JRGS News Archive Page 23
JRGS Alumni Society

Archived News/Activities

- Page 23 - April 2005 -

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.


 Mike "Jack" Horner (JRGS 1959-64) fills in the gap - after  41 years...

Finally my conscience has caught up - and a promise I made to Mel Lambert about three years ago has cornered me!
   Having found out about the John Ruskin Site, I enjoyed recalling life in the early Sixties – at least until one day when a picture was posted of myself, Roger Taylor and Bob Seward out fishing. Roger, with whom I have remained in contact, and Bob look very much as I recall them, and definitely not out of place in a circa-62 photograph.
   But yours truly would have fitted nicely into a late 19th century picture of child coal miners – not just the attire, but the despondent scowl on the face (which my wife tells me still appears when the current is not flowing in my direction). Thankfully, life has not dealt me a hand with too much akin to pit life in 1890.
   I left Ruskin in 1964, having attained a NPGCE qualification (since when many have looked quizzically at the letters, albeit thankfully only a few have been sufficiently alert to enquire the meaning – "Nearly Passed GCE".). Whilst certainly not proud of the fact, reality is that I neither applied myself particularly well, nor was entirely suited to formal education.
   I think Mr. Smith best summed up the feelings of the teachers when, during a serious rise in blood pressure (probably of us both), he proclaimed" “Horner, you are good for nothing - failure is about as much as you can expect”. The quotation may not be entirely accurate, as time has dimmed the memory of the actual wording, but the motivational message remains clear.
   For a while Mr. Smith was at risk of being a prophet in his own lifetime, as shortly afterwards I suffered a fate similar to that which has frequently befallen my favourite Football Team from SE 25. Relegated from the "fast trackers" to those who made up the numbers.
   So, as soon as the somewhat apologetic attempt at O-Levels was complete, I took leave of JRGS, and went in search of the real world. What happened next was hardly transformational – I got a job with Barclays Bank, probably because the next door neighbour was bank manger, and my father had recently helped him repaint his house.

Life after JRGS
In the period from 1964 to 1974, I discovered the joys and pains of excessive alcohol, excessive women, and misplaced excessive self confidence. The former two can be left to the imagination – the latter culminated in a very large and rude awakening half way up a mountain with a fisherman from Aberdeen, on an Outward Bound Course. Suffice to say that I learnt more about myself in 19 days, than I had in the previous 19 years.
   By 1974 I had : a) Matured slightly; b) Found someone who seemed content to suffer my misplaced sense of humour; and c) Reached my level of incompetence. With the confidence from the first, the support of the second (my soon-to-be wife "Mo"), and the thought of being rumbled by Barclays Bank, we took one of the last "Ten Pound Passages" and set forth for New Zealand. Where we still are – now in Wellington.
   During the intervening 30 years we have been very fortunate. Life has treated us well, we have made many good friends, and we have been able to travel extensively – both for business and pleasure. My wife was once in love with a RAF Pilot, but with a frequently absent Father who had also been in the Air force, decided that being married to a Bank Clerk would bring more predictability. Wrong! This Bank Clerk got some great opportunities to tackle jobs that were anything but normal banking, and there are indeed many people who I have to thank for those opportunities.
   In the early Nineties, having run (hopefully motivational) courses on maximising one's life, I decided to take my own advice. I discarded corporate life, and set myself up as an independent management consultant. By this time, in my mid-40s, prospective clients fortunately cared less about NPGCE and more about experience of life.
   During the next eight years I worked in many countries, met some fascinating people, and experienced some fascinating cultures. In 2000 I was invited to take a full-time position with a client in Bangkok, and so it was we moved ourselves to Thailand.
   Five years later we are adapting back to life in New Zealand – today it is 9 degrees in Wellington, and 39 in Bangkok. I have sent apologies to all those Thais to whom I complained about mid-summer heat – and have to say that during a recent visit to Croydon, I did not stray far from the 500 watt electric fire.
   Have I missed JRGS? No disrespect, but to be honest, No. I now realise that my lack of achievement was down to me, and me alone, and I have grown to respect immensely those who apply themselves to their education, both at school and later at a University.
   However, through a mixture of good luck and good timing, and the inherited interpersonal skills of my Mother and the patience of my Father, I have had some great experiences. And whilst I do not advocate to young people my approach to education, there remains a lot to be said for getting out into the World and seeing just what one can do.
   But I am enjoying reminiscing about those who suffered me, and with me, at JRGS. The names, the faces, and the stories, are great. And to read about where we have all ended up – at least thus far. I’ve seen the odd mention of people finding their way here to New Zealand, and many who themselves have had some wonderful experiences.
   If anyone comes this way, please make contact. Email is as below. I know we didn’t make much use of the oval ball at JRGS, but is anyone coming this way to see the thrashing of the Lions?!
   Kind regards to everyone.

Mike "Jack" Horner, New Zealand, May 2005 email


 Kent Sadler (JRGS 1969-76) offers updates from "Friends of Shirley Windmill"...

As you may know, I am now Honorary Treasurer of "Friends of Shirley Windmill", and can be reached at the email address shown below. Tony Skrzyp is the new Secretary [email], although I am quite happy to stay in as amended.
   Open days in 2005 (all Sunday) are planned to be:

  • May 8 - (Mills Day) - open 12 noon to 5pm

  • June 5 - open 1pm to 5pm

  • July 3 - open 1pm to 5pm

  • August 7 - open 1pm to 5pm

  • September 4 - open 1pm to 5pm

  • September 18 (Heritage day) open 12 noon to 5pm

   As the tours take a minimum of 45 minutes, the last tour is usually at, say, 4.15pm. Admission is free; refreshments also are available.
   Last year saw a drop in visitors so perhaps we could get some more old boys along? We usually get at least one every open day, often from overseas, but it would be great to see more. If any old boys have tales of the mill, perhaps they could forward such stories to me (or Tony) to include in later copies of the "Fantail".
   The council have at last promised a lump sum to cover desperately needed repairs and also to fund continuing repairs in the future. The work should have started last March (ho ho) - it may start later this year which could, in turn, affect our opening.
   As always, many thanks for facilitating the JRGS site. It really is appreciated.

Kent Sadler, May 2005 email


 John Byford (JRGS 1959-66) shares fond football memories from the Sixties...

Shown below is an article I wrote originally for the Crystal Palace fanzine on the 1963-64 season. Not surprisingly, it brought back plenty of Ruskin memories!

Glad all over

There were two momentous events during the 1963-64 season and every Palace fan should know about the first, which happened on 21st November 1963 and had nothing to do with football. Columbia released Glad All Over by the Dave Clark Five (DB7154), which quickly went to number one and stayed in the charts for 16 weeks. If you were around then you would have probably played it on a Dansette Bermuda record player which, if bought new, would have set you back 16 and an half guineas. (A guinea was 21 old-style shillings so, £17.325 - a lot of money in 1963.) The second took place on April 22nd at Wrexham where we gained a point in a 2-2 draw to confirm promotion back to the (old) Second Division after a 39-year absence. (We could have won the championship that evening but gave away a silly penalty near the end.)

JB in Palace hat

 It was also my first season of watching Crystal Palace Football Club, and that was an achievement. No-one in my family was interested in football and it took some persuasion to get my mother’s agreement to let me go with a friend from John Ruskin, and more importantly his dad who had a car, something of a novelty in New Addington in 1963. Little did my mother know that the opponents on 12 October 1963 were Millwall and it was a classic victory over our nearest and most bitter rivals.
   Saturday morning for most 15 year olds in 1963 included listening to Saturday Club on the Light Programme; it was one of those rare BBC programmes that featured pop music. Introduced by Brian Matthews, the music was live, thanks to union agreements and that Saturday it featured music by Roy Orbison, The Searchers, Susan Vaughan and The Viscounts (a pre-Beatles band who'd had a couple of minor hits in the early 60s). Selhurst Park was alive that sunny day, most people stood on the big terraces, much bigger when you've never seen other grounds, and being in the days before fans were segregated there was plenty of banter. Armed with a claret and blue rosette, we stood behind the Holmesdale Road end goal, at eye level with the cross bar, where I stood for the 13 years. The only goal I remember from the 2-1 victory was our winner near the end scored by Cliff Holton, a debonair player who always looked smart off the pitch. A man ahead of his time; he wore gloves in the winter; not any old gloves but smart yellow ones. No one would have dreamed of calling him soft.
   However, Cliff was second best when it came to hard men at Palace. Dick Graham had been appointed manager midway through the previous season and had imposed a rigorous training régime, so rigorous that the players had rebelled on more than one occasion. He looked tough with his crew cut (number 1) and rarely smiled. He enraged opponents and supporters by submitting the team sheet only one hour in advance of the match. (Most of my match day programmes from his era have plenty of hand written team changes.) Some newspapers called us the Palace of Varieties but Jimmy Hill, the then manager of Coventry - as opinionated then as he is now - went further and called us "dirty". Remember how parts of the media bemoaned our promotion, and not West Ham’s, to the Premiership? The prejudice was similar in the 63/64.
   John Sewell was signed in October to play right back in a  defence which, despite a 1-5 reverse at Coventry on the opening day of the season, was the best in the Third Division (51 goals conceded in 46 matches). Alongside him were Alan Stephenson, one of the best young players in the country who went on to West Ham (they were a big club then) and Brian Wood; over at left back was Bert Howe, who had his detractors, one of two players ever present that season, the other being the man behind that back four, the ever dependable Bill Glazier. Playing where Aki plays today was Bobby Kellard, the only pre-season signing, a tough no-nonsense half back who broke up opponents attacks with ruthless efficiency. Terry Long was Bobby's cultured alter-ego, a more subtle half back who played more games in Palace's history than anyone other than Jim Cannon. Andy Townsend's dad, Don, played 37 games that season. The two goal-scoring heroes were the aforementioned Cliff Holton and Peter Burridge, joint top scorers with 20 each. Cliff had the power; that winner against Millwall was a typical thunderbolt free kick, while Peter was more likely to score with his head or from close range.
   Over 40 years later most of the games from that season are a blur; apart from Millwall, two stand out. One was the first round of the FA Cup when we were drawn against non-league Harwich and Parkeston and enjoyed a goal feast, John Sewell scored his first for the club in the 8-2 demolition. (Sadly we lost, again, away at then non-league Yeovil in the second round.) And the second game I remember was the last game of the season when most of the 27,967 crowd were hoping to see Palace get the point we needed to clinch the championship. The omens weren't good. We'd beaten Bournemouth at the end of the March to go four points clear of Coventry and Watford and with seven games left it seemed a formality, but we'd lost our unbeaten home record and drawn the other five. Prior to the game the players distributed flowers to the crowd and by half time we were glad all over as we were one up. Sadly, Bob Ledger, their right winger, scored a hat trick in 11 minutes and we finished second. (But we invaded the pitch nonetheless and went home to watch Dr Who and the Screaming Jungle by Terry Nation.)

This piece was first published as Up the football league we go, in Palace Echo, 67, Summer 2005, pp.30-31.

Camberwell, South London, April 2005; email


 John Murray, son of Mr. Alan Murray, unearths some fascinating photographs...

ML writes: John Murray has scanned for us a number of fascinating images from his late father's archives. Mr. Alan Murray taught at JRGS from 1952 to 1977, and witnessed first hand the move from Tamworth Road to the Upper Shirley Road location.
   This first set of images is of rather poor quality, but shows the Upper Shirley Road school site under construction, almost certainly in summer 1954.
   Click on any thumbnail to view a larger version, and here here to view a PDF version of the various images.

In early 1955, just after the new school site opened on Upper Shirley Road, and later the same year, a photographer from Keystone Press - Chris Ware - visited the new location to take a series of images that capture many aspects of the new buildings and its occupants.
   John Murray has located a number of these vintage photographs in his father's archives; we reproduce a selection here, together with other photographs of the era from The Croydon Times and the Daily Mail.
   Click on any thumbnail to view a larger version, and here here to view a PDF version of the various images.
Croydon-Times-11-Jan-55 Daily-Mail Fox-Photos

This image also appeared in The Croydon Times dated January 11, 1955, and shows the mayor and chairman of the Croydon Education Committee making an entry in Mr. Lowe's School record [more]

This image also appeared in the Daily Mail. It is undated, but we can presume it was taken on the day the school opened and appeared in the paper the following day. (On the back are instructions to the block maker: "Trim off left and top excluding left boy. Reduce length to 6.8 inches and width in proportion". These don't seem to have been followed as the left boy did appear in the published photo.)

This image was taken by Fox Photos.

Keystone-Press-02 Keystone-Press-01 Keystone-Press-03

A Keystone Press image taken at the right-hand end of the ground-floor corridor leading to the Staff Room and in from the rear quadrangle.

A Keystone Press image taken in the rear quadrangle.

A Keystone Press image taken within the stairwell leading up from the dining room to the school office and first-floor classrooms.

Keystone-Press-06 Keystone-Press-04 Keystone-Press-07

A Keystone Press image probably taken in the school library.

A Keystone Press image taken in the school dining room.

A Keystone Press image of a letter from John Ruskin to Lowes Dickinson.

Keystone-Press-08 Keystone-Press-12 Keystone-Press-18

A Keystone Press image taken in the school library.

A Keystone Press image taken in a classroom, with Mike Marsh (JRGS) 1949-55) posing as a schoolmaster.

A Keystone Press image of the school orchestra - probably from the same session as seen elsewhere.
We can identify Mr. Joseph Norton Hancock, Music master; the violinist with glasses in the front row is G. E. Rosher (JRGS 1948-55).

Keystone-Press-19 Keystone-Press-17 Keystone-Press-15

Another Keystone Press image of the school orchestra - probably from the same session as seen elsewhere.
We can identify Brian Thorogood (JRGS 1951-56) as the recorder player and Les Peagam as the cornet player (JRGS 1951-56).

A third Keystone Press image of the school orchestra - probably from the same session as seen elsewhere.

A Keystone Press image of Mr. Joseph Norton Hancock in his Music Room.


A fourth Keystone Press image of the school orchestra - probably from the same session as seen elsewhere.

A Keystone Press image taken in the school gymnasium.

A Keystone Press image of a school corridor with those familiar lockers.

Keystone-Press-23 Keystone-Press-24

A Keystone Press image taken in the cycle sheds beneath the Chemistry Laboratory.

Mr. John Christopher Lowe, JRGS headmaster 1946-73, with a portrait of John Ruskin.

Another Keystone Press image of Mr. Lowe with the portrait of John Ruskin.

Keystone-Press-25 Keystone-Press-26 Keystone-Press-27

A Keystone Press image taken from what became the Mill Pitch towards the rear quadrangle.

Another Keystone Press image of the famous Windmill taken from an upper floor.

A Keystone Press image of pupils entering the ground-floor corridor from the rear quadrangle.

Keystone-Press-29 Keystone-Press-28 Keystone-Press-31

A Keystone Press image taken in the Scholl Hall during a choral session conducted by Mr. Hancock, with Mr. Alan Murray at the piano.

A Keystone Press image taken in an upper-floor schoolroom.

A Keystone Press image of a football match in the playground, with Mr. Charles Smith refereeing the game.

Windmill-Fox Envelope-20-May-1955 Letter-to-J.-Lowe-Mar-10-55

A Keystone Press image of the Windmill and rear quadrangle during the early landscaping stages.

This envelope to Mr. Lowe, dated 20th May, 1955, contained several of the Keystone Press photographs reproduced here.

This letter dated 10th March from the company lists prices for duplicate prints, ranging from 2/- (10 pence) for a 4x6 print to 4/- (20 pence) for an 8x10.

The black&white images can also be accessed as two large-format images suitable for printing;
Contact Sheet1 and Contact Sheet2. [WARNING: These files are 710 Kbytes each.]

Mike Marsh (JRGS 1949-55) adds: Lots of interesting photos from Keystone. The Daily Mail image of the five lads with the trimmer's notes on the back, shows our friend G E Rosher on the left - who they wanted to crop off! It also appears on page 9 of the May 1955 school magazine, but this time without Rosher - as instructed, and titled "Four of the Sixth".
And do we know who that likely lad is shown left in the photograph of the boys by their lockers with a view of distant glories yet to be achieved, and opportunities to be faced, written all over his face? I wonder what happened to him, and what did he achieve; were his visions fulfilled?

ML adds: Mike also appears in the Keystone Press image above that was taken at the right-hand end of the ground-floor corridor; he is pictured second in line at the top of the stairwell.

Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) adds: I've been talking to Brian Thorogood (JRGS 1951-56)and looking more closely at the Keystone photos. In number 19, Brian confirms that he is the recorder player - it was new to him and he was very chuffed - and that Les Peagam (JRGS 1951-56) was the cornet player. We have spotted Mr. Smith in photo 31; if you look closely at number 29 you can spot Alan Murray playing the piano - and singing along with the choir - in the Hall.

Roger Fuller (JRGS 1949-55) adds: My word, a lot of faces that I half recognize. But in many cases faces that I cannot name or am guessing at.
   The picture of five from the Sixth with G E Rosher on one end [published in the Daily Mail] - I think the person at the far end was either Dobson or Dobinson.
   The picture that shows Mike Marsh on the stairs has a boy named Neale (possibly Colin) two places behind Mike. The blond-headed boy in the foreground is possibly Peter Holt, a fellow pupil of mine at Woodside Primary. Neale is also the boy in the picture showing the corridor and lockers.
   The picture of the group in the rear quadrangle includes Brian Thorogood, Roy Scott, Terry Sewell, Rod Rowe, Mick Hoskins, Richard Carter and Geoff Stockley. Quite a bit of guessing on this one.
   The sixth former in the library is (guessing again) Peter Arnott, who would also be in the foreground of the other library picture.
   I previously managed to identify most of Mike Marsh's "pupils" as the individual seated at window, with Mick Hoskins standing with his back to the blackboard and an unknown boy between us. In the middle block I would identify Richard Carter at back with Neale (Colin?) again with, I think, Peter Goff and Les Peagam in the front. In the remaining block Terry Sewell sits at the back faced by Mick Denning with Vic Bivand at the front.
   That's the best I can do, I am afraid.

Geoff Forbath (JRGS 1952-57) adds: I am pctured on the Keystone pictures of the school orchestra: Photo 18, behind Mr. Hancock and slightly to the right. Similarly, on Photo 16, I am third from the left.


 Mike Marsh (JRGS 1949-55) visits Croydon and the Tamworth Road site...

I had been waiting for a day that was forecast to be fine, together with when I had nothing else scheduled, to make a trip down to Croydon - which I had not really seen since leaving there in the early Sixties. Thursday last week (this is mid-April) was such a day, so I caught the 09.00 AM train from Sudbury and set off on my little adventure.
   Managing to misread a railway route map correctly and entirely forgetting how we used to get there, I caught the underground to Waterloo and then wondered why I could not find East Croydon on the departure screens. I had to catch a south-bound train and change at Clapham Junction - I should have gone to Victoria Station, which was only two more stops away on the underground. I should perhaps say that when I was living at home and working in London, I used to catch the Mid-Kent line from Elmers End up to town every day, and rarely went anywhere by train from East Croydon.
   Click on any thumbnail to view a larger version, and here here to view a PDF version of the various images.

East Croydon station in the Eighties, which shows buildings behind that were not there when I left the area. (This image was not taken by me.)

East Croydon station today - quite a difference!

The approach to East Croydon station, with tram stops.

   Those of you reading this who still live in or near Croydon, or who have visited the town recently, will not be at all surprised at what I saw when I got off the train at East Croydon station - Tomorrow's World was nothing to what I felt when I stood on the pavement outside the station. Buildings up to the sky, trams in the roads and such way-out structures everywhere, I had a job to recognise the roads that used to be there - George Street, Wellesley Road, North End, Crown Hill and so on. That is not to mention the station façade itself, which has become an agglomeration of pipe-work and girders. And yet there were several of the older buildings still around when I looked closely enough, although I always thought that Allders shop was on the other (west) side of North End along with Kennard's, which latter has disappeared altogether.

Wellesley Road

Wellesley Road looking north, with underpass.

Crown Hill - Turtle's Tool shop was just to the right of where this shot was taken from, as indeed was the Civic Hall where we used to have our Speech Day event.

Surrey Street Market. (Apparently, licensed since the 13th century)

   Those trams - wow - the old ones I knew used to run along North End (which was then surfaced with wooden cobbles) and I forget where else. But these new trams seem to run just about everywhere else. I marvelled at the logistics and disruption that must have ensued in Croydon whilst they were building the new system! They even go down Crown Hill where I was "donged" at by one when I was standing in amazement but too close to the track with the tram coming up behind me. Hewitts of Croydon, the clothing and school uniform shop, is still there too but looked a bit dowdy somehow, maybe the graffiti had something to do with that. My favourite tool shop, L H Turtle, used to be on Crown Hill; it was long and narrow and very exciting inside. I found that not far away in Park Street.
   I then went down Frith Road, as I used to do when I went to school every day. The left-hand side has barely changed but what was Kennard's department store's rear façade has altered somewhat but not as much the area of what is now a new car park at the end on the right. At least I think it is a car park - a lot of cars seemed to be coming out - but its frontage is very modernistic glass panels. I cannot remember at all what used to be there.

The school in sight...
Then, at the end of the road, before I saw the school, there was the old tuck shop on the corner, which has hardly changed at all. It even seemed to be the same diminutive size inside, although the shopkeeper told me that it had been enlarged. But it could have only been by a few feet backwards. I nearly asked for a drink of that blue liquid we used to suck up through a liquorice straw!

Hewitts of Croydon, the familiar school uniform shop.

The former JRGS site on Tamworth Road, showing the front of the building.

Another aspect of the former JRGS site on Tamworth Road.

The Woodwork Room windows - of particular interest to me since I enjoyed my woodwork there and went on to become a woodwork teacher.

Back of the school, where you can see the large windows of the gym/dining hall and - surprise, surprise, - the old prefab science block. The kitchens were just to the left, virtually out of shot; click here for a site plan.

The toilet block in the playground with its repaired roof.

Shown left is the old Tuck Shop across Tamworth Road, as seen from former John Ruskin Grammar School site, and right a closer view.
  Note the glass building to the left of the Tuck Shop; quite a stark contrast between Ancient and Modern?

The site plan can also be accessed in a larger-format image suitable for printing; Large site plan
[WARNING: This file is 1 Mbyte.]

   Then across the road to the school itself, which also has not changed at all, and is still absolutely recognisable (to those who went there anyway) as the school it once was. There is a new entrance to the playground though, just a few yards away from the old gate, into what is now a car park. My attention was drawn to someone putting up a sign board across the other side of the playground. Could it really be? Yes, the old toilets were still there with the stand-up glass skylights!
   There were a couple of workers standing at the bottom of the steps up into the school - it must be a non-smoking concern inside, whatever it was - to whom I spoke as I felt I ought to explain to someone what I was doing wandering around the car park taking photographs, before I was apprehended! It transpired that the (old) toilets had recently had the roof repaired, as they were leaking. I did just wonder why, since they were not used for anything now, they had not been demolished altogether. No suggestion was forthcoming. The old cycle shed in the top corner of the playground is also still extant, but now with a wooden wall enclosure on the open side and looking like a rather disused shed.
   The building is now the Tamworth Road Resource Centre or TRRC, or indeed just 37 Tamworth Road, some sort of mental health centre.
   Next I went to look round the back of the school and that was just as it was when I last went out of it in 1954! Well, perhaps the grown weeds weren't there then, nor the wheelie bins, but the prefab science block is still in place, although looking a little forlorn. I couldn't get past the sturdy locked gates but took a couple of shots through the bars. These rooms were opened in 1948 as the Chemistry Lab at the end nearest the gate and the Biology Lab at the far end. (I couldn't get in there for a better shot, and it was rather dark anyway.)

A wander around Croydon
The rest of the day I spent travelling down to Elmers End station on the new tramway to see how that station had changed. Not a lot, as it happens, apart from the tram platform, although the environs now include a large Tesco store. I still marvelled at the new railway down through Woodside and Addiscombe. For those who do not know, for quite a distance away from East Croydon the tram runs along the road where we used to race on our bikes back home, and shares it with buses, lorries, cars and all the other traffic along there. How the devil they managed to squeeze a railway down such a busy road as well, I do not know.
   But once it leaves the road - and branches away in one direction towards Addington, and Addiscombe, Elmers End and Beckenham in the other - it becomes a more normal looking railway track laid on sleepers etc. I have an idea that there may have been an old railway line down there somewhere at one time, but not all the way down Gravel Hill to Addington! That has to be new. Lloyds Park (or Lloyd Park as it is known today, maybe we were wrong 50 years ago) features on the route map too but, unfortunately, I did not have time that day to explore the whole system in that direction.
   I did wonder whether the trams suffer from slippage in the winter on wet rails or snow or wet leaves whilst coming up Gravel Hill? I did see some sand on one part of track on a gentle slope where it branched away towards Addington which was nothing compared to the slope of Gravel Hill, which I have even been known to walk up with my bike on occasions, and that was something we very rarely succumbed to!
   On the way back to Croydon I was interested to see that where the trams share the road with all the other traffic, they also share the traffic-light systems which, I suppose, is logical but in other experiences trams and trains tend to be either away from other traffic or have priority over it.
   Quite an amazing day all round, but I am quite sure that I would not like to swap the comparative tranquility of Suffolk for the bustle of Croydon again.

Mike Marsh, Great Cornard, Sudbury, Suffolk, April 2005 email

John Byford (JRGS 1959-66) adds: Reading Mike Marsh's piece, a couple of things struck me. One, how fascinating it was to read his impressions of a Croydon he has not seen before. (Especially to those of us who see it regularly; for example, I was there only yesterday afternoon having a drink in The George with my son.) And two, how interesting it must have been for him to see his old school, and so much of it looking as it had been when he last saw it.


 Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) recalls Mr. Murray's comments on a history essay...

Reviewing my O-Level History exercise books I came across an essay I wrote in May 1962, entitled "Croydon 1800-62." As you can see from the pages reproduced below, Mr. Murray provided some constructive comments during his marking of the essay and added: "I would have liked a little a more about World Two and after 1945."
   The Croydon essay was written when I was in 3M, Mr. Murray's form, as part of the normal history work. Certainly, it is in my History exercise book, albeit at the back. I cannot remember doing the research for it, but I guess there would have been material in the school library.
   I think Alan Murray was keen on local history too - and so am I now. Parts of the old Croydon Canal, in Betts or Selby Park, and South Norwood Recreation Ground, were close to where I lived, and I remember tracing the route on the ground.
   The Renaissance drawing was made from a photo I took while on a school trip to the Loire Valley in France, etc. Mr. Murray commented: "An excellent drawing but you could have chosen something to illustrate more of the features of a Renaissance building."
   I think these samples of Mr. Murray's marking show his high standards. (Don't you love the Murray spelling correction routine at the top of page 1?)
   The Croydon History project brought back many memories for me - I had temporarily forgotten all about it. I think the school project might have been inspired by the 1960 Croydon Millennium Pageant - the 1,000th anniversary of Croydon's recorded history - which I expect many Alumni will remember. Does anybody remember the evening "Son et Lumeriere" pageant-type celebrations in Lloyd Park? (There is a reference to the Croydon Millenary Year celebrations on page 5 of the Jul 1960 school magazine.)
   The Wikipedia site is useful for looking up Croydon history. Click here to view a PDF version of the essay.


Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Exercise book cover

History essay - page 1

History essay - page 2

History essay - page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Page 6

Page 7

History essay - page 4

History essay - page 5

History essay - page 6

History essay - page 7

Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Stairway

History essay - page 8

History essay - page 9

History essay - page 10

Renaissance drawing

JRGS Orchestra 1955

And finally, this fascinating image from 50 years ago was kindly provided to us by Alan Murray's son, John. I don't believe any of us have seen this photograph before. Apart from the two staff members - Mr. Murray on piano and Mr. Hancock (centre) on violin - can anybody provide any clues about names of the JRGS pupils pictured here?
   And recall that the new school in Shirley had only been open a month when this picture was taken. Speaking recently to Brian Thorogood (JRGS 1951-56), who was very pleased to see a copy, the scene is likely to have been the orchestra practicing the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana by Mascagni which, Brian believes, was played at a concert to inaugurate the new school hall not long afterwards. Brian played recorder in the orchestra at that concert, but says that Mr. Hancock should not have allowed him to as Brian felt he had missed far too many practices, including the one shown.
   Brian is certain that he is not shown here. The violinist with glasses in the front row to the right of Mr. Hancock was the gifted musician and general all-rounder, G. E. Rosher (JRGS 1948-55), who gained four O-Levels (including Music) in July 1953.
   The cornet player on the far right at the back was probably Les Peagam or possibly Sawyer.
   Click on the image above to download a larger version. [WARNING: This file is 340 Kbytes - ML]

Paul Graham, Iver, Bucks, April 2005 email

Mike Marsh (JRGS 1949-55), the school's unofficial photographer, comments: It's not one of my photographs, I'm afraid. Certainly, I do not remember seeing it before, and I don't have a copy. I did start to learn the violin once at school but did not get very far - I played the organ.
   The only thing that's certain is that the photograph was taken in the new school hall; beyond that is for someone else to say. An image of G. E. Rosher appear on page 6 of July 1954 school magazine.
   And shown left is an image I don't think I have sent The Alumni before - but I could be wrong! I expect that they are members of the 1955 VA leaving year; I don't remember any names. The picture was taken in the new playground at the Shirley Road site.

Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) adds: A great photo. The 26 VA form members (page 9, February 1956 school magazine) are: E R Best, R E Bird, A J Cleary, A C Coker, T A Coombes, M C Dale, J A Dobinson, J A Dowsett, D Edmeads, R C Forbath, R G Formaggia, M Forman, D T Gow, A J Greenfield, W A H Hodgson, A J Jeal, R Kennedy, D F Lester, M J Marsh (photographer), A J R North, R W Sageman (presumably not in the photo - otherwise Mike would recognize him?), D W Shrimpton (probably a brother of the John Shrimpton in my 2C/3M/5U years), D J Slade, R A Spencer, J C Wilson and R F C Young.

Mike Marsh replies: I have been looking again at the school photo for 1952, middle section with Mr. Lowe. If you locate JCL and take two heads directly above him, through the gap and in the top but one row, that is Michael Pike. pictured left.. From JCL, pass over Mr. Chaundy and Mr. Whellock on the right; the guy above and to the right is this Rosher with the glasses pictured right. You can now see the two together.
   Incidentally, just looking at Pike and those around him, these names flashed into mind. To the left of Pike is Lamb, then Melville, then Sturrock. Just above Pike and slightly to the left, I don't know (the one with the quiff - I should know him but don't!), then left again is Marchant, then Seaman.

   Reviewing Paul Graham's comments about the group photo in the playground, shown above, he mentions R W Sageman (whom I should recognise, Paul says). Looking at the full 1952 school photo, section two, if you find Mr. Richardson and Mr. Warne then follow a line from the gap between them, up to the back row, the chap with glasses is, I believe, Robert Sageman. Unless someone else proves me wrong!


Archived News/Events Pages have been moved here.

The content of this web site is provided for informational purposes only, and is subject to change without notice. The JRGS Alumni Society makes no representation about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the content of this web site, nor the results to be obtained from using any part of such content.

Please send any messages and memorabilia to webmaster
©2021 JRGS Alumni Society. All Rights Reserved. Last revised: 01.01.21