JRGS News Archive Page 34
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- Page 34 - Aug and Sep 2006 -

JRGS Alumni Society


 Terence Morris (JRCS 1942-50) recalls several school friends from the Fifties...

Summer 1950I have at last found a half-decent photo [shown left] taken by RJ Hawkins of some of the Upper VIth at Tamworth Road in the summer of 1950. It is taken from the Tamworth Road side and it is possible to see how much attention some of the window frames needed – I don’t think they had been painted since before the war. The windows are those of the Library, which was created in 1946, a long room which had been formerly the woodwork shop, ruled over by Mr. Chinnock. When he left all the benches and tools disappeared, and what was the last vestige of the old "Selective Central School" (what Mr. MacLeod had called "The Grammar School on the cheap") finally disappeared.
   Mr. Chinnock always seemed a sad person; I think he had lost a son in the war. He used to be in charge of National Savings. Every Monday morning every boy had to buy at least one National Savings stamp, price 6d – or 5 pence in modern money. I remember one lad in our form whose parents, I think, were both on war work who used to by £1’s worth every week – a vast sum in those days! Mr. Chinnock was a fine craftsman but not many of us could approach his skills, so the work must have been a bit dispiriting. After 1944 I suspect he felt less at home in the atmosphere of the new Grammar School with its new driving academic ethos.
   The names of the people in the photo (from left to right) are as follows:
Back row standing: Derek Howes, John Prevett, Vic Carter, Philip "Flapper" Bamford and Karl Smith.
Front row standing: Terence Morris.
Seated: Andrew McIntyre, Peter Heath, Tony Nye, Percy Prevett and Owen Everson.
   I have kept touch only with Tony Nye but he is in touch with Peter Heath, The Prevett Brothers and Owen Everson.
   ● Derek Howes became a schoolmaster in London. He was a talented actor and pianist. He and I, sometimes joined by Terry Constable (not in photo) used to gather round our piano at home and sing the advertisements in the New Statesman to Anglican chants. (Innocent, if somewhat irreligious, amusement.)
   ● John Prevett became an actuary and was subsequently rewarded with an OBE for his pro bono work for the victims of the thalidomide tragedy.
   ● Vic Carter, after taking a science degree, became an army officer and went on to the staff of the Military College at Shrivenham.
   I have no knowledge of the later career of Philip "Flapper" Bamford, nor indeed, of how he acquired that name!
   ● Karl Smith after university went to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough where, at the 1952 air show, he and I had witnessed the tragic disaster when the new DH 110 broke up in mid-air.
   ● Terence Morris (that’s me) became a member of the staff of the London School of Economics, eventually settling to be a criminologist.
   I have no knowledge of Andrew McIntyre’s later career.
   ● Peter Heath, whose copy of Carlyle’s French Revolution is still in my possession – gift or long-term loan, after 56 years I can’t remember - joined the staff of the History Department at the University of Hull. (Peter, if you should read this and want it back, just send me your address...)
   ● Tony Nye read English at UCL. His children’s book, The Witch’s Cat, was published while he was in the Sixth. He and I edited the School Magazine for a while. He became a Jesuit priest and has had a long and distinguished career in various parts of the world, having been headmaster of a Jesuit school, a missionary in South Africa during apartheid and parish priest of Farm Street in London’s West End. [Father Nye was also guest of honor at the 1971 Speech Day, the school's 50th Anniversary year - ML.]
   ● Percy Prevett became an entomologist and, I think, worked in West Africa.
   ● Owen Everson was ordained as an Anglican priest and became a Canon of Southwark Cathedral. He retired from London to Chichester.
   Neither Tony Nye nor I have any information about R. J. Hawkins, who took the photo. Other people, not pictured, but in the VIth at that time included Terence Constable, who read French at King’s College London and, was at one time, a teacher in Wormwood Scrubs prison, and Bruce Vail, who read Classics at King’s.
   I think there were times when Mr. Lowe found us quite a handful; a relatively small group of very eager teen-agers on the threshold of adulthood. Seriously religious in a number of cases and very political. But I think, on the whole, he was not displeased to learn of what we were doing afterwards.
   The majority of people in the photo came down from University with Firsts and Upper Seconds in both science and arts degrees. Everyone in that photo will now be in their early- to mid-Seventies. Is any of our generation "on-line," I wonder, apart from myself and Dudley Wolf?

Prefects' Badges

Regarding the circular badges that some people in the photo are wearing on the lapels of their blazers, these were Shieldmetal and of the same design as that published on the front page of the School Magazine, shown left, and designated that they were Prefects. The shield-shaped badges on the blazer pockets were the school blazer badge. The circular design was never a blazer badge, but was widely used on sticky labels put inside books and on the covers of exercise books. I still have most of my Sixth Form exercise books and they all have the circular design on the label. My guess is that it was the original school badge, dating from 1920 when the School first opened in Scarbrook Road, next to what used to be the Croydon Baths. That building, like the one in Tamworth Road, was also "second hand", so to speak, as it had previously housed the Girls’ Department of what was called the British School.
   Both blazer badge and label design were around and in use when I entered the school in 1942. Blazers and ties could only be bought at Hewitt’s Outfitters in Church Street and were made of black Vicuna cloth. Boys in the two entry forms were known as "Brats" and wore short trousers for two years before going into longs. The were also from Hewitt's but a lot of parents bought shirts at M&S at West Croydon whose quality was very good – probably better – and cheaper.
   As to sports jackets, they are worn by Derek Howes and myself. It was a sort of informal fashion that some of us started when we going off for interviews, etc., or in my case teaching elsewhere. In my case there was no-one to teach economics for Higher School Certificate – the forerunner of A level - so I had to journey up to the City of London College, now part of London Metropolitan University, to lectures there on their Intermediate BSc Econ. Course. This informal dress was not popular with John Lowe, but it was one of the many things he had to put up with from us!
   If the picture was in colour, it would be possible to see that there were four patterns of tie with a predominate stripe corresponding to the House one was in: red for Alpha, blue for Beta, gold for Gamma and green for Delta. Age quod agis, the motto under the badge, was translated by Mr. MacLeod as “Do what you do”. “Attend to what you are about” might be an alternative.
   Early in the period of John Lowe’s time as Head, Mr. Manning, who went on to become Head of the new Ashburton Comprehensive – known as the Cashburton on account of having allegedly been over budget in the building – produced the School Song with its rousing chorus To be worthy of our name. It appeared around the time of a book about Ruskin which dealt with the fact that Ruskin’s wife Effie had gone off with the painter Millais, suggesting that Ruskin was not up to much in the bedroom. Cannot recall either book or author, I’m afraid. But John Lowe was outraged and in assembly indicated that we should not believe any of these slanders on Ruskin.

   I recall only one verse of the song:

To his memory by a mountain lake
A pillar stands alone
And the words of timeless wisdom
Graven on the ancient stone
Show a faith in God’s abiding love
Which we must make our own
To be worthy of our name.

   The tune was written by Mr. Hancock and was a good sing along, as I recall. Opinions varied as to the literary merit of Mr. Manning’s work. [more]
   I do recall a remark that if Effie had stayed married to Ruskin he would have ended up writing Bubbles. Millais’ painting Bubbles, you will recall, was subsequently used as an advertisement for Pears Soap.

Terence Morris, Hampshire, September 2005 Email

Mike Marsh (JRGS 1949-55) adds: Thanks to Terence Morris for the details and photos of the 1950 prefects. These were those "in power" when I first arrived at Tamworth Road in September 1949, and many of the names I can remember, with his prompting. As "Brats" that year, I can well remember being in awe of these chaps who, on the first morning, were standing on top of the steps glowering at us and looking very important as we assembled in the playground. They were able to dish out "lines" and similar punishments for misdemeanours - how far they could go I do not know!
   I am a little confused though by his comments about the Library, the Woodwork Room and Mr. Chinnock, pictured left. As far as I remember, the library was on the right-hand end of the Woodwork Room looking from the playground. Also looking at the school's architects' drawings (on this web site but not very clear - I have a clearer copy that I can enlarge). The woodwork room occupied two thirds of the ground floor front between the two doors, with the library being the other one third, which is exactly how I recollect it. These drawings show the ground floor plan and were drawn up for the new science labs out at the back of the school, so must be dated about 1946 or 47, since the new labs opened in September 1948. The layout of the woodwork room and library are clearly shown.
   The woodwork room remained in use until the school closed in 1955 and was one of my favourite haunts as woodwork was one of my "better" subjects. Before Mr. Chinnock died in February 1955 he was off work ill for quite some time - 14 months in fact - and we had one or two supply teachers to keep us going during that period. But I do not think he left as such, but died in office, although not actually being at work at the time. Possibly he was officially retired in December 1954; I do not know. (I remember being off work long-term sick myself as a teacher and I was on-role and paid for 12 months, albeit at half pay for the second half year, and retiring at the end of that time.)
   The John Ruskin School Magazine for July 1954 laments Mr. Chinnock's passing, and states on page 4 that he had been off work since December 3rd [sic 1953], and the Supply Teachers were Mr. Lewis and Mr. Crampton. Certainly the workshop, benches and tools remained in situ and in use by us until we moved out in 1955, at that time with Mr. Crampton in charge. (Who remembers his old motorbike and sidecar held together with wire and string? I do!) I was to meet him again in London a few years later, and subsequently I went to work for his father in a Quantity Surveyors' office in London until I went into the RAF in February 1957. I don't think that Mr. Crampton moved to Shirley Road with us, as very little happened in the new woodwork room that summer term, although I was involved with someone helping to establish the new benches, cupboards and tool racks in there. Whether this was with the new appointee - or indeed whether it was Mr. Crampton - I do not recollect, but I believe that woodwork lessons were not held that last (for me) term.


 Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) profiles Leonard Walter Chaundy, MA MSc ...


From 1960 school photo

Many of those who knew Mr. Chaundy at John Ruskin School must have been curious about his origins. Edwardian in style, not unlike the prime minister Harold Macmillan, slightly patrician in nature, highly knowledgeable, not to be trifled with. Perhaps a military or colonial background? In fact the name Chaundy is almost exclusively from Oxfordshire, and our schoolmaster’s family, who were of modest lower-middle class means, came from there to London in Victorian times. I have researched a little about the man whose nickname to all was "Sam."
   He was born 22 April 1904 in Lambeth, south London, the son of William Martin Chaundy, born 1867 City of London, died 22 September 1944, and Sarah Louise née Flack, born 1865 in Finsbury, north London, died 18 October 1943. They married in Islington in 1889, and had three older children in Islington.
   Stanley William Chaundy born 1891, died 28 June 1967.
   Dorothy Eleanor Chaundy born 1893, died after 1901.
   Winifred Florence Chaundy born 1896, died 11 February 1941.
   The family moved from Islington and lived briefly in Bushey in Hertfordshire before moving to south London shortly before 1904, when Leonard was born.
   Leonard Chaundy’s father, William Martin, was a wood engraver, an old fashioned trade even in late Victorian times, and became a process worker or engineer.
   Leonard’s grandfather, William Henry Chaundy, had been born in Littlebourne, a small village on the southern outskirts of Oxford, in 1839. He was a bookseller by trade and had moved to London shortly before marrying Amelia Jane Hedges in 1862. She was also from Oxfordshire, and continued to work as a schoolmistress even after she began having children. Though she died in 1899, before Leonard was born, it may be that this legacy influenced her grandson’s future career.
   As yet, we know little of Leonard Chaundy’s early family or educational life, but the family lived at 17 Dassett Road, West Norwood, from 1941 to 1967 at least. He joined John Ruskin Grammar School at the age of 41 in September 1945.
   He was teacher of Physics, Head of Science, Senior Master, constructed the school timetable, and was well known for running the Scientific Society for many years. He was a rigorous teacher with natural high standards.
   He was a cultured man with many interests, as can be seen from the Know Your Staff article as “Mr A” in the December 1963 school magazine, page 13 and page 14. I can remember him advising me to listen to Sibelius and Mahler – the latter was very much a minority interest in the 1960s. He was also a close follower of Crystal Palace FC, no doubt from being brought up in the Norwood area as a boy. He also provided generations of pupils with entertainment at his slightly pompous style, with his exhortations to “Go and read it up after the lesson, boy” ending with his exclamation that can only be loosely described as sounding like “chuff chuff”. In the sixth form, I remember he provided a lot of stifled amusement one tedious afternoon when trying to demonstrate the left-hand motor rule and getting increasingly frustrated at it not working out how it was supposed to, until he eventually realised about 10 minutes after his pupils that he was in fact using his right hand.
   Leonard Chaundy left the school in April 1969 at the retirement age of 65, after being at the school for almost all of its life as a Grammar School. The headmaster, Mr. Lowe, provided a note full of praise in the school magazine of 1969 (page 04 and page 05).
   He and his wife Elsie moved to the south coast shortly afterwards, to 61 Terminus Road, Bexhill, Sussex. Sadly, The retirement was short lived for both of them. Elsie died on 28 June 1971 and Leonard aged 67 on 1 February, 1972.

Paul Graham, Iver, Bucks, September 2006 Email

John Cotsello (JRGS 1951-56) adds: Just a note to say how much I enjoyed reading the biography of Mr. Chaundy. Paul has done a lot of work on this. I appreciate his effort and was very interested to learn something of Mr. Chaundy's background.
   I can remember him teaching us in the lab at the top of the building [at the Tamworth Road location] and how interesting he made the subject. I seem to remember him using the term "calx" for an oxide, so that shows how long ago it was!


  Desmond May, a JRGS master from 1956 to 1960, recalls school life in the Fifties...

Initially, I taught French, English, Latin and Games, and was Form Teacher of 2M, 3M, 4M and 5M. I joined the school at the same time as Derek Peasey (Maths) and Dennis Green (Biology), and served under Mr. Lowe (Headmaster), Bill Cracknell (Deputy Head) and Bernie Fisher (Head of Modern Languages) until he went to King David’s School Liverpool as Headmaster, and then under Ken Tryon.
   I accompanied school visits to Spain, France and Germany with Arthur Warne, before he went to Malory School in Kent. Modern Languages colleagues included George Richardson of tuck-shop fame and Phil Robertshaw. I was a founder member and opening bowler of the Staff Cricket Team along with Neville Graham and Arthur Warne (wicketkeeper) with the headmaster as captain and then Ron Woodard. We played against the School 1st XI (most of whom I’d coached) and staff teams of other schools – St Olave’s, Beckenham and Penge, and a staff/school XI at a Sussex Grammar School.
   The M forms were full of characters. Roger Walters, the register monitor, was so good at doing mine (at a time when we had to total and average weekly, monthly, termly and yearly) that he was loaned out to other form teachers in the know! There were Jonathan Sindall and Colin Blunt, the Form Captains, Mike Beaumont [more], the two Clarks (no relation – Robin was our staff cricket team scorer), Victor Reddy/Tennant, David Wilson the genius, Ernie Entwhistle, Robert Johnson, Bob Wenn, and many others.
   All had a great sense of humour and a desire to work and get on – which they all seem to have done rather more successfully than their teacher! (Whatever happened to Bob Ley?) But my greatest delight and pleasure is how many of them want to keep in touch with me – probably under Roger Walters’s influence!

Desmond May, Hertfordshire, September 2006 Email

Jonathan Sindall (JRGS 1956-59) adds: Thanks to the tireless work of Roger Walters mentioned above, I have arrived at the JRGS Alumni site. As far as I can recall, I joined JRGS in 1956 and was dragged out screaming in ’59. I spent time with Des May as form master and, I’m sure, with Mr. Gee in my first year. Great site!


 John Byford (JRGS 1959-66) discovers an interesting appreciation of Croydon ...

Joan Coffey


While browsing around the Internet, I discovered this video from Irish folk artist Joan Coffey, entitled We Know You're from Croydon, which is pretty much self-explanatory.

Click on the thumbnail to view the full size video from YouTube.com.

Croydon's fame spreads even further... [warning - video contains strong language.]

John Byford, Camberwell, South London, August 2006 Email

ML adds: See also Ode to Croydon, a guided tour of local sights, and Skating in Croydon.


 Mike Etheridge (JRGS 1963-65) shares more info on Croydon secondary schools...

Whilst writing my report on the fate of Secondary Schools in Croydon, I could not think of parallel situations in Lewisham where schools had been demolished. However the following has come to mind.
   When I joined Lewisham Architects in 1975 all Education work appeared to be dealt with by the GLC and the ILEA. I had no knowledge of Lewisham schools until about 1989/90 when Lewisham Architects acted as consultants to the GLC for the re-wiring of Monson Primary School located next to Cold blow Lane. This was the location of the old Millwall football ground. The police used the school premises at weekends when Millwall were playing to co-ordinate crowd control. I did in fact produce the rewiring scheme for the school and the works were eventually financed by Lewisham and monitored by the ILEA once the demise of the GLC was complete.
   I can remember thinking at the time that my job must be secure as we would be managing the school building works for the whole of Lewisham. However, even before the Monson school works were finished in 1991, Lewisham Architects department was closed and I was made redundant for the first time. Lewisham Architects department, where I worked for 15 years, was located at Capital House in Rushey Green Catford. and Prendergast Girls School was visible from the office windows on the opposite side of the road , and as far as I was concerned it was one of the few attractive Victorian buildings in Rushey Green.
   After I left Lewisham Council in 1991, I can remember the news item on TV that the school had lost a member of staff and a pupil on a school trip following the tragic sinking of a cruise liner. Subsequently my sister Jean lent me a copy of a book written about the disaster by some of the school's survivors. (Jupiters Children by Marian Campion, with a forward from Simon Weston and published by the Liverpool University Press.)
   When I returned to Lewisham Authority in 1997 I was horrified to notice that the whole of the school had been demolished and there was just a pile of rubble on the site. I found out that the school had re-located to a conservation area at Brockley called Hillyfields in a grade2 listed school building. [More] I was told that a mural painted in the 1930s by some of the students in the main building assembly hall was the sole reason the building had been listed. (Could a mural have saved JRGS?- somehow I doubt it.) The only other mural I had seen in a Lewisham building was on a much smaller scale in a block of flats built in the 1930s called "The Hermitage" located at Blackheath. The tiny mural had been painted in one of the original tenant's bathroom by a relative of Sir Francis Drake!
   In about 2000, after being involved in an IT scheme to link up various Lewisham buildings with Council-owned fibre-optic cables, I was asked to carry out a similar pilot scheme for Prendergast girls school so it could be linked to Lewisham's main computer server in the Town Hall. A site visit gave me the chance to nip in the school hall and take quick glance at the impressive mural; unfortunately I cannot remember what it depicted!
   The school's deputy head-teacher acted as the "client liaison" person on the scheme, which we agreed should include fire alarm and telephone links apart from the required IT connections from the main building on Hillyfields, to the three annex buildings on a site a few hundred yards away on the other side of the B236 road Adelaide Avenue. This meant that we had to excavate Hillyfields and the B326 and install cable ducts between the school buildings. All proposed works had to be approved by English Heritage and the Hillyfields Conservation Group. Further, the excavation of the B236 had to comply with the Road Traffic Act with appropriately laid-out traffic cones and temporary traffic lights to allow for only half the road to be closed at a time. (It occurred to me at the time of the JRGS stolen road cones saga, assuming it happened, Mr. "Joe" Lowe had acted quite correctly by calling in the police!).
   Fortunately, the contract for the works was won by the same company that had carried out the other fibre-optic cable links in Lewisham. The company director I knew well (Brian Mc Dowell) was a fine example of a person who did not need academic qualifications to make a fortune. In his youth he had made more money than most as a deep sea diver, and was involved in dives on the Torrey Canyon, and claimed to be the first person to cut the metal feet off a collapsed/immersed North Sea oil rig. Brian's diving record was impressive and certainly put my 25-yards swimming certificate to shame!
   I can remember after a wreck fishing trip Brian diving into the sea at Brighton Marina to try and recover a friend's fishing rod that had fallen in the water. After a few minutes Brian surfaced and exclaimed ''It was too murky down there to see the rod and its over 15 feet deep - I can always tell because my ears always pop at 15 feet depth'. (He is the sort of person with an amazing work ethic and is never be beaten by a problem.)
   The works progressed very well in 2001 but, before they were complete, I had to announce to the school's head-teacher - a sister of a well known BBC news correspondent - that my department section had been closed and I could no longer progress the scheme.
   In 2004/5 I was on a train travelling to Victoria Station on a visit to West Green Primary school in Haringey to accept a completed fire alarm and emergency lighting scheme. My mobile phone rang and I received a complaint from the client that the installation company had fixed a run of horizontal adhesive-backed trunking right across a 100 year old mural in the resources room that depicted various aspects of British history - straight through Henry V111, Queen Elizabeth 1st, Sir Francis Drake and the Golden Hind etc.!

Mike Etheridge, August 2006; email.


 John Graney (JRGS 1962-67) remembers 1924 Squadron ATC (The Vale, Shirley) ...

John Graney I was one of the JRGS boys in the photograph sent in recently by Eric Webster, and shown left..
   I was quite alarmed to see my hairless fizzog displayed in lurid black and white for all the world to see. (I have not seen it often, the face that is, as I last had a shave in 1971!) They were good times and good friends. A lot of ale was consumed, a lot of life lessons learned and a jolly good time was had by all.
   However the ATC did not meet with universal approval. One teacher, Mr. Peet, actually instructed me to leave the air cadets as it would do me no good at all.
I stayed in the ATC until I was 19 and later served 10 years in the Royal Navy (short-service commission). The RAF would not let me into pilot training as, having measured my reflexes and co-ordination, they thought it remarkable that I could actually ride a bicycle! Nobody at Ruskin ever suggested to me that I should go into higher Education. (Possibly for reasons that Terry Weight has written on in the past.) Mr. Lowe's final words to me were that I ought to join the Old Boy's Association as I was "Just the sort of chap who would be living in the Croydon Area".
   Instead I went to BRNC Dartmouth and later did Law at the University of Sussex 82-85 and Law Society Finals in Bristol 90-91. I would be glad to hear from any of the Alumni in that picture or who were in 5C of 66-67. For Terry Weight's information I live just inside 100 km from Croydon - Brading, Isle of Wight - but I have been in 48 countries since I left Ruskin, or is it 49?

1962 1964 2005

 1962- first day of school

  1962 School Photo

 1964 School Photo


Shown above are archive and current images, including the compulsory first-day photo and pull outs from the 1962 and 1964 school photos; click on any thumbnail  to view a larger version.

John Graney, August 2006 Email


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