- Page 28 - Oct thru Nov 2005 -
- Page 28 - Oct thru Nov 2005 -
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.
Brian Thorogood (JRGS 1951-56) remembers media icons of the 1950s ...
By the time we reached the third form, boys were aware of major media figures of various disciplines, and a certain amount of punning and amusing comparisons were made of members of class 3M (1953-54).
Both Roy Scott and myself were keen ballroom dancers and were affectionately referred to as "Victor Sylvesters". Jazz enthusiasts were called Glenn Miller or Stan Kenton and, if drums were mentioned, Gene Krupa was alluded to. One boy had an interest in Dixieland Jazz, but knowledge of this specialty was relatively absent, hence no nickname was given. Frankie Lane 78 rpm records were being collected. This was a year or so prior to the Bill Haley and Elvis Presley recordings of 1956/57.
Film stars, of course, were well noted. Scott had a crush on petite Debbie Reynolds after seeing "Singing in the Rain" at the Thornton Heath Granada. Older Davidov (later to become Head Boy) went to see "Abbott and Costello meet Jekyll and Hyde" on his 16th birthday along with Scott’s elder brother. The film carried an X-rated certificate, which precluded the under 16s. Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot and James Dean were all icons. I went with Vic Bivand to see Norman Wisdom in "Trouble in Store" at the Norwood Junction Astoria.
For sporting enthusiasts of our class, Johnny Leach and the Rowe Twins were likened to the keen school table tennis player Stewart. Billy Wright of Wolverhampton and Stanley Matthews were football heroes. Then there were the Bedser Twins for cricketing types like Lee. Gordon Pirie, Chris Chataway and Roger Bannister were on everybody’s lips during the 1953 annual sports day, with hopeful four-minute runners in the mile distance race. The senior Pike was called Reg Harris for his cycle racing skills. Keen swimmers such as Baylis were tagged Johnny Weissmuller, who played Tarzan in the movie films of that era.
Boys concerned with their bodies and muscle building talked of Charles Atlas and his dynamic tension technique. And, yes, some of us had by now heard of Dr. Kinsey and his sexual reports on the human male and female – all from liberated America – very naughty!
I wonder if school fellows today talk of their heroes? Boasting was inadmissible, of course. Bivand used to call any boy caught bragging “modest” – in reversible terminology!
Incidentally, only two boys owned motorcycles with a licence to drive from 1951 to 1956, and in that same period only two affluent older boys owned cars. Davidov, our School Captain, drive a Morris Minor, and a sixth former at the Shirley Road school had a Ford “sit up and beg” Anglia. Roy Scott passed his driving test first time during 1956 but never owned a car then, although he did borrow one to take his girlfriend to the last end of term dance for our year.
If anyone knows the address or whereabouts of Roy Scott, I should be keen to contact him. I last heard he was managing a public house in Norbury, south London.
Brian ("Bone") V Thorogood, Willowbank, Wick, Scotland KW1 4NZ. November 2005
Mike Etheridge (JRGS 1963-65) reflects on the hand feeding of wild animals ...
ML notes: Back in August, Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) provided scans of the March 1958 school magazine. He pointed out that the edition carried a story about the unusual fate of a poisoned fox, and queried whether a school nowadays would take such an interest in the fate of a wild animal. Mike recalled a similar incident, and writes:
Just to pick up on the dead-fox issue, I remember seeing a fox for the first time on a fishing trip to the river Medway in Ashurst, Kent, in 1963, when I was about 15 years old. As far as I was concerned, it was a very special event. But, of course, over more recent years town foxes have increased in numbers and are commonly visible during the day and night; these days, they do not tend to warrant any special mention.
As they have been so numerous, I have tried to hand feed
foxes in my garden in Sanderstead and, to date, have not been successful, although a few foxes have often waited in the garden to be
fed - but I have never allowed me any closer than three to four yards. However, I
have been quite amazed this year to have been able to hand-feed a
badger from our back door, and have attached a photograph (right) of the animal
- plus my left
thumb! - taking a crust of bread, which it always does quite gently.
For me, hand feeding of wild creatures has probably followed on from
my two years spent on the JRGS site at Shirley where many of us would
feed the grey squirrels with sandwich bread or whatever during the lunch breaks. Often there were confrontations between the squirrels and the
resident crows/rooks for the bread, as I remember.
Armed with this information - and totally bored during the 1964 holiday - I remember dropping a live caterpillar in front of a wasp that was dive bombing various insects on rows of flowering Seedum plants in my parent's garden. The wasp immediately grabbed and murdered the caterpillar, which it butchered into portable lengths and, as described in the book, presumably carted off the booty to its nest to feed the next generation of wasp grubs. I witnessed the whole of the gruesome scene and then took my attention elsewhere after the last section of caterpillar had been transported. However, from that point onwards the wasp pestered me for more insects on a "minute by minute"/"day by day" period for about two weeks until the start of the 1965 school term. It would eventually rest on my finger tip and demonstrate how to kill and dismember a bluebottle to retain only the fly's abdomen for the wasp nest.
None of this impressed my mother or twin brother, who was also pestered for insects by the wasp!. I repeated the experiment in 1965 after leaving JRGS and prior to starting work, and eventually had two wasps that would confront me for food. This was somewhat hair raising when they both arrived together and often fought for the unfortunate insects.
I have recently been reminded of these experiments when leaving
a swimming pool in Oakhampton Devon. A wasp flew out of a privet bush and
was grappling with a crane fly. Both landed on the pathway. I had to
restrain my two children from killing the wasp and eventually they
witnessed the natural ritual of the crane fly's sacrifice!
Mike Etheridge, Sanderstead, June 2005. Email
ML comments: During my time as a Laboratory Technician at JRGS from 1965 to 1966, I recall seeing a fox skeleton in Mr. Green's Preparation Room at the end of the Science Corridor, adjacent to the greenhouse. The left femur or upper hind leg was heavily calcified and thickened, as if the bone had either been shattered in a trap, or badly injured by buckshot or similar. It was a magnificent specimen, I remember, and carefully mounted in a standing position within its vitrine case. Biology Master Dennis Green was justifiably proud of it..
Graham (JRGS 1959-66)
adds: As a keen natural history observer, Mike's comments are
Mike Etheridge replies: Regarding Paul Graham's comments on the parakeets, I can report that I have had up to four on my garden bird feeder.
Anne Smith, a former JRGS/JRHS teacher, adds some historical staff details ...
Here are some Bits and Pieces for the School Masters and Mistresses page:
I plan to update details of which staff were at the school when I joined
in 1970, but will leave that to another time.
Ann Smith; November 2005. Email
Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) re-discovers "Bygone Croydon" memories...
Compiled from a unique collection of amateur film - and available on VHS
and DVD formats - "Bygone Croydon" provides a nostalgic look at life
throughout the famous borough. Much of this archive material was
taken by local cine enthusiasts, who captured the essence of Croydon and
More information from Bygone Films, Doncaster; 01709 869777.
Sample images (click to access larger versions):
Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, USA; November 2005 Email
Mike Marsh (JRGS 1949-55)
adds: I certainly used to ride the ponies in Kennards!
Kelkoo is selling the VHS video of Bygone Croydon for £11.04,
with free UK delivery.
Paul Winter (JRGS 1959-62) delivers the promised "Trouserless Prefects" image ...
Gurney has just given me his copy of the "trouserless" prefect's photo -
a trifle faded and with a stain on the front. (Inadequate fixing by my
Paul Winter, Ceredigion, Wales; November 2005. Email
Peter Wilson (JRGS 1956-63)
adds: If my memory serves me correctly this isn't the ORIGINAL
"Trouserless Prefects" photo. There was an earlier one of the
Prefects of that year taken, I think, out on the playing field
beyond The Mill. It included Graham Beales, for one, I'm pretty sure,
and was posted on the notice-board inside the Prefects Rooms for some
Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66)
adds: The wall might well have been near The Surprise public
house car park, as the look of the buildings and age of wall is about
right. But that part of the school is a blank spot in my memory.
ML adds: I think you might be correct, Paul. This does look like the wall that was to the left/east of the Mill Pitch as you look south away from the former school site. If that is true, the sun is coming from the east... which means that this picture was taken mid-morning, I suppose.
Paul Winter replies: I come up with
the original "Trouserless Prefects" photo and already somebody
questions its provenance! This is the GENUINE article - I was there; I
took it! (When I discover the negative, I'm certain there are two or
three takes and this was the best of them.)
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