreed that these be used on Central London routes such as the 9, 11 and 13, thus releasing existing vehicles to Croydon. This, of course, was hugely disappointing to those of us who were looking forward to seeing brand new ones from the vantage point of Classroom 12! By a quirk of fate, the take-up of the illuminated panels generally fell short of expectations and over the years most were removed as the buses passed through overhaul.
   However, justice was finally done in 1967-68 when it was decided to upgrade the 130s to the longer RML type, and we were the lucky recipients of the very last batch of new ones to be built. Sadly they only stayed for a few years, and by early 1975 the unloved :Box bus" Daimler Fleetlines had taken over.
   Finally, I agree that the "Heritage" Routemasters are not exactly the real thing, but it would have been impossible to keep the original engines in intensive daily use even without the Low Emission Zone. However, it has just been announced that the main route 15 will be next in line for "New Routemasters". I wouldn't be surprised to see this used as a reason to get rid of the old ones, so their days may finally be numbered.

John Byford (JRGS 59-66) adds: One piece of information was completely new to me - that JRGS [in Shirley] used Duppas Hill as its sports ground before the Oaks Road facility was opened. The news was of particular interest as the football team I played for as a teenager had the occasional away game at Duppas Hill. It brought back memories of interesting Saturdays: our home ground was the playing fields at North Downs in New Addington but the league we played in had teams from across South London. The nearest away matches were in Addington Park but we went as far afield as Peckham Rye (where the goal posts had to be carried out) and somewhere in Streatham where the home side had nets (the height of luxury). Fortunately, our manager knew someone who drove a small van for work and he, a Mr. Kimnell, would drive us to most away matches.
   Initially, it was second best to playing for JRGS - I'd managed a few games in my first year but there were too many good players to play regularly. But there was no need to wear school uniform for our matches and Mr. Kimnell was a paragon of kindness, in comparison with a certain Mr. Smith.
   Living in Milne Park East, then Milne Park West [on the New Addington housing estate], we had the playing fields on our doorstep and having a kick about continued throughout the year. It also meant going to Fairchildes Primary School, a short walk away. Apparently, I dispensed with my mum taking me to school at an early age, walking to school with Colin Packham from next door. There was almost no traffic in those days so I guess our parents were happy with the arrangement. But, as Colin notes, indiscretions were usually noted and one winter I was hauled up before the headmistress for putting snow into the letter box at the junction of Milne Park East and Homestead Way. The headmistress, a Miss Neville-Kaye, had taught one of my uncles in her first teaching job and seemed to intimate that I took after him. But how much better we were for having the freedom to take risks and experience life ... it wasn't long before we were travelling all over London with our Red Rovers collecting bus numbers.
   One of the first Routemaster journeys I remember was on the 220, which replaced the 630 trolleybus on 20th July 1960. Roger Hall (JRGS 1959-67) and I rode the route to Harlesden, aged 11; we soon had a large number of Routemasters ticked off in our Ian Allan booklets.
   I don't remember any of the names mentioned, but then we lived in the southern end of the estate - my Dad had grown up in Croydon and remembered the area before any houses were built, even before Milne Park had been part of the airfield that extended down to the other end of what is now Salcot Crescent. I'm not sure if many - or any - boys had made it to Ruskin from Fairchildes. Ken Collins, another bus spotter who lived in King Henry's Drive, was one of the nearest, and Michael Gibbs, a year younger than me - who sadly died 5 years ago - lived in Comport Green.

   Lastly, the route of 130 bus changed a few days ago. Previously, it had terminated at Norwood Junction; now it continues to Thornton Heath Clock Tower. Unfortunately, the buses remain single-deckers!

Karl Smith (JRGS 1945-51) adds: The trolleybus pictures reminds me that two such routes ran past JR in TamworthA Route 654 trolleybus oppiste the old Waddon Station and Hotel Road: 1. Route 630 from West Croydon to Hammersmith Broadway; and 2. Route 654 from Crystal Palace to Sutton. I'm not sure about the 630 origins, but the 654 replaced trams in the 1930s. My grandparents lived in Carshalton and used the trams for shopping in Croydon.
   The 654 was sometimes used to get from the school to the playing field at Duppas Hill. The image shown left is of a Route 654 trolleybus opposite the old Waddon Station and Hotel - the bus stop we used for the JRGS Playing Field at Duppas Hill.
Click on the thumbnail to view a large version.

   Just down the road from JRGS the routes split - close to Reeves Corner of massive fire fame. Here, the conductors had to dismount and operate a pull-down handle on one of the support poles to change the tracks. If they forgot, the trolley poles would be on the wrong wires and have to be pulled down with the long (insulated!) rod carried under the trolleybus. Embarrassing, because it caused traffic delays - as well as a little entertainment for schoolboys!
   Another memory from the past is that Barlow & Parker's sweet factory almost next door to the school was the scene of the notorious shooting of PC Miles by Christopher Craig for which Derek Bentley was hanged - and later pardoned. That incident happened one Saturday evening only minutes before I passed on my way home from a scout evening session. [On 2 November, 1952, Christopher Craig and Derek Bentley tried to break into the warehouse of confectionery manufacturer and wholesaler Barlow & Parker. The two youths were spotted climbing over the gate and up a drainpipe to the roof by a nine-year-old girl in a house across from the building. She alerted her parents and her father called the police from the nearest phone box. As a result of events that are disputed to this day, PC Sidney Miles was shot dead. Bentley was hanged for the crime on 28 January, 1953, in Wandsworth Prison.]

ML adds: To wrap up this thread, here is a image from David Bradley' excellent website showing a 630 and a 654 trolleybus crossing London Road/North End at Station Road, close to the West Croydon BR station. Click on the thumbnail to view a larger version.

Trolleybusses at West Croydon station

David recalls that the photograph was secured in early 1959 from a barmaid's bedroom at The Railway Bell Hotel pub on the south-west corner on the famous junction, "with no thought of alcohol; [we] simply asked if we could take some photographs from one of the upper floor windows.
   "This location is quite unique, for in the 1940s it was the only place in London where all forms of surface transport could have photographed: trams, trolleybuses, central buses, country buses, Green Line coaches, steam freight and electric suburban trains. The only thing unseen would have been the underground."
   And I have just discovered that Ruskin Road turns off Tamworth Road just south of this junction, and runs alongside the railway line, before ending just before Roman Way. An odd coincidence?


 Geoff Boyce (JRGS 1958-65) unearths two vintage images from the Sixties...

At last I've retrieved these vintage images from an old photo album in the loft.
   Click on either thumbnail to view a larger version.

Mr. "Rhino" Rees teaching Latin in 1961 JRGS School Prefects in early Stixties
Mr. "Rhino" Rees teaching Ablative Absolute. JRGS school prefects in early-Sixties

In the left-hand image, Mr. Rees was teaching us in 4U the Ablative Absolute. It was in Mr. Alan Murray's classroom on the first floor that I was daring enough to take this snap in July 1961. What would have happened if he had turned round at that moment I dread to think. His nickname was not "Rhino" for nothing.
   The postcard (shown right) was on sale to the younger chaps - a photograph of the prefects from around the same time. The only one I can put a name to is Graham Beale, standing last on the right with spectacles. These were upper sixth or even third-year sixth young men, and so that might help someone date it more accurately. They were obviously regarded as pin-ups to mere third-formers like me, who obviously coughed up 6d for this!

Geoff Boyce, Croydon, Surrey, January 2015 Email

ML adds: The Ablative Absolute is a noun in Latin grammar defined as: A construction not dependent upon any other part of the sentence, consisting of a noun and a participle, noun and adjective, or two nouns, in which both members are in the ablative case, as Latin viā factā, ďthe road having been made.Ē More

Maurice Whitfield (JRGS 1959-66) adds: What a great photo of the old educator at the chalk face. I would like to acknowledge Mr. "Rhino" Rees for the fact that today, half a century later, I can still tickle myself pink and simultaneously induce torpor in friends by declining for them all six cases from nominative to ablative and conjugate tenses from the future perfect to the past pluperfect.
   This feat could not have been achieved without the dread of defenestration and much worse of which that legendary tyrant was capable. And it never did me any harm, although as you can see my social life may have suffered.
   But I'm afraid I failed Latin O-Level - the equivalent of a post -grad these days- probably an admin. error.
   Please note I have above not split any infinitives.

Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) adds: It must be the 1960/61 prefects because this same picture appears on page 4 of the April 1961 school magazine. Sadly, there is no list of names, as was usually the practice with school magazine prefects photos.

Derek Falkner (JRGS 1954-61) adds: Many thanks for posting these photographs from Geoff Boyce. Since this was my year - graduating in 1961 from the Third Year Sixth - I ought to be able to recognize many of the faces but, to my shame, I can only pick out a couple. In the back row, ninth from the left, is David Robinson and in the front row, second from the left is Tom Craggs.
   Prefects, I seem to remember, wore an enamel badge on their lapel. I can see Graham Beale and a couple of others are sporting them but most are not. Was this meant to be a picture of the Sixth Form which just happened to include a few prefects?

Roger Hall (JRGS 1959-66) adds: Gosh, I am so impressed with our webmaster's knowledge of the Ablative Absolute Ė now I know why I got only two marks for my Latin mock. ITrial Oyster Site- June 2014 got my name right but the date wrong and no marks at all for the timetable of the 130 and 130A buses that were going by during the exam! Happy days.
   Currently, I'm involved with a community venture to set up what will be Englandís first community-owned shellfish farm. We are just nearing the end of our "food health and safety" testing of the mussels and oysters. We are in the process of setting up a community interest company and, concentrating on the oysters, plan to start business in early summer. Click on the image shown right.
   We have attracted a lot of press information (search on Porlock shellfish or oysters). On 17 January I was interviewed live for 10 minutes on BBC Radio Somerset. The interview starts 1 hour 4 mins and 45 secs into the programme and is about us getting a grant to set up a website from the Hinkley Point Community Impact Mitigation fund. (Hinkley Point is about 20 miles from us and is the site of a new nuclear power station Ė very controversial!)
   I am also helping the village shopkeepers, chair the local museum, sit on the village-hall committee and have recently be co-opted onto the Parish Council.

Cliff Cummins (JRGS 1956-62) adds: Spotted in the JRGS school prefects photo: Back row - fourth from left is Drake (first name unknown; played the piano); Front row - second from right Alec Davies (or Davis).


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