Thursday 13 October 2022

Fwd: OWT116 Oct 2022

TEL 01938 555574   07804 520730  

LUNCH 2022   Wednesday October 12th at Clarence House.  I hear the event was a great success, with about twenty five people enjoying an excellent meal - and excellent service - courtesy of Age UK.  Many thanks to Brian, Frank and John for making the arrangements. 
To see a few photos on Facebook (courtesy of John Hames) click/tap HERE 

   With the passing of the Queen, and her funeral, my thoughts went back to 1952 when her father, King George VI, died.  I was in 4 Alpha at the time, and recall Mr Gould, our form master and English teacher, informing us of his death.  As far as I can recall, we were sent home for the day.  The radio played solemn music for days, and as a result we missed our favourite programmes.  We did not have a TV set at the time.  The coronation took place in 1953, and the whole city centre was decorated with bunting.  But it was a miserable, damp day.  We crowded in front of a neighbour's small TV to watch the ceremony and procession.  It was a day to remember, and we also had the news that Mount Everest had been conquered by Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tensing.  One other hazy memory goes back to, I think, 1946 when King George and Queen Elizabeth visited Leicester.  We were taken from Humberstone Junior School to Victoria Park to wave to the royal party as they paraded through the city.  That was my only contact with the royal family, as despite living in London for the past fifty seven years I have never managed to attend another royal event.  I'm sure Queen Elizabeth II visited Leicester several times, but by then I was on my travels.  I wonder what my old school friends recall of these events?

NEW FB PAGE   Mick Howell (1973-80) has created a new facebook page for ex-pupils who joined CBS in 1973  (Search fb for City of Leicester Boys' School 1973 joiners) or go straight to  The 'committee' feel this is a good idea.  When I re-formed Wyvernians I was fifty years old, next month I will be seventy five.  Way back in 1998 it made sense to restrict membership to pre-1976, but as time passes the current Wyvernians will gradually continue to fade away.  New blood will help it to survive, though I suspect that many people (including me) have no attachment to Downing Drive.  But perhaps we can also say the Downing Drive contingent have no attachment to Humberstone Gate!
On that topic, you might have noticed that OWT is now much shorter than it used to be.  That is because there is a shortage of material.  After 116 editions, and several hundred thousand words, those Old Boys who wanted to share their memories have done so.  Perhaps it's time to pull the plug?

OBITUARIES   Dennis Leavesley (1943-48) passed away earlier this year.
I received the following message from Brian Screaton - Ed  Some sad news - Old Wyvernian Malcolm Law has passed away.  He did not attend any reunions, and as far as I know he was not on our email list, but some of you may remember him.  I think he was at CBS around the same time as me - 1959-65.  I came to know him again when I was a volunteer on the Great Central Railway, and an obituary appeared in the railway's newsletter.
John Williamson informed me that his uncle, Tom Williamson (1946-51) passed away December 2021.  He was living in Namibia, near Swakopmund, which was the location for the remake of The Prisoner.

FROM HOWARD TOON  1950-57   Memories fade with the passage of time, but with reference to your And Finally... of OWT115, and your account of Jock Gilman as a sports teacher, I have a different recollection, and recall my first introduction to Pirates in the gym.  Jock had lowered the ropes from the ceiling, and set up a number of vaulting horses in a carefully calculated circle.  He leapt at one of the ropes, causing it to swing towards its neighbour, and transferred himself to it Tarzan-style before landing on a vaulting horse.  From there he launched himself at another rope, and continued until he had completed the circle.  Most of us looked on in amazement, then trepidation, as he ordered us to emulate his performance.  He was also quite good at reaching up to a horizontal bar and pullimg himself up by his arms until his chin touched the bar.  But his most memorable trick involved a. vaulting box with twin semi-circular hoops embedded in the top.  He would jump smoothly on the box, grasp the handles one in each hand then swing his legs in a circular path, lifting each hand in turn to allow his lags to pass between his hand and the hoop.  The speed and co-ordination all but decived the eye.  But mostly he just stood.  May he rest in peace.  In passing I note that Steve Mellor, in the same issue, refers to Grit Whitbread.  In my day the nickname was Aunty Gritty, because of his very frequent use of the word integrity when trying to instil some sense of mature behaviour during his classes.  Perhaps this is where the shortened pseudonym came from?  Not many people know that...

FROM STEVE MELLOR  1960-66   At the risk of becoming too-regular a contributor I was interested to see there is a memorial bench for Grii Whitbread in Oadby.  My thought was, why Oadby?  When I was at CBS, and until I left the UK a little more than thirty years ago, his residence was Abbot's Oak, an imposing house on the corner of Abbot Road and Main Street, facing what was then Humberstone Junior School.  Michael Hadden (German, amongst other subjects) had been a near-neighbour of mine in Humberstone Garden Suburb.  With a few other Old Boys (Richard McMorran, Chris Chapman, Gerald Zoot Taylor, Ian Small, Brian Tosh Jordan, to name some) hailing from the area it appears to have been a source of multiple talent.  Noting the greeting from John Williamson, Hola from sunny Spain to you.  We probably had more contact with each other after leaving school, mainly at the Crown & Thistle, Loseby Lane.  It has always puzzled me how you picked up the nickname Zop - and whatever happened to the dud Czechs?  Answers on a postcard please...

FROM JOHN WILLIAMSON  1960-66??   Loseby Lane, they were the days.  My Zop handle was the invention of Martin Stuart.  The progression was from Williamson to Billson to Billso, but the last seemed incomplete so he moved on to Zopo  then finally settled on Zop.  Following on from this, it occurred to me that life might throw completely different things at someone whose forename was Elvis compared with what it might throw at someone christened Cuthbert, for example.  To put this to a sort of test, at university I told my new chums that I was always known as Arthur.  Moving to Chelmsford I initially became Ace, and more recently JAWS  (Which is a slight misordering of the sequence of my initials)  The obvious and fatal limitations of the different forenames/different experiences notion is that unless you can simultaneously interact with two sets of people and circumstances, one as Elvis the other as Cuthbert, there is no basis for comparison.
And a message to Steve Mellor.  The Czech twins, actually Anglo-German-Czech...  The lovely Madeleine I married, and we are still married.  Patricia, the equally lovely sister, married a reasonably-famous architect who was on nodding terms with Richard Rogers.  Sadly, Patricia died a few years back.  Both sisters worked in the fashion and design business.

FROM ALAN PYKETT   As the years roll on it becomes increasingly difficult to know what to write about.  However, one word which has come to mind recently is fag - but not yhe cigarette variety.  I was thinking of it in relation to our school, and whilst there was no fagging system as in Tom Brown's Schooldays (a film I never tire of watching) there was a reference to the word on my first day at CBS in 1959.  The first and second years were based in the Lee Circle annexe, and I remember our caps, which we had dutifully and proudly been wearing, were removed by the second-year cohort and we were 'forced' to run a fags' gauntlet whilst being gently swatted with our caps.  They were returned to us - presumably they bore our names.  In retrospect it was good fun, and we looked forward to doing the same when we began our second year.  But following the demolition of the huts in the summer of 1960 that would be at Elbow Lane.  At that point the tradition was stopped by the school, so the 1959 intake was the last to undergo it.  Happy days.

   September 1959, the end of the long, carefree, summer holiday and my first day at CBS.  I recall feeling very worried and despondent the previous evening, as I had no real idea what was in store.  At the time we lived at 5 Tamerton Road, on The Monsell  (No one referred to it as the Eyres Monsell Estate) and tomorrow I would have to go on a bus and walk through the town by myself for the first time.  It was decided I would use the No 24 Corporation bus, which had its terminus at the top of Saffron Lane.  The fare was 2d, though I was soon issued with a bus pass, and I alighted in Bowling Green Street.  Presumably there had been a reconnaissance at some point, as I knew where to go.  Horsefair Street, Gallowtree Gate, Humberstone Gate, Clarence Street, Lee Circle.  I joined the other new boys in the playground, but have no recollection of any initiation rites regarding school caps etc.  I must have forgotten.  So there I was, my new uniform crisp and clean, black shoes polished.  Most of us were in short trousers.  After a while a master blew a whistle, and we were told to form up in three ranks according to the number of our class.  I was in 1 Alpha. The master, I think it was Mr Whitbread, told us to form up in alphabetical order.  One innocent piped up, 'Please, sir, is that first names or last names?'  I thought the answer was rather ominous.  'We don't bother with first names here, boy.'  We were marched to the relevant rooms in the huts, which were formerly the wartime British Restaurant, and allocated a desk.  I was pleased to note mine was at the back of the room, in a corner, protected by two of the walls.  Even now I prefer to sit with my back to a wall in a pub or restaurant.  We were introduced to our form master, Brian Sadie Thompson, and presumably much of the day was spent settling in and being issued with exercise and text books etc.  The only other memory I have is of Wally Wardle suddenly bursting into the room.  He asked if anyone was interested in joining the school orchestra, and I impulsively stuck my arm in the air.  I had no interest in music, but had a vague feeling it might be advantageous to show an interest in something.  Equally it could have been chess, or any other activity.  That rash decision caused me major problems later in my school career.    My subsequent problems have been well-documented in OWT's over the years, so I will not rake them up here.  As an aside, in 2002 I met Brian Thompson on the Ocean Majesty.  We were on a cruise to Iceland, and I had packed my bright blue Wyvernians tee shirt.  I was wearing it on one of the days at sea.  Lunch was open-sitting, and Stephanie and I found ourselves on a table for eight.  One of the chaps looked at me and the tee shirt, and said 'I was one of your teachers!'  Talk about a small world.  We chatted over the meal, and had a longer talk in the afternoon.

Dennis J Duggan  1959-64


Thursday 14 July 2022

Fwd: OWT115 July 2022

TEL 01938 555574   07804 520730  
     JULY 2022

   Hopefully we will be able to resume our full reunions in March 2023.  But in the meantime, following the success of the informal lunch at Clarence House last March, a second has been provisionally booked for Wednesday October 12th.  Full details will be circulated in due course, but meanwhile you might like to make a note of the date.  Obviously numbers will be limited by the available seats in the cafeteria.

FROM KEN WARD  1959-66
   (The third and final chapter of Ken's memories.  In OWT114 we left Ken recovering from a broken finger following a football injury - Ed)  What happened next was bizarre.  Six weeks later, on a Tuesday, I had the finger cast removed.  I did protect it with a slip-on plastic shield so I could play, but on the Friday during a training game I tackled Mick McLoughlin and managed to break the finger on my right hand.  It was an identical break!  Another six weeks incarcerated, and another six weeks of ribbing from my mates.  But that was not the end.  Around Easter time I rebroke the finger on my right hand when playng football against the Old Boys, trying to do a Maradonna.  I left the pitch a little weepy, got it strapped up then went back on.  No subs in those days.  The new pitch was not the best, as the surface had varying amounts of flint embedded in the soil.  This led to quite a number of players receiving cuts to their legs.  I seem to remember McMorran receiving a nasty gash.  Each time we played we kept an eye out for flints, and picked up the offending items.
I began driving lessons at the tender age of seventeen.  All my lessons were at night, and one was in fog so thick I could only see about twenty five yards ahead.  My first test was offered for January 21st 1966 at 1.30pm.  Before accepting I needed to check the instructor would be available to give me an extra lesson and loan me a car.  Then I needed approval from Mr Bell, the headmaster.  I expected the worst, but he gave me the afternoon off.  He said I had better pass first time, as he would not allow it again.  Around February or March we were due to play football against King's College, Cambridge.  Dave Lawrence was unable to attend on this occasion, and he approached me a week before the game.  He had heard I had a driving licence, and asked if it was a provisional one.  He was surprised when I told him it was a full licence, and what happened next still shocks me.  He asked if I would drive his Hillman Husky from Cambridge to Leicester after the match with some of the team.  The Hillman was driven to Cambridge by a graduate who was doing teacher training so would not be returning.  Seriously, who in their right mind would ask a seventeen-year-old with zilch driving experience to do such a thing?  But we arrived home safely, the only casualty being a blown exhaust.  Hopefully Dave Lawrence did not hold that against me.  But the confidence I gained from the experience was of great value, so thank you, Dave.

FROM MARTIN POTTER  1965-72   Were any other readers subjected to the marlin spike?  The teacher involved must remain nameless in these enlightened times, but back then no one would have considered it inappropriate.  The marlin spike was wielded because our standard of singing was of an unsatisfactory - some would say lamentable - standard.  It was laid across the top of the piano as a warning to those not giving their best.  The rationale was, If that's the best you can do then a stronger form of encouragement is required.  Those readers not of a nautical disposition might not know a marlin spike is a tool used in marine ropework.  Basically it is a large pointed piece of metal not unlike a giant needle.  It must be stressed that this potential weapon was introduced in a light-hearted fashion, and there was never any suggestion it would actually be used.  Surprisingly, standards improved after the spike appeared.  The teacher said, Now why couldn't you have sung like that in the first place, then I wouldn't have had to bring out the marlin spike!  I enjoyed singing, and wanted to join the choir as it had the added advantage that choir practice enabled one to miss boring lessons.  The music teacher auditioned pupils by asking them to sing a short piece to his piano accompaniment.  Ability was assessed via three categories, A, B, X, the latter identifying those who did not have a musical bone in their bodies.  Initially I was a B, but following an appeal I was promoted to A and thus qualified for membership.  The highlight of the year was performing at the annual Founder's Day service in Leicester cathedral, which had wonderful acoustics.  The piece I most enjoyed was a versionof Ave Verum, but therein lies a mystery.  As I wrote this I felt the need to listen to the piece again, so searched YouTube.  I was disappointed to find all the versions are sung in the original Latin under the title Ave Verum Corpus.  When we performed the piece the lyrics were in English, something like Ave Verum Holy Spirit, to the world in sorrow came.  I can find no record of these even after an extensive search.  Can any musical readers throw any light on the version performed by our choir?

FROM STEPHEN RADFORD  1954-59   Reading our editor's comments in the last OWT reminded me of my own, similar, dislike of games.  I thought it was all rather unnecessary, and would have preferred to have lessons instead - and arrive home a little earlier.  Football was something to tolerate.  Often I simply put my football jersey over my clothes and thus stand a chance of getting an earlier bus home by not having to change.  If I could avoid a tackle I did so.  On occasion my twin brother, Andrew, and I would hide behind the long narrow buildings near the Grace Road changing rooms and not be detected at all.  We reappeared when games were over and joined the other boys as they headed for the buses.  Cricket was more tolerable, but I lost interest when my brother was hit on the head by a ball and jeered at.  I saw the nastier side of the game.  I did not enjoy cross country at Rushey Fields.  To my mind it was too far away on the other side of Leicester.  We lived in Knighton, so it made getting home even later.  But we had a good scheme going.  The council dustbin lorries were emptied nearby via a track, along which we ran before going across fields.  The lorries had a running board at the back, where the dustmen stood to travel to their next stop.  Often we were allowed to stand on the back, and on one occasion this allowed us to arrive first at the finish line looking remarkably fresh.  Whilst nothing was said by the teachers, they must have thought it most unusual to see the Radford boys
so keen and competitive!

   I can put Rich Wakefield's mind at ease as, whilst I cannot recall the incident to which he refers, a group of Old Boys would never be quantified as undesireable rabble and such behaviour would reflect my own spirit.  This appears to have been the case, as entry was granted - I guess the use of the obligatory extended hiss to end Semper te amamus must have done the trick, even if tuneless.  I guess Mr Wakeman (sic) is not the accomplished keyboard player from YES and other bands as I would have recognised him and he would have been on freebies all night.
How strange is the human brain.  I can recite the Latin verses from the school song verbatim more than fifty five years after leaving, whilst not realising there were any verses in English until I saw the Wyves web site.  This is despite me having no knowledge of the meaning and absolutely no interest in Latin at any time.  Grit Whitbread kicked me out of his lessons due to lack of interest combined with little effort and pathetic marks for the little work I did.  Ah well, tempus fugit, carpe diem etc.

FROM ANDY BENNETT  1971-75   I think I have commented before about the rich well of reminiscencies from the Clarence House era, they make great reading.. It's a shame about the lack of memories from the Evington era.  I moved to Leicester in 1971 from Harrow County Grammar School  (Michael Portillo's school incidentally, and we both share the same passion for railways) and was therefore at CBS to 1971 to 1975, when I graduated from the sixth form.  Many of the teachers from Humberstone Gate did make the move to Downing Drive so I recognise many of the names.  Ernie Ding Dong Bell lived on Uppingham Road, and as a paper boy I delivered the Leicester Mercury to his house.  I remember a maths lesson in one of the mobile classrooms near the boiler house.  Mr Bell appeared and asked the teacher (Mr Baxter)  if I could step outside as he wanted a word with me.  My heart was in my mouth, but I need not have worried as all Ernie had to say was that Mike, my brother two years behind me, had been checked for nits by the nurse and tested positive.  So I had to be checked, but could not understand why someone so senior was sent on this errand.  By the way, I was given the all-clear!

FROM BRIAN COPE  1954-62   In a second-hand bookstore in a Perth (Australia) suburb, I came across a copy of Chas Howards biography of Mary Kingsley.  I knew of this book but had never seen it.  The book is dedicated to his brother, who was an inspirational history master at Alderman Newton's.    Along with C P Snow and Professor J H Plumb, of Christ's College, Cambridge, they formed a band of brothers who toured French vineyards and shared a range of unusual interests.  Plumb, for instance, was a friend and confidante of Princess Mararet.  I spoke to some of those Newton pupils who saw Howard Snr off on the boat train to Paris (I  believe) to avoid court proceedings.  A rather more colourful lifestyle than that of the normal provincial schoolmaster.

MEMORIAL BENCH   Mike Ratcliff  (1958-64) noticed a memorial bench in the Botanic Gardens, Oadby.  It is dedicated to D E Whitbread, 1921-2002, which is our very own Grit.  I believe you can see photos on the Wyvernians web site and facebook page.  Apparently it could do with some TLC, which might be forthcoming from one very well-known Wyvernian!

FROM JOHN WILLIAMSON  1960-67 (OR 68)   (John has sent me some details of  his life, and has given me permission to edit the content to make it more suitable for OWT - Ed)  After leaving CBS I attended Bradford University, leaving three years later with a less-than-stellar degree in History, Philosophy and Literature.  Subsequently I spent a couple of years messing around on building sites in the Midlands - Rugby, Northampton, Newbold Verdon, Hinckley and Coventry to name but some.  I was then taken on in the PR department og GEC Marconi Electronics in Chelmsford.  Not sure if the previous construction industry was a good grounding for the defence and electronics PR business!)  Eventually I was recruited by one of my former Marconi bosses who had moved on.  In the late seventies I switched to communications and technology magazine journalism. During my CBS days I knew Steve Mellor and Richard McMorran reasonably well via Martin Stuart, with whom I am still in touch with Christmas cards.  If they are both reading this, 'Hello.'  Once, in a very disorderly music lesson at Elbow Lane, Bill Sykes appealed for quiet.  He exclaimed, Every time I open my mouth some darn fool makes a noise.  Years later I found that quite funny.

FROM MIKE RATCLIFF  1958-64   In OWT 114 Dave Winter queries why Eric Orton's nickname was Ben.  I believe it was me who gave him the name shortly after he joined the school in 1961.  It was a time when both TV channels were packed with cowboy programmes, some of which I watched.  I'm sure one of the actors/characters was called Ben (H)Orton so I started to refer to him as Ben as Mr Orton sounded so formal, and it seemed to stick.  A fairly ordinary nickname for a school staffed by Grit, Flo, Wally, Basher, Bunny, Nosebag and Luigi.

AND FINALLY   Like most of us, I still remember many of our teachers.  One, Jock Gilman, Games Master, made a particularly strong impression.  My mental picture of a sports teacher was of an energetic ex-army type wearing spotless white trousers and white vest.  Jock  was none of those things, in fact a less likely candidate for the job is hard to imagine.  I recall a rather portly, pipe-smoking, middle-aged gent wearing a sports jacket.  He was never known to break into a sweat, and did anyone ever seeing him actually doing any physical activity?  He was noted for arriving at school in a different car each week.  This was rumoured to be because his brother had a second-hand car business on Welford Road.  As is well-known, I had no interest in sport, though I did not mind cross-country, and Jock's  relaxed attitude allowed me and  Peter Mc Dermott, my best pal, to avoid games a few times each term via the used of forged notes.  This resulted in us being sent to the library, often accompanied by a couple of other regular dodgers, where we were able to complete that evening's homework.  Only once were we put in a classroom and told to do lines.  I have mentioned this before, and with hindsight there is no way that Jock could have been fooled.  I suspect that a) he did not want the bother that would be caused by an investigation and b) we were useless at ball games and probably best if we did not spoil it for the rest of the teams.  But we will never know for sure.

Dennis J Duggan  1959-64

Sunday 10 April 2022

Fwd: OWT114 April 2022

TEL 01938 555574   07804 520730  
     APRIL 2022

REUNION LUNCH   Brian Screaton (1959-65) reports: The inaugural Wyvernians lunchtime get-together took place on Wednesday 30th March at the restaurant in Clarence House, and was voted a great success by all who attended. Kerry and Adam and all the staff in the AgeUK kitchen did us proud, and it was a very convivial lunch with attendees including former teachers Tony Baxter, John Lawson and Dave Lawrence, former school secretary Jill Povoas and about 24 former pupils. It was a pleasure to welcome some post-Clarence House pupils, including Rob Willson and Chris Jinks. We are aiming to have another lunch in early October this year, and thereafter continue with the Reunion proper in March and the lunch in the late Autumn. Thanks are due to John Hames for making all the arrangements with AgeUK.
   (From Dave Zanker - 1957-62)  It is with much sadness that we report the passing of my brother, Steve Zanker (1961-68) on March 19th.  Steve was a well-known sportsman, and notably represented the school at football throughout his tenure.  He went on to Leicester University, where he gained his degree in Engineering.  Steve then spent a successful career in teaching, becoming Deputy Head at Barwell Junior School.  In later years he also became well-known for his role in developing educational computer networking.  Steve had suffered from lung cancer for many years, a condition which he fought bravely.  He passed away peacefully at home, with his wife Janet by his side.  Rest in peace, Steve.

Duncan Lucas (1940-44) passed away February 2022.

FROM BRIAN SCREATON  1959-65   Following the death of former teacher Eric Orton, I sent a donation from Wyvernians funds to Eric's chosen charity, Dementia UK.  I have received this very kind letter from Margery, his wife: Many thanks for your contribution to Eric's chosen charity fund - Dementia UK.  We were able to send £350 in his memory.  Anything that will help to improve the lives for sufferers must be good.  It was very sad to see such an energetic, fit person suffer with this problem and gradually lose all faculties.  He treasured his memories of City Boys' School - as it will always be for us - and the friends we made there and kept all our lives.  Best wishes, Margery Orton.

FROM DAVE WINTER  1960-67   Sad news about Eric Orton, whose nickname for some unaccountable reason was Ben.  He was a very good teacher indeed, especially for sixth form work.  Highly organised, and very hard-working himself, he expected a lot from us.  Every lesson was thoroughly prepared, and executed with energy and humour.  He was the only teacher to invite we sixth formers to his house for dinner, something which - in those days - seemed almost revolutionary.  Sometime after I left school I gather he became Head teacher at Lancaster Boys' School.  I can only imagine he was a success there too.

FROM RICHARD CHATHAM  1967-74   Sad to hear the news about Eric Orton.  He was a great French master, and fostered the love of languagesI  used throughout my career.  Other masters included John Mawby, John Webster, Mr O'Higgins and, of course, Grit Whitbread for Latin.  And in the spirit of words, fun and your apology to Ken Ward regarding your typing error in his contribution about cats, I believe it should have read the smaller of the two cats.  It is only the smallest if it refers to three or more cats!

FROM THE REVD DEREK HOLLIS  1972-79   I am sorry to read of the death of Eric Orton.  He taught me French, and some years after leaving school I came across him again as I attended the Leicester French Circle.  I was thinking of him only a few days ago (This was written January 7th - Ed)  This week I learned from a facebook contact, who recently played the organ for a service at St Denys church, Evington, that Bill Mann (A regular church member and bell ringer) is now in the nursing home at Arbor House, and said to be afflicted with dementia. Thinking back to my time at the school, I was secretary of the History Society during my later years there.  On occasions I recall we used to spend a society meeting watching a number of old cine films depicting school life.  They were silent, but quite amusing.  I wonder what happened to those films.  Did they ever reach the Wyvernian archive?  (Editor's note - the films surfaced c2001, and were transferred to DVD.  They are shown at the annual reunions)  I am still in touch with John and Margaret Webster, who taught at the school.  John taught German, Margaret taught geography.

FROM ALAN PYKETT  1959-66   I was interested in the article by Dave Postles, and would make a couple of points.  I well remember that Dave studied both geography and German for 'O' level in the way he describes.  I don't know if any other pupil in 5L took the same route.  I suppose I could have done, but did not give it much thought.  Secondly, Dave mentions books and plays studied over the two years in the sixth form towards the literature part of the French 'A' level exam.  I still have the exam paper, and believe the five books/plays studied were - with the authors in brackets - as follows:  Le Cid (Corneille) Les Femmes Savantes (Moliere) Les Hommes de la Route (Chamson) La Tete Sur les Epaules (Troyat) and Hernani (Hugo)  I believe the third one mentioned was about the Tour de France and the fourth one was about existentialism.  Happy days!

FROM RICH WAKEFIELD  1961-68   Further to the article by Steve Mellor, about his experiences at the French Revolution back in the summer of '76.  I recall that I, and a group of friends (Many educated at CBS) blagged our way in by delivering a rousing, if somewhat tuneless, chorus of 'vivat crescat'.  I wonder if we are listed amongst the undesireable rabble??!!

FROM KEN WARD  1959-66  Second year sixth Part 1   (Continuing Ken's memories - Ed)  I applied to Imperial College, London; University College, London; Nottingham; Brunel and Loughborough to study chemical engineering, and also to study metallurgy at Nottingham.  At this point I had six meagre 'O' levels grades but NOT English language.  The chances of acceptance for any of the courses was minimal - even the lower ones like Brunel or Loughborough - without English language.  But to my surprise I was offered an interview at Imperial College, and was put with a group of five other interviewees.  We were shown round the chemical engineering building, with its new and old laboratories.  This was like nothing I had seen before, and I can still remember my excitement.  The interviewer was very friendly, and when we were alone I told him I had not yet passed my English language 'O' level and would that be an issue?  His reassuring reply was it was not a major concern for him.  He gave us some tasks in the group sessions.  One was to solve differential equations, and I was able to separate and integrate them with ease, whereas the others were hesitant or did not have a clue.  He also set two problems - have a go at them!
Q1:  You have a bucket almost full of water.  In it you float a wooden boat, and you place a tin soldier in the boat.  When the soldier falls out of the boat, does the water level go up or down?
Q2:  You want to make a cup ot tea.  Is the tea warmer if you put the milk in first, or last.  Or will the temperature be the same - and why?
One of the benefits of the new school was the massive playing fields, so we didn't have to go to Grace Road for sports, or to Melton Road for crosss country with the privilege of changing in the cow sheds! 
At the beginning of the year I was hoping to play in the 1st XI football team, but on the first practice session I found myself playing with the rest of the Wednesday afternoon group  Part way through some changes were made, and I was asked to join the others on the 1st XI pitch.  I was elated, and felt ten feet tall, even though I was the smallest player on the pitch.  Dave Lawrence was the coach that year, he stuck me on the right wing where I stayed for the rest of the season.  It was great to be back with all the friends I had played with for many years.  It was a good year, with many goals scored, but not as many as Geoff Elliott.  My football career was almost short-lived.  I played in goal during a training session, my second position.  Mick McCoughlin hit the ball.  I failed to catch it, but it hit my hand and it hurt.  I looked at the middle finger of my right hand, the tip was bent at ninety degrees.  I was sent to hospital - without a teacher - they fitted a large plaster of paris splint which I wore for six weeks.  You can imagine the comments I received from my class and team mates.  The cast was set to allow the small piece of bone attached to the tendon to join with the floating finger tip.  The next week I strapped up the whole hand so I could play football.  Fortunately Dave Lawrence allowed this, though it might have taken some begging and persuasion.  I doubt it would be allowed today  (To be continued - Ed)

FROM MURRAY WALNE  1961-68   Good to read the old panoramic photos have been archived at Bond Street.  I've been tidying up my old family photos, and one of the panoramics showing my father is badly damaged.  My father, born in 1908, was at Bond Street 1920-23, so I shall pay a visit.  Not sure I'll recognise him though!  (Editor's note - I jumped the gun about the photos being on display, as at the time the building refurbishment was not finished.  I understand that Brian Screaton has donated a spare copy of the relevant photo to Murray)

AND FINALLY...   One afternoon per week was GAMES, at Rushey Fields or Grace Road.  It could be football, cricket or cross-country.  Of course, most boys relished the idea of an afternoon'e sport, but a few of us were not so keen.  To this day, I have no interest whatsoever in any form of sport.  Football was my worst nightmare.  Cricket was not so bad.  If on the fielding side it was a simple matter to stand as far away from the wicket as possible, and with a bit of luck the ball could be avoided completely.  If batting, it was easy to be one of the last men in, as most of the lads could not wait to wield the bat.  Usually the games session was over before numbers ten or eleven were called on, and I recall only one occasion when I was obliged to buckle on the pads.  So it was a relief when Jock Gilman blew his whistle (or shouted through his megaphone) as I was about to head for the wicket. I did not mind cross-country at Rushey Fields.  Sometimes we did the short course, others times the longer one which took us across farmland and along Barkby Road.  The fields have long since been built on.  Ironically one of the streets leading back to the park was called Wyvern Avenue!  My best friend at school was Peter McDermott, who shared my dislike of sport.  We sometimes used a good dodge at Rushey Fields, where the changing facilities consisted of a couple of long, narrow buildings with no windows.  The only illumination was via the open door, so sometimes Peter and I went to the very back of the huts were it was almost pitch black.  We waited until everyone had changed and moved to the pitches, which were on the other side of the park, then cautiously checked to see the coast was clear.  The terminus of the No 42 corporation bus was conveniently sited by the park gate, so it was easy to travel into town and transfer to our buses home.  Peter Lived in Evington, I lived in South Wigston.  Of course, the dodge was only viable because Jock never troubled to take a roll-call or do a simple head count.  The dodge was used several times, and never failed.  It all seems rather childish now, and probably not worth the risk.  But perhaps that was the challenge?    It was all a very long time ago.

Dennis J Duggan  1959-64
April 9th 2022


Friday 7 January 2022

Fwd: OWT113 Jan 2022

TEL 01938 555574   07804 520730  
     JANUARY 2022

EDITORIAL   We would like to thank everyone who responded to the appeal for help with funding storage costs for the memorabilia collection.  This is now safe and secure in a storage unit in South Wigston.  To make best use of the funds Brian booked one of the smaller units, which led to a cull of duplicated and surplus items, and these were offered to members of Wyvernians.  This resulted in the sale of several copies of The Wyvernian magazine, along with most (if not all) of the unframed panoramic photographs.  The framed panoramics from 1920/23 had become of limited relevance today, as all the people have passed away.  But they are still of immense historical interest, and I am delighted to inform you that, thanks to Brian, they are now on permanent display at the Unitarian church in East Bond Street.  The building has links to the very beginnings of our old school, and there is  a permanent history display.  It is wonderful to know we have been able to make these photos available to a wider audience one hundred years after they were originally produced.
A Message from Brian - The last two copies of the CBS history book are still available, it is unlikely there will be any more.  £35.00 each + £4.20 p & p = £39.20.  To order phone me on 07770 413228 or e-mail
I want to thank all those who made generous donations to the 'Storage Fund', which now totals £900.  Two Wyvernians kindly set up standing orders of £10 per month, which will pay two thirds of the monthly storage fee of £30.  So we shall only have to dip into the £900 to the tune of £10 per month, meaning it should last us about seven years - although this will reduce if the fees are increased at anytime.

   Most of you will know we have booked Clarence House for March 19th, which is still ten weeks away.  We have no idea if the reunion will be allowed to go ahead, and if it is permissible whether there might be a limit on numbers.  At the moment we in Wales are limited to thirty.  We also need to consider if enough Old Boys to make it worthwhile would be prepared to attend, as all are elderly and many have underlying health problems. It is very frustrating, but all clubs and societies are in the same boat.  All we can do is see what develops over the next six weeks or so.  The alternative is to postpone until, say, August or September when things might have returned to some normality.  Watch this space!  Feel free to let me have your own thoughts.

REF PETER ROBINSON  (1955-60I hear that Peter is still working as a photographer, and has recently created a web site showcasing some of his work over the years.  This mainly relates to football, hence the address  You might like to have a look, especially if you are interested in football.

FROM GERRY JOHNSON 1956-64   I note there have been some mentions of Roger (Fred) Embury.  I have kept in touch with Roger since he left CBS in 1963 to embark on his teacher training.  I had the privilege of being his Best Man when he married Ann in 1970, and attending their golden wedding anniversary in 2020.  Roger kept wicket and played in goal for the first teams in 1962 and 1963, and was applauded for both in The Wyvernian reports.  He took up his first teaching appointment in 1966 at Forest Hill School in south east London and taught PE and geography.  He then went on to Pershore High School, Worcestershire, where he became Deputy Head before retiring in 2000.
Roger continued to play cricket for several years at Pershore Cricket Club, but played less football after leaving school.  He explained, 'I rested on my laurels after saving a penalty taken by Maurice Hallam.  That was when the school team played an annual game against the Leicestershire County Cricket team - after all we played our matches at Grace Road!'  Instead of football Roger took up running, and competed in several marathons including London.  He cycled from John O' Groats to Lands End, and did the Three Peaks Challenge.  That is Snowden, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis in twenty four hours.  He claims all this must have been done under the influence of Jock Gilman!
Roger now lives near Broadway, but has retained his Leicester links via his Foxes season ticket.  But why Fred?' Well, those of a certain age may remember a comedy actor of the time called Fred Emney.

FROM STEFAN WOZOWCZYK  1965-72     The two Advanced Economics papers were taken on June 6th and 7th 1972.  I was not looking forward to them.  In OWT109 I wrote that my mother had thrown away lots of my school memorabilia in her late stages of dementia.  Yet I have all my A-level papers and, this is the point - she kept all my economics notebooks.  Why?  I could have had a laugh over maths and German, but economics?  Here we have a Wally Wardle alert.  Because he got me through.  I was hoping for an A,C, D, which indeed I got, but the D came in German for reasons explained in OWT109.  The C came in economics!  Having been through the papers, I see there are a lot of 'mathematical' questions.  That was my subject and, I suspect, why I got what I considered a high grade.  But Wally  didn't just teach economics.  He taught those of us who wished to know how to write English too.  Adaption I wrote in an essay on inflation. 'There is no such word, it is adaptation.' In one essay, for reasons now lost but probably something to do with seventeen-year-old obtuseness, I changed from Roman font to italic. 'What is the meaning of this, boy?' In another essay, Theory of Distribution, my notes show that MRP=Price x MPP, which might be fine if you know the meaning of MPP.  But there is also something called ARP, and my notes shed no light on this.  But we had to draw a graph of something which is now mysterious.  I got my ARP's and MRP's misspelled, and they came out as APR and MPR.  'It is not April, and there is no such month as Mprch, boy.'  So I think it was partly Wally's economics, and partly his teaching me to write, that got me through.  Other teachers also did that, but strangely it was rarely the English teachers.  J D Anderson was another stickler.  What would Wally think now if he looked in my dictionary and saw adaption sitting on the page?  It's a word I have always refused to use, so I did learn something.

FROM DAVE POSTLES  1960-67   A couple of points relating to OWT112.  Whilst it is true that technically it was necessary to decide in 5A between German and geography, it was permissible to take German formally and geography informally, which is what I decided.  It involved taking only a couple of classes with WAG Pace, otherwise it was just private study from the text book.  As for French literature, I recall only two of the five texts: Moliere (J-B Poquelin) Les Femmes Savantes, with a brief diversion into L'Avare with George, and A Chamson, Les Hommesde la Route.  Incidentally, January 2022 marks the 400th anniversary of Poquelin's birth.  In retrospect, I wish I had been more attentive to Les Hommes.

AN APOLOGY   Ken Ward points out that I omitted a very important word (SMALLEST) from his contribution in OWT112.  The question was: there are two cats sitting on a tin roof.  Which cat will fall off first? Answer:  the one with the SMALLEST mu.  Mu is the coefficient of friction, so the cat with the SMALLEST mu would slip off first.

OBITUARY   I have heard that Eric Orton passed away, but have no further details.  Eric was a teacher when I was at CBS, I remember him well.

FROM ALAN PYKETT   I am enjoying Ken Ward's memoirs very much, but must point out an error and will be surprised of other readers do not pick up on it.  It concerns classes in the sixth form.  Ken states the three classes were graded according to ability.  This is incorrect.  6S1 and 6A1 were the first years' sixth form, irrespective of ability.  Following on, 6S2 and 6A2 were the second year sixth forms.  There were also 6S3 and 6A3.  I suspect these were made up of pupils who had taken their 'O'levels after four years, and 'A' levels after six years instead of five and seven respectively, having no doubt come through the Alpha stream.  I suispect the final year for them was preparing for entry to Oxbridge, where most were destined to carry on their studies.

KEN'S RESPONSE   Alan is correct.  I was definitely in 6S1 and then 6S2, as witnessed in a form photo.  I was keen to say that 6S1 and 6S2 were split into groups, depending on the potential for further academic progression after secondary school.  My memory, which has some flaws, put me in Group 3 (But it could have been Group 2)  I believe my timetable was set to allow me not to take on extra non-science lessons in an attempt to maximise 'A' level grades.

FROM STEVE MELLOR  1960-66  Steve writes:This is not exactly a school experience, but it does involve a ex-pupils.  Andy has approved the article.
 Reading Andy Howes' article in OWT112 reminded me of an occasion when we were visited by the Leicester Constabulary, of which Andy was one of the team on this occasion.  In 1976 I returned from a two-year stint of contracting in Oman with a bulging wallet and not much idea what to do with my earnings, or myself.  This was a long, hot dry summer and, as I had taken to frequenting the French Revolution wine bar in the city centre most evenings, it made some sense to invest in  it.  So I became a 49% shareholder.  The bar was situated in a small cul-de-sac, Granby Place, almost opposite the old Picture House cinema and behind Elizabeth the Chef bakery shop.  We ran on a club licence, enabling us to stay open way after pub chucking out time, and whilst our ambience and good food attracted some Leicester 'celebrities' it also attracted some less savoury characters, as they could carry on drinking after the pubs had closed.
This less desireable element did cause more than a small amount of trouble, and by the middle of the year we had experienced a few rather serious situations.  These included a melee with some USAF airmen from Alconbury, and a man who tried to force his way in brandishing a shotgun!  Inevitably such activities led to a visit from the police on the evening in question.  We were quizzed on some of our practices to avoid proper club rules, such as providing on the spot membership for anyone handing over a cash payment (illegal) as well as failing to follow established disciplinary and control practices (We simply employed our own muscle)  Andy approached me and suggested that, to avoid becoming too deeply implicated in the issues raised, I should fade into the background or leave - Andy being a cousin of mine.  I informed him that, as co-owner, I was prevented from doing this.  He and his colleagues proceeded to inform us of the dubious nature of all those who had fallen foul of the law - well over 50% of those in the place at the time!
Such visits were repeated on a number of occasions for the rest of the summer - without Andy - persuading several clients to stay away, but the final nail in our coffin was a visit by the Fire Department.  We were informed the numbers present far exceeded what we were licenced for, as was the case with most discos and clubs back then, and any further transgressions would result in us being closed down.  Keeping to the legal limit killed the atmosphere, as well as being financially unviable, so later in the year we sold the business to a man who had been involved in nefarious IRA activities.  He was certainly not the type the police would have chosen!  I left Leicester shortly afterwards so don't know how things went, but the next time I was in the city the place was closed down.

FROM KEN WARD 1959-66   Second year sixth, part one   (Ken's memoirs continued.  I am splitting this contribution into two parts - Ed) At this point I was to move a fourth time., but this was to a brand new school in Downing Drive on the other side of town.  As I write this next part of my experiences the 'new' school has been demolished whilst the original building is still standing.  They don't build them like that any more!  Don't get me wrong, it was a great improvement but with a mixture of ups and downs.  The Vestry Street baths were a loss, but the great expanse of green grass for soccer, rugby and cricket more than made up for it.  The building with history was replaced by nice airy classrooms, a glazed gym and laboratories.  Another good point was the already-established girls' school next door, and during break we could chat with them over the fence.
My journey to school, now by two buses or six miles by bike, was a negative, but it would only be for one year.  I don't recall it being a problem, nor do I remember missing the school bus into town and having to catch a Corporation bus which would result in a lateness mark.  It also meant we could not hang around with friends at the end of the afternoon and grab a coffee in the small cafe in Charles Street.  Nor could we visit the bakers to see if they had any half price 'stales'.  This is when education was becoming serious.  This was the time you took your 'A' levels.  I had chosen to take maths, physics and chemistry.  Would this change of environment and travel have an impact on my learning?
I remained in the lower grade of 6S2 with about a dozen others.  Although I believed I was progressing well I would often get a knock back, especially when I thought I was a bit of a know all.  One of my favourite teachers was John Lawson.  Throughout my time at the school he was my physics teacher and football coach.  On many occasions I offered enthusiastic answers to his questions.  I was always spontaneous, and tended to be quick off the mark.  This might have been a fault or a good point, I don't know which.   On many occasions he would reply, 'Ward, a great answer but wrong - full credit, but no marks.'  I have used this mantra in design meetings throughout my working life.  I think most people found it funny, not insulting.
I owe my career to John Lawson.  One day, during a physics practical, he asked if I had made my choice of university.  I said I didn't think it was for me, and I would probably work in a bank.  He said I should still apply, then decide later on.  In the ensuing rush to decide how to apply, I had little time to choose exactly which subjects and universities.  A short meeting with Mr Bell helped me with which courses and universities to select, but that was it.  There was no further discussion, and no time to conduct any research as to what was entailed.  So, thanks to John Lawson, I applied.  Once the UCAS form had been completed the challenge had been set  (To  be continued - Ed)

FROM MALCOLM SAVAGE  1963-70  (This item is copied from our facebook page - Ed)  Just to say I will be seventy years of age on February 5th, and would like to send good wishes to all my old classmates who will also reach seventy this year.  Roger Feam, Tim Lynch, Michael Mann, Stefan Kanieowski, Phil Perkins, Michael Walsh, Mark Giles, Stuart Blackman, Rod Waterfield, Steve Peberdy, Andrew Newton, Tony Rawlinson, Paul Disney, Denis Hubbard, Tony Parkinson, Tim Bastock, David Varney, Les Brewin, Keith Edwards, Snowy Thornton, Tim Souter, Steve Papworth and not forgetting my brother Pat. 

AND FINALLY...   After Brian had arranged for the storage unit, Stephanie and I needed to move our share of the memorabilia to South Wigston.  Brian suggested we meet at a midway point for lunch, and we chose  The Hartley Arms at Wheaton Aston.  Whilst we were loading our car the previous day we thought we saw a little mouse.  But a search did not reveal anything, so it was put down to imagination.  Most of the items had been stored in what we call the Top Shed, and admittedly I had come across mice in there on a couple of occasions.  Anyway, after a most convivial lunch we transferred our goods to Brian's car, and went our different ways.  Next day Brian got in touch to say he had unwittingly transported a family of four mice to Cosby!  They were released into the garden, and hopefully they settled in well after their adventure.  But on a serious note, it does show it was the right decision to arrange for safe storage.

Dennis J Duggan  1959-64
January 7th 2022