JRGS News Archive Page 09
JRGS Alumni Society

Archived News/Activities

- Page 09 - May thru Aug 2003 -

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.


 Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) catches up with some interesting reading...

FrontRearAnybody who's as fascinated as I am about the history and development of a region of Greater Croydon that was so influential during our school years is sure to be interested in the new book, Images of England: Shirley and Addington, written by Raymond Wheeler, and published by Tempus Publishing.
   Paul Graham brought it to our attention last month [click here for more details] and kindly purchased a copy for me. (The book arrived a couple of days ago, courtesy of an old pal who was stopping off in Los Angeles on his way to China.)

  Click on either graphic to access a larger-format version of the front and back cover.

   "Images of England" is truly a fascinating book; lots of wonderful black&white images from the past two centuries, with individual chapters on Shirley Park, Wickham Road, Shirley Church Road, Upper Shirley, Ham Farm, Monks Orchard, Spring Park, Addington, New Addington, and Coombe. Highly recommended.

   ISBN 0 7524 2683 4; Tempus Publishing Ltd., Stroud, Gloucestershire. Cost: £11.99 (plus £1 post & packing in the UK). +44 (0) 1453 883300 or email.

Mel Lambert, Burbank, California, USA, August 2003 email.


 Peter Wilson (JRGS 1955-63) affirms his admiration for Judith Durham...

I recently produced and presented a special feature, "The Judith Durham Story," on BBC Guernsey. My 55-minute feature went out yesterday morning [August 25, 2003] and has been very well-received. I'm receiving emails from around the world saying listeners liked it.

  The station's website currently has a picture of Judith Durham in headline position, and a link to a special profile. Visitors can then access the audio feature.
  If any JRGS Alumni listen to the feature and like it, I would ask them to email the station as soon as possible, and pass on your comments. (It may get me a few brownie-points but, much more important, it will help me to get more air-time for Judith - and similar features - in the future. And if you also let the station know where in the world you are emailing from that would be nice too.)

  Because of limited space the audio link will only be there this week - up to the end of Friday, I think - after which BBC Guernsey will take it off.

   Someone even rang the station live on air this morning to say how much he enjoyed it, especially the post-Seekers numbers which he'd never heard and thought were better than her Seekers numbers.

Peter Wilson, August 2003 email


  Roger Adcock (JRGS 1963-68) has been corresponding with teacher Neville Graham...

Greetings - I thought you might appreciate a little update from Neville Graham (my 5G 1967 form master).

   Nev, now 70, has lived in New Zealand with wife Pat for 34 years, having emigrated in 1969. Nev has written to me to let me know that they have decided to open a new chapter in their lives and emigrate AGAIN - but this time to join both sons living in Perth, Australia.

   Previously, Nev & Pat have spent several months in Perth on holiday; they are obviously are bitten by its charm and wanting to be with their family of two sons.

   They fly out to Sydney on 7th September.

   The plan is to travel to Perth by The Indian Pacific Railway, one of the world great train journeys.

 The Adventure that spans Australia: Sydney - Adelaide - Perth

As the name implies, the Indian Pacific gives you two oceans on one of the world’s longest and greatest train journeys. [Click here for more details.]

   But most of their cruising will be across the vast continent of Australia. From the spectacular Blue Mountains to the treeless plains of The Nullarbor, where the train travels the world’s longest straight stretch of railway track (478 kilometres), they will see unique landscapes unfold and spot a fascinating array of wildlife from the comfort of the lounge or your cabin.

   The journey from Sydney to Perth covers 4,352 km and in either direction they’ll have three nights aboard the great train. There are many things to see along the way as they cross this vast continent. And they can get up close and see many of them when they enjoy an optional off-train sightseeing tour.

   The great train offers these tours during scheduled stops at Broken Hill, Adelaide, and gold-rich Kalgoorlie. A remote outpost on the Nullarbor Plain called Cook - population 2 - presents a further opportunity to stretch their legs.

   All along the Indian Pacific route, they must keep their eyes peeled for a sighting of the magnificent Australian wedge tailed eagle, the symbol of this great train. Its massive wingspan of up to two metres will make it easy to spot in a clear desert sky.

   That leaves Nev nicely placed to see the two opening games of the Rugby World Cup, having taught us chaps, then the sporting wonders at Linwood High School Christchurch as Head of PE.

   Nev, now retired with two hip replacements, is otherwise in the rudeness of health after a lifetime of sporting activity.


LEFT: Neville Graham pictured during a Masters-v-School football match, March 1967.

  Staying with the theme of sports, the first of England's Rugby World Cup games starts 12th October versus Georgia, then 18th October versus South Africa, both in Perth. [Click here or on the graphic right for more details.]

   Having left New Zealand, Nev writes to tell me that he is still supporting "The All Blacks" to play England in the final on 22nd November, but that he will have to get back on the train, because the game is to be played in Sydney!

   We all wish him well on his new life adventure.


 Roger Adcock, August 2003 email


 David Wheeler (JRGS 1945-53) recalls life at Tamworth Road...

I think what I remember the most when I first entered the school gates was the sight of a large brick air raid shelter with a reinforced concrete roof, taking up a large space in the front playground. There was also a large, thick, brick blast wall covering the ground floor entrance at the left hand end of the building. The demolition of these two structures a few weeks later provided much entertainment during the breaks from lessons. Especially noteworthy was the crane that used a large steel ball to break up the concrete roof of the shelter. The rest of the demolition was by manual labour using pneumatic drills and sledge hammers. Once the debris were removed, the whole playground was resurfaced with bitumen.

   During the winter, PT was still held in the playground on occasion, with us in just shorts and plimsolls, while Mr. Smith was clad in a thick roll-neck sweater and long trousers. He would tell us that if we exerted ourselves enough, then we would soon warm up. He was a master that I feared in my early years but, as I matured, I started to admire and respect him. He was my form master in my Fifth year and was very popular with his students then.

   Talking of sports, I suppose many ex-students of that time remember having to cycle, or take the 654 trolley bus to the Duppas Hill recreation ground where the school sports ground was located. I remember that the Selhurst Grammar School sports ground was adjacent to ours. Not being particularly good at anything sporty, my contribution was to assist Mr. Pearman provide the afternoon teas at the weekend cricket fixtures.

   I remember the fund-raising events to provide for the Organ Fund for the new school, a building that I was only to see as a visitor, and I remember, before owing a bicycle, walking along Frith Road and Surrey Street, up the steps through the Grants Arcade to catch my bus to Addiscombe from Katherine Street. Walking along Frith Road, I would pass the basement level of Kennards Department store (now Debenhams) with its penny arcade. Many was the time I went in to try my luck on one of the machines, only to have to walk home having lost my bus fare.

   Happy memories indeed.

David Wheeler, August 2003 email


 Stephen Turner (JRGS 1958-62) bring us up to date with his career...

[In a recent email exchange, I has asked Stephen to refresh my memory regarding the location of 1 Stowell Avenue, the former New Addington home of his wife, Maureen Dick. I remembered it being on the corner of a green that ran round towards Windham Avenue, directly opposite my parent's home at Number 8 - ML.}

You are right about 1 Stowell Avenue being on the corner of the green... exactly. In fact Maureen thinks your father may have taken one or two photos of us the day we got married. The photographer was late at the church and fetched up at 1 Stowell Ave, where we had our reception, and took the formal photos on that famous green.

   We have a couple of extras taken from across the road, maybe by your Dad?
   I had to re-sit some failed O-Levels so I worked in Miller Wilkins, the estate agents in Wickham Road until November 1963, when I joined the Foreign Office. So this is my 40th year.

   We went to Jakarta in 1968, Kuala Lumpur in 1971; London then Malta in 1978; Jakarta again in 1983; London then Consul in Seattle in 1990; Deputy Head of Mission in Hanoi 1995; Deputy High Commissioner in Dhaka 1999; and now Consul General for New Zealand in Auckland from 2002.
   This is my last FCO post as there is a mandatory retirement at my level of 60.

Stephen Turner, Auckland, August 2003 email


  Roger Adcock (JRGS 1963-68) recalls Army Cadet Force membership...

Correspondence was a little quiet here for the summer, but good to see new contributions of late.
   I notice many claim membership of the School Army Cadet Force. What about former ACF members contacting The Mill and registering their membership?
   Me? 1965 - 1968, but lobbed out as Corporal in charge of the Armoury where we cleaned the 52 .303 rifles and bloody big black machine guns (the school had two) - I assume all ex-WW2 issue.
   What would the police say now?

Roger Adcock, August 2003 email

Mick Richardson (JRGS 1963-68) adds: Ah, the ACF. I remember it well. Captain Maggs... square bashing... a Summer trip to Munster Barracks in Germany. Travelling on the Harwich/Hook of Holland Ferry on the windiest, roughest night for years!. Carrying a .303 Lee Enfield (without the bolt, of course) - I wonder if you'd get away with that these days? I think not!
   And the signals section. Testing 88 sets at lunchtime in the woods behind the Tuck Shop. One of us at the top as lookout, and the others in radio contact smoking, safe in the knowledge that there was an early warning system in operation. (I got caught one day and was caned by Mr. "Joe" Lowe for being out of bounds. He couldn't actually prove we were smoking.)
   Not all bad though. The German trip put me off joining the Army for life (they were all saving up to buy themselves out) and I can still read an Ordnance Survey map with no trouble.
   I will have to go up to the loft and check out my old photos. I'm sure I took plenty!


 Stephen Turner (JRGS 1958-62) recalls a popular little ditty...

Idly playing with Google.com, I stumbled across the fascinating JRGS site, and tried to find anyone I had been to school with - Mick Noakes was the only reference, and that only in passing. But a great effort - thanks.
   All those interesting recollections for teachers. One not mentioned (except in the list of staff) was a youngish history master called Mr. Rhodes, whom I embarrassed in the Joe Lyons next to Kennards in North End. I had a Saturday job, mostly clearing tables, and found him there entertaining a girl friend - he must have been in his mid-Twenties. A few moments along the lines of "Hullo Sir, what are you doing here?" ended his pleasure at the delights of J. Lyons. Actually I remember him as a really nice chap - History and Current Affairs - a blessed double period, I recall.
   Some teachers stick in my memory even today. Mr. Smith struck me with terror from the first. Terrible at maths and worse at gym, I was not his favourite but I admired him as a toughie. Someone else has recorded that he may not have had a degree, but he was one of the finest teachers I had.
    I was an unmemorably awful student, wasting most of my time at JRGS. But the teacher that made the biggest impression was Mr. Robertshaw (French). He arrived in 1960, and for my last two years had the misfortune to be for master of 4R and 5R where I spent my last years.
   Our third form (3G) form was not outstanding and I suspect that Mr. "Joe" Lowe put Mr. Robertshaw on us to teach us a lesson. He entered the class, for the first time, took off his shoe, crashed it on a desk and introduced himself, making it clear they he would stand no nonsense. Thereafter we were a reformed bunch. It is entirely due to him that I achieved any O-Level passes at all.
   The "we" included Richard Thomas, Peter Thomas, David Blackwell, John Skinner, Anthony Collard, someone called "Pigg," "Boris" Sokaloff, and Finch - an Eddie Cochran fan. Other notables included my pal David Ellis, and Ivor Kinsey and John Hutchings from the year below. There was a small group of boys from New Addington at JRGS, but I think we kept our origin fairly quiet - there was a certain amount of distain from some teachers for NA as a place in which to live.
   I recall quite a lot of corporal punishment, possibly in retaliation for really awful behaviour - Mr. May's long black ruler hitting the top of one's head is a truly lasting experience. I was caned by Mr. "Wally" Cracknell for climbing on the roof of the first floor to retrieve my ball (remember those small plastic balls?) after being reported by a particularly offensive prefect. And once by "Joe" Lowe for an offence I do not recall. I do remember the red light outside his door though.
   I partially recall a little ditty that was popular. It went something like:

    "We sing little songs in assembly each day
    including the one that goes: 'Have Joe Away'
    There's Joey and Wally and Gussy too
    with their hands on their canes and with nothing to do.

... They rant and they shout.
    They talk about things they know nothing about.
    For all that we're doing they might as well be
    singing a song on the Isle of Capri"

An aside: in 1966 I married Maureen (Dick) of 1 Stowell Avenue, New Addington. She remembers Mel Lambert [who lived at No. 8].

Stephen Turner, August 2003 email

Frank S. Feates (JRGS 1943-49) adds: Mr. Smith was at John Ruskin during my time. In 1949 I went to evening classes in Inter BSc Maths at Birkbeck College. Lo and behold... Mr. Smith was also doing the course. I never queried his motives but, as far as I know, he never followed through to the BSc.

Peter Wilson (JRGS 1956-63) adds: I recall the "Ditty" as being...
   "The sun is a-rising to welcome the day
   with a hey-ho... have Joe away!"


 Colin Peretti (JRGS 1955-60) gives a cheer for New Addington...

Having lived in Oz since the mid Sixties - I was a New Addington boy up until then (but don't hold that against me) - I can assure Peter Wilson [contribution below] that The Seekers are still very popular in Australia.
   I never had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Durham, but I did see The Seekers perform live at the Myer Music bowl in Melbourne back in the late Sixties. The MMB is an outdoors concert area about 2 km east of the City. Live shows were always free as part of their Annual Moomba Festival. I also remember some slight problems regarding the opening ceremony of the 2000 Olympics; the story was that The Seekers were expected to perform but the word was that they asked for too much money. (Well, that's what the media said, but who would know?)
   I appreciate that the site is not a Seekers Fan Club but Peter Wilson seems to be quite a fan - perhaps I could reassure him that their are some other Seekers fans out here.
   I think I remember Peter. Does he remember the Wind in the Willows with, I think, David Rowe and Ferdie Forbath in starring roles - that must have been 1955 or '56? We also had a very tough autocratic Prefect whose name was something like Roue (with a accent, no doubt). He used to supervise lunch in the dining hall; he probably enjoyed the relative peace and quiet as us "Brats" were munching on the culinary delights on offer from Chez Ruskin.
   I also note that I see little or no contribution from Addington Lads. Ivor Aylesbury was one of our more famous sons - he may have been in the same year as Peter Wilson. I did notice that one of the contributors mentioned
him as a sportsman and later part of the band, The Silkie. I knew Ivor very well and went through Junior School one year behind him. He had a sister, Elaine, who was also very clever.
   Keep up the good work.

Colin Peretti, South East Queensland, Australia, May 2003 Email.

Peter Wilson (JRGS 1956-63) adds: Glad to know that The Seekers still have their following in Oz - I know they did their "Last Ever" (but this time it looks as if it really is) Tour in Australia in March of this year. Did Colin Peretti go to any of the concerts? I think there were 22 spread around various locations. I had looked at going, but my other half was in hospital in early March so it wasn't realistic for me to be 12,000 miles away.
   Judith tells me she can now go around the UK without being recognised - but is much more readily recognised and "known" in Australia'.
   The Myer Music Bowl Concert is said to have had the largest ever attendance for any musical event. The Seekers only played for some 20 minutes; the crowd was estimated to be 200,000 !!!
   Judith Durham had sung there with a Gospel Band when she was 19 - singing The Lord's Prayer - and as she finished people stood up and moved towards the stage. She remembers it as a pivotal point in her singing career as she didn't realise until then the effect her voice could have one people.
   Little did she think at that time that she'd appear there some years later in front of 200,000 people.
   I am racking my brains, but can't put a face to Colin! I remember "Wind in the Willows" - Row played Toad; Ferdie (didn't he have a younger brother also at Ruskin?) played Badger; I can't remember who played Ratty but I can visualise him - and Beavis Kennet(t) played Mole. Good production.
   Some years later we did it again with the junior school only playing the part. I was working on make-up under Ken Tryon for that play and remember making up seemingly dozens of weasels, ferrets and stoats.
   Ivor Aylesbury was indeed quite a character - not in my form but, I think, in my year. I'd forgotten he had a sister. Ivor was very good friends with (Terry?) Sims, who also had a sister.
   I occasionally run into John Jestico, who once played in a group called the John Paul Six. John left them to go and study medicine. The last time I saw him he was a Consultant (I think on nervous diseases) - he still plays chess occasionally, and it was at the Southend Easter Congress that I have met him several times in fairly recent years.

Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-66) adds: As a former New Addington habitué, I thought that I'd research the musical career of JRGS Alumnus Ivor Aylesbury, mentioned above by Colin Peretti. I recall that The Silkie were touted as England's answer to American folk groups like Peter, Paul and Mary. Also managed by Brian Epstein, members of The Beatles were reported to have helped The Silkie record its version of "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" at about the same time as The Fab Four's own version was released on the Help! soundtrack album.
   Apparently, John Lennon handled most of the production, while Paul McCartney played guitar, and George Harrison kept time by tapping his guitar and playing tambourine. Some sources also list Paul as co-producer and George as helping on the arrangement, but there can be little doubt that the single was primarily John's handiwork. Incidentally, the track was recorded on 9th August, 1965, at the former IBC Studios on Portland Place, London, and released on the Fontana label with a band composition, "City Winds," as the B-side. The single entered the charts on 23rd September, and stayed for six weeks reaching a highest position of 28.
   The Silkie were formed by a group of students from Hull university, and comprised Sylvia Tatler on vocals, Mike Ramsden on guitar and vocals, Ivor Aylesbury on guitar and vocals, plus Kevin Cunningham on double bass.
The band issued a single, "Blood Red Door," in June 1965 that failed to chart. But once The Beatles got behind them - and contributed a particularly strong song - the band secured their only chart hit. Two further single releases in 1966 failed to match their initial success. [More>>]
   And shown above left is the semi-detached home my family occupied at 8 Stowell Avenue, New Addington, from 1951 until the death of my father in 1975. This image of the much remodeled, former council house was taken in December 2001.


 Roger Hall (JRGS 1959-64) recalls a favourite Chemistry Master...

Hmm, Mr. "Percy" Pearman and his explosions. I remember him exploding acetylene and leaving a huge sooty patch on the ceiling, much to the annoyance of the lab assistant who spent the rest of the term trying to clean it. We would all have to crouch behind the lab benches as did "Percy," whose hand would appear with a lighted taper and... boom!

   His anecdote was that when he was a boy they had acetylene bicycle lamps, which periodically exploded. "And when you came out of hospital, you would buy another one."

   Or the other occasion when, not wearing his glasses he asked "boy" to give him some dilute hydrochloric acid. Puzzled by the resultant reaction, he asked "boy" to check the label. "Oh dear, sir, it's concentrated nitric acid." At which point "Percy" hid behind his bench, crying "Out of the lab for your lives, boys... out of the lab for your lives!"

   And do you remember how he was often asleep when we came into his lesson? We would all creep into his class to avoid waking him so that we wouldn't have to work. But he always stirred and woke up. Hmm, don't suppose it was his technique for getting a quiet controlled class?

   I have always thought that he was one of the really good masters at JRGS. Happy memories.

Roger Hall, Cardiff email

Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-66) adds: As many of you will recall, I worked with Mr. Pearman as Chemistry Laboratory Technician for the year after I left JRGS, 1965-66. He was truly a kindly soul, although he needed to distance himself since I was only a few months removed from being a schoolboy.

   As I have mentioned elsewhere, one day I cut my right hand to ribbons on a piece of brittle glass tubing while attempting to poke it into a rubber bung. "Percy" came into the Chemistry Lab just before first class began - must have been after the morning school assembly - and caught sight of me, my hand and the blood splattered all over my face. He sat me down, ignored the pupils streaming into the Lab and took care of business. He bandaged the fingers as best he could - I had slashed down my thumb and several fingers, as well as thrusting a glass shard through my middle finger! - and packed me off to Croydon General Hospital on the bus for an X-ray to check for embedded glass, 12 stitches and bandaging. I caught merry heck from Mr. "Joe" Lowe when I returned. But "Percy" was very solicitous and explained that glass, as it ages, becomes very brittle... and to be more careful next time.
   My lasting memory is of him reclining in his rocking chair on the dais at the front of the Chemistry Lab, lost in recollections of his long career in science teaching, and holding a long stick of chalk between his fingers like a cigarette. (I never saw him smoking anything but chalk, but maybe the habit was a long time dying?)

Peter Wilson (JRGS 1956-63) adds: I remember Mr. "Percy" Pearman well. He was my form-master one year in the Sixth Form. I remember him saying that we should all act like men and not like boys... and if by then we "knew one end of a woman from the other" then it was nothing special. "We all do, chaps," he said.
   Who remembers him putting his glasses on top of his head and then forgetting where they were? On another
occasion he put them down on the bench, lifted up one of the hinged wooden sink-covers and let it drop
with a crash... followed by the sound of splintering glasses.
   Quite a character - but he was OK. I remember learning quite a lot of Chemistry too. Who remembers someone dropping a large container of hydrogen sulphide, which meant evacuation of not only the Chemistry Laboratory but also the whole of the Library above it? I won't even mention the distilled-water stills - two of them - which had to be inspected and licensed too. There were rumours of home-made potato wine being put into them and the resulting distilled liquid being mixed with fruit juices... but I wouldn't know anything about that!
Judith Durham - 1996   By the way who wants to hear - at monotonous great length - my tales of Judith Durham's recent 35-concert UK tour? Did anyone else go to any of them? Judith sang with The Seekers in the 1960s (1964-68) - and again 25 years later. She now has a website and is pictured right.
   Judith is now back home in Melbourne; she flew out of London on Sunday. I went over to the UK [Peter lives in Guernsey - ML] to see four of the concerts: Fairfield Halls, Croydon, on 4th June; Royal Festival Hall on 3rd July (Judith's 60th birthday); Brighton Dome on 5th July; and the final one at Bristol Hippodrome on 13th July.

   I met her after each of the four concerts I attended, and was invited backstage at Bristol. Last week I flew into London and spent about an hour and 40 minutes with her on Wednesday afternoon, chatting away and recording an interview at her hotel.

   Now, come on chaps - at least those of you of my generation; I was 60 on Friday (yes, I'm 22 days younger than Judith Durham) - wouldn't you still give almost anything to spend that much time with Judith?

   She's petite, slim, graceful, with charm, poise and is a real lady. Gone is the slightly chubby 21 year-old from 1964, but she's still that same young girl at heart. Her face lights up, those eyes sparkle and the long brown hair is as lovely as ever. She still sings every bit as well as when she was 20. (Maybe even better as she now has more confidence.) Her piano playing is great too.

   Every bit a lady - and such a lovely person too.

Derek Falkner (JRGS 1954-61) adds: Don't forget that Mr. "Percy" Pearman's cat knew more chemistry than any of us! "Percy" also had a habit of aiming a piece of chalk at the mouth of any boy caught yawning in his class.

   Fortunately, he was not a very good shot.

Terry Weight (JRGS 1959-65) adds: I too remember Mr. "Percy" Pearman well. He always kept his chalk in his mouth. I remember quietly (but not quietly enough) offering him a light. He was happy to play along with the joke!

   Good for "Percy;" Chemistry was fun!


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