Thursday, 9 April 2020

Fwd: OWT106 April 2020






OLD WYVES' TALES 106

FOR WYVERNIANS 1919-76

EDITED BY DENNIS J DUGGAN, ROCK COTTAGE, BROOK STREET,
WELSHPOOL, MONTGOMERYSHIRE. SY21 7NA
TEL 01938 555574   07804 520730  
     APRIL 2020


EDITORIAL   By the first week in March we had 85 people booked for the reunion, almost all having lunch.  As fears about the virus grew, we began to receive cancellations and eventually these amounted to sixteen.  But we did not know how many would simply not turn up without telling us.  We did wonder if we should cancel the reunion, but at that point there were no restrictions on such events.  Age UK were happy to proceed, so we went ahead.  It was a good decision.  After a slow start, when we began to wonder if we had made a grave error, people began to flock in.  Age UK served sixty seven lunches, and our guest speaker, Bharat Patel, proved to be a smash hit.  Otherwise it was business as usual, with lots of memorabilia to look at plus the opportunity to chat with fellow ex-pupils. Photos from this reunion can be viewed on our Facebook page CLICK/TAP HERE to view (Note you do NOT need to be a Facebook member to view the photos - just select the "Not Now" option when asked to register).
Hopefully there will be a reunion next year, though there will be two changes.  After many years of loyal service to Wyvernians, John Offord has retired from the committee.  John's main task was to liaise with Age UK, and this involves booking Clarence House, providing details of meals ordered, ensuring that everything is be in place on the day etc.  We owe John a vote of thanks for his stirling efforts over the past I don't know how many years.  We are fortunate that John Hames  (1959-64) has kindly agreed to take over the role. Secondly, Antony Foster, who was manager at Clarence House, has moved on to pastures new.  We can only hope that his successor will be equally supportive of our reunions, because Clarence House is the key to their success.  There is certainly no reason to believe otherwise at this stage, especially as Tony Donovan (Senior management) has made it clear he hopes we will continue to use the building.
At the moment we restrict membership of Wyvernians to those who joined prior to 1976.  However there has recently been a slight, but significant, show of interest from those who joined after 1976.  Our current policy means that Wyvernians will eventually cease to exist, as we all get older and pass to that great big grammar school in the sky.  So we think there is some merit in the idea, and we would be interested to hear other opinions.


FROM GRAHAM CORNELIA  1960-61   I can't remember you from Elbow Lane, but we had a similar start to our secondary education.  Oh the glory of starting in 1 Alpha, then the humiliation of beginning the second year in 2B.  But unlike your goodself, there was a meeting between Ding Dong, my parents and myself.  It was suggested that I might be better suited to another school, which was a relief for me but disappointment for my parents.  I wonder if I was the only boy to experience all three levels of secondary education.  After CBS I was sent to Fosse Secndary school, but they did not offer 'O' levels.  So at the end of my fourth year I went to King Richard III, an intermediate establishment, to take the exams.  But by then all my pals were at work and earning, so I decided enough was enough.  I left at Christmas and went into paid employment.


FROM DAVID TURNER  1954-59   In response to Alan Mercer's quiz, I think the answer to Question 1 is Mr Hutchinson (Can't remember his nickname) who taught us woodwork and technical drawing.  Was it Doc Burrows who had the degree in Pharmacy?  I recall he had a very posh red gown for big occasions.  And to concur with yourself and Pete Knight about the Jock Gilman excuse notes, I got a lot of my homework done on the balcony at Vestry Street baths.


ANSWERS TO ALAN MERCER'S QUIZ  It was Fred Hutchinson who was a point-to-point jockey.  At the reunion he told me his name is actually Frank, but he was known as Fred to avoid confusion with Frank Gilman.
And it was the same Frank Gilman who owned a garage.  He had a different car every week, which was always a source of interest.
Ken Witts had to prove his age to customs officers when he returned from a trip abroad.
Bob Dennis had the degree in Pharmacy.
Alan Mercer had a degree in Astronomy.

OBITUARIES   John Pearson (1949-56) passed away during 2019.
John Tilbury (1949-55) passed away December 2019.
Keith Burdett (1949-56) passed away during 2012  (Information from Richard Thompson (1949-56)
Martyn John Heighton, passed away November 6th 2016 aged 69.  He was school captain in 1965, and his life was very involved with ships and maritime matters. This is part of the  information kindly supplied by Brian Cope (1954-62)
John Thomas Geary  (1953 60) passed away February 29th 2020. The following is from Jim Henderson (1953-60)  John went to London University, and spent his working life in Africa, first in Ghana, then Botswana and Mozambique, teaching English and geography.  he eventually became a headmaster.  When things became difficult politically he returned tolive in rural Derbyshire, where he continued his lifelong love of hiking.  Less than six months ago, John was diagnosed with aggressive leukemia.  He leaves a wife, Marian, children Richard and Jane plus grandchildren.  He had an impish and mischevious sense of humour, and was a great lover of the Goon Show and Monty Python's Flying Circus.

FROM DAVE KERSHAW  (1969-76)   I was sorry to hear that Philip Jinks has passed away, we were classmates at Downing Drive.  As I recall, he had a loud and infectious laugh, and played a mean guitar.  But I must comment on your And finally... item in OWT105.  It's reassuring to know that not everyone had a good experience at CBS.  I had a torrid time for the first four years, until the 'disruptive elements' were removed through natural selection.  That meant I was allowed to pursue a range of subjects that I felt covered my aspirations for a career in the geological sciences.  On Mondays we had an early maths period on the upper floor of the main building.  I recall spending most of the time looking wistfully at the green fields near Bushby, wishing I was walking along the wooded bank of the little stream searching for ammonite fossils!  All I had for anything remotely connected to geology was Ken Witts.  We didn't get along very well, mainly due to the anticipation of terror engendered in the more sensitive of us.  And, of course, the fear of having a question thrown at me in class.  So I read these newsletters with a mix of laughter and some regret, but I always read them.  Perhaps it was the social turmoil of the 1970's that provided the backdrop to my experiences.  But as I said at the beginning, it's good to know there were a few introverts amongst us!

FROM KENNETH WARD  1959-66   It is important to set the scene before I arrived in Form 1A at City Boys' in 1959.  I was born and brought up on New Parks, and went to the infant and junior schools which were just down the road.  My reports - I still have a few - were never that brilliant but there was an aptitude for sport, numbers and anything mechanical.  In the final year at junior school I was fortunate enough to be in the top class, with Mr Kirby as the teacher.  He must have been brilliant, because virtually all his class passed the eleven plus, and I had always been near the bottom of the class.  I was absolutely amazed to pass.  It must have been my sums that carried me through, as my language was abysmal though my handwriting was good.  I still remember learning to write with an italic nib, and for being resonsible(?!) at age ten for filling the inkwells.  Today I still have a pen with an italic nib, but not the Osmiroid that was my pride and joy.  I occasionally try my hand at calligraphy - why don't they teach today's children the art of neat writing?  I always told my children that if they got an answer wrong make sure you do it neatly - you might get a bonus mark!  Passing the eleven plus was the first bit of good fortune I experienced, though I did not realise it at the time.
The next big step was to select which grammar school to attend.  My dad was very keen on Wyggeston, but I had heard it was all rugby and Latin so definitely not my cup of tea.   Alderman Newton's was out of the question because they had a green uniform and also played rugby.  Gateway was an option, but I chose City Boys' for all the right reasons.  They played football, and all my mates were already there.  And many of the boys from my class who lived close by were also applying.  Liam Wilson and Barry Fyfield, who lived within spitting distance of my house, were there.  And those from my class applying were Brian Hill, Mike Lindsay and Frank Smith.
Knowing my parents were keen on Wyggeston I filled in the form to apply for CBS.  I got my mum to sign it after dad had gone to work.  After signing she realised  what I had done, but after much pleading  agreed.  But that was not the end.  When dad came home he was livid.  He told me I had not thought it through, and was determined to have the application changed.  He made an appointment to see Mr Kirby at home to ask if that could be done.  It was a long evening.  I can't remember much about it, except it was dark when they returned.  I was overjoyed when dad said he had changed his mind, and CBS was probably the best chioce after all.  The main reason for the change of heart was that Mr Kirby had two (or three) sons and they all went to CBS!  Game, set and match.  I regarded the incident as my second bit of good fortune.
So off to City Boys' with my mates, either on the Corporation bus or the Midland Red, which went past my house (In the winter the Midland Red was always a good moving target for snowballs, and we did have a lot of snow)  It was a sunny September morning, I adored my new uniform with the yellow wyvern on cap and blazer.  On reflection I think I should have been put into long trousers.  I have a second-year class photo showing me wearing short trousers.  There are three of us in the middle of the front row.  Me, S pooks Newcombe and another.  That was the last year I wore short trousers.  Why did we call him Spooks?  He was thin and slight, with prominet ribs, which supposedly made him look like a ghost  [As Paul reads OWT I hesitated before including that sentence.  But obviously no offence is intended, and it was a long time ago -Ed]  We used to fight a lot. 
What a change things were, but I think I took it all in my stride.  Going to school on the bus was an adventure.  It was peculiar not having any girls there, but at that age who cared?  Teachers in black gowns showed us that school life had moved up a whole new level.  And some older boys still thought that fagging was normal, possibly after watching too many episodes of Billy Bunter (Gerald Campion)  The Lee Circle classrooms had heating pipes running through the walls from one room to another.  Although antiquated it was a step up from junior school, where we had a coke stove in the classroom.  There was a large gap in the wall where the pipe ran, and Roger Williams and I used to pass messages to Mick McLoughlin next door in Form 1B  (To be continued - Ed)

FROM JOHN SKEVINGTON 1945-53   For decades I had assumed that following the school's relocation, then becoming a mixed comprehensive, all its identity had been lost.  Then I stumbled across the web site, and discovered you having been having annual reunions for years.  What an admirable lot!  It shows that, leaving aside political arguments, the grammar school system produced something of great value for those fortunate enough to experience it.
I have only had time to read a fraction of the OWT reminiscences, but one theme I noticed was Bob Roberts.  We all remember how undisciplined we were in his lessons.  On  one occasion we all brought black cardboard curly moustaches, and clipped them to our noses while he was turned to the blackboard.  My personal triumph was to take home a piece of chalk.  I hollowed out the end to insert several match heads and sealed it.  Before the next lesson I put the doctored chalk on the ledge of the blackboard and removed the others.  Sure enough he began writing equations and did not notice the little puff of smoke.  During the next equation the chalk burst into flame and arced across the room.  Bob was astonished, and asked if we too had seen it, but we kept straight faces.  Now the truth is out I suppose I will be given a detention.  But we genuinely had great affection for him.  We began tennis as a school activity, and Bob oversaw our activities.  We played on the grass courts at the Collegiate Girls' school.  In our final year a few of us clubbed together with our pocket money to buy a trophy and presented it to the school as The Roberts Cup For Tennis.  I wonder where it is now?  Melted down, I suppose.
I also remember Basher Brewin.  The nickname was appropriate.  I saw him flailing at boys who had displeased him.  Can't imagine that happening today.  But what I remember most are his multi-coloured illustrations on the blackboard.  He illustrated instability by drawing a man standing in a boat and leaning sideways, so a vertical line through his centre of mass fell outside the boat.  Basher's artistry was excellent, but it took up a lot of lesson time that could have been better employed.
Joe Melia and I were good friends.  When the plates had been cleared away after lunch we played shove ha'penny on the shiny table top.  It was actually football, with a sixpence for the ball and two pennies for the players.  Joe went on to Cambridge Footlights, and a great career on stage and screen.  BBC Radio 4 did a nice obituary.
Peter Nellie Newton was another good friend.  In fact he was Best Man at my wedding.  He went on to the Courtauld Institute and became a world authority on medieval stained glass.  Sadly he died shortly after retiring.
I was in several school plays: Captain Brassbound's Conversion (Shaw)  The Government Inspector (Gogol)  The Devil's Disciple (Shaw)  Henry IV Part 1 (Shakespeare)  King Lear in 1954 when I was in my first year at London University.  George Franey asked me to play Gloucester.  Lear's daughters were played not by two young boys but by two real girls from a local teacher training college.  Now that was a breakthrough!
Those of us leaving in 1953 formed the 53 Club.  We met up, went on theatre visits and held several annual dinners.  Mr Bell, the Headmaster, came to one of them.  We even had a special tie made, I still have mine.  But university, national service and careers spread us apart and we could not continue with the club.

BERNARD WILKOWSKI   Many readers will know that Bob Childs has made mention of this remarkable man.  He was born in Poland in 1921, and to find out how he came to be a teacher of languages at CBS on 1970-73 you can find the full story on the Wyvernians web site in the Memorabilia section - CLICK/TAP HERE to go straight to the article.

FROM KASH SAHOTA  1974-81   The school often arranged trips to the Natural History and Science Museums in London.  I took part in such a trip c1978.  As well as the usual things in my bag (Sandwiches, crisps, radio etc) I also had some literature of the risque kind.  OK it was porn but very soft by later standards.  Needless to say, on the way down Bob Childs, one of the supervising teachers, caught me and a mate admiring it.  That put a dampener on the trip, especially when Mr Childs told us to come and see him on Monday morning.  Luckily he did not ask our names, and did not take us for any lessons.  Back at school; we somehow managed to avoid any visual contact for over a year, even though this often involved us running to other entrances.  After all that time he had forgotten the incident, and we were in the clear.  So when I saw Bob at this year's reunion I took the opportunity to ask for the return of my literature.  Needless to say it made him laugh, but disappointingly I did not get my magazine back!

FROM FRANK SMITH  1959-66   A number of panoramic photos have recently been added to our facebook page  (1954, 55, 68, 71,73,76)  The easiest way to view them is via the What's New?' button on the home page of the web site.  Then find the recent item on panoramic photos and follow the instructions.  Note, you do not need to be a member of facebook to view these photos.  You may be prompted to sign in or register, bu there is a Not Now option that allows you to continue browsing.

FROM ANDY MARLOW  1969-73   If you attended at Downing Drive can you help me with information regarding events held there?  I am researching this period as part of a proposed follow up to my previous book about the school.  Please contact me at marlow.a@sky.com

FROM LAURIE FORD  1962-66   During lunch at this year's reunion I was chatting to Rob Lee, who was musing  he ought to write about how he ended up at CBS.  That seemed a good idea, so I have pinched it!  My junior school was Dovelands, on Hinckley Road.  I can't say I recall taking the eleven plus, though obviously I did.  But even at the tender age of eleven I realised the importance of the exam.  Some of my classmates were promised - and given - a bicycle if they passed.  Sadly that was not so in my case.  Congregational Minister's stipends did not run to such things.  Thanks to some inspiring teachers, Miss Ashton in particular, I passed, and the dreaded envelope arrived.  Which grammar school to choose?  It did not take much time to decide.
Wyggeston.  No, because my brother was there, and regularly up before the Headmaster.  My parents did not wish me to be tarred with that brush.  And in terms of numbers it was a very large school.  And they played rugby, not football.
Alderman Nerwton's.  Another rugby-playing school.  No thanks.
Gateway.  More of a technical grammar school, and as I was useless technically that was ruled out.
City Boys.  They played football.  It was a smaller school, some 600 boys, which it was thought would suit me better.  So City Boys it was for my first choice.
It was rumoured that if you wanted to attend CBS it had to be your first choice.  Another rumour was it only took a maximum of three boys from each feeder school.  Any truth in that?  Only three went from my school that year - Jimmy Wilton, Howard (Chas) Mayhew and myself.  So in September 1962, kitted out with uniform, sports kit etc, off I went.  There was a mixture of trepidation and bewilderment about the new environment.  But I enjoyed my time there, and was sad to leave.  But in 1966 my family moved to Northampton and I ended up at a rugby-playing school after all, Northsmpton Town & County Boys Grammar.  City Boys did not lose a football player, as I was no good at the game.  But they did lose a badminton player, a game in which I earned my colours tie.

AND FINALLY....   As the theme is how we came to choose CBS, here is my version of events.  I passed the eleven plus at Eyres Monsell junior school in 1959, but neither I nor my parents had any real idea which grammar school to choose.  So they sought the advice of my teacher, Mr Berridge, via a letter delivered by myself.  Mr Berridge replied that he felt that City Boys would be best for me.  Of course they did sport, but that was not the be all and end all, and I had no interest in the subject.  He also felt I was at my best in a more personal environment, so a smallish establishment like City Boys would suit.  And so it was, for better or worse.

Dennis J Duggan  (1959-64)
April 9th 2020



Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Fwd: OWT 105 January 2020





OLD WYVES' TALES 105
FOR WYVERNIANS 1919-76
EDITED BY DENNIS J DUGGAN, ROCK COTTAGE, BROOK STREET,
WELSHPOOL, MONTGOMERYSHIRE. SY21 7NA
TEL 01938 555574   07804 520730  
     JANUARY 2020


EDITORIAL
   Welcome to the first OWT of 2020.  The annual reunion will soon be upon us, and we are sure will be enough people there to make it viable.   We are now losing members faster than we recruit new ones, which is inevitable given we have a cut-off point of 1976.  Wyvernians has been going for twenty two years so, for example, those chaps who were aged 68 when the first reunion took place are 90 this year!  I was 51, and am now 72.  But the cheques are coming in, and at this point we are on a par with last year.  Our speakers are always interesting, and 2020 is no exception.  Bharat Patel, who I remember from the local TV news programme when I lived in Leicester, will entertain us after lunch.

FROM DUNCAN LUCAS  (EXACT DATES UNKNOWN)   [The final installment of Duncan's memoirs - Ed)   Yes, I have played cricket on the County ground, which was the school playing fields during wartime.  I carried out drainage works there during my farming/landscaping career.  This account may be a ramble, but my memories come back in fits and starts, such as the bombing of Cavendish Road.  We scouts were going on a long trek and met outside the Star & Garter when a plane came over very low.  'It's a  Hampden,' the lads exclaimed.  'No it's not.  It's  got a rear gunner.'  It was a Dornier, with swastika and crosses on it.  'It's a Jerry,' we experts shouted.  Then crump, crump, crump, and the cheeky Jerry returned some time later.  The sirens blared as we were shunted into an air raid shelter and shouted abuse at the aircraft.  He was after the gas and electric works, thank God he missed.  We went to see the damage, but a soldier with a rifle shooed us off.  So we went down a back alley and saw a complete roof sitting in the road and a lady shopkeeper dusting fruit which was covered in dust and debris.
There was bomb damage at the top of Queens Road, and the Vicky Park pavilion, which we lads visited.  There was a stick of bombs from near Oadby church and across the fields to Newton Lane, Wigston.  The final one landed near High Field Farm.  The searchlights on the Wyggy Boys playing fields, opposite what is now Brocks Hill Park, were machine-gunned.  Boys brought incendiary bombs to school to show the teacher!  My education was suffering, so no wonder I left school at fifteen.
At home I had my own veg garden, and one day I dug up a carrot which had grown through a ring.  It was my mother's long-lost wedding ring!  I kept rabbits and hens.  I was inquisitive and wanted to learn, but not school subjects.  I farmed an allotment, built a pig sty, hatched chickens then rented twelve acres from an uncle and on and on.  I began ploughing gardens and formed a landscaping company and did what no other ex-pupils of CBS did.  I constructed the new playing fields for City Boys' school on Downing Drive.  I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had listened and learned at school.  School mates at Wigston National School included one Walter Williams, who was also non-academic.  He changed his name to Bill Maynard. 
I wrote to a lad in Nigeria and swapped items.  He gave me a piece of monkey skin which I gave to the school museum.  Did you know we had a school museum?  In later life I built up a remarkable museum and founded the Leicestershire Museums Forum, which is still thriving.  I joined the Young farmers Club at Kibworth, and Formed Wigston YFC.  I was taught public speaking and formed  Wigston Historic Society and up to ninety people attended the meetings.  I even became Chairman of Leicestershire County Council.  All these things from a poor scholar.  I was such a shy, under-nourished lad brought out of school at fifteen.  I was in hospital for VE Day, almost killed by a cow which kicked me in the stomach.  Next birthday I will be ninety.  'Don't life have many twists and turns?
PS I saw the blood-red night sky when Coventry copped it.

FROM ALAN MERCER  (TEACHER 1959-63)     I have an idea for a quiz, the subject being staff in the first half of the 1960's.  Here are five questions.  I hope others will pose more questions for OWT.
1)  Which teacher was also a point-to-point jockey, sometimes returning on Monday (or even Tuesday) with an arm or leg in plaster?
2)  Which member of staff owned a garage, conveniently situated between Humberstone Gate and Grace Road?
3)  Which member of staff was challenged to prove his age by customs officers at the end of a trip abroad?
4)  Which member of staff had a degree in Pharmacy?
5)  Which member of staff had a degree in Astronomy?
  (Answers to me please.  Feel free to send me three questions about the school - Ed)

FROM PETER KNIGHT  1954-60   Regarding the editor's account of giving fake excuse to Jock Gilman, I used to do exactly the same and came to the same conclusion!

OBITUARIES  
From Chris Jinks  (1967-74)  I am very sorry to advise you that my brother, Philip Anthony Jinks, passed away suddenly on November 1st 2019, aged 61,  following a heart attack.  After gaining 'A' levels in chemistry, biology and geography, Phil studied medicinal and pharmacuetical chemistry at Loughborough University, which included working in the Boots laboratory, Nottingham, for a year.  After graduating, for a couple of years Phil worked in the haematolgy department at Leicester Royal Infirmary before he found his ideal role working as an aerosol chemist at Riker Laboratories (Later 3M Healthcare) Loughborough, where he devoted most of the rest of his working life to finding ways of helping asthma sufferers in the development of drugs and inhalers.  In the process he gained thirty five patents to his name.  Phil retired in March 2018 so he could spend more time with his family, embarking on DIY projects and playing tunes on his many guitars.  Phil leaves behind a wife ,Balwinder, a daughter, Serena (20) and a son, Daniel (15)
Tony Leedham (1952-54)  Passed away December 2019
Peter Ian Hamilton  (1960-66)  Passed away December 2019
John Sturgess  1945-49    (Mrs Cicely Sturgess writes:  I am sorry to give you the news that my very special husband died on 21st October 2019 aged 85 years.  He lived a very full life as an engineer, first working at Evans Lifts, Abbey Lane.  Later he designed an overflow lifting gate for Tumut Pond Dam on the Snowy River hydro electric scheme, Cooma, Australia, where we emigrated in 1957.  We travelled on the Oransay as part of our honeymoon.  He worked for Lend Lease on their big development projects.  Designed remote-handling lifting equipment for removing spent fuel rods at the Lucas Heights Atomic Energy Commission reactor.  He also designed a remote inspection camera which showed the condition of the reactor's interior, searching for possible cracks in the concrete.  He designed the double-decker lifts for Sidney's Centrepoint Tower, and also became MD for the installation of the Sidney monorail.  In the course of his work John travelled to Europe, the UK, Japan, America, Canada and Switzerland, making many friends along the way.  He learned the Japanese language in order to negotiate their cultural way of decision making and we made dear friends there.  From a work point of view John's courtesy and knowledge helped so much.  Senior management went out of their way to tell me how much they appreciated his honesty and gentlemanly ways.  I hope the reunion goes well.  We did attend one several years ago with Brian Ayres, John's special friend from his days at CBS.  I recently discovered from Bryan's daughter, Michelle, that he is now in a nursing home on Melton Road, Syston, and thought I would pass that news on)

FROM MICK STOKES  1957-62   The following item is something I recollected after purchasing a book of poetry recently.  No names, but our English master in one year used to give us homework which involved learning some lines of poetry.  In the next lesson he would hand out sheets of paper, on which we had to write the lines.  The papers were collected and marked, and had to be 100% accurate as marks were lost for mistakes - including incorrect punctuation.  One of the boys realised the lined paper supplied was the same type every time, and was easily obtainable.  So he wrote the lines at home, and substituted this paper for the blank piece.  He was quite open about it, so word spread and everyone began to do it.  Thus we all got full marks.  The teacher usually had his head down working on something else, so did not notice the switch.  He did ask boys at random to recite the poem, but this did not catch anyone out as we simply looked down at our written paper.  I wonder if we were the only class to do this?
 

FROM KASH SAHOTA 1974-81 Until the age of 16 I was a proper skinny little runt, mainly due to my dislike of milk, and as most sports require some sort of body strength I was pretty much useless at them all. I did manage some cross country running (1976) and in fact did compete on behalf of  the school, but running around muddy fields in the middle of winter in the freezing cold seemed like a daft idea. At 16 I overcame my dislike of milk as it seemed everybody else was drinking it, so I started getting taller and a little less skinny. 

Our group of ten or so mates used to enjoy a bit of football at breaks and lunchtime. One of my mates used to play for the school B team and said that they were always short of players so anyone could try out. Well I got in, which was not exactly saying anything, the first  game was about Sept (1979). There was no goalie so my mate went in goal and I started on the right wing. The first half was a nightmare, I touched the ball about 3 times and we were 8 nil down. Needless to say our teacher (Mr Mason I think) wanted to change things a bit for the second half, he asked if anyone else wanted to go in goal. Well I thought it has got to be better than just standing on the right wing, so I volunteered. The final result was 9 nil, so a far better second half.

I was asked if I wanted to play in goal regularly, I thought why not. In the end I only played about half a dozen games as other weekend committments got in the way. Of the six games it was about 50/50 for wins and losses, but there was one game where I can say my head won us the game. 

This particular game was at QE college just near Victoria Park. It did not start well as we soon  went one down due to my view of the ball being blocked (not bad goalkeeping) The other team were better than us and it was not long before a ball was played over our defence with their centre forward chasing after it. I was at the edge of my penalty area thinking 'it's going to get to me, it's going to get me', with the forward catching the ball quickly I thought 'no it's not' and decided on a bit of self preservation. I stood up just as the ball was about 6 inches from me with the forwards boot about to make contact, the boot did not hit the ball but my head did hit the forwards mouth, he fell sideways and I backwards. I had a bruise on my head but the forward fared far worse as his 2 front teeth had been knocked out. Needless to say he had to go off to the dentist to have them put back in and we won that game about 7 goals to 1. No schoolboys were permanently damaged as a result of this incident.

AND FINALLY... In 1959 we lived at 5 Tamerton Road, 'on the Monsell' (No one used the official name of the Eyres Monsell council estate!) and in the summer of that year I sat the 11+ at the Monsell junior school. I must have done pretty well, as I was allocated a place in 1 Alpha at CBS. My parents were over the moon about this, thinking they had raised a child genius. Alas, that soon proved to be a pipe dream and the seeds had already been set for my downfall.  At junior school the pace was like a WW2 convoy, that is at the speed of the slowest ship.  Thus I had ample time to assimilate knowledge, as everything was repeated as often as necessary.  But in 1 Alpha, where two years' work was crammed into one, we moved at the speed of a destroyer hunting submarines and I was soon falling hopelessly behind.  Unfortunately my secretive nature precluded me from confiding in my parents or teachers, and so far as the latter were concerned I was simply bone idle.  I did myself no favours with my relaxed attitude to homework, and things came to a head at home when my dad read the end-of-term report.  Sadie Thompson was brutally frank on his form master's comments at the bottom of the report.  He has no idea of work as it is required in a grammar school.  I will spare you an account of what happened next.  So at the start of the spring term I had hit rock bottom, and sixty years later I can still see myself on the upper deck of a No 24 Corporation bus at the terminus at the top of Saffron Lane.  I looked out of the window to see the greengrocer laying out his wares.  How I envied his simple day of selling fruit and veg to the local housewives.  All I had to look forward to was another day of misery.  Then a thought popped into my head.  Why go to school?  Spend the day walking round town and go in tomorrow.  That way there will be no repercussions about last night's missed homework.  So that is what I did.  But of course I was equally reluctant to attend school the next day, so did the same again, and the next day.  But it was inevitable I would be found out, as if a pupil failed to go to school without an explanation from the parents the Board Man went to your house.  My parents assured him there must be a mistake, as I was leaving for school at the usual time and returning ditto.  The result was a meeting with the Head, Mr Bell, myself and my parents.  Truancy was unheard of at CBS, and Mr Bell was not sure how to deal with me.  Caning was not the answer, and eventually I had to stay after school polishing tables for a week.  Regarding my future at the school, it was agreed the best thing would be to move me to 1A, where the pace of work was slower and hopefully I would find the going easier.  I can't remember if that was the case, but suffice to say that in the second year I found myself in 2B.


Dennis J Duggan

January 14th 2020



Friday, 25 October 2019

Fwd: OWT 104 October 2019




OLD WYVES' TALES 104
FOR WYVERNIANS 1919-76
EDITED BY DENNIS J DUGGAN, ROCK COTTAGE, BROOK STREET,
WELSHPOOL, MONTGOMERYSHIRE. SY21 7NA
TEL 01938 555574   07804 520730  
     OCTOBER  2019


EDITORIAL
   The 2020 reunion will take place on Saturday March 14th at Clarence House, a week earlier than usual.  I think this might be because Leicester are playing away that weekend...  We are working on the arrangements, but meanwhile if you fancy giving a short talk please let me know.

NEW BOOK   (This item was sent to me from a facebook post by John Offord - Ed)  One of our former pupils, Bharat Patel (1964-71) has written a book and ALL profits are going to Hope Against Cancer, a research charity.  You can order copies direct from the charity by calling 0116 270 0101 or e-mail enquiries@hopeagainstcancer.org.uk.  The cost, including postage, is £11.50.  If you wish to round up the figure the additional money can be gift aided.  Indian Takeaway is the bewildering experience of a boy who, by the age of eight, has lived on three continents.  At twenty one he returns to the land of his birth where his formidable grandmother has lined up an arranged marriage.  To find out what happens next... please buy the book.  You will have guessed the boy is Bharat, and the book is full of stories you could not make up but happen to be true - with the caveat there is a bit of journalistic embellishment.  Thanks for your support, and enjoy the book.  (I understand the book covers Bharat's time at City Boys, though some names might have been changed - Ed)

FROM ORSON DUNCAN LUCAS  (1940-)  Hon Alderman of the Borough of Oadby & Wigston, Freeman of the City of London, Past Chairman of Leicestershire County Council, Rotarian since 1962 - His Early Life pre-1946.  This item is transcribed from Duncan's hand-written notes, some of which are difficult to decipher, so apologies for any errors - Ed)    City Boys' School, Years of Turmoil 1940 on (Continuing Duncan's memoirs - Ed)  My small stature was not helped by my misuse of dinner monies.  We had an elderly teacher called Miss Mearns, and we boys could be cruel to lady teachers.    We had Bull Smith, physics; Bud Fisher, scripture; Mr Hackney, art; Mr Carpenter, maths.  He was a big man, of the Sergeant Major sort.  He was not one of my teachers but he saw my attempt to draw a chair and played hell and gave me a Saturday morning two-hour detention.  Did my paper round first, and after detention went to the market where my Uncle Ernie had his butchers stall.  Did my round of his city customers, and home just before the evening papers were due.  I was frightened of Mr Carpenter and hated him.  Mr Hanson, the history teacher, was nicknamed Avro Anson after the training aircraft.  He was an air raid warden and some days fell asleep at his desk.  His own history book was used in class.  We respected Mr Hanson, and never played up while he slept. 
School meals were mediocre, and lots were wasted.  Bud Fisher took the scraps home for his chickens.  We emptied salt and papper pots into the waste and reckoned the eggs would come out hot!  The caretaker was Mr Grundy.  He lived in the small lodge at the entrance.  When Mr Grundy discovered I came from Wigston he used me as a carrier to bring pies from Mr Burdett's shop.  Mr Burdett was a relative.
I believe a Mr Kersey was the physics master.  One day he got all the lads to hold hands.  I held back, as I saw a magneto with wires leading off.  He nodded at me and spun the cog on the magneto, and a yelp came from the boys as the spark travelled round them.  I was told to inform the lads why I had held back.  I helped out on the farm and had such a shock when cranking a tractor.  The handle kicked back and I lost my front teeth.  I enjoyed singing the old songs and can still sing many music hall ones to this day.  Some are in my book Duncan's Ditties of Leicestershire.  It is difficult recalling school details, but my memories of the blitz are in One Man's Wigston.  Every day, after a sleepless night, I did my paper round on my ten shilling bike and earned five shillings a week.  We all sat up during the night, seeing the red glow over Leicester and hearing the explosions.  Then off to school next day.  To my mother it was a sin to miss any schooling.
A vivd memory is of a big building in Charles Street.  It was still burning, and a fireman guided us round the debris.  There was smoke and dust everywhere.  We walked to the hot dog stall on Humberstone Gate where the massive Freeman, Hardy & Willis building was a smouldering ruin.  Went on to school.  County Boys we shouted to the Door Monitor, which excused us being late.  However we abused that privilege on many occasions.  We lads did not understand the perils of war.  After Dunkirk we saw troops arriving at South Wigston station.  They walked, not marched, to the nearby Glen Parva barracks.  The LDV, later the Home Guard, built barricades across many roads.  Very few had rifles.  Some had shotguns or - yes - pitchforks.  We played sports, football and cricket on the Grace Road playing fields  (To be continued - Ed)

FROM DAVE POSTLES 1960-67   Reference to Ken Witts in OWT103 reminds me of A-level geography, which was my sole contact with him.  Ken gave instructions in the climatology component, and WAG Pace was responsible for geomorphology.  There was a distinct contrast in their teaching (and our learning) styles.  Whereas WAG expected us to take voluminous notes, Ken insisted that notebooks remained closed, and no notes taken.  If I remember correctly, Ken directed the field trip to the exotic Wreake Valley, walking from Frisby to Hoby.  There was an intermission on the terrace between Rotherby and Brooksby to make sketches.  WAG, rather severely for his usual demeanour, took leadership of the other field trip through Bradgate Park. 

OBITUARIES   Alan Pantling,  1941-46, passed away on April 25th aged 88.  His daughter, Alison Watts, writes:  I meant to write down some of his memories, and still can at some stage.  I have his school bible and reports and even his blazer badge, which he had kept safely all these years.  The school certainly had a very lovely and lasting place in my Dad's heart, and he spoke of it frequently throughout my whole life  (Ediror's note.  Alison gives Alan's dates as 1939-44, but that seems incorrect.  Alan told me 1941-46, but I suppose it's not too important now)
Brian Screaton informs us that the Rev Gerald Rimmington  (1941-48) passed away earlier this month aged 89.  When Wyvernians had the memorial boards restored some years ago, Gerald performed the re-dedication ceremony.
Don Wright tells us that Neville Jackson (1942-47) passed away in August.  He and his wife lived in Hinckley for many years.  Neville's main hobby was photography, including 3D, and he was a prominent member of local clubs.  Until recently Neville was a regular attender at our reunions.

FROM ALAN PYKETT  1959-66  
For my sins I am a life member of Leicestershire County Cricket Club and pay several visits to Grace Road, our former playing fields, during the season. Earlier this year I was informed there was to be a re-union of former pupils of the school at the ground. This took me somewhat by surprise as the only re-union I am aware of is the annual one in March at Clarence House for which I have a 100% attendance record. The explanation came later when I learned that the re-union was for former pupils who had played for the school cricket team. Naturally this would not include me as my cricketing skills ( if I had any ) were far below those required to play for the school team. I wonder if any Wyvernians can throw any light on this second re-union. For information I do see Frank Whitelam at the ground from time to time. From memory Frank was a fine opening bat for the school team.

FROM RICH WAKEFIELD  1961-68   So, here I am sitting in the warm with music playing drowning out the sound of the rain hammering violently on the window panes (Incidentally and irrelevantly the music is Country Joe and the Fish) I decide to put figurative pen to figurative paper and write something for the Old Wyves columns. Just at the point when I thought I may have to invent a memory, inspiration struck.   I had been telling a couple of stories to a pal a few days earlier, they came back to me now.
So, gentlemen, let me transport you back the the Biology Laboratory at Humberstone Gate. A motley collection of 4th year boys are sitting at the benches with their note books, text books and pencils all ready.  We are looking vaguely at an empty blackboard and a total lack of teachers, awaiting the arrival of the redoubtable Mr Flo Willan.
In due course he sailed in, resplendent in his gown and clutching a bundle of books. He announced briskly we should turn to a particular page in our text books, and that today we were going to be dealing with reproduction.  There was a murmur of joy, followed by a murmur of disappointment when we saw the text book was dealing with rabbits. To be fair, I understand they are fairly adept at this particular subject.

Flo turned to the board, his cape spread behind him rather like a cormorant drying its wings, and feverishly drew or wrote on the board.  None of us could see what he was drawing or writing at this stage.  He then moved away from his now complete masterpiece to reveal a chalk diagram of the appropriate organs on the board.  Then he spoke.  "Copy the diagram into your notebooks, we will add labels later.  Don't be afraid to draw your testicles nice and large like mine." We all found it hilarious, but daren't laugh until after the lesson and there were a good few yards between this redoubtable biologist and ourselves.  Only in later years, indeed at a reunion in Humberstone Gate, did it dawn on me, whilst recounting the tale to another former pupil (who had heard the very same statement a year or two earlier)  this was his little prank or icebreaker!  There was another incident with this man. I want to say it was on the same day, but I am not sure.  You may recall he would stand with his back to his table, place his hands on the edge and raise himself up and sort of hover for a second or two before dropping onto the table. This day we  were interested.  He had his geography wrong. He was standing directly in front of a gas tap. Did we call out and warn him?  Er, no. He dropped onto the tap and stoically remained there for a couple of minutes before standing up again and wandering to a safer spot where he repeated the manouevre, with a tad more dignity and less discomfort.

FROM KASH SAHOTA  1974-81   This anecdote relates to c1979, when any young lad with a few quid in his pocket could walk into a shop and buy an air rifle, with few questions asked.  You could then take it on a bus to school (in a case) and use it on the range under the stage in the main hall at Downing Drive.  Here the supervising teacher would leave the group to their own devices.  Mmm, how times have changed - I hope.  Some of my recollections have been corrected by Andrew Holmes, we attended the school at the same time.  We were friends, but after this incident perhaps he should have been my best friend.
Had I asked my parents if I could have an air rifle the answer would have been NO, and I would probably have received a good thrashing for even suggesting it.  So I obtained one without their knowledge.  To get it out of the house one morning per week I sneaked it into the porch before going into the kitchen for breakfast, then collected it as I left for the bus stop.  On the morning in question my mother, in between me sneaking and collecting, decided to put the milk bottles out and found the case containing the rifle.  Needless to say, I s**t myself, but denied any knowledge.  After a brief exchange of words I headed to the bus stop.  'What now, what now, help, panic' would have been my only thoughts.  I don't know where the inspiration came from, but it did.  I ran down the street to Andrew's house and asked him for a massive favour, and between us we concocted a story.  He knocked on our door and told my mother the air rifle was his, and he had got drunk the night before and left it outside the house as he knew I lived there.  My mother's English was not the best, and although I imagine she gave Andrew some stern looks he was able to convince her of his honesty.  He retrieved the rifle, and gave it to me at the bus stop.  I am not sure if you can have a hero in such a tale of lies and deceit, but if you can then Andrew played that role and saved the day.  Nice one, Beastie,  as he was known at the time.

FROM ANDREW HOLMES 1974-81   (I forwarded Kash's e-mail to Andrew, who sent this reply - Ed)  Ha ha.  Yes, I remember that.  The school had an air rifle club, but I never had one myself.  But Kash lived up the road from me, and we knew where each other lived.  One morning,as I was getting ready for school, my mother said, 'There's someone at the door for you.'  I went to see who it was - Kash.  I asked him what was up, and he explained he had left his rifle and case on his own doorstep the previous night and could I come and apologetically pick it up and say it was mine.  Otherwise his mother would kill him because she did not know he had a rifle.  So on my way to the bus stop I did as he asked.  I apologised to his mother, for something I had not actually done, and for something that did not actually belong to me, and let me tell you it felt ** embarrassing.  But I got the rifle back to Kash at the bus stop.  It had been a rather hairy moment. I used to have long brown hair and they called me The Beast,  that being after Mr Burden, the biology teacher, had named me The Wild Man From Borneo.  You should have seen the look on the mother's face.
Thinking about this reminds me that a group of us were heavily into The Beatles at that time.  Does Kash recall me recording a cassette of Rossini overtures for him?  He asked me to do that because he had seen the Beatles fim Help, and the credits had a number of Rossini overtures like The Barber of Seville and he wanted to know more about the music.

AND FINALLY   After one hundred and four OWT's I am running out of my personal anecdotes, so will repeat one.  I was never a fan of PT, swimming or games and occasionally resorted to a risky manoeuvre to avoid them.  This involved me sneaking downstairs in the early morning, finding the Basildon Bond writing pad, and in what I hoped looked like adult writing composed something like the following;  Dear Mr Gilman, please excuse Dennis from PT/swimming/games today as he has a bad cold/hurt his ankle/sprained his knee etc (choose one from each section)  Yours sincerely M J Duggan (Mrs)  Each morning, either before or after assembly, Jock Gilman stood at the door of the staff room to receive excuse notes from the little queue of boys.  After glancing at the notes he initialled them, job done.  That entitled the bearer to sit on the balcony at Vestry Street baths, sit out the PT lessons, or go into the library instead of Grace Road or Rushey Mead.  I still recall the feeling of apprehension as Jock perused my notes, and looking back it seems inconceivable he was taken in by them.  My theory is that he simply could not be bothered with the trouble that would ensue if he rejected the notes, so it was easier to accept them.  Happy days!

Dennis J Duggan   October 24th 2019




Virus-free. www.avast.com

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Fwd: OWT103 July 2019





OLD WYVES' TALES 103
FOR WYVERNIANS 1919-76
EDITED BY DENNIS J DUGGAN, ROCK COTTAGE, BROOK STREET,
WELSHPOOL, MONTGOMERYSHIRE. SY21 7NA
TEL 01938 555574   07804 520730  
     JULY 2019

EDITORIAL      It is a quiet time of year for Wyvernians.  The dust has settled after the March reunion, and arrangements for the next one will not begin until after Christmas.  I hope you enjoy reading this OWT, and that it will encourage some of you to respond.

FROM ANDREW HOLMES  1974-81  
I was looking at the pictures on Wyvernians (and at the Old Wyvernians and COLS FB pages) just as I was typing this. You may be interested to know that I took the time to read through all the old PDF files online, discovering who was still with us (amazing!) and who, alas, is not.  I was saddened to hear that both Ken Witts (whom I myself never actually had for regular lessons, but just occasionally such as when covering for an absent colleague) and Mr. Michael Wood, who became the headmaster and appears to have finished at COLS the same year as myself, are no longer with us. From my own experience, I don't think that either of them really deserves any negative comments.
In perusing the PDFs earlier this week, I noted the editor's mentioning that some comments from former schoolboys (inmates?) about their teachers had not been included at his discretion, owing to the fact that they were not entirely kind to the people concerned. I can certainly understand this, but I would say that in the fullness of time all these things have been filed, in my mind, under the category of "it is what it is" (a remark often used by ex-US soldier and online entertainer Terrence Popp) and often simply forgotten. It was a different (and arguably better, in terms of discipline) age, in my opinion; the teachers were doing their jobs as best they could, and my own teaching experiences in Taiwan and South Korea make me think that perhaps we should look back on them with at least some sympathy.
Let me tell you that one possible job that I have always avoided here in Korea is teaching in middle schools. Whereas in former times the people here were generally of diminutive frame, the better-nourished students of today are often much larger; and a few years ago I was sitting at my desk in an elementary school in Yangsan (north of Busan) when a young South African lady I knew (now back at home in SA), who at the time just happened to be teaching at a boys' middle school, reported on FB that a vicious fight had just broken out in her school's lobby between one of the PE teachers and a rather well-built student! She never did tell me the result, but that persuaded me that Korean middle schools were definitely not the way to go!
At the moment, I have just begun a new session teaching groups of Korean would-be TESOL teachers (Yes! I am teaching the teachers!!! I can hear your collective jaws hitting the floor...), having spent another year working with the military in the form of the Air Force Aviation Science High School - I had worked as a TESOL teacher trainer at the Times Media office in Daegu previously in 2017, but my stay there was cut short by needing hospital treatment for colorectal cancer, an experience I would not like to repeat... I say this not because of the severity of the condition, as the surgery seems to have been relatively straightforward in my case, but I shared the (very small) ward in the hospital with six other cancer-stricken men, all of whom seemed to be in much worse condition than myself (I received the distinct impression that long-term exposure to tobacco was often involved...). I was only there for about nine days as I recovered well and did not need chemotherapy; and just a couple of weeks ago, I was back at the hospital (as our office in Daegu is literally about three minutes walk away - these places are all part of the same university) and received the news that neither the serological analysis nor the CT scans showed any indication of metastasis, so that's good. I couldn't do the final endoscopy, as it happened, due to the purgative coming back up as an emetic... so the surgeon, Professor Kim, said he would arrange for me to have it done at another hospital later... with a less noisome purgative!
Going back rather a long way in time, when I left COLS in 1981 having failed my A-levels, I had no idea what I wanted to do and basically lived with my parents for about three years, until one day I had to go to my old GP, Andrew Cull (whom I believe is now working in London), and he said: "I thought you were going to university?"
"Ah, but I failed my A-levels." I replied.
"Well," he said, "did you never think about un-failing them?"
That got my mind going... to cut a long story short, I interviewed at Charles Keene College, enrolled in a one-year part-time course studying biology and chemistry (again) and in the end, managed to scrape one Grade E in biology; why can I never pass chemistry exams?
The results of this, however, were twofold: firstly, I got a whole load of offers from all over the country to do biological science HND courses, and I picked the South Glamorgan Institute in Llandaff, Cardiff, which was actually a great place to study. When this course was nearing its end, I re-applied to the Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology and got unconditional second-year entry to the B.Sc. (Hons) Cell and Molecular Science course: "Hey, we remember you!" they said... and in 1990, I graduated with a Lower Second. Would you believe that I was able to get mandatory education grants for a full five years? And would you further believe that the year I graduated (1990) was also the last year of said grants? Talk about good timing!
Things have all rather changed since then, but I have to say that it was never possible to get remotely close to the kind of biology-based career that I had had in mind originally; unfortunately, with the HND course being a thick sandwich with two six-month work experience periods, the first of which was at the old analytical laboratory at Texaco's Pembroke Refinery on the Milford Haven, this "chemical" association stuck with me until I finally left the UK. There is a "story" associated with this, but maybe I will write about it at length some other time. What happened was that secondly, my last full-time job in the UK (working as a chemist for the Royal Air Force) bore unusual fruit in the form of becoming a published chemistry writer (!!!).
At the moment, the big surprise about being in South Korea is that I am still here at all - at the grand old age of 56, in both a country and an industry with a reputation for "ageism" and even despite having had treatment for cancer, I find that I still get plenty of job offers (although not always at well-timed intervals), and that there are other fogeys here as well. But as time has passed, I have definitely shied away from teaching children and steered erratically in the direction of adults. My manageress, who is much younger than me and had only just started her new post when my cancer was detected, is still here and told me that she wanted me to stay for a long time in this job. I shall try to grant her wish!
I could go on all night but it's already the early hours of a Sunday morning (and I don't always sleep well these days). Please pass my regards to all my old teachers, and my hope that they are all well. You can read about my adventures here at greater length by going to my private blog at http://www.myeasternhorizons.com/wp/ ("The Eastern Horizon: My account of life in East Asia"). Be warned - it is highly opinionated, and not for the faint of heart!
PS - Does Bill Mann still have those shorts? I'm just asking for a friend, you understand...

FROM BRIAN COPE  1954-62   I write in praise of Bill Varley, who taught Art at CBS for a few years before moving to Newcastle University.  I was lucky enough to attend his Art History classes in the sixth form, where be brought Giotto and Masaccio to life in an extraordinary way, and two years later led this spellbound student to Padua and Florence.  Years later I bumped into him outside the Tate, and he 'showed me round', making sense of abstract art to me for the first time.
Steve Buckley was one of his CBS pupils, and Sean Scully amongst many others he mentored at Newcastle.  Bill has been a major force in the artistic life of the north east for decades, without ever becoming an establishment figure.  His essay on how the Baltic in Newcastle has failed the city is a classic statement of artistic values against mere novelty.  We were lucky to have him at CBS, if only for a short time.  I believe Bill is still going strong, his zest for life undimmed.

FROM ORSON DUNCAN LUCAS  (1940-)  Hon Alderman of the Borough of Oadby & Wigston, Freeman of the City of London, Past Chairman of Leicestershire County Council, Rotarian since 1962 - His Early Life pre-1946This item is transcribed from Duncan's hand-written notes, some of which are difficult to decipher, so apologies for any errors - Ed)    City Boys' School, Years of Turmoil 1940 on.  I was born in Wigston Magna 13th March 1929, the first son following three girls with two brothers to follow.  The first memory I am able to date was a Sunday morning when we missed Sunday School to listen to the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain.  He told us that because Mr Hitler had not replied to his letter a state of war existed between us.  As a ten-year-old the significance did not sink in, although my mother was crying.
We lived at 10 Bell Street, at the rear of a draper's, in one room and a small pantry, two bedrooms and an attic.  How we all crammed in I can't imagine now.  Marion, my eldest sister, went to South Wigston Intermediate School.  Audrey, the next eldest, went to Wyggeston Girls and used to cycle home with a lad called David Attenborough.  She died of meningitis.  Another sister (Name unclear - Ed)  also went to Wyggy Girls, but I failed the 11 plus.
Mother was determined we should have a top education, even though we were poor.  At that time Father had a small van, hawking clothing and shoe repairs round the villages.  A poor existence.  I often went with him to open the gates, many roads were still gated.  An uncle, who was a butcher, served on the Urban Council, and also on a local charity.  I duly got a grant for a grammar school education, five guineas per term.  Ironically, many years later as a councillor, I was elected as a trustee on that same committee, and I still serve on its successor.
So my mother and father, and me,went to City Boys' School, Humberstone Gate, in the little van.  We were shown round by a tall, mean, master wearing a gown.  'My name is Mr Carter,' he intoned.  We were joined by other parents and boys.  We went in via the present entrance, to me it was a church-like building.  Turning right we were shown the Headmaster's study.  Mr Crammer was a stern gent wearing horn-rimmed glasses.  He had, I later discovered, a powerful right arm.  The showcase room was reinforced with steel pillars and struts in case of bombs exploding nearby.  The windows had sticky brown tape on them to prevent flying glass.Then we went outside to the underground shelters.  They could not accomodate everyone, hence the reinforced room.
The daft things boys did.  There was McDonald, who played silly tricks.  One day he was showing off by skidding his bike and went down the shelter steps.  He burst through the door at the bottom and lay inside the tunnel groaning.  He also showed off by skidding into the tram tracks.  We were terrified of the shiny cobbles surrounding the tracks, especially near the cattle market.  There were air raid shelters on waste ground at the rear of Clarence Street.  On the opposite corner was Challis & Allen, wine and spirit wholesalers, with the Sally Army citadel nearby.  Another important building was Hannam Court, a large block of flats on Charles Street. Important?  Yes, because it also housed Bayliss the bakers, where we lads used our dinner money to buy stales.  The savings could be used in amusement arcades or chip shops. 
There was a school tuck shop, but everything was rationed so it was a poor supply of grub.  Next door was the Lost Property room combined with the Prefects' room.  My parents struggled to equip me with a uniform, but I found that so much property was never claimed I was able to help out and my mother never had to purchase any school clothes.  I, along with my mate Maurice Cattermole, were the last in the class to wear short trousers.  Clothes were rationed, and coupons were withheld for we two shorties.  Mr Crammer noted on one of my reports, 'Does he feed properly?'  (To be continued - Ed)

FROM BRIAN SCREATON  1959-65   I have collated all the information we have about the seventy seven names that appear on the Second World War memorial board.  I have written it out, and Frank has added it to the web site.  I will add more cuttings, letters and other information as time permits.  Go to: http://wyvernians-memorabilia.blogspot.com/p/the-cbs-fallen.html   Several died on D-Day so I thought it appropriate to do this now in the 75th anniversary year.

FROM JON PRITCHETT  1965-72
  On moving up to CBS from primary school (1965, the first year at Downing Drive) I was deeply curious as to why a selection of boys were filtered off into the "Blue Room" at every morning assembly. I had come to CBS from a Church of England junior school, my exposure to people of a Catholic belief being non-existent, and I continually asked myself " Why are they different?" ..... "What do they do in the blue room?' ..... "What was I missing?"
I can't remember who eventually gave me answers to these questions but the mystique of Roman Catholicism didn't trouble me for too long. Maybe it was my mother who put me right, although I have a vague recollection of a conversation on the matter with Bill Mann during my year in 1A. Either way, my mind was put to rest that there was no fundamental difference between the blue room boys and the rest of us. I can't imagine that such segregation takes place in today's schools. I sincerely hope not.  This could have encouraged some deep divides and unjustified animosity during my CBS time, especially as my time coincided with the height of what we generally refer to as the troubles in Northern Ireland but I cannot recall one incident during all seven years when anything of this nature surfaced. I can, regrettably, remember issues of a racist nature against boys from black and Asian backgrounds but never anything that was sectarian, Protestant/Catholic related.   Remarkable really in terms of the deep-rooted issues that continued to surface for a further 15-20 years thereafter.

FROM STEVE MELLOR  1959-66   In reply to the entry by Dave Wait (who I must confess not to have any recollection of) although I was an avid motorcyclist for several years, I was never a "rocker" per se, my interest being mechanical and performance orientated, not simply image. I did, and still do, enjoy rock music, but that is incidental. Dave's mention of stales and bowling alley rang loud bells however, as I was a Bayliss customer and too frequent a client at the Top Rank alley for the teaching staff to ignore, so detentions did ensue. The relocation to Downing Drive was an unwelcome and unforeseen termination of those activities and did result in a personal benefit of raising my educational standard a little, although I still avoided virtually all extra-curricular events organised though the school itself.  I read this at home here in Ontinyent, in the company of Richard "Mac" McMorran, another Old Wyvernian, who has remained a close friend since junior school. He has been over for the weekend again and, as usual, we have been reminiscing over a bottle or two of vino tinto, so the times at CBS came up, although the accuracy of some of our recollections may often be open to legitimate challenge – as would be the case with most of our contemporaries, I'd guess. Reading through the various entries, names float in and out of the conversation, some with less affection than others, but all with some appreciation that we may have made the "three score and ten" which we never foresaw all those years ago. About the only conclusion we reached was that we had little to say as meaningful contributions to OWT, other than hoping that those of us still around all manage a few more years without undue health or other detrimental issues  We agreed that although very few of us may have fully appreciated the school, the teachers, or the education process at the time, it all combined to stand us in good shape to handle life – for my part, work and travel to more than 60 different countries, ending up with leaving the UK in 1991 for good, spending my time since then in Mauritius, Singapore, Thailand and Australia before retiring to Spain with my 3rd wife, post-stroke and cardiac surgery, in 2013. I still return to the UK occasionally, most recently for my mum's 100th birthday last year, but realise that I could never settle there again from choice, being too set in my ways and probably unsuited to life there in the 21st century – I would probably end up either arrested or beaten up for being too outspoken on matters which are regarded as controversial or too sensitive to raise in public nowadays, so best that I stay in this quiet backwater and view things from afar, still ranting at the TV, but harmlessly and out of earshot of all except my very tolerant third wife, an Uzbeki national I met via a then mutual friend in Dubai – so proving that travel can be beneficial.

FROM BRIAN STEVENSON  1959-65   I was sorry to learn of the death of Roger Rimington in OWT102.  Roger was the second rhythm guitarist in The Jades, a beat group of Wyvernians founded by Dave King in 1963.  Both Dave and I have written about The Jades in OWT issues 61 and 90, about our appearances in school concerts and elsewhere.  As there has been no reaction whatsoever I conclude that either no one remembers us from Adam or we were to embarrassing to mention.
As well as his ability on the guitar, Roger brought something quite unusual to The Jades - a sense of style.  He was an early example of a Mod, and impressed the rest of us with his trendy wardrobe which was mostly purchased from the Irish on High Street.  I can still recall him in a pale blue shirt with a long, pointed collar, thin tie and faux leather waistcoat.  No doubt it would have been a real leather waistcoat if he could have afforded it.  He was in the habit of rocking on his heels as he played, his freckled face grinning across at the rest of us.  Sorry to see you go, Rog.
Roger's predecessor had been John Farter Marney, so-called because of his habit of breaking wind in class.  This was mostly ignored by the teachers, possibly out of embarassment, but I recall that on one occasion he was taken to task by Ken Witts - never a man to see his authority questioned, however unorthodox the challenge.  I believe that Marney became some sort of naturalist on local (possibly national?) TV, but as I have not lived in Leicester since 1971 some of you may know more about this later, more respectable, phase of his career.  John's stint in The Jades was short-lived, as his parents were not too keen on allowing him out for rehearsals.
Rog's successor, and The Jades final (current) rhythm guitarist, was the redoubtable Keith Duguid.  Although Keith's dress sense did not match Roger's (he seemed to possess an inexhaustible supply of identical grey tee shirts) he could kick ass with the Chuck Berry rhythms so essential to an early sixties band so we decided to overlook his lack of sartorial elegance.

FROM FRANK SMITH  1959-66   I remember Brian Stevenson.  He came to a reunion a couple of years ago and reminded me of my first-ever swimming lesson at Vestry Street.  Jock Gilman told us non-swimmers to float on our backs with knees tucked up under the chin.  I tried this, and sank in a panic.  Brian was on hand to rescue me by lifting my head out of the water.  Over the years I had come to believe it was Mick McLoughlin who saved me until Brian put me right.

FROM BRIAN SCREATON  1959-65  

Roger Rimington 1948-2019

As I previously reported my friend Roger Rimington passed away on the 29th January. I had known Roger since we both started at City Boys in 1959. We were close friends whilst at School and for quite a few years afterwards, although our paths had diverged. I went to the Leicester College of Art and Technology (now De Montfort University) whilst Roger got a job in what would now be called the IT department at G. Stibbe & Co on Vaughan Way in Leicester. But we were united in a love of live music and spent many happy evenings at local venues like the Il Rondo, the Latin Quarter, the Casino and the Couriers Folk Club, as well as many of the great gigs put on by the College, either in their own buildings or at the Granby Halls and the Palais.
I also joined a band whilst at college, and got Roger involved as well. He was a gifted guitarist, and until I read Brian Stevenson's piece I had forgotten that Roger began as a member of the 'Jades' who I remember rehearsing at the Uppingham Road United Reformed Church.

In later life Roger worked at the Grand Hotel and then went to the 'Art and Tech' himself to study art and design, gaining a degree in Graphic Design. In more recent years Roger, who was unmarried and claimed to have no relatives, became something of a recluse which was a worry to his friends and neighbours. So much so that the Police were sent to his flat twice to check on him. Even so his sudden death from an aortic dissection still came as a shock. He died at Glenfield Hospital.

This sad event prompted Roger's friends to come together to try and deal with his affairs. However we rapidly discovered that friends have no rights in this territory, and it looked as if it would have to be handed over to Social Services, meaning that Roger would have a 'Hospital Funeral' (i.e. what used to be called a 'Pauper's Funeral') and that all his assets would go to the State, as he had not left a will.

Obviously this was not what we wanted. We needed to find out if Roger did have any relatives, as only those who are related to the deceased can act in such a situation. I have a friend who is an expert on family history research and I asked him to see if he could find any relatives. Within 24 hours he reported back and had found that Roger did indeed have relatives, one of whom lived only a mile down the road from me. He was the son of Roger's cousin, David Rimington, who was in Leicester, only about three or four miles from where Roger lived.

I contacted David and although he had not seen or heard of Roger for over forty years he agreed to come with me to the hospital so that we could collect Roger's effects and also the cause of death certificate which is needed to register the death. We then went on the Registrar's Office where I was asked to sign the Death Certificate as I was the one who had seen Roger most recently.

Armed with this certificate we could then set about arranging Roger's funeral and appointing a solicitor to deal with Roger's estate. He had a fair amount in the bank but few other assets – but as he died intestate the estate has to be divided accordingly to a legal formula so we thought is best to hand this over to an expert.

We could also set about clearing his rented flat which was a mammoth task. Roger was a hoarder and his second and third floor flat was crammed with his possessions. One of the rooms we couldn't even get into. Even with the help of a hard core of friends and neighbours and a husband and wife team of house clearers it took four full days to clear the flat. Two of his neighbours worked there until one o'clock in the morning on two nights. The flat was converted out of a large terraced house so there was no lift, just several flights of very narrow stairs. Anyway, a mighty sigh of relief was given on the late afternoon of the fourth day when the place was clear and I could hand the keys back to his none-too-pleasant landlord.

We then organised a Celebration of Roger's life at the South Leicestershire crematorium, after which his ashes were scattered at the Scraptoft Natural Burial Ground, to the east of Leicester. His ashes were scattered along with those of his great friend Russ Middleton who had died a little while ago.

Sadly David Rimington also passed away recently having suffered a heart attack. He died in the same hospital as Roger.

One of Roger's friends, Alex James wrote the following poem about Roger, which he read at the cremation and also at the scattering of ashes:-

Roger Roger
a man who held a Beacon in esteem, if not the bar hours

A historian

A historic collector of everything, especially Barclays pens, copies of the Merc and microwaves,

Cared for others but not himself,

Bottle of red for my birthday,

Picture of Maz on a mad dash,

Pictures of Leicester past

Great target for young pub cat Edna and Mark's newspaper

Fanatic bus pass user,

Frequenter of Kieran's bar,

Looks at life through a broken magnifying glass,

He's going to be jealous of the buffet.

Roger Roger, over and out

AND FINALLY   Brian Cope's item about Bill Varley (we knew him as Charlie Varley) took me back to the art room.  I have no recollection of what I created in the lessons, what sticks in my mind is mixing the brightly-coloured powder paints with water.  I think there were three rows of benches, and as the end of the lesson approached we went to the sink at the back of the room, one row at a time, and washed our brushes and other implements.  I recall the art sessions as very relaxed, with Charlie walking round offering comments and advice.

Dennis J Duggan  July 13th 2019








 


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