- Page 18 - November thru December 2004 -
- Page 18 - November thru December 2004 -
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.
John Brigden (JRGS 1959-64) has spotted a story about Routemaster buses...
found the following item on the
today, and thought it was worthy of passing on.
"After many years of faithful
service, London's remaining 200 Routemaster buses are approaching the
end of the line.
John Brigden, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, December 2004 email
John Byford (JRGS 1959-66) adds: A nice coincidence: I'd been reading the BBC web site today and then the Alumni email arrived.
I am very sorry to disappoint everyone but Routemasters were not introduced on the 130 route until 1 September 1964. Anyway, the spirit of John's message is about traveling on the 130, not which type of bus it was. And so I pen these few lines as a pedant par excellence.
1959-65) adds: Synchronicity!
Roger Hall (JRGS 1959-66) adds: And I can remember getting just 2% in my Latin mock O-Level; I got my name right but the date wrong. But I got no marks at all for the 130 bus timetable that I compiled instead of translating some passage!
Mike Etheridge ( (JRGS 1963-65) adds: I read John Brigden's article on the demise of the Routemaster buses with interest and, of course, a touch of sadness.
I have attached a photograph, shown right, of the diesel multiple unit that was supposedly making its last run on the main line recently (Saturday, 27th November 2004). During the time I was at Ruskin School, at weekends I used these trains to travel on fishing trips to the river Medway at Ashurst in Kent. Alumni possibly will remember the noise that these trains made - hence the name "Thumper" - nothing to do with rabbits!
I did in fact agree to go on this special last trip with an old Norbury Manor school friend and my eldest son, Christopher, who used to spot these trains at South Croydon station from his junior school playground. (Elmhurst School). The journey covered all the places where the Thumper trains would normally visit, including Brighton station, as in the photograph. Click on the image to access a larger version.
A couple of BBC reporters
boarded the train at Eastboune station and, to my amazement, interviewed
Christopher and myself about the trip! Our interviews were featured on
the local news at about 6.00PM in Kent and West Sussex which, of course,
we did not see.
ML adds: According to S. G. J. Huddy's excellent website, these trains are known as Thumpers, because "the guard... found out why after listening to the engine the other side of a thin partition." Apparently, these diesel-powered locomotives were not quiet! The site also contains a number of evocative photos and articles about steam and diesel trains, buses of the Fifties and Sixties, various ferries and traction engines.
Les Peagam (JRGS 1951-56) is well on the road to recovery after recent surgery...
ML writes: You may recall Les
writing from Australia to tell us that last year he had life-saving lung
transplant surgery. "It is surprising what becomes important when your
life is hanging in the balance," he confided. "But now things seem to be
going along fine and I am able to enjoy life again."
It's 12 months since I had my lung
transplant and life is great. Minor problems with skin cancers - the
anti-rejection and immunosuppressant medication reduce your immune
system and one of the more frequent side effects (at least in Oz, with
the power of the sun) is that you are prone to these cancers. Most are
easily dealt with by freezing but two, on the scalp, needed plastic
surgery with a skin graft from my leg. (I hope the hair grows on my head
as quickly as it has on my legs - another side effect.)
Les Peagam, Heathcote, Victoria, Australia, December 2004 email
Brian Thorogood (JRGS 1951-56) remembers Mr. “Spike” Hancock, music master ...
Mr. Hancock was a man of small stature,
with a young family. I felt that he was rather nervous of the tougher
boys. He drove to school in an open-top 1930s Ford car - his viola and
case on the back seat.
Brian (Bone) V Thorogood, Willowbank, Wick, Scotland KW1 4NZ. November 2004.
Les Peagam (JRGS
1951-56) adds: Reading Brian's recollection of Mr. "Spike"
Hancock, school music master, brought to mind my own experiences with
him, especially as I had just heard my young granddaughters complain
that they had to walk to school with their Mum, and not be taken that
day by car.
Joseph Norton Hancock BA LRAM joined JRGS in April 1947 and left for Maryhill Comprehensive School, Stoke-on-Trent, in July 1965. Sadly, he died on 7th February 1971. "He came to a school with little musical tradition and few amenities; and with great courage and strength of personality he created what he did not find," wrote Mr. Lowe. An appreciation of Mr. Hancock appeared on page 5 of the July 1965 school magazine; he is remembered on page 4 of the May 1971 edition- ML.
Les Peagam (JRGS 1951-56) wonders if this "home computer" will ever catch on...
The picture shown above is taken from a 1954 edition of Popular Mechanics magazine.
The editors had no idea as to what the outcome could yield. Be sure to read the photo caption.
Les Peagam, Heathcote, Victoria, Australia, November 2004 email
Mike Marsh (JRGS 1949-55) has uncovered a website on Croydon trams...
I was trolling through some web pages the other day when I came across a site about Croydon's new Tram system. I expect most people knew about this, but I had no idea that such even existed. It did, however, start another trip down Nostalgia Lane since I found that the tramway extended as far as Elmers End Station which is, or used to be, in Kent, as far as I remember.
When I lived in Shirley it was quite a way from Shirley Village as such, being near Monks Orchard School down in The Glade, which I attended from 1943 to 1949, before going to John Ruskin.
Every morning after leaving John Ruskin I would walk to Elmers End Station to catch a train up to London where I worked at a Quantity Surveyor's office in the West End, and the reverse at the end of the day of course. This carried on until I eventually left to join the RAF in 1957.
It was interesting for me to look through the web site, in particular at the photographs of the tramway through Croydon's streets as well as those of Elmers End Station.
Although I was later to live in Addiscombe for a few years after getting married and before moving up here to Suffolk, I rarely went anywhere from Addiscombe Station, nor Blackhouse Lane or Woodside all of which are near where we lived then, through which the trams also pass today.
Mike Marsh, Great Cornard, Sudbury, Suffolk, November 2004; email.
ML adds: Shown above-right is an image taken through the driver's window of a tram that is about to cross the junction of Wellesley Road and George Street in Central Croydon. Photo ©2000 S. J. Parascandolo.
H. A. "Peter" Otway (JRGS 1938-42) adds: Yes, Elmers End Station is still in Kent.
David Anderson (JRGS 1964-71) adds: This "unofficial" Croydon Tramlink website, which has a virtual tour, is definitely a good way of seeing how the old place has changed. The trams themselves are very swift and go up Gravel Hill like it wasn't there. If you remember how buses (especially the old RT-type) used to struggle up Upper Shirley Road - and the long queues of cars along the Upper Addiscombe Road trying to get into Croydon in the morning rush hour - it must be an improvement.
It looks very odd to look
down into the railway cutting at Sandilands and see trams where trains
(hardly ever) used to run. Do a search on
Google for all the websites. [Including
Transport for London
Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) visits the City by the Bay .. and Martin Preuveneers...
While in San Francisco for a recent Audio Engineering Society Convention, I managed to squeeze in an all-too-brief visit to Martin Preuveneers (JRGS 1958-65) and his American wife, Maxine. My traveling companion, Merelyn Davis - who took these images - and I enjoyed a very pleasant Sunday afternoon at Martin and Maxine's Alameda home, east of the city across the Bay Bridge, tucking into sandwiches and cake... and a very welcome cuppa.
It turns out that both Martin and Maxine are accomplished musicians; Maxine's talent on the accordion is truly remarkable, and Martin treated us to a short piano medley. (An impromptu - and highly illicit - lunchtime performance of several bars from "Moanin'" on the JRGS school organ remains one of my favourite memories from 40+ years ago.)
Unfortunately, Merelyn and I had to return to the city during the early evening in preparation for our six-hour drive south back to Burbank the following morning.
The image above shows Martin (left) and this writer at sunset on Sunday October 31. Click on either image to access a full-size version.
Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, November 2004; email.
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