JRGS News Archive Page 61
JRGS Alumni Society

Archived News/Activities

- Page 61 - Mar thru May 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.

 Peter Hurn (JRGS 1967-73) reports the death of Sixties alumnus Roger Taylor...

I have a sad and untimely passing to report: Roger Taylor (JRGS 1959-64) died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday 23rd May. He'd been suffering from severe medical problems for months and had been in Mayday Hospital since March.
   While I don't know much about Roger's working life, he was a member at Warlingham Cricket Club from about 1970 and was omnipresent. He was quite brilliant in his scoring role and his massive sense of humour will be long-remembered by all his old cricketing friends. He once recorded a whole game in Roman numerals, much to the chagrin of the team skipper (who was even larger than Rog). The skipper hadn't had the same classical education and hadn't a clue what was going on. But it's a testament to Roger's schooling and, I presume, to Messrs "Smut" and "Rhino" that he carried it off to perfection, even down to the match report.
   We also shared many a long discussion about the merits or otherwise of Crystal Palace FC - Rog lived all his life near the ground in SE25.
   For some unknown reason, Roger also carried a torch for Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen. He was once tempted to join me on a trip to Knebworth to see Led Zeppelin as CC&TLPA were on the under card, but cricket won his day, as usual. Roger was also a member of a rag-tag musical combo, the Syncopators, for whom he played various instruments pretty badly, and also the cricket club's Darts Team.
   The funeral will be held at Beckenham Crematorium in Elmer's End Road on Friday 4th June at 12.45 PM. There will be a "wake" at the cricket club after the funeral.
   Roger's not insubstantial presence will be missed by many.

Peter Hurn, Wallington, Surrey May 2010 Email.

Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) adds: Very sorry to hear about Roger. He was a friend of mine from early days at South Norwood Junior. I seem to remember that our mothers were work colleagues. In those days the Taylors lived in Carmichael Road, just yards from the Junior School. Although he was with several of us in 2C, 3M and 5U, Roger must have been in a different form at JRGS in the first year, and we werenít particular friends after 1959.
   I learnt from somebody that Roger went to work for chartered accountants after leaving JRGS, and that recently he lived in Shirley. We tried to contact him last year without response. Apparently he suffered from chronic glandular illness and was a very private man.
   The  choice of the Beckenham Crematorium in Elmers End Road is very appropriate because of Rogerís love of cricket. W. G. Grace is one of the cemeteryís most illustrious burials, along with the inventor of the modern flushing toilet, Thomas Crapper. The crematorium is very close to where Roger - and I - lived in South Norwood. The W. G. Grace pub is nearby; I think that Roger would have been very pleased.
   I am also reminded of the two Taylorís in our 2C class of 1960/61 Ė Roger and Colin Ė being labelled as Taylor Major and Taylor Minor in the typical, slightly cruel, public-school fashion of the time by one of the staff, our late form master Mr. "Jim" Crowe, I think.

John Byford (JRGS 1959-66) adds: I was very sorry to read about the death of Roger. He was one of a small intrepid band of brothers in 5B who spent many lunch hours up on Shirley Hills trying out the latest brand of cigarette on the market, debating the merits of the different versions of Under My Thumb and generally having a good time; Roger Hall, Grant Harrison, John Holden and yours truly were the other escapees.
   Roger was a big Palace fan and that was how I first got to know him in 2C. While other boys went with their dads to watch Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Roger supported his local football team. I lost touch with him after he'd left school though occasionally bumped into him either to or from Selhurst Park.
   Peter's story about Roger scoring at a cricket match using only Roman numerals had me quietly chuckling - a lovely image.

Paul Graham has more background: An old South Norwood Junior School friend of mine and Rogerís -  Heather Harris nťe Parks (she lives in South Croydon and attended the funeral) - has drawn my attention to another cricketing connection of Rogerís which I have followed up and discovered the faintly amazing truth. Be careful - some of the stuff on the internet about Don Bradmanís ancestry is a bit wayward.
   Rogerís mother Sheila Taylor nťe Bradman (born 1922 in Lambeth) was a third cousin of Donald George (Don) Bradman (1908-2001), the famous Australian cricketer. Their common 2g-grandparents were John Bradman and Anne Hyner/Hiner/Highner (1773-1855), married 1795 in Withersfield, Suffolk. Don Bradmanís grandfather Charles emigrated from Suffolk to Australia in one of the 1850s gold rushes and ended up farming.
   I would point out that before about 1860, Bradman and Bradnam were virtually interchangeable; both surnames are almost purely of Suffolk origin. And maybe connected with the Suffolk village of Brettenham (say it in dialect!)
   Rogerís grandfather, Malcolm Bradnam, moved to the south London area in about 1921 and lived there until his death in 1972, so I feel sure that he would have told Roger about the DGB connection, though it doesnít ring any bells with me. Interesting.
   Rogerís cousin, Andy Bradnam, who lives in nearby Anerley, is dealing with his affairs. Andy mentioned to Heatherís husband John (who is himself a friend of ex-JRGS pupil Graham Fentiman) that he thought that Roger's mother, Sheila, had accompanied Prime Minister Winston Churchill on a visit to Quebec in the 1940s, working in a secretarial role to him. Certainly we always understood Mrs. Taylor to be more that just a competent typist.
   Finally, Heather Harris has kindly shared with me the following report from Roger Taylor's funeral: "Over 40 people attended Rogerís funeral service at Beckenham Crematorium on a hot summery lunchtime on 4 June, followed by a gathering at Warlingham Cricket Club. As well as relatives, many friends of Roger from all eras were there, including some from JRGS and others from the Shirley Poppy public house in Wickham Road, as well as the local cricket scene. It was a good send off for a valued friend."


 Ian Macdonald (JRGS 1958-65) reports on a refit to the Shirley Windmill...

The MillI came across an article in a recent edition of Croydon Guardian about a £45,000 refit to the Shirley Windmill to repair damage from rot and attack by marauding parakeets. The local landmark has come under threat from rose-ringed parakeets that like to sharpen their beaks on the wooden sails.
   For the past few months specialist millwrights J. Hole have been fitting new sails, which can cost more than £10,000 each. "The mill will look splendid again with a complete set of new, freshly painted sails and shutters," John Jackson, chairman of the Friends of Shirley Windmill, told the Croydon Guardian. Full story.

Ian Macdonald, Shirley, Surrey, May 2010 Email

Graham Donaldson (JRGS 1962-69) adds: It's not funny, this business with the parrots, though I have to say one is tempted to send for John Cleese of Monty Python fame! They're not dead, just a damned nuisance.
   For those who cannot make 11 September Ruskin Reunion, there will be further Mill Open Days on Sundays 6 June, 4 July and 1 August, 13.00-17.00, with the last tour starting at 16.00. I gather that Martin Nunn sometimes conducts these tours.


 Rodger Holcombe (JRGS 1959-64) fondly recalls his sporting schooldays...

My parents were delighted I was to go to Ruskin, as otherwise they had to pay for me at Whitgift; also my father had been at the school when it was down Scarbrook Road.
   Not being overly academic - or, more accurately, being lazy - I drifted into the "technical" stream and was given something of a vocational education and I think I preferred woodwork and metalwork to Latin. In any event, I am grateful for this as it gave me a lifelong aversion to DIY.
   I have very fond memories of the place and some of the masters and students. The masters seem to me to be almost equally divided between those who wanted to give me corporal punishment, "a real wake up call" or just try to teach me something, all for the right motives I'm sure.
   I loved the school trips to Italy, Spain etc. with Mr. "Fred" Field and Mr. "Jim" Crowe (am I right?), cricket and lacrosse, not too sure about the Shirley Hills cross-countries; although I took up fell running at school in Yorkshire where I did my sixth form.
   Fortunately when my family moved to Yorkshire just after O'-Levels I seemed to realise that a few qualifications would be a good idea.
Roger Holcolme - August 1963   I count myself very lucky to have gone to Ruskin - I think my son (and daughter) would have thrived there - and the fact that sport was nearly as important as academia; if you were in the first team at something it forgave a lot. I am pictured left in the JRGS Cricket XI from August 1963; click on the thumbnail to view  a larger version.
   Although hopeless at maths at Ruskin I went on to show ability in numbers and stats and, when I met my wife and was sent out to work after several years of indolence, I became an Energy Analyst. I worked for Energy Consultants until I retired, mostly to Portugal, three years ago - although if Messrs Cameron and Clegg don't do something to improve the economy and the strength of the pound I might have to un-retire.
   The only thing I do now that anyone will pay me for is my occasional outings as a golf caddy. For the last five or six years I have done some caddying on the European & Challenge Tours - good fun and it stops me getting any fatter.
   A big hello to anyone recalling me from school days.

Rodger Holcombe, Burgau, Western Algarve, Portugal, May 2010 Email


 Steve Warr (JRGS 1964-70) struggles to remember his schooldays...

This is a great website - very detailed, slick and wide ranging - but missing many potential contributions. (As always, what hasnít yet been said is probably more interesting than what has). Iíve found my name twice already!
   The Reunion is an excellent idea too Ė the nearest Iíve been to Shirley in 35 years is on a speeding Gatwick Express. However, living in Scotland, unfortunately Iím not going to make it down this year.
   Nevertheless, please put me on the Emailing List - Iíd like to contribute when I get a chance.

Steve Warr, Aberdeen, Scotland, April 2010 Email

Peter Eades (JRGS 1963-69) adds: I remember Steve Warr, if he is the one who lived in Shirley Way and had a Scaletrix set. He also passed 10 O-Levels - the highest score that year (1968). [more]

Steve Warr replies: To my embarrassment I donít remember Peter - but I did live in Shirley Way. (Mr. "Rhino" Rees and Mr. "Joe" Lowe used to kindly stop and give me a lift into school if they saw me walking up the road.) And I did have a Scaletrix set. For Peter, remembering must be one of the benefits of (spectacularly) early retirement! But why should he remember me?
   Worse, Peterís date of 1968 for my O-Levels has corrected my dates to 64 -70. Working, conversely, seems to result in early-onset Alzheimerís!
   Iím not one for looking back and Iím not much of a ďjoinerĒ, so the idea of going to a reunion is sill somewhat awkward. I donít think Iím alone in this.
   That said, my father died a couple of months ago and in his papers I found a brief autobiography that a friend had encouraged him to write shortly before his death. It was quite fascinating Ė particularly his school years which, as I obviously hadnít been born, I knew nothing about. Unfortunately though, everything he hadnít written down is now lost forever; I can no longer ask him about it.
   For this reason, I now feel tempted to write down something about life at JRGS. Although every generation would say the same, it was a time of change for the school. It was the Swinging Sixties. The world, and music, would never be quite the same again and, by the time we left, it just wasnít the same school as it was at the start.
   And then they put a bulldozer through it.
   Thinking about it, although my recollections are largely affectionate (schooldays were happy rather than "happiest"), they would need to be balanced Ė i.e. a few warts and all Ė without quite being libellous! As others have found, the website has triggered memories in some strangely diverse areas - some not purely to do with people and some, hopefully, funny.
   Itís very clear that, over the years, people remember (and forget) quite different things. Herein lies the synergy of the website.
   If youíd still like me to write something, I donít think I could do it if it would need to be edited into something entirely cosy and polite, boasting wall-to-wall camaraderie. There are only really a few negative points, but cutting them out would make the record far less real and misrepresent my recollections.
   I appreciate that this is an impossible question to answer (for example, thereís even relatives to consider) but are there any guidelines on how much leeway there would there be to recall some negative points as well Ė albeit in an overall friendly framework?

Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) responds: My only recommendation to potential contributors is that they make it interesting for other Alumni members, and refrain from being too vitriolic towards teachers and other staff members who quite often cannot - sadly - defend themselves. Sure we were sometimes bullied and, in rare cases, physically abused by one or two masters. But, on the whole, these were men (and women) dedicated to the teaching profession and who worked steadfastly to make us better individuals. Any editing I may do to a submission would be to ensure a fair balance and to gently tone down any potentially offensive language. Let's hear from you, Steve.

Anne Smith (JRHS/JRC teacher/principal 1970-99) adds: I should like to go on record as saying that I never physically abused a pupil in my life, and do not think I bullied anyone either, although the latter is subjective.


 Colin Wood (JRGS 1961-68) hears from a former school friend via the website...

I recently received an email from one James Chapman, son of Colin Chapman (JRGS 1961-67), who was best man at my wedding in 1973 and with whom I had lost touch around 1985. Despite the proliferation of sites like Friends Reunited, Facebook etc., my attempts to trace Chapman Senior had been fruitless.
   But James googled "Colin Wood John Ruskin" and found the entry on The Mill alumni site where I produced a flash file of the school song (complete with my email address). As a result Colin and I are now in touch again Ė many thanks to the webmaster.

Colin Wood, Bicester, Oxfordshire, April 2010 Email


 Raymond Young (JRGS 1950-55) reports death of Fifties alumnus Robert Sageman...

From 1952 School Photo

It is with much sadness that I report the death of Robert Sageman (JRGS 1952-55). He died of stomach cancer at the end of 2009, aged 71, at his home in Ludlow, Shropshire. Bob and I were two of a kind. We played football in the 5th XI (first form) to the 1st XI (fifth form) and became life-long friends. [more]
   Bob lived in Edridge Road, Croydon. I lived in Shirley and, having more green spaces, he would come almost every weekend to join in our beloved football kick-abouts. By the late Fifties we were called-up, Bob to the air force and me to the army. I trained in North Wales and in March 1958 was posted to a Working Company in Bicester, Oxfordshire.
   A couple of weeks after arriving, I got a 36-hour pass and raced to Bicester station to catch the ďbulletĒ to London. The platform was packed with soldiers and airmen. Pushing my way through, I bumped straight into Bob Sageman! He too was posted to Bicester. What luck! The RAF camp was better than ours, so I went up there almost every evening.
   After de-mob we drifted apart but, on a holiday in Devon, my wife and I bumped into Bob again by accident, in Newton Abbott high street. In the intervening years he married his wife Kay and, five years ago, moved to Scotland.
   I found Bob again on FriendsReunited.com, and we phoned and emailed regularly. We went up to Scotland to see Bob and Kay a couple of years ago and Bob announced that they were coming back down to Ludlow, where Kay's ailing mother lived. Alas, Bob didnít see out the year.
   I knew Bob Sageman for 57 years. He was a true friend, and I hold dear strong memories of the fun we had together from our schooldays.
George Saunders ??

Raymond "Sprout" Young, Hurst Green, Etchingham, East Sussex, April 2010 Email

Mike Marsh (JRGS 1949-55) adds: It is always a sad moment to hear of one's school mates passing away even if they were not a particularly close buddy at that time, especially as Bob was the same age as myself.
   Having read again through the postings that Bob and I shared on the archive, and scrolling through the old school photographs, I see that I was looking for someone called George Saunders. Bob put me straight with a picture that I did not recognise.
   However, I now attach a small picture, shown right, of whom I thought was George, and wonder whether anyone recognises him? I think that this is the chap with whom I cycled down to Dorset in 1953, staying at Swanage YHA Hostel for a few days.


 Steve Tyler (JRGS 1966-74) recalls a Varsity football match in the mid-Sixties...

I was at the school from 1966 to 1974, but wasn't one of its star pupils, by any means. I was too lazy!! If I put my mind to it, I could be capable but I was too easily led astray and, in the last two years, was too interested in playing football.
   I remember an afternoon off school in December 1966, when virtually the whole school went to Wembley for the Varsity match due to, as Mr. "Smut" Smith advised, Michael Noakes (JRGS 1957-63) playing for Oxford.
   With respect, none of the first year had heard of him but we were more than happy to make our first visits to the twin towers! [more]

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


 Maurice Whitfield (JRGS 1959-66) remembers school friends from the early-Sixties...

Theses images from life on the Monks Hill estate and Gilbert Scott Infants School date from 1953 onwards, and contain some Ruskinites of year 1959 onwards. Click on any thumbnail to view a larger image.

Maurice Whitfield in front of Monks Hill prefab

With Donald McLeish and Kenneth Love

With Donald McLeish and Kenneth Love

With Jeffrey Farmer

Gilbert Scott Infants sports day 1953

MW in front of Monks
Hill prefab house

With Donald McLeish and Kenneth Love

Donald McLeish and Kenneth Love

Jeffrey Farmer

Gilbert Scott Infants
Sports Day 1953

The photo of myself on the cart, pictured above left, is the only example I've seen of a Monks Hill prefab - no.65 in fact. My family lived at 63, and I am positioned here in this photo between the two adjacent to the alleyway with the pylon. Incidentally, Monks Hill estate is in Selsdon, adjacent to Littleheath Woods, between Selsdon Park Road and a slightly less-near Gravel Hill.
   In the other photos we have myself, Jeffrey Farmer (1963-ish), Donald McLeish and Kenneth Love (1962-ish), all Ruskinites of my entry year. In fact, Jeffrey and Kenneth lived in Edgecombe on Monks Hill, while Donald lived in Croham Valley Road on then-new Ballards Estate.
   The photo of Gilbert Scott Infants Sports Day, shown above-right, dates from summer 1953 and has me pictured bottom centre with Ruskinite Peter Baynes (also an Edgecomber) to be seen in the centre of the left hand side.
   Other images from those halcyon days can be found here.

Maurice Whitfield, Woodside Green, London SE25, March 2010 Email


 Richard Thomas & Ian Macdonald announce details of upcoming Ruskin Reunion...

The MillThe second John Ruskin Grand Reunion will be held on the afternoon of Saturday 11th September 2010 at The Surprise pub function room, with tours of The Shirley Windmill. A hot buffet will be served and some short films of pupil and Army Cadet Force activities from the 1960s also shown. The reunion will be open to Alumni, teaching and other staff members who attended at Tamworth Road or at the Shirley Windmill site, plus their spouses/partners.
   The feedback from our first reunion in September 2009 was very positive with requests for a repeat this year. Click here to access a PDF version of the summary. The majority view was that the next reunion should be based on a buffet at a suitable location which should have a connection with the school. The feedback gave the Mill Tours top marks. Last year at least 40 Alumni and staff who would have liked to attend were unable to be present on the chosen day. Therefore, we have decided to use the same venue this year and to offer Mill Tours, so that those who missed out last year will have a second chance. Of course we hope that those who attended last year will attend this year.
   The charge per head, including the buffet, will be approximately £10. Parking at Coloma School will be about £1.50p. Arrangements and charges will be confirmed later and then payment will be sought.
   Since space is limited, responses will to be treated on a First-come/First-served basis; as with last year's reunion, attendance cannot exceed 120 people.
   Please make every effort to contact your contemporaries who may not know about the reunion and rummage around for memorabilia so that we can offer a special event to as many John Ruskin Alumni and other members as possible. >>SIGN UP HERE<<

   Co-organisers: Ian Macdonald (JRGS 1958Ė65) and Richard "Tom" Thomas (JRGS 1957Ė64).

Richard "Tom" Thomas, Shrewsbury, Shropshire. March 2010 Email


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