JRGS News Archive Page 22
JRGS Alumni Society

Archived News/Activities

- Page 22 - March thru 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.

 

 Michael Howard (JRGS 1963-70) recalls masters and school staff from the Sixties...

I was trawling through the list of masters today, checking my own memories of past teachers, and am able to add some further notes on nicknames. and subject taught.
   When I was a first year - 1H 1961 with Mr. "Spike" Hancock - Mr. "Joe" Lowe took Nature Study for the whole first year together with Mr. "Cass" Kay - the nickname derived, I think, from Cassius Clay - in the Main Hall. This was a kind of cut down general science course which had us variously drawing the sexual organs of plants from a blackboard. And learning "Ode to Autumn" by heart, which I can still remember! I can't help but feel that this was a stop-gap due to lack of science teachers but I could be wrong.
   Captain Maggs was known to us as either as "Cap'n Hook" or "Ken" - usually the latter. In fact I cannot remember him as anything else.
   Similarly Mr. Probert was always known as "Len".
   Missing from the list are all those non-teachers, many of whom had a significant, and sometimes baneful, influence on the young and impressionable Ruskin pupil.
   "Perce" Eagleton, for example, who was "Master of the Coke Pile" and the boilers at Shirley, and whose fierce Alsatian meant the permanent loss of many a tennis ball from the playground. There were also two school secretaries whose names I cannot remember, but who occupied the office adjacent to "Joe's" study.
   There was at least one lab technician who used to exercise his Yorkshire terriers on the Mill Field and was in submarines during WW II, the latter proving useful experience when the ACF Signals unit needed some assistance with battery charging.
   Do we have any plans for a similar memory board for non-teaching staff?

Michael Howard, April 2005 email

Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) adds: The following images are extracted from various school photographs taken between 1958 and 1970. Aside from school caretaker "Perce" Eagleton and ex-pupil Paul (?) Jezeph - with whom I worked in 1965-66 as Laboratory Technicians - can anybody identify the other support staff shown here? (Can we assume that the female staff members shown in the 1970 school photograph are secretaries?)
   Doe any Alumni member have other images they can share with us on The Mill website?

Perce 1958

Perce 1960

Perce 1964

Perce 1970

"Perce" Eagleton - 1958

"Perce" Eagleton - 1960

"Perce" Eagleton - 1962

"Perce" Eagleton - 1970

Unknown

Jezeph 1964

UNKOWN

UNKOWN

UNKNOWN - 1960

Paul Jezeph - 1964

UNKNOWN - 1970

UNKNOWN - 1970

Sid BishopPaul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) adds: Regarding Mr. Kay's nickname of "Cass", it could have been because he came from Sir John Cass Teacher Training College - or was that just a coincidence? Anyway, wasn't it a bit too early for Cassius Clay? He only won an Olympic Gold Medal in 1960, so may not even have turned professional by 1961?
   If Michael Howard fancies starting a non-teaching staff page it would be a good addition. There's an article on "Perce" Eagleton (Jul 1964 magazine, page 9 - by Colin Maynell). We should also include Sid Bishop (Jul 1965 magazine, page 12);see picture right taken in 1965.

Former JRGS teacher John Peet adds: I can fill in some background from the staff room end!
   Mr. Lowe was concerned that he had no contact with the pupils and so decided to have the single hour - originally first period on Monday afternoon - as a nature lesson for all the first years. He realised that he could be called out for phone calls, etc. and so called on me to assist him.
   The problem from my point of view was not only the number of times he disappeared, but I had to brush up on the ideas ahead of the lesson (not being a naturalist). And then Mr. Lowe would often give me the whole pile of books to mark as he didn't have time!
   I was pleased when Mr. Kay joined the staff - as a biologist - two years later [in 1962] and took over. (I think it became the task for the newest scientist!)

 

 Peter Wilson (JRGS 1955-63) recalls John V. Jestico and a chess tournament...

This year I spent Easter in Southend-on-Sea. My partner, Mary, and I were there for the 49th Annual Southend-on-Sea Easter Chess Congress. I'd played there a number of times before - and Mary and I had been there as controllers a number of times too. The last time were there was eight years ago.
   This time there was some sadness as my best friend for over 43 years - and founder of the Easter Congress - Jack Speigel died last July only a very few weeks after cancer had been diagnosed. Jack had either organised and/or controlled the first 46 of those chess congresses. And he played in the 47th and 48th ones!
   This year Mary was one of the arbiters of the annual Open Championship, where the winner holds the M.D. Speigel Memorial Trophy for a year; he was Jack's older brother. Meanwhile, I had organised and was now controlling the first Jack Speigel Memorial Tournament which, hopefully will become an annual event.
   I've already agreed to organise and control the one next Easter, with eight invited players competing in an all-play-all tournament: four Grandmasters (two of them are former British Champions; one flew in from his home in Spain specially to play); three International Masters (one of those three will be formally awarded his Grandmaster title later this year); and a local 18-year old university student from Essex who scored a good 50% against top-class opposition.
   The tournament was won by International Master Danny Gormally with 5/7 (four wins, two draws and one loss) He's the one who will be awarded his Grandmaster Title soon. He holds the Jack Speigel Memorial Tournament Trophy for a year.
   It was an excellent tournament with every game keenly fought, but with a great sporting spirit - just what my old friend Jack would have loved to see.
   Taking part in the Open Championship this year - as he does virtually every year - was ex-John Ruskin pupil John V. Jestico. Those who knew him at school (as I did; he was a little younger than me) will recall that John had a group called "The John Paul Six" together with others, including a chap - predictably called Paul (I don't think he was from JRGS). John stepped back from a potentially lucrative career in show-business to study medicine. I've seen him at the Southend Congress a number of times over the years; he plays a little club chess as well.
   He has been a hospital consultant for some years, specialising in nervous diseases. This time John told me that he now plays in a brass band, which takes up a fair amount of time with rehearsals and concerts. He's been quite a success in his chosen career too - if the Bentley Mulsanne with 7.2 liter straight-eight' engine is anything to go by!
   John did mention that he did have a Porsche but, after being injured quite badly in an accident some years ago, he then found it virtually impossible to get into such a small cockpit. So he moved up to the Bentley. (He pointed out that a number of his colleagues had them already.)
   He hasn't changed a bit - still just as nice a chap as the schoolboy I remember from all those years ago.

Peter Wilson, Guernsey, Channel Isles, April 2005 email

  

 Former JRGS Chemistry Master John Peet recalls school life in the Sixties...

Ian Castro drew my attention to the John Ruskin pages. Interesting to see my name mentioned! This was my first teaching post - Chemistry, under Mr. Pearman. Years later, after he retired, I met him in Liphook enjoying country life before he died. I began teaching there on the same day as my good friend John Adkins. I remember we met with Messrs Chaundy and Pearman in the July to collect our timetables for the next term. We were wearing Crusader and Covenanter badges. Before we left we were talking in terms of a school camp for the following year!
   After I left Croydon, I spent almost four years in Wolverhampton before moving into Further Education at Scunthorpe. (Even here I ended up school teaching when the local Grammar School lost their chemist!). From there I moved down to Guildford. I remember looking at books in a bookshop soon after my arrival when a "stranger" spoke to me. I failed to recognize Lance Goodman under his beard, but we were soon able to recall happy days at Ruskin. Later, Ian himself appeared in Guildford and we renewed our contact too.
   I guess I could ramble on but I won't except to say that I remember Ruskin days with great appreciation: an excellent place to begin one's teaching career. Needless to say, I'm now retired!

John Peet, March 2005 email

  

 Brian Thorogood (JRGS 1951-56) remembers Mr. Whellock, Biology Master...

Mr. Whellock dressed in a dark grey two-piece suit with his teaching gown worn on top. As well as being the senior Biology Teacher he was also our fifth-form master. I must say that I had a good mutual relationship with him, mainly due to the fact that I came top in the mock Biology O -Level exam. Also, I had always learnt by visual appreciation, the “symbol” being prominent in my own intelligence. Mr. Whellock had published his own course book for use in O- and A-Level examinations, and I was able to grasp the fundamentals of the subject by assessing his excellent diagrams. Many years later I was able to purchase a second-hand copy in an antiquarian bookshop in Colchester.
   The Biology Lab in the new school had a musty aroma, the result of rabbits and frogs in various stages of dissection – a thing that would be taboo today! I remember vividly seeing a rabbit dissected on a tray, its heart still pumping blood through its arteries. Mr. Whellock sold mice at 6d each to younger pupils at the end of each term. One boy in the class below us was exceptional in having gathered together a vast butterfly collection. Roy Scott was asked to stand on his head and drink a glass of water, thus showing that the oesophagus could work against gravity.
   We had no verbal sex education during my five years at JRGS. Only pupils in the fifth-form biology group had access to pictures of the female rabbit. I am afraid that I was unable to grasp this, that is to make the transition to human female anatomy – it still eludes me to this day!
   A few boys who excelled in biology were encouraged by Mr. Whellock to make applications to the Wellcome Laboratories for a career. I am grateful to Mr. Whellock as I certainly matured under his direction during fifth-year studies. Sadly, he left JRGS at the same time as myself, in July 1956.

Brian (Bone) V Thorogood, Willowbank, Wick, Scotland KW1 4NZ, March 2005

  

 Peter Oxlade (JRGS 1940-44) reports on a recent visit with Charles Smith...

ML writes: As described elsewhere, the former-JRCS pupil and later School Governor recently made contact with Mr. Charles Smith, and met with him several months ago. Mr. Smith taught sports and mathematics at the school from September 1942 until he retired in July 1978. The latest visit was occasioned by the Memorial Service for Mr. Alan Murray, which took place on Monday, March 21, in Purley. (Paul Graham also attended the ceremony and presents his report here.)

Smith+OxladeToday I visited Mr. Charles Smith and his wife Elisabeth at their home - a most enjoyable couple of hours. He related to me the events at the Thanksgiving Service, and of Paul Graham's distribution of website information.
   I have to say that Mr. Smith was bubbling with enthusiasm and, although it was a sad event, he described it as a celebration. It certainly was for him as he reeled off names that left me out of my depth - although I tried my best to keep up! He was so delighted to have been able to meet some of his old "boys" and colleagues.
   Mr. Smith also suggested that I should contact Mr. Martin Nunn, who evidently has a collection of information. (Martin, of course, was a teacher at JRGS well after my time.) I also mentioned to Mr. Smith that perhaps he would agree to writing up some of his recollections of his time at Ruskin.
  
As promised, I have taken some pictures of Charles Smith with both myself and Elisabeth. It was my first experience of a digital camera and I do wonder if I still have my old Brownie Box camera somewhere.
   I am enclosing an image of Mr. Smith and myself, shown above left; click to access a larger version. I will send more at a later date.

Peter Oxlade, March 2005 email.

Terence Morris (JRCS 1942-50) adds: I see from the images of Charles Smith posted on the website that he is immediately recognisable - more than I would be(!) - and seems hardly to have changed down the years. Good to see him in such fine shape.
   I was sorry to hear of the death of Mr. Peacock. He led a geography field trip to Yorkshire in 1948, which was a revelation to several of us Croydonians who had never been north of Birmingham. As our train pulled into Leeds, every building was utterly black from atmospheric pollution. We climbed Ingleborough Whernside and Pen y Ghent, in the course of which we came across numerous skeletons of animals that had perished in the snowdrifts of the terrible winter of 1947. It was also my introduction to the YHA [Youth Hostel Association] - to which I still belong, using hostels on my bike travels. But my, how hostels have changed since then!

Mike Marsh (JRGS 1949-55) adds: Very many thanks to Peter Oxlade for his visit, report and, in particular, the photographs of Mr. Smith. Also to Paul Graham (with others) for his attendance at the service for Alan Murray and the photographs that included Mr. Smith. I have difficulty even now in writing his name as Chas or Charles Smith, "Smut" maybe, but the familiarity born of later generations still comes hard, especially in writing.
   It also comes as something of a shock, although there is no logical reason why, to see people whom we once knew as being "old" some 50 or so years ago looking, well, old today!
   By way of an example, I attach an image of Mr. Smith (shown right) taken, I think, on the school trip to Switzerland in 1952. Comparing this with Peter Oxlade's recent image, one can hardly believe that there are almost exactly 53 years separating these pictures; Mr. Smith might even have more hair now than then!
   As I and many other contributors have said on several occasions, we were mostly in fear and trepidation of PT lessons with Mr. Smith, but I am equally sure that we remember him now with some pleasure, certainly in retrospect, as a strict disciplinarian and instructor, and someone we are happy and privileged to have known. So seeing pictures of him in his nineties looking not only "old" but hail and hearty, is a real pleasure. If nothing else, a life of sport and physical exercise teaching has done well for him.
   I was sorry to hear too of Mr. Peacock's passing last year, another interesting and knowledgeable teacher.
Are there any plans for any meetings or gatherings in the Croydon/London area where pre-55 staff might be in attendance? (Sorry, I did not know any of the later ones, incusing this who attended the service fro Alan Murray). I guess there are not so many of them left now.

Peter Wilson (JRGS 1956-63) adds: How good to see a photo [shown elsewhere] of Michael "Mick" Noakes. I am sure I remember him as a prolific goal-scorer. There was a rumour (was it true?) that a knee injury had prevented him from becoming a professional footballer.
   Of course, I also remember Steve Kember who told me (when he was in the first form) that he wouldn't have time to play chess for the school as he was going to concentrate on football because he thought he could become a professional if he worked very hard at his football. The rest, as they say, is history.
   How good to see Mr. Smith. (It was always "Smut" behind his back - and he knew his nickname of course.) He was my form-master in 3S  - I recall that we asked to have him as our form master the following year - in 4S - and again the year after, in 5s. And that he expressed some surprise that we actually wanted him as our form-master. He looked after us well and we liked and supported him too.
   Under his education I was one of four who took O-level maths a year early. I was actually 14 when I took the exam but 15 by the time the results came out. (The result of being born in late July.) All four of us passed; two of the others were Brian Coe and Bob Youldon.
   Mr. Smith was - and I'm sure still is - a man of firm convictions and with many sides to his nature. He also took us for R.I. and PT/games. He could be tough - very tough. I still have a right knee that occasionally "locks", the result of receiving a two-footed sliding-tackle into my right knee during a games football session. But he played the ball not the player. so I can't complain as it was the fault of the ball for moving.
   Mr. Smith always disagreed with the school policy that we HAD to go outside during lunch-time. He always maintained that HIS form could stay in their classroom during breaks as he knew they could be trusted to behave properly.
   Does anyone recall him taking the whole form to see The Ten Commandments at a local cinema? He also took us to another film the following year - I think a 'Cinerama' one up in London.
   I'm delighted to learn that Mr. Smith is still very much fit and well. It almost 42 years since I last saw him and the photos certainly show that he hasn't changed a bit. As I'm over in Croydon quite often I do hope
that I may be able to arrange to meet him. I wonder if he still supports Portsmouth?

    

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