Your Webmaster receives a fascinating image of the school hall from 1958 Ö
Today I received an email from Justine Bainbridge,
which reads as follows: "Iíll spare you from a convoluted story, but the
long and the short of it is that I found an old flash drive, and it has
some very cool photos on it. I think your alumni may like the one I
attach of John Ruskin School in 1958.
"I'm about to post some of the other pics to Facebook, to see if I can locate the rightful owner."
Click on the thumbnail to view a larger version.
This image looks to have been taken at the conclusion of
a Speech Day in the main School Hall - parents seem to exiting before
JRGS pupils. Held in
Friday 28th of November,1958, at 7:30, the speaker
that year was R. M. H. Thompson MP, who at the time served as
Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Health.
Does anybody spot a familiar face? Maybe their own?
I confirmed with Justine that she was not a former pupil. "No," she says, "I didn't attend the school. I'm actually in Scotland and I was a (mature!) student at Forth Valley College in Stirling, and went on to degree studies at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland. At some point - although I don't know where, when, or why - this flash drive ended up in my toolbox here in lower Perthshire. It's an absolute mystery as to who it belonged to prior to that.
"On the flash drive there's a file named 'Family History'. I opened it up just the other day whilst looking for an old birth certificate, thinking this was a drive and file of my own that I'd forgotten about. Of course, that was when I realise that it isn't mine Each file has either a first name, a date, or a location attached to it, but the information is scant. There are no surnames, no full addresses, and some folks are simply labelled as 'Mum,' or 'Granddad,' or by their first name.
"I'm a big fan of family research so I've been using Ancestry.com alongside Google Maps and Facebook to see if anything at all registered. That's when I found The Mill website. From census books, old maps, etc. I've established that the pic labelled '263 Long Lane' may have been taken in Croydon in the mid 1950s/60s.
"I'd love to track them down so that I can return this flash drive to the rightful owner. I'll send some other pics shortly, once I'm on my laptop. There's no more like this big group shot, but some of the other pics may be of former pupils. One may have been called Michael."
Justine also supplied this image of a JRGS pupil named John, in his new school uniform and just about to set off for his first day at JRGS in September 1957. Doe anybody recognise these streets or the setting?
Click on the thumbnail to view a larger version.
Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, USA; June 2020 Email
ML adds: I have received an additional five images from Justine Bainbridge that show our mystery JRGS pupil, "John," in football kit and cricket whites, together with other unidentified locations. Click on any thumbnail to view a larger version.
John in soccer kit - July 1958
John in cricket whites - 1958
John and friend - date unknown
John in Long Lane front garden - date unknown
Families at an unknown event
Terry Weight (JRGS 1959-66) adds:
Which of these photos is labelled "263 Long Lane"? (My family lived
quite near there.) I ask because the area behind this house - Longheath
Gardens - was (I think) full of those small prefabricated homes that are
shown in the baby photo. It also seems possible that the gate in the
baby photo and the small boys photo could be the same, but I think the
prefabs were not replaced until the Sixties, and then with the
multi-storey buildings there now. So, I suspect it is not the same gate
since there is a house in the background. However, I donít recognise the
road with John on his first day at school; I donít think this is Long
Lane. If his first day was September 1958, he was of course one year
ahead of us. It looks to me in the
speech-day photo of 1958 that John is three rows back and three from
I am puzzled by the photo labelled John in cricket whites - 1957. He is wearing a JRGS cap. If he started in 1958, he would not be doing this in 1957 or 1958. [ML: This has been corrected; see below.]
John Byford (JRGS 1959-66) adds:
The clue is 263 Long Lane; it would have been prefabs back in 1958. It's
part of the A222 from Croydon, imagine driving along Lower Addiscombe
Road; at Ashburton Park the A222 becomes Long Lane; and, not far from
Elmers End, it becomes Croydon Road. The prefabs would have been not far
from where Long Lane becomes Croydon Road.
There were 102 prefabs built on the Longheath Estate from 1945-49 (By way of comparison there were 320 in New Addington, where my family lived, together the webmaster's.) More information from this website. And there is a image a pre-fabricated Arcon house taken on Longheath Estate can be seen here.
Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) adds: I sometimes used to cycle along Long Lane on my way home - although via Portland Road in South Norwood was a bit shorter - and remember it well. I looked on Google Earth and there are newish houses replacing the prefabs.
Paul Johnson (JRGS 1966-73) adds: Isn't that a remarkable story! Flash drives haven't been around that long, relatively speaking, so someone will be missing it! I'm afraid that 1958 was a bit before my time, but I reckon someone's going to come up with a name or two!
Mike Beaumont (JRGS 1955-60) adds: I cannot spot myself in that 1958 speech-day photo - Iíd have been 14. But it brings back memories of being in that hall about six rows back, with the rich sounds from the organ and singing the school song and, at Christmas, Adeste Fideles!
Roger Hall (JRGS 1959-66) adds: I have no idea who "John" is, but what a lovely set of photos that are very evocative of the era. I wonder if the perfabs are a part what became the Monkshill Estate between Shirley and West Wickham?
Your Webmaster adds:
Justine has confirmed that the
prefab image file is labelled 263 Long Lane. As she writes:
"You would not believe the lengths I've gone to over the last week to
come up with that Croydon theory! If I told you I'd turned the Internet
upside-down, then that would be a pretty apt description of my
investigative efforts. If anything, I'm dedicated when it comes to
Regarding the image shown above of two children on a garden gate, "I had sent this one to you as a location reference as houses can be seen in the background," Justine says. "There's definitely a few kids in the family, possibly two or more siblings - or perhaps cousins - by the names of Michael, Maureen and Karen. Their mother may be called Irene/Rene or Esther."
Justine also clarifies:
● John in uniform dated Sept 1957.
● John in football strip dated July 1958.
● John in cricket whites is dated 1958 only.
Justine has also sent another batch of images from the flash drive,
covering a seaside visit, an office outing and more shots of domestic life.
As she writes: "Some pics add context to the story and, in particular, to John. In addition to the seaside photograph, there's an additional folder named 'Hemsby' within the main 'Family History' folder. These show family members together on holiday in Norfolk. It looks like there are perhaps five children in the family. To recap, four of those names, so far, are Maureen, John, Karen and Michael. [Hemsby is a seaside resort some 7.5 miles/12.1 km north of Great Yarmouth - ML]
"I have no idea what school was the scene of the schoolgirl picture, but that seems to be John's sister Maureen sitting bottom right.
"In the family group besides a caravan, the car number plate was registered in London in 1957. I'm wondering if John and Michael were twins!? If not, they do seem very close in age.
"I've added the final picture below because it would appear to provide some info about the occupation of John's dad. According to the bus board, it's an annual staff outing. The firm of Percy Trilnick made women and children's clothing, and was located in London's Regent Street.
"I'm still no closer to a family surname but I've yet to post these to Facebook."
Click on any thumbnail to view a larger version.
Playing in front garden - April 1958
Family on holiday in Norfolk
Family outing - date unknown
John's sister, Maureen, seen center row far right
Annual staff outing - 27 August, 1938
Finally, here is a map from Google.com of
Long Lane, Woodside, where John's family may have lived, and an
image of the house at the end of the street - 263 Long Lane -
pictured in July 2109. ©Google.
Terry Weight adds:
What an interesting detective story! I assume alumni know that
old electoral rolls are available either in the local library or
in document form at the British Library. Perhaps someone living
in Croydon might look?
Vernon Reeve (JRGS 1954-61)
"John" was a couple of years behind
me so I don't recognize him. However, close scrutiny of the
1958 School Photo may put him in the second row from the
front and ninth from the far left. Identifying those either side
of him may prove fruitful. The picture of John
sitting on the gate with a friend shows them both wearing
caps from The Life Boys, the junior branch of The Boys Brigade,
so that may be an avenue of research. Regrettably I am a duffer
at this new fangled technology, although I did find a number of
sites relating to the Boys Brigade.