been helping masters to escape. This must stop at once"
Read, Reynolds, Rice-Oxley, Ridley, Riggs, Roberts, Rutherford, Ryan, Saville, Sayer, Seeley, Shuter, Siviour, Staveley, Stone, Sunley, Sutcliffe, Taylor, Tebbs, Thompson, Turner, Waters, Wheeldon, Whitmore, Wigney, Wilkinson, Willetts, Wilshire, Wilson, Wolsey, Wood, Woodhouse, Worley, Worrall
... and in General
One of my maths teachers. Someone else who, undeservedly I think, was given a bit of a hard time in the classroom. I remember her being quite quiet and relatively friendly. She offered to give some of the more useless mathematicians of us (e.g. me) extra tuition which, I'm ashamed to say, I never took up, so my abject failure at maths was of my own making, at least to some extent.
Took us for German after Mr Kenyon (and after Ted Reynolds we had Graham Hobday to O level). - Tim Briston
Apart from his name and the rumour that he was the son-in-law of
the Bishop of Ely I cannot remember much about him.
[he was the son-in-law of the Bishop of Huntingdon - Ed.]
A pleasant gentleman who was understanding as a master in the house (I think he originally started of in Canterbury but was transferred to York after Mr Wilshire died). Married the French assistant.
Miss Riggs (I think that was her name - didn't she have an affair with DT - Mr Moss?) said in a report that "If Julie put as much effort into needlework as she does into humming, she would be a great seamstress."
Julie Espley (who still can't make clothes, can thread a sewing machine, and hums a mean tune!)
Miss Riggs - that's right! She didn't like me 'cos I took so long at everything. Actually, to be honest, I was scared of her. And WHY did it seem so hard threading those flippin' machines? I never did get the hang of it ...
Definitely had an affair. She lived in a Fry flat. See! I told you that Fry was sociable! lol!
Mr Roberts (PE) - Chris Roberts was a legend in his time for being the model for the Bullworker adverts, as seen in many a Sunday colour supplement. He was also very much a rarity for encouraging those of us who were terminally awful at games. I remember being on daily report once and handing him the form to sign after the lesson. "How do you spell 'mediocre'?" he asked. I think I'd got as far as 'D' when I noticed that he'd written 'Good!'. Top bloke. He went on to found Norwich Health Club as well as acting as fitness consultant for Norwich City FC for a while. One of the good ones.
Nigel Utting (1976-81)
Mr Rutherford started as Head of Chemistry in Jan 1956 and I think he retired in the mid 1990's. We all took the mickey out of him mercilessly behind his back, but actually I owe a great deal to this man and his wife Celia, who helped me grow up at a really hormone-charged time!
I found his lessons very tedious. He just stood at the front and dictated notes which we had to take down word for word …. “X added to Y produces an effervescent reaction forming a white, flocculent, precipitate at the bottom of the test tube.” He was rude, sarcastic and, in my opinion, not very good at his subject or at teaching it.
His son attended the school although I never knew him. I well remember seeing him play rugby for the school against Framlingham Earl. Doc was the referee and proved to be so biased that everyone started to cheer for the opposition!
Stephen Farthing (Canterbury, 62-70)
He was incredibly scathing all the time. He would repeatedly say, in his northern accent, 'Eh, you'll all fail.' He made us all so paranoid that we all worked really hard and mostly got A's and B's. He would also keep going on about how 'soft' exams had gone since matriculation had been replaced with A and O Levels or whatever. He used to complain that with matriculation one had to pass everything, otherwise you did not get a certificate at all . Can anyone confirm this? Perhaps he just made all this up.
He was not so bad, as at least he was not a member of the WyColl sadists' club like Marney and many of the others. But then I was never in his house (Canterbury, I think) but I don't recall him ever being violent .
The absolute classic Rolyism was him yelling at the top of his voice 'Sheldrake!' to which his hapless lab technician would be expected to come running and do his master's bidding. Roly would then hurl criticisms and orders at the guy. I believe that the way Roly used to take obvious delight in belittling and humiliating poor Mr Sheldrake in front of us lot all the time was just outrageous.
I have recollections of a Roly Rutherford chemistry lesson in which a gas jar containing oxygen exploded into the first three rows because he couldn't be bothered to cut up the piece of phosphorous/potassium, or such like, with his penknife before setting it on fire & plunging it into the gas jar. As ever, the Lab Technician, Sheldrake, got the blame!
Re Phil Robinson's notes (above): the actual event as I remember it was as follows ~ "Action of metals on water" ~ Bunny Long was demonstrating ~ probably Sodium held in metal gauze submerged in water in a very large heavy duty glass tank. A combination of (I think) heat, hydrogen gas and air bubbles trapped in the gauze led to a spectacular explosion! The tank separated and momentarily the water seemed to be held intact before cascading in every direction with Bunny pinned to the blackboard! The door to the adjacent classroom burst open and Roly tumbled into view demanding to know what the Hell had happened, at which the gathered hordes gave forth with suitable cheers and applause! The other lab assistant at this time was Glyn Long who was about the same age as us and was quite a good High jumper.
It was a pity Roly Rutherford didn't make it
[to the Ball] : I still feel a need to have it out with him for Mrs Pig having
me stand outside freezing cold in a biting wind, for absolutely ages, when I
refused to tell her who'd thrown me in the pond in the middle of Lincoln (yes,
Brian Middleton, if you ever come across these messages, just remember that old
maxim of revenge being a dessert best served cold...).
His lessons were certainly a shining example
of how to transfer notes from the teacher's book to the pupils' without passing
through the brains of either. He also gave Sheldrake hell but there was another
side to him. During the mid 60s his Sixth form students had free, unsupervised,
rein in the Chemistry labs after hours (providing you told him
when you were going to be there and what you were going to be doing - or
something you could get away with telling him!). This provided a great
excuse to get out of the House in the evenings and with no staff around, plenty
of smoking time. This privilege ceased when one of our experiments got out
of hand and we blew a neat hole in the roof of Sheldrake's Technician's room.
Roly also had a reputation for being able to predict A Level questions but wouldn't do so until a week before the first paper. A few gamblers left all their revision until the last few days (and in my case it paid off with a Grade A). In those days you had to answer 5 out of 8 questions on each of 2 papers. Roly made his 10 predictions - on paper 1 - 5 of them, on paper 2 - 4 and a half. Thanks Roly!
I also remember him as a keen cricketer, reasonable bat and demon spin bowler for the Staff team although his runs (waddles?) all came in slow singles or boundaries.
Julian 'Charlie' Smith
"Today we will be starting a new topic. And
also a new Mars. Her, her, her".
When umpiring cricket ... "Plus two. Plus two. Plus two." For some reason, for a whole term, we thought it was outrageously funny to walk around behind him saying "Plus two" in a Yorkshire accent. The impetuosity of youth!
Mr R. was a Consulate smoker. Didn't know that. "Cool as a Mountain Stream" was he? I do remember a particularly helpful remark he made to someone who had just broken his finger whilst fielding at silly point. The ball still went for four and Roly said "When they go that fast (short northern a sound) they just sticktoyerand." Presumably Lincolnites have particularly sticky hands, can't imagine why? Yellow is the colour!
I actually liked Roly Rutherford and enjoyed his Chemistry classes. On one (and only one) occasion I beat Francis Wright in an end of term exam and Roly was so nice about it and never forgot. No-one beat Francis ever in anything. But then he was horrible to my sister who deliberately set out to be bad at science. In the year above me were Kay Handoll and Dita Morgan who were legendary rebels. They held a birthday celebration for Dita at the back of the Chemistry lab one day. At the climax to "Happy BIrthday" Kay waved her lighted taper across the bench and swept all the glass equipment to the floor. Roly never spoke to them again and they entered the arts streams.
I was much amused to read about the chemistry lab. incident wherein my notorious partner in crime, Kay Handoll, decided to offer a rendition of 'Happy birthday' to me [see above - Ed.]. Roly Rutherford told me I would never get anywhere in life as I didn't know my table of valencies! I am proud to admit I have no further knowledge of this than I did 40 years ago! He despaired of me, little realising that my complete lack of interest in Chemistry was related to my total interest in the long suffering Sheldrake! Thinking back of course, he probably dreaded the days I had Chemistry lessons, and would pitch up in his room grinning because I'd got kicked out of the lesson, again! I am disappointed that one of my more successful ruses to avoid Chemistry has not had a mention. I locked the door to the Chemistry lab. Roly appeared, late and puffing as usual, and couldn't understand why he couldn't get in. Off he went in a high dudgeon to find the caretaker, only to find on his return that the door was now mysteriously unlocked! My fate was to stay behind every night for a month to learn my Chemistry. Poor Roly, after the first evening he realised that this was more work than he was cut out for, and cancelled the punishment. Wonder what he's doing now, and whether he's still crabby because I suggested that a tea towel was a drying agent when he was silly enough to ask me!
Having read the stories about Roly Rutherford, I felt must just submit a positive item about him. I always wanted to play cricket for the school teams but wasn't always picked. Roly spotted me playing in a House match one day, I think in my second or third year. I carried my bat all the way through for about 10 runs not out, but we were all out for something under 20! Roly liked the look of my forward defensive, which I seem to recall was the only stroke I had in my armoury at the time! However, the following week he spoke to me and encouraged me by taking me to the nets one evening with just him bowling at me. He could spin bowl pretty well and I got a couple of hours of good coaching and started opening the batting on a regular basis for the school teams. I've never forgotten his encouragement and the time he took to help me personally. Interestingly I met his son Alan many years later when I was refereeing a Rugby match at St Joseph's, Ipswich where Alan was a teacher. He was also playing Rugby for Ipswich at the time. Hope this helps to balance things up!
A firm believer that the basics should be learned, and did not like the new methods of teaching (though we had Nuffield Physics and Biology, there was no Nuffield Chemistry for us). My subsequent studies, particularly of Accountancy, Russian and German have proved that he was completely correct in this, in that if the basics are not learned it is impossible to understand the more complicated elements of a subject. He was a fairly strict teacher and there was no messing about in his lessons at all. He was a good judge of both character and ability and I owe most of my subsequent success to him.
Mr Rutherford, the Chemistry teacher we had in mid 70's, had one enduring quote, in helping us come to grips with the structure & size of an atom (and using his love of Cricket, being a Yorkshireman). "Eee, the nucleas of a'atom, is like the pinhead in t'middle of t'Yorkshire Cricket Grownd". Not sure just how closely related to Ernest Rutherford (the famous atomic scientist) he was, but he often referred to him as "Greiat Unkle Urnest, Hehehe".
On one occasion, we had to complete a 25 question multiple-choice exam. Each question had 5 choices. One unfortunate lad in our class scored 4 out of 25. The comment was "Eee, lad, a munkey with a pin could score five out of 25. Yu' knaw lad, y'ur wurse than a munkey". And of course, it was drummed into us all, a failure at 'O' level in Chemistry meant that we were destined to be "A drop owt in sosieaty". Mind you, he must have done a good job, as I managed a 'C' - one who could not pronounce the 'Russian Scientist, H.HeLiBBeSNOFetc" (I think thats how the elemental table began).
Gavin Kedar (Gloucester 1972-73 and Cavell 1973-78)
I was in the first term of my 5th year, and it was the Friday of breaking up for half term. I never went home by bus at half term - my parents always collected me. On this occasion, they had informed me earlier that instead of going home, we would be going straight up to London to visit my mother's uncle, who was very ill (terminally, as it happened) and from there to my aunt's new place in Surrey, to stay for a couple of nights.
This being the case, I decided I'd change out of my school uniform (yes I know, but I thought I'd chance it) as I didn't fancy wearing it all the way to London. When I got down to the common room where my parents were waiting for me, there were Mr and Mrs Rutherford (who had just been castigating a 1st year, in front of her father, for changing out of her uniform). My parents were later leaving home than they had wanted to be, and what with the additional strain of the proposed hospital visit in front of them, were understandably somewhat tense, especially my mother.
So I walked in, to be greeted by Mr Rutherford with "And here's Lois, also in home clothes! Another set of uniform left lying on the bed for someone else to put away!" (not true, incidentally). There was some more in this vein, and probably would have been more still yet, had not my mother intervened. Grabbing hold of my arm, she looked Mr Rutherford squarely in the eye and shouted, "Oh, BULLSHIT!" She marched me out of the House - I daren't look back - and I heard her muttering angrily, "Pompous old sod! If that's all he's got to worry about then he's bloody well lucky!"
I did wonder if anything would be said when school started again, but it was never mentioned - maybe he decided that discretion was the better part of valour!
Taught me Economics and (unofficially) Bathos and Satire. Who could forget such comments at the ends of essays (not mine!) as 'If only it were possible to give negative marks' or 'I suggest you supplement your revision notes with a prayer book.' Or, drawing attention to someone's handwriting, 'Why not give up using this spider, and buy a pen?'
Mr Graham Saville
Was the cricket coach until he scored a lot of runs for the Minor Counties v. some tourists (I believe the tourists were the West Indies and that he got over 150). After this he joined Essex before coaching at Cambridge University, until being replaced by Derek Randle.
Graham's cricket statistics are at http://content.cricinfo.com/england/content/player/20063.html . His is the cousin of Graham Gooch and was Director of Excellence Manager for the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2005.
My fave teacher was probably Mr Sayer (there was Mr Cope as well, but he was only there for a couple of years when I was there). He always got very wound up near the end of term and would announce dire punishments for "the next blithering idiot to cross my path". And I can't forget his best-ever put down, to a spotty second year: "Sean, you are a wart on the @rse of Wymondham College." Great bloke, and a top Housemaster (yep, I was a Kettite!).
A Peel 6th Former who had strange military proclivities was Guy Wilmshurst-Smith. One Supper, I was tasked by W-S to go around the dining room gathering as many oranges as possible for him. This was noticed by Gink (Mr Sayer, the Old Testament-bearded Marxist Housemaster). After Supper, W-S disappeared with a gigantic armful of oranges. Gink came up to me and asked if I knew why W-S had wanted so many of them. I replied "I don't know Sir", and was told by Gink to go upstairs and meet him outside W-S's room.
I went up one side and was met by Gink coming up the other. He put a finger to his lips for silence. From Wilmshurst-Smith's room could be heard strange noises. "Whhewwwwmmm .... Bwoisskhhh!!!". Gink opened the door very quietly .... we looked inside. There was Wilmshurst-Smith biting out a mouthful of each orange and, one after the other, lobbing them out of the window whilst making exploding hand grenade noises! It was a marvellous sight. Gink motioned me to go downstairs and then shut the door on himself and W-S. Poor Guy - Gink was a hard nut, totally lacking in any humour whatsoever.
I got into real grief with himself for hitting stones onto the sports hall roof with a badminton racquet! There was me, Henri (Helen Lovick) and Tomo (Mark Thompson) all having a bit of a bat. How the hell were we to know we'd smashed several panes of glass on the sports hall roof? I thought he was going to explode ... that beard took on a life of its own! Got 'uniform ' punishment for that one! Ooops!
There was a rumour that the reason Gink had a
beard was that he had 'I love my mum' tattooed on his chin!
Katrina Meredith (Macdermid)
Told us how opposed he was to the death penalty, something I was completely the opposite of him then but totally agree with him now. I think he originally came from Norwich, and understand he had a long career at the school.
Ken Armstrong and I shared a room in the Lower Sixth. One evening during prep Uncle Andrew wandered in with some guy and says 'This is my friend Mr. Edrich.' Me - no reply as I had no interest in such things (cricket). Ken, trying to show he did have some interest in these things, said 'Which one?' Andrew (going bright red with embarrassment): 'John ... er ... John.'
← Andrew and ... er .... John
|Click to see full-size & use your 'back' button to return|
'Ace of Spades' by Wink Martindale was popular at one time. When it reached the punch-line 'I know ... I was that soldier,' we used to yell out 'I know, I was that cricket bat' ... taking the piss out of a certain bald housemaster!
Quote at a Sixth Form 'social' in Gloucester by Seeley to his wife, who used to teach girls P.E., 'Come in Pamela. Sit on the floor - you're good on the floor.'
Amongst the set pieces we had to produce for metalwork was the pin bowl. In a our class (2a?), Seeley lost his demonstration bowl and accused someone of stealing it. We all had to produce the bits we'd made and he decided that I had nicked his. This was in spite of the fact that mine was smaller than all the others because of my ineptitude with the tin snips. Quite a compliment this, if the teacher thought my effort was equal to his. Anyway, I had to stay after school to make another one of the same standard to prove that I could do it. During the evening I found Seeley's original bowl on one of the buffing machines and I really can't remember how this was resolved. Was there a begrudging apology, or did he try to claim that the lost bowl was mine? [there's a photo of a pin bowl on the Memorabilia page - Ed.]
Seeley delighted in taking the piss out of kids with intellectual achievement but no practical skills - I remember him calling another teacher over to witness me trying to undo a lathe chuck with an Allen key the wrong way round. "Look at this boy - his report has a row of ones for place in class, but look at how he's trying to open this chuck!"
I too have an awful metal bowl which I spent weeks planishing under the terrifying gaze of Mr Seeley and this now sits untouched in the loft as an enduring testament to those heady days. This was joined in time by a toothbrush rack, a wooden lamp and a bizarre device for holding model trains upside down so you could clean the wheels. Very very strange!
AKA 'Dome,' 'Emod.' The metalwork teacher and head of Gloucester. I liked him because he was not a snob.
Stephen Farthing (Canterbury, 62-70)
I too still have the pin bowl, an ash tray and a larger bowl with 3 brass feet, made in the Metalwork Shop, and a wooden bookshelf made in Woodwork. I remember Seeley, at the first woodwork class, standing in front of the boys sharpening a pencil using a wood chisel. Then somehow he dropped it and it broke (all planned ) and handing it to a unsuspecting lad who was told to sharpen it. The lad then looked around for a pencil sharpener, which of course was the plan, and Seeley came unglued and went on and on about observation in a woodwork class.
I remember leaving the chuck key in the lathe over by the windows and starting the lathe, resulting in a flung key that cracked the glass. Another lesson via the spittle close to the face.
Dave Turner (1951-58)
Sometime during the '66/67 football season I went to a Norwich City game. The Canaries lost, entirely because of a fatherless myopic who happened to be the referee (well you've got to blame someone). On my return to school I wrote to the Pink 'Un (the Norwich Saturday evening football paper) complaining about the standard of Football League refereeing. What I was unaware of, was Andy Seeley was on the League List as a linesman. At the very next metalwork class he greeted me with "Ah Jones, I see you've been writing to the papers." He hauled me out front, and harangued me for the entire hour about how refereeing was a difficult job, and why didn't I try it if I thought it was so easy etc etc. The rest of the class was totally bemused by this, and he never let up all term either! Funnily enough we got on quite well after this, even though I was absolute cr*p at metalwork (still am).
He now runs a very successful electronic scoreboard company, see http://www.electronicscoreboardunits.co.uk/. My Dad knows him through their refereeing activities in the 1970s.
A quote: "LOWER IN THE VICE, COOPER!"
"Where's my bastard" .... file, that is ....
A great refrain of Emod's, calculated to cause much mirth in the metalwork room.
Our first metalwork lesson. EMOD stood before us as we waited by our benches (a class of 15 boys; the girls having been sent off to something more suitable, like needlework). In front of him were two metal bars about 2ft long and 1inch thick.
"Eeeeeeeeeeeeh boys" he said, grabbing one of the bars in an enormous fist. "This is a soft metal," as he proceeded to bend the bar in half. Taking the second bar he pronounced "... and ..... eeeeeeeeeeeh boys ..... this is a hard one." Whereupon, he bent the second bar completely in two.
We were suitably impressed, but unaware of the use this power would be put to when harnessed to a well aimed plimsoll - alias the Tonk - late at night, with extra for cowardice if you put your hand in the way, or wore extra pants.
I have an horrific memory of being caught talking after 'lights-out' and duly receiving two of the aforementioned beats with a green-flash. Remember comparing bruise marks in PE? Jeeze ... I think the name Dunlop was on my arse for two weeks, but one at least had some street cred for having had the Tonk!! I have a feeling that I got my dues with Steve Sorrel and Phil - any memory confirmation boys?
Andy, the worst bit was waiting outside the office. IIRC it was all very regimental, being frog-marched downstairs and then lined up outside the office. There was the psychological warfare (your mate just dropped you in it - sort of thing) and then ….. the TONK!
I can still feel the pain! Actually I think it was a mixture of pain and humiliation. But you're right. The imprint of the sole lasted for quite some time.
I think the proper pronunciation was 'TAAARNK.'
"When I want a canary, boy, I'll go out and buy one!" This was the de rigeur put-down by Messrs. Seeley, Mullenger, et al when anyone dared whistle during woodwork/metal bashing.
I remember Emod for many things, but the most memorable involved the forges. Whilst making one of the other standard items, the 'toasting fork,' one had to heat some mild steel in the forge. If you left it in too long (and everyone did), Emod would pull out the white hot, sparking metal, hold it a few inches from your face and shout "wheeee - sparklers!" Nobody ever got injured and it did tend to concentrate the mind.
Stewart Wigg (1969-76)
Re Seeley's slipper called Tonk referred to often elsewhere:
I can't recall it being called Tonk (or anything else for that matter) when I was in Gloucester in the 60's but I can certainly vouch for the massive pain Seeley inflicted with it on one's bum when practising his forward drive (he was a powerful cricketer as well as being an artisan metalworker - I remember him lifting a bloody great drill once when some idiot - me probably - had pulled the wrong lever and caused it to go crashing down the column onto the base, destroying the bit in the process. 'I can lift about a hundredweight and this is just about that' he grunted, while lifting it and before knocking me about).
Anyway, one term the room I was in (comprising Baker, Iveny, Harris and myself) held the house record of Seeley slipper stokes (mostly for talking after lights out). 84 strokes between the 4 of us IIRC and we kept that rate up for the whole year I believe. I was in the second form at the time and most second formers slept in the annexe (also discussed elsewhere ) - tin hut number x? - due to lack of space in the houses. However as Baker and I had proved to be such notorious tearaways in the first form Seeley kept both of us in the house where the idea was that Iveny and Harris would keep us on the straight and narrow. That clearly did not work then!
Seeley inflicted considerably more pain with his slipper than Muz with his cane. But then Muz missed with most of his feeble stokes! At that time, Muz was the only member of staff authorized to cane pupils and only housemasters could administer corporal punishment with their slippers. Well that was the theory anyway. In practice , several staff would regularly physically attack you in the guise of punishing you for something . Certainly in Gloucester, in my whole 7 years there, I only ever recall Seeley doling out corporal punishment. I mean, can you honestly imagine Wobbly Wood slippering anyone? - not that he would want to anyway as he was such a nice bloke!
I recall once that Seeley had all eight of us
first years queued outside his open door (so that you could witness the violence
being inflicted on those before you as you waited in trepidation to go in). He
was yelling loudly at us while he was practising his art . He then stated
gesticulating wildly between victims . He was really incandescent with rage, for
some reason, even by his normal standards of extreme anger. He
accidentally brought his slipper crashing down onto his son's toy desk, causing
the top to shatter to bits. This made him even more angry and he took it out on
his his next 'customer', Nigel 'Garth' Matthews who was tiny (about 4 foot tall
at the time - hence
the 'Garth' - named after a comic strip hero of the time). He ran up to Garth and administered a perfect forward drive which launched him right across the room . It was one of the most terrifying things I have ever seen in my life (remember we were only 11 at the time) . He then dragged Garth back and did it five times more. The rest of us got similar treatment and we proudly showed off our battle scars (black bruises on our bums for weeks) giving us much cred with the other pupils in the house.
Oh happy days indeed!
Knows Henry Blofeld the cricket commentator, and gets the occasional mention on "Test Match Special" in connection with Norfolk Cricket. Had the ability to be extremely kind on occasions, though those in his House and lessons knew they had to behave. I think he mentioned that his family came from Wells-Next-the-Sea, where they had a printing business.
Ive started attending a silversmithing
evening class at the local tech college. Silversmithing needs an acid bath for
removing scale after annealing, I'm sure you remember. It brought back
memories of what at the time seemed hilarious.
We were all making pin bowls in copper and we had been strongly (and no doubt loudly) warned not to leave them in the acid at the end of the lesson. One of the class did leave his in the acid at the end of the lesson. It was found by Andrew Seeley and he made a reduced size version that he put in the acid before our next lesson.
We all collected our work from the cupboard when the next lesson started except for the person who had left his in the acid. He duly went to the acid bath and retrieved his reduced size bowl. I expect he was brought to the front of the class and made an example of. I am sure that henceforth no further items were left in the acid. At the time it was as I said hilarious. Nowadays I guess the parent would bring a charge for humiliation.
Like you, I think it was staff like Andrew and David Goman that steered me subconsciously towards an Engineering Apprenticeship (Morris Commercial Cars, part of British Motor Corporation). After that I spent the next 40 years with an American forktruck manufacturer, mainly in England but also in Scotland and USA.
Mr Richard Shuter
Ran the RAF Section - nicknamed "Biggles". Brought a bit of organisation to the way it operated and encouraged cadets to get on courses and outward-bound activities. Several of us have him to thank for the support we gained in achieving leadership awards and flying scholarships (could pilot a plane before I could drive - scary thought with the skies over Norfolk filled with low flying RAF jets in the 70's).
Mr Gerald Siviour
Gerald Siviour taught Geography, was an all-round good chap, and married Peter Jermy's sister.
What a wonderfully controlled teacher. So clear. Such clear blackboard writing - not just notes, full sentences. We were to copy them verbatim, exactly as he spoke, (I don't know how he had time - it was a paradox - he'd tell us a lot) and through this came understanding and confidence. After O level, I think I had him for OA level geology. He would draw beautifully executed multicolour geological sections on the blackboard in chalk - just for us, just for the lesson.
Adrian Dubock (1961-68)
'Doc' ran the CCF & taught Geography, but never to me. Lunched with us in Canterbury House. Great bloke, ate copious amounts of boiled cabbage! Memorable phrase “I like cabbage” – said in a Yorkshire accent. [why were there so many teachers from Yorkshire? - Ed.]
Stephen Farthing (Canterbury, 62-70)
A very kindly man, who comforted a certain distraught 1st former on his first day in 1958. Always genial and never far from his pipe. He was something of a cine film buff & recorded the opening of Lincoln Hall by Dean Acheson (on 16mm). This would be shown occasionally on film nights, prefaced with the same joke 'the soundtrack's very quiet, so you'll have to listen carefully' (there wasn't one of course).
He hated being called 'Cabbage' and wished pupils would call him 'Doc.' I have a fondness for Derek because he was my first head of Department. He met me from the train at Attleborough when I came for interview and then supported me as a Geography teacher while I made plenty of howlers in my early years. A very decent man. He left in 1978, I think, but alas he had a stroke and experienced some miserable months before he died in 1979. However, my memories are very much of him in good humour at work and smoking his reeking pipe!!
"Doc" was a good friend of an uncle of mine
who lived in Sheffield. I think that they had been to university at the
same time and had travelled together in France at some point. They both
had vast collections of slides and some 8mm films of their travels. I did
see "Doc" on one occasion in Sheffield in the mid to late sixties at my uncle's
house. When at Wymondham he used to drive an Armstrong car but later
swapped it for a Vauxhall Cresta. I remember it well. Lots of
chrome, six cylinder, two speed automatic with a speedo that had
a changing colour strip rather than the normal dial. He was an excellent geography teacher and I still have some of the exercise books
from his lessons somewhere in the house.
I think Doc Staveley appeared on Sale of the Century during the 70's. Any more details anyone?
I certainly remember him appearing on S of the C. We all watched it and he didn't fare all that well. No more specific details I'm afraid.
Liked gliding, and would talk about this aspect of his life if he got a chance.
Mr Staveley was wonderful - perhaps he also taught me geology, I don't really recall. But he was the Officer Commanding the Army Cadet Force. We used to go to Snowdonia in army lorries, with Compound Rations, and live in a stone barn close to Tryffid, which had a generator for power which went off at 10 pm, then quiet and no power. We'd walk the Snowdonia hills, and go up Snowdon. He had plenty of power, despite being a rather overweight pipe smoker, and taught me that the "plod" is the way to get up hills. We went up some - at the time - frightful scrambles - the Crib Goch ridge on Snowdon - being one of them, which I think I went up Snowdon 2 or three times with him and other cadets. Once, up there, we went by a route which was very exposed, and entailed a long (well it seemed so, maybe 30 meters) traverse, along a very narrow, toe and finger hold only, exposed rocky path. I suppose now it wouldn't be allowed for school pupils without all sorts of safety equipment and "qualified" teachers. Then, it taught one to hold on and not fall, and be self sufficient.
We also went on 'adventure training' to Scotland , to Crieff near Loch Earnhead, in Perthshire. I once went in the "advance party" - this involved travelling with Doc in his "old model" (that is the one before the mid 1970's model) Rover 3 litre. In this powerful car, it seemed that the journey was completed in no time. In Scotland we walked in lonely valleys - and saw a lot or highland scenery, rain and red deer.
I often think of Mr Staveley when I am walking in the Swiss (where I now live) Alps, due to his instruction in "plodding" (now, incidentally interpreted as "300m vertical per hour") and Mr Siviour when I contemplate lateral moraines and hanging valleys, and all the other features of glaciation, of which I feel something of an expert ………
Adrian Dubock (1961-68)
Rocky Stone. In year two I lived in the Annexe. He was in charge. He took a huge run up when he slippered me. Ouch!
Stephen Farthing (Canterbury, 62-70)
Mr Chris Sunley
Arrived in the early 70s and was an outstanding chemistry teacher - under his enthusiasm we all raised our game. Seem to remember he made quite a few of the girls blush simply by being there in his lessons - can't think why! Was also pretty fearless when it came to some of the more dangerous experiments he had to show us. Anyone who could get sixth formers to understand moles (not the furry ones) gets my vote.
Miss Sutcliffe had a boy-friend on the Antarctic Survey.
Mr Mervyn Taylor
William Slegg used to call Merv Taylor (Maths teacher and Old Boy) 'perfect' as he was always perfectly groomed and seemed to be infallible. He was a good bloke anyway.
Merv Taylor was one of the Housemasters of Durham House in my first and second years, before we joined with Wakefield to form New Hall. He used to be a serious but quite a kindly man at what were often bewildering and unpleasant times of my life. I believe he often wore tank tops, even when they became fashionable, and rimless glasses which reminded me of the German officers in war movies. I remember he told me to get rid of my row of empty Tartan Bitter cans because they would "create a bad impression upon other less amiable masters, mentioning no names." I remember also he put Glen Hipperson on report for calling me a "Pakkie" because my sun tan made me the closest thing to a foreigner the school had at the time, and he seemed quite put out about it. But most of all I remember being astounded when he told me he could understand how I felt because he went to school at Wymondham College himself - WHY would any sane person come back here voluntarily after putting up with 7 years of this hell?
A very strict lady. She would stand for no nonsense from any of the pupils.
Mr Frank Thompson
Frank Thompson went out with Deirdre Skinner (who taught English) and stood as the Labour candidate for South Norfolk in the 1964 General Election.
Mr John Turner
He had previously been at Kingham Hill, as had RV Metcalfe. - Tim Briston
A very quiet man whose main interest in life outside teaching was golf, which he played at every possible opportunity.
Jiff Wheeldon; a nice enough bloke. He was extremely knowledgeable, especially on the Indian Mutiny. I will accept he had very suspect taste in clothes (colour blind possibly); played loud Opera music and thought he was "the galloping gourmet" because he put garlic salt on his spaghetti hoops. BTW he is a Head somewhere now, at a school that Victoria Musgrave taught at I think.
Why on earth was Jif called Jif? He may have been colour-blind and stored his clothes in colour-segregated sections (apparently), and he may have ostentatiously declined his PhD from Uni because "it wasn't worth the paper it was printed on," but I don't remember him being a complete bastard.
Iain 'Sid' Sidey
Maybe it was just me he was particularly unpleasant to. I remember him sitting in our class one day marking another classes books, & summoning me to the front. I thought, here we go, another telling off & I hadn't said a word (for once) & he asked me to tell him if two countries were different colours. So he must have been colour blind.
Her heavy Norfolk twang was a revelation when applied to the graceful sounds of French, bless her. No wonder I dropped it prior to O-grades.
Iain 'Sid' Sidey
Ah, dear old Auntie Olive ... I had her for French in 4th/5th year and got through, though languages and maths were the only things I was remotely interested in. I understand that she passed on to the great classroom in the sky a few years back.
History and Economics
Too nice to be a housemaster by far. Never seemed to be parted from a large bag and, in bad weather an overcoat.
See Mrs Norton.
I was surprised not to see the nickname of the woman that made my secondary school education quite memorable; Miss Willets of Kett Hall. Very small, but had a temper like a pit-bull with a hang-over!! 'Benito' was her name.
I was a boarder in Kett Hall from 1978-1983 and then in Lincoln Hall from 1983-1985. I remember she had an unhealthy obsession with top buttons, and throwing open the windows first thing in the morning. The fact that she was fully dressed, and there was ice on the INSIDE of those old Crittall windows, made no difference! As a first year, we had to haul ourselves out of bed to go down and lay the tables. The dorm used to be freezing by the time we got back upstairs, only to have to wash two at a time in the sinks provided in the large dorms in which nine of us slept!
Please add Benito to your list - I'm sure she'll be fondly remembered (well, remembered anyway!!!).
Katrina Meredith (Macdermid)
[Believed to be a cousin of both Baroness Young and Conservative MP David 'Two Brains' Willetts - Ed.]
Tragically died shortly after coming to the school. He was nicknamed 'Hank' after Hank Marvin, and the Wilshire cup for junior rugby was given in his honour.
Mr Wilson AKA 'Tank' – History. Got me interested!
Stephen Farthing (Canterbury, 62-70)
Told us he was at school with Enoch Powell (from memory he said they did not get on). Took us on a trip to Thetford Abbey and Grimes Graves. At the former he had his thunder stolen by the curator, who showed us round and told us many anecdotes of previous misbehaviour by pupils of other schools. Poor Mr Wilson could not get a word in edgeways. Turned a blind eye at Grimes Graves to the number of torches which appeared out of nowhere. Having gone to Grimes Graves again in 1999 I was told that people have not been allowed to crawl round the tunnels since the early 1970's. It is a wonder that we did not cause the tunnels to cave in. Took the under 13s for rugby.
I have made a number of contributions to this site which I hope (overall!) express my love for Wymondham College. The school gave me a great deal, for which I shall always be very grateful. One individual to whom I owe a real debt of thanks is Mr JH ("Tank") Wilson, my history teacher. It was he who came up to me early in my 6th Year and informed me that I had been entered for the Cambridge University Entrance Examination. I had no idea at all what this meant - I was very naïve. Tank helped me through extra tuition and taught me in his own time to read 17th Century English, which allowed me to do a special project on 17th Century Wills using original documents kept in the Public Records Department of Norwich Library. The result was no doubt awful but it was probably enough to get me through the interview I later had at Queens' College with a Dr. Spufford (whose specialisation was the Burgundian Coinage of the 15th Century!).
Tank's own claims to fame were his one appearance as a Cambridge student himself for the Blues rugby team against Northampton, and I remember that he was very proud of having had a monograph he had written cited as a footnote in a major work on English Agricultural History. I don't know where you are now, Mr Wilson - but wherever you are, thank you very much.
When I was at school he used to say hello every time he saw me but like his predecessor, I think he had difficulty in talking directly to his young charges which give him the air of being a bit standoffish. Knew his onions with the old place though and steered it through many a patch of troubled waters; he was extremely proud of the school and that was obvious whenever he addressed us at end of term assembly.
Mr Steve Wood
Mr Wood, AKA Wibbly. A wonderful, inspiring teacher, despite my ineptness at Physics. All round decent bloke inflicted by a medical condition that gave him problems with muscle control. He was always kind and had an empathy with young people.
Memorable moments – his pronunciation of “Kundt’s Tube” which brought the class to tears of laughter, and a Chinese meal he treated us to in Norwich where we all drank too much.
Stephen Farthing (Canterbury, 62-70)
Woody, who taught me physics was a nice guy who had Parkinson's disease - hence 'Wobbly Wood,' but everyone respected him as he was a good bloke. He used to chain smoke and he would get us Sixth-formers risqué films like 'Girl on a Motorcycle' if he thought he could get away with it. He was in Gloucester.
In 1966 we were the first group to have the Nuffield "new" biology & physics courses which included "multiple" choice questions. In theory you would have a choice of 5 answers to any specific question (i.e. a 20% chance !). I can always remember Wobbly Wood's comments on the marking of our first set of multiple choice questions!
"It has been proven that a monkey with a pin would get, on average, 14 questions right out of a hundred. Crawford? (Peter), you got 10!" I don't think he ever lived that down!
I also blame Mr. Wood for ruining my eyesight! One experiment was to use a DIY telescope from a piece of aluminium channel with two lenses that were moved back & forth to focus on a specific object. The object chosen in our lesson was an electric light bulb on the top of the blackboard (it was akin to looking at the sun with binoculars that we are all warned against!). Subsequently, my right eye needs a lens like a "milk bottle bottom," whereas my left lens is almost plain glass! Still, I have kept numerous opticians in business over the years (perhaps he had shares in them!).
Ran the film society, producing entertainment for the autumn and spring terms on a Saturday night. Performances were sometimes popular and sometimes not, but that was the luck of the draw. The only time I had any close contact with him was one Saturday night when some of us arrived back from an away rugby match too late for the junior school film show, and we had to go to the senior one. He was very kind and ensured we sat at the front, where we could not be bullied, and chatted to us before the performance. I believe it cost 6d to attend a film.
A good bloke and someone who deserved better than he sometimes got from some of the pupils. I always refused to call him 'wobbly' - it could have been any one of us. Probably the most approachable teacher I came across during my time there. After Mr Thornley he was in charge of the film society and let us do more or less what we liked as projectionists provided it was reasonably within the rules. Under his managership we bought a Cinemascope lens to show the first 'scope film at WC - 'Lawrence of Arabia' which we chose for the final film of 1966, along with the next winter term's films which, I believe, was the first time that the projectionists rather than the member of staff in charge had done it.
Mr Eric Woodhouse
One of the younger-generation nice guys. I still feel guilty because I was the only member of UVI Science B (1963/64) to fail Chemistry, despite the huge amount of encouragement he gave me. Something that has stuck in the mind was him telling us of a pop/skiffle group at his university called 'Perry Stalsis and the Abdo Men' - still makes me smile now.
He would never eat trifle after I told him what happened to waste food! "It's all put into a big bin and on Sundays we have a trifle Sir!"
Mr John Worley
Very quiet man. Took the under 12s for rugby.
Was blamed by popular rumour for all sorts of things which were probably nothing to do with him (such as school walks). 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.
Mrs Worral was a no-nonsense librarian, and organised a trip every now and again in appreciation of those pupils who helped her in the library.
... and in General
There were SOME decent staff amazingly. Spike Millington, Wobbly Wood, Malcolm Fairfurst , Merv Taylor, Froggy Garrard - most of the time, Paxton, 'Big Jim' Hibbert - well I was good at physics AND in the RAF section .... to name but a few of the male staff in my day.
I have memories of many teachers and we were blessed with some very good ones and abused by a minority.
After Miss Mair left (tears all round) we got Miss Howard as housemistress. She subsequently married Mr Brand so he moved in to Westminster too. Miss Howard was always trying to instil into us what was recognised as "ladylike behaviour". This included not wearing trousers although I recall later she announced to our great relief that trousers as part of trouser suits were probably acceptable. The two of them were stunning ballroom dancers and at one of those excruciating Saturday dances they gave a brilliant demonstration. I do not remember the orange Volvo. When I was there he had a big black Morris Oxford but Mr Fairhurst had an MG.
Mr Davitte was a great History teacher and very good looking too. We girls in 2A would do anything for him.
Mr Bowman taught us French and was very strict but had a kind heart. I think he had an ulcer and was often in pain which is perhaps why he bopped us all the time. He had nicknames for many of us and mine was Skip, I have never worked out why!
We had a maths teacher when we were in second form who developed a crush on an older girl in our House. The group of us in 2a who were also in Westminster were used as go betweens but of course it was hopeless. At the end of one term he kept us back after class and said he was going to kill himself because his ardour was not reciprocated. We were horrified and went to Miss Mair and the poor man was never seen again. There were rumours of him being locked in sick bay until we had all gone home.
We also specialised in making any student teacher left with us collapse in tears and immediately change careers. it wasn't only the teachers who could be cruel.
Julia Nicholls (1963-70)
Looking through an autograph book I have, found a few names that don't appear in the lists of teachers although some may appear elsewhere in the text.
Harry T. Mitchell - English?
Kathleen S. Rose - Art. Later became Mrs Mitchell.
A. Oldroyd - may have been a matron.
S. T. Vernon - R.E. Always wore a black gown.
J. W. Hodgson - ?
K. Lamming - possibly French but not sure.
E. A. Clark - ? may have been maths.
A. L. Chattaway - English?
P. G. Pearce - ?
J. C. Howard - ?
Edward A. Reynolds - ?
Sometime will scan the pages and send them to you. There was also a Mr Turner, I believe from Yorkshire. Cannot remember what
he taught, may have be geography, but do remember he organised runs on Saturday afternoons, and not around the usual 'mud-course'. Coming back one day and crossing the old A11, decided it would be fun to step onto a cats-eye in the road. Unfortunately, it had been raining that day and the cats-eye was full of water so that when I stood my heel onto it, the water shot straight up!
Former Inmate (1950s)
I also have excellent memories, mostly in line with colleagues memories, of Messrs. Seeley, (I have a beautiful silver tankard, not just a pin bowl, nut and bolt, and centre marker …), Goman, Brand, Worrall, Biffo [Bawden], Merv Taylor (always seemed strange, not only for him but his appointers, to go to school, and then teachers training college, then back to the same school for a career) and many others.
Adrian Dubock (1961-68)
Wymondham College Remembered