Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Fwd: OWT 110 April 2021




OLD WYVES' TALES 110
FOR WYVERNIANS 1919-76
EDITED BY DENNIS J DUGGAN, ROCK COTTAGE, BROOK STREET,
WELSHPOOL, MONTGOMERYSHIRE. SY21 7NA
TEL 01938 555574   07804 520730  
     APRIL 2021


EDITORIAL
   The mention of Andy Marlow's book about  CBS in this OWT prompted me to have another look at my own copy.  It really is a magnificent effort.  If you have your own copy do have another look, particularly at the introductory pages.  As Cliff Dunkley says, it is perhaps not really a book suitable for reading in a couple of sittings (Though that's what I did!) rather it is a valuable historical document for research.  Either way it is a jolly good read.

FROM STEVE MELLOR  1960-66
   Reading the piece by Paul Healey (Is that Higgs?) a thought crossed my mind a mere fifty four years after leaving CBS.  The four houses represented the first four letters of the alphabet.  Was there any significance in this, or simply a coincidence?  (Abbey, Bradgate, Charnwood, De Montfort)

OBITUARIES
   Mrs Jenny Downes informs me that Dave Downes  (1954-58)  Passed away November 11th 2020 after a short illness - not Covid.  "For those who may remember Dave, they will know he was quite a character, who will be missed by many."
Arthur John Larrad (1942-47) recently passed away aged 89

FROM TERRY DESBOROUGH  1958-65  The Perils of Being a Dinner Monitor
  Having been fed lunch every day at school as a young pupil I had no idea what was to unfold.  As I became a member of the sixth form I was granted some privileges – little did I know what horrors were to befall me!
At lunch time we trooped across the back yard of Clarence House to a large asbestos shed which had been converted to a canteen. There were about fourteen tables, each seating twelve expectant hungry personages, some of the hierarchy but mostly lower plebeians. On each table sat a master with a sixth former next to him at the top of the table. The sixth former, at this time I was one of them, went to the serving hatch to take possession of the Manna from heaven, usually in the form of a tray of something and two tureens of something else. I found through experience that a tray of something was a Godsend to me, as I had to distribute some sort of pie cut into equal portions – a doddle. Then I had to dollop some sort of vegetable from each tureen onto a plate and pass it to the plebeian on my left for him to pass it on all the way round the table until the it reached the master. There it would stop, until my next ministration was completed and sent to the next hungry plebeian. This continued until all the hungry plebs were given something to eat, BUT NOT YET. The food was by now cold, but we had to say Grace. Then we could tuck in. It wasn't bad food. My absolute nemesis was, instead of a tray of equal portions, a third tureen which contained an unknown amount of food. It was usually something like braised steak. This was a tureen full of gravy with an unknown amount of something lurking at the bottom. I remember my first attempt at serving this unknown quantity. I started off by spooning out a portion of meat. I thought that there would be twelve equal portions of braised steak. So, on I went giving what I thought was a portion of braised steak. After about four servings I suddenly realised there was very little steak left, so I had to reduce the amount I was serving. After two more servings all I was left with was some potatoes and some gravy and that's all the rest of the table had for dinner, including the master and me. I am sure that four pupils, myself and the master, were hungry all day after that.

I don't know how it happened, but I drifted to the kitchen and helped the ladies in there to clear tables, wash cutlery and generally tidy up. I remember they held a special dinner for a swimmer who came in after doing his training at Vestry Street baths. One day the ladies were putting the trays back into the insulated containers to return to the kitchens and found they had not served a whole tray of lemon tart and were concerned they would be in trouble for this. It was about to put it into the pig bin when I said I could eat it, which I did – all of it!!

Happy times at City Boys School.
  I stayed on in the sixth form awaiting my entry into university (The Royal Veterinary College) spending most of my time in the biology laboratory with Mr Willan. He was always known as Flo Willan but not many people realised this was because of his signature – RFL Willan – he curled the last letter so it looked like an "o".  I spent most of the time in the last year trying to prepare sections of onion roots with a purple stain to show mitochondrion, or some such component of a plant cell. All I managed to do was stain everything else purple. I could have been Emperor for the amount of purple on my clothes and the furniture around my desk.  Anyway, happy times.

FROM DON HURD  1944-52   The editor's mention of being knocked unconscious by a football reminded me of an incident when I was at the school.  I was never very keen on soccer, either as a player or spectator, but on one of the weekly sessions at Grace Road I was put in goal.  Most of the play was at the other end of the pitch.  It was a chilly day, and I trotted about to keep warm, slipped and broke two fingers.  I think that was my only sports injury - and I was nowhere near the ball!  Sorry to hear that Ivor Bufton has passed away.  He was good at soccer, and was, I think, in the school team.

FROM KASH SAHOTA  1974-81   I started at CBS in 1974, and having Indian parents English was not spoken much at home, so I probably had some catching up to do.  I believe our English teacher for Years 1 and 2 was Ged Holden, though he might just have been filling in.  He was easily distracted, and in the warmer months he spent a lot of time in the cricket nets.  I can't say his lessons were not fun, because they were, but after the Year 2 exams I found myself in the remedial class for Year 3.  The teacher was Mrs Tozer (nee Land)  Good progress was made over the next three years, and I ended up with an 'O' level and CSE1 in English Language and CSE1 in English Lit.  Not bad!
For many years I used the same barber, Lawrence from Hairdesign, and when he retired in 2014 he invited his longstanding customers to a farewell bash.  There were probably twenty or so there, on a long table in the restaurant.  We began chatting, and it turned out there was an ex-teacher from CBS from the 1970's.  YES, it was Ged Holden!  Having recovered from the astonishment, I must admit I gave him some grief over his teaching methods.  I'm not sure he appreciated it, but it had to be done!

FROM BRIAN COPE  1954-62   Sorry to report that Bob Davenport died last June in Adelaide, where he had lived for many years.  We remember him as one of the finest cricketers the school produced.  He recalled every run scored, and where he scored it.  Bob was the first to score a century for the school and, had we had full day matches, he would have scored many more.  In terms of technique and temperament he was a nonpareil.  He was also a fine footballer.

FROM JOHN 'JAKE' BLAIKIE  1955-62   I have just learned from Brian Cope and Dave Atton that Bob Davenport has passed away.  This sad news is somewhat sobering, as it was someone from my exact era.  I knew Bob was in Adelaide, because Brian was in contact with him some years ago on an Ashes trip.  Dave Warburton was also in Adelaide, and Jim Gilfedder in Alice Springs.  I recently discovered John O'Grady in remote Eastern Victoria, and Ian Neill is still in Canberra.  Brian makes reference to Bob's outstanding cricketing abilities.  Brian should remember my stunning one-handed catch to dismiss Fred Embury off Bob's bowling, but will prefer to remember my failing to repeat that feat against Davenport.

FROM DAVE ATTON  1955-62   (This message was originally sent to Brian Cope - Ed)  I did not know Bob Davenport as well as you, and essentially our paths crossed in that one 1961-62 football season.  Bob was two years behind you, and one behind me.  The concentration, discipline and tenacity necessary to be a good batsman, when garnished with a layer of flare and creativity topped off with extreme competitiveness, made him a fine cricketer.  Did he captain the crickes first XI the year after you?  I also remember Bob had a sense of humour and a willingness to laugh, even giggle, when his funny bone was tickled.  These attributes he brought to the football First XI.  Although not fast for a right winger (Contrast Lampard on the left wing) his strength, stamina and creativity contributed massively to that fine season in which you and I were privileged to participate.  I did correspond with Bob once, years ago.  Unlike his cricket career, of which he 'remembered every run and where he scored it' he claimed no detailed recollection of his contribution to that splendid football season.  It was clear where his sporting passion lay and, possibly, why he chose Adelaide (Don Bradman connection!)  PS:  In Andy Marlow's fine book there are photos of Bob on page 126 and 139

FROM DENNIS BIGGS  1949-56   Our form master in 1949, in 1 Alpha, was Spiv Beaumont, who also taught us History.  He was a flamboyant, handsome character with swept-back hair and flowing gown, just as I pictured teachers from Tom Brown's Schooldays  or the Jennings books.  I think he left after my first year.  Our French teacher was Mr Nockels, and I recall joining a school trip to Paris with him.  We stayed in a boarding school near Versailles, which was memorable for its smelly plumbing.  Of course we visited all the sites, including the top of the Eiffel Tower, which was very exciting just a few years after the war.  This began my love affair with France, and the French language, and a couple of years later Bob Gregory, Brian Clay and myself undertook a cycling tour of Northern France, ending up in the outskirts of Paris.  It was quite an adventure, and we were pretty brave to do the journey with little money and clapped out bicycles.  In fact our parents should be commended for allowing us to go on such a trip aged only fourteen or fifteen.  I doubt this would be allowed today.  My memory is hazy after so many years, but we stayed in in some pretty basic youth hostels on the way from Dieppe, Chartres, Orleans and Evreux.
After taking my 'A' levels I joined Jones & Shipman, machine tool manufacturers, of Narborough Road South, as an apprentice, and was fortunate to spend one year at an associate company in Strasbourg.  This was a wonderful time for me, as I was able to study part time at Strasbourg University to perfect my French and enjoy the freedom to taste Gallic life to the full.
In 1955 I took the entrance exam for Exeter College, Oxford, for Modern Languages, but was unsuccessful.  Still, I spent a week there experiencing university life.  Later Mr Brushe told me there were only two places for ninety candidates, so I was not too disappointed.  Later I went to Birmingham University to take Economics and Russian, which launched my later career with the trading arm of Guinness Mahon Merchant Bank.  I spent almost five exciting years travelling in Russia and Eastern Europe, doing deals for major turnkey projects for the Bentley/Mellor Bromley Group.  This was a dangerous time to work in the area, and I had a number of hairy adventures behind the Iron Curtain which made life somewhat tricky at times.  In 1967 I married and had to give up this risky life, so joined Molins of Deptford SE London, manufacturers of cigarette-making and packing machinery, as their European Sales Manager.
Later I worked for Baker Perkins, Peterborough, manufacturers of food processing machinery; Babcock & Wilcox in their construction machinery division; Neil and Spencer, manufacturers of laundry and dry cleaning machinery.  I spent the final twelve years of my career working in Germany, so had an enjoyable life travelling the world as an international bagman.  Now I have the opportunity to travel at a more leisurely pace.
Our German teacher in 3 Alpha was Mr Goddard, who hammered the basics of German grammar into us.  Later we were taught by Mr Hantuch, who I am ashamed to say the class tortured mercilessly for the problems resulting from the aftermath of the war.  Eventually Bill Brushe took over, and we were able to settle down and learn the language at a higher level.  Before beginning my apprenticeship I undertook a solo cycle trip through Belgium and Luxembourg to Germany.  I particularly remember the journey along the Moselle valley from Trier to Koblenz and along the Rhine to Cologne.  It is a journey I want to undertake again, but at a leisurely pace by car - once the travel restrictions are lifted, of course.  It is a wonderful part of the world, whch I can heartily recommend.
When I finished my apprenticeship, and before going to university, I spent a year working in Nuremburg.  This was arranged by British Cellophane through the Leicester Chamber of Commerce.  I would like to express my thanks to Leicester Council for giving me a grant towards my university studies, and to state I feel the present system of student loans is very unfair compared to the free university education we enjoyed.
In 1949 the Headmaster (The Beak) was Mr Crammer, his deputy was Bud Fisher.  Both left after my first year, to be followed by Messrs Pedley and Bufton.  I was in Bradgate House (Red) our Housemaster was Johnny Jeeves.  The house system was more prominent in those days, when we had house assemblies and there was rivalry in sports - particularly soccer and swimming.  I was sorry to read of the recent passing of Ivor Bufton, I recall him as a Prefect in my early years.  At the ripe old age of 82 I find it strange how much of my CBS education I can remember, along with the names of nearly all my classmates.  We have lost touch with so many.  Now, sadly,  Bob Gregory, Richard Thomson, Graham Morton and John Page are the only contemporaries I connect with at the reunions.  How nice it would be to find other classmates who have disappeared off the radar.  I hope to attend the 2021 reunion, if at all possible.

FROM GERRY (JONNO) JOHNSON  1956-64  
When I joined Wyvernians I recalled I might have memorabilia from my schooldays in my attic; so checked and found I had several copies of the Wyvernian school magazine from 1962 to 64 (my 6th form years) and a cricket diary I kept of school matches for the same years. I thought my diary account of the staff/student cricket match in 1964 might be of interest. Here it is.
"Mr Lawrence, winning the toss, put the school into bat. Davenport and Evatt began well, forcing away the bowling, particularly of Mr White. It took the cunningly flighted leg breaks of Mr Lowe to dismiss Evatt (for 24) and Davenport (22) followed quickly, a victim of the persistently accurate Mr Thornton. Moore batted fiercely for 27, attacking all the bowling and was unlucky to be run out. Ball (5) and Leaman (2) took a great deal of time for very little and, in contrast, Hanson's 13 was off one over. My last wicket partnership with McCullough produced 25 runs, bringing the score to 159. The successful staff bowlers were Thornton (3-48) and Lawson (3-48) with Lowe's three overs yielding 3-26. 
The staff innings began very slowly. Mr Mann took half an hour for his 5 and Mr Palmer snicked his way to 36. After a brief flourish from Mr Kierney (7), Mr Lowe and Mr Lawrence's partnership promised to be dangerous. Mr Lowe seemed to tire, however, owing to Mr Lawrence's enthusiastic quick singles and, attempting to hook me, he stood on his wickets and out for 19. Mr Lawrence was well caught by Ball shortly afterwards for 16. When Mr Lawson's off stump was removed by a furious delivery from Moore it seemed the staff would lose, but resilient batting by Mr Thornton (19) and Mr Scott (9) saw them bat out for a draw. Most of the student bowling was by Johnson 3-43 a
nd Moore 3-46."  Having played for the school for three years, I also made notes about some of those I had played with. Here are some extracts. 
"Brian Cope for his wit and ruthless approach to cricketers, if not to cricket, the curve of his arm in his delivery and the bite of the ball as it pitched – matched by his bite of a meat pie in the Cricketers after the game. 'Fred' Embury, the solid keeper with a reputation for safety and an appeal that many a county stumper would envy. Geoff Pullen, who took Fred's place in '64, with his athletic dives to stop the impossible and mistakes to let go the easy ones. Stephen Hunt for his easy run up and contrasting eccentric deliveries. 'Bugs' Bayliss for his unconventional approach to the game, his filthy flannels, his queer run up, his capacity for beer, his accuracy and his sightless batting. John William Graham Tomlinson – 'Tommo'- for his matchless self confidence, his speed, his machine-like run up and delivery, his powerful batting and his precisely thrown darts. Bob Evatt because he didn't much like the game yet was so good at it. Bob Moore for his fearsome beamer which swung in at your head so late. Craig Shelton for his uninspiring batting, his far too fast throws to the wicket yet his likeable eccentricity. But most of all Bob Davenport for his silky off drives, his Bradman-like cut and his seeming impregnability in the nets (at least to me). Yet he never seemed set early on and his singles were those of a beginner. I always believed he never got his dues. As a batsman I felt he should not have been fallible early on; it wasn't fair. As a captain he was hard done by having a team none of which came close to his abilities. He should have been hounded by the county, begging for his services. It was such a waste, there should be need for him to do anything else but play cricket.'

I recently heard that Bob had died. You may gather from what I wrote in my diary that he was an excellent cricketer. 'Dave' Lawrence who managed us all, himself a high quality club cricketer, recognized this in what he said about Bob in the Wyvernian at the end of the 1964 season:

'Davenport's four seasons with the 1st XI have made him one of the most mature of schoolboy cricketers…..One of his most pleasing performances of the season was against our local rivals Gateway, when he scored his maiden century, believed to be unique in the history of the school and he is to be highly congratulated upon his achievement.'

But for me, Bob was also a friend who I spent time with outside school. We played knock about cricket with others on Victoria Park; we downed a pint or two in city pubs with 'Bugs' Bayliss and sometimes Brian Cope, then returned to Bob's to play three card brag, served cheese and ham sandwiches by his mum till the early hours. I lost contact with him when we left school, which I regret, but remember him fondly. He was good mate.

FROM JON PRITCHETT  1965-72  
The piece by Stef Wozowczyk included in the last newsletter triggered a few memories for me as Stef and I were in the same year.  He mentions his friend of the time, Nick Weston, who again was part of the 1965 intake (the first year at Downing Drive) and this reminded me of a common link the three of us had.  It was certainly not an academic connection as my studying was woeful compared to theirs. It was Rugby that brought us together, when the game was first introduced to City Boys by Geoff Elliott.  He initially started a first XV in 1965 and it wasn't until 1967 that a third year XV was formed, which is when the three of us took up the game. Nick Weston I remember as an agile scrum half whilst Stef was a bit of a flyer at centre or on the wing.
As is widely acknowledged CBS was a football school, and a very good one at that, so the introduction of rugby must have been quite a
challenge for Mr Elliott. I believe he had one hell of a fight to get the one pitch sanctioned on the playing field let alone the task of convincing boys to play!  Having only started in the 3rd form we took some fearful beatings in the initial years against other schools that had already been playing for 2 years, but by the time we arrived in the sixth form we held our own against most teams, with the exception of Wyggeston who were always very strong. By this time, Mr Elliott had moved on and the mantle of Rugby master had been picked up by Mac Bryan, and it was Mac who also inducted a number of us into club rugby at Westleigh RFC.  It turned out to be the start of what has proved to be a life-long love of rugby for me.

FROM KEN WARD  1959-66  (Continuing Ken's memoirs - Ed)  There was no improvement in my academic status as I moved from 3B to 4B. This move was accompanied by a move to the main school in the Leicester City Centre where I was to spend the next 3 years. The building was very old and I remember very clearly the stone steps on the main stairway that were worn away with age and the canteen (grub hut) that was a left over from the second world war or so it seemed. I cannot remember too much about the times in the fourth year apart from I believe this is when I started playing chess seriously, and my classroom was next to the staff room and not far from the headmaster's study. I do remember one incident which meant I had to go to see the headmaster with my parents. At the time I did not know why, so I was petrified. I'd had a day off school because my dad's car broke down returning from a journey and I did not make it to school the next day. My mum must have written a note which had said I was out all night and didn't get home until the early hours but hadn't given the whole story. So Mr Bell thought I was out on the tiles. In those days the teachers and headmaster were keen to ensure that students at their school trod the correct path outside of school as well as inside, and I think to some extent really cared. 

In the sixties SHE stood for the opposite sex and not for the actions during the laboratory practicals. I remember clearly two episodes in the old chemistry lab. Wooden benches, high stools and chemicals in glass bottles with glass stoppers. They were all there, nitric acid, sodium hydroxide etc. On this occasion I had my eye on the concentrated sulphuric acid – not the ordinary sulphuric acid!! – it had to be concentrated. What does it smell like, I thought? I took the bottle from the shelf that ran along the bench and took a big sniff rather than wafting the fumes over the bottle as we were taught. I gave a big gasp as I knew something was wrong, and as I exhaled there were fumes coming out of my mouth. Fortunately after two or three breaths the fumes had disappeared before the teacher came into the room. Those few seconds were very long indeed. On another occasion one of my classmates - I think it was Andy Barnes (Barnsy) made some nitrogen triiodide (which is easy to make with iodine crystals and ammonia solution) If I remember correctly when the nitrogen triiodide solution dries on the work top it becomes explosive! During the lesson, when the work top was tapped it gave a 'crack' – bit like the noise made by the cap-gun, which were all the rage in the sixties. The teacher was wise to the noise and quickly homed in on the culprit. He went over and ran a sheet of paper over the surface with the result of a large 'crack'. Not sure if it left the teacher with a scorch mark on his hand or not.

W.A.G. Pace was a great geography teacher. The undertone of 'wag wag wag' could be heard as he entered the room. It was not in any way mischievous but a warm welcome to a really gentle person. I recall the stories he used to tell about being at school in London. He recalled the time when bananas were being imported to the UK through the local docks and how he was given the role of 'banana skin monitor' to prevent any slip accidents. Maybe this was the birth of S.H.E. Mr Pace sometimes had a quick 20 questions at the start of his lesson. Mick McCloughlin and I used to sit together at the back of the class. We would normally cheat – and come close to the top of the class. Most of the class knew but Wag didn't, or he turned a blind eye. I was a bit miffed one day when Mick out-cheated me. I got 19 and he got 19½. In Class 4B I believe I had turned the corner. My results were getting better – in the sciences – although still had a problem with the arts and languages. Mathematics was probably my favourite class as I was always in contention with Derek Seaby who later on went on to read mathematics at university somewhere - I think London.

There are times in your life when fortune comes along as I said earlier - the key parts in your life when a particular event has helped you along the way. If this event had not come along where would I be now? The first event was just passing the eleven plus exam and then, secondly, being accepted into City Boys.  At the end of the year in Class 4B we'd had our usual end of year exams, but one morning the headmaster came into the classrooms and called out a small number of us to take another exam without warning. No modules, no late night or early-morning revision. No, just get your pencils, erasers, log-books and your arses and go immediately to the main-hall. I remember nothing of the exam or the results, but later found I had been streamed into the fifth year science stream, called 5S. This may have been the third good fortune.

FROM PAUL NEWCOMBE  1959-64   Thanks to Kenny Ward for letting me know how I got the nickname Spook.  I always thought it was because it rhymed with Newc, but I understand the logic.  Happily the girls liked my ghostly look.  I do remember the black eye given to me by Kenny during one of our fights.  My weight and build have not changed much in the fifty seven years since I left school in 1964, and I am fortunate to still play tennis and golf.  I gave up cross country and skiing several years ago to preserve my knees.  I enjoyed cross country at school as it was an afternoon out, but there was always a big problem by the name of Johnny Offord, who I could never catch.  There was some consolation when a teacher caught me smoking in the air raid shelter at the annual sports day.  He gave me a choice: run for Charnwood House in the relay, or be reported to Mr Bell.  I chose the former, and to everyones surprise Charnwood won the relay, with Abbey in second place.  Several articles have mentioned Jock Gilman.  I could not swim, and on my first visit to the pool Jock told me to jump in at the deep end, keep to the edge and try to swim the full length of the pool.  I thought he said to keep to the edge in case I got into trouble, but actually it was so Jock  could hook me with his pole.  Seriously, he hooked my shorts and yanked me up at least four times when I sank.  Before I reached the shallow end I had learned to swim, and never got hooked again.  I also recollect going into a fenced yard across the road, during breaks.  There was nothing to do there but hang around  (I think it was called The Pen - Ed)  I have a memory of listening to the radio, in particular the Cassius Clay vs Sonny Liston fight on February 25th 1964.

Many have mentioned the Bayliss' stale cakes.  I was very lucky to meet my uncle, who was their window cleaner, at Bayliss' every day around 7.45am, to collect a box of stales to eat or sell.  My entrepreneurship did not begin with stale cakes, previously I had a sideline in the second year selling cigarettes and magazines.  That ended when the caretaker shopped me to Mr Wardle as I would not cut him (The caretaker) in on the action.  Mr Wardle raided my desk and confiscated the stash and cash.  Needless to say Mr Bell was not impressed, and marched me round the city to every place where I had bought the fags and mags.  He let the owners/managers know in no uncertain terms that it was illegal to sell such things to under-age kids.  He even confronted the owner of the amusement arcade where I did odd jobs after school.  A guy there sold cigarettes that might have fallen off the back of a lorry.  I think he was more angry that I had purchased the stuff whilst wearing school uniform.  One of the smoke shops was by the clock tower and sold exotic brands such as Black Russian and Turkish perfumed cigarettes.  These were the most in demand, in singles or twos.

Does anyone remember when the shoe representative came to Elbow lane?  I think it was Brevitts.  They wanted volunteers to wear a new line of shoes so they could analyse the wear and tear.  I picked the pointiest pair of black leather winkle pickers in the sample case and proudly strutted round the school yard.  Several days later Mr Wardle collared me  made it clear I was not to wear those shoes to school.  I did not appreciate school, and could not wait to leave.  Being one of the youngest I actually left at fifteen, just before my sixteenth birthday, after taking 'O' levels.  Mr Bell had told me that I would either spend my life in prison or be a successful business man (Just before he caned me for the cigarette sales)  I chose the latter path, and looking back the routine, discipline and work ethic really did provide me with a solid foundation for later life.  To the school, and the teachers who did not give up on us, I say thank you.  I hope the pranks and the trouble I caused, in and out of class, were not too disruptive.

FROM KEITH WRIGHT  1948-54   Around 1953, when teaching American history to the Science VI, Chas Howard rermarked, 'If you want to be a Duke or an Earl in the United States you need to be christened with those names.  Sixty seven years on, through export or exile, a real Duke and Duchess now live on the US West Coast.  Given due patience a Prince and, one hopes, a Princess, will be added to this outpost of the royal family.  That's a turn up which could hardly have been anticipated all those years ago  (I don't normally print anything political or controversial in OWT, but as there is a tenuous CBS link I have included Keith's contribution - Ed)

FROM STEFAN WOZOWCZYK  1965-72   With regards to membership of Wyvernians I don't think it really matters which school site you attended.  Indeed, I would like to hear what happened to others in later years.  Where are the girls?  I didn't know what a girl was until I was eighteen, Spencefield Lane notwithstanding.  For me it was all about the teachers, some of whom had a longevity stretching over two or even three sites.  They had nicknames which changed from one generation to the next.  What say we compile an index?  Those teachers will surely not mind.  I can remember most of ours, and none are offensive.  I'm surprised that no one has pointed out that Bob Gregory, and his Morris Minor, lived on Glenfield Road next door to Engelbert Humperdinck.  Perhaps we could add this kind of thing to the web site and facebook as a list of teachers, with mini biographies.  Very old Wyverninans had best get writing.  Allow nothing insulting, but fun-poking allowed.  Who did, or did not, spend an entire woodwork lesson being taught how to play shove halfpenny?  Wally Wardle stories would probably be the longest entry and I think he'd like that - he did care for us as a teacher.  We could have an ANON section for classic stuff which needs to remain uncredited.  'Wozowczyk, you are nowhere near as clever as you think you are.  You are a cretin.'  I was very young, and had to look up 'cretin' in the dictionary.

FROM ALAN PYKETT  1959-66   Another excellent edition of OWT to which I would like to add three comments. Firstly, just to confirm the four houses and respective colours, certainly for the years I was at the school, were Abbey (green) Bradgate (red ) Charnwood (yellow) and De Montfort  (blue)  I was assigned to Bradgate. It is difficult to say which was the best house during my time as they all excelled in different ways from sporting to academic. However I would say Charnwood, but that is pure speculation. Secondly, one of your correspondents, I believe, mentioned looking at old exam papers. I have retained all twenty one reports from the school (three per year) and the "O" level and "A" level examination papers which we were allowed to keep. In particular, if I look at the "O" level paper for mathematics, which I did pass, I cannot now understand the questions let alone answer them! Incidentally I still have my four reports from Charnwood Street junior school. These were only issued annually. For some time I kept all my exercise books from City Boys but then disposed of them, which is a source of some regret, but storage may have been a problem. Finally, a very interesting article from John O'Grady. Although I don't think John stated which form he was in during the first year I am fairly sure it was 1B, the same class as myself. My theory is also born out by the masters he quotes with their respective subjects. For the record I can add Chas Howard (history) Chalky White (English) Bill Sykes (French) Bob Dennis (general science and form master) and Jock Gilman (PE) Wally Wardle, in addition to teaching geography also took the woodwork class that year.

 AND FINALLY...   Wally Wardle is often mentioned in OWT.  Like him or loathe him, Wally was such a character he left an indelible mark on all who knew him.  He lived in a detached Edwardian house on Aylestone Road, almost opposite Middleton Street.  When I joined CBS in 1959, Wally cycled to and from school on a push bike, and one morning this led to a rather alarming  incident.  As many readers know, at the end of 1959 and early 1960 I played truant several times.  On one occasion I fancied a change from the town centre, and alighted from the No 24 Corporation bus at the junction with Saffron Lane and Aylestone Road.  I had just crossed over to Raw Dykes Road when I saw something which struck terror into my twelve-year-old heart.  Wally was pedalling steadily from the direction of the gas works, though the slight incline had slowed him down.  There seemed no escape, no cover, but then I noticed I was standing next to a green GPO telephone cabinet.  They are still about, so you will know what I mean.  There was just enough room for me to squeeze behind it, and I crouched down, shut my eyes and prayed.  A few seconds passed, though it seemed like hours, and nothing happened.  I risked a peek, and was relieved to see Wally  and his bike receding into the distance.  Miraculously I had got away with it!  By the time we moved to Elbow Lane Wally had graduated to a c1956 New-Look Hillman Minx, no doubt purchased via Jock Gilman at Mates' Rates.

In 1961 my family moved from a council house, 5 Tamerton Road, on the Monsell (No one referred to it as Eyres Monsell) to a private house on the new Fairfield Estate in South Wigston.  13 Norfolk Road to be exact.  This meant a change of bus route to and from school, and the best option was the No 87 Corporation bus.  The terminus was a five-minute walk away on Sturdee Road, opposite The Exchange shops.  The route went along Aylestone Road, past Wally's  house.  One morning he was at the stop opposite Wigston Lane, so the Hillman must have been in dock.  The bus was almost full, and from the top deck I had a grandstand view as Wally stepped onto the platform.  To my delight the conductor held up his hand, and I heard him say, 'Sorry, sir, we're full.'  How I loved that moment, his face was a picture.  Incidentally it was widely held that his mottled complexion was the result of burns suffered when his fighter plane was shot down during the war - which in 1959 was still a vivid memory for many people.  We boys knew all about it from our comics, so the theory seemed plausible.

Dennis J Duggan  April 7th 2021

Saturday, 2 January 2021

Fwd: OWT 109 January 2021



OLD WYVES' TALES 109
FOR WYVERNIANS 1919-76
EDITED BY DENNIS J DUGGAN, ROCK COTTAGE, BROOK STREET,
WELSHPOOL, MONTGOMERYSHIRE. SY21 7NA
TEL 01938 555574   07804 520730  
     JANUARY 2021


EDITORIAL   Welcome to the first OWT of 2021.  Once again there is enough material to make it an interesting read, but please consider sending a contribution, no matter how trivial it might seem to you.  It is a source of wonder to me that we have managed 109 issues; collect them together and we would probably end up with a book longer than War and Peace!  We are currently losing more members than we are gaining, and it is inevitable that Wyvernians in its current form will eventually fade away.  We have talked about inviting post-1976 pupils to join us, and the very few people (two or three!) who commented had no major objections.  Personally, after due consideration, I feel it would be better if those people who never attended Humberstone Gate formed their own society.  Some, of course, managed to be at both!
Submissions -  OWT is a simple e-mail document, and I prefer contributions in that format as it makes it easier for me to edit, cut and paste.  Items sent as an attachment may, or may not, lend themselves to be suitably adapted and I might have to retype them.  In the early days many people did not have access to e-mail, and received OWT via SAE's.  That meant a maximum of four A4 pages, hence the text is quite dense.  Now only three people receive their copies by post, but the format needs to remain the same.  Thank you to everyone who sent a Christmas card.

REUNION 2021   Saturday September 18th.  Watch this space!!!

FROM KENNETH WARD  1959-66   Third year - Elbow Lane.  Class 2B had become 3B with very little change to the incumbents.  But we did move to another classroom on the ground floor, next to the playground and walled garden.  The bonus was we had an adjacent room, where we played table tennis, and our own small playground.  The table tennis table was well-used, and I learned the basic skills which were useful in the future when I had the opportunity to play.  I could make a 'smash' rather than a 'hash'.  At seventy-plus I still love to play and can give a resaonable account of myself, but it is more 'hash' followed by a 'crash'! 
A good friend, Bruce Gibson ' Boogie to his mates - had a desk near the rear of the room, close to some cupboards.  The cupboard next to him contained a jar holding some rotting material in which a fly must have laid its eggs.  This resulted in maggots.  Those in the vicinity of the jar thought that life had been created in 3B, though I doubt any of us excelled in biology.  The fun came in making paper aeroplanes.  A maggot was loaded into the cockpit, and the plane launched to the front of the class.  These plans were scuppered when Luigi Bourne stopped his French lesson to investigate the apparent invasion of an alien species.
We began doing maths and the sciences seriously.  I took to chemistry and physics, and began to do well.  The first chemistry task was to learn the symbols of the elements.  All kids should be taught the periodic table, and told how the elements are built up structurally.  They should not move on until they can recall them like the times tables - it is the basis of chemistry and a shame that so many fall at this first hurdle.  Even for those who don't do science it is great knowledge for quizzes!!  I also took a great interest in maths, which must have shaped my future academic and working careers.
This was the time we were introduced to algebra.  A very old Bob Roberts told us about y=mx+c.  For me this was a key moment, and my fun with numbers began.  Integration and differentation were just what I needed to progress.  Not easy, but nor was it a chore.  My friend Brian Hill was in the same year, but he was brainy.  Brian had moved to 4 Alpha by skipping a year.  We always travelled to school on the Corporation or Midland Red bus from New Parks.  On the way he helped me with the maths, as I was so eager to do well.
One of the lessons I enjoyed was woodwork with Mr Hutchinson.   Every teacher had a nickname, his was Bunny.  He was a great teacher and an inspiration.  Aged about fourteen or fifteen Boogie had introduced me to horse riding.  At weekends we went to a stable in Queniborough.  They had some twenty two horses and ponies, up to eighteen hands.  We would be there all day on Saturdays and Sundays.  We went to work to earn a ride, as we could not afford lessons.  There was a great gang of lads and lasses who mucked out and prepared the horses for the gentry to go hacking in the surrounding countryside.  While the horses were out we would stand on top of the hay pile, separating the droppings from the bedding.  On cold days the rising steam kept us warm.  Believe it or not we loved it! 
During that time we learned that Bunny was a part-time jockey, which came as a surprise.  We got to talk to Bunny in more detail about his love of horses and racing, and the details of his other life became clear.  As I recall, he rode for Lord Crawshaw, and lived above the stables on the estate.  Our mutual interest was always a topic of conversation after the weekend, and this led Bunny to invite me to go racing with him - a point-to-point at Market Rasen one Easter.  It was a great experience, and if I remember correctly he rode a grey mare called September Mourn (Sic)  Mr Hutchinson, if you read this extract thank you for that great Easter it will never be forgotten.  I did not become a jockey, but still have the love of horses.

OBITUARIES   
Trevor Hides  1964-71.  Passed away September 20th 2020

Greg Allen  1959-65  
Greg in specs on the left
at a BT retirement party


Passed away cNovember 2020.  Frank Smith writes: I remember Greg for a number of reasons.  His family ran a cafe on the corner of Groby Road and Fosse Road, possibly living above it.  He was fanatical about motor bikes, and owned one from a young age.  For many years he worked with my brother, Pete, as a BT telephone engineer at the exchange in Wharf Street.  Greg attended at least one reunion, maybe with Chris, his younger brother.
John Hames writes: this is sad news.  Greg was a character with a great sense of humour.  As I remember, he was a keen cyclist and often kept up with the bus on the way to Grace Road for games lessons.  I have a happy memory of Greg stalking behind Bill Sykes as he walked to the back of the classroom during French or English lessons in 1B.  By the time  Bill had turned round to see why we were laughing, Greg had smartly returned to his seat.  RIP Greg, and thanks for the memories.

Dr John Sweeney  1963-70.  


Passed away October 21st 2020. The following announcement was made on our Facebook page by John's brother Denis:-

"It is with much sadness to inform you that Dr John Sweeney has passed away suddenly at his home in Cork, Ireland. I know how much he loved attending meetings of the Old Wyvernians, catching up with old school pals and teachers. He will be sorely missed by his wife, family, friends and colleagues everywhere. For those who wish can add a condolence message at RIP.ie. Thank you, Denis. — in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia."

 

Ivor Bufton  1944-52.  Passed away November 18th 2020.  Sheila Bufton writes: Sad to tell you that Ivor has died.  He enjoyed the reunions, and but for his dementia would have attended more.  The more recent pupils would be quite unaware of his activities and successes during his time at the school, but some readers no doubt came across his father!  He is survived by myself and three daughters.  Tudor, his elder brother, is still fairly active at the age of 93.  Their father lived to be 97.  Long may Old Wyves continue.

Steve Merrill  1958-63.  Unconfirmed  reports say Steve has passed away.  Steve's claim to fame was to be a bearer at the funeral of King Richard III in 2015.

Steve in his schooldays
1961?


Steve as a pall bearer in 2015
at the reburial of King Richard III




Alan Taylor  1944-49  Alan, who received OWT by post, wrote to me in July as follows:  as you can see, I have moved to a care home, purely because I could no longer cope on my own.  Knee problems mean I cannot walk, and I am told I would not survive the necessary operation.  That was because of my heart problems in 1997.  I have enclosed some new address labels, and a book of stamps, but I doubt you will need them all!  I am certain they will last longer than me.

FROM JOHN O'GRADY  1959-64  
Reading OWT is good, even from the other side of the world where I have lived since leaving the school; it helps to fondly recall the 'good ol' days at CBS. So many school contemporaries have written here and as I read their contributions I might occasionally pull out my old class or school photos, and my copy of Andy Marlow's history of the school and identify them if possible; I can usually put a name to a face, although their appearance is likely different now. There are some that seem to have'disappeared and I wonder what happened to them; maybe to OWT readers I am one of those, but I'm still around, just not in Leicester.
  Recent writings address the topic of why we made the choice to attend CBS; I had no such choice, my two older brothers had attended CBS and mother told me in no uncertain terms that I was too, as there was a good supply of hand-me-down clothing that could not go unused. Although not a conscious choice on my part, I never regretted my time there. The junior school building at Lee St was a little rugged maybe, and then Elbow lane organisation somewhat makeshift in its first year, but I enjoyed Clarence House later. I didn't appreciate the calibre of teachers whilst attending as a student, but looking back I now realise how incredibly fortunate we were to have such capable and dedicated staff. Even in Lee St, the rigours of new first-form topics like algebra and geometry were taught by Mr Witts who could seemingly bowl a piece of chalk to bounce off any errant boy's head in response to verbal interference. I was rather cynical on the topic of RI with Sadie Thompson even then, but he taught it well, and often provided a good laugh especially when in answer to a query about a biblical reference to Jewish custom, explained what a circumcision involved. Wally's geography I found tedious & uninspiring, roneo'd world maps in our exercise books and sternly dictated notes. I recall him stopping me in the corridor during the first week and removing his glasses to rub his furrowed brow, asked with closed eyes if there were any more O'Grady boys to come. He seemed relieved to hear my negative response & even opened his eyes, leaving me wondering what mischief my two elder siblings had committed in the past, and how that may impact my immediate future.
I made it into 3 alpha so must have fooled someone at some point in time. Initially I was a poor student however, only just hanging on and avoiding relegation. Perhaps the headmaster's terms-end visit to the class with the class list, and occasionally naming me aloud as needing to do better, provided some stimulus, for a day or two anyway; near enough was good enough then. It was only during 4 alpha that I started paying any real attention, achieved some results and moved up the class lists. I became alarmed at one point when I realised it wasn't others sliding down, but I quite liked learning and thought I was becoming a 'swat'. Being back at the main campus meant I could be part of the charge around to Bayliss' asking for stale doughnuts at 1d each; disappointment was common. Sports days were always a disaster for me too, soccer I was hopeless, cannot kick a ball straight even now. Cricket was no better and receiving a glancing blow on the head from the ball when fielding without paying attention did not improve things. Cross country was OK though, Rushey Fields were not far from home and I found that if I picked up the pace somewhat, I could be changed and on an early bus directly home from there. Jock thought I was perhaps OK at running but I kept quiet about the sole motivation being the early departure rather than interest in the actual running. My term reports (which I still have) spoke of 'lack of school spirit' since I never made any teams of course, did not try out for the famous fencing team, did not join the school play, not much of anything at the time.

Fifth form loomed and that meant subject choices. I had not enjoyed any of the arts and performed badly, Bill Sykes could not seem to force any French into my head, History & Wag Pace's Geography had eluded any spark of real interest, so I chose science but felt bad because my long-time friend Brian Stevenson, who had began primary school with me and eventually we moved to CBS together, chose arts and we more-or-less separated. I found 5th form great, really good, though and forged ahead with gusto, Dr Burrow's chemistry (partnered for some classes with Frank Smith as I recall) made sense, but the absolutely outstanding teachers to me at the time were Tony Baxter and Bill Mann. Mr Mann was superb in Physics, it all came together so well; I recall the first lesson and he announced he would offer an extra subject of Physics Prac to any volunteers that wished to participate; definitely not a requirement and a subject taken after school hours. So on Monday afternoons, as the rest of the school departed, we few masochistic takers participated in this extra class. Going home in the dark during winter, close to 5pm, was nothing like detention, rather a minor price to pay for the delights of participation in designing & setting up experiments in the lab; I recall one of the first was correcting for cooling effects with departure from ambient temperature. Mathematics became not just interesting, but intriguing too as we juggled differentiation and integration, quadratic equations and so on. Tony Baxter had been a class mate of my elder brother, and the story of his end-of-school prank when they left the school was already partially known to me at that time, but I was sworn to secrecy and I never divulged anything of it; it was all so boldly unbelievable to a mere new kid in first form.

Dave Sarson and I struck up a friendship when his family moved into our district; he had a tandem which we occasionally rode to & from school; I was always on the back of course hoping he was concentrating on steering, riding along Melton Road cycle track at breakneck speeds. It was excellent to revisit the school many years later (unfortunately not Clarence House) and re-acquaint when he was deputy Head.

I managed passes in everything (including Physic Prac) except French at 'O' level – Bill Sykes strikes again - and moved to 6th form where I went into the Biology stream; there were only 5 of us using the biology lab as our class room, a small group indeed. Flo Willan was fantastic, an amazing teacher who I related to well and remained at the top of Biology from day one. Similarly, Maths Physics and Chemistry were excellent at that level and I really enjoyed school learning, so markedly different from earlier days, and I consider entirely due to the calibre of the teachers rather than anything on my part.

Events outside my influence took over however and during my first year in the 6th form, my family accepted a rather good opportunity to move to Melbourne, Australia where I completed school in a VERY different system. I was still required to re-visit French, and a new teacher in a new system guided me to very good results in even that elusive domain. The temporal difference of academic years between hemispheres saw me complete school when I would have been only half way through 6ScII if I had stayed. I went on to the University of Melbourne at a rather young age where I did quite well, and I will forever thank the teaching staff at CBS, particularly Flo Willan, Tony Baxter and Bill Mann, as it was due to their earlier encouragement and teaching that I managed good results including Dux in Physics at the end of my first university year. I loved Aus, and met and married a local so remained in Australia, and retired as Associate Professor a few years ago. Those foundation years at CBS will always be so important, and I would dearly love to attend the reunions, however it would be a rather long commute.! I will remain an avid reader of OWT however, recalling those harmonious early days at Humberstone Gate, treading the worn stone steps of Clarence House.
 
FROM PAUL HEALEY  1960-65   I remember David Needham from my year.  He was a tall, strong centre half for the school.  He joined Notts County, the made a big move to QPR.  From there he went to Notts Forest, and played for England.  I think he was in the Forest squad when they won the European Cup.  He had a spell in management, I think he was at Kettering Town.
Talking of subjects taught by Wally Wardle, in my brief period in the 6th form (Ding Dong and I mutually agreed it would be best for me to leave) I have an 'A' level in Economics.  I knew my days were numbered when he asked us what newspapers we took at home.  The Daily Mirror and News of the World did not get the thumbs up!  When he was head at Elbow Lane you had to go to his little office at the top of the stairs to obtain a new exercise book.  Wally always counted the pages of the old one, to make sure none had been torn out, usually to do lines.  There were four houses: De Montfort, blue (I was in it)  Abbey, green or red?  Charnwood, yellow.  ?? Green or red? I chose CBS because of football, having played in goal for Montrose, Wigston Lane.

FROM STEFAN WOZOWCZYK  1965-72  

I migrated to Australia ten years after leaving City Boys. I travelled mostly overland so took only what I could carry on my back. I knew my parents had kept some of my school memorablia. A few years later, when both of them had retired, they too migrated. Both lived to great ages but my mother developed severe dementia. My father would phone and tell me that my mother was throwing things out. She didn't want to cause me any trouble sorting out the Nachlass. My mother phoned and said: "you don't want those old school photos and reports, do you?" I had no idea they'd even bothered bringing them; they hadn't told me. I said most certainly I do want them!
My parents died within three weeks of each other. I went painstakingly through their papers but I was too late. Very little was left. Nevertheless, I can tell you that on Tuesday and Wednesday, 13 and 14 June 1972, I sat my Pure Mathematics with Statistics Advanced Papers. Because the original papers did survive. They are interesting for two reasons. I travelled to school with my friend and neighbour, Nick Weston. We had to catch the bus into town, walk up to Rutland St, then catch either the 31, 67, 69 or 70. I can't remember which day it was but we were engrossed in something which was probably either music or Monty Python. We were still preoccupied when we realised we were in the middle of nowhere—we'd caught the 68. No point trying to go back. We decided we'd get off at the closest point to Spencefield Lane then run like mad. We did and, as we charged down the corridor to the exam hall, both Mr Baxter and Mr Bell (gown billowing) were in more of a panic than we were. I think we were about 20 minutes late. Maths was the one (and only) subject I was particularly good at. I still had time to answer the questions and leave time over to double-check my answers. I was starting to triple-check when the bell went. I got the Grade A expected of me.
Which leads to the second point. The first paper was Pure Maths. There are 14 questions. Although I've retained my interest in Maths to this day, I cannot answer a single one of them. And there's only one question I can even understand. I do rather better with the Statistics paper: there are nine questions; I can understand two of them and even answer one!
My next submission to OWT will discuss the German papers. Then we'll do Economics. When I've had my fun, I intend to donate the papers and a couple of other things to the Old Wyves' archive. The school reports have all gone though. I particularly miss Mr Anderson, the form teacher's, comment from 3A of 1967/68 which went something like "Could excel if he stopped pretending to be silly". One of the things my mother retained was the Wyvern off my old blazer pocket. I've written before that I enjoyed little of my schooling but I find the Wyvern oddly touching so I think I'll keep that.

AND FINALLY   One afternoon per week was devoted to games, either at Grace Road or Rushey Fields.  Football in winter, cricket in summer.  Cross-country was a regular alternative.  I have never enjoyed team games, or any form of group activity, so I was not keen on football and cricket, but quite liked cross-country. Because Jock Gilman had a rather relaxed approach to his duties it was possible to dodge a few games sessions via a forged excuse note, but mostly it was a case of gritting one's teeth and making the best of it.  Allowing time for transport to and from the field, getting changed and sorting teams, there was probably only about an hour left for sport.  If it was a football session my policy was to stay as far away from the ball as possible, though on one occasion during my first year I became intimately acquainted with the heavy, soggy leather sphere.  In short I was rendered unconscious when it hit me on the head.  I woke to find a worried-looking Mr Sweet bending over me, though I was more concerned about possible damage to my spectacles.  After a couple of minutes recovery time I was back in the game, and no one gave the matter another thought.  How different it would be today.  Rushed to hospital for tests, an enquiry launched and no doubt my parents seeking some compo.  Cricket was better, as everyone else could  not wait to get to the wicket.  I was always last on the batting order, and apart from once the games session was over before my turn came.  On that occasion I got as far as donning the pads, but was saved by the final whistle.  So usually a nice relaxing afternoon at the pavilion.  If on the fielding side I made sure to be on the boundary, and with a bit of luck mever had to touch the ball.  But cross-country at Rushey Fields was quite enjoyable.  There was a short course and a long course, all of it is built over now.  Next time I will try to remember to print details of my various wheezes to avoid games, along with Peter McDermott, my partner in crime.

Dennis J Duggan
January 2nd 2021


Sunday, 11 October 2020

Fwd: OWT108 October 2020






OLD WYVES' TALES 108
FOR WYVERNIANS 1919-76
EDITED BY DENNIS J DUGGAN, ROCK COTTAGE, BROOK STREET,
WELSHPOOL, MONTGOMERYSHIRE. SY21 7NA
TEL 01938 555574   07804 520730  
     OCTOBER 2020

FROM BRIAN STEVENSON  (EXACT DATES UNKNOWN)   Many thanks for the OWT's, they are always full of interest.   As I have found previously, it is possible to be a contemporary of a contributor without being able to remember a single thing about them - in this case Kenneth Ward.  Yet I do remember those he mentions, except for Mr Twiddly Dee Twiddly Dum - a nickname that must have passed me by.

FROM JOHN (JAKE) BLAIKIE  1955-62   (This was written July 15th - Ed)  Hello from locked-down Melbourne.  With regard to opening Wyvernians to post 1976 pupils I don't have any direct objection.  But I suspect it would lead to a large amount of input which would have almost zero-interest to the vast majority of current readers  (A declining number anyway, as age wearies us)  Maybe you could find an enterprising post-1976-er to run a parallel universe version?

FROM DAVE POSTLES  1960-67   The criteria for school selection in the last issue (This was written July 16th - Ed)  were interesting.  I had not considered the sartorial aspect - the attractiveness of the uniform.  In my year cohort  at Ovo Road (Overton Road, but latterly Merrydale - an oxymoron) four kids succeeded at the 11+, two of whom were boys.  The other lad progressed to Alderman Newton which had, I think, a splendid uniform.  In my family's perception - perhaps more widely shared - there was a hierarchy of grammar schools by disparate attributes.  Wyggeston was considered to be middle to upper-middle class and thus not suitable 'for the likes of us,' though later my sister attended Wyggeston Girls.  At Alderman Newton they played rugby.  CBS was assured because football was the sport (I was goalkeeper at Overton Road)  Languishing at the bottom in our perception was Gateway which, whilst soccer was played there, did not have a reputation commensurate with CBS. 
Some stimulating editorial comment included the notion that some boys were always destined for Oxbridge, or other universities.  I'm sure that was a significant aspect.  On the other hand some changes did occur throughout the years, and some advanced where others regressed.  How marginal were those aspects I don't know. 
Back to the uniform.  Caps were mentioned.  They were to be avoided as far as possible.  Accordingly, I would cycle along Victoria Road East in the morning, head uncovered.  But at the junction with Uppingham Road at the Shaz (Shaftesbury cinema) it was necessary to don the cap in case Grit Whitbread was encountered on his bicycle.  Lunch and afternoons were a different matter, you could cycle home with impunity.  Finally a brief greeting is directed at Steve Mellor, who was a mucker of mine. 

FROM KENNETH WARD  1959-66  Second year at the former Gateway Girls' School, Elbow Lane.  My academic record took a big blow when I was demoted from 1A to 2B, whereas some of my friends jumped a year and went direct to 3 Alpha.  The 'new' school was walled all round and we were not allowed out.  Our classroom was on the first floor, just off the gym, which did make concentration a bit difficult at times.  I still have a photo of the class.  There are only a few names I can't remember.  And I was still in short trousers!
I recall Mr Alexander, the maths teacher.  On occasion he would sit cross-legged, very relaxed, on the table, but he was very good.  Unfortunately he left after my second year and was never seen again.  Although we were separated from the main school we did have to go across town for certain activities.  One I joined was fencing.  For some reason the teacher let us carry our foils across town.  Crazy man.  Demented or what.  One day three of us decided to play at being the Three Musketeers in St Margaret's bus station.   Some busybody reported us, and we were banned from the club after only three lessons.  I still think I could have been as good as Crouch or Dart (?)
The Elbow Lane dinners were, on reflection, not too good.  But at the time I did not know much better than to realise my mum was a good cook.  A lot of liver was served, or stuffed hearts, kidneys and stews with loads of mashed potatoes, cabbage and gravy.  Considering the amount of offal, dinner time was more like a biology lesson!  A main event was the tuck shop, manned by third-year prefects.  Unfortunately some people (they will remain anonymous) ran up a tab, but that came to an end once the teachers got wind of it.  Given the meagre amount of pocket money I received the tabs seemed enormous.
Another maths teacher was Mr Mercer.  He was very good.  As it turns out, all my maths teachers made a big impact on me.  At the time.our French story book had a Monsieur Mercier as the key character.  Funny how you remember these weird facts fifty years on.  There was a boy called Manger, who wanted to know the name of the teacher on playground duty.  We said it was Jasper, though failed to mention that was his nickname.  It was rumoured that Manger received one hundred lines as a result!  It was good to see Jasper at the only reunion I have attended, in 1998?  (That was at The Harrow, Thurmaston - Ed)  He didn't look a day older.  One of Mr Mercer's quirks was a lead weight sewn into the bottom of his gown.  If he spotted an error whilst patrolling the classroom he would playfully land the weight on the back of one's head.  No words were spoken, none were necessary.
During a French lesson with Bill Sykes, Newcombe hid in the cupboard behind the teacher's desk.  I can't remember how long he stayed in there, but do recall him keep popping his head out and making us laugh.  He closed the door before Bill could see him.  That was a classic schoolboy activity which made our school days special, even if it distracted from the real reason for being there.
Can't remember why, but some of us decided to do some boxing in the gym.  Boogie Gibson and Tony Robotham were two of the five or six boys who set up a makeshift ring, and donned very large boxing gloves.  I had a bit of experience, with my dad teaching me the basics of the Queensbury rules.  I was ready to use everyone as a punch bag, friend or not.  This event was unsupervised - where was the H & S Executive?  Things went well until Boogie caught me with an uppercut and the lights went out, just as I was thinking I was invincible!  It never happened again.  I knew how to pick my battles, especially as everyone was taller than me.
Wally Wardle took us for Geography.  Not sure if it was his only, or favourite, subject.  I was one of those kids who had an answer to everything, or I should say was capable of giving a spontaneous answer with little thought.  The following incident is an example.  The subject was Australia.  Wally said, 'The ostrich is a native of Australia, and it can be dangerous.  Can anyone tell me where you should not stand when close to one?'  I thought this was a trick question, and being quite small replied, 'Underneath it, sir.'  The class went into hysterics, I felt rather an idiot.  Wally would not let it go.  'Tell me, Ward.  Why is that?'  My quick wit replied with, 'Well, sir, it might want to sit down.'  This resulted in a further bout of hysterics.  I hope Wally enjoyed the moment as much as the class.

FROM TIM RIGGS  1952-58   Thank you for OWT107.  My career at CBS was similar to yours (See the And Finally section - Ed) and I fell into category 3.  But I started in 1B and stayed in the B stream until 5S, where I managed three 'O' levels in maths, English and art.  I later managed three more, then did 'A' levels at technical college, which was a far nicer experience. 


FROM ALAN PYKETT  1959-66
   (This item was written in July - Ed) 
During lockdown, and at the time of writing this I am in extended lockdown in Leicester, I took the opportunity to read again Andy Marlow's excellent book about the history of the school. But this time I only read the history of the school from 1959 to 1966, the seven years I was at the school.  
I noted three items of interest which obviously passed me by when reading the whole book originally. Firstly, whilst spending my second and third years at Elbow Lane from 1960 to 1962 I do not really have any memory of being escorted in crocodile fashion with a prefect at at the head from Elbow Lane to Clarence House for lessons in the main school building. I am sure it did happen but perhaps not very often. Secondly, the date Thursday, 26 October 1961 is ingrained in my memory. It was the date of that year's annual Founders' Day service held at the cathedral, but that is not the reason for its importance to me! At the time I was in class 3A at Elbow Lane and I was possibly the only pupil in the class where there was no television set at home. I think my parents were becoming increasingly aware I was becoming a bit upset about this so imagine my great surprise when I went home for lunch on the above date and found a set in the living room. My excitement was tempered by my father issuing the immortal words "If it affects your school work it is going back". It was a rented set. He need not have worried. Amazingly, from that time onwards my academic career took off, culminating with me winning the form prize in class 4A the following year. Pure coincidence I suppose. As an aside readers will also recall that the above service was always held on the Thursday afternoon prior to the autumn half term break, which in those days was just two days, the following Friday and Monday, not a full week as it is now. Thirdly, and finally I hesitate to say but I think I may have found an error but I stand to be corrected! The annual swimming gala in 1965 is stated to have been held on 9 July. Most readers of OWT will recall 1965 was the year when the Leicester industrial holiday fortnight moved from the first two weeks in August to the first two weeks in July and my report for the summer term confirms that it finished on Friday, 2 July. Myself and my parents would have gone away the next day.

FROM JOHN OFFORD  1958-63  (This item was written in July - Ed)  I was interested to read Alan Pykett's comments about short trousers and how we ended up at City Boys School.  Looking through my photographs I found one of the Junior School Choir in 1960 (yes I could sing and was Head Choirboy at my local church) and you can see me and five others on the front row wearing short trousers. Move on one year and the 3A class photo shows everybody in long trousers. I suppose short trousers at age 13 were not very attractive to the opposite sex, although my legs have always been in good shape ! Nowadays I am in shorts whenever possible.
I remember the main criteria my parents and I used for choosing City of Leicester Boys was football and it was our first choice. Having played for Caldecote Road Junior School  and scoring 36 goals in their 1958 League title-winning side and runners-up in the Rice Bowl Cup final  I desperately wanted to continue in a football-playing school. Also City of Leicester Boys School sounded much better than the names of the other schools. It could easily be identified to a place. The place where I was born and bred. The others could have been anywhere.  In my final year at Caldecote Road I was in Class 1 along with 17 other boys and 25 girls. We all passed the 11 plus and three boys ended up at City of Leicester Boys. Another two went from Class 2.   Despite my wish to play football for the school I found it difficult to get into the team. Clearly I was not the only one to choose City of Leicester Boys for that reason and it turned out there were some good players.
I was eventually selected for Mr Alexander's 2nd year team in 1959/60 and the team photo shows me wearing glasses, with real glass in those days. I had already experienced a visit to hospital to have glass taken out of one eye after a stone hit my glasses whilst on holiday, so I knew I was taking a risk playing football.  I had never considered running . However, I managed to win the 1st year school cross country race over the Rushey Fields course. This led to being selected for the cross country team , but I still wanted to play football. One of the inter schools races held at Rushey Fields on our games day clashed with a form football match at Grace Road. I decided, without informing the Team Manager, to play the football match. During the first half the match was temporarily halted and I was told to leave the field and take no further part as I should have been at Rushey Fields. I never did find out how they managed to get a message to Grace Road and I wasn't in a position to ask too many questions. Fortunately no further action was take   .I continued to play in glasses for Mr Mann's 1960/61 Junior XI and the following season for Mr Lawson.
At this point Mr Lawson changed my sporting life. Although the school did not have a Health and Safety policy about playing football in glasses, he thought I was putting myself at risk and should only play football without them. I tried it for the next game, against Linwood School, who also played in gold and black. I then realised I couldn't go on playing football . Mr Lawson knew I would be disappointe , but he felt I should concentrate on running and so I started to train properly.  From our conversation he had clearly taken an interest in my school cross country and sports day results and I have always been very grateful for his advice. 
After leaving school in December 1963 I went on to break the British Junior 6 miles record in 1965, represent Great Britain Juniors as a 2000m steeplechaser in 1967, run for England as a Senior 3000m steeplechaser in 1973, represent the Midland Counties and Amateur Athletic Association (AAA) and then after 1982 for Great Britain in numerous international marathons around the world. I was never quite good enough to be selected for a major championship . However, in 1984 I  had the consolation of achieving the Olympic Qualifying time for the Los Angeles Olympics, but only three could be selected. My time of 2hours 13mins and 52secs was the 10th fastest in Britain that year and is still the County record.
It is interesting to note that on my final school report Mr Bell wrote " A great pity he is leaving. I would have liked to have seen him earn a Blue for running."  I like to think I achieved better than a Blue, but it was nice of him to believe I could have made it to Oxford or Cambridge, even if I didn't at the time.
In " And Finally" in OWT 107 I think Dennis has got in spot on about there being three groups after the first year. I would put myself in his second group. In 1958 I found myself starting in 1 Alpha (Mr Gould), finishing 23rd out of 28 after term one. I improved slightly to 18th the next ter , but my final term was a disaster. I bombed in the yearly exam order to 29th out of 30!  Moving down to 2A (Mr Freeman) for the second year was a blessing in disguise as I started enjoy the work and my exam position was 5th. 3A (Mr Newton) was even better. This was the year Chemistry and Physics were introduced and when I moved to 4A (Mr Gimson ), and along with Maths , English and German, I started to do well in these subjects.  They were the 5 GCEs  I obtained before leaving after only one term in the sixth form (Mr Lawrence). I was only academically average and did not consider myself as University material. After five years of study and exams I wanted to find a job. My qualifications allowed me to take up employment in a bank and four years later move on into local government, where I spent 40 years with the City and County Councils before retiring at age 60.
City of Leicester Boys gave me a good education to set me up for decent employment  and, as a bonus,  a successful career in athletics, of which I am very proud.  Although I left school 57 years ago I still have many happy memories. During the lockdown I have had the chance to go through my collection of schooldays memorabilia of photographs and reports to remind me. Also time to read again The Story of a Grammar School by Andy Marlow. It is a wonderful record of the history of my school. Thanks again Andy.
Thanks must also go to Dennis for being the Wyvernians Founder, Secretary,  OWT Editor and Reunion Organiser. Will we ever meet again at Clarence House ?   Stay safe.

FROM ED FEATHERSTONE  1959-65   Between 1991 and 2019 I was a Partner, then a Director, of Collis Bird and Withey Bookbinders.  When I bought the Andy Marlow book I decided to have it rebound.  It is now in a black quarter-leather binding (Spine and part of the covers in leather, with raised bands and gold lettering) and the rest of the covers in black buckram.  The end papers are also black.  We then made a handsome slip case, to protect the book for posterity.  I want Wyvernians to have it, so the book can be seen at the reunions.  It could be your personal copy.  Lord knows you deserve it!  (I was, of course, delighted and honoured  to accept Ed's generous offer.  If and when we have another reunion it will take pride of place in the display - Dennis)

AND FINALLY...   The recent spell of very wet weather made me think back to our weekly games lessons at Grace Road or Rushey Fields.  I was a less than enthusiastic participant, and had a range of dodges to avoid the torture.  But of course they could not be used every week, so often I had no choice but to take part.  The only hope of salvation lay in the weather, and if it was a wet morning I hoped and prayed it would become worse after lunch so games would be cancelled.  But so far as I recall, that only happened once in my five years at CBS.

Dennis J Duggan  1959-64
October 12th 2020