JRGS News Archive Page 73
JRGS Alumni Society

Archived News/Activities

- Page 73 - Mar thru May 2013 -

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.

 Dave Anderson (JRGS 1964-71) reports on a plan to redevelop The Crystal Palace...

Early last month, I spotted an interesting news item in the Daily Mail online about a Chinese developer with money who wants to re-build The Crystal Palace on its site where it burnt down in 1936. More
   The article contains some really good archive photos and a computer mock-up of how the revitalized site might appear, as seen here, looking from the direction of The Shirley Windmill towards The Palace over Addiscombe, Woodside and South Norwood. You can see the top of the new "Shard" at London Bridge.

Computer-generated image of the proposed Crystal Palace project

For me, the best photo was taken in 1932 from Addington Hills (Shirley Hills) over the JRGS windmill and on up to the original Crystal Palace:

View from Addington Hills to Crystal Palace in 1932

And here is a shot taken in 1920 of the original construction:

The Crystal Palace in  March 1920, 16 years before a fire destroyed the buildings.

The article is well worth a look; click on any image above to view a larger version.
   I wonder if the project will happen? My old Auntie in South Norwood said she had seen trams come and go then come back again, and maybe she will see the Crystal Palace again!
Please note that these images are ©MailOnline/JNVisuals and ©Cascade News. All rights reserved.

David Anderson, Southampton, Hants, September 2013 Email.

ML adds: The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations, or The Crystal Palace Exhibition as it was sometimes known - referring to the temporary structure in which it was housed - took place in Hyde Park, London, from 1st May to 11th October, 1851. It was the first in a series of World's Fair exhibitions of culture and industry that were to become a popular 19th-century feature. The Great Exhibition was organized by Henry Cole and Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, and was attended by several notable figures of the time, including Charles Darwin, Samuel Colt, members of the Orléanist Royal Family and the writers Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, George Eliot and Alfred Lord Tennyson. Reportedly, some six million people - one in four of Britain's population at the time - visited the Great Exhibition.
   A special building built to house the show, nicknamed The Crystal Palace, or The Great Shalimar, was designed by Joseph Paxton with support from structural engineer Charles Fox; it went from its organisation to the grand opening in just nine months. The building took the form of a large glass house, 1,851 feet (564m) long by 454 feet (138m) wide, and was constructed from cast iron-frame components and glass made almost exclusively in Birmingham and Smethwick. From the interior, the building's large size was emphasized with trees and statues.
   The Crystal Palace was considered an enormous success and an architectural marvel, but also an engineering triumph that showed the importance of the Exhibition itself. The building was later moved and re-erected in an enlarged form at Sydenham in South London, an area that was renamed Crystal Palace. Sadly, it was destroyed by fire on 30 November 1936.
   Click here to hear an In Our Time BBC radio program from 2006 on The Crystal Palace, hosted by Melvyn Bragg.

Karl W. Smith (JRGS 1946-51) adds: Crystal Palace rebuild? An interesting project but one wonders why? Not that I would have anything against the idea.
   As a child I was shown that view of the original building from Shirley Hills (no TV mast then!) and I remember being awakened from my bed in Waddon Court Road to see the glow in the sky as it burned.
   Then, a couple of decades later, the TV mast was the guidance point for me and other pilots to find our way into Croydon Aerodrome when using the north-east route; Oxted chalk face was the landmark when coming in from the south. Please remember that we didn't have radios on light aircraft back then.

ML adds: Stephen Beard, American Public Radio's European bureau chief, reported last week on the $800 million plan to redevelop the Crystal Palace site via his radio program.
   "[Shanghai businessman] Mr. Ni has come forward with a brilliant, original and simple vision," says Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who welcomes the idea of building a replica of the huge structure, high on a hill in the same London park where it stood for more than 80 years. "South London will once again acquire a world class, cultural attraction," Johnson claims. "The park will be reborn. And the Palace will rise again."
   Design and culture critic Stephen Bayley takes a much more jaundiced view; he argues that the new building will be a pale reflection of the original, which was built to house the Great Exhibition of 1851, an international showcase for technological innovation. Since Britain dominated the global economy at that time, says Bayley, the old Palace embodied British imperial pride. "It was such a monument to confidence and vigor and a refusal to compromise," he points out. "It was Britain having the nerve, indeed audacity to say: 'Look! We actually own the planet'."


 Grahame Hadden (JRGS 1968-71) reports on a recent Reunion in Hampton...

Recently, I hosted a reunion of former John Ruskin Grammar School in Hampton, since no one has any real connection with Croydon any more. And, living in South Middlesex, I was convenient for M25 and M3 connections (although the M25 was particularly bad on July 7th). The reunion was instigated by contact with Søren Brightman (JRGS 1964-71) who, in 1973, went back to live in Copenhagen. He had been in contact occasionally over the years and I bumped into him when I was on business in Denmark in 1997. I established further contact in the last couple of years through another work colleague. When Søren announced that he was going to visit London for a week, we called around a few former friends for a gathering.

Background to the event on 7th of July
So, 40 years to the day since Søren returned home to Denmark - back in July 1973 - friends and former class mates regrouped for a reunion in Hampton. Søren, a member of JRGS class 2H and 3H 1965-67 was joined by former year mates Peter Ward (JRGS 1964-71), Gordon Foster (JRGS 1964-71), David Anderson (JRGS 1964-71) and Andrew Brown (JRGS 1964-71). Keith Chaplin (JRGS 1964-71), now resident in New Zealand, joined the group via Skype for a two-hour video call. Also present was Richard Swann (ex-Whitgift). It was the first time in four decades that the whole group had met up although smaller numbers had met over the years, the last significant gathering being at Keith’s 50th birthday in 2003.
   The group travelled from Cambridge, Southampton, Essex, Teignmouth Devon and Biggin Hill for a BBQ in Hampton on one of the hottest days of the year. The conversations were wide and varied with many memories recalled, stories told and a rekindling of interests.
   When we last all met back in the early 1970s, we were all starting our careers, now we were discussing retirement! It is significant perhaps that the group have all had successful careers and that a number now run their own businesses. Details for most can be found on LinkedIn.
   On returning to Denmark, Søren Brightman worked for 20 years with SAS Airline and now works for ZF, a large international specialist manufacturer of gear and transmission and steering systems for the automotive industry.
   Dave Anderson recently retired from The University of Southampton after 34 years employment as a laboratory and field technician, having seen many changes including the change from analogue, clockwork and paper charts (no computers) to digital, electronic and high-tech everything. Our first computer was a 32k Commodore PET! Also a huge increase in Student numbers. Dave now works part-time locally to remain in gainful employment!
   Having worked for Croydon and Bromley council in leisure management and swimming pools operations, Peter Ward now runs his own swimming pool supplies business, Swimfix, in Devon.
   Keith Chaplin, had a long career in the nuclear power industry, retired from his job at Hinkley Point in 2005 and emigrated to New Zealand, where he now works part time in a Mitre10 Hardware store at Whanagaparaoa.
   Gordon Foster drifted into a career in insurance and now runs his own loss adjusting practice, but also spends a good deal of time in Essex restoring antique clocks and barometers.
   Andrew Brown has followed a career in software design and technology, and now runs his own software consultancy.
   Richard Swann has his own business providing IT support and cloud services, mainly to the voluntary sector.
   Grahame Hadden started a career in broadcasting, first at the BBC, then with the US TV network, ABC News. He now runs his own business providing broadcast technology planning and consultancy for Olympics and other major events.

JRGS Reunion - July 2013

Left-to-right: Andrew Brown, Peter Ward, Dave Anderson, Richard Swann,
Søren Brightman
, Gordon Foster and Grahame Hadden.

JRGS Reunion - July 2013

Left-to-right: Søren Brightman chatting with Keith Chaplin and his wife Annette, who were reached via Skype.

 Click on either image to view a full-size version.

   By the way, I was only at JRGS from September 1968 until January 1971 for the sixth form in Lower and Upper Sixth Science Alpha, and a repeat half of a third-year sixth form, as I failed A Levels the first time in the summer of 1970. (And the second time the following January, for that matter!) But, all things being equal, I have not done too bad! After JRGS I joined the BBC.
   Keith Chaplin and I were mates - we grew up together; he's one year younger than me, but lived across the street from me in Ashburton Avenue and we both went to Ashburton Infants and juniors. I went to Ashburton Secondary Modern from 1963 to 1968 and did O Levels there, coming up to John Ruskin for A Levels in September 1968, while Keith went straight to John Ruskin for A Levels.
   FYI: We were also in contact with Dave Calderwood
(JRGS 1964-71). He was in the same class/year as Keith, Dave and Søren, etc, but is now living in the Pyrenees and couldn't make it.

Grahame Hadden, Hampton, Middlesex, September 2013 Email

David Anderson (JRGS 1964-71) adds: Can I please ask that our classmates and good friends Dennis O`Neil and Mike Coppen - who "disappeared" shortly after leaving JRGS and haven't been heard of since - get in touch if they see this! We would love to hear from them.
   Several of us are off to Dave Calderwood's converted barn in the Pyrenees mountains in Spain this weekend for his 61st Birthday Bash. It was postponed from last year - the Big 6-0 - as the barn was not then habitable. That may well be another story for The Mill!

Richard Swann adds: I was never at John Ruskin but I have known Keith Chaplin (and, by association, all these other reprobates) since the first day at Ashburton Infants School.


 Ian Macdonald (JRGS 1958-65) reports on renovations to a favorite public house...

Further to a recent email to our webmaster from Phil Cowlam (JRGS 1951-58), who had noticed that "all signage has been removed from The Surprise and the car park has a row of builder's barriers. The Sandrock, a more airy pub further up opposite Shirley Hills, still exists."
   Checking with the pub's landlord, whom I know well after our recent series of JRGS Reunions at that location - 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 - I have determined that The Surprise is indeed closed for renovations, and due to be ready in early August. The pub will then open as a “Fish and Chip” restaurant that is not available for private functions, such as our possible reunions. The Sandrock is a gastro pub, and therefore also unavailable. The Crown in Wickham Road does not have a function room but can set aside an area and provide a buffet.
   My wife and I - that sounds regal - are willing to host a JRGS Reunion in our conservatory, supplying a hot meal or meals plus drinks – but none draught – for a modest sum. We live down the road from The Surprise, and so are easy to reach.
   Our suggested date is Saturday 28th September 2013 at noon – or any other by popular request. Numbers were not overwhelming last year, so I’m sure we would have the space. Alumni members will need to email me by Monday 23rd September for catering arrangements, and indicating a choice of: 1. The Crown or 2. "Chez Mac”.
   If there is sufficient demand - let's say at least 20 attendees - then we would be willing to host this year’s reunion in our conservatory.
  Incidentally, our planned gathering in 2015 will celebrate four school anniversaries: 95 years since its founding as a central school in 1920; 80 years since the move to Scarbrook Road; 70 years since assuming grammar-school status; and 60 years since its move to the Upper Shirley Road site

Ian Macdonald, Shirley, Surrey, July 2013 Email

Mike Marsh (JRGS 1949-55) adds: Goodness me, can it really be 60 years since we moved to the new school? And perhaps The Surprise will get the Gents toilet seat fixed in their refurbishment? It's been bust ever since I have been going there, both for JRGS and Rover Scout reunions!

Graham Donaldson (JRGS 1962-69) adds: I too had noticed that The Surprise had closed. However, having discussed the matter with Ian, the manager, it appears that it will be reopening after some fairly major structural repairs have been done.
   I’m afraid that has not been the case with quite a few pubs around here. The iconic The Swan & Sugar Loaf - gateway to South Croydon - is now a Tesco's and, further down the road, The Red Deer is set to be come a Morrison's. Some may remember that this was Croydon’s very first "Disco pub" back in the late 1960s!


 Bob Hawkins (JRGS 1958-64) confirms architect of Upper Shirley Road building...

I thought it would interest the alumni to read some background information about the architect who designed the new school building constructed on Upper Shirley Road site during the mid-Fifties and which, sadly, was demolished just over a decade ago.
   I had to visit the house in Welwyn Garden City that Paul Mauger FRIBA designed for himself, as part of the assessment for listing - that building is now listed - and during the background research, found the nine-page article reproduced here. Mauger's house survives, unlike the school!
   Click on any thumbnail to view a full-size page. Or here to view a PDF file.
   My connection with English Heritage, which explains an involvement with the listed building, dates to 1992, when I was appointed as a Listing Inspector. I later lead the team carrying out designation assessments for buildings, archaeological sites and historic parks and gardens for the North of England until 2007, when I took partial retirement and went back to assessing buildings, this time in the East of England (in which my home county of Derbyshire is curiously located !). Hence my encounter with Paul Mauger's house and studio in Welwyn.

Page 1 of Paul Mauger article Page 2 of Paul Mauger article Page 3 of Paul Mauger article
Page 4 of Paul Mauger article Page 5 of Paul Mauger article Page 6 of Paul Mauger article
Page 7 of Paul Mauger article Page 8 of Paul Mauger article Page 9 of Paul Mauger article

Bob Hawkins, West Handley, Derbyshire July 2013 Email

ML adds: And here are an early perspective drawing of the proposed Upper Shirley Road site that was scanned by Mike Etheridge (JRGS 1963-65). It is labeled: Paul Mauger and Partners, Architects. More
JRGS 3D drawing of Shirley Road location

As Mike wrote at the time he supplied the illustrations: "[These drawings] have brought back memories of what I thought was a very good school. The fact that it was demolished after a very short life still seems to me a destructive waste. After all, it was only 10 years older than Trinity School just down the road. Of course, a number of other Croydon schools have been axed over the years - I could not believe that Purley Girls High School was broken up and a council housing estate constructed on the site."

Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) adds: It might be worth mentioning that Paul Mauger's wife, Irene Ruth Mauger née Newbery, who died in June 1973 in Hertfordshire – the UK county that contains Welwyn Garden City - was born in Thornton Heath, Croydon, Surrey, on 16 Nov 1898. Possibly a coincidence.

Mike Etheridge (JRGS 1963-65) adds: An amazing find by Bob Hawkins. The source of these JRGS drawings was the structural engineers section of Croydon Council, which has now been disbanded. As far as I am aware, all the old record drawings held by the structural engineers have been discarded. I still have the paper copies of the JRGS drawings, however.


 Steve Tyler (JRGS 1966-74) recalls the origins of the Old Students Association...

By the time I joined the school, the original John Ruskin Old Boys' Association (JROBA) appeared to have died a death. It was not seen as something to be joined in the Sixties and, in my view, the fact that we didn't have a sports ground with bar like many other schools, such as John Whitgift, Trinity and many others, meant that people drifted away and played their sport elsewhere.
   The group leaving around 1973 - after the school had gone co-educational - formed John Ruskin Old Students Association or JROSA, which appears to have been short-lived. The football team Rusmill FC entered the Thornton & Heath & District League around 1974, the same time as I was running Glendale United in the Croydon Sunday F. From a start at Bingham Park in Addiscombe, a number of ex-Ruskin pupils played for the Sunday Club. They were Crystal Palace supporters and went to Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoons, whilst I was supporting Croydon FC in the Isthmian League (formerly Croydon Amateurs). John Ruskin Old Boys existed as a club but, apart from (probably) the Secretary, who may have been called Alan Montague, there was no connection.
   Rusmill had a reasonable amount of success over the ensuing decade but, like so many junior (in status) clubs without a permanent headquarters, eventually withered and died. We did use Oaks Road for a number of seasons; I played for them from around 1977 to 1982, when I started refereeing on Saturday afternoons.
   By that time the club had moved on to the Beckenham League and the Ruskin connection was declining. The likes of Dave Gore and Andy Cole played at the back and Alan Kerr in the midfield. The one time First Eleven had more of a Shirley High School feel about it - with a few exceptions - and eventually broke away to form Fairview Rovers.
   By the way, in a direct email sent by our webmaster to The Alumni, Peter Hood from Selhurst Grammar School had asked for help in tracking down a former JRGS pupil who was a member of the Royal School of Church Music choir at Addington Palace. The individual in question, the same Andrew Cole mentioned above, had been in the Addington RSCM choir during the late Sixties and/or early Seventies.
   In fact, Andy Cole was at Ruskin from 1966 onwards, played for Rusmill FC and, I believe, currently lives near Tadworth. (I will check with one of our former teammates who knows someone who knows someone and advise.) However, it may be a different Andrew Cole - a younger relative perhaps; for example Cole Minor? I suspect that pun was cracked by numerous JRGS masters over the years.
   I haven't a clue from which primary school Andrew emanated, but I was one of a number who joined in 1966 from Ashburton, and which included John Webb, Jimmy Fisher, Danny Moore, Terry Howlett, Steve Collin, Martin Brewer, Paul Johnson
and Tim Desvignes, who moved away during the first or second year. There may have been one other whose name escapes me at this stage.

Steve Tyler, Selsdon, South Croydon, July 2013 Email.

Mike Marsh (JRGS 1949-55) adds: I did join JROBA shortly after I left school but, as far as I can recollect, it did nothing and, as Steve says, the association died a death in the early Sixties.
   In the images shown below, which were taken in 1961, I am wearing the badge of JROBA on my blazer.
Click on any thumbnail to view a full-size page.

Beckenham Camera Shop - October 1961 Probably taken in April 1961

With my wife Joan at Beckenham Camera Shop - October 1961

Probably taken in April 1961


 Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) reports the sad death of Terence Morris...

Terence MorrisMany alumni will be saddened to hear of the death on 10th July, 2013, of Dr. Terence Morris, pictured left in an LSE photo, aged 82 of motor neurone disease. He attended JRGS from 1942 until 1950, and enjoyed a long career in criminology and jurisprudence, especially the issues of punishment that call for data, analysis and human understanding.
   Terence was also an active participant in The Mill, starting from your webmaster's discover of a letter in the Croydon Archive he had send to Mr. John Lowe in 1955 after his success in securing a PhD degree from the University of London. He supplied a fascinating image of fellow members of the Upper VIth at Tamworth Road in the summer of 1950, and commented in 2009 in the literary inclinations of a former JRCS headmaster, Mr. A. W. Macleod, and a copy of Waterton’s Wanderings in South America, he received in 1943.
   Terence altered us in 2011 to a well-regarded book he co-authored with Sir Louis Blom-Cooper QC entitled Fine Lines and Distinctions: Murder, Manslaughter and the Unlawful Taking of Human Life, published by Waterside Press. And he commented on the late Charles Smith's personal recollections of his long career as a schoolmaster.
Finally, an article by Terence appeared on page 21 of the June 1945 school magazine that vividly described a VE night, while an contemporary interview with him was published on page 31 of the May 1969 magazine.

Our thoughts are with his family. Here is a copy of The Guardian obituary by colleague
Blom-Cooper. More | LSE

Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, USA, July 2013 Email

LATE NEWS: According to an on-line obituary published by The Times, a Requiem Mass will be held for Terence Morris, Emeritus Professor, University of London, at St Peter's Church, Winchester, on Friday 26th July at 12.15pm. No flowers please. Donations, if desired, to The Motor Neurone Disease Association or St Vincent de Paul c/o Richard Steel & Partners, Alderman House, 12-14 City Road, Winchester SO23 8SD. More


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