SCGS – 8/2011 on

“Remembrance of things past is not necessarily
the remembrance of things as they were.” – Marcel Proust

Links to the Last 15 Comments to the ‘SCGS – 8/2011 on’ post are listed on the sidebar opposite – comments you make on any page will appear at the bottom of that page once posted and a link will then appear at the top of the Last 15 Comments list on this Home Page sidebar.

Where it is available, type your reply in the ‘Type Comments Here’ box at the end of any comment sequence and to post your reply click ‘Post Comment’ button.

If you wish to display all the comments in this stream, you can do so by clicking the ‘xxx Comments’ link just below – it will display the comments earliest first.

Click the OLDER POSTS button to display all the comments in the  ‘SCGS – pre 8/2011’ comment stream – but this has no Comment Box facility but can be searched with CNTRL-F to find any text string .

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1,788 Responses to SCGS – 8/2011 on

  1. John Sammes says:


  2. Les Thacker says:

    Congrats to whoever is consolidating all the previous posts from way back.
    Well done.

  3. Mark Sheridan says:

    Hi Hedley,
    Nice job.
    How about adding links to other related sites, such as:
    Cobham RFC’s Braemar Club site:
    Bernard Dunn’s site:

  4. Peter Pocock says:

    Hi Stov,

    Just testing to see where this post appears

  5. Peter Pocock says:

    Interesting – it comes up in reverse order rather than chronological order – latest message first. Is that the way it is intended to be, cos if so, will you be re-formatting the entire blog?

  6. Hedley Stovold says:

    Hi Peter,

    Have gone onto Blog dashboard and altered a Comment control so comments appear in chronological order as in the stream of Davis comments – so this one should be at the bottom of the August 2011 on list.

    Have arranged for Home page to open with Davis post and comments to appear first, then the one we are on now below it.

    Have left Comment facility open on all static pages – ie on History subpage with Bert Forwards booklet

  7. Tim Harrison says:

    I’ve just spotted that some junk collector is flogging 1930s copies of the Surbitonian on eBay. Anyone able to save them for the nation? I don’t know if they could be scanned and displayed, but they may contain some intriguing nuggets

  8. Les thacker says:

    I have posted an initial bid at the opening price to try and save this item for the archive. Suggest we don’t bid against each other.

  9. Hedley Stovold says:

    Well what a turn up for the books! The Acrobat file of Bert Forwards book ‘SCGS : The First 21 Yrs’ that is on this blog (History Page 1925-46 subpage) was created using a photocopy from RBK Local History Collection, a good scanner, OCR software,some TLC with Photoshop, and then saved to create a PDF file. Better of course if one can start by scanning the original doc! Will hope to do this eventually to those issues that a CNTRL-F has highlighted in the original Davis blog comments – and eventually get the PDF files on The Surbitonian page.
    You may notice small changes on the Home Page wording and layout – original comment stream now appears at the top of the Home page, this stream below. Comment Box for either post/comment stream right at bottom. Last 15 comments made are listed on the rhs sidebar of Home page. Aim always to keep it simple usable recognisable and encourage painless migration and above all preserve – I have been keeping a regular backup into Word each month end.

  10. Hedley Stovold says:

    Hi Les,
    Surprising what is out there in eBay land – a friend of mine down here on the South Coast sold a ‘length of old rope’ on eBay. No, I will not compete with you! – but it would be interesting to know the provenance. Anything from the 1930s is like gold dust, we have some refs to some 1940s, 1950s and pre 1965 issues in the Davis blog comments which invite further investigation. ‘Fugitive’ material I believe it’s called and well described.
    You may notice small changes on the Home Page wording and layout – original comment stream now appears at the top of the Home page, this stream below. Comment Box for either post/comment stream right at bottom. Last 15 comments made are listed on the rhs sidebar of Home page. Aim always to keep it simple usable recognisable and encourage painless migration and above all preserve – I have been keeping a regular backup into Word each month end.
    Good luck with the bidding – quite happy to chip in with some dosh …

  11. Mike Kemp says:

    Happy to try the new blog… I had problems originally as the original link went to a missing page, then when I found the copy of the previous blog there was no comment area. I’ve now had a bit more time to look and found this heading 8/2011 which seems to be the new stream…

    Thanks to Hedley for putting so much work into it. Bernard Dunn has been collating a lot pictures and other memorabilia, I hope he’s had input here – I haven’t had time to have a good look round yet.

    The old site has been a bit quiet recently after a big burst around last xmas, which was not long after I found the site. It shot through the 1,000 post barrier and is now close to 2,000.

    Looking forward to another surge here….

  12. Les Thacker says:


    Could you contact me via my email.


    Les Thacker

  13. Mike Aust says:

    My name is Mike Aust and I attended Surbiton County Grammar from 1962 to 66. Have just been browsing Bernard Dunn’s website with SCGS memorabilia and have let him know the missing names of the prefects in the 1966 prefects photo supplied by Ken George who was school captain in 1966. I have the same photo as I’m in it!
    The complete middle and back rows are:
    Middle row:
    Clive Fowle, Chris Burchett, Dave Mandeville, John Coxall, David Brown, Ken Gould, Malcolm Johnstone, Norman Phillips.
    Back Row:
    John Jenkins, Mike Aust (moi), Roger Woollen, John Rodd, Chris Mercer, Chris Jagger, John Burbidge, Geoff Moss, Alan Dryden.

    You may be interested to know that a group of Old Surbs are meeting for a beer at the Victoria pub in Victoria Road Surbiton this Saturday the 20th Aug. These informal meetings have been going for the last 10 years or so and we’ve seen a lot of folks in that time, mostly mid-Sixties leavers, and more recently a sprinkling of ex-teachers believe it or not, Bas Hunt, David ‘Bernie’ Shaw, Mike Fifer, Stefan Junor. I believe ‘Uncle’ Joe Turner, Bunny Warren and Brian ‘Bomber/Noddy’ Lancaster are also still around but frail in health.
    I expect you have also checked out the Friends Reunited site for more recent photos of us old lags.
    Best to all

  14. Bill Carr says:

    For Mike Aust.
    I think we were in the same class for some of your period at SCGS. My associates around that time were Chris Phillips, Colin Parratt, Colin White to name a few. Would have liked to have met up at the Victoria but am off to Portugal this weekend.
    I also had some exchanges with Stuart Little via the blog earlier this year. Do you remember him?
    I alos have some names for the various pics but haven’t had the time to post them.

  15. Rob Ireland says:

    Hedley: We’re off and running in our new home. Well done!
    ‘The Eutectic Wallblock’ is a fondly remembered story from The Surbitonian circa 1964. It satirised the goings-on in Taffy Davies’s chemistry lab of the time. We third-formers (?) thought it was was hysterically near the knuckle. I wonder what I will make of it now?
    I had pretentious essays published in the magazine in the towards the end of the 1960s. By then The Surbitonian had lost its building facade cover and was jazzed up by the art department. Were the legendary trio of Simon Lever, Gilbert Manse and Paul Turtle responsible for the one before I left?
    Sadly I haven’t kept any of them so it would be great to see something posted against the ‘tab’ on the home page. If anybody out there has the copies from 1960-1969 please contact Hedley to see how extracts can be accommodated there.

  16. Rob Ireland says:

    I was having an idle wander around the old posts transferred from the original site when I noticed the name Gordon Sills. I worked with Gordon briefly at M&G Reinsurance and then at Swiss Re when they took over M&G. His Surb contemporaries reading this may be interested to know that Gordon enjoyed a very successful career in reinsurance (on the marketing side). I googled him and found that he is still working as an associate with a company called JMR ( When we became colleagues we knew we were both out of the Old Surb mould but didn’t share much about schooldays probably because he was a few years ahead of me and that gap was an uncrossable gulf in those days.

  17. Mike Kemp says:

    Those get-togethers sound interesting. I don’t think there are any people from my years on these blogs (63 – 70) but it would be nice to say hello again to some of those teachers. I think it was “Bomber” Lancaster who got me a private visit to the NPL in around ’64 to see their (valve) computer. I’d like to thank him for that as I was heavily into computers from before that, albeit only in theory until the ’70’s, so that first sight of a real one was very significant. (I think “A for Andromeda” was the public vision of computers around then).

    Anyway, probably won’t get to the UK now till end of October, so I wonder whether there will be any get-togethers around then?.

  18. Roger White says:

    I see by an e-mail from him today that Kevin Davis has officially switched the SCGS stream off from his blog. I don’t know him and someone may have already done it but I’d like to thank him for tolerating the infinitely growing Surbiton parasite on his otherwise innocent blog. When I discovered it via a link someone had put on Friends Reunited it was like a whole world from 40-50 years ago suddenly coming to life again. It must have seemed overwhelming to him. Just as well WordPress is a free service. Thanks Kevin.

  19. Hedley Stovold says:

    Hi Roger,

    I think it’s called ‘synchronicity’, isn’t it? A growing concern over the preservation of all those memories and facts from half a century ago, and Kevin Davis’ wish to change his blog content and format. Both needs now met without hassle – hopefully the new site and comment stream can go on being used and grow in the same way as before – with minimal disruption to what we all have got used to.

    I did thank Kevin Davis on my own behalf and on behalf of all who have found refuge on his blog in the following

    “Hi Kevin,

    Did leave this message on your other ‘holding’ blog couple of days ago – re the Surbiton County ‘Grammar’ School comment stream that you have so graciously hosted for the last 4 years or so. Amazing what your off the cuff query re Andrew Stunell gave rise to!

    The blogsite at seems to be used now by many of the SCGS folk – and as one of them remarked what will stifle this new site quicker than anything will be to stay with feet in both places. So I think the time has come for you to post a redirection notice from your site to the new one – as you suggested, and in whatever way you think best.

    Though I came on your site latish I was concerned to ensure that all that pool of memories there was preserved and added to with photo material – and that as little change as possible would be noticed in any new site, and you would be freed from the ‘colonists’!

    I am speaking for myself and all the SCGS OB brigade when I say we are very grateful for your kindness in allowing us to ‘swarm’ in your old blog for so long.

    Best wishes for this new blog

    Hedley Stovold ”

    and his reply email,


    All done. I have posted a diversion for that and posted it on the site. The best of luck and it is amazing what one simple post on the internet can do to bring people together.



    Kevin Davis

    Was kindly loaned issues for 1930,1931,1932 of The Surbitonian by Les Thacker and am processing them into Acrobat files to appear on the appropriate page. Am pursuing issues for 1942 and 1943 for myself on eBay hopefully with the same aim. And for the other years … well who knows what lurks out there, awaiting resurrection.

  20. Peter Pocock says:

    Hi Stov,

    It occurs to me that Andrew Stunnel ( who was a contemporary), and who accidently sparked this whole blog off, has been conspicuously silent.Presumably the pressures of being in a coalition government mean that he is too busy. I tried, several months ago, to email him and got a bland reply from his PPs, promising a reply that never came.

    Can we perhaps make an honoury award to Kevin for his hospitalty ( The Egmont Gold Pin, for services to SGS)

  21. Mike Kemp says:

    A couple of strange things about posting here:

    I just got two emails from the Kevin Davies site showing new posts by Bernard Dunn and Keith Watling on 30th August, but they don’t appear in this blog listing or in Kevin Davis’ blog which has now lost its posting box. Anyone know where those posts went and how they managed to post to Kevin’s site?

    Also I haven’t yet got any notification emails from this site about new posts despite ticking the notify box on a previous messages and confirming the confirmation email that I got as a result. Is this just some sort of finger trouble or is anyone else seeing this? Maybe you have to tick the boxes afresh on every post?

    BTW, I find that once I’ve navigated to the pages on the menu to explore this site there isn’t a tab to get back to this linear blog. Any chance that Hedley could put a navigation entry for “ongoing posts” or “8/11” as it seems to be called? To make space the “exit” menu seems unnecessary…

    Thanks, Mike

  22. Mike Kemp says:

    Aha, I ticked the boxes again for the above and I got another confirmation email which I okayed. Maybe the previous one didn’t stick. I’ll know next time someone posts… Mike

  23. Hedley Stovold says:

    Mike Kemp

    Hi Mike,

    I have added a link to ‘Home Page Top’ in the footer area – so this will appear at the base of each page – this will save using the Home keyboard key to reach the top of the page you are currently on and then clicking the Home tab in the header.

    As far as ‘the case of the missing comments’ – I received the same email notifications as you, but nothing in the actual comment stream. I notice that both emails were dated and timed 9.12 August 30, 2011 – the day/?time that Kevin Davis turned the comment facility off on his post. Also both new comment emails at their end give URLs to take one back to the original comments on his blog comment sequence ; in the case of K. Watling to March 5, 2011 and in the case of B. Dunn to March 13, 2011. In both cases the content there is the same as on our comment notifications. Not a full explanation I admit – has a ‘fuzzy’ feeling about it. Hopefully it will not occur again – both of the original comments can be found in the ‘ ..up to 8/2011’ comment stream at those dates.



  24. Mike Kemp says:

    Hi Hedley – Yes I see those ghost messages in the emails came from earlier in the year – weird. As you say must be some side effect of Kevin messing with his site. Hopefully no real messages are going astray.

    Good to have more links between the pre 8/11 and post 8/11 posts. Thanks.

    I was just thinking of making it as easy as possible for new people stumbling on your great new site to get into the stream and post. Kevin’s was easy as you just found it, read it, and joined in.

    I was only thinking of how it looks to someone who hasn’t seen it before, as I think it’s easy for us who know the history of the Kevin Davies blog, but a bit confusing for newcomers, or those in hurry or less computer handy. If the listing started with a mention that this is a blog for all ex members of SCGS and others to share memories, and ended with a mention that to continue reading and to post, go to “here”, it might just pull in some more activity. But it’s only a thought, and you’ve done a great job.

    BTW I got an alert email from you reply, so that must be working fine too.

    Best regards, Mike

  25. dave littleproud says:

    testing testing

  26. dave littleproud says:

    YES!!! if i can do it!

  27. Mike Kemp says:

    Hi Dave – it’s been quiet for a while. I’m wondering where all those people from my year have gone. Maybe they’re all busy stacking up some more funds for retirement after the bankers walked off with the last lot. I doubt I’ll ever retire as with working for myself I’ve mostly only ever done what I want to do anyway.

    Any chance of persuading my brother to post? He was from your year of course, some 6 years ahead of me. But he has got himself a new tablet and I got him onto Skype…

  28. wooly says:

    Apparently some of the old teachers still meet up at the Prince of Wales West End Esher once a month to discuss old pupils. Mr Lancaster (bomber) and Mr (bas) Hunt are still about.
    I also play golf with the old boys golf society about 3 times per year. We play against Old tiffs, Hamptonians and Kingston.
    The Society is made up mainly of those that played cricket at Cobham plus a number of ‘old’ school lots. There is a cupboard in the new Pavilion at Cobham that has some sort of archive of old bits and pieces. I was in the first year at the new school (1966).

  29. dave littleproud says:

    Mike i have tried to try to persuade your bro to contribute but to no avail….. others to whom i have spoken also seem unwilling. may be Mike -a bit of familial encouragement??

  30. Tim Harrison says:

    It was a nice sunny afternoon, so as I only live round the corner I asked the Hollyfield buildings manager if I could take a couple of snaps of the old assembly hall and Albury House. He said I could, so I’ve now got a few pictures to load up… if Hedley can reveal how I do it.
    The sun was streaming through the stained glass on either side of the front door, lighting up the curious motto Cadarn ar Cyfrwys, apparently the family motto of the north Wales Williams clan.
    A bit of googling shows the Welsh translates as either Strong and Subtle or Strong and Cunning (there may be two foxes in the coat of arms, or perhaps badly drawn lions)… or Strong and Sly.
    I suppose it depends on your outlook.
    Anyway, does anyone have the faintest idea why the Williams family motto should be in the Albury House stained glass? Was it once a Williams family home?
    I’m standing by to add some more pictures to the collection, if someone can guide me.

  31. PHIL SEAMAN says:

    Well, first time onto the new site! So far seems less popular than the Kevin Davis one. Perhaps we lost a few bodies on the way or maybe we’ve run out of original things to say!!

    Went to a talk at our local Suffolk Records Office recently. They had history of local old houses amongst their records. Wondering if anyone lives near an equivalent in Surbiton or Kingston which may have info on the old school buildings and occupants?

    Many of my era (’53 – ’60) seem to have skived off abroad but there must be someone still living in the area with time or energy to do some research of all the hundreds who passed through SCGS?

  32. dave littleproud says:

    Allow a very proud big/old Littleproud the indulgence of a boast-both little Littleprouds are now at medical school.
    very funny domestic conversation–obstetrician /gynaecoligist wife with 30 plus years experience being put right by medical student son of 14 days experience.
    Albury House-I think there is something in the pre 08/2011 posts. I remember the net having something about one of the previous owners and her gardner doing rather well in local flower competitions.
    There used to be local history group about 28 years ago. oh look!!!!
    Surbiton and District Historical Society
    Description: Membership includes free admission to monthly talks, outings to places of historical interest, a free monthly newsletter and the chance to borrow from an extensive local history library free of charge. Visitors are welcome (a contribution of £2.00 is welcome.)


    History and Archaeology

    Details of Main Contact Person:

    Mrs M Jennings
    Position: Membership Secretary

    020 8399 4473

    worth a punt !!
    i appreciated having email notification of new posts.
    once again Well done Hedley!!!
    And yes –Honorary Lovelace stripes to Kevin for his hospitality!!!-I hope he enjoyed reading the posts.

  33. dave littleproud says:

    the 1954 school photo-just spotted a very young Hedley sitting on the floor between Jock and beardless Slash- Hedley you look just like your little brother!!

  34. Ros Theobald says:

    Phil Seaman,glad to hear you have discovered the delights of the Suffolk records offices,which one did you visit,Bury or Ipswich,I have spent many happy hours in both? Was your talk given by Clive Payne ,he is very good,Bury is my local,wait until you find out who used to live in your house,that is the interesting bit.
    Tim Harrison,Albury House was built and lived in by William Dunnage,who was born in Hitchin Herts,where there was an Albury Hall,I have delved into his family tree but can find no Williams there,the house was empty in 1901,and I have no idea who bought it,perhaps the stained glass was added later.There are a lot of posts around March this year about the history of the school which you may find interesting.
    Nice one Hedley,thank you.

  35. Mike Kemp says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing Tim’s photos of the old building when they get uploaded – keep us posted, Tim.

    I don’t know if I’ll ever get back to Surbiton – since my Dad sold up the Berrylands Road house a few years ago I have no links back to the area, but if I do I’ll try and get some video shots of the buildings of both the old school and Thames Ditton (where I spent most of my time). Someone with more expertise could probably make a low budget documentary on the old SCGS, maybe while there are still old masters to interview.

    Congratulations Dave on your next generation of medics. I well remember the certainty of youth, I think we all spend the rest of our lives expanding our areas of doubt an uncertainty. Remember Douglas Adams’ philosophers’ union: “we demand rigid areas of doubt and uncertaintyl”. I read that Adams was a Surbiton bloke, but not sure when and where.

    Another Surbiton bloke was Julian Clary. There are a few -er- passages in his autobiography about Surbiton.

    A passing Surbiton memory: I suppose we all remember both Tolworth Tower and Winthrop House by Surbiton station going up, our very own skyscrapers. I went to a 6th form seminar as Winthrop House when we were to be tempted into a life of pharmaceutical chemistry. I suppose I should not be but I was amused when bits started falling off WInthrop House in the ’80’s closing the railway line and making the national news. It had to be demolished as it was made of that funny concrete that was all the rage in the ’60’s which didn’t last. I hope the Thames Ditton school was made of more lasting stuff.

  36. John Sammes says:

    The new school was largely brick so will hopefully last a good while yet. My dad was chief planning officer for the local authority (I think it was Elmbridge by then), and he brought home a set of plans for the new school before it was built, so I got a sneak preview. Sadly no secret passages or cellars but the prospect of a lift was intriguing. My chief recollection is how small and useless the music practice rooms were – I think the designer’s idea of soundproofing was a bit of perforated fibreboard stuck here and there – and the large classrooms with dividers were pretty inefficient as well; if you had Jock the other side of a folding partition, you were going to get an involuntary French lesson regardless…

  37. Hi Tim,
    Email your photos as JPEG attachments to me at – I will upload them into the blog media database and place them on the appropriate page with caption and credits.

    Following on from your comments re the coat of arms and crest you will find the following paragraph in Bert Forwards booklet on SCGS history 1925-1946 interesting –

    ““IT WAS well over 21 years ago when the Surrey Education Committee decided that the time had arrived for Surbiton to have a Boys’ Secondary School of its own, and no longer be entirely dependent on the two old established schools in the neighbouring borough of Kingston. It so happened that at this time Albury House was for sale, and Mr W. M. Willcocks, later our first Chairman of Governors, learning of this fact, bought it on behalf of the Education Committee. Thus it is that we are housed in the former residence of Dr. Williams, of “ Pink Pills for Pale People “ fame, with the disadvantages inherent in any converted dwelling house, but with the compensation of delightful surroundings”.

    So who was the shadowy Dr Williams? – if we are to believe Bert Forward’s reference. Any web search for Dr Williams PPfPP will give you some 162000 hits – most directing one to the patent medicine empire of Drs G. Fulford and W. Jackson in Ontario in Canada and then worldwide, but no reference to the life and details of a Dr Williams – well not so far. Ros Theobald in a recent comment refers to William Dunnage building Albury House in 1856, and that it was empty in 1901 – Dave Littleproud gives details of the Surbiton & District Historical Society and I have found the RBK Local Studies Centre helpful. A list of the owners/occupiers of Albury House from 1856-1925 probably holds the key. Wouldn’t be a bad idea to also do the same for Aysgarth and Braemar. The coat of arms should be identifiable (if not a personal invention!)

    Look forward to your photos – they will be uploaded at once



  38. Ros Theobald says:

    Hedley,in 1901 and 1911 David Jupp maltster was living in Braemar with his family,opposite the Railway Tavern,very appropriate,I have no house called Aysgarth,perhaps the school renamed it,there was Crane Hurst which I think was quite a large house in Surbiton hill road. Interesting about Dr williams , perhaps he just used his christian name in case they didn’t work! I look forward to seeing the photos.

  39. gilmance says:

    Hi, my name is Gil (Gilbert) Mance. David Pringle mentioned Si lever being removed from the 1965 School Photo on account of his long hair. So was I . We stood together under that big cedar tree and watched. Nice to find this site and see familiar names and hear old stories.
    Gus Hillier once stopped Simon in the corridor between classes, backed him up against the wall and asked,”Am I hurting you ,Lever?” “No Sir.” “Well I should be, I’m standing on your hair. Get It cut!” Such floods of memories.
    I am in the US now but would love to re-establish contact with old friends. I saw Derek Thorogate’s name. I wonder if he remembers us hitch-hiking down to Brixham for the Easter Holidays, in 65. I would also really like to make contact with Joe Turner, to thank him so much, for so much. The creative spark that he nurtured in me has enriched my life immesurably over all these years.

  40. Mike Kemp says:

    I’d second thanks to Joe Turner. He inspired an interest in art which has been a great asset to me despite me being more of a technologist. He used to let me spend the lunchtimes in his art room around ’64 as he had a broken radio and I had some notoriety for fixing them. At age 12 I didn’t manage to fix it but spending lunchtime messing with the works of a radio was much more fun for me than running around a playground.

    I remember his lessons on “op art” which was popular in the ’60’s.

    Sadly I couldn’t take art O level as it clashed with my science subjects (you weren’t supposed to be interested in both) and the plan B of taking it a year early was thwarted by my long stay in hospital that year.

    Anyway, as I’ve spent a lot of my life developing equipment and software for artistic uses, the combination of art and science has been invaluable.

  41. Mike Kemp says:

    John: thanks for that reminder of the classroom dividers at Thames Ditton – I’d forgotten about them. Sadly few architects seem to understand (or have the budget for) sound “proofing”. Having built a couple of recording studios for my own business in earlier years I had to research a lot about sound transmission and acoustics. Interesting stuff…

    BTW I got to use that lift regularly as after hip-joint failure in ’67 I spent the rest of my time at school on crutches or the like, so I got to squeeze into the thing, occasionally with masters in uncomfortable proximity.

  42. RobIreland says:

    Gil: You started your post with the words, ‘Hi, my name is Gil (Gilbert) Mance’ but if you look back through the years of posting that you have been called ‘the legendary Gilbert Mance largely because of your exploits with Simon Lever. We were in the same year but our paths didn’t cross that much because of the gulf between arts and science. Did you leave before 6th Form? Joe Turner was my form master in either the 2nd or 3rd Form. He stood out mostly because i don’t remember him ever even clipping a boy round the ear let alone inflicting the levels of violence that were the norm.

  43. Ros Theobald says:

    What about this Hedley in 1890 the rights to’ Dr Williams Pink Pills for Pale People’ were acquired from Dr William Jackson for about $50 . I checked the 1911 census and at’ Allbury House’ the incumbent was Walter Williams, Retired Solicitor born Manchester, living on private means,with his wife and two unmarried daughters in their twenties,a cook and four maids. Probably a welsh connection in his ancestry. The next property going down the hill is’ Cranhurst’, on the other side of’ Allbury’ is ‘Elm Lodge’,with Mr Belchin,three males and six females living there, perhaps this house became’ Aysgarth’. Next going up to Lamberts Road is ‘Elmers Cottage’ a stable and coach house, then around the corner is ‘Braemar’ with its stables. ‘Allbury House also had a coachmans house and gardeners lodge. Perhaps the local history society has more information.

  44. Bernard Dunn says:

    I think I’ve got the hang of this new site. Finding somewhere to comment was a challenge, the home page does not seem to allow them.

    I have added Tim Harrison’s photos to the collection at


  45. gilmance says:

    Rob, I remember you, at least by name. “legendary” is better than notorious. I stayed on for the sixth form and ‘A” levels and left in 68. Have been talking with Simon by phone across the international gulf, but he is not computer savvy and thus I cannot turn him on to this blogging business. Great to have all these old memories stirred up. I even have a copy of the 67 Surbitonian and a scanner if someone can tellme how to upload pics.

  46. RobIreland says:

    Gil, we left at the same time. If you were still around in the sixth form presumably you were responsible for some of the artwork in the Surbitonian which by then had lost it’s staid monotone look and had become a shop window for the talents of the arts set. I won the school essay competition in 66 and 67 (I think) and both stories were published in the school magazine. I haven’t kept copies and would no doubt cringe reading them now but it would be good to see the mag again if you can upload it.

  47. RobIreland says:

    Apologies for the stray apostrophe in the previous post. Pity there’s no post-posting edit feature.

  48. Tim Harrison says:

    Unearthing the history of Albury House is like doing a jigsaw with half the pieces missing, and occasionally discovering a lost bit down the back of the sofa.
    The intriguing little hand-drawn map tucked away on this site…

    …is useful. It was drawn after 1946, when Aysgarth and Braemar were bought by the school and incorporated into the general bricks-and-mortar sprawl. I would even guess that it was drawn after 1950, because everything looks established.
    Aysgarth was demolished in 1956, which narrows the window to, say, 1948-1955.
    The school hall was used in the evenings for endless concerts and by visiting theatrical groups. The Surbiton Light Orchestra performed there through the 1950s.
    So it might have been a little map to indicate where cars (such as there were on the roads) could be parked for a concert.
    But then there would be no point in including such detail as Boys’ Garden or Chemistry Lab or Cricket Nets. So it must be a map prepared for some school purpose.
    OK, here’s my theory. The map was drawn by one of the masters in the early 1950s in response to congestion and blockages caused by the haphazard parking of Austins, Rovers and Wolseleys belonging to members of staff. It was then pinned up on the noticeboard in the staff room with the shaded green areas indicating where teachers could leave their vehicles.
    The only problem is that some of the shaded area is in the playground. Would any master have wanted to leave his precious Morris 8 there?
    So here’s theory 2.
    Maybe it was an evening car parking guide for visitors attending one of the school’s Gilbert & Sullivan performances in the early 1950s.
    Dave, I actually do belong to the Surbiton Historical Society (I know, I know… I should get out more), but the ‘library’ it has (around 150 books) has nothing I can find that sheds any light on Albury House’s history. It is one of the most chaotic libraries in existence, but fortunately a new, keen assistant librarian has just started sorting it all out. There may be some gems hidden away in its hotch-potch of old document and booklet-filled boxes. I’ll check and report back.
    I’ll also see if I can find anything out about Ros’s ‘Williams’ character. It seems a likely bet that he was the one that installed the stained glass in the entrance hall two decades before it became the school.

  49. RobIreland says:

    Which year was the school’s production of Webster’s The White Devil? I had a part as one of the courtiers which mostly involved standing on the periphery of the action and nodding or looking aghast. My crowd-playing was of such a high order though that I was awarded one moment in the spotlight when one of the principals was stabbed and died on stage. After the knife was inserted, he had a dying speech of about a page during which every third sentence seemed to be, ‘I die, I die. Oh lackaday, I die.’ Most of this was made with him on the ground leaning against me while I held his torso upright so the audience could see him. After about four false alarms he finally passed away and I was able to deliver my only line in the play – ‘He’s dead.’

    It all seemed to go so well in rehearsal but in the first performance, the actor playing the death scene milked it for all it was worth. He threw in extra cries of agony and accompanied each mention of his plight with long bouts of coughing and wracking sobs. The scene seemed to take about four times longer than usual. Finally, he expired and my line, when it came, instead of being a sad confirmation of his passing, was now the punch-line to his protracted joke and it elicited guffaws of derision. Consequently, my only line was cut from subsequent performances.

    Does anybody else remember the play? I wonder who the actor was who occasioned my humiliation and made sure I never trod the boards again?

  50. Ros Theobald says:

    Tim the stained glass is definitely Edwardian,Art Nouveau/ Arts and crafts design, so nothing to do with Mr Dunnage,definitely Mr Williams,I will do some more digging in the archives and see what I can come up with about him. Looking at the map you found,I think that Aysgarth was originally Elm Lodge, because the 1911 enumeraters walk up the hill goes :- Albury House with gardeners lodge and coachmans house, then Elm lodge and Elmers cottage and stables and coach house they could be D and K on the map,and then we go around the corner to Braemar.I would think your idea about parking is probably right.

  51. Ros Theobald

    Hi Ros,

    Re the Williams family crest , google “Cadarn ar Cyfrwys” and follow the first link to and then the fifth link to…/page-342-armorial-families–a-directory-of-... . Seems like one is heading towards the Williams-Wynn family from Ruabon or some branch of it. Cannot imagine that any family (even in a flush of self aggrandisement) would use an existing coat of arms and a linked motto in its main entrance, unless they had some right to it. Haven’t looked yet any further in the other 1000+ links.
    Impressed by your work on the 1911 Census. I am currently working my way back through my wife’s family tree, and my own – which as far as its English line is oddly enough based around Albury and district in Surrey! Incidentally what did you search for/on in Ancestry (of whatever) to access the list of Surbiton Hill houses.
    The fugitive map of SCGS fell out of my complete set of reports (1953-1961) which somehow have survived the last 50+ years. Like Tim Harrison I wondered what it was for – probably his second guess, and possibly for Parent/Teacher evenings in addition to G&S performances?
    I am beginning to wonder about Bert Forward’s PPfPP – though from such an eminent ‘father of SCGS’ I would trust his reference to Williams the Pill, and especially in writing. Possibly I need to source and take some …



  52. Ros Theobald says:

    I should be careful of those little pink pills Hedley they might turn you into a manic genealogist like me,once your hooked you can’t get off it! If you subscribe to Ancestry you can view the 1911 Summary Books in the Census section,they do not have the actual census returns,that is a completely different website,www.1911 , they basically contain the schedule for each street in an area,the name of the head of the household ie. Mr Brown,and the number of males and females within, but no names, there are about ten households on each double page and you can trace the enumeraters walk from street to street,or around a village. You just have to know the name of the head or have a rough idea of where they lived, you often find that in those days other relatives lived fairly close by which can be a bit of a bonus,especially in villages.
    I have the Premium Rate membership for Ancestry for my birthday present every year and I use it most days and with that I can view many original parish records for London and surrounding areas, I will have a look and see if Albury is on there.I can,t remember if you are in Australia,if so you would need Australian Ancestry.

  53. Roger White says:

    Ros – I expect you know, although others may not, that also has a complete set of 1911 census images, plus lots of other data ancestry doesn’t have. I know. I subscribe to both. Yours doubly addicted….

  54. John Davies says:

    If Aysgarth was demolished in 1956, why do I remember it in 1958 (when I started at SCGS)?
    Just me being “picky” again.

  55. gilmance says:

    Rob, the White Devil was 1968. I don’t know who the actor was, but I do remember the year because i was in charge of costuming the play, which was fun. And yes, I was involved in the last two (or three) years of the school mag. That was Joe Turner who pushed the Magazine into the sixties. I will dig out 1967 and see what I can do.

  56. Peter Pocock says:

    Moving right along and for absolutely no reason at all, I suddenly remembered an English teach called Stubbings in the mid/late 50’s. I can’t recall seeing any comments about him on the site, which is not surprising, as he was hardly a live-wire. Seem to remember though that he had a nasty temper which belied his outwardly placid nature

  57. RobIreland says:

    Gil, 1968, I thought I had left by then! They say your short term memory gets worse with age but it’s compensated by being able to remember the distant past more clearly. I wish it were so. You are yet another of the Old Surbs of our generation who lives in the far-flung world. The school seems to have infected many of its sons with a wanderlust bug. Where are you? How did it come about?

  58. Ros Theobald says:

    Roger White, yes I do buy points for findmypast,but this ‘cheap hobby’ which I started in 1995 is now getting very expensive,especially when you’re a pensioner.I am a member of East Surrey FHS and a lot of the data from these worldwide societies is now in findmypast,also the Society of Genealogists are now adding theirs. I did a Tracing your Ancestors course 2003 -2006,I found this very useful and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested , and the first thing we were told are the golden rules of research,1.always check everything with original documents and 2 “. never trust anyone else’s research,always check it yourself because even professionals can make mistakes. I have one rule of my own which is ,you can’t do it all on the internet!! There is one free website which I would recommend as a starting point for any search and that is the IGI, there are’nt many deaths on it because it was compiled by the Mormon Church, but the birth/baptisms and marriages come from parish records and bishops transcripts,I am always wary of data that church members have submitted themselves. The other good free site is freebmd . is a good one I have recently found, if you look up Mastering the 1911 England &Wales census on it they tell you how to get free information, I have tried this and it works!
    If anybody else is interested in starting, always ask around your family if anyone has photos,certificates,letters, diaries ,or even old address and autograph and birthday books or family bibles,you’d be surprised what comes out of the woodwork when people know your willing to store this ‘stuff’, or if it is precious to them you can either copy or photograph it, I have even taped conversations with elderly relatives.some things they tell you can be ’embroidered’ but there is usually a grain of truth there,the Victorians did like to cover up any hint of scandal,I do love rattling a few skeletons in cupboards!!
    Happy Hunting!!

  59. Ros Theobald says:

    Hedley there are Albury records on Ancestry, and there are also some on the IGI for Stovold in Surrey which include Albury,but you will probably find they moved around the county a bit due to marriage and work etc,especially after 1833,when the new poor law came in, go to you have to go to the ‘previous search’ , then ‘advanced search’ and finally the’ IGI,’ and it is free’, but beware of anything that has been put on by church members,it is probably right but always check with original documents!!
    By the way I have a Hedley Burkin born Sutton in my tree,it was quite a popular christian name!

  60. Ros Theobald says:

    Roger ,just as an afterthought,have you discovered the delights of ‘the Parish Chest ‘yet?

  61. Derek Thorogate says:

    I have just discovered this new blog arranged by Hedley – and guess what? Gilbert Mance has arisen from the murky past. Hi Gilbert – really nice to hear you are around – shame about being so far away. How could I ever forget some of those miserable long hitch hikes down to Devon either with you and /or Simon and Roger – can’t understand the reticence of some of those drivers to stop and pick up three dirty long haired louts. I also remember you and I think her name was Stella from Stoke-on-Trent on one of those Brixham trips. What is Simon up to these days – come to that what are you up to/ drop me an email if you like at it would be great to hear – dare I ask if you still have the hair because I seem to remember your dear old dad (who put up with us always invading your house) being somewhat sparse. My hair is long gone I am afraid – Thorogate tradition.
    Look forward to hearing more

  62. PHIL SEAMAN says:

    Hi Ros. We went to the Bury Records Office with a U3A memoirs group. The lady manager(name’s gone!!) gave us a chat about how they operate. Have been on a Clive Payne ramble around the town this summer(?) looking at architecture – he is so knowledgable about so much in the area – our 5-6 years here is hardly enough to scratch the surface!

    Just crawled back from a family weekend at centerparcs. Still nursing the strained and stretched muscles that had not seen active service for some time! Also caught for 4 days of grandparenting including school runs/overnighting etc!! Happy days!!

  63. Tim Harrison says:

    If Aysgarth was demolished in 1956, why do I remember it in 1958 (when I started at SCGS)?
    Just me being “picky” again.

    John Davies, I bow to your recollections. If you recall it in 1958 it’s highly unlikely it was demolished two years earlier. Can anyone recall whether Aysgarth and Braemar were knocked down at around the same time?

  64. Richard Day says:

    I remember being a waiter for the prefect”s Xmas dinner Dec 1959,it was definitely held in Aysgarth,I got totally wasted,had to leave my scooter parked outside and get the bus home.Also onthe subject of buildings,I have an engraving of what looks like Albury House,but is entitled Surbiton House.Any ideas?

  65. Tim Harrison says:

    Surbiton House was a building twice the size of Albury House which used to stand at the foot of the hill, on the site of Surbiton Assembly Rooms… opposite the dear old Waggon & Horses pub. It was built in the late 1700s or early 1800s, and was renamed The Elmers in 1823.

  66. Ros Theobald says:

    Phil, comiserations we have our children and grandchildren coming this weekend,if we survive it I shall be back to normal next Tuesday,if you don’t want to broadcast where you live,drop me a line on friends reunited.We have lived here for18 years and I would love to spend a couple of weeks just travelling around visiting places I want to see in this beautiful county.

  67. Tim, Richard, …et al (bless him!)

    My time inside at SCGS was 1953 – 1961 – and the venerable old pile of Aysgarth was still standing when I left, as was Braemar There is a photo on the blog supplied from Dave Littleproud from an issue of The Surbitonian I suspect captioned ‘Braemar – A Last Look 1960’. All my 6th Form years were in the small groundfloor room to the right of the front door of Aysgarth enjoying Bidmead, Hunt, Lonsdale and Fernyhough. Bidmead suffered from gout I think so the unlaced state of his shoe a pretty good indication of how bumpy the translation of Horace’s next ode was going to be.
    Richard – Might even have been at that prefects dinner as I was one of that merry band 1959-60 – I certainly recall at least one such do – got quite squiffy as I remember and have memories of careering around the back lawns of the Main School with others and a small sports car …
    Or maybe I’m having one of my turns again!

    Regards to yall


  68. Richard Day says:

    Yall? Hedley I thought you lived in England.not here in the Confederency.The small car you referenced may have been Gordon Jacksons “s.

  69. gilmance says:

    Rob, you may be right about 67. If the school play was in the winter term then it was 67. I just thought 68 ‘cos that was the summer i left. Hadn’t thought about what time of year the play was. Long story about how I came to be here. First came to the wine country of Northern California in 78 and liked the life. emigrated in 81. For the last 23 years I have managed a private estate in the hills, raised a family and loved the life. Big changes happening now, and as yet I don’t know where they will lead. I think this is a bumpy year for many of us. Hope you are doing well and that life in Blighty is treating you well.

  70. Peter Pocock says:

    Hedley – re the Prefects’ Dinner, 1959, a couple of other memories:

    Disgusting,sickly Sauternes. I think the sports car rides around the lawns were courtesy of ancient Austin 7s car owned by Ronn Ladd, or John Ford ( or possibly both).
    Didn’t we all then go up to London, totally wasted, to see a lousy West End show called “The Flower Drum Song”,

  71. Mike Kemp says:

    (can we get rid of these italics?)

    Gil: I had an interesting visit to a small private winery owned by Francis Ford Coppola around 1989, which was a pleasant day contrasting with the “official” winery tours – can’t remember exactly where now, Sonoma area I think. It just had a few people looking after it including a young Australian doing what they do, travelling the world picking up his art with annual placements at various wineries. Interesting that you landed in that area and settled. I liked Sonoma but was locked into my business in the UK at the time so the thought of emigrating did not occur – at least until I discovered the fickleness of business a few years later and being a keen European opted for Portugal as a new location, it being a sort of European analogue of California!

    Being a couple of years behind you at school we would have existed in parallel universes, especially as I was out of school from early in ’67 to autumn ’68 due to leg problems.

    Seem to be very few ’63 intake here…

  72. Mike Kemp says:

    (trying to turn off the italic tag)

  73. Mike Kemp says:

    …doesn’t work. There was a mismatched ‘i’ tag above, but if you enter a closing tag here (e.g. ) it gets filtered out, so we seem to be stuck with italics unless Hedley can edit Rob’s post to correct the bad tag after “While Devil”.

  74. RobIreland says:

    Sorry, guys. I tried to turn it off as well. As I said before, It’s a pity we don’t have a ‘preview’ and ‘edit’ facility.

  75. RobIreland says:

    Previous posts about the Prefects’ Dinner remind me that this was a tradition that survived the move to Thames Ditton. As did the trip, on the same day, to see a show in London’s West End. I can’t remember which production we went to see in 67(?) but recall that it involved some female nudity. This elicited a predictable response from our group of well-oiled, testosterone-loaded lads and we were threatened with eviction. Any of my contemporaries remember what we went to see?

  76. RobIreland says:

    Thanks for the update, Gil. I retired in 2005 after 30+ years in financial services. Sounds boring but I worked in all five continents and lived in New York 2000-2003 which was an ‘interesting’ time. I’m trying to forge a new career writing novels (pen name Robert Ronsson but there seem to be millions of us chasing the same dream. I’m having fun, though. I hope your ‘bumpy year’ works out ok.

  77. Sic transit italica mundi …

  78. RobIreland says:

    Good job, Hedley.

  79. PHIL SEAMAN says:

    Peter, have just found who I think is Stubbings in 1958 photo. Believe he is the guy to left of Fernyhough and 2nd to right of Fry. all on rhs of centre if you look at my original pictures.

  80. Hi Peter,

    Daft isn’t it the items that rise to the surface of the memory – as you said ‘moving right along and for absolutely no reason at all ..’ why would I suddenly recall Slash Heymans description of ‘the defenestration of Prague’. Some Hapsburg emissary/apparatchik who annoyed the Prague city fathers in the 1500s and got hurled out an upper window headfirst into a dungheap. Quite a few of our own revered politicians here in the UK could benefit from a similar treatment. I can still visualise Slash writing it on the board in his florid writing, before no doubt regaling us with anecdotes from his last visit there..
    And then the memory sparks laterally – do you remember the ritual debagging of the new School Captain? With the item in question run up the flagpole by the Main School. Except when Mike Hind was appointed and he (‘raised on salty porridge’) let it be known that any Sassenach who was of a mind to carry out the ritual would be well and truly duffed up. Collapse of plotters.
    Thanks for confirming the plonk was Sauternes – cheap sickly and pretty disgusting. I have no memory of the West End show, but that could have been the wine …
    Phil Seaman was wondering in a recent comment whether we had lost folk in our eleventh hour migration to this blog – his observation on the blog inactivity seemed to have been followed by an absolute frenzy of comments. Seems to have kept its random, spasmodic character with more than a whiff of anarchy. Which is what was hoped for …
    Don’t think I ever had Stubbings – why do I connect him with Geography and Jack Skene? Or is that another of my memory sectors damaged?
    Regards from the depths of the UK Hardy country – we still have pockets of the feudal system here!


  81. Richard Day says:

    Remember the Sauternes you are right Pter itwas disgusting.Our group saw West Side Story Which I thoroughly enjoyed.Romour that some prefects from the group 3 yrs ahead of us found themselves in Soho after going to the theatre,one of that group ,after collecting 30 shillings ,in coins,from his compatriots went off with a lady of the night..

  82. Mike Kemp says:

    Hi Hedley – thanks for fixing that italic bug. A tedious job, website maintenance.

    Glad to see people discovering / moving to the new site. I found the original in a google browse a year or so ago, I imagine now it will take a little longer as people who stumble on the old site will have to follow the trail to the new one, at least until the hits on it fade out in favour of the new. So thanks again for creating this site, let it live long and prosper (sorry, just saw latest Star Trek film on TV).

    I think maybe some people don’t post because they mistakenly think they have nothing interesting to say. I started by thinking “who could be interested in my comments?”, then decided “who cares?”. Just post anyway. You never know when a gem of information or recollection will occur that strikes a chord with someone else or even triggers off a big discussion.

  83. Ros Theobald says:

    Mike,perhaps “live long and prosper” should be the blog motto?

  84. Dave Roberts says:

    Rob Ireland:-
    I would be pretty certain that the production which raised the hormone levels would have been Paul Raymonds Pyjama Tops with Fiona Richmond, (in)famous at the time.

  85. Peter Pocock says:

    The other curious tradition(?) for prefects of the 1959 onwards era was a challenge whereby, at the end of the school year, prefects were asked to see how far they could travel (and return) from Surbiton Station, without spending anything, in a fixed period of time. Not sure who won in our year but I seem to recall one character getting to Scotland and back by hitching ( probably the famous Michael Francis Hind).

    Somebody – please say something about “The Flower Drum Song” – I can see bits of it now and it was without doubt the biggest Rogers & Hammerstaein ( or Hart) failure of the 60’s. Maybe the booze didn’t help.

  86. RobIreland says:

    Dave Roberts: I’m pretty certain it wasn’t as racy as one of the Paul Raymond ‘revue’ shows because it was organised with the approval of the Head. (I think the school may have subsidised the trip as a ‘reward’ to the prefects for their hard work.) The trick was to find a show which made for an entertaining outing but also held the promise of some titillation. In the event, I recall that we left the theatre disappointed and disgusted that the cast and members of the audience had complained because they did not found our drunken commentary-from-the-stalls amusing.

  87. Ros Theobald says:

    I saw the film Flower Drum Song probably at Surbiton Odeon with Spud, there were a few really good songs from it,some I have were recorded by Johnny Mathis,I think the film must have been better than the show, I love musicals from all eras,but like Richard, the one that really stands out for me is West Side Story.

  88. Mike Kemp says:

    I remember “pyjama tops” being talked about at school but that must have been ’69 as I see that’s when it started its run at the Whitehall Theatre. Although only 2 years after the “summer of love” (somewhat misnamed as far as I was concerned) I agree that it is unlikely that HM Waller would have been sufficiently liberated to condone a school trip to see it, even though it was probably pretty tame stuff.

  89. dave littleproud says:

    Aysgarth outlasted Braemar. half demolished Braemar is featured in the 1960 Surbitonian. I remember standing outside Aysgarth lusting after Dave Eastland’s Norton motorbike around 1962 -1963 ie when Dave was 16/17. I think the song writer Ivor Novello lived in Aysgarth. There must be a biography somewhere.
    Hedley 1st “defenestration of Prague” was 1618 at beginning of 30 Years War.–2nd was in 1948 when democratically elected Thomas Masyryk was “unelected” by disaffected opposition.
    I remember “Angus ” Hind-loved that Scottish sense of humour. Doig obviously liked a good joke.
    As a Colts XV member I enjoyed beating Hind’s Head Boy’s XV.
    Stubbings taught me English in 1st year-1956 – 1957. in 1956 photo he is between Slash and Gus and in the 1958 photo between Peewee and Fred-but not in 1963 photo.
    Ros is correct -always try to find original sources -I was advised that IGI records were transcribed by students-for myself I found that trying to read original docs in the nearest I could get to a Norfolk dialect paid dividends.
    bete noir–I am not “saying” the above -I am writing it!

  90. PHIL SEAMAN says:

    Memory stirred at mention of Fiona Richmond’s name. Hesitate to mention it here but she used to write rude stories of her supposed escapades in Playboy type magazines (rapidly add here – other peoples’ copies not my own!!!). She supposedly had a car registration FU2. Never saw it but it was believable at the time!

    Glad to see that my comment about the blog going quiet has stirred up plenty of new activity. Keep it going lads!

    Ros – I don’t tend to get involved in sites like “Friends” . I look upon this site as the exception because of the past memories it has triggered. Perhaps if I find you in the phonebook (under ‘K’?)
    I might respond sometime.

    Feel I must have led a sheltered life in Tolworth as many of the antics of my fellow pupils passed me by at the time!! Well I was one of the quiet ones at SCGS – kept my head down fairly successfully I think. Rarely picked on by the staff, never excelled either for that matter. Was as shocked as the staff when I got 6 O levels!!

  91. dave littleproud says:

    Miss Richmond would be most upset to know she is only stirring memories!!-she’s 66!! it was Penthouse or Mayfair- most offices in which i worked had a collection of aritstic magazines. One lecture room had the centre spreads stuck to the ceiling where the catholic philipino cleaners couldn’t reach them -so they got longer broom sticks- pre Harry Potter!

  92. PHIL SEAMAN says:

    ….or was it UPU 2 …… if I can’t remember the magazine what hope for the number plate.
    Happy days.

  93. neil curtin says:

    nice job this site. obviously a lot of work, so congratulations. but is a dump like scgs worthy of it?

    let’s face it, a second rate school run by a bunch of perverts. still, it had the sacred tag ‘grammar school’ which used to be seen as important.

    i vented my views on the previous site so i won’t go over it all again here. just saying hello………..and goodbye.

  94. Ros Theobald says:

    Friends Reunited is okay Phil, you can send private messages on it. You will have to look for F K,! Both my parents families have lived in Tolworth for many years,Red Lion Road area. My sister worked at Tolworth Tower in the 1970s. My mum always said the quiet ones are the worst!

  95. PHIL SEAMAN says:

    How sad for NC that SCGS is still causing him so much grief. I think I forgot most of any bad memories the day I left and entered the real world of work !!

  96. Roger White says:

    Yes Neil – presumably no longer viewing this site, and Phil, those bad memories are difficult aren’t they? I had the advantage (?) of going to three separate grammar schools between 1959 and 1966, an army school in Singapore, SCGS, and one in rural Yorkshire. I can’t say I found any of them much better or worse than the others. If ‘Scum’ gave me a clip around the ear at SCGS, a music teacher in Singapore rapped the back of my knuckles hard with the edge of a wooden ruler (by the time I reached Yorkshire I was too old to be an obnoxious adolescent). And for every teacher that might have tormented boys they were boys who tormented teachers (some people remember Sid Capper).and boys who tormented other boys. For my small part in tormenting the Sids of this world and one or two boys who I wouldn’t dream of mentioning even if I could remember their names (not just their cruel nicknames) I am still ashamed. Still, we can all only speak of what we found and who knows what unpleasantness was visited on Neil. On the other hand, as Phil says, you have to move on. The best way to do that is not to visit a site like this and get annoyed every time. Just ignore it, as Neil says he will now do. (PS – I enjoy it)

  97. Tim Harrison says:

    OK, history buffs tune in.
    I’ve just spent a happy hour or two in the Kingston local history room, going through the street directories (some published by Kelly’s, some by Philipsons) of Surbiton. It’s an incomplete set, partly because the firms didn’t bother publishing some years, partly because the books are hard to find, and tend to go for high prices at auction when they do surface.

    Anyway, the 1876 book lists Allbury House (with two Ls) as still being lived in by Mrs Dunnage, widow of the guy who built the place two decades earlier. The next building, as you climb up the hill, is Elm Lodge (Mr CH Owtram), followed by Lambert House (Mr E Cunliffe)… which I think might be an earlier name for Aysgarth as it’s the last building listed before the crossroads.

    Braemar, round the corner in Lamberts Road, is first mentioned in the 1895 directory. Cross-referencing from other books, it seems it may have been built some time between 1884 and 1894. The owner was a chap called David Jupp. Jupp lived there 24 years, then some time between 1918 and 1921 it was bought by Alfred Sterry. Sterry obviously like the place. He was still the occupier in 1938, when it suddenly disappeared from the listings in 1939.
    The reason becomes clear in the 1940 directory, which describes Braemar as an ARP first aid station. By 1951, the next directory after a long gap, Braemar is listed as being part of ‘Surbiton County School for Boys’. No mention of grammar.

    Allbury/Albury House
    By 1897, Mrs Dunnage had died and her daughters were then listed as the owners of Allbury House. By 1898 the building was empty. In 1901 it was bought by Walter Williams, he of the coat of arms in the porch, and he lived there until 1917. In 1918 what was destined to become the principal school building of SCGS was bought by Henry Hawkes. He didn’t last long there, and by 1922 Thomas Thompson was the owner. Some time in 1923, Thompson left, and in 1924 the building was empty – waiting to be bought by the chairman of governors whose generosity led to the establishment of the school.
    The 1926 directory (they are all a year in arrears) declares the address to be Surbiton County School for Boys, owned by Surrey Education Committee. The 1927 book adds ‘AGF Willis MA, headmaster’ to the school name. Apart from altering the head’s name as appropriate, that is how it remains until the 1967 directory which declares the site occupied by Hollyfield Secondary School. In brackets afterwards is one fateful word. Mixed.

    Elm Lodge
    Meanwhile Elm Lodge, a building between Allbury (or Albury) and Aysgarth, was occupied by Roger Dawson in 1907, and by 1911 was occupied by Henry Nathaniel Belchier.
    The 1922 book lists Ernest R Stevens as the occupier, but he has left by 1924, suggesting he may have been a tenant. In 1934 The Lodge reappears, with an Arthur E Gross in residence. By 1954 ‘Jn. Brooks’ is listed as living there… with no change until the mid 60s.

    Aysgarth is more mysterious. No directory lists an Aysgarth in the 19th century – but the building was surely Victorian. If so, it must have been known as Lambert House, from the 1876 list. Yet there is no mention of another building on the site until it suddenly pops up out of the blue in 1918, when Aysgarth was occupied by a Mrs Yates.
    Mrs Yates soldiered on untl 1922, when her daughters took over Aysgarth.
    One of the young daughters ran the early adult education classes for women, in which visiting university lecturers gave talks at Surbiton High School and other buildings. The Misses Yates lived at Aysgarth until the outbreak of the Second World War, and the building was then subsumed into SCGS.

    Can anyone fill any of the gaps?


  98. PHIL SEAMAN says:

    Well Tim what a brilliant bit of detective work. We now know more about the 3 “houses” than has come out over the last few years. Well done!!

  99. Tim – congrats on those photos: you must walk out on a bright and sunny morning again, armed with your camera! Seeing the photo of the Stable Block and mentally disentangling it from all the additions (and tarmac) added after the 50/60s stirred many a memory. In my days at SCGS that was IVa’s form room upstairs, and the Senior Biology Lab downstairs. – and our form master was the mad doctor himself, ‘Scum’ Turner which made for an interesting year. IVa’s siting was rather like the North West Frontier and just as lawless – quite a bear-pit at times, with the disadvantage that anyone approaching could be on and up those back stairs before bursting into the classroom. If the noise brought ‘Mo’ Morris up though we would suffer ‘Morris Justice’ – in essence belt everyone. The case of his roaming Great Dane with a liking for sandwiches referred to in the pre 8/2011 blog must have occurred after this as I have no recollection of it – but I do recall the roof space over the old stables/loos filled with cricket nets and a lot else .. Around the stable block in those days grass, at its back the Carpentry Hut with Watkins, bike sheds and the school ‘gardens’. – the Sixth forms in Aysgarth.
    Very impressed by your researches into the buildings, names and their occupants. Ros Theobald had checked the 1911 Census enumerators returns and commented

    “Looking at the map you found,I think that Aysgarth was originally Elm Lodge, because the 1911 enumerators walk up the hill goes :- Albury House with gardeners lodge and coachmans house, then Elm lodge and Elmers cottage and stables and coach house they could be D and K on the map,and then we go around the corner to Braemar”. – October 10,2011

    Using Google Earth Pro's historical imagery facility, and Bing Maps I have got some birdseye views of Hollyfield School from 2003 on which I will upload.

    regards Hedley

  100. Pete Foster says:

    Following Tim Harrison’s excellent detective work on the history of Braemar a simple google revealed that Alfred Sterry was married to multiple Wimbledon ladies singles champion Charlotte Sterry (nee Cooper) and she was responsible for laying an incorrectly dimensioned tennis court in the grounds of ‘Braemar Lodge’. I guess it was located in that curious area of unused land adjacent to the traffic lights which I always assumed was a bomb site.

  101. Tony Townsend says:

    Mention of Fiona Richmond brings to mind a steamy summer night during the 70s at LBC radio in London, where I worked for a time with the network news service, IRN.
    As I went into the news booth adjacent to the studio to read the news at the top of the hour who should be on air, but the lady herself broadcasting her sex advice hotline to the listening multitudes.
    And yes, its true, there she was in all her glory, totally topless!
    A tough job reading the news that night, but someone had to do it!

  102. Ros Theobald says:

    I hope this fills the gaps Tim all census information :- 1861 ‘Allbury House’,William Dunnage,builder. ‘Elm Lodge’ Edward J Allen,landed proprieter and fundholder. then The Railway Tavern, and no more properties. 1871,there are no house names on the original,but working up from ‘Allbury House ‘ Mr Dunnage,then coachman and gardener,then we have Thomas Lambert ,mechanical engineer,(I think this is Elm Lodge),then’ The Rising Sun’ which was at the top of Clay Hill which became Villiers Road. 1881 ‘Allbury House’ Mrs Dunnage widow, then stables, next we have ‘Elm Lodge’ Louis Casella ,profession, house property,( estate agent?), then in’ Lamberts Road’,this is the first time it appears,’Lamberts House’ Mrs Cunliffe,her husband must have been away that night, and I cannot read his profession, it starts with B so possibly Builder or Banker?,perhaps this house was renamed Braemar when Mr Jupp the malster bought it? 1891, ‘Allbury House, Mrs Dunnage, then ‘Elm Lodge’ Robert Strickland, bankers clerk, then stables, next we have in Lamberts Road, ‘Braemar’ David Jupp ,malster. 1901, ‘Allbury House’ Unoccupied, then ‘Elm Lodge’ Ivan Caryll, musical Composer, Google says he wrote operettas and Edwardian musical comedies. unfortunately not Ivor Novello!,then we have in Lamberts Road,’The Railway Tavern’ followed by ‘Braemar’ with David Jupp. 1911, in ‘Allbury House’ Walter Williams,Retied Solicitor,private means with coachmans house and gardeners lodge. then ‘Elm Lodge’ Henry Belchier.then Elmers Cottage,also a stable and coach house,next in Lamberts road we have ‘The Railway Tavern’ with stable,and over the road,’Braemar’ Mr Jupp and a stable and nothing else in the road.
    Perhaps somebody else could research Thomas Lambert mechanical engineer,as they named the road after him?

  103. Mike Kemp says:

    I had a drink in the Railway Tavern about 10 years ago. It must have been on the point of closing as it was not in good condition and there was some scandal about an armed burglary alleged to have been an inside job.

    It is now gone of course, replaced with a block of flats called “St Mark’s Heights” according to an OS map I saw on the Elmbridge website.

    I don’t know if the Rising Sun has also departed into history. I gather that “the pub” is a vanishing part of Brit culture.

  104. Pete Foster says:

    There is a good birds eye view of the school site in 1875 shown in Tried to extract it but no luck. Not sure how much is artistic licence.

  105. dave littleproud says:

    i have looked at the birds eye view as mentioned above . i think it’s back to front -surely the railway should run bot right to top left not bot left to top right. further more the apex on which st marks church is up the hill .making the bridge at the top of the page ewell road .
    also the church spire is toward the bottom of the page-as far as i can tell from google the spire is facing down st marks hill. so the schoolsite looks totally empty.
    os maps from 19c might help.
    or am i just muddying the waters?

  106. dave littleproud says:

    i bet sarkozy was glad the bebe was not born today! almost as bad as june 18

  107. Tim Harrison says:


    I don’t think it’s your rheumy old eyes playing tricks.

    I’ve been puzzling over that old bird’s eye view for 10 minutes, and I can’t work it out.

    The steeple must be St Mark’s church, but that means that the railway line is not in the right place… which is a fairly fundamental problem, even allowing for some artistic licence.

    If the picture has been reversed, it makes it so difficult to fathom that I just can’t get my head round it.

    Looks like I may be heading back to the history room, to face more sighs and groans from the long-suffering dames behind the desk.


  108. Ros Theobald says:

    Dave and Tim,the way I see it is,in the bottom left hand corner is Ewell road railway bridge with the Railway Tavern next to it ,then it carries on down Surbiton Hill Road, turns left where the Assembly Rooms stood later, into Maple road and left again into Claremont which then joins St Marks at the bottom of the hill, where they have unfortunately put the church in the wrong place, if you carry on up the hill Adelaide road is on the left and just after that is where the church should have been. This coincides with a 1960s map I have.

  109. neil curtin says:

    looking at the 1956 school photo, it’s strange that there is barely a smile on any of the faces. the teachers look even more miserable than the pupils. doig has his usual misery guts face on – don’t think i ever saw the pariah smile the whole time i had the misfortune to know him.
    you would have thought even the camera man would have had the wit to say ‘cheese’ or something.
    must have been another memorably motivating and exciting day at doigsville.

  110. Pete Foster says:

    The way I see it is that the bridge shown is the King Charles Road bridge and the Ewell Road bridge is not yet built. Villiers path then clearly winds through the field enclosing the school site between itself and Surbiton Hill Road. The viewer is positioned above Guilford Avenue looking south west . I reckon the view is earlier than 1875 but not earlier than 1856 as several buildings are shown on the site..St Marks position does look off.

  111. Ros Theobald says:

    Pete Foster, here is a quote from the book about Surbiton,”The original station at Surbiton,at first and for some years after called kingston Station,was a small building,looking like a cottage,in the cutting on the south side of the railway,near to the Ewell road bridge. The present site was given by Mr Pooley,with certain conditions, in 1840,and the station was then built.” I think this proves that the bridge was there in 1875.

  112. dave littleproud says:

    i’m looking at the piccy as i write -i am convinced that we are looking up st marks hill towards london. therefore the railway should be on the RIGHT of the picture. further evidence is that the church is at the apex of the triangle fomed by the three roads forming that block.this makes me believe the picture is a mirror image of what it should be. making the upper bridge ewell or king charles road.
    i am however a bit worried about the bridge to the bottom Left/ right of the picture.
    we need a surbiton railway buff. some local old surb needs to walk the ground. it worked for schleimann in troy.

    i got into this mess cos when i copied the picture to a separate file it came out upside down -which i altered -to find backwards as well-so when i looked more closely???
    bit like billy the kid being a lef thanded gun-newspapers have been known to get photos the wrong way round.

  113. Mike Kemp says:

    I tried Dave’s trick and cut the picture out of the PDF and put it into my fave paint prog. This has a benefit that it extracts it from under the overlaying photo so you get to see the whole pic, though I am getting it trimmed incorrectly so the mysterious bridge is largely off screen, but no matter.

    The mirror image looks very convincing as Dave describes. Note that the (alleged) St Mark’s Church steeple has a shadow, which I am guessing points north as it is quite a short shadow, so the sun must be high. Then the line runs in the correct SW – NE direction; the train is steaming away from London.

    What must be the Ewell Road bridge seems to have the correct 2 supports (the mystery bridge has 4, unlike either bridge in Surbiton as far as I can recall).

    So the cutting seems to be correctly levelling out as you come down the hill to Surbiton Station. Then we suddenly have the mystery bridge, which despite no elevation on either side somehow goes over the railway. The road from the left must be Clarement road, and there is no Victoria Road. Perhaps there was a plan to elevate Claremont road to cross the railway here and such a bridge never got built. The foreground buildings are opposite the station to the south of Claremont road.

    Sadly, in this case the old school area to the north of the Ewell road bridge is unbuilt, or lost in trees. Or just insufficiently important for the artist to draw. After all, unless he had a balloon it very much a flight of fancy.

    The other possibility is that this is not really Surbiton at all; there are no such pair of bridges there after all. One wonders where London Transport got the drawing from.

    (Typed with some difficulty as the cat has her head on the left side of my keyboard and is threatening to bite if I need the Q,A or Z again – ouch).

  114. John Sammes says:

    Mike, dave, et al: one slight problem with the “mirror-image” theory – the train is now coming down the “up” track…..

  115. Pete Foster says:

    Just spotted the old maps added under the historical maps section. Many thanks to whoever was responsible. It answers many of the questions raised over recent days. As to the history of the mystery house on the corner by the traffic lights which mysteriously disappeared after 1934, a WW11 bomb map shows a hit on the corner of Surbiton Hill Road and Lambert’s Road probably at the same time as St Marks church was hit.

  116. Ros Theobald says:

    After looking again at the surbiton book I think that the birds eye view may be as early as the 1830s,and could possibly be what Mr Pooley had in mind for the town,as we know his plans were never completed,the railway opened in 1838,after cutting through surbiton hill and building bridges across the ewell road and king charles road I think a lot of it is the artists impression of what was to come, including the church and it’s position? Strangely though if you look on the bomb map of surbiton,just between claremont road and adelaide road is the word’ church’.Mr Pooley was declared bankrupt in 1842, so his plans were never completed. When Coutts took over in 1846 the principal roads were.Alexander,Surbiton and,Railway,and there were three terraces called Adelaide, Albert and Victoria, and they began building St Marks Church in 1844. The website is

  117. Ros Theobald says:

    Tim Harrison,I think they have a copy of Surbiton Thirty Two Years Of Self Government 1855-1887 by Rowley w c Richardson in the Kingston History Room perhaps they have the map that goes with it,which is unfortunately missing from the online version,it may help to answer a lot of questions! I have looked at modern street maps of Surbiton and the basic layout is still there ie:- left hand bottom corner is Ewell road bridge and then going along the bottom of the page left to right is Surbiton hill road, then turn left into Maple Road , and left again up Claremont Road ,then left again up Saint Marks Hill which brings you back to Ewell Road Bridge it,s basically a triangle with Surbiton Hill Road at the base. Check the artists illustration on the history of transport site that was found by Pete Foster and see if you agree?

  118. phil seaman says:

    anyone else suffering the pop-up on the top of this page?? “You are today’s iphone4 winner” etc

    Can’t seem to shift it!!

  119. phil seaman says:

    seems to have disappeared as a result of the last posting!!??

  120. dave littleproud says:

    what about the pop-up’s human rights and chance of a family life ??

  121. dave littleproud says:

    on google maps put little man on ewell bridge and look at king charles broad bridge -it has 2 supports as picture -also st marks church spire is in correct orientation -i cant explani the rest,
    the rowley richardson book is interesting.

  122. Pete Foster says:

    Both the missing Surbiton street map and engraving are archived at based at Woking. The engraving is entitled ‘View of Surbiton and Railway from the Railway Bridge’ dated 4th July 1857, attributed to Anon and published by Rock and co. No evidence but it looks to me that it has been lifted from ” The Illustrated London News’ , and guess what, their most celebrated wood engraver, Edward Killingworth Johnson b1825 grew up on a farm on Surbiton Hill leaving in 1841 to take up an apprenticeship as a wood engraver in the city. If that is The Ewell Road bridge then chances are that the detail in the fore-ground could be more than artistic licence. That bridge in the far distance could be the pedestrian ‘ Ladder Bridge’ referred to iin ’33years’

  123. Ros Theobald says:

    Thank you Pete,so are we agreed that the bridge in the left hand corner is the Ewell road one,see the etching on page nine of Richardson’s book only has two arches,as both Ewell and King Charles ones have today, so I think the original artist got it wrong! I did not dare say before that the house in the foreground is ‘Allbury’but it must be if the engraving is dated 1857.I am going to look at that site you found now.

  124. Phil Seaman:
    Re the ads that appear and then dont – the following is to be found on the WordPress dashboard of our ‘free’ blog – “We sometimes display discreet advertisements on your blog—this keeps free features free! The ad code tries very hard not to intrude on your design or show ads to logged-in readers, which means only a very small percentage of your page views will actually contain ads.
    To eliminate ads on your blog entirely this is the upgrade you want. (No Ads 29.95$ p.a!)”
    My brackets at the end of the quote – but will investigate ad removal. I seem to remember their infrequent appearance on Kevin Davis’ blog. And have seen those ads elsewhere (Demonoid for example) promising the win of an iPhone 4 or amazing reduction of excess stomach!
    Dave Littleproud:
    Yes that is me in the front row of the 1954 photo – if you really want an ‘image nasty’ sequence you can find me on all school photos 1954 to 1960. Though whether I am like my brother or he like me is a moot point. You can find him on the 1958 photo just in front of Jack Skene, and on the 1960 photo, slice 3 one row down from top and one in from rhs of that photo. If you want to see the modern version and family check your email in the near future – but only after sedation!
    Encouraging to see that after our unavoidable migration from KD to here, there seems to be plenty of activity and hopefully all feel at home and not too disjointed – the comment stream seems just as random, sporadic, rolling and suitably anarchic to use a recent description. Fascinating what a frenzy of local history research discussion and surmise has erupted around the occupiers and location of Albury, Aysgarth and Braemar houses – to say nothing of the conundra (?) posed by that artist’s impression of early Surbiton.
    Tim Harrison:
    Following on from your photo of the coat of arms in the entrance to Albury House if you google ‘crossed foxes’ one of the (many) hits will take you to the website of The Crossed Foxes at Erbistock nr Wrexham and on its history page info re the inn sign – says the pub was built for the estate workers by the local landowner, one Watkin Williams Wynn, whose family coat of arms it was. Just like the one at SCGS – motto is different but we already know that the Welsh motto under the SCGS coat of arms was linked to the Williams Wynn family from Ruabon. Mind you establishing the link between those branches let alone linking Walter Williams Solicitor of Albury House to the Williams clan of N. Wales could take forever with all the permutations on such rare surnames.

    Animo et fide …?

  125. dave littleproud says:

    i reckon that the bridge in the right hand corner is what is now the foot bridge over the railway at surbiton station ie the bridge site is the location of the current surbiton station.

  126. phil seaman says:

    Hedley. I’m all for a bargain. Keep the ads coming if it means a free site!! That was the first time I’ve been aware of any.

    My education obviously lacked something in that the blogs about Surbiton leave me overwhelmed with facts I knew nothing about. OK so I lived in Tolworth, maybe that lets me off!!? Even so doubt I could cope with tricky questions about Tolworth’s history. Remember the “tower” appearing, as my parents could just see it from their bedroom window and were dismayed by the monstrosity on the skyline.

  127. Ros Theobald says:

    Pete Foster,it seems that Edward Killingworth Johnson was quite a prolific artist,after he married in 1871, he moved to his grandmothers family home in Sible Hedingham Essex,it was here that he lived for the rest of his life and did most of his painting,the village is about seven miles from where I live,small world isn’t it!

  128. Ros Theobald says:

    There’s nothing wrong with ‘Tolorth’ Phil, it’s older than Surbiton which was called Kingston New Town when it was built in the 1840’s!!

  129. Mike Kemp says:

    John Sammes made a very good point against the mirror image theory of the mystery picture, in that trains in Britain travel on the left. I assume this was true in the 19th century. not a recent innovation.

    If it’s the right way round, there are a few reasons that it does not work:

    1. The problem with the shadows. These are things artist are good at, so they don’t often get wrong (whereas they might get the train wrong). The shadows of the church and in the foreground left by the supposed Ewell Road bridge suggest the sun is north of east, which given that the shadows are short suggesting the sun was high, does not make sense.

    2. The mystery bridge where the station should be crosses the railway to high land on the “South Bank / Glenbuck Road” side of the line, with a house on top next to the bridge. This seems wrong as nowadays the cutting has reached ground level by the time you get to the station, and the railway is well above ground as you go further south to where the Brighton Road goes under the railway line.

    3. The church is in the wrong place. It should be at the NE of the triangular plot, not the SW.

    On the other hand, the supposed Ewell Road bridge is shown with 3 support columns. This might be true, perhaps someone local can confirm. The Google streetview from King Charles bridge.shows two clearly but as the left one is in the middle of the lines there must be one more at the left lost in the trees. This seems to ring a vague bell from memory.

    But I think I agree now that the image is the right way round. I have lined up a google viewpoint vaguely similar to the imaginary flying artist ad it matches well, except for the points above.

    I imagine the Glenbuck Road side of the line was all bulldozed away to build the station after the picture. The bridge shown leads naturally into South Bank which on the google view closely matches the wooded lane shown sloping up to join the Ewell Road off to the left as it does today.

    The puzzling church location and shadows must have been mistakes, perhaps hastily made notes coupled with being a bit unclear of the compass points. With modern maps we must much more aware of orientation than once must have been the case.

    That does mean that the foreground buildings are indeed great views of the school site.

  130. Dave Littleproud says:

    we need more os maps from the 19c-to my mind the church is the only reliable bit-i think which side the train is on is an irrelevant red herring .

  131. Ros Theobald says:

    Dave there are some interesting maps from 1868 to 1913,if you google Royal borough of Kingston,conservation area 19, they are for Surbiton town centre.
    From Rowley Richardsons book, St Marks Church was closed in 1853 to enlarge it,previously there was a central tower,no spire.It re-opened in 1855,but they had run out of money to put a tower and spire on it, and it was not until 1860 that it was placed in the North West corner of the church. So it did not exist in 1857 when the picture was published! If you look at the Appendix on page 95 of the book, the names of the roads in 1842, Church Road ,which became Adelaide Road is shown ,which is in the area where the artist has put the church,perhaps this was Pooleys original intention after all he lived in the Crescent nearby and a lot of Gentry were living in Railway Road which became Claremont Road,”no need to get the Carriage out James” if the weather was fine,they could also use Church Passage which ran between Railway Road and Church Road.
    There are more interesting facts,on South Bank there was a lane closed by a white gate, leading to the railway station. Page 17, first paragraph ,there were two bridges,one of three arches crossing the Ewell Road.
    Mr Dunnage built Allbury house in 1856,and soon after Mr Lambert built his, Mr Dunnage donated part of his land to build Lamberts Road.
    In 1855 in the Post Office Directory there were 165 names of Gentry in Surbiton, in 1887 there were 767 !!
    If the painting was done by Edward Killingworth Johnson,he left Surbiton when he was 16 in 1841, so he would only have known Pooleys layout of the town ,and the first St Marks church was not even built then!

  132. Dave Littleproud says:

    I spoke to Joe Turner yesterday -He’s abit poorly but sounded quite cheery and in good form.

  133. Ros Theobald says:

    Although it’s on Wikipedia,there is a good article about Thomas Pooley,it explains quite a lot about the early days of Kingston New Town (Surbiton) and the attitude of the hierarchy and merchants of Kingston, it also names some good reference books in the Further information and Sources.

  134. Mike Kemp says:

    Hi Ros – thanks for referring to the Wikipedia article, very interesting. Makes one proud to be British doesn’t it. At least the upstart was nailed.

    Maybe the 25 years of independence for Surbiton (1938 to 1963 if memory serves) was a brief posthumous victory for Mr Pooley. I’ve mentioned before the 25 year party on the rec behind the Fishponds and the firework display with its associated injuries from misfiring rocket. (I wonder if there is a newspaper article about that somewhere). But Surbiton was quickly subsumed back into Kingston and London, so the power of the establishment was ultimately reasserted.

    Has Surbiton Library (Ewell Road hear the corner of Berrylands Road) survived the cuts? I spent a lot of time there as a kid.

  135. Mike Kemp says:

    Dave – you can pass on my good wishes next time you speak. Definitely a good egg.

  136. Dave Littleproud says:

    Ros -is it possible to access maps of the disputed area for 19c??

  137. Dave Littleproud says:

    re Thomas Pooley -Mike –I hope your tongue was firmly in your cheek –iwas expecting to read about a cross between Jack the Ripper and Robert Max…—–Pooley strikes me as a man in the mould of Branson ,Sugar Dyson and Laker etc. But he lost

  138. Ros Theobald says:

    Dave there are street maps that I use for Family History,they are published by Alan Godfrey Maps and I think they cost £2.50 each now,I have not been able to find any others online to view free yet. Perhaps Surbiton local history group has some,maybe Tim could ask, or perhaps the History room in Kingston?

  139. Mike Kemp says:

    Hi Dave: Lest I leave anyone in doubt I was indeed being ironic – I definitely approve of people with vision pushing the frontiers, and it is so sad to hear of them being reigned in by the lawyers and the bankers spotting an opportunity to extract a quick buck in such an archetypally destructive way. We see the same thing today with the “markets” cynically exploiting any human endeavour for improvement in the hope of making a few more squillions for their inflated pockets.

  140. Ken Percival says:

    Rob Ireland – the prefects’ visit to London after the lunch – was it “No sex please…We’re British”
    at the Aldwych theatre ? Certainly the barracking from our group (upper circle stage right) is a vivid memory – Derek Thorogate – I’m sure you were on that trip as well !

  141. Rob Ireland says:

    Ken: I was tempted to agree that it was NS,P…WB until I read the Wiki entry for the play which says it was first staged in 1971. This doesn’t tie in with my dates – which would have us going in 1968 at the latest. It was certainly a play with a title like this that promised stimulating entertainment but was disappointing.
    My recollection (my memory, like Wikipedia, is not to be relied upon) is that our group sat in the stalls on the left facing the stage.

  142. Ken Percival says:

    Dear Rob, I started work in the Strand in 1971 and went past the Aldwych theatre every day and it has been in my mind that I had seen the play just a couple of years previously and this has stuck with me since then hence my post. I then went to wikipedia and saw the history ie not till 1971 was NSPWB purportedly first staged – so I am confused. I agree we were sitting on the left – somehow my mental image is that we were somewhat elevated but I suppose all theatre seating slopes towards the stage. I must have gone on the trip at Xmas 1966 because I left in summer 1967 so perhaps I am totally on the wrong track. Do you think it was the Aldwych theatre for your trip?

  143. Rob Ireland says:

    Ken: Yes, stage right. I had forgotten how these things work. We were probably in the cheap seats towards the back so we could be talking about the same event as long as we agree that Wikipedia and the run started before 1966. I haven’t the foggiest which theatre it was – I was very likely pretty squiffy even before we got on the train to Waterloo.
    But what we saw was very likely to have had the magic word ‘sex’ in the title – I remember it as something which promised so much but delivered so little! I recall NSPWB was a farce in the tradition of Whitehall productions that used to be shown live from the theatre on BBC tv. They starred Brian Rix and Elspet Gray. (Now why should I remember their names?)
    It could have been Xmas 1966 which was the first year I was a prefect. Derek Thorogate was in the same year as me so that fits too.

  144. Ken Percival says:

    Dear Rob,

    Dave Smith suggests “There’s a girl in my soup” with Donald Sinden. Wiki shows it as at the Globe theatre starting in 1966 so that may fit the bill though I still have the Aldych theatre in my mind but I had not been to a West End play so all the theatres look the same to me.

    Dave was a prefect for 3 years and he also remembers going to other plays possibly as part of prefects lunch – he says “Run for your wife” and “Boeing Boeing” !

  145. Rob Ireland says:

    Ken: It looks like the identity of the play will remain a mystery. Perhaps we have to accept that some things do. My 89-year-old mum said to me only the other day that there used to be a time when you would say, ‘Who played Captain Travis opposite John Wayne’s Davey Crockett in The Alamo? And neither of you remembered so you just sighed and got on with life until one or other of you got it.’
    A lost ‘pleasure’ thanks to Google, Wikipedia et al.

  146. Ken Percival says:

    Dear Rob,

    Just looked up Boeing Boeing which transferred to the Duchess theatre (just off Aldwych) in 1965 and ran for 7 further years. But I have no recollection of this play really and I dont think dave S can remember the order of the 3 plays he saw at school as part of the prefects Xmas jollies. Waiting for Derek Thorogate to put his oar in !

  147. Dave Littleproud says:

    Rob– it was Laurence Harvey and Travis was a colonel.

  148. Dave Littleproud says:

    Rob– it was Laurence Harvey and Travis was a colonel. –without google!!

  149. Rowland David Donnison ("David") says:

    R D Donnison (1942 – 1949) having read the post by John Rice I agree with his comments on the staff during our time; “Biddy” Bidmead was fierce, when he started jigging in his seat we knew that somebody was in trouble but he inspired (frightened?) me into making Latin my top subject. I remember the frisson of excitement which ran through the school when a female English teacher was appointed. The sports field was a bus journey away and the cold bath was always freezing. I was evacuated to Atherton in Lancashire and missed a year’s school which made for a traumatic return to SCGS. I still have copies of The Surbitonian for Autumn 1948 and Spring 1949.

  150. Dave Littleproud says:

    Sunday last I met up with our old artr teacher Joe Turner. Joe navigated and I drove while he took us to the RHS cafe at Wisley. Joe treated me to hot chocolate and bread pudding and we had a great gossip for a couple of hours. My treat next time. i had not seen him for 45 years but immediate recognition was mutual. Although he has some dodgy health issues Joe is in good form and great company.
    During our gossip about old times ,what we’ve done and putting the world to rights Joe expressed the wish to make contact with Matthew Baxter and David Lodge. We would both like to catch up with Ray Churchill. So fellas-and or if any one knows anything !!!!

  151. Rob Ireland says:

    Dave: I remember Joe Turner positively. he was my first form-master (2c) when I joined the school in 1961. He was one of the gentler souls and made the transition bearable before we were exposed to the horrors of Gus Hillier or Ken Bidmead et al.
    One thing I always suspected was that Ken Bidmead held a personal animosity towards me. As everybody knew he was active in the Conservative party. My dad was a Trade Union and Labour party activist – in Surbiton! talk about ‘lost cause’ – and Ken always used to treat me to a short anti-socialist homily before clipping me round the ear. It couldn’t have been because I was useless at Latin and never did my homework, could it?

  152. Dave Littleproud says:

    in the to 08/2011 section these bits are missing———-

    ” I had a very funny Google alert come up today. It took me to the site of the Lib Dem MP for Hazel Grove. On this site this MP claims to have been a pupil at Surbiton “Grammar” School.
    I have no reason to doubt his claim but I have never heard of it. Does anyone else know the history of this school. He must have been there in the late 50’s/early 60’s.
    Was it Surbiton High School in an earlier incarnation?
    When you Google it there is only one reference for a very funny list of names with some pretty dubious characters on. See it here

    Link to Liberal Democrats : Andrew Stunell MP, Hazel Grove
    Filed under Kingston news, National Politics
    • Iain Dale’s Diary: More LibDem Lies on Who’s Standing Where « Kevin Davis
    May 2, 2007 at 7:01 am
    […] Iain Dale’s Diary: More LibDem Lies on Who’s Standing Where May 2, 2007 Posted by Kevin Davis in Lib Dems. trackback The self-righteous Lib Dems have been caught out lying again. This from a Lib Dem MP who claims to have attended Surbiton Grammar School. […] ”
    just me being pedantric —
    it’s still a great site !!!!!
    so let’s hjave some more “look and say” all comments and memories are valid!!

  153. Hi Dave,

    Pedantic – nah, not a bit of it! The comments you mention haven’t disappeared – they were deliberately removed or most of them were, and can now be found on the ‘Why this Blog?’ page. Just kept the ‘Does anyone know the history of this school?’ stub as a post heading on the Home Page for the two posts and their comment streams . Any new contributor is likely to have been redirected from Google, FRU, Wikipedia or Facebook ( the route so many of us have trod) – will have come via Kevin Davis’ original blog so will have read his comments and link and will therefore have quite a good idea of the history of the four year stay there as they are being redirected here. So seemed better to keep our post headings as simple and short as possible and concentrate on preserving the linear comment streams with the latest comment at the end, and the ‘migration’ date of 8/2011 as the only break. And those of us who frequent this ‘electronic wall’ know all about our pedigree and don’t need to reread it each time …

    One of the disadvantages of this ‘free’ web based version of WordPress is having to be the host for web originated ads – you may have noticed their recent but thankfully infrequent appearance at the beginning or end of comments. Not a lot can be done to avoid them unless we fork out an annual AdsFree fee.

    If tempted to open any such ad and you are then asked to download iLivid Download Manager – DO NOT DOWNLOAD. At best this is adware and at worst malware – once installed it will prove very difficult to remove. Steer clear of this and all such uninvited ads and requests to download …

    Am working on ‘the emotional appeal’ you suggested for old copies of The Surbitonian – feel like the muezzin climbing to the minaret top to call the faithful not to prayers but attic searches! Incidentally any chance of receiving ‘the suitable parcel’ you spoke of before the Christmas break? – it would be just the right antidote to the miasma of inactivity and schmaltz that disfigures that time of year.

    That aside, best wishes for then and the New Year


  154. Derek Jones says:

    What a find is this site!? So many familiar names, particularly those of the masters’. If I were to burrow deeply enough I could probably find a couple of copies of the Surbitonian circa 1960ish Proud mum kept them because of my photos with the Rugby and Boxing teams 🙂 I’m guessing Hedley is brother to Grover, and Dave Littleproud old mate of Alan Kemp?

    Kind regards

    Derek Jones

  155. Mike Kemp says:

    I recall that among my older brother Alan’s mates was a “Del” Jones (along with Dave Littleproud). I imagine that would be you, Derek. You probably won’t remember me as the annoying youngster, but I went to SCGS 6 years later.

    Alan has not been persuaded (so far) to join in with this site, on account of it doesn’t have an internal combustion engine which is still required to get his attention. Perhaps more mates appearing might help…

  156. Derek Jones says:

    I do indeed remember the “annoying youngster” lol – and, yes, I am the Del you recall. I got over the ICB fixation, although Alan and I shared it back then 🙂 Don’t tell me he still plays with Citroens to the exclusion of all others.

    Tell him, and Mary, hello – and also tell him to get with the programme and get on here. I haven’t seen or heard of him for well over thirty years.

    You and I didn’t know each other too well then, the age difference of course, but nevertheless it’s good to be in touch – they were the best times 🙂

  157. Dave Littleproud says:

    Stripey -what do you mean “old” mate of Alan’s??? Did we not all rv at my flat in darkest east london a long time ago? Fixed that Tiger 200 yet?

  158. Dave Acomb says:

    Hi, was at SCGS from 1956-1960. Regards to Richard Day and Dave Ashwell. Will have other comments in the near future.

  159. Derek Jones says:

    Hi Dave

    OK, not so old 🙂 I do indeed remember the RV. Didn’t we go to a Turkish restaurant or similar – or was that another time? Tiger 200 was replaced by T110, and currently I’m dumb enough to be riding a Triumph Sprint RS. I should know better at my age.

    Good to hear from you

  160. Mike Kemp says:

    Hi Dave – even I remember your flat in Dalston. Was it not actually over a Turkish restaurant? Just one step removed from the dream of living over a pub. And Derek, you are right on. The Citroen car club would be lost without him.

  161. Derek Jones says:

    Mea culpa – I was the one who bought the first Citroen, a light fifteen, circa 1964, just after we joined the army together. Did I derange his life or enhance it 🙂 Wring his email address out of him or ask him to email me please.

  162. Mike Kemp says:

    Derek – if you email me I will forward it to Alan. Our email addresses are not visible on this site and we don’t want machines to collect them, but since my company url is visible by clicking on my name I think I can safely reveal that my email address is mjklap at my url. Hope that’s clear enough…

  163. Derek Jones says:

    Mike – Not really clear enough. I’m not totally computer illerate but I’m a bit like some people are with cars. The analogy is – I can drive them forward, do my errands, but not too flash at reverse parking, and have no idea what’s under the bonnet 🙂 Let’s keep it simple if I may. My email address is derek@ldearthmoving If you would be so kind as to pass that on to Alan, I’d be grateful.
    Do you live in Portugal these days? I think I saw that somewhere here.

  164. Dave Littleproud says:

    Derek -yes we did go to aTurkish restaurant –the best to which I have ever been.
    Mike -no i did not live over a pub or the Turkish restaurant -although much to my wife’s horror I did live on a diet of kebabs, supplemented with sausage rolls and full cream milk.
    However the pub opposite did extend opening hours for the favoured few -which included me and the local constabularly. We were all afraid of the dark and vampires so had to stay locked in, drowning our sorrows, until sunrise-a hard life.

  165. Richard Day says:

    David Acomb-Greetings.I well remember returning home from a scout meeting ( I was amember of Leander Sea Scouts),one wintery evening ,,I think we were about 15 yrs old at the time.Certainly feeling alittle self conscious at the time wearing my scout uniform.I was after all 15 and was beginning to think that I was one cool dude.Then on the bus pops Dave Acomb.The bus was a265,the bus stop was the Royal Oak on Richmond rd.,and there is Acomb dressed to the nines.What you been upto Dave ?Out with my girlfriend was the reply.Girlfriend,who in the hell had girl friends? Well apparently Dave Acomb did,not only that but she didn’t even go to school,she was a hairdresser.First of many life lessons,I definitely was not cool,the shorts would have to go,and I would probably never have a girlfriend.

  166. Tim Binsted says:

    Have just discovered this.
    I started at SCGS Sep 1965, thus a few weeks at Surbiton before moving to Thames Ditton. I left, I think 1972.
    I can remember organising a Sixth Form (Prefects) outing to “Oh Calcutta”. I notice that something has been mentioned about this above.
    Concerning the older headmaster Doig, he was also my mothers headmaster in Mitcham and she knew (was good friends with) his daughter.
    I can remember my first day at SCGS. Both the dark hall and the “grey man” threatening us from the stage On the first day I lost my cap and used the wrong entrance to leave the school. Of course got picked up by prefects and went running back home. My father ‘phoned the school to complain and it was agreed that the next day I had to go and see “Mr Hillier”. I realised that the grey man was Mr. Hillier and was filled with dread. The next day I went to his office and was given permission by him to not have to wear my cap until it was found. Also had to go to the “prefects room” (lost property) on my 2nd day at school. A waste of time that was.
    My memories of the teachers seem to agree remarkably with the comments above.
    I notice that Leadbetter remembers Phil Alderson (Fingers Phil?), his music and house in Kingston. I was at the same event, in the Christmas holidays and remember also the China and Indian tea. I also remember that “Phil” also believed in UFO’s as I did and told me that he had seen them when he was a pilot.
    Can also remember the introduction of, I think, twelve young woman in about ’71 or ’72. I was asked by Waller to show them around the day before school started. I readily agreed thinking that I would be able to have the best pick of the bunch!
    For myself after leaving SCGS I went for three months to sea, returned to work and study and then fairly soon afterwards moved to the Netherlands where I now live . Rather a high proportion of the contributors seem to live outside of the UK. I wonder if that is a real occurrence or simply a sampling fault.

    Will post more when I have time.

  167. David Pringle says:

    Hello, hello — making contact again for the first time since our venue changed…

    Pleased to see people are still posting so many messages. And my goodness, is that Gilbert Mance speaking to us from California? Hi, Gilbert! I left Surbiton in 1966, but you may remember we wrote a few short stories together. And you’re in touch with Simon Lever? Please remember me to him. Sadly, Patrick O’Connor died last year, of a heart attack in his early 60s. I don’t know if you’ll remember him, but I do recall, after Patrick had left the school on the dot of his 15th birthday, that I visited him in Simon’s company…

    I also visited Patrick, in Richmond, in Geoff Jackson’s company. Are you still with us on this new site, Geoff?

  168. Dave Littleproud says:

    I am posting two emails which I think will be of interest to a great number of you….

    ” ……………..
    —–Original Message—–
    From: Mike Aust
    To: Alison Bolt
    Sent: Sat, 17 Dec 2011 17:47
    Subject: Alan

    Alison, you may remember our meeting in Cobham in Surrey in May 2009 with yourself and Alan and a number of ‘Old Surbs’ from the Sixties and beyond! I now hear from Basil Hunt that Alan is not well and has been in hospital for some time. Please give Alan very best wishes from all Old Surbitonians – we sincerely hope that he may soon be back on his feet and can spend Christmas at home with his family.
    Basil sent his email to a number of old boys so you may well receive other messages.

    Kind regards
    Mike Aust

    From: Alison Bolt
    To: Mike Aust
    Sent: Sunday, December 18, 2011 12:39 AM
    Subject: Re: Alan
    Dear Mike

    Thanks very much for your message about Alan. I’m hopeful that they will let him come home on Monday if all goes well. He had an irregular heartbeat which was causing many of his problems and they have successfully treated this. However, he is still far from well, but I hope that a bit of tlc at home will get him back to health. I will pass on your good wishes when I see him tomorrow (Sunday).

    All the best,

    ……………. ”

    I am sure that we all wish Alan and Alison all the best.

  169. Tim Harrison says:

    Something to digest alongside the sprouts, parsnips and stuffing…

    I’ve just got back from my favourite little research haunt, the Kingston local history room, and here’s your Christmas conundrum:

    ALBURY House or ALLBURY House?

    I unearthed a curious little stapled history today that I hadn’t seen before. It is dated 1966, and it was put together at the time Hollyfield School moved on to the vacated site.

    A lot we already know, but there may be some new info. Albury House (one L) was built in 1856 by William Edward Dunnage, a wealthy builder who moved to Surbiton from Gray’s Inn Road, London. It was built in a field bordered by Villiers Path and Surbiton Hill Road. Interestingly, just a few months after Dunnage had built his mansion, another appeared… when a Mr Lambert ‘put up the house bearing his name’.

    This accords with Ros Theobald’s post on October 20 2011, which fills a lot of the gaps. Lambert’s House eventually became Braemar. Lambert gave his name to Lamberts Road. Now this might be complete coincidence, but the area known as Fishponds – further down Ewell Road as you head towards Tolworth Tower – contains one of the area’s earliest surviving houses, Fishponds Lodge. It was built in 1824 and was owned by a Mr Butler, who operated lime kilns in what is now the Fishponds park and constructed numbers 25 to 30 King Charles Road to house his workers. Anyway, he was part of the Lambert & Butler tobacco family firm. I wonder was Braemar’s Lambert the other bit?

    Back to Dunnage. He had moved to Surbiton in about 1854, and in 1855 he was elected as one of the inaugural commissioners of the area, whose duties were to see that the requirements of the 1855 Surbiton Improvement Act were carried out. So he was a sort-of prototype councillor for the district.

    He built Albury House and that year, 1856, was voted out as a commissioner, as he only managed to muster 68 votes in that year’s local election. His wife, Helen Elizabeth Dunnage, laid the foundation stone in early 1856. On his death in 1870, the big house passed to his widow. The couple had at least five children.

    In around 1895 Mrs D moved out, to a house in nearby Avenue Elmers. She died in June 1896, aged 88. Why an 88-year-old would move out of the family home, especially as her daughters still lived at Albury, is a mystery. The daughters continued to live at Albury House until 1898, although one of the girls – Sarah – died at 60, soon after her mother. They are buried in the same plot at Kingston Cemetery. In 1898 the surviving daughters sold Albury House and moved to 7 Elm Road (although as there is no Elm Road in Surbiton it gets a bit confusing). The last daughter, Laura, died in either 1911 or 1912.

    Albury House was sold to the Rev John Francis Jemmet (or Jemmett), but his main residence was in Guildford and he never actually lived in Albury. The house remained empty from 1898 to 1902, when Mr Walter Williams moved in. Others lived there too, on and off. In 1905 a Mr Waller was there for a year. In 1911 a Mr Hawkes moved in, and a Mr Wood, but by 1918 only Mr Henry Hawkes remained at Albury. In 1921 a Thomas Thompson was living in Albury House, with Mr Hawkes then living in the nearby lodge.

    From 1924 to 1925 Albury was empty while alterations were made to change it into ‘a grammar school for 200 boys’. In 1926 the school was up and running.

    According to whoever compiled this little history in the 1960s, the old ‘dungeons’ of Albury House was used as a semi-refrigerated larder to store meat and cheese.

    So Albury or Allbury? The 1856 spelling seems to have been Albury, but a map of 1863 gives it as Allbury. It was still generally referred to, however, as ‘Albury’ House… until 1913, when it began to be referred to again as Allbury – the spelling retained, I believe, by the school. So did ALLBURY result from a map mis-spelling in the 1860s?

    Happy Christmas.

  170. Rob Ireland says:

    Tim: There is an Elm Road in Chessington.

  171. Ros Theobald says:

    Tim, Albury is in Hertfordshire near Bishops Stortford, William Dunnage had an older brother William Albury Dunnage,who seems to have died in infancy,who was baptised in Bishops Stortford district in 1800,our William was born in 1803,they were both baptised in Hitchin,there was an Albury Hall,so the family may have had connections to this.The reason why william came to Surbiton was because he worked for Coutts.
    Mr Lambert was a mechanical engineer.
    May I take this opportunity to wish everybody a very happy christmas,and I will look forward to many more interesting blogs in the new year,your queries help to keep my grey cells working!

  172. Ros Theobald says:

    Sorry Tim I must have had a ‘senior moment’, it was Cubitt and co builders who William Dunnage worked for.

  173. Clif Pendleton says:

    I was trying to find information on a Kevin Davis who recently married a Russian acquaintance on mine and was stunned to find this blog, from another Kevin Davis and its successor , I am equally surprised to find myself in a sports day photograph, which purports to be from the year after I left , I was no.143. I was a contemporary of Peter Pocock , who I bumped into in Saudi Arabia , some years back, I recall Hedley Stovold and many others .
    Reading through both editions of the blog , I am struck, and confused , by the apparent affection for Sid Capper. I reckon that of the rather eccentric group of teachers who taught us , the few that were competent and were happy in their job could be counted on not much more than the fingers of one hand.
    However the SCGS experience seems to have been generally a positive influence and, as evidenced by this blog , engendered a degree of affection for the old school. Although there are none really famous amongst us (yet) , many seem to have done reasonably well in life and what an international bunch we turn out to have been!

    Best Wishes to all for a healthy and enjoyable 2012

    Clif Pendleton

  174. Rob Ireland says:

    I’m not sure Sid Capper is remembered affectionately. The posts that resonated with me have been the ones that describe his incompetence. I think he was the worst of a mostly indifferent bunch. We made his life a misery with the elaborate pranks that we employed to disrupt his classes so we only have ourselves to blame. Why did we do it? Because we could. Now, of course, I wish we hadn’t.

  175. Dave Littleproud says:

    As i was very young and with no experience of foreign language teaching then or indeed since I do not feel competent to comment on the standard of teaching. However fifty years on I am staggered by how much French I can understand –so someone amongst Jock Lonsadale ,Sid Capper, Fred Fernyhough and even Williams must have been doing something right. Other than when he was being unkindly harassed I found Sid always treated us with courtesy and respect . One of my year ,among the the most outrageous of tormentors, was very fond of Sid.
    .-We were too stupid to see that we were being very unkind to a very decent man who did not hit back as hard as , at that time, he could have done.
    Like Rob says ” I wish we hadn’t” -Sid deserved better.

  176. Dave Littleproud says:

    It’s New Year’s Eve tomorrow–
    A Happy New Year to you all and keep writing!!!!!

  177. Roger White says:

    Dave – I think that of all the comments on Sid Capper your’s is the one I agree with most. Even now I feel embarrassment at how unkindly he was treated by the classes I was in that he taught (and yes, like the majority I joined in or egged others on). That is in stark contrast to one or two other teachers whose gentle (sic) touch I experienced and would still find it difficult to give the time of day to. The name Scum comes to mind as it has for many contributing to this site. Oh, and a happy new year to you too, ‘when it comes’ ( a Scottish precaution I have discovered, in case wishing it early brings bad luck).

  178. Mike Kemp says:

    I just watched a BBC4 programme on the expansion of the British steam engine fleet in the ’50’s, and it brought back a sudden memory of walking to and from school across King Charles Road bridge and getting enveloped in alternate clouds of smoke from either side of the bridge as the steam trains shot underneath. They had retired all these new steam engines by 1965 which coincided with the school moving to Thames Ditton.

    So happy 2012 to all. Let us consider what economic necessities of this decade will be overtaken by history in the next decade. My bets would be cabling up the land when wireless solutions are so much cheaper and easier, and possibly road building, as oil increasingly becomes a luxury item.and we are all communing rather than commuting in virtual reality. (Of course, the steam trains could be revived).

  179. Dave Littleproud says:

    Mike–I remember that-lovely bit of nostalgia–school trip to Salisbury on a steam train-someone’s shoes passed downt he outside of the train–Ken Bidmead prowling the corridor with water pistol in each hand-we saw the cathedral , Stonehenge and Old Sarum. We have two volunteer run steam lines near us -must pay a return visit.

  180. Derek Jones says:

    Dave – I too agree with your comments regarding Sid. I only had Sid for French for one term so I can’t comment too accurately on his teaching ability, but he was certainly less scary than some. Jock and Fred took care of my tuition in both French and German for the rest of my time there and I subsequently became pretty fluent in both -a few years in the army in Germany and France helped – but I found them both to be good teachers. My longest lasting memory of Fred is the caning he gave Andy Stewart and me in front of the class for collaborating on our homework. Guilty as charged but his evidence was circumstantial at best.

  181. Dave Littleproud says:

    Happy New Year Del!!!!! Any idea where Andy is now? I last came across him in about 1976. 8i would like to catch with him.

  182. Derek Jones says:

    Happy New Year to you and yours too Dave. No idea where Andy may be. I don’t recall seeing him much at all after about 1965 or so. He, Alan Kemp and I used to get around together a bit. Maybe Alan kept in touch.

  183. Peter Pocock says:

    Hi Clif,

    Good to see you are still around. I remember that chance meeting in the Holiday Inn, in Jeddah. Must have been around 1987, and I recall being flattered that you even recognised me. As for the debate about Sid Capper, I agree we all treated him mercilessly, but his one lasting achievent was the year he managed to get every single member of 5G, through O level French. Not sure even Jock managed that.

  184. Clif Pendleton says:

    Hi Peter

    Yes, still around, I think it was more likely that the Jeddah encounter was 1990 or later , I recall there was some issue about a change in employer at the time. I cannot recall which od Sid’s clasees I was in, but I failed French ‘o’ Level. I now live between Lyon and Chambéry , and manage to cope in the language.

  185. SURBI ET ORBI! ….

    The Surbitonian 33%

    WANTED FOR 2012

    Do you have any copies of The Surbitonian Magazine that you would be prepared to lend for a short period to enable them to be scanned, optically read and edited, converted with Acrobat Pro to PDF files – and then uploaded onto this site?
    Some early issues of the 1930’s and 1940’s have already been completed and are on the blog magazine page – but we would be very grateful for any others from any decade and especially the period 1950 to 1965, and the 1965 to 1973 period at Thames Ditton. Turnround time for each issue has been about a week and first class Royal Mail satisfactory
    If you can help can you email me at with details of which year and issues you have – please do this even if part of the Surb diaspora!
    Best wishes for 2012! Storm the attics, lofts and garrets!

  186. Gary Shepherd says:

    I was thinking of the school the other day when I watched the BBC programme on Grammar Schools. Whether we realised at the time I guess we were lucky. My sister and one of my cousins had to go to Hinchley Wood which was a bit rough – although now is a school that specialises in music. Times change – I spent a lot of time dodging getting beaten up by yobs from Hinchley Wood.

  187. Hedley Stovold says:

    FAO John Davies

    Hi John,

    Thanks for your email regarding the 1959 -1965 inclusive copies of The Surbitonian which I would appreciate the loan of, along with the G&S programmes for 1959 and 1964, for me to scan etc and return to you by first class post asap. When doing this in the past I usually email to let the recipient know they are en route – perhaps you could do the same when you post them to me.

    Replying to your email via Gmail, Windows LiveMail, and Outlook got ‘bounced’ permanently several times so am posting the email as a comment in the main comment stream here on the SCGS blog. Some gibberish PlusNet Error Message 505 ‘Relay not allowed’ – like one I saw on a VAX minicomputer ‘Your system viability status is non valid’ i:e: ‘you’re stuffed!’.

    Phew – give me back the man with a forked stick!

    Thanks again, and best wishes for 2012



  188. Mike Kemp says:

    Hi Dave and Derek: You mentioned Andy Stewart which is a name that rang a bell. I think he and my brother were involved in a home-made gunpowder explosion around .’56 (when we still lived in Ewell Road). I only have a hazy memory as I would have been 5 or 6 at the time but Alan must have started at SCGS around then. My recollection is that it involved an ambulance being called as Andy had blown a hole in his side and left his parents a worrying trail of blood on the pavement. I think his parents worked for the Ordnance Survey in Chessington so would have gone to Southampton when it moved back there sometime in the ’60’s. No doubt others would have some more detail on this story.

  189. Mike Kemp says:

    The recent discussion on the drawing of the railway through Surbiton threw up the interesting fact that in the UK trains travel on the left. Being something of a pedant this has sensitised me to this fact so the recent news stories about the HS2 high speed train worried me. The CG images of the train whizzing through the Chilterns that we see on the BBC news show the trains sometimes on the left and sometimes in the right. It occurred to me that this is a detail that they should get right – an accident waiting to happen I would say.

  190. Dave Littleproud says:

    Mike –the “Ewell Road Gunpowder Plot” was about 1959 or 1960. Andy’s garden shed was becoming a centre for the manufacture of WMDs. Saddam Hussein should have acknowledged how they had inspired him in his own efforts. The explosion was an own goal– not Mossad, In the lead up to this one bright sunny day your brother created a very effective smokescreen across Berrylands-failed attempt at making bangers–I don’t think the “Molotov Cocktails” were too succesful either. With hindsight and the fact that injuries were not lasting the explosion may well have been a blessing in disguise. My memory is that there was a doctor’s surgery next to Andy’s house and that he and Alan went into the waiting room and sat, dripping blood, among the old ladies and waited their turn. Very English and bizarre-in fact Andy was a very anglicised Scot. You are quite right about his parents and the Ordnance Survey.

  191. Derek Jones says:

    Hi Dave and Mike.

    I think the gunpowder plot was 1960. I should know exactly as I was there, but I’m not 100% sure. I was sitting shoulder to shoulder with Andy as he rammed homemade gunpowder, and a large glass marble, into a foot long piece of gas barrel – a little too robustly it seems. Andy opened up his forearm from wrist nearly to elbow, exposed a few ribs and lost a great deal of blood. I copped a blast in the face and eyes and was virtually blind for weeks. It took the doctor many hours to dig the bits of burnt gunpowder out of my eyeballs. Remarkably my eyesight survived and I still don’t routinely wear glasses at 65. Alan was to my right and shielded from most of the blast but I think he had minor damage to one cheek, but I couldn’t see very well as you can imagine. You’re right about the blessing in disguise. A previous similar device went off unexpectedly and the marble took a chunk out of the brickwork of the house. At the same time we were experimenting with impact fuses based around bits of glass tubing and sulphuric acid, need I say more……
    I could recount many stories from around that time, some of which would put us in gaol if it wasn’t for statutes of limitation 🙂

  192. Mike Kemp says:

    I’m glad my memories are confirmed – great to have some more details. It was definitely when we lived at 331 Ewell Road with Dr Wright at 333 (on the corner of Derby Road) and the Stewarts on the other side at number 329. We move to Berrylands Road in April 1958 afair, though it could have been ’59, can no longer be certain.

  193. Hedley Stovold says:


    2012 greetings from ‘The Austerity Zone’ – have just been reading Dave Littleproud’s steam enveloped recall of a school trip to Salisbury. Do you recall one in our era to the ‘city of dreaming spires’ Part of the journey there was by river (Abingdon up to Iffley Lock outside Oxford?). Memorable because of the ongoing missile battle between bicycling locals on the towpath and increasingly well organised boatside Surbs. Cant recall what the ordnance was (apples, acorns and other assorted hard objects). Apart from the fact that we were going upriver a bit like the Amethyst dash down the Yangtse. And then the sack of Oxford by the marauding Surbs, shattering many a monastic quad! Don’t recall us coming back with any stone trophy nor any Bidmeadus Aquaferentis prowling the train corridors – do remember hurling assorted squishy fruit out of the carriage window and catching a BR fireman broadside on – oh the richness of our Anglo-Saxon linguistic heritage!
    Glad to see the Rehabilitation of Sid Capper – only had him in IID. Not guilty of that particular cruelty – though of others I dare say. Being large and right at the front of the class doesn’t normally site one in amongst the torment brigade. What an introduction to that disgustingly human blend of mindless sadism and craven peer pressure – then and many times in later years. So what is the answer to the Miracle of 5G? Good old Sid – a thoroughly nice bloke.
    Reading recent comments re The Great Bang of 1959 -1960 I would think we are both glad to have lived out of Surbiton, and to have been studying on the Arts side. Cannot recall any such school scientific research amongst our contemporaries – personally and at home I did investigate the cluster effect of encasing carbide and liquid in a sealed glass bottle and detonating with a hammer thrown from a safe distance – I also remember the retribution afterward …
    Good to see the comment stream firecracking along – who knows what may surface, and who. 2012 looks like it is going to be The Year of the Surbitonian – an encouraging response already to borrowing, electronically capturing, and uploading many of the issues. Useful to solve factual queries but invaluable in giving the flavour of that vanished era.
    All the best to yourself and yours in this new year – always good to hear from you, inshallah!


  194. Derek Jones says:

    Hi Mike. Yes, the Kemps and Stewarts were neighbours at that time. When I became involved Alan and Andy had a makeshift telephone system rigged up between your houses. I think the hardware was army surplus field telephones. I lived across Ewell Road next to Tippet’s, the Honda dealer, at 316. Andy and I spent many hours trying to devise a plan to string a cable over the GPO’s poles along Ewell Road to my house. A tad too ambitious as it turned out.

  195. David Pringle says:

    Testing, testing…

    (I don’t seem to have quite got the hang of this new website yet.)

  196. Dave Littleproud says:

    Del -Mike– Del I’m sorry– I had forgotten your involvement in the plot— I’m so glad you have recovered so well.
    Although i have known Alan since September 1956 I only became close friends with him in summer 1959 by which time the Kemps were living at 37 Berrylands. I remember Alan, myself and another clmbing out of Alan’s bedroom window on the second floor –over the roof and back in through Mike’s bedroom window. Mrs Kemp was most upset to find boys on her roof.
    We introduced ourselves to Mike Smith (Hollyfield Road–brother to Geoff Tony and Linda) by the simple expedient of shooting him with an air pistol. I heard from him at Christmas –all seemed to be well with him..

  197. Dean Humphreys says:

    I feel like a gate-crasher at a party that’s been underway for some time having only just discovered this blog. I’ve done the voyeuristic bit of reading about people’s memories of the school and have really enjoyed seeing name’s of teachers that I’d forgotten and that their idiosyncrasies were as I remembered them too.
    I started at Surbiton in 1969 ( the youngest ‘Old Surb’ on here so far?) and left in 1974, by which time it had become Esher College. Eric Waller (who seemingly only ever put “Yes, I agree” on every headmaster’s report to support what one’s form master had said about you) informed me in November ’74 that he was expelling me, and that in doing so I was only the second boy in the history of the school to end his schooling so ignominiously. Surely there had to have been more than one before me? Does anyone know of anyone else that was similarly jettisoned?
    John Hodgson was my form teacher in 1D and ‘Chopper’ Hackett and ‘Manny’ Fifer were the 2 other form teachers in the first year. John taught French for the first 2 years that I was there and then swapped to English in the 3rd year.
    I got slippered by Mike Hall on the playing field for attempting to retrieve a javelin without having remembered that we weren’t to do so until he’d given us permission and by ‘Baz’ Hunt for swearing at a friend of mine who’d laid the wrong card in a game of rumy whilst not realising ‘Baz’ was standing in the classroom.

  198. Dean Humphreys says:

    I’ve been through my reports and the school became Esher County Grammar School in September ’73. I have a letter from Eric Waller (to my parents regarding my “unsatisfactory interim report”) in October of ’73 and the letter heading is Esher CGS.
    It started its transformation into a sixth form college in 1971, I think, with the first influx of girls. I remember a guitar playing 6th former called Bob Parslow who serenaded and wooed a girl called Sally Walmsley in class 17(?) at lunch times. My mate and I would just stare at her through the glass and she was, quite simply, the most gorgeous girl I had ever seen. He was impervious to a couple of 3rd years being, possibly, slightly weird, and all she seemed able to do was stare lovingly back into his eyes. How she didn’t understand that I was hopelessly in love with her remains, to this day, a heart-breaking mystery.
    I had a biology teacher called Andy Rankin in ’69. Was he there before then? And does anyone know where Mike Hall went to-he left in about 1972? My mum and dad took him out to dinner one evening as he’d been really helpful and concerned when I broke my leg on a school skiing trip to Italy. Looking back it’s blindingly obvious my mum probably fancied him and my leg was a mere pretext.

    I’ve read some of the comments as to how the punishments were deemed to be excessive from some of the staff and have clearly had an adverse effect upon some of the pupils. By the time Waller took over I suspect that the Doig era, with it’s prevailing Dickensian attitudes towards beatings etc, was on the decline. It wasn’t that Waller actively demanded a reduction in gratuitous punishment but, because he was so insipid (although a kind man) allied to an introduction of much younger teachers at that time, the prevailing atmosphere was probably much less febrile than before.
    No school, state or private, now or in the past, would be complete without the almost obligatory amount of ‘odd-ball teachers’. That they will prey on the more vulnerable is, unfortunately, something that is almost impossible to monitor and avoid. It is as spurious to claim that Surbiton was a hot-bed of rampant sadists and sexual deviant teachers as it would have been to asssert that the teaching was unparalleled in its brilliance. Academically it was just about OK (although I left with a derisory 2 O Levels – that in large part being down to my apathy and not the inadequacies of the teaching). With hindsight I think that teachers like Mike Hall, John Hodgson, Reg Mole (who was the cricket master for the 1st years’) and Fry (1st year rugby master) cast an unseen protective ring around the ‘sporty’ kids, of which I was one. The kids that struggled at times with the attentions of some of the teachers were neither academically in the higher echelons or part of the ‘sporting inner sanctum’. That some pupils were picked on is irrefutable-but one could contend that they were vulnerable souls before they got to the school. Discuss!

  199. Dave Roberts says:

    Hi Dean, just picked up your missive and I remember you, I was in the year above. We were partners when John Whitlock put a badminton team together and I recollect we played 3 won 3 much to John’s delight. You mentioned Bob Parslow known by his peers as BlubberSmackers due to being well endowed in the lip department (I’d never risked calling him that) , when me and the wife got married, we moved to Wymondham in Norfolk, joined the local badminton club and there was Bob!
    He was a music teacher in Norwich.

  200. Tim Binsted says:

    Hi Dean,
    I also remember Sally Walmsey as well and for the same reasons. Funny how some names stick.
    Regarding Mike Hall, I am fairly sure I met him by accident around 1974 and he had left teaching and gone into the timber business.

  201. Greg Barrington says:

    @Dean: I had no idea, or had completely forgotten, that you were thrown out in the 5th form. But I think we played in the same school rugby team at some stage. If I’m right, you played star full back in the same team where I was a very ordinary second rower.
    I’m happy to say that I remember the same school as you, but as a conformist I would probably have survived in earlier years too. I did have one run-in with Mo Morris in second form that fits the pattern of what I read here, but I think that I probably liked him for some reason.
    Good to find another ’69 starter here.

  202. DEAN HUMPHREYS says:

    Hi Dave, I DO remember playing together and have seen John Whitlock a few times over the past few years as he lives in the same area.
    And ‘Blubber Smackers’ – what a perfect nickname for Bob Parslow. And, oh, that his lips kissed Sally Walmsley!!

  203. DEAN HUMPHREYS says:

    Hi Greg,
    Thank God there’s now an influx of ‘young blood’ on this blog.
    Your memory of playing in the same rugby team is absolutely faultless but clearly in need of a re-examination as to my ‘star full back’ status. I think we should try and fill in all the names of the 1st year rugby team if you’re willing to give it a go at some point.
    I’m sure you were part of the 215 bus from Cobham to the Marquis of Granby mob along with Tim Mulhall, Craig Dock, Andy Clarke and Vince Oddie – or am I clearly in need of a mental re-bore!?
    And on a final note of ‘memory lane’ I’m also sure that you were in Coutts-who was the house master at the time – was it ‘Taff’ Davies?

  204. Greg Barrington says:

    Your memory is spot on, Dean, both about the 215 and Coutts. There was just one other kid from out Cobham way: Andy Squire, who was dropped off at school by his mum in a Triumph Vitesse.
    I’m sure that there would have been a photo of that rugby team, but the only one I have (but don’t know where) is of the Colts a few years later.
    Back to the first year team, here are some names to start: I think Dave Mitchell and ?John Flynn were props, but I can’t remember who was hooker to start with. Tim Mulhall or was it Roy Berry or Graham Langridge who was in the second row with me. Ian Hilton at number 8, maybe Graham Langridge and possibly David Froude on the flanks. Along with you, the back seven would include some of: Jamie Sapford, Andy Clarke, Andy Gibson, Bruce Lippold, Roger Dowsett, Damien Jaume. I think that Craig Dock and Kevin Biggs probably figured somewhere.

  205. dave littleproud says:

    Sorry Dean— God seems to have failed you- however “old blood” knows where to find the corners—
    As mere lads of the year of 69 I am sure you will be pleased with my news–
    Alan Bolt,– English Language and Literature- approaching 93, had been very ill before Christmas and causing a great deal of concern.
    i telephoned his wife and to my great delight , and i am sure to yours, she told me that he was out of hospital and progressing well allowing for his age. To my further delight she handed the phone to him an and i ahd a 20+ minute gossip. He as he says ” in good condition above the waist ” . He has knee problems but i gather he has plans to be walking again. He enjoys hearing from the Braemar Club.
    I then passed the good news on to Joe Turner who was also delighted. Joe , although having some health problems, was in good form. Funny whenever i phone i him I always seem to iinterrupt his culinary exercises.
    Ok “new blood”— with God’s aid–astound us geriatrics!!!
    Greg –you mention “Roger Dowsett” -would he have had a big brother Alan Dowsett – class of 1956??

  206. Alan Wood says:

    Dave Littleproud………..This is not a reply to your message but I can’t seem to make a comment on the older entries. I want to talk to Otto Polling who was in my form and mentions my name in one of his entries. I was at SCGS from 4th September 1939 (what an ominous date !) until 1947. I’ve not seen anyone owning up to an earlier date, so far. Could you act as an intermediary, please ?

  207. Bernard Dunn says:

    Two more pictures, this time from Frank Nowell.

    There is a group photograph of the students and staff who went to the Rome Olympic Games in 1960. I was in the group but don’t remember the photo being taken or have (had) a copy – thank you Frank.

    There is also a good quality picture of the prefects for 1958-59

  208. maidmentrail says:

    I was at SCGS from September 1949 – July 1951, when I was one of two boys who moved to Charterhouse Public School on a Surrey CC assisted place. (The other was Roger Youlton). I was the first son of an ‘Old Boy’ to go to SCGS – my father, Jack Maidment, went there in 1926, and only died a couple of years ago aged 94. I’m afraid the school made too much fuss of me and I got bullied – especially in my second year some of my peers cionsidered me to be a ‘teachers’ pet’. My first year form teacher was Mr Bolt, second year Mr Harris-Ide, who gave extra Latin lessons to Youlton and me to enable us to pass the Public School Entrance Exam. (We learned the subjunctive in one hour!)
    I was weak at games – very underweight. I won the House Boxing competition for my weight (under 5 stone) in 1950 as the only other entrant was even punier than me! I hated Rugby, our coach, Eddie Watkins (ex Welsh international) was a perfectionist and kept stopping the game to show us how we should have done it (I was a wing three-quarter, the ball rarely got to me, I touched it four times in two years!) I preferred it when it rained as the pitch flooded and we did a cross-country run instead and I was better at that.
    My best friend was Cedric Utley – we both lived in East Molesey, travelled in by train together from Hampton Court and wemnt trainspotting together in London. Another friend was Robert Miller from Esher – I remember his Christmas parties. I first got interested in girls there, as his sister invited her friemnds and I fell for one of them niicknamed ‘Topsy’.
    I later went to London University and had a 36 year career in the management of British Rail, became an international railway safety consultant and through my experiences there, got very involved with street children charities and children’s human rights.
    I’d love to contact Cedric and Robert and anyone else from that era, or any of you with similar interests (railways and street children/children’s rights – not girls!). My website is

  209. dave littleproud says:

    Alan– funny world —Otto has just “friends reunited” me-I have emailed him with blog id so hopefully he willl surface – you could try “friends reuniting ” him –or risk your email on here -or both of you could email Hedley.

  210. dave littleproud says:

    David -it dawns on me that you, Alan and Otto were pupils in Alan Bolt’s time. Perhaps I can forward you his contact details.

  211. maidmentrail says:

    Dave, Alan Bolt’s contact details would be very welcome – you can e-mail on if preferred.

  212. Otto Polling says:

    Hello Dave, Delighted to have the blog back. Thank you! Especially pleased this brings along contact from Alan Wood. Not many of this far back seem to have made it to these scgs sites, but then we are in a vulnerable age group….

    Hello Alan, So glad to hear from a classmate! Do you still play the violin? And did you not have a younger brother? Would love to hear from you. Are you in UK or in the ‘diaspora’? And are you in touch with any others of our year group?
    I still finger the b/w/ keys, though not as tickly as once. Am still much engaged with musical events on a small scale locally, at present preparing my annual house-party of recorded music for our local music club (for which I plan a programme of 20th cent. Dutch music). At same time I’m planning a fundraising recital for a young promising cellist finishing at the RAM this, to help him buy a really decent instrument. How are you getting on healthwise? I’ve got a 4-ruple bypass and some arthritic phases, but otherwise fine. Still drive an ancient Volvo and tolerate my daughter’s elderly sheep in the garage and garden.
    Her and her partner’s flock (250 head) are spread around local villages and have begun to lamb (expecting between 50 – 100!). Space at a premium……
    Do try to contact me through ‘friends reunited’ please, so we can exchange e-mail details.

  213. dave littleproud says:

    Otto -I bet Davdi Maidment would act as intermediary since he has boldly published his whereabouts -or maybe his conscience is clear??!!
    My wife would love to have sheep in the back garden. Will your daughter be”lambing in” or “lambing out”?

  214. L Fleming says:

    U12 KG Fry.U13 Harris Ide ?, U14 South African, Colts B Hunt ?
    4th 3rd Mr Warren, 2nd Mr Morris, 1st XV Taffy Davies
    Can anyone correct this list, the start was 1960/61 last season 66/67
    It was a pretty good team with several representative players and even an England schoolboy triallist ( even though he was Welsh through and through). This year even beat a 1st and 2nd Eleven from Fleetwood school at the time the top school football team in the area.

  215. Ken Percival says:

    Dear CLF, The name of the South African coach for U14 is in one of the Surbitonian magazines up loaded – it would be either 1963 or 1964 ; my internet connection takes an age to download the magazines so I have only done it the once. I have a notion Rupert Rose ran the 4th XV? Didn’t the U14 benefit from Kevin Walters being kept down a year? He was physically mature beyond the nominal age group so all we had to do was get the ball to him at inside centre and he would score upwards of 3 tries a game. That age group that went through from 1960 to 1967 did not yield many players to the Old Boys (only Keith Thomas and myself Ken Percival) but lower age groups did go on to the Old Boys in great numbers (eg Derek Thorogate, keith Hunt, Colin Hastings, Ian White, Paul Evans Clive Uridge,Steve west, Chris kearsey, Bob Ayres, I could go on and on.

    I did’nt realise our age group formed a soccer team but there it is in one of the latter Surbitonians – I suppose it was a Waller initiative/blessing. Good to see that CLF is alive and still kicking – Despite Hedley Stovold’s great efforts to get the new site going I have not, for some reason, been so active in contributing, I still owe Hedley 100 lines though!

    The february ex-players lunch at Cobham has turned into an old school reunion in itself with attendants not necessarily having gone on to Old Surbs so I will keep this site posted about next years event. All the best KP

  216. Ken Percival says:

    CLF ! – I ‘ve just remembered name of South African U14 coach – it came to me when I was reading about a big US financial magazine – his name was Forbes, I think! KP

  217. CLF says:

    Hello Ken, the tone and ambience of the previous site has been lost. That some contirbutors are the same the overall charcter is missing. Have you communicated with Chris lately, he also seems to have gone very quiet, RC Harris and his comments are also no more, it puzzles me why so few ex-school colleagues are conspicuous by their absence. Often in the day and mostly in moments of boredom do I remember odd names and episodes from 60-67.
    Thanks for reminding me of Forbes he pushed reading Catcher in the Rye and Dick Naylor took up reading about that time, so he did inspire some pupils.
    I have had to keep my piece about some of the comments and personnel commenting since 08-11. I did read somewhere a Howard Amor update relating to the RFU coaching set up. Do you know anymore?

  218. dave littleproud says:

    Forbes???– started about 1963 –tall slim guy with dark curly hair — late twenties – taught english??? .Yeah– I wonder why so many are absent -some make exscuses like too busy –can’t remember is another.

  219. Alan Wood says:

    Hello Dave and Otto………..Thanks for your recent notes. I tried sending a message to you, Otto, via friends reunited and saved it first as a draft but then it disappeared and I couldn’t find it anywhere. Nor could I recall the box to rewrite the message. After further frustrating searches I decided to try to contact you again on this site.

    Best wishes…………Alan.

  220. Mike Hammond says:

    FAO Dave Littleproud et al.
    Hi Dave and anyone who remembers me… of the horrible “H”‘s from Sid Cappers day. Hammond, Harryman and Hughes closely followed by Horrocks. I remember it was you who instigated my “holly bush” treatment…..just in jest I guess. I think I was probably the most caned and slippered in school. Lower 5B was notorious that year. Must have taught me something as I ended up in the police following a career in precision engineering. Now down in North Devon and fully retired playing with my toys in computers and Ham Radio. Other memories…well…I remember Tony Harryman getting drunk on whisky at a rugby game afternoon.. I never did like the stuff and still don’t. I hated the bloody game and was always sick, lame or lazy and was accepted as such in the end. I remember fondly Sid Capper, Joe Turner, Bert Forward who incidentaly shaked a finger at me when I was about to smack a prefect. That saved me from one caning at least. Scum Turner, what a waste of space and Gus Hillier, the lunatic colonel or whatever he was in uniform. He caught me once and was totally out of order although I did get my own back a few years ago when I spied him in Surbiton on foot, jumped out of the motor and scared the life out of him, he alleging he couldn’t remember me. I hated geography and history but as always regret not taking more of an interest. I ended up with two GCE’s in maths and TD. I couldn’t wait to leave school and as Dave mentions in another posting he and I, along with Bob Maslen at Transatlantic Plastics had a very interesting few weeks among the girls there. We were certainly wiser when we left. I’m married as some of you may remember, got caught again and ended up with three kids, who have all done extremely well, five grandchildren and next February is our 50th wedding anniversary. So it was all meant to be…….
    Message ends for now… my email is if anyone wants to get in touch. Don’t be shy as I am a totally reformed character these days.
    Kindest regards de Mike Hammond

  221. dave littleproud says:

    P.C, Hammond!!!!!!!!!!!!-I’m trying to visualise this– after what you did to your school cap I shudder to think of the state of your uniform headgear. Well done you- your uniformed contribution to society was probably greater than mine as a T.A, soldier. As for me ..without wishing to repeat previous posts of mine all i can do is repeat your words — “So it was all meant to be….”

  222. TIM HARRISON says:

    Now here’s another intriguing little mystery for all you SCGS Miss Marples to clear up. There’s an off licence called ExCellar – it’s part of a chain – in one of the shop units at the front of Surbiton station’s lovely art deco sweep, and it’s soon to close. It’s moving down to the old kitchen/bathroom showroom at the junction of Victoria Road and Brighton Road.
    Anyway, under the off licence sign is a ghost of a sign from yesteryear which reads: Military Book and Collector Centre.
    One old Surbitonian I know says he vaguely recalls this oddly specialised bookshop from the 1980s, piled floor to ceiling with dusty old tomes.
    But I don’t remember it at all.
    Can the collective brain of Allbury House stump up any clues. There’s no mention of the shop anywhere that I can discover, and it seems joyous and remarkable that a bygone era was able to support such a finely focused venture.
    Did any war-crazed pupils prowl around its shelves while waiting for the 4.10 to Woking?

  223. Tony Townsend says:

    There was a well -patronised florists’ shop in the 60s, along with, if memory serves me correctly, a driving school in that block, but no military bookshop at that time. It must have opened there sometime after the move to Thames Ditton.

  224. Ros Theobald says:

    Blog appeal

    Has anyone found that they have joined The Automobile Association Breakdown Repair Cover without their knowledge please? I have been through complaints which was quite revealing and then on to the CEO and The Head of Group FSA Regulation and Compliance, Group Finance, Acromas Holdings Limited who has some hidden talents. The Financial Services Authority would welcome as much evidence as I can find from early 2009. Would welcome wording of Contract letters after this time as well. No memory of being called, nothing signed, money taken from account, cheque for less than that agreed with Chief Executive Officer? Thank you.

    Hello all, this appeal is on behalf of my husband. If you or anyone you know has had any experience of this, please get in touch with me on Friends Reunited, under my maiden name of Burkin, where we could exchange email addresses.

  225. Ros Theobald says:

    Just realised Ros is short for Rosalind.

  226. dave littleproud says:

    glad you realised that ros !!! pleased you are still with us . i understand your concern but before you press panic button remember that a new battery will cost you £100 and a new starter motor £200 -i found this out the hard way —both packed up within the two weeks grace period after i toook out the insurance.–so it didn’t pay up -however i will see what i have paperwise

  227. Ros Theobald says:

    Thanks for that Dave, basically if we can find more people with the same experience the Ombudsman and FSA will look at it. As Keith has always done his own maintenance and has changed clutches, brakes etc, he knows that he would never have agreed to breakdown repair cover.
    Yes I am still here and check the blog most days,there just hasn’t been anything I could comment on!

  228. Bill Carr says:

    I’ve followed this blog for some time now and notice that there are no entries from my era, 1960 – 1966. Is there nobody out there?

  229. dave littleproud says:

    Just a little update. I had a phone call from JoeTurner on tuesday. On sunday he celebrated his 80th birthday.
    His health is not too good . He has recently had pace maker fitted to help his heart problems but not sure if it is working as he had hoped. Joe had recently corresponded with Alan Bolt who is now moving around in a “go cart” . Under the circs Joe sounded fairly cheerful.

  230. Mike Kemp says:

    been quiet recently – the latest “Britain from Above” historical pics have been posted – I found this one that includes the old school…

  231. Otto Polling says:

    Tried to google this, but failed to get positive result. Keeps coming up “Not found” Is the code correct? Please advise. Otto Polling.

  232. Otto,

    Just click on the link, it should open up in your browser. If not, then copy the full link into your browser’s address bar and press return.

    You shouldn’t need to use Google.

  233. Mike Kemp says:

    Hi Otto – as Bernard said, it should “just work” when you click on it – works for me using Chrome on PC (XP). If not, try googling for “Britain from above” or try the BBC news website where I found it the story, but you’ll have to search their site quite a bit to find Surbiton… Mike

  234. It worked okay for me.

  235. dave littleproud says:

    great site/sight —well found Mike !!!!

  236. Ros Theobald says:

    It worked for me too,it’s nice to know i am still capable of doing something, even though i am now officialy elderly !

  237. Mike Kemp says:

    When you download the pic you can see quite a lot of detail. This was June 1920.

    As well as various school buildings I was pleased to see the Surbiton council building on the corner of Berrylands Rd and Ewell Rd. I think I can make out its clock-tower, whose illuminated face I could see from my bedroom window for many years like a small moon on the southern horizon. When walking round that corner it was usual to cut the corner, going close round the building, with its low wall showing the stumps of iron railings presumably cut off for the war effort.

    The library is not built yet, it looks like open space before you get to the Methodist church.

    At the bottom of St. Marks’s hill you can see the Ritz cinema facing the railway. I don’t think I actually ever went there, my only cinema experience I remember is seeing 2001 at the Odeon in about 1968, in company with my brother I think.

  238. Mike Kemp says:

    You can see that clock tower here, in this pic I found on flickr of a 281 crossing the railway in the Ewell Road. It had four faces, one for each major compass point.

    SM36 (AML36H) from Fulwell Garage in Ewell Road Surbiton on Route 281

    I often took that bus into Kingston – I might even be on this one if the vintage is right! Every Saturday morning I went to “Watt’s Radio” in the Apple market to buy components for my latest project.

  239. Mike Aust says:

    Hello Hedley et al, you may be interested (or appalled) to know that a number of Old Surbs will be supping ale at the Victoria pub in Victoria Road, Surbiton (where else?) on Saturday 11 August 2012, starting from around 8 p.m. For further info see my entry dated August 16, 2011 to which the response was, er, totally apathetic. For a pictorial ‘flavour’ of these gatherings see Friends ReU or just forget the whole thing.

  240. I’m not sure if any of your participants would remember me but if I’m able to come along then I shall.

    There you are – apathy doesn’t rule supreme.

  241. Mike Kemp says:

    I thought I’d pass on the sad news that Clive Telford (SCGS 1963 – 1970) died recently from a stroke. He was probably my closest school friend. He leaves his wife Vera and daughter Helen. I recently got his contact info and had not got round to getting back in touch. I suppose the lesson is not to put off getting in touch with old friends.

  242. TIM HARRISON says:

    Ah, Watts Radio in Kingston’s Apple Market. I had a quick look on Google Streetview and it now appears to be either a kebab shop or a hairdressers. It was two or three doors down from that lovely bakery at the end of the little passageway that led to the Market Place, where you could buy vast iced buns for 15p. I remember looking in amazement at the weird little bits of wiring and odd electrical components in Watts Radio’s shop window. Some looked as if they’d been put in the window in the 1950s and were still there in the 70s, yellowed, twisted and forgotten.
    Just round the corner in Eden Street was Thomas’s coffee shop, where the smell of roasting beans was intoxicating.
    Next to that was a tiny little clothes shop… where I remember buying a striped tank top in 1973!
    Don’t get me started…

  243. Mike Kemp says:

    Watts Radio was still there about 10 years ago on my last visit to the area, though seemed reduced to selling disco gear and electrical nick-nacks. From 1963 onwards I bought all my components there, despite their rather inflated prices (resistors at 4d or 6d for hi-stability – today I spend less than a 1p each for such things). I spent about 7 pounds on the components for a Mullard 3 valve 3 watt amplifier I built around age 11. I had to raise the money with a parental loan against future pocket money, so it was a good lesson in capital financing, and yes, I under budgeted.

    If you went down that passageway but did not turn left to the market, you eventually got to a record shop called “Musicland” where around 1970 I experimentally bought “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” which I suppose launched me into a sort of hippy-light phase.

  244. TIM HARRISON says:

    It’s a curious thing, Mike, that – decades on – it’s possible to close your eyes and navigate perfectly through a childhood landscape that no longer exists.
    I can still walk through the old Bentalls store in my mind, from what our family always called the ‘hot air’ entrance in Fife Road, where a curtain of warm air blew down on you as you went in, with the sale bargain books and records on your left, heading towards the Silver Cafe, where we’d gather for milk shakes made with a scoop of vanilla ice cream…
    I can’t picture Musicland, but I know which passageway you’re talking about because, bizarrely, it also had a shop selling artificial limbs and surgical supports, and I can clearly remember standing mesmerised by the items in the little shop window.
    Kingston in the 70s was so much more interesting than the dull, samey array of tedious chain shops that suffocate the town today.
    In the mid 70s I got my first job as a junior reporter on the Surrey Comet in Church Street – only 50 yards from where that quirky alleyway emerged.
    The very first record I ever bought was a cover version of the Beatles’ Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, a single which was knocked down to 10p in the Bentalls sale. I’ve no idea who recorded it, but it did nothing chart-wise, and rapidly reached the store’s remainder bin.
    I like to imagine I’m the only person on the planet whose first record was so obscure.

  245. Mike Kemp says:

    That sounds like a hard pub quiz question. I can’t find any mention on the web of a cover version of Maxwell’s Silver Hammer being released as a single. Dare I admit that my first single was “A Walk in the Black Forest”? How uncool is that? Maybe I should give it its original German title “Ein Schwarzwaldfahrt”.

    I did an xmas job at Bentalls in 1971 or 72, while at uni, selling paint and stuff in the basement. Actually I think that was my last proper job, as luckily I’ve been pretty much self employed since. It did mean access to the staff canteen, where you could get a cheap lunch (with that great artificial tomato ketchup that glows bright red) and a quiet corner for an hour of reading. They had a sort of blue cross stamp on items for sale at half price. I was surprised when people came up to pay with a blue cross drawn on in biro, an early lesson in human nature.

    That “Musicland” was at the very top of what must be Union Street, opposite Bentalls in fact.

    I wonder if anyone went to Eden Studios, a 4-track studio upstairs on the corner of the Apple Market and Eden Street, near the coffee smell. I visited once to get a recording we’d made put onto vinyl, and met Piers Ford-Crush and Mark Gardiner, the two behind it. This was 1973 and they were just moving to Chiswick with a payout they’d got from the building being redeveloped. Later I visited them in Chiswick as they built the new Eden Studios there, which was pretty successful for about 30 years, before closing a few years ago.

  246. Gary Shepherd says:

    I remember Musicland very well and bought a lot of records there – remember listening booths? They use to have joss sticks burning at times (indeed the prevailing smell of many Kingston shops) which made it seem a more vivid experience – and clutching the new record in a Musicland bag and getting the bus home from the stop near the Coronation stone . Like Proust the smell of joss sticks is a memory trigger that still transports me back to Kingston in those days.

  247. John Sammes says:

    Other people’s memories seem a lot better-preserved than mine – probably as a result of too much time spent in the Three Fishes… I remember a record shop near Watts Radio but it was called Clouds – was that an earlier incarnation of the same shop? My lasting memory of Clouds seems bizarre now but at the time seemed entirely logical – I’d heard an album track played in the Fishes which I wanted to get but was only able to see that it had a green label so I spent about an hour getting the guy in Clouds to play albums with green labels until I identified it. Incidentally, the track was Jackson Kent Blues by The Steve Miller Band, stand-out track on the album No 5.
    I also had a temporary job in Bentalls, during the three week summer Blue Cross sale, probably in 1970. I was in the carpet warehouse and it was a blast – especially having the canteen. When the three weeks was up, my enquiry about a permanent job was met with some incredulity over length of hair, scruffy clothes, etc.. Never mind – saved me reaching 20 stone before I hit thirty…

  248. dave littleproud says:

    The first record I bought was “Baby Face” by Little Richard. However not becoming a”pop” music fan I never got intto buying records.
    nowadays my musical development is “classic FM” in the car. I once saw Marlene Dietrich live–WOW!!

  249. Richard day says:

    First record Behind The Green Door by Frankie Vaughn.Like you Dave Now listening to Classic Fm thanks to the new App Tune In

  250. Richard day says:

    addendum ,saw Chelsea play in Yankee stadium last night.

  251. Roger White says:

    Ahhh, records! c. 1963/64 had the hots for a girl who worked in the presumably long-gone basement record department of an electrical store on the North side of Victoria Road. Hours spent after school listening to tracks I didn’t really want to buy in the vain hope that she’d fancy me. I don’t think the SCGS uniform helped. All wasted time.

  252. I thought I ws imagining a basement record shop in Victoria Road. Thanks for the confirmation, Roger. Anyone remember its name? My first record bought there: ‘Poetry in Motion’ by Jonny Tillotson. I wasn’t really able to afford ‘proper’ records and often bought the cheap Woolworth covers. I have tried to recall the label that Woolworths used. Any ideas?

  253. I was at SCGS from 1949-51 before I was one of several SCGS boys to get a Surrey CC assisted place to Charterhouse. Am trying to contact a couple of friends from thos days – Cedric Utley and Robert Miller. Anyone know of them?

  254. Dave Roberts says:

    Rob Ireland,
    I am pretty sure that the Woolies ‘covers’ were on the Embassy label, Red and Silver as I remember.

  255. Thanks, Dave. Yes Embassy rings a bell and I’ve just confirmed it with a look at the Wikipedia entry. Now to try and remember some of the covers I bought. It was only in my later teens that I realised how uncool I had been! In my defence I think maybe I didn’t buy them but my grandma and various aunties did as presents. Or is this my memory trying to ‘correct’ my past?

  256. TIM HARRISON says:

    I can’t picture a basement record shop in Victoria Road. The last shop selling records there was dear old Woolies, which closed a couple of years ago and is now a 99p store, but it didn’t have a basement.
    I can clearly recall the sound booths where you could listen to records in insulated spendour at the HMV shop which was diagonally opposite C&A in Kingston. The insulation seemed to be multi-layered hardboard with holes drilled in it.
    I could never work out how it could absorb sound, but I do remember being able to listen to Wizzard’s Ball Park Incident without being disturbed by Chris Beasley enjoying Slade’s Cum On Feel The Noize at maximum volume in the cubicle next door.

  257. Bernard Dunn says:

    If anyone is interested, the current episodes of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue were recorded in Kingston.

    Series 57 Episode 5 can be heard here:

    Episode 6, also from Kingston, will be next week.

  258. My memory of the basement record store in Victoria Road is very hazy but I’m sure it was there. I bought my first record there in 1960. I have feeling it was next to the old post office. The post office building was set back from the street. Facing it, the store I’m thinking about was on the right. Alternatively, it was opposite the post office. (See what I mean about my memory being hazy.) I think the ground floor shop may have sold electrical appliances and the record shop in the basement was a sideline. They did have a couple of rudimentary soundproof booths which were de rigeur in those days.
    I always imagined that, when the prefects organised the lunch-time charity ‘concerts’ to listen to the latest Beatles LP on the day it came out, one of them went down to Victoria Road to buy it. The LP had its first outing on the school’s record player (custodian Mr Cocks – Keats?). In its teak cabinet, it looked old-fashioned but presumably was a quality, high fidelity instrument of its time. (When LEAs used to have money to spend on good stuff.)
    As far as I can remember, I heard ‘Rubber Soul’ and ‘Revolver’ first in these concerts. We paid 3d I think. Any prefect out there going to own up that the money never found its way to a charity but was spent on booze and fags? Or am I being too cynical?

  259. chris rackley says:

    stuart little , i remember kaithner nice guy , the bully that is refferred to was a south african bloke whose name i cant remember , but i can remember tony oades smacking him in the mouth and breaking his wrist in doing so hope your well stuart
    chris rackley

  260. Derek Jones says:

    Your South African bully wouldn’t be named Buckly by any chance. I had many a fight with the one I knew by that name

  261. Chris Rackley

    Kaithner was an Australian. He was very powerfully-built and regualrly threatened me during lessons because I used to take the Mick out of him from the back of the class. By the end of the relevant lesson he had either forgotten or changed his mind because he never actually carried out his threats. And yes he was actually quite a ‘nice guy’ as were just about all of the boys I met at SCGS or so I have always believed.

    However just the other week I was contaced by an ex school chum who obtained my details via this blog. He lives abroad now but I was delighted to hear from him as we were very good friends for a while. Unfortunately he experienced a degree of bullying at SCGS and laughed when I said that I never experienced any bullying (as we have agreed Kaithner was actually a friendly pussycat) saying that as I was “reasonably-sized, athletic and frightening-looking” I was left alone. I know that others have commented here on the high level of bullying they experienced at the school but I thought that these were isolated incidents (I think I was probably living in a world of my own for a lot of the time that I was at SCGS).

    I don’t recall any south africans as such but I vaguely recall a guy called Buckley (I think he was in Villiers) with whom I was quite friendly. He certainly didn’t present as a bully at all so he must be a different guy.

    Anway Chris I am indeed very well thank you. Just the other day I had to trawl through a load of ancient photographs and…guess what… I spotted one of you!

    I hope that you are well too.

  262. dave littleproud says:

    right on the nose Derek!!!!–the sort of bloke who made one feel sympathetic to Mandela–i think he boxed. some members of that ilk seemed to need to prove themselves with regular monotony.

  263. dave littleproud says:

    wot!! i have posted my comment and Derek’s has disappeared -help!! Hedley- how did i do that

  264. dave littleproud says:

    dave is an idiot— Stuart sneaked in when i wasn’t looking!!!!

  265. Dave

    I’m sure you’re not an idiot – and I’m certainly not a sneak.

    I think the Viliiers guy that I’m trying to remember was called Roger Buckley or something similar and no connection to your ‘Buckly’.

  266. Derek Jones says:

    I think it may have been Roger Buckley, I’d forgotten his first name. He did box as a schoolboy welterweight and was quite good. He was in Villiers too I’m fairly sure. I never faced him in the ring as he was over my weight. I do remember Dave Curry being attacked by him in the “grounds” but he (Dave) got him by the throat and sorted that little issue out.
    Apart from Buckley’s attempts i was never bullied at SCGS. Just lucky i guess, by the sound of it.

    Stuart, were we there at the same time? I was a year behind Dave Littleproud

  267. Derek

    I would be really surprised if Roger Buckley turns out to be the bully – he was quite big but there was never a hint of violence in him that I can recall. Ah well!

    Meanwhile I was part of the 1959 intake and left in 1965 at the age of 17. What was your entry year?

  268. Derek Jones says:

    Hey Stuart.

    I’m sure there’s more than one Afrikaner Buckley in the world and yours sounds not at all like mine. Mine was aggressive!

    I was there from1957 to 1962 and my Buckley was only there for a little over a year, so it’s unlikely that we are talking about the same man. I envy you your Buckley, mine was an animal 🙂

  269. Derek

    It all sounds a bit ominous. My Buckley was older than me and seemed to be around only for a relatively short time.

    He had fair, slightly curly hair. And I remember that his school jacket was always very shiny. He had a relatively cherubic countenance (though I daresay we all did compared to how we look now).

    It’s always possible that he had two sides like Jekyll and Hyde. Or maybe there really were two Buckleys.

  270. Derek Jones says:

    It would be good to know if we have the same Buckley but, I guess, who cares now :-). Mine? Cherubic no – somewhat mature of countenance for his years, light brown hair, closely cut – but yes, the shiny school jacket I did notice and do remember. Maybe I just caught him on his bad days – in later life I’ve come to understand that I can be really annoying so maybe I just stimulated his Hyde side 🙂

  271. Derek

    If it was the same one then I’d better stop answering the door to strangers!

  272. dave littleproud says:

    Maybe there was Buckley Major and Buckley Minor (sounds like Midsomer Murders)-my son was at school with Major and Minor Kiwis-the elder was quite unpleasant while the younger was –“normal”
    .I remember Dave Curry as easy going but not to be trifled with.
    Stuart-I will rephrase that– “Stuart was very quick off the mark” –but if i can’t call myself an idiot among friends……

  273. chris rackley says:

    stuart little and derek jones : now you remind me the bully was a guy called buckley he was not there for long , he put me off south africans for life and now with jaque kallis and graham smith rubbing our noses in it at the test match that feeling has not gone away , does no one remember tony oades , he hit buckley in the playground once , he broke his wrist and buckleys face came up like a balloon , glad to know your well stuart , passed through friday street the other day , and when i stopped at the stephan langton i had a pint and raised my glass to you ,
    a lot of foriengers like kaithner came over i think that there fathers did some time at the london embassies and the boys came to surbiton , does anyone remember hallett stromholt he was from seattle and he had a fantastic american model railway , with lights and a fantastic hooter , a real minature railroad , only around for a couple of months , i remember stuart you regularly taking the micky from the back of the glass , i remember your giggle —well it was more of a cackle —keep cackling stuart
    best regards to you both
    chris rackley

  274. Derek

    Sanity is restored – it wasn’t Roger Buckley at all it was a guy called Dave Billings that I’m thinking of (well the names are similar!!!???!!). One gets these senior moments occasionally (actually quite often – ah well).

    Meanwhile I went along for the first time to the annual Old Surbs get-together at the Victoria pub in Victoria Road, Surbiton last Saturday and, in addition to seeing Bas Hunt, also re-acquainted myself with Alan Sherrifs, Norman Phillips, John Stribbling and Mick Aust (all from my entry year – 1959) and various other younger guys.

    Earlier on I had passed by the old school grounds at the top of Waggon and Horses Hill and was surprised to note that the ‘new’ buildings that were being constructed while I was at the school (the resulting muck and bullets from which we all had to put up with for seemingly years of our school days) were both gone. But the old prefabs housing the school dinner hall and chemistry/physics classes were still there! What’s that all about?

  275. chris rackley says:

    morning stuart , was it not terry billings a blond , slim curly haired guy , i lived in brighton for a few years in the 1970s and he was running a personel agency in the town , met up with him a few times , then i think his business had problems and he disappeared
    best regards

  276. Mike Kemp says:

    Hi Stuart

    When I arrived in 1963 there was a brand new two story building of classrooms near the King Charles’ Bridge entrance which is where my form room was. It was a long thin building parallel with the railway line and there was a staircase at either end, and a sideways wing in the direction of Joe Turner’s art room which housed a physics lab presided over by a Mr Cox, who was in love with the passive tense for writing up experiments, which even then seemed old fashioned.

    Was this one of the new ones you mentioned? It looks like it is still there on the Google Earth view, though now with buildings on either side that I don’t recall, but maybe they shield the view from the ground?

    It also looks like the old canteen, a prefab-like low building along the NW edge of the playground is still there. I think this also housed labs you could see through the windows while queuing for “dinner” but I never used those in the 2 years before the school moved in 1965..

    The gym on the NE of the playground also seemed pretty new, though I was no friend of that facility. I am one who would be distinctly unimpressed by the current (probably fleeting) government plans to mandate two hours of sports every day! I had enough education on getting out of sport on the one afternoon a week they sent us off on the bus to the old grounds!

  277. Mike Kemp says:

    That should have been “two storey” of course, as I only had one story to tell…

  278. dave littleproud says:

    Mike— I’m sure there are many more tails to tell…. Funny thing tho –when I got to the sixth form I would “gym” and play basketball for fun.

  279. Matthew Horwood says:

    Dean and Greg, I thought I’d just chime in that there is at least one more 69’er (and age has not wearied me in finding a snigger in that) out there.
    Greg, your memory is astounding regarding the rugby team, I cannot remember exactly when I played but I do recall playing hooker, maybe even for the Colts? I certainly remember the songs on the coach for Saturday matches.
    I tend to agree with Deans elegant summary, in the late Sixties and early Seventies, SCGS was neither a shining example of modern educational values nor was it a venerable institute and the shortcomings showed from time to time. But some good parts from both worlds were available for those who were able to recognise them. I think some of the old generation teachers just didn’t know, or want to know, that the winds of change were blowing. I got slippered by Bas Hunt for a bit of flagrant cheating in a Latin test but honestly have no issue because I was guilty, the convention of his day was that was the outcome, and I frankly learned a hard lesson that has stuck with me. However, some events like a certain Chemistry masters end of year ‘flat cleaning’ were clearly on the wrong side of any morals and possibly law, even for the time.
    I feel quite chastised hearing Deans story about his ignominious departure that I didn’t quite make the same grade. After callously exploiting my poor Fathers serious illness to forge reasons for non attendance to pursue a promising pastime of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, I of course got sprung .My long suffering parents pleaded for me not to be expelled and a compromise was struck that enabled me to keep studying and sit my A-Levels but on the condition I didn’t contaminate the school with my physical presence in lessons.
    Andy Rankin was a stand out teacher who knew how to engage with his students to the point of shouting a beer at the Lamb and Star when we were certainly of indeterminate age to be drinking.
    Is there any recollection of a school skiing trip to Andorra in the early Seventies? My principle recollections are hurtling down a black run whilst suicidally under the influence of the local grog and bringing home a Spanish pressing of Pink Floyds “Dark Side of The Moon” which was about a fifth of the UK price.
    Anyhow good to see others emerging from the shadows of the Seventies, we did somehow survive!

  280. DEAN HUMPHREYS says:

    Matthew, I thought I was an isolated and uninhabited island of academic incompetence in a sea of cerebral giants throughout my entire time at SCGS. And there you were, just out of sight on the shore.

    I, too, went on the skiing trip to Andorra. I think Mike Hall and Roger Bayliss were the teachers who took us. We flew back from Barcelona and the coach trip to the airport was interminable. I’d got drunk on a 50p bottle of Andorran champagne (surely by now outlawed under some EEC directive) the night before and was puking into a sick bag for most of the journey. I think Murray Writtle (what a great name) was good enough to attempt to comfort me on the coach.

    Mike Hall slippered me on the playing fields for idiotically going to get the javelin I’d just thrown whilst others were still throwing theirs. Had I have had the sense to look behind me before venturing to retrieve it I would have witnessed something akin to a battle scene from ‘Zulu’. He also, in the middle of an RI lesson one day called me “Deano”. As we were all referred to by our surnames it was a surprise. When we left the class some of the others asked why he’d called me “Deano”. I had absolutely no idea. Lo and behold, about a week later in an English lesson John Hodgson also referred to me as “Deano”. Bizarre and never explained.

    Does anyone know what happened to Mike Hall and where he went to? I thought he was a good bloke.

  281. Dave Roberts says:

    I always found Nobby Hall quite a reasonable chap too, unfortunately my abiding memory of him is over the MMB rugby pitch when I broke my collar bone, he was convinced it was dislocated and he’d put it back. It was only when I passed out for the second time that Ken Fry convinced him that it may be broken.

  282. Gary Shepherd says:

    I remember that – I played in that match – it was kind of off putting to say the least.

  283. Dave Roberts says:

    Hiya Shep, one of my first mates @SCGS how’s life treating you? Apart from Roger Bayliss who had it for me from day 1 I seemed to get on reasonably well with teachers and peers shame I was so thick, motorbike days sadly long gone as has hair! Had a couple of interesting emails from Paul Leadbitter in Hong Kong, never really knew him that well but got on ok in what little dealings we did have.

  284. Gary Shepherd says:

    Its good Rob – like you the hair has gone – married with 2 teenage girls and looking forward to retiring in just over 3 years (never thought I would say that). Motorbike also long gone – cycling to work now. I remember you and some of the others really well but having trouble placing Paul Leadbitter although the name is very familiar. Lost touch with everyone really which was why this site and the previous blog were so interesting. I got on with most people too and generally enjoyed my time at school. Because I moved away from the area it was all to easy to lose touch.

  285. Ray Kent says:

    Gary Shepherd (aka Shep) and Dave Roberts (aka Dave Roberts)
    I was in your class…fellow Spurs supporter and fellow taff if I remember corectly
    Wow! I stumbled on here courtesy of googling Simon Lydbury …I was wondering where he was these days…such a shame, after all he went through as a kid.
    Some great memories reading your posts guys. I think I was sent there as the token non-academic by someone in the education system with a sick sense of humour. I remember struggling in every lesson and every subject!!
    I met Roger Arthurs a few months back…not changed a single bit. Other than that nobody really.
    I do remember Daves collar bone incident!
    And the railway detonator !!!
    Thanks for the memories guys

  286. Dave Roberts says:

    I remember you well Ray, for various reasons and like myself none of them academic. As I’ve said before, my memory of anything important is useless but when it comes to trivial incidents………
    I always recall the water pistol era and for some reason you were in the front row and squirted Butcher full in the face, as he fired back you ‘hit the deck’ and he hit Mr(Bog) Rawles on the back of the head. He tried denying it but the line of water across the desks was a bit of a give away. Like you I don’t see any of the old school although when my parents were still living in Chessington, I used to see Paul Taylor in the North Star and it was he who told about Simon, i think they stayed quite good mates.
    If you want to see a real success story from our crowd, google John Humm now an eminent doctor in the field of advanced radiation techniques in cancer treatment at Harvard University.

  287. Gary Shepherd says:

    I remember you Ray – and you stumbled across this in much the same way we all did. Perhaps at this age you look back a bit, plus the internet makes things so much easier. I seem to remember spending most of my time either playing football in the playground (how did we manage to play when there were about 6 simultaneous games going on at the same time?), on the fields, and also playing table tennis every night or padder tennis often with Simon Lydbury. I don’t remember much about the actual lessons. And still following Spurs with all the ups and downs that entails. I used to see Graham Shorthouse and John Humm for a few years after I left to work in the studio, and then later when I stopped work to do an English degree. But then lost touch. I know Graham is still around married with at least one child (another google search) but don’t have a way of communicating. He was an ambulance driver/paramedic. And yes I knew about John Humm – always one of my best friends at school in the 6th form. Sadly some names I have forgotten – but you never know, the longer this site stays up the waifs and strays from the class of 67 may turn up. Good to hear from you Ray.

  288. Ian Collins says:

    It is with great regret that I inform “old boys” of the passing, last night, of:

    Harry Broadbridge (1917-2012) (SCGS 1928-1935)
    possibly the previous oldest surviving Old Surbitonian.

    He and his late wife were delightful people and were my next door neighbours for over 20 years. I shall miss Harry very much.

    Ian Collins (1952-57)

  289. Richard Day says:

    Was Harry related to Jim Broadbridge .Jim was in my year,lived on Egmont Rd.,surbiton.In one of those strange life coincidences,Jim”s neice,born in Byfleet,but grew up in Texas,Trained as an Obstretician/gynaecologist here in Charleston S.C. as I did.

  290. Ken Percival says:

    message for Colin Fleming – I have looked through the photos again since the 1963 school panorama was divided up and enlarged. You appear on 1963 L to R 3 just behind Bidmead and Hayward ! regards ken Percival

  291. Graham Matthews says:

    I was at Surbiton County Grammar School until 1954 and just googled the School to find this site. I have a copy of “The Surbitonian” No 32 Spring 1952. I think I may have other copies buried somewhere as I took photographs that were in some issues.
    I suspect those who chat on this site were at the school long after
    I left but in a quick scan I see some staff names that I remember – Mr Morris taught biology, Mr Rose – physics Mr Bidmead was housemaster of Lovelace and taught latin while Mr busby did the art lessons. I wonder if any others of my vintage are seeing this web page.
    I am now retired but still kept busy as an applied entomologist currently interested in mosquito control.

  292. At last someone who was at SCGS at roughly the same time as me. I was there from 1949-51, then got a Surrey CC assisted place at Charterhouse – I think I wrote an article in the school mag about it around 1951/2. I remember Mr Rose demonstrating mercury to us and forgetting to take off his wedding ring and the gold ring turned silver to his great distress. My form masters were Mr Bolt (still alive I’m told) and Mr Harris-Ide who coached me specially for the public school latin entrance exam – I had to learn the subjunctive in one single hour (along with Rodney Youlton who also went to Charterhouse with me). And I remember Eddie Watkins, Welsh Rugby international who taught maths (sort of) but was there to teach us Rugby really – at which I was hopeless – a skinny 4 and a half stone weakling, so he ignored my pathetic efforts as a Wing Three Quarter (the ball never came my way anyway – he’d always stopped the game to show us how we should have done it long before the ball ever got near me!)

  293. neil curtin says:

    all this jimmy savile stuff got me thinking about doig, the child beater. not the same though, is it? is it? doig could certainly have qualified for a ‘starring’ role in oliver twist, he even had the build for it.

    just imagine what went on in those places, eh. apologies if i have offended any doig lovers, if there are any. mind you i don’t know why i’m apologising.

    if you’re wondering why savile’s victims still feel the pain after all these years i personally think it’s not difficult to explain.

    how many perverts were running schools in those days? makes me shudder to think.

  294. chris rackley says:

    without wishing to appear a creep , i never thought doig was the ogre he was supposed to be , i remember him telling us all about the night he woke up in bed and found his wife dead , that must be awful , i remember when felix left us and doig was upset that he [doig] had failed , he ran a extra maths class once which was voluntary , and it took us away from the regular maths into the unusual and interesting and was open to all of any age [ i think maths was my only good subject [passed with alebra and trig ] but it was an after school session and i found it quite enjoyable , did any one else go ?
    when i see the standard that kids come out of school today with gcse [which are worthless, can hardly talk , can hardly mumble , scruffy , without ambition and without the work ethic ] i have spent a lot of time in china , their kids are articulate, work bloody hard , are ambitious , most speak good english , you wonder how this country is going to compete in the future , and they do have to compete ] maybe this country need more doigs
    if any of you guys wants to see the future of the world spend some time in the asean countries or china or taiwan that is an education in itself

    best regards to you all chris rackley 1957-64

  295. Ken Percival says:

    Well said Chris, I have friends who spend a fortune (6k a term X 2 ) for their children to get private education standard which I got for nothing. We go to infants school get to the top then are cast into primary school at the bottom again and then when we reach the top it starts again in the secondary school. Third level is not hierarchical like that but then we go out into the big bad world and a lot of kids today are unprepared for the ups and downs of life.

    I recall Private Eye running a commentary/article on the most useless and worthless degree –

    I think media studies from Hatfield University was No 1 – any other suggestions? Ken Percival

  296. Ian Calori (1957-1964) says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Ken’s comments about education now. I had to pay for my kids to get an education like we had on the state. I am fairly right wing about most things, but I do think that education should be free for everybody.

    I have fond memories of SCGS, and it certainly opened my eyes to various subjects that I would not have considered interesting previously. Unfortunately I didn’t want to go too deeply into anything as a teenager, apart from members of the opposite sex of course.

    Now happily retired and living near Dorking, I am pleased to report that I have been involved in the Old Surbitonians Golf Society for some years. I seem to remember a comment from someone saying that the golf society was just a few old cricket players, well it is also a few old rugby players. If you remember names such as Herridge, Eggleston, Lofting, Hunt, Barnes, and Pritchard then you might like to come and join us. We have 4 meetings a year, including a match against Old Tiffs. Anybody who is interested please contact me on iancalori@blueyonder

    Finally would whoever organises the evenings in Surbiton please let me know when the next one is. It would be great to meet up with likes of Bas Hunt, who was my housemaster by the time I left.

  297. Richard day says:

    Sounds likr geezer golf to me.

  298. Ian Calori (1957-1964) says:

    Hallo Richard,

    I have a feeling that I should remember you. Weren’t you a couple of years above me, possibly in Egmont?

  299. Bill Carr says:

    To Ian Calori.

    I think you and I used to travel on the same trains from and to West Byfleet.

    Am I right?

  300. neil curtin says:

    scgs didn’t provide a good free education because doig was an abuser. the grammar school system provided the education to those clever enough to pass the 11+.
    whether it was right to get rid of grammar schools is a different discussion.
    it does not excuse doig’s child abuse. the school could have functioned perfectly well without this victorian monster.
    to take a delight in caning 13 year olds for minor misdemeanours (e.g. being caught smoking out of school hours) so hard and so often that their legs shook and they could barely stand should have landed this pervert in prison.

  301. Derek Thorogate says:

    Sorry Neil – and quite a lot of others but I don’t really get it I am afraid. I was a bit of a trouble maker at school and got punished from time to time as a result – a few detentions – lines – a few slipperings and a couple of canings. However I do not recall a school of Victorian monsters and abusers at all. It was harsh at times and Doig did I think have delusions of grandeur thinking that we were a minor public school in disguise. If i think about it I daesay that I deserved the punishments that I received.I was not a swat but it did provide a very good education and I had the benefit of being good at sports. As a result of being married twice I have two daughters in their very early twenties and I can tell you now that even though they did both go to a grammar school the education that they received was not up to the standard at SCGS.
    I can think of a quite a few highly immoral people/politicians/businessmen then and now who have seriously affected a lot of people in a very bad way – and I’m sure you can as well.

  302. DEAN HUMPHREYS says:

    If a few, seemingly, unjustified slipperings (I received 2 from Baz Hunt, 1 from ‘Nobby’ Hall and a caning from Ted Hillier – all of which were warranted if you apply the criteria that flagrant abuse of the rules and rudeness deserve to be punished) can leave such an indelible scar, then one might argue that the vagaries and, at times, unfairnesses of life after school would be all the more difficult to come to terms with were we not to have a reference point. Why wait until one is about 18 to realise that life is made up of a myriad of strange, idiosyncratic people and events? As Derek quite rightly points out we are surrounded by immorality (and venality) on a daily basis. It doesn’t make it acceptable but equally we are hopefully imbued with enough inner strength to be able to look at life with all its positives..

  303. Richard day says:

    Ian ,I remember you,a fast bowler I believe.I think you were in the same year as my brother in laws brother David Baldwin,he and I meet up at the usual family events and is doingwell .I was at scgs 1954- 1962.,8 years And of course things were not perfect,but that is the reality of life.I just do not recognise Neil’s experience

  304. Ian Calori (1957-1964) says:

    To Richard Day and Bill Carr in particular, and everybody else in general.

    Yes I did travel from West Byfleet, but I’m afraid I don’t remember anybody else doing it, except Ian Baxter for the last 2 years or so. At cricket I was an off spin bowler, and had some success in later years, once I’d learnt my craft, playing lots of MCC and representative cricket. I had several over seas tours during the winter months, and even got a game in Tokyo when I was there on a business trip. Dave Baldwin was a year below me, but a good player at school. Please send him my regards when you see him Richard.

    As for Doig and his sadism, I certainly didn’t see any. The only person in that category was Gus Hillier, and any of us may have been driven to it by the thought of teaching 30 teenagers all day who weren’t interested in the subject at all. I reiterate, to get that standard of education now, we have to pay

  305. chris rackley says:

    ian well done on the cricket , as for education looking back i think my education was great i have travelled all over the world on business i thank jack for giving me a good geography grounding , henry for telling me the history of the world and buddy holley [remember him] for helping me understand economics , and to doig when i was trying to convert pesatas, dollars , yaun, rupees , francs , marks and the stupid euro and as for doig he was the managaging director he put the whole team together , motivated it–600 kids , 50 staff , that is a big organisation , we dont think of it but your local school is the biggest in town

  306. Dr Charles Clark says:

    Just wondered whether there are any other ex pupils from my era around? This would be 1964 until 1972. Be good to hear about your recollections of life and times then. It was an interesting transition era from Doig to coed sixth form. Interesting times and many characters.

  307. neil curtin says:

    doig joined scgs the same year as i started. his predecessor was mr willis who had been headmaster for 27 years. willis built the school, not doig. willis was an affable mildish mannered man. my parents knew him and were disappointed that he left just as i joined.
    i don’t know why doig selected me for physical abuse, there were a number of others including one public flogging.
    i think he was a sadistic paedophile. the shock horror at my comments on this blog are unfortunately the way of the world and perverts are very good at posturing and providing a ‘surely not’ persona.
    one day he said to me ‘you are the only son of a widowed mother?’. i said no, my father is very much alive and i have a brother and a sister. i thought his manner was very sinister. it is well known that people like doig prey on the vulnerable.
    sorry to spoil the party but there it is.

  308. Given what is happening in the wider world we shouldn’t deny Neil’s testimony. The milder punishments meted out by prefects and junior teachers would today be called physical abuse and even then some of the housemaster canings were beyond what was ‘normal’. I remember my Coutts housemaster Mr Davies was a particularly viscious (sadistic?) caner. I don’t remember seeing Doig giving a public flogging but it was understood throughout the school that a referral to him for a private beating was to be especially feared.
    It is strange how recollections differ. Recent posts have talked about the high-quality education. I don’t remember it that way – we had so many ineffectual teachers in my time. ‘Sid’ Capper stands out but Morris (biology), the physics teacher with the squeaky shoes, Shaw in maths, Doig (another one) in geography, Keats (music and english?) would all have failed an Ofsted inspection. I can’t think of one truly inspiring teacher who made the boys excited about his subject. They all seemed so weary and intent only on getting through the day with as little effort as possible. My SCGS was very different from that of the recent enthusiasts.

  309. Knew Mr Willis well and had great respect for him. Came back specially from Charterhouse to his farewell assembly and event. My father knew him also – he was at the school from 1926-1932. Willis turned up and chaired the Surrey CC interview panel when I applied for a grant to go to UCL (London). Very much a benevolent father figure (and I got my grant). Never knew Doig, he came after I’d left, about a year later. I’ve recently written a novel with a railway background and for some reason I named the new Depot Manager ‘Doig’. I wasn’t sure why and a couple who read the proof asked where I got the name from as they’d never heard of it before. I see I shall have to toughen up my character even more!

    And I do concur with the general remarks about the difficulty in recognising and admitting the truth about paedophiles. I’m a trainer for the Methodist Church in the Chester & Stoke District on Child Protection and Safeguarding. I had a very bad experience at West Molesey Secondary Modern School which I attended in 1949 for one term before going to SCGS. The teachers were bullies, the games master used to watch us in the showers and the Headmaster called me in when he caught my bullies in operation, said nothing to them, but waved the cane in front of my eyes, asked if I wanted a dose, threatened to pull my pants down and cane me to ‘toughen me up’. I couldn’t leave the school quick enough and found SCGS a huge relief. (And despite the reputation of public schools, Charterhouse masters were fine too (although one or two maniac prefects could be sadistic. My house was nicknamed the ‘Gownboy Totalitarian State’ though I managed to keep out of trouble).

  310. Ian Calori (1957-1964) says:

    I think that the punishments given at SCGS were normal for the time. They be not acceptable now, but we move on. I was caned once and it was my choice rather than doing loads of lines. I just hope we don’t get to a situation where children are not punished at all, physically or otherwise. There is one society on earth that doesn’t punish it’s male children at all – Muslim. And look what it’s done for them.

  311. Very dubious about your comment of male Muslim children not being punished. I’m Children’s Human Rights Advisor to Amnesty International UK and I get regular newsletters/research from a Pakistani Children’s Rights organisation (SPARC) which is full of details of excessive punishment (corporal punishment) of Pakistani children – it’s one of the main causes of boys running away from school/home in that country. I also have a constant stream of cases of teenage boys (aged 12-16) being apprehended and punished by the police for taking part in peaceful demonstrations in countries like Iran, Bahrein etc. The Madrassas are often cited as locations where young boys are harshly punished and sexually abused. The same is true in India in both the Hindu and Moslem populations. A survey commissioned in 2007 by the Indian Dept of Women and Children found 89% of boys had been physically punished and 22% had been seriously sexually abused. The figure for girls re the latter was much worse.

  312. Nice rebuttal, David. Something had to be said and the authority of your experience carried much more weight than my righteous indignation would have.

  313. Ian Calori (1957-1964) says:

    Oh dear, I seem to have stirred up a hornets nest. I can only speak from experience, I lived and worked in Bahrain for 4 years and that was what I saw. Pakistan and India are somewhat different I think.

  314. There are as many different strains and interpretations of Islam as there are different denominations and practices among Christians!

  315. neil curtin says:

    what doig did to me and some others was not ‘normal for the time’. most schools had some kind of corporal punishment in ‘the good old days’ but nothing approaching the extent or pure viciousness of doig.
    why did we accept our punishments without kicking up a big fuss? i don’t know but i went to great lengths to ensure the scars could not be seen when changing or to parents etc.
    how did saville basically get away with what seems like hundreds of cases of sexual abuse? well unless you’ve been 12 or 13 years old and badly abused one way or another by a ‘very important person’ i am sure it is difficult to understand.
    the idea that this was ‘acceptable for the time’ or ‘good for us’ is a quite sickening idea to my mind.
    i hope doig is burning in hell in between getting several lashes of a cane on his fat arse.

  316. Ken Percival says:

    Just watched the 2nd part of “grammar school history” on BBC4

    I think I can safely say that SCGS was third in the local league behind Kingston Grammar and Tiffins and therefore our intake throughout the years was comprised of those who had just scraped through either through lack of inherent ability and/or not being self or parentally motivated.

    So SCGS faced a more difficult battle to keep up and discipline etc was harsher perhaps especially on the non conformists and we certainly had a few.

    What the programme brought home to me was that for each of us there were 4 other children who with their parents would have given their eye teeth to even be at SCGS?

    Anyway just switched over to ITV1 to see the third part of the series – what 40 odd years of comprehensive education has brought about – “The X factor” with Tulisa !!!!!!!

  317. Dr Charles Clark says:

    One person from my primary school went to Kingston Grammar, two went to Tiffins and three of us went to SCGS.
    Yes i agree we were third in the local league. So — we had just scraped through because we had little ability or not motivated? That meant we deserved to be caned and beaten by incompetent teachers because other kids would have given their eye teeth to be at SCGS?
    Did they want to be abused as we were?
    You do not deal with non conformity by violence . Look at the success of Ai Weiwei? Felix Dennis – an SCGS old boy?
    SCGS was an abusive regime with poor teaching. I succeeded despite of it as did many others.

  318. John Sammes says:

    Very interesting, Ken, although SCGS was top of my list because a couple of friends were going there. I don’t think my parents had any particular aspirations for me; they were just happy that there was a “grammar” in the school name.
    In my final year at Claygate Primary School, there were 49 in the “top” class of whom only 14 were being “groomed” for the 11-plus. In addition, there was another class (of 30+) in our year which had no children expected to pass, so yes, that’s about 1 in 6 “lucky ones”.
    But I know at least one of the 14 failed the 11+, seemingly a disaster at the time. He had to go to Wayneflete – shock, horror – but I reckon he ended up being more successful than me despite that (I know because he’s still a good friend and was awarded the CBE in Jan ’12) whereas I’ve achieved bugger-all despite having been a member of Mensa.
    My point is there were/are so many other factors shaping our existences – family, friends, social convention, peer pressure, drugs, etc – that school was just another flavour added to the pot. I’m afraid nothing about it inspired me to greatness but then neither did it f*** me up.

  319. Mike Kemp says:

    I failed my 11-plus, much to everyone’s surprise, but was passed on interview, and went to SCGS. I was not aware there was a choice of schools. At the time SCGS was the closest, a 5 minute walk. Being one of those academic types, with zero (or rather negative) interest in sports the prospect of Hollyfield Road secondary modern with its image of roughness was very scary to me at the time. (Though I might have kept up learning the guitar had EC been giving lessons there!)

    No-one ever caned me, or slippered me, but clearly it happened to quite a few. As people have said, that was the regime at the time. Although I suspect most of the masters used discipline with care, it sounds like there were some bad apples that went on to more abusive behaviour which has clearly blighted the lives of some people who write here. I’m sorry for that, it is a great shame that it wasn’t routed out at the time.

    I did get a good education, though as someone wrote, I might have learnt much of it for myself anywhere. I spent the 18 months before O levels in hospital and at home, and only had some haphazard home tutoring, which didn’t include maths as the school (correctly) said I already knew all the syllabus.already.

    When I returned in the 6th form in 1968 on crutches I had effectively grown up, and was disdainful of the few staff who didn’t seem to get that. I decided to go to Cambridge and was, to be honest, spurred on by Waller telling me I didn’t have a chance. “Bernie” Shaw was amazingly helpful, giving me extra help with further maths and arranging an old codger named Dalziel to come in for a few hours a week to give 3 of us extra tuition in more abstruse maths. All this was amazingly helpful, and I can’t imagine what a comparable education would have cost in the private sector.

  320. maidmentrail says:

    Re the discussion re the academic record of SCGS, I would add that at the end of the 1940s and early 1950s, SCGS had an unparallelled record of its pupils gaining the Surrey CC scholarship assisted places to Charterhouse Public School. Each year there were 3 places and when I entered the Public Schools entrance exam under this scheme in 1951, 2 out of the 3 county places went to SCGS, one the previous year and one the following year. Willis, the Headmaster, was very encouraging on this and we received extra coaching, especially in Latin, to bring us up to the standard of prep schoolboys who had been learning Latin for 5 years against our 2. Incidentally, when I took the 11+, my preferences were 1) SCGS, 2) Kingston Grammar, and 3) Tiffins. However, my father went to SCGS and it had the attraction of a train journey to school rather than a bus (and possibly thereby influenced my future career by feeding my interest in railways).

  321. neil curtin says:

    willis built scgs.
    i doubt if either kingston grammar or tiffins had a pretentious twat like doig as headmaster.
    the point is that scgs could have been much better with a head interested in teaching rather than just operettas and rugby – oh, and abusing young boys.

  322. Derek Thorogate says:

    Hi Neil. You were obviously deeply affected by Doig and bear an undying resentment to him which will never leave yiou however whilst I don’t denegrate your feelings I think that you should perhaps realise that this scar is indeed personal to you.
    I have not been involved with ‘Old Boys’ since my rugby playing ceased due to injury over 30 years ago however just a couple of years back thanks to the efforts of Paul Evans I am in contact with quite a few old school friends and others who attended SCGS either before or after my time (1961-68) and all of them seem not only to have benefited extremely well from an excellent education but have prospered well – and they all seem happy in their recollections of their school days although also admitting that at times ‘schooling’ could be hard.
    I attended SCGS because my brother was already there – Tiffin did not arise because of that and Kingston I seem to remember was already ‘ semi – public’ and extremely hard to gain admittance.
    I don’t think that SCGS could be regarded as inferior when one considers some of the awful secondary moderns – and what went on there -that were the alternative
    Time to appreciate the half full glass I think.

  323. Mark Sheridan 1964 - 1971 (1972) says:

    While I do not carry Neil’s bitterness, I do carry the scars of SCGS, both mentally and physically. You cannot pass off his or anyone else’s bad experiences at SCGS as “glass half empty”. There are many people who had a very bad time there and are not comfortable talking about it. I had one year under Doig and the rest under Waller. None of it was particularly pleasant. When I was there Doig was tempered by Bert Forward, the deputy head, a nice man who ran interference whenever he could. Under Waller, a weak and ineffectual headmaster, the deputy head was Hillier who was really nasty. For me, that was worse. There was no one to stop Hillier or the other teachers from torturing pupils at will. You who had a good time at SCGS, good for you, I’m glad, but there is a whole other, darker, side to the school that should not be swept under the table. That is how Savile got away with what he did.

  324. neil curtin says:

    actually, for me it isn’t a question of being ‘deeply affected’ or of ‘bitterness’.
    it isn’t something i think about very much at all. it is only when i see wonderful things written about doig, or how ‘lucky’ we were to attend scgs that my blood boils a little.
    i would have made out whichever school i attended. the biggest psychological boost to those that passed the 11+ was that it placed them on something of a pedestal with their peers that didn’t pass. the anti 11+ brigade would say this was a good reason for scrapping it.
    i also have no truck with the ‘punishment commensurate with the times’ or ‘probably did us good’ suggestions. it wasn’t and it didn’t.
    any of us that have done reasonably well would have done so come whatever happened school wise. yes scgs gave us a good grounding as any reasonable school would, but we all had a level of intelligence and ability to get there in the first place.
    self education as required throughout life is not that difficult when the need arises or is foreseen.
    i hated scgs and its violent perverts and i feel i owe it nothing. maybe it taught me to fight and loathe authority the way any oppressed people do.

  325. maidmentrail says:

    I was obviously fortunate in leaving SCGS before Willis retired. I’d have been petrified in a harsher situation as I was a somewhat timid child and was very small for my age. I’ve said how scared I was at the Secondary Modern School in Molesey where there was clearly an abusive culture throughout the school and total lack of discipline amongst both boys and staff (well, self-discipline; there was a lot of indiscriminate punitive discipline). I was interested in the name of Bert Forward that someone mentioned. He was a contemporary of my father at SCGS as a pupil in 1926 and there was a race to see which of him or my father would have the first son to go to SCGS. My Dad and I won (just!) – I think Forward’s son came the following year. I remember him as a very friendly and helpful master and am trying to remember his subject – I associate him with woodwork and practical crafts – is that right?

  326. Ian Calori (1957-1964) says:

    Bert Forward taught me Economic History to A level, and very good he was too. He was one of those masters who could control a class without the threat of violence, and he made the subject interesting.

  327. I remember you Derek. We were in the same year. You were no saint from my recollection, however you were one of the rugby ‘set’ and I wonder whether this gave you an immunity that others didn’t have. In the early 60s the players in the First XV were treated like gods and they (who would automatically all have been senior prefects) exercised a reign of terror over the lower school. If a boy was able to shine at rugby in his year I think this may have smoothed his ride through some of the disciplinary issues that have been highlighted here. Certainly, in the ‘Taff’ Davis’s Coutts house that I was in, it was noticeable that the ‘rugger buggers’ were a favoured clique.

  328. Roger White says:

    We all have our own experiences. I was at SCGS 1962-65 only. I remember the odd gym slipper being ostentatiously displayed by one particular teacher, maybe even used once or twice. But in terms of punishment it seemed no worse than the armed forces’ grammar school I went to before. The small rural Yorkshire grammar school I went to after SCGS was the most civilised of the three. The aspects of inappropriate behaviour I remember from SCGS were (1) how we taunted some teachers like poor Syd Capper (why did the more senior staff do nothing effective about that?) and (2) how the boys bullied the underdogs amongst their number. I remember in paritcular a boy with the cruel nickname of ‘Canis’ (because he was said to have long nails) who was tormented relentlessly by nearly everyone else in our form. To my eternal shame, I joined in, as a sort of protective camouflage since as a latecomer i was also prone to the attention of the dominant characters in the form. But maybe all this only flourished because of the teacher behaviour I *didn’t* see.

  329. Derek Thorogate says:

    Hi Rob. You may well be right as I know that I was a bit of a handful at times – having said that I was on the receiving end of quite a few punishments. I remember a caning from Fernyhough the Villiers Housemaster ( I was in Villiers) – a viscious slippering from Buzzer Busby (twice) who used to (fondly) pull your shirt out to make it hurt more – a few whacks from Piwi Hunt who was a real nutter and totally unpredictable (he subsequently became Villiers Housemaster and I made House Secretary in my final year) – quite a few people seem to remember him through rose tinted glasses. The same could be said of Fred Forward who I went in fear of as he was always caning people. (I never came in contact with Doig at all and never saw him cane anybody). Taff Davies and I never got on and I did not like him even though I went straight from Colts to 1st XV along with Chris Forth. I know he was fond of a good caning. He and I had several battles.
    And I had a few other canings as well but as you rightly said I was no saint.
    Some of the prefects could be a bit nasty mainly the lot when we first went to SCGS I think – there are one or two who have appeared on this blog who seem to have convenient memories and one in particular who left a friend of my brother with permanent ear damage as he used to hit kids around the head with a book.
    It is funny reading some of the other impressions as well. For instance ‘Bernie’ Shaw I always thought as a good although slightly weak maths master – my brother had him for pure and applied maths at A level. The other Doig taught me history in Lower 6th and was brilliant and enthusiastic (someone else said he was rubbish) – I do know that when ‘Zorro’ Zetter took over in Upper 6th we all went to sleep. Mo Morris – biology – was good although he has come in for some criticism. Ken Bidmead – latin- was a miserable and viscious whatsit who used to lash out with rulers and blackboard wipers. Had Curtiss and Sid Capper for French and both were useles. Hillier I managed to avoid until the sixth form when he was deputy head and then I found him hard but fair. And so it goes on – and in reality I doubt if it was much different in having such an an eclectic bunch as any other school at that time – although I don’t think that there is any doubt that it was much better than say Hollyfield in Surbiton, Richmond Road in Kingston and Greyfriars in Ham which was really rough.
    Like John Sammes – who I also remember – it did not inspire me to greatness but then it did not mess me up and there was a lot of fun as well as there should be.

  330. Mark Sheridan 1964 - 1971 (1972) says:

    I had Davies for A-Level Chemistry. Any test he set, the results were always the same; Coutts first, Egmont second, Lovelace third and Villiers last, no exceptions. And I was bottom of Villiers. I remember when we passed the A-Level, a number of us interrupted his class and “saluted” him. The only one who could teach French was Lonsdale, albeit in a thick Scottish accent. I can still hear him: ” If 50 million Frenchmen can do it, so can you. After all, they don’t have a brain between them!” Between Bernie Shaw and Frip Junor, my Math was so good that I was exempted the whole first semester at University. Frip sold me his college Math books when I left. I still have them. In amongsth the bad there were a few good teachers. It is all subjective, depending on your personal experience. As I have mentioned before, I can forgive Chambers anything, including being a sadistic bastard because he was the only teacher who ever came out swinging in my defence (literally).

  331. Peter Pocock says:

    Sadly I have to report that Mick Courtney (1953 – 1960) passed away last week. Mick had fought a long battle against cancer but ironically actually died after a stroke. A great guy who made a major mark on SCGS in his time

  332. Phil Seaman says:

    So sorry to hear about Mick, hope his brother/twin is coping with stress of it all. I guess we are now of an age (70 here) where we can expect to hear more of this type of news!

  333. chris rackley says:

    a morbid thought phil

  334. Mike Gibbons says:

    Good morning

    This is A P E Gibbons. I have been following this site for some time and have finally decided to bite the bullet and make a contribution (for wat it’s worth). Incredible to think it is nearly 50 years since we first entered the establishment that was SCGS.

    To be honest I don’t think the grammar school system was for me, particularly the last couple of years during the O levels when I basically just gave up. Some of the verbal ‘banter’ probably did not helpbut unlike some contributors to this site, I don’t think it left any lasting scars.. Ironically in the last few years I have been diagnosed with an accoustic neuroma, a very slow growing tumour (thankfully benign) in my inner ear that is destroying my hearing and balance nerves. I have been told it has probably been there some considerable time. Personally I blame it on being right next to Rory Gallagher’s speaker in the Toby Jug when taste were playing. Nevertheless I remember some good times and laughs with a handful of contempories, probably the best ones after I left. The brilliant careers dept. suggested I join either the police or the civil service. I chose the latter and found myself on the long commute from Claygate to Hinchley Wood Surtax office (one stop on the 42 line). 42 years later I am still working for HMRC having reached the dizzy heights of Inspector of Taxes (a now defunct title). Although offically I could retire this coming December I decided to take partial retirement last May and work half a week over two days. Quite happy to carry on like this a few more years as the ‘gold plated pension’ you all read about in the Daily Mail is not quite enough to kep me in the manner I would like.

    I got married in 1975, and still am, to Sue who I took to the school concert to see Writing on the Wall. We have a son and daughter aged 30 and 27 who both went to grammar schools in Bournemouth and thankfully, with parental encouragement, did much better than me obtaining
    degrees from Cardiff and Exeter. My son is married with two daughters aged 3 and 8 months, who, as proud grandparents, we dote on. I am currently working in Bournemouth and living in Verwood. Dorset.

    Some of my lasting memories of school are as follows:

    Seeing Mickie Cripps being caned by Taffy Davies at our first house assembly.
    Mr Cox, our first form tutor, with his chin in his hand ‘and there it is’.
    Jock Lancaster ‘You purse your lips and say ooooh and it comes out uuh’ (a scotsman trying to teach a french accent).
    Scum Turner ‘Germans, don’t talk to me about Germans. You can ask me to like em but you can’t ask me to love em.’ Particularly hurtful as I have a German mother.
    Being a Lady of London (said in the best David Walliams accent) in The Yeoman of the Guard.
    Sid Capper following a loud humming noise: ‘What’s that noise’. Smith comes the reply. ‘Smith, is that you’. ‘No sir’!
    Legs like jelly after being summoned to Gus Hillier’s office following a local resident’s complaint about a bunch of yobs riding their noisy motor bikes up and down the road. Surprisingly no corporal punishment, just a verbal warning. Perhaps the result of Mark Sheridan’s dad’s influence?
    Riding pillion without a crash helmet on Chris Sammes’ GT200when he took the bend at the bottom of Wayneflete hill too fast (showing off to the Wayneflete tarts) and skidding towards a car. Thankfully no serious injuries.

    While on the subject of vehicles; Collards brand new Honda 250 on his 16th birthday, Nigel Spearing and his BEEEEEEEEE 40, Chadwick’s mighty Ariel 500, Eddie Cochrane’s LI150.

    I also remember well my first ‘trip’ during a Hawkwind concert at Kingston Coronation baths and ending up at Kingston hospital. Thanks to Alfred E Neumann (Irvine) for that.

    I still have tha school photo and also one of the Minnows rugby team under the auspices of Fry. We were the equivalent of the Misfits (not quite top drawer players such as Stroud, Crozier and Kelsall et al. If I can I will try and get it scanned onto this site if anyone is interested.

    That’s all for now.

  335. Hi Mike

    I left SCGS and entered the Surtax Office in August 1965 (leaving in late 1968). What are your equivalent dates?

  336. chris rackley says:

    morning stuart , remember the surtax office well , the marathons with pat harrigan always arguing about arsenal when talking to pat , working from home this morning thats how i picked up the e-mail
    best regards
    chris rackley

  337. Mike Gibbons says:

    I was there from March 1970 until I transferred to Lincoln income tax in 1975 (the only place we could afford a decent new house). Put up with those funny northeners’ ways for two years then back down to Basingstoke.


  338. Mike Gibbons says:

    Amendment to earlier post: Jock Lonsdale not Lancaster

  339. dave littleproud says:

    In the 1950s smoking outside school,like murder in the wider world, and riding your bike on the pavement were regarded as serious misdemeanours. Anyone who didn’t clock that was either blind or stupid.
    To my young perceptions I found Doig to be aloof, pompous and probably arrogant. As did some of the staff. Which was what a 1950s headmaster was expected to be.
    In my admittedly few face to faces with him I found him to be fair, honest and helpful. Pre O level he gave us extra maths lessons in his own time . In my eight years at SCGS i saw nothing untoward ,heard of nothing untoward. Hiller and Scum were off the wall and something should have been done. But to my recollection we were a riotuous bunch ,paricularly to Sid Capper who had a heart of gold. I think i deserved my punishments -i can’t recollect any that were unfair.
    Is there any correlation between crime rates then and now and levels of punishment -if you murdered then you were hanged -now it’s a telly and an OU degree! And if a caning for smoking put you off smoking then you’d been done a favour! For all it’s faults I think SCGS turned out a better product than today’s Grange Hills and Waterloo Roads.

  340. Dr Charles Clark says:

    I was at the Rory Gallagher gig at the Toby Jug Club and I saw Hawkwind as well at Kingston Poly if I remember correctly. There was so much good music around the area in those days. Art school, poly, Eel Pie island, Toby Jug Club, and various pubs in Kingston and Richmond. Remember L’Auberge in Richmond? Three Fishes in Kingston? I remember seeing Led Zeppelin at the Toby Jug club who were brought in at the last minute because Ainsley Dunbar Retaliation had cancelled.Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf – amazing days.
    I also remember Cripps being caned even though I was in Lovelace House. I was a mate of Chris Sammes and we stayed into third year sixth together. Nigel Spearing (omg ???) I remember and his best mate Duffy. Collard and his bike. Oomph and Sutherland? Felix Dennis did all right for himself as did Marcus Plantin (bastard) and a head boy who ended up as a rear vice admiral?
    I think I remember you actually? Ere old mate? You were in the scooter brigade and more mod than hairy blues person? Keith Jefferies? Jif? Gaf club? JB? Tony Martin? I dunno. I am a sad old man retired as a chartered forensic psychologist and now working as an adult education inspector for Ofsted.
    SCGS was a very strange phenomenon. Some masters were very cruel to the boys. Some boys very cruel to the masters – I agree that Sid Capper especially was subject to their pranks. I was groomed to go to medical school and got an offer of three Cs from St Georges. I failed to get in as I got two Cs and a D due to having a beautiful girlfriend, being stoned a lot of the time and just loving the music scene. Ronnie Scotts, 100 club, some club in Soho which was in a converted church ( Cousins)? Good job too as I would have made a useless doctor. I have spent 30 years in forensic psychology as a practitioner and as an academic and I feel at home with psychopaths. SCGS taught me to take care of myself as no one there showed any interest. Careers guidance was non existent, staff were basically incompetent with the exception of a few like Julian Ashdown and Attree, a biology master. Mo Morris was totally hopeless and a nasty bastard as was other teachers there. Hacket was a predatory paedophile who I actually stopped abusing a young boy in the chemistry prep room. I should have reported him but in those days ……..
    What does not kill you makes you stronger – I was stronger as a result of going to SCGS. What a shit school. I remember the Nighthawks and also Ron Geesin being at one of the sixth form disco dances?
    I want to see the picture that was painted by Bill Busby (art master who got very excited slippering boys) of the funeral hearse that used to be on the wall in the school hall next to psychopath Ted Hillier’s office. It was very good and Busby was a pervert. Loved pulling jackets up and pulling trousers tight before he slippered you. I hope this wont affect our relationship laddie? He used to leer with his coloured shirts and his bow ties.
    SCGS was crap and I was lucky to progress beyond it to have a very successful career in forensic psychology, academia and ultimately adult education inspection. The school taught me to be independent because it offered no advice, support, guidance or even basic satisfactory teaching. It was crap.
    Whatever happened to Roy Goodwin? He was bullied mercilessly and he was very bright and articulate. Captain Scarlet?
    Is Bridden still alive after being forced to suffer an asthma attack in the prefects room with us jumping on the horsehair sofa?
    What about Gruntler? Nasty little shit who licked Mo’s botty and was involved in the scouts?
    I have said enough. SCGS was not a nice place and those of us who did well did so because we learnt that we had to do it for ourselves.
    BTW Bas Hunt – I see you on reunions and you need to know that a mate of mine had a breakdown because of you beating him with a slipper. Is it right that a grown overweight man hits an eleven year boy as hard as he can with a gym shoe? just think about it?

  341. TIM HARRISON says:

    An intriguing little update on a couple of four-month-old postings:

    Roger White says:
    July 23, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Ahhh, records! c. 1963/64 had the hots for a girl who worked in the presumably long-gone basement record department of an electrical store on the North side of Victoria Road. Hours spent after school listening to tracks I didn’t really want to buy in the vain hope that she’d fancy me. I don’t think the SCGS uniform helped. All wasted time.

    Robert Ireland says:
    July 23, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I thought I ws imagining a basement record shop in Victoria Road. Thanks for the confirmation, Roger. Anyone remember its name? My first record bought there: ‘Poetry in Motion’ by Jonny Tillotson. I wasn’t really able to afford ‘proper’ records and often bought the cheap Woolworth covers. I have tried to recall the label that Woolworths used. Any ideas?

    I tracked down the old record shop… while having my haircut on Saturday morning! The woman who was trimming my tresses confirmed that her shop, New Expressions Hairkuts, was run in the 1980s by a Turkish barber who had named the shop Peter’s Hairkuts. She kept the strange spelling of haircuts when she and a barber called Jim took it over in the summer of 1987. Anyway, before it was Peter’s Hairkuts it was indeed a record shop – probably dating back to the 1960s. What it was called is lost in the mists of time, but it was (and still is) the only split-level shop in Victoria Road, Surbiton. If you can use Google streetview, you can find it. The shop stands at 30a Victoria Road, next door to a cobbler/key-cutter. It is on the opposite side to Sainsbury’s, and is about half a dozen doors towards the station from the old post office building (now a Zizzy’s pizza restaurant). The old rickety wooden staircase survives. It once led down to the gloom of the shelves of records and the old sound booths. Curiously, the staircase is at the very front of the shop, rather than the more usual position at the back, so it is visible through the shop window.

  342. Mike Kemp says:

    Tim: did you ask to look downstairs? You may have found some collectors item, or even the skeleton of an old Surbitonian who was bricked up while still trying to catch the eye of that shop assistant…

  343. I think the Woolworths label was ‘Embassy’.

    I bought a cover version of Bobby Vee’s ‘Rubber Ball’ in 1960 not realising that it wasn’t the real McCoy.

  344. Roger White says:

    Tim – wonderful. Yes, when I wrote my original post I also had had a look at Google Streetview but couldn’t quite pin the location down. Robert bought Poetry in Motion. I bought The Essex singing ‘Easier said than done’ (Q Who? What? A Did I really want it? No, but the girl serving put it on while I was browsing and I thought that if I asked for it she might fancy me…Bizarrely naive and hopeless of course. 1963 – was that the last year I was supposed to wear a cap? Presumably also didn’t add to any sex appeal I might have possessed.

  345. chris rackley says:

    yes i think the woolworth record label was embassy ,had a red centre, i have a record by rod stewart on the marks and spencer record label , best record shop in town was the cymbeline opposite bells music almost next door to the victoria , i used to import a lot of early elvis from france through there

  346. chris rackley says:

    does anyone remember the ginger girl in the record shop in fife road ,near to bentalls , almost next to the snooker club , does anyone remeber the snooker club

  347. Dr Charles Clark says:

    I remember the record shop opposite Bells music. The chap who owned it was really good at finding obscure records and was really helpful. I remember the snooker club near to what used to be called the ‘hot air entrance’ to Bentalls. I worked in Bentalls on a saturday when I was at SCGS. Made some good freinds – Dave Raphael who now heads a very successful blues band and John (Junkie) Rowat to name just two. Kingston was a really great place for music and hanging out in the churchyard and coffee bars.

  348. Richard day says:

    The Temperance Billiard Hall.Played there about every day summer of1962 ,before going up to Edinburgh.Played mainly with Mick Chandler Phil Lucas

  349. chris rackley says:

    went into the snooker club one night came out in broad daylight and could not believe that i had played [usually very badly ]all night had to get mum to call in sick to the school ,i used to hang out in the churchyard , had a fight once there and fell on a grave and broke my arm , i needed you then doctor clark where were you when i needed you -best regards

  350. Seventiessurvivor! says:

    Hi guys. Interesting to read all your comments. I was at Esher Grammer – as it became – from 1973-1980 when most of the teachers from your days were still there, albeit a little older and (possibly) a little less sadistic. Your pen portraits of them all are pretty bang on. But if any of you think your experiences left something to be desired you should have seen the place in the 1970s: it was like Lord of the Flies. Because it was transitioning from a Grammar School to a 6th form college it had lost all sense of direction and the bullying from the pupils (not the teachers) was horrific and vicious. It was essentially a microcosm of all that was worst in 1970s Britain. Half the teachers were old school and the other half progressive ‘call me Kev’ types into radical politics. Aspiration was pitifully low and you felt you were in an institution that was dying on its feet. There was only one year beneath mine and after that the school was extinguishing itself. I had a horrendous time at this school – so bad that I don’t even want to append my name to avoid identification – but in comparison with some of the local secondary schools (Bishop Fox School anyone?) I realise that I was still relatively lucky. On reflection the most valuable lesson I think I can draw from my time at this place was that if you are unhappy/failing in an institution/workplace/ whatever then your only option is to leave and move on somewhere else Go anywhere and do anything but stay and rot and be miserable in a place you can never change.
    I could gripe with the best of you about some of the teachers you remember. Looking back, though, I can’t help feeling that the teachers – and there were some very good ones – were as much a prisoner of their circumstances and environment as the kids were. So many of them had been to Oxbridge and yet they’d ended up working in this second division Grammar School sticking it out towards their pension like something out of a Philip Larkin poem. In retrospect I feel sorry for them.
    This blog is really fascinating and well written. Has anyone thought of somehow collating some of these memories and turning them into a history of the school?

  351. John Sammes says:

    Talk about fascinating and well-written – thank you so much for sharing this intriguing critique.

  352. Dr Charles Clark says:

    Very interesting. I spent a third year in the sixth form from 1971 until 1972 as I screwed up my A levels because of sex, drugs and rock and roll. I dont blame the teachers as they didnt teach. They postured in gowns and smoked fags or disgusting pipes – Hacket, Davies, and Morris. Seventiessurvivors perception accords very well with my experience of SCGS. It was appalling with no direction. When I left there was a mix of old school no hopers who were no longer allowed to beat and abuse and the new “trendy Wendy brigade” who were very well intentioned but abused by the pupils. Especially Julian Ashdown who was an inspirational teacher and really well intentioned. He treated us all with respect which was such a shock I am ashamed to see it was abused. Standing joke was what happened to my Nostromo homework which never materialised. He encouraged me to write and I ignored him as I was forced into medical school application which never materialised thank goodness. Medicine law or you aint worth anything. What irks me most is the fact that my parents were so proud that I got into a grammar school and bust a gut to afford the ridiculous school uniform, games kit and all the other stuff. It was so bad and such a waste.
    As I have said before I have had a brilliant career and I am now 59 and going to continue working for a few years yet of my own accord as I love my work. SCGS contributed nothing to my success or happiness and apart from a few dear friends who unfortunately I have lost contact with it was the most miserable five years of my life. Sixth form was good due to sex, drugs and rock and roll all of which were freely available in Kingston and Richmond.
    Only other memories are that the chap who used to mow the lawns used to deal really good sticky black.
    Animo et fide pergite.
    Very true – you needed courage and faith to persist and survive the brutal regime.

    In the dhamma.

  353. Derek Thorogate says:

    Do you know I have been reading the comments of Doctor Charles Clark for a while now and I am convinced that the agenda is revenge. Revenge in the form of everybody getting so fed up with the unending diatribe from a Doctor with such a huge chip on his shoulder that despite the years of sex and drugs and rock ‘n roll of such a popular cool kid buddies with all – that nobody will bother making any contributions to the blog from fear of the Doctor going into yet another rant.
    Having mixed with a goodly bunch of psychopaths for a few years the good Doctor is now inflicting himself on Ofstead – and at only 59 it appears that there’s a few years left in the twisted vitriolic old bore yet.
    Well I have had my rant and think that I won’t bother with this blog any more – leave it to the Doctor I say.

  354. Dr Charles Clark says:

    I think you need help my friend.

  355. Mike Kemp says:

    Fascinating how the contributors here divide into the used and abused with enduring contempt and hatred, and those who seemed to have had no problem (a camp that I luckily fall into). Is it because it was possible to get off on the wrong foot at the beginning, and the thereafter be labelled as a troublemaker and be left with six years of conflict? Or just the natural range of reactions of the adolescent learning to conform to the adult world?

    Perhaps, more than a interesting history as our 70’s survivor (exactly 10 years after my time there) suggests, this blog would provide research material for an investigation into the psycho-dynamics of the school experience, especially in the mid twentieth century.

    That’s a free PhD idea to someone out there.

  356. Oh, Derek! Perhaps you regret your rant in the cold light of sober day. 🙂
    The value of this blog is that it has allowed everybody a voice. I was pretty anonymous in my time at SCGS but I had the occasional run-in with a sadistic prefect (Southerby-Smith springs to mind) and observed some malicious canings by ‘Taff’ Davies. However, I also remember being a participant in some nasty behaviour towards Sid Capper. We were merciless with the poor man and I regret my part in that. I was also abusive towards fellow pupils who weren’t able to ‘fit in’ with the rest. I remember a boy called Michael Morris being a victim of this non-violent bullying. He would probably have been diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum these days and offered some protection. If you’re out there reading this Michael I’m sorry for my (relatively minor) part in your torment.
    What I’m trying to say, Derek, is that the experience of being a pupil at SCGS was a varied one dependant upon all sorts of random factors. If you weren’t fortunate enough to be a well-adjusted, physically and mentally blessed rugby player then it was more likely to be a negative one.
    Each one of us merits their space here. This is the point of it, isn’t it?

  357. Derek Jones says:

    This blog really is fascinating. My experience at SCGS (1957-62) bears little or no similarity to anything I read here. I believe to this day that the education I received there was streets ahead of that of any of my contempories who went to Hollyfield Rd or Hinchley Wood, and provided me with a good start in my working life.
    I was a less than industrious student but left with 6 O levels nonetheless. I had no experience of the sadism described here. I took one (deserved) caning, three strokes, from Fred Fernyhough, but that was about it. My time there was a breeze.
    In the latter two years there I used to turn up to school only when I felt like it – routinely missing assembly and wheeling my bike up the main drive past Doig’s office at 10.00 or 11.00 in the morning. Nothing happened to me as a result.
    My major concern there was trying to avoid the predatory approaches of paedophile Old Boys and their pals in the senior school. I won’t name names but there were a few. I and a couple of others in my year were certainly poof magnets.
    I did play Rugby and box for the school but I certainly wasn’t one of the sporting elite so I don’t believe that was a factor, although I have to admit that K.G. Fry took me under his wing a bit in a sporty kind of way, for boxing anyway. Maybe I was just considered a lost cause and duly ignored :-). Maybe also, I was just oblivious to what was happening around me – although I don’t recall anyone ever discussing or complaining about their treatment there.
    I think that maybe the only downside of attending there was that I was ostracised by all my pre-SCGS pals who went to “secondary school”. No great loss in the big picture.
    That’s my take on SCGS for what it’s worth ………………

  358. Mark Sheridan 1964 - 1971 (1972) says:

    I agree with Robert, except for one point. Bullying is neither non-violent nor minor. It may sometimes be non-physical, but it is always violent and leaves mental bruising. And those who participate in a “minor” way or observe without getting involved are empowering the bullies. When you are faced with a large number of hostile opponents, it really does not matter how many of them actually abuse you. They are all equally guilty. The damage that their minor involvement causes is far greater than the feeling of satisfaction that they get.
    I would also like to point out that the relationship between a teacher and his students is lopsided. There is no correlation between the abuse that a teacher can perpetrate on a student and the other way round. The effect is completely different. Sid Capper is a case in point. When I knew him, he was completely past it. He was the butt of numerous pranks, most of which he did not even recognize, and those he did catch on to, he forgot about immediately so that they could be reused. Try pulling the same stunts on some of the other teachers and see what would happen to you! But the teachers could bully the students with impunity.
    SCGS at no time taught you to understand the other party’s point of view and I see from the blog that most of us have not learnt the art since. There are those that floated through SCGS with no problems and there were those who were badly damaged by the experience. Everyone else fits somewhere between the two extremes, I don’t know where the median lies. I would just like to point out that Charles Clark and I were opposites at school, different in ever way, did not run in the same circles, and yet we both have similar issues with the administration. Albeit that we have been effected to different intensities.

  359. I stand corrected, Mark. ‘Non-physical’ is more appropriate. But I will take issue with your other point – I didn’t say that it was minor bullying but that my part in it was minor ie I was not a ring-leader. I accept that this is me trying to minimise my part in what, in retrospect, was a hateful business. I’m very aware of the adage: ‘all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing’ and would like to think that fifty years on I’d act differently. In my defence, I was but a callow youth.

  360. Mark Sheridan 1964 - 1971 (1972) says:

    Robert, read it again. You will see that my point was that not being the ring leader is not an excuse. There is no minor bullying. Bullying is bullying, you cannot qualify it or quantify it. Like being “a little bit pregnant”. People modify their behavior with age and experience, but not their nature. If someone was a follower then, he will be a follower now. If he was a bully then, he will be a bully now. By the way if you look up “callow” in the dictionary, you find that it comes from an old word meaning bald. So apparently, I still am callow!

  361. I think we’re in agreement, Mark. Except that I’m feeling bad and repentant about what I did but you want to ‘beat me up’ for it.

  362. By the way. Sorry about the name-change earlier. WordPress was taking issue with me using my non-de-plume on another site and my proper name here. It looks like normal service has been resumed.

  363. Mark Sheridan 1964 - 1971 (1972) says:

    Robert, just using you as an example to others. I learnt that from Hillier at SCGS. There no point in feeling sad and repentant, it happened a long time ago. Just send money! Seriously, if you feel bad about it, go find the guy and say sorry. Then forget about it. The healthiest thing is to resolve one’s issues. Mark Gillette (See I can name myself after a razor too!)

  364. Russell Barnes says:

    F.a.o. Frank Nowell (and any contemporaries from the early 1950’s):
    Hello again, Frank. Before this Jubilee Year is out, I must respond to your earlier question re. E2R’s Coronation in 1953. I’m afraid I can’t recall any particular events at SCGS connected with the Coronation, but I do recall all of us in the Junior School processing to the Main Hall early in February 1952 to listen to the announcement of the Queen’s accession. I remember the solemn formal tones of the announcement coming from the large wood-framed loudspeaker set up on the platform.
    On the subject of the Main Hall, and on a seasonal note, do you remember our first Christmas lunch which was held in the Hall (i.e. December 1950)? A very warm and friendly occasion, as I recall it, thanks largely to the efforts of Mrs Clark, the cheerful, energetic lady then in charge of school lunches. The prefects brought our meals to us at our various tables and Mrs C. tossed us sweets and tangerines. Altogether a great treat in austere 1950!
    Reading other contrutors’ comments above, I’d just like to add my own grateful tribute to masters such as Geoff Harris-Ide, Jock Lonsdale, Alan Bolt, K.G. Fry and Bert Forward, who helped provide a good start to our schooling at SCGS and of whom I retain many very positive memories.
    All the best, Russell Barnes.

  365. Ken Percival says:

    Thank you Russell for some positive/neutral comments – The blog was in danger of getting into a bitter slanging match between opposite camps whose experiences were poles apart.

    Special message for Derek Thorogate – I looked on zoopla (website for up to date house prices) and guess what? a 4 bed detached house on the Tudor estate has recently been listed at £805k and, furthermore, 3 bed semis on the Tudor estate (like wot we wos brunged up in) are going/recently gone for £550k. Methinks it’s to do with being in the RB Kingston catchment area for grammar schools and also catchment area for Latchmere Primary and the little Church of England primary school in Park road whose name escapes me for the moment.
    Last time I was at my Mum’s house in Tudor Drive I went to pay her paper bill at the newsagents in the Tudor Parade of shops – Mrs Patel, the proprietor, proudly told me how her 11 year old daughter was starting at Tiffin Girl’s the next month!

    Derek! If we were teenagers now our escape route would be X factor perhaps – when we both had hair we could be the Brit version of JEDWARD – we would be KENDEL with Tulisa as our mentor innit? Why “bovver with lernin” when there are so many opportunites for youngsters now!!

  366. Richard day says:

    How does anybody afford a house in England these days?

  367. John Davies ('58 to '65) says:

    The bank of Mum and Dad lends them them a big deposit. (Note that In this useage the verb “to lend” means “give”)

  368. Ken Percival says:

    parents giving help to their children for house buying also has capital tax implications. The parents must survive for 7 years for the gift to fall out (on a linear taper basis) from this tax. Also inheritance tax is levied at 40% over the modest 250k exempt band.

    Yeah I know – parents give it over in under £10k batches of cash (limit for money laundering reporting obligations by banks) and pretend to taxman that they just wasted it. All easily evaded so long as one thinks it’s OK to do this?

  369. Phil Seaman says:

    Catch up Ken!! IHT level was £325k and will go up to £329k next budget, so they say! So times two if both parents married means a total exemption of £650k going up to £658k in 2013.
    The answer to Richard’s question is they need a huge mortgage. Paying it back is the problem. We started out in 1965 with a mort of £2850 which seemed quite scary! This was increased to £22k in 1980 – bring out the incontinence pads!! Now our kids borrow £150 -£250k as we are too mean to “lend/give” them major help!! Also you never know when/if you will need to access some of your savings. With a son in Oz and a liking for holidays we spend our kids’ inheritance on a regular basis!! Long may it continue. An early Merry Xmas to all our readers!!

  370. chris rackley says:

    phil, the point you miss is that during the lifetime of my mortgage-now happily gone we were, like millions of others paying mortgage interest at 16.25 per cent , that was hard , at least todays kids dont have that problem

  371. Phil Seaman says:

    least of their worries I suspect, Chris!!

  372. Paul Leadbitter says:

    Gary Shepherd: perhaps the reason you can’t quite place me by name is because throughout my time at SCGS, I was called not by my real name, but by various nicknames, the least offensive of which was probably Ronnie Corbett.

    Merry Christmas to all!

  373. Gary Shepherd says:

    That makes a lot of sense – now I do remember – thanks for reminding me. Have a good Christmas .

  374. chris rackley says:

    A MERRY CHRISTMAS to all out readers

  375. David Pringle says:

    Merry Christmas, everyone.

    Is anyone actually in Surbiton right now? I ask, because I’m travelling down there today, 18th December, and will be staying for a couple of days. It’s too much to hope that my brief visit might coincide with an old boys’ meet-up — I know…

  376. dave littleproud says:

    I wish you and yours all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!!!!

  377. David Pringle says:

    And a happy New Year to Dave Littleproud and everyone else. I had my two days in Surbiton — 19th-20th December 2012 — but a bit lonely, it was, as there was no one around I knew… I stayed in the small hotel called Villiers Lodge, right next to the old site of SCGS, parts of which are still recognizable…

  378. Richard Day says:

    David I know what you mean.I would visit my parents in Chessington while they were still alive.This would always incluude visits to Sainsburys in Victoria Rd,Barclays Bank,alsoon Victoria Rd.,and as a special treat the Red Rose for Curry.Never once ,inabout 25 years did I bump into anyone I knew.

  379. John Selwood says:

    I really need to join this blog, My name is John Selwood. I was a pupil al the old site from 1961 onwards I think (Ken Percival’s year) and progressed to the Thames Ditton site for a while in the Sixth Form. I have huge memories of the school, all accurately recorded in my “loaf’, mainly positive, and all to be shared with you over the course of the coming months, In my humble opinion, the pupils of SCGS were very lucky. Of course I accept that bullying and much worse were endemic. But nevertheless the school added a richness,of experience to my life (and maybe yours too) and a dimenson to to it that even now, at the age of 64 will not be told to go away. For the father was also a Surbitonian. He was a contemporary of the sixties teacher Bolt (Christian name??) and many of the teachers who taught him also taught me too. Ken Bidmead, Bert Forward, Rupert Rose and Hayward (Christian name again??) were just four. There were others. In his day the Headmaster was AGF Willis. Not all the memories are going to be palatable to you all. Stovold, I remember you had a reputation as a prefect for doing your “clumping’ with an exta-heavy Bible, and at the tedner age of 11, I found out that this reutation was not undeserved. For those who know/rememeber me, I still live in Dubai, am still working as a pilot with Emirates where I fly the Airbus A380. Watch this space. Some good/very readable anecdotal stories follow. Am I the only person who still remembers Mrs. Gambling’s totally “wankworthy” stocking tops?

  380. Robert Ireland says:

    If you’re the Selwood I remember, your nickname was ‘Benny’ and you were a year ahead of me. I remember you as one of the characters who got into a number of scrapes so I look forward to your stories. I’m not sure it reassures me about the quality of people Emirates has flying its aircraft, though! Welcome.

  381. John Selwood says:

    Yes. Sorry to disappoint. That’s me. But the stories will not disappoint..

  382. Tony Smith says:

    Hello John
    I remember you as ‘ Benny’ !
    If you go back to the homepage and from the sidebar select ‘ B Robertson-Dunn pics ‘ – then NEVASA cruise – you are in a couple of the photos I’ve posted. Don’t know if you recall these events nearly 50 years ago ? It was a great trip. Had my18th birthday on the boat and was very very sick on Martinis.

  383. John Selwood

    Hi John

    I also remember you. I was in the year above you (but I’m still 64 – just!). I can’t recall how I became friendly with a boy from the year below but I do recall that we were pally for a while. I left in 1965 and so you may not remember me.

    Re our esteemed webmaster – Hedley Stovold – I too remember that he was seemingly a bit of a fierce one until you got to know him at which point one discovered that he was actually very nice (I’ve referred to him on a previous post in the same way – long before he joined the blog). I can’t say the same for all of the prefects from that time.

    I have had a varied career but for the last seventeen years have run a video production company (KLA Film and Video Communication) which caters for the corporate video market with clients such as Marks & Spencer and Clifford Chance LLP. So like you I’m still in harness.

    I look forward to reading your stories here.

  384. Ken Percival says:

    Dear John,

    Good to hear from you especially as you have balanced/positive memories.

    I think the “Benny” came from the Boss Cat cartoon which was on TV just after we all got home from school. It was the round face of Benny rather than his loyal support of “Boss Cat” which was the basis of the nickname.

    It’s uncanny that most of us, when recalling a fellow schoolmate, can also recall the House –

    you were Villiers I recall and would bet my house on it (not that it’s worth much here in Ireland)

    all the best KP

  385. Ken

    Your house is safe – John was indeed in Villiers. Like you this is one thing I seem to be able to recall for anyone and everyone I knew at SCGS.

  386. Mike Kemp says:

    That coloured stripe on the breast pocket made the house very obvious, didn’t it. Mine (Egmont) was green but wasn’t Villiers purple, I rather liked that colour. I think it appeals to a sort of tribal instinct, which of course is the same instinct that leads to racial and other prejudice, especially for overt differences. In the case of schools, I suppose it is to generate competition.

  387. Dr Charles Clark says:

    Egmont – green
    Villers – blue
    Coutts – red
    Lovelace – purple

  388. Mark Sheridan 1964 - 1971 (1972) says:

    Coutts – red
    Egmont – green
    Lovelace – purple
    Villiers – blue

  389. Mark Sheridan 1964 - 1971 (1972) says:


  390. Tony Townsend says:

    Hi all,

    I am sure Villiers was blue- I’ve still got my school scarf with its blue stripe somewhere. Its been all over the world. Welcome Benny I was in year after you, like Rob Ireland, and I too look forward to your stories

  391. chris rackley says:

    tony villiers blue — it was a pale blue a sort of manchester city blue

  392. ken Percival says:

    The rigid uniform including caps I suppose was a great motivator to aspire to senior prefect, perhaps?

    There was that ugly transition stage ( normal prefect) where the gold braid was very like holiday camp reps garb – I remember my Mum rushing out for the braid and sewing it on over the weekend and waving me off at the front door not realising I felt a complete arse! I had to endure a full school year of that fancy dress.

    But then there was the ultimate – senior prefect – no gold braid – no blazer badge and just the discrete tie with repeated Lion of St Mark. Very grown up in an understated way

    I was only a senior prefect for 3 weeks (got a clearing place in the October) but I recall coming home from first day of new school year in that September and,having been told of senior prefect status, off my own bat I unpicked the braid and blazer badge! I had also earmarked a new blazer in the not too distant future – ie not one that was the felt type material of lower order blazers but one with a slight sheen to it.

    As I say – it only lasted 3 weeks – I then joined the ranks of the undergraduate world where smart dress was definitely not on – and if I am truthful I never did recover that brief desire to look smart !!

    C’est la vie!!

  393. chris rackley says:

    evening ken , never made it to prefect status , never made it to uni either , had to join the real world and get a job , luckily i ended up with a commercial apprenticeship at british aircraft corporation at brooklands studied business at kingston polytechnic , would recommend this route to any kid now ,i think this route into work is sadly lacking in todays world you grow up much quicker in industry especially in a world leading organisation as british aircraft corporation was , one of my sons went to uni was on his third job before he learnt how to work and what life was all about

  394. ken Percival says:

    I quite agree Chris about an industry based learning and career progress in the good old days. I have blogged this before, I think, but Private Eye worked out that the most useless degree in UK was Media Studies from Hatfield University. I suppose learning Mandarin Chinese to degree level is now the best bet for any far thinking young person today given the state of manufacturing in the western world.

  395. Mike Kemp says:

    That prefect thing was a bit weird wasn’t it, putting kids in power over other kids. I suppose it’s education in subjugation for a life of being told what to do. I did get made a “house” prefect but got the wrong tie (that one with the repeated logos) so was firmly put in my place by those who relished the authority. Uni was an easy path into a few years of great fun and meeting diverse people, and seen from this side was a great mind expansion that I would not have missed.

  396. Today (18 January 2013) is ten years since the Canberra bush fires
    This was my experience:

    I’ve since moved back to Sydney – twice.

  397. chris rackley says:

    morning ken
    ,thanks for your reply, spent a lot of time in china, buying furniture, aluminium and steel items , at business level you dont have to worry about mandarin or cantonese , i spent a lot of time in the ghanzou area[which is todays name for canton] a city of over 20million and that and shanghi are where the industries are settled ,ghanzou is only about 150 miles from hong-kong which is a great advert for britian and gives good access to all of south china ,south china is a vast manufacturing area, but language is not a problem , the educated young business leaders talk english , the road signs are labelled in english and cantonese,the hotels all speak good english[but with wonderful chinese food] , its full of wonderful hardworking people
    with the row over the e.u. going on at the moment , the biggest assett this country has in the world is english everyone in business speaks it , and for one moment dont think that the yanks speak it , worked for a chemical firm based in cleveland ohio for 6 years and there were times when i did not understand a god-damn word the yanks were saying, our manufacturing is begining to come back , there are millions of rich chinese[there are 118,000 millionaires in shanghi alone] who want to buy rollers, bentleys, jaguars, range rovers and astons etc. they are also buying 20,000 passenger jets over the next 20 years , one pound in every four spent on aerospace in the world is spent in britian , the americans have made china their enemy , great opportunities for britain
    our future is not the rag-bag that the e.u. is , it is the growing countries of china, india, brazil and the asean group in south east asia [maylasia is in that group ]and presents wonderful opportunities for britain , very pro-british , speaks english and with a muslim connection back to the middle east .
    getting back to universities the first thing the universities need to do is to teach our kids to work hard and i think our kids go to university to play , drink and generally swan around[well my son did]but has learnt to graft since , the chinese all want success and are prepared to work damn hard for it

    best regards..
    chris rackley

  398. Cliff Harrison says:

    I’ve only just picked up on the thread running last Oct/Nov regarding waste-of-space teachers. Many were serious oddballs, and should never have been working with kids in the first place, or at least not in the 20th century, but there were a few who did help shape my life for the better. Bert Forward was a nice guy ground down a little by a lifetime of working with students, not helped by having Doig over him in his last few years. Jock Lonsdale was a no-nonsense but fair guy, and a good teacher, John Ferneyhough I found a good influence, plus a guy called(if I remember correctly) Smith , young and short who taught Physics. Bolt was probably one of the most “normal” teachers, but I’m afraid he never had much time for me, and I tended to get ignored in any teacher-pupil exchanges in his classes. Personally I found Gus Hillier’s bark worse than his bite, but given his wartime experiences I’m astonished he didn’t flip and wipe out half the school. Doig was, as so often repeated here, the ultimate pompous ass, and when I joined just a couple of years after his arrival, there was still much warm feeling around for Willis, something I suspect he found difficult to accept gracefully. But I do recall the G&S productions fondly, not least because it provided an accepted excuse for missing out on homework, and also for popping over to the adjacent pub for a “quick one” in costume (pirate/gondolier/policeman etc) after the evening’s performance. But was SCGS a seat of learning, or even a means to developing the character? Yes, but pretty marginally! Cliff Harrison (1954-62 Villiers)

  399. chris rackley says:

    morning cliff, teachers are still a waste of space , a bit of snow on the ground and our schools are all closed , tescos is open , my office is open , waitrose is open , trains running to london no problem , gatwick is functioning , but the schools are closed , people who have 13 weeks a year holiday grabbing a few days extra and the taxpayer pays , teachers cliff a waste of space 50 years ago , still a waste of space but a differrent waste of space , did sgs ever shut for snow , did we have 3 months of in the great winter of 1963

  400. david jardine says:

    David Jardine 1947 – 1955
    I have only just discovered this site and have been reading with great interest others’
    experiences at SCGS. There seem to be few of my contemporaries blogging, but I cant
    resist buying into the Doig discussion. When Doig took over from Willis who was a good
    man, one of the first things he did was to replace the school dramatic society with his own
    pet preoccupation namely Gilbert and Sullivan. I quite enjoy G&S but as one of the
    performers in the school plays I resented being forced into playing the judge in Trial by Jury
    followed by Bunthorne in Patience. I also felt for Mr Hayward who had run the dramatic society
    for some years and had been unceremoniously dumped. The school could have performed both.
    Equally clearly Doig did not want any comparisons to be made and taking over the cast
    of the last play meant that all he had to do was weed out the ones that could’nt hold a note.
    Prophetically the last play happened to be Sheridan’s Rivals. My recollection of Doig was that
    of a rather pompous man. My mother’s recollection was of a rather unpleasant person. But
    then, she was quite fond of Mr Willis, who was, she said a gentleman.

  401. Cliff Harrison says:

    David. It was interesting to read your view of the transitional period from Willis to Doig, and serves to confirm the latter’s self-importance. I was also intersted to hear of Mr Hayward’s involvement with the dramatic society, something I obviously knew nothing about. However I do remember your sterling performances in G&S while I was one of the most junior of erks in the school, I was one of the lovesick maidens looking up towards Bunthorne, the first of my numerous, totally undistinguished, appearances in operetta there. In fact I seem to remember that there was a revival of drama in the “house plays” around 1960 or 61, I had the role of the inspector in “Two Gentlemen of Soho”, A P Herbert?, in the Villiers production – not due to any particular abilities on my part, but because it involved learning a LOT of lines. I’m not sure they were continued though.

  402. John Davies ('58 to '65) says:

    There WAS a revival of the dramatic society in the early 60’s – “Antigone” July 1960, “A Man For All Seasons” 1964, “Much Ado About Nothing” 1965, and others(?) plus house plays. Can’t say I played any significant part – but I well remember four of us marching into a pub in full Beefeater rig -during the interval on the last night of “Yeoman of the Guard”. ( Four Beefeaters complete with pikes, driving round Surbiton in a mini – those were the days!)

  403. david jardine says:

    david jardine (’47 to ’55 )
    Thanks Cliff for the compliment. I too had a ” before your voice breaks ” role in a play called
    ” Baa baa black sheep” as a gormless servant called Emily Pottle. My only memory of this is
    getting shouted at by my mother for having laddered her stockings. I still have a photo of the
    cast standing in front of the footlights. In fact I have quite a collection of photos , mainly of
    sports teams of the early to mid 1950’s, Rugby, Athletics, Swimming. There’s even one of the
    school army cadets with ‘ Lefty ‘ Lefevre marching out in front, all magnificently in step. I am
    happy to share these if anyone is interested

  404. David

    re the photos. I’m happy to put them up on my site at
    You can send them to, preferably with some commentary.

  405. Mike Kemp says:

    I don’t suppose anyone has any recollections, or even photos, of an event that I took part in in 1964 or 1965 (before the move the Thames Ditton). A bunch of us who had passed our cycling proficiency test and received that triangular badge were taken off to a school in the Surrey countryside (some said it was actually an approved school for delinquents) to demonstrate our cycling skills. It was notable because the Duke of Edinburgh landed in the grounds in a helicopter – I think he was actually piloting it. We lined up and he came and talked to us. I recall he addressed a remark to me along the lines of “So you’re the guinea pigs are you?” to which I stammered some sort of response.

  406. Mark Sheridan 1964 - 1971 (1972) says:

    I still have my certificate, although I did not meet the Duke. I don’t know if it taught me much about riding a bike, but It showed me that “disabled” people aren’t. A kid with a hook instead of a hand rode a bike far better than I could.
    I found this on the net:

  407. Otto Polling says:

    I enjoyed finding this british pathé site through your direction, especially the “side-show” of 10 Amazing Transport Inventions. I left SCGS in 1945 to do an accelerated InterBSc. at Kingston Tech. In 1946 (summer term?) there was as I recall perhaps the first G&S production at the school with HMS Pinafore which I attended. I still hum the tunes sometimes in reminiscence This was in Mr Willis’ time, just before he retired.
    It’s a pity his successor failed to maintain the standards of behaviour and general conduct that had prevailed under AGF. I’m saddened at all the stories and rants that followed thereafter, and at the reported antics of later years. As a retired teacher (1953-1971) and advisory headteacher (1971-1987) I must protest at the sweeping general condemnations of the profession by some of you youngsters in the Oct/Nov blogs. Fortunately some of SCGS alumni remember the good teachers this school had. I was perhaps lucky to have enjoyed my years under Mr Willis’ team. And I am happy that a number of pupils and colleagues from my various periods of service continue in touch.

  408. david jardine says:

    david jardine ( ’47 to ‘ 55 )
    A comment on the teachers following the thoughts of Cliff and Otto. A teacher’s approach to
    pupils may well be influenced by the approach of the Headmaster to pupils. I read in a comment
    that John Fernyhough had caned somebody. This was at odds with the system of discipline that
    I recall. Each form had an ‘ entry ‘ sheet. If a pupil misbehaved he was given an entry. If he collected three entries during the term he went to the Headmaster and got three of the best.
    Nobody else was allowed to administer corporal punishment. Many of the teachers in the late
    1940’s and 1950’s were in their 40’s and 50’s . Many of them were too old to have gone to
    war. There was a lot of experience and wisdom and ability to manage classes of spirited boys.
    Of the ones that had gone to war there was experience of a different kind. Alan Bolt was a
    prisoner of the Japanese, Lefevre fought in the Royal Artillery in north africa. These were
    men who were perhaps not easily influenced by someone like Doig. They had served under
    a different set of standards.

  409. Robert Ireland says:

    By the time I was there (1961) Doig must have delegated his corporal punishment powers to housemasters. I vividly remember quaking with fear watching my first public flogging in the Coutts house assembly in the Chemistry lab. The perpetrator was Taff Davies and the boy was probably Hugh Rickard who seemed to be constantly in trouble. Taff seemed to take a great delight in taking a run up across the width of the lab right only inches away from us 2nd form boys in the front row.
    I don’t think we should ignore the casual slaps around the head meted out by other teachers like Ken Bidmead and Gus Morris.
    The formal corporal punishment was controlled by the ‘entry’ system but I’m sure my memory is not playing tricks – housemasters were able to cane and Taff Davies, for one, did not seem reluctant to carry out the duty

  410. DEAN HUMPHREYS says:

    Is the abiding memory of SCGS, for a few of the people on this site, of a place that was dysfunctional and sadistic? Were there any redeeming features to the school? It seems that the few who constantly denounce the school for its rampant and uncontrolled brutality are incapable of casting any positives on it at all. It’s a constant outpouring of anger which, one might posit the belief, is still pervading if not drowning them to this day.
    The essence of this site, I believe, is to share anecdotes of a much lighter touch – not to wallow in self pity and vent ones full to bursting spleen. I thoroughly enjoy being reminded of the idiosyncrasies and positives that abounded. To read about teenage pranks and the reminiscences and anecdotes of former pupils is wonderful.
    For those of you who constantly bang on and on about the damage that has clearly been caused to you due to SCGS then I suggest setting up another site as a counter balance to this one which, for me, is more akin to stories from St Trinians cross pollenated with the Bash Street Kids.

  411. Robert Ireland says:

    Seems rather an intemperate response to an observation, supported by my vivid recollection, that housemasters were also able to cane by the time I was in the school. I don’t recall anybody setting parameters for the site’s content. Take the rough with the smooth, Dean. Lighten up.

  412. dave littleproud says:

    “truth is the daughterof time” but we all have different perspectives of our own individual truths -so we should not hold back — let it all hang out— but include jokes and views of the non SCGS world as well

  413. chris rackley says:

    think i remember you , remember rickard he was always in trouble , there are three letters today all complaining , we are in a great position to judge the school as we all sit here at the end of our careers , did scgs set us up for life , in my case i have had some good jobs work for two of the biggest comapnies in britian and one of the biggest in the world , seen a lot of the world [on business mainly] and had a lot of fun ,got a nice wife and a couple of wonderful kids all in all i was pretty glad to go to to scgs, perhaps i could have gone somewhere better , but it is too late now i cant have the time over again

  414. DEAN HUMPHREYS says:

    My recollections are equally as vivid about the positives within the school. From reading the contributions that have been made to this site since its conception there does seem to be a delineation between the pupils who regale us with stories of a lighter touch and the ones with a propensity towards the darker side of the school – but there again one suspects that that outlook will pervade itself in ones day to day life.

  415. Cliff Harrison says:

    Whilst certain teachers had a tendency towards gratuitous minor violence – Parrott throwing wooden blackboard rubbers, Cocks giving fairly frequent slaps around the head, gus similarly the occasional slapround the ear, generally I think they were mostly done for the effect it created rather than being a manifestation of sadism or worse. Regarding floggings over the period I was at SCGS, 1954-62, I can recall only one instance being mentioned, and even then I certainly can’t recall a name, so I really don’t think it was something that had a major influence on our lives or behaviour. Rather more common were “lines”, which I was rewarded with on a single occasion, and detention. I’m not doubting others’ memories of events while they were there, but I don’t think it was a major problem for the majority of pupils. What I do recall are a fair number of teachers who were good and “nice” guys, of varying strictness and formality, who influenced my development for the better, a few who should never have been in teaching but who were otherwise pretty harmless, and a number whose very names filled one with dread, but whose paths I fortunately very rarely crossed. I do know that my relatively modest achievements since leaving would almost certainly never have been matched had I failed my 11+ and progressed through my local secondary school, so whilst my time could have been far more profitably employed, I remain grateful to the school for what it did for me.

  416. david jardine says:

    Re- Dean Humphreys,
    I’m with Robert Ireland and Dave Littleproud. Lighten up Dean. A recollection is a recollection,
    nice or not. Just ignore the ones you dont like and read the ones you do. The alternative is
    called censorship.

  417. Mark Sheridan 1964 - 1971 (1972) says:

    Physical punishments:
    64-65 under Doig: Cane by Head, Deputy Head and House Masters. Slipper, Plimsoll, ruler by various teachers. In addition various board rubbers, knuckles and other hard objects were used on heads. Prefects were also allowed to physically reprimand, usually a lot of shoving and arm twisting. Under Waller, the prefects immediately lost that privilege and the teacher violence was slowly reduced until even caning by the Deputy Head and House Masters was abandoned. I don’t think Waller ever caned anyone.
    Our year absolutely destroyed the entry system. One year there was a competition between the classes to see which one could run up the most entries in one term. The numbers ran into the hundreds so the system was abolished.
    And you are right, the school did teach me a lot of good stuff. It just did it in a way that left a bad taste. Like burning your hand on a barbecue. You do not remember the good food, just the painful burn. I try to emphasize the good or funny aspects while skirting around the nastier occurrences.

  418. david jardine says:

    That’s interesting Mark. It seems like the culture of violence, if you can call it that , flourished
    under Doig. It certainly didnt exist under Willis , and it must have taken a year or so to develop
    after Willis left with delegation to House masters and prefects. I left the school in 1955 and was vice captain in my final year, and I’m sure I would remember an established culture such as
    that described by Mark, with violence being dished out even by prefects. It’s interesting too that
    following Doig’s leaving , the violence declined. It’s just appalling that lives and memories have
    been blighted. Sweeping it under the carpet is not I think the answer. We have to listen with

  419. Bryan Turner says:

    This is amazing. For some reason over the past month or so I have been thinking about my school days in England at SCGS (1966-1968). I decided to search the web for any information and came across this blog. I came to England with my parents half way through 1996. My father was transferred with his work from Adelaide (where I still live). I have great memories of my time at SCGS.
    Little of those memories relate to violence by either teachers of prefects. This may of course have been attributed to Mr Waller the new Head Master at the time. It seems that prior to 1965, the school was a different place to what I experienced (or was I perhaps lucky ?). I found Gus Hillier reasonable, particularly if you supplied him with cigarettes you had confiscated from students caught smoking. Other teachers like Dr “scum” Turner, Busby, et al, I found just a little strange. “Bunny” Warren I remember as always cancelling sports heats. I also remember him responding to a request from a number of students who wanted soccer introduced into the school, by saying he would not have “that cloth cap game played in this school”. I had no idea what a “cloth cap” game meant.
    I made some very good friends during my time at SCGS. It was sad to read on this blog that Chris Forth had passed away. I remember him very well. I also remember you Robert “RC” Ireland as well as Derek Thorogate (who seems to have disappeared from this blog ?). “Jumbo” Howcroft, Mick Harding and John Bethel I also remember well. I wonder what they are doing these days?
    I have been back to the UK twice since leaving at the end of 1968. I caught up with Keith Thomas on one trip in 1980. He was a very good friend. At that time, he was teaching – I have since lost contact. My last visit was in 2009.
    I will be flying over to Paris via Dubai later this year on Emirates so perhaps that old Suburtonian, John Selwood, maybe flying the A380 !!
    Who was Mrs Gambling and are there any photos of her stocking tops ?

  420. Mike Kemp says:

    Bryan: Interesting story. Sounds like you must have been older than me – I had my 15th birthday in November ’66, and don’t remember any exotic Ozzies arriving. But I did miss all of ’67 and the first half of ’68 due to prolonged hospitalisation for hip joint problems, so probably had other things on my mind. FWIW I was never aware of any violence either, except perhaps from some prefects and the odd bully. The staff always seemed pretty well okay to me, with notable exceptions like totally weird “scum” as you mention, and a few one steered clear of (e.g. Bidmead, Peewee Hunt come to mind). Not to play down those who did experience nasty things, I must have been lucky I guess.

  421. Robert Ireland says:

    Bryan! Good to hear from you. I certainly remember your arrival – the exotic Aussie who, true to national stereotype, was good at any form of sport. One thing surprised me about your piece and that is that you didn’t arrive until 1966. I would have ‘remembered’ you being there much earlier – at the Surbiton Hill site, certainly. Shows how the memory is an unreliable witness.
    It’s good to hear that you have been thriving on the other side of the world.

  422. Bryan Turner says:

    Mike, there was an Aussie lad at SCGS prior to my arrival, by the name of Kaethner. I think he would have been at the old school site. His father worked in the same organisation as my father and we replaced them when they left to return to Oz.
    I am sure “RC” would remember him.

  423. Bryan Turner says:

    Hello Robert. I am retired now and I guess that is why I am thriving! You were more academic I guess where as I was always better at sport than study. I learnt to play rugby at SCGS as I deemed that a better option than running cross country in the fog, snow and slush. They were the only two winter sports offerings as I remember.

  424. dave littleproud says:

    What’s this—–Rugby -” a better option than running cross country in the fog, snow and slush” in 1960 we played rugby ” in the fog, snow and slush”–when it snowed Mr Jolly would mark out the pitches in black paint !!! Playing in the fog could be a bit dodgy tho –some people would cheat by hid in in the stuff!!!. .

  425. Bryan Turner says:

    Dave, how right you are. However, that’s what I naively thought when I started cross country. When I soon found out what playing rugby in the snow, fog and iced over pitches was like. It certainly was an interesting experience for me playing a sport when you could only see half (if that) the playing field. Great “fun”, in retrospect !
    I had never seen snow or really experienced fog before i came to the UK. We live a sheltered life below the equator!!

  426. Ian Calori (1957-1964) says:

    Hallo Bryan, I remeber you not from school, but I think you came down to the old boys club for a few games before you went home. I’m glad to hear that you are alive and well, and presumably approaching retirement. I have been involved with the old boys golf society in which there are a few people who you may want to contact, so here are their e-mail addresses: Keith Thomas is , and Mike Harding is Both are retired and well and I’m sure they would be delighted to hear from you. Wasn’t there another Aussie at about your time Stuart Praeter?

  427. Cliff Harrison says:

    Whilst cross country was often a muddy nightmare in parts of the route, I do remember one rugby game in a blizzard when we were so desperate for shelter we tried hiding – unsuccessfully – in the lee of the posts. Also does anyone recall the time at Hook, around 1957, when the adjacent cornfield caught fire just after the crop had been harvested: the remaining stubble burned in a strong breeze despite our efforts to trample the flames out, and eventually set fire to a large trailer parked up in the field.

  428. dave littleproud says:

    ← Surbiton County Grammar School – to 8/2011
    Surbiton County Grammar School – from 8/2011—-why,at the top of this page, is the first tranch of reminiscences,to 08/2011, given much smaller billing than the later after 08/2011, memories????
    Surely they should have equal billing ????? -Otherwise Hedley a brilliant job that I could not have done.

  429. Robert Ireland says:

    Yes, Bryan. I remember Kaithner. Was he one of the ‘golden generation’ – in the sixth form when I arrived in 1960/61? Another name I remember from that time was Keutanius. This was when the Daily Telegraph used to carry reports of senior schools’ 1st XV rugby games and the school was unbeaten all season. As I progressed through the school so the 1st XV lost its invincibility.

  430. Robert Ireland says:

    Hi again, Bryan. You don’t remember me that well if you’re calling me ‘academic’. I think one of the reasons I have mixed feelings about the school is because I fell through the gaps – being neither sporty nor any good at any subject other than English. The only teacher to recognise this was Mr Bolt and thanks to his encouragement I entered and won the school essay prize two years running. (My adolescent efforts can be found in the relevant ‘Surbitonian’ magazines and I blush to think about them.)
    However, I have fulfilled a lifelong ambition recently by having a novel published. It’s called ‘No Mean Affair’ and can be found on Amazon here: – paperback and Kindle versions available. (I’m using a pen name – Robert Ronsson – more info here:
    (Apologies to any of you out there offended by this shameless self-promotion but ‘thanks’ to those of you who feel interested enough to look it up and maybe even buy a copy.)

  431. chris rackley says:

    a message for ian calori
    ian i am glad that you are alive and well hope that life went well and there is still a lot more to come
    best regards
    chris rackley

  432. Bryan Turner says:

    Robert, I am unfortunately not an avid reader, unlike my wife. I will ensure that she discovers your literary works via her e-reader. The ‘Surbitonian’ magazine is refered to a number of times on this blog. I for some reason never remember seeing a copy.

  433. Robert Ireland says:

    In this webpage header you’ll see a tab ‘Surbitonian’. If you click on it you’ll be able to download pdfs of past issues. But your broadband has to be good the files can take a time. My book is available on Kindle from Amazon.Com. I hope your wife enjoys it.

  434. Bryan Turner says:

    Reponse to Ian Calori:
    Hi Ian. I do remember a few games for the Old Boys. I think their ground was near Cobham, not far from where I was living in Oxshott ? I also remember going to the club roooms one nignt for a ‘gentlemen’s evening’. Something I had never experienced previously !!
    Thanks for providing me with the e-mail contacts for Keith and Mike. It seems that many of us have taken up the game of golf as we got older. Despite a lack of talent, I persist !

  435. Ian Collins says:

    Regretfully I learned yesterday of the sudden death of my great friend Derek Yalden (1951/2-58/9), whilst on a short holiday in Forest of Dean. After retirement from his entire working life in the Zoology later Life Sciences Dept at University of Manchester, he spent his time studying and recording the wildlife of the Peak District. He was also an acknowledged expert on the mammals of Ethiopia, which came from his participation in John Blashford-Snell’s Blue Nile/Great Abbaye Gorge expedition. Great sympathy for his lovely wife, Pat.

    Ian Collins 1952/3-57/8

  436. dave littleproud says:

    I am so sorry to hear of the death of Derek Yalden. He was five years older than me but I remember him as a very nice person. His death is a great loss to academia, a sad loss to those Old Surbs who knew him and a tragedy for his family. He will be greatly missed

  437. Tony Townsend says:

    Bob Ireland you do yourself a disservice by describing yourself as not sporty.

    Don’t you recall those fabulous saves you made as custodian between the posts when we played for Tolworth Boys, and later for Hook Venturers, or am I just imagining things?

    I guess it must have been chilly at times guarding the goal as Chris Forth, Mike Harding, Andy Russell, Colin Hastings etc, rampaged upfield during those triumphant days in primary school.

    We’d never have done it without you!

    Rugby at Surbiton, of course, was another matter- a bit of a let down I remember that we Tolworth chaps weren’t allowed to go on with our football. The school could have had a champoin football team to rival the rugger buggers of the Keutanius era had we prevailed.

    Or am i still dreaming?

  438. Robert Ireland says:

    You’re very kind, Tony. If I remember the goalie at TJB was picked by being the 11th best player. In a school the size of TJB that was no great feat. You’re right about being seldom troubled because of the team in front of me and you musn’t ignore you’re own role as a nippy winger. I started to play outfield for Hook Roundabout XI (as I remember them) and Ditton Old Boys and was much happier. I’d never have ‘made it’ as a goalie – I never quite got to 5ft 10in. (Lack of NHS orange juice as a child.)
    As far as football at SGS is concerned, ours was a golden year – I remember a ginger-haired kid who was in Lovelace (Crocker?) who came from another school – and it was a pity the school didn’t provide an outlet for our brilliance. We used to arrive up to an hour early in the morning so we could play pick-up games. Being forced to play rugger caused quite a lot of resentment. Did the powers that be go so far as to try and ban football in the playground? Or was it just that we weren’t allowed to play with anything bigger than a tennis ball?
    In order to balance my tendency to be one of the negative ones about SGS I ought to say those playground games (five or six going on at the same time in all directions across the playground!) were great fun. Wouldn’t be allowed today – elf-n-safety.
    Another name has appeared in my brain – Vaughan – another Lovelace boy and (strangely) Crocker’s(?) uncle I remember.

  439. dave littleproud says:

    Although those of us who knew him will be feeling down about Derek i am able to bring some cheery news.
    On Tuesday I stopped off briefly at Joe Turners. Apart from ongoing health problems ( he celebrated his 80th birthday late last year) he was in good spirits. During our chat he asked after Alan Bolt so i said i would phone Alan. TRhis i did on wednesday and to my delight found Alan in good form . he is 93or 94. Apart form dodgy knees which confine him to a wheelchair he is very fit and lively. A long enjoyable gossip was terminated by the arrival of his evening sherry.

  440. Ian Collins says:

    Did you pass on the news re Harry Broadbridge to Alan Bolt? Although a couple of years younger than Harry, they were contemporaries in the 1930s. Harry could remember Alan’s 1st XV appearances.
    Incidently, Alan was my first form master in Sept 1952; 2C Braemar, smallest classroom at the top of the back stairs. Can remember everyone in the class bar one.

  441. Dr Bernard Robertson-Dunn says:

    I liked Joe Turner.. He taught technical drawing, which was my best subject for a while. It was a subject for those who couldn’t do Latin.

    I was not much good at the the time, but in the end, it was much more useful at university when I did Electronic Engineering.

    Joe was a good guy. He may not remember me but I remember him with affection. As far as I know, much to his credit, he never hit students

    Thanks for the update.

  442. Robert Ireland says:

    Yes, good to hear that Joe Turner is doing well. He was my first form-master – 2c in 1961. You’re right he was kind teacher, never hit a boy to my knowledge. Same goes for Alan Bolt.

  443. I was in 2C at Braemar with Alan Bolt in 1949/50, and Eddie Watkins for Maths and Rugby – then to 3C with Harris-Ide before going with Rodney Youlton as two of three Surrey CC assisted places to Charterhouse in 1951. (Harris-Ide gave us extra Latin lessons to cope with the Public School entrance exam – learned subjunctive in one hour flat!) Willis was my headmaster (and my father’s from 1926-9!) – I came back from Charterhouse specially for his farewell assembly around 1952-3. Anyone got Alan Bolt’s e-mail or phone details (send them to me privately at or know if Harris-Ide is still alive?

    David Maidment

  444. david jardine says:

    in response to dave littleproud.
    you mentioned Alan Bolt was still in good form when you spoke to him recently. Alan was our
    form master in 2c when I joined the school in 1947 aged 10. I have been in Australia since 1964 and have not kept in touch with the old school. I would like to drop a line to Alan, but I dont have
    his address. I can recall visiting Alan and his wife Alison ? , many years ago in their house ,
    some where near Cobham. Are they still there? . If you have his address or email, or even
    phone number I would be grateful. My email is Thanks.
    david jardine

  445. Mike Kemp says:

    Was “Tolworth Junior Boys” the same as “Tolworth County Primary School” (= TCPS which labelled the 4 spokes of the Maltese cross style badge, and as was drummed into us stood for something like “Truth, Courtesy,…” (can’t remember the other two). TCPS was in Douglas Road afair, but I haven’t found any reference to it on the web. I left in 1963 to go to SCGS.

  446. Mike Kemp says:

    And as I have mentioned before, I was very fond of Joe Turner who taught me art until I was not permitted it any more due to being a science/maths person. Under his guidance I was going to do an O level in art a year early to fit it in, but I was off that year in hospital and the council wouldn’t arrange for me to do the exam in hospital as it was a year early, so I never did it. Glad to hear he’s still going strong. Actually I remember painting some pretty dramatic pictures while in hospital, to get the frustration out of my system no doubt.

  447. Dr Charles Clark says:

    I remember Joe Turner with great affection. He gave us an introductory talk warning us off the multi tableted paintboxes our aunties may have bought us for christmas and advising us to buy Gouche in the five primary colours and big ones for Black and White. He also advised us to buy Oxhair brushes unless we could afford sable and to avoid squirrel. I remember this after 48 years – I was 11 years old and joined SCGS in 1964. He always dressed impeccably with snowy white desert boots. He treated everyone with great respect and never hit a boy.
    He will never remember me but I remember him and that is to his credit. He inspired me as did Julian Ashdown, an English teacher, who I am ashamed to say I did not appreciate at the time. I also remember a Biology teacher called Atree who was very good and went out of his way to engage us in our studies.
    There were a few who respected young people and did their best to help them.

  448. Mike Kemp says:

    Ah yes, I vaguely remember the advice on paints and brushes. I think he said that a good brush would naturally come to a point if wetted and shaken. I also a recall a lesson on op-art (very popular in the ’60’s) and a book called “New Isms in Art” which was the first time I had seen “ism” used a word by itself.

  449. Frank Nowell says:

    It came as a great shock to read (in the message from Ian Collins) of Derek Yalden’s death. I knew him when we were in the same class doing biological subjects for A level under Mr Morris’s guidance. He was a major stimulus in helping all in the class to interact, getting our ideas together and as a result doing very well. Although I lost contact with him as our pathways diverged (perhaps because he went to UCL and I went to KCL), I will remember Derek as a great friend whilst we were at school. I know Derek made important contributions to understanding the biology of mammals in Britain and he will be greatly missed.

  450. Dr Charles Clark says:

    Very sorry to hear of such a great pupils demise.
    As for Mr Morris –

    he was a total cunt

    He was not a teacher – he simply read out his lecture notes from university whilst chain smoking cigarettes and drinking mugs of tea brewed by his so called laboratory assistant who he was screwing in the back room behind the sixth form lab. He had a very unpleasant demeanour and always took every opportunity to belittle and insult young people.

    He used to get Hugh Rickard to get his beating stick for those young boys he abused.

    He gave me a rabbit to dissect and then told the second year pupil that he had asked to look after it during the summer holidays that I had murdered it. The little boy came into the lab as I was dissecting his pet. I have never forgotten it as indeed the little boy probably hasnt. I hope Mo Morris died in agony. He was a total cunt.

    Ask Keith Jefferies, Olaf Lippold, Dan Sargent, Paul Cooper (he is now something big in veterinary science), and the xenopus toads he tortured by feeding them to the axolotyls.

    Cannot believe that people have such fond memories of SCGS after Taff Davies beat boys in public including Cripps, that so many of us witnessed abuse, that so few ever got any careers advice or university advice, that so many saw Doig swirl into the asembly hall in his gown to announce the beatings, that anyone would care about the death of his wife, that quality teachers such as Julian Ashdown, Joe Turner, Nutty Bolt, Bomber Lancaster, Herr Fifer, etc etc were so revered and respected because they did not abuse boys. Hello Basil Hunt with your huge slipper that you used to hurt and abuse young people – shame on you – you are a bully and you damaged friends of mine. Hello – Bill Busby – you beat young boys with their shorts pulled tight over their bottoms – mmm exciting eh? You are a total fucking pervert and I hope you die in hell.

  451. Tony Townsend says:

    Bob Ireland… I believe the ginger haired playground soccer whizz you remember from SCGS was Gary Meads from Ham, who was indeed a spectacular talent. I once met a chap, who went to primary school with him, here in Sydney. Gary was also good at rugby as well.
    The Vaughan you remember was probably Roger Vaughan from Chessington who was an accountant, who worked for a time with for the Moody Blues rock group. I’ve no idea what happened to him after that.He was a good footballer too.
    I wonder if the Crocker you remember was Kevin (?) Crocker from Tolworth Boys who I seem to remember laid claim to be the uncle of another boy at the school ( Michael Page?) who was actually older than he was! Maybe Page’s Mum was an older sister of Crocker’s. I believe he came from the “Crocker the Coalman” family at Tolworth. All this may, of course, be a bit jumbled up in the memory, but there again maybe not!
    And to Mike Kemp, Yes Tolworth Boys was at Douglas Road. At last report it was still there.

  452. Robert Ireland says:

    Bloody Hell! Have you got this all written down somewhere? Right on all counts. Gary Meads – tick. Roger Vaughan – check. Kevin Crocker and Michael Page – check. Page was also in the TJB football team. What’s it like in Sydney at the moment? I have very fond memories of the city from my two short business visits. I envy you if you’ve had one of those cross-bay ferry commutes.
    For Mike Kemp – TCMP was the mixed primary on the same site as TJB. The girls went on to a separate Junior School on Ewell Road opposite the Douglas Road junction. Although the buildings were joined they had different entrances and the two playgrounds were separated by iron railings. Peculiarly, one of the few things I remember about TCMP was that, from the Douglas Road entrance, we had to walk past bunkers full of coke or coal that was fed into the boilers to keep the place warm.

  453. Robert Ireland says:

    Dr Clark – I don’t know you but I share some of your memories of the place. I have been admonished for excessive negativity about SCGS. I am against censorship but I am pro-moderation.
    Perhaps in the cold light of (sober?) day, you may regret the intemperate nature of your latest entry. I hope you do.
    Your contributions are valid inputs to the debate about whether or not SCGS was a good school but I suggest that your posts are more potent when they are less emotional and abusive.

  454. Dave Roberts says:

    I had very few dealings with the lovely Mo Morris but I do remember him having an immaculate pair of teeth. He did actually give up smoking and took great delight in telling anyone who would listen that he could now taste food and smell the air. When invigilating an exam, he disturbed everybody by walking round the hall sniffing and exhaling loudly for the entire time. As I recall, he died of a heart attack not long after as a result of the stress of giving up the fags, quite common I understand. That would have been around 1971.

  455. Ian Calori (1957-1964) says:

    For Bryan Turner,

    Yes the Old Boys ground was and is still in Cobham. The club has changed though and become Cobham Rugby Club. Nearly all Old Boys clubs have become open now, and many have disappeared. Ours no longer has a cricket section, sadly. You might like to have a look at to see more. I do remenber the evenings to which you refer, sometimes called training evenings, or British Loin films. What wits we were!


    Am still trying to locate Issues for 1928 and 1929, 1933 to 1938 inclusive, 1941 (only issue during war years), and possibly Spring 1946.

    Full school photographs were begun after WW2, and then biennially – so am trying to locate those for 1946, 1948, 1950 and possibly 1952 if one was done. This was the year of the Willis/Doig switch and no issue of The Surbitonian appeared that year.

    Similarly any information as to the existence and/or location of any full school photographs from the Thames Ditton era 1966 – 1973 if done would be appreciated – also information re the ‘Surbitonian’ issues other than the ‘Surbitonian 69’, which we already have.

    If you can help can you email me at with any information on the above.

  457. David Jardine has provided some photographs of the 1950-1955 era, which I have put up here:

  458. DEAN HUMPHREYS says:

    I can only imagine that in the intervening 3 days since his last missive Dr Charles Clark has briefly woken from his self induced torpor, then collapsed, and in doing so has inadvertently pressed the ‘post comment’ command to remind us, again, of his feelings.
    Calls for his intemperate outbursts to be moderated have obviously fallen on deaf ears.
    I say Thursday, at the latest, for a repeat performance.

  459. chris rackley says:

    i agree dean , i thought it was a bit over the top , we were schooled to be gentlemen after all
    best regards

  460. Hedley Stovold says:

    Re: Clark Solar Storm
    ‘Calls for his intemperate outbursts to be moderated have obviously fallen on deaf ears’. On his own maybe, but not everywhere else – one might offer one of his own pompous blog comments for his consideration ‘I think you need help my friend’.

    ‘An offering in the style which ‘we'(?) have come to know and love. Keep them coming Charlie -get it off your chest -it can only do you good.’

    well is this the level of vituperative rant from the good doctor you lot out there want?

    Regards to all you Old Surbs out there in the blogosphere – keep the comments coming… plus anything else you unearth in lofts …

  461. dave littleproud says:

    What’s going on here– can’t find Charlie Clark’s latest offering on my pc –is there some form of censorship?? i thought that we had conceded tht no such thing had any place on this site the ethos of which was to let it all hang out .
    Actually i was quite worried after Charlie’s complimentary post about Joe Turner–I was concerned that Charlie had gone all “Dorothy ” on us -but was pleased when he came roaring back with an offering in the style which we have come to know and love. Keep them coming Charlie -get it off your chest -it can only do you good.
    If I give it I expect to get it back — I don’t expect censorship to be part of the deal.

  462. Interesting exchange of comments, especially for me in view of the fact that I am the Children’s Human Rights Advisor to Amnesty International UK and trainer to the Methodist Church Cester & Stoke District on safeguarding and child protection. I was at SGCS from 1049-51 and saw no abuse during that period, but then was at Charterhouse public school from 1951-6, where boys were regularly beaten for relatively minor offences by the House prefects, authorised by the housemaster. Four, six, eight or twelve strokes could be adminsteredafter evening prayers, the victim merely dressed in pyjamas and nothing underneath. When arrived in 1951, the hiouse was under the control of a particularly vicious group of prefects over whom the housemaster appeared to have no control – our House (Gownboys) was nicknamed by the rest of the school as the ‘Gownboy Totalitarian State’. Our Head Prefect was finally made to leave in the Summer term after losing it and flogging a 14 year old so hard that the boy was hospitalised – the other watching prefects had to drag the Head prefect away after delivering 18 strokes and seemed out of control. As a new boy I was petrified of earning a beating and on one occasion, after watching to the end of an exciting cricket match against Eton, I missed my ‘weekly’ bath, a beating offence and was on tenterhooks for a week until I realised no-one in authority had missed me. I believe many other public schools in that era had similar cultures. There was no doubt in my view that the sadism hasd a sexual element and it took until the seventies before the practice was stopped.

  463. Apologies for the typos – my comuter is ‘sticking’ this morning. I was not really at SCGS before William the Conqueror arrived!

  464. Mark Sheridan 1964 - 1971 (1972) says:

    You just made my day! I had often wondered if I would have been better off if I had accepted the scholarship to Charterhouse. Now I know it would have made no difference or possibly have been even worse! (if that is possible). I am afraid I am a SCGS “survivor”. Same year as Charlie Clark, so his hell was my hell. I seem to have survived it a bit better than he has.

  465. dave littleproud says:

    I had the odd bad moment at SCGs but not to the level Mark , Charlie and Neil describe but I saw nothing at that intensity. Other quieter contributors may have done and should say so.
    It is sad that we onlookers were so cowed that we did nothing.
    If the past has such an effect then it is better it is aired (or vented ) than being kept bottled up and exploding elswhere and if OUR blog is there then it should be used –I don’t want an anodyne girly page.
    Two of my nephews went to Charterhouse c 1992 -2000 –I will ask them about the culture then.
    Hedley I am a bit bemused (yeah yeah yeah) –how did you quote from my 1057pm 12 Feb in your 757pm 12 Feb???

  466. chris rackley says:

    well perhaps a general comment to you all , a candidate for the eastleigh by-election said on telly tonight that a good headteacher makes a good school , i was there from 1957-64 so did not make it to esher and only had doig as fuhrer, never knew willis—– please discuss

    best regards
    chris rackley

  467. ken Percival says:

    Dear Dr Charles’

    Bas Hunt is very much alive but not very well; he attends the reunions in the Victoria, Surbiton, and may well monitor this blog site.

    In 1960 (my first year) I recall Bas as a very young teacher who, I suspect, was caught up and influenced by the older more experienced staff but I definitely got the impression he preferred to be a kind teacher. I have blogged before of an incident in 1961 or 1962 regarding the collection of dinner money (5 shillings) and the matter of free school dinners for those who were from very poor backgrounds.

    Bas was also very kind to me on a personal level; my father was a hard drinking CID man who sometimes turned up to morning school rugby games straight from night duty and Bas recognised my situation and discomfort.

  468. Roger White says:

    I don’t know if Dr Charles Clark is a doctor of medicine or of philosophy, but in either event he seems to be a well-enough educated man to express himself without using words and phrases like ‘cunt’ and ‘fucking pervert.’ We all know those words and maybe they have their use in extremis. But in a place like this they only demean the user. I repeat them to make the point, not to join the club of those who seem unable to express their anger in any other way.

  469. david jardine says:

    In response to Chris Rackley,
    I was at SCGS from 1947 to 1955, in other words 5 years under Willis and 3 under Doig. Under
    Willis, the headmaster was the only person to administer physical punishment, and that through
    the entry system, via the cane. I cant say I was aware of any immediate change under Doig. In
    my last year I was a prefect and school vice captain. I do not recall any change to the regime
    of punishment . Clearly however things did change under Doig, and I am saddened by the many
    recollections of abuse posted on this website. I hope that by sharing these painful memories
    it in some way helps. Willis was a very kind man. Doig……………….
    David Jardine

  470. Mark Sheridan 1964 - 1971 (1972) says:

    I only spent one year under Doig. His was a form of controlled violence. There were rules and limits. Waller was a weak leader. Under his rule the violence was out of control. The years I was there, there was a battle between his chaotic control and the changes in society that made the violence unacceptable. By the time I left things had improved noticeably, but obviously not soon enough for the likes of Charlie Clark. Even then, the psychological cruelty continued, personal bias by some of the teachers against members of a different house, non-rugby players, different ethnic groups or religions, the academically challenged etc. which they clearly displayed to the whole school, enabling and inciting the other students to follow up with abuse of their own.

  471. Mike Kemp says:

    I did two years under Doig, the rest under Waller. I never really encountered either.

    Bert Forward came and talked to our class about some changes planned to avoid the previous “fast stream” idea that he told us were not liked by the universities. At the age of 11 it was the first time I felt like I was being talked to in a vaguely mature way, taken into the thinking behind things. I imagine I was just a goody goody, as I never experienced any punishment at SGGS.

    There were some bullies amongst the boys, one wiry little chap in particular who terrorised where he could, but I mostly avoided him. In retrospect I expect he had some severe family problems, but I have no actual knowledge.

    We in general were not that nice to teachers. Fifer got a hard time, I never knew why, though this blog suggests some sort of antisemitism was going on (I would have had no idea what that was at the time).

    Baz Hunt did indeed project an air of fresh-faced anger and violence, I seem to recall he did slipper some boys in my sight on occasions. However he came to our house once to translate when we rescued a young Italian au pair from a difficult situation, and he turned out to be charming.

    The only time I can recall talking to Waller, towards my last year there, he came over as a rather ineffectual middle manager. Luckily the advice he gave me was instantly ignorable, to my benefit.

    I agree with Roger White that those using expletives do themselves a disservice, as it seriously weakens their credibility.

  472. Mark Sheridan 1964 - 1971 (1972) says:

    I’m sure I would have had a much better time at SCGS if I had been a young Italian au pair!

  473. Mark Sheridan 1964 - 1971 (1972) says:

    As for the reference to anti-Semitism, I can assure you it was alive and well and kicking the sh_t out of me! ( I know, no expletives). It started with Pop Major begging me to come to my senses and become a Christian about once a week in the first year, to Scum Turner telling me in front of the whole class that anyone who was not Church of England was an idiot and would surely go to hell. Other manifestations by both students and teachers were much more physically or verbally violent. It becomes very wearing being called “Jew boy” on a daily basis. The overt anti-Semitism stopped when I became 6’1”, the covert anti-Semitism never stopped and if you read parts of this blog you will find that it goes on to this day.

  474. Cliff Harrison says:

    As I have earlier stated, during my stay at SCGS (1954-62) there was no signifiacant problem with violence or bullying towards pupils by staff or prefects, and no apparent anti-semitism that I was ever aware of, (yes Parrott and Hillier tended to throw anything handy, Cocks was fond of clipping the occasional ear, and Scum was – well – Scum), but it does seem that things deteriorated pretty quickly after my departure. I feel sorry for those who never experienced the “old” school, still very traditional in many ways, and not very forgiving if you felt you were a square peg in a round hole, but there were quite a few good teachers that made life there bearable for most of the time. Clearly the later excesses have left some former pupils with a deep-seated bitterness that time has done little to heal.

  475. DEAN HUMPHREYS says:

    Does a list of pupils that attended the school exist? I’m specifically interested in the period from 1942 -47.

  476. Mark Sheridan 1964 - 1971 (1972) says:

    I have feedback from the 1957-1965 period concluding that there was anti-Semitism at that time as well, mainly from the staff. If you are not on the receiving end, you tend not to notice. I, for instance, could not tell you who was gay and who wasn’t. It wasn’t my “thing” and I was completely oblivious. I also never had an inkling of Charlie’s suffering. If I had, we might have been more friendly, the “oppressed” tend to club together. For instance, the 4 of us who were not CofE used to hang out together.

  477. Richard day says:

    I think that society as a whole was much less tolerant back then.SCGS just reflecting societal norms.,that is not an excuse,just an observation.Anti Catholicism was much more apparent to me than anti semitism ,but the worst bahaviour of my peers was to call George Panayedes,a Greek Cypriot ,Woganedes.He was agood friend and he took this insult with very good humour,please note that this was from his schoolmates,not our much maligned teachers.Kingstonians may remember his family owned some restaurants on London Rd.

  478. dave littleproud says:

    Hi Richard –Yes- tho I was a year below – I remember George.

    One of my class of ’56 due to his dark skin, curly hair and beaky nose rapidly acquired the nickname “Nasser” ( you children check your history books) If any one was a candidate for racial and ethnic abuse it was him ( he was actually a staunch supporter of the monarchy and the Church of England) – but not so– he was a much respected and much loved member of our school-I am proud that he was one of my best friends. The only two genuine Jews in my year were also good friends to everybody. During one of Bert Forward’s RI lessons one of these Jews bought in various “artifacts” of the Jewish Service and explained the Jewish Religion.

    One morning assembly , during my second or third year, Doig finished proceedings by pointing out that a Jewish member of the fifth or sixth form had been receiving abuse on the grounds of his race and religion. Doig emphasised that such behaviour was not acceptable in a school and perpetrators would be punished. His closing sentence made it plain that such behaviour was personally unacceptable to him Doig. I saw no form of racism during my time at SCGS.
    Well there was a beliief that Wogs began north of the Thames and south of the Kingston by pass-but I think that was tongue in cheek –wasn’t it- wasn’t it ???????????? (north of the Thames had longer drinking hours so it wasn’t all bad)

    In my own personal dealings with Doig I never found him anything but honest and fair. During my GCE year he ran extra Maths classes after school for those who were struggling. I understand that in any management debate about a pupil’s academic suitability to remain in the school Doig would always argue that the kid should be given another chance.

    As to Scum –surely any one who believed anything he said must be as demented as he was –is there any one around to whom he taught chemistry – I imagine biology would have blown his mind —he was just a very bad joke

    After SCGS I went to college in Brixton –very different complexion from Surbiton—there was no queuing for buses –it was grab as you could –but with a great deal of humour—you got your own back the next day –good fun once you got used to it .
    Then I moved to the East end of London. Same different complexion –same bus getting on rules with same humour – except with one additional ingredient –a conspicuous orthodox Jewish community who replaced the humour element of the bus scrum with one of blatant contempt for anyone else. To go for petrol meant fighting off queue jumping homburg wearing collarless bearded gents—I have never seen such bad manners and lack of consideration for others before or since .
    One day my friend and I decided to go for a walk . We’re walking along . taking in the sights, talking about cars foot ball girls etc, when suddenly we are accosted by a guy in a homburg hat, no collar on his shirt , pigtails and what looks like a dead rat on his upper lip. “ What are ypu doing here ?” he demands “ This is a Jewish area” After a quick look at the road name to confirm my suspicions I politely point out that we are actually in E8 or N16. The gentleman repeats himself. We point out that E8 and N16 are in England and as Englishmen we will walk where we choose. He backs off and we continue our walk.

    Well if I have ruffled a few feathers and put myself beyond certain peoples pales then so be— it but remember boys– it’s all nurture not nature.

  479. Frank Nowell says:

    Phew – What a sandstorm!

    It may be worth adding my pennyworth.

    When I gained a place at SCGS (1950) as a result of the 11+ exams, my family had severe misgivings as my mother who was a teacher elsewhere in Surrey, had probably heard stories. SCGS was not one of my nominated schools. Once at SCGS, it was clear that a few of the staff had certain unfortunate traits. However I found it possible to ride the storm and then later to begin to play the system to advantage. After more than 50 years of reflection I am prepared to think a lot of the teachers’ behaviour was probably as a result of their difficult wartime service and experiences. I suspect that part of the shock on my part was as a result of moving from a relatively small primary/junior school which was a much more protected environment run by teachers (many female) who probably did not have wartime military experience. While a few things were undoubtedly unpleasant about SCGS and it was a school of hard knocks (both literally and figuratively), the experience did harden one up for future life and whatever that threw at you. It would be interesting to hear both what others think and also whether anyone knows if similar traits occurred amongst teachers in other schools of a similar type at about the same time.

  480. chris rackley says:

    hi dave [and frank nowell,]
    good to see your comments , sometimes i think i went to a paralell scgs- to read some of the comments ,i never thought doig as the ogre he was supposed to be , i have met far more bastards after school than i did at school and we cant judge the past by the present , life now is really too soft and too many people get away with murder , i found doig ok did not have much to do with him , but i went to his special maths classes , he taught the value of the 12 pence to a shilling system in calculating horse race odds , which i thought was pretty clever and not the thing to expect from a school head , i must have done ok at maths , i have traded around the world in about 20 different currencies and got most sums right , hunt was our form teacher in my first year , he was new , we were new he was ok , although i bailed out of latin as soon as i could , the first word basil taught us was viperam [snake] i met many snakes in my life , the guys i enjoyed and in later life stood me in good stead — no stood me in great stead , were henry who gave me a love for history , buddy holly , economics was new then , now it is everything , and jack skeene when you have been to some of the places i have been a knowledge of geography is fundamental, but jack was good , i feel sorry now for peeing in jacks rainwater guage one night after a school dance , jack said on the monday about how much precipitation there had been over the weekend ,can you all imaging jack saying the word ” precipitation” mind you it was not all me ,i had a girl from tiffins in tow
    i always think doig was sorry when he thought he had failed , he was a bit contrite when he expelled someone , and one of the kids in our class hanged himself just before the o-levels which was a tragedy and doig was sympathitic and supportive to all the class over the shock of it all , bert i liked he was a constant through it all
    i know the stamford hill area that you refer dave to for the straggely beards, the homburgs and the volvos , being partly in the timber trade which is to a certain extend based in the lee valley
    best regards
    chris rackley 1957-64

  481. dave littleproud says:

    Chris —Henry?????

  482. dave littleproud says:

    Chris –now i get it -volvo owners not showing due respect to morry 1000 travellers!!

  483. chris rackley says:

    morning dave : henry was henry zetter a short guy who taught history i thought he was good always made it interesting and was pro-british , the volvo comes from the stamford hill hashidic jews who did not take their hats off when getting into a car so they drove around in volvos a lot, mainly the big old 240 or the 740 , try put on your homburg and jump in a volvo , have a good day

  484. dave littleproud says:

    Chris –we called him “Zorro” –a nice man -he didn’t deserve us!! — i See your point –a homburg and a mini would only work if one was vertically challenged –still if you were 6ft plus a volvo and a homburg might not work

  485. chris rackley says:

    hi dave we called him zorro also , but henry i think was his real name and much more regal than zorro i still love history so i think henry did well for me , as for the volvo i had an old 240 estate once ,i am 5foot -9 and could have worn a homburg in it , the hashidic jews kept their hair covered outdoors , kept their wives indoors , and were very restrictive , my 240 was a good car i bought it for £2000 when the kids came along for the wife to run around in [no she was not the girl from tiffins], -she could not park it ,it was too big and would not drive it , i washed it and sold it for £4000 ! not bad eh
    best regards

  486. Richard day says:

    Ros ,any comment on corporal punishment,sadistic behaviour at Bonner Hill

  487. dave littleproud says:

    Interesting thought Richard—–perhaps we should ask our sisters and wives??

  488. Mark Sheridan 1964 - 1971 (1972) says:

    Dave and Chris,
    When you two have finished discussing something you obviously know nothing about, maybe we can get back on subject! I am sure that Zorro would be ashamed of your bigotry if he ever gets to read this blog. You are just emphasizing my earlier point.

  489. I can’t say I didn’t see Baz Hunt dish out a few slipperings, and I think I even received a whack from him myself, But it never seemed unreasonable to me at the time, and I really do think that he was an excellent teacher, I remain very proud of my “A” grade Latin O Level. I would never have achieved that with the average standard of teaching at that school at the time, and it has been surprisingly useful over 35 years in direct marketing. Thanks, Baz.

    I would like to meet him again at one of these Surbiton reunions I read about on here occasionally. But I live in Hong Kong. When is the next one: I meet even make a special trip.

  490. chris rackley says:

    mark , nothing to do with bigotry just an everyday occourence in north london , henry would love what i said about him when i mentioned that he had inspired my history and i found what he taught me all round the world , the potatoe famine in ireland , the battle of lake erie, the opium wars in south china, tipoo sultan and the duke of wellington in mysore , hitlers hideaway in berchestgarden just out side of munich i drove to the spot following henrys description of where it was forty years after i left school , where the german and austrian borders meet , waterloo battlefield, worked for a company once that had an office in sint stephens about a mile from the battlefield site,, battle of the bulge in bastogne the 14 year old boy soldiers buried in the german graveyard, maylayian indepedence and the invasion by indonesia [tony blair did not know much about that other wise he would not have sent the gurkas and the paras in to help the indonesians},the tea house on the top of the cliffs outside of kaoshang harbour henry equipped me for life mark and as for bigotory
    nothing at all to do with bigotry , just take a drive up stamford hill mark , it will all be in front of your eyes
    so many of your slag off the school isnt it nice to find one guy where scgs set me up for life
    best regards

    chris rackley

  491. chris rackley says:

    hold it in hong-kong it is the one place where everyone should visit before they die

  492. Mark Sheridan 1964 - 1971 (1972) says:

    The problem with what you say is that you cannot tell a Hasidic jew from any other Haredi jew or even an Amish for that matter. Nor do you know anything about where they are from, why they are protecting their streets, why they cover their heads, why they wear black, or what their relationship is with their wives. You are assuming from your limited experience. That is bigoted. That is the very reason why they do not like you visiting their streets and would rather you stayed away. They, in turn, have no wish to wander around where you live.

  493. Roger White says:

    Mark – I agreed with much of what you said in earlier posts and you have explained some things for me that were helpful. But I bridle a bit at ‘their streets,’ at least if you’re talking about the UK. I similarly bridled at a recent press report that a male thought to be gay was accosted somewhere in East London and was told to go away because ‘this is a Muslim area.’ I would also bridle if a Jew, Muslim,, Hindu or atheist was told that somewhere was a ‘Christian area.’ All public areas belong to everyone in this country and I don’t see why anyone should not walk in them providing they obey the law of the land in other respects.

  494. chris rackley says:

    mark [and roger] , not been to north london for years , not since arsenal left highbury and i decided that they were not worth watching anymore under wenger , and yesterdays result confirmed that i probably wont go to north london much in the future , i probably could tell an amish , i used to work for an american chemical company based in cleveland ohio and on one of my visits some of my american colleagues took me out to an amish farm , they were exceedingly nice people as were my american colleagues , and i quite like the idea of living without television or newspapers if i did i would have a lot of rubbish missing from my life [we all would]
    best regards
    chriis rackley

  495. Mark Sheridan 1964 - 1971 (1972) says:

    I’m afraid that many people are a bit territorial. I used to live in Leicester and it was quite dicey walking through some of the council estates. If you were wearing a suit, they assumed you were a cop! Groups that are under siege tend to get defensive. I do not know when or where Dave Littleproud had his run in with the Haredi Jew, but he could have stumbled into a sensitive situation by mistake, such as being loud and boisterous outside a synagogue on the Sabbath or during a funeral. I did the same thing once in Leicester when I upset the local churchgoers by working on my car in front of the church on a Sunday. First I apologized, then I pointed out that it was not my Sabbath, so I had not tried to offend them on purpose. We ended up agreeing that I could continue working on the car after the service was finished, and a couple of people actually helped me fix it. Mutual tolerance. The funny thing was that my Christian neighbours made them stop ringing the church bells for Matins of Sunday morning. It did not bother me, I used the bells as an alarm clock!

  496. John Highley says:

    John Highley….1952 -1954
    As a very late latecomer to all things computristic, I, to, stumbled across this site more by luck than judgement. Iam particularly grateful to Ian Collins for his 1952 2c class list. Like him I can put a face to almost all of those named. To my great embarrassment one of the two I cannot
    visualise is Ian himself. Can I make some amends by offering a solution to the ‘one’ that
    escapes him: unless I’m mistaken, P. Range joined us in 2c quite some time after term began(he does post something himself elsewhere in this blog). Ian’s classlist has me down as S. Highley, and he’s right. However, the ‘S’ is taboo as far as I’m concerned: I am always known by my second name, John, So please use John.
    So, a brief post-SCGS CV: I disappeared off the radar at Surbiton in 1954. My parents moved and switched to grammar school in Barnet, Herts. Later, and somewhat circuitously I got a place at Exeter University. I discovered only recently that Chris Potter, too, was there at the same time. Neither of us would have been aware of this, he being a science bloke and me being an aspiring linguist. I have been trying to contact him over the past few months, but sofar without success. I left SCGS far too soon to experience any of the murky and sadistic goings-on, but like others who have moved about in the course of their education I can confirm that Surbiton County Gr. School was far from being unique in this respecd.
    Now, who can help me ? Does anyone have any news of John Vimpany or Peter Pickering, both long-term pals of mine from Bonner Hill?
    Just for the record, I have had a bizarre mix of jobs since university days: groundsman , technical translator, teacher and school caretaker… to mention a few.

  497. Mike Kemp says:

    Once more evidence that people at the same place at the same time can have very different experiences.

    On the subject of Zetter’s history: he managed to completely turn me off the subject; never has anything so potentially interesting been so boring to me. I dropped it as soon as I could a year or so before O levels. Mind you, it could have been the syllabus; memorise endless lists of meaningless dates.

    Oddly the only date that stuck was 1588, The Spanish Armada – and that’s only because it was Jennings’ bike lock combination in the Anthony Buckeridge books.

  498. Mike Kemp says:

    BTW, SCGS alumni may be interested in the plans for the development of “The Jolly Boatman” site and the station opposite Hampton Court Palace. I was reminded about this by an article in the latest “Private Eye”.

    Here is some info:

    My mum used to take me and friends on walks through the palace grounds (you could get to the back entrance by using the ferry at Surbiton, from where you could walk alongside The Long Water to the palace). Usually ended up having fun in the maze, then across the bridge to the Jolly Boatman for a milk shake of something. Then the train back to Surbiton.

    It seems like a non harmonious development to plonk a huge hotel opposite the palace, and partly demoilish a historic station building, but I suppose the planners will reach maximum happiness when everything is concreted.

  499. Mark Sheridan 1964 - 1971 (1972) says:

    For those of us not familiar with the Private Eye article:

  500. Mark Sheridan 1964 - 1971 (1972) says:

    Furthermore there is a planning committee meeting today:
    I suggest that all concerned citizens should should turn up. I would go myself, but I’m a bit too far away!

  501. Paul Breeze (1957-64) has provided a couple of photos, accessible at

    Rome 1960 (Blunden Follett, Seaton, Breeze)
    Cadets probably 1960.

  502. Mick Aust says:

    A belated hello to John Selwood (oh and everyone else too!) from Mick Aust (SCGS 1962-66)

    For your info, Nutty Bolt’s Christian name was Alan – I should say IS Alan because he is still around, in his Nineties, living in Cumbria. A few of us had a beer with him when he was down in Cobham in 2009 – check out the Friends Reunited SCGS pages for photos of him and other former teacher and pupil gatherings over the past 10 or so years.

    And now for a Gus (Ted) Hillier anecdote as told by Rog Woollen (RIP) over a pint in Surbiton a few years back (so very probably apochryphal):

    A cold winter’s day with thick snow on the ground, Gus was taking a maths class, had set the lads some work and was pacing up and down between desks, clipping ears and generally putting everyone on edge. Stops beside a boy named Sapsed (for it was he) and says
    “Sapsed, look out of the window and tell me if you see a polar bear”.
    Sapsed looks: “No sir, I can’t see a polar out there.”
    Gus: “Look again Sapsed, can’t you see the polar bear?”
    Sapsed catches on: “Oh yes sir, now I see it.”
    Gus administers cuff round the head: “Don’t be ridiculous boy, this is England, there aren’t any polar bears here, now get on with your work.”

  503. Robert Ireland says:

    To Cliff Harrison: I see that we overlapped by one year – 1961-62 and I’m surprised that you were unaware of any ‘significant problem with violence or bullying towards pupils by staff or prefects’ at that time. Perhaps it’s to do with that word ‘significant’. You may be right about the prefects in that year who were like gods to us new boys in the 2nd forms. Especially, as I’ve mentioned before, as this was one of the golden years for rugby and the 1st XV was invincible as I remember – so we made sure never to cross them. However, I’m sure that ‘Taff’ Davies as housemaster of Coutts was caning boys in my first year. You would have been at least a house- if not full-prefect at that time were other housemasters different?
    Either I got cheeky with prefects in successive years or they became more violent. I have already recounted the story of being punched in the face by head boy Hartley Southerby-Smith while I was in the 3rd or 4th form – so aged around 13. The pre-Esher prefects’ room alongside the assembly hall in the old building was a place to be feared while I was in the junior school.
    There were good times and I did end up with seven o’levels but I have always felt that with a better standard of teaching and a positive educational ethos I could have done better academically.

  504. Cliff Harrison says:

    Robert. Thanks for your comments. In fact I only added the word “significant” as an afterthought, I can recall just one instance of some form of physical punishement being doled out, but when and to whom I have no idea. My journey through the school was lacklustre by any standards, being in the lowest stream for all but my first two years, yet I genuinely can’t recall other cases of beatings though it certainly seems they were going on. I was in Villiers (and I did just make it to House Prefect) but John Ferneyhough as head of house certainly didn’t seem partial to draconian discipline. Of course many things may have been going on with the younger/youngest pupils that I would have been unaware of, as a 17 or 18 year old , but frankly as a “mature” and independent sixthformer by then taking an interest in such goings-on would have been rather beneath me. I suspect that things did become worse around the time of your arrival, Robert, as evidenced by the many clear recollections of widespread physical abuse from other, later, pupils. I suppose I should be grateful that such events did not impact more heavily on my own generation of pupils, and most were able to enjoy an overall atmosphere more akin to that of a pre-war schoolboy novel, helped no doubt by the wonderful old school buildings that had been demolished by the time of your own arrival.

  505. Robert Ireland says:

    Thanks, Cliff.
    Someone else has commented on the weirdness of the house-knowledge phenomenon that applies to SCGS Old Boys. Sorry, but I don’t recollect you as an individual but something told me that you were with Villiers. When I mentioned Coutts in my post I was going to say that you being Villiers may have had a different experience but I thought it best not to just in case I was wrong. In the event I was right. It’s strange how this aspect of our school lives was deeply imprinted on so many of us.

  506. Frank Nowell says:

    A very informative appreciation of Derek Yalden was published yesterday (9/03/2013) in “The Independent”. It is on line at:

  507. Mark Sheridan 1964 - 1971 (1972) says:

    Derek Yalden added to the Wikipedia SCGS alumni list

  508. idcollins2013 says:

    Thanks for putting the Independent link up, Frank. I have passed it on to another couple of my year mates.

    Derek had been a great friend from very early days at SCGS. The plane spotting reference gives memories of how we first became friends and the natural history interest/obsession followed. I was a frequent visitor to the Yalden family home in Hersham and knew his parents and sister very well. His Mum’s tea-table was legendary. Especially to a perpetually hungry schoolboy with a penchant for home-made cake!
    We had been firm fiends ever since and saw each other as often as possible after his move to Manchester. Although I had spoken to him since, I last saw him in September, when he and Pat came to our Golden Wedding celebration along with two other long term Surb friends: Alan Church and Cliff Potter, with whom I am still also regularly in touch.

    I don’t know how many others knew that Derek started at SCGS whilst only 10! He was so advanced at that age that his primary school pushed him on. It is why, although Derek & i were the same age (re academic years) he was a year higher than me at Surbiton. I think he was quite badly ragged in his first couple of years. His intellect stayed with him and I believe he could have easily gained a chair at a University had his aborrence of Uni politics prevented him from seeking such recognition.

    The boyish sense of humour remained with him throughout his life and he would still greet me with “Allo” mimmicked perfectly in the Kenneth Williams policeman voice of the 1950s Tony Hancock radio programmes.

    I valued him highly as a friend; I miss him now and shall do for the years to come.

    Ian Collins (1952-1957)

  509. idcollins2013 says:

    “To my great embarrassment one of the two I cannot visualise is Ian himself.” – John Highley

    Good to see your name appear; not too many of our time on this blog now. Don’t let the above bother you. I wasn’t one of most colourful characters in those days. Didn’t get lippy until after you had moved on.
    I’m still very much in contact with Cliff Potter; he was my best man some 50 years ago and I was his some years later. I saw him a couple of weeks ago. Alan Church is still a friend who I see from time to time. He married my wife’s best school-friend, so we have quite a lot in common.
    I now live in Wiltshire, Cliff is in Oxfordshire and Alan is out on the Herts/Cambs border.
    I will pass on to Cliff about you being at Exeter at the same time as him. Pity you didn’t know at the time. It would have solved the mystery about where you had disappeared to. We often wondered about that when reminiscing.
    By the way, I do remember what the ‘S’ is for. Seem to remember it being used when we wanted to rag you a little. Ah well.
    Did my 1952/3 2C class list jog any memories. I still have one name which eludes me. I’m sure he must have been in the front row with Mike Sutton & John Vimpany. I can visualise the entire class apart from him!

    Ian Collins (1952-1957)

  510. Some Memories of Derek Yalden:
    Not sad, I can’t say that, rather wistful.For here was a guy who was always mature, responsible, hard-working and with clear goals,yet with a touch of self-mockery that made the whole package work.I say wistful, because here was a man who was always doing something useful, while I and probably most of us were messing around with wine, women and song (substitute men for women as appropriate).
    Derek was a friend of my elder brother Mike, hardman of 5G, so I met him early and knew him as Dip, short for Diplodocus. His classmates all had names of fossil animals, except for Fairclough, who remained Floorcloth, if I recall correctly. He was also fascinated by aviation, which is where our lives first intersected. I joined the Royal Observer Corps at fifteen, where Derek was three years my senior and we proceeded to visit airfields, airshows, go on military exercises fly around in beat-up air force planes. From all this,Derek somehow managed to train me to be a naturalist!!
    If you asked the teenage Dip why he was tired in the morning, he would say it was because he had been out all night watching badgers. Standing in the long grass at some remote airfield, one asked why he was staring so intently downwards, he would he was looking for adders, which naturally made one relax.
    The Paris Airshow was always one of our highlights. We got boiled like beetroots in the French sun and sozzled on the wine. But Dip was always on task – while walking on a pathway in a park, he dived horizontally ( I am prone to exaggeration, but not in this particular case) into the bushes to emerge clutching a rare lizard. I stuffed an empty beer bottle we happened to be carrying with grass and I brought it back with me on the plane.
    Derek rode his bike everywhere, at top speed, and was always in good nick. In at least one summer, he rode to northern France to trap and skin series of mice, shrews and voles, presumably to monitor regional variation.
    When Derek went to University College, he wanted to live at home, perhaps to save money, but he was also close to his family, who were a nice and gracious bunch. Doig said if he lived at home he would never get a First. But of course, Derek just pissed on him and got the first anyway. And that was how, folks, I became a functioning amateur naturalist, what they call here, in Seattle where I live, a citizen scientist. Derek was simply a great man – I have a stack of his mammal books on desk as I write. Best wishes to all,Dave

  511. Tony Townsend says:

    For Bob Ireland…My apologies for a very late reply to your response to my entry in February. No real excuse except to say that my wife Kathy and I have been in Queensland where our daughter Gemma married her partner Norbert ( who was born in Hungary ) in a lovely little ceremony beside a beach in one of that state’s most spectacular locations, Noosa National Park.
    Post- honeymoon they have informed us they have a second child on the way, so I guess we will be making many more treks up that way in the months and years ahead.
    I’m glad you remember Sydney fondly, and life here is very good to us. Kathy and I are both retired now and we recently “downsized” to a smaller beach-style house along what’s known as the “northern beaches” at Collaroy. And yes, we did live for a few years just across the harbour from the city, at Mosman Bay, and I did that spectacular commute by ferry that impressed you so. It was a very special time.
    Our son, Stephen, is living in Queensland now too- studying medicine at Queensland University in Brisbane. He’s making a big career change having initially spent 8 years or so in IT here in Sydney.
    With both our offspring many hundreds of miles away we are doing a good job keeping the Aussie domestic aviation industry going, although we do occasionally drive up to see them- it gives the car a good run and we get to stay a night or two with various friends along the way.
    It’s clear you are a regular contributor to this blog, which I find most entertaining and revealing. I hope to read more of your reminiscences as time goes by and promise to dig deep into my sometimes surprising ( certainly to me ) memory of people and events. It is amazing what comes to mind some days.

  512. Tony – great to hear that you’ve done so well and are enjoying life. It sounds as if the Townsend clan is now more Aussie than Pom. Who will you side with when the Ashes start up?
    When the name Tony Townsend is put in my mind I only have one thought (that I think I’ve mentioned here before): waiting in the rain at The Maypole for a 65 or 265 bus and seeing your father’s cream colour Ford Popular hoving into view. Once inside I’d sit in the back watching the windscreen wipers change their speed automatically in line with the speed of the engine. Slow when it was idling and manically – threatening to throw the blades off – when we reached the top speed in each of the three gears. Your dad, who was an engineer?, did try and explain but as with all things technical it just made my brain hurt.
    Talking of technical – who else drew a Bessemer Furnace? Funny the things we remember.

  513. Ken Percival says:

    I, too, had an old “sit up and beg” Ford popular and, indeed, a later Ford which was more saloon type but both had the vacuum driven wiper blades. But my memory, and I stand to be corrected, is that under load ie when accelerating the wipers would slow down considerably but when decelerating ie foot off the throttle the blades would then wipe furiously. My thoughts at the time were that this was a bad design in that when going faster you needed the blades to go faster to see better what was ahead. I think it was something to do with the vacuum on the intake side of the engine – when under load the carburettor would take all the power to deliver to the engine but when foot off the throttle then there was plenty of spare vacuum to drive the wiper blades. This was how I remember it.

  514. I stand corrected. You’re absolutely right, Ken. It was as Tony’s dad put his foot on the pedal to accelerate that the blades slowed down. Just when you wanted them to be working at peak speed! The way I described it would have made more sense but was the opposite of what really happened.

  515. david jardine says:

    To Tony Townsend ; Just read your note to Bob Ireland. Pl.excuse my nosiness, but we share
    some history apart from being old Surbs. I lived in Tolworth,( Highfield road ), whilst attending
    SCGS . We lived for forty years in Cremorne, and for part of that time I took the ferry to work
    near Circular Quay. We recently downsized and moved to Forestville , about a ten minute
    drive from you, at Collaroy. And Bernard Dunn lives in Beacon Hill , about a five minute drive from
    both of us. Its a small world.
    David Jardine ( 1947-1955)

  516. Mike Kemp says:

    Those wipers seem logical to me – in poor visibility you slow down and get faster blades, in good visibility you can safely accelerate and don’t need them so fast.

  517. chris rackley says:

    sorry gents not old enough to own a ford popular , but remember my dads , the problem was going up hill in the rain , the power [if thats what you called it ] went to the engine and the wiper stood still , long hills like box-hill or bury hill were the problem ,

  518. Tony Townsend says:

    Hi Guys, my discourse with Bob Ireland seems to have prompted some very interesting memories. Chris Rackley’s mention of Bury Hill reminds me of the time my dad’s car caught fire there as the Townsend family was on its way to our regular “seaside” holiday at Bognor Regis.
    As the flames took hold under the bonnet my dad drew up outside the pub on the top of the hill and after ushering my mother, two sisters and I out of the car,, rushed into the pub in search of water to douse the flames. That’s when the fun started!
    As I remember him telling it, when he informed the barmaid, rather dramatically, that quote: “I’m on fire” she failed to grasp the situation and instead of running to get him a bucket of water, she assumed he’d set fire to his clothes and gave him a small glass of water instead!
    When he ran back out and threw this insufficient offering over the engine it, needless to say, failed to do the job, and dissipated in a cloud of steam as the flames grew more intense.
    Eventually the fire brigade had to be called, and the flames were put out before the Townsend family continued on its merry way. Apparently an oil-soaked rag that Dad had left under the bonnet had ignited.Quite a drama!
    I see from David Jardine that there’s quite a little coterie of Old Surbs living close by in Sydney. It appears I was at the school after both you and Bernard Dunn, but I do remember there was a Jardine in my time ( 1960-66). Any relation? Perhaps we should get together some time and celebrate our escape from colder climes? The wonderful sandy beaches here certainly beat the oil- pollutred stony shore at Bognor! It’s a small world indeed.

  519. Tony Townsend says:

    Please forgive my hogging this blog at this time, but Bob Ireland I too remember drawing a Bessemer furnace as part of our metalwork homework for a teacher called Dave King, whose nickname I recall was “Spike”.
    I have no idea why In was in the metalwork class. The most I ever managed to craft was a small square ashtray or something similar. I have never been a ” hands on” person, much preferring written pursuits for which I thank an English Lit. teacher called Osborne who first pointed me in the direction of journalism where, fortunately, I thrived.
    Unfortunately I understand “Spike” is no longer with us. An ex- Surb, Terry Scrivens, an old mate of mine from Chessington, found him dead in his home one day during the course of his job as a paramedic. Sad story.

  520. I remember Terry Scrivens (Lovelace?). Sad to hear about ‘Spike’. He had a west-country accent – if I remember correctly. Was an engineer by trade and switched into teaching. Not inspirational but he was obviously fighting a losing battle with both of us. Do you recall the drawing sets that we had to buy? Made by a German company – precision engineering way above the needs of somebody with my limited skill. Probably broke the bank at home to buy it,as well. My dad, who was a toolmaker by trade no doubt stumped up in the hope I’d follow him into a career ‘making things’. He never really forgave me when I entered financial services and became “a parasite on the back of the workers”. As it turns out, of course, he was prescient and bank and financial services management led us into the debacle of 2008 and everything that followed. Now all the talk is of how we have to make things again.

  521. Dave V Smith says:

    Ah,”Dave” King! He was from Bristol and had worked in the shipyards, hence the West Country accent. He was responsible for setting up the Metalwork Dept and also taught Maths and Technical Drawing. DVS

  522. Paul Leadbitter says:

    I think Dave King also had a Christmas Holidays job delivering booze for Unwins in Brighton Road, Surbiton. There was a Maths teacher called Jim Maguire who worked as a dustman during school holidays. And then there was the apparent additional income stream of Mr M J Fifer. He was a really great teacher, but appeared to make a great mistake (for a teacher at that school) by cashing in on his premature baldness and posing as the “before and after” model for the “Crown Topper” wig company’s newspaper ads!! These ads used to appear in all the popular Sunday papers, and I vividly remember the school notice boards being festooned with them on Monday mornings for a while. I remember studying those ads and being unconvinced that it really was him, but the consensus disagreed with me. Poor chap.

  523. Gilbert Mance says:

    I would like to pass a message on to Joe Turner if anyone can do that for me. It is great to hear that he is still with us at eighty. Please tell him that Gilbert Mance (1961-1968) thanks him from the bottom of his heart for leading him into the world of art.
    Joe once expressed to me the regret that he felt for turning so many of us on to art when there was very little chance of any of us making a living at it.
    I would like Joe to know that my life has been made immeasurably richer by the enthusiasm for art and the visual world that he instilled in me. His positive influence has been an inspiration to me over the years, and without the joy of creativity that he educated me in, my life would have been so much poorer.
    Thank you Joe, and to whoever is able to get this message to him,
    Gilbert Mance

  524. Mike Aust says:

    Hello Gilbert Mance
    Re contacting Joe Turner, his phone number (according to Bas Hunt) is 01932 348 627 which is a Weybridge number I believe. I could not find it in the BT online phone book but it may be ex-directory. A few years ago Bas said that a number of ex-teachers (probably ever-decreasing) meet once a month or so for a lunch-time pint and chat, including David Shaw, Mike Fifer, Bunny Warren, Joe Turner and Brian Lancaster. We have actually seen Bas, Mike Fifer, David Shaw and Stefan Junor at the Vic in Surbiton during our annual gatherings. We have tried to get others to come along but they are reluctant / unable for reasons of health and sheer age.
    Best to all
    Mike Aust (SCGS 1962-66)

  525. Paul Leadbitter says:

    Hi Mike,

    Does Bas Hunt have a phone number that he is willing to have passed on to me? Or better still, an email address? I would like to thank him for my A Grade Latin “O” Level which I considered no more than a mere “conversation piece” when I achieved it in 1972. Probably better to email me; ( any contact info you have than post it on here. Bas is a bit more “edgy” than Joe amongst some of those present, but he was a great teacher in my book.

    Happy Easter.


  526. Paul Leadbitter says:

    . should have added that that “conversation piece” has been of surprising practical use to me on many occasions over the 41 years since I achieved it.

  527. Paul Leadbitter says:

    …… And that is NOT an April Fool’s joke!

  528. chris rackley says:

    drove past the vic last week , i see it is closed thats sad-my dad used to play damn good pub piano in there before he died

  529. Paul Leadbitter says:

    My uncle used to sing (professionally) in there about 30 years ago. He was called Alan Leadbitter. Anyone remember him?

  530. Mike Aust says:

    Dear Chris Rackley, you nearly gave me a heart attack! I have just called the Vic on Victoria Road and from the happy clink of glasses in the background can confirm that it is not repeat not closed! (plus the landlady says so, so there!) Or did you mean the Vic on Ewell Road which is listed on one website as inactive?

  531. chris rackley says:

    mike sorry about the heart attack i did not know the vic in victoria road existed , i knew the vic that was opposite bells music ,i live down in sussex and before last week had not been to surbiton for about 5 years
    mike you need a stiff drink to help you recover , if i had a slate at the vic i would tell you to put a double on it
    best regards

  532. Dave Roberts says:

    I was never convinced that it was Mr Fifer but it was certainly close enough for some people to use it as ammunition to give the poor bloke a hard time, he suffered vicious abuse.

  533. Mike Kemp says:

    …which is a shame as he was a nice bloke who taught me German to O level…

  534. garyshepherd56 says:

    I thought it was a different teacher who admitted it was him – although my memory could be playing tricks.

  535. Paul Leadbitter says:

    That link from Dave Smith is certainly not Mr Fifer. I seem to remember there was another ad where the model is seen in a swimming still wearing the product, and that looked vaguely similar to him, but I was not at all convinced then and remain unconvinced today. But the story shows that the teachers there were also far from immune from being given a hard time.

  536. Bill Carr says:

    I can categorically confirm that the guy in the Crown Topper ad was/is not Mr. Fifer (I seem to remember it was spelled Feifer). He was my form master around 1963/64 and took us on a form outing to Littlehampton where he suffered an almighty plastering on the dodgems, took it all in good part and bought the entire form an illegal pint on the way home. TOP MAN. Mike Aust ought to remember this as he was in the same form (4b or LVb, can’t remember which). Wyn Lewis was the form prefect that same year.

  537. Mike Aust says:

    Yes well… I think ‘ought’ is the operative word, Mike Aust ought to remember but doesn’t, in fact I don’t even remember Bill Carr or Wyn Lewis and my memory of school events, incidents etc. is hazy to non-existent – always has been so it’s not age. I couldn’t even remember the school’s physical layout (Surbiton or Thames Ditton) before I went back a few years ago. It’s very embarrassing at our beer evenings at the Vic when people look at you and say ‘surely you remember that incident / person’ and I give them a blank look. Others have vivid memories and can even remember who sat where in a particular class, or the fact that Roy Gover used to flick squeezed-up aluminium milk bottle tops at John Swade’s (prominent) ears from the back of the class. But I do remember nearly getting my right hand hacked off while rehearsing the fight scene in Macbeth with Alan Dryden using bloody great heavy swords made by ‘Uncle’ Joe Turner and his workshop.
    My memories of activities outside school with guys I used to ‘hang’ with are much stronger, especially as I got older, 16-17-18. There was a ‘cycling phase’, cycling down to Box Hill and Leith Hill with Chris Jagger, David ‘Daisy’ Matthews (riding his cherished Claud Butler fixed wheel racing bike with blue frame) and others. Watching John Coxall make an amateur film in Leith Hill woods. Enjoying a pint at the Stephen Langton in Friday Street. Many more pints were enjoyed at the Fox and Hounds in Chessington which was run by John Jenkins’ dad (anyone know what became of big John Jenks?), or the Bell in East Molesey, the Grey Mare Kingston, and of course Eel Pie Hotel to see bands. Even memories of holiday jobs are clearer – Ronsons in Leatherhead, Bentall’s, Hawkers on Ham Common where I fancied an ‘older woman’ but she liked girls, bummer!
    So my apologies, Bill, but if you can find yourself on any of the school photos on Bernard Robertson-Dunn’s website please let me know and I’ll see if I can clock you.

  538. Paul Leadbitter says:

    The Bell in East Molesey…. that takes me back. In my pre-legal drinking days, there was a landlord in there who was every bit as nasty as I suppose he needed to be. Literally used to slap people around at closing time. …

  539. How nice to read such memories from an age ago. I was a Surb from 1960 – 1965, still the era of Keats and Sid Capper, and of course Joe Turner. I wonder what happened to J.D. Osborne, who inspired me to write? (With some miniscule success.) He was supposed to teach English language, but told us to read modern authors instead, and hang all that stuff about grammar and syntax. Dave V Smith – is that the DV who sold me my first fixed-wheel racing bike? A pre-war model, it would be a collector’s item now if it hadn’t been totally wrecked by Jake Jardine a couple of years later. I’ve been in Canada now for 38 years after a military career – it would be nice to contact some of the ghosts from the long-crumbled walls of Braemar and Aysgarth.

  540. Tony Townsend says:

    Interesting to read Bill Kempton’s comments about teacher J. D. Osborne. I remember him fondly as the one teacher who took seriously my ambition to become a journalist- although I am sure he did not necessarily approve, as he was more interested in literature ahead of journalese!
    I have always been grateful for his support and encouragement, which far outweighed that of headmaster Waller who told me I was unlikely to make it..Does anyone know what happened to Mr. Osborne?. Did he stay at the school a long time, or move on? If so, where to? Is he still around like David “bernie” Shaw,( who tried hard, but failed miserably to help me manage maths) and Baz Hunt, who seemed quite bemused when I managed multiple O levels from 5C?

  541. Bill Kempton says:

    That sounds like Ozzy all right, Tony. In English lessons he’d set an essay topic, but allow me to write creative fiction on the subject instead because that’s what I loved to do. He encouraged us to think outside the box, as we’d say now. I did pass my ‘O’ level in English somehow, but have been lousy at writing formal essays ever since! A generous man too, he offered to tutor me in English Lit. for free, after I failed my ‘O’ level in that subject then had to leave school for personal reasons after only one term of lower 6th. It never happened, but I did appreciate his offer, and we exchanged letters for about a year after I left and joined the Army. Yes it would be nice to find out what happened to him.

  542. Baz Hewson says:

    Great to be in touch with you lads! Tim Harrison posted “Aysgarth was demolished in 1956”. In fact, it was a bit later. I was at SCGS 1956 – 1962 and was stationed chronologically in Braemar, Stables and finally Aysgarth. I was in the 6th form in Aysgarth’s last summer term. Classroom upstairs. We removed every second, then third or even fourth stair tread, so that only sporty teachers like Tun Bolt could zip up to teach. It didn’t take long for frailer staff colleages to grass on us, and most of the steps were duly (temporarily) replaced. All good clean fun … Baz Hewson

  543. Frank Nowell says:

    FAO Ian Collins and others who were at SCGS during the late 50s / early 60s.

    There were some earlier blogs on this site which conveyed the sad news about the death of Derek (Dip) Yalden. I have gleaned from The Glossop Gazette that there will be a memorial service for him a­t the University of Manchester on Saturday July 13th afternoon. It is indicated that if you would like to attend or contribute a brief written tribute, you should contact Pat Morris [] for further information. Pat Morris was also at SCGS and also a mammalogist.

    Best wishes!

  544. Frank Nowell says:

    I suspect the email address for Pat Morris in my last message should really be:

  545. ken percival says:

    greetings to you wonder website and may continue your good works for time soon long past and we get old and fade. Our journey through life needs good backward thoughts for best way to go forward. May you long continue with debate and argument for all to hear and see. without good and much comment we will be nothing but Viagra advert fodder.

  546. chris rackley says:

    i was a mammaryologist

  547. dave says:

    Chris –i still am !!!

  548. Ros theobald says:

    If you’ve got it flaunt it !

  549. Phil Seaman says:

    Happy mammories!! If you can handle the excitement take up bird watching – have had tits all over my nuts this weekend!!

  550. Ros theobald says:

    According to our local news today ,there has been a fire in a nut factory in Northampton!!

  551. Bill Carr says:

    What has happened. No more posts since the end of June.

    Has everybody gone into hibernation?

  552. Bill Kempton says:

    Hibernating? Out enjoying the good summer weather more like! Or at least it’s good where I am.

  553. Phil Seaman says:

    can’t be too careful this hot weather!!

  554. Mike Aust says:

    May I make a modest attempt to raise the tone above the shamefully gutter level of some recent posts, and encourage Old Surbs to come out of ‘hibernation’ (more properly aestivation – didn’t go to Grammar School for nothing y’know) or just general apathy and meet for a beer at the Victoria in Surbiton on Saturday, 24th August, starting about 8 p.m. I posted similar notices here last year and in 2011 but made little impact, so just a few new faces would be welcome. And I can promise Basil Hunt as the ‘star’ of the show, so please come along and share your SCGS memories.
    Best wishes
    Mike Aust

  555. Mike Kemp says:

    Sadly, I am 1,000 miles away, which is a long way for a beer. Though it would be nice to meet up like that one day.

  556. Dave V Smith says:

    Can’t believe that Basil Hunt is still around!

  557. Dave V Smith says:

    Will, yes it was my bike that Jake crashed!

  558. TIM HARRISON says:

    Evening all.
    I was idly searching for something else, when I came upon an intriguing nugget in Kingston’s Local History Room.
    An item in a Surrey Comet issue in May 1925 said that Alexander GF Willis had been appointed head of ‘the new county secondary school for boys at Allbury House’ out of no fewer than 193 applicants.
    Seems like every teacher in London applied for the job!
    Mr Willis was at the time assistant master in charge of maths at Sir Walter St John’s School in Battersea.
    Other appointments noted in the Comet of 1925 were FWG Ridgewell (science), while Mr AJ Forward (for a year assistant master at Gravesend County School), Mr GC Massing and Mr RE Yorke were named as form masters.
    A very fetching portrait of Mr Willis appeared in the paper. I’ll try to copy it next time I’m at the history room.

  559. Paul Leadbitter says:

    Unfortunately, I can’t get back there for the 24th, but I have been reunited with Basil Hunt, indirectly through this forum, and even had a live Skype chat with him from here in Hong Kong a few weeks ago!! It was really strange calling him “Basil” to his face! He is in good form and also not all that ancient: He was only a young man when he taught me Latin from 1967-1972, even though he certainly didn’t seem it at the time.

  560. My father was taught by Messrs Willis and Forward between 1926 and 1930. I followed as the first son of an ‘Old Boy’ from 1949-51 and was taught by both, before I moved to Charterhouse on a SCC assisted place grant. Mr Willis was on the SCC interviewing panel in 1957 when I applied for a SCC grant for my London University course. I went back with my father to the farewell assembly for Mr Willis around 1953.

  561. Sorry, a PS. I travelled daily on the 8.25 Hampton Court, home on the 4.25 Surbiton. A group of us used to trainspot before the bell went outside Braemar above the cutting in the morning and on the station in the evening. There was Cedric Utley who moved here from Yorkshire mid 1950, and Robert Miller from Esher. I was in Alan Bolt’s 2C, then 3C with Harris-Ide. Anyone know if Utley or Miller are still around? Unfortunately I lost touch with both years ago.

  562. maidmentrail says:

    PS to yesterday’s message – travelled daily by train (1949-51) to and from Hampton Court. A group of us used to trainspot above the cutting outside Braemar in the morning and on the station at night before catching our trains home. There was Cedric Utley (moved from Yorkshire in 1950) and Robert Miller from Esher. Anyone have any contact with them or know anything about them? I’ve lost touch.

  563. maidmentrail says:

    Anyone know Cedric Utley or Robert Miller? We used to trainspot outside Braemar and before going home by train between 1949 and 1951. I’ve lost touch with them.

  564. Bill Carr says:

    For Mike Aust.

    Like several others, I can’t usually make Saturday evenings due to other commitments. Any chance of arranging something midweek in the future?

  565. Mike Aust says:

    Dear Bill Carr,

    Thanks for your response to my posting about the Old Surbs meeting next Saturday the 24th August. I’m sorry you and others (who they?) can’t make it, all I can say is that like many things in life ‘you can’t please all of the people all of the time’. To find a date/day that suits everyone would be an impossible task. Saturday is a day that our ‘regulars’ have got used to and find suitable. I live in Shropshire myself and it’s an 8 hour round trip for me so these gatherings always involve an overnight stay (or two) and a weekend suits me best. Then again, if Norman Phillips could make it last year from South Africa and Colin Parratt (ME sufferer) all the way from Chiswick…
    As I’ve said many times before, there’s nothing to stop Old Boys arranging to meet up at other times/more frequently as they wish, especially those who still live within striking distance of Surbiton, or anywhere else for that matter. I suppose I’m the ‘unofficial’ convener of these meetings but it’s not a monopoly!
    Best to all

  566. chris rackley says:

    does this mean that it is on or off next saturday if on where and when ,
    chris rackley

  567. Mike Aust says:

    It’s on of course (do pay attention at the back there Rackley) – see my post of 8th August

  568. chris rackley says:

    i am paying attention the only victoria i now is in the ewell road near the hospital and it is closed and has been for years , whaere is this one ?thanks

  569. chris rackley says:

    thanks jon hape to see you saturday

  570. Richard Day says:

    Well that picture made me feel homesickj

  571. chris rackley says:

    good to see you all saturday night , nice to catch up , nice to basil looking so well
    best regards, chris rackley

  572. TIM HARRISON says:

    Another bit of local history digging.

    On March 1 1948, the St Matthew’s Guild (which met every week or two in the St Matthew’s church hall in Douglas Road, Surbiton) was visited by the Surbiton County Grammar School orchestra under Mssrs MC Cocks and AF Bolt. The programme included Bach, Handel and Bizet, plus there was the first performance of Albury House, an overture written by Mr Bolt celebrating the school’s original building. There were solos, trios and quartets, with the musicians including Mssrs GR Thomas, MC Cocks, Greaves, J Pratt, J Webb, D Dwight, R Holford, M Walmsley, R Stockford, P Whybrow, P Blanchard, R Wilson, J Plank, D Broad, J Saunders and D Wetherall

  573. chris rackley says:

    tim i dont remember much about 1948 but when i was 11 [in 1958]and joined the school ,i also joined the ist tolworth scouts that met at the hall in douglas road , i remember my mum saying that a wonderful school orchestra used to play in the hall so i presume she was talking about the same group ,
    best regards,
    chris rackley — kestrel patrol ist tolworth

  574. Otto Polling says:

    That March 1948 concert must have been the first venture out for the school orchestra. In my years 1942 – 1945, i.e. during the war years, our concerts only took place in the school assembly-cum-dining hall. I think Mr Bolt came after I left. ‘Keats’ would never have taken such a bold initiative surely? Does my contemporary, Alan Wood, remember otherwise? – Otto Polling

  575. Mike Kemp says:

    Was Cocks called “Keats”? I seem to recall him giving music lessons in my first year or two (’63, ’64). I wanted to learn clarinet but was told they needed violins for the orchestra so was given one to torture for 3 months or so. Thus was my desire to be a musician thwarted.

  576. Bill Kempton says:

    Indeed he was! I’m sorry I never got to see him actually perform. In my day, towards the end of his career, all we got in his music class was him playing records of obscure things like “The Erl King” and making us sing along to it.

  577. Dave V Smith says:

    Will, I believe that “Keats” was so called because as a punishment, he would get pupils to copy out works by John Keats instead of “lines. DVS ps Yes, it was my old bike that Jake Jardine crashed!

  578. Bill (Wil) Kempton says:

    It took me years after that to appreciate that Keats really was worth reading! Today I’d happily write out lines of the great poet. Yes DV, I was sure that was the bike – it was a classic pre-war fixed wheel racer, very basic, and you sold it to me for about two quid. Then I sold it to Jake Jardine, and trust him to wreck it. I was always envious of your bikes – you had good ones, and showed me a few things about maintenance. I still commute by bike actually (50 years on!), and have in recent years done triathalons, so yes all that early training and inspiration set me up well, thanks.

  579. Bob Jardine (Jake) says:

    Indeed it was your old bike! I was racing Bill Kempton up Hogsmill Lane, I was on the correct side of the road, Bill on the wrong side. A Morris Minor open top came out of the sewage works on the wrong side of the road, so I hit him dead centre. I dented his grill, bonnet, and left wing, and smashed a sheet of glass on his back seat. I landed on my bum, so ok apart from bruises! Bike had a ninety degree form in the front wheel to the spindle, and forks way back, but it was the ‘kinks’ in both the cross bar and down tube that were impressive, they took some mighty force!

  580. Dave V Smith says:

    Hi Bob, good to hear that you are still around! Not sure what happened to our dialogue on “Friensreunited”; lost in hyperspace I suspect. that old bike used to belong to my Dad and was definitely prewar (1928 seems to come to mind). I oce tried to get a bike shop in Kingston to do a PX for a new one but the bloke was having none of it and said it was only “scrap value”, so te 2/6d that I got from Will was a bonus.

    just for your interest, I’m doing the GReat North Run on Sunday (BBC1 from 9.30 onwards). here is a link to my Justgiving page if you fancy making a donation to “Mind”.

    cheers for now,


  581. Ken Percival says:

    Mike Moss RIP

    Died suddenly yesterday – had long term liver problems with attendant chemotherapy.

    Mike was at SCGS 1960 -1967 – Egmont – Duke of Edinburgh Gold award – Bristol University (BSc Hons Chemistry) and worked all his life at BT.

  582. Dave V Smith says:

    Mike was a good friend and together with Ken P and others had a few adventures in Mike’s Morris 1000. I remember too, going to the Lake District with him, supervised by Bas Hunt to do our D of E Gold expedition. Although I’ve not seen him for years, he will be missed.


  583. John Selwood says:

    Mike Moss was also an occasional visitor at the regular Waggon and Horses Saturday night sessions that many of us attended some years after we left school. Keith Thomas, Kenny Percival, Chris Kearsey, Bob Ayres and Bob Jennings were other regulars. That must have been around 1973, I think. Nice chap. He was also in 3A upwards until the Sixth Form with me. Bloody good at chemistry.

  584. Michael Ernest Lowe says:

    Just discovered this website and what a journey down memory lane! I was at the school 1958/65 and went onto the University of Lancaster. Tim Harrison (8 Aug 2013) mentions that Mr AGF Willis had been appointed Headmaster of the school (1925) having been a teacher at Sir Walter St John’s School In Battersea. My first job after leaving Lancaster (with degree and PGCE) was as an Economics teacher at Sir Walter St John’s and sitting in the staff room on the first day was Mr Capper still smoking and with same nicotine stain at the side of his mouth where his cigarettes hung (he had left SCGS when it moved to Esher)! I remember being inspired to study economics by a young Mr Holley whilst at SCGS and being enthralled with English Economic History by Mr AJ Forward (with whom I remained in contact throughout my university years). Seeing all the names of teachers brought back so many memories and smiles. I was slippered by a young Mr B Hunt and caned by Mr Bidmead (Latin was not particularly popular with me!) but I hold no grudges (even though I am against corporal punishment now). Overall my time at SCGS was good and it shaped me for my future career – a trip to Montreux in Switzerland and the first Devonia cruise introduced me to foreign climes and fed an interest in international travel and a career in international development and 67 countries visited. [Headmaster Doig had predicted an uninteresting and pedestrian future for me in the last weeks I was there – how wrong that rather arrogant little man was!] I now live (retired) in Thailand but was back in Surbiton in 2012 showing international friends the location of my old school. I wonder now whatever happened to Ninian Borez, Peter Thomas, Ray Loman, Raymond Marlow, and Michael Hackman to name just a few of my contemporaries (I have not seen their names here).

  585. Hi Michael

    I remember Ninian Borez. As I recall he was a good sprinter and I once ran with him in the Egmont 4 x 110 yards relay team (I was a late substitue for an injured runner). Happily we won the race in around 44.5 seconds!

    There is a Ninian Borez of the right age living in Richmond and who is the European Credit Controller at Associated Press according to LinkedIn. Given his unusual name this is probably the right guy.

  586. Michael Ernest Lowe says:

    Thanks, Stuart.

  587. chris rackley says:

    mike nice to hear from you , i remember some of the names ray loman , rowland marlow was a good cricketer , i think was linked to surrey at one stage ,nin borez [was he south african?] you seem to have done well , i ,like you was inspired by mr holley , then economics was a new subject now everything revolves around it ,but to a great extent my careers has been founded in business and economics i envy you living in south east asia , never made it to thailand but in the later stages of my careers spent a lot of time, in the far east, china, maylasia, taiwan, hong kong, india and loved every moment of my time there i loved the energy of china and as a cricket fan , nowhere like india every flat piece of ground has a match going on
    best regards.

  588. Dave V Smith says:

    Hi Benny, I looked out for you at the lunch at the beginning of the year, but I think you were away on business. Have you seen the photos? There are a couple with us on the SS Nevasa
    (well, you can see the back of my head!). Cheers, DVS

  589. Michael E. Lowe says:

    To Chris Rackley….. I agree with the energy you find in Asia… certainly the place of the future. Thanks for helping get names correct (Ray and Rowland)…. the memory is not quite what it used to be!

    Reading back through many of the entries on this site has been amazing… people recalling incidents and events that through my life I have told as amusing anecdotes of school life to friends and colleagues… the fact others remember so clearly also suggests SCGS impacted the lives of many and set us all up for our futures.

  590. Ray Kent says:

    Does anybody remember Barry Wood? He’s 82 now and is the husband of a friend of mine.He was known as “Little Wood” due to the fact that his big brother Alan also attended at the same time. He says hi to anyone who remembers him. He doesn’t use a pc.

  591. Cliff Harrison says:

    I was a pupil at SCGS from 1954 to 1962. One of the most charismatic of my teachers was John Ferneyhough, Villiers House Master I think, and a great help with my French Language studies. Does anyone know what subsequently became of him? He led an exchange visit to Rochefort at Easter 1956, and my good friend Christopher Browning was killed in a road accident while we were away – does anyone remember Chris? (he lived at Hersham).

  592. chris rackley says:

    just a general comment , with all the stuff on t.v at the moment about kennnedy,particularly about the cuban missile business, i remember history with henry zetter who talked to us 16 year olds about it when it was all happening and said that this was history in the making and was a relevant to the sort of stuff that he was teaching us about disraeli or palmerston and would be talked about by future generations , ,i had a lot of time for henry , enjoyed history even got an o level in it

  593. Roger White says:

    Chris – never knew his first name was Henry. Always thought it was Zorro. I remember his curious pronunciation of 19thC Egyptian politician Mehmet Ali – something like Met-met-a-lee.

  594. chris rackley says:

    roger, i knew him as zorro also i think we all did , also remember mehmet ali , cant tremember what he was famous for i will have to google him up

  595. Mike Kemp says:

    Sadly history never clicked with me, I assumed it was Zetter who turned me off – I dropped history at the earliest opportunity. Seems it can be interesting, but just seemed to be lists of dates. I remember Kennedy of course, the day after my 12th birthday. I think it also messed up the first episode of Dr Who, which I missed. Saw it recently at the National Media Museum in Bradford.

  596. Mark Sheridan (1964 - 1971 (1972)) says:

    Coincidence: Robert Kennedy was killed the day after my 15th birthday! I had Doig (not the Head, the other one) for history and the next day he put his foot right in it. He claimed that a British Prime Minister had never been assassinated. When my father heard this he gave me a 20 minute lecture on Spencer Perceval shot in the lobby of the House of Commons in 1812. Next history lesson, when Doig reviewed his statement, up I got to contradict him, for the full 20 minutes. Later the same day my younger brother did the same thing in his history lesson. Doig was none too pleased.

  597. Robert Ireland says:

    Doig! Not the headmaster – the history one, had a strange lopsided posture that was emphasised by the way his gown slid down on one side. His teaching method was to write notes up on the board that he insisted we wrote down in our history exercise books. His writing sloped down as he got towards the end of the line and we always made a big show of tilting our heads over to the right as we wrote. I can’t imagine anybody saying they enjoyed Doig’s lessons.

  598. Otto Polling says:

    Hello Ray, I knew Alan Wood, his big brother who played violin in our school orchestra mid 40’s.
    And I knew he had a younger brother. Alan tried to set up a contact with me sometime ago, but the link via ‘Friends Reunited’ failed to work out somehow. I would like to know how Alan got on after SCGS 1945. How is Barry and does he keep in touch with Alan? My brother Piet was also at the school at that time and is the same age of 82. Did Barry know him? In ’46 Piet returned to our native Holland with our parents and now lives a retired engineer and widowed in Hilversum.

  599. dave says:

    in haste before my pc gets the rumatics again—-

    Last Thursday i had a very lively conversation with Alan Bolt. Alan is well, not mobile because of
    his knees, but gets about with a wheelchair and the assistance of Alison his wife who sounds a wonder. alan is 94 and still involved in local music events
    I also had a chat with Joe Turner who was like wise in good form apart from a few ravages of time -heart and cataracts.
    My best to you all

  600. chris rackley says:

    message for dave and everyone a happy christmas and a prosperous new year to all our readers
    chris rackley

  601. Colin Bishop says:

    I have read the contents of this site (and the previous one) with considerable interest but somewhat mixed feelings. Whilst the school did indeed give me a halfway decent education, like others, I did not leave it with affectionate memories!
    My lasting impressions are very much coloured by gratuitous violence on the part of certain members of staff and some pretty vicious bullying by other pupils and prefects, all of which was totally unnecessary. There was also a distinct ‘pecking order’ where you were expected to know your place. It is significant that those masters who made the most impression and from whom I learned the most were those who did not resort to physical violence.
    I left SCGS resolutely determined never to become involved in institutionalised education again which was not a positive outcome. In time I learned things at my own pace and under my own control but in that sense SCGS remained a very negative influence in my formative years.
    Of course, things are never black and white and there were high points alongside the low. For that reason I think that sharing some of my own experiences will help to provide a balanced historical record.
    I attended the school from 1959 to 1966 and suffered the full effects of the A J Doig regime. As others have said, I think he tried to model SCGS on the minor public school stereotype but managed to emphasise the negative disciplinary aspects rather than any positive ones. He wasn’t all bad though. In the year before my O level exam my class had a dreadful maths teacher (can’t remember the name) and test results were really dire. Doig stepped in and taught us maths himself for the year leading up to the exam as a result of which I think everyone passed. He may have done it to preserve his own reputation but I shall be forever grateful to him for getting me a decent O level maths result which was pretty important. Subsequently in the 6th form, Gus Hillier and I mutually agreed that advanced maths was not really for me and I dropped the subject. I just about comprehended calculus but quadratic equations were the kiss of death. All a bit strange really as 20 years later I found I had a talent for computer programming!
    The accepted wisdom was that pupils were either science or artistic types and were educated accordingly. Those rather wretched boys who weren’t much good at either were taught Economics and Economic History instead. We were very much the poor relations although I actually did quite well in both subjects and got decent A levels along with English Lit.
    Anyway, some anecdotes which might stir a few memories:
    I spent a lot of time in Braemar and watched Tolworth Tower slowly being built. We had Mr Williams for French who distributed marked exercise books by hurling them at pupils from his desk. On one occasion a book sailed through the open first floor window when the pupil filed to catch it! Although a good teacher he did like to clout pupils round the ear if they didn’t give the right answer at once which was quite painful.
    Another classroom had an open hatch to the loft area and when the master was occupied writing on the blackboard the class would occupy themselves in making paper aeroplanes and flying them into the cavity. One day the chickens came home to roost when an ascending plane managed to dislodge many of the planes already up there which resulted in a whole shower of them coming down! Like Queen Victoria the master was not amused.
    As has already been said, Sid Capper was given dreadful treatment by his classes. I was never comfortable with it and even my classmates had the grace to be ashamed when he burst into tears after one intense ragging session. Not nice at all.
    This building was taken out of use for teaching at some point but I do remember ‘breaking in’ via an unsecured ground floor window with a couple of friends one dark evening to explore the place. There were also sorts of old bits of furniture including a 1930s style TV set. We escaped unscathed!
    Being one of the smaller pupils, Rugby never held much attraction. Every time I had the misfortune to be passed the ball a load of bigger boys would promptly jump on top of me which was a painful experience. I finally managed to avoid it by volunteering to be a goalkeeper (us 11+ kids weren’t stupid) which caused the master concerned to give up on me in disgust. Thereafter I stuck with cross country running. This had certain advantages as the standard course passed close to my home and I knew the surrounding countryside like the back of my hand. Moreover, there was a point where the course doubled back on itself and it was possible to scramble through a hedge to short circuit the route if you knew where it was. And so, I, Geoff Haynes and Ray McDavitt would lag behind the field, dodge through the hedge and make tracks tor my home where my Mum would be waiting with a hot drink and biscuits. After a suitable refreshment break we would then rejoin the tail end of the runners looking suitably exhausted. We were never caught!
    Army Cadet Force (ACF)
    There doesn’t seem to have been much written about the SCGS ACF so maybe this will bring up a few memories.
    My father had served as a sergeant in the Eighth Army during the war and I think he was somewhat disappointed that his eldest offspring was a somewhat undersized studious boy of rather indifferent health. He insisted that I join the ACF to toughen me up but it didn’t really work. Once a week I would put on my itchy, ill fitting army uniform and beret and boarded the bus for school. Membership of the ACF entitled one to stay after school for special activities such as drilling and taking Lee Enfield 303 rifles to pieces for cleaning and reassembling. These things were almost as tall we were and too heavy to hold. Occasionally we were given a machine gun to practise on. The only thing to look forward to was shooting practice with .22 rifles in the local Territorial Army Drill Hall basement but I only got the opportunity to do that twice.
    One marginal benefit was that the hobnailed boots we were issued with enabled us to take a running slide over the tarmac playground in a shower of sparks. No need for ice and snow!
    School Cruise
    The mid Sixties were the heyday of Educational School Cruises and I was fortunate enough to be able to sail on Devonia in 1964, courtesy of my Grandfather who paid the £49 bill for a two week trip! At the age of 15/16 (my birthday occurred as we passed the Strait of Gibraltar) the voyage made an indelible impression and gave me a taste for travel that has never left me.
    Of course the masters enjoyed cabin accommodation while us boys made do with the original troopship dormitory berths although we didn’t really mind. School discipline was somewhat relaxed although the masters were required to check up on us. I always remember Mr (Pee Wee) Hunt, probably fresh from the bar, saying ‘Never fear, Pee Wee’s here’. Nasty man!
    I managed to go down with a bug just after Gibraltar and ended up in the sick bay. Barely conscious I reached for a drinks container which turned out to be diluted Dettol disinfectant and made a miraculous recovery!
    Subsequently the ship was hove to in the Bay of Biscay for 8 hours due to a gale and afterwards when we were allowed on deck we had great fun in taking deck chairs up to the bows and waiting for the ship to rise whereupon we would stand on the back of the chair and slide all the way down to the bridge front until the captain put a stop to it. Great fun!
    The ship also had a disco in the forward hold and I remember dancing to the Dave Clark 5’s ‘Glad All Over’ which shook the whole ship when everyone did the ‘boom boom’.
    The disco also had another effect when I heavy seas the dancers leapt into the air just as the ship fell into the trough of the wave. They jumped three feet into the air and fell six feet!

  602. Mike Kemp says:

    “my class had a dreadful maths teacher” …my guess is that would have been Walmesley (or something like it). I had him for a couple of years from ’63 before he retired and got on okay as I was a bit of a maths wizz, but I could see he was awful for most of the class that didn’t get maths. Then Bernie Shaw came along and made it ten times more fun.

  603. Colin Bishop says:

    Yes, Walmsley does ring a bell but not heard that name since then! As far as I was concerned he taught inComprehension…

  604. John Davies ('58 to '65) says:

    I just have to take issue with the last two comments! From my standpoint you have them completely the wrong way round. Up to “O” level, maths was my best subject – taught by Mr Walmesley. Bernie Shaw was a total disaster for my “A” level performance – possibly a school record – I took “A” level maths FOUR times to just scrape a pass!!!!

  605. chris rackley says:

    i thought walmsley was pretty good , got me through o levels , doig was pretty good , he held an open hour of maths [for fun] after school some evenings taught us how the old coinage pounds , shilling pence, halpennies farthings etc and 12 pence to a shilling was far better at calculating and coping with horse racing odds , 3 -2, 4-1 evens etc !, and most of you seemed to find him an ogre
    best regards ,
    chris rackley

  606. Colin Bishop says:

    To be honest I cannot remember who it was! But credit to Doig for putting things right, whatever his motives.

  607. Ken Percival says:

    Have to agree with John Davies about Walmsley/Shaw debate.
    I failed A level maths under Bernie but got a reasonable B O level with Mr W.
    Several of my contemporaries all say the same. A couple of years ago I found one of those yellow “teach yourself” books in a charity shop and it still sits on my bedside table – Its title is “Calculus” and I’m determined to lay the ghost before I die. It’s just that every time I try to read a bit of it an overwhelming tiredness descends and I drop right off. It must be the memory of 1965 to 1967 coming back to me!

  608. Bill Kempton says:

    I also have to agree generally with the above – I really liked Bernie Shaw as an easy-going teacher, and I rather dreaded ‘Deputy Doig’ – the only master who ever caned me! (with justification) – but the latter did get me through my O-level math. I don’t know who was the more surprised of the two of us.

  609. Mike Aust says:

    Re maths teachers: Why not come to next year’s gathering in Surbiton and pay your compliments to David ‘Bernie’ Shaw in person, he usually puts in a brief appearance. Others of our former teachers who are very much alive (but not necessarily kicking) are Basil Hunt, Mike Fifer, Brian Lancaster, Stefan Junor and ‘Uncle’ Joe Turner.
    Merry Christmas to all

  610. Frank Nowell says:

    Yet another year of very interesting reading. The reminiscences of Colin Bishop and others sound familiar to me even though I was at SCGS perhaps a bit earlier, starting in 1950. As I remarked in an earlier comment, it would be interesting to know if the “methods” used for teaching and discipline by a few teachers were unique to SCGS or whether they occurred in other (non-public) schools at that time.

    Season’s greetings and all best wishes for 2014!

  611. Bill Kempton says:

    Indeed Mike I would love to come to one of the gatherings and meet those familiar names again, and certainly would but am rather far away in Vancouver, Canada, and travel is difficult for me these days. I’m still buying the lottery tickets, of course… Meanwhile, all the best to you all for Christmas and the New Year!

  612. Dave Smith says:

    And Yuletide greetings to you Bill. (Expect you get loads of snow in Vancouver!)

  613. David Pringle (SCGS, 1961-1966) says:

    A very Merry Christmas to everyone. I haven’t checked in here for almost six months, but I’m glad to see there has been quite a lot of traffic in the interim. I miss the days, two or three years ago, when we actually had a mailing list and one didn’t have to remember to check in to the website. It was good just to get e-mails from old Surbitonians popping into my inbox — but no more.

    I must try to make it to the gathering in Surbiton in August 2014 — I trust it’ll probably be on a Saturday in that month?

  614. Mike Kemp says:

    Also not so convenient to drop into Surbiton these days, rare visits to UK are usually full up. Also since my (now sadly departed) dad sold the house in Surbiton some 10 years ago it is not so easy to find an excuse to be in that area. But it would be nice to exchange a drink with the few I remember, “Bernie” being one I’d like to catch up with. If anyone thinks to mention me to him I’d appreciate it – he may recall me as the boy with the crutches who missed out a year or so before O levels, but he still got me through the Emmanuel College entrance exam in 1970 to do maths in 1971.

    Also “Joe” Turner who did his best to teach me art, despite me not being permitted to sit art O-level ’cause it clashed with the sciences timetables and my annoying hospitalisation. A very useful and appreciated educational balance.

    Merry xmas to all and happy 2014…

  615. phil seaman says:

    Good to see there is still some life in this website. My memories of maths under Gus Hillier are of him walking up and down the rows hitting us all on the head as he passed. Was he trying to push the subject in or just satisfying an urge to thump young lads??!! I believe I fared better with Mr Warren towards the end of my time at SCGS. Managed a pass in O level maths, somehow! Never had Walmsley but he always seemed a nice guy.
    A merry Xmas to all, especially those from the 1953 – 1960 era, We’ve all done our 3 score and ten but don’t intend to give up yet. Also a special thanks to Hedley for sorting out this website.

  616. Bob Jardine (Jake) says:

    I always thought that Gus didn’t really like ‘little boys’ but was happier with the older ones. He was a very effective user of the cane, but I liked him.
    I didn’t have Bunny Warren, but I thought Walmsley was good teacher and I have good memories of him. I did get a middling maths O level, but it stuck well, I still remember much of what was taught, and I did manage an engineering degree via much calculus, so it can’t have been that bad!
    Headley Stovold – were you the giant prefect who used to bop us with a school Bible (or two, I think you had big hands)?
    Happy Christmas to Bill Kempton and Dave Smith ( who I know are here) and to all you Surbitonians!

    Bob (Jake – as named by Scum) Jardine

  617. phil seaman says:


  618. Dave says:

    i hope you all had a Great Christmas and are looking forward to a Happy New Year.–Dave Littleproud

  619. chris racklley says:


  620. Michael Schwartz says:

    It is good to see this website withering on the vine, like the old school itself it is now past its prime. The names are recurrent, the contributors likewise the wailing has stopped from those to despise.
    What memories are made of from “the good old days” and “the best years of your lives”?
    Who are those responsible for our heavy loads?
    Me, you or some teachers or TOADS, prefects included can never be forgotten. Was it the pupils or the school which was rotten?
    A Surbitonian, a victim, survivor or no mark you decide.

  621. david jardine says:

    I have some memories which are poignant and indelible. Alan Bolt was my form Master in 2c
    in 1947. He was a very nice man. I found out , later that he was a prisoner of war, and that
    he had suffered a lot. Not all teachers were, or are toads. Some are wonderful. Alan Bolt
    is one of them. And he is still alive. God bless him.

  622. Michael E. Lowe says:

    I agree with you, David Jardine. There were some excellent teachers at SCGS (58/65 in my case) who positively influenced some of our lives. Deputy Head Forward was an inspiration to me for both enjoying history and showing me what good teaching can achieve. Along with a later younger generation teacher like Mr Holly (economics) these two alone encouraged me to think about a career in education. Yes, there were some hopeless teachers (what educational establishment does not have them!) but on the whole my experience at SCGS was positive and provided me with a good preparation for the rest of my interesting life in a range of different settings (and countries). We were lucky to experience ‘real characters’ at the school (some great, some good, some bad) and so different to the ‘cloned’ (and relatively uninteresting) teachers I have come across in recent years.

  623. Mike Aust says:

    A rather weak effort Schwartz, M. Like much modern verse, the rhyming is poor and the ‘poem’ does not scan at all and is totally lacking in humour. Suggest he drops English and changes to a subject more suited to his abilities, perhaps metalwork or home economics? Failing that I’m sure a place can be found for him at the local secondary modern.

  624. Dave Littleproud says:

    Mike!! i am touched and amazed by your forbearance.. A wonderful example to irascible old grumps like me. I was particularly impressed by the subtle element of humour; something not always present in previous offerings.

  625. ken Percival says:

    Dear All,

    Just heard through the Old Surbs ex-players annual lunch forum that Adrian Barnes collapsed and died recently. Adrian and Chris Pritchard were at the school mid to late 60s to 70s and went on to be the half back pair for Richmond in the late 70s when Richmond were first class rugby status.

    On a lighter note – one of those strange coincidences that happens in life.

    I was in New Zealand for five weeks until yesterday to see daughter and new grandchild. I took over all my rugby paraphernalia (photos, tour brochures etc) for the grandchildren in later life; it’s the sort of stuff that gets chucked out if anything drastic happens.

    The international sevens tournament was on in Wellington and while watching it on telly I was going through the stuff with the daughter. The England sevens manager is Simon Amor who was previously captain of the England sevens team. He was on the telly giving the team half time talk at various stages (England came fourth in the cup) and I was immediately able to go to the Surbiton Grammar school U12 XV team photo from 1960 (on this website) and point out his Dad, Howard Amor.

    Thought no more about it other than it was a bit of a coincidence but at Auckland airport next day going home all the international sevens squads were there to go home also. Ambling along in the airport I see Simon Amor coming towards me so I introduce myself and relate this story!

  626. Bill Kempton says:

    My goodness Ken – I didn’t know that picture of the Under 12s in 1960 was up on here till I looked, and there I am looking as glum as ever, in the front row. I actually have that picture somewhere. I had no idea that Simon Amor had followed in his dad’s footsteps – and Howard and I were in the same form for several years. (The less said about my rugby career the better.)

    Brilliant poem by Mike Schwartz – I thought he was being serious for a moment, but have to agree with the schoolmasterly criticism: it’s off to Dave King’s metal-work shop for him, to make a fish slice or something practical like that.

    I had a surprise phone call over Christmas from Roger Husband, to tell me that we’re practically neighbours out here in the western reaches of empire. Now he just has to phone me back so that we can arrange to have tea and muffins or something so’s to catch up on some Surbs history.

  627. Richard Day says:

    Bill,we don’t know each other,but my wife and I had a very pleasant dinner with Roger Husband and his wife last May.Perhaps we can all get together on our next visit to Vancouver.Must say I was very envious of the Vancouver life style

  628. Dave Littleproud says:

    I’ve just reformatted Master Schwarz’s crumpled offering and lo and behold, uncrumpled, it does rhyme!!!! –mostly .. therefore to my untutored mind IT IS a poem!!! And I understand it which is more than can be said for some of the outpourings presented for my enlightenment, Maybe if i had been weaned on “Banjo” Patterson rather than Wordsworth my appreciation of poetry might have developed more fully. However each year i look forward to the daffodils growing along the edges of the lanes close to my home and freely in the fields. So maybe after sixty years I have come to appreciate what Wordsworth was telling me.
    I have enjoyed this web site and fully intend to continue until I “wither on the vine” I look forward to this website taking an honoured place in the archives of SCGS.
    I am saddened that no old lags of my era have surfaced for some time now but maybe they have withered–pity most of them were good lads.

  629. Bill Kempton says:

    Wordsworth? We used to dream of doing Wordsworth in VB. All we got was Pope’s Rape of the Lock, and I’m still trying to get over it.

    Meanwhile yes I’m looking forward to a meeting with Richard and Roger. Somewhere I have a dusty box of Surbs memorabilia, including a collection of the world’s smallest crib sheets for getting one through chem tests.

  630. Mike Kemp says:

    Don’t think there’s anyone here from my year(s) either (63 – 70), Dave. I think there must be quite a few who have not embraced this here interwebulator thingy. But also, I recall it was a bit tricky to find – I thought for a while SCGS had been airbrushed out of history with the change to Esher CofFE or whatever it’s called. Attempts to enter it in things like Facebook et al usually failed (or used to).

    Much though some apparently would like to forget the old school (and who seem to have chosen the odd strategy of repeatedly posting here to achieve that end), I found it was okay, and the education seemed pretty good. No idea how it compares with modern standards of course.

    Best wished to all, especially those puzzling over valentine’s cards from unknown senders! Or those who aren’t, like me.

  631. Roger White says:

    Ha, Mike, I like your comment ‘Much though some apparently would like to forget the old school (and who seem to have chosen the odd strategy of repeatedly posting here to achieve that end),..’ I can understand sounding off once about how appalling it all was, how and why etc. But why some people keep coming back if they feel like that is beyond me.

  632. Ros Theobald says:

    Greetings from soggy Suffolk. Speaking as a member of the weaker sex, I passed 0 level English, and was quite good at home economics too, and if it had not been dropped from the curriculum, young wives and mothers today would know how to shop and prepare healthy meals for their families instead of feeding them with takeaways and microwave meals. The popularity of cookery and sewing programmes is a sign of missed opportunities by the education authorities. Perhaps they could have after school clubs for life skills for boys and girls .

  633. Ros Theobald says:

    I forgot to mention, I attended Hollyfield Road County Secondary school, where I passed my 13 plus exam and was accepted on the art course, in 1963 I left with three O levels, the highest number of passes in my class was 6 passes, which considering we only did English, History, Geography, Art and Needlecraft, due to having 21 periods of Art a week was not bad. I got a place at The London College of Furniture (now a university) studying Interior Design, soft furnishing, Upholstery,fabric design and printing, architecture, technical drawing, the history of furniture and weaving. I met my husband there who is a very gifted woodwork craftsman, and the rest is history. By the way my husband went to Glyn Grammar and did not pass English!

  634. Hi Ros

    My brother Robert (‘Bob’) also attended Glyn Grammar school from around 1952 – 1957. He thought that it was a great school and he very much enjoyed his time there.

    One of his school chums was the late actor David Hemmings who once came to our house for tea and, on spying the five year old me, patted me on the head and said that I was a ‘dear sweet little boy’; he would have been twelve years old at the time!

  635. chris rackley says:

    do you know stuart, my sister always claimed that she had been out with david hemmings, i never really belived but i shall has to ask her again , best regards.just become a grandfather

  636. Hi Chris

    Congratulations on the grandfatherhood – I have two step-grandchildren who live in Oxford. We go to see them regularly. Is your new one close by?

    I don’t recall you ever mentioning your sister – presumably she is your big sister if she went out with David H? It would be more of a coincidence if she had gone out with my brother!

    All the best

  637. Dave Smith says:

    So, Roger Husband is in Canada eh, Will? We just need to find Roger Leverdier and we’ll be well on the way to LVb with “Jake” Jardine et al!

  638. Dave Littleproud says:

    daffodils are growing along the local lanes–“tossing their heads in sprightly dance” –aaahhhh!!!!

  639. Dave Smith says:

    Prompted by a visit to Cobham for lunch last Saturday, I’ve had a further look at the photos on this site. The one captioned under “Rugby” as “What XV?” is the combined 3rd and 4th XV of 1964-65. I’m the one with my shirt buttoned up as I’m wearing my school uniform underneath!

  640. Dave Littleproud says:

    It’s not me mate!!!!!

  641. Dave Littleproud says:

    I’m sure I replied to the comment posted after Dave Smith’s March 3 comment–now it’s gone . Is there a bit of big brother going on here? I most emphatically do not approve of censorship.

  642. Mark Sheridan (1964-1971(1972)) says:

    You responded to some automatically generated phishing response, which I assume Hedley rightly deleted. I think this blog has firmly established that no one is censoring anything. Deletion of fake blogs is appropriate.

  643. phil seaman says:

    Pay attention at the back, there!!

  644. Mark Sheridan (1964-1971(1972)) says:

    And stand up straight when you are talking to an officer!

  645. Dave Littleproud says:

    Ok Ok -all down to my good nature and gentile naivety. However in all seriousness what was it about that particular blog that screamed it was not kosher?? Cos I sure missed it

  646. Mark Sheridan (1964-1971(1972)) says:

    Firstly, the ID was wrong. Secondly, the content was “off”. Some girl named Dina read my facebook page and keeps telling me she likes what she sees and would I like to get together. Trouble is, I don’t have a facebook page. (Like that is the only problem!)

  647. Tony Townsend says:

    Does anyone remember a teacher named Parish…a young bloke who took biology and, I seem to remember, also PE?
    He struck me as a good bloke, but got very embarrassed trying to explain the birds and bees to we noisy nitwits who thought we knew it all by then (mid 1960s).
    I’ve got a feeling he didn’t last very long. A pity because he was probably the sort of teacher who, with a few more years under his belt, might have turned out quite well.

  648. Dave Smith says:

    Yes, he taught chemistry. I remember being in the pre fabs in LVb. He was a rugby player and turned up one Monday morning with two black eyes!

  649. Dave Smith says:

    On second thoughts, I don’t think you mean Parish. There was another young teacher who taught biology and PE. He left to return to his native Wales to teach there. Can’t remember his name, but in PE he set a challenge for someone to walk across a PE mat doing a handstand; Howard Amor won the bet!

  650. chris rackley says:

    was it chips carpenter ?

  651. Dave Smith says:

    Yes, that sounds right. To illustrate how the nose, throat and mouth are connected, he described an incident when he was at college with some female students eating beans and chips. Someone told a joke, one of the girls began to laugh and a chip followed by a stream of beans come out of her nose. Funny the things we remember!

  652. chris rackley says:

    hi dave ,chips carpenters garden backed onto mine , him and my mum used to talk for hours over the back fence , i remember he had a nice wife [funny the things you remember from the age of 11, ]

  653. Bill Kempton says:

    I thought Chips emigrated to Australia. I’m sure I remember a van parked in the school with “Australia or bust” painted on the side. But yes I am sure I remember Parish too as a science teacher of some kind – indeed my sole memory of him too is that he was a nice bloke, as Tony says.

    For those who remember Chris Stephens, who’s of the same vintage as Dave Smith and I (he left in 1965 after 5th form because his dad, who was RAF, was posted to Cyprus) – I’m still in contact with his wife Donna. Unfortunately Chris is suffering from some form of early-onset dementia, and has had to be moved to a care facility.

  654. Dave Smith says:

    Hi Will, I typed in “Roger Leverdier” into Google recently. There is someone of that name doing translation work in London. Can it be our former colleague? Haven’t had the nerve to e-mail him!

  655. Wil Kempton says:

    No Dave, I wouldn’t be as rude as to suggest what line of work he’s likely to be in, but I can’t imagine him in that job. I’m sure the only French thing about him was his name!

  656. Bob Jardine (Jake) says:

    I think Leverdier was Channel Islands in origin, although I don’t know if he was born there, so nearly French?!

  657. Bob Jardine (Jake) says:

    Only geographically, of course!

  658. Dave Smith says:

    Thinking more about Roger L, I think he went to join the Merchant Navy.

  659. Dave Littleproud says:

    I spoke to Joe Turner the other week .His cataract op seemed to go well but he is astill a a bit poorly with other bits. other than that life jogs. take care

  660. Robert Thornton says:

    I have just picked up this site and read many of the entries but it is this last reference to Joe that has triggered my response. I was at the school between 1961 and 1967 and took art with Joe all the way through. Yes, like others, I have very mixed feelings about the school but of all the teachers at the school, it was Joe that inspired me to become an architect and to have a lifelong passion for painting. To add a rather light-hearted story I remember a particular incident following our morning double art lesson when he asked me and Rob Andrews to nip into Kingston to buy a new pair of Clarks desert boots, the crepe on his old ones having finally worn out. I had a scooter and off we went with, I think, his 29/6d. Unfortunately, Clarks didn’t have his size in that day so we improvised and bought a cheaper pair from a different manufacturer. I well remember his look of disappointment when we returned but he wore them thereafter without further comment.
    I have very fond memories of Joe and it is great to hear that he is still with us, albeit unwell. Whist he may not remember me, I would be very grateful if my very best wishes, and perhaps this memory, could be passed on to him.

  661. Tony Townsend says:

    The death this week here in Sydney of Jack Brabham reminded this ex-Chessington boy of the fact that Jack used to run his racing team from offices in Victoria Road, Surbiton in the 1960s and worked on his cars in the workshop behind the petrol garage he ran on the Hook Road at the junction of Somerset Avenue.
    Old Surbs will remember the old sports ground at the bottom of Somerset Avenue- where we used to go for Games afternoons before the move to Thames Ditton.
    I used to live near the A3 and used to hear Brabham, Bruce McLaren and their friends from John Cooper’s racing team testing their cars in the dead of night along the Kingston by-pass.
    The cops must have given them so leeway to break the speed limits along the road which was nowhere near as busy in the early 60s as it is now!
    As some will remember, the Cooper team used to be based at the corner of Ewell Road and Hollyfield Road, Surbiton, not far from Hollyfield School which moved up to our old school grounds.
    Although I used to refuel my Honda motorcycle at Brabham Motors I didn’t meet the man in my youth, but did talk to him in my capacity as a reporter any years later here in Australia. He was very much the gentleman that all the media have portrayed him.
    Funnily enough Jack was much better known in the UK than in Australia at the time, which I always thought was very odd given the high level of interest in all things sporting here Down Under.
    I mention this hopefully to kick-start a few more reminiscences on this blog which appears to have lain a fallow for a little time now!
    And as an aside well done to Arsenal for their come from behind win at Wembley. I suspect Rob Ireland, for one, will be ecstatic.

  662. Tony Townsend says:

    My apologies for the typos. I hope the above still makes sense!

  663. Mike Kemp says:

    As soon as they reported his death the image of the Jack Brabham Garage on the road to the Hook sports ground came immediately to mind – though as a strictly non-sport person it has mixed emotions. I think I did a shot-put there once, possibly as part of the sports day. I do have favourable memories of alleged cross country runs, where one could enjoy a pleasant walk and talk to like-minded friends and contrive to end up back at base at the end of the designated period – I assume we didn’t follow the official route.

  664. Dave Littleproud says:

    Hi Tony Hi Mike!!!!!

  665. Dave Roberts says:

    I remember when Jack Brabham won the title in 1966, he took 6d per gallon off petrol, the queue was down past the Lucky Rover, I think that it was the only time my dad ever filled his car up.

  666. Robert Ireland says:

    Yes, the news of Jack Brabham’s death brought to mind the garage on the corner of Somerset Avenue. We always thought of him as a local hero.
    When I think about it now, it’s strange that we had a 2 or 3 mile bus journey (65 or 265?) once a week to get to our games field. We had to walk down St Mark’s Hill to catch the bus and I remember buying ‘frozen-Jubblys’ in a small shop – hardly more than a kiosk – on the left before the station. I recall it was run by a little old lady. (I now expect another Old Surb to chip in and tell me that this was his mother and she couldn’t have been more than 35 at the time!)
    The trick was to test all the Jubblys and buy the one deposited most recently in the freezer. This was the prized ‘semi-frozen Jubbly’. It’s equivalent today is the ‘Slushy’, I suppose.
    Thanks, Tony, for the mention. I’m still a Gooner – not that this is what we were called in those far-off days. Sadly, I live too far away from North London for regular attendance and only go to the occasional game – more often when they play in the Midlands. These days I get my football fix from watching Kidderminster Harriers where I have a season ticket. The club’s home is Aggborough Stadium which is probably a similar size to the Kingstonian Ground where you and I had our moment of glory in 1961 as members of Tolworth Junior Boys cup-winning team. Now that would be a reunion I’d be up for. I know that very sadly Chris Forth wouldn’t be able to join us. Do you know the whereabouts of any of the others? Other Old Surbs in the team: Dave Wootton, Nigel Vaughan, (?) Kent. Who else?

  667. Mike Kemp says:

    Hi Dave (L) – hope you and yours are well…

  668. Mike Aust says:

    Hello Chaps, yes I used to fill up at Brabham’s when I passed my test and got my Ford Pop in 1965, petrol was 4s 10d a gallon or something like that. And I remember the sports ground in Hook, luckily for me it was on the way home, Garrison Lane in Chessington.
    And now that I have your undivided attention, why not pop along to the Victoria pub in Surbiton on Saturday the 16th August for a pint and a catch-up with some Old Surbs. We have even welcomed some former teachers in recent years (see photos on Friends Reunited), so please be on your best behaviour (and yes – they do read this blog).
    We usually start around 8 p.m., and if I can come all the way from rustic Shropshire and Norm Phillips from South Africa, then you’ve no excuse for not coming, even from Kiddy (Kidderminster to you)!

  669. Bob Jardine says:

    I remember Brabham’s garage well, and Cooper’s place that became the police garage, and best of all I remember my beat-up old Mk1 Mini Cooper with a Brabham tuned engine!

    Bob Jardine (aka Jake)

    On Tue, May 20, 2014 at 1:36 PM, SURBITON COUNTY GRAMMAR SCHOOL wrote:

    > Tony Townsend commented: “The death this week here in Sydney of Jack > Brabham reminded this ex-Chessington boy of the fact that Jack used to run > his racing team from offices in Victoria Road, Surbiton in the 1960s and > worked on his cars in the workshop behind the petrol garage he r” >

  670. chris rackley says:

    i played a few times for tolworth junior boys f.c i left to join sgs in 1957 so before your time robert , the big rivals always seemed to be bonner hill, does anyone re
    , remember pete spencer a big arsenal fan? i was a big arsenal fan until i moved to brighton and moved from the north wall highbury to the chicken run at the goldstone ground watching the albion