JRGS News Archive Page 77
JRGS Alumni Society

Archived News/Activities

- Page 77 - Nov 2014 thru Jan 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.
   

 Former John Newnham pupil Mike Cartwright asks about the school's fate...

I am an old John Newnham pupil, circa 1953-58 - one of the original pupils that went to that school having passed my 11-plus.
   The JRGS website appeared on my computer some years ago and I have been an avid reader since that time. Understandably, I seldom see any reference to John Newnham Secondary School but am aware that at some stage, when it closed, JRGS absorbed pupils from our school. I would be interested to know what did indeed happen because, being resident of Australia for over 35 years, I do not know the events that occurred.
   My other reason for contacting you out of the blue is that having viewed the recent posting, I saw the name Roger Courtiour and his picture, which confirmed that I knew him. However, since I knew Roger from John Newnham I'm puzzled how he ended up on a JRGS soccer team. I would be interested to know if anyone or even Roger himself could fill me in? [Answered below by
Brian Hurn (JRGS 1954-60) ]

Michael (Mike) Cartwright, Mount Martha, Victoria, Australia. January 2015 email

Anne Smith (JRHS/JRC teacher/principal 1970-99) adds: At the time when the second Croydon re-organisation of secondary education was being planned because of a reduced demographic, there were, I think, a total of eight 14-18 schools, from which it was planned to form two sixth-form colleges and two sixth-form annexes to Croydon College. This meant that of those eight - Lady Edridge, Selhurst Boys, Selhurst Girls, Purley Boys, Purley Girls, John Newnham, John Ruskin and Heath Clark - some would have to close and some merge.
   Proposed for closure were Lady Edridge, Selhurst Boys and John Newnham, with Selhurst Girls and Heath Clark closing to become the Croydon College FE sixth-form annexes to Croydon College, and Purley Girls and Boys scheduled to merge and become Purley Sixth Form College, John Ruskin becoming the other sixth-form college.
   However, the head of John Newnham opened courses offering GNVQ (General National Vocational Qualifications), which were new courses with a more academic content than BTec then had. He argued very strongly that these should be allowed to run through for the sake of the students. As a result, John Newnham diminished to 200 GNVQ students, which was the largest contingent in the country and therefore a flagship; the more academic students moved to John Ruskin. By undertaking this cunning manoeuvre, he ensured that John Newnham stayed open for long enough to merge with John Ruskin rather than just close, which gave the residual staff the right to apply for jobs in the new colleges and centers.
   Further factors, which were to lead to the new college, while retaining the name and reputation of John Ruskin, and a move to the Selsdon site, were two-fold. First, Ruskin was already too large for the Shirley site, having 800 students in a school site built for 500, and was likely to grow further after the closure of other sixth forms. Secondly, the sale of the Shirley site would raise far more money than the sale of the Selsdon site, being prime land for residential building; the Selsdon site also had an educational covenant on it. In addition, John Newnham was designed with the possibility of its becoming at some point a college.
   Alumni may or may not remember a Director of Education called Dr. Wearing King who invented the sixth-form college back in the Fifties. Although this meant that by 1993 there were 109 sixth-form colleges in the country the idea never took hold in Croydon either through natural conservatism or because Dr. Wearing King, allegedly, had a drink problem, which lowered his credibility as an innovator.
   So the windmill site was demolished and sold, which financed much of the refurbishment of John Newnham. After a rather dire period of operating between two locations - one of them a building site - the merged college moved into smart new accommodation in 1990, leaving behind in Shirley 20 temporary classrooms and the school organ which, it transpired, was now too old and decrepit to move, and which no one wanted to buy for the same reason. Fortunately, however, a burglar broke in and stole some of the lead pipes, which meant we could make an insurance claim on it! | Fate of Organ | Organ Specs | Recent School History |
   Sorry if that is more than anyone wanted to know!

 

 Ian Lints (JRGS 1954-59) has unearthed a vintage image from the Fifties...

Here is another archive picture I found whilst sorting out some of my memorabilia. It shows the John Ruskin Soccer First Team circa 1957; click on the thumbnail to view a larger version, and a final list of player names.

JRGS Football Team from 1957

   Top: Bird, Bernard Maguire, Burton, Oliver, Ian Lints, Brian Hurn and Roger Courtiour.

   Bottom: Fisher, Adams, Harry ??, Gilbert and Taylor. | A final list of first/last names appears here.

Another snippet: I tried to follow up on a Wikipedia link about the late Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe, which mentions two books: Rinkagate: The Rise and Fall of Jeremy Thorpe, by Simon Freeman Barrie Sturt-Penroseand Barrie Penrose (Bloomsbury, 1996); and The Pencourt Files, by Roger Courtiour and Barrie Penrose, (HarperCollins, 1978) – probably the most comprehensive accumulation of sources.
   Roger Courtiour, who is pictured in the top row, and Barrie Sturt-Penrose (JRGS 1958-61) were at JRGS a year below me; they both went on to become BBC journalists. Sturt-Penrose wrote quite a bit on art, while I think I saw Courtiour's name on the credits of a BBC documentary on Afghanistan and British Army involvement.
   Does anybody have any more information about their post-JRGS careers?

Ian Lints, Cape Town, South Africa, January 2015 Email

Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) adds: I recall meeting Barrie Sturt-Penrose (pictured right), who has enjoyed a distinguished career in art criticism and investigative journalism, during the 2009 JRGS Reunion. There is a short biography of him on page 25 of the May 1970 School Magazine. He was also, with John Rivers (JRGS 1958-65), one of the leading lights of Mr. Alan "Ego" Murray's 15 Society. And here is a link to Barrie's Wikipedia page.
   Jim Hawkins (JRGS 1954-61) also recalled that during the 1960 JRGS Dramatic Society production of Macbeth, for which he played the lead, "Barrie Sturt-Penrose [who played a captain] did his best to kill me in a sword fight because he wanted the part."

Peter Hurn (JRGS 1967-73) adds: A brilliant photo of that school team. I have no idea if my older brother Brian Hurn (JRGS 1954-60) has contacted his contemporary Ian Lints yet, but I’ll do my best to make sure he does, specially after I send him this link.
   And here is the full line-up from Brian:
Top: Christopher "Dicky" Bird, Bernard Maguire, Roy Burton, Jack Oliver, Ian Lints, Brian Hurn, Roger Courtiour.
Bottom: Terry Fisher, Pete Adnams, Harry Cockman (pronounced "Co-man"), Chris Gilbert, Robert Taylor.

   The picture would have been taken at end of 1958/59 season.
   All these names are familiar to me, as Brian spoke often of these blokes and indeed played football with a lot of them after they left school when I used to stand and watch. (Note spelling of Adnams and pronunciation of Cockman - "Co-man".)

Jeremy Clarke (JRGS 1951-57) adds: This picture brought back a particular memory for me because my contemporary, Bernard Maguire - pictured at the left end of the top row - was a school friend from our earliest days at Cypress Road Junior School in South Norwood. But we were separated into different forms at JRGS though did not really lose touch until completing our time there. I believe he went into the Health Service and rose to some prominence locally.

ML adds: According to a listing on LinkedIn, the now-retired Bernard Maguire has a background in the UK's National Health Service, with early days as a manager of operating theatres, and latterly in health-care planning and as Project Commissioning Officer for new hospitals at Orpington, Kent, and The Princess Royal Hospital at Farnborough. His interests include singing in the baritone section of Croydon Male Voice Choir. He also served as communications and newsletter editor of a local church in Shirley, and a Croydon Guide at Southwark Cathedral.
   I have also received an email from former John Newnham pupil Mike Cartwright - and which will form an upcoming contribution to The Mill - about Roger Courtiour. "Since I knew Roger from John Newnham I'm puzzled how he ended up on a JRGS soccer team," Mike writes "Can anyone - or even Roger himself - fill me in?"

Brian Hurn (JRGS 1954-60) adds: I believe - it was a long time ago - that Roger Courtiour joined the school to do A-Levels in the Lower Sixth, since I have no memory of him in earlier years. He was a year - or two - older than me.
   In the football picture, Chris Gilbert was a year above me. I knew him well because Chris lived in Queen Elizabeth Drive [on the New Addington estate] and we played together on Sundays as well as for school on Saturdays. "Harry" Cockman - l think his real name was Richard, not Harry - and Bernie Maguire were two years above, while "Dickie" Bird and Roger shared the outside right position and were both a year or two older. Neither played in the following season when I was in Lower Sixth. All the rest of us in the pic were fifth formers.
   It should be noted that after leaving Ruskin I only played with two of these - Ian Lints and Chris Gilbert - but against Pete Adnams and Jack Oliver, who both played for the Old Boys, on the next pitch to ours at Ashburton Playing Fields. Pete moved to Birmingham to work for Guest Keen, and Jack ran a building maintenance company - but we’re all long-retired now. Chris, a Cornishman, moved back to run hotel in Mevagissey or Mousehole.

   

 John Phillips (JRGS 1953-58) reports on reactions to former Ruskin teachers...

Firstly, let me thank the webmaster for running and maintaining The Mill website. I do something similar for a couple of unrelated organisations and know how much commitment this can be at times.
   I was at JRGS from 1953 to 1958 and have fond memories of Mr. "Paddy" Peacock and Mr. Catchpole, my history master, in particular - perhaps a little less so of one or two other masters!
  Seriously, I'm also now aware, thanks to the website's efforts, of the liberal and enlightened attitude of Mr. "Joe" Lowe. His actions were over my head at the time and, although I cannot recall a single instance of direct one-to-one encounter with him, I now suspect his beliefs and attitudes indirectly helped me formulate mine - and for this I should now record thanks.
   Thanks also for the Ruskin Grand Reunion date next year - 5th of September; I've pencilled this in and look forward to further details.

John Phillips, Lewisham, South East London, December 2014 Email

Tony Hollands (JRGS 1952 to 1958) adds: Alumni from this period seem like hen's teeth! As a contemporary, I remember John Phillips. I wonder if he recalls a rather painful incident involving some steam graffiti and a rather sadistic PT master, ex-marine (he claimed) Mr. Murray?

   

 John Walker (JRGS 1958- 65) recalls fellow Sixties pupil Alan Clark...

I recently came across the following extract from the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame about my good friend Alan Clark (JRGS 1958-65). Although we lost contact many years ago, Alan and I were both very active, politically, in our Sixth Form - CND, Labour Party Young Socialists, etc. - and we hitchhiked in Europe together at the end of the Lower V1th.

Born in Wales but brought up in Croydon, south London, Alan Clark joined Radio City in November 1965 after hearing an advertisement for disc-jockeys on the station. Radio City was one of the smaller stations, based on Shivering Sands fort in the Thames estuary, and in those days station owner Reg Calvert would often take on a new recruit for a week then pay him off with £5 “expenses”. Alan was not prepared to leave it at that and pestered the management until they gave him a full-time job. He stayed with Radio City for 16 months and became one of their most popular presenters. Along with Ian MacRae he hosted the much-loved comedy show The Aunty Mabel Hour and, with Tom Edwards, shared responsibility for the Five By Four Beatles and Rolling Stones request show. When City closed down in February 1967 he joined Radio 390 but changed his name to Christopher Clark. Here he hosted the station's very last programme. Since the demise of the pirates Alan has worked as a journalist for Radio Netherlands, Independent Radio News, TVS and Meridian Television. He is married to Helen Clark, the former MP for Peterborough who lost her seat in the May 2005 general election. This photo is taken from Who's Who In Pop Radio, published by The New English Library. All rights reserved.

John Byford (JRGS 1959-66) has previously drawn attention to the school magazine that 1962 School Photographcovered the school Mock Election of October 1964 - yup, 50 years ago (gulp). I was the victorious Labour candidate that John generously says had a professional campaign. This was in no small part to Alan, who was my election agent. We were helped by the fact that the Labour candidate for Streatham in the General Election was Croydon Councillor Jim Walker (no relation). But we were able to acquire lots of his "Vote Walker, Vote Labour" leaflets and posters that we scattered around the school (very professional!).
   John also mentions that the election result received national press coverage - in the Daily Worker. As soon as the results were declared, Alan and I hopped down to central Croydon's post office and called all the news desks of Fleet Street's papers, with news of our exciting victory
Alan Clark at LBC 261.
  
Only the Daily Worker covered it, so we hot footed it down to central Croydon that day to buy up all the copies we could find - about eight, I think - and cut the paragraph out and in the pre-photocopy era, pinned it to relevant notice boards in the school.
   They were promptly removed and Alan and I were carpeted by Mr. "Joe" Lowe for having contacted
the press ("and the Daily Worker in particular"!), without his approval. We received some kind of minor punishment for our initiative - removal of privileges, or stripping of prefect status, or some such.
   Back to Alan, who is pictured above right in the 1962 school photograph; click on the thumbnail to view a larger version. I have no idea where he is or what he is doing now; others may know.

John Walker, Forest Gate, East London. November 2014 Email

ML adds: As coincidence would have it, I was working in the late-Seventies at LBC/London Broadcasting Company, just off Fleet Street, while Alan Clark - pictured left - was employed as a freelance newsreader and programme presenter. I never knew we shared a Ruskin Legacy.

John Walker replies: Yes, it's the same Alan Clark. What a coincidence! The JRGS school photo shown above right is good and picks him out. Others in the photo include: to Alan's right is Jamie Reid, the artist (and former friend and associate of Malcolm McClaren), who is perhaps best known for the punk-era work he did for the Sex Pistols (album sleeves, pictures with safety pins through Queen's head, etc.). Immediately below Alan, slightly to the left is me; on the far end of that row is Roy Hodgson (JRGS 1958-65), currently England Football Manager. An interesting bunch!

John Byford (JRGS 1959-66) adds: In 2001, Alan married the then-Labour MP for Peterborough, Helen Brinton. A report of the wedding from the Peterborough Telegraph is here.

ML adds: To the left of Alan is John "Sid" Young, and one row below and over to the right - next to John Walker - is George Strelczuk (JRGS 1958-66.)

Derek Charlwood (JRGS 1958-64) adds: Re: the photo of John Walker et al, I don't remember John at all, but next to Roy Hodgson is a boy called Noon(e)? And in front between Hodgson and Noon is a boy called Dunton. These names came straight into my head as soon as I saw the photo, but I have not seen either for 50 years, and was not particularly friendly with either!

Clifford Cummins (JRGS 1956-62) adds: The person to John Walker's right in the photo is Doug Edwards.

 

 David Anderson (JRGS 1964-71) recalls two A-Level school field trips...

The latest memory-jogging entry on The Mill has set me thinking about two of the highlights of my time at JRGS. In September 1970, Mr. "Paddy" Peacock sent us off by train from East Croydon and we caught a train at lunchtime from Paddington Station down to Taunton where we changed trains for the branch line now called the West Somerset Railway. (The line was closed by BR in the following January.) We arrived at Nettlecombe Court, Williton - run by the Field Studies Council - at about 7.30pm. This was the start of our A-Level Geography Fieldwork week.
   There was a machine on East Croydon Station where you could emboss a metal strip with your name - a bit like a DYMO labeller - which was a "must try it" for any schoolboy.
   For a fresh-faced 17-year old this was one of the best weeks ever in my time at JRGS. Wonderful weather, lovely countryside and - wait for it - girls! We had a day out nearly every day exploring the West Somerset Countryside and learning about Geography in the real landscape. I loved it. After the dull academic routine of the school environment this was a revelation. I had always been interested in Geography and now here we were enjoying a Geography 'holiday" - something that would cost a lot of money nowadays as an adult.
   The social side was great as some of the girls were also from single-sex schools and quite a number of friendships were borne. We explored Williton and Watchet, Stogumber and the Brendon Hills (see The West Somerset Mineral Railway). We were also dropped off by Land-Rover at a village miles from Nettlecombe and told to find our way home taking in three villages to complete our village survey. By the time we got back we were knackered and I suspect this was all part of the plan so we would not be too lively and sleep through the night!
   I can recall asking our tutor - a Mr. Simon Ratsey BA - "What did you want to do when you were 17, sir?" (he was only 27). Like me, he didn't really know!
   I am sure this course had a major role in ensuring I passed A-Level Geography.
   About a month later we were packed off again, this time on the A-Level Geology field course to Orielton House in South Pembrokeshire. Luckily were again blessed with wonderful weather. I recall Mr. Peacock saying it could "blow your head off down there" (gales). Again, the combination as before of exploration, company, scenery and interest were magic, and I returned home to the South London suburbs realising the was a lot more to see outside the suburban sprawl. My horizons until then had been very limited: Brighton, Mitcham Common, and forays into South East England.
   I still have my field notebooks and travel warrants in my memorabilia box. I just can't believe how long ago it was. Shown below are various items from that week-long field trip; click on any thumbnail to view a larger version.

BR ticket to Taunton - 1970 BR rail pass - 1970

Travel warrant to Williton via Taunton for field trip.
(Take a look at how much the rail fare was!)

Under-18 rail British Rail pass for geography field trip.

Geography Field Notebook - 1970

Geography Field Notebook - 1970

Cover of Geography Field Trip notebook.

Page of notes - I wish my handwriting was that good now!

Geogrpahy Field Trip program - 1970

Program of events for Geography Field Trip to Nettlecombe Court , 16-23 September, 1970.

   If only A-Level Economics had run a field experience like the others! I wonder if any other Alumni can recall their Field Trips? Can anyone who was on my trips add their memories? I still can't believe that it was 44 years ago.
   I recall the names Dave Tucker and Mickey (Michael) Wills . Where are you now? Do you remember the stupid "Essex Girls" from Southend? They were highly amusing. We went to visit them in Southend on a bitterly cold night in December but the time had passed and the magic was not there.

David Anderson, Hampshire, November 2014 Email

  

 John Brigden (JRGS 1959-64) reports on his post-Ruskin education and career...

ML adds: Back on September I has asked Alumni that were in Class 5B from 1963 to 1964 if they recalled Doug Edwards (JRGS 1958-64), the brother of Barbara Room, who served as JRHS Library Resources Manager from 1976 until 2005. John Brigden did not remember his class member, but did promise to answer a question about his post-JRGS career. He left school in Summer 1964 and ultimately worked in the offshore oil industry, starting with an exploration company based in Croydon and then two years in Australia and then Canada. "What made you bypass the Sixth Form," I queried?

I left Ruskin at 16 because I knew what I wanted to do for a career and was somewhat disillusioned with school life.
   The group that progressed through 2C-3M-5U was a little light on academic quality in comparison to others and some of us knew that we would be repeating the 5th year even before taking O-Levels. I think Sixth Form entry required five O-Levels, including English and Maths. In 5U I sat four and passed three - none of which was a key subject. On entering 5B [to retake additional O-Levels, with form master and French teacher Mr. Beebe] we were joined by some who had planned to go into the Sixth Form but couldn’t once their O-Level results were known. Probably all of us were somewhat disappointed with our situation in September ’63. [more]
   While in scouts and the Army Cadets I had been introduced to maps and was fascinated by them, and the vast amounts of information that could be presented on a sheet of paper. Further research determined that maps were made by land surveyors and that a course in land surveying was taught at a technical college in Walthamstow. Better still, the entry requirements called for 5 or 6 O-Levels. After an interview in the spring of 1964, I was conditionally accepted to start in the autumn.
   The college offered a five-year diploma course, which also allowed you to take professional examinations of the RICS [Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors]. There was a plan to award a bachelor degree in land surveying sciences and while the educational standards were acceptable to the approving body, the course syllabus was considered to be too job specific. It was felt that participants should have a more rounded education to acquire a degree for which the solution was to add some liberal-arts courses. My intake group was the first to trial run the revised curriculum, although we would not make it to the degree level. While much has changed over the years, the basic elements are still taught in the Surveying and Mapping Sciences program at UEL.
   Thus in September ’64, at age 16, I went to college full time– no school uniform, girls, and taking classes in the history of jazz. It made Ruskin seem positively monastic! Croydon Education Committee was also really helpful in funding me with all the grants available at the time; these appear to be far more generous than exist today.
   Most of the lecturers had worked overseas; a large proportion of the students were sponsored by foreign governments and were older. Every spring field courses were held in Somerset, when all the theory was put to practical use. I was a sponge absorbing so much while living and working with people from other countries and cultures.
   It took a couple of repeats to eventually pass the RICS final exams in 1971. The job search after completing college was minimal, several interviews were held with government agencies but within days the first job offer came from an international oil exploration company with an office in Croydon. (Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) worked for them briefly as well). My new employer wanted me to look at the offshore industry just getting underway in the North Sea.
   While I always imagined I would be making those nice maps that had initially sparked my interest, I ended up helping chart oilfields under the oceans of the world. Initially we used WWII bomber navigation equipment to position boats and rigs often under chaotic circumstances. Nevertheless, I was captivated by the business and I travelled the world at someone else’s expense participating in it.
   In my first five years of employment I lived on three continents and got to choose the country I wanted to settle in. Forty years later Antarctica has yet to be visited and the list of countries physically worked in approached 40.
   At 15 I had an interest but I didn’t really know what it would lead to – eight years in my first job, seven years with an oil company and 25 years as a consultant – it’s been great fun.
   There is no intent to disparage those who are more academically inclined; my brother, a nephew and a son all have PhDs. and are intensely happy. It just wasn’t for me. [Focus on buses]

John Brigden, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, November 2014 Email

Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) adds: It is interesting to see what our old school colleagues got up to after we all left JRGS. Yes, for a few months in 1966 between school and university I worked for GSI International Ltd. in a much less exalted way than John Brigden: as an office gofer and London courier. It was a good firm to work for.

Anne Smith (JRHS/JRC teacher/principal 1970-99) adds: How aging it seems that what we used to call "new" Routemasters are now "old" Routemasters! [Mentioned in John Bridgen's Focus on buses above.] In the summer of 1959 my then fiancé and I travelled, turn and turn about each night, across London on the "new" Routemasters, from Highbury to New Cross. To me, whether old or new, they will always be the real Routemasters.

New Routemaster for LondonML adds: Introduced in the mid-Fifties, the original Routemaster, with its familiar hop-on, hop-off platform, was withdrawn from regular service in December 2005. The new, more environmentally friendly Routemaster (pictured right) was unveiled in June 2013, with two dozen vehicles taking over route 24 between Pimlico and Hampstead Heath; a prototype of the new vehicle, commissioned by the Mayor of London, was seen in operation on route 38 between Victoria and Hackney for a year prior.
   The new Routemaster was designed by Thomas Heatherwick, founder of the Heatherwick Studio and designer of the Olympic cauldron. It is expected that 600 of the new buses will be rolled out by 2016; they are being manufactured by Wrightbus, a family-owned company based in Ballymena, Northern Ireland. More
   I recall traveling with John Brigden on the first Routemaster I had seen in Croydon, via route 220 across Mitcham Common from West Croydon bus station. That must have been in 1961/62. I always thought the RMs to be more attractive and better equipped than the older RTs and their variants, the RTWs and RTLs. (I was a manic bus spotter back in the day! Don't get me started on the joys of green country buses, or travelling from our family home on the New Addington council estate to South Croydon bus garage to see the exotic single-decker RFs in red and green livery. Joy!)
   Mike Etheridge (JRGS 1963-65) captured some fascinating images of these and other vintage buses during the 2006 Bromley Pageant.

Bill Hoskin (JRGS 1954-59) adds: Do you remember me John? I went on to study as an engineer at Northampton College of Advanced Technology. During this period and the breaks between three years of study I worked for various firms, such as Decca Radar and the research labs of CEGB.
   I was awarded a BSc (Eng) and went for my first real job to the BBC. But I emigrated to South Africa and worked as part of a team building underground communications bunkers for the RSA defense forces. I'm still here in Cape Town, married to a German girl.

John Brigden replies: The first thing I associate with Bill's name is a motorbike. I believe he used to ride one to school and was a contemporary of Ian Green (JRGS 1959-65)'s older brother. Is that correct?
   It's interesting how paths cross from time to time; I worked with Decca Navigator and surveying equipment before satellites took over. I also joined a boat in Cape Town in April last year to do a job up the coast off to the NW. I made my last working trip to Namibia earlier this year.

Graham Donaldson (JRGS 1962-69) adds: It was interesting to read the recent correspondence on the subject of Routemaster buses. I thought the Alumni might like the picture shown left taken at this past summer's Big Parade at Finsbury Park, North London, to mark the 60th Anniversary of the first RLondon Routemater buses  - 2014outemaster, seen here nearest the camera. Beyond that is RM2, newly restored to its original green livery, and RML 3 (later RM3), the prototype Leyland vehicle. The open-topper approaching is one of a batch so converted for London Sightseeing in 1986.
   For anyone living outside London or overseas, don't forget when visiting that you can still ride on a Routemaster in normal service. They run supplementary to the main Route 15 between Charing Cross and Tower Hill, daily every 15 minutes between 0930 and 1830. It is part of the normal Transport for London system and all the usual passes - Oyster cards etc. - are accepted, but there are no cash fares now on any London buses.
   Recently these buses had been carrying full standing loads of people visiting the ceramic poppies at the Tower, which I saw for myself - a very moving sight. [Unveiled on 5 August to mark the centenary of Britain’s entry into the conflict, some 888,246 ceramic poppies were planted in the Tower of London moat to commemorate British and Commonwealth fatalities during the First World War. More]
   I'm not quite sure what to make of the "New Routemaster" - or "Borismaster" as many of us still call it! They do look a bit bizarre but the ride quality is very good and at least they have proper seats.

    

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