Sunday 6 January 2019

OWT101 January 2019

From: Dennis Duggan
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2019 at 14:54
Subject: OWT101 January 2019



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EDITORIAL   Preparations for our annual reunion continue apace.  It will be business as usual, no point messing with what has proved to be a very successful formula.  We have two excellent speakers lined up - John McAngus (1955-60) and Bob Childs, a teacher from 1976 to 2009.  You will see the obituary section has a large number of entries, alas we are all becoming older.  It is a sobering thought that people who were 71 in 1998 (my age now) when we held our first reunion, are now 93!

FROM SIMON PARTRIDGE  1966-72   (Continuing Simon's CBS memories - Ed)  I passed all seven of my 'O' levels in stages between June and November 1969.  As already mentioned, I was excused History, and fate punished me as I was destined to teach the European Reformation..  I left the army cadets, having succumbed to the prevailing views of the military held by certain sections of the current youth culture.  I probably thought tht growing my hair and listening to the Grateful Dead would do more to enhance my street cred than remaining in the ACF.  I am sure that Captain Tong was not happy with my decision and my father, in his role as Military Correspondent of the Leicester Mercury, was far from impressed.  However, as a father he respected my decision.
I had enjoyed the fifth year, but considering my peers were a year younger than myself I was hardly a leading academic.  Travel to school was no problem as I took the No 51 bus, and providing JDA was being conveyed to work in the family VW Beetle all was well.  If not, and you wanted to enjoy that final cigarette before alighting at Downing Drive, you had to sit well behind him.  The return journey was more important and complex.  It entailed letting all the school buses go, as they went directly into town, as well as the first No 67.  The next No 67 went down to the shops, turned left into Welland Vale Drive then left onto Spencefield Lane.  At the next stop the young ladies of Evington Hall Convent (Now St Paul's Catholic School) embarked, hopefully including the girl of my dreams.  For three months I was content to dream and then we spoke.  Another three months passed, and we stepped out together.  The highlight was a night out at a hop in Charles Keene College.  After a further three months I was given my marching orders on the grounds I was too weird - there were no ill-feelings.  Good came out of it, as one of my friends met his future wife after I had arranged a meeting with the wrong girl.
A job was important  (£10 per week then is £118 today) and during the summer holidays in 4 Alpha and the fifth year I worked for Craven the Builders, Saffron Lane.  During the summer of 1969 I took great delight in taking leave of my mother with the words, 'Goodbye, I'm off to Bastard's,' though the correct pronunciation was Bustard's. where I was helping to refurbish the factory on Frog Island.  This was the time of the fortnight's industrial break, then a return to school for two weeks (some hope after the 'O' level exams) then a further four week holiday.  I was the victim of an industrial accident, being hit on the head by half a brick while helping shovel rubble onto a lorry from both sides.  There was blood everywhere, but my thick army cadet shirt absorbed most of it.  Health and safety?  Hard hat?  All I heard was a chorus of 'Simple Simon says chuck a brick on my head' to 1968's 1910 Fruit Gum Company tune.  Academically I was never the same again!
It was a hot summer, and the Isle of Wight Festival featured the great Bob Dylan, backed by The Band as well as Leicester's finest, Family in support along with Gypsy  (Formally Legay)  The following summer, 1970, found me serving petrol for Fosse Motors in a bid to finance travel round Eurpoe with Ian Sharpe.  In order to develop his son's French, Peter Luketa's father found him work in Paris as a painter and decorator.  But more important to us was the accomodation, which provided us with a base and a tiled floor to sleep on.  It was in Auteuil, close to the Bois de Boulogne.  I was to return there in 2016, as this arrondissement includes the finish of the Paris marathon.  The films MASH and Woodstock were shown in English with French subtitles  (The final instalment will be in the next OWT - Ed)

FROM TIM RIGGS  1952-58 (OR 59)   Reading OWT100  I was interested to read the item from Paul Healey which referred to a boy being hung out of a window of the top floor.  This is a story I have told my children, but secretly doubted my memory was accurate.  Can anyone corroborate the story?  I associate it with a particular teacher, who shall remain nameless  (Here is my reply to Tim - Ed.  I first heard this story c1963/64.  I remember it because I incorporated the idea into one of my compositions, aka an essay, and a fellow pupil accused me of copying the idea from real life.  But did it actually happen?  Who knows if it is apocryphal or not, but there is no smoke without fire, as they say.  I always imagined it was done by one or more boys, as surely no teacher would be so irresponsible...?)

FROM DAVE WAIT  1958-63   Let's go back to school for a while, don't all rush at once.  Find the new bus pass, pink this time, satchel packed with last term's homework and a few rounds of well-done (black) toast, pens, pencils, bottle of ink, blotting paper.  I think that's everything.  Hang on, we've got sport today.  Blue shorts, red Bradgate shirt, football boots, and by the look of it half the pitch!  Anything else?  Might as well take a few comics, I can hire them out to subsidise my pocket money.  The comics bought in a fair bit last term, 3d a read sounds like a good deal to me.  Time to go, it's ten past eight.  I should just catch the 8.15 bus.  If I miss the No 18 I can always cross the road and get the No 60.  It's a bit further to walk, but never mind. 
Here comes the 18 along Cort Crescent, I'm just in time.  I wonder if my mate Stan will get on at Gallards Hill, the next stop.  Yes, there he is, looking about as happy as I feel.  We discuss what homework we should have done during the holiday, and how much we can make on the new comics.  Before you know it we are in town, the bus drops us at the clock tower.  Then it's a short walk across Charles Street and to Lee Circle where our huts are situated.  Across the road is the main building in Clarence Street, we move there in the second year.  Before we reach Lee Circle it's caps on, we don't want a detentionon the first day back.
Five to nine the bell goes and the day begins in earnest.  But first there's morning assembly.  No doubt Remo will be on the prowl, looking for 'volunteers' to read the lesson.  First up and it's maths at 9.25 with Mr Mercer.  We do prime numbers.  I did not understand the logic then, and still don't.  Next is a double period of English with Chas Howard.  At ome point we have a fifteen minute break.  Time for some toast, and a little bottle of milk - or a couple if someone doesn't want theirs.  Last lesson before dinner is French with Mr Sweet.  I'm glad I washed my hair last night.  Mind you, he'll still get Brylcreem all over his hand.
Dinner time at last.  I wonder what cordon bleu efforts we have today?  I am a server this week, which means queuing up at the hatch for the serving and taking them back to our table.  The meal is my worst nightmare.  Scrag-end of steak with onions (the majority of it is onions) mashed potato, last year's cabbage - or is it the year before that?  Pudding is not much better either.  Sago, or frogspawn as we call it.  Forty five minutes later and hungrier than ever, we emerge from the dinner hut.  After a roll call, to make sure no one has died, we are free to amuse ourselves until afternoon lessons.  First stop is the tuck shop, where there is usually a long queue after dinner.  A packet of KP salted paeanuts is 2d, and a bar of Palm chocolate covered toffee 4d, fills a bit of a gap.  Still feeling hunger pangs, it's time to sneak off to Bayliss' cake shop on Charles Street.  Here you could buy a bag of stales for a tanner (6d)  On a good day you would get three cakes, two cream and one custard.  Then back to school in time for the bell which heralds afternoon lessons  (To be continued - Ed)

OBITUARIES   From Geoff Wright  1957-62Bill Lally (1951-58) passed away July 3rd 2018 after a short illness (Motor Neurone Disease)  We were both members of Dorridge U3A.  Bill did stirling work on the committee and had a range of activities: opera, table tennis, pantomime.  We did not know each other at CBS, and only found out later we were fellow pupils.
Richard 'Dick' Lawrence (1934-39) passed away December 19th 2018 aged 95
Roy Howard (1932-?) born December 9th 1921 passed away November 25th 2018, peacefully at home with his family.
From Simon Turrell (1963-70) I am sorry to report the death Ian Ward, who passed away in 2018 following a long illness.  Ian attended CBS 1964-71, and went on to study Town Planning at Leeds University.  Ian was latterly Head of Development Control at Blackpool Council.
From Andy Howes 1957-60   Last week (October 2018) I saw a headstone in Wigston cemetery, it was inscribed Andrew Donald Radford, a lovely uncle, brother and friend, 4th April 1943-14th September 2017 'etc.  I wondered if Andrew was Stephen's twin brother, they were in my year at CBS.  It was Andrew who transcribed the school song in manuscript form in the early days of Wyvernians, it was recorded and played by Tom Horton  [My nephew - Ed]  I contacted Stephen, here is his reply.  Sadly my twin brother, Andrew, died on 14th September 2017, after a short illness.  He was 74.  We were at CBS from 1954, when we moved from Coventry.  I left in 1959, but think Andrew stayed on in the sixth form.  From there he went to Coventry Training College to study music.  He was a brilliant pianist and organist, and later obtained his LRAM (Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music)  He is sadly missed.

Philip Berridge (1938-43) passed away 20th October 2018, aged 91. 
From Geoff Kitchen  1953-59   John Arthur Phipps  21st September 1928 - 17th October 2018.  A local resident who we knew quite well, and his wife recently confirmed he was at CBS.  He was an accountant, and they lived in the area south of London for a number of years.

Mr Wardle could be terribly intimidating. He taught us Geography in first year, Religious Instruction in the third year, filled in with History and just about anything else when a teacher happened to be away. Alas, he could not teach us Classics which was no longer on the curriculum. But, in the sixth form he taught us Economics. And, all of a sudden, here was a teacher who was human, and treated you like one. I think there are members who will know what "Economics" meant. "You are not here to become Economists. You are here to get an A-Level. And you will do so." You studied Economics if you couldn't find a third subject.

In the first lesson, Wally asked us what subjects we were studying. There were only one or two who were doing "sensible" things like English, History and Economics. I was doing Maths, German and Economics (!). There was a boy I shall call Rosemont. Wally got to him and Rosemont announced that he was studying Art, Economics and RI. Wally, behind his desk, eyes down and rubbing them as always, finger wagging, said: "Rosemont. What do you expect to do with your life studying Art, Economics and RI?"
Rosemont didn't have time to reply. We had a wag in class, Ian T——. His repartee puts Robin Williams to shame. So Ian pipes up, instantly: "Paint parnd notes on the collection plate, sir."  Wally cracks up (can you imagine that?). He says: "T——, come to the staff room at playtime and I shall give you thruppence for a Mars Bar from the tuck shop."  I was one of the boys hanging round the corner when Ian knocked on the door. He got his thruppence. He went on to establish a very successful window-cleaning business. I don't have any idea what A-Levels he happened to be studying.
On another matter, I can confirm that Fred Hutchinson was indeed a jockey.  He lived somewhere outside Leicester.  The boys in his workshop noticed something began appearing at the back of the room.  First there was a base, then a framework, then wheels!  Next a wooden body and roof were attached, and we realised it was a beautifully crafted horse box.  As far as I know, Fred was not a racing man, and you could occasionally surpise him cleaning and polishing his shotguns.  Some boys might remember the Wolseley 4/44 which stood next to his creation.
Fred played in the staff v boys rugby match around 1969.  We boys were so bad that a team of chimpanzees could have beaten us.  But Fred was special.  He was so sportingly incompetent we fell down laughing, and I'm sure that is the reason the staff won the match.

FROM ALAN MERCER  1959-63  (Teacher)    One sports day, I think between 1959 and 1962, we noticed something strange about the results of the 200 yard, 400 yard, half-mile and mile races.  Runners were finishing in the order of their starting positions.  Obviously the staggers had not been measured properly.  We pointed it out to Mr Gimson, but as it was well into the afternoon he said there was nothing we could do about it and we continued until the end.  Several undeserving winners went home to proud parents, others to very disappointed ones.  Perhaps our editor could have covered himself in glory  had he been in Lane 6.  (See the And Finally entry - Ed)

FROM KEITH SMITH  (DATES UNKNOWN)  (My apologies to Keith, this item should have appeared in the July OWT - Ed)  I read Chris Lowe's item on the internet regarding his time as a teacher at CBS, and would like to comment.  I know that memories fade with time, but can I point out that Elbow Lane was not 'an old Secondary Modern School' but the former Gateway Girls Grammar School.  I would also respectfully point out that we had a Cadet Force at CBS long before Chris came on the scene.  When I joined it was very active under Mr Newton, and several of us enlisted for extra training on Thursdays with the RASC Brentwood Road ACF.  There we had extra shooting practice, which was good for me as I was in the Tetrathlon team under Bill Mann, and we got to drive Bedford trucks round the parade ground!  We also went on regular camps, and fired our own Lee Enfield .303's at the range in Kibworth, the rifles being kept in the school armoury at the rear of the gym, and sat for NCO exams.  After Mr (Captain) Newton left, Mr Berry took over.  He was also a Captain in the Royal Army Education Corps.  We all attended an annual regimentl dinner, in uniform, in the school hall, with Mr Bell in his Major's uniform, also the Chairman of the Governors.  I left the ACF during my last year in the sixth form.

FROM CHRIS HOWE  1958-65  
Dave Wait and our editor reminded me of a couple of things. It's a while since I wrote anything, so I hope I am not repeating myself. Like you Dennis, my wife also went to Eyres Monsell Junior School. She then went to King Dicks and then to Boots as a librarian. Yes, Boots had a private library then. I went to nearby Montrose after a year at Marriott Road. I lived not far from the Grace Road ground and one of the "dares" before being old enough for CBS was climb over the fence to explore the ground's air-raid shelters on the Milligan Road side. By candle-light of course, kids couldn't afford torches then. Like you I was not a great sports fan and skived off whenever possible. In the 6th form I had this off to a fine art, shooting out of the side door, across Humberstone Gate and down to the Odeon Cinema to catch the number 24. One day I just missed the bus and with brain in neutral I walked up to Belgrave Gate to catch an alternative. Who should drive by but Mr. Lawrence my physics teacher. He stopped and gave me a lift and on the way to Grace Road discussed my penalty. Now I did have a bit of influence with him as he lived on Aylestone Drive, which runs into Milligan Road and I regularly took his young son fishing with me. The punishment was to join the 1st eleven cricket team. Not to play but to make the tea and sandwiches. By then I had met the boss and she had Wednesday afternoon off and knew how to make sandwiches. So, it worked out quite nicely. We have been married 50 years.

I did learn to swim before CBS. Well, keep afloat in the water with a crude free style. Reading Dave Wait's account of Tiddley Dum, just after my shower this morning, I had just practiced what he taught us about drying off. Always scoop the water off the body with your hands before using the towel. I still do it every morning! The other thing about Vestry Street was learning the breast stroke by following the cockroaches in the water. I don't mind cockroaches, before Marriott Road I had been at Verdala School in Malta and they had lots of roaches in Malta, there still are! We had a big one called George in the bathroom at HMS Nelson and I remember the Surgeon Captain at HMS Daedalus was scared to death of them. My lifelong interest in creepy crawlies was fostered at the Home Life Exhibition in Granby Halls by George Cansdale, the TV zoo man. He put a boa around my neck. In the early 80s, when based in London, I ran an exotic pet shop in Portsmouth as a hobby and would collect specimens from dealers near Heathrow. Even the Admiral would come into my office to see my latest horrors. I even collected giant millipedes at Dakar airport on my way back from the Falklands. My 15 minutes of fame involved a tarantula stolen from my shop. Cliff Michelmore interviewed me about the theft on TV with a similar tarantula crawling over my hands. He was surprised I had never handled one before.

FROM IAN CRICHTON  1962-69   I was flattered you saw fit to include my ramblings in OWT100, but unfortunately there was a typing error.  This made my remark about the movies which accompanied the school films rather puzzling.  It should have read ROMANOFF and Juliet, not Romeo and Juliet.  They were the famous Ealing comedy The Ladykiollers and the Peter Ustinov film Romanoff and Juliet.  The latter was based on a Shakespeare play, but which one escapes me!!  (My sincere apologies for this careless error on my part - Ed)

FROM PETER BROMLEY  1970-77   It was at the very end of my time at CBS when we went co-ed, and the school introduced us to girls for the first time.  Perhaps not universally welcomed, but the transition brought with it a raft of new and positive attitudes regarding how to deal with both genders.  Before this, the school had the feel of Tom Brown's Schooldays - how it would have felt when my father attended 1927-35 or, I warrant, more so.  What struck me from day one were the walls holding board after board of alumnae, clearly I was walking into history.  There was a structure, and some masters still wore gowns.  But even then the system of naming classes proved  that changes were possible. 1M (Bill Mann) 2B ((Headley Butterfield)  3L (Geoff Lickess)  4H (Fred Hutchinson)  5KW (Ken Witts, there was already a W in play)  That I recall this after all these years is a sign that, Tom Brown or not, the set-up at Downing Drive was sound.
The loss of Mr Bell, and subsequent replacement by Mr Wood, had an inevitable impact on the whole school.  Very different characters, they both led stable teams, and I always believed that to be the reason for success.  We were gifted an oversize Henry Moore painting, this was placed on the balcony wall of the main hall.  I was never a fan, clearly a Philistine in waiting without a cultured bone in my body, but I know what I like.
Another big event was the building of a new design block.  With co-ed status on the way preparation was needed for new subjects such as cooking (sorry, home economics) and these would require a building with a very different profile.  At the time it was literally ground-breaking (Sorry!) and years ahead of the modern techno structures prevalent in today's school rebuilds.
I was particularly interested in Simon Partridge's piece about Carl Jayes.  As as England Schools 'keeper he acquired celebrity status, and went on to make far too few appearances for Leicester.  But that is the nature of the game.  What should be remembered, though, are the other Old Boys who went on to great things in many fields, not just sport.  Michael Kitchen, an actor who played the King in the original House of Cards.  David Blount, also an actor in school productions, including a masterful MacBeth before joining the BBC as a sound effects Foley artist.  In sport, names such as Lineker, Heskey and Paul Dempsey, Irish footballer and sports presenter, also bear witness to a school able to represent otself in the wider community.  It prepared us for life, to be the best we could be and also self-reliant and confident.  In support of this, witness the school song.  I never did Latin, but its opening  is Vivat Crescat floreat, apparently correctly sung as Wee Wat, not Vee Vat.  Its words have retained, for me at least, a poignance even fifty years on.  And when in later years we cast, our thoughts anew to schooldays past, will we not feel new love as men, recalling what she gave us then.
In short, yes we do - and not just knowledge -  Let it live.  Let it grow. Let it flourish.

FROM JOHN BLAIKIE  1955-62   (Excerpts from John's annual round robin from Australia - Ed)  We've had a busy year with charity work, keeping fit and golf.  In March we celebrate 50 years in Australia, so we will visit Sydney with our friends from the boat, then go to Canberra to celebrate a 40th birthday.

AND FINALLY   I don't think I ever took part in a sports day, always arranging never to be good enough to do anything except sit in the grandstand at Grace Road and watch the proceedings.  My lack of interest in any form of sport has followed me through life.  I have never enjoyed team games or athletics, and to this day I am unable to swim despite repeated attempts to learn.  I cannot float, and as soon as I let go the rail down I go!  The only sport I did not mind was cross-country, either at Rushey Fields or doing circuits at Grace Road.  The Rushey Fields route took us past the turning to Oakland Avenue, on the other side of Melton Road.  I always wanted to live in that road, and in 1980 we purchased No 9.  We lived there until 2002, when we moved to Welshpool, and it broke our hearts to leave that house.  If we could have taken it with us, we would have done.

Dennis J Duggan
January 6th 2019