JRGS News Archive Page 05
JRGS Alumni Society

Archived News/Activities

- Page 05 - March 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.


 Neil Henderson (JRGS 1964-71) recalls an April Fools Joke and "Dear Parents" letter...

Here is a scanned copy of my newspaper cuttings from "The Times" of 1st April, 1971, when a group of us in the Upper VI chipped in to place a couple of ads, one in the property columns to advertise the windmill for sale with staff and a grounds man (i.e. Perce, the caretaker!), giving the school's 'phone number. And a second ad in the personal columns wishing all the staff a happy April Fools Day.

   With those clippings is the one from an issue of "The Croydon Advertiser" published a few days later padding out the story.

   Click on the individual images to download a larger version of the montage, and close ups of the relevant sections.
   By the way, the images were scanned by Helen Shad bolt and emailed by Paul Graham.

 Shown left is a scan of the "Dear Parents" letter that Mr. Lowe sent to the parents of new boys in May 1964, the year that I joined JRGS.
   Again, these images were scanned by Helen Shad bolt and emailed by Paul Graham. Click on each images to download a larger version of the page.

Neil Henderson, March 2003 email


 Colin Taylor (JRGS 1959-64) recalls the late Ian Green (JRGS 1959-63)...

Please note that Ian ("Iggy") Green died in the 1982. I found this out when, in 1988, I was organising a reunion based on the JRGS Football XI photo shown at the foot of the 5U page. I was ringing round everyone and tracked down Ian's mum. When I asked her how I could contact Ian, she told me about his death. He left a wife and child.
   Apparently, Ian got an infection in the tissue surrounding his heart - I don't think they determined the source of the infection - just one of those rare things. I think his family lived on the housing estate that bordered onto the junction on Purley Way by The Propeller pub.

   I remember Ian as a nice guy who was good at sports. Fourteen of us attended the reunion and a good time was had by all. I didn't manage to catch up with everyone in the photo, and some extras joined us at the bash.

   The JRGS Football XI photo was taken, if I remember correctly, by Sid Bishop, who assisted in running soccer and cricket matches against other schools. Many of us travelled many miles in Sid's car to and from matches, etc.

   Sid had no formal connection with JRGS; he was a grounds man at Mitcham Common and just loved helping out. Sadly, Sid died many years ago but I am sure many ex-pupils will remember his generosity and transport. I still have a treasured copy of the photo. I remember Sid had a Hillman Californian in two-tone green, I think, before he got the Consul 375 in light cream.

The new photograph shown here dates from August 1963. I think that a couple of the guys were only in the photo because two regulars were away that day. I think it was taken at the Westminster Bank sports ground in Norbury which, I understand, is now a housing estate. Click on the image left to download a larger version.

   Can anybody name the boys in the photograph? I know the names of all but two.

Colin Taylor, March 2003 email

Cliff Cummins (JRGS 1956-62) responds: I remember most of the cricket team, because I used to umpire quite often after I left JRGS. I had an old blue Austin A50, which I used to transport some of the cricket team around.

   I was sorry to hear about Ian Green, although I didn't know him very well. Also sorry to hear about Sid Bishop too; he was a very generous man with his time.
   I expect the names I cannot place are the same names that Colin cannot remember, but I will list them anyway: Back row (left-to-right): John Melton, UNKNOWN, Rodger Holcombe, Derek Powis, Peter Baron, Barry Tyler. Front row: Colin Taylor, Martin Loveday, Brian Dyer, Ian Green, Steve Kember, UNKNOWN.

   I hope this helps.

Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-65) adds: I was very sorry indeed to hear about Ian Green's sad early death. Even after all this time, I can still remember him as a really nice all-round guy. He would have enjoyed this JRGS website and chatting with old friends.
   Sorry that I can't add any more names to the faces in the cricket team photo other than the ones that Cliff Cummins has supplied. Do you have any contact with Peter Baron or Martin Loveday from that group? We would love to hear from them.

Terry Weight (JRGS 1959-65) adds: Thanks for the news about Ian Green. He and I were very good friends - I went to his house many times; sad that he died so young. Why did we all let our contacts that were so frequent for six years die so quickly once we left school?
   Shame you missed me for the 1988 reunion - it would have been good. Did you get Charley or Pete Baron there? Do you still have contacts? They were two other people, with Brian Dyer, that I was close to.
   I feel very concerned - why wasn't I in that photo? I played many times with that group.

Derek Charlwood (JRGS 1958-64) comments: The cricketer bottom right reminds me of a boy called Peachey - first name unknown - but I may be completely wrong.

Ian Macdonald (JRGS 1958-65) adds : Peachey's first name was Richard, and his middle initial J.

Bob White (JRGS 1959-65) add: The cricketer pictured lower-right is me!

SOLVING THE MYSTERY: Back row: John Melton, Robin Lawrence, Rodger Holcombe, Derek Powis, Peter Baron and Barry Tyler. Front row: Colin Taylor, Martin Loveday, Brian Dyer, Ian Green, Steve Kember and Bob White.


 Frank S. Feates (JRGS 1943-49) has unearthed a post-war staff list...

I find the Alumni website fascinating, and it brings back many happy memories.
   People have been asking about missing copies of the school magazine. I have the "remains" of Series III magazines 3, 4 and 5 ( March and October 1948, plus April 1949). I may be able to arrange for them to be copied if that would be of interest. I would like to see the copy for late 1949, which probably had my School Certificate results in it. I notice it is not at present in the current compilation.
   Does anybody have any information on teacher Mr. Manning, who does not seem to appear at all on the compilations?
   I joined JR in September 1943, but was evacuated to Poole in mid 1944 when my father was moved to Southampton because of D-Day and its aftermath. I returned to John Ruskin in May 1945, a week before the exams, and think I created a record with my low marks. As a result I had to fill my gaps in 1945-46 by being kept down a year and losing contact with all my old friends. I eventually caught up and obtained my "Matric" in 1949, when I left school despite Mr. Lowe's attempts to persuade my parents to let me stay on.
   With help from Mr. Whellock I obtained a lab assistant job at Burroughs Wellcome at £2-10s a week! Eventually I obtained a degree and PhD at evening classes and went to Harwell for 22 years. This was followed by a desk job in the Department of the Environment for the next 13 years, until retirement in 1991. I then became Professor of Environmental Technology at UMIST for a few years, but am now fully retired.

   I attach a copy of the staff list for 1947, which covered most of those who taught me. I lifted it from the magazine on the website, but have copied it since it includes a number of names not in the listing. Click on the image left to download a larger version.
   Regarding old masters, I remember Mr. "Percy" Pearman well; also Mr. "Puncher" Pierce. We had wonderful names for the teachers. Mr. "Stinker" Cresswell I recall - I have no idea how he got that moniker: totally undeserved I am sure. At a school concert one of the teachers - possible Mr. Lowe - made up a poem bringing all the teachers' names into it. When he arrived at Mr. Cresswell, he referred to "that great stinker - sorry I meant that great thinker!" That will go with me to the grave.
   I guess school was a happy place - I never had any doubt about it myself.

Frank S. Feates, March 2003 email


 David Wheeler (JRGS 1945-53) has unearthed another fascinating image...

I came across this old school photograph while sorting through some forgotten papers. It is of the all-junior school play from 1947, entitled "St. George and the Dragon," and based on the old Christmas mumming play. The cast was drawn from a mixed third and fourth year class. Click on the image left to download a larger version.

   From left to right: playing the role of the Doctor is David Benson; Father Christmas is Robert Jones; St. George is David Wheeler; The King of Egypt is Ivor Matcham; his daughter, Nylon, is John Benstead; The Dragon is Yours Truly; the Turkish Knight is Richard Wright; while the Jester is Harold Bailey.

   A review of the play appears on page 6 of the March 1948 School Magazine.

David Wheeler, February 2002 email


 Norman Day and Mike Marsh offer some thoughts about gym teachers...

Reviewing the recent email exchanges about masters, Norman Day offered that the majority of JRGS games masters tended to be disliked.

   "I suppose mainly due to the discipline that was demanded to actually get goal-huggers like me animated. After all, Mr. 'Smut'  Smith was much feared in the games arena, but was an excellent form and maths teacher - perhaps the best I had, certainly the most memorable."

Regards, Norman Day

Mike Marsh (JRGS 1949-55) responds: In response to Norman Day’s comments, I would say that Mr. Smith, alias "Smut," was very tough, often rough maybe, but certainly, in retrospect, for those of us who have subsequently been in the forces at least, he was recognised as what I always believed he had been, which was a Naval PTI.

   Anyone who has been through the Forces training programme developed what might be described as a love/hate relationship with the PTIs and the DIs - for those not having been privileged to have been in the Services, that is a Physical Training Instructor or a Drill Instructor. Whilst they were bawling you out or otherwise shouting you down and calling you all the names under the sun, at the same time making you do all manner of unimaginable physical things, you absolutely hated them. But when it was all over and you went out with them down to the pub or the NAAFI at the end of a course, they were the best chaps on the planet and you absolutely loved them - great blokes, the salt of the earth. I think that this was how "Smut" came over.
   I remember one occasion at school when we were waiting for a PE lesson, having already got changed in what was the cloakroom at Tamworth Road. We were, let’s say, less than quiet before he arrived. When he did so he just leaned on the jamb of the door and said, quite quietly, “Get changed”. No more, no less. So we did. When we were back in school uniform, in silence of course, he said again. “Get changed”. We did so. This happened several times until the lesson was over. But we were rather more circumspect at the next PE lesson. Did we revere him for this or loathe him? At the time we almost certainly feared and loathed him, but in retrospect I believe we probably thought the more of him and how come I remember the incident to this day?

   I have no knowledge at all of Mr. Smith’s educational qualifications (except that I never saw him wearing a gown and always assumed from this that he did not have a degree) but it must be remembered that, at the end of the war, a great many men came out of the services having done a great job in the main in whatever field they were employed, to keep this country as we would like it to be and then having to find a niche for themselves on their return to civvy street. For many this would have been either a return to, or a start in, the teaching profession, often utilising the skills and trades learned in the Services.

   I know that the PTIs in my service days were very fit men themselves who trained us to become fit and disciplined members of the Force. I remember also one occasion when I was home on leave towards the end of our basic training period, which is where these guys worked upon us, and walking along the road feeling so fit, upright and great, that it was really noticeable. At no time before or since, have I ever felt so fit and well. This was due almost entirely to the work of the PTIs and DIs at RAF Bridgnorth.

   Do the members today truly remember Mr. Smith as an ogre... or a strict teacher? Do we in retrospect truly think of him kindly or otherwise? I know that I was usually, during my time in school, in some fear and trepidation at the very thought of his lessons, but now I think of him rather differently and have done so for many a year. One of the more memorable teachers at JRGS, I think.

Mike Marsh, Sudbury, Suffolk, March 2003 email


 Roger Hall (JRGS 1959-64) recalls Latin lessons from the mid-Sixties...

I have been spending more happy moments browsing the site and came across Derek Smith's memories of learning Latin with Mr. "Beaky" Cornwall. And what memories they are. I think I recall Derek sometimes asking "Beaky" to spell a word as Derek recorded his sayings and, just occasionally, "Beaky" would start to do so
before he realised what he was doing.

   And remembering that Annex and the Friday afternoon lessons, can you recall the exquisite enjoyment we got out of winding him up when we had to translate "And the maidens beat their naked breasts with their hands..." after Persephone or someone was carried off to the underworld?

   Actually I have a lot of sympathy for "Beaky." When he started, he used to try to present Latin in an interesting way, reading us extracts from books about the Romans and trying to be nice. But we weren't, were we? I guess it
went badly for him when we had lessons in the room above Mr. "Joe" Lowe's office and "Joe" used to come up and complain when we were very noisy.

   I got 2% at my Latin O-Level mock. I got my name right but the date wrong, and no marks at all for the timetable of the 130 buses that passed as I gazed out of the window during the exam.
   Nothing but a bunch of buffoons weren't we? Now where have I heard that description before?

Roger Hall, Caerphilly March 2003 email


 Neville Graham, a teacher at JRGS during the Sixties, brings us up to date...

Neville Graham has been exchanging emails with Roger Adcock (JRGS 1963-68), about his days at the school - in particular while serving as form master for 1967/68's famed 5G, of which Roger was a proud member. Neville retired 12 years ago after 20 years of teaching in New Zealand.
  The image upper-left captures Neville with the JRGS Lacrosse Team, while lower-left is an image taken in The Antipodes with his wife Pat. (Click on either image to view a larger version.)
   With Neville's and Roger's mutual permission, we reproduce here extracts from these email messages:

Message #1:

Hi Roger. What a surprise to hear from you after all these years! I had a call from the old school (Linwood High, now Linwood College), but was not at all sure of the nature of your query!

   Digging deep into the memory bank, I did of course remember you immediately: dark hair, strongly built lad, energetic and keen - how's that for a good report?
   I was very, very disappointed when I heard of the demise of the old school. I went back to Croydon some years ago, for a reunion of the Schools' FA, which was great, but other than that I'm afraid I have lost touch. I taught PE for a further 20 years here in ChCh [Christchurch, New Zealand] and retired some 12 years ago.

   C. E. Smith and I send each other a note at Christmas - he complains about the standard of soccer in UK and I complain about the lack of progress here! Tony Hasler has also kept in touch but, sadly, so many of the old staff have passed on.
   I am keen to know how I can help, so please drop me an email. I thought at the time the school closed that someone should attempt a history, so I hope you may be enquiring along these lines.

Message #2:

Hi Roger. Many thanks for the emails. Yes indeed, the web sites are very good. Quite an emotional experience after all this time! I had a browse this afternoon. I'm afraid that 33 years in NZ has dulled the memory somewhat, but it was great to see the progress that has been made in recording the history of the school.
The Internet seems to be an ideal medium for such a project. With pictures and accounts, the faces came flooding back!

   I doubt if my story will be of much interest, but in case any of the old 5G are curious, herewith a summary of my family's happenings after emigrating.

   In July 1969 my wife Pat and our two sons embarked on the RMS "Aranda", Shaw Saville Line, for the six-week cruise to Auckland - stopping off at Las Palmas, Cape Town, Durban, Fremantle and Melbourne. The total cost of our trip was £10 which, I am ashamed to say, I have still not paid.
   As for why we left, I suppose we saw it as an adventure. We wanted to see more of the world and that didn't seem very likely from our semi detached house in Selsdon. Pat was already much travelled, her father being in the RAF.
   A job was waiting for me when I arrived in Christchurch, as HOD P.E. at Linwood High School, a mixed school of some thousand pupils. I spent 20 very happy years there before retiring in 1989. My job at Linwood was remarkably similar to that at Ruskin. I took on coaching the school 1st X1 as well as the Rangers Club team in the NZ Premier League. I served a few years on the Executive Committee of the NZ Schools FA, and became Chairman of the Christchurch Sec Schools FA.
   After retiring, Pat and I moved some 400 kms north, to a small village near Nelson, on the North coast of the South Island. We had a beautiful house by the sea (most houses in our street had a boat moored outside). We spent four very pleasant years there, me honing my inadequate skills in fly-fishing on the Motueka River, while Pat set up a home craft business to supplement my pension. However, we missed our friends in ChCh and the attractions of a modern (for NZ!) city, so we returned here.
   Our two sons are "dyed in the wool" Kiwis, but in fact have been in Australia for some years now and we visit them regularly. They have both done extremely well and are holding managerial positions in Perth, Western Australia. We shall be visiting them in July and I may come on to UK myself to see my family in Durham.
Strangely, I can't find any suitable school soccer photos, (Michael Noakes would never forgive me!), but I attach one of the Lacrosse team circa 1968.

   Sadly, I can only remember the names of Paul (?) Jeseph, Geoff Cattle - Harper and goalkeeper - Frith and Chris (?) Winter, who, many years later, I bumped into on the ski slopes near here at Mount Hutt! But they were a wonderful Lacrosse team, learning a new game and were a great credit to the school.
   Those who don't recognise me now, I plead the terrible effects of the harsh NZ sun. Many thanks again for making contact and I hope we can keep in touch.
   Kind regards.

Neville Graham, Christchurch, New Zealand, March 2003

Derek Benson (JRGS 1962-67) can identify several of the Lacrosse Team shown the above pictured (left-to-right):

Standing: Nigel Tams, UNKNOWN , John (Bugs) Brooks, UNKNOWN, Pete Jessop, Geoff Cattle, Derek Benson,
Seated: Ray Harper, Mick Rodgers, UNKNOWN , Graham Fridd, UNKNOWN

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