From: Dennis Duggan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 12 Apr 2019 at 14:22
Subject: OWT102 April 2019
FROM SIMON PARTRIDGE 1966-72 (The final episode of Simon's memoirs - Ed) The sixth year found me elevated to the status of Prefect. I was very proud, but in all honesty I failed to see the reason, my only contribution to school life being a bit of acting. So questions were asked of our man in the staff room, whose integrity I cannot fully vouch for, but for whom such a story would surely be too far-fetched to concoct. Apparently, Mr Bell went through the list of every boy in the Lower Sixth, and when he reached 'P', no doubt with his concentration starting to flag, he made an objection about me. It seems I was felt to be unreliable, and could not be trusted. This was not an issue about honesty, rather my inability to be in the right place at the right time. This valid point was made in a lengthy and detailed manner, but it seems that Mr Bell was either not listening or for some reason ignored what was said in my favour. But Partridge was duly added to the list, though no one was prepared to point out the glaring inconsistency in the Head's decision making. I was not there so cannot vouch for anything. But I can say that being a Prefect turned put to be very useful.
It all turned out well in the end. I attended University College, Cardiff, for three years, whilst teaching and having a family (Not recommended!) in order to continue making up lost ground. When my first school closed I asked to be redeployed as an RE teacher at a high-status school in Penarth, from where I went on to be Head of RE in a Carmarthanshire school. Here, after six years, I was allowed to combine the role with being a Head of Learning (Head of Year) which, since my school days, had become a cottage industry. I was able to retire at 55, then spent six and a half years as a postman which I thoroughly enjoyed. While on a Royal Mail management training course, which because of cuts was eventually abandoned, my 1969 'O' levels in English language and maths were deemed invalid. Subsequently at age 58, I passed GNVQ Level 2 literacy and Level 2 numeracy, in addition to Level 3 in First Line Management.
FROM STEFAN WOZOWCZYK 1965-72 I would say I had a very good education at CBS, bit did I enjoy it? No! Hate is not the right word, but I was not happy for most of the seven years. I started in 1 Alpha. At the end of the year the classes were reshuffled. The first nineteen went to 3 Alpha, I came twentieth. It meant I was the best of the rest. In 2A I did not need to work hard to be top of the class. Of course this was pleasing for my parents, but I just wanted to be one of the lads. So I began to make deliberate mistakes in class, or with my homework, making sure I got 8/10 instead of 10/10 and coming third or fourth. One term I came seventh, which was too much for my mother, so the following term I was first again. You don't make many friends like that.
I elected to join CBS because it was a soccer school. I was clever on the field as well as in the classroom. Unusually I could play with either foot, so I was often on the left wing. There was no soccer team in the first year, in the second year we went for trials. It was something like seventeen-a-side for the first half, so no surprise it was nil nil at half time. I played my heart out, and say that soundly. I was the best player on the pitch, and the one closest to scoring. The coach was the English teacher, and he disliked me. To this day I have no idea why. He picked on me in class. 'To be or not to be...come on Wozowczyk, how does it go?' 'Sorry, sir, I don't know.' 'Villagers, the two or three - you'd know where that comes from?' 'Sorry, sir.' There would be a dismissive pffff to show I was incompetent. After half time the trials went to eleven a side, those not required went to get changed. I was the first. But worse was to come for three others. My friend Ian was a talented goalkeeper, and had played well. My friends Nick and Tony had done enough for the second half. We had come from the same junior school and hung around together. I wonder if their association with me had them tainted. I was distraught. Some said it was unfair, I had played a blinder, but that was small consolation.
I have seen it stated that 1967 was the year CBS fielded a rugby XV. But I was in it, and believe it was 1966. Geoff Elliott, a great bloke, was the coach. We lost every match. Next year we lost every match. Let me introduce a name I am surprised has noot cropped up more often. The Chairman of the board of governors had an unfortunate name. Mr Bell referred to him as Lt Colonel B'Starred. At the prize giving he noted the school rugby XV had lost every match. He went on to say this was good for us, it would teach us how to lose gracefully and strive to be better. The following year we drew one match, against Linwood. We should have won, but the home referee cheated and would not allow us a try. Then two very talented players came along, and we began winning a match or two. I have lived overseas for decades, but have been a Tigers man since my teenage years. Should I thank Geoff Elliott, the school, or even the English teacher who did not like me?
After Geoff left, the coaching went to Mac Bryan. He would have been in his thirties, a beefy bloke with very mature whiskers. Sometimes it was difficult to field fifteen players, and one Saturday Mac decided he would have to turn out himself. The opposition ref even asked if we were all under sixteen, and we all squeaked YES. I don't think Mac said anything. Ludicrous! We played Wyggeston for three consecutive years, losing 44-0, 33-0, 22-0, so we were definitely improving. We also played Hinckley Grammar and lost 66-5. I think our scorer was Eddie Gadd, a sprinter if ever there was one. He got on the end of a loose ball and no one could catch him. Remember that a try was only three points in those days.
FROM BOB CHILDS 1976-2009 Over the winter the Old Lennensians (The Kings Lynn equivalent of Wyvernians) has avoided dissolution by those of us aged sixty-plus stepping forward to form a new committee. Thus we can maintain an annual reunion, in July, and other activities. They are working on a new web site, and I have recommended they look at the Wyvernians site as a good example. Like CBS the school still has its original 1906 building as a focus, and it became a comprehensive in 1979. I am working with Mike Walker, a former Head and local author, on the archive material. I have dug deeply into WW2, and how the grammar school (King Edward VII, or KES) shared its facilities with Hackney Downs grammar until 1942/43. Hackney Downs was evacuated from London in 1939. Their alumni include Harold Pinter and and Sir Michael Caine. The latter arrived aged 7 as Michael Micklewight, from a poor family, with rickets. He lived at North Runcton, just ouside Kings Lynn, and was schooled at the primary school there. He was the first ever pupil to pass the 11+, and under London CC rules had to attend the nearest evacuated grammar school, which was Hackney Downs. The school was there until the end of the war. As Sir Michael often says, 'Not a lot of people know that...'
FROM DEREK COLE 1950-58 I enjoyed reading Stefan Wozowczyk's piece about Mr Wardle'comment 'I'm getting you an 'A' level in Economics, not making you an Economist.' It brought back Basher Brewin's introduction to 'O 'Level maths when I was in 5L during 1954. 'You're here to get the 'O' level maths you'll need for university entrance. I'm here to make sure you do.' And we did, all of us. I can still do Pythagoras' theorem and trigonometry but, as it did then, algebra baffles me. My granddaughter, now 23, attempted to teach me when she was doing GCSE but, like Basher, she failed. Mind you, she has more hair than he did!
We called Mr Wardle The Count on the grounds he resembled Dracula when he strode along a corridor with his gown billowing round him.
FROM DAVE WAIT 1958-63 (Continuing Dave's musings. If Dave was in the sixth form do I have his dates wrong? - Ed) In to the first-year sixth, with the redoubtable Steve Mellor, the original rocker on his motor bike (Alright, mate?) we vaccilated betweenn British stuff and US black genres. At the back of the classroom was a little store cupboard which contained, of all things, a record player. Vinyl was brought in, and listened to at every opportunity, not least The Kinks. As a variant a large group frequently ventured to the County Arms, Blaby, by bus, where the standard fare was soul. I guess we were all heterodox. One consequence was the general response to Ding Dong's invitation to a representative from the South African embassy to address the sixth form about apartheid, which ranged from rational hostility to quiet bemusement.
In the second year sixth we all became Mods, with renowned centre forward Geoff Pullen in the vanguard. How far were we duped? The anthem of The Who, My Generation, seems dissimulation now. Hope To Die Before I Get Old? I suspect that Geoff, like me, has become an old codger. However, he also favoured the Small Faces, inspired by the late Steve Marriott. I recall being admonished by Geoff as we attempted to sell tickets to the convent girls on a bus into town. Geoff was a close friend, but he was equalled by that football legend Bill Dixey, the advocate of real Blues constantly evoking Big Bill Boonzy in the same sentence as Leibnitz - or was it Spinoza? Whilst we conformed, Bill was sui generis. What does this random, self-absorbed narrative mean for life at CBS? It certainly indicates some amour-propre, some of the chip on the shoulder, the revolt against the cultural imposition of a dominant institution. The faux renegade, of which there were many. Sales of stale cakes, anyone? Nipping off to the bowling alley? More importantly, it reveals how our lives were joyously enhanced in the face of educational adversity by the camaraderie of small groups, affinities which worked outside the curriculum. Those figurations (Norbet Elias) changed constantly but were vital support networks. For many of us, learning at CBS was a permanent challenge, one often not met successfully, and it is to athose mates that we owe our negotiation of the difficulties through collective avoidance, resistance and occasional collaboration. In retrospect I salute you all.
FROM IAN NEIL (DATES UNKOWN) VIA DAVE ZANKER 1957-62 This refers to Alan Mercer's item in OWT101, in which he described how the 'staggers' for a sports day had apparently not been measured properly. It might have been 1961, at Grace Road. Dave Dagger Clarke was in my elder brother's year. He was drawn on the outside lane for the 200 yards and won the race by twenty yards in world record time. He steadfastly rejected the notion the staggers had been for the 400 yard race.
FROM JOHN OFFORD 1958-63 I wish to correct Alan Mercer on his piece about the staggers on sports day. He might be right about the 220 and 440 yard races, but for the half mile and one mile races there are no staggers. All competitors begin on the same start line.
FROM MICK STOKES (DATES UNKNOWN) Thank you for the latest edition. I do enjoy reading the tales and wish I had more to contribute myself.
Cliff Dunkley (1949-57) Passed away January 24th 2019 Read below a tribute to Cliff from old school friend Richard Thompson.
Roger Rimington (1959-65) passed away January 29th 2019, aged 70. Brian Screaton (1959-65) writes: I am sad to report the death of my oldest friend from City Boys. Roger and I became friends when we sat next to each other in 3 Alpha in 1960, and we lived not far from each other - he on Goodwood estate and me on Thurnby Lodge. Roger never married, and had no close relations, but he did have good circles of friends, especially at the Black Horse on Braunstone Gate, and also from the days when he and I were in a band in the late 1960's.
FROM JOHN RUDGE 1951-58 I was very saddened to read in the last OWT that Bill Lally and Andrew Radford had died. Bill started in September 1951, the same time as me. We were both in 1 Alpha and stayed in the same class through to the fifth form. I remember the Radford boys, particularly Andrew. He sometimes played the organ during assembly. He did it quite often when Mr Sykes was ill for a period (Even I got roped in to play at that time - I played at a local church)
FROM RICHARD THOMPSON 1949-56 Clifford Michael Dunkley 6 November 1938 - 24 January 2019. I first met Cliff in 1949 when he and I were both in 1A in our first year at City Boys. My birthday was quite early in the term and my parents suggested I invite some of my classmates to a party, so I invited Cliff, John Page, and John Tilbury. The four of us stayed in contact till Cliff's death, and all of us got jobs in education, Cliff in University Administration, and the rest of us teaching. After leaving City Boys' Cliff read English at St. Catherine's Oxford. The school usually sent students of English to Cambridge, but in those days the Cambridge English Faculty was dominated by F. R Leavis, whom Cliff abominated, so he went to St. Catherine's Oxford. While at Oxford Cliff amused himself by looking up details of Oxford graduates who taught at the school. When he checked Mr. Franey's record he discovered that Franey had studied not English but History. The discovery reminded Cliff of a conversation he'd had with Franey before leaving school. In those days undergraduates studying English at Oxford had to take a course in Anglo-Saxon in their first year, so conscientious Cliff had asked Franey for advice on Anglo-Saxon text books. Instead of saying that as a student of History he hadn't needed such a text book, Franey had said 'I can't remember what book we used'. Cliff never felt quite the same about Mr. Franey after that.
Cliff liked dressing up. At his 11th birthday party, the first occasion I visited his house, he wore an academic gown borrowed from a neighbour who had recently graduated - I don't remember from where or in what, but she had a gown and let Cliff borrow it. Much later Cliff built up a remarkable collection of hats. Sometimes when I had visitors Cliff would join us and entertain the gathering by modelling his hats. I can't remember them all, but recall a cardinal's hat, a WW2 gas mask, a yellow hat in the style favoured by some buddhist abbots, a skull cap that he wore when eating pork, a blond wig that was useful when he wanted to impersonate Boris Johnson, and a doctoral bonnet with detachable bee that could be added to signify that he had a bee in his bonnet. Once when I was expecting a visitor to arrive in Leicester by train Cliff volunteered to meet him at the railway station and appeared on the platform in the uniform of a naval chaplain. Sometimes Cliff would dress as a druid. He once appeared on Bob Gregory's doorstep thus attired, and when I had my house extended Cliff performed a druidic blessing of my enlarged kitchen. An excellent opportunity to dress up was provided by a group of Morris Dancers Cliff joined. He didn't dance but he provided the musical accompaniment on his violin. Morris dancers turned out in force at Cliff's funeral. Cliff was fascinated by academic dress, and was a member of the Burgon Society for which he wrote a paper on academic dress in the University of Leicester, where he worked as an administrator for many years and was involved in designing regalia for various degrees. I once accompanied him on a visit to Ede and Ravesncroft, a Cambridge firm that supplies academic dress for hire. They allowed Cliff to model numerous gowns and hoods so I could photograph him to provide illustrations for his paper. Cliff used to produce special Christmas cards showing himself wearing various hats and robes. Often he didn't have the necessary robes so he'd give me photographs of an appropriately robed functionary that I could edit by replacing that person's head with Cliff's. Making one person's head fit seamlessly onto someone else's body is quite tricky, and I laboured for hours removing errant pixels. As well as dressing up as other people, Cliff invented various personae holding offices in fictitious organisations. I produced letter heads for, amongst others: The Viscount Boddinick of Fowey: The Society of King Charles the Martyr, Leicestershire and Rutland Cell: Clifford, Archdruid of Mercia: Mr. Clifford M. Dunkley 'Keeper of the Cultures': The Society for the Suppression of Cruelty to Bacteria.
Cliff was fascinated by words and often outraged by clumsy or ambiguous phraseology and by the mixture of cliches and platitudes that often passes for thought. Woe betide anyone who in Cliff's hearing referred to a student of English as 'an English Student'. Whenever the waiter in a restaurant said just 'enjoy' Cliff would wince, and on the rare occasions a waiter said 'enjoy your meal' a delighted smile would spread across his face, and after the waiter had moved out of hearing he'd say 'A transitive verb!' He wrote a booklet entitled 'Let's Talk Leicester' describing local speech patterns. He published it himself and it was a moderate success. The local bookshops and the Information Office all stocked it, and the first edition of 1000 copies sold out so Cliff had more printed. Cliff liked to make up nick names for people, such as 'The Wicked Witch' for the Dean of Leicester, and 'Franey rabbit teeth' for the Senior English Master of our day. When we were in 4 alpha sometimes, just before one of Franey's lessons, unkind people would write on the blackboard 'Dunkley said Franey Rabbit Teeth' (I suspect the punctuation was incorrect, but Cliff would have been too fearful of detection to bother about that) so when Mr. F entered the room he'd find Cliff frantically cleaning the board. Franey used to greet the scene with an indulgent rabbit teeth smile, so I suspect he knew what was going on, though he never let on.The wording of notices was often closely scrutinised. I recall Cliff changing the punctuation of a notice in Newark castle exhibition centre - I don't recall exactly what he did but think it involved changing a comma to a semi-colon, or vice versa. Cliff was most indignant when the Leicester U3A, of which both he and I were members, adopted the spelling 'convenor' for the people who run study groups. At the time I was U3A web master, so in Cliff's honour I changed' convenor' to 'convener' throughout the website. Another of Cliff's hobbies was amending roadside signs by adding supplementary material. There is a village in Leicestershire called Sinope, and one day it struck Cliff that is the name of the Greek town in Asia Minor where the Philosopher Diogenes the Cynic used to live in his barrel. Cliff got me to print 'Birthplace of Diogenes' on a sheet of A4 paper in the largest available font, he then laminated it, and attached it as an amendment to the sign outside Leicestershire's Sinope. It stayed there for several weeks though I don't know whether it persuaded anyone to search Leicestershire's Sinope for relics of Diogenes. One often sees wayside notices indicating the twinning of some place of no particular significance with a similarly insignificant place overseas. That inspired Cliff to modify one of those wayside notices saying just 'Potatoes' by adding the words 'Twinned with Pommes de Terre'. We had difficulty in carrying out that project. We found a notice ripe for modification, but the farmer was pottering about in the vicinity. Cliff parked his car a discreet distance away and we waited for the farmer to go away, but formed the opinion that he was waiting for us to go away. In the end I photographed the sign and later digitally edited the photograph so that it appeared the sign had been modified.
Cliff was also a collector, not of things but of experiences of places visited. It was his ambition to visit as many prisons, crematoria and steam railways as possible. In the case of prisons a visit just amounted to getting sufficiently near the place to see it, but crematoria could be examined more closely. While I was accompanying him on a tour of Welsh steam railways we made a detour to inspect Colwyn Bay Crematorium, where Bertrand Russell (one of Cliff's heroes) was cremated. Cliff's funeral was a wonderful celebration of his many interests. It was held in the Norman church of St. Mary de Castro, where Cliff used to be vice chairman of the PCC. I estimate there were at least a hundred people present. The Lord's Prayer was said in Cornish, and there were tributes from his daughter and from a former colleague, and readings from Shakespeare and Tennyson. After the ceremony there was Morris dancing on the Castle Green. I think Cliff would have been delighted.
FROM JOHN GRAHAM 1956-63 I hated Leicester at first. Injury to my father forced us to leave farming and move into the city. I arrived at City Boys in that classic situation of being the first in my family to enter a grammar school, so I was already heavily burdened with the high expectations of parents. However, City Boys was good for me. I had first class teachers and splendid class mates. The only item that I continued to hate was that wretched cap. There was a brief moment of elation when Mr. Bell announced a possible change in headwear, followed by horror and disbelief as he suggested that a boater might be acceptable. Odd memories still pop up. I loved the staircase with stone steps worn concave by the passage of past students. I passed through the Lower School reasonably successfully. I was never particularly good at anything, but was a really boring, conscientious, hard-working pupil. In those days hard work could overcome limitations in ability, so "O" levels brought great joy to the parents. I even passed Maths (45%), thanks to the patience, ability, and determination of Mr. Remington. However, this fired the imagination of the parents. I had Maths and "an 'ology". The world must be my oyster. In the 6th form I was blessed with three exemplary teachers in Messrs. Franey, Smith, and Pace. English was my first love, but proved to be out of reach, so I switched to seeking to graduate in Geography.It is odd the way things work out. I remember Stephen Buckley arrived inauspiciously from the "B" streams, but went on to become Professor of Fine Art at the University of Reading. I left Leicester to study Geography in London, while my future wife lived in London and moved to Leicester, also to study Geography. One of her fellow students was John Kirby who had been a classmate of mine at City Boys. John was immensely likeable, with a passion for railways which he could make interesting to everyone. While engaged in my post-graduate course, I came out of the ULU building and bumped into Mr. Pace. We had a delightful chat and discovered that he had completed his teaching course at the same college. I drifted into teaching Geography, first in London and then in Gloucestershire. It was a secure job, sufficiently respectable, and carried a pension. You were unlikely to be sacked unless you molested a pupil or upset the Head or vice versa. Moreover, I did not know what else I wanted to do. It served us well. I retired as Deputy Head of a lovely rural comprehensive which has left good memories. A star 6th form girl, who has become quite famous, wrote an essay for the ecosystems paper. For 3 sides of A4 she consistently misspelt the word "organism". In retirement I have found what I really enjoy. I volunteer as a Cotswold Warden and spend happy hours in conservation work and learning new skills like hedgelaying. My wife has become an enthusiastic artist, while I have moved back to my artisan roots. We live on a former smallholding and keep busy spoiling the livestock, especially the grandchildren. Little Joseph has just returned from the woods, barefoot and carrying his "Star Wars" wellies because they are full of frogspawn for the ponds. We are determined that our brood will not grow up suffering "nature deficit disorder". Life is good....."
AND FINALLY... It would have been around 1962/63 when this rather unsavoury incident occurred. After almost sixty years I still think about it occasionally. For some reason we had been left temporarily unsupervised in the class room, and talk turned to 'What did your dad do in the war?' Most of us read comics featuring fearless, battle-hardened veterans and probably had a rather romanticised view of warfare. I was on safe ground here. My father, like most ex-servicemen in those days, never talked about the war, but I did know the basics. He was a Lance-Sergeant in the Grenadier Guards, the equivalent to a Corporal I believe, and had seen active service in Italy and North Africa. Blenkinsop (not his real name) was a rather tubby lad, hopeless at sport and not terribly academic, who kept himself to himself. He took no part in the discussion, but inevitably someone asked the question. Blenkinsop waa reluctant to answer, and could have invented a suitable reply, but under pressure revealed his dad had served in the Pay Corps. This produced much hilarity and contempt, along with accusations of cowardice. I remember feeling deeply disturbed and uncomfortable about the situation, but did nothing. Blenkinsop began to sob, tears running down his cheeks, and still I did nothing. That day I learned something about myself, and it was not good. My memory of the event ends there. Dennis J Duggan April 12th 2019