Thursday, 14 July 2022

Fwd: OWT115 July 2022

TEL 01938 555574   07804 520730  
     JULY 2022

   Hopefully we will be able to resume our full reunions in March 2023.  But in the meantime, following the success of the informal lunch at Clarence House last March, a second has been provisionally booked for Wednesday October 12th.  Full details will be circulated in due course, but meanwhile you might like to make a note of the date.  Obviously numbers will be limited by the available seats in the cafeteria.

FROM KEN WARD  1959-66
   (The third and final chapter of Ken's memories.  In OWT114 we left Ken recovering from a broken finger following a football injury - Ed)  What happened next was bizarre.  Six weeks later, on a Tuesday, I had the finger cast removed.  I did protect it with a slip-on plastic shield so I could play, but on the Friday during a training game I tackled Mick McLoughlin and managed to break the finger on my right hand.  It was an identical break!  Another six weeks incarcerated, and another six weeks of ribbing from my mates.  But that was not the end.  Around Easter time I rebroke the finger on my right hand when playng football against the Old Boys, trying to do a Maradonna.  I left the pitch a little weepy, got it strapped up then went back on.  No subs in those days.  The new pitch was not the best, as the surface had varying amounts of flint embedded in the soil.  This led to quite a number of players receiving cuts to their legs.  I seem to remember McMorran receiving a nasty gash.  Each time we played we kept an eye out for flints, and picked up the offending items.
I began driving lessons at the tender age of seventeen.  All my lessons were at night, and one was in fog so thick I could only see about twenty five yards ahead.  My first test was offered for January 21st 1966 at 1.30pm.  Before accepting I needed to check the instructor would be available to give me an extra lesson and loan me a car.  Then I needed approval from Mr Bell, the headmaster.  I expected the worst, but he gave me the afternoon off.  He said I had better pass first time, as he would not allow it again.  Around February or March we were due to play football against King's College, Cambridge.  Dave Lawrence was unable to attend on this occasion, and he approached me a week before the game.  He had heard I had a driving licence, and asked if it was a provisional one.  He was surprised when I told him it was a full licence, and what happened next still shocks me.  He asked if I would drive his Hillman Husky from Cambridge to Leicester after the match with some of the team.  The Hillman was driven to Cambridge by a graduate who was doing teacher training so would not be returning.  Seriously, who in their right mind would ask a seventeen-year-old with zilch driving experience to do such a thing?  But we arrived home safely, the only casualty being a blown exhaust.  Hopefully Dave Lawrence did not hold that against me.  But the confidence I gained from the experience was of great value, so thank you, Dave.

FROM MARTIN POTTER  1965-72   Were any other readers subjected to the marlin spike?  The teacher involved must remain nameless in these enlightened times, but back then no one would have considered it inappropriate.  The marlin spike was wielded because our standard of singing was of an unsatisfactory - some would say lamentable - standard.  It was laid across the top of the piano as a warning to those not giving their best.  The rationale was, If that's the best you can do then a stronger form of encouragement is required.  Those readers not of a nautical disposition might not know a marlin spike is a tool used in marine ropework.  Basically it is a large pointed piece of metal not unlike a giant needle.  It must be stressed that this potential weapon was introduced in a light-hearted fashion, and there was never any suggestion it would actually be used.  Surprisingly, standards improved after the spike appeared.  The teacher said, Now why couldn't you have sung like that in the first place, then I wouldn't have had to bring out the marlin spike!  I enjoyed singing, and wanted to join the choir as it had the added advantage that choir practice enabled one to miss boring lessons.  The music teacher auditioned pupils by asking them to sing a short piece to his piano accompaniment.  Ability was assessed via three categories, A, B, X, the latter identifying those who did not have a musical bone in their bodies.  Initially I was a B, but following an appeal I was promoted to A and thus qualified for membership.  The highlight of the year was performing at the annual Founder's Day service in Leicester cathedral, which had wonderful acoustics.  The piece I most enjoyed was a versionof Ave Verum, but therein lies a mystery.  As I wrote this I felt the need to listen to the piece again, so searched YouTube.  I was disappointed to find all the versions are sung in the original Latin under the title Ave Verum Corpus.  When we performed the piece the lyrics were in English, something like Ave Verum Holy Spirit, to the world in sorrow came.  I can find no record of these even after an extensive search.  Can any musical readers throw any light on the version performed by our choir?

FROM STEPHEN RADFORD  1954-59   Reading our editor's comments in the last OWT reminded me of my own, similar, dislike of games.  I thought it was all rather unnecessary, and would have preferred to have lessons instead - and arrive home a little earlier.  Football was something to tolerate.  Often I simply put my football jersey over my clothes and thus stand a chance of getting an earlier bus home by not having to change.  If I could avoid a tackle I did so.  On occasion my twin brother, Andrew, and I would hide behind the long narrow buildings near the Grace Road changing rooms and not be detected at all.  We reappeared when games were over and joined the other boys as they headed for the buses.  Cricket was more tolerable, but I lost interest when my brother was hit on the head by a ball and jeered at.  I saw the nastier side of the game.  I did not enjoy cross country at Rushey Fields.  To my mind it was too far away on the other side of Leicester.  We lived in Knighton, so it made getting home even later.  But we had a good scheme going.  The council dustbin lorries were emptied nearby via a track, along which we ran before going across fields.  The lorries had a running board at the back, where the dustmen stood to travel to their next stop.  Often we were allowed to stand on the back, and on one occasion this allowed us to arrive first at the finish line looking remarkably fresh.  Whilst nothing was said by the teachers, they must have thought it most unusual to see the Radford boys
so keen and competitive!

   I can put Rich Wakefield's mind at ease as, whilst I cannot recall the incident to which he refers, a group of Old Boys would never be quantified as undesireable rabble and such behaviour would reflect my own spirit.  This appears to have been the case, as entry was granted - I guess the use of the obligatory extended hiss to end Semper te amamus must have done the trick, even if tuneless.  I guess Mr Wakeman (sic) is not the accomplished keyboard player from YES and other bands as I would have recognised him and he would have been on freebies all night.
How strange is the human brain.  I can recite the Latin verses from the school song verbatim more than fifty five years after leaving, whilst not realising there were any verses in English until I saw the Wyves web site.  This is despite me having no knowledge of the meaning and absolutely no interest in Latin at any time.  Grit Whitbread kicked me out of his lessons due to lack of interest combined with little effort and pathetic marks for the little work I did.  Ah well, tempus fugit, carpe diem etc.

FROM ANDY BENNETT  1971-75   I think I have commented before about the rich well of reminiscencies from the Clarence House era, they make great reading.. It's a shame about the lack of memories from the Evington era.  I moved to Leicester in 1971 from Harrow County Grammar School  (Michael Portillo's school incidentally, and we both share the same passion for railways) and was therefore at CBS to 1971 to 1975, when I graduated from the sixth form.  Many of the teachers from Humberstone Gate did make the move to Downing Drive so I recognise many of the names.  Ernie Ding Dong Bell lived on Uppingham Road, and as a paper boy I delivered the Leicester Mercury to his house.  I remember a maths lesson in one of the mobile classrooms near the boiler house.  Mr Bell appeared and asked the teacher (Mr Baxter)  if I could step outside as he wanted a word with me.  My heart was in my mouth, but I need not have worried as all Ernie had to say was that Mike, my brother two years behind me, had been checked for nits by the nurse and tested positive.  So I had to be checked, but could not understand why someone so senior was sent on this errand.  By the way, I was given the all-clear!

FROM BRIAN COPE  1954-62   In a second-hand bookstore in a Perth (Australia) suburb, I came across a copy of Chas Howards biography of Mary Kingsley.  I knew of this book but had never seen it.  The book is dedicated to his brother, who was an inspirational history master at Alderman Newton's.    Along with C P Snow and Professor J H Plumb, of Christ's College, Cambridge, they formed a band of brothers who toured French vineyards and shared a range of unusual interests.  Plumb, for instance, was a friend and confidante of Princess Mararet.  I spoke to some of those Newton pupils who saw Howard Snr off on the boat train to Paris (I  believe) to avoid court proceedings.  A rather more colourful lifestyle than that of the normal provincial schoolmaster.

MEMORIAL BENCH   Mike Ratcliff  (1958-64) noticed a memorial bench in the Botanic Gardens, Oadby.  It is dedicated to D E Whitbread, 1921-2002, which is our very own Grit.  I believe you can see photos on the Wyvernians web site and facebook page.  Apparently it could do with some TLC, which might be forthcoming from one very well-known Wyvernian!

FROM JOHN WILLIAMSON  1960-67 (OR 68)   (John has sent me some details of  his life, and has given me permission to edit the content to make it more suitable for OWT - Ed)  After leaving CBS I attended Bradford University, leaving three years later with a less-than-stellar degree in History, Philosophy and Literature.  Subsequently I spent a couple of years messing around on building sites in the Midlands - Rugby, Northampton, Newbold Verdon, Hinckley and Coventry to name but some.  I was then taken on in the PR department og GEC Marconi Electronics in Chelmsford.  Not sure if the previous construction industry was a good grounding for the defence and electronics PR business!)  Eventually I was recruited by one of my former Marconi bosses who had moved on.  In the late seventies I switched to communications and technology magazine journalism. During my CBS days I knew Steve Mellor and Richard McMorran reasonably well via Martin Stuart, with whom I am still in touch with Christmas cards.  If they are both reading this, 'Hello.'  Once, in a very disorderly music lesson at Elbow Lane, Bill Sykes appealed for quiet.  He exclaimed, Every time I open my mouth some darn fool makes a noise.  Years later I found that quite funny.

FROM MIKE RATCLIFF  1958-64   In OWT 114 Dave Winter queries why Eric Orton's nickname was Ben.  I believe it was me who gave him the name shortly after he joined the school in 1961.  It was a time when both TV channels were packed with cowboy programmes, some of which I watched.  I'm sure one of the actors/characters was called Ben (H)Orton so I started to refer to him as Ben as Mr Orton sounded so formal, and it seemed to stick.  A fairly ordinary nickname for a school staffed by Grit, Flo, Wally, Basher, Bunny, Nosebag and Luigi.

AND FINALLY   Like most of us, I still remember many of our teachers.  One, Jock Gilman, Games Master, made a particularly strong impression.  My mental picture of a sports teacher was of an energetic ex-army type wearing spotless white trousers and white vest.  Jock  was none of those things, in fact a less likely candidate for the job is hard to imagine.  I recall a rather portly, pipe-smoking, middle-aged gent wearing a sports jacket.  He was never known to break into a sweat, and did anyone ever seeing him actually doing any physical activity?  He was noted for arriving at school in a different car each week.  This was rumoured to be because his brother had a second-hand car business on Welford Road.  As is well-known, I had no interest in sport, though I did not mind cross-country, and Jock's  relaxed attitude allowed me and  Peter Mc Dermott, my best pal, to avoid games a few times each term via the used of forged notes.  This resulted in us being sent to the library, often accompanied by a couple of other regular dodgers, where we were able to complete that evening's homework.  Only once were we put in a classroom and told to do lines.  I have mentioned this before, and with hindsight there is no way that Jock could have been fooled.  I suspect that a) he did not want the bother that would be caused by an investigation and b) we were useless at ball games and probably best if we did not spoil it for the rest of the teams.  But we will never know for sure.

Dennis J Duggan  1959-64

Sunday, 10 April 2022

Fwd: OWT114 April 2022

TEL 01938 555574   07804 520730  
     APRIL 2022

REUNION LUNCH   Brian Screaton (1959-65) reports: The inaugural Wyvernians lunchtime get-together took place on Wednesday 30th March at the restaurant in Clarence House, and was voted a great success by all who attended. Kerry and Adam and all the staff in the AgeUK kitchen did us proud, and it was a very convivial lunch with attendees including former teachers Tony Baxter, John Lawson and Dave Lawrence, former school secretary Jill Povoas and about 24 former pupils. It was a pleasure to welcome some post-Clarence House pupils, including Rob Willson and Chris Jinks. We are aiming to have another lunch in early October this year, and thereafter continue with the Reunion proper in March and the lunch in the late Autumn. Thanks are due to John Hames for making all the arrangements with AgeUK.
   (From Dave Zanker - 1957-62)  It is with much sadness that we report the passing of my brother, Steve Zanker (1961-68) on March 19th.  Steve was a well-known sportsman, and notably represented the school at football throughout his tenure.  He went on to Leicester University, where he gained his degree in Engineering.  Steve then spent a successful career in teaching, becoming Deputy Head at Barwell Junior School.  In later years he also became well-known for his role in developing educational computer networking.  Steve had suffered from lung cancer for many years, a condition which he fought bravely.  He passed away peacefully at home, with his wife Janet by his side.  Rest in peace, Steve.

Duncan Lucas (1940-44) passed away February 2022.

FROM BRIAN SCREATON  1959-65   Following the death of former teacher Eric Orton, I sent a donation from Wyvernians funds to Eric's chosen charity, Dementia UK.  I have received this very kind letter from Margery, his wife: Many thanks for your contribution to Eric's chosen charity fund - Dementia UK.  We were able to send £350 in his memory.  Anything that will help to improve the lives for sufferers must be good.  It was very sad to see such an energetic, fit person suffer with this problem and gradually lose all faculties.  He treasured his memories of City Boys' School - as it will always be for us - and the friends we made there and kept all our lives.  Best wishes, Margery Orton.

FROM DAVE WINTER  1960-67   Sad news about Eric Orton, whose nickname for some unaccountable reason was Ben.  He was a very good teacher indeed, especially for sixth form work.  Highly organised, and very hard-working himself, he expected a lot from us.  Every lesson was thoroughly prepared, and executed with energy and humour.  He was the only teacher to invite we sixth formers to his house for dinner, something which - in those days - seemed almost revolutionary.  Sometime after I left school I gather he became Head teacher at Lancaster Boys' School.  I can only imagine he was a success there too.

FROM RICHARD CHATHAM  1967-74   Sad to hear the news about Eric Orton.  He was a great French master, and fostered the love of languagesI  used throughout my career.  Other masters included John Mawby, John Webster, Mr O'Higgins and, of course, Grit Whitbread for Latin.  And in the spirit of words, fun and your apology to Ken Ward regarding your typing error in his contribution about cats, I believe it should have read the smaller of the two cats.  It is only the smallest if it refers to three or more cats!

FROM THE REVD DEREK HOLLIS  1972-79   I am sorry to read of the death of Eric Orton.  He taught me French, and some years after leaving school I came across him again as I attended the Leicester French Circle.  I was thinking of him only a few days ago (This was written January 7th - Ed)  This week I learned from a facebook contact, who recently played the organ for a service at St Denys church, Evington, that Bill Mann (A regular church member and bell ringer) is now in the nursing home at Arbor House, and said to be afflicted with dementia. Thinking back to my time at the school, I was secretary of the History Society during my later years there.  On occasions I recall we used to spend a society meeting watching a number of old cine films depicting school life.  They were silent, but quite amusing.  I wonder what happened to those films.  Did they ever reach the Wyvernian archive?  (Editor's note - the films surfaced c2001, and were transferred to DVD.  They are shown at the annual reunions)  I am still in touch with John and Margaret Webster, who taught at the school.  John taught German, Margaret taught geography.

FROM ALAN PYKETT  1959-66   I was interested in the article by Dave Postles, and would make a couple of points.  I well remember that Dave studied both geography and German for 'O' level in the way he describes.  I don't know if any other pupil in 5L took the same route.  I suppose I could have done, but did not give it much thought.  Secondly, Dave mentions books and plays studied over the two years in the sixth form towards the literature part of the French 'A' level exam.  I still have the exam paper, and believe the five books/plays studied were - with the authors in brackets - as follows:  Le Cid (Corneille) Les Femmes Savantes (Moliere) Les Hommes de la Route (Chamson) La Tete Sur les Epaules (Troyat) and Hernani (Hugo)  I believe the third one mentioned was about the Tour de France and the fourth one was about existentialism.  Happy days!

FROM RICH WAKEFIELD  1961-68   Further to the article by Steve Mellor, about his experiences at the French Revolution back in the summer of '76.  I recall that I, and a group of friends (Many educated at CBS) blagged our way in by delivering a rousing, if somewhat tuneless, chorus of 'vivat crescat'.  I wonder if we are listed amongst the undesireable rabble??!!

FROM KEN WARD  1959-66  Second year sixth Part 1   (Continuing Ken's memories - Ed)  I applied to Imperial College, London; University College, London; Nottingham; Brunel and Loughborough to study chemical engineering, and also to study metallurgy at Nottingham.  At this point I had six meagre 'O' levels grades but NOT English language.  The chances of acceptance for any of the courses was minimal - even the lower ones like Brunel or Loughborough - without English language.  But to my surprise I was offered an interview at Imperial College, and was put with a group of five other interviewees.  We were shown round the chemical engineering building, with its new and old laboratories.  This was like nothing I had seen before, and I can still remember my excitement.  The interviewer was very friendly, and when we were alone I told him I had not yet passed my English language 'O' level and would that be an issue?  His reassuring reply was it was not a major concern for him.  He gave us some tasks in the group sessions.  One was to solve differential equations, and I was able to separate and integrate them with ease, whereas the others were hesitant or did not have a clue.  He also set two problems - have a go at them!
Q1:  You have a bucket almost full of water.  In it you float a wooden boat, and you place a tin soldier in the boat.  When the soldier falls out of the boat, does the water level go up or down?
Q2:  You want to make a cup ot tea.  Is the tea warmer if you put the milk in first, or last.  Or will the temperature be the same - and why?
One of the benefits of the new school was the massive playing fields, so we didn't have to go to Grace Road for sports, or to Melton Road for crosss country with the privilege of changing in the cow sheds! 
At the beginning of the year I was hoping to play in the 1st XI football team, but on the first practice session I found myself playing with the rest of the Wednesday afternoon group  Part way through some changes were made, and I was asked to join the others on the 1st XI pitch.  I was elated, and felt ten feet tall, even though I was the smallest player on the pitch.  Dave Lawrence was the coach that year, he stuck me on the right wing where I stayed for the rest of the season.  It was great to be back with all the friends I had played with for many years.  It was a good year, with many goals scored, but not as many as Geoff Elliott.  My football career was almost short-lived.  I played in goal during a training session, my second position.  Mick McCoughlin hit the ball.  I failed to catch it, but it hit my hand and it hurt.  I looked at the middle finger of my right hand, the tip was bent at ninety degrees.  I was sent to hospital - without a teacher - they fitted a large plaster of paris splint which I wore for six weeks.  You can imagine the comments I received from my class and team mates.  The cast was set to allow the small piece of bone attached to the tendon to join with the floating finger tip.  The next week I strapped up the whole hand so I could play football.  Fortunately Dave Lawrence allowed this, though it might have taken some begging and persuasion.  I doubt it would be allowed today  (To be continued - Ed)

FROM MURRAY WALNE  1961-68   Good to read the old panoramic photos have been archived at Bond Street.  I've been tidying up my old family photos, and one of the panoramics showing my father is badly damaged.  My father, born in 1908, was at Bond Street 1920-23, so I shall pay a visit.  Not sure I'll recognise him though!  (Editor's note - I jumped the gun about the photos being on display, as at the time the building refurbishment was not finished.  I understand that Brian Screaton has donated a spare copy of the relevant photo to Murray)

AND FINALLY...   One afternoon per week was GAMES, at Rushey Fields or Grace Road.  It could be football, cricket or cross-country.  Of course, most boys relished the idea of an afternoon'e sport, but a few of us were not so keen.  To this day, I have no interest whatsoever in any form of sport.  Football was my worst nightmare.  Cricket was not so bad.  If on the fielding side it was a simple matter to stand as far away from the wicket as possible, and with a bit of luck the ball could be avoided completely.  If batting, it was easy to be one of the last men in, as most of the lads could not wait to wield the bat.  Usually the games session was over before numbers ten or eleven were called on, and I recall only one occasion when I was obliged to buckle on the pads.  So it was a relief when Jock Gilman blew his whistle (or shouted through his megaphone) as I was about to head for the wicket. I did not mind cross-country at Rushey Fields.  Sometimes we did the short course, others times the longer one which took us across farmland and along Barkby Road.  The fields have long since been built on.  Ironically one of the streets leading back to the park was called Wyvern Avenue!  My best friend at school was Peter McDermott, who shared my dislike of sport.  We sometimes used a good dodge at Rushey Fields, where the changing facilities consisted of a couple of long, narrow buildings with no windows.  The only illumination was via the open door, so sometimes Peter and I went to the very back of the huts were it was almost pitch black.  We waited until everyone had changed and moved to the pitches, which were on the other side of the park, then cautiously checked to see the coast was clear.  The terminus of the No 42 corporation bus was conveniently sited by the park gate, so it was easy to travel into town and transfer to our buses home.  Peter Lived in Evington, I lived in South Wigston.  Of course, the dodge was only viable because Jock never troubled to take a roll-call or do a simple head count.  The dodge was used several times, and never failed.  It all seems rather childish now, and probably not worth the risk.  But perhaps that was the challenge?    It was all a very long time ago.

Dennis J Duggan  1959-64
April 9th 2022


Friday, 7 January 2022

Fwd: OWT113 Jan 2022

TEL 01938 555574   07804 520730  
     JANUARY 2022

EDITORIAL   We would like to thank everyone who responded to the appeal for help with funding storage costs for the memorabilia collection.  This is now safe and secure in a storage unit in South Wigston.  To make best use of the funds Brian booked one of the smaller units, which led to a cull of duplicated and surplus items, and these were offered to members of Wyvernians.  This resulted in the sale of several copies of The Wyvernian magazine, along with most (if not all) of the unframed panoramic photographs.  The framed panoramics from 1920/23 had become of limited relevance today, as all the people have passed away.  But they are still of immense historical interest, and I am delighted to inform you that, thanks to Brian, they are now on permanent display at the Unitarian church in East Bond Street.  The building has links to the very beginnings of our old school, and there is  a permanent history display.  It is wonderful to know we have been able to make these photos available to a wider audience one hundred years after they were originally produced.
A Message from Brian - The last two copies of the CBS history book are still available, it is unlikely there will be any more.  £35.00 each + £4.20 p & p = £39.20.  To order phone me on 07770 413228 or e-mail
I want to thank all those who made generous donations to the 'Storage Fund', which now totals £900.  Two Wyvernians kindly set up standing orders of £10 per month, which will pay two thirds of the monthly storage fee of £30.  So we shall only have to dip into the £900 to the tune of £10 per month, meaning it should last us about seven years - although this will reduce if the fees are increased at anytime.

   Most of you will know we have booked Clarence House for March 19th, which is still ten weeks away.  We have no idea if the reunion will be allowed to go ahead, and if it is permissible whether there might be a limit on numbers.  At the moment we in Wales are limited to thirty.  We also need to consider if enough Old Boys to make it worthwhile would be prepared to attend, as all are elderly and many have underlying health problems. It is very frustrating, but all clubs and societies are in the same boat.  All we can do is see what develops over the next six weeks or so.  The alternative is to postpone until, say, August or September when things might have returned to some normality.  Watch this space!  Feel free to let me have your own thoughts.

REF PETER ROBINSON  (1955-60I hear that Peter is still working as a photographer, and has recently created a web site showcasing some of his work over the years.  This mainly relates to football, hence the address  You might like to have a look, especially if you are interested in football.

FROM GERRY JOHNSON 1956-64   I note there have been some mentions of Roger (Fred) Embury.  I have kept in touch with Roger since he left CBS in 1963 to embark on his teacher training.  I had the privilege of being his Best Man when he married Ann in 1970, and attending their golden wedding anniversary in 2020.  Roger kept wicket and played in goal for the first teams in 1962 and 1963, and was applauded for both in The Wyvernian reports.  He took up his first teaching appointment in 1966 at Forest Hill School in south east London and taught PE and geography.  He then went on to Pershore High School, Worcestershire, where he became Deputy Head before retiring in 2000.
Roger continued to play cricket for several years at Pershore Cricket Club, but played less football after leaving school.  He explained, 'I rested on my laurels after saving a penalty taken by Maurice Hallam.  That was when the school team played an annual game against the Leicestershire County Cricket team - after all we played our matches at Grace Road!'  Instead of football Roger took up running, and competed in several marathons including London.  He cycled from John O' Groats to Lands End, and did the Three Peaks Challenge.  That is Snowden, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis in twenty four hours.  He claims all this must have been done under the influence of Jock Gilman!
Roger now lives near Broadway, but has retained his Leicester links via his Foxes season ticket.  But why Fred?' Well, those of a certain age may remember a comedy actor of the time called Fred Emney.

FROM STEFAN WOZOWCZYK  1965-72     The two Advanced Economics papers were taken on June 6th and 7th 1972.  I was not looking forward to them.  In OWT109 I wrote that my mother had thrown away lots of my school memorabilia in her late stages of dementia.  Yet I have all my A-level papers and, this is the point - she kept all my economics notebooks.  Why?  I could have had a laugh over maths and German, but economics?  Here we have a Wally Wardle alert.  Because he got me through.  I was hoping for an A,C, D, which indeed I got, but the D came in German for reasons explained in OWT109.  The C came in economics!  Having been through the papers, I see there are a lot of 'mathematical' questions.  That was my subject and, I suspect, why I got what I considered a high grade.  But Wally  didn't just teach economics.  He taught those of us who wished to know how to write English too.  Adaption I wrote in an essay on inflation. 'There is no such word, it is adaptation.' In one essay, for reasons now lost but probably something to do with seventeen-year-old obtuseness, I changed from Roman font to italic. 'What is the meaning of this, boy?' In another essay, Theory of Distribution, my notes show that MRP=Price x MPP, which might be fine if you know the meaning of MPP.  But there is also something called ARP, and my notes shed no light on this.  But we had to draw a graph of something which is now mysterious.  I got my ARP's and MRP's misspelled, and they came out as APR and MPR.  'It is not April, and there is no such month as Mprch, boy.'  So I think it was partly Wally's economics, and partly his teaching me to write, that got me through.  Other teachers also did that, but strangely it was rarely the English teachers.  J D Anderson was another stickler.  What would Wally think now if he looked in my dictionary and saw adaption sitting on the page?  It's a word I have always refused to use, so I did learn something.

FROM DAVE POSTLES  1960-67   A couple of points relating to OWT112.  Whilst it is true that technically it was necessary to decide in 5A between German and geography, it was permissible to take German formally and geography informally, which is what I decided.  It involved taking only a couple of classes with WAG Pace, otherwise it was just private study from the text book.  As for French literature, I recall only two of the five texts: Moliere (J-B Poquelin) Les Femmes Savantes, with a brief diversion into L'Avare with George, and A Chamson, Les Hommesde la Route.  Incidentally, January 2022 marks the 400th anniversary of Poquelin's birth.  In retrospect, I wish I had been more attentive to Les Hommes.

AN APOLOGY   Ken Ward points out that I omitted a very important word (SMALLEST) from his contribution in OWT112.  The question was: there are two cats sitting on a tin roof.  Which cat will fall off first? Answer:  the one with the SMALLEST mu.  Mu is the coefficient of friction, so the cat with the SMALLEST mu would slip off first.

OBITUARY   I have heard that Eric Orton passed away, but have no further details.  Eric was a teacher when I was at CBS, I remember him well.

FROM ALAN PYKETT   I am enjoying Ken Ward's memoirs very much, but must point out an error and will be surprised of other readers do not pick up on it.  It concerns classes in the sixth form.  Ken states the three classes were graded according to ability.  This is incorrect.  6S1 and 6A1 were the first years' sixth form, irrespective of ability.  Following on, 6S2 and 6A2 were the second year sixth forms.  There were also 6S3 and 6A3.  I suspect these were made up of pupils who had taken their 'O'levels after four years, and 'A' levels after six years instead of five and seven respectively, having no doubt come through the Alpha stream.  I suispect the final year for them was preparing for entry to Oxbridge, where most were destined to carry on their studies.

KEN'S RESPONSE   Alan is correct.  I was definitely in 6S1 and then 6S2, as witnessed in a form photo.  I was keen to say that 6S1 and 6S2 were split into groups, depending on the potential for further academic progression after secondary school.  My memory, which has some flaws, put me in Group 3 (But it could have been Group 2)  I believe my timetable was set to allow me not to take on extra non-science lessons in an attempt to maximise 'A' level grades.

FROM STEVE MELLOR  1960-66  Steve writes:This is not exactly a school experience, but it does involve a ex-pupils.  Andy has approved the article.
 Reading Andy Howes' article in OWT112 reminded me of an occasion when we were visited by the Leicester Constabulary, of which Andy was one of the team on this occasion.  In 1976 I returned from a two-year stint of contracting in Oman with a bulging wallet and not much idea what to do with my earnings, or myself.  This was a long, hot dry summer and, as I had taken to frequenting the French Revolution wine bar in the city centre most evenings, it made some sense to invest in  it.  So I became a 49% shareholder.  The bar was situated in a small cul-de-sac, Granby Place, almost opposite the old Picture House cinema and behind Elizabeth the Chef bakery shop.  We ran on a club licence, enabling us to stay open way after pub chucking out time, and whilst our ambience and good food attracted some Leicester 'celebrities' it also attracted some less savoury characters, as they could carry on drinking after the pubs had closed.
This less desireable element did cause more than a small amount of trouble, and by the middle of the year we had experienced a few rather serious situations.  These included a melee with some USAF airmen from Alconbury, and a man who tried to force his way in brandishing a shotgun!  Inevitably such activities led to a visit from the police on the evening in question.  We were quizzed on some of our practices to avoid proper club rules, such as providing on the spot membership for anyone handing over a cash payment (illegal) as well as failing to follow established disciplinary and control practices (We simply employed our own muscle)  Andy approached me and suggested that, to avoid becoming too deeply implicated in the issues raised, I should fade into the background or leave - Andy being a cousin of mine.  I informed him that, as co-owner, I was prevented from doing this.  He and his colleagues proceeded to inform us of the dubious nature of all those who had fallen foul of the law - well over 50% of those in the place at the time!
Such visits were repeated on a number of occasions for the rest of the summer - without Andy - persuading several clients to stay away, but the final nail in our coffin was a visit by the Fire Department.  We were informed the numbers present far exceeded what we were licenced for, as was the case with most discos and clubs back then, and any further transgressions would result in us being closed down.  Keeping to the legal limit killed the atmosphere, as well as being financially unviable, so later in the year we sold the business to a man who had been involved in nefarious IRA activities.  He was certainly not the type the police would have chosen!  I left Leicester shortly afterwards so don't know how things went, but the next time I was in the city the place was closed down.

FROM KEN WARD 1959-66   Second year sixth, part one   (Ken's memoirs continued.  I am splitting this contribution into two parts - Ed) At this point I was to move a fourth time., but this was to a brand new school in Downing Drive on the other side of town.  As I write this next part of my experiences the 'new' school has been demolished whilst the original building is still standing.  They don't build them like that any more!  Don't get me wrong, it was a great improvement but with a mixture of ups and downs.  The Vestry Street baths were a loss, but the great expanse of green grass for soccer, rugby and cricket more than made up for it.  The building with history was replaced by nice airy classrooms, a glazed gym and laboratories.  Another good point was the already-established girls' school next door, and during break we could chat with them over the fence.
My journey to school, now by two buses or six miles by bike, was a negative, but it would only be for one year.  I don't recall it being a problem, nor do I remember missing the school bus into town and having to catch a Corporation bus which would result in a lateness mark.  It also meant we could not hang around with friends at the end of the afternoon and grab a coffee in the small cafe in Charles Street.  Nor could we visit the bakers to see if they had any half price 'stales'.  This is when education was becoming serious.  This was the time you took your 'A' levels.  I had chosen to take maths, physics and chemistry.  Would this change of environment and travel have an impact on my learning?
I remained in the lower grade of 6S2 with about a dozen others.  Although I believed I was progressing well I would often get a knock back, especially when I thought I was a bit of a know all.  One of my favourite teachers was John Lawson.  Throughout my time at the school he was my physics teacher and football coach.  On many occasions I offered enthusiastic answers to his questions.  I was always spontaneous, and tended to be quick off the mark.  This might have been a fault or a good point, I don't know which.   On many occasions he would reply, 'Ward, a great answer but wrong - full credit, but no marks.'  I have used this mantra in design meetings throughout my working life.  I think most people found it funny, not insulting.
I owe my career to John Lawson.  One day, during a physics practical, he asked if I had made my choice of university.  I said I didn't think it was for me, and I would probably work in a bank.  He said I should still apply, then decide later on.  In the ensuing rush to decide how to apply, I had little time to choose exactly which subjects and universities.  A short meeting with Mr Bell helped me with which courses and universities to select, but that was it.  There was no further discussion, and no time to conduct any research as to what was entailed.  So, thanks to John Lawson, I applied.  Once the UCAS form had been completed the challenge had been set  (To  be continued - Ed)

FROM MALCOLM SAVAGE  1963-70  (This item is copied from our facebook page - Ed)  Just to say I will be seventy years of age on February 5th, and would like to send good wishes to all my old classmates who will also reach seventy this year.  Roger Feam, Tim Lynch, Michael Mann, Stefan Kanieowski, Phil Perkins, Michael Walsh, Mark Giles, Stuart Blackman, Rod Waterfield, Steve Peberdy, Andrew Newton, Tony Rawlinson, Paul Disney, Denis Hubbard, Tony Parkinson, Tim Bastock, David Varney, Les Brewin, Keith Edwards, Snowy Thornton, Tim Souter, Steve Papworth and not forgetting my brother Pat. 

AND FINALLY...   After Brian had arranged for the storage unit, Stephanie and I needed to move our share of the memorabilia to South Wigston.  Brian suggested we meet at a midway point for lunch, and we chose  The Hartley Arms at Wheaton Aston.  Whilst we were loading our car the previous day we thought we saw a little mouse.  But a search did not reveal anything, so it was put down to imagination.  Most of the items had been stored in what we call the Top Shed, and admittedly I had come across mice in there on a couple of occasions.  Anyway, after a most convivial lunch we transferred our goods to Brian's car, and went our different ways.  Next day Brian got in touch to say he had unwittingly transported a family of four mice to Cosby!  They were released into the garden, and hopefully they settled in well after their adventure.  But on a serious note, it does show it was the right decision to arrange for safe storage.

Dennis J Duggan  1959-64
January 7th 2022

Monday, 4 October 2021

Fwd: OWT112 October 2021

TEL 01938 555574   07804 520730  
     OCTOBER 2021

   This has been booked for Saturday March 19th, at Clarence House.  You might like to make a note of the date, though what the situation will be in five or six months' time is anyone's guess!!

AN APPEAL   Last month I put out an appeal for a suitable place to store the collection of CBS memorabilia, but unfortunately this has not borne fruit.
Therefore Brian and I decided we had no choice but to rent a small storage unit in South Wigston, at a cost of £30 per month inc VAT.  Wyvernians does not have any regular income, though we do have some funds to cover booking deposits and special contingencies etc.  However they would soon be depleted if they are used to pay for storage.
So we have come to an arrangement whereby Brian and I will each pay £10 per month, with the balance coming from the funds.
We feel this unique collection must be preserved in a suitable environment, otherwise there is a risk it will deteriorate further.  Certainly my own storage situation is far from ideal.
Should any of you feel able to contribute towards the storage costs that would be much appreciated.  We guarantee that any monies received will be ring-fenced for the purpose, and a full record will be maintained.
If you feel able to help, please make out a cheque to Wyvernians and post to Mr B Screaton, 25 Cambridge Road, Cosby, Leicester. LE9 1SH.  The amount is entirely up to you!
If you wish to donate by bank transfer, the sort code of the Wyvernians account is 40 32 04, the account number is 41516485, and the account name is just 'Wyvernians'. Please include your name as the payment reference and email Brian at so that he can look out for your donation.

FROM BRIAN SCREATON 1959-65   The reprinted hardback edition of Andy Marlow's book 'City Boys' School, Leicester - The Story of a Grammar School' has sold extremely well, with copies going to Wyvernians all over the country and even one to Florida.  Initially we had ten printed as an experiment, and these sold out almost immediately.  Another twenty were ordered - the printers actually supplied twenty two at no extra cost - and these have also sold well.  Comments on the book have included 'Looks fabulous; A very impressive product; Lovely quality; A very enjoyable read.'  At the time of writing (June 22nd) there are just nine copies remaining.  If you would like to secure a copy before they sell out please contact or phone 07770 413228.  The price is £35 plus £4.20 postage in the UK.  (Only a few copies remaining, there will not be any more! - Ed)

   (Continuing Ken's memoirs - Ed)   The fifth year: After spending most of the year in the 'B' stream I was now mixing with others who had a leaning towards the sciences rather than arts.  This meant we were to take the three science GCE 's, rather than the other group who would take two general science papers.  The aim was to obtain enough GCE's to allow me to stay on in the sixth form.  I needed to drop some subjects to improve my chances of achieving that goal.  The year did not yield any major memories.  I was still one of the smallest boys in my year and still sporty.  I played for the school.  My strong friendships were with Mike McLoughlin, Ron Turner, Bob Greaves, Geoff Pullen, Johnny Walwyn, Frank Smith, Paul Vaughan, Ian Hamilton and Derek Seaby etc.  Did they feel the same?  My overall position in class was nothing to write home about, but it was clear the sciencies were something that was meant to be.
First year sixth 6S3   We were joined by the alpha stream students, so the competition for a good class position was stronger.  At this point those that needed to do resits were given a restricted science syllabus to free up time for study.  My group was 6S3, with about ten or twelve boys.  We were all together for some lessons, and for those I sat at the very front alongside Paul Vaughan.  He went on to do well.  I bumped into him in Liverpool, when I was working there, and he told me he was a dentist.  I remember going on a scary tandem ride with Paul!  Sitting at the front was probably a good move, as I was not able to hide, or make a nuisance of myself, thus losing concentration.  For some lessons we went to different classrooms, rather than the teachers coming to us.
Our classroom was close to the canteen.  There were two sittings, so no time to waste.  There was no fighting for places, as we had a set seating plan.  Everyone congregated outside, waiting for the teachers and prefects.  We could see the backs of the derelict houses in Clarence Street, typical two-up two-down terraced type with a yard and outside toilet, which were sometimes used for target practice
Biology lessons were taken by Flo Willan.  I did not get on too well with him, but he taught me how to spell.  On occasion I would write soluable instead of soluble which made Flo very uptight.  One day he gave me fifty lines:' I must write soluble, not soluable.'  It worked!  Otherwise my memories of the year are vague.  But I do recall Johnny Vaughan arriving in a pair of cowboy boots which were definitely not regulation school uniform.  But at that age we were trying to push the boundaries with the dress code and length of hair.  But we were grown up enough not to need to wear a school cap.
My academic position did not improve as we entered 'A' level studies.  I had just scraped enough 'O' level passes to be allowed to stay on.  I regard this as the next crucial event in my life.  So what were my passes?  Maths, physics, chemistry, geography, biology.  Resits added French and English language.  The sixth form was split into three broad classes.  The elite in 6S1, with aspirations of Oxford, Cambridge or London.  6S2 had aspirations of a good red-brick university - Sheffield, Leeds, Birmingham.  The remainder, which included me, were in 6S3.  I believe the basic intention of the 6S3 curriculum was to teach us enough to obtain passes at 'A' level.
In some ways the situation was similar to 4B, where generally speaking I did not come top, but neither was I at the bottom.  I did excel in a couple of subjects and those gave me confidence to do better.  Streaming can sometimes be beneficial, and I believe I would not have progressed so well in 6S1 or 6S2.  I resat French in August of the first year and passed.  But I failed English, and failed it again twice or three times.  Why was that the case?  I could read, I could speak, my writing style was good.  But I had trouble expressing myself on paper.  Incidentally, I believe that being taught to write with an italic nib should be compulsory in schools.
My parents convinced me to have extra tuition in English, as there was little chance of obtaining employment without this basic requirement.  It worked, though the tutor told me I was handicapped by my surname.  Apparently that meant my essays would always be amongst the last to be read by the examiners, so would have to be something special to attract their interest.  A crazy theory in reality.  My essay was on the lines that education in nuclear science needed to be increased if the UK was not to be left behind - or something like that.  That was a hot topic in the mid-sixties, with nuclear testing by the Americans and Russians going on.  Research into nuclear power for energy was also being carried out. Whether the topic, or an improvement in my writing, was to be credited I will never know, but the benefit of additional tuition was clearly evident.
As an aside, after my first year of training after university I ended up handling tiny balls of uranium, packed them into silicon carbide tubes then passed an increasingly powerful electric current through the tube until it glowed red-hot.  Fact ot fiction?  Definitely fact. 
Back at school I was trying to learn, concentrating on the subjects I loved - plus the necessary English, of course.  Not having to do biology, geography or history was a bonus.  I began to excel, but tended to be side-tracked into behaviour I am not proud of.  One lesson was mechanics, taken by Dicky Diack.  Our classroom was at the top of the school, overlooking an alley and a pub.  Those on the back row would sit back in their chairs, balancing on the rear legs against the wall.  Occasionally a boy would deliberately drop a pen, or a compass.  On bending down to pick it up he would grab a neighbour's chair leg and send him flying.  Sometimes there was a domino effect, or a chair might be broken.  On more than one occasion the broken piece would be thrown out of the open window into the alley below.  The equations associated with speed, distance and acceleration could have been put into practice on those occasions.  Mr Diack was very precise in the way he delivered his lessons, and prided himself on his accuracy at the blackboard.  His approach suited me, as I could clearly see how equations could be manipulated to suit the problem.  I'm not sure if it was Mr Diack or John Lawson who asked the question: There are two cats sitting on a tin roof.  Which cat will fall off first?  Answers on a postcard, please, or to save postage the answer is, the one with the mu.

FROM KEITH SMITH  1958-65   I note that a Dave Parkinson passed away in South Africa recently; my condolences to the family.  Although we were at CBS at the same time I did not know Dave, but he must have been the only other Wyvernian living here apart from myself.  Not sure where.  Stuart Brown mentions the cadet force.  We actually found out that the No 2 Lee Enfield 303's were not in fact decommissioned, they still had the firing pins.  The bolts were kept in the school safe, with the rifles in the armoury at the back of the gym.  As an NCO I was assigned one of the rifles, and we took them to the range at Kibworth on Sundays for shooting practice.  We also fired in competitions against other cadet forces there.  We had a bren gun.  The record for stripping down and reassembly was, I think, thirty four seconds!  We never fired it at school, but did fire one at Glen Parva Barracks.

FROM ANDY HOWES  1956-59   (I was very interested to receive this contribution, as I remember the incident very well.  It would have been 1965. Obviously I have not mentioned the culprit's name!  It's a small world and no mistake - Ed)  You mentioned you worked at Furse Wholesale Ltd, which was near to the police box in Woodboy Street.  In the mid-sixties I had already been in the city police for a few years, and one day I attended a local department store where a shoplifter had been detained.  The guy worked at Furse Wholesale, and after arresting him and preparing the paperwork I accompanied the offender to his home.  That was usual, not only to verify their identity and abode, but also to see if there was other stolen property on the premises.  I examined a large garden shed, and was astonished to find almost as much stuff in there as there might have been in the Woodboy Street premises!!  I can't remember if that was a separate charge or just 'taken into consideration'. The guy was certainly dismissed.

FROM MARTIN POTTER  1965-72   I was not looking forward to my first day at CBS, thanks to my last junior school teacher.  Contrary to her expectations I had passed the eleven-plus exam, and her words of encouragement and congratulations were as follows:  Sometimes, Martin, it's better to go to a secondary modern school and do well, rather than a grammar school and do badly.  With this ringing endorsement playing on my mind I arrived at Downing Drive in a state of agitation.  Further, I was concerned about finding my new classroom, and my way round the school in general.  I need not have worried, as no one else knew where they were going - it was the school's first day in this brand new building, and general confusion reigned.
Having scraped through the eleven-plus I naturally found myself in 1B, but this was a blessing as the form teacher was the inspirational Geoff Elliott.  It was in no small part that due to his efforts, in the next year I was assigned to form 2A.  My acute aversion to maths was a problem, not helped by the second year maths teacher who provided another of those quotes that stay with you and must remain uncredited.  Let's face it, Potter, you're no good at maths.  With hindsight, my response should have been, Let's face it (name with-held) you're no good at teaching it.  My claim was upheld by the fact that in my third and fourth years, with the help of the incomparable Tony Baxter, I attained mid-table respectability in the end-of-year exams.  Sadly, in the vital fifth form, a change of teacher saw my enthusiasm and grades plummet accordingly.  My feelings about maths were echoed by Simon Tong when he once appeared for his English lesson bearing a new-fangled device known as an adding machine.  He joyfully declared, This is my answer to the maths department!'
My main interest was biology, and my commitment was rewarded with a coveted seat on Flo Willan's back bench.  He cannily allocated seats according to test results, with the lowest-scoring pupils seated at the front where he could keep an eye on them.  As I had no interest, and little ability in physics and chemistry, I was not able to take biology at 'A' level and had to settle for languages instead.  I originally began German lessons under Geoff Elliott; at the outset he was faced with the daunting task of teaching us which prepositions took which case.  His method consisted of pounding the knowledge into our heads by making us spend a large part of the lessons chanting lists of words.  This was so effective I can still remember them all to this day: fur, um, durch, bis, ohne, wider, gegen, for example, take the accusative case.  I could go on...
One's favourite schoolday recollections often involve misbehaviour of some kind.  I remember a high point of the school week was the appearance of the detention list, viewed by miscreants such as myself as a roll of honour.  Much respect would accrue to those with the more novel and inventive transgressions listed under Reason.  I never understood what Ken Witts meant when his reason for listing me was Shooting the gravy, but there was no appeals procedure so I had to do the time.  I briefly attained legendary status when my name appeared because I had Set fire to the school bus.  The incident was nowhere near as dramatic as suggested - I had merely put a match to a small piece of paper whilst on the bus, and at no point was there any danger of a conflagration.
One of the best co-ordinated instances of questionable behaviour in which I was involved took place during a lesson given by one of those unfortunate teachers who perhaps should have considered a different career path.  Someone had the bright idea of re-enacting an advert current on the TV at the time.  A schoolboy bit into a Crunchie bar, and because of the crunchy nature an earthquake ensued which toppled buildings.  A volunteer whose desk was at the front of the class was provided with said confection, and at the appointed time he took a bite.  This precipitated the earthquake, which saw most of us crash to the ground taking our chairs, desks and belongings with us.  The lesson was disrupted for a considerable time until order could be restored.

OBITUARY   From Howard Toon  1951-58   I am sorry to report the passing of John Stevens (1951-58) on June 11th 2021.  He died in hospital from cancer in the digestive tract.  John was gifted with an ever-present smile (A true it-is-good-to-be-alive smile) and quickly earned a nickname which stuck with him through his time at CBS - Smiler Stevens.  He was a practicing catholic, which came to my attention in the first few months as he was excused attendance at morning assembly.  That aroused my curiosity about catholicism.  In November 1958 John stood as my sponsor when I was confirmed as a member of the catholic church, and served as best man at my wedding in 1961.  Life took us separate ways, but I tried to contact him, without success, as my sixtieth wedding anniversary approached.  Eddie Blount, another Wyvernian, with whom John had played cricket for the Soar Valley Cricket Club over many seasons, kindly advised me of John's passing.  I was able to meet his son, Ben, at the funeral at Gilroes, June 29th 2021, and it was he who told me that John had spent his last few weeks in hospital so would have been unable to join in any celebration.  May his soul rest in peace.

FROM STEFAN WOZOWCZYK  1965-72   German 'A' level, June 1972.  Three papers.  I was hoping for a grade 'C' but ended up with a 'D'.  I know why, but let us start with the language paper.  Translate into German first.  I didn't find it easy then ,and it's even harder now.  'She stooped for her handbag...  I could have sworn...  She had been a little tipsy..(etwas besoffen?).  She gave Janet a cheque...   Her voice was a little hoarse...  She watched the barrier...  Looked into the compartment...  She was determined  to...   Fellow students who went on to study German at university tell me this was hard, and more suited to tertiary education.
The translation into English seems to have been OK, though I had to guess at die Karosserie klapperte.  I probably guessed at something like chassis.  Fifty years later I have no idea what die Karoserrie klapperte means, but my wife tells me it's a swear word I use when life has abandoned me, everything's a disaster, a flight is cancelled or a train is late.  Oh dear! - die Karosserie klapperte!
Now, and this is why I ended up with a 'D', we come to the German Lit paper.  Gawd.  Fontana's Frau Jenny Treibel (Not read)  Urfaust  (ZZZZ, also not read)  The University of Leicester German Drama Society put on a few performances, but I fell asleep.  Meyer's Der Heilige (About half read)  Durrenmatt's Romulus der Grobe (Which I enjoyed) and Frisch's Andorra  (Which I also enjoyed)
Describe in detail the significance of the Gretgen relationship for Faust.  Yes, well, should be able to make up some plausible general bosh in answer to that.  But in detail, and when you don't know a single quote?
And now, oh my.  Either (a) What picture of social attitudes does the author present in Frau Jenny Treibel?  Or (b) Analyse the character of Professor Wilibald Schmidt and estimate his importance in the novel.  Right, it's going to have to be (a) because I have no idea who this Wilibald bloke is, or what he does.  So, what do we know about 19th century social attitudes in Germany amongst the mannered classes?  Because it is, after all, a novel of manners.  How do you say that in German?  Might score a point if I could fit that in.  We do know that Jenny displays embonpoint.  That's a new one, it's the same in German as in French. In fact it's the same in English too.  Might come in handy for a crossword one day.  Furthermore, embonpoint was admired in Jenny Treibel's time.  That's all I know about social attitudes in 19th century Germany.  Could we build an entire essay around that?  OK, here goes...  Coming next, Economics 'A' level 1972.

FROM JOHN BENNETT MBE  1956-63  I recently purchased the hardback edition of Andy Marlow's book, and it certainly brought back memories of my time at CBS.  I was glad to see mention of the trip to the Olympic Games in Rome during the summer of 1960.  I was fifteen at the time, and still remember many details.  Besides the sports mentioned, we went to the equestrian dressage, and in the stadium watched the legendary Herb Elliott race in the 1500 metres.  What I can't recall is whether we saw a heat, or the final where he set a new world record.  On the return journey we stopped at the Swiss town of Brunnen, on Lake Lucerne, for a few days.  It was in the most stunning position, and the water was icy cold.
In OWT111 Terry Desborough mentions the Drama Society productions, in particular Cymbeline.  I played Cymbeline, and I have to say that my recollection of Michael Kitchen's accident differs from Terry's. I thought he cut his hand on a sword during the fight between Cloten (Kitchen) and Guiderius and needed medical attention so could not continue.  We certainly had to improvise when Cloten failed to reappear.  Andy's book also mentions that some of the Society's productions were taken to Krefeld, Leicester's twin city in Germany.  I particularly remember A Midsummer Night's Dream (I played Helena, my first female part) and School For Scandal, where I played Sir Peter Teazle.  We were given a fantastic reception.  After one of our first performances the audience began a slow hand-clap, which we thought denoted disapproval.  But we soon realised that was not the case, as the clapping became faster and faster and ended as tumultuous applause.  Alas I did not continue my acting at Oxford, but the experience gave me a lifelong passion for the theatre.  This culminated in nine years as a governor of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, three years of which I served as Chairman.

FROM ROGER POVOAS  1956-64   Terry Desborough writes about Cymbeline and School For Scandal.  I was in both productions.My recollection is that I was the person who caused the cut to Michael Kitchen's forehead, the scar can still be seen when he appears on TV.  I have to say I thought it was Tobias and the Angel, not Cymbeline, but it's not important.  I vividly remember taking School For Scandal to Krefeld.  I stayed with a family called Schwieterng, who lived in Osterath, just outside Krefeld.  I recently looked up Gerd, the son, on the internet and discovered he runs a successful architect's business in Krefeld.  But I feel I am now too long in the tooth to contact him!  We acted in the Stadt theatres, and it still amazes me that we that we performed in front of full houses of German people whilst acting entirely in English. 
I remember John Waley very well - he was a very fast inside left and dynamite when teamed with Trev Jones.  I wonder what happened to Dick Smith, the centre half who had trials with Arsenal.  And what about Fred Embury and Smacker Day?  I did come across McInemy (not sure of the spelling) many years after leaving school.  He was a witness in a case at Leicester Magistrates Court, where I was representing a person not connected with his case.  I think he had a successful scrap metal business.  Then there was David Needham, who again excelled as a footballer.  He went on to play for Notts Forest, or Notts County, as a professional. 
I was in the same form as Davenport.  He was very annoying, because not only did he excel at cricket and football but he was always in the top four or five academically.  I think it was a case of jealousy, or envy!  Sad to note his passing.  Anyway, it's good to hear about our contemporaries and, as an example, on the eve of the FA cup final I received an e-mail from Roger Gandy.  He is not only a Wyvernian, he was also a near-neighbour during my childhood.  He emigrated to Australia, and lives in Sidney.  We have exchanged memories, which I found very rewarding.  He tells me he is still in contact with some of his schoolmates.  Maybe I can get him to write a contribution to OWT?

FROM MARK HAYLER  1958-64   As senior prefects we were required to read the lesson at morning assembly for a week.  The required passages were posted in the prefects' room.  I had no great liking for the task.  First, the readings could be excruciatingly long, so I would leave out the odd verse, or even whole chunks, to shorten the ordeal.  Second, the other prefects had picked a key 'disruption' word or phrase.  This resulted in a group cough, chair shuffling, crossing legs etc.  So the trick was to find the word or phrase and leave it out.  If it coincided with my passage cull, so much the better.  No one noticed - except Sadie Thompson, who wore a perplexed expression because his chosen passage made no sense.  One Friday morning after assembly, I returned to the biology lab, that holy-of-holies for the chosen few  ie 'A' level biology students, and announced, 'Thank f*** that's over.  Flo Willan rose from behind his enormous lab bench to ask, 'Has it been a bit of a trial?!'

FROM ALAN PYKETT  1959-66   I have been giving some thought to my CBS academic career, in particular the different paths offered after the fourth year ie arts (languages) or science.  You have to forgive me, but as stated previously I had an excellent year in 4A, taking the form prize and doing equally well in languages and the three sciences.  Thus a decision had to be made, and I chose languages and entered 5L.  'O' levels were taken at the end of the year, and I was successful in eight out of nine subjects.  Then another decision.  Do I stay on to take 'A' levels, and if so which subjects?  Despite my father wanting me to bring some money into the household he relented, and I moved into 6A1.  There was never any question of me going to university, so my father would only need to wait another two years before I began earning!  I chose French, German and history.  I had always enjoyed the two languages, and had a good history 'O' level.  After two years of hard graft I sat the exams and passed all three.  However, did I enjoy those subjects in the sixth form?  The two languages contained a literature element, which meant studying five books in each language over two years.  This had not been the case up to 'O' level, which had consisted mainly of translations and essays, which I had enjoyed.  But did I enjoy the literature element?  Regarding history, again it was different.  'O' level was mainly remembering facts, which I was good at, but for 'A' level one had to make reasoned arguments about historical topics, something I struggled with.  But I scraped a pass.  So did I make the right decisions?  Looking back, perhaps I would have taken scripture instead of history.  But what would I have chosen on the science side had I gone down that route?  I think I would have chosen biology, chemistry and mathematics, which might have meant a more enjoyable two years in the sixth form.  Having got this off my chest I will end with one issue that has always bugged me - the choice which had to be made at the end of the fourth year between German and geography.  I chose German, thereby giving up another favourite subject.  That said, I really enjoyed my seven years at our great school.  On a different subject, I commenced full-time work on 18th July 1966, aged eighteen, and retired on 31st may 2006 at the age of fifty seven.  I only had one employer, albeit with several name changes.  I did not earn one penny before beginning work, and not earned one penny since retirement.  Am I a little unusual in that?  Polite answers only, please! 

FROM GERRY JOHNSON  1956-64   I have been scanning copies of the Wyvernian from the early sixties, and came across this prime example of the irreverance at the time.
During the autumn term of 1962, a school party visited Stratford on Avon to see Peter Brook's production of King Lear, with Paul Scofield in the title role.  This was a widely-acclaimed production.  The Guardian theatre critic saw it as exceptionally fine production - the most moving performance of the play I have seen since the war.  And in 2004 The Daily Telegraph published a survey in which RSC actors voted for the greatest Shakespeare performance in history.  The winner was Paul Scofield's King Lear.  The Wyvernian critics (Messrs Graham, Pickup, Leaman, Geary and Milton, saw it differently.
The production was unusual, if not strange  - Geary
Dramatically unsound and lacking a sense of purpose  - Pickup
The Lear of my imagination was a great man, brought low by two scheming daughters.  But Peter Brook seemed to view Goneril and Reagan in a sympathetic light, apparently thinking their attitude to their father is, to a great extent, justified - Geary
The result was that the production fails to maintain a dramatic cohesion - Pickup
The resultant play was hardly Shakespeare's King Lear  - Graham
There wasn't much praise for the cast either.
Paul Scofield grunted his speeches in a monotone - Milton
The poetry was completely disregarded - Pickup
Lear marched about in Wellington boots, wearing an old motor cycle coat - Pickup
Tom Fleming as Kent was uninspiring.  Diana Rigg as Cordelia did not seem to have the right spirit.  The King of France was welcome to her - Leaman
Brian Murray as Edgar did well to change his accent three times; from nobleman to beggar, to Zommerset back to nobleman, in a part obviously written for Peter Sellars - Leaman
It was only James Booth as Edmund, every inch a cool, ruthless and unscrupulous schemer, Alex McCowan as The Fool and Clive Swift as Oswald (Hilariously effeminate) who were praised.
The trouble with Stratford tragedies is that minor characters are so good they are often more interesting than the major ones - Leaman
Overall Brook and Scofield have been intolerably self-indulgent, and this production became their King Lear - Shakespeare only coming a poor third - Milton
So no punches pulled here, then!!!

AND FINALLY...   And what about my own school career, which has been well-documented in OWT over the years.  For the benefit of newer readers, here is a summary.  First year was an unmitigated disaster, including truancy.  I was demoted from 1 Alpha to 1A.  Then I was demoted further to the B Stream, and the second year was a little better as I found the going easier.  But basically I was my own worst enemy.  By the third year I had settled down, and did just enough work to satisfy my teachers and parents.  Year four was not too bad, and apart from a prediliction to avoid any form of sport (Though I did not mind cross-country) I kept out of trouble.  The fifth year was a happy one, spent in 5F.  This was a small class of (Forgive me)  no-hopers, and little or nothing was expected of us.  Thus some lessons, especially those by Ken Witts on Friday afternoons, were almost fun!

Dennis J Duggan
October 4th 2021