Monday, 7 August 2017

Fwd: Fw: OWT 95 August 2017



 
 

 
OLD WYVES' TALES 95
FOR WYVERNIANS 1919-76

EDITED BY DENNIS J DUGGAN, ROCK COTTAGE, BROOK STREET,

WELSHPOOL, MONTGOMERYSHIRE. SY21 7NA

TEL 01938 555574 07399 464482



AUGUST 2017
 


EDITORIAL Apologies for the late distribution of this OWT, but other matters have occupied my attention over the past few weeks.

FROM RICHARD WAKEFIELD 1961-68 As my old mum may say, there are teachers... and then... there are teachers. In my seven years at City Boys there certainly were. I was there from 1961 to 1968 and found the teaching staff was changing in nature through that time. Initially the staff were predominantly of a more senior persuasion ranging down to middl- aged, or so it seemed to this pupil A notable exception however was the excellent Tony Baxter, who I seem to recall shared a first day with me. As I moved up through the school I believed it was merely an accident of ageing on an annual basis. It seemed that some of the more senior staff were moving on and a younger crowd with, I imagine, a more radical approach were coming in and changing the feel of the school in many ways. I find in life that the majority of any demographic are perfectly good, capable, upright citizens, with a small number of greats at one end and a small number of bad eggs at the other. We will all have memories of our teachers, those we liked and those we didn't. I think it fair to say there were some we liked, others we didn't, and we'll all have our views of who falls into which category. But I think it fair to say that the majority were definitely members of the good, capable upright persuasion. Some were very much in the excellent camp while others were ... well, I'm not here to mention that...
For my money the top man was without doubt the redoubtable Ken Witts. Ken was, for me, a formidable presence and certainly not a man to give trouble to. I recall once, ill-advisedly, doing just that and I never did it again. But I respected him and learned well under his tutelage. He seemed to be up-to-speed with developments in his field (geography.- see what I did there?) and in my view put information across in a very straightforward and easily absorbed way. Like many however, I did question his rather avant-garde way of pronouncing The Himalayas, but notice that his pronunciation now seems the accepted one!
I recall whilst in 5F our form room, on the top floor of the science block at Downing Drive, was the Geography room. Ken was concerned at the speed with which stationery was evaporating from the store cupboard, so at the beginning of a lesson, when he heard furtive rustlings from the cupboard, he moved with the stealth of a panther approaching an unwary antelope and shut and locked the door. Clearly he had caught a suspect and made an academic arrest. Not many seconds later the stillness of the room was shattered by rattling and shouting. Ken opened the door to release a flustered and embarrassed Geography teacher number 2 - if memory serves me rightly, Dave Gilyean
The other teacher I rated almost as highly is the splendid Stanley Ras Berry... I had a piece about him in here before, but he truly set the seeds for changing my life for the better. My previous piece related to the time we were studying Emma by Jane Austen. The good man said how funny a passage was and read it out to a set of blank uncomprehending faces. We didn't see the funny side, he was non-plussed and abandoned the lesson there and then. For reasons I don't recall, I was doing English Literature for' A' level despite reading nothing except for Charles Buchan's Football Annual and the Beano. However the lessons this man gave led to my developing a huge love of Ms Austen's work, as well as many other classic writers and poets. I have loved literature in all forms ever since, and thank him for planting that love in my heart.
Finally a true maverick, a character, a one-off, in Brian Scott. In the 6th form I studied Latin. Now if you don't know, the Latin word dum means while. That is relevant!!! The first lesson, there were five rather nervous, not to say bemused, pupils sitting in the room as the aforementioned Brian Scott sailed majestically in bellowing "Dum... Dum... you're dumb, Smith... get out and wait in the corridor" Now the boys name wasn't Smith, I know what it was, who he was, but will not reveal it here. He then told the shocked survivors of that opening what Dum meant, and proceeded with the lesson. (I don't get it - Ed) He must have done a great job, because at the end of the year i came away with an 'O' level and a rather respectable grade

FROM ALAN PYKETT 1959-66 A few months ago there was an article in the Daily Express, which was perhaps seen by other Wyvernians, about attending an all-boys' grammar school in what I presume was the 1950s or early 1960s. So much of the article resonated with me about my time at City Boys that I could have written quite a portion of the article myself! Three items stood out for me. First, as soon as you attended the school first names disappeared so instead of Alan, Brian, David and Robert it was Pykett, Papworth, Billsdon and Leake - even amongst ourselves. I am sure those former classmates mentioned will not mind being used as examples. Secondly, we did not have teachers. Instead we had masters, sometimes in their flowing gowns and sometimes not. Lastly the playing up of the music teacher (oops master) Ring any bells? At the school mentioned in the article, when listening to the boys on an individual basis for their tone, some produced various animal sounds. However, their misdemeanours did not go unpunished. The culprits were given a page of an exercise book, the type made up of little squares, and told to cut out each individual square. Of course, our music master was Bill Sykes. I personally don't remember him being played up too much, but I do remember him listening to us individually in the second year to get a new intake for the school choir. Going back to surnames, I am not quite sure how widespread this was, but I believe it was definitely prevalent in public schools. Possibly this was something to do with our head, Ernie Bell, running our school somewhat on those lines.

FROM DAVE POSTLES (1) 1960-67 CBS: a musical journey Increasingly, reflections on earlier life tend to invoke the metaphor of music. Life-course is presented through musical adaptation and change. In parenthesis, the musical appreciation in the assembly hall at Humberstone Gate occurred largely as a distraction for many of us, an imposition approximating a regularized detention, although I recall one highlight when Colin Desborough correctly pronounced Dvorak to general astonishment. His elder brother, of course, was deeply interested in classical music. On the contrary, the life-course of many of us - my acquaintances - conformed to transitions in popular music. On my council estate (Northfields) in the 1950s, the ascendancy belonged to Little Richard. We walked the adjacent countryside in a large gang bellowing out 'Good Golly Miss Molly', 'Long Tall Sally', and the other lyrics. One strange interloper was Johnny Duncan and the Blue Grass Boys, 'Last Train to San Fernando', an evocative ditty, though of what is still illusory, certainly not of the annual pilgrimage to Skeggy by train. Both represented, in different ways, the insinuation of US culture. That,then, was the pre-CBS cultural environment. As in many other aspects, recruitment to CBS involved a widening of many horizons. There was now no cultural hegemony, but disputation. Who was superior: the late Buddy or the living Elvis? Through amity, with Alex Neal, and through him the influence of his two elder brothers (also at CBS) I aligned with the supporters of Buddy - a not inconsiderable number at CBS, not least the New Parks contingent. Those differences became elided after the first year. The cultural domination of the first wave of BritPop, the so-called 'Mersey Sound', reintroduced some sort of thin cultural coherence. Let it be agreed, however, that this initial wave was represented as much by Joe Brown and his Bruvvers as the Beatles. It was JB and the Bs who provided the accompaniment for the twist contest at Elbow Lane, not least 'Picture of You' (but also, of course, the paradigmatic US Chubby Checker) By the third year, contestation was revived. What was the sentiment towards the new US invasion from Detroit, Motor City, Motown, and, as importantly, the 'Wall of Sound' of Phil Spector? One future Head Boy adamantly inscribed on his satchel 'The Ronettes'. Not everyon agreed. There was now no consensus. At the annual show, my near-neighbour Gerald Taylor and his band entertained (regaled) the (compulsorily) assembled
mass to a string of retrospective hits by The Shadows. 'Apache', anyone? By 5A, there was much reminiscing: a (supply your own grave) la recherche du temps perdu. Was this a symbol of maturity and reflection? It was possibly not, since some of us made a fleeting homage to the DeMont for the bill which included The Nashville Teens ('Tobacco Road') and The Animals ('House of the Rising Sun') but only as support for Chuck Berry (a late addition to the programme) and the 'legendary' Carl Perkins). In to the first year in the sixth form, with the redoubtable Steve Mellor (alright, mate?), the original rocker on his motorbike. We vacillated between Brit 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 any opportunity, not least The Kinks. In another entirely variant adventure, a large group frequently ventured out by bus to The County Arms at Blaby, where the standard fare was Soul (Ben E. King, 'What is soul?') I guess we were all heterodox. 'Black is black' was not quite apposite; we were all imbued with that little bit of black ('Say it once, say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud', The Commitments). One consequence was the general response to Ding Dong's invitation to a representative from the South African Embassyto address the sixth form about apartheid ('separate development'), which ranged from rational hostility (Dave Winter) to quiet bemusement ('What is this guy on about?'). (Ding Dong had some minor teaching engagement for the sixth formers on current affairs). Then another transition occurred in the second year of the sixth form: We all became Mods, in the vanguard Geoff Pullan (renowned centre forward). How far were we all duped? The anthem of The Who, 'My Generation', seems now dissimulation. 'Hope to die before I get old'? I suspect that, like me, Geoff has become an old codger. In acknowledgment, however, he also favoured The Small Faces, inspired by the late Steve Marriott. I do remember being admonished by Geoff as we attempted on the bus into town to sell tickets to the convent girls (the context must remain obscured). Geoff was one of my close friends at school, but he was equalled by that footballing legend, Bill Dixey, the advocate of real Blues, constantly evoking Big Bill Broonzy - in the same sentence as Leibnitz (or was it Spinoza?). Whilst we conformed to the crowd, Bill was sui generis. What does this random, self-absorbed narrative mean for life at CBS? I tcertainly 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 thecurriculum. Those figurations (Norbert Elias) changed constantly, but were vital support networks. For many of us, learning at CBS was a permanent challenge, one often not successfully met, and it is to those mates that we owe our negotiation of the difficulties: through collective avoidance, resistance, and occasional collaboration. I salute you all in retrospect. If there is a god (probably not), may he bless you. Play the music.

FROM DAVE WINTER 1959-66 Like John Bennett I've got very pleasurable memories of taking part in school plays, albeit in only fairly small roles. Nevertheless this has allowed me to refer nonchalantly on more than one social occasion to having acted alongside Michael Kitchen in The Government Inspector' and The Tempest. Funnily enough I haven't got programmes from either of those, but I have got programmes for Cymbeline and School for Scandal. I have no recollection of Cymbeline whatsoever, but I do remember enjoying School for Scandal enormously. I can call to mind Messrs Bennett and Smart with great clarity, and also Keith Hill as Sir Oliver Surface. Looking down the cast list I notice that my older brother also took part. I had completely forgotten that detail!

FROM DAVE POSTLES (2) 1960-67 Bravissimo Brian Stevenson. I'm sure Michael Palmer would have rejoiced in your achievement and the display of such application and commitment in that arduous route to your degree. He and I would hope that it brought great enjoyment and satisfaction. I like to think too that I would have encountered you at the Central Library and benefited from your expertise. Without being too overtly political, I'd like to celebrate not only our school, but also the librarians and libraries which then could be such a part of developing young lives (if one wanted to take that route) and the OU, surely (as so many realise) one of the astonishing achievements of a government of the 1960s (although some of us did not have the opportunity to vote for it)

FROM ANDY HOWES (1957-60) Thanks for organising another great reunion. I enjoyed it very much.
I noted a number of passed names in OWT 94 and all are recorded in the database, as follows:  Leonard HARRISON, attended from September 1939 until July 1944, Terence Bernard WILSON, attended from September 1944 until June 1949, Raymond John WINTERTON, attended from September 1952 until July 1956, Martyn John HEIGHTON, attended from September 1958 until July 1965 .If anybody wants that database (as an .xls file) then I will be happy to forward it by email (contact - andyhowes@hotmail.com) I do not recall now who painstakingly converted all of those record cards (viewable at most recent reunions) but the spreadsheet keeps on answering queries. I hope to see all again next year.

FROM SIMON PARTRIDGE 1966-72 The nearest I got to Elbow Lane was working for both Fosse Motors in the evening and Avis Rent-A-Car , Lee Circle, during the day. That was during the hot summer of 1971. Carol King had released one of the best half-dozen albums ever recorded by a female singer-song writer. Simon Tong, English teacher, was in traction in the LRI following a serious car accident in which his hip was dislocated. This caused concern amongst his second year 'A' level English students. I had fallen in love with a Tesco supervisor, but separated as we were by her plate glass and the windows of my kiosk we were destined never to meet.

These reminiscences are set during the early years of Downing Drive. Having left Leicester forty five years ago I have attempted to set the article into the social/cultural context of the time. Where I have revisited episodes already described by myself or others I have tried to avoid repetition.

At some point in 1967/68 I was approached by Messrs Gates and Tong, and asked if I would like to take part in the junior school play. I had always been prone to showing off, and if truth be told I had been envious of Greg Hicks' acting ability - he was a pupil at my former school. His father, Rudy, had a market stall opposite the Queen Street Odeon, and lived to 103! Greg was to become a member of the RSC.

During the first inter-house drama competition I was gripped by P Mikelec's clever and humorous portrayal of the reluctant Jonah, who was decanted on to the shores of Nineveh by a whale with the instructions to prophesy to the inhabitants. I think it was the same Mikelec (what was his first name?) who won an Oxford scholarship, the recognition of which entitled everyone to an extra day's holiday. Before such awards were abandoned I believe we had a half day for a pupil gaining an Exhibition at Oxford or Cambridge. Likewise I remember being mesmerised by the part of the station master in Arnold Ridley's The Ghost Train, who was the actor?

I had no track record in acting, but there was a reason for the invitation. The play was to be John Whiting's Penny For A Song but with the political content removed. Nevertheless it remained an amusing account of one family's preparations to repel Napoleon's imminent invasion of the south coast. It was believed, albeit incorrectly, that I bore a passing resemblance to Napoleon Bonaparte! The most memorable feature of the production was a stack of chairs, stage right, disguised to look like a tree. On top of this was perched a lookout, played by John Measom, who was there not only for the duration of the play but the whole evening.

The following year, 1969, the senior school play was Henry IV Part 1. Falstaff was played by the late Dick Hammond, from whom I began to learn about acting. The producer was Tony Baxter, who might have been assisted by J W Mawby. Hammond did not ingratiate himself with Mr Bell, the headmaster, as he had corresponded with the letters page of the Leicester Mercury. He complained about the lack of facilities for sixth formers (eg a coffee machine) and the poor treatment generally, pointing out they were there on a voluntary basis! Hammond entered folk law by being burdened with a reference from Mr Bell which indicated he was unsuitable for teacher training. As expected, this resulted in Hammond being turned down at all the colleges he applied to, though he was finally offered a place at Wrexham to study Educational Drama.

1969 was my 'O' level year and I, along with a few friends who were far more able than me, failed maths. Thus we were unable to proceed into further education. As an aside, I recall a boy from Spencefield who, having arrived at sixteen to do 'A' levels, secured a place at Oxford or Cambridge two years later, this being conditional on his having a foreign language at 'O' level. He spent an entire year in the third year sixth studying French - and nothing else - to secure his place. The situation was serious enough for Tony Baxter, head of maths, to intervene. He arranged extra lessons during some lunchtimes prior to the November resits. As a result I passed, eventually being able to train to be a teacher in Cardiff.

The following year, 1969/70, Tony produced John Arden's Serjeant (sic) Musgrave's Dance. Unbeknown to me this was to become Tony's second act of salvation. The aforementioned Hammond played Black Jack Musgrave - Hammond was blond!

Richard Gill, who taught English and RE, always said that knowledge of the text was paramount for 'A' level scripture and he was right, as in 1971 I failed. Mr (later Reverend) Gill became Head of English at Wyggeston, a historian and an expert on the Victorians. I likewise failed Economics, but made a proper job of that. Mr Wardle, an intelligent and highly perceptive man, had a heart-to-heart with me prior to this disaster, and predidcted that women would be my downfall (To be continued. My apologies to Simon for some rather heavy editing - Ed)

AND FINALLY... Alan Pykett's mention of Bill Sykes prompted memories. I recall him as a small, very bald, Yorkshireman with a mercurial temper. He always wore a dark blue suit, sometimes with his gown. We thought he had heart problems, as he often put a small pill under his tongue. Once the red mist descended Bill had the worrying habit of walking up and down the aisles between desks, slapping heads indiscriminately. Through no fault of his own, Bill was responsible for a major disaster in my school life. I have told this tale before, but it might bear repetition. By the third year I had graduated from weekly violin lessons to the school orchestra. This practiced after school on Mondays, but true to form I began to miss the occasional session. This was a completely pointless exercise, as I could not arrive home until an hour later than usual or my parents would smell a rat. So I mooched around town, with nothing to do. My absences became more and more frequent, and as nothing was ever said I thought I was getting away with it. But by the summer term of 1963, Prize Day was looming, and as the orchestra played a major part it seemed wise to knuckle down to work. So imagine my dismay when Bill told me to 'bugger off' as my services were no longer required. I had not exactly covered myself in glory at CBS, and the one thing my parents were proud of about my school career was the fact I was in the orchestra. Instead of coming clean about the situation I never mentioned it, which was foolish as my parents, brother and sister intended to attend Prize Day. Not only did they look forward to my virtuoso performance, I was to collect my one-and-only prize, this being for English. I find it hard to believe, but I waited until my family were on the steps of De Montfort Hall before blurting out the truth and running inside. I duly collected my prize (The Kon Tiki Expedition, by Thor Heyerdahl) and fled at the end of the proceedings. Of course I had to return home eventually, but can't remember the consequences. Probably it was yet another disappointment in me more than anything.



Dennis J Duggan 1959-64


August 6th 2017
 
 











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Sunday, 30 April 2017

Fwd: Fw: OWT 94 April 2017




OLD WYVES' TALES 94
FOR WYVERNIANS 1919-76
EDITED BY DENNIS J DUGGAN, ROCK COTTAGE, BROOK STREET,
WELSHPOOL, MONTGOMERYSHIRE. SY21 7NA
TEL 01938 555574   07399 464482  
APRIL  2017
 
REUNION 2017   The 20th reunion was a great success, with an estimated total of one hundred people in attendance throughout the day - though not necessarily at the same time.  The souvenir coasters, organised by Frank, were well-received.  Age Concern did us proud with a splendid lunch, plus excellent prepatory work so everything was in place when the advance guard arrived to set up.  The only minor hiccup was when the microphone suddenly stopped working, but that did not seem to be much of an issue.  We had two excellent speakers, Roger Povoas and Bob Childs, and donations to their chosen charities were given as a gesture of appreciation.  As I always say, we have managed to hit on a successful reunion formula, which we change at our peril!  As usual, the memorabilia display was in constant use and the school films were shown on-screen.  Also available was an honesty bar, tea and coffee, raffle tickets and a sales table.  It was good to see several ladies present.
My thanks to, in no particular order -:  Brian Screaton, Treasurer, barman, jack-of-all trades; John Offord, Age UK Liaison Officer, custodian of our facebook page; general help; Frank Smith, Doorman, coaster arranger, general help;  web site manager;  Stephanie Duggan, assistant to Frank on the day, badge organiser, raffle ticket seller, sales table, invaluable support and assistance.  Also thanks to those who brought a raffle prize.

Several photographs of the event have been posted on our Facebook page. You can view them via links on the Reunions page of our website CLICK/TAP HERE
 
We still have a few of the specially-commissioned  twentieth reunion coasters available.  £2 each + £1 P & P to a UK address.  To see a picture, visit the reunions page on the web site.  To order e-mail cbsleicester@gmail.com to make the arrangements
A pair of spectacles in a silver case was found at Clarence House after the reunion, and handed to Brian Screaton.  If they are yours, please let me know.
 
OBITUARIES   Len Harrison (1930's) passed away January 2017
Terence Bernard Willson (dates unknown) passed away October 25th 2015
From Trish Kenyan, Joe Melia's sister:  My brother Ron, who also attended CBS, told me that Ray Winterton recently passed away aged 75 or 76.  He was born in Prestwold Road, off Humberstone Road, and lived there all his life.  He walked to school each day with Ron and Joe.  According to Ron, Ray excelled at chess and never lost a match at CBS.  He became the youngest Silver Knight to play for the county  (Our records show that Ray Winterton died around Christmas 2016 , but many thanks to Trish for this additional information - Ed)
Received from from Dick Martin (1956-63) on February 20th: I will be attending a memorial service pn Monday February 20th for Martin Heighton, who was Head Boy at CBS shortly after I left in 1963, but I notice he is not on the Wyvernians database.  The service is being held at The Chapel of St Peter and St Paul at the Old Naval College, Greenwich.  Martyn sort of became part of our family, in that he was married to my brother-in-law's sister.  He led a very interesting life after leaving school, and I have asked his family if they would write an obituary for OWT 
Roy Whitehouse (1946-51) passed away March 21st 2017 from aggressive lung cancer.  I was advised of this by his daughter, Julie
 
FROM PETER TURTON - 1961-68   I shall not be able to attend this year's reunion as it coincides with a holiday. I am sorry to hear of the death of Mr Michael Palmer. He always encouraged me to play for the school football team even though I thought I was pretty useless! Because of Mr Palmer I went on to do History at university, and later found employment teaching the subject and also working at some of the top museums in the country. History is still a great interest of mine - despite me thinking I would be better of studying languages.

 

FROM LES OSWIN - 1935-39   Besides the 3 'R's and other traditional subjects I learned other important lessons at CBS - team spirit, companionship, trust in one's colleagues etc.  These proved of value after June 1942 when I donned the Royal Corps of Signals uniform.  June 1943 saw me as an officer cadet at 150 OTCU in Catterick, and during one of our frequent three-day exercises near the Yorkshire moors I was dropped off the back of a lorry on a country road.  I had a map and compass, along with orders to find my way to a friendly HQ on the moors without being captured by the 'enemy'.  My best pal, Walter, twas dropped off wo hundred yards after me, and against the rules we decided to journey together.  Walter seemed more confident, so I was happy to follow his lead.  The first obstacle was a fast-flowing stream, too wide to jump over.  We bundled up our denims, forage caps, boots, maps etc and threw them to the far side.  But Walter was rather weak, and his bundle landed in the water.  So two naked officer cadets plunged in and eventually managed to recover the bundle.  Using my shirt to dry ourselves, we dressed and continued our journey.  Walter seemed pretty sure where he was going, so I trusted him and followed - straight into the arms of the enemy.  WALTER WAS AN ENEMY SPY!!  So much for trusting one's colleagues!
Walter was enjoying himself, but I was put into an abandoned quarry without my boots.  Escape was my first thought, so I began to stumble up the slope but OUCH.  Myright foot had gone down on a broken bottle, and the glass had pierced my foot.  There was blood all over the place, and shouts of 'medic' and 'ambulance'. 
So it was back to Catterick and the warmth and comfort of the MI room, with instructions to take it easy in the barracks for a couple of days.  If I remember correctly, I ignored the instructions and attended a unit dance with my foot bandaged while Walter was still roughing it on the moors.  We remainrd best pals until September 1943, when our army careers took different paths, but we kept in touch until well after the war.
 
FROM DENNIS BIGGS - 1949-56   Popular music was of interest to many of my classmates in the late 40s and early 50s, and there were quite a few changes taking place then. Quite a few of my classmates were developing an interest in jazz and swing music. I recall a few names of the interested ones such as Trevor Adcock, Peter Wright, Graham Morton and my goodself who were keen on this type of music - I cannot recall other names as my memory is somewhat hazy after so long. (Some of them even bought instruments to play) It was not always easy to find the opportunity to tune into this type of modern music, and we for instance had only one wireless set in the house and did not possess a gramophone.
Thus my early listening was confined to such programmes as Friday Night with Henry Hall, Two Way Family Favourites with Cliff Michelmore, and Billy Cotton's Band Show on Sunday lunchtimes. Occasionally swing music from Glenn Miller, Ted Heath, Eddie Calvert and later Chris Barber, Acker Bilk, Humphrey Lyttleton, John Dankworth was played but most of the time we had the music of Mario Lanza, Al Martino, Perry Como, Duke Ellngton, Ella Fitzgerald etc from the USA. British artists were making their appearance such as Tommy Steele, David Whitfield, Lita Rosa, Cleo Lane, Edmundo Ross, Matt Munro etc.
The best time to catch the swing and trad jazz music was by listening to the American Forces Network and Radio Luxembourg in the evenings, and when my parents eventually bought a radiogramme I managed to have the old wireless set in my bedroom. It was not always easy to get a good signal and I seemed to spend a lot of time fiddling with the knobs on the dial to get a good reception.
Then skiffle with Lonnie Donegan arrived, followed by the Twist and eventually rock 'n' roll with Bill Haley and the Comets,and  Elvis Presley.What a music revolution was taking place in those years!.  Louis Armstrong arrived, and my favourites were Dizzie Gillespie and Charlie Parker. I even started to buy gramophone records and it was the start of my collection.
Classical music and opera largely passed me by in these formative years, although I attended some serious concerts when my father was singing in his works choir. Bill Sykes ,and later Mr Gimson, got us to sing or listen to more classical music but it could not compete with the new music waves of this era.  Only at university did I really get into the more serious music scene.
I was during my schooldays a keen cinema- goer and so we had film music such as An American in Paris,  Guys and Dolls etc and as I was also a quite proficient ballroom dancer by the sixth form I appreciated ball room music, but it was the traditional jazz which really got me motivated. When I started work in London, I managed to go to Ronnie Scott's Club and listen to live jazz which was so inspiring. I am so pleased that I was blessed with these musical experiences and their memories, although fading, still let me enjoy the music of those years to this day I wonder what other memories my classmates had of the music of this period.

 
FROM GEOFF GERMAN  1965-71   I enjoyed reading the memories of Mr Palmer, who was my history teacher at Downing Drive in 1965.  He was a lovely man, and I do indeed remember the dicky bow and his endearing habit of referring to homework as prep.  I have a vague memory he was the suthor of a book about Henry VIII, and he also wrote an erudite pamphlet about St Denys Church, Evington.  However I could be wrong, as age clouds the memory.  I had no idea that Mr Palmer ran the fifth year football team.
 
FROM BRIAN STEVENSON  1959-65    I was sorry to learn from Dave Postles of the death of Michael Palmer, who I regard as the best teacher I ever had at City Boys. He arrived like a breath of fresh air at the beginning of 1964 to rescue our history 'A' level group from disaster.  I had been inspired to opt for history at 'A' level after studying under Ron Smith in 5L. Ron wasn't to everyone's liking, and could be a bit of a disciplinarian. His particular bugbear was pupils levering their chairs on to the back two legs. 'Four legs!' he would bark at any offender, having explained the 'Four legs good, two legs bad' mantra from Orwell's Animal Farm at the outset of the year.  But it was his stirring accounts of Frederick the Great and the European wars of the 18th and 19th centuries which really sparked my interest in history.  However, by Christmas 1963 history was beginning to look like a very bad choice indeed.  It was split between European and English history. English history was handed to a dour Scot called McFadyen, who bored us to the verge of insanity by reading out his notes for the entirety of each lesson. The phrase 'losing the will to live' could have been invented to describe the experience of enduring (and I choose the word advisedly) one of his lessons.  In nightmares I can still hear him rolling the words 'San Juan de Ulloa' (an obscure sea skirmish on the South American coast in the Elizabethan era) slowly around his tongue in his Scottish brogue.  Meanwhile, on the European history front, we were presented with a temporary teacher called (I think) Hutchinson - no relation to Bunny as far as we knew. Hutchinson strode in confidently on his first day and wrote '1. Nationalism' on the blackboard in a firm hand. We were never to find out what 2 and 3 might be, as he then went on to lose us completely both academically and in terms of class discipline.
What a relief then when Mr Palmer took over in January. His flair and enthusiasm restored my interest in the subject. Not only that, he energised the History Society (the only club I was ever moved to join during my school career) and organised history walks in the countryside at weekends, looking for 'ost villages or tracing the course of the old Leicester-Swannington railway line. The walks were enlivened by both his knowledge and his wisecracking style of leadership. Even Grit Whitbread (who joined us on some of the walks) seemed to relax and become more like a regular human being on these occasions.  Mr Palmer steered us energetically through the syllabus, but there was a late scare when we came to revision before the 'A' level exam itself. He discovered that the hapless Hutchinson had failed to cover whole areas of the syllabus that should have been dealt with during the first term. At the eleventh hour he distributed cyclostyled fact sheets on subjects such as The Great Elector ( a historical figure who we had never heard of) and told us to just memorise them in case the topic came up in the exam. Indeed in desperation I did actually answer a question on the Great Elector on the day. I assume I got away with it, as I somehow got a B - my best 'A' level grade.  But what I feel most gratitude to Michael Palmer for is the lengths (ultimately unsuccessful I'm afraid) he went to to get me to go to university. At the end of the sixth form I was one of a handful of pupils who didn't bother applying for university.  At the time I was a quiet and unconfident boy to whom the thought of living away from home - in another city! - was unthinkable. In addition, my working class parents, who had barely been won over even to the idea of me staying on into the sixth form, were keen for me to join the real world and start bringing home some cash. This I duly did, and was soon enjoying myself enormously working in the Central Library.
However, for some reason, just before Christmas, I decided to return to the school for a social event - a dance I think - held at the new Downing Drive establishment.  Skulking round the edges of the dance floor, I was waylaid by none other than Mr Palmer, who soon established that I had not gone on to university.  He seemed incredulous at this, and from then on made enormous efforts to get me to apply. He assured me it was not too late to reconsider. He personally sent off for a whole range of university prospectuses in my name, and in due course these plopped on to the domestic doormat. I wavered. By this time I had begun to feel that not going to university had been a great mistake. My sixth form mate Geoff Maisey and I spent whole evenings wandering (undisturbed, I have to say!) round Leicester University campus, reading notice boards in corridors and speculating about university life. But my insecurities were still strong, and I couldn't quite bring myself to take the plunge. Nonetheless, I have always been deeply grateful to Mr Palmer for his efforts. Eventually I went on to pick up a degree from the Open University while developing my career (a far tougher route!) but I have often reflected on the time when 'two roads diverged in a wood, and I I took the one less travelled by.'  And that has made all the difference' (acknowledgements to Robert Frost)
 
FROM RICH WAKEFIELD  1961-68   It's a cold wet Sunday afternoon, and I'm thinking back to the sixties and my time in the gold and black colours of the old school.  Normally at this stage anecdotes come to mind, and I can scribble them down for Old Wyves Tales... today I am drawing a bit of a blank.. Which is almost appropriate, as my mind drifts to similar afternoons, I think Tuesdays, and the wait for the bus to take us to games lessons.  Now, like many, I enjoyed my afternoons wandering around aimlessly in my yellow Charnwood football shirt and occasionally hoofing the ball in the direction of a team mate.  Bur on those damp afternoons the wait for the bus was always a tad nerve wracking.... which way will the bus turn... towards Grace Road or towards Melton Road, where we faced the horrors of a cross country run. Now, I've never considered myself to be the athletic sort... indeed I ran for a bus in 1968, missed it, and have never done anything as rash as running since.  And for me, cross country was an ordeal beyond endurance, and I suspect I am not alone in thinking that way.
There were two courses at Rushey Mead, the long and the short. Now for me the short was long., the long unattainable. But knowing the area there were shortcuts that a rather portly, lazy and unathletic youth could take, which meant Iwas usually back and changed in good time to get the bus back without  needing to run!..
Of course, teachers do not achieve that level for nothing.  They are always able to spring a surprise on any bunch of lads, and for me the buzz of arriving at Melton Road and changing in those old huts to hear the announcement "football boots.. football today" was more than countered by the horrors of arriving at Grace Road and being despatched on a rather pointless series of laps around the edge of the ground.
 
FROM DAVE ZANKER  1957-62   I think it fair to say I enjoyed my time at City Boys, and made some very good friends during those years. That enjoyment was based more on sporting and social aspects than academic achievement. Having gone through the Alpha stream I was still only fifteen after completing my 'O' level examinations, and therefore forced to complete at least two terms in the sixth form. That was sufficient to convince me that, in spite of reasonable success to 'O' level, the academic life was not for me. I therefore gave notice of my intention to leave and suffered a memorable counselling from Dr Arnold Burrows in a vain attempt to dissuade me.  At that time I had only two career ambitions – to play football or music. Both of these appeared to be viable options at the time. However, my mother persuaded me that I should get a 'proper job' and I was accepted as a junior clerk at the East Midlands Electricity Board. It should be noted that my initial weekly gross wage was the same as I could earn in one night playing my guitar, or my expenses for playing one match for my football club's first team. Time soon proved mother to be right. Injury put paid to my prospects of serious football, and the trend to disco music made the live music field increasingly difficult.
The Electricity Board offered to put me on the trainee accountant scheme, and I then spent the next ten years gaining qualifications. (You may recall that I had previously rejected the idea of further academic study). After five years I moved to the British Shoe Corporation where I spent twenty-two years in a successful career before radical changes forced out most of the senior management. It is sad to relate that not only did the business subsequently cease to exist, but the massive office and warehouse site has now been completely demolished and cleared.  Future years saw me stay in accounting in an administration field with Benson Shoe (now Shoezone), Sears Clothing and finally British Precast Concrete Federation.  I have now been retired for five years and still live in Leicestershire (Glenfield). Contrary to popular suspicion I have never been bored, spending my time on DIY and other projects around my house and those of my children, time with my grandchildren and holidays with my wife Judith. We have both recently started volunteering on a heritage project at Mountsorrel. You may have seen it featured on television news recently when we enjoyed a visit from Prince Charles.
 
FROM JOHN F SWEENEY  1963-70   From 1963 to 1970, I was a pupil at the City of Leicester Boys' School and as such experienced school life in Elbow Lane, Humberstone Gate and Downing Drive campuses. My first recollection of the school as an entity was trying on the new uniform, purchased I believe from the High Street branch of the Leicester Co-operative Society where my mother had an account. On wearing it to church, I was informed that the badge featured a creature I had originally thought to be a dragon, but was known as a wyvern, and I should be proud to be admitted to such a fine school on passing my eleven-plus.  For the first day at school, my father accompanied me and we travelled by bus from our home in Humberstone to St Margaret's bus station, then walked past Corah's factory and St Margaret's Church to the entrance on Elbow Lane where he shook my hand and wished me a good start. Around a hundred of us first years milled around and were gradually called by, I believe, Mr Wardle, the junior school head, into classes 1α, 1a and 1b. Another boy beamed and said 'Do you know what that means that we are in 1α?' to which I shook my head. "It means that we are in the top class because we are the brainiest!"  Little did I realise on that day what the implication would be of moving directly from 1α into 3α, such was the newness of everything – moving between classes, taking on different subjects and trying to remember the names of all the masters and making new friends. I recall the beautiful garden at Elbow Lane and the shout "Look out – here comes a prefect!" if there was any rough and tumble or horseplay in the warmer months. It was strange to have to report in 3α to Humberstone Gate for German lessons with Mr Gimson. The upper room passing panelled staircases and the prefects' door slightly ajar with larger fellows, snatches of conversation. Mr Gimson gave us a test every day of ten new words crammed the night before, and we had to write out any mistakes ten times as I recall.  It was highly competitive, each boy trying to get a perfect ten or at least a nine. When the bell went a sea of boys paraded down the alleyway to the playground, and were marshalled back to the next class or marched in crocodile to Elbow Lane by tall prefects. Prefects who shouted, "Cut along boy!" past masters who sternly reproved, "Walk don't run boys!" 
My memories of life at Elbow Lane are few, but among them I recall being sent by Wally Wardle to his office to fetch the portable duplicator from which maps of Britain, the world and the various continents rolled to the accompaniment of his sonorous commentary "Capital city, principal ports, chief exports…"  Homework was sometimes to be accompanied by an illustration of a Masai hut or temple in India – text and artwork marked with comments for improvement in both. Mr Orton's great French classes, in which he had us improving pronunciation "An, en, in, on, un!". I enjoyed woodwork classes with Bunny, and was intrigued that as we worked with saw and screwdriver, learning the rudiments of carpentry and making a coffee table that wobbled, Bunny painstakingly made up shotgun cartridges, sharpened chisels for us, checked measurements and gave us encouragement.  It was in the fourth or fifth form that I developed a love of geography from a teacher who was very well travelled and regaled us with tales of eating cherries in southern Germany and Austria, and of peaches dripping from trees in the Po valley. After chemistry and biology classes at Elbow Lane, science subjects held no interest for me - yet when I did General Science in 5L, the teacher Mr Lawson(?) taught it with such enthusiasm, that I regretted not choosing 5S.  
Alas in the Wyvernians' excellent history of the school I was briefly mentioned in only a couple references, nor was any prowess on the sports field recorded in Bill Mann's excellent photographs that evoked names from the past. Being worse than useless at soccer, cricket, tennis, swimming and athletics, I was exhorted by Mr Gilman to take up the cross-country circuits, but only came to enjoy this at Downing Drive, running a circuit towards Evington and Stoughton villages and returning via a very muddy bridle path towards the new school.  In fact at the end on my lower sixth year I came second in the annual cross-country race behind Alan Chapman, who ran for the Leicester Harriers. This was thanks to wearing not running shoes but heavy football boots – the last half-mile through the muddy bridle path allowed me to sail by all the elite sportsmen in my year who slid from side to side. That honour led me to be asked to accompany the famous Conrad Mainwaring on his training circuit, and we shared many happy conversations on Wednesday afternoons striding around the nine-mile circuit. He later went on to great success locally and internationally, and was an altogether wonderful sportsman and human being.  I was briefly a sub for the chess team, but did enjoy a certain success in the Atticus Society when, as secretary, I wrote up and read aloud the minutes in humorous fashion and also invited John Cleese to be Honorary President for a year. Graciously he visited the school, and addressed the society to great amusement as all of us were mad about Monty Python and he  even took off the speech of the Head, EJW Bell, without his realising he was being sent up.
Another milestone was joining 51 Squadron (detached flight) of the Air Cadets founded by the wonderful teacher, and our commanding officer, Pilot Officer Bill Mann. (It's a pity there are no photos from the ATC in the school record!) Despite hours of square bashing, we learned morse code and attended annual camps, went gliding and took part in rifle shooting and map reading exercises – grist to the mill for young teenagers of the day. For me a highlight of the camp at Church Fenton as a lowly corporal was to guide my troop of three through ditches and fields to 'capture' the officers during a night exercise, when we had to penetrate an airfield defences and outwit the guards. At another camp in Lincolnshire, one of my pals decided to spy on the women WAAFs in their hut, and was returned sore and shamed, naked after being caught by the women and given a cold bath and scrubbed down with Vim to teach him a lesson! 
Later, I was fortunate to be the first cadet in the school to win an air training scholarship to Perth aerodrome, where I spent a month learning to fly and passed the Flight Training Exam. I had to undergo rigorous tests – mental, physical, medical, psychological and political at Biggin Hill to win the scholarship, and when I was asked in the final interview after days of examinations and practicals "Are you now or have you ever been a Communist?" I drew on knowledge of current affairs from the Head himself, and spoke about the importance of the SALT disarmament talks and importance of the NATO alliance. 
Meanwhile, passing up the alpha stream to 5L and doing reasonably well at O-level, I made the momentous decision to combine languages – French and German - with Pure Maths and Statistics along with Russian and Latin' O'-Levels.  My teachers counselled against this choice but my dad, who was once first in Ireland in Maths, spoke to the fabulous Tony Baxter who I believe rallied to my cause. Needless to say, I should have taken another arts subject – English literature or history, but what with interest in girls, running a disco for schools and lack of attention to study it came as a shock when I barely passed my 'A'-levels with D, D and E grades – no chance of university with those! A stern talking to by my father reminded me of the poor example I was showing to younger brother Denis, who was at City Boys four years behind me. I was to concentrate on my studies! Well study I did and was rewarded by grades B in French and German, C in General Studies and D in maths with stats.
Throughout these years at City Boys I remember a number of classmates and pals, contact with whom has been long lost having moved away from Leicester - first to Berne for four years then back briefly to Leicester before jobs in Manchester, Northampton, Leicester Polytechnic and recently University College Cork, Ireland.  Dave Felstead, Alan Barrow, Michael Mann, Phil Perry, David Morrison, Eddie Gadd, George Bradley, Douglas Grace, Rob Lee, Mike Maloney and Keith Duerden to name but a few. Several of us were fortunate to be in the upper sixth when a female French and female German assistant were on exchange to CBS, and we had wonderful conversation classes with them – it was like living in a French movie until m'amselles' boyfriend turned up in a sports car to whisk her away! The German assistentin came from Duisberg and spent many hours talking to us about Mercedes Benz trucks and cars.  Looking back I admired Mr Haddon for German,  Mr Scott for history and RE, Mr Orton for French and Mr Elliott for diverting us in lower sixth when translating Le Noeud de Viperes with instruction on how to chat up girls, find out if they fancied you during a dance and other vital life lessons interspersed with tales of Rugby. It would be great to catch up with any who remember me, including the masters.
My career included volunteer house parent and woodwork workshop manager in Camphill Home, Berne. Nurse training  and work in mental health care and intellectual disability settings, nurse tutor and lecturer, senior lecturer in nursing in U.K. And Ireland. 
 
FROM JOHN BENNETT  1956-63   Iain Tweedie's piece in OWT93 brought back memories of Prize Days at De Montfort Hall. I was one of the boys in the Leicester Mercury photo that Ian mentioned, along with Christopher Smart who, at that time, was one of my best friends. I can't remember what prize I received at that Prize Day, but I was awarded the Headley Prize for public speaking on a couple of occasions prior to 1962, and I've still got the books (Shakespeare's Complete Works and G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown Stories)  I think I got the prizes as a result of my performing in various plays directed by Chas. Howard and, consequently, I was called upon to do recitations at Prize Days, one of which was a poem, possibly by Dylan Thomas, which I tried to recite in a Welsh accent and failed miserably.  I suppose it's the plays the school put on which stick in my memory more than anything else: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Richard II, King Lear, Cymbeline, St Joan, School for Scandal. I acted in many of them, and would love to know whether anyone has programmes or photographs of those performances.  Does anyone have contact with Christophe Smart or my other friend from both school and Oxford, Pete Storry?
 
FROM TREVOR LYNE  1953-58   After sixty years of waiting for the police to knock on the door, I think I might have got away with my illegal gambling.  It started like this: I, Trevor Lyne (aka Eric) unwittingly staged a maggot race on Sir's desk.  You see, I was a keen angler.  On this particlar day, with some Bayliss stales for sustenance, I purchased some maggots at lunchtime for 6d.  I put the grubs in my desk, and went to answer a call of nature.  On my return I was shocked to see the grubs on teacher's desk, engaged in a race.  Some scholars had named their maggots, and offered odds to win.  Suddenly the door burst open, and in came Sadie Thompson.  His face became contorted with rage as he demended to know what was going on.  I stuttered the maggots were mine, and they must have escaped from my desk whilst I was in the toilet.  'Don't be ridiculous, they have been deliberately put on my desk.  You can all have a detention, except Lyne who is clearly innocent.'  I felt a right creep, so asked for a detno for myself.  I invented a cock and bull story about my mother inviting Dave Walker for tea.  She thought hom a good Christian scholar (wrong)  In fact he lived only one hundred yards from our house, and we had known each other for seven years.  But Sadie accepted this strange offer, and I duly served detention with my classmates    This story is true.  Some of the players: David walker, Albert Dixey, Derek Bolton, Alan Mecklenburgh, Dave Sharp.  And by the way, why was I known as Eric??
 
AND FINALLY...   Hope you have enjoyed this latest OWT.  A couple of items have been held over until next time.
Dennis J Duggan
April 30th 2017
 
 
 
 


 
 



 
 

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Thursday, 12 January 2017

Fwd: Fw: OWT93 Jan 2017



 
OLD WYVES' TALES 93
FOR WYVERNIANS 1919-76
EDITED BY DENNIS J DUGGAN, ROCK COTTAGE, BROOK STREET,
WELSHPOOL, MONTGOMERYSHIRE. SY21 7NA
TEL 01938 555574   07399 464482  
JANUARY 2017
 
 
REUNION 2017   You have all received an invitation to our twentieth annual reunion, and the cheques are rolling in.  We have no intention of altering the basic tried-and-tested formula, but there are a couple of tweaks this year.  The AGM will take place before lunch, and after lunch we will have two speakers.  One is Bob Childs, teacher at Downing Drive from 1976-2009, who will complete his trilogy.  The other is Roger Povoas, who was a pupil from 1956-64.  Roger will talk about his time at CBS, and what he did afterwards.  Both will speak for twenty minutes, with time for Q & A sessions.  We trust these two super speakers, plus your free commemorative (and useful) souvenir, will make this landmark reunion extra special.
John Jake Blaikie  (1955-62) welcomes e-mail correspondence at jandjblaikie@bigpond.com
 
FROM TONY WAKEFIELD  1951-56   Interesting to read that Michael Capenerhurst is living here in New Zealand, I don't know of any other Old Boys here. I was also in the RAF but as a regular, as National Service had just finished when I came of age.  At school I had the nickname of Tex from about the age of 14, when I went  on a school trip to Chatham Naval Barracks.We were there for a week and went through some of the sailors' training schedules.  I wore a black shirt with  white tassels as per the style of the day,and was tagged with my nickname by the sailors.  Of course, the name was carried on by the other boys on the trip when we went back to school.  Incidentally I did apply to join the navy after leaving school but was rejected as colour blind.  Obviously the RAF was not so fussy!
 
FROM CLIVE DAVIES  1950-57   Thanks for OWT 92 containing my submission and l would like to correct my computer auto correction.  l didn't notice before l sent it in. The old pal mentioned  was Garth Haines, not George as stated. We got to know each other from an early age as our fathers worked closely together at The Towers Hospital in Humberstone, and we even went on holidays together on a number of occasions.  Garth became a well-known dentist in the Belgrave area of Leicester, and we met up for the last time at one of our reunions shortly before his untimely death about seven years ago.

FROM DAVE POSTLES  1960-67   I have some news about two people formerly associated with City Boys'.
Michael Denison Palmer (1933-2015)
Mr Palmer arrived as history teacher during my O-Level year, I think 1964. Despite growing up in Brixton, where his father was the incumbent, he retained a tinge of his native Australian accent. He had previously taught at Aldenham School, after graduating from Oxford University.  He consequently (and perhaps disconcertingly) referred to homework as prep, and always wore a bow tie.  He took charge of the fifth-year football team.  I had not realised he played for his college 1st XI at Oxford.  I assumed he was some sort of clogger, watching his refereeing!  He moved from CBS to various schools as Deputy Head and then Head.  He died on 8 September 2015, predeceased in 2008  by his beloved wife, Margaret. He leaves behind  three children.
Kev Eames
Kev and I knocked about in the sixth form.  He went to Manchester University to study English and German.  He had a long career as a teacher.  After retirement he received a PhD for a thesis on educational motivation.  He also taught at Bath Spa University.  He and his wife, Sue, have two daughters.  In his retirement he is closely involved with U3A and Trowbridge Civic Society, where they live.  I met them a few years ago when they came to Leicester to visit his widowed mother.

FROM LES OSWIN  1935-39   In my early years at CBS I did not take much interest in RE lessons, in spite of regularly attending Sunday School and singing in the choir of our local Unitarian church.  In my final year I opted out of RE, thinking that was the end of my association with religion.  But in Autumn 1942, at Trowbridge whilst in the Royal Corps of Signals, on Sundays it was either church parade or spud bashing, and church won the vote.  Around my nineteenth birthday I accepted an invitation from my pal John to spend a Sunday with his family in Gloucester.  We caught the train and used our passes, stopping halfway to change at an unidentified station.  The signs had been removed to confuse Fifth Columnists, as well as the passengers!  The Salvation Army served tea in jam jars, as there was a shortage of cups.  In Gloucester we walked to John's family home where, in spite of rationing, we enjoyed a sumptuous breakfast.  We were encouraged to hurry, as the family would be attending morning service at the beautiful nearby cathedral.   We were met at the front entrance, and as VIP's guided into special seats behind the magnificent choir where we participated in the service.  After seventy four years I still remember it, along with the pleasure of being a welcome guest of John's lovely family.  It was the first time I had been inside a cathedral.
In 1966 I drove my family from Birmingham to Gloucester, where we lived, and decided to take them to the cathedral.  Being a weekday there was no service  Under the watchful eyes of cathedral officials we made our way to a row of seats behind the choir stalls, and sat in the very same seats we had occupied way back in 1942.  I have visited many cathedrals since, but there is a special place in my memory for that day in October 1942.
 
FROM DAVID LINNELL  1955-62   Dave Zanker asked what happened to those featured in the 1961 photo of 5S – I was one of those named.  After school I went to LSE,  joined the Prudential, qualified as an actuary and moved around the Life and Pensions departments, ending up as Compliance Officer at the time the Financial Services Act started.  I've now been retired for nearly 20 years but am still active with the local residents association (www.LoughtonResidents.org.uk ).  In a previous OWT the sixth-form dances were mentioned. When I was in the sixth form, I was dragooned into becoming the club secretary.  At one of the dances my companion brought along her friend, who tried to get in without a ticket.  I intercepted her…….. and we are now approaching our Golden Wedding. We spend a lot of time in France – I'm eternally grateful to the teacher who knocked enough French into my unwilling head for me to be able to get by sixty years later!
 
FROM IAIN TWEEDIE  1958-63   Congratulations to all involved in the forthcoming 20th reunion, and congratulations to you personally on the long life and high quality of OWT.. Editors have to work hard, persistently and consistently - you  have clearly done that in sustaining a newsletter over some 90 editions  (Thank you - Ed)
Spookily, on the day before your reunion invitation arrived, I was reviewing some personal documents and came across programmes for two Annual Prize Distributions at De Montfort Hall, one on Thursday 13th November 1958 and one on Thursday 26th July 1962. It must be forty years since I last saw them, and I didn't know I had them. Each programme, after the front cover and details of music and poetry for the evening, lists six impressive pages of school prizewinners, 'O' and 'A' Level examination results, university acceptances and Successes of Old Boys. I remember prize-givings as being bizarre events with us boys there reluctantly, while a smattering of the keenest parents came to support their embarrassed offspring.
All the teachers displayed the colours of their degree-awarding colleges ontheir gowns, providing a coded reminder of the staff room's real pecking order. I seem to recall that several members of staff outshone the Headmaster in the academic reputation of their universities.  We lads generally felt  our evenings wasted as we fidgeted while the ritual ceremony of exhortation and reward played out before us.  I wonder now if the real beneficiaries of prize-givings were the staff.  Each year, below them they scanned the crop of young people who they had developed in some way, whether by grinding in useful facts and formulae or by widening cultural or sporting experiences. This surely must have boosted the teachers' own morale, professional pride and sense of purpose. Or perhaps not…   I also found a newspaper photo (which must have come from the Mercury in 1962), the caption of which reads: Captain of the school J.W.Mawby, centre left, pictured with award winners at the City of Leicester Boys' School annual prize distribution at the De Montfort Hall last night. Left to right are A.P.Bowden, I.R.Tweedie, J.A.Bennett, C. Smart and A.R.Watts. Other pictures will appear in tomorrow's Star - lunchtime - edition.  Most of us looked keen and remarkably cheerful  (Iain has kindly donated the documents mentioned to the memorabilia collection - Ed)
 
AND FINALLY....   You will note this OWT is very short, and it has used up all the material.  It would be great if we could reach 100 issues, but after 93 it is perhaps no surprise that we are running out of anecdotes and information.  So it's up to you, the loyal readers, to send me something.  Long, short, serious, humorous, factual, biographical, anecdotal.  You are almost guaranteed to appear in print, though I will not publish anything hurtful, insulting or libellous.
 
Dennis J Duggan
January 12th 2017




 



 

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Saturday, 22 October 2016

Fwd: Fw: OWT 92 October 2016





OLD WYVES' TALES 92

FOR WYVERNIANS 1919-76

EDITED BY DENNIS J DUGGAN, ROCK COTTAGE, BROOK STREET,

WELSHPOOL, MONTGOMERYSHIRE. SY21 7NA

TEL 01938 555574   07399 464482  
OCTOBER  2016
 
Please note my new mobile phone number
 
EDITORIAL   The20th annual reunion will take place on Saturday March 18th 2017 at Clarence House.  Invitations will go out sfter Christmas, meanwhile you might like to make a note of the date.  We hope there will be a good turnout for this special occasion.
 
FROM MICHAEL CAPENERHURST 1947-51    G'day from NZ land,  Pleased to receive the last OWT and congratulations and thanks for the effort behind it. Sadly I do not seem to recognise many from my era - whether through apathy or the passing of time . I guess dropping off the perch does become an occupational hazard as the years stretch out, and I am 81 now.With regard to the suggestions for the celebrating of the 20ths , a souvenir would be more accessible to those of us  who are unable to attend functions in Leicester, but if that is the choice then I feel you would need to pre-sell the item to prevent yourselves having a stock of un-disposed of material cluttering your spare room. Similarly the ease and cost of transportation would also need to be considered. I happened to look through an old (old) photo album recently and found a few snap shots of the Green Wyverns on the Norfolk Broads , plus a snap of four school mates taken at the Festival of Britain in 1951 .( This was the year I left the City Boys and started to work at Briggs Tannery). Meaning nothing to my family, the odds are that they will be disposed off in due passing of time. Are they of any interest for the collection? If so then I will post them to you. Some can be identified , the majority not so.The shot of the four at the Festival of Britain is a casual shot but it was an organised school visit. It does appear that formal school attire was not called for since they are all in"civvies with not a Wyvern in sight. As a matter of interest they are all wearing ties, which was something that had caught my eye looking through this particular album - we wore ties in those days for just about every outing, formal or otherwise. Two years National Service put me off ties and hats for life. I've never worn a hat since other than when tramping, and it is years since a tie hung around my neck, but then again - I wear shorts the whole year round now. But I digress , the four in this shot are Birdie - Brian Burdett, Nelly - Pete Newton, Sandie - who I can't recall formally, and Robbo - Brian Robson.  The Green Wyvern shots include Duzzer Dewsbury and a G.Halliday - barely seen behind a layer of shaving soap. Those sailing holidays were an enjoyable part of school life and I was fortunate to be able to attend a number of them. They were held during school holidays and, I think, covered Easter, Whit, and Summer. Oulten Broad was one area of call - a massive stretch of water as I recalled, until I revisited on one of my trips back to the UK. Either my memory played tricks , or it has shrunk considerably in the meantime. However, it did bring back pleasant memories. I particularly remember one Easter trip diving off the boat whilst we were sailing,  the water was freezing and I swam/flew on top of the water to the nearest vessel before hypothermia set in. The sun was warm , the water not.  .I can't say that anything really stands out for my school years , I was an average student - I think I did take a prize once but can't remember what for  - a book as I recall bu , again, I can't remember what it was. I enjoyed Basher Brewin as a teacher , had no problems with Flo Willan , suffered in French with Johnny Jeeves and his method of subtracting marks for wrong declensions - I never could get the things right,  dropped German like a lead shot, seemed to do well in history with Chas Howard , passed the mock school cert without problems and flunked the actual (never did go sailing again)  Geography with Pace and Wally Wardle?, English language & literature I enjoyed although had always read the chosen book very early in the piece and then got bored with having to go through it again bit by bit. Bob Roberts for maths was a pain. He could not control a class, and whilst I was there to learn others were rowdy , disrupted the class and made his teaching methods even more difficult.  I dropped art in favour of woodwork. Flunked the "O" level exam in woodwork - can't ever recall being given theory in the subject, still have problems in obtaining a square cut in a piece of timber (thank heaven for drop saws)  and now have painting as my major hobby. I came away with six out of the eight subjects that I sat in the first GCE "O" levels (history & woodwork the no-goers, French & maths, English lang & lit, Geography & General Science passed) I later was to find that General Science was virtually useless, covering everything in general and nothing in particular. Made 'A' level chemistry at night school a harder slog than it should have been.  I was pleased to leave school and start work - but then spent the next thirteen years going to night school - even when doing National Service in the RAF. I took deferment  to the age of twenty, got married and was called up three months and two days after that event. Demobbed in 1957 in time for our first daughter to be born in 1958 - and continued studying. Came to New Zealand in Feb 1965 , wife and three daughters,  and have continued off and on with study . I think my last bit of studying was in19'92 - "Advanced dyeing" (93.5 % pass mark) and eight years before I officially retired in 2000. Now sixteen years on I still continue to work three days a week at the tannery and enjoy it, being there because I want to and not because I have to - makes a big difference.
Incidentally, if you would like to see my art work Google  http://emci.dcnet.co.nz  OK so the photo is nine years old - but I haven't changed greatly - a little more grey and I do wear my glasses all the time now, but I enjoy life. 
 
FROM GEOFF WOODFORD  1957-64   Re Dave Zanker's listing of 5S in 1961 – must be fifty years since I saw any of my old classmates, and memories have faded somewhat! Our class was seated  in alphabetical order, so I was next to Dave Z in the back corner. On sports afternoons did cross country with Tony Rudkin as we preferred ambling along discussing radio projects to football, and no one was too concerned about times. We used to ride out  to the playing fields near Thurmaston on our bikes, well behind Mark Hayler as we could not keep up with him. He usually "forgot" to turn off and went cycling for the afternoon. I remember Dougie Dickens developing a strong interest in chemistry, not unrelated to the new lab technician (Cathy?)  After 3 years in the 6th form  I took Natural Sciences at Cambridge, then joined Courtaulds, working in Derby on synthetic fibres.  Emigrated to South Africa in 1970, and  after a year of minerals processing with JCI spent 3thirty years with AECI in the mining explosives industry.  At one stage ran Blasting Explosives Department, making fifty tons of nitroglycerine a day and managing the two thousand-odd people who converted it into sticks of dynamite etc  - a far cry from my schoolday experiments on permanganate/magnesium bangers. Later worked in, then ran, our projects group. The business downsized, and  I took an early retirement package in 2001. The kids had grown up, and Johannesburg had become unattractive to live in, so we moved to France with our 3 dogs, initially to get around the UK quarantine requirements, then decided to settle here in Morbihan in Brittany.  Johnny Jeeves' and Bill Brushe's French classes finally came in handy! Between  home improvements, walking, fighting nature in our ½  hectare garden, visiting family, sampling the French wines etc the time rushes by!
 
FROM KEITH SMITH  1958-65   I have seen mention twice now of Dennis Miller Wilson being an old boy of the School and how he came to be Director of Music at the BBC. My mother informed me some time ago that her father (my grandfather) George Herbert Allen (1890 - 1952) taught Dennis to play the piano and he was very proud to have taught him. My grandfather went to the Victoria College of Music, worked at Wolsey on Abbey Park Road after service in World War 1 and had a music room at his home in Harrison Road, where he taught piano, organ and violin. He was a Methodist lay preacher and church organist at Catherine Street and Harrison Road Methodist Church. I assume that Dennis would have lived close by.
 
FROM CLIVE DAVIES  1950-57   It was with sadness that I read in OWT91 that my former adversary, Mr W T Brushe, had died at the grand old old age of 93.  Despite the fact, oft recalled in OWT, that I was the recipient of his temper when pulling out of an inter-schools swimming gala at the last minute, I did hold him in some esteem.  He must surely have been the last of the teachers who taught me at CBS in the fifties, and I am sorry I missed him at a reunion he attended a couple of years ago.  Teaching in those days was a very different proposition from today, and I held no animosity towards him.  Our confrontation was just one element of school discipline in those days, along with the cane, slipper, chalk, detentions and blackboard rubber.  I seem to remember that all the teachers, with the exception of Jock Gilman, wore chalk-covered gowns during lessons, with hoods added for special occasions suxh as Speech Day and Founders Day.  The teachers moved from classroom to classroom, unlike today when it is the pupils who move between rooms.  There were, of course, the labs and other specialist rooms where teachers shared the space. With some teachers taking more than one subject those rooms saw a lot of staff movements every forty minutes or so.  This resulted in some unlikely pairings, such as Nobby  Clarke with Basher Brewin;  Mr Gould with Flash Gordon; WAG Pace with George Franey; Messrs Whitbread and Remington and, later, the new boys Messrs Witts and Lawson, often with Mr Sweet tagging along behind.  Buftom and Jeeves, the old boys, kept an eye on the even older pair of Roberts and Sykes, both with classroom control issues.  Then there were Kay and Smith, with a common interest in cricket; Wally Wardle sharing asides with Captain Chas Howard of the flagship Hope and Green Wyvern fame - surely the Captain Pugwash of his day.  Flo Willan, who seemed to have exclusive use of the biology lab, and Mr Philips, never strayed far from the science block, which was off the rear playground.  Add to those pairings Hantusche and Brushe, both with what I perceived to be foreign accents, strutting the third-floor library corridor so soon after the war.  I could not help thinking they must be spies, reporting back about grammar school life in Leicester.  Having a German teacher in school only five years after the war wasn't an issue at CBS, and I can't remember any specific mention of the hostilities.  That was not like my first boss, who would not purchase anything made in Japan or Germany.  Herr Brushe (what a name for a German teacher) with his bristling ginger moustache, and Hantusche (did he ever have a moustache?) both tried to teach me modern languages without much success. I was having enough trouble with English, which I failed at 'A' level despite the best efforts of George Franey.  Being of Welsh stock it wasn't even the first language for half of my family, and my grandmother did not speak much English at all. 
In OWT72 Andy Marlow requested details of the 1953 swimming gala Victor Ludorum, and I confirm that having seen the shield at the last reunion I attended I did indeed win it that year.  I also won the Roberts Tennis Cup in 1957, beating my old pal George Haines in the semi final, and Eddie Blount in the final on Speech Day afternoon.
 
FROM DAVE POSTLES  1960-67   I hesitate to enter into a conversation with Paul Healey and Steve Mellor which excludes others, but I hope that some of the following will resonate with other former schoolmates.  I first of all respond to some of their reminiscences.
Yes, Paul, I well remember your escape from Grace Road.  Nor was it very covert, but there seemed to be an absence of surveillance. It seemed that we were all bussed out there with little supervision, to entertain ourselves as best we could – or compelled to run round the perimeter of the ground, which was reason sufficient to make a getaway, more so because of the large splinters which excruciatingly penetrated your feet in the changing rooms. Still, you could have been less obvious.  Your peccadillo is compounded by Steve Mellor's decamping to the bowling alley whilst the rest of us laboured in the library under the vigilance of Dave Lawrence. I remember a roll call. Why wasn't your absence discovered?  'Breaker'; 'Breaker'; 'Breaker'; 'Yes sir' ultimately came the desultory confirmation.  Always only at the third time of asking. The rest of us dutifully responded at the first time of asking for our presence.  Really, one wonders about the recalcitrance of so many Wyvernians. The honour of the school was surely derogated by your inexcusable antics. Have you no shame?  Moving swiftly on, from Grace Road, by the fifth form that venue was no longer available and we were transported to the marginally superior Rushey Mead. Here there was the choice of tennis in the summer or random, self-convened football with a plastic ball. Unless memory ill serves me, the illustrious Steve played his hand at rackets with Richard McMorran, whilst the less refined, like me, kicked the ball about in rudimentary fashion. The benefit for me was a quicker return afterward, as it as was only a short march to Northfields Estate.  In the summer after graduating from CBS, Steve, Richard McMorran and I worked at Pukka Pies – and that was an experience.  Does anyone remember George, who gave instruction in French and Latin? He really stimulated my interest in the French language and literature, which engages me to this day. I think that Steve was in the same group, in the lower stream taking French A Level.

 
FROM GEOFF GERMAN  1965-71   I am hoping to locate Mr John Anderson, a former member of staff.  He was head of history in the late sixties and early seventies.  I think he went on to become Deputy hHad at Desford College, though I'm not entirely sure.  John Anderson taught me 'A' level history, before I went on to university.  I want to thank him for all the help he gave me at the time(Editor's note.  If anyone can help Geoff, please send the information to me.  I will then contact John on Geoff's behalf.  That way we should avoid any accusations about breaches of privacy etc.  This is something I am very conscious of)
 
FROM ALAN PYKETT  1959-66   On 27 September BBC4 broadcast a programme entitled  Grammar School. A Secret History . You may have seen it. Part way through there was footage of some school sports teams. My immediate reaction was they looked very much like teams from City Boys. The football team in particular were in the correct colours (black and gold quarters) one of the teachers looked very much like Dave Lawrence and the background seemed to resemble Downing Drive. However, I thought, no, it can't be. Fast forward to the rolling credits at the end and, sure enough, in the acknowledgements were City Boys School, Leicester, Leicester City Boys School Archives and the Leicester Mercury. It would be interesting to know how they got hold of the footage. I don't know what contribution the Mercury played! I really enjoyed the programme, and not for the first time I was transported back to my days at City Boys.
 
AND FINALLY...   I am running out of anecdotes for this spot, so given the above mentions of Grace Road and Rushey Fields I will repeat a couple of tales.  Jock  Gilman's supervision of games afternoons was somewhat lax, so it was relatively simple for non-sporting types like me and Peter McDermott to avoid this unwanted physical activity.  One sure-fire way was to present a forged note at the staffroom before (or was it after?) assembly.  Jock  would stand there, pipe in mouth, and glance at the forgery before initialling it.  That meant spending the afternoon in the library, usually undisturbed.  Occasionally there would be a purge, and the little group was directed to an empty classroom to write lines.  I still remember the frisson of nerves as Jock  read the notes.  Of course that dodge could only be pulled two or three times per term.  Once at Grace Road there was little or no chance of avoiding the football or cricket.  My policy with the latter depended on whether my team was batting or fielding.  If the former I simply made sure I was the last batsman, not difficult as everyone else could not wait to get to the crease.  So with a bit of luck, games would be over before it was my turn.  If fielding, I went and stood as far away from the wicket as possible to minimise contact with the ball.  Sometimes, instead of football or cricket, we ran round and round the perimeter of the field, and I enjoyed that.  The toilets were behind the grandstand, and were absolutely disgusting.
At Rushey Fields Peter and I developed a foolproof plan.  We used it regularly, and were never caught.  The changing rooms were windowless concrete buildings, long and narrow.  The door was at one of the narrow ends, and as the lighting never worked the bottom half of the room was pitch black.  All we did was vanish into the darkness until everyone had changed and moved to the pitches, gave it a few minutes to be sure, then walked the short distance to the 42 bus stop and caught a bus into town.  However if it was cross-country I was happy to take part.  With hindsight I don't know why we went to so much effort to get out of games.  Maybe it was the challenge?  It would certainly have made our lives easier, and less risky, if we had simply taken part and done our best.  And, of course, we only got away with it because there was never a roll call.  Jock  must have known about the fiddles, my guess is he opted for a quiet life!
 
Dennis J Duggan
(1959-64)
October 18th 2016



 
 

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