JRGS News Archive Page 63
JRGS Alumni Society

Archived News/Activities

- Page 63 - September 2010 -

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.

 Tony Hollands (JRGS 1952-58) recalls school chum Geoff Forbath from the Fifties...

It was interesting to see the entry from Geoff Forbath (JRGS 1952-57) and his recollections of school discipline. We knew him as "Ferdy". So far, he is the only member of the JRGS Alumnus that I can recall on the website. Maybe the musical connection will revive some memories of the skiffle group that we used to rehearse in the Art Room. It was Ian Hamond on tea-chest bass, Freddie Rebello and myself on guitars, "Stomp" Colin Miller on drums and Dickie Wilcox on banjo. We had some semi-pro gigs and developed a technique for getting a full-size double base upstairs on London buses. We went on to make record and actually broadcast on Radio Luxemburg.
   Other memories include digging a pit to trap the "Brats" (first-year pupils), breaking into the roof space over the Sixth-form area. And establishing a club space into that loft void and furnished it with a large collection of road signs and other memorabilia, only to have it brought to an end by an inspection by the Fire Brigade, accompanied by Mr. Lowe. I believe that we narrowly escaped expulsion after a meeting of the education committee.
   My time at the school was far from uneventful. I have lots of other stuff to report if anyone else is interested in that period.

Tony Hollands, Longframlington, Northumberland, September 2010 Email.


 Paul Johnson (JRGS 1966-73) reports the sad death of Chris Greenhalgh...

Whilst browsing the internet I discovered news of the sad death of Chris Greenhalgh who, I believe, would have left JRGS around 1968. He will be well remembered by Ian Butterworth as an active member of the music department, and who regularly played the school organ at assembly.
   Chris was about five years ahead of me, so I didn't know him well. Remarkably, in 1976 Chris went on to be organist at St. Peter's Church. South Croydon, where he stayed until his death in June of this year. In 1988, Chris succeeded me as Musical Director of the CODA Singers. He was a great musician, and clearly a man who stuck to a task once he'd taken it on!

Paul Johnson, Haywards Heath West Sussex, September 2010 Email.

ML adds: According to material gleaned during a web search, Chris Greenhalgh died on 29th of June and was also a member of St Peter’s committee and examiner for awards.
   Apparently, 300 people attended Chris' Thanksgiving Service with a massed choir; the ceremony was followed by a private family service at the crematorium. As one blogger wrote: "Chris touched so many people's lives - through church, school, other singing groups as well as his hobbies - and there was a general feeling of shock that he went so soon and so suddenly. It was a really lovely and fitting service."

Ian Butterworth (JRGS/JRHS teacher 1963-80) adds: Chris Greenhalgh’s sudden death came as a tremendous shock to everyone, especially as he had overcome major health problems about 10 years ago. For many years he was Head of Music at Riddlesdown High School, where he directed several successful musicals, before moving on to Virgo Fidelis in Upper Norwood. He was also a leading light in the Croydon Schools Music Association and played the piano and organ at numerous Fairfield concerts. He had also been organist and Director of Music at St Peter’s Church, South Croydon for many years.
   Terry James and I were fortunate in having many talented musicians at Ruskin during the 1960’s: in addition to Chris there were: Martin Loveday, who went on to be leader of the BBC Symphony Orchestra for many years; David Fisher (Chris played the organ at his wedding); Peter Daines and Richard Simmance (both excellent pianists); Paul Jeffery; Lee Pan Hon, who later became leader of the Halle Orchestra; and The Hindmarsh twins, Martin and Paul. Nearly all these went on to be professional performers or teachers.
   I have been in recent contact with David Fisher after a gap of about 40 years and, coincidently, he is the accompanist for an amateur choir in Shropshire conducted by Paul Kelly, who was Head of Music at John Ruskin High and later College.
   Incidentally, I haven't seen Martin Loveday for about 10 years but I get news of him via a member of the BBC Concert Orchestra. He had to retire from the orchestra a few years back because of a shoulder problem: it was necessary for him to have an operation which, unfortunately, did not turn out well. Martin is still teaching - violin - but I think his main income now comes from a B&B in Kent that he and his wife run.


 Dave Talks (JRGS 1968-75) looks back on the recent Ruskin Annual Reunion...

I secured these four images during the recent Ruskin Reunion at The Surprise pub; click on any thumbnail to view a larger version. Mr. Brian Cook was physics and mathematics teacher at JRGS from 1959 to 1972.

Elaine and Brian Cook View of Canary Wharf from The Mill Windmill sail Oaks Road changing rooms

Elaine and Brian Cook

View of Canary Wharf

Windmill sail

Changing room

I was delighted to visit the changing room at the playing field site on the way home from the reunion. I thought the area on Oaks Road had all been built on, too! I fondly remember knocking out mud from football boots against this wall - and memories of heaps of dried mud with holes in on the ground underneath!
   And from my archives, here are three images I took back in 1975 while working as a Physics Laboratory Technician at the school. Click on any thumbnail to view a larger version.

Mr. Green (left) and Mr. Patterson Draft timetable Chemistry experiment

Mr. Green (left) and Mr. Patterson working on draft timetables

Chemistry Experiment

Dave Talks, St John's Colchester, September 2010 Email.

Anne Smith (JRHS/JRC teacher/principal 1970-99) adds: I recall working on school timetables with both Dennis Green and William Patterson... and working on them alone too. The secret was to ignore everyone else's requests/caveats and to shut himself in his room and rarely to come out.
   I don't think he was actually a natural timetabler; Ken Tryon had been a timetabler in another school - he told me that once but besought me not to tell anyone else as he never wanted to do it again!
   Later I did the exam timetable, which involved squared paper, pencils and rubbers, and a complicated formula which attempted to achieve fairness in the number of periods supervised, and also in the placing of the subjects with the greatest amount of marking. I did find it a headache.

Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) adds: I enjoyed my experience of secondary school timetabling at Evelyns Comprehensive, Hillingdon, London, in the Eighties; the method was essentially the same as that shown in these photos. However, I found it profitable to talk to as many people as possible to find out what they wanted and to explain the constraints. The staff ended up much happier.
   I was exams officer as well but that was a simpler task – just an information exercise – yet it was still satisfying to get it right. This was in the pre-software days, although I did use an early Research Machines 380Z computer with a Basic language programme that I wrote myself (and saved on audio tape) to print out the finished products.


 Steve Tyler (JRGS 1966-74) runs into an old school master from the Seventies...

Recently, I went to The Oval where I met John Robertson, who taught at the school around 1969-73 - he would be better known as "Muttley" to the herberts attending Ruskin at that time.
   However, this wasn't the first time our paths had crossed since I left JRGS in 1974. I tried to play cricket in the mid-Eighties as something to fill in the gap between football seasons (refereeing) and as I was working for British Gas in Purley Way, played for Croydon Gas thirds at Mollison Drive.
   I can't for the life of me remember who we were playing but one of the opposition bowlers looked familiar and, when I was out, I checked the scorebook and saw the name of J Robertson! Shortly afterwards, I stood as umpire for a spell and said something the him. He gave me a quizzical look and, a few overs later, said: "You're Tyler!" We had a brief chat afterwards and our paths crossed again at The Oval a few years later and again today.
   For the record, Mr. Robinson  left around 1974 to go up to Hertfordshire and now, following retirement, lives in Royal Tunbridge Wells and, for his sins, is also a member at Lords.
   I must have looked very old all those years ago because, for some reason, many people remember my face and/or name! On the subject of cricket, there was a team called Rusmill who played in the Thornton Heath & District League - it was an offshoot of the John Ruskin Old Students Association; something that followed on from John Ruskin Old Boys. It eventually opened up to outsiders and one of the players was (and surprisingly still is) called Malcolm Ashby. He had bushy blonde hair like Harpo Marx and my schoolboy sense of humour led to him getting the nickname of "Harpo".

Steve Tyler - 1967

   I finished playing for the club in 1983 to take up refereeing seriously and lost touch with most of my contemporaries. We must now leap forward to 2010 and Surrey playing a CB40 game on the Getty Estate at Wormsley near High Wycombe and who recognised me straight away?
   And then a refereeing incident. The President of the Croydon Referees Society celebrated his 60th year of membership just over a week ago and we invited his family to attend. His children brought their husbands/wives along.
   After the presentation, one gentleman approached me. "I know you!" I looked, none the wiser, and asked him for his name. I'm used to doing that as a referee and a plod. "Michael Wood."
   The penny dropped - we started at the school on the same day in September 1966.
   However, he was a lot more studious than me - which wasn't very difficult and he certainly appears on the 1967 photo - as do I, seen right.

Steve Tyler, Selsdon, South Croydon, September 2010 Email.

John Heath (JRGS 1969-71) adds: Steven Tyler's reference to John Robertson brought back pleasant memories of his excellent teaching. For A-Level History, he gave a fascinating class on the United States, my first introduction to the country where I have lived since 1987. It could have been an undergraduate-level course because John always emphasised the different ways to interpret the causes and significance of particular historical outcomes, rather than presenting what happened in a dryly factual way as if it were inevitable.
   I remember he was keen on American movies and introduced me to themes ranging from the empty lives of the rich and famous (Orson Welles, Citizen Kane) to the alienation of the suburbs and the madness of gun culture (Peter Bogdanovitch, Targets) to... Hedy Lamarr running naked through the woods in a 1933 picture (now why did that stick in my head?)
   John, if you are out there, many thanks for the inspiration you gave us


 Mike Marsh (JRGS 1949-55) looks back on Saturday's Ruskin Annual Reunion...

JRGS Annual Reunion - September 2010 JRGS Annual Reunion - September 2010 JRGS Annual Reunion - September 2010 JRGS Annual Reunion - September 2010
The Shirley Windmill Ian Macdonald & Tom Thomas Anne Smith Peter Oxlade

The 11th of September Reunion was a very successful event. I took a number of pictures that can be found here.
My original Picasa Web Album can be viewed here.

Mike Marsh, Great Cornard, Sudbury, Suffolk, September 2010 Email.

Peter Oxlade (JRCS 1940-44) adds: The Reunion was very good again and the organization well managed.
   Much to my surprise we have found a pupil that outscores me. (Good for my ego!!) His name is Ken Woolston and was at Ruskin 1935-39. Ken advised me that he left in 1939 because the school was to be evacuated and his family thought it would be better for him to seek employment. Ken started in the insurance work and specialised in shipping insurance! (A bit risky at that time I would have thought?) I have encouraged Ken to write to the Webmaster so that his story can be circulated.
   I went to see
former JRGS teacher Charles Smith on the Friday before the Reunion and passed on our personal regards, which brought a big smile and a nod of the head that showed his appreciation. Unfortunately, his PC has stopped performing so I will be acting as messenger by downloading as required and delivering by hand.

   This is the personal message from CES that I read out at the JRGS Reunion last Saturday:

   "I had hoped to be with you all at the John Ruskin Grand Reunion to be held at The Surprise pub’s reception room. Unfortunately, my health has not improved enough for me to be able to achieve this event , so I am sending this message to let you know that I am still - and will remain - a very committed member of the John Ruskin Brigade!!
   "It seems like only yesterday that we were talking of the 2009 reunion and here we are looking forward to the 2010 event. I do hope that it will be as successful as last year.
   "It has been a difficult year for me as anno domini has had more and more of a say in my life, but I am always uplifted when we receive the latest contributions to the JRGS website. What a magnificent pleasure it does give us all. I think that a big ‘Thank you’ to Mel Lambert for managing The Mill, which has given us all so much pleasure. Thank you Mel; it is a great uplifting experience just looking back at the times expressed by so many.
   "My memories of my time at Ruskin are many and varied. The faces are still clearly in my mind but adding the names to the faces I regret does defeat me in the main. I have been so privileged to pay some small contribution to the development of so many boys (and latterly girls) in their journey from young people to adulthood and to see how so many of them have been so successful in their chosen careers.
   "My very best wishes to you all and to all those who are unable to attend the re-union
   "So, it’s goodbye for now from CES – you know ‘Smithy’...’Old Smut’ that mild little man you used to brushed to one side as you raced down the school corridor . NO? Very well then... I am that mixture of Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan and The Ogre from the top of the beanstalk? Well, please yourselves then.
   "May the Lord bless and keep you all safe and well." - CES September 2010.

Ernie Clark (JRCS 1935-39) adds: At last! A contemporary from 1935-39. The name Ken Woolston does stir the memory just a little, but that's all. We would appear to have been contemporaries - and I left Ruskin in 1939 for the same kind of reason! Can we exchanges addresses or phone numbers via email? I hope we can encourage Ken to add his memoirs. I look forward to hearing more on The Mill web site.
   All-in-all I'm doing remarkably well for an 86-year-old! We've just down-sized from a four-bedroom house on the hillside - where my wife and I used a smaller bedroom each as a study - to a three-bedroom bungalow much nearer to the town centre where we hopefully walk to church, shops and other activities. (We have to share one of the bedrooms as a study so we don't have to shout at each other across a corridor! We should have done it five years ago.)


 Peter Hurn (JRGS 1967-73) discovers a connection with The Rover comic...

Rover -  4 October 1952 issueRover - 4 October 1952 - ThanksOne of the items of memorabilia I plan to have for the upcoming Annual Ruskin Reunion is a Rover comic, dated 4th October, 1952, with a front cover showing 20 school badges, including our own.

 Click here to see the full Rover front cover, from which the image show left is extracted. By the way, I bought this copy of The Rover a few weeks ago from a stall trader on the Thames South Bank - for a whole £1!

Inside there's list of pupils who nominated the badges; ours was sent in by a J. Simmons of 203 Harrington Road, Croydon, as shown above right.

Peter Hurn, Wallington, Surrey, September 2010 Email.


A full list of archived News/Events Pages can be found here.

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