been helping masters to escape. This must stop at once"
Anderson, Appleyard, Baker, Banham, Bargery, Baron, Barwell, Battye, Bawden, Baxter, Belmont, Boothroyd, Bootle, Bower, Bowles, Bowman, Brand, Brunning, Buck, Buckeridge, Canty, Carter, Catherall, Colls (E), Colls (M), Croudace, Davenport, Davis, Davitte, Doughty, Dudley, Ellison, Eyre, Fairhurst, Fielding, Fox (Miss), Fox (Mr), Freeburn, Freeman
He fancied himself as a very 'trendy' theologian, unlike the Rev. 'God' Buck (Vicar of Wicklewood) who was much more conservative and tended to play it by the book - the Good Book. Jesus would have been one of those rock and rolling 'God Squad' types from the SS Philip and Jacob (Pip n' Jay) the hip church in Bristol who were forever trying to convert me. We liked him though and he used to really liven up RE lessons. I remember us trying to wind him up by discussing this new book 'The Passover Plot' which attempted to prove that 'they' had made it all up.
Jesus refused to be fazed in the slightest and discussed the book with us in a very earnest manner. Baker also attempted to rattle him by starting a discussion on porn and quoting from some naughty book that he had somehow managed not to have confiscated. Again, Jesus just took Baker head-on and actually caused Baker to get embarrassed. I was seriously impressed by this as it was very difficult to faze Baker, particularly about his favourite subject, i.e. sex.
I read in the 'The first 50 years' - official party line by Brand X and Froggy - that he died after going to Culford School, which is sad as he was pretty young when he taught us.
A very open and polite man. The only thing I remember about him other than this is that he used to put one or two word comments in the end of year school reports. Such word as "Good", "Satisfactory", "Excellent" were the norm for him.
In my second or third year, he taught my class RE, as well as being my house or form tutor. I cannot imagine how the subject came up in an RE class, but we were discussing song lyrics and someone told Mr Anderson the story behind the song “Je t’aime,” which had been popular a couple of years back. He was quite shocked, but did not mention the matter again and we all forgot about it. Then, at the end of term, in his farewell talk to his house/form group he wished us well for the holidays etc, ending with: “and if any of you have got the record “Je t’aime” in your collection, take it home, we do not want it here!” to a bemused class, only a few of whom had the slightest idea of what he was talking about!
Christine Plume (Dellino)
Not only a good teacher, but he was instrumental in forming the Railway Society, being kind enough to agree to being the master in charge. Not only did he set up his model railway in one of the side rooms of one of the unused staff prefabs but took us on all manner of trips out to various locations including a one-day 'grand tour' of various historical and current railway locations in Norfolk and a trip late one afternoon to watch 'Flying Scotsman' pass Spooner Row crossing on a special to Norwich.
Mr 'Pip' Appleyard
..... was Ken Bowman's predecessor as Second Master (and once turned a kindly blind eye when he caught me skiving games; he must've been a saint to endure both Metcalfe and Rutherford).
AKA 'Gutty.' Taught music theory and appreciation. I got 0 out of 10 for a music test once, so he took me into his little room and slippered me. I felt really uneasy about this and do to this day. Nothing untoward happened though. It just seemed inappropriate.
Stephen Farthing (Canterbury, 62-70)
Baker was a great classical music fan and absolutely loathed pop music, the exact opposite of most of his pupils. In 1962 he thought he was beginning to convert his classes as he was regularly asked to play the Nutcracker Suite on his old wind up gramophone. It took some weeks for him to realise that what we really wanted to hear was 'Nutrocker' by B. Bumble and the Stingers - the Number 1 at the time.
Charlie 'Julian' Smith
Would make us sing and tried to teach music theory. His block was some way away from the others (I believe near Tomlinson Hall) and it always seemed a long walk down there.
"Gutty" Baker's hatred of pop music was indeed legendary, and he was greatly frowned upon by the pupils because of a rumour that he had disinherited his son Lloyd Baker, the baritone sax player of Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers. I can remember seeing graffiti saying "Lloyd Baker Is Great".
Mr Paul Banham
Taught me German in the first form. A very nice man and a good teacher, he had something of the 'wise owl' about him and, I think, was generally well-liked and respected. I believe he actually belonged to the CGS but there was a bit of teacher-swapping between them and WC on occasions.
A very good rugby coach, especially for beginners. I remember being sad when he left after the end of my first year. Lumbered with the task of looking after the first and second year "crocodile" on Sunday walks.
Mr Miles Baron
... and for a term or two, RE! - Tim Briston
History + Games
I did not have Mr Barwell for history but as a rugby coach. He was extraordinarily good at tactics and invented a move which he called zigzag. This proved very successful and we won all our games in both the third and fourth year when he was coaching us.
Miss Sarah Battye
"You're never going to believe this Miss ...!"
That was my opening gambit to Miss Battye (did I hear now tragically departed this life?) to explain the fact that I didn't, once again, have any homework to hand in.
"Mr. Metcalfe's daughter's dog (a Staffordshire bull terrier) came into our classroom, picked up my duffel bag (... remember duffel bags?) and ran out with it. It then started shaking the bag as it ran off, with books being strewn all over the place. I recovered most of my belongings, but sadly no sign of my French exercise book"
"You're right Ellis! I don't believe it - DETENTION!" ... or words to that effect.
The bit about the dog and the duffel bag was
true - nearly ... just a little embroidery to help me get out of not doing the
work. Shelagh (Crawford), who was in the same form as me, remembers the
Mr Dick Bawden
In York, there was a comment by Eddie Walker just before supper, observing that the potatoes looked rather 'sappish.' He was overheard by Bawden who promptly slippered him!
Taught me history for 'O' level. God it was dull. I got my own back when he had to supervise one of our chemistry labs. He had an aversion to vinegar, so I simmered a large beaker of glacial acetic acid for the whole period and pretended it was an experiment. His eyes ran, he coughed. Sweet.
Stephen Farthing (Canterbury, 62-70)
I remember that we had two pairs of shoes and I used to clean them both every other day. One day Bawden took the dirty pair from my locker, placed them in lost property and reported them on the notice board with a find of 1p per day to redeem them. I refused to pay and when the find had reached astronomical proportions (in excess of 1s ) I was slippered and the shoes returned. ( A moral victory).
Bawden also slippered me for walking over the grass beside the pond with my parents and brother prior to my brother coming to the school. I was following all the other parents and new entrants who were being escorted by sixth formers!
Peter Willimott (North/Durham 58-65)
Very good history teacher. I met him by chance twice after leaving school, once in my home village (where he was staying as he was taking part in an excavation at Castle Acre that summer) and once when I was doing my degree. On the latter occasion he was particularly kind, and invited me for tea and sandwiches at his flat. Though he had a severe reputation as a disciplinarian he really did know his subject. I believe he got his nickname because he had been a boxer at Cambridge and would shadow box sometimes in the morning. When he left he went to Sheffield to teach at a teachers training college.
He used to hand out small strips of paper at the start of each lesson and proceed to ask 10 questions on the set homework reading. I always struggled with these tests and then a God send arrived in the form of the answers before the test – Class 4E got ahead of 4D and had the answers before 4D had had the same test - and a very helpful member of 4E passed me the answers. Easy – all I had to do was to work out what the questions were going to be. I was getting tremendous scores as the year progressed …. and then the awful truth dawned on me – there was an exam at the end of the year and how was I going to explain why my exam marks did not reflect my test scores? I ended up working really hard for that exam and got a genuinely exceptional (for me!) score! It was a bit ironic as I was dropping history that year anyway!!
At the end of the school year it was common for leaving pupils to throw away their exercise books in the bins. On one occasion I came across several almost empty books that would set me up for scrap paper for ages. I showed them to Mr Bawden and he asked me if I wanted some scrap paper? Marvellous I thought – scrap paper and some extra paper from Mr Bawden as well – now that was a surprise as I thought that was being exceedingly generous. Then my balloon got popped – Mr Bawden duly took all but one of my scrap books away and left me with the remaining one!!!
Late homework – I once tried to hand in some late homework at the end of the lesson. Mr Bawden asked the very searching question, “Boy, why should I mark your homework when I could be in the staff room drinking coffee?” I had to agree that the better option would be to have his coffee – perhaps my honesty worked as he duly marked my homework and dashed off to the staff room in haste…
I thought that Mr Bawden was a very dedicated teacher who was known for burning the mid-night oil studying – he really did know his topic. He could be very personable and he once told me that he had the career choice between taking physics and history. Since I liked physics much more than history, I felt that it was a shame that he took what (to me then) was the wrong decision.
Peter J Beck
Canterbury House 1965-1970
Taught me German with a fierce Scots accent (although she wasn't at all fierce herself) and particularly memorable to me if only for the fact that her father was the stationmaster at Cambridge station.
Mr Jim Belmont
Was your German teacher Jim Belmont? If so, he ended up at Thorpe St Andrew; he taught my stepson, looked just the same, albeit a bit worn around the edges. He retired a few years back.
If it was him, presumably you did "Neustadt, die modellstadt" for one part of your 'O' Level oral? All together now: "Neustadt die modellstadt, staht auf einem holtzbrett das zwei meter lang und einenhalb meter breit ist. Fur den hintergrund hatt ein madchen eine gerbirtzlandshaft gemalt. Er zeight eine blauen himmel, weise wolken und eine sonne uber den bergen … etc. ..."
With apologies for the spelling, why I remember that 26 years on, "ich weiss es nicht" and I managed an unclassified in that one too (along with Eng. Lit. and French). Other than that, all I can remember from German is the speed limit: geschwindigskeitbeschrenkung. How funny the things that stick ...
I remember Jim Belmont very well and still speak and sight-read German better than French. He used a model village to teach us grammar and he was very interested in language per se. Do you remember the frieze that went round the wall with letters of the alphabet, then FOR, then an ending? So the one I remember was C for thighlanders (some obscure army division?).
Mr Keith Boothroyd
French + German
Tried to teach me French, a subject I was not very good at. I believe he was a Methodist. Met him by chance on Liverpool Street station out of term and I remember him being particularly kind to my mother and aunt, escorting them to the buffet and seeing they were properly seated etc. He also taught German.
A very nice man but had problems keeping classes under control. I am ashamed of the way we treated him, because he was good at his subject. Had the thankless task of being the master in charge on Saturday nights in the summer when we were allowed to go to the park. When he left it was rumoured he wanted to join the church as a minister. I think he would have been very good at this.
Mr Bootle (chemistry) arrived in the
late sixties. Tall, skinny, lank haired, bespectacled and geeky, he NEVER
should have become a teacher. He had no discipline and with that unerring sense
for weakness that teenagers have, we put him through hell (I say this guiltily
rather than proudly). He left after perhaps two years and, I believe, became a
priest. His nickname - which always makes me laugh -was
'Deathwatch' as in Deathwatch beetle/Bootle.
Mr Cedric Bower
..... and 5A form master (my form) - Tim Briston
Miss Mary Bowles
A very kind lady, I believe she was a housemistress as well. Encouraged people to excel and was very enthusiastic.
Mr Ken Bowman
French + German
Mr. K.R. Bowman, Deputy Warden, 1957-72.
(copied from the 1972 College Magazine)
As Mr. Bowman is retiring from teaching and leaving the College after fifteen years' service here, we sent Sandra Howard and Pamela Worsley to interview him. From their talk many interesting facts emerged, recorded as follows:
"After his education at Cambridge High School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated with a 2nd in Modern Languages, Mr. Bowman spent his first two years of teaching at Maidstone Grammar School. His first experience in a boarding school came when he moved to Merchant Taylors Crosby as a housemaster. Of the fourteen years he was on the staff there, six were spent in the Army during the Second World War. Towards the end of it he served in Burma, where he was promoted to the rank of Major.
In 1948 he became a housemaster at Kingham Hill School, and moved to the College in 1957 to become the housemaster of South House, or Gloucester as we know it to-day. In those distant, different days, South boarding accommodation consisted of four stout nissen huts, 26, 27, 28 and 29, which are now more familiar to us as classrooms. Peel Hall, the first 'multi- storey" boarding block, was then not quite completed.
On January 1st, 1963, Mr. Bowman became our Deputy-Warden.
In our chat with him Mr. Bowman showed that he is in favour of recent changes in the College. He feels that one of the main obstacles to progress lay in the fact that the Upper 6th had previously lacked the freedom and opportunity to show full responsibility. When asked about future changes, he said that he felt each house should have a room where juniors in particular might "let off steam" without disturbing those in the common-rooms.
On retiring he intends to move down to the edge of the New Forest, where he has bought a house. We all wish 'Ken' and Mrs. Bowman every happiness in their future life".
And yet the above account is not sufficient. It does not fully do justice to the warmth of feeling and great respect engendered in others by Mr. Bowman's statesmanlike tact and moral stature. A prodigiously hard worker, a diplomat in his handling of the vast numbers of people with whom he has come in contact, a personality with a strong sense of humour. and a "perfect gentleman".
Mr. Bowman will be greatly missed as a figure on the Wymondham College scene.
My best 'O' Level pass was in German & I put it down to this man. He was certainly strict; stupidity (in his eyes) or a lack of concentration would be rewarded by being lifted out of one's seat, by the collar, and receiving a knuckle 'bop' on the back of the head at the same time. Kept you on your toes.
The ancient German text books were written in 'hoch Deutsch' (high German), with classic script characters that gave an extra degree of difficulty. I drew on the language skills a few times in the Navy when visiting German ports, most importantly when coupling up three phases of a Ship's electrical supply to shore generators. A mix-up of gelb, blau & rot could've had disastrous consequences!
Ken died in 1991.
When Mr Bowman was teaching us French he used a book about General Leclerc (?) in WW2. Our plot was to divert his thinking from French to WW2 which was much more interesting. He was quite a laid-back sort of guy when we had him in 1955/6. I was not allowed to sit GCE French as I was not up to it!
Always both feared and respected him. I remember one story that he related. As he was fluent in German he was selected for a very, very hush, hush operation in WW2. He was led to a hut where he was required to broadcast in German (across the channel) as many swear words as he could, to cover up all the operational talk taking place in England during some war time exercises! I took French so I don't know if he ever actually taught the same words to his pupils in class - he undoubtedly used them on us in the House, but ignorance is bliss.
Dave 'Eddie' Edwards
Taught a few classes French and German (not me). Very strict on discipline (as befitted his job). He had a very kind nature underneath his exterior.
Mention is made of Ken Bowman's career at Kingham Hill, but no-one, I think, notes that this coincided with the presence there on the staff of both Tom Worrall and Ray Metcalfe. Or so I was told forty years ago.
I recall, though my memory is a little dim
trying to recall events from 40 odd years ago, it was a morning lesson, possibly
Form 3A. Mr. Boothroyd, who was our form teacher, was always punctual, but on
this particular day he wasn't there when we arrived. About 5 minutes after the
lesson should have started, in strides Major Bowman. Talk about quaking, amongst
the boys, as I think that deep down a lot of the girls fancied him.
Major, obviously, was totally unprepared for the lesson; so a little revision and testing was in order. He picked the relative pronoun in French, either qui or que depending on the object or subject in a relative clause. Examples were chalked on the blackboard. He picked, at random, pupils in the class to repeat the lesson. Hapless X [name protected until I can get his permission! - Ed.] was selected.
The Major wrote a sentence on the blackboard with the missing pronoun as a blank; then asked X to state whether the blank should be qui or que. Poor X got it wrong. The Major had another go. Again, X got it wrong! Clearly, the Major thought he was dealing with an idiot. He marched up to X's desk, stood him up by the scruff of the neck and then proceeded to bop him, each time he said it should be qui not que. Several bops were given. The Major went back to the blackboard. Another example; poor X; he got it wrong again.
By this time, the Major's face was turning red. Looking back, I assume that he thought that this was a case of wilful disobedience on the part of X. For him, I think , it was a case of why don't the school regulations allow me to wear brown trousers? Again, the Major marched up to X's desk, hauled him up by his ears and frog-marched him - still by the ears - to the blackboard and, still holding X's ears bashed his head against the blackboard several times, simultaneously saying "it's qui not que!"
By this time, X was a wreck. Another example, and he got it right! I suspect it was to do with the statistical rule that if you flip a coin a number of times, you will eventually get an approximately an equal number of heads and tails.
In today's political climate, I think that the Major would have been sent down. How did we manage to grin and bear it? Why didn't we tell our parents?
Anon from the Sixties
I remember the morbid fear of getting on the wrong side of Ken. Once at exam time I was busy doing some last minute revision in the form room at break time when a romantic couple came into the room. Not long later Ken appeared and the couple were duly sent to the head master’s office. I was cringing with fear at this moment – but was let off with a dismissive clear off boy directive.
On walking back on the A11 from Wymondham on exeat (but not hitch hiking), I heard a shout (from a car that I had not noticed stop in front of me) to the effect of hurry up if I wanted a lift. Wow, I had not expected a lift and it was particular welcome as otherwise I was certainly going to be late for tea. I rushed to the car and then saw who the driver was – Ken! Apart for an astute observation that I was unlikely to be back in time the lift was painless, but gratefully received. I was left with more respect for Ken after that.
Peter J Beck
Canterbury House 1965-1970
Got me interested in science. But not in Gilbert and Sullivan! He sang the lead in the Mikado as I recall. [and many others - Ed.]
Stephen Farthing (Canterbury, 62-70)
Mr Brand had a passionate love for his orange Volvo estate car. One morning in the Summer Term, when we came down to the Fry Hall dining room (in the days before the cow-shed Refectory was finished), we found that the curtains were drawn. As everyone sat down at their tables, Mr Brand made a big drama of getting all the curtains opened, but, to his shock and horror, there on the grass outside the dining room (normally used as a casual football pitch by Fry pupils) was his precious car, carefully positioned (I am told, without the aid of the engine!) quite a considerable way from where he had left it parked the night before! It goes without saying, that there was a thorough investigation!
I understand that some of the 5th Years had a hand in it as a parting gesture! (Summer 1985 I think).
Michael Brand should have been awarded a medal, I am sure (probably any of the House masters/mistresses should!). The goings-on in a mixed boarding house would have been enough to send most people completely round the bend after only a few days - amazingly, I believe Mr Brand only retired about 2 or 3 years ago!
Rebecca Knight (Becca Silburn in those Wymondham days !)
Wymondham was blessed with some (and a
lot more than most schools) great teachers that taught you about life and
their subjects. For example, Mike Brand was the one man that gave me a love
for the subject of Chemistry that I hold to this day. I still use some
of his methods and expressions in the classroom today (anybody that
can recall how he described the test for hydrogen will understand what I mean
Cliff Martin (pupil 1972-1977 and staff 1982-1990)
I had Mr Brand for Science in First Year and shall never, ever forget the immortal phrase "the apparatus was set up as shown in the diagram." Nor shall I ever misspell 'apparatus!'
Once we were measuring the conductivity of different substances and were provided with some mercury in a test tube, with two metal prongs sticking out. The idea, obviously, was that you attached your electrode thingies to the prongs to measure the conductivity - NOT pour the mercury out on the desk and stick the electrodes directly in it, as Peter Thompson did! Mr Brand d*mn near had a coronary - "DO YOU KNOW EXACTLY HOW DANGEROUS THAT SUBSTANCE IS, YOU STUPID BOY?!" - and cleared the lab of now-hysterical students, before nominating some poor lab grunt to clear up the mercury. Ah, happy days!
I also remember him keeping a perfectly straight face when explaining why the symbol for lead is Pb - "It's from the Latin plumbum." Of course we all cracked up laughing, and for some reason we thought we were the first class ever to see the joke. Of course, with hindsight I can now imagine how unfunny that was for him in his 20-something-th year of teaching. No wonder he could keep a straight face.
Whenever I went to one of Mr Brand's chem classes I used to just wait out the front with my hand extended so he could cane me. It got it out of the way (it always happened). If I initially went to my seat and waited to be called, the waiting would make me a nervous wreck.
One of the very few teachers able to manage a balanced combination of authority and friendliness; Mr. Brand was my Chemistry teacher for several years in the early seventies and instilled in me an interest in the subject which has remained to this day. A first class teacher who often used humour to keep it interesting, so much so that I actually joined the Chemistry Club, which at the time was a really nerdy thing to do (although one of my secret objectives was to learn about explosives). I remember being proud that he was my teacher when my parents were highly amused by his performance as the Widow Twanky in The Mikado, in which he even inserted some lines of his own about "poof" (his nickname, which prior to that nobody dared even to contemplate he was aware of) and " the Characteristic POP", his unforgettable description of the test for hydrogen.
I recall one lesson in the second year when we all heated copper 2 sulphate (blue crystals) to get anhydrous copper 2 sulphate (white powder) which is a physical reaction with no change chemically. I wondered whether it would turn blue again if you added water, so put a heap of the white powder on the palm of my hand and added a drop of water. Instantly it heated up and burnt a hole in my hand, causing me to scream. Mr. Brand said calmly "Thank you, Cook, for demonstrating so ably to us all that anhydrous copper 2 sulphate readily turns to hydrated copper 2 sulphate when we add water, and that the reaction is an EXOTHERMIC REACTION. Repeat after me, Cook, it is an EXOTHERMIC REACTION". That is one word I never forgot. I also remember him having the class in fits with his explanation of the reaction that occurred when Barry Nicholls set fire to his trousers by carrying sodium chlorate weedkiller in his pocket (used for making firecrackers) whilst wearing nylon underpants.
Oh yes, it did turn blue again.
Miss Brunning (second mistress who retired in 1958).
I can only remember meeting the Rev Buck at the railway soc. meetings. He was quite old then. What his exact status was in the school I do not know but I think he did some teaching.
Miss Buckeridge (PE) was the niece of Anthony Buckeridge , author of the Jennings school stories of the 1940's and 1950's that were based on his experiences as a master and pupil. She later married Mr Herrington (aka 'Dibble').
Brian Ellis: "I asked her, in my first year, if she was any relation. I remember her replying that he was her uncle. I thought she was joshing me ... but at the reunion last year I met Miss (Mary) Bowles who took us for English Lit. and she confirmed the relationship."
Norman taught at WC 1953-1957 before moving to Derbyshire, the Midlands and Hertfordshire to further his career. He finally retired to Norwich at an early age but, 10 years ago, he and his wife Dorothy moved to Harrogate where they are close to members of their family. At 88 and 87 respectively they both remain in relatively good health and are extremely spritely for their ages. Dorothy still cooks an impressive cake and Norman promises me that he doesn't use Grecian 2000.
How do I know all this? He is my godfather!
Caroline Harrison (nee Browne)
Class of 1972
Caroline has since been in touch to tell us that sadly Norman Canty passed away suddenly on 14 June 2010.
Mr Carter, who taught History and ran the History Soc., was related to Howard Carter of Tutankhamen fame!
In approximately 1959 he married and the subsequent Mrs Carter was a dazzling History teacher. Does anyone know her maiden name?
Mrs Catherall introduced us to classic english and american literature - basically by choosing some great reads. She was miniscule and most of the pupils towered over her - her satchel (always crammed with exercise books) was almost as big as she was. Her stature instilled an instinctive courtesy amongst the older boys, except when it came to boarding the buses to get home!
Miss Elizabeth Colls
Betty Colls (Margery's elder sister) retired or left in 1958.
Miss Margery Colls
Always seemed a rather shy person. Her block was near Tomlinson Hall and it was a trek down there.
Dorothy Pymer (nee Mann; 1968-1972) writes:
|"This is a photo taken by my husband of Miss Colls and me on Jan 1st 2009. Miss Colls retired as Head of Art in 1973, 2 terms after I left to take up a post at Lincoln School. She has had a retirement probably of similar length to her teaching career! I am sure many of the Wells girls will remember her with affection."|
I recall she had a northern accent. Very strict on discipline, but this had the effect of making one of my worst subjects enjoyable. As for Mr Croudace (Maths), apart from being the husband of Mrs Croudace, I cannot remember much about him.
My first form teacher (1C) visited me when I was in hospital, fell in love with her somewhat.
Stephen Farthing (Canterbury, 62-70)
Known as 'Caveman.' I did Graphics with him in 80/81. I remember playing cricket in the classroom and a really scary trip in a mini bus to see an exhibition at Yarmouth Art College. He was a great teacher who loved Jazz and he went to school with Michael Caine - not a lot of people know that!
Denise McGee (Williams)
Mr Davitte, AKA 'Taffy.' Taught me rugby in year one. I was small, not fast, so he made me hooker. Gave me some confidence; had I continued with him I might have developed some ability and love for the game.
Stephen Farthing (Canterbury, 62-70)
He never taught me, but I remember him particularly for his kindness to me when I was a very homesick first-former. Having arrived at WC at the same time as me he did his best to make me feel better by pretending to me that he didn't feel very good about it either. A generally good-humoured sort of chap I seem to remember.
Mr Mike Doughty
Mr Doughty (MAD from his initials) taught A level Physics in the mid 60s, and was the main inspiration for my decision to study it for a degree at Imperial College, London. Unlike some others on the staff at the time he always treated 6th formers as thinking adults and expressed his opinions about the harsher aspects of the regime very clearly. He had received his degree at Cambridge, with entry deferred by two years to do National Service in the 50s. He often told us that he felt that this put him at a disadvantage compared to the students who had gone straight from school because of the fewer brain cells that the ageing process had left him with. He was Housemaster (York House) at the time and subsequently went on to become Head at a school in Kent. I heard later that this wasn't a success; can anyone confirm or deny this?
Malcolm Williamson (West/Canterbury 1959-67)
Mr Eric Dudley. Dined with us in Canterbury. Weatherman for Anglia TV. Memorable phrases :
“Mean what you say or say what you mean - one of the two.”
“Look where you are going or go where you are looking.”
“The weather tomorrow will be variable.”
Stephen Farthing (Canterbury, 62-70)
In the 1963 College Magazine he was the subject of this 'old English' poem by 6th Form wordsmith Michael Rice (the spell-checker didn't like this at all!):
A MANNE OF TELEVISIOUN
A lerned clerk ther was of Grantebrigge,
Who kanne much of algebra and trigge.
Wel was he clued in astronomye,
Whilom ycleped meteorologye.
Ne never was ther sich a lerned felawe,
Ywis. His freendes callen hym DUDLAWE.
What cloudes giveth rayn, and when it sneweth-
Al sich prognosticatiouns he knoweth.
Wel coped he with chaunge from Fahrenheit
To Centigrade and bak agayn. Thys wight
Apperd on televisioun, mostly Fridayes,
And ther reveled al the storms and tydis.
Then to the folkes wolde he telle
The cyclones, which they knew ful welle
Wolde bring hem rayn, in softe shoures
To irrigate hir croppes and hir floures.
The hote sonnes declinacioun
Forncast he too, and in sich fashioun
To shipmenne tolde he gales gusty,
To farmers all the windes dusty.
In magik natureel for men he wroghte;
To bringe the beste weather was his thoghte,
And be a verray parfit practisour.
At College Wyndhame taughte he al his lore
To younge folke. Of hym I kanne namoore.
He taught me for four years and, despite his reputation and outward appearance, was a very good teacher. Is reputed to have told a group of sixth form pupils "I find it easier to teach you 'A' level physics than I do the headmaster 'O' level maths". Member of the "Ice Cream Man" club, those teachers who wore a white jacket for the summer term, leading to the theory that they had part time jobs as ice cream men in the summer holidays. His weather spot on Anglia proved popular, and we would rush to the TV if he came on and see if he made any howlers ("There will be weather in all regions today").
Who could ever forget the German teacher, Mr Ellison? A magnificent character worthy of the best of St. Trinians. Was it his flaming red hippie hair? Was it his brilliant impetuosity (I will not ever forget the summer lesson, nissen hut windows all open, Ellison opening our marked homework one book at a time, calling out the name and the mark achieved whilst throwing the book at the pupil, coming to Elizabeth Nobbs, calling out in a deathknell voice "Nobbs - useless" and, without even looking, throwing her book straight out of the window onto the grass outside)? Was it the story of the racehorse he had owned (General Vole) which had won the Austrian Derby? Was it the way in which he turned up to Staff 1st XI football matches on his motorbike, already changed into drainpipe tracksuit bottoms? What a character. Where did he end up?
AKA 'Pubic.' Tried to teach me French. Alas I was a poor pupil!
Stephen Farthing (Canterbury, 62-70)
Quite a friendly character and always appeared cheerful.
A Spanish Civil War expert ... but teaching chemistry!
Stephen Farthing (Canterbury, 62-70)
Fairhurst used to take the piss out everyone, including other staff, e.g. his coining of the 'Holy Goman Empire' for the tech drawing dept, but most of the time he was a pretty decent guy; certainly compared with the likes of Marney, Biffo, Dibble, Seeley in a rage etc etc.
I do recall that some of the girls could not
handle Fairhurst's cutting wit, which was pretty funny most of the time e.g.
anything other than maths, physics & chemistry being 'underwater basket weaving
subjects.' He broke the unwritten rule all the time that staff did not
off and take the piss out of other staff to us pupils.
He ran the chess teams and was proud of Gloucester winning all the time, hence 'Gloucester being a house of intellectuals.' He married Rosie Parr (Maths I think) ... or was that 'Wee Willie' Harris? The rag mag talks about Wee Willie 'feeling under par' but I think she chucked him and married Fairhurst. Anyone else remember?
Miss Elizabeth Fielding
Miss Fielding took the girls for PE but was also the first female teacher to join the CCF RAF Section to look after the girls interests. Always appeared cheerful and had an infectious laugh - played havoc with young male testosterone!
Geography teacher and attached to York House. A generally all-round good bloke, good value on the geog/geol trip to Londonderry and, I seem to remember, a jazz fanatic. Ended up teaching at Giggleswick School where, for all I know, he may still be.
... and/or PE, she became Mrs Baron. - Tim Briston
Got marks out of me for Maths that nobody else did before or since. Alas, I only had him for one year before being left to the tender mercies of another teacher whom I loathed with a passion.
Mr David Freeman
... and a very good boogie-woogie player. - Tim Briston
Wymondham College Remembered