Saturday 6 April 2013

Fw: OWT78 April 2013


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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