Sunday 25 October 2015

Old Wyves Tales 88 Oct 2015



TEL 01938 555574   07971 282356  
REUNION 2016   Saturday March 19th is the date.  Invitations will be sent early January, meanwhile you might like to make a note of the date. 
FROM BRIAN SCREATON  1959-65   I thought that some of our more long-standing members might like to know that my father-in-law, Harold Hall, passed away on 14th September, aged 93. You may recall that before we got the school films onto video Harold would show them in the Everard Room with his projector. I think he did this for several years, and always enjoyed doing it and chatting with Wyvernians. He himself was not a City Boy, but an old boy of Altrincham Grammar School.
FROM SIMON PARTRIDGE  1966-72   In response to Brian Screaton's item in OWT87, regarding Eric's snack bar, there must have been many Eric's.  There was an outlet on the corner of a car park in East Street, fronting London Road almost opposite the station.  In July 2010 the Leicester Mercury printed an item by a former apprentice mechanic.  He explained that Eric owned the car park, but leased the front two rows to Lansdowne Car Sales, a Rootes dealer.
FROM JOHN SHIPMAN  1955-60    Re Brian Screaton's comments about Eric's snack bar, I well remember the establishment as a place many of us liked to go, but were reminded quite frequently by Mr. Bell at assembly that it was out of bounds and detentions would be issued to anyone caught there. Not that it stopped anyone who wanted to go, but it gave him a feeling of importance I suppose. I agree with Brian that it was demolished in the early 60's to make way for the new shops etc. At the time my father was on the police force, and often said that it was not the best place to be as it was frequented by many lesser criminals and was used by the police for gaining information. 

FROM DEREK SMITH  1959-65   The highlight of those years was the school trip to the 1960 Rome Olympics. The lowlight was spending the first year in wooden huts in the middle of a car park at the back of the school.  After I finished my 'A' levels my father and I decided to migrate to Australia, my mother having died earlier. I travelled alone in 1966, leaving my father to close our old life and travel later on a luxury cruise ship. I flew in a specially-chartered flight with other migrants, seated next to a butcher and a baker. Unfortunately my education had not included candlestick maker! We flew via Kuwait, where one of the plane's engines failed and had to be replaced, then Ceylon, Darwin and finally Melbourne. I then moved to Sydney.  I found lodgings in a boarding house for gentlemen with several boys around my age from all over Australia, New Zealand and England. We even had a Scotsman. Despite speaking the same language, Australia was a very different country from home and 1966 proved to be a critical year bringing many changes.
I joined the Australian Federal Civil Service and remained in Sidney until 1973, when I was transferred to Canberra with my wife and new family.  We have been there ever since.  I retired during the 1990's and began to write, publishing many short stories and four books.  My last book was about that first year in Australia, in the boarding house.  Frank Smith told me he would give consideration to publicising books written by Old Boys, and suggested I start the ball rolling.  If you would like to read my book please contact me at
FROM CHRIS 'CHARLIE' PYRAH  1964-70   The swing of the swinging sixties barely grazed the hairstyles on view at the City of Leicester Boys School; as we see from the collection of form photos, including those amassed by Bill Mann. The very few fairly fashionable coiffures (as opposed to the ubiquitous schoolboy mops and fringes) started with a restrained greased-back nod toward the Teds, then gradually lengthened and grew more wayward as deference died and Hendrix played, although it wasn't until 1970/71 that locks really began to flow.  I do remember a couple of Afros appearing around 1967/8, sported by Jim Higgins and Ian Ward, but the skinhead style made no headway at all, stamped on from on high, you might say; no secondary modern tainting here.  As for the masters, it is of no surprise to see that, apart from a couple of art masters (see below)  a studied conformity - varied only by degrees of baldness - was the order of the day.
Get out your Lowe and Gates smirked Bill Gates one summer term  He was referring to the newly-issued textbook co-edited by fellow English master Chris Lowe and himself, Selections from the English Novelists, copies of which can still be picked up for as little as 1p on Amazon.   Mr Gates was one sort of archetypal master - relaxed, fairly jovial, prematurely balding, harris tweed jacket with leather elbow patches, while Mr Lowe, a more menacing character, stocky, florid of face, reminded me more of a fearsome Mr Punch. Luckily for me, I had Bill Gates for my form master and English teacher.  The extract from Lowe and Gates that we had to discuss was, rather daringly I thought at the time, taken from D H Lawrence's Sons And Lovers, the scene where Paul Morel was exulting on a swing at Miriam Leiver's farm; strange how things stick in the mind.  The farm in the book was called Willey Farm - which reminds me of another English master at the school, for one year only (1968/9) P J B Willey, a fleeting refugee from better-heeled private schools and the man who brought John Cleese to address a sixth form group one surrealistic afternoon.  Cleese seemed strangely ill-at-ease in the face of a phalanx of silent, star-struck schoolboys, but under the prompting of Mr Willey he managed to entertain us for an hour with tales of television life.

 Swing low, sweet chariot was one of the songs we sang on the coach taking us back from a geography field trip, though our version was accompanied by fairly indecent rugby-song style gestures.  Ken Witts and Dave Gillyean had perhaps unwisely unleashed us onto an unsuspecting rural Nottinghamshire in the belief that visits to the feudal farming system at Laxton, and the nodding donkeys of Eakring oilfield, would enrich and enhance our education. It had been a cold and drizzly day, but we had enjoyed our time away from the form room.   Classmate John Pyrah was less amused when he found that his orange drink had leaked into his carefully cosseted ham sandwiches, resulting in a confection that neither Fanny Cradock nor Mary Berry would have approved of.  I might add that Mr. Witts left me at least one geographic legacy - a love of Ordnance Survey maps, for which I remain ever grateful.

At some stage during my time at Downing Drive,  I had to decide between doing art or woodwork.  I chose the wonders of handicraft, mistakenly believing practical skills to be of more use in the future than painting, and so found my way into the smells of wood shavings and shellac that pervaded the world of Bunny Hutchinson. I still bear the scars as evidence of my incompetence with tenon saw and chisel.  Upon more mature reflection, I believe I would have enjoyed and profited more under the wing of Pete Miller, a man of vaguely Trotsky-like appearance who was more interested in the school of Abstract Expressionism than that of CLBS.  When he left to seek the Yankee dollar, the art department was taken over by Mac Bryan (definitely hirsute)  For some reason, perhaps educational or maybe Bunny was ill, one day we woodworkers were sent to the art room for a lesson.  Mac was showing slides of classical paintings.  The first I remember was Greuze's La Cruche Cassee (The Broken Pitcher) in which a very astute Dick Bull saw references to a girls' lost virginity.  The next picture was of Jean-Honore Fragonard's The Swing.  Only connect!
FROM KRISTEN DAGE   My grandfather attended Leicester City Boys Grammar School, I am guessing starting in 1942 until 1949, and would have been a prefect for the last 2 years. He was also placed in Abbey House. He passed away 3 days ago and I am just wondering if there would be anyone who remembered him or some of his teachers, especially his math (Owen Feance Temple Roberts) and his chemistry teacher ("The Bull"). (The e-mail is dated August 6th - Ed) He wrote about his time there in his memoirs ( I have no idea if he really knew anyone there, but if anyone remembers him at all, I would love to find out. I also have a photo of him while he was there, along with everyone else who received a science degree; he is in the plaid suit in the front center  (Editor's note.  If you can help, please contact Kristen at   Unfortunately the photograph mentioned mysteriously vanished from my PC) ...BUT... fortunately a copy found its way to our Facebook page. Just CLICK/TAP HERE! (Note you don't need to be a Facebook member to view this photo!)

AND FINALLY...   OWT88 is the shortest on record, new material is becoming more and more difficult to find.  That should be no surprise after 88 issues, but the majority of members have never submitted anything.  I can only print what I am sent!!
To finish, here are a few of my random school memories.  Visiting the school library at lunchtimes, and reading the Just William books; standing at the staff room door with a forged note, heart beating furiously in case Jock Gilman queried it (he never did)  my master stroke when I forged a note permanently excusing me from swimming because of my asthma; hanging around in the small yard waiting to go in for school dinner, and the unique smell of the canteen; Founders Day at the cathedral; the Christmas concerts; the lack of health and safety in the labs and woodwork room; cross country runs at Rushey Fields and the primitive changing rooms; the splintery wooden floor of the first-floor changing room at Grace Road; the mysterious air raid shelters at Grace Road; leather satchels; fountain pens and bottles of ink; the crocodiles between Elbow Lane and Humberstone Gate.
Dennis J Duggan
October 25th 2015

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Wednesday 15 July 2015

Fwd: Fw: OWT 87 July 2015

TEL 01938 555574   07971 282356  
JULY  2015
EDITORIAL   For the first time in 87 issues, OWT is being e-mailed as a blind copy.  This means that recipients' names and e-mail addresses will not be shown on the header.  The reason is that after OWT 86 was sent, a new member objected 'to my details being tarted all over the internet.'  Whilst there has never been any problem, at least so far as I know, under data protection laws it is probably illlegal to publish e-mail addresses.  So whilst I found the comment hurtful, it did raise a valid point.
Following a computer fault the Wyvernians database was lost.  Fortunately I keep a paper copy of all important documents, as I have never trusted computers, so it can be recreated.  And yes, I do know about backing up on a memory stick, but it never seems to work properly for me!  The only information I did not keep was telephone numbers, so if any of you want to let me have those details that would be helpful to complete the records.
Wyvernians has received a letter of thanks from the Myotubular Trust for the donation of £100 made earlier this year.
FROM PETER GRUDGINGS  1936-41   We moved from Leicester in 1960.  I had a post as deputy Head at a Warwickshire primary school on an RAF airfield (Gaydon)  The pupils were RAF children, some army children from a nearby camp and about 5% were locals.  Two children meeting would look at each other and one might say, 'Laarbrund,' and the other would reply, 'No, Akotiri 1959.'  If you asked them what Singapore was like, the reply was sometimes, 'There was a good NAAFI there!'
We moved to Tytherington in 1967 for me to take the headship of the local school.  In 1978, looking for a smaller house and more land, we bought a two-up two-down cottage with over four acres of land.  No electricity, and water from a well.  We had eight months in two caravans on site.  In 1982 I took early retirement aged 57.  Since then we have kept sheep, hens, turkeys, geese and added considerably to the cider orchard.  Two years ago we produced 6 tonnes of cider apples, it was hard and boring work from September to December.  Since 1978 we have followed Mark Twain's advice to 'buy land, they don't make it any more,' and we now have eight acres.  I keep bees, and sell honey at local farmers' markets.  I don't know how many teachers retire to run a smallholding - perhaps 1%.  The thing that amazed me was the welcome, and help into their community, from village farmers .
FROM STEWART SMITH  1936-41   It was good to see so many people at the 2015 reunion.  I know of no similar meetings in this city or hereabouts.  A friend of long-standing, a former Gateway pupil, has commented about the reluctance to form a gathering of old boys from that school.
The Gateway school was the first in the country to arrange for pupils to have lesson time in practical activities as a first contact with possible careers after leaving school.  These lessons took place in the Leicester College of Art, later to be the Leicester College of Art & Technology.  The new college building was across the road from Chantry House, which housed Gateway at that time.  Leicester City Education Committee was the first to introduce what was termed the Cambridge System into the general education theme.
The Cambridge System introduced the idea that boys aged 13 (ie two years into senior school) who were struggling with poor results and not keeping up with the rest, could be exchanged for boys who had been sent to secondary moderns and were outstripping everyone in their year.  Mr Crammer saw the wisdom of this, and introduced the alpha forms, as well as the A and B forms, to get the brighter boys through grammar school in four years instead of the usual five.  In 1939-40 Mr Crammer was the first headmaster to get more boys into university than Alderman Newton's or Wyggeston, thus raising the status of City Boys.  He introduced the Northern Universities Joint Matriculation Board examinations for the annual school certificate and matriculations (which I failed)  This was a completely new initiative in Leicester's education system, causing a major stir and widespread comment at council level.  The ever-present public predjudice about selective education brought forth, as it still does, much argument generally.
As excellent as Andy Marlow's book is - and I would not want to take anything away from it - the significance of Mr Crammer's period as headmaster is missing.  In my view it is well-worth writing about, hence this contribution to OWT.
FROM JOHN SMITH  1951-56   Thank you for the latest edition of OWT.  It is remarkable these publications continue to excite my interest and enthusiasm for old times carelessly spent in the company of other miscreants, but they certainly do. I had imagined that we of the early fifties era were a new breed of naughty boys; that prior to our arrival at CBS everything had been staid, serious and high-minded.  However, it is with a curious mixture of relief and chagrin I now realise my contemporaries and I at our juncture were merely the latest in a long line of enfants terribles.  It is equally, and pleasingly, apparent that the trend continued at CBS after I had left the school and grown up, as it were  (Though it has to be said there are many, my wife, children and grandchildren included, who would assert that I have not yet managed fully to attain adulthood)  Perversely,  I am inclined to agree with their assessment of my character traits as including that of eccentricity, and have taken that as an uplifting compliment.
I was interested to read the contribution by Mike Capernerhurst.  His parents and mine had been friends in the 1930s and the friendship was renewed to an extent when it was realised that Mike's younger brother John and I became classmates in 1951.  I last saw John at his wedding in Sheffield around 1960, but lost touch thereafter.  I was aware that Mike, their younger sister Anne and their parents, Ruth and Tom, had emigrated to New Zealand but that John remained in England.  I should like to be able to contact John and maybe encourage him to attend an Old Wyvernians' reunion.  I am confident that he would enjoy meeting again with Mike Ross, Alan Manship, Don Wright and John Rudge.  .
FROM JIM TAYLOR  1955-62   I was very saddened to hear that Bob Neill (1955-62) has passed away.  Bob and I were good friends, both at CBS and after.  We lived together in London for a year whilst at London University, and subsequently remained in touch when we married and had families.  Bob was a real character, and his joviality was always to the fore.  My sincere sympathies are extended to his family.  Bob will be sadly missed by all who knew him.
FROM DAVE POSTLES 1960-67   Further to a comment by Andrew Tear about the Head Boy in our final year, I think we all expected the esteemed Richard McMorran to be selected.  Not only was he an excellent scholar, but also a consumate footballer (captain) erstwhile cross-country runner and chess player.  I'm still baffled.
I remember the Winter brothers - intellectual giants and examples to us all.  We marvelled at Dave Winter's and Phil Drummond's A-level results.  I also recall the Neil brothers,.another extraordinary group.  Alex was my contemporary, but his two older brothers were seniors and scientists.  Doc Burrows will remember them.  I encountered the elder brothers through Alex, as during my early days at CBS I saw him at home and at the pub where his dad was a steward.  One of their shared interests was Buddy Holly.
FROM PAUL HEALEY  1960-65   ( Same school year as David Needham and Michael Kitchen)  I had an uninspired school career and left after 6 weeks of starting A levels. The new journey out to Evington ( 2 buses) was also a drag!  Mr Bell suggested that it would be probably in my best interest if I left the school, and, as it turned out, he was right.  A trip to the careers office in Leicester offered me:  apprentice chicken farmer, trainee in the Post Office, OND in Building at Leicester College of Art and Design.  I opted for the third, followed by a degree in Quantity Surveying at Brighton Poly (1967 - 71) being sponsored by John Laing.  I spent most of my career with the Laing Group, working in UK, Spain, Portugal and Venezuela, ending up as MD of Laing Homes when we were bought by Wimpey in 2002.  I took early retirement in 2004, but then joined Laing O'Rourke, part time, to start Explore Living, the Housing Arm of the Group.  This I did until 2012, and now do a bit of consultancy work.
As I said, my school career was not notable, but some of the things I recall are:  De Montfort House,  I was in the A stream. The roll call started with Abel and finished with Zanker.  Sailing with Green Wyvern and Chas Howard on the Norfolk Broads. School exchange trip (1964?) to Krefeld, Germany (with Mr Gimson, I think) I am still friends with Hans-Diter Kreikamp, who I meet up with periodically.  School trip to Paris (with Mr Whitbread, I think) We met up with some very nice girls from a school in Harrogate.  When the playing fields at Grace Road were unfit for sport, Jock Gilman used to bus us there and make us walk back to school. As I lived near to Grace Road, I used to bunk off en route!
As I said, nothing too inspiring!  I am still friends with Ed Featherstone from the year above.  Although I do not remember many of your contributors, I do enjoy reading OWT and one of these years, will attend the reunion.
FROM LES OSWIN  1935-39   OWT 86 awakened my memory again, for it was great to read that Bob Townsend (1935-40) is still around though with limited activities - snap!!  A few days ago, looking through one of my many photo albums, there was Bob resplendent in TENNIS kit at Blaby Hospital where we'd made a social visit and used their tennis court.  'We' being a few of the staff of Leicester No 2 HMC.  Bob is holding his infant and I know that Bob's secretary, also on this treasured photo, is still around.  I'm not on the photo, as I was the photographer.  I also have a black and white photo with Bob and I singing a rather risque song at an inn where we were celebrating Christmas, probably 1964.
In February 1965, when I left Leicester for Bromsgrove, my last contact with Bob was at Market Bosworth.  Nothing to do with Richard III, it was at Matron's Christmas Ball at Bosworth Park Infirmary.  What a lovely time we had on the dance floor.  We did not meet again until the 2009 Wyvernians reunion, some 44 years later.  The lamps were really swinging on that memorable occasion.  What happy memories.  I wonder if Bob still has copies of those photos?
And Peter Grudgings (1936-41) got me reminiscing again with his reference to John Harlow who had a distinguished career in the NHS.  When I returned from the Far East in February 1947, Barle, as we knew him at the LRI, was occupying the chief clerk's chair in the general office, which I had vacated in June 1942.  Barle soon gained promotion to Windsor, and later Bath, where he became group secretary.  We were great pals and rivals - Royal Navy Medical Corps vs Royal Corps of Signals.  Some years later we visited the Harlow family in Bath and had a privileged tour of his main hospital.  In my 1943 diary, which I kept during the war, under 'H' I can still read Barle's address in Leicester.  Life is full of memories, and it's great to be reminded of old friends, especially those from CBS.
OBITUARIES   From Frank Smith 1959-66   Ex-pupil Stephen Thompson (Brian Sadie Thompson's son) posted the following on the Wyvernians facebook page.  'Sadly I have to report that Alistair Murray died on 22.4.15 after a long illness.  I last saw him at home just before his 60th birthday on February 2nd.  RIP Alistair Murray - February 2nd 1955 - April 22nd 2015  (Neither of these names are on the Wyvernians database - Ed)
Arthur Fowl, attended CBS 1931-36.  Born 13th October 1919, died 1st June 2015.  Long-time resident of Dalby Avenue, Bushby, formerly of Scraptoft and Humberstone  (Mr Fowl was not a member of Wyvernians, someone -sorry, not sure who - send me his obituary, which I have shortened for OWT - Ed) 
FROM MARK 'NAILS' HAYLER  1956-64   Thank you so much for the newsletters.  .Such happy memories and so lucky to have attended a great school. I was sincere in my thanks to Doc Burrows. Best careers advice, at a time when I was floundering about wondering what to do with my life. He was also a great leader of the the swimming and life saving teams. I well-remember his notice to the swimming team:  Camp Hill are coming.  It was THE team to beat.  I was unable to attend the reunion this year due to a commitment in France. However next year's plans are arranged so that I will be able to attend when I hope you will again arrange it for the end of March 2016. Thanks to Dave Winter for his kind comments.   I was playing a solo in the school concert one year when I saw the D string tuning peg slowly unwinding. As I was up on the A and E strings it didn't matter too much. However the solo required a move to the D and G strings and I was frantically signalling to Bill Sykes on piano accompaniment that disaster loomed. All I got back was his non verbal don't stop. The move to a now slack D string got the message through. A retune and a restart got the job done.
By the by, I've given up on the fiddle and learned to play Bluegrass on the 5 string banjo. Mind you, a lot of Bluegrass and you lose the will to live; as my wife will confirm.  (The reunions usually take place on the third Saturday in March - Ed) 
FROM BRIAN SCREATON  1959-65   I wondered if anyone remembers Eric's Snack Bar which used to stand on the corner of Charles Street and Kildare Street, only a few yards from Clarence House. I bought two old photos of it recently on eBay, just because they looked interesting, and I had a vague recollection of this haunt, but I had forgotten where it was located. When the photos arrived I was puzzled for a short while, then I recognised a building in the background as part of the top end of Hannam Court, which has a short return frontage to Kildare Street, abutting the Salvation Army Hall.  The Snack Bar stood on the opposite corner, where there is now a Chinese restaurant and a small parade of shops. It seems to have been a rather temporary structure, with corrugated iron cladding, and open-air bench seating to the front, behind a low brick wall, with a canopy offering some protection from the weather. Snacks seem to have been served from a small window in the main part of the structure, and hanging signs offer Hot Dogs and Tea and Coffee. There are also advertising signs for Senior Service, Park Drive and Aspro.  I can just make out the opening hours, which were their Winter Hours, and were from 6.30am to 10.55 pm, Monday to Saturday, and from 8.00am to 10.55pm on Sundays. The unit was operated by Eric and Sons, who I seem to remember also had a fleet of ice cream vans. The Snack Bar's sign has a misplaced apostrophe (Erics') unless of course it was run by than one Eric. I think that the Snack Bar must have disappeared in the early 1960's when the building housing the Chinese Restaurant and shops was constructed, but I'm not sure. I have a feeling it was there when I was in the Lee Circle huts in 1959/60, but had disappeared under the re-development by the time I returned from Elbow Lane to the main building in 1962/3. Certainly I recall using the newsagent's shop which was part of the parade of shops adjacent to the Chinese, when I was at Clarence House. Does anyone have any recollections?  (I don't recall the snack bar - Ed)
FROM FRANK SMITH  1959-66) re Andy Marlow's book on the History of CBS  As you may know, all copies of Andy Marlow's fabulous book on the history of our school have been sold. If you missed out, don't worry! - because now you can download a copy from the Wyvernians web site - for a fiver! J ust click on the ... - Digital Download link in the menu on the Home page and follow the instructions. There is a 16 page preview of the book available to download for free - so you can try before you buy!
Here's the reaction from our first customer Ivor Sanders of New Zealand (1948-53) The download process went perfectly. The instructions were clear and accurate, I have a Paypal account so I used that and the interface, in and out, was flawless. The download took just a couple of minutes for the full file and I was able to start reading immediately, so, good job... The book, especially the Head Master and Teaching staff lists, have filled in a lot of blanks....
FROM FRANK SMITH  1959-66   re: Appy (school) days   You can now get an app on some smart phones & tablets for the Wyvernians web site. Details of how to do this are on the new web page Get the App on the Wyvernians web site (
FROM IVOR SANDERS  1948-53    I stumbled across the Wyvernians web page recently and have been reading the past issues of Old Wyves' Tales, congratulations on doing a fine job.  I was a spectacularly unremarkable student from 1948 to 1953, consistently in the B stream, or was it the C stream, if there was one, but I left with O level passes in 5 out of 6 subjects, so they must have taught me something.  My sporting achievements amounted to successfully resisting all attempts to teach me to swim, in spite of spending an hour every week shivering in the shallow end of Vestry Street swimming pool. Come to think of it, probably less than an hour because I did manage to be last one in and first one out most of the time.  I remember a few of the names mentioned in the Old Wyves Tales and the Old Boys Database, Jeff Lacombe was, I think, a class mate. Joe Melia I remember for his Danny Kay impersonations at school concerts, and have followed his film career over the years.  Staff members I remember include Bill Sykes, who could forget him, Wally Wardle who I think was our form master one year and I think taught us Geography. We must have been a crueller bunch because our nick name for him was Patchy Wardle not 'Wally'.  I got to know WAG Pace quite well, though not as a teacher and not until I had left City Boys, I shared a keen interest in cycling with his daughter Mary and spent a fair bit of time at their home during 1954-55 prior to my joining the RAF.  Well that's me, I don't have any memorabilia or photographs to offer, having spent my life since school days travelling the world and finishing up here in New Zealand.  I disposed of all the trivia, but time and distance has softened the memory of those school days and I would like to remember more. I look forward to the release of the digital copy of the school book.
AND FINALLY...   In the April OWT 86, I mentioned my disgrace at De Montfort Hall prizegiving (1963, I think) when my parents discovered, at the last minute, that I had been booted out of the school orchestra and would not be performing that evening.  In fact I missed out part of this sorry tale.  My parents and family had not only gone to De Montfort Hall to see my virtuoso performance on a violin, they expected to see me collect a prize for English.  I had chosen a book, The Kon Tiki Expedition, by Thor Heyardahl, it was the only prize or award I won at the school.  Thus I legged it after the ceremony, not before, as I did go on the platform to collect the book.  But that only delayed the retribution, as eventually I had to go home and face the music  (No pun intended)   Such a shame that my one moment of glory was spoiled, though as usual it was entirely my own fault.
Dennis J Duggan  1959-64  July 15th 2015


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Sunday 12 April 2015

Fw: OWT86 April 2015

Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2015 5:20 PM
Subject: OWT86 April 2015




TEL 01938 555574   07971 282356  

APRIL 2015


REUNION 2015   The continuing success of the annual reunions continues to amaze! This year we had over ninety people present throughout the day, a mix of old faithfuls and a considerable number of new members. Over the past year there has been an influx of Downing Drive pupils. As always there were numerous apologies for absence, which was probably just as well. If everyone who wanted to attend could have done, we probably could not have coped. As always Age UK bent over backwards to accommodate us, and everything was spot on. They even closed the restaurant to the public, so we had sole occupancy for the seventy Wyvernians who had ordered lunch. It was pretty much business as usual, except this year Mrs Ruth Foster (Age UK Anthony's wife) served the teas and coffees because she wanted to be involved. The memorabilia display was mainly the items rescued from Downing Drive when the building was demolished, next year it might be time to reshow some of the original collection again.We were privileged to see several teachers present, along with Gill (now Povoas) who was school secretary during my time at CBS. Gill has become a regular visitor, along with Trish Kenyon, Joe Melia's sister.



Trish Kenyon - sister of the late Joe Melia

Former secretary Gill (Povoas) with
ex-teachers Tony Baxter and Dave Lawrence

The AGM went without problems, Brian and myself were re-elected as Treasurer and Secretary unopposed . I gave my usual rambling speech, and presented the last copy of the school history book to Age UK. Lunch was enjoyed by everyone, and although a few people did not stay for the afternoon session Bob Childs' talk was very well-received. 
Bob Childs in full flow!

There was a great atmosphere, and feedback included the following slightly abridged comments: 'Many thanks for a memorable event, it was good to meet up with two of my contemporaries. Everyone was very pleasant. Although Mann, Baxter and Lawrence did not recall me exactly, it was unbelievable to meet them again. I thought they would have been much older. Bob Childs' speech was very entertaining, he must have been a great teacher.'
'It was a really good reunion this year, it seemed to have a real buzz. Thanks to all who helped arrange it.'
'My annual thanks to you and the team. It went very well, everyone appreciated what had been arranged for us. We can but say - yet again - thank you.'

As the comments were not necessarily intended for publication I have witheld the names.. My own thanks must go to Brian Screaton, whose efforts behind the scenes are crucial to the success of the reunions; Frank Smith, doorman & IT expert; John Offord, Age UK liaison; my wife Stephanie, whose unfailing support is vital. Her contributions include helping me with IT problems, doing the badges, helping Frank as required, dealing with the raffle, selling items as required. Some years ago her contribution was formally recognised, and she was made an honorary member of Wyvernians.

FROM LES OSWIN 1935-39 I can only offer a vague reference to CBS, but other elements in this story will, I'm sure, iterest many Wyvernians. In the mid-1930's, during the long August holiday, I cycled from Leicester to Barrow-On-Soar to stay with my grandfather in an old stone cottage. It was named Trafalgar Square. I distinctly rememebr three ancient photographs of my grandfather, one in army uniform, possibly the Leicestershire Regiment; one in cricket gear, most likely the Gentlemen of Leicestershire; one in rugby kit, with a cap. It is quite clearly the Leicester Football Club before it became The Tigers. The photos would have been taken in the 1880's, but unfortunately no longer exist.

For my recent 91st birthday I received a copy of the 2014 edition of the Official History of Leicester Football Club, and on page 18 are details of the original fifteen Leicester players at the club's first ever official game. It was on 23rd October 1880, against Moseley. They include a schoolmaster, aged 29, another aged 26, an art teacher at Wyggeston School and a 26-year-old teacher at the same school. The fifth teacher was my grandfather, aged 22, who taught at a school in Quorn There is a wonderful photograph of the main players in 1886/7, and my grandfather is included.

My birthday book records he made 104 appearances and scored nine tries from season 1880/1 to 1889/90. Considering that he would, at that time, have been wielding a cane as a schoolmaster, and a bat as a member of The Gentlemen of Leicestershire, he must have proved a valuable asset to the former Tigers club. I am proud to be his grandson, though confess I only played onr game of rugby. That was in the army during WW2 - we lost the game!

I am reminded that on 19th November 1940, when Leicester was bombed, a bomb dropped on the Tigers building in Welford Road. Later that evening, across the road in the infirmary, I spent the night dealing with bomb victims. As I say, not a lot about CBS but many Old Boys still take an interest in rugby, family history and the war.

FROM PETER GRUDGINGS 1936-41 I have photos of my form 1A 1936-37 and 4A 1939-40. Below the school was Jimmy Joblings, one of several sweet shops. It was usual for us to patronise it for rocks (Leicester dialect for sweets, as in 'gizza rock' - Ed) In the fifth year our form room was on the third floor, overlooking a pedestrian alley. When the master's back was turned it was customary to throw gym shoes at each other. In summer, when the windows were open, some went into the alley. These days we hear of pupils attacking teachers. We never dreamed of such things, in fact we stood in awe of them. In the fifth year Don Harmer came to school with a type of bandolier under his blazer, fitted to hold not bullets but knives. When the masters back was turned he pulled out one of the knives and pretended to throw it. But real violence? Never.
In our first year Bob Cooper, who took us for RE, made us learn - in order - the names of the Old Testament books. I never did understand the reason, but I can still recite most of them. How many recall Mr Clarke (Music) a thin wizened man with a dry crackly voice? About once a month, after assembly, he would play Scarlatti studies and preludes for us. We were far too young to appreciate them. And T T Ormandy (German) who had a row with Mr Crammer about 'voluntary' fire-watching duties. His name often appeared as winner or runner-up of the weekly New Statesman competitions.
(Peter donated some school photos, which are now on our website and facebook page. The following note accompanied the photos - Ed)  Peter Shuttlewood was best man at my wedding in 1951. At the time of the Korean war (1951-54) as a Class Z reservist, he became a conscientious objector, and much later was a lecturer or tutor at Nottingham Varsity. Nigel Ruffle: sometime in the 1960's there was a snippet in one of the dailies referring to him as manager of the British Rail terminal at Harwich. Ken Day was killed in the war. Alan Thody died some time in the sixties. Derek Whitehouse became a teacher. John Harlow went into hospital administration. Mr McHardy (teacher) was in his first post, he taught biology. Please note that because of the passage of time, and a failing memory, some of this information may be erroneus!

FROM DAVE WINTER  1960-67   Thank you for OWT85, which as always was very enjoyable. It was interesting to hear from Mark Hayler, I remember him as a pretty good violinist in the school orchestra. He was also a very good swimmer - surprised Doc Burrows did not mention that!

Apologies for missing the 2015 reunion, but it is a long way from New Zealand. I was looking forward to the fish, chips and mushy peas. Decent fried fish is rare here, the batter tends to be stodgy and intended to apparently double the size of the portion. I reach 80 years of age this year, and continue to be gainfully employed for three days per week at the local tannery. Predominantly it is a QA role, but I am able to utilise my sixty-years experience in that trade. I left school in 1951 to join T N & F H Briggs, Tanners, Waring Street, Leicester as a cadet (sic) In 1964 they went into voluntary liquidation, and I brought my wife and family to NZ in February 1965. Despite the lack of decent fried fish and pork pies, I have never regretted the move. At CBS I dropped art in favour of woodwork, but failed the theory paper in the School Cert exam, along with history. The former did not surprise me whilst the latter did, since in the mock exams I passed history with no problems. In NZ I became interested in art again, and over the years it has been an important hobby for me.

FROM KEITH SERCOMBE 1956-61   Lovely to read OWT. I must have been asleep for most of the time, as I can remember very little of my schooling between the ages of 10 and 16. Clearly others were having a lot more fun than I was. Little appears in OWT from the 1956-60 era, so the same must apply to everyone else who was there at that time. John Lawson excepted, of course, but he was being paid by then! Every club or outing for which I put my name down either never got off the ground, or collapsed after a few meetings. Even a week in France was cancelled due to a strike or similar, and I have still never been to the place! I hope others continue to send contributions to OWT, so the presses can keep on rolling for a few more years.

Alan Cornfield 1944-52, passed away May 2014

From John Jake Blaikie (1955-62) on January 27th. It is with great sadness I inform Wyvernians of the passing of Robert Beef Neill (1955-62) from complications following a several-year battle with limbic encephalitis. Rob was the eldest of three Neill brothers who attended CBS during the late fifties and early sixties. The middle brother, Ian, with whom I migrated to Australia in 1969, is still here. The youngest, Alex, is still in the UK. Rob will be well-known to pupils and teachers of 6S1/2/3 as one who had such a keen intellect it enabled him to succeed with what might be politely termed minimal effort.
Brian Screaton informs me that Alan Castle (1933-38) passed away January 1st 2014.

Bernard Wilkowski, died peacefully at Eastfield Lodge on Friday January 23rd 2015 aged 93 years. Bernard was a teacher at CBS and Judgemeadow School


FROM ROBERT 'BOB' TOWNSEND 1935-40   Sorry I could not attend the 2015 reunion, but I am now over 90-years-old and restricted in what I can do. I remember my years at CBS with great affection - but perhaps only the good parts!

FROM DENNIS BIGGS 1949-56   Yesterday (January 27th) I went to see Bill Brushe. He has now moved to a care home in Ware, Herts where he is able to receive 24 hour care. It is the same care home where his wife has been for the past 2 years so they are together again. His mind and memory seem to be fine, but his eyesight is now bad and his mobility very limited, but he will soon be 92 years old. He reminisced about his own school days in County Tyrone and the fact that he and his wife went to the same primary school in the 1930s. I mentioned the comments of Don Wright in the last issue of the OWT about his slapping one of his pupils. Bill could not recall the incident, but he was of the opinion that strict discipline was necessary for good teaching. I remember with some shame the way in which we ragged such teachers as Bob Roberts and Hanny Handtusch. They did not deserve such treatment. I agree that Mr Gimson was a first-class teacher, and we studied for German 'A' level with him. I recall that music was very important to him, and he said that German and music were complementary subjects. However, I feel that Mr. Goddard, who taught us German in 3 Alpha, was the best teacher of languages. He drummed into us in one year all the essentials of the language which were the foundation for our further studies. Indeed, one of my classmates, Bob Gregory, who was later a teacher at CBS, told me that he used many of Mr. Goddard's techniques in his own teaching of the subject. I do think that Mr. Whitbread deserves an accolade for teaching us Latin in one year in the first year of the sixth form to 'O' Level and Oxbridge entrance exam standard. When I think back, that was some achievement.

I had a conversation with a fellow Old Boy about leather elbow patches on jackets. We have memories of these being fairly rampant in the staff room, but could not recall exactly which staff wore them. We were both fairly sure that Ken Witts was a key supporter of the trend, but can anyone shed any more light on the matter?
During my third year, my last at Elbow Lane, there was a concert featuring performances by pupils and the more obliging members of staff. I will never forget the passionate, exuberant performance of 'Neath The Spreading Chestnut Tree, complete with all the gestures along with exhortations to a couple of hundred bemused boys to join in. This was 1963, when The Beatles were in, so who was the performer? It was a man I had always seen as an austere, authoritarian figure, who had left humour in his locker back at the teacher-training college where he had learned his trade. If I describe his entrance as being accompanied by wobbling jowels and flowing cape you may recognise the performer as our own, our very own, Mr J E Wardle. the beloved (?) head of the junior school. His voice resonated round the hall, delivering the lines with gusto. The accompanying gestures became more and more flamboyant, and his face reddened beyond the colour of beetroot. We all hoped that first-aid would be available, but needlessly. The doughty performer reached the end of the piece and sailed off the stage, cape trailing in his wake, like a fully-rigged tall ship in a favourable wind. And that is the image I keep. During my third year I went badly astray, and Mr Wardle gave me the roasting of all roastings. I was reduced to tears, but he was absolutely correct and I believe he turned my life round. I learned a lot from Mr Wardle, and will always respect his memory.
Who recalls the lunchtime throng outside the dining room at Elbow Lane? Loads of us standing there, looking towards the railway and the one o'clock southbound passenger train entering the station. It was often hauled by an interesting locomotive, and if it was on time we got to see it. If it was a few minutes late, we did not. Eyes were torn between the railway and the door to the school. The sight of Mr Wardle sweeping majestically through the door and across the playground, cape billowing in his wake, brought sighs and long faces if the train had not arrived. I have often wondered if he thought we were impatient to get in to dinner.
FROM FRANK SMITH 1959-66   Thanks to those who responded to my appeal in OWT84 for assistance with the replacement web site. The new site is now operating from the original web address  Most features appear to be working satisfactorily, but testing continues. Please report any issues to My thanks must go to our outgoing webmaster, Tom Horton, who is the editor's nephew. His site has served us superbly for many years, and Tom is providing valuable support during the transition. Thanks, Tom!

Over the years, retired teacher Bill Mann kept various photo albums about life at CBS. The photos, some 200 from 1965-72, have been added to the website and facebook page, largely thanks to the efforts of Andy Marlow and Mike Ratcliff. Andy is hoping to identify as many people as possible - can you help by looking at the site to see if you recognise anyone.


Dave Winter mentioned the school orchestra, and his original e-mail made mention that I was once a member of that worthy organisation. The saga has been told in an early edition of OWT, but for the benefit of our many new readers the salient facts are these. On my first day at CBS during September 1959, Wally Wardle interrupted a lesson to enquire if any boy was interested in joining the orchestra. My interest in the matter was nil, but being a cunning and devious boy I instantly saw that showing a bit of initiative might not be a bad idea. Thus I stuck my hand in the air, and awaited developments. Of course I first had to learn to play the violin (can't remember if a choice of instruments was given) and this was via a weekly lesson after school. Bill Sykes was often present, but the regular teacher was Mr Hall. He was not a member of the school staff, presumably he went round several schools. I had been issued with a beat-up violin from the school stock, but I made sufficient progress for my parents to kindly purchase a better-quality one privately. After about three years I joined the orchestra in the second violin section, but alas by this time most of my enthusiasm had evaporated. It was a real bind carting the instrument on the bus to and from school e every week, so eventually I left it in the corner of the hall with the school ones. Next I began to miss the regular rehearsals, arriving home late so my parents thought I had been practicing with the orchestra, and spinng them a yarn to explain why I no longer did any playing at home. The orchestra had two major performances during the year, one was the annual music concert at the school, the other was prize day. On returning to school after the Easter holiday, it would be 1963, I was dismayed to note that the corner was now empty, and my violin was missing. I could only assume it had been stolen, and reluctantly reported the matter to my form-master. He in turn notified Mr Bell, who wasted no time in launching an enquiry. The solution was simple, the caretaker had moved the violins to a position under the stage so mine was OK. Mr Bell was not too pleased with me, and I remember the next bit as if it was yesterday. I was taken to the secretary's office, which was across the corridor from his office, along with my violin. Secretary Gill produced a sticky label, on which I wrote my name, and the label was then stuck inside the case. How could I have known that fifty years later I would once again meet Gill at the reunions?

But my musical troubles were far from over. The onset of the summer term meant that the orchestra began rehersals for prize day at De Montfort Hall, so I thought it might be advisable to show my face. But when I made my entrance Bill Sykes rejoinder was, 'You can bugger off,' or words to that effect. It was serious, because the one thing my parents had to be proud of about my pathetic career at CBS was that I was a member of the orchestra. They were really looking forward to seeing me perform at De Montfort Hall, and to make matters worse said they intended to bring my brother and sister as well. Now, any normal boy would have confessed and taken the consequences - but not me. Incredibly I kept up the deception until prize day evening, and only as we were climbing the steps to the building did I blurt out the horrid truth. Then, not waiting for a response from my shocked family, I RAN OFF. Of course I had nowhere to go but home, and I will draw a veil over what happened next. That is my recollection, it was all a long time ago. If some of the facts are not 100% spot on, believe me the account is basically correct.
Dennis J Duggan
April 8th 2015



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Friday 2 January 2015

Fw: OWT 85 January 2015


TEL 01938 555574   07971 282356  
REUNION 2015   Most of you know that our 2015 reunion will take place at Clarence House (our old school building) on Saturday March 21st 2015.  Official invitations will be sent later this month.  Meanwhile we are looking for someone to give a short talk after lunch, as these always prove popular.  The talk should last between 15 - 20 minutes, and be relevant to the school.  The subject can be serious or humorous.  The PA system will be available, and it might be possible to use PowerPoint or similar if required.  No need to be nervous, you will be talking to a friendly and receptive audience in Clarence House, not the Glasgow Empire!  If you want to give a talk please contact me asap, with brief details of the topic.  There will also be a Q & A session afterwards.
FROM LES OSWIN  1935-39   What a wonderful surprise to read the memories of a Wyvernian from my era - Peter Grudgings (1936-41)  We were at CBS at the same time, though I do not recall Peter.  That is probably because I was in the alpha stream, leaving in December 1939 after a final term as a prefect and captain od De Montfort House.  We are about the same age, and the fact we can still put pen to paper pays tribute to our English grammar lessons at what is now Clarence House.  I don't remember Mr Pedley being described as Sam Scruff  in previous OWT's, but I always called him that but could not recall the reason.  But I do remember so many of the other popular teachers.  Buffers, of course, our form master; Carps; Joss Carter; Bull Smith; Pig Kearsey; Johnny Jeeves; Mr Trump; Pluto ???? - never found out where that nickname came from, but what a disciplinarian!  I always considered The Beak to be an exceptional headmaster.  I am one of three brothers who attended CBS, and my education there played an important part in a successful forty-two year career in the hospital/NHS service, and five years in the Royal Corps of Signals during WW2 and twelve years in the Army Emergency Reserve after the war.  We must have spent those alternate mornings and afternoons together at Wyggy Boys, in the last term of 1939.  I used those 'spare' mornings and afternoons to deliver groceries for a local shop in the streets between Narborough Road and Fosse Road, using a bicycle with a small front wheel and a wicker basket on the front.  I believe I earned 14 shillings per week, and gave ten bob to my mum, as at the time my dad was serving in the Pacific with the Royal Navy.  Thank you for the memories, Peter.

Editor's note - I sent an advance copy of Les's above contribution to Peter, along with the former's contact details.  I know that breached the data protection rules, but I'm glad I did because Les sent a further letter to me:Just finished my apple pie on Guy Fawkes night when the phone rang.  It was Peter Grudgings, and what a wonderful chat we had.  Can you imagine two ninety-year-old veterans reminiscing back to the thirties whilst my neighbours' fireworks could be seen through the windows.  Peter was able to remind me that Pluto's name was of course Mr Lewin.  He was able to name the grocer I delivered for, and there was a family connection with the Joyce family, who ran the shop in 1939   (Stories like this make all our work worthwhile - Ed)
FROM HOWARD TOON  1951-58   A propos the entry from Robert Clifford, in which I was sorry to read of the passing of his elder brother Dick, I was very keen on cycling in those days, being in the habit of saving the money from my several newspaper rounds to buy a pair of alloy pedals one month, and an alloy front wheel another month until I had eventually built myself a very lightweight racing bike.  Johnny Jeeves was never able to accept the Ping! of the racing bicycle bell, insisting that it was not a proper bell because it did not give a Ting-a-ling sound.  I was never able to match the bike owned by Dick Clifford, which was a Claud Butler with peculiar shaped front forks which had a double bend in them causing the wheel spindle to be some 3" further forward than it would otherwise have been.  He informed me that these were dihedral forks, meant to increase the wheelbase of the bike and make it more comfortable to ride on long journeys. Do not ask why I should have been carrying this conversation in my head for the past 60 years - if only I could remember my French and German with equal ease!
FROM PETER GRUDGINGS  1936-41   Here are some comments about staff and pupils from my time at CBS.  I'm sure that not all staff held a teaching certificate, though most had a degree.  Pluto Lewin, who taught French, was excellent.  My French accent, which I learned from him, has often been praised by natives of France.  Alec Fisher was highly regarded, and nicknamed Rosebud.  He would sometimes refer to his naval service in the Dardanelles during 1915.  Joss Carter was reputed to have a dreadful temper.  I recall Bull Smith with affection.  When we left CBS in 1941 he said goodbye to us very warmly, knowing that in two years we would be in the forces.  Mr Jephcott (woodwork)  In 1940 he fulminated about modern youth and dancing.  He said, 'If it comes to the retreat from Mons again (perhaps he was there?) we would be lost.  Dunkirk followed in May and June.  No further comment.  Horace Trump, a marvellous person but no disciplinarian.  Mr Hanson, history, spoke of the French and the 1848 revolution.  However we did not know what he meant by the bourgeoisie. 
In those days it was possible to take an Inter-BA or BSc at 6th form level.  Donald Harmer, my form-mate, became a successful architect and married well.  The marriage was noted in The Times.  Paul Lewin, a 6th former in my time, always wore plus fours.  How or why that was tolerated I don't know.  There were school dinners for the County Boys from Wigston, Anstey and Glenfield - about thirty in all.  The meals were provided by the caretaker and his wife.
Talking to Mr Bufton in the 1950's, he described some members of staff as ardent communists.  No names, no pack drill.  Mr Carpenter, maths, was my bete noir, and I probably his.  He was impatient, intolerant, sarcastic.  He could have made maths more interesting, fibernnacci numbers for example.  During autumn 1940, bombs hit the Freeman Hardy & Willis building on the corner of Rutland Street.  Firehoses snaked all down Humberstone Gate.
FROM MARK NAILS  HAYLER  1956-64   In the summer of 1963 I was informed by Manchester University Medical School they would consider a reapplication for the next year if I improved my A level results, which were abysmal given my preference for racing a bicycle rather than studying.  So back to school I reluctantly returned. However Dr Burrows advised me to try Dentistry. His exact words being "They will take anybody."  I got an unconditional offer from Newcastle Dental School in January  1964  for the following October.  Spent the intervening period discovering that a life as a professional  bike rider was not to be.  Rode for the university cycling team. Came away after five fears with an honours degree.  I retired eleven years ago on an NHS pension after a career in general practice.  Been a great life for a thick lad.  And I'm still riding the bike but not in anger anymore.  Thanks Doc.
FROM DR ARNOLD BURROWS  1957-68   I have no recollection of the conversation with Mark Hayler.  I hope that it was in a situation of flux; I certainly did not intend to be rude to the Dentists!

FROM TONY INGHAM  1953-58   Now, here's a funny thing!  Having been retired for some time I am at last, between jolly intervals amusing the surgeons of North Worcestershire, able to scan the mass of literature, music etc amassed by any good Wyvernian.  And, like many others, I am interested in my ancestors and been compiling a family tree (more like a forest now)  This has been made more difficult because I have not lived in Leicester since 1961.  I opened Andy Marlow's history of CBS, and note that our editor and founder called an inaugural meeting during 1998 at The Harrow, Thurmaston.  No doubt that meeting took place in the lounge, as the bar would not have been suitable.    Now, here's the funny thing.  Decorating that room for many years, and certainly when the meeting was held, are photographs of how the place looked in the 1800's.  One view is of the front, the roof thatched, with three members of the licencee's family standing outside.  Over the door is the usual nameplate and licence, which identifies the licencee as someone with the name BARR... but the last part is obscured.  Many years ago I identified the two women as, almost certainly, my great-grandmother and great-aunt, with a male member of the family surname BARRASS, which matches the nameplate detail so far as can be ascertained.  The conclusion to this mammoth tale is that even in those pioneer days, a member of part of a future pupil's family was there, watching over proceedings for boys to come.  I have not finished reading Andy's book, but no doubt will find other claims to fame as on page 105, where I am there in glorious black and white with old classmates Brookes and Boneham in 1958, and also at the 2002 reunion  (I don't have much recollection of the 1998 meeting at The Harrow.  The venue was chosen because it was within walking distabce of our house in Oakland Avenue - we did not own a car in those days - it had a good car park and the landlord was very helpful.  One thing I do remember my visit to the gents.  I had made myself a name badge, and a fellow at the neighbouring urinal said something like, 'Oh look, it's Paddington Bear.'  - Ed)
FROM DON WRIGHT  1951-58    I am not surprised that Clive Davies still remembers the occasion when he was hit by Bill Brushe. Witnessed by myself and Alan Manship, and maybe by others, it was a single but violent slap, across the face I think, and these days it would have led to further consequences.   My recollection is that it was at the end of the school day, so about 4pm, and that Clive had said he was unable to swim for the school in a competitive match, possibly a match on the same day. However awkward that was for Bill his rea_ction was extreme, to put it mildly.  Despite all that, many of us had a high regard for Bill and rapidly adjusted to his mood swings, some of which were well justified by various members of his classes arriving unprepared for his lessons. He could be savagely hard on individuals whose b_ehaviour  he regarded as unacceptable - for example, one of our sixth form French class members, who shall be nameless, a very tall, gangly guy with massive hands stained a deep yellow through nicotine - was given a real verbal dressing-down before the whole group for his smoking. Those of us who also took German well knew the contrast between the potentially explosive Bill and the serene and gentlemanly John Gimson. He was as effective as Bill but his weapons were persistence, thoroughness and stealth and he rarely if ever raised his voice. Bill taught me to begin to understand the subtle language of the French classical literature of Molière and Co, and Gimson the complexities of German grammar, plus an introduction to classical music for which I owe him a great debt.  I was fortunate to be taught by two such men, who clearly knew their subjects well and enjoyed teaching them. I was equally fortunate to be taught English by the superb George Franey, whose smooth style and erudition I remember so well. These were good days. '  
FROM DENNIS BIGGS  1949-56   Bob Gregory, Cliff Dunkley and I visited Mr. W.T. Bill Brushe in August and had a pub lunch with him. It was very interesting to dredge from his memories some things which we did not know about his time at CBS (1953 t0 1960) as Head of the Modern Languages Dept, following on from Mr. Arthur Nockels. He had studied at Trinity College Dublin, Oriel College Oxford and the Sorbonne. He is now 91 years old and still remarkably well, as can be testified by those who met him at the 2014 School Reunion. He has some difficulty with his mobility now so I don't expect he will be able to attend future reunions. I visited him again at his home in Hertford in October, and he was pleased to be able to get out of the house for our usual pub meal and a few glasses of wine. He told me that he enjoyed looking after the life-saving team during his time at CBS, but in fact he only learned to swim in his late teens (as did I ) taking private lessons from a local police officer. Unfortunately his wife of 67 years has had to move into a Care Home nearby so he is feeling particularly lonely, especially as he is now no longer able to drive due to problems with his eyesight. He remembers with fondness some of the trips overseas which he led during the late 50s, and has a particularly good memory of many of his pupils. He told me that he would not like to be teaching in current times since he was very strict on discipline, and kept order in class by the occasional slap around the head of any recalcitrant pupil. Bob, Cliff and I have a lot of gratitude to him for his enthusiastic and idiosyncratic teaching of French and German, and he set us on the paths to our future careers, where this knowledge was decisive. Let's hope there will be many future occasions for our get-togethers and I am sure that many of his ex-pupils will wish him well.  All the best and thanks for the OWT 84. I am sure that we shall eventually reach 100.

FROM JOHN A LAWSON  1940-46   (John was both a pupil and teacher at CBS.  The dates given are from the former - Ed)  Continued from OWT84...   In some ways the staff room resembled a gentlemen's club at lunchtime.  Bill Sykes and others played shove-halfpenny and Howard, Remmington, Pace and others usually played Bridge at one end of the long marking table. It was not long before Ron Smith set up a second four at the other end,  often with Kay as his partner against myself and Ken Witts. About 10 years later Bill Mann joined in as well as many others. A year after we joined CBS, Ken and myself got married  (I hasten to say not to another) but it was on the same day.  Ken married Agnes, who had a first in Mathematics and was teaching at Collegiate Girls, and my wife was Mary, who was teaching Physics at her old school, Newark Girls. At that time she was only the second lady to obtain a first class honours degree in Physics at Birmingham.   Before we were married I realised her interest in sailing was rather minimal, hence my sailing with Green Wyvern came to an end.  I retained my interest in school cricket and coached the first X1 for several years until David Lawrence arrived. He had been Cricket Captain at Nottingham University and was a first class wicket keeper and opening bat, with an excellent cricket brain, and it seemed best for him to take over the first X1 and I looked after various teams in the lower school, which I did for many years.
Soccer kept me busy on Saturday mornings in the winter. Soon after I joined the staff I found things had changed from the Mr Crammer days, he had not allowed our junior boys to have teams in the local school leagues. We, as in 1952, had 1st, 2nd, & 3rd year league teams. There was no 4th year team, so I started one, which was very popular and proved most successful for many years. About 16 years later I managed a few more and finally finished with the 1st year B team.  It is well known that the County Cricket Club used our ground at Grace Road, and John Arlot in his commentaries on the BBC was not very kind in his remarks about the uneven outfield. Not so well known is the fact that Walter White, our groundsman as well as the county groundsman, did a wonderful job on the ground. Every time the boys had played football he would be out on the field with his spiked roller etc, and before the next time a match was played the field looked like a billiard table again. It was absolutely perfect for football. Walter certainly did his best.  Here is another little-known fact, which may be of interest. In the mid 50's, I think, the director of education told me off. It was at a cricket tea at Grace Road, probably against Education Dept. I happened to be sitting near the Director. I made a remark to som one near by, to the effect that "It is quite obvious the County are trying to get us off our field " The Director stated " that is not true" in no uncertain terms, and made it quite clear I was not to suggest that ever again.   Where do the county play their matchesGRACE ROAD. I rest my case.

In the early 70's Mr.Bell had started a 6th form Squash group on a Wednesday afternoon for their games period, and in a staff meeting asked for help. At college I saw many students going to the Leicester Squash club, but there was no way I could afford to go. So I told him I had never played the game, but would love to try. He suggested I should join him after school next Wednesday for a game. This I did and he proudly produced his special ball, very squashy! Never having played before I found a little book of how to play. It talked about domination of the "T" and reverse angle shots etc. We played a game, it did not last long, and the rallies were short. I won easily in spite of the squashy ball.  I realised later the head did not want long rallies, which happen with a normal ball. Next week, I was master i/c squash and continued to be for several years.  Project Technology:  This was one of the holiday courses I attended at Loughborough University. It enabled me to introduce Electronics to the school. Initially it was a one-year CSE course. and provided they obtained a grade-1 pass this was equivalent to a C grade GCE.  Little money was available, however being a member of Project Technology I had permission to collect electronic scrap from Harwell atomic energy station. At that time whole Labs. were being decommissioned, and I was able to go to their scrap yard and  load the car and roof rack at £2.50 a cwt. Over the years I made 3 or 4 trips. I think all our labs. benefited in some way.  Meters, small components, circuit boards, clamp stands (some brand new) CRO's and even a portable Geiger counter etc.  The boys enjoyed the course, including the practical, and usually obtained a grade-1 result. No other schools in this area were doing this study, but some in the south were.  A few years later, the "A" level Physics course contained an electronics option, & this proved very popular.  It was probably about this time Mr Remmington told me another little unknown fact.  I had long since given up teaching Chemistry and Maths to the lower school to be replaced by 6th form Physics and Maths for Biologists, which was essential for those also taking Physics.  He said for some years now he had found great difficulty in drawing up the timetable.  In fact the only way it seemed to be possible was to fill my TT in first!   I will leave you to imagine my thoughts!

The year we changed to the new school at Evington our son Peter joined as a 1st former. I was against it, but he was very keen, particularly after he and his sister had climbed the ropes in the gym in the old building during the holidays. When I joined as a pupil in the first year, Mr Bufton's oldest son was in the second year and later his youngest son also came. In fact I was already teaching John Lawrence, my head of departments son.  My wife Mary was presented with the job of making a fencing jacket. Peter had joined the school fencing club. She was a keen needle worker but the material was so tough she had sore fingers for several days later and said "never again". Speaking of my wife Mary, perhaps I ought to point out, after doing her teacher training course, her first post was at Wyggeston Girls teaching Physics, before she returned to teach at her old school Newark Girls.  In 1952 when he appointed me, did Mr Pedley know about my about my fiancée? I do not know.  Just one more fact about our school roots. My mother was an old Newark girl (probably 1908-1914) and I think wanted the become a teacher, but she had to leave to work at Faire Brothers and eventually became one of the first comptometer operators in Leicester.

My ramblings are now more or less where I started.  So you will perhaps realise I am a true-blue Wyvernian ( even DeMontfort House man & boy).  We have a large terracotta plaque with a Wyvern on it alongside our front door.  I realise now if I taken notice of my grandfather none of the above would have happened. I have 3 grandsons, so I am very careful what I say.

AND FINALLY...   Many thanks to thosw Wyvernians who were kind enough to send us Christmas cards, that was much appreciated.  We hope you will understand there are too many for us to respond to individually.  The layout of some OWT might look a little strange.  That is because when I cut and paste e-mails, some of them seem to upset the system and sometimes I cannot return to the original format.  As always contributions are needed for the next OWT.  I have two in hand, both from contributors to this issue so they have been held over

Dennis J Duggan  Jnauary 1st 2015  Pupil 1959-64

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