JRGS News Archive Page 12
JRGS Alumni Society

Archived News/Activities

- Page 12 - Dec 2003 thru Jan 2004 -

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.

   

 Grant Harrison (JRGS 1959-66) recalls the school's Army Cadet Force...

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As we seem to be on an outward-bound, army-cadet theme I thought fellow Alumni might be interested in these photos, which I found in my Dad's house. He died two years ago and while clearing out I came across these pictures of Sergeant Harrison outside our old house in Gwynne Avenue, Shirley, and on parade with fellow cadets.

   The parade is in the school playground. I have no idea what it was for but it must be circa 1964. I don't recognise any faces but the platoon would have been younger than me because I'm the sergeant marching at the back. There is an officer in one photo that could be Captain Maggs, but I can't quite make him out.

   Roger Hall and I stuck it out in the cadets right through to 1966, when we were both sergeants. Towards the end I think we were a little half-hearted about it. The Sixties were in full swing. I, for one, wanted to grow my hair and suddenly the cadets were not so cool. We had some great times though running around Salisbury Plain, carrying giant radio transmitters on our backs. Firing Bren guns and throwing real grenades at Bisley were some of the highlights.

   In 5U I will always remember double-Latin last thing on a Friday afternoon, sitting in my itchy uniform on a hot summer day. We must have had rifles with us sometimes because I remember on one occasion somebody aiming a rifle at the classroom door just as Mr. "Rhino" Rees walked in. The look of shock on his face! I think he thought he was going to be shot. We then had a long tirade about his army days and the story about how they all had to stay on board a troop ship in North Africa until Montgomery got off or something. Does anyone remember that one? Anyway, happy days!
   Click on any image to access a larger version.

Grant Harrison, January 2004; email.

Colin Peretti (JRGS 1955-60) adds: Just imagine a double period of "Rhino" on a Friday afternoon! What did they do to deserve that? (It's probably as bad as two periods of Maths with Mr. Smith on a Monday morning.)

Graham Dewey (JRGS 1962-67) adds: I think the Parade may have been either the new Colours presentation when we became the Queens Regiment, rather than the old Queens Surreys, or a practice for the presentation ceremony.

Roger Hall (JRGS 1959-66) adds: Spike Milligan's memories have many similarities with Grant's and my experiences in the cadets. Apart from an amazing trip to Germany with the then BAOR (how we ever won the Cold War I'll never know!), I recall this little episode.

   At the end of the summer term, we were each issued with a rifle, minus the bolt, to take home and bring with us to the summer camp. As I was cycling through Central Croydon with this rifle across my back, and wearing school uniform, I passed a policeman on point duty. He did an impressive double take, abandoned his post and ran after me shouting, "Oi, you. STOP"! He knew little about firearms, but I did persuade him that it was safe and was allowed to continue on my way. Different world now, methinks.
   I have a couple of classic b&w photographs of Sgt. Harrison and another with Grant in uniform on the Shirley hills with John Holden and John Byford. We were probably taking a breather between the almost daily lunchtime stone fights that we enjoyed on Shirley Hills! I'll try to find the photos sometime and scan them for mutual enjoyment and ridicule.

Michael Howard (JRGS 1963-70) adds: Somewhere in this photo is me; then Cadet M. J. Howard – later CSM M. J. Howard (1969-70). The photo is, I think, of the colour parade held when new colours were presented to the battalion by the ladies of Croydon. There was a big parade at the school, with ground keepers from all the other battalions in the Surrey Brigade. After we were reformed as 143 Detachment of 14 Group SW London ACF we retained only one of the two colours presented that day, the other being kept by the Surrey Brigade. As I remember, Major Neball was the OC of the battalion, and in charge of the parade. The RSM was Bert Miles - a lovely man.
  Do you recall this parade at all?

Grant Harrison replies: Yes, I do recall the parade; I just couldn't remember what it was for. I'm very impressed that you remember so many names. The one I do remember well is Bert Miles. He had served in Cyprus and we were all very impressed with his stories.
   Once, after a Remembrance Day parade, we had been dismissed when a friend pulled up on his scooter and asked if I wanted a lift home. I jumped on the back, took my beret off and away we went down Croydon High Street. Suddenly a voice boomed out "That man there, put your beret on!!" It was Bert Miles shouting at me from the other end of the High Street.
   Of course, I put my beret on, and hoped that maybe there might be perhaps one person in Croydon who hadn't turned round to stare at me and wonder what was going on! I skulked home.
   Thanks for the memories.

 

 Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) meets with Chris Bennett at the Croydon Archives...

As The Alumni will recall, in late June 2003, Nick Goy (JRGS 1963-70)  first made contact with the Local Studies Library and the Croydon Archives; an initial visit by Nick and Paul Graham followed in August, when they met the Archivist, Chris Bennett.
   In late-November I also had the opportunity to visit the Croydon Central Library, located in Katharine Street, during a whirlwind trip to England. [more]

Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, January 2004; email.

 

 Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) suggests a possible use for those Xmas book tokens...

Croydon in 40s&50s Croydon in 40s&50s Croydon Old & New Croydon Old & New

"Croydon in the 1940s and 1950s"
ISBN: 0 906047 09 9

"Croydon Old and New"
ISBN: 0 906047 10 2

Croydon's Transport

Croydon's Transport

Croydon from Above

Croydon from Above

"Croydon's Transport Through the Ages"
ISBN: 0 906047 17 X

"Croydon from Above - 1870 to 1999"
ISBN: 0 906047 13 7

During a recent visit to Croydon Library, I added to my growing collection of books about the history and heritage of Croydon and surrounding areas.

   All four books shown here with front and rear covers are published by the Croydon Natural History & Scientific Society (CNHSS), 96a Brighton Road, South Croydon, CR2 6AD, and should be available through local book stores. Artwork design ©CNHSS. All rights reserved.

   Another fascinating book about Shirley Windmill  (below) is published jointly by Croydon Council and The Friends of Shirley Windmill. ISBN 0 93712 70 9. ©CC & FofSW.
Shirley Windmill Shirley Windmill

Click on any thumbnail to download a larger version.

Mel Lambert, January 2004, email

 

 Roger Adcock (JRGS 1963-68) recalls a School-versus-Masters match from 1968...

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These four pictures are dated April 1968, and annotated: "School versus Masters" - but I am not sure about the game. I took them at Oaks Road Sports Ground but they are faceless, I am sorry to say.

   They are not great photos, but in one you can see Steve Kember.

   The Masters watching (lower right) are certainly Mr. D. E. Thomas smoking away, but who is the other?

   Looks like most of the school are sitting around the edge watching the game - the car park by the pavilion is full of cars.

   Click on any image to download a larger version.

Roger Adcock, January 2004, email

ML responds: It seems that some Alumni - myself included - were under the impression that Steve Kember left JRGS in 1965. But, as Roger points out in a recent email, while Steve did indeed attend the school for five years from 1960 to 1965 without staying on for the Sixth form, "SK made a return visit to play in this game. Remember at that time he was [an] England Schoolboy, and signing professional papers more important to the boys than Maths Tripos."
  Our thanks to Roger Adcock, Paul Graham (JRGS 1963-67) and Terry Weight (JRGS 1963-67) for clarifying the situation.

 

 Roger Adcock (JRGS 1963-68) recalls a four-day hike to the South Downs...

In April 1967 Army Cadets Messrs CSM Benn (right), Cpl. Adcock (centre) and Sgt. Harper (red & left) went on their Duke of Edinburgh four-day hike to the South Downs studying flora, fauna and strange shapes on maps - somehow we made it and passed.
   I remember we drank a few bottled beers one night sitting in a barn as the rain fell down outside.

   Photographed here on the South Downs; click to download a larger version.

Roger Adcock, January 2004, email.

 

 Brian Dunning (JRGS 1947-52) admits to an unauthorized growth...

In Brian Thorogood's Memoirs, he mentions "Sixth-form students [wearing] a tasseled skull cap, and seemed so grown-up to an eleven year old boy. Indeed, one senior boy remarkably sported a moustache." I can confess to being that boy.
   Frequently, I was told to shave it off, an order I completely ignored since it was my pride and joy. In fact, whilst doing my National Service in Korea I waxed it "military-style" - as shown left.
   Sadly my wife succeeded where all others had failed and I am now naked!

Brian Dunning, December 2003, email.

Brian V. "Bone" Thorogood (JRGS 1951-56) adds: I remember Brian Dunning when he came into the bottom floor classroom at Tamworth Road on a sunny April afternoon in 1952 to have a word with the master in charge. He certainly looked the very part of Poirot, Agatha Christie's famous detective.

   I too liked Mr. Culcheth, a trendy young teacher, possibly just out of training college. He had back-packed around Europe as a student. His pretty, kindly wife came to the form end-of-term party afternoon in Summer
1952 and organized a competition of 2½d football for us all.

   To the gentleman [Clive Whitehead >>more] who enquired if any pupil remembered Mr. Lowe reading from "The Pilgrim's Progress," yes, this was at morning assemblies. It took six months to get through the whole text, reading a few paragraphs each day.

   I have a good copy of this book, only just recently acquired, for my library; a case of Jungian synchronicity methinks!
   A thought came to me over the New Year period:
   "You can always tell a John Ruskin boy... but you cannot tell him what to do!"

Colin Peretti (JRGS 1955-60) adds: Brian gives some further insights into the "forgotten" Mr. Culcheth. I think that "trendy" in this case meant that he had fairly long hair. But I agree with Brian - he was a friendly sort of person and I don't think he was ever offended by his nickname as the brats chanted it when he wheeled his pushbike up the path to the cycle sheds.
   Perhaps Brian would know whether he was Canadian. We always thought he had an accent, but was that also part of his trendy image?

 

 Mark Dymond (JRHS 1978-81) recalls life at the school during the early Eighties...

I have just found The Alumni web site through www.FriendsReunited.com. The site is interesting since I attended John Ruskin High School for three years from 1978. My memories of Ruskin are enjoyable ones.

   Looking at the staff profiles I couldn't find any mention of Mr. Patterson (the headmaster in my time) and just wondered if you had any information on when he retired and whether or not he is still alive.

   Another teacher I had at the time, and who I believe was at the school for a long time, was a Mr. Wilton. He was head of Fourth and Fifth years and taught English - again would you have any information on him?

   I noticed on the profile page Mr. Ken Maggs; I remember him very well, and would often see him in Croydon long after I left.

   After three years at Shirley High things were different when I joined Ruskin, to say the least! For a start, at Ruskin you were aiming for something - O-Levels, CSEs, etc. - and I found that the teachers were starting to treat us like young adults as opposed to kids at Shirley. I also found that the standard of teachers was better. This could be because there were teachers from the grammar era still there, such as Ken Maggs, Mr. Rowlands and Mr. Woodard.

   The Sixth Form Centre was a sort of temporary building on two levels linked to the main building. This was located at the front of the school; on the lower floor of the building you had the home economics rooms. At the back of the school beyond The Mill there were about 10 Portakabins, which in the winter - despite having heaters - got cold.

   I see from the photos that there were playing fields in Oaks Road. When we had games down there we were told to go down Oaks Road, as opposed to going across the golf course. One reason for this, I was told, was that Mr. Patterson was a member of Shirley Park and would sometimes "swan off" for a round of golf during school time.

Mark Dymond, December 2003; email.

 

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