Wednesday 15 July 2015

Fwd: Fw: OWT 87 July 2015

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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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