Wednesday 7 April 2021

Fwd: OWT 110 April 2021

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     APRIL 2021

   The mention of Andy Marlow's book about  CBS in this OWT prompted me to have another look at my own copy.  It really is a magnificent effort.  If you have your own copy do have another look, particularly at the introductory pages.  As Cliff Dunkley says, it is perhaps not really a book suitable for reading in a couple of sittings (Though that's what I did!) rather it is a valuable historical document for research.  Either way it is a jolly good read.

   Reading the piece by Paul Healey (Is that Higgs?) a thought crossed my mind a mere fifty four years after leaving CBS.  The four houses represented the first four letters of the alphabet.  Was there any significance in this, or simply a coincidence?  (Abbey, Bradgate, Charnwood, De Montfort)

   Mrs Jenny Downes informs me that Dave Downes  (1954-58)  Passed away November 11th 2020 after a short illness - not Covid.  "For those who may remember Dave, they will know he was quite a character, who will be missed by many."
Arthur John Larrad (1942-47) recently passed away aged 89

FROM TERRY DESBOROUGH  1958-65  The Perils of Being a Dinner Monitor
  Having been fed lunch every day at school as a young pupil I had no idea what was to unfold.  As I became a member of the sixth form I was granted some privileges – little did I know what horrors were to befall me!
At lunch time we trooped across the back yard of Clarence House to a large asbestos shed which had been converted to a canteen. There were about fourteen tables, each seating twelve expectant hungry personages, some of the hierarchy but mostly lower plebeians. On each table sat a master with a sixth former next to him at the top of the table. The sixth former, at this time I was one of them, went to the serving hatch to take possession of the Manna from heaven, usually in the form of a tray of something and two tureens of something else. I found through experience that a tray of something was a Godsend to me, as I had to distribute some sort of pie cut into equal portions – a doddle. Then I had to dollop some sort of vegetable from each tureen onto a plate and pass it to the plebeian on my left for him to pass it on all the way round the table until the it reached the master. There it would stop, until my next ministration was completed and sent to the next hungry plebeian. This continued until all the hungry plebs were given something to eat, BUT NOT YET. The food was by now cold, but we had to say Grace. Then we could tuck in. It wasn't bad food. My absolute nemesis was, instead of a tray of equal portions, a third tureen which contained an unknown amount of food. It was usually something like braised steak. This was a tureen full of gravy with an unknown amount of something lurking at the bottom. I remember my first attempt at serving this unknown quantity. I started off by spooning out a portion of meat. I thought that there would be twelve equal portions of braised steak. So, on I went giving what I thought was a portion of braised steak. After about four servings I suddenly realised there was very little steak left, so I had to reduce the amount I was serving. After two more servings all I was left with was some potatoes and some gravy and that's all the rest of the table had for dinner, including the master and me. I am sure that four pupils, myself and the master, were hungry all day after that.

I don't know how it happened, but I drifted to the kitchen and helped the ladies in there to clear tables, wash cutlery and generally tidy up. I remember they held a special dinner for a swimmer who came in after doing his training at Vestry Street baths. One day the ladies were putting the trays back into the insulated containers to return to the kitchens and found they had not served a whole tray of lemon tart and were concerned they would be in trouble for this. It was about to put it into the pig bin when I said I could eat it, which I did – all of it!!

Happy times at City Boys School.
  I stayed on in the sixth form awaiting my entry into university (The Royal Veterinary College) spending most of my time in the biology laboratory with Mr Willan. He was always known as Flo Willan but not many people realised this was because of his signature – RFL Willan – he curled the last letter so it looked like an "o".  I spent most of the time in the last year trying to prepare sections of onion roots with a purple stain to show mitochondrion, or some such component of a plant cell. All I managed to do was stain everything else purple. I could have been Emperor for the amount of purple on my clothes and the furniture around my desk.  Anyway, happy times.

FROM DON HURD  1944-52   The editor's mention of being knocked unconscious by a football reminded me of an incident when I was at the school.  I was never very keen on soccer, either as a player or spectator, but on one of the weekly sessions at Grace Road I was put in goal.  Most of the play was at the other end of the pitch.  It was a chilly day, and I trotted about to keep warm, slipped and broke two fingers.  I think that was my only sports injury - and I was nowhere near the ball!  Sorry to hear that Ivor Bufton has passed away.  He was good at soccer, and was, I think, in the school team.

FROM KASH SAHOTA  1974-81   I started at CBS in 1974, and having Indian parents English was not spoken much at home, so I probably had some catching up to do.  I believe our English teacher for Years 1 and 2 was Ged Holden, though he might just have been filling in.  He was easily distracted, and in the warmer months he spent a lot of time in the cricket nets.  I can't say his lessons were not fun, because they were, but after the Year 2 exams I found myself in the remedial class for Year 3.  The teacher was Mrs Tozer (nee Land)  Good progress was made over the next three years, and I ended up with an 'O' level and CSE1 in English Language and CSE1 in English Lit.  Not bad!
For many years I used the same barber, Lawrence from Hairdesign, and when he retired in 2014 he invited his longstanding customers to a farewell bash.  There were probably twenty or so there, on a long table in the restaurant.  We began chatting, and it turned out there was an ex-teacher from CBS from the 1970's.  YES, it was Ged Holden!  Having recovered from the astonishment, I must admit I gave him some grief over his teaching methods.  I'm not sure he appreciated it, but it had to be done!

FROM BRIAN COPE  1954-62   Sorry to report that Bob Davenport died last June in Adelaide, where he had lived for many years.  We remember him as one of the finest cricketers the school produced.  He recalled every run scored, and where he scored it.  Bob was the first to score a century for the school and, had we had full day matches, he would have scored many more.  In terms of technique and temperament he was a nonpareil.  He was also a fine footballer.

FROM JOHN 'JAKE' BLAIKIE  1955-62   I have just learned from Brian Cope and Dave Atton that Bob Davenport has passed away.  This sad news is somewhat sobering, as it was someone from my exact era.  I knew Bob was in Adelaide, because Brian was in contact with him some years ago on an Ashes trip.  Dave Warburton was also in Adelaide, and Jim Gilfedder in Alice Springs.  I recently discovered John O'Grady in remote Eastern Victoria, and Ian Neill is still in Canberra.  Brian makes reference to Bob's outstanding cricketing abilities.  Brian should remember my stunning one-handed catch to dismiss Fred Embury off Bob's bowling, but will prefer to remember my failing to repeat that feat against Davenport.

FROM DAVE ATTON  1955-62   (This message was originally sent to Brian Cope - Ed)  I did not know Bob Davenport as well as you, and essentially our paths crossed in that one 1961-62 football season.  Bob was two years behind you, and one behind me.  The concentration, discipline and tenacity necessary to be a good batsman, when garnished with a layer of flare and creativity topped off with extreme competitiveness, made him a fine cricketer.  Did he captain the crickes first XI the year after you?  I also remember Bob had a sense of humour and a willingness to laugh, even giggle, when his funny bone was tickled.  These attributes he brought to the football First XI.  Although not fast for a right winger (Contrast Lampard on the left wing) his strength, stamina and creativity contributed massively to that fine season in which you and I were privileged to participate.  I did correspond with Bob once, years ago.  Unlike his cricket career, of which he 'remembered every run and where he scored it' he claimed no detailed recollection of his contribution to that splendid football season.  It was clear where his sporting passion lay and, possibly, why he chose Adelaide (Don Bradman connection!)  PS:  In Andy Marlow's fine book there are photos of Bob on page 126 and 139

FROM DENNIS BIGGS  1949-56   Our form master in 1949, in 1 Alpha, was Spiv Beaumont, who also taught us History.  He was a flamboyant, handsome character with swept-back hair and flowing gown, just as I pictured teachers from Tom Brown's Schooldays  or the Jennings books.  I think he left after my first year.  Our French teacher was Mr Nockels, and I recall joining a school trip to Paris with him.  We stayed in a boarding school near Versailles, which was memorable for its smelly plumbing.  Of course we visited all the sites, including the top of the Eiffel Tower, which was very exciting just a few years after the war.  This began my love affair with France, and the French language, and a couple of years later Bob Gregory, Brian Clay and myself undertook a cycling tour of Northern France, ending up in the outskirts of Paris.  It was quite an adventure, and we were pretty brave to do the journey with little money and clapped out bicycles.  In fact our parents should be commended for allowing us to go on such a trip aged only fourteen or fifteen.  I doubt this would be allowed today.  My memory is hazy after so many years, but we stayed in in some pretty basic youth hostels on the way from Dieppe, Chartres, Orleans and Evreux.
After taking my 'A' levels I joined Jones & Shipman, machine tool manufacturers, of Narborough Road South, as an apprentice, and was fortunate to spend one year at an associate company in Strasbourg.  This was a wonderful time for me, as I was able to study part time at Strasbourg University to perfect my French and enjoy the freedom to taste Gallic life to the full.
In 1955 I took the entrance exam for Exeter College, Oxford, for Modern Languages, but was unsuccessful.  Still, I spent a week there experiencing university life.  Later Mr Brushe told me there were only two places for ninety candidates, so I was not too disappointed.  Later I went to Birmingham University to take Economics and Russian, which launched my later career with the trading arm of Guinness Mahon Merchant Bank.  I spent almost five exciting years travelling in Russia and Eastern Europe, doing deals for major turnkey projects for the Bentley/Mellor Bromley Group.  This was a dangerous time to work in the area, and I had a number of hairy adventures behind the Iron Curtain which made life somewhat tricky at times.  In 1967 I married and had to give up this risky life, so joined Molins of Deptford SE London, manufacturers of cigarette-making and packing machinery, as their European Sales Manager.
Later I worked for Baker Perkins, Peterborough, manufacturers of food processing machinery; Babcock & Wilcox in their construction machinery division; Neil and Spencer, manufacturers of laundry and dry cleaning machinery.  I spent the final twelve years of my career working in Germany, so had an enjoyable life travelling the world as an international bagman.  Now I have the opportunity to travel at a more leisurely pace.
Our German teacher in 3 Alpha was Mr Goddard, who hammered the basics of German grammar into us.  Later we were taught by Mr Hantuch, who I am ashamed to say the class tortured mercilessly for the problems resulting from the aftermath of the war.  Eventually Bill Brushe took over, and we were able to settle down and learn the language at a higher level.  Before beginning my apprenticeship I undertook a solo cycle trip through Belgium and Luxembourg to Germany.  I particularly remember the journey along the Moselle valley from Trier to Koblenz and along the Rhine to Cologne.  It is a journey I want to undertake again, but at a leisurely pace by car - once the travel restrictions are lifted, of course.  It is a wonderful part of the world, whch I can heartily recommend.
When I finished my apprenticeship, and before going to university, I spent a year working in Nuremburg.  This was arranged by British Cellophane through the Leicester Chamber of Commerce.  I would like to express my thanks to Leicester Council for giving me a grant towards my university studies, and to state I feel the present system of student loans is very unfair compared to the free university education we enjoyed.
In 1949 the Headmaster (The Beak) was Mr Crammer, his deputy was Bud Fisher.  Both left after my first year, to be followed by Messrs Pedley and Bufton.  I was in Bradgate House (Red) our Housemaster was Johnny Jeeves.  The house system was more prominent in those days, when we had house assemblies and there was rivalry in sports - particularly soccer and swimming.  I was sorry to read of the recent passing of Ivor Bufton, I recall him as a Prefect in my early years.  At the ripe old age of 82 I find it strange how much of my CBS education I can remember, along with the names of nearly all my classmates.  We have lost touch with so many.  Now, sadly,  Bob Gregory, Richard Thomson, Graham Morton and John Page are the only contemporaries I connect with at the reunions.  How nice it would be to find other classmates who have disappeared off the radar.  I hope to attend the 2021 reunion, if at all possible.

When I joined Wyvernians I recalled I might have memorabilia from my schooldays in my attic; so checked and found I had several copies of the Wyvernian school magazine from 1962 to 64 (my 6th form years) and a cricket diary I kept of school matches for the same years. I thought my diary account of the staff/student cricket match in 1964 might be of interest. Here it is.
"Mr Lawrence, winning the toss, put the school into bat. Davenport and Evatt began well, forcing away the bowling, particularly of Mr White. It took the cunningly flighted leg breaks of Mr Lowe to dismiss Evatt (for 24) and Davenport (22) followed quickly, a victim of the persistently accurate Mr Thornton. Moore batted fiercely for 27, attacking all the bowling and was unlucky to be run out. Ball (5) and Leaman (2) took a great deal of time for very little and, in contrast, Hanson's 13 was off one over. My last wicket partnership with McCullough produced 25 runs, bringing the score to 159. The successful staff bowlers were Thornton (3-48) and Lawson (3-48) with Lowe's three overs yielding 3-26. 
The staff innings began very slowly. Mr Mann took half an hour for his 5 and Mr Palmer snicked his way to 36. After a brief flourish from Mr Kierney (7), Mr Lowe and Mr Lawrence's partnership promised to be dangerous. Mr Lowe seemed to tire, however, owing to Mr Lawrence's enthusiastic quick singles and, attempting to hook me, he stood on his wickets and out for 19. Mr Lawrence was well caught by Ball shortly afterwards for 16. When Mr Lawson's off stump was removed by a furious delivery from Moore it seemed the staff would lose, but resilient batting by Mr Thornton (19) and Mr Scott (9) saw them bat out for a draw. Most of the student bowling was by Johnson 3-43 a
nd Moore 3-46."  Having played for the school for three years, I also made notes about some of those I had played with. Here are some extracts. 
"Brian Cope for his wit and ruthless approach to cricketers, if not to cricket, the curve of his arm in his delivery and the bite of the ball as it pitched – matched by his bite of a meat pie in the Cricketers after the game. 'Fred' Embury, the solid keeper with a reputation for safety and an appeal that many a county stumper would envy. Geoff Pullen, who took Fred's place in '64, with his athletic dives to stop the impossible and mistakes to let go the easy ones. Stephen Hunt for his easy run up and contrasting eccentric deliveries. 'Bugs' Bayliss for his unconventional approach to the game, his filthy flannels, his queer run up, his capacity for beer, his accuracy and his sightless batting. John William Graham Tomlinson – 'Tommo'- for his matchless self confidence, his speed, his machine-like run up and delivery, his powerful batting and his precisely thrown darts. Bob Evatt because he didn't much like the game yet was so good at it. Bob Moore for his fearsome beamer which swung in at your head so late. Craig Shelton for his uninspiring batting, his far too fast throws to the wicket yet his likeable eccentricity. But most of all Bob Davenport for his silky off drives, his Bradman-like cut and his seeming impregnability in the nets (at least to me). Yet he never seemed set early on and his singles were those of a beginner. I always believed he never got his dues. As a batsman I felt he should not have been fallible early on; it wasn't fair. As a captain he was hard done by having a team none of which came close to his abilities. He should have been hounded by the county, begging for his services. It was such a waste, there should be need for him to do anything else but play cricket.'

I recently heard that Bob had died. You may gather from what I wrote in my diary that he was an excellent cricketer. 'Dave' Lawrence who managed us all, himself a high quality club cricketer, recognized this in what he said about Bob in the Wyvernian at the end of the 1964 season:

'Davenport's four seasons with the 1st XI have made him one of the most mature of schoolboy cricketers…..One of his most pleasing performances of the season was against our local rivals Gateway, when he scored his maiden century, believed to be unique in the history of the school and he is to be highly congratulated upon his achievement.'

But for me, Bob was also a friend who I spent time with outside school. We played knock about cricket with others on Victoria Park; we downed a pint or two in city pubs with 'Bugs' Bayliss and sometimes Brian Cope, then returned to Bob's to play three card brag, served cheese and ham sandwiches by his mum till the early hours. I lost contact with him when we left school, which I regret, but remember him fondly. He was good mate.

The piece by Stef Wozowczyk included in the last newsletter triggered a few memories for me as Stef and I were in the same year.  He mentions his friend of the time, Nick Weston, who again was part of the 1965 intake (the first year at Downing Drive) and this reminded me of a common link the three of us had.  It was certainly not an academic connection as my studying was woeful compared to theirs. It was Rugby that brought us together, when the game was first introduced to City Boys by Geoff Elliott.  He initially started a first XV in 1965 and it wasn't until 1967 that a third year XV was formed, which is when the three of us took up the game. Nick Weston I remember as an agile scrum half whilst Stef was a bit of a flyer at centre or on the wing.
As is widely acknowledged CBS was a football school, and a very good one at that, so the introduction of rugby must have been quite a
challenge for Mr Elliott. I believe he had one hell of a fight to get the one pitch sanctioned on the playing field let alone the task of convincing boys to play!  Having only started in the 3rd form we took some fearful beatings in the initial years against other schools that had already been playing for 2 years, but by the time we arrived in the sixth form we held our own against most teams, with the exception of Wyggeston who were always very strong. By this time, Mr Elliott had moved on and the mantle of Rugby master had been picked up by Mac Bryan, and it was Mac who also inducted a number of us into club rugby at Westleigh RFC.  It turned out to be the start of what has proved to be a life-long love of rugby for me.

FROM KEN WARD  1959-66  (Continuing Ken's memoirs - Ed)  There was no improvement in my academic status as I moved from 3B to 4B. This move was accompanied by a move to the main school in the Leicester City Centre where I was to spend the next 3 years. The building was very old and I remember very clearly the stone steps on the main stairway that were worn away with age and the canteen (grub hut) that was a left over from the second world war or so it seemed. I cannot remember too much about the times in the fourth year apart from I believe this is when I started playing chess seriously, and my classroom was next to the staff room and not far from the headmaster's study. I do remember one incident which meant I had to go to see the headmaster with my parents. At the time I did not know why, so I was petrified. I'd had a day off school because my dad's car broke down returning from a journey and I did not make it to school the next day. My mum must have written a note which had said I was out all night and didn't get home until the early hours but hadn't given the whole story. So Mr Bell thought I was out on the tiles. In those days the teachers and headmaster were keen to ensure that students at their school trod the correct path outside of school as well as inside, and I think to some extent really cared. 

In the sixties SHE stood for the opposite sex and not for the actions during the laboratory practicals. I remember clearly two episodes in the old chemistry lab. Wooden benches, high stools and chemicals in glass bottles with glass stoppers. They were all there, nitric acid, sodium hydroxide etc. On this occasion I had my eye on the concentrated sulphuric acid – not the ordinary sulphuric acid!! – it had to be concentrated. What does it smell like, I thought? I took the bottle from the shelf that ran along the bench and took a big sniff rather than wafting the fumes over the bottle as we were taught. I gave a big gasp as I knew something was wrong, and as I exhaled there were fumes coming out of my mouth. Fortunately after two or three breaths the fumes had disappeared before the teacher came into the room. Those few seconds were very long indeed. On another occasion one of my classmates - I think it was Andy Barnes (Barnsy) made some nitrogen triiodide (which is easy to make with iodine crystals and ammonia solution) If I remember correctly when the nitrogen triiodide solution dries on the work top it becomes explosive! During the lesson, when the work top was tapped it gave a 'crack' – bit like the noise made by the cap-gun, which were all the rage in the sixties. The teacher was wise to the noise and quickly homed in on the culprit. He went over and ran a sheet of paper over the surface with the result of a large 'crack'. Not sure if it left the teacher with a scorch mark on his hand or not.

W.A.G. Pace was a great geography teacher. The undertone of 'wag wag wag' could be heard as he entered the room. It was not in any way mischievous but a warm welcome to a really gentle person. I recall the stories he used to tell about being at school in London. He recalled the time when bananas were being imported to the UK through the local docks and how he was given the role of 'banana skin monitor' to prevent any slip accidents. Maybe this was the birth of S.H.E. Mr Pace sometimes had a quick 20 questions at the start of his lesson. Mick McCloughlin and I used to sit together at the back of the class. We would normally cheat – and come close to the top of the class. Most of the class knew but Wag didn't, or he turned a blind eye. I was a bit miffed one day when Mick out-cheated me. I got 19 and he got 19½. In Class 4B I believe I had turned the corner. My results were getting better – in the sciences – although still had a problem with the arts and languages. Mathematics was probably my favourite class as I was always in contention with Derek Seaby who later on went on to read mathematics at university somewhere - I think London.

There are times in your life when fortune comes along as I said earlier - the key parts in your life when a particular event has helped you along the way. If this event had not come along where would I be now? The first event was just passing the eleven plus exam and then, secondly, being accepted into City Boys.  At the end of the year in Class 4B we'd had our usual end of year exams, but one morning the headmaster came into the classrooms and called out a small number of us to take another exam without warning. No modules, no late night or early-morning revision. No, just get your pencils, erasers, log-books and your arses and go immediately to the main-hall. I remember nothing of the exam or the results, but later found I had been streamed into the fifth year science stream, called 5S. This may have been the third good fortune.

FROM PAUL NEWCOMBE  1959-64   Thanks to Kenny Ward for letting me know how I got the nickname Spook.  I always thought it was because it rhymed with Newc, but I understand the logic.  Happily the girls liked my ghostly look.  I do remember the black eye given to me by Kenny during one of our fights.  My weight and build have not changed much in the fifty seven years since I left school in 1964, and I am fortunate to still play tennis and golf.  I gave up cross country and skiing several years ago to preserve my knees.  I enjoyed cross country at school as it was an afternoon out, but there was always a big problem by the name of Johnny Offord, who I could never catch.  There was some consolation when a teacher caught me smoking in the air raid shelter at the annual sports day.  He gave me a choice: run for Charnwood House in the relay, or be reported to Mr Bell.  I chose the former, and to everyones surprise Charnwood won the relay, with Abbey in second place.  Several articles have mentioned Jock Gilman.  I could not swim, and on my first visit to the pool Jock told me to jump in at the deep end, keep to the edge and try to swim the full length of the pool.  I thought he said to keep to the edge in case I got into trouble, but actually it was so Jock  could hook me with his pole.  Seriously, he hooked my shorts and yanked me up at least four times when I sank.  Before I reached the shallow end I had learned to swim, and never got hooked again.  I also recollect going into a fenced yard across the road, during breaks.  There was nothing to do there but hang around  (I think it was called The Pen - Ed)  I have a memory of listening to the radio, in particular the Cassius Clay vs Sonny Liston fight on February 25th 1964.

Many have mentioned the Bayliss' stale cakes.  I was very lucky to meet my uncle, who was their window cleaner, at Bayliss' every day around 7.45am, to collect a box of stales to eat or sell.  My entrepreneurship did not begin with stale cakes, previously I had a sideline in the second year selling cigarettes and magazines.  That ended when the caretaker shopped me to Mr Wardle as I would not cut him (The caretaker) in on the action.  Mr Wardle raided my desk and confiscated the stash and cash.  Needless to say Mr Bell was not impressed, and marched me round the city to every place where I had bought the fags and mags.  He let the owners/managers know in no uncertain terms that it was illegal to sell such things to under-age kids.  He even confronted the owner of the amusement arcade where I did odd jobs after school.  A guy there sold cigarettes that might have fallen off the back of a lorry.  I think he was more angry that I had purchased the stuff whilst wearing school uniform.  One of the smoke shops was by the clock tower and sold exotic brands such as Black Russian and Turkish perfumed cigarettes.  These were the most in demand, in singles or twos.

Does anyone remember when the shoe representative came to Elbow lane?  I think it was Brevitts.  They wanted volunteers to wear a new line of shoes so they could analyse the wear and tear.  I picked the pointiest pair of black leather winkle pickers in the sample case and proudly strutted round the school yard.  Several days later Mr Wardle collared me  made it clear I was not to wear those shoes to school.  I did not appreciate school, and could not wait to leave.  Being one of the youngest I actually left at fifteen, just before my sixteenth birthday, after taking 'O' levels.  Mr Bell had told me that I would either spend my life in prison or be a successful business man (Just before he caned me for the cigarette sales)  I chose the latter path, and looking back the routine, discipline and work ethic really did provide me with a solid foundation for later life.  To the school, and the teachers who did not give up on us, I say thank you.  I hope the pranks and the trouble I caused, in and out of class, were not too disruptive.

FROM KEITH WRIGHT  1948-54   Around 1953, when teaching American history to the Science VI, Chas Howard rermarked, 'If you want to be a Duke or an Earl in the United States you need to be christened with those names.  Sixty seven years on, through export or exile, a real Duke and Duchess now live on the US West Coast.  Given due patience a Prince and, one hopes, a Princess, will be added to this outpost of the royal family.  That's a turn up which could hardly have been anticipated all those years ago  (I don't normally print anything political or controversial in OWT, but as there is a tenuous CBS link I have included Keith's contribution - Ed)

FROM STEFAN WOZOWCZYK  1965-72   With regards to membership of Wyvernians I don't think it really matters which school site you attended.  Indeed, I would like to hear what happened to others in later years.  Where are the girls?  I didn't know what a girl was until I was eighteen, Spencefield Lane notwithstanding.  For me it was all about the teachers, some of whom had a longevity stretching over two or even three sites.  They had nicknames which changed from one generation to the next.  What say we compile an index?  Those teachers will surely not mind.  I can remember most of ours, and none are offensive.  I'm surprised that no one has pointed out that Bob Gregory, and his Morris Minor, lived on Glenfield Road next door to Engelbert Humperdinck.  Perhaps we could add this kind of thing to the web site and facebook as a list of teachers, with mini biographies.  Very old Wyverninans had best get writing.  Allow nothing insulting, but fun-poking allowed.  Who did, or did not, spend an entire woodwork lesson being taught how to play shove halfpenny?  Wally Wardle stories would probably be the longest entry and I think he'd like that - he did care for us as a teacher.  We could have an ANON section for classic stuff which needs to remain uncredited.  'Wozowczyk, you are nowhere near as clever as you think you are.  You are a cretin.'  I was very young, and had to look up 'cretin' in the dictionary.

FROM ALAN PYKETT  1959-66   Another excellent edition of OWT to which I would like to add three comments. Firstly, just to confirm the four houses and respective colours, certainly for the years I was at the school, were Abbey (green) Bradgate (red ) Charnwood (yellow) and De Montfort  (blue)  I was assigned to Bradgate. It is difficult to say which was the best house during my time as they all excelled in different ways from sporting to academic. However I would say Charnwood, but that is pure speculation. Secondly, one of your correspondents, I believe, mentioned looking at old exam papers. I have retained all twenty one reports from the school (three per year) and the "O" level and "A" level examination papers which we were allowed to keep. In particular, if I look at the "O" level paper for mathematics, which I did pass, I cannot now understand the questions let alone answer them! Incidentally I still have my four reports from Charnwood Street junior school. These were only issued annually. For some time I kept all my exercise books from City Boys but then disposed of them, which is a source of some regret, but storage may have been a problem. Finally, a very interesting article from John O'Grady. Although I don't think John stated which form he was in during the first year I am fairly sure it was 1B, the same class as myself. My theory is also born out by the masters he quotes with their respective subjects. For the record I can add Chas Howard (history) Chalky White (English) Bill Sykes (French) Bob Dennis (general science and form master) and Jock Gilman (PE) Wally Wardle, in addition to teaching geography also took the woodwork class that year.

 AND FINALLY...   Wally Wardle is often mentioned in OWT.  Like him or loathe him, Wally was such a character he left an indelible mark on all who knew him.  He lived in a detached Edwardian house on Aylestone Road, almost opposite Middleton Street.  When I joined CBS in 1959, Wally cycled to and from school on a push bike, and one morning this led to a rather alarming  incident.  As many readers know, at the end of 1959 and early 1960 I played truant several times.  On one occasion I fancied a change from the town centre, and alighted from the No 24 Corporation bus at the junction with Saffron Lane and Aylestone Road.  I had just crossed over to Raw Dykes Road when I saw something which struck terror into my twelve-year-old heart.  Wally was pedalling steadily from the direction of the gas works, though the slight incline had slowed him down.  There seemed no escape, no cover, but then I noticed I was standing next to a green GPO telephone cabinet.  They are still about, so you will know what I mean.  There was just enough room for me to squeeze behind it, and I crouched down, shut my eyes and prayed.  A few seconds passed, though it seemed like hours, and nothing happened.  I risked a peek, and was relieved to see Wally  and his bike receding into the distance.  Miraculously I had got away with it!  By the time we moved to Elbow Lane Wally had graduated to a c1956 New-Look Hillman Minx, no doubt purchased via Jock Gilman at Mates' Rates.

In 1961 my family moved from a council house, 5 Tamerton Road, on the Monsell (No one referred to it as Eyres Monsell) to a private house on the new Fairfield Estate in South Wigston.  13 Norfolk Road to be exact.  This meant a change of bus route to and from school, and the best option was the No 87 Corporation bus.  The terminus was a five-minute walk away on Sturdee Road, opposite The Exchange shops.  The route went along Aylestone Road, past Wally's  house.  One morning he was at the stop opposite Wigston Lane, so the Hillman must have been in dock.  The bus was almost full, and from the top deck I had a grandstand view as Wally stepped onto the platform.  To my delight the conductor held up his hand, and I heard him say, 'Sorry, sir, we're full.'  How I loved that moment, his face was a picture.  Incidentally it was widely held that his mottled complexion was the result of burns suffered when his fighter plane was shot down during the war - which in 1959 was still a vivid memory for many people.  We boys knew all about it from our comics, so the theory seemed plausible.

Dennis J Duggan  April 7th 2021