Tuesday 1 October 2013

Fw: OWT80 October 2013

TEL 01938 555574   07971 282356   www.wyvernians.org.uk
EDITORIAL   If relevant, please note my new mobile number is 07971 282356.
2014 REUNION   Date for next year's reunion is Saturday March 15th, at Clarence House.  Invitations will be sent in January, we envisage it will be business as usual.  If it ain't broke, why fix it?'
OLD WYVES' TALES   Material for future OWT's is, as you see from this truncated issue, desperately short, but after 80 issues and over 1,000 items that is probably not surprising.  However many of you have never s_ubmitted anything, so why not get those memory cells working?  So long as its not libellous, hurtful or nasty, you are guaranteed to see your name in print!
FROM J ROBERT CLIFFORD  1950-57   (The first installment of Robert's CBS memories - Ed)  E J W Bell.  The headmaster and I had a mutual antipathy best illustrated be the last exchange we had in 1957.  Those leaving school were expected to attend him individually in his study to receive his best wishes for the future.  As I had not the slightest interest in sport of any sort he coldly told me he could not give me a reference for whatever purpose - 'as I had not been in any of the 11's'.  This did not disturb me one bit, for I knew a number of citizens whose words would carry more weight.  He then launched into a personal attack which I shall not detail, but he ended by asking where and what course I intended to study.  When I replied London, and Chemical Engineering, he said I was a fool and should stay on for an (unprecedented) fourth year in the sixth and try for Oxbridge.  'Good Lord, Clifford.  Engineering!  You'll get your hands dirty.'  My response that at the end of the day it washed off seemied to infuriate him further, probably due to the implied comparison with the law which he had studied.
His last words were, 'You don't realise, Clifford, that schooldays are the happiest days of your life!'  It was an unfortunate choice of words, for he was not to know that I had positively hated every day I had spent at both primary school and CBS.  I had done the werk and applied myself, but my heartfelt reply that day was, 'If that is true, hesadmaster, I shall be dead by my own hand before I am 21.'  That I am still around 56 years later is a fair indication that things looked up after that.
Mr Bell did not feature on the list of people I valued highly, particularly in comparison to his predecessor, Mr Pedley.  The sixth had General Studies with him (Mr Bell) and this only seemed to reinforce our views.  He told us of his wartime experience with Army Intelligence, when he was made Intelligence Officer for Derbyshire, given a bicycle and maps and instructed to survey the county recording all natural water sources 'in case Jerry dropped something nasty in the Ladybower Dam and wiped out Birmingham.'  He recalled leaning his bike by the dam on a hot summer's day to be questioned by the dam keeper, and on revealing his mission (wartime security) the man reeled with disbelief and laughter, finally asking if he had any idea how many trainloads of something nasty would be required to give the people of Birmingham a runny nose.
He had also been sent on a survival course with others, in case they ever found themselves behind enemy lines.  'We had to eat grass, to see if we could live on that,' he said, but it was insufficient to sustain them and they realised that cows and sheep ate the stuff all day.  Perhaps Mr Willan could have helped by explaining the five stomachs in herbivores.
Mr Bell completed his own reputatational demolition one day when he stated, 'Italy is a long, thin country, and the sea makes the sky blue.'  I failed my 'O' level General Studies exam that year.  I should record the disastrously stupid advice he gave us, though to be fair I discovered that heads of other schools had given the same to their sixth formers.  Recommending the joys of university life he said, 'You have a wonderful time.  In the first year you just enjoy yourselves.  You don't have to work, or even turn up for lectures.'  Of the thirty students starting the first year at college, after the first year's exams we saw and heard nothing of eighteen.  They were the ones who repeated the mantra they heard - that time spent attending lectures reduced the time available to spend at the bar.  Once thrown off one course in those days, local authorities were unlikely to offer another grant for a course.
As a number of Old Boys have observed, the first year at CBS was somewhat traumatic.  It was not so much the perceived physical threat posed by the masters - to a certain extent we had that at junior school- but combined with the nature of the building, even its colour scheme, it had a disheartening, oppressive, impact for some.  However at the time I could not know that which I came to appreciate, the superb education gained despite the total lack of pleasure in its acquisition.  I joined 1A in 1950, with Flash Gordon as form master.  Our 'form room' was the third-floor library.  During maths with Nobby Clarke he became enraged at the antics of one class member, and I clearly remember him holding the miscreant out of the window by his jacket collar suspended three floors up.  He aubsequently commanded a silence which was deathly!  We had Bull Smith for chemistry.  He was extremely intimidating, his nickname coming from the fleshy connection between chin and throat.  His roared command, Come here, small boy, and stand on that nail, accompanied by the swish of a length of red rubber tubing, ensured a rivetted attention.
After a month or two, and some tests, I was transferred to 1 Alpha without a by-your-leave.  This was a nightmares, as the two forms did not pursue a common curriculum.  Luckily Tony Baxter befriended me, and lent me his exercise books each night so I could copy them out.  I had to try and catch up, as well as coping with the new daily input and homework.  Paul Bond and Roger Peberdy were also companions.  The form teacher was Spiv Beaumont, so-called because of his long swept-back hair, corduroy clothes and suede crepe-soled shoes.  He was an inspirational history teacher, and once became carried away with his description of an early battle.  His launching of the window pole as a spear served to burn the lesson into our collective memories.
I am amazed at how much of the education proved relevant and invaluable to me, opening opportunities which would otherwise have been closed.  This was particularly true of some subjects I judged would not be useful in my intended career.  Physics, chemistry and maths were fundamental, but the role of biology, English Lit, German plus fragments of geography often proved pivotal in both my business and private life.  But that is another saga.
Biology, and Phlo (sic) Willan.  I shared the despair of other correspondents over Mr Willan until the five-year ownership of a small hill farm in the Peak District National Park brought the information back into focus.  It was the foundation of a highly beneficial co-operation with our vet.  It's perhaps time to give the background to his nickname.  At short notice he substituted for Mr Philips, who had suddenly been called away.  The topic he chose was the Phlogisten Theory, which was proposed in the 17th century and totally discredited in the 18th.  The words dephlogisticated air seemed to fesature regularly, and in our bewilderment we awarded Mr Willan his nickname.
Johnny Jeeves and Tweetipie Sweet.  I have very great respect for Mr Sweet, albeit based on a short contact.  To qualify for university, regardless of arts or science courses, we needed an 'O' level in one modern language.  We'd had four years of French, and in 4 Alpha and 5S Johnny had taken the mock 'O' level classes.  I don't think anyone reached 40% and most (me included) managed only a single figure.  We understood that this result was such a shock for Johnny that he was obliged to take an extended leave of absence  in France to recouperate.  For the next French lesson the tall, distinguished-looking gowned figure of Mr Sweet entered the room and, looking anxiously at the class, uttered the unforgettable words, 'Well, gentlemen, I think we have a lot of work to do.'  If I remember correctly, we all passed the 'O 'level exam later that year, though some just scraped through  (To be continued - Ed)
FROM GEOFF MANCHESTER  1961-66   A recent OWT set me thinking about how I was selected for each class.  My route through school was 1B, 2A, 3A, 4A, 5L and briefly 6A1.  Why did I start in 1B, rather than 1 Alpha or 1A?  Was it my 11+ efforts?  I recall that a league table was published in the end-of-term reports, and my position at the end of terms 1 and 2, in 1B, was close to the bottom of approximately thirty boys.  But at the end-of year exam I somehow managed fo finish in 18th place, and began my second year in 2A.  Was this because of the exam result?  Did the top ten go to 3 Alpha, 11-20 to 2A and 20-30 to 2B?  Whilst in 4A we were asked, without any warning, if we wished to pursue the arts or sciences route into the fifth form.  I can't think of any reason why I chose arts, as I did not have a career in mind.  Perhaps I just followed my chums.  I wonder if anyone can explain the selection process  (Perhaps one of our former teachers could answer Geoff's questions - Ed) 
In the And Finally section of OWT78 there was mention of cars driven by staff.  The only ones I recall are the headmaster reversing his black Rover (One of the P4 range, for the benefit of car buffs - Ed) into Clarence Street, and I have a mental picture of Mr Miller, the art master, using a hearse to travel to Downing Drive.He was on duty in the hall at Downing Drive where I sat my 'O' level art exam.  My vague recollection is that we had to make some sort of artistic creation around a given phrase.  The only detail I remember is the word yarn.  At the end of the session Mr Miller walked along the line of efforts, which had been propped against the stage.  He stopped at many of them, and made encouraging comments as we crowded round to listen.  He passed swiftly and silently past mine, and not surprisingly I failed 'O' level art!
FROM ALAN PYKETT 1959-66   I was interested to read the reference to the Alpha stream in the previous OWT. Not being of such ability to have experienced that stream I am not able to give any opinion to as to whether it had any benefits or not. However, related to that I have often pondered the following.  If boys in the Alpha stream took their 'O' levels after 4 years at the school and 'A' levels after 6 years, what did they do in forms 6A3 and 6S3 and what was their real purpose, though I realise they would have to have waited an extra year for university entrance. It would be good to hear from previous incumbents of those two sixth forms (or teachers) the answer or answers to this question.
FROM RON CUNNINGHAM  1943-48   It was pleasing to note the short attempt to introduce the game played in Heaven to CBS was recognised.  A couple of us had some experience of the game, but most of us were soccer born and bred - our knowledge of rugby came from watching one or two Tigers games.  After 60-plus years the abiding memory is of us being pushed back continually, until our fullback got his hands on the ball and obtaining some relief for us with his prestigious long kicks.  The result was meritoriously close, though inevitable.  It did encourage me to play for a couple of years or so with Aylestone St James (The Jimmies) after leaving CBS.  Thanks to all concerned with the production of the CBS history book, it is a remarkable and treaured memory chest.
OBITUARY   Michael Hutchings, 1943-48.  Passed away October 2013.  Mike was a staunch supporter of our reunions, and took a keen interest in OWT.
FROM DAVID CHAMBERS  1953-59   I am the David Chambers of Bradgate House, mentioned by Ivor Holyoak in issue 74.  My nickname was Chub and I did have 2 broken front teeth, though my recollection was that they were broken when they came into contact with the school playground. . I do remember Ivor and also Peter Bates who he mentions. Dave Ellicock was also a friend even after leaving school,  he joined City Boys from Northfield House School with me. How does Ivor remember all these details when I have trouble remembering what happened yesterday?
I attach the only 2 school  photos I can find. The first is of me in about 3 alpha posing in the library and the second is of 5Sc in about 1958  (Not attached to this OWT - Ed)  I am in centre front row with Ken Kelham, who is mentioned in an issue as a cyclist and trainspotter, on my left.  Others whose names I recall in the photo are John English, Roger Marston, Bruce Wood, John Binley, John Wardle, Peter Bates and Peter Woods. Not too bad for 55 years ago.  I did have some old school reports but cannot lay my hands on them, I don't think I was particularly proud of them so they may have gone.
I recall the usual gang of teachers mentioned in issues around my time, and in particular Mr Brushe, who taught languages but also managed the swimming team of which I was a member until training interfered with my paper rounds.. Chas Howard I remember as a bit of an anarchist who did not attend assembly, and to this day recall him telling our class of 12 or 13 year olds, tongue in cheek I hope, to aim to achieve the distinction of dieing owing a million pounds!!    I am part of a family with City Boys connections. My father-in-law Bill Johnson was a pupil in the 1930's, my brother Gwynne Chambers was a pupil from 1955 to 1960 and my brother-in-law Christopher Johnson was a pupil from about 1962 to 1967. I recall him showing me Sports Day programmes from the mid 1960s which showed me  as the school javelin record holder. I shall introduce Gwynne and Chris to Wyvernians, I am sure thery will be interested.  Gwynne and myself  both appear in the school panoramic picture in the CBS book. My parents did have a copy of this picture in its cardboard tube, but it seems to have disappeared.
FROM JAIME GILL  (NOT A WYVERNIAN)   My Father, Regnald Frank Gill, was a Wyvernian, and having been born in 1921 was  an exact contemporary of Prof John Harrison.  He won 1st prize in the Junior Dive Competition in 1936:  I know this to be so as I still have the inscribed bronze medal he was awarded.  There is no misprint in his name, the Registrar of Births missed the 'i' out and apparently it had to stand.   He became an electrical engineer and joined the RAF in 1941  (His RAF records have been corrected to reflect the Registrar's error)   He served as a RADAR Engineer for 35 years. Retiring in the rank of Squadron Leader  he died at the early age of 61 in 1982.
I also have an uninscribed City Boys'  (I was at Ashby and the s'  was also ingrained into us!!)   School silver medal from the same era.  It was for many years displayed in the top of a cigarette box in my grandparent's home at Grange Road, Wigston.  I have no recollection of the reason it was awarded.   The box eventually disintegrated as a result of overuse -  Dad died of lung cancer, but my eldest son carries the name forward.  When I look at your website I see that you have a panoramic school photograph.  Dad told me two stories about such a picture.  One was about the lad who ran round the back and beat the camera to appear at both ends..............the other was about the boy with the big nose who sneezed as the camera went past him and finished up with two noses!!
AND FINALLY...   Like many regular contributors to OWT I am running out of things to say.  So it is possible that the following amusing and true anecdote has already appeared, but it might be new to some readers.  WAG Pace was taking my class for a geography lesson, I think it was towards the end of my CBS career.  He had fixed a map of the world to the blackboard, and in view of what happened next he clearly suspected I had not been giving the matter my full attention.  The topic was the West Indies, and to my dismay WAG invited me to approach the map and point to the location of said islands.  The truth was I did not know, but had no option but to do as I was told.  I had a choice.  Admit I did not know, or make a guess.  Of course I had a good idea where the West Indies were NOT situated, but that still left a lot of scope for error.  Or I could simply admit that I did not know.  All that went through my mind as I walked to the front of the class, and a snap decison was made.  My finger made a random stab at a likely spot, at which point WAG  Pace apologetically told me to return to my desk.  My aim had been spot-on, and I was off the hook even though it was by good luck rather than good judgement.  A minor victory, but strangely satisfying, and incidentally I still remember where the West Indies are located.
Dennis J Duggan
October 13th 2013



Monday 1 July 2013

Fw: OWT79 July 2013

TEL 01938 555574   07985 405365   www.wyvernians.org.uk
JULY  2013
EDITORIAL   Brian Screaton tells me we have reached a milestone with the CBS history book, with the 250th copy sold.  There are just twenty five left, so if you have been prevaricating about placing your order now is the time to take a_ction.  All you have to do is e-mail Brian Screaton at brscreaton@dsl.pipex.com who will confirm postage costs etc, or you can go to www.wyvernians.org.uk and place your order online. 
FROM JOHN SMITH  1951-56   (The final instalment - Ed)  I note the name of our music master is mentioned several times in the history  book. That probably evoked happy memories among many a reader. Not that we were all happy about music or singing per se, rather that the periods themselves presented many opportunities for fun, all at Bill Sykes' expense. Speaking for myself and many of my fellow-kriegies, we did not take kindly to being expected to sing. Singing was for girls, we thought. Every lesson seemed to commence with a round of 'Moo mo maw, moo mo maw, moo mo maw'...and so on, starting with highish notes and grading down the scale until there was barely a whisper at the backs of our throats as we ran short of breath, the register meantime continuing to descend way down to notes we could barely reach until we were third years. We were not built for singing. It was definitely girls' stuff. We rebelled, led ably by some of those of whom I have previously made mention.  With Bill.at piano, we would start out in a reasonable facsimile of song, but gradually there would be introduced stray notes here and there, quite extraneous to the music, which most of us could not read anyway. The more enterprising among us would then groan mournfully rather than sing, up and down the tonic sol fa more-or-less at will. Then low-register muffled bellows would be introduced, supplemented by a few whole-hearted bellows after a brief period of time. Somehow we managed to avoid laughing at each others' efforts to ruin the lesson or show our delight at our own competence in the skilful destruction of the ambience and solemnity of the occasion. In short, we kept straight faces, and somehow contrived to deprive poor old Bill of the satisfaction of being able to pinpoint the fount of the trouble. There was not one fount, of course. They were legion. The pinnacle of this constructive (in our eyes) b_ehaviour occurred whenever we were obliged to 'sing' a song that our music master himself had composed.
Bill would eventually stop playing the piano, but shout at us to continue our 'singing '. He would pick up a heavy book in his right hand, and descend from his podium into our midst. We were divided down the middle of the class by a central gangway, along which he would ponderously wander, ears cocked for wrong notes. Miraculously, those nearest to him would seem to be able to pick up the proper tune again for a time. The epicentre of the cacophony of whining, wailing, groaning and bellowing shifted with an alacrity in direct proportion with Bill's attempts to get closer to his tormentors. Nevertheless his progress caused among us a concerted swaying away from the aisle, evocative of the description of the parting of the Red Sea as given in the Old Testament. Bill would lash about with his book (rumour was he had secreted a housebrick between the covers) in a wild and random manner, his targets being boys'- any boys' – heads. Sometimes he connected.  I fancy I can feel it even now...
I have been trying to find a way to relate one of my indiscretions without bringing down upon myself the full wrath of Mr Brushe who, I understand, receives copies of Old Wyves' Tales. My wrongdoing was of a similar type to that of McQuaid and Johnson, as admitted by McQuaid himself (and therefore I am not snitching, Sir). Neither was it habitual, as was the case with Duggan (again he has proclaimed his error many times over, so as to purge his soul) so naturally I feel quite free to refer to it and in doing so give that boy some relief from what must have been for him for many years' grievous inner torment.
All I can do is to plead that it was a minor, isolated lapse of judgement committed at a time when I may have been of unsound mind, although that may not necessarily have been the case. Who am I to judge?. On the day of the Annual Swimming Sports at Spence Street Baths – it may have been when I was in 4 Alpha or 5L – I had a previous engagement and was anxious to keep that rather than attend the Swimming Sports. Former participants may remember the event took place on a weekday evening, and on the same day we were given an afternoon off whether we were to be swimming or not. That may have been so that we could prepare ourselves mentally and physically for the forthcoming arduous trial of trudging up and down our aquatic environment for hours on end, or sitting by idly while others performed.  However, I think not. It seems to me that our masters realised the injustice of calling us in to work in the evening and could only salve their consciences and avert an industrial dispute by letting us have the afternoon off.  At lunch-time on the day in question I approached Mr Brushe, apprised him of my dilemma and invited him to sanction my absence from the Swimming Sports. Quite rightly, not to say reasonably, he enquired as to the nature of my alternative engagement. I should have said that my Grandmother's dog had died, but unaccountably I found the truth slipping out. I informed him that I had arranged to attend a Beetle Drive at a local Church School Rooms. The proposed event was in no way connected either with Volkswagens or motoring. The idea was for boys and girls to attend the said Church School Rooms, form teams and, with the aid of dice, pencils and paper bearing several spaces for ellipses in representations of beetles' bodies, (for which you had to throw a six to start), to complete drawings of such insects before the other teams could do so. Five for a head and so on down the scale to a one for each eye. The bodies were not divided into thorax and abdomen.
 Flo Willan would have gone mad! Now I couldn't have cared less about the entomological aspect of the exercise, but I did enjoy chatting up maturing Sunday School girls, so I was more than keen to put in an appearance.  Mr Brushe did not see it my way at all. The milk of human kindness, for which he was much noted, evaporated. He became utterly and completely unreasonable, to the point of actually turning down my plea out-of-hand. I even volunteered to attend school for the afternoon, although quite what I thought I could achieve in an empty classroom I did not know, and had to admit it. Probably just as much as I usually achieved in a full classroom, come to think of it, although I did not venture to say so at the time. I realised it was neither the right time nor the right place for me to risk any unpleasantness by introducing further contestable argument and thus ramp up the potentially volatile nature of the meeting. He gave me somewhat of a sharp look and I gathered that it was beneath his dignity to continue further to discuss the matter, so I indicated, with as much aplomb as I was able to muster, that I was willing to concede victory to him.  However, the matter festered away in my mind all afternoon. I considered appealing to the Director of Education, but thought that possibly there may have been an outside chance of his ruling in favour of Authority, as vested in our Mr Brushe. Eventually I decided that my best course of action would be simply to bunk off. A spectacularly cunning plan, was it not?
Prior to my turning up at the Church School Rooms, I cycled to Spence Street in order to investigate as to whether Mr Brushe was outside, machete in hand, looking for me. There was no sign of him, so I just turned around and cycled back to Birstall. The girls must have been well impressed by my perspiring presence when I turned up at the Beetle Drive but, girls being their usual cool and aloof selves, they did not show it.  There were no repercussions at all. The matter was not even referred to. I rather wish it had come out into the open and that it had been summarily dealt with at the time, for I have now had to bear in silence this heavy burden of guilt for something approaching 60 years. Perhaps that was the fitting retribution that Mr Brushe had planned for me all along. If so, it worked. I am relieved that I have now summoned the courage to grasp the nettle and admit all.
Sorry, Mr Brushe. I shan't do it again. In time for the next reunion, which is due to take place on 13th March 2013, I shall have completed in my best handwriting, 50 lines (I would have offered more than that statutory minimum, but times are hard ). I shall aver that : 'I must take more care to accept and obey regulations and orders lawfully given by my superiors and to understand they are so given for my benefit in particular and that of mankind in general'.
FROM IVOR HOLYOAK  1953-58   I enjoyed OWT78. With longish entries from Roger Gandy and Peter Bates it read a bit like Old Home Week,  Roger having been a contemporary in 6A1 and Peter having enjoyed pole position in my 1Alpha memoir.  I have recently been in regular touch with Ken Kelham and Wally Payne since the publication of my articles, and the recent reference to Geoff Dodd leaves me to wonder whether anyone knows the current whereabouts of his younger brother John, who was a close friend for many years whilst at school and some years thereafter. After Manchester University he spent a year with VSO. in Navrongo, West Africa, being sent on his way via a bibulous celebration in the old Spread Eagle pub, behind the City Police Headquarters, on the corner of Church Street and Colton Street. We shared many a hangover over a number of years. 
OBITUARIES   Roger Flowers (1957-63) advises the passing of Keith Ward (c1950-57) who for many years had an opticians shop in Queens Road.
Pat Burgess, a friend of Adrian Pilgrim for 40 years, enlarges on the sad passing of Adrian (1959-67)  I am very sad to inform you of Adrian's unexpected death on 22nd March 2013.  Prior to this he was in a very positive frame of mind,  just having undergone his check-up at Walton Hospital  following his recent serious illness, and given the 'all-clear'  for another year.  He was looking to the future and even considering planning a holiday.  Unfortunately, a fall on 14th March led to his being hospitalised, and he died  peacefully of pneumonia at 6.20 a.m. on 22nd March.  I apologise for the delay in sending this sad news (the message is dated May 9th - Ed)  but there has been much to be done settling his affairs and finding information, as his death was so unexpected.  I realise that some of you will be friends of Adrian's, and others acquaintances for various reasons, but as I have no means of discriminating I am  sending this to all those in his email address book who are not in the Isle of Man.
Should you wish to know more about Adrian's demise, please don't hesitate to contact me at
FROM JOHN O'GRADY  1959-64   I related to many of the tales in OWT78, smiling and nodding in agreement as I read.  John Smith relates part of a saga and mentions my name - or rather, because of the era, my brother's name.  I would like to cast further light on John's thoughts.  Keith O'Grady (1953-58) was a sort of pioneer for our family, and began the CBS trek.  He was followed by Peter (1955-60) and myself.  I recall only too well a stern-looking Wally Wardle on the first morning, pausing after I had shrilled the answer to my name.  Without even looking up he asked if there were any more O'Grady boys still to come.  An advantage of having elder brothers at CBS was the prior knowledge of the masters' nicknames.
Keith went to Manchester University to study chemical engineering, but tragically died in a road accident in 1961 aged 20 whilst in the third year of the course.  At the time I was in 4 Alpha, and for a while all the teaxchers were quite nice to me.
FROM BRIAN SCREATON  1959-65  (1)    On Saturday 1st June the Leicester Civic Society promoted a Heritage Fair at Bishop Street Methodist Church, facing Town Hall Square. After some e-mail discussion it was decided that it might be worth the Wyvernians taking a stand, to promote our organisation and hopefully pick up a few new members. A display was prepared, leaflets and posters printed, and so we sallied forth – John Offord, Frank Smith, Mike Ratcliff, Andy Marlow and myself. Our display was quickly set up (and if I may say so, with all modesty, it was probably the best of all the stands) and we awaited the visitors. Suffice it to say that we were not exactly overwhelmed, probably due to a lack of general publicity for the Fair – a criticism that cannot be levelled at the Wyvernians, as our own internal publicity machine probably produced more visitors to the Fair than any other source. It was particularly good to see John Lawson and Bill Mann there, as well as a number of other members, including Chris Jinks who was manning the Leicester Transport Heritage Trust stand, next to ours. In fact several other stallholders turned out to be ex-City Boys, including Stuart Bailey and Gordon Goode of the Civic Society, and the guy from the Industrial Archaeology Society, whose name I didn't get. Whilst we didn't manage to sign them up as members, hopefully a seed of interest has been sown, and they may come to the next Reunion. I took along a random selection of some class photos from the late 40's and early 50's that Rob Childs had given me a few weeks previously, and these provoked great interest, with many faces being recognised, particularly by Roger Brewin and Richard Thompson. The naming process has continued on Facebook with good results. The Methodist Church conveniently has its own cafĂ©, so there was no shortage of tea, coffee, cakes and sandwiches during the day. With these and other diversions, such as the sale of three copies of the book and four DVDs of the School Films, the time flashed by. All in all a successful and convivial day, and photos can be seen on our Facebook page. Whether we would do it again will I think depend on assurances regarding better publicity from the organisers.
FROM BRIAN SCREATON 1959-65 (2)    When I was preparing the display for the Wyvernians stand at the Leicester Heritage Fair, I was trying to find two photos of identical forms, about thirty or forty years apart, as I thought this would make an interesting comparison. It proved more difficult than I expected, and the nearest I could get was a photo of Form 2A in 1937, and one of 2 alpha in 1967. I must admit that '2 alpha' didn't seem to ring quite right, although it was written on the back of the photo, but as usual I was in a hurry so I included it in the display with that description. 'Wrong!' said everyone who came to the Fair 'Never was a 2 alpha – must have been 2A'. Well that suited my purposes better, so before the roadshow's next outing at Downing Drive I altered the label on the photo to read '2A'.  But then along came former pupil Steve Thompson, son of Brian Sadie Thompson, who took one look at the photo and exclaimed, 'Wrong – that's not 2A, it's 2 alpha – I know because I was in that class!'  Not only that, but he proceeded to identify every person in the picture. Further questioning of Steve revealed that the alpha-streaming method of missing a year and going from the first form to 3 Alpha was abandoned in 1967 and the alpha class simply became the top form of that particular year – so there was a 2 alpha after all! This provoked some further discussion about the merits or otherwise of the alpha-stream method.  I must say, as an ex-alpha-stream pupil, it did not serve me particularly well, as I left at 17 after doing my A-levels in the second year Sixth, and went straight to the Leicester College of Art and Technology. However as I was only 17 it meant that I didn't get a grant (remember those?) until I was 18 in the following April.  So I had to do two terms without any financial assistance apart from a Saturday job and some money from my parents.  As these terms were financially the heaviest in terms of buying books, equipment etc it was a bit of a struggle. But then I suppose I was able to start work a year earlier than I would have done otherwise – although as I was only on £12 a week during my first year with Shakespear McTurk & Graham maybe it didn't make a lot of difference. Are there any other alpha-streamers out there who have any views?
FROM BRIAN SCREATON  1959-62 (3)   We really didn't know what to expect at the Downing Drive Nostalgia Evening on Wednesday 26th June.  Frank Smith and I arrived early to set up the Wyvernians Roadshow and found we had been allocated a prime pitch in the Hall of the Gill Building (ex-Spencefield Lane School) where a tremendous display of photos and memorabilia concerning the City of Leicester College had been put together by the staff and pupils.  Andy Marlow arrived, and our stand was soon set up complete with the school flag and a laptop showing the school films.  As soon as the doors opened at 5.30pm a veritable flood of visitors appeared, which hardly abated for the whole evening.  Of course, not all were Old Wyvernians, but a significant number of those came along, as well as former teachers Bill Mann, John Lawson, Tony Baxter, Doc Burrows and Bob Childs.  Another visitor was Steve Thompson, son of Sadie Thompson and an ex-pupil, who identified all his classmates on a 1967 photograph (See above - Ed)   
The majority of attendees were former pupils of the City of Leicester College, Spencefield Lane School or our own Downing Drive establishment  (Now called the Wyvern Building)  Over 900 attended, including 99-year-old Mr Gill, a former headmaster of Spencefield School, who had travelled from North Wales specially for the event.  During the evening there were conducted tours of the building (Andy Marlow went on at least three tours of the Wyvern Building) and we learned that both buildings are to be demolished in October after the new school is opened. Wyvernians were promised an invitation to the grand opening.  Jenny Sterland, School Business Manager, described the evening as a roaring success, and certainly there was an amazing buzz and atmosphere which only ended when the fire bell sounded around 8.45pm and the buildings were slowly vacated.  For us the time flew by, with people of all ages showing a great interest in our display and asking many questions.  Frank and I were both hoarse by the end of the evening.  It was a very worthwhile exercise, which raised our profile and further improved our already excellent relationship with the current school.  Lots of photos to be seen on our Facebook page.
FROM ANDY BOURNE  1965-70   Re. Visit to Downing Drive on 26th June 2013.  I visited the school along with two other former pupils, Dave Wigley and Phil Wain. It was a worthwhile evening attended by what must have numbered thousands of former pupils of both City Boys and Spencefield and of course the combined comprehensive they became. I think the organisers were surprised at the success of the evening, and it's a shame the event couldn't have been held over three nights and separated into age groups. There were simply too many people to have a chance of recognising anyone, particularly when they must look a little older than they did 43 years ago!
Some of the photos on the Wyvernian's stand were interesting, and I'm sure if they could be scanned into the website a lot of people could add names to faces. I bought the book and my wife thinks that if I'd spent as much time studying as I have reading it I might have done better at school.  If only we had our time again, I know I'd make the same mistakes.
The school itself was a mess, and I can see why it's got to be demolished. A typical example of the poor design and even poorer build quality of the 1960's. It also seemed to have shrunk since we were there, how did we all fit in?
 I had the honour of being the first boy to attend Downing Drive. I ignored the letter that everyone received, which advised of what must have been a Teacher Day, and arrived a day too soon.  I was greeted at the front gate by Wally Wardle, hand to his brow, eyes closed.  'Go home boy, read your letter, come back tomorrow.'  A wonderful start!
An oft told story in the pub, and best told with the lisp and a_ctions, concerns Flo Willan.  My trip around the school and the visit to the biology lab brought it back. Flo has his back to the class, and as always is drawing on the board and expects us to copy it in our books.  This time it's the reproductory organs of a rabbit, which apparently resemble the human (Lisp now) 'My penis reaches the top of the board, yours should reach the top of the page.'  Another tale he told was of the chickens he used to keep, and in particular a cock that accompanied him in his Land Rover. Apparently he had the most travelled cock in the country. As we assumed Flo had no sense of humour, we also assumed these were inadvertent and excellent faux pas.  No doubt, in reality, they were well thought-out jokes that he used to entertain himself and generations of pupils.
FROM ANDY MARLOW  1969-73   Having left the school prematurely, and in less than ideal circumstances, in 1973, I viewed the chance to take a final look round the old building with a mixture of excitement and trepidation.  What impact would it have on me after all these years?
Together with Chris Jinks from the 1967 intake (who was a mine of information) we joined the queue for one of the organised(?) tours of what is now known as the Wyvern Building.  As we walked across the yard of the old Spencefield School down the path that links the two buildings (in my day there was a wire fence separating the two playing fields, and no contact was possible) my sense of anticipation rose as we headed into the science block.  Viewing the junior and senior chemistry, physics and biology labs, gazing at the tables with their enclosed sinks, and the apparatus standing forlornly alongside, conjured up quite a ghostly feeling - you could almost see Flo Willan standing there drawing his anatomy pictures on the blackboard.
After that we were taken to the library, probably my favourite place when I was at school.  I often spent lunchtime in there, browsing through the books.  Alas it is a library no more. Gone are the shelves of books, now only tables filled with computers remain.  Exiting through the library (a practice previously allowed only for teachers to take a short cut between buildings, the pupils having to go the long way round) the rest of the building was inspected.  The geography, English and history rooms were viewed, the latter two being of particular interest as they were my favourite subjects then and now.  The memories came flooding back - waiting in line outside the classroom for the teacher before being allowed to enter, seeing the board where the detention list was displayed - yes, I was on it frequently for my almost-daily late attendance.
Then on to the rest of the school.  The Headmaster's study, now the Deputy Head's room, which was opposite the secretary's office, and just across to the right stood the dining hall and kitchen.  I have never had a school dinner in my life, but back in the day tales of their quality - or lack of it - had reached my attention.  Now I was greeted by a menu attached to the door, and FREE cups of tea or coffee were available during a brief refreshment stop.  The square tables, usually with a Prefect to keep order, had been replaced by small circular ones.  Another sign of the changing times were notices offering halal meat.  I didn't have a drink so, still the rebel, I compensated by taking two biscuits on the way out.
The hall was next to the dining room.  One thing that struck me was the classrooms seemed smaller than I remembered, but of course we saw them from the perspective of a boy.  So as we have got bigger everything seems to have become smaller.  I suppose it was similar with the teachers.  They seemed old to us, and some were indeed ancient, but many were in their twenties and thirties, and some only a year or two older than some members of the sixth form.
The hall seemed smaller than remembered because it actually was - a dividing partition had been placed across the back of the room, and access to the balcony seems to have disappeared.  The stage looked the same, the curtains looked like the ones there in my day!
Across the corridor to the changing rooms, where the strange smell remained.  I was never quite sure what it consisted of.  Benches and pegs seemed the same, but now with graffiti.  Surely that didn't happen forty years ago, or did it?  The showers looked the worse for wear, and reminded us of a dodge used by some after PE and games.  If you did not want to undress and have a shower you just ran through the water to get your hair wet, then donned the uniform and disappear.  The teachers didn't seem too concerned, so you invariably got away with it.  The gym looked like time had stood still.  Some of the ropes remained in place, amazing in these H & S-obsessed times, as did the benches round the room.  Also the basketball court marked on the wooden floor with nets high on the wall.. I recall the sound of pounding feet, the noise seeming to hang endlessly in the air.
Then to the junior classrooms - third and fourth years were on the first floor.  Rooms 1 to 6 also doubled as rooms for the maths department.  It was hard to realise how much walking was involved as we moved from one room to another for lessons.  In those days we didn't give it a thought, but next day I certainly felt the effects of the tour.
The rest of the party moved on, but John Clarke and I decided to climb a further flight of stairs to try and locate our old form room on the second floor.  We debated which room was ours, Form 1B with Mr Scott.  Eventually we ascertained it was Room 9, on the front right.  I could not recall the number, but on looking out of the window the view over the car park, lower playground and bike sheds (the latter two now succumbed to the builders) confirmed it.
We thought of the wooden desks, with inkwells, arranged in three lots of pairs across the room.  Five rows to accomodate the thirty pupils, which was actually thirty one in the first term.  No idea where they put the odd one.  My desk was quite near the back, by the door.  Not a good idea as it turned out, but that's another story.  Now there are long tables for maybe five or six pupils to sit together, much more informal.
Back on the ground floor we passed the staff room, what happened in there was always shrouded in mystery.  Unfortunately it was locked, but it did remind me of the occasions you had to go there for one reason or another.  You were greeted by a cloud of smoke - no smoking bans then.
Finally the art and woodwork room.  The former is now a sixth form room and has been extended.  The art and woodwork area is located in the newer Design Centre, which we also saw.  I was reminded of woodwork teacher Bunny Hutchinson, who stood no nonsense.  There were some real characters in those days, though the level of violence dished out would be unacceptable today.  Mind you, it seems to sometimes be the other way round these days.
I will remember the Downing Drive evening very fondly for a long time.  Thank you to everyone involved in the arrangements.
FROM MIKE WALKER  1949-56   I am quite certain that the 'unknown' boy on page 94 of the CBS history book, on the right hand side holding a cricket bat, is my good and long-time friend Geoff Morgan.  Geoff and I lived in Belgrave, and attended Mellor Street Junior School.  He was an excellent cricketer, particularly good with the bat.  After 'A' levels in History, French and German, Geoff took a degree at Queen Mary College, London, followed by a teaching diploma and two years National Service in the Navy, stationed at Portsmouth.  After a short teaching career in England he emigrated to California, where he mainly worked in the film industry.  After some tumultuous years, which included being attacked and stabbed almost to death,  Geoff returned to Leicester where he died aged 50.  He had great potential, but sadly never came close to realising it.
AND FINALLY...   The original Old Wyvernians faded away many years ago, to be replaced by the current Wyvernians in 1998.  From small beginnings we have grown into a substantial organisation, and the affection for our old school is still very much in evidence.  Almost by accident we began to accumulate memorabilia, and the collection is much enhanced by the recent additions from Downing Drive.  Old Wyves' Tales, which was originally designed as a simple newsletter, soon expanded to include lots of stories, memories, facts and figures, and incredibly has reached seventy nine issues and still going strong..  Now we have a superb history book, produced to professional standards, which is selling very well - 250 copies the last I heard!  New members continue to join Wyvernians, most via the web site, and we have arranged sixteen reunions.  Despite my theory that Wyvernians must surely begin to wind down (we are a finite organisation, as membership is restricted to pre-1976 pupils) we continue to go from strength to strength.  And who would have thought we would have a facebook page and an on-line shop? All this is down to the efforts of a very few committed people.  They do not seek, or expect, any medals for their efforts and probably will not thank me for naming them, but they are Andy Marlow John Offord, Mike Ratcliff, Brian Screaton, Frank Smith.  And let us not forget you, the readers of OWT and attenders at the reunions, without you Wyvernians would not exist.  Also I must mention Stephanie, my very helpful and supportive wife of 37 years.
Between us we have built up what must surely be a unique history of an ordinary grammar school, and we should be proud of that achievement.
Dennis J Duggan

July 19th 2013


Saturday 6 April 2013

Fw: OWT78 April 2013


TEL 01938 555574   07985 405365   www.wyvernians.org.uk
APRIL  2013
EDITORIAL   The 2013 reunion was a great success, perhaps one of the best ever.  Some seventy people had lunch, which led to a slow-moving queue, but everyone eventually found a seat and enjoyed the meal.  I estimate that  around ninety people attended throughout the day, which was a good result.  It was interesting to note the presence of several ladies, including Trish Kenyon (Joe Melia's sister) and Jill Povoas (School Secretary from, I think, 1959-69)  We also had two Old Boys aged over ninety.
The format was slightly different this year as we had the new 'Downing Drive Hoard' on show, which replaced the usual memorabilia display.  At Brian's suggestion we held the AGM before lunch, then after the meal we had a presentation on the display, given by Brian Screaton.  This was followed by a Q & A session with Andy Marlow and Mike Ratcliff, authors of the new CBS history book.  That had the advantage of encouraging people to stay for the afternoon, whereas under the old system many drifted off after the AGM as there was little to do.  However it probably helped that we did not clash with any major sporting fixtures!
The reunions are a team effort, and I want to thank Brian Screaton, Frank Smith, John Offord and my wife Stephanie.  Without their unfailing support there would not be a reunion.
FROM KEITH BURROWS  1953-59   I was interested to read the latest item from Ivor Holyoak about George Wightman.  Although I don't recall the name I too went to Coleman Road school and lived on King Edward Road, which ran parallel to Freeman Road North.  And I too practiced footie on Humberstone Park whilst trainspotting movements on the line from Belgrave Road, though did better at number collecting at Swain Street bridge just outside London Road station.  I also knew Keith Wright, though not as well as Ivor, and recall I was running the line at a Southern League soccer fixture at Oadby and had to rule Keith offside - much to his displeasure!
FROM JOHN SMITH  1951-56   (Continuing John's musings - Ed)  Another master whose nickname underwent metamorphosis was Mr. Remington. To be strictly accurate, it was just one of his two nicknames that was subject to change. To us he was always Remmo, but he had another nickname, a sort of sub-nickname revealed in City Boys' School, Leicester as Nosebag.  An explanation of how that came about was presented in the book, but it was not current during my time, only before it and, it seems, afterwards. We had a variation on the same theme and for the same reason, I am sure of that. When Remmo was about, say in the playground for example, there could sometimes be heard a single word, sung rather than said, sotto voce and falsetto, about an octave above middle C. Dragged out over three or four seconds would rise on the ether the word Horse. The perpetrator, more often than not one particular boy whose name I shall refrain from disclosing (but if you are reading this, Roger X, you know who you are) did it with such ventriloquial skill and deadpan face that he remained undetected. Poor Remmo always heard it and one could be certain he was trying to pretend not to have done so, whilst at the same time endeavouring in vain to locate the source. The haunted look in his eyes gave him away. In retrospect it was a rather shameful trick to play on such an earnest, sincere and helpful man whose fortune it was to have longer-than-the-average facial features. Looking at a photograph of Mr. Remington now, I can't see there was much justification in our regarding his physiognomy as unduly remarkable in any negative sense. Now though, as I begin to steel myself to the inevitable approach to later middle age (I wish!) I have come to accept that pubescent and pre-pubescent boys as a species have a cruel streak, probably a precursor to the innate hunter/warrior predilection which they have not as yet been permitted to exploit to the full.  My final example touching on the phenomenon of cyclical change (there are others, but I don't want to bore even myself any longer by dwelling on the topic ad nauseum) relates to Mr Jeeves. We always referred to him as Johnny, but to my surprise he is named as Jimmy within the pages of the aforesaid definitive history. Is it possible that the masters knew him by that name and the boys by the alternative and that neither side knew that such was the state of play?
I am returning to the composition of this article after a period of a few wasted days and am pleased to report that Dennis' current issue of Old Wyves' Tales arrived on my computer this morning. Featured in it are one or two lost names I had intended to mention under the Where are You Now? heading of my personal amnesia box.  John McQuaid, for instance, a notable likely lad up to whose image it would be difficult for us mere mortals to live. Burbeck was in 1B at the same time as me, but he has either got it wrong when he quotes 1950 as the year, or there was another Burbeck, of whom I was unaware, a year senior to us. And Dave Johnson, who I also remember from either 1B or 3 Alpha et seq.  I congratulate him and John McQuaid on their daring and inventive spirit in going AWOL in order to play snooker at what would have been perceived at the time as a den of iniquity, when they should have been at school. I never reached such a high standard of misb_ehaviour, sad to relate. Oh, actually, come to think of it, yes I did on one occasion and shall refer to it later in this article.
Continuing with the lost trails theme, does anyone remember the following names from the years 1951 to 1956 and can they shed light on their subsequent careers, present whereabouts, etc? Boys such as Buffini, O'Grady, Garfoot, Gorman (or was it O'Gorman?) Bailey (who always wore a white shirt, whereas the rest of us wore grey, which toned in nicely with our necks)  Barratt was also from that era and his sartorial quirk was to wear a herringbone tweed sports jacket rather than a School blazer, perhaps in an attempt to flatter by imitation our (belatedly) respected Remmo. Barratt was, I think, a serious-minded chap, not particularly gregarious, but an extremely good 100 yards sprinter. There was Adrian Waudby, who I think became involved in local politics, and Geoff Dodd, who surely must be the same person of that name as in Geoff Dodd Associates, estate- or property-agents. There were also Dhiman, Lally, Peter Boat, Machin, Povoas, Frost, Nick Hill, John (Ant) Parker of Dumbleton Avenue, Dixon-Savage, Sugar Bray and Johnny Edwards, the last-named of whom, if rumour was correct, left these shores as a sailor in the Merchant Navy. Also, there was another high-spirited youth (among many) this one being chief sidekick to the similarly high-profile Satch Wells, one Clem McGrath. . There was another Basher, too, i.e. Whiteman, who lived in the Syston Street/ Birstall Street/ Lower Willow Street complex. His nickname belied his mild temperament. Another name from the same era was that of Melia - Joe Melia's younger brother, name of Dave, I seem to remember.  Another well-adjusted, even-tempered, almost avuncular, young man was Dave Embury, whose image appears in one of the photographs in City Boys' School, Leicester I was much saddened to learn in 1960 or thereabouts that he had been killed in a road traffic accident whilst being given a lift back to his university.
I noted with pleasure that one A R Beaver, Tony to us if I remember correctly, became a senior prefect towards the end of the 1950s. He had come to the school at the ripe old age of 13, having failed the 11-plus but having improved his performance sufficiently at his secondary modern school so that he passed his 13-plus, a rare event. Tony was a personable, well-mannered and industrious pupil and he set a good example to me and many of my carefree colleagues, one that we largely ignored but ought to have followed if we'd had more sense. It is a credit to him and the teaching staff that he made up for lost time and a shaky start to outstrip many of us, and he deserves respect for achieving his enhanced status within City Boys'.
What an amazing array of extra-curricular activities was afforded to us.  I had not appreciated there were so many, and much credit is due to headmasters, teachers, governors and sixth-formers for their industry and imaginative efforts on our behalf.  I don't think I realised there was so much going on, but having said that, it is entirely possible that my interests outside the school environment captured my attention more than they should have done. I believe too, that my parents, although not exactly destitute, had sufficient to cope with financially without the additional burden of my asking for money to enable me to take advantage of trips to foreign climes or even other cities within the UK.  I have no credible excuse for hardly ever taking part in out-of-school activities, except to say I do not really remember being aware of there having been such a cornucopia of character-building opportunities. And, of course, I was indolent by nature. I feel rather ashamed of myself when I realise what a wealth of potential enlightenment I just threw aside. Were I a stick of seaside rock, I can quite imagine that the word Philistine would be found running through me. The nearest I got to becoming actively involved with extramural work was when I helped Danny Kay to produce posters for the school play and to paint the scenery and erect it at the Co-operative Hall.  It was quite exciting to be roaming around in the rafters and peering down through ventilation grills at the floor, about a thousand feet below. When Danny. realised what we were up to he soon caused the practise to cease. It was the only occasion when I witnessed him becoming annoyed.
I recall having attended just one debate, the subject matter having been close to my heart. This house holds that the turbojet engine is superior to the internal combustion engine. I cannot remember who won, but I do recall one boy's fallacious remark from the floor, to the effect that the turbojet was an internal combustion engine. In modern parlance, I dissed him.  Also I went on a school educational trip to Cambridge, shepherded by Mr Guy and Nellie Witts. I believe we went to some sort of scientific research establishment, out towards the suburbs and housed in a single-storey building somewhat redolent of a prefab. I can't remember the subject matter. I believe I may have seen that same building on television in more recent years, its having become home to a family of cigarette-smoking beagles, much to the disgust of the animal rights lobby in particular and, to a slightly lesser extent, the population as a whole. Memorably, the journey back to Leicester was enlivened by a group of enthusiastic choristers, some of whose names I have mentioned already, bursting into song. Something about (and I must be careful here) three adherents to a particular Faith, an ancient city within a state whose western border is the Mediterranean Sea, and a precipice. Mr Guy, ever true to type, did not take kindly to it. He did not say anything.  He did not need to. He merely swivelled round rapidly in his seat and glared forbiddingly as only he and Mr Pedley could, and that was the end of the matter.   Another excursion was a visit to a medical clinic of some sort, somewhere in the area of St.Mary De Castro Church and what is now known rather grandly as The Hawthorn Building, but in those days was just the Tech. The object of the exercise was to receive an inoculation against something or other and we attended in small groups over a period of a few days. It may have been poliomyelitis that was the target and the injection may have been the newly-available Salk vaccine. Or not. We found in the same area a coffee bar, named El Casa Bolero. Well, in 1953 the prospect of going into a coffee bar seemed quite daring to some of us, as they were a recently-imported innovation from the USA. We noted too that inside were a few girls, maybe about the same age or slightly older than ourselves, so we endeavoured to establish friendly relations, but without much success. Without any success at all, in fact. Despite a few visits subsequently, it all fizzled out and my efforts to join the jet set were doomed to be hiatus-bound until I was old enough to sample the vastly more appealing delights of dance-halls, including the Palais and the Il Rondo with its Abracadabra Jazz Club, and on Saturdays De Montfort Hall, where we would defy the prominent sign which proclaimed No Jive, No Be-BopBy that time some of us were old enough, or progressing towards being nearly old enough, to sample the beverages offered by the plethora of hostelries that abounded within the city.  Shortly after leaving City Boys', I and no doubt many others often chanced our arms and rapidly became accustomed to pleasantly-spent hours in venues such as The Angel, Magazine, Old Bowling Green, Braziers' Arms, Coventry Arms, Royal Standard, the old Dixie Arms, Cherry Tree, Tower Vaults, Jolly Angler, the gloriously-named Old Nag's Head and Star, The Eclipse and....well, the list goes on and on. Of those mentioned here, I think only three remain standing and open for business.. Lest I may be giving reason for suspicion that I am other than a moderate partaker of the old malt and hops, I hasten to state that such is not the case nor has it ever been, with the excusable exception of a very small number of occasions, many, many years ago. True, I may have been leaning
 towards that part of the spectrum at one time, but marriage and the threat posed by the advent of the breathalyser put a stop to any such progress.
It is remarkable to relate, but I have absolutely no recollection of City Boys' engagements either at the Cathedral or at De Montfort Hall, although by the very nature of things I must have been in attendance there during my tenure of captivity. I remember well our Armistice Day services though, and found them extremely moving, as I now do our Remembrance Day parades and services.  I was a cadet in 1(F) Squadron of the ATC and I envied the School's ACF detachment for their being permitted to attend in uniform.  It did not occur to me or any of the small number of ATC cadets to request the same privilege, but I'll bet that such would have been granted. We used to sing O Valiant Hearts, which seems lately to have fallen out of favour, perhaps for fear of offending the sensibilities of those who do not hold the same reverence for our war dead, or our high opinion of our wartime efforts and hard-won victories as do we.. I retain my own  copy of the (sacred?) song and with a bit of self-prompting can recite it word for word..  Mention of the ACF reminds me of Smiler Evans, OC the School's unit. He took us for French while we were in 3 or 4 Alpha.  Although a pleasant chap – his nickname is accurately indicative of his humour – he was nobody's fool and was swift to nip any tomfoolery in the bud . His chosen instrument of justice was the slipper, a well-worn plimsoll. On one occasion I had paid insufficient attention to the location of the line drawn in the sand, and had my backside warmed as a result of my insouciance. Another helping hand up the steep learning curve. By the time of my elevation to 5L my level of circumspection had increased enormously. Thank you, Smiler, and all your colleagues (To be continued - Ed)
FROM PETER KNIGHT  1954-60   Thanks for a great OWT 77.  I am reminded of two things (well lots actually, but two in particular). I remember the Nazi flag incident with Dave Casemore, as I was one of the prime movers in this episode. I am very sorry to hear about David's death. To Jim Dalby who I remember well; you will be no doubt be pleased to learn that I no longer leap from top diving boards. I am afraid these days, like many of us, I am more fragile than agile. As regards the panoramic shot of the whole school in 1958, my elder brother David tells me that he appeared at one side of the photo then ran along the back of the assembled school, managing to beat the panning camera in time to reappear on the other end of the photo.
FROM EDDIE BLOUNT  1950-58)   Wally Payne's story about Wally Wardle's batting exhortation to hit out or get out reminds me of his exact same words to me on the playing fields of a school in Derbyshire.  If memory serves me correctly I was playing for the Junior cricket XI, and we were closing in on victory.  Like Wally Payne, I rashly played a defensive stroke with only a couple of runs required to win.  Out of the blue Wally became incandescent with rage, and uttered the immortal phrase whilst umpiring at the bowler's end.  I found it imexplicable that a teacher could lose control in such a fashion, and still do!  So imagine my surprise to hear of another boy suffering the same fate.  To my shame I slogged wildly at the next ball, and was dropped at third man.  The story has a happy ending, as we scampered the runs required to win the match.  Not really cricket, though!
FROM DON THORNHILL  1944-49   Does anyone know where Bull Smith is buried?  I ask the question for personal reasons  (If anyone can help, please reply to me - Ed)
OBITUARIES   Adrian Pilgrom (1959-67) passed away March 22nd 2013 after a long illness

FROM ROGER GANDY  1952-59   Arriving home one warm afternoon early in December, I discovered my keenly anticipated copy of Andy Marlow's tome awaiting me on my sheltered Sydney doorstep. Within just a few moments, and armed with a glass of suitably fortifying refreshment, I opened its packaging (no mean feat – Brian had done an excellent job) and was soon much absorbed. What began as a rapid initial flit-through turned in no time at all to an evening of fascinating discovery and considerable nostalgia.   Various issues of OWT's during the past few years have reminded me of many fellow pupils and several masters I had all but forgotten, but here were photographs of many of them as well, thus inducing yet more poignant memories. Messrs Witts and Sweet, who are portrayed on the back cover, is one case in point. Both began their teaching tenure at the school the same day I arrived, and Ken Witts was my form master from that Tuesday morning, 9thSeptember, 1952. I recall thinking that he appeared to be as nervous as I certainly was, but his control, empathy & popularity with all of us seemed to be forged from that point. I was much saddened to read of his death. I resist delving into a detailed appraisal of all those poor souls blessed with the task of instilling some scant knowledge into my skull during the succeeding seven years – many others have done and continue to do that in OWT with apparent total recall and  a degree more eloquence than I could muster. Nevertheless, I still feel inclined to recount a couple of distinct early memories:  Our first lesson after acclimatising ourselves that Tuesday morning was French with Mr Jeeves, a formidable presence to me at the time. It probably didn't take place on that day, but certainly did a lesson or two later, when the whole 45 minute period was taken up by his insistence that we should all be able to pronounce 'tu' correctly by the end of it. Since we had also been informed that such form was only proper with close family and the most intimate of acquaintances, and none of us could imagine a situation where such intimacy with a Frenchman – or woman – was likely to apply, there didn't seem any obvious point. Clearly Johnny Jeeves knew better than us.  A year or two later, probably as a result of an inept performance in one of his 15 double-barrelled question Monday morning tests, I was informed by Mr Flo Willen that I was so stupid I would probably end up a dustman, to which he added: But when you do, you needn't come emptying my bin – you'd probably spill it all over the path anyway! He may well have been right, but for a time I would love to have been given the opportunity – or perhaps to have met his actual refuse collector.
However, returning to Andy's book, I am sure that most of us who have read it will have remembered other things we would like to have included and perhaps pointed out one or two minor inaccuracies. One of these relates to photo of the 1st X1 cricket team of 1957.  I'm fairly sure this was in fact the 1958 team, which was the year before I was in the team, hence my gripe. The panoramic shot of the whole school is certainly 1958, but I can't find myself in that either and cannot imagine why. I was not normally given to truancy. Perhaps I was at Joe Kay's Espresso bar in East Bond Street or at the Cherry Tree further down the road, but it seems unlikely; all those with whom I would have been at either venue appear to be present and correct.  Those panoramic photographs are odd, aren't they? Having seen similar ones of several schools in various part of England, as well as here in Australia, all appear to contain a multitude of faces seemingly so familiar that you would swear you were at school with them. – or is it just me?
Three further snippets of more general interest may be worth passing on:  The Lady Mayoress, who accompanied her husband to the school's first Commemoration Service in the Cathedral in 1952, was none other than Isobel – later Lady Isobel – Barnett, who I recall thinking even then, as a callow 11 year old soprano in the school choir, was a very attractive woman. We sang Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring and I have never heard it since without remembering that day.  Two month's later, the Christmas concert audience on the last morning of the autumn term was entertained by a hilarious stand-up routine by Joe Melia, who I think had just completed his first term at Cambridge.  If we had been told then that he was destined for a successful career on stage and screen, few of us would have been surprised. Again, it was sad to learn of his very recent demise.  It may be of interest to learn that the imported Collegiate girl who played Lady Capulet in the school production of Romeo & Juliet in 1958 was one Josie Robinson. A few years later she had changed her name to Jo Kendall and was starring in I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again with John Cleese, Bill Oddy et al. For a time she became very much a part of our social circle. After all, she was quite happy to drink pints, and few girls were at that time. Eventually and inevitably though, we gradually lost touch.
My own role in the production was as a stunning First Watch, though I did double up in a crowd scene dancing a minuet or something similar with Josie, having to wear a ghastly pair of baggy yellow tights and hardly filling them to capacity – me not her. In the following year's production I was cast as Egeus (Hermia's ageing father) in A Midsummer Night's Dream for which, as a very youthful looking teenager with barely a shred of acting talent, I was singularly ill equipped. Taking the production to Germany at Easter, we performed in various places around the Ruhr but, unsurprisingly, I was dropped for the major performance at the Krefeld Stadt Theatre in favour of John Page, who had left the school the previous year and was assisting the staff accompanying the trip. John was a very talented actor with a particular penchant for playing old men so, though some of my fellow cast members protested, in truth I didn't mind a bit. However, as compensation Mr Bell, went out – or sent out – and bought me a Duke Ellington LP - much to my taste at the time – and presented it to me with obvious embarrassment. I confess to no particular partiality to our headmaster, but appreciated this gesture and have to say that I had much more enjoyment from the record than I would have blundering my way through another gauche performance in front of a load of German adolescents and their parents.  One final memory of that production was that the part of Peter Quince was played by Keith Hill, a few years younger than us, nevertheless a bright and amusing lad, excellent company and, until recently I believe, a very successful MP and Minister. 
There is undoubtedly much more my memory cells could dredge up, but I shall resist the temptation. Suffice to say that Andy's book has given me much enjoyment and my mind boggles at the amount of research he and his colleagues must have undertaken to present it. I should like them to know it is very much appreciated.
FROM KEITH BOAT  1941-46)   If anyone is interestedin learning more about Dr Rudolf Majut, who taught German during my time at CBS, Google the name and click on Rudolf Majut papers.  He was quite a man, and I feel proud to have been one of his pupils.  I did not continue with my studies, but a few years ago (after my 70th birthday) found that I could still hold a long conversation with a lady from the Ukraine.  She spoke German, but no English.  It was quite easy, because her German was as basic as mine, so really we spoke the same language.
FROM JOHN BLAIKIE  1955-62   I suppose it's the passage of time, but I recognised the names in the obituaries of OWT77.  I knew Brett Mason  (I also note Ivor Holyoak's mention of Keith Wright)
FROM JOHN O'GRADY  1959-64   I enjoyed reading OWT77, and your scribblings at the end reminded me of THAT winter, 1962-63.  That's the one I always remember when my thoughts stray to visiting the UK in winter, and why I have lived in Australia for the past 49 years.  The pipes froze, including the toilet, and I trudged through my daily paper round close to getting frost bite.  Never again!
FROM BRUCE GIBSON  1959-65  (A Reformed Character)   In OWT77 our editor commented on the weather of 1962/63. This brought back memories of winter journeys home from school. I used to catch the No 16 from outside Lewis's in Humberstone Gate, opposite the Bell Hotel. Classes finished around 4pm and a suicidal dash, cutting a diagonal across the traffic lights at Charles Street and Humberstone Gate on the amber light, meant I could catch the five-past bus home, saving an interminable wait of ten minutes before the next bus! I remember settling upstairs and peering through streaming windows at thick yellow smog as we crawled up the High Street, not able to see more than a foot or so in front.  I remember that occasional dismal trudge back from Grace Road, but a Summery thought here, the sweet shop sold great home-made penny lollies and I have happy memories of bundling back onto the bus with a bag of lip staining treats.
On rainy days cross-countries at Rushey Fields were to become a trial. I enjoyed them at first, but then decided to take up smoking and joined others on a slippery slope. Consulate ciggies in the air raid shelters at Grace Rd. were the height of chic. I now recall why I lost my enthusiasm - the masters in charge, mainly Jock Gilman, showed no interest in who won or even managed to finish, and the whole thing became pointless.  I think most of the teachers I remember have been commented on in previous editions. One, Mr Alexander, has not had a mention.  I remember him as what would now be called a cool character. He drove a sports car, a Sunbeam Alpine I think, wore a rakish Tyrolean-type  hat, and conducted classes with his feet up on the desk. He must have been a very good teacher as, against all expectations, he got me an O-level pass in Maths.   Last year I revisited Leicester for the first time in thirty odd years. I had some time to spare before entering the old school for the 2012 reunion and decided to do a nostalgic wander up to the Clock Tower. What a blank wasteland I found! The fierce junction I had imagined - gone, Lewis's – gone, The Bell – gone, replaced with the blandest paved central area I have ever seen, and I have seen quite a few in my job. A tribute to homogenous Town Planning and bean counters.

FROM PETER BATES  1953-58   . (Not to be confused with Peter Bates 1954-?). This is my first contribution to OWT, though I have been reading them for many years-courtesy of Mike Boneham. Mike sat behind me in Form 4A and has lived about 250 meters from me for over 45 years. We often meet on the 56 bus to town.  Firstly, thank you to all previous contributers to OWT, to Dennis and his wife and everyone else who has made OWT possible.
Secondly, I've had a brief look at the City Boys' School book . What a brilliant compilation. I found the history fascinating - all the struggles of overcrowding etc;  I especially enjoyed the trips down memory lane reading about my years there. I particularly noted the photographs of Alan (Frank ?) Whitelam who, the book said, became School Captain.  I have a photograph of  Alan taken whilst in my class at Medway Junior School in 1951 in Mr Scotty Thompson's class (2S1). I believe he also went to Evington Valley Infants too, as he lived in Ethel Road.
Having read some of the book I have to accept the school had lots to offer its pupils, and many of the staff worked exceedingly hard for the good of the boys.  Sadly for me I did not appreciate it at the time and deeply regret not settling down to working properly. Many of your stories, Dennis,are similar to mine. In spite of that I left with 5 O-Levels, and became apprenticed as a carpenter and joiner.  I did work hard at the Technical College, gaining good qualifications in the building trade. My working life really turned round when I successfully applied for teacher training in 1969. I taught in three Leicester Schools until my retirement in 2002. My last post was in a ten-place Special Needs Unit which the LEA closed in 2002 - giving me the chance to retire with enhanced pension. Thank you very much, I accepted.
There are many things I could mention that have alrerady been documented. A few personal things would not have been. Firstly, a special thank you to Mr Lawson, especially in years 2 and 3.  I was having a particularly bad time at home and school and Mr Lawson, I felt, treated me fairly and sympathetically. I liked maths, physics and chemistry which obviously helped me produce better work for him - but I felt he almost liked me which was not a feeling I enjoyed much at City Boys'. I must mention the late Ken Witts too who, as a teacher, was always prepared to listen - firm but fair.  I did not warm to any of the other staff - they represented Authority with a capital A, and punishment loomed if you stepped out of line  (Reading the book has changed my opinion somewhat)  One other teacher I would like to mention is the late Mr B Thompson- not for memories of his lessons, but for the years I passed Uppingham Road Methodist Church and saw on their Next Sunday's Preacher board the name Mr B Thompson. Over many years I wondered if this was my former teacher. On reading his obituary I got my answer - a local preacher who worshipped at Mayflower Methodist Church.
Does anyone remember this? I believe it was winter/spring 1958 (my last year). We had a snowfall, and a group of us were snowballing in the quadrangle playground.  Mr Bell came out of his outer door and ordered us to clear the snow away. We had shovels of some sort to do this. We piled the snow by an external toilet door (not used) which had a corner brick wall protecting it. The snow in this pile did not melt totally for some 2 or 3 weeks. On one particular afternoon each week, for as long as the snow remained, some of us took snow upstairs into the classroom - for the second period - to play up a certain teacher (I think Mr Thompson) The floor got wet but the first lesson teacher didn't make any comment. In order to keep the snow for the second lesson I put it on top of a cupboard to be removed and thrown around the class room between first and second lesson. Again wet floors but no-one took us to task. Finally the snow disappeared until--------------  Towards the end of the summer term Mr Remington came with his key to open the cupboard and get some books. He was taken aback when he found some damaged books - looking like water damage.  I was sitting at my desk right by the cupboard, thinking I for one would be in big and expensive trouble. Mr Remington took the books away and I never heard about them again.  I don't know the extent of damage nor if they were usable.  I guess it is a bit late to apologise, but we never anticipated any damage. To finish I would like to say well done to Ivor Holyoak for your summary of 1alpha of 1958.  I actually went to Medway Junior School; I also think it was  KEITH Wilkins and   MICHAEL Tupman, but I won't argue!  I remember you Ivor - you had blond hair and dark rimmed glasses- am I right?

FROM ROGER LIVERMORE  1964-71   It was good to see some familiar faces at the book launch - Tony Baxter, Bill Mann and Dr Burrows.  One quick anecdote - I was a very keen astronomer (went onto study it at St Andrews) and asked Dr Burrows a question.  A lot of astronomy can be quite hard to believe, and I'd read that hydrogen was the most common element in the universe.  I asked Doc if that was correct.  He said that if it was there would be a pretty big explosion when he lit up his pipe.

FROM JILL POVOAS (SCHOOL SECRETARY)   During April 1963 a gropu of boys went on a skiing holiday to Hochsolden, Sustria.  In charge were Alan Mercer and Lionel Franklin.  We had a hilarious time.  At one point our passports were witheld by the hotel, as there was a question as to payment for a broken plate-glass window.  Two of the group were late leaving the hotel, so we missed the train.  Frantic phone calls by one of the staff resulted in the Arlberg express making an unscheduled stop so we could board.  We were almost back in Leicester when the bus broke down, and we had to wait for a replacement.  Everyone was extremely tired after the long journey - there were no flights in those days.  Nor were there any mobile phones, so the waiting parents were very worried about our delayed arrival.

FROM IVOR HOLYOAK  1953-58   I live a couple of hundred yards from St Luke's church, Thurnby, and whilst researching my family history happened on the following memorial stone: Sacred memories of Richard John Paynter.  November 6th 1957 aged 15 years.  We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.  I was a contemporary of Richard, but never a classmate so did not know him very well.  I seem to remember a wide-eyed gentle lad, who c1956 generated a great deal of praise for his performance as The Fool in the school's presentation of King Lear.  The announcement of his death, from meningitis I believe, at morning assembly created quite a shock wave, the merest hint of mortslity not being part of the consciousness of most of the school's attendees.
FROM DENNIS BIGGS  1949-56     Congratulations on a very successful reunion again this year.  I was very pleased to attend the latest reunion and pleased to see five former classmates from the intake of 1949. What a pity we are not able to locate other members, as it would be fascinating to learn how they are keeping. Congratulations on a successful reunion and a big thanks for all the dedicated work of you and your team.  I picked up my copy of the CBS book at the reunion and have managed to read through it in the following weeks. It was a splendid effort, and I was fascinated to read of the early years of the school's foundation and especially of the lives and careers of the well- known headmasters and teachers of my era. In a way I wish I had known more of their lives and had a more personal contact with some of my favourite masters. It was interesting also to learn of the long careers of those masters of my generation at the school. Most of the teachers such as Messrs Whitbread, Willan, Witts, Wardle, Jeeves, Bufton  etc remained loyal to the school for the whole of their careers, whereas I was struck by the rapid turnover of teachers in the post 1960s onwards. Perhaps the school was by then considered as just a stepping stone in their careers, or maybe it was because the school had lost something of its prestige in the post-Bell era.
 I was also interested in the range of sporting activities available to students in the years after my leaving in 1956. I would have loved to have had a go at fencing and squash for example. My main sporting activity at school was cricket, but I remember I did once win the prize for throwing the cricket ball at one of the sports days. The coaching in the nets by Messrs Smith and Kaye was great fun, as well as their support on match days. I have always been a keen cinema goer so it was interesting to see there were screenings of classic films in later years in the school. I came to Leicester the day before the reunion and stayed overnight. On a wet Friday afternoon I thought I could visit the cinema for a couple of hours. To my astonishment all the cinemas in Leicester seem to have disappeared – the Odeon, Gaumont, Floral Hall, Trocadero – has the city become a cultural  desert, as these cinemas do not appear to have been replaced ?. –fings ain't what they used to be. Perhaps I am just spoilt for choice of cinemas in London.

AND FINALLY...   Jill mentions Mr Franklin.  In the 1960's it was unusual to see a foreign car, so Mr Franklin's Fiat 1100 was always of interest.  He parked the two-tone (blue and cream) Fiat in the little yard where we waited to go into the canteen.  Mr Bell had what is now called an Aunty Rover, a black one.  There were several versions of the Rover P4 range, though they all looked the same.  Mr Bell had one of the more expensive ones, a 105 or 110.  When I first came across  Wally Wardle in 1959  he lived on Lutterworth Road, almost opposite Middleton Street.  He travelled to school by bicycle, or corporation bus.  Sometime during 1960-62, when I was stationed at Elbow Lane, he purchased a Hillman Minx.  Wonder if it was from Jock Gilman?   Jock was famous for having a different motor each week, it was rumoured he was connected with the motor trade via his brother, who apparently owned a garage on Welford Road.  The occasional sixth former came to school on a motor bike, though one had a bubble car.  This was parked behind Mr Franklin's Fiat.  One lunchtime the hapless young motorist attempted to drive away, only to find himself going nowhere.  A couple of boys had lifted the rear of the car off the ground!
Dennis J Duggan  April 24th 2013