JRGS News Archive Page 02
JRGS Alumni Society

Archived News/Activities

- Page 02 - April thru Aug 2002 -

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.


 H. A. "Peter" Otway (JRGS 1938-42) recalls wartime John Ruskin School...

The school was, of course, in Tamworth Road and the school playing field at the bottom of Duppas Hill, which is now being built upon. The boys were grouped into four houses: Alpha [red house colors], Beta [blue], Gamma [green] and Delta [yellow]. School time - very rigid - was 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.
  Of course, during the war the school was closed down for well over a year, the boys being evacuated to the coast - Shoreham by Sea for me. Education was totally disrupted. I came back home to Shirley after three months, and stayed there until the end of the war.
  As far as I can recall, the School was closed at the end of 1939 and the boys evacuated. Some schooling was given at Shoreham, I believe, but as I elected to go back to Croydon it was a year before Ruskin re-opened. This was because the Government at last realised that Shoreham was not a very good place to put children, in the face of possible invasion across the channel.
  At first the bombing in daylight was very disruptive to school work. But when it went to night bombing this was hardly disruptive at all - if you were still alive!  Generally, the teachers at that time were over age for joining the forces, although one or two did so.
  The science master, whose name I forget, was also an officer in the air cadets. I recall in the early 1940s he suggested that if they split the atom it would make a hole the size of Surrey. The implications, of course, meant nothing until a couple of years later. My form master was a Mr. Barber, who was also the English Teacher.
  John Ruskin was a very good school as far as education was concerned but, of course, only took you to the General School Certificate. And with the war on, all boys were keen to join up as soon as they could. We used to go out in the lunch times to Surrey Street market and collect cigarette cards. (It is a pity that we did not keep them until now.)

General School Certificate
As far as I can tell, the General School Certificate was virtually the same as the subsequent GCSE. You took separate papers in various subjects, with a minimum of five.
  I took the Oxford Local Examinations School Certificate in July 1942. Strangely, I still have my some of the original examination papers and my own written class books for Form 6. Below are copies of the Physics and Geometry exam papers, and a page from my maths notebook.

 Click on any thumbnail to view a larger version. And here to view a continuous PDF document.

Physics p1
Physics page 1

Physics p2
Physics page 2

Physics p3
Physics page 3

Physics p4
Physics page 4

Geometry p1
Geometry p 1

Geometry p2
Geometry p2

Maths notebook
Maths Notebook


 Mike Marsh (JRGS 1949-55) shares log tables & Mock GCE Maths exam from 1955...
Log tables
Log Tables
Maths 01
Mock GCE pg.1
Maths 02
Mock GCE pg.2
Maths 03
Mock GCE pg.3
Maths 04
Mock GCE pg.4
Maths 05
Mock GCE pg.5
Maths 06
Mock GCE pg.6
Maths 07
Mock GCE pg.7
Maths 08
Mock GCE pg.8
Maths 02
Mock GCE pg.9

Mike writes: While I don't have any notebooks, I do have my set of Godfey and Siddons' "Four-Figure Tables" from IIB, which I entered in 1950. The cover and some of the other pages are covered in crib maths formulae that were in common use in school at the time.
  Since the book was new, I guess that adding graffiti to the cover was frowned upon at that stage. It says 3G on the outside - 3G's form master was Mr. Griffiths; IIB was Mr. Brooks.
  I have also scanned a Mock GCE Maths exam that I sat in March 1955. (I achieved 94%!) As can be seen, the paper is getting a bit fragile. Marking of the paper was by Mr. R N Alexander, my form master in VA. He must have left just afterwards because he was gone by the end of Easter Term 1955.
 Click on any thumbnail to view a larger version. And here to view the Mock-GCE exams as a PDF document.


 Cliff Cummins (JRGS 1956-62) discovers school reports from 1958/59/60...

School report cover

 Summer 1958
Summer 1958

 Easter Report 1959
Easter 1959

 Easter 1960
Easter 1960

Cliff writes: I have scanned the cover of my School Report, plus pages from the Summer Term 1958, Easter 1959 and Easter 1960. As you can see, I didn't fare too well in RI, and not all the teacher comments are favourable, of course.
  My report contains the signatures of J C Lowe, R A Lawes, R M Stock, L R Howden, D R Green and D E Thomas and the initials of H J Clark, C W Peacock, D May, D J Peasey, D Dobson, Mr. Probert, V J Gee, J N Hancock, M W Nunn, W Cracknell, E S Powe, A J Murray, G Richardson, M J Saxby, Mr. Tatham, A J Hasler, A C Field, D G Larman, B W Cook, K Maggs, J N Rhodes, A F Davey, A J Crowe.
Mr. Tatham, the Maths teacher whose initials appear on the Easter 1960 report, was only at JRGS for six months.
 Click on any image to download a larger version.


 Cross Country in early Sixties, scanned by Cliff Cummins (JRGS 1956-62)...

Cross counttry

Cliff writes: Pictured here is myself (right in Beta House shirt) and Bob Hoffman, who was younger than me and a contemporary of John Rivers, after a cross-country practice run. (Incidentally, Bob Hoffman played "Mole" in Toad of Toad Hall.)
The photo was taken on the Mill Pitch outside the Woodwork Room by Syd Bishop, school cricket coach, circa 1960.

 I was at JRGS from 1956 to 1962 in classes 1L (Mr. Lawes), 2S (Mr. Stock) then 2H (Mr. Howden) - change of staff - 3G, 4G and 5G (Mr. Green) plus a further year in the fifth in 5T (Mr. Thomas).
Click on the image to download a larger version.


 JRGS Football XI from early Sixties, scanned by Cliff Cummins (JRGS 1956-62)...

JRGS fotball XI

Cliff writes: Pictured here is the School Football XI, about 1961/62.

Back row: Colin Taylor, Ian Green, Terry Weight, Derek Powis. Francis Harrison, Martin Loveday, Ray Brett.
Front row: Barry Tyler, Steve Kember, Chris Ralph, Tony Charles, Clive Poole, Peter Baron.

Thanks to Terry Weight and John Byford for filling in some of the names. Also: Brian Dyer is missing from the photo.

Click on the image to download a larger version.


 Your Webmaster reports on  a JRGS Alumni Meeting in Richmond, Surrey

JRGS Alumni 0502

Two ex-JRGS pupils met on May 17, 2002, at the
Lass o' Richmond Hill pub.

Left to right: Paul Graham and Mel Lambert.

Click on the image to download a larger version.

Photo: Merelyn Davis


 Your Webmaster reveals background to JRGS masters photograph from 1954...
JRGS Staff prhoto 1954 Mel Lambert writes: Poking around the JRGS Alumni web site - and for those of us with that sort of mind, the contents now occupy close to 200 Mbytes - I was reflecting on what I considered to be my favourite image. While the school photos of our era are certainly evocative, the one included left of the masters sitting in the sunshine outside their new location is, to my mind, truly wonderful.
  Unlike the stern visages we glimpse in the official offerings, here we see 20 or so teachers caught in an informal setting amongst the last of the construction rubble that was to be the new Shirley Road location. Can you imagine the excitement of a brand new school in the rolling hills of Shirley away from the town centre? The promise of new facilities - Mr. Hancock's prized (and much protected) school organ - and the sports grounds? With so many willing smiles evident in this shot, you can just tell that here are two dozen men who enjoyed what they did for a living. Or was it a vocation?
  Thanks once again to Mike Marsh for sharing with us all such a unique and treasured image.

Mike Marsh replies: Thank you for those few kind words; nice to know that those of you younger than my era do appreciate what we had and went through, and what you might call "earlier experiences". They were all unique to us at the time and it is only when one comes to compare notes with those who came along later to see and hear what the differences and similarities were.
  As far as that particular picture is concerned, yes, I can go along with what your interpretations of it were because I did actually find myself in a similar situation in 1972 only 17 years after the picture was taken. I had been teaching at that time for 11 years and moved into a brand new school - although to me the feelings of togetherness that I believe existed in Ruskin school in 1955 were not exactly replicated in 1972. Nevertheless, there were feelings of anticipation and expectation amongst us, as well as trepidation.
  The circumstances were somewhat different for us in that, as far as John Ruskin School was concerned, it was a grammar school and, at least ostensibly, the students were of a, let us say, higher IQ level. (After all, that was how we were selected to go there!) In my situation in 1972, the new school was an amalgam of the Secondary School boys, the Grammar School boys and the High School girls. Never previously had the "differences" met for many of us. Furthermore, many of the grammar school teachers had never taught either girls or less able students; the secondary teachers had not taught the more able (or girls); and the high school teachers had not taught boys. These were days when movement of staff was not as prolific as today - one could often "get on" without moving schools. Oh, and there were no younger students; that year we started with year 4 and upwards.
  At least when John Ruskin School relocated the student body moved en-bloc; it was not even the end of the year but Christmas, so there were no new students starting in Year 1. Also, apart from maybe one or two, all the staff moved too. I know that Mr. Alexander left at Easter after just one more term, but I cannot remember anyone going at Christmas and there is no references in the magazines.
  As a result, there was a fairly relaxed atmosphere in the school, once we found where everything was and the teachers had located all their stock and apparatus, our exercise and text books, etc.
 I remember well that I was in a somewhat unique situation. As I may have explained before, I was undergoing my second year in year 5. And, not being particularly academic, was not being over stretched lesson-wise, often finding myself with what today would be termed free periods. Therefore, once the new woodwork teacher was appointed, I spent some time with him re-creating the woodwork shop. (This was to be my career before many more years were out.)
  At that time I was also considered to be the school photographer, being well into taking many photographs myself as well as processing both my own and for other people. I was often given extra rein to go here and there to take records of events as the new building was being created or, later, finished off. Hence the pictures I have already submitted. My pictures were often taken as archival, or for the magazines or perhaps just to keep me out of mischief!
  Who knows, it is always considered a good maxim educationally, probably even back in those days when education was a more austere life, that if a student was not an academic shiner, he could be encouraged to perform well at what he did show some aptitude for, especially if it were not in examinations!
  The particular picture of the staff to which you refer was taken, I believe, in the summer term [1954], possibly after exam time when things were a bit more relaxed. Mr. Lowe had requested that I take a staff photo for posterity, and this is it. Whether it passed subsequently into the annals of John Ruskin history I have no idea. I have certainly never come across it again. As it happened, not all the staff were there. They were either elsewhere: maybe on duty or had just forgotten to come along for the occasion. I cannot name the omissions but I think I have submitted a full list of those who are in the picture elsewhere.
  To me, it was a happy school, certainly in retrospect, despite the trouble I seem to have often found myself in. Maybe recollections have become clouded over the years or maybe the rosy specs have slipped down over my eyes. Although I can remember some of the troublesome times, overall I remember best the happier times and like to think that-wise. I did not achieve great heights at school (or even subsequently) but I relish what I did achieve, even in later years being able to provide a photograph that has elicited generous comments from those that came after me into a school that was far different to that which I had left back in 1955.


 Kent Sadler (JRGS 1969-76) reports on AGM of "Friends of Shirley Windmill"...

He writes: The AGM of the "Friends of Shirley Windmill" was held on Monday, 29 April, at Whitgift Trinity, Shirley Road. The usual die-hards attended (about 26 in total - four of us being ex-pupils from the 50s, 60s and 70s) to be presented with a summary of the last year, the financial statements (net income up to 1,538) and an update of the forthcoming year. Sadly, the guest speaker from the heritage group of Croydon was unable to attend.
  The committee was re-elected, the only additional name put forward for the position of chair not turning up and being turned down on a vote of 26:0.
  It was noted that the Friends are going to be hard pushed to organise tours this year due to falling numbers of guides available. Assistance is needed!

After the meeting I spoke with Martin Nunn and got the following rundown of former teachers:
Martin Nunn - retired, still active - obviously.
Mr. Peacock - now 92, only just gone into a home in South Wales after looking after himself quite happily since retirement.
Mr. Smith (aka "Smut") - now 84; has only recently given up assisting at the Fairfield.
Brian Cook - retired following a spell at Warlingham Girls School - makes various musical instruments despite hearing problems.
Phil Murphy - retired, active.
Chris Marsden - still bearded.
Tony Hasler - remarried, now retired.
Tony Davey - still around, teaches part time at Whitgift Trinity.
Neville Graham - now in New Zealand.

Sadly, Mr. "Rhino" Reece died around four years ago [heart] and Mr. "Wally" Cracknell about two years ago, aged 88. Martin Nunn still sees his widow.
  When I mentioned this web site, we thought it would be a good idea if we had an "Ex John Ruskin pupils open day" at the Mill so that we could show ex-partners (and staff) around. (And encourage membership of the Friends).
  If anyone is interested in this, please let me know. Otherwise, the Mill is open on the first Sunday of each month from June to October, plus Mills Day in May and Heritage Day in September. Admission is free. 1 pm to 5 pm, last tour at 4.30 pm. Refreshments available.
  Lastly, if anyone has pictures of the Mill, stories to tell of the Mill (or the school) please let me know as we like to include reference to these in our newsletter. See you at The Mill!
Kent Sadler (hon treasurer); Private Client Advisory - London +44 (0) 20 7694 5400

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