Judging by some of the comments the school seems to have gone downhill since I left in 1949, and few of my generation seem to have made much contribution (although I recognize a lot of the names mentioned by David Shearlock). “Bert” Forman generally seems to have been liked and I can add one episode that will perhaps illustrate why. We used to whirl our gasmasks round our heads rather like an Olympic hammer thrower, and one day I let mine go just as Bert came in the door. He caught it quite dextrously and merely glared – but if looks could kill I don’t think I’d be writing this now!! I still think of them as the good old days, and can still think fondly of the hours spent down in the air raid shelters next to the entrance on Surbiton Hill. I also have pictures of the
rugby teams in the late 1940s if anyone is interested.
funny that John- it went downhill after I left too!! Please put your memories on the blog -i don’t think my kids believe you did your lessons and exams in air raid shelters. any contribution from you is welcome and important.
Sorry about the mental aberration – Bert Forward, obviously. Others fondly remembered: Findlay (Mac) French, one of the old school with rote learning and great attention to diction and accents;
Bidmead,Latin, rather forbidding but I have always been grateful for the insight his teaching gave me into the general structure of language (and even after leaving school I used to read latin texts on the commuter train from Berrylands to Waterloo!); Dyer, Maths, good for those who could keep up with him but limited help to the laggards; Cocks (Keats) English, I still remember his painful attempts to get us to sing when gathered around the piano in the hall, but at least I can still manage Gaudeamus igitur, the Harrow school song, Eton boating song,etc, etc.! Cox(Pippin) Chemistry, shouldn’t really have been a teacher because he didn’t have the personality to control a whole class of unruly teeenage boys; Holdaway Geography to whom I’m especially grateful for inculcating in me an interest in the world that eventually led to a career in the earth sciences.
I was evacuated during the main period of the blitz to Somerset where I passed the 11 plus and then came back to Surbiton to experience the doodlebug episode – and was eventually evacuated again in the summer of 1944 as part of the school scheme to Prestbury in Cheshire (billeted with a family whose two boys were away at Eton!) Happy days!!
Is there anyone from 2c 1950-51 out there? I’d be very glad to be touch with any former inmates of Braemar, room B3, Mr A.F.Bolt’s charges, who may who pick this up. Russell Barnes.
I seem to come between some of your previous comments. In 1944 I dodged the Doodlebugs in Long Ditton and joined the school in 1945 after VJ day. Our first form mistress was Miss Margaret Parnham (who later became Mrs Jack Skeen -not sure of spelling) in Braemar. Headmaster was Dr Willis who took us for Maths in Lower VC. His deputy was ‘Mac’ Finlay who took us for Latin and French in LVC. Finlay, on first acqaintance was a dour Scot but who had a heart of gold. ‘Gramp’ Holdaway and ‘Jack’ Skeen for geography. ‘Bert ‘Forward of course, took us at one time for some form of religious instruction. Blomfield took us for first year French – ex RAF navigator shot down in France polished his French the hard way. ‘Ken’ Bidmead – his graphic descripions of constructing latin sentences will ever remain in the memory. ‘Dai’ Davis for Chemistry. ‘Drat’ Dyer our form master in VS took us for first year and fifth year Maths. The two Coxes – ‘Pippin’ Cox took us for Physics, ‘Keats’ Cocks for Music(?) – bit of a sadist from memory.
History – cannot remember his name but he ran the Army Cadet Corps – very good teacher – even managed to interest me – no mean achievement. Woodwork – Masters – used to be lumbered with furniture repairs. Fry for PT – a thankless task with almost no equipment. Worst experince was the icy winter of 1946-47 when the coke stoves occassionally burned through by mid afternoon. Most intersting experience travelling on RTL501 (first RTL) up to the Somerset Avenue sports ground. I finished in 1950 ( having taken the last Schools’ Cert) to obtain employtment helped by a careers master who knew very little about employment into a world that knew nothing about the value of a Schools’ Certificate – my first experience of very many over many years of Personnel Departments (now I believe ‘Human Resources’ ) not knowing where they were at. ‘Education’ I believe it is called ! Happy Days.
Hello Derrick, I missed meeting you by a whisker, as I left after matric in 1945 and moved to do a one-year InterBSc at Kingston Tech in preparation for Science studies on return to liberated Holland. Your set of teachers has some names I never met, but I did ‘enjoy’ Mac, Gramp, Bert, Drat, Pippin, Keats and Fry. Funny how qualifications mean so little in the real world after.
If you look back through the blog, you may come across an entry where we get to hear that ‘Gramp’ had a life beyond geography, school and allotments as a writer of crime fiction under the pen name of N.A.Temple-Ellis. Floating about surfing the internet a while back I typed this name into Google. Lo and behold, there it all was with a list of his books starting with 1929 when he won first prize in a newcomer competition for detective story sponsored by Methuen & Co. As I eventually ended up with a Dutch degree in Englsh and having had a long career as a teacher of EFL abroad and later over here ‘back in blighty’, I confess to a liking for crime stories among my hobbies. So, I ventured to find out if any Temple-Ellis novels were still about….. to cut a long tale short: I’ve just finished reading the prize-winning item printed in 1929, “The Inconsistent Villains” and a delightful yarn it proved! I traced this 2nd-hand copy through ‘amazing Amazon’. So that’s where old ‘Gramp’ worked off any frustrations leaving him the affable gentleman we liked.
Odd old world, isn’t it?
How marvellous to hear, Gramp always was one of my favourite teachers. He taught me to love maps and later when I learned to fly and navigate they were of great importance. I also helped him run off some copies of notes for a lecture he was giving on roses on a spirit duplicator. at one time. I shall look up N A Temple-Ellis as I too like crile fiction – infinitely preferable to school issued books like Scott’s Diaries even then !!!!! Where do you live now – UK or Holland ? I live in the Charente in France which is very peaceful. Love to chat if you have the time on email or Skype or ooVoo – firstname.lastname@example.org. As you say – a very odd world.
In addition to his forementioned fame, Mr N. A. Holdaway (who died aged 60 in 1954 after 4 years as Deputy Head) was also well known as a Marxist intellectual. I remember Ken Bidmead reading out a passage from one of his (NAH’s) texts on economic theory when we were in the 6th Form – sadly baffling to us Arts scholars. More significantly, NAH was referred to with some respect by George Orwell in his collected Essays and Journalism.
Russell Barnes, 1950-58.
Many thanks – this is quite a history – looking up N A TEmple-Ellis on line is very informative also.
Russell –I can find you a contact no for Alan Bolt
Thanks, I’d be glad of that. All the best, Russell Barnes
My dad, Peter Brimble, was at Surbiton in the mid 1930’s, before moving to London. He lived in Weston Green and Thames Ditton. Anyone have any knowledge about the school back in those days, or where records might be kept?
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