Saturday 22 October 2016

OWT 92 October 2016





TEL 01938 555574   07399 464482  

Please note my new mobile phone number
EDITORIAL   The20th annual reunion will take place on Saturday March 18th 2017 at Clarence House.  Invitations will go out sfter Christmas, meanwhile you might like to make a note of the date.  We hope there will be a good turnout for this special occasion.
FROM MICHAEL CAPENERHURST 1947-51    G'day from NZ land,  Pleased to receive the last OWT and congratulations and thanks for the effort behind it. Sadly I do not seem to recognise many from my era - whether through apathy or the passing of time . I guess dropping off the perch does become an occupational hazard as the years stretch out, and I am 81 now.With regard to the suggestions for the celebrating of the 20ths , a souvenir would be more accessible to those of us  who are unable to attend functions in Leicester, but if that is the choice then I feel you would need to pre-sell the item to prevent yourselves having a stock of un-disposed of material cluttering your spare room. Similarly the ease and cost of transportation would also need to be considered. I happened to look through an old (old) photo album recently and found a few snap shots of the Green Wyverns on the Norfolk Broads , plus a snap of four school mates taken at the Festival of Britain in 1951 .( This was the year I left the City Boys and started to work at Briggs Tannery). Meaning nothing to my family, the odds are that they will be disposed off in due passing of time. Are they of any interest for the collection? If so then I will post them to you. Some can be identified , the majority not so.The shot of the four at the Festival of Britain is a casual shot but it was an organised school visit. It does appear that formal school attire was not called for since they are all in"civvies with not a Wyvern in sight. As a matter of interest they are all wearing ties, which was something that had caught my eye looking through this particular album - we wore ties in those days for just about every outing, formal or otherwise. Two years National Service put me off ties and hats for life. I've never worn a hat since other than when tramping, and it is years since a tie hung around my neck, but then again - I wear shorts the whole year round now. But I digress , the four in this shot are Birdie - Brian Burdett, Nelly - Pete Newton, Sandie - who I can't recall formally, and Robbo - Brian Robson.  The Green Wyvern shots include Duzzer Dewsbury and a G.Halliday - barely seen behind a layer of shaving soap. Those sailing holidays were an enjoyable part of school life and I was fortunate to be able to attend a number of them. They were held during school holidays and, I think, covered Easter, Whit, and Summer. Oulten Broad was one area of call - a massive stretch of water as I recalled, until I revisited on one of my trips back to the UK. Either my memory played tricks , or it has shrunk considerably in the meantime. However, it did bring back pleasant memories. I particularly remember one Easter trip diving off the boat whilst we were sailing,  the water was freezing and I swam/flew on top of the water to the nearest vessel before hypothermia set in. The sun was warm , the water not.  .I can't say that anything really stands out for my school years , I was an average student - I think I did take a prize once but can't remember what for  - a book as I recall bu , again, I can't remember what it was. I enjoyed Basher Brewin as a teacher , had no problems with Flo Willan , suffered in French with Johnny Jeeves and his method of subtracting marks for wrong declensions - I never could get the things right,  dropped German like a lead shot, seemed to do well in history with Chas Howard , passed the mock school cert without problems and flunked the actual (never did go sailing again)  Geography with Pace and Wally Wardle?, English language & literature I enjoyed although had always read the chosen book very early in the piece and then got bored with having to go through it again bit by bit. Bob Roberts for maths was a pain. He could not control a class, and whilst I was there to learn others were rowdy , disrupted the class and made his teaching methods even more difficult.  I dropped art in favour of woodwork. Flunked the "O" level exam in woodwork - can't ever recall being given theory in the subject, still have problems in obtaining a square cut in a piece of timber (thank heaven for drop saws)  and now have painting as my major hobby. I came away with six out of the eight subjects that I sat in the first GCE "O" levels (history & woodwork the no-goers, French & maths, English lang & lit, Geography & General Science passed) I later was to find that General Science was virtually useless, covering everything in general and nothing in particular. Made 'A' level chemistry at night school a harder slog than it should have been.  I was pleased to leave school and start work - but then spent the next thirteen years going to night school - even when doing National Service in the RAF. I took deferment  to the age of twenty, got married and was called up three months and two days after that event. Demobbed in 1957 in time for our first daughter to be born in 1958 - and continued studying. Came to New Zealand in Feb 1965 , wife and three daughters,  and have continued off and on with study . I think my last bit of studying was in19'92 - "Advanced dyeing" (93.5 % pass mark) and eight years before I officially retired in 2000. Now sixteen years on I still continue to work three days a week at the tannery and enjoy it, being there because I want to and not because I have to - makes a big difference.
Incidentally, if you would like to see my art work Google  OK so the photo is nine years old - but I haven't changed greatly - a little more grey and I do wear my glasses all the time now, but I enjoy life. 
FROM GEOFF WOODFORD  1957-64   Re Dave Zanker's listing of 5S in 1961 – must be fifty years since I saw any of my old classmates, and memories have faded somewhat! Our class was seated  in alphabetical order, so I was next to Dave Z in the back corner. On sports afternoons did cross country with Tony Rudkin as we preferred ambling along discussing radio projects to football, and no one was too concerned about times. We used to ride out  to the playing fields near Thurmaston on our bikes, well behind Mark Hayler as we could not keep up with him. He usually "forgot" to turn off and went cycling for the afternoon. I remember Dougie Dickens developing a strong interest in chemistry, not unrelated to the new lab technician (Cathy?)  After 3 years in the 6th form  I took Natural Sciences at Cambridge, then joined Courtaulds, working in Derby on synthetic fibres.  Emigrated to South Africa in 1970, and  after a year of minerals processing with JCI spent 3thirty years with AECI in the mining explosives industry.  At one stage ran Blasting Explosives Department, making fifty tons of nitroglycerine a day and managing the two thousand-odd people who converted it into sticks of dynamite etc  - a far cry from my schoolday experiments on permanganate/magnesium bangers. Later worked in, then ran, our projects group. The business downsized, and  I took an early retirement package in 2001. The kids had grown up, and Johannesburg had become unattractive to live in, so we moved to France with our 3 dogs, initially to get around the UK quarantine requirements, then decided to settle here in Morbihan in Brittany.  Johnny Jeeves' and Bill Brushe's French classes finally came in handy! Between  home improvements, walking, fighting nature in our ½  hectare garden, visiting family, sampling the French wines etc the time rushes by!
FROM KEITH SMITH  1958-65   I have seen mention twice now of Dennis Miller Wilson being an old boy of the School and how he came to be Director of Music at the BBC. My mother informed me some time ago that her father (my grandfather) George Herbert Allen (1890 - 1952) taught Dennis to play the piano and he was very proud to have taught him. My grandfather went to the Victoria College of Music, worked at Wolsey on Abbey Park Road after service in World War 1 and had a music room at his home in Harrison Road, where he taught piano, organ and violin. He was a Methodist lay preacher and church organist at Catherine Street and Harrison Road Methodist Church. I assume that Dennis would have lived close by.
FROM CLIVE DAVIES  1950-57   It was with sadness that I read in OWT91 that my former adversary, Mr W T Brushe, had died at the grand old old age of 93.  Despite the fact, oft recalled in OWT, that I was the recipient of his temper when pulling out of an inter-schools swimming gala at the last minute, I did hold him in some esteem.  He must surely have been the last of the teachers who taught me at CBS in the fifties, and I am sorry I missed him at a reunion he attended a couple of years ago.  Teaching in those days was a very different proposition from today, and I held no animosity towards him.  Our confrontation was just one element of school discipline in those days, along with the cane, slipper, chalk, detentions and blackboard rubber.  I seem to remember that all the teachers, with the exception of Jock Gilman, wore chalk-covered gowns during lessons, with hoods added for special occasions suxh as Speech Day and Founders Day.  The teachers moved from classroom to classroom, unlike today when it is the pupils who move between rooms.  There were, of course, the labs and other specialist rooms where teachers shared the space. With some teachers taking more than one subject those rooms saw a lot of staff movements every forty minutes or so.  This resulted in some unlikely pairings, such as Nobby  Clarke with Basher Brewin;  Mr Gould with Flash Gordon; WAG Pace with George Franey; Messrs Whitbread and Remington and, later, the new boys Messrs Witts and Lawson, often with Mr Sweet tagging along behind.  Buftom and Jeeves, the old boys, kept an eye on the even older pair of Roberts and Sykes, both with classroom control issues.  Then there were Kay and Smith, with a common interest in cricket; Wally Wardle sharing asides with Captain Chas Howard of the flagship Hope and Green Wyvern fame - surely the Captain Pugwash of his day.  Flo Willan, who seemed to have exclusive use of the biology lab, and Mr Philips, never strayed far from the science block, which was off the rear playground.  Add to those pairings Hantusche and Brushe, both with what I perceived to be foreign accents, strutting the third-floor library corridor so soon after the war.  I could not help thinking they must be spies, reporting back about grammar school life in Leicester.  Having a German teacher in school only five years after the war wasn't an issue at CBS, and I can't remember any specific mention of the hostilities.  That was not like my first boss, who would not purchase anything made in Japan or Germany.  Herr Brushe (what a name for a German teacher) with his bristling ginger moustache, and Hantusche (did he ever have a moustache?) both tried to teach me modern languages without much success. I was having enough trouble with English, which I failed at 'A' level despite the best efforts of George Franey.  Being of Welsh stock it wasn't even the first language for half of my family, and my grandmother did not speak much English at all. 
In OWT72 Andy Marlow requested details of the 1953 swimming gala Victor Ludorum, and I confirm that having seen the shield at the last reunion I attended I did indeed win it that year.  I also won the Roberts Tennis Cup in 1957, beating my old pal George Haines in the semi final, and Eddie Blount in the final on Speech Day afternoon.
FROM DAVE POSTLES  1960-67   I hesitate to enter into a conversation with Paul Healey and Steve Mellor which excludes others, but I hope that some of the following will resonate with other former schoolmates.  I first of all respond to some of their reminiscences.
Yes, Paul, I well remember your escape from Grace Road.  Nor was it very covert, but there seemed to be an absence of surveillance. It seemed that we were all bussed out there with little supervision, to entertain ourselves as best we could – or compelled to run round the perimeter of the ground, which was reason sufficient to make a getaway, more so because of the large splinters which excruciatingly penetrated your feet in the changing rooms. Still, you could have been less obvious.  Your peccadillo is compounded by Steve Mellor's decamping to the bowling alley whilst the rest of us laboured in the library under the vigilance of Dave Lawrence. I remember a roll call. Why wasn't your absence discovered?  'Breaker'; 'Breaker'; 'Breaker'; 'Yes sir' ultimately came the desultory confirmation.  Always only at the third time of asking. The rest of us dutifully responded at the first time of asking for our presence.  Really, one wonders about the recalcitrance of so many Wyvernians. The honour of the school was surely derogated by your inexcusable antics. Have you no shame?  Moving swiftly on, from Grace Road, by the fifth form that venue was no longer available and we were transported to the marginally superior Rushey Mead. Here there was the choice of tennis in the summer or random, self-convened football with a plastic ball. Unless memory ill serves me, the illustrious Steve played his hand at rackets with Richard McMorran, whilst the less refined, like me, kicked the ball about in rudimentary fashion. The benefit for me was a quicker return afterward, as it as was only a short march to Northfields Estate.  In the summer after graduating from CBS, Steve, Richard McMorran and I worked at Pukka Pies – and that was an experience.  Does anyone remember George, who gave instruction in French and Latin? He really stimulated my interest in the French language and literature, which engages me to this day. I think that Steve was in the same group, in the lower stream taking French A Level.

FROM GEOFF GERMAN  1965-71   I am hoping to locate Mr John Anderson, a former member of staff.  He was head of history in the late sixties and early seventies.  I think he went on to become Deputy hHad at Desford College, though I'm not entirely sure.  John Anderson taught me 'A' level history, before I went on to university.  I want to thank him for all the help he gave me at the time(Editor's note.  If anyone can help Geoff, please send the information to me.  I will then contact John on Geoff's behalf.  That way we should avoid any accusations about breaches of privacy etc.  This is something I am very conscious of)
FROM ALAN PYKETT  1959-66   On 27 September BBC4 broadcast a programme entitled  Grammar School. A Secret History . You may have seen it. Part way through there was footage of some school sports teams. My immediate reaction was they looked very much like teams from City Boys. The football team in particular were in the correct colours (black and gold quarters) one of the teachers looked very much like Dave Lawrence and the background seemed to resemble Downing Drive. However, I thought, no, it can't be. Fast forward to the rolling credits at the end and, sure enough, in the acknowledgements were City Boys School, Leicester, Leicester City Boys School Archives and the Leicester Mercury. It would be interesting to know how they got hold of the footage. I don't know what contribution the Mercury played! I really enjoyed the programme, and not for the first time I was transported back to my days at City Boys.
AND FINALLY...   I am running out of anecdotes for this spot, so given the above mentions of Grace Road and Rushey Fields I will repeat a couple of tales.  Jock  Gilman's supervision of games afternoons was somewhat lax, so it was relatively simple for non-sporting types like me and Peter McDermott to avoid this unwanted physical activity.  One sure-fire way was to present a forged note at the staffroom before (or was it after?) assembly.  Jock  would stand there, pipe in mouth, and glance at the forgery before initialling it.  That meant spending the afternoon in the library, usually undisturbed.  Occasionally there would be a purge, and the little group was directed to an empty classroom to write lines.  I still remember the frisson of nerves as Jock  read the notes.  Of course that dodge could only be pulled two or three times per term.  Once at Grace Road there was little or no chance of avoiding the football or cricket.  My policy with the latter depended on whether my team was batting or fielding.  If the former I simply made sure I was the last batsman, not difficult as everyone else could not wait to get to the crease.  So with a bit of luck, games would be over before it was my turn.  If fielding, I went and stood as far away from the wicket as possible to minimise contact with the ball.  Sometimes, instead of football or cricket, we ran round and round the perimeter of the field, and I enjoyed that.  The toilets were behind the grandstand, and were absolutely disgusting.
At Rushey Fields Peter and I developed a foolproof plan.  We used it regularly, and were never caught.  The changing rooms were windowless concrete buildings, long and narrow.  The door was at one of the narrow ends, and as the lighting never worked the bottom half of the room was pitch black.  All we did was vanish into the darkness until everyone had changed and moved to the pitches, gave it a few minutes to be sure, then walked the short distance to the 42 bus stop and caught a bus into town.  However if it was cross-country I was happy to take part.  With hindsight I don't know why we went to so much effort to get out of games.  Maybe it was the challenge?  It would certainly have made our lives easier, and less risky, if we had simply taken part and done our best.  And, of course, we only got away with it because there was never a roll call.  Jock  must have known about the fiddles, my guess is he opted for a quiet life!
Dennis J Duggan
October 18th 2016



Saturday 16 July 2016

OWT 91 July 2016


TEL 01938 555574   07399 464482  
JULY  2016
Please note my new mobile phone number
EDITORIAL   I think it was Frank Smith who recently pointed out to the committee that 2017 is a milestone for Wyvernians.  He wondered if we should mark it in some way, perhaps with a souvenir mug.  But 2018 will also be a milestone, so we are throwing the matter open in the hope we will receive ideas and feedback.
First, we need to decide what we are celebrating!  2017 will be the 20th annual reunion, whereas 2018 will be the 20th anniversary of Wyvernians.  So a short survey:
1)  Should we celebrate neither of the above, one or both?  If just one, which one?
2)  A souvenir seems a realistic option, but what form should it take?  Frank has suggested a mug, another idea is a concert party.  Or invite a celebrity ex-pupil as guest of honour.  What about a talent contest?  For the tenth anniversary we had special key rings made.  Anyone still have theirs??
Please send your ideas and comments to me, and I will forward them to Brian, Frank and John.
OBITUARY   Richard Inglesant (1966-72) informs me that Denis Michael Hickling passed away on June 14th 2016.  Denis was born on October 18th 1931, and was at CBS from age 11 until 16.  He was not a member of Wyvernians, but his name has now been added at Richard's request.
The following from Dennis Biggs  1949-56  Sadly I have to report that our modern languages teacher from the 1950s Mr W T Brushe has passed away at the age of 93 after a short illness. At school I did not have a close relationship with him and it is only in the past few years when I joined Cliff Dunkley and Bob Gregory on their annual visit to his home in Ware, Herts that I got to know him more closely. We used to go to a pub in the countryside near his home and wine and dine him and talk about our years together at the school. I was surprised how sprightly he was and how sharp his memories were of us and our classmates. 
Bill came to City Boys in 1952 as the Head of the Modern Languages Dept following the departure of Arthur Nockels. He was an "old-school teacher", strong on discipline and with at times a quick "Irish" temper, so you did not mess about with him. He was known to mete out immediate punishment to anyone who upset him. I recall one lad who had to stand with arms raised holding two heavy books, because he was caught throwing a book, if I recall correctly.  He was from Northern Ireland and had studied at Trinity College, Dublin and the Sorbonne in Paris. He was a keen bridge player and in charge of the life saving and swimming events during his time with us.  He also took parties of boys to the continent during the late 50s.

 When he left City Boys he took up a similar position at Hertford Grammer School where he stayed until retirement.  Bill had good memories of City Boys School and spoke of his time in Leicester with deep fondness.  His wife Jeannie, whom he met at Infants School, is still at the same Nursing Home in Ware . Bill had two sons, one of whom, John, visited him regularly from his home in Milton Keynes.

FROM STEVE ROWLEY  1961-65   Apparently I was at City Boys (City of Leicester Boys?) from 1961 to 1966, according to Dennis Duggan who must have checked his records. Thank you Dennis. For the most part it is a bit of a blur now but I put that down to old age and too much wine. But because my memory is a bit shaky I'm always amazed when I read an article from an ex-pupil who can clearly state names, dates and quote every little detail. Even going back to my time it's almost 50 years or more.  I feel that, back in those days, we were more programmed to do what we were told rather than question or argue. So on that point I want to talk about some of the teaching staff who were around in my time. My opinion only, of course, and as I said maybe the truth has dimmed over the years.
For the most part, looking back on their habits and behaviour, they seemed a bunch of oddballs; not all, but most.  I think you can split them into two groups, the scary and weirdo ones and the reasonable guys. I'm not going to name names as I don't want to be sued for libel!  I now live in the Philippines, but even so the long arm of the libel  lawyer can track me down. I think most of those guys were ex-servicemen and I suppose that explains the disciplinary side of things and the fact that you were always called by your surname, even by other pupils. The way they handed out detentions and lines for hardly any reason at all was well out of order. I remember many times when I was in detention for an hour after school and you were made to write lines for the whole time, and if that wasn't bad enough missing my bus home afterwards. I also remember having the cane on both hands from Mr Bell after being reported by a member of the public who reckoned three of us had been playing at James Bond in his back garden during a cross-country lesson. He was almost right actually, but it was The Man From Uncle we were playing at, not James Bond.  It seemed that the chemistry teachers were predominantly the strict ones, whereas the language teachers, along with Mr Hutchinson the woodwork guy and the art teacher whose name I can't remember (Charlie  Varley - Ed) were the goodies and you didn't mind going to their classes. As I said, this is only my opinion, but the good ones seemed to be well out-numbered by the other category.
A few memories: The teacher who used to clap his hands together and aim a piece of chalk across the room at you (Ken Witts? - Ed)  the one with the badly-stained trousers, the one who used the board duster to knock holes in his desk to get your attention, the guy who used to call you  Ducky as he handed out a detention (Basher Brewin - Ed) the one who used to stand close to the radiator on a cold day,  the teacher who used to  double as a PE teacher and do star jumps in his braces and then collapse gasping for breath whilst he told you to touch all four walls and run back to your place,  the one who used to suck little pills and smoke his pipe and teach you French in a thick Yorkshire accent (Bill  Sykes - Ed) and many more. No names, no lawsuits. Maybe if you were there the same time as me, you know who I'm talking about.   Finally I know that Richard Wakefield writes for and reads OWT, so I'd just like to say 'Thanks Richard for lending me your LP "The Rolling Stones" much appreciated! I sat on the bus home trying to show it off and look flash thinking that all the rest of them on the bus would think I was cool.'  (Steve gave me permission to edit this piece, as even though he did not mention names msny of us would have identified the members of staff concerned. Some of Steve's comments have been edited out,  thus I have felt able to add some names - Ed)
EDITOR'S NOTES   Most submissions come via e-mail, so ideally I can cut-and-paste them straight into OWT.  The few sent by post I have re-type into the computer.  When e-mailing it would help me tremendously if you could use Times New Roman in 10 point, with no spaces between paragraphs.  This will save me a lot of work trying to convert submissions sent in othet formats.  Thank you for your attention, and please keep your entries coming in.
FROM ANDY HOWES  1957-60   In response to Dave King's recent submission, Dennis Miller Wilson (b 16.2.20) attended CBS from September 16th 1931 to March 31st 1936.  As stated, he died in 1989.  I also smiled at Steve Mellor's comments.  Steve is my cousin, and if he thought the hall was huge what about the rest of us?  Steve stands a few millimetres short ot two metres tall.
FROM NOEL 'POLLY' FLINDERS  1962 - 1967   I remember many of the people mentioned in OWT90, and have similar recollections.  Leaving CBS in 1967 I chopped and changed jobs, and eventually joined the Prison Service in 1972 and am now happily retired.  I married Mary Towey, who had been a pupil at the convent on Spencefield Lane.  Sixth form dances were held there, but I don't think I met Mary until 1978.  If anyone else has memories of those Friday dances I would like to hear them.
FROM CHRIS PYRAH  1964-70   It was on one of those odd days, like a Tuesday; we were thundering down Saffron Lane in a smelly old leather-seated bus on our way to the school sports ground at Grace Rd, a few to play cricket, but most to follow more trivial athletic pursuits.  As we approached the railway bridge, my attention was caught by a poster on the hoardings to the right; it was for the film Seance On A Wet Afternoon.  As I was only 11 or 12 at the time and the film was X-rated, it was many years before I got to watch it; rather good as it turned out, the one in which Richard Attenborough plays the husband of an unbalanced medium.  City Boys and the Cinema; now there's an idea for you!  Ever since it opened in 1920, the school always found itself housed in hand-me-down buildings; East Bond St, Clarence House and Elbow Lane had all been built for others, e.g. Wyggeston and Newarke.  From 1965 though, staff and boys found themselves in a brand-new, purpose-built establishment of their own on Downing Drive.  The trouble was, this wasn't some solidly-built edifice of Victorian brick but a shoestring job of glass, concrete, stud partitions and plasterboard, the latter flimsy enough to kick holes in (as we occasionally did.)  Quite why we were having a history lesson in the assembly hall I no longer remember - perhaps the builders were in, repairing the form room walls - but there we sat, arranged in a semi-circle facing the master, Mr Anderson.   JDA, as he was imaginatively known, was a pale and rather earnest teacher who had a somewhat wobbly voice, a gift to the school mimics : "MMMmmm GENTlemen, the TREaty of WestPHALia, 1648," they warbled.  He encouraged us to broaden our experiences by reading widely and even to go to the pictures to see the 1966 version of War and Peace, in order to gain insight into Russian history during the Napoleonic era - much of the subtleties of plot-line and character went right over my head but the battle scenes were magnificent.  Mr Anderson's interest in cinema ran to an experiment in the forming of a School Film Society whereby, under his guidance, large cans containing relatively modern films were rented, to be whirred away on an old projector in the hall.  A group of budding film afficionados  watched such celluloid British classics as The League Of Gentlemen (the 1960 bank job film starring Jack Hawkins and Richard Attenborough, not the later comedy)  The Angry Silence,  again with the seemingly ever-present Dickie Attenborough, this time as a  tragic strike-breaker, then we had an Ealing comedy, The Lavender Hill Mob (or was it The Ladykillers?)  The films were shown after school for a modest fee, in fact so modest that it was not enough to cover the cost of the hiring, so after those three performances, someone called cut on the venture,  much to society members' disappointment.  Leaving the hall, if you turned right past the dining hall, the offices of Ernie Bell, Rubberguts  Remo and the school secretary, the staff room, then turned right again by the Art Department and headed towards Bunny Hutchinson's domain of woodwork and metalwork rooms, you would have noticed the corridor walls were decorated with works created by some of the more painterly pupils, and one in particular caught my eye.  It was based on a publicity still from  The Blue Max, a film starring George Peppard and James Mason (but not Richard Attenborough) about a fighter pilot's obsessive quest for Imperial Germany's highest honour during the First World War; the helmeted and goggled face staring out from between twin Spandau machine guns was a mesmerising image.  The 'O' Level syllabus at the time covered the war poets such as Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, but to my schoolboy mind war action was more intriguing than its horrors.  The Great War provided the subject of another film, one which featured in a possibly apocryphal story doing the rounds and concerned the mildly eccentric English master,  Brian Scotty Scott.  Apparently he took a group to see the 1930 anti-war masterpiece All Quiet On The Western Front, and during a rousing scene where waves of French poilus were storming over the top Scotty  shot to his feet yelling attack, attack  at the top of his husky voice.  And finally, just for fun, here's a few masters who made it to the movies: For Whom The Bell Tolls      Wal-E      True Grit      A Mann For All Seasons      Lawrence Of Arabia      Howard's End      Bunny Lake Is Missing     Miller's Crossing      Enemy At The Gates      Gregory's Girl      Trouble Brewin'  What's Up Doc?      Emanuel       The Anderson Tapes      Scott Of The Antarctic      The Sweet Smell Of Success      Gouldfinger.
FROM DENNIS BIGGS  1949-56    I was pleased to attend this year's school reunion and would like to thank Dennis Duggan, his wife Stephanie and his band of loyal helpers who make the reunions such a success.This year is now the 60th anniversary of the date when I left school and started my working life and to tell the truth it seems hardly yesterday since then. Thank goodness the Clarence House buildings have been preserved and not redeveloped like the rest of Humberstone Gate and Gallowtree Gate with the demolition of the Bell Hotel, The White Hart Hotel, Lewis's, The Palace Theatre, Floral Hall cinema etc. There are now only a handful of former classmates who attend the reunions so it is a pleasure to meet up and reminisce about the old times and discuss our state of health. It is such a pleasure to look around the buildings and remember being in the classrooms and Great Hall.  I too find the building seems a lot smaller than I remember it, but that is due no doubt to the fact we are now so much older. Long may the reunions continue.
Now that Leicester City Football Club is to be congratulated for at long last achieving the title of Premiership Champions, I can also reminisce about the years when I regularly visited Filbert Street and watched my heroes, Sepp Smith, Mal Griffiths,  Arthur Rowley, Jack Froggatt etc playing for the Blues. The sound of the Post Horn Gallop as the team took to the field was unforgettable and I must confess that although the team is in my heart I have never had the chance to attend a match since those days, despite good intentions. I had an uncle who was a gate man at Filbert Street and if my father and I could find which gate he was on I could squeeze through the turnstile with my father without paying.! When I was an apprentice at A.A. Jones and Shipman, I got to know Charlie Adam, a former City player who after retirement worked in the Time and Motion office.This was in the days when footballers were paid a pittance.
I was reading through some of the old documents on display at the reunion and was reminded of the rivalry between the four houses in my early years at school and which seemed to diminish under the Headship of Ernie Bell. I was in Bradgate House and recall that we had regular House assembles with the Housemaster Johnie Jeeves and the intense House rivalry at football, cricket and swimming matches. I was not good enough to represent the school at football, I do remember playing regularly in the House matches. Likewise I played House cricket and in my later years captained the 2nd XI cricket team. I have fond memories of the support given by Ron Smith and Danny Kaye at these matches and the nets.
I lived in Humberstone and so went regularly to the Trocadero Cinema, first as an ABC minor on Saturday mornings to see Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, the 3 Stooges etc and getting a lifelong love of the cinema.  I used to go after school to see the racy Continental films at the Floral Hall, although I wonder now how I managed to get in for the X rated films. Now I have a massive film collection on VHS and DVD to recall those years. 
FROM LAURIE FORD 1962-66   Once again thank you for arranging the 2016 reunion. As ever it was an enjoyable occasion.  I took the opportunity on the way to visit the Cathedral. Not to remember founder's day services when I seem to remember being in the choir but to see the tomb of Richard III  (a hero of mine)  Leicester have done him proud. Something he has repaid by the fantastic performance of the Foxes which began when he was finally laid to rest. Anyway, I digress. I was talking to Gill Povoas reminding her that when an exercise book was full we had to take it to the secretary's office to confirm this before we would be given another one! Budgets were tight even then. 
Then I was approached by Phil Selvidge. He advised me to meet some guys over by the stage. To my surprise and for the first time since I have been attending these events he and some of my old class mates had attended (apparently a late decision). A selection of Martins (Reeves, Webster and Paul Dobson) and Brendon Carton.We exchanged contact details and were able to do some catching up and reminiscing.  It was only when I got home that I realised (having left in 1966 due to family moving to Northampton) that it was the first time I had seen these guys in 50 years. Perhaps next year some more may emerge from the woodwork. Additionally it was good to have a quick chat with Tony Baxter & John Lawson.  So once  again thanks to you, your wife, Brian Screaton and any others who help keep the Wyvernians alive for all you do.   
FROM DAVE ZANKER  1957-62   After the rewarding task of tracking all the names of those featured in the 1961 photo of 5S (which can be viewed on our Facebook page HERE), it occurred to Mark and I that we might invite the pictured culprits to let us know via the newsletter what happened to them.  As a reminder, they are:-
David Linnell,  Maurice Belsham,  Mark Hayler, Martin Briers,  Roger Hood,  Chris Brierley,  David Leigh, Alan Rudkin, Geoff Woodford, Pete Smithard,  David Widdowson, Christopher Mason,  Trevor Dixey,  Michael Mansfield,  Pete Garford, Douglas Dickens, Geoff Matthews, Steve Flowers, Fred Embury,  Ian Neill,  Phil Kitchen,  Jan Mrozek, Pat Brown, Roger Gowland,  
Geoff Bodycote,  Alan Canham,  Dave Zanker
Regrettably there will be no response from Pilot Officer Alan Canham who tragically lost his life in the RAF plane crash at Abingdon on 6th July 1965.
FROM MARK HAYLER  1956-64   Thanks to three "A" levels in 63 I gained my place at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne Dental School in October 64. .I rode for the Universty Cycle Team with mixed success but a spoof letter to Romneys got us included on the reverse of their Kendal Mint Cake packaging.  Leaving in '69 with the Anatomy prize, an honours dental degree and a wife,  I worked for a year as Junior Houseman at Sheffield Dental Hospital. My hospital career came to an end after a mate who qualified with me was the proud owner of an E Type, whereas my 1100 was just about road legal. It was general practice for me.  Three years in Barnsley as the hired help followed, and spotting an advert for a practice in Morecambe for sale I bought it in '74.
Three children, two daughters and a son, where born in the seventies.  .With my second wife Ann; we developed the practice into two locations and aware that NHS Dentistry as we knew it was about to change radically we sold the practice in 2001.  I was then appointed Lead Clinician for Morecambe Bay Primary Care Trust and I set up Dental Access Centres in Barrow in Furness, Lancaster(temporary) and Morecambe.  Reviewing our financial position early in 2003, I dicovered that my salary was the same as my pension and retired fully in the July of that year.
I took up Fell Running in my thirties and have awards for completing more than 21 Ben Nevis Races and 21 Yorkshire Three Peaks Races. My first sport though is still the bike and I rode Lands End to John O' Grotes in 2006 and 2012 plus Morecambe to Bridlington (The Way of the Roses) in 2013.  Taking up mountaineering in my fifties I climbed in the Alps : Mont Blanc included, and in Alaska where I named an unclimbed mountain after my wife Ann thus; Pic Ann.  Our year is divided between our house in Lancaster, our maison secondaire in Northwestern France and in winter in Benecassim Spain.  So thank you City Boys.
FROM LES OSWIN  1935-39   Dave King (1958-65) mentioned Dennis Wilson in OWT90, and I must be one of the few surviving Old Wyvernians who can claim to have listened to this wonderful pianist tinkling the ivories.  Yes he was at CBS in the mid thirties, the same time as my elder brother, Jim, who also played the piano.  I don't think they were in the same form, but I'm sure Dennis gave a super performance at one of the Christmas concerts, possibly 1936, when Jim and I, with others, put on a small gymnastics display on the stage in the hall.
Brother Jim played the piano well, but nothing like Dennis Wilson, and we often wondered what his future in music would be.  After eighty years Dave King has answered that question.  I wouldn't be surprised if Dennis is on the 1935 school photo in my possession, but obviously I can't remember what he looked like.  Swing music from America was becoming popular, and Dennis' technique reflected this new sound  though I'm sure that Charlie Kunz and Carroll Gibbons would have had some influence.  Thank you, Dave, for your musical memories.
I am so glad to hear the 2016 reunion was such a success, I wish I could have been there in advance of Leicester City's marvellous achievement.  As I type this (May 10th 2016 - Ed) I am wearing a replica player's shirt with OSWIN on the back and the year when I was 91!  I first saw them play at Filbert Street in 1936, when I was 13, the year they were promoted from Div 2 to Div 1, with Fred Sharman as Captain and Sandy MacLaren in goal.  Happy days!
AND FINALLY...   Some random memories.  My first year at CBS (1959-60) was spent in the Lee Circle huts.  I sat at the back of the room, right in front of the gas fire.  So on the few occasions this was lit I was in great discomfort, and during one of Sadie Thompson's RI lessons I actually thought my blazer had caught fire!  Assembly was held in the biology lab, and on the first day Wally Wardle introduced us to Adrian Pilgrim, another of the new intake.  Adrian had health issues, and we were warned not to get up to any horseplay with him.  One day I had a legitimate absence for a visit to the dentist, and as I approached the school realised it was not long before the end of Larry Lawson's maths lesson.  In those days there was no love lost between us, so a bona fide excuse to miss his lesson was too good to waste.  I loafed about in Clarence Street for a while, then when I reached the classroom peered through the keyhole to make sure the coast was clear.  It almost was, and as Mr Lawson went out of one door I entered by the other.  There was derision from my classmates as they refused to believe it had been a happy coincidence.  At the end of the first term Sadie amused us with a reel-to-reel tape recorder.  We used this to record a play about the birth of Jesus, and I had a bit part.  My exact line was:  'Perhaps it's the Messiah, come down from heaven'' but one boy accused me of saying the words too soon.  However I was gratified when Sadie dismissed the objection and said it sounded more authentic.  However my warm feelings towards proved only temporary, as my first report (Sadie was my form-master) proved to be so devastatingly bad it led to serious consequences with my parents and my future at CBS. 
In 2002 Stephanie and I were on board the Ocean Majesty, en route to Iceland.  I had taken my new Wyvernians tee shirt, and wore it at lunch one day.  Lunch was open-sitting, and the elderly gent across the table introduced himself as none other than Brian Thompson.  We had a lovely talk during and after the meal.  I had no hard feelings, my problems were brought on by myself.  A small world indeed.
Dennis J Duggan
July 15th 2016



Sunday 17 April 2016

OWT90 - April 2016





TEL 01938 555574   07971 282356  

APRIL 2016


REUNION 2016   Thank you to those who took the time to contact me to say how much they enjoyed this year's reunion.  Next year will be the 20th, and your committee are wondering how we can celebrate this land mark.  We seem to have stumbled on a successful formula, which I for one would be reluctant to change.  However, if anyone has any ideas feel free to submit them for consideration. 
A few statistics.  Age UK served 70 lunches, so including those who did not require lunch, and others who turned up on the day, we must have had well over eighty people in attendance.  The first reunion was at The Harrow, Thurmaston, in 1998.  It was a very casual affair for those who joined CBS in 1959, but such was the interest that 'New' Wyvernians was born.  Crucial to this was the availability of e-mail, which makes bulk communication so simple.  And, of course, personal computers make it easy to create databases and spreadsheets, which again simplifies admin.

Photos taken at the Reunion are now on our Facebook page - click/tap HERE to view


FROM RICH WAKEFIELD  1961-68   I would love to be able to share a host of wonderful memories of my time at the school, but to tell the truth my time there was neither distinguished nor particularly happy... I was, I confess, socially unprepared for the experience... I would make a better job of it now!  Let me take you back, though, to a PE lesson... you remember the changing facilities were never overly spacious  Anyway, I changed back into the day clothes, put my PE kit into my bag and finished the day  Back at home my mum unpacked the kit and exclaimed in a voice mixed with horror and amusement "Who's plimsolls are these?. There's a pair of socks in them".... Now, I'm pretty quick on the uptake, so checked my own feet.... they were clearly snuggled into a pair of school socks, so putting two and two together and realising I hadn't stolen the socks and put them into my plimsolls, it dawned on me I had come home with someone else's gym shoes containing his socks  Now I do remember hearing a rather sad voice asking if anyone had seen his socks as he had to cycle home, and it is uncomfortable cycling in standard school shoes and no socks, but I didn't know who it was!  I aimed to take the shoes back once my mum had washed the socks and try to return them to their rightful owner and recover my own sockless plimsolls.   However life has many twist and turns, and next day my grandad came home, not knowing about sock/plimsollgate, and told a story of a pal of his at work who's son had been obliged to cycle home in his hard school shoes, but without socks because some felon had made away with his plimsolls and socks.  And the plimsolls left him didn't fit.  Small world!!!  I met the lad in  question at a reunion at Clarence House a couple of years agoand we talked about the incident, but I prefer not to put a name to the story at the moment....


FROM PAUL HEALEY  1960-65    It was good to read Dave Postles' account of the journey home via Churchgate.  I remember Dave, also I think a member of De Montfort House (as was David Needham, Notts County, Notts Forest and England) I saw David in the news recently as a member of the Forest team that won the European Cup.  Having to catch the 24 bus from Bowling Green Street to the top of Saffron Lane I had forgotten about the walk via Churchgate into town, and the short cut through the market and sometimes through the the deli shop with wooden floors, the smell of coffee and sliced ham (cannot remember the name)  Was it Simpkin & James? - Ed  I spent many a half hour in Brees on Churchgate, hardly big enough to move. I remember trying to buy a copy of Google Eye by Big Pete Deucher - but failed miserably.  Please keep the stories coming; it's great to reminisce occasionally.


FROM STEVE MELLOR   1960-66   The article from Dave Postles, together with Mark Hayler's saga of the stales, as well as our editor's guided tour of inner Leicester, do take me back to some memories of my time doing that trek.  At the bottom of Churchgate (Elbow Lane end) there was a factory which periodically spewed out some malodorous discharge, probably toxic, resulting in a speeding up of the journey to quickly get past the offending area.  Whilst I have no idea what the factory ptoduced it really was a repulsive, gut-wrenching smell and, if my recollection is correct, the smoke/stem had a yellowish tinge to it!

Mention of the clock tower brings memories flooding back of the nearby men's barbers shop - Ron's.  Used by a clique of the more fashionable pupils, therefore excluding myself, Ron used to sell a concoction for holding the most difficult quiff in place - Ron's Pink.  It was a pink-coloured cream, sold in a bottle bearing a black-and-white label bearing an image of Ron and the clock tower.  Much favoured by Michael Kitchen, this cream set like concrete after application, resisting wind and any physical attempts to disturb the styling.and far more effective than greasy alternatives such as Brylcreem.

I had not realised there was a long tradition of trading in stales from Bayliss's, an entrepreneurial sideline from which I also profited - buying en route to Humberstone Gate from Elbow Lane at one shilling per bag and selling the cakes indivially to make half a crown.  That, together with my paper round and an evening job at the local filling station, financed the purchase of my first motor bike.

Another deviation from the direct route between the two schools was the bowling alley in Lee Circle.  This was a particular favourite of mine which, alas, deprived me of any time to attend Latin studies with Grit Whitbread.  I have absolutely no recollection of the assorted entertainments recalled by Dave Postles, though the names are familiar.  Mick Quincy and Colin Desborough as a comic double act stretched things though...  I will not be at the 2016 reunion as still moving round the globe.  A point to consider.  Whan I attended CBS the hall seemed huge, but at one of the reunions it appeared so much smaller.  As the physical dimensions of the building have not altered, is this because I am now of greater size than in my teenage years?


FROM BRIAN SCREATON  1959-65   The factory referred to by Steve was, I think, the Dalmas factory.  They made plasters.  I also remember the noxious fumes, as well as the workers standing outside covered in white fibres.  I too was a patron of Bayliss's, but not being of an entrepreneurial bent (not then anyway) I used to encourage my friends to contribute a few coppers each then we would share a bag of stales.  The bowling alley also brings back memories, though I think I only visited during evenings and weekends.  It was 'the' place to hang out in those days.  Part of it is now a guitar shop, I was there the other day.  The floors above are now flats.  And I also was one of Ron's patrons, though not until I left school.  During my school years I recall going to a short back and sides merchant at the far end of Churchgate, almost opposite St Margaret's church.  I think it was called Ernie's, or something like that.  I remember not having the first idea what he was on about when he once asked me if I 'needed anything for the weekend?' but I was young and naive in those days. 


FROM IAN CRICHTON  1962-69   Random memories of CBS pupils and teachers taken from the old friendsreunited site:  (NB, this is a slightly-edited version of Ian's original text, as some of it is less than tactful to individuals - Ed)

Froggy Freeman - Taught French for a while.

Stanley Ras Berry - I found myself doing English Lit at 'A' level.  We studied the poems of Gerald Manley Hopkins and Jane Austen's novel Emma.  One day Mr Berry was reading out loud from the latter and he suddenly burst out laughing, pointing out the sharpness and wit.  Like my peers I was less than impressed, and said so.  Nor did I get anything out of the Hopkins poems.  Six or seven years later I had become addicted to the works of Jane Austen, and still love Emma.  Years later, talking to a friend, I quoted some lines I knew well and felt close to - they were from Hopkins.  Those lessons with Ras came back, and I realised I owed the man a huge debt.  His affable teaching had planted the seeds of a love and enjoyment of English literature.  I would love to be able to shake his hand and thank him, and I regret not realising that at the time.

Flo Willan - Anyone remember Mr Willan's biology tests?  I can still recall all tne names of human body parts!

The only teacher who scared me.  That said, forty nine years later I can still remember the latin names of most of the elements.

Shrimp O'Grady - Who remembers Shrimp being hung upside down from one of the library windows by one of the teachers?  Or the time the deputy head broke the glass in the library partition when throwing the blackboard duster.

Any members of 5G remember dropping pieces of chalk onto passers-by in Hill Street?  On one occasion the waste paper basket was thrown out.

When we were in 5S (next to 5G) we used to throw chalk at the cats on the roof of The Fountain.  Ernie Bell used to say 'It can't be any of our boys.'.  A piece of chalk hit Ken Witts on the head, but fortunately he could not identify the culprit.

E J W Bell - He hated boys wearing 'sailor boy' trousers.  I think he meant flares.  Always noticed if you were still wearing your footie socks after sports  'They should be black or grey, boy.'

One day members of the sixth form screwed Mr Bell's chair to the stage.

Wally Wardle - The scariest thing that could happen to a first year boy.  I still recount some of his sayings to my kids.

Ian Meadows - Winner of Mastermind 1985

Tony Baxter - The best maths teacher ever.

It all fell into place in the fifth form.

Good old Mr Baxter.  Rescued me from failing maths, I got a place at Aston University.

Mr Remington - He was the one reason I became fascinated with maths.  The only teacher you could not rile.  Suffered with indigestion.

Bob Roberts - Eccentric, untidy, but a brilliant mind.  Only five or six in my maths class, hence a fantastic education.  Well done, Bob.

WAG Pace - Great sense of humour, he made the subject come alive.  He taught me how to read maps, this has stood me in good stead over the years.

G B Newton - Taught German for several years, my time was 1957-64.  Passed away in Harrogate in 2002, suffered from Parkinson's.

Doc Burrows - Left CBS to become Head of Bournville School.  Instilled a love of chemistry in me and in 1976 I finally got a PhD.  Doc insisted on neatness.

Chas Howard - Skipper of the Green Wyvern Yacht Club

Dickie Diack - Brilliant teacher of statistics


FROM DAVE KING  1958-65   In December 2008, there was a piece in OWT by Brian Stevenson in which he recalled our days together in what, back in the 60s, was called a group, which after various name and personnel changes became the Jades. All the members were pupils of City Boys. The longest-lasting line-up was Brian on vocals, Keith Duguid and myself on guitars, Dave Durant on bass and Geoff Maisey on drums. Keith had left City boys by the time he joined us, probably about late 1964, and that line-up lasted until I left sometime in late 1966 partly because of a girlfriend and partly because I developed an interest in classical guitar and folk music. As Brian's 2008 piece says, when Keith joined we were encouraged to raise our game somewhat, getting better equipment and a regular programme of paying (?) gigs.

 I think I probably gained a lot musically from City Boys, although not from formal music lessons - such as they were. I did join Bill Sykes's after-hours violin class (taught by a Mr Hall, I think)  I didn't play the violin for long but I guess that must have been the beginning of my attempts to learn to read music. I was much more interested in the pupil bands that played at school concerts. Does anyone know what happened to the members of the Hill Street Stompers? A lot of time was spent inside and outside school swapping and discussing chords and songs, writing and rewriting gig playlists and so on. I know Brian won't mind if I add to and correct his 2008 piece a little. Brian wrote that he bought his first drum kit from  Alan Shepherd. Actually (and he now agrees with me) Brian bought his first drum kit from another City Boy called John O'Grady (Ogra, I think he was nicknamed) who was emigrating to Australia.

It was Peter Sheppard, not Alan Shepherd who played drums with Dave Langton on guitar and Jim Cryer on vocals. I think Jim also played bass. I think I remember them having a sax player too – can anyone confirm that? What was the name of their group? Gez Taylor, who played piano with an earlier incarnation of the Jades for a time, later joined the Pete Sheppard lot and invested in an electronic organ. I don't remember ever being in the same form as Pete Sheppard, but he lived not far from me and we were in the same scout troop. We were friendly for a while and I recall us listening to records by Chet Atkins and the Shadows in my front room.

One of the best musical instrument shops in Leicester in the sixties was Moore and Stanworth's on Belgrave Road. I remember one time when some of us were in there (probably not buying anything) and one of the guys who ran the shop (probably Phil Stanworth) was talking to us. When he learned we went to City Boys he told us about another old boy, Dennis Wilson, who played the piano and worked at the BBC. I think at the time we thought this Dennis Wilson must be a right square. I can't find any reference on the Wyvernians website to him, but what little is on the web says that Dennis Miller Wilson (1920-1989) was from Leicester and composed the theme music for several television programmes including Fawlty Towers, Rising Damp and Till Death Us Do Part. If he was in fact a City Boy he would have been at the school in the mid 1930s.

I did buy (or rather my parents bought me) my first electric guitar from Moore and Stanworths but it's another Leicester music shop that I associate with City Boys. When weather conditions were too bad for the weekly games lesson we were taken by bus to Grace Road from where we were supposed to walk back into the centre of town. The route brought us in via Welford Road and I would nip into King Street and drink in the sight of the electric guitars in the window of the music shop there. It was called Cox's and it was run by an elderly couple (at least they seemed elderly to me then). It was there that I first saw a Fender Stratocaster in the flesh so to speak.

Back to the Jades and in the late 60s we went our separate ways pursuing our different careers and relationships and so on. Dave Durant ended up in Sussex, Brian in Manchester and myself in Liverpool. Keith stayed in Leicester and Geoff ended up back there after working abroad for some time.  As Brian and I lived not too far away from each other we stayed in touch over the years and occasionally met up, sometimes singing some of our favourite songs from the 50s and 60s. We also managed to stay in touch with Keith and Geoff and met up with them on a couple of occasions but we lost touch with Dave Durant. The idea of us all getting together for a playing reunion was mooted from time to time, but the possibility became more serious after Keith managed to track down the elusive and indispensable Dave Durant.  So in 2012 we had the first of five (so far) reunions trying to relive our youth. Interestingly we have ended up using a rehearsal studio not far from the old Elbow Lane branch of the school. We've enjoyed revising some of our old numbers (and finding out which numbers some of us secretly hated all those years ago) as well as writing some new material.


MYOTUBULAR TRUST   Those present at this year's reunion will know we made a donation to the Myotubular Trust (I think it was £150) as our speaker, Bob Childs, is linked to the charity.  We have received a lovely letter of thanks from the Trust.  More information can be found at


OBITUARIES   Keith Sercombe  1956-61 passed away July 2015.  I was notified by his daughter, who donated the two vouchers used as raffle prizes.

Don Harmer  1936-41 passed away January 22nd 2016.  Brian Screaton sent me a copy of the obit from the Mercury.  Don began his career as an architect, but was called to the Bar in 1979.  In his interesting and varied career he served as an army officer during and after WW2 in Nigeria and India.  Don had lived in Mojacar, Spain since 1992.


1966 VISIT TO RUSSIA   Dave Mason's photographs of this visit can be seen on the Wyvernians facebook page -

Click/tap HERE

Any problems contact Frank via email on

FROM CHRIS (CHARLIE) PYRAH  1964-70   After reading Dave Postle's tour of Leicester (OWT 89) then recalling the 1962 film version of The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner, memories that had lain undisturbed for decades began to bubble to the surface, particularly those concerning that bizarre phenomenon known as the school cross-country run.    In the Clarence House era, the City Boys' teams would have been bussed out to perform in short back 'n sides and footer bags at Rushey Fields, but in 1965 the school had been relocated to Evington, which had the great advantage for cross-country running in that it actually bordered on real countryside.  Those taking part were the pupils who hadn't already been selected, or had managed to avoid selection, for the recognised school sports teams such as football, fencing or whatever; they found themselves instead conscripted into the annual Sports Day mayhem of the X-country race.  At the appointed hour they were confronted with Rubberguts Remington.  Rubberguts, or Remo as he was more commonly known, was the Deputy Head and had something of the look of a mean Robert Ryan.  Sternly brandishing a stopwatch he click-started his time piece as a loud pheep from Jock Gilman's whistle signalled the off, and the hapless chappies set off on a route which took them out across Downing Drive, along Chatteris Avenue, turn right at my classmate Paul Hefford's bungalow; they then took a sharp left up a bridle path that climbed slowly past a couple of arable fields of about five acres on the left and a long, narrow strip of bush and spinney to the right; more of that later.  At the top of this track the straggling band of green, red, yellow and blue-shirted boys turned left down the hill at Stoughton Road, gathering speed down to the dip at Bushby Brook, then veered hard left along seven hundred yards or so of rural footpath that cut back across the fields which, according to season, seemed either crop-laden or quagmired.  Through a gap in a hedge, over a simple plank bridge crossing a tiny stream they ran, through the mud which varied in viscosity from that of a stodgy sSottish porridge to a thin Whistlerian sauce; by the time they reached the stile out of the field all plimsolls would be heavily caked with glutinous Leicestershire clay.  A wild impasto of claggy clods and soily smears miraculously appeared on the pristine pavement of Swinstead Road as the athletes thundered by, and sure enough the local residents were soon complaining to Ernie Bell.  Once more along Chatteris Avenue and the runners returned, at last passing the bike sheds to finish back in the school grounds.  Wrong!  They were then cruelly reminded this was only the half-way stage of the roughly three-mile run and the whole damn course had to be done again.  It was only much, much later when, with scorching lungs and jelly-like legs, they finally faltered over the finishing line.

 In later years a small group of the less sporty and, some would say, less scrupulous, of the cross-country conscripts, having grown a little cynical about the whole event would, upon reaching that spinney by the bridle path, find suitable fallen tree trunks on which to sit down  then relax with a cigarette or two. Silk Cut were the brand in favour at the time.  This break would last as long as it took those runners on their second lap to pass the spinney again, then the smokers would tag on at the end to arrive back at the school pretending to be winded by their exertions - or perhaps it was the cigs that left them short of breath!  Not quite up to the rebelliousness of the 1962 film, but a close-run thing?  Would the boys of the thirties and forties have played similar tricks, or was this idle and literal

straying from the straight and narrow a small sign of the supposed decline in standards glimpsed in the City Of Leicester Boys School by (amongst others)  Mr Orton?  Mr. E S Orton was a man who had come in from the outside world of industry to teach French; and he later rose to the rank of Deputy Head. After  retirement, he penned a report which can still be read today as it survives amongst the memorabilia on display at reunions; it was a wide-ranging criticism that hit subjects from the poor condition of the buildings to what was he saw as the growing laxness of attitudes in the school.  While some were beginning to question the relevance of such out-dated holies as the school song, the Victor Ludorum and even Ernie himsel,f with the new broom of the Sixties, Ben was definitely old school if not Old School.  Although the times they were a-changing, looking back now over fifty years or so, and notwithstanding the niggles of some Wyvernians, it's clear that the mood of the (pre-1976) Downing Drive days were a vital and integral part of City Boys' history.

 A blue-jawed teacher that most Downing Drivers will remember was Brian Scotty Scott; a compact, beefy man with a soft, husky voice, one of the tweed jacket and pullover brigade; he was my first form master, form 1A.  His penchant for occasionally flinging a bible at subversives during his lessons seemed at odds with his essentially kind character, but he was always something of an eccentric; what stuck in my mind were his oft-repeated references to rat pie, a hypothetical dish, I hasten to add.  He taught English and History but he may also have been involved with the school's Army Cadets, for in my mind's eye I can picture him in the scratchy brown battledress of the time.  He was ordained as a priest in 1965 and after leaving what he laughingly referred to as Dr Bell's Academy around 1968, he served variously as curate, chaplain, vicar and rector around Leicestershire and Rutland.  His official leave-taking, according to a memoir written by fellow Old Beghian Sam Ashton, was remembered by a colleague thus:  on his final day he took to the stage in front of the fully assembled school, and what he reiterated was the simple gospel principle that we should treat all,

no matter what their background, or their abilities, as we would expect to be treated ourselves. The boys rose with one accord, they clapped and stamped their feet and cheered.  The school would never be quite the same again.  Overnight, Brian had become something of a folk hero.


FROM ROGER LIVERMORE  1964-71   As ever many thanks  to you, your wife and the team for the reunion.  It brought some unsuspected magic.  I'm still in awe and admiration for the teachers and each year seem to appreciate them more. The education received  at the school still counts every day, and so I value the reunions. It has been excellent to see my science teachers Tony Baxter, Dr Burrows, Dave Lawrence - and I had  some lessons with Bill Mann.   But unfortunately I missed getting to see Alan Eales  who did 6ScIII on maths ( I think), I'd not expected him to be there.  I frequently remember a piece of advice he gave to the scientists prior to going to university.   It was to read novels during the summer, perhaps to get better understanding of characters , was this to balance the abstract and make us more human for the ventures ahead ?  Anyway I did,  amidst the Tolkien (at the time some at University did seem to be living out the book) but also the D H Lawrence, Gide, Kafka, Mann, Hesse, Huxley, Sartre. It worked well and continued with me managing all the Joyce catalogue and Proust ( but not in French).  It also helped bridge the great divide of science and arts.  It seemed to be quite prevalent at school and led to endless discussions - the scientist line being  'without science you artists would be sat on a rock in a cave trying to read a hand-written Shakespeare'.   The healing of the split meant that I took as much an interest in the humanities as the sciences.    What I had not realised was that whilst the school reflected the split of the 'Two Cultures'  there was the influential scientist/writer C P Snow  who recognised the harm the split caused and sought to bring them together.    I now see that C P Snow was born in Leicester, an Alderman Newton boy!
At the end I was approached by Steve Robinson (1964-1970?)- who hardly looked any different after a few decades.  There seem to be quite a few at these reunions who have a pact with the devil or have some other elixir.  What threw me was that we were also at the same junior school - Mellor Street Junior in Belgrave, a board school of 1880 just like Elbow Lane's building.  Seeing Steve threw me as not only was I thinking CBS I was then having to ransack the memory banks for junior school memories.   So am now trying to construct my entire school days. 
I went back to the Andy Marlow book and for the first time noticed that I'm in it!   That is apart from the panorama of 1966.  I tried to keep a low profile at school.  I'm in for 1968 and winning a Sir Jonathan North award.  This was for a collection of astronomical observations and log books.  This was mostly on the visual tracking of artificial satellites.  At the time it was of some significance in refining data on the air density at different altitudes and the not quite spherical shape of the earth.  There was also the look out for Russian spy satellites where I had linked up with the teacher Geoff Perry at Kettering Grammar School who, with his pupils, did the radio tracking.     We did a joint exhibition at the Leicester University Science Fair.  Coincidently I'd come across the award in my garage on getting back, and checked that I could get about £50 for it.  Checked on who Sir Jonathan North was and on the inscription ' Vitai Lampada Tradunt'  (Lucretius, 'They hand on the torch of life').
When down from Edinburgh I stay at my brother's, also ex CBS, at Eaton near Belvoir Castle .  I seems to recall that CBS may have doe summer holiday camps during the war?   This is Graham Livermore ( c1972 -1979) in same class as Gary Lineker, so only Downing Drive. We meet up with another pair of brothers from City Boys  -  Dave and Paul Holmes ( 1977-79?).    
Before the reunion I took a wander round town and  taking in a couple more of the old school sites.  At Elbow Lane I'd been interested in the church next to i t-  All Saints that seemed to peek through the trees to the junior  school, knew it to be medieval and I'd been wanting to check the 10-12 medieval church sites - 5 or 6 old churches have gone.  I also took in The Great Meeting (School) in East Bond Street where our new school was in 1920.  It is part of the Unitarian chapel complex.  Never really looked at it before.   Like the idea of the dissenters - the Unitarians and the influence they had in Leicester, and it continues ( the elected mayor is one)   Their ethos of tolerance, shown in its most open form with a tradition called Universalist Unitarian.  They seem to be open to all spiritual searching and all faiths, and as they say none.  That would seem to represent modern Leicester.
One last bit!  At the reunion  had lunch with Tony Baxter and Rob Lee ( Bob Childs part of the time)  - we were talking about Ian Ross (1964-1971) and were trying to find out where he was .  He seemed to be top of the class  at everything and very nice with it too.  Rob and I thought that we had got snippets, I thought that he was now in California.  We touched on the hippy era of him being in Goa, and I imagined the Big Sur California living. I thought that he was on the internet but am having trouble finding him again.


AND FINALLY...   During the very long hard winter of 1962-63 it was not possible to have the usual weekly games lessons.  As pointed out in one of the above items, once a week we were bussed to Grace Road and walked back into town along Aylestone Road and Welford Road, supervised by Jock Gilman and another master.  I lived on the new Fairfield estate in South Wigston, and used the No 87 bus to travel to and from school.  It terminated on Sturdee Road, Eyres Monsell, opposite the parade of shops called The Exchange, from whence it was an eight-minute amble home.  The bus travelled along Aylestone Road, and it seemed pointless to trudge all the way into town only to return along the same route later on a bus.  There was never a roll call, so I used to make sure I was at the back of the crocodile.  As it passed the bus stop I nipped into the front garden of a nearby house, and when the crocodile was out of sight waited for the bus.  Thus I was home nice and early.  I did this several times, and was never found out.

Dennis J Duggan

April 17th 2016