JRGS News Archive Page 06
JRGS Alumni Society

Archived News/Activities

- Page 06 - April 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.

  Roger Adcock (JRGS 1963-68) reports on "The Middle-Aged Posse" - 1967/8's 5G...

We met again on April 23rd 2003 at The Surprise pub at the school gates to stare in wonder at what happened over the past years, after parting company on 8th July 1968. Ten of the class of 31 appeared on the night - only John Willsher turned up two days early on the Sunday (wrong date; right pub!)
Class of 5G   We could have been 10 likely lads out for a night on the pull, if we'd remembered what the procedure was. Only John W attended on first invitation.
   Click on the image left to download a larger version.
Rear Row (left to right): Kevin O' Brien, Dave Parkyn, Martin Minter, Bob Alford, Martin Ashley.
Front Row: Les Elvin, Roger Adcock, Paul Rastrick, Robin McSweeney, Dave Buckley.
   What seemed amazing to us all was that after more than three hours we were chucked out the place at 11.45 PM - so much to catch up on and resolved to "Do this again."

   We had messages of greetings from Neville Graham (the "G" in 5G) now retired and living in New Zealand - his full message is included below - Geoff Spiller living in Singapore, Mick Richardson from RAF High Wycombe, Gary Day Ellison from Dartmoor in Devon, and Roger Williams in Oxford.

   On disbandment 5G numbered 35 and, by luck, we are in touch around the world with 23. In touch are Messrs:
our form master Neville Graham, plus Roger Adcock, Bob Alford, Gordon Arnold, Martin Ashley, Andy Beckett, David Buckley, Allan Cubitt, Gary Day-Ellison, Les Elvin, Mike Howard, Robin McSweeney, Martin Minter, Kevin O'Brien, Dave Parkyn, Paul Rastrick, Chris Reed, Derek Reeves, Mick Richardson, Vince Simeone, Geoff Spiller, Martin Trowell, Roger Williams and John Willsher.
   Okay, but we still are trying to locate somewhere on this planet: Steve Cattle, Malcolm Chambers, Graham Dewey, Geoff Downer, Chris Ford, Bob Harris, Chris MacKenny, Mel Peters, Duncan Phillips, Terry Potter, Paul Scott and Paul Willmer. >>Full 5G class list and profiles.
   If you are one of these buddies, or can help with location, please email Roger Adcock or Martin Minter.

Email received from Neville Graham, our form master in 1967/68:

Neville Graham"Now, I believe you are having the 'get together' at The Surprise next week, with a few of the other 'old men' of 5G. Maybe you could read these few lines from me if the opportunity arises?
   "Greetings, gentlemen. It is a pity I can't be with you all tonight. 'Yeah!' I hear you all say! Roger has given me the story on his creating a 'This is your life 5G 1967/68.' I hope it can be included in a wider history of the school.

   "As you may know, I have spent the last 34 years in NZ and a lot of water has passed under the bridge for all of us. The old photos were a great help in recalling you all and I can honestly say that I had not forgotten a single face, although I can't say the same about names! As for the recent 'mug shots' - mine included - WOW! You can perhaps imagine how old they make me feel!

   "Roger has been pestering me to tell him my age, so I will announce to you all that I became a septuagenarian last October. My two sons tell me I am now officially 'a wrinkly.' I hasten to add that I don't feel old and I am grateful for that. The only scars of life I carry I suppose are two Hip Replacements caused by wear and tear above and beyond the call of duty.

   "I want you to know that I look on my time at Ruskin as some of my 'halcyon' years. It was a fine school. The staff worked hard to maintain high standards in good manners and behaviour as well as academic achievement. I have no doubt that J. C. Lowe was considered a 'square,' even in those days, but I found him an excellent boss and a real gentleman. I can remember him waxing lyrical after a staff cricket match, with the immortal words: 'You know, Graham, one can live a life-time of experiences, walking to and from the wicket.'

   "It is terrific to hear how you have all fared in the 'battle of life' after leaving school and, like most teachers, I feel privileged to have been associated with you in some small way. Hopefully I may meet up with one or two of you if I ever come to UK again.

   "Have a great night on the 23rd." >>previous email

Roger Adcock, April 2003 Email

 

 Paul Winter (JRGS 1959-62) delves deeper into the photo album...

I had a quick look through my old negatives, and found about 15 strips that may or may not be relevant.

Here are three representative photos (click on thumbnail to download a larger version):

 1. "Prefect's Photo," with head boy Herbert Kitching in centre, Murray and Trevor Lowe on the right, second row down. Peter Allen is on the top row - a typical pose, holding his jacket importantly! Peter went to Hull University with me, and was in the same lodgings for the duration. He stayed on for a Physics PhD and we lost contact - last heard of in the States, I think.

2. Class Photo with Mr. Thomas; I was in 5T - the year was possibly 1960. I am second from right next to Johnny Le Vine, far right. (He also logged on Friends Reunited.)

3. This picture must have been taken in 1962, since the boys were my year, and not made Prefects until the Upper Sixth. I think Johnny Le Vine is directly under Alan Bailey and next to Peter Allen (beneath and to his right) - all positional references looking at the pictures.

   I never made the exalted height of Prefect - I was made a cycle warden - later upgraded to Vice Prefect! However, the Fifteen Society made me a member by invitation, and I was particularly proud of that honour bestowed upon me by the demi-Gods of the Upper Sixth in 1961!
   A number of these pictures are rather faded copies (another example of poor workmanship in the photographic society!) but I can send the negs to you. Or, more to the point, does anyone have a film scanner since I think the negs will reveal a treasure trove of Ruskin in 1961? I think they show a prize giving, and I took pictures at the social afterwards; lots of staff - I recognise Mr. Field and Mr. Murray quite clearly. (The quality should be OK if scanned correctly - I only have an old flat bed scanner.) [email]
   I am certain other negatives show a History Field trip to Hadrian's Wall, pupils receiving prizes, and some sort of parade in town - possibly Ruskin pupils, but I am not sure. There are about 75 pictures in all.

Paul Winter, April 2003, email

John Cobley (JRGS 1958-65) adds: Seeing the picture of Mr. Thomas reminded me of a long forgotten activity. When I was in form 1P ("P" for Mr. Peasey) in 1958, Mr. Thomas used to teach us italic script handwriting once a week during a lunch break. This class was voluntary.
   I remember having an Osmoroid fountain pen with the necessary italic nib, and black ink. The blank exercise books we used had not only horizontal lines on which the letters were to sit, but also lines that were to determine the height of the lower case letters. Almost all of the letters were constructed from a single motion, a down stroke ending in an upward flick. We scratched away with ink stained fingers, dripping and blotting along in pursuit of an impossible perfection.
   Mr. Thomas also put his italic talents to use by writing the descriptive labels which were pasted into the books awarded as school subject prizes.

Cliff Cummins (JRGS 1956-62) adds: I know all the faces in the Prefect's Photo, but annoyingly cannot help
identify any more except middle row third from left, which is Peter Brooker (maybe Booker). He also appears in the 5T Photograph on the immediate left of Mr. Thomas.
   I think that the head boy's name was actually Herbert Kitching, not Kitchen. I met him at the demolition re-union. He is something high up in the Institution of Structural or Civil Engineers.

Peter Wilson (JRGS 1956-63) adds:

[Paul Graham had suggested to Peter that the latter was pictured on the right of Paul Winter's third photograph - ML.]

Yes, indeed it is! I even recall the photos being taken. I can put names to quite a few. I can see Pete(r) Lyle, footballer and high-jumper from Beta House. (I think he joined the RAF.) I recall that Colin Bateman was the school's number 1 goalkeeper and Peter Lyle the number 2.
   Colin Bateman was also a Croydon/Surrey Schools' wicket-keeper and opening batsman. He was also goalkeeper for Croydon and Surrey Schools, and played in goal for London Schools in a match against Glasgow Schools. (I can't recall seeing Colin in the photos.)
   Bob Hurrion of Heath Clarke School was the other Croydon/Surrey Schools' opening batsman (I think). Then there is someone I remember as "Haggis," wearing his glasses pushed to one side in the photo - but what was his real name?
  
Paul Winter is - from memory - in the second picture. John Stewart is there and Alan Bailey... and Robin Clark(e), who at one time was (aged 13?) the youngest person ever to qualify as a football referee. (Although I think someone younger broke his record later on.)
  
I was always aware that I was the third-best high-jumper in Beta House - but couldn't even get to represent the house at high-jumping. I recall that Pete(s) Lyle (who had a smashing girl-friend - possibly called Joan - when he was about 18; did they marry?) was the school's number 1 high-jumper and Barry Tyler was the number 2. They were both in Beta House. Which left me out in the cold for both school and even house representation at high-jumping. Never mind, it was all a very long time ago.
  
Barry Tyler had amazingly long legs even for a high-jumper, and his mother was an Olympic (Silver?) Medalist. I recall she received an honour - I think in one of the Queen's Birthday or New Year Honours' List a few years ago at the age of about 80 - maybe MBE? I also recall that she competed again (in Commonwealth Games?) at the age of 42, and again won a medal. Does anyone else recall any of this - or did I dream it all?
  
I must submit some notes on my Jan/Feb trip to Manhattan for the Kasparov-versus-Deep Junior six-game match. I should have other chess news to announce soon as well.
   Judith Durham [formerly lead singer with the Sixties group, The Seekers] is touring the UK on a solo tour in May, June and July this year. It is called the "Diamond Tour" as she'll amazingly be 60 on 3rd July this year. She appears at the Fairfield Halls on 4th June (Mary and I will be there) and at Royal Festival Hall on 3rd July (Judith's 60th Birthday) - Mary and I will be there again. See Judith's website for more details, including dates and venues for her concerts. Her biography "Colours of my Life" is being re-published by Virgin. I'm told Judith will be signing copies at the concerts.
   I wonder if anyone has a photo of Dave Treleaven? He was a good friend for many years at school, and played with me in the school chess team - and had an AJS 350cc motorbike too. My Mum always liked him - and said he was a real ladies' man.

POSSIBLE CAPTIONS:
Paul Winter 01Photograph 1: Back Row (L-to-R) Paul Winter; UNKNOWN; "Haggis" - I think, but what was his real name?; NOT SURE - reddish hair - surname might be "Graham" first name forgotten... good at gymnastics; went to Loughborough College maybe; Tony Hills - good clarinet player and superb ballroom dancer (I wasn't bad myself but didn't have the flair/poise of Tony - he went out with Hazel Falkner for a while... her brother Derek was also at Ruskin - very pretty girl); Peter Allen; UNKNOWN; UNKNOWN; UNKNOWN.
Middle Row (L-to-R) NOT SURE - maybe this was the chap whose surname I thought was "Graham;" Robin Clark(e)... youngest football referee in the UK, later became a solicitor, I think, as he was certainly something to do with the law, and I heard he had married a young widow; UNKNOWN; John Brightwell... had a nice sister called Jill... I remember spending a [romantic?] evening with her at a party at Dave Treleaven's in Thornton Heath... lived on the Wickham Road... I think his Father held a senior position with Sainsburys; UNKNOWN; Bob Wenn... had a nice blonde girlfriend for some years, then went out with Heather Gilder for some time... I though he went on to work on germ warfare at Porton Down; UNKNOWN- but I should know his name - very nice chap; Peter Wilson himself; Trevor Lowe; Murray Lowe.
Front Row (L-to-R) Graham Keyes - definitely; UNKNOWN - but I should know him too... I will as soon as someone else mentions it; UNKNOWN - same for this one - I should know his name; Herbert Stewart (Stuart?) Kitching... became a Civil Servant... was head boy and a nice, straightforward bloke; Alan Bailey... deputy head boy... very friendly with John Brightwell... had a sister called Ros, who went out with Dave Treleaven for some years but married John Stewart; UNKNOWN - can't remember his name; John Stewart... lived near East Croydon and became an airline pilot... had a Riley 1.5 or 2.5 litre car... the 1950s 'RMA' type of Riley... he went out with Heather Gilder (Coloma) after she went out with Bob Wenn... maybe she went out briefly with Chris Masters too - wonder if he's in any of the photos - but he (John Stewart) married Ros Bailey... I believe he did anyway; Pete(r) Lyle... football goalkeeper, super high-jumper... always finished in the Surrey Schools events ahead of Eric von Tersche from Heath Clark or Selhurst, I think... he became a Policeman... last I heard, some years ago, he was a police inspector... Pete Lyle wanted to join the RAF and I believe he did... I thought he wanted to become a fighter pilot in Lightnings... wonder if he got there... when he was about 18 I recall that he had a very nice and very pretty girlfriend called Joan... I thought they married.

Paul Winter 02Photograph 2: The only individuals I know are Mr. Thomas - Woodwork and Religious Instruction and Paul Winter (second from right).
   I know all the faces but can't put names to them.

 

Paul Winter 03Photograph 3: Back Row (L-to-R) Herbert Kitching hoisted by Alan Bailey (left) and John Stewart (right). Standing L-to-R are John Brightwell; UNKNOWN; Peter Allen; UNKNOWN; Bob Wenn; Peter Wilson. In front are Robin Clark(e); UNKNOWN; "Haggis," with glasses on crookedly; and three other UNKNOWNs.

  

 Maurice Lees (JRGS 1964-71) has unearthed some unsettling images...
JRGS demolition JRGS demolition
JRGS demolition

They might be a bit iconoclastic, and The Alumni may already have similar images, but I have three photos that I took while the school was being demolished.

   They were only taken with a point-and-shoot camera, so are not of exceptional quality. The sign by the playground entrance says: "Free Hardcore. Loaded."

Maurice Lees, April 2003 email

Click on any image to download a larger version.

Mike Marsh (JRGS 1949-55) adds: I found it disturbing to view the photographs submitted by Maurice Lees. Culford HallHaving been there to witness the building of the school, leaving in 1956 during its first year of occupation, and then not viewing it again... I now see pictures of its destruction. [Mike captured wonderful images of the new Shirley Road School during its construction in 1954/55.]
  
So much for stability and durability! This is particularly so when the school in which I now work is several hundred years old... well, the buildings are anyway.
   Just for interest - and I cannot see why you might want to publish it in The Mill - I attach a picture of my school. [Mike was wrong; see image left - ML.]
   By the way, I know for a fact that Mr. "Bon" Richardson also taught Spanish and Latin - or at least he tried to as far as I was concerned. He was fluent (I understood) in several other languages as well.

Roger Adcock (JRGS 1963-68) adds: Maurice - now these shots I like. I remember the demolition on-going as I drove past every day. But, until now, I had forgotten about those AWFUL prefabs in the playground that were built after I left.

Eric Webster (JRGS 1962-67) adds: Demolition photos are so miserable, aren't they? But Maurice is right to send them as they are part of the full story of JRGS. I have further photos, no more sophisticated than Maurice's, should the site want them.
   I had long since left the area when the demolition took place and was unaware of it. My father took the pictures and secured for me a piece of a brick! If we get to the stage of setting up a museum, I should be glad to donate it! (The cost of air freight from NZ may be interesting though.)

 

 

 Paul Winter (JRGS 1959-62) signs in as our second Alumnus school master...

I just chanced upon the Ruskin web site after browsing www.FriendsReunited.com, and discovered a blank space with my name on it in the staff section!
   I went to Ruskin between 1959 and 62, and then taught English and History (Junior Arts Post) for two short terms in 1966 before leaving for an Economics post at Shene Grammar School.
   My appointment was slightly dodgy - "What are you doing now, Winter?" "Changing jobs," says I (not quite the truth - I had just been sacked for going to a job interview).
   "Ever thought of teaching?" "No" says I. "Well have a go!"
   "What about the interview?" "I'll fix that!" And so he did!
   I could go on, but had better not.
   Might have the Unofficial Prefect's Photo somewhere for 1962 - all posed quite formally - in blazers, but no trousers.
   I am still in contact with school friends from the 1960s, particularly Paul Gurney who lives nearby, but also Trevor Lowe & Murray Lowe.

Paul Winter, April 2003 Email

 

 Maurice Lees (JRGS 1964-71) recalls the U-Stream and Mr. Rees...

[See below for a fascinating image that Maurice supplied of Windmill House, Upper Shirley Road - ML.]

I was at JRGS from September 1964 until the end of January 1971. I appear in the 1964 and 1967 school photos, but not the 1970 one - I wasn't there very much in the last term, preferring to work at home or in Crystal Palace library.

   The only benefit I gained from the U-Stream was the chance to add another A-Level in a hurry, and then work for eight months before going to college.

   My memories of JRGS are a bit like the curate's egg. The Sixth Form was marvelous, as was the 15 Society. My fondest memories are of Mr. Murray and Dr. James. The period up to O-Level, however, was pretty grim. The nadir was having Mr. Rees as my form master in 5U and O-Levels as well - what a combination.

   Like Roger Hall, I currently work for BT's Computing Department, based in Croydon.

Maurice Lees, April 2003 Email

 

 Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) has been foraging on the bbc.co.uk website...

And now for something a little different... having become addicted to streaming audio from the BBC Radio internet site - spending my mornings here in California enjoying such delights as "The Afternoon Play" and "PM" - I have been looking at other areas of the BBC Radio website.

   Recently, I came across a section dedicated to "Radio Fun," a favorite comic of the Thirties, Forties and Fifties. I thought I'd share some of the images. IPC Media. All rights reserved. >>more
   Bob Monkhouse, presenter of a recent three-part BBC Radio series celebrating the children's comic, recalls his youthful epiphany: "I was 10 years old, devoted to the funny folk of the wireless, and still remember the thrill I felt when I walked into a Beckenham corner shop to spend my pocket money on a sherbet fountain and saw the very first issue of 'Radio Fun' on the rack. No contest - so long sherbet fountain - my tuppence seemed committed forever."

Click here to download a larger image Click here to download a larger image Click here to download a larger image Click here to download a larger image Click here to download a larger image Click here to download a larger image Click here to download a larger image
1940 Annual 1945 Annual 1946 Annual 1947 Annual 1951 Annual 1953 Annual 1957 Annual

Mel Lambert, April 2003 Email

 

 Nick Goy (JRGS 1963-70) recalls bulb planting and nature study lessons...

What a truly amazing website. It's just like being back at the old school; sad that it's gone.
   Next time I'm up in our loft I'll have a look and see if there's anything that the site hasn't got yet - we kept some things, but you know how it is. I remember packing the school magazines into "Xerox" boxes when I left London in 1981, and bringing then to Cambridge. They were still there in 1989 when the builders modified the roof space. Unfortunately, small boxes and other easily stackable stuff went in first after the re-build - so we have to move absolutely everything to get them.
   For our own son, we've had to pay to get the education that JRGS gave us for free. Somehow, desks that face the front with a proper teacher seemed to be a better idea than the modern round-table group activity where everyone gets an "I competed bravely" badge. Real World just isn't like that - best learn that early, I think.
   My mum believes that she has some transparencies of the famous Autumn "bulb planting" sessions that Mr. "Joe" Lowe used to frighten first formers, and their parents, into doing in October. If we find them, they will be from October 1963. My memory is that that they were taken around The Mill and Rear Quad.
   The thought also brings back the memory of Joe's Nature Study Lessons for the First Form - just before games, after lunch, on a Monday afternoon. Will any JRGS pupil forget "Ode to Autumn" and "Seasons of mist and mellow fruitfulness?"
   It's a shame that Mr. "Rhino" Rees is no more. I was appalling at Latin - the only exam that I have ever scored zero in! Not even one mark for getting my name right. Why is it a shame (apart from the obvious reason)? Because I'm now married to Hilary, a Latin and Greek teacher - and she would have been able to give him a good run for his money!
   But it is a small world. My wife and I were looking on the site the other night at the photographs of all past Masters at JRGS. Surprisingly, Hilary recognised Anthony Crowe - his wife had worked at the school where she now teaches in Cambridge! I didn't know Mr. Crowe at JRGS - he left in the year that I joined.
   Thanks for maintaining the memory.

Nick Goy, April 2003 Email

 

 Dudley Wolf (JRGS 1943-47) has unearthed an early sketch from Shirley...

Click here to download a larger imageHaving alerted Dudley to a feature of page 8 on the March 1948 school magazine that mentioned his mural at the original Scarbrook Road site, he replied:

Click here to download a larger imageI didn't realise how famous I was at the time! I believe that I had left to join the Art School before that magazine was issued - otherwise I would have had the cutting framed and preserved for all time! A little puff from the past!

   Another snippet: I believe that on the site of the "new" school before it was built there stood a large derelict house with a sort of tower. We hooligans used to clamber all over that house at all hours of day and night after a glass or two of cider at "The Surprise."

   I did make a water colour sketch of the house, which I enclose. Click on the image left to download a larger version.

   I have no idea if the house had a name, or whether any of it was renovated. I have never visited the JRGS site there since it was built, and didn't take any interest in the development of the new school. It may jog someone's memory. Maybe there is some other trespasser of yesteryear who trod those echoing and deserted rooms? The tower is behind the chimney.
   Looking at the Shirley Road site plan prepared in September 1951, I notice a reference to "Windmill House" - maybe this was the building I sketched? Click on the image right to download a close-up section of the plan.

Dudley Wolff, April 2003 Email

Mike Marsh (JRGS 1949-55), who took the delightful images of the new Shirley Road School during construction in 1954/55, responds: As far as Windmill House is concerned, Im afraid I have no knowledge at all of this or the local area at that time. I lived a few miles north of the new school, still in Shirley but actually Monks Orchard.

   My stamping grounds did not include Upper Shirley until I joined the Shirley Scouts (29th Croydon) and then that was only really included the occasional foray out to Shirley Hills, plus a camp site at Addington and such like. It was not until I started seriously "girling" with girls from Shirley itself, as distinct from some earlier exploits with those from Monks Orchard, that I needed to find woods, nooks, dark lanes and quiet places etc. etc. that I opened out the exploration of the area.

   The woods south of Shirley Church come to mind as do those around Corkscrew Hill and other places I cannot really remember, apart from Shirley Hills, of course. But as these activities did not really develop until about 1954 or so, I guess that Windmill House had already been demolished by then. So Im afraid that I am about as useful as a chocolate teapot for this query!
   I have just rung an old friend who lived in Shirley all his life and certainly until well after I left, but unfortunately he knew nothing about any old house at that location either - the pubs we do remember and the old post office (this is in what is known as Old Shirley, just above the school by Oaks Road) - so no help there Im afraid. He did say that he thought he had a book belonging to his mother on the History of Old Shirley, but as he is preparing to move to his retirement home in Suffolk in a few months time it is all packed up and unlikely to be unpacked for a few months at least. So that was no help either.

Click here to download a larger imageClick here to download a larger imageFrank S. Feates (JRGS 1943-49) responds: I also remember playing in a derelict house immediately after the war in 1945, and which preceded the school. I have consulted historic maps. The attached copy from 1872 seems to show the large house as "The Ferns" - immediately opposite a brewery! The small buildings immediately in front of The Mill, presumably, were the miller's home and materials stores. They have the correct type of disposition.
   Click on the image left to download a close-up section of the 1872 map. >>Larger image.
   There was also a hotel shown next to the brewery - is it called The Sandryek? [More likely "Sandrock Hotel" - ML.] And above right is the modern Ordinance Survey map of the same area, which may be helpful. Grid reference of the house is 535585 164998.

Click here to download a larger imageClick here to download a larger imageMel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) adds: A fascinating book entitled "Croydon in the 1940s and 1950s," published by the Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society (ISBN:0-906047-09-9), contains on page 24 a map of locations where V1 Flying Bombs ("Doodlebugs") fell in Croydon.
   The map shown left illustrates where three V1s are reported to have fallen on Shirley Golf Links, close to the JRGS Shirley Road site, while right I have overlaid as best I can this centre section onto the 1872 map shown above.
   According  to the book I reference above, "[Doodlebugs] usually created only a small crater but did an immense amount of blast damage over a radius of about 400 yards [350 meters]."
   Maybe one of these V1s caused wartime damage to The Ferns and possibly The Mill?

Maurice Lees (JRGS 1964-71) adds: "Croydon in Old Photographs," by Stuart Bligh (ISDN 0-7509-0739-8) contains the attached photo of Windmill House. Click on the image left to download a larger version.
  The caption reads: "Windmill house, Upper Shirley Road, looking down from Shirley Mill, circa 1925. The house was demolished in 1951 and John Ruskin School occupied the site until 1991 when it too was demolished and replaced by a residential development."
   I have found another version of the Windmill House photo in a "Croydon Advertiser" book entitled "Croydon Between the Wars." It is a slightly differently cropped version of the same photo, so I don't think it adds any value, but the caption says this:
   "Seen from the Shirley windmill, the house was built in 1876 as 'The Firs.' Later renamed 'Heath Court,' it became Windmill House in 1912. The house stood empty for some years before it was demolished in 1954 so that the grounds could be added to those needed for the new John Ruskin school."

Mel Lambert offers: This view is looking south across what became the JRGS Mill Pitch leading to the bottom gate and hence to Oaks Road and the Sports Ground; the staff car park would be added to the left.

Derek Charlwood (JRGS 1958-64) adds: Regarding the Windmill House and Sandrock Hotel, I don't remember the house, but The Sandrock had a snack bar at one end, with its own entrance straight off the street. I think that boys were not allowed to use it, but for a while my mother worked there, and I had to call in on my way home to Monks Hill.
   I used to dread being caught going in and out, imagining all sorts of trouble if I was caught. This must have been in my early days at school, because later it wouldn't have mattered.

Dudley Wolf ties a bow on the project: Bingo! That's the place - complete with the tower. That beautiful lawn had certainly turned into wild shrubs and overgrown trees by the time of our "visits." Fascinating outcome. Anyone know who had lived there? Maybe they were "bombed out" by the doodlebugs, if the map is to be believed.
   I'm convinced that the Croydon Doodlebug map was not exactly scientific. I lived through the V1 Era, with much of my spare time spent helping my dad in his caf, "Everybody's," in Shirley Road, but I don't recall any news of three of the monsters landing in that area. I would be surprised if The Mill had been left standing with those things exploding within a couple of hundred yards.
   I can still hear the unmistakable engine noise they made, and the pregnant silence when the motor stopped - until the explosion. Strange how these links stir the memory.
   Watching doodlebugs was the best way of knowing which way to run! I recall the look on my father's face when we saw one land in the general direction of our home in Woodside, about a mile from the caf. He jumped into the car (or was it a motor bike by then?) and sped off in the direction of the ugly black cloud rising above the horizon. Of course, we were all relieved when he came back with the news that it had not been "our turn."
   By the time of the V2 [rockets], everyone had become resigned to the fact that these things could land anywhere at any time, and we carried on our lives. I can just remember hearing V2 booms during lessons at JRGS. V2s you certainly couldn't watch!

 

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