JRGS News Archive Page 29
JRGS Alumni Society

Archived News/Activities

- Page 29 - January thru February 2006 -

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.

 Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) unearths images of Croydon & London in the Sixties...

Fairfield Halls St George's House Underpass

The rear of Fairfield Halls during final construction - the two huts at the bottom of the ramp are the pay booths into the car park adjacent to the Technical College before the parking area was covered over.
Probably taken circa 1962/63.

Winter view of the almost-complete Nestle building (St George's House). Some scaffolding and the contactors sign are still in place. To the left is the Thirties Gas Board building.
Probably taken circa 1962/63.

Construction of underpass beneath the junction of George Street and Wellesley Road/Park Lane during the early Sixties.

Ford Zephyr Essex House Shop window

My father's Ford Zephyr estate car parked at one of Croydon's first parking meters.

The now-demolished Essex House. In the foreground is Croydon Technical College with the old East Croydon Station building in the background. The hoarding is around the former "The Railway Bell" pub.

Shop windows in central Croydon
probably taken close to the junction of George Street and Wellesley Road/Park Lane.

Hilton Hotel Hilton Hotel Snowy New Addington

View from Hyde Park towards the
then-new London Hilton Hotel

Another view towards the London
Hilton Hotel on Park Lane

A snowy day in New Addington -probably taken winter 1962/63

James LambertThese black and white images were taken during the early-Sixties by my father, James Lambert, an amateur and later semi-professional photographer, pictured right. Sadly, I cannot date them any more accurately than that, but I am sure that other JRGS Alumni can help out!
   The original sources for several of these images are stereoscopic photographs with which my father was experimenting, using a special twin-lensed camera and a viewing device normally seen only in Victorian illustrations. He also handled his own developing, enlarging and printing, using the kitchen in our New Addington council house.
   Incidentally, the Ford Zephyr shown here was one of my father's favourite cars. It was a rare estate version in Linden Green with a large cargo behind the rear bench seat into which we would load suitcases for family holidays. An essential accessory was a Calor Gas stove and kettle for inevitable brew-ups at the side of the road during our wanderings throughout Southern England. Ah, memories.
   My sincere thanks to Mike Marsh (JRGS 1949-55), Mike Etheridge (JRGS 1963-65), John Byford (JRGS 1959-66), Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) and Cliff Cummins (JRGS 1956-62) for helping to identify some of these locations.

Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, February 2006 Email

John Byford (JRGS 1959-66) adds: As ever, you bring back lots of memories. I recall a sixth-form school trip to the building of the underpass one Saturday morning; it was for the scientists but us arty types were allowed along. Think it would have been in the school year 65/66.

Mike Marsh (JRGS 1949-55) adds: Having just had a look at the ["Bygone Croydon"] archive film again, the underpass seems to have been in place in 1964, while the flyover was being built in 1967 and opened in 1969.

Jim Thomas (JRGS 1959-65) adds: Seeing the photo of the underpass being built reminded me that we had an outing one Saturday - I think - to view it being built. It was deep mud down there and we walked through it all!

John Brigden (JRGS 1959-64) adds: Thanks for sharing your Dad's pictures of central Croydon.
   To further assist in identification of the buildings: In the second photo you mention [in the original caption] the Segas/Seeboard building. It is the Gas Board building. You can just see the letters "GAS" between the first and second floors (2nd & 3rd in North America) on the Park Lane side. This was originally the head office of the Croydon Gas Company and owned by Croydon Council prior to nationalisation in the late Forties. The Electricity Board offices were nearby in Wellesley Road on the other side of George Street.
   I think your final photo was also taken in the same area, possibly on the corner of George Street and Park Lane. The reflections in the shop window look like the Nestles and Segas buildings again.

Derek Charlwood (JRGS 1958-64) adds: The photo of Essex House stirred some memories. I remember some careers advice from school, when I intimated that I would like a career in travel.
   I ended up in the season-ticket department of the Central Division, Southern Region, British Rail, second floor at Essex House! I was there for about a year before moving to the Shipping and International Division, working in various parts of London, ending as a manager travelling all over Europe for them, before being headhunted by a European-wide travel company as their secretary general, based in Zurich. How I became an audiologist is another story!
   By the way, George Street ran from the High Street up to Wellesley Road, but I can't remember if it was still called George Street from Wellesley Road up to the station. Essex House was on the right hand side of that road, at the town side of the railway bridge.

Mel Lambert checks with Google Earth:

Croydon map

George Street runs from East Croydon Station to the top of Crown Hill at High Street/North End. Wellesley Road runs north-west from the underpass roundabout, while Park Lane runs south from the same intersection.
   And you would think that my memory might have been sharper, given that for 14 months I commuted from West London to Croydon via Victoria and Southern Region while employed as Assistant and then Deputy Editor of "Studio Sound." The trade magazine was published by a company based at Link House in Dingwall Avenue, just a block north of George Street, adjacent to the back of Allders and the multistory car park that had direct access to the southern edge of The Whitgift centre.
   Many were the lunchtimes we spent in local hostelries, and evenings at "The Greyhound" or "The Forum" in the then-new Whitgift centre. Halcyon days indeed.
Click on the image above to view a larger version. 2024 The GeoInformation Group. All rights reserved.


 Neil Graham (JRGS 1967-74) recalls Mr. Richardson's 2R class of 1968...

Mr. Richardson's 2R Class of 1968

The attached photo was taken, I believe, in Autumn 1968. It is Class 2R, Mr. Richardson being the teacher. Click on the image to view a larger version.

   I was at JRGS from 1967 to 1974, and moved to Canada later that year. The last time I was over was the Fall of 1990, and saw the school in its last year. I am coming over in May and will be stopping by to see how it looks now.
   I don't know why there were so few people in the picture... it must have been a flu day! From what I can remember, it was just an impromptu thing, taken to the left of the main school entrance.
   Here goes with some names:
Back row: The person behind Mr. Richardson's right shoulder (our left) is Glen Rollinson. Second on his left is Rick Guest, who I believe is still living in Conyers, near Atlanta, Georgia. I think the guy on our far left at the back is Ken Cochrane - I saw his name on one of the School Speech Day programmes.
Front row far left is Graham Fowler. Third from the left is Mick Dukes. Fifth from the left is Mick (or Pete?) Jones. From the immediate right of Mr. Richardson: Steven Goff, Dave Nelms and myself.

   I graduated from the University of New Brunswick in 1978, but pursued a career at sea. I am still in the shipping industry, but have been ashore since 2001.
   I don't have much more Ruskin memorabilia, other than a couple of ties and my school scarf. I do have the 1967 and 1970 panoramic photos. (I regret that the school didn't do one taken in 1973, as it would have made a nice set.)
   Does anybody remember the Top of the Form contest against Whitgift at the Croydon Arts Centre in, I think 1973? I believe Paddy Feeny moderated. The general feeling was that if Whitgift won they were going on TV. JRGS took over the place and it sounded like Selhurst Park on a Saturday afternoon - there must have been a hundred students there; I never heard the school song sung with such verve. "Unfortunately" we won yet never made it to TV. The Head didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

Captain Graham - 2000   And there was an interesting connection between JRGS and University of New Brunswick/UNB. At the time our soccer teams was called the UNBSJ (for Saint John Campus) Red Barons, although they have long since changed it to Sea Wolves. One strange coincidence: the football kit for the UNB soccer team was identical to Ruskin, down to the manufacturer!
   The image shown right was taken about six years ago, just before I came ashore, when I was captain of the tanker Irving Arctic, a 35,000 ton refined-product carrier.
   BTW: The Mill is a great site. I have been busy all weekend on it. Not too many people from my era, but hopefully that will change.
   I was amazed to see that Mr. Charles Smith is still around. My two favourite sayings of his were: "Get on your hind legs," and "You don't write your name in MY book!"
   Also making Mr. Smith the medical teacher ensured that you had to be really sick to knock on his classroom door. One day, some poor lad complained of a headache and was given five laps of the Mill Field as a cure... and we could watch him from the classroom.

Neil Graham, Rothesay, New Brunswick, Canada. January 2006 Email


 Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) provides images from last year's Mill Heritage Day...

Last September, I attended the JRGS Mill Heritage Day, held at the Shirley Windmill. Here, as promised, are the images I secured during an interesting tour of The Mill. I also met Kent Sadler (JRGS 1969-76), who was one of the guides.
   Click on any image to view a larger version.

Tour Guide Kent Sadler

The Windmill sails

Kent Sadler close-up

Postmill Close

Tour Guide Kent Sadler

The Windmill and local houses

The Surprise pub Bus stop on Upper Shirley Road The Sandrock pub

Paul Graham, Iver, Bucks, January 2006 Email


 Cliff Cummins (JRGS 1956-62) has located some unique images of the Shirley site...

Here are some colour photos of JRGS taken shortly before demolition of the Upper Shirley Road location in 1991.
   I hope they are of some value. Click on any image to view a larger version.

Rear of science block

Rear Quadrangle

The Mill & gymnasium

Front entrance

Woodwork Room

Playground & kitchen

From Mill Pitch

Main buildings

Playground & entrance


Cliff Cummins, December 2005. Email


 Keith Looseley (JRGS 1958-65) brings us up to date with his long RAF career ...

Keith Looseley

From 1965
Prefects Photo

In the Sixth form I was in Mr. "Puncher" Pearce's U6Alpha - Paul Graham, Mel Lambert and I must have studied Physics together; I was doing Maths (Pure & Applied) and Physics. I thought it would help in my intended career of flying. It never did. The flying was good, though!
   After I got my RAF wings, I flew Victors in Bomber Command, then Canberras for a couple of tours before becoming a QFI (Flying Instructor) on Jet Provosts. Then another tour on Canberras as Squadron Training Officer. My final eight years were flying Nimrods [a development of the Comet 4C] from Kinloss, Scotland. (Mike Etheridge's nephew might know some of my friends who went to do the flying to develop the Mk4 for service.)

   I did 32 years of RAF flying before I finally grew out of it - an event Jack Rhodes predicted would happen soon after leaving school! Teachers! What do they know!?
   As for my "experiences," all I can say is that it entirely lived up to my expectations and was wonderful fun. Better than working for a living, as the old saying has it!

   But I'm not completely retired, since I work as a simulator instructor for a helicopter company in Aberdeen.
   I discovered on this site that that they've knocked down the old school building in Shirley. I've lost contact with everyone from those days, but I look forward to hearing from some of them via the website.
   I recall "Puncher" Pearce as a wonderful, kind man who was nonetheless a little daunting to juniors. His cockney accent and challenging manner - and (until you experienced it) rumours of the dreaded "Treatment" - made him a bit alarming at first. However, when you saw that The Treatment was merely pinching your cheek with one hand while administering a light slap with the other, you began to suspect there was a kinder man underneath the bluster.
   He was also wonderfully tactless. Two or three years after I left, having achieved my ambition to qualify as an RAF pilot, I went back to visit JRGS. When I called on "Puncher" he was typically direct. No "Well, how nice to see you," or anything like that. Just "Ah! Looseley - what you up to now, then?" When I proudly told him what I was doing he completely took the wind out of my sails by replying, "Blimey, I thought you 'ad ter be good at maths for that!"

   And Mr. Pearce didn't share our love of popular music. When I was in 5F, during the lunch break we used to play pop music while having our sandwiches or whatever. Whenever it got too loud, "Puncher" would wander down from the Sixth Form corridor and burst in with "'Ere! What's all this Jungle Music? Turn it down"... etc., etc. The phrase evokes a picture of the man.

   Further to recent comments about the 1965 Prefects Photo: mine is dated August 1965, and gives a flavour of the times in the way I've recorded the names:
   Back: Peachy, Mac, Harrod, Dick, Marg, Cobley, JAT, Dunton, Searle, Me, George. Front: Mockers, Cass, Clive.
I think it may have been taken by one of the missing names - Alan White. He was prominent in the Photographic Soc. at the time, and it is printed on the style of paper he favoured, I can't remember what it was called, but not glossy.

Keith Looseley, Aberdeen, November 2005. Email

Mike Etheridge (JRGS 1963-65) adds: Does anybody remember when the Upper Sixth class bundled me into the cupboard in Classroom 4 next to the library and shut both doors? I had just walked into Classroom 4 from a lesson when I think it was Reeves who shouted (did we have a Reeves?) something like "Get him!" Of course I resisted, knew it was a spontaneous but not serious attack, and looked to pals in the class to come to my aid - did I have any pals? No help was forthcoming and I was completely overwhelmed.
   Someone had the bright idea to "shove him in the cupboard" and I was duly dumped horizontally on the wooden slatted shelves and the doors were closed. Once in the cupboard I had the dilemma of not knowing how long I was going to be imprisoned in pitch darkness, So I used my right shoulder to break out and in the process split the door frame and broke the lock installation.
   The following day I brought a repair kit in including drill, drill bits, nails, screws and glue, thinking I could be in trouble if the damage was discovered (Don't forget you could be carpeted by Mr. "Joe" Lowe for not wearing a cap
in the 5th form! - surely damage to the property was a caning offence?)
   Chris Beer was assisting me during the lunch time to carry out the repair, when "Perce" Eagleton, the school keeper (pictured right), walked in and just stood with his hands on his hips watching the action much to my embarrassment-he accepted my explanation for the damage and no disciplinary action was taken by the school. I don't know why the class happened to pick on me but I did see the funny side and thought in general the class was a fine bunch of lads!
   A few years after I left the school I was subsequently involved with the ROSLA block and girls toilets constructions. I made a site visit just after school hours when the building was practically empty. I took myself up to Classroom 4 and was happy to notice that my repairs to the doors (which had been painted) were still intact. However, the lock assembly still did not function!


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