Surbiton ‘Grammar’ School?

30 August 2011 – It is over four years ago that I published this simple post and the power of the internet turned this it into a home for SCGS Old Boy’s to share fond memories. I have enjoyed hosting you but it is time for you to find a proper home that can better service your many needs. An SCGS OB has now set up that site full of images and other material. I suggest all further comments are made there and I am therefore turning off the comments facility for this site. All your comments here have been transferred to your new site. Good luck and happy reading.

Click here: Surbiton County Grammar School

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

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Filed under Kingston news, National Politics

1,876 responses to “Surbiton ‘Grammar’ School?

  1. Pingback: Iain Dale's Diary: More LibDem Lies on Who's Standing Where « Kevin Davis

  2. mingvase

    it is now Esher College – in Thames Ditton.

    It was Surbiton (boys) Grammar til about 1973 then briefly Esher Grammar before the 11 plus was dropped in Surrey LEA.
    When Surrey went comprehensive it became the co-ed 6th form college around 77.
    It was attended by boys from north Surrey as well as Surbiton.
    Old Surbitonians had a sports ground in Cobham but it is now just known as Cobham Sports Assoc/ Rugby club.

  3. George

    Eric Claton was once a pupil at Surbiton Grammar School, I once had a teacher who had taught him and told us that whenever Clapton would go missing, which was often, he would be found asleep in the Stables……….

  4. George

    Eric Clapton was once a pupil at Surbiton Grammar School, I once had a teacher who had taught him and told us that whenever Clapton would go missing, which was often, he would be found asleep in the Stables……….

  5. Toby

    I went to Surbiton Grammar. It was initially at St Marks Hill in Surbiton, but moved to Thames Ditton in the mids 60′s. it was well known for a lot things sadly illegal these days.

  6. Stuart Howes

    My father was transferred to the UK for a year in 1956 and we lived in Surbiton. When he went to enrol me at the local school (presumably, the one you are asking about), he was not impressed and enrolled me, instead, at St Helen’s at Thames Ditton. Anybody know what happened to St Helen’s – it had only three classes to teach children from ages 5 to 18?

  7. Having said that, no self respecting Old Surbitonian would describe it as Surbiton Grammar

    Never heard it described as less than Surbiton County Grammar

    Either an imposter or sloppy. Surbitonians didn’t do sloppy.

  8. Roger Taylor

    I was a pupil at Surbiton Grammar from aged 11 till 18 years 1955 to 1962. The school was at the top of Surbiton Hill, headmaster Doig, deputy Baker. When I first went there the school was comprised of three buildings and their grounds and outbuildings. The physical houses were Braemar, Aysgarth and Shool house. Shortly after I went to the school Aysgarth was demolished and Braemar sometime later and replaced by ” modern ” purpose built units. School house is still there and forms part of what is now Hollyfield school. The stables block is still there and was my 6th form classroom. The school houses were Coutts (red), Lovelace (purple), Villiers (pale blue) and Egmont (pale green). I was in Egmont. I had a wonderful time at this school and look back with fond memories.

  9. Chris Stickland

    Roger, I have fond memories of the old school. I might have been in your class. I was in Egmont. I remember several of the old teachers, including Lonsdale “when the day dawns and the shadows flee away!!” Tony Arbour was a fellow pupil – saw him on TV last year – he was a Richmond councillor who ended up on the GLA as transport spokesman. Do you remember the Gilbert & Sullivan productions? There are a few messages on FriendsReunited. Chris Stickland


    aaagh! stickland and- taylor names to make a man grab for his cross and garlic!!!!!
    yes it was fun- what a pity education is wasted on the young. sad to think that so many of those we knew are now in the great detention room in the sky. perhaps those who aren’t would sign in? dave littleproud-lovelace 1956-1964


    1956 TO 1964 SCGS headmaster was A.J. Doig. Deputy was A.J. Forward fondly known as “Bert”.

  12. Well, just shows what turns up when you idly google! I was at Surbiton County Grammar School from1945 to 1950.
    The headmaster was AGF Willis. Though he was physically small I remember him as a very imposing presence in public but very courteous, kind and gentle in private.
    Roger Taylor’s comment above reminded me of the names of the houses and their colours and I have been trying to remember the name of some of the masters.
    I remember Mr Hayward an English teacher who was also involved with the amateur dramatic society at the school which I also took part in, always in female roles.
    There was also another English teacher whose nickname was ‘Keats’ though I cannot remember his proper name.
    I would be interested if there is anyone else of my vintage who can flesh out a few more details.
    I left when I turned 16.
    John Walters
    I now live in Australia.


    Dear John Walters

    I was at Surbiton County Grammar School from 1956 until 1964(don’t ask!!)- sometime after you . Ido remember the headmaster before my A.J.Doig was a A ?? Willis.
    Teachers- here goes!!!
    Aj Doig HM
    A J Forwood deputy hm-history and lR.I.
    H.D.L. Dyer (Dan) Maths
    Aj Hayward English and RI
    J Lonsdale (Jock) french
    A W Rigden (Slug) history latin
    A Bolt (Nutty) English
    Eddie Watkins maths and woodwork
    Dr Turner (Scum) Chemistry and R I
    ?? Turner Chemistry-Young guy
    J Turner (Holy Joe) Art
    J Skene (Jack) geography
    J Bath (Jim) Geography–I remember him telling us that but for Eisenhower he could have driven his tank all the way to Berlin!!!
    K Bidmead (Ken) Latin
    ?? Cox (Pip) Biology
    J Cocks (Keats) english- music
    A J HilIler (Gus) maths
    S C Capper (Sid) French
    ?? Davis (Taffy) Biology
    ??Morris (Mo) biology
    W Busby (Buzzer -Uncle Bill) art-a lovely man
    Mrs Gamble secretary
    ?? Fry P E
    J Harvey art
    J Heymans (Slash) history
    J Fernyhough (Fred) french
    ??Stubbings English
    ??? Rose science
    G Harris-Ide (Geoff) english latin
    ??Smith Science
    Most if not all also taught games

    Dave Littleproud

  14. Amelia Johnston

    Here is some history which proves what I know to be true as my husband was there from 1945 to 1953.

    Hope this helps.

  15. Peter Mann

    My father was transferred to London in 1964 and both myself and my older brother went to Surbiton County Grammar until our return to Australia in 1968. We were there when the school moved from the top of the hill at Surbiton to Thames Ditton. I well remember the teachers we had like Mr Capper (Sid), Mr Hillier and for forget our remarkable R.I. teacher Scum (Mr Turner I think although he seemed proud of his nick name because, as he often said, he was a very good scummer. Some of my fellow classmates were Colin Talmadge, Lee Richardson, John Wiseman And Phillip Swan.

  16. Robin Hendy

    A great pity Surbiton Grammar School was closed down and the old buldings destroyed. I recently passed the new buildings which have been constructed; the windows were all covered by thick metal mesh, the buildings had the appearance of a prison. I was at the school from 1956 and left with 2 “O” levels. My best recollection from those days was the cross country race. The grounds behind School house were magnificent. The Gilbert & Sullivan productions were very professional. Pity those days are long passed. Robin Hendy – lovelace 1956- 1962

  17. Colin Munday

    no idea why but just googled Surbiton County Gramar school, and up popped this blog. Was there from ’52-59. A few memories still remain, and thanks to John Walters now again the teachers names. Mo Morris walking round the biology class and thumping us on the head with a rubber bunsen burner hose; Davis and his love or rugby-the trip to the south west of France and northern Spain to play school teams there , smoking Gauloise on the night train from Paris, and never smoking ever again, playing in the Pirates of Penzance; someone dumping sodium metal in the toilets, in what I imagine were the old stables, and eruptions of water blowing out of the bowls onto unsuspecting sitters; Jock Lonsdale taking us to Switzerland, and instead of by train, a first flight for most of us from Blackbush in a Vickers Viking; baths at the sports field (no showers) and if you were the last in just a muddy lukewarm affair. Had a good time there, even though they worked us hard. Finished and went to King’s College Durham in Newcastle ( what a great town), stayed 7 years for a Ph. D. (beat working) and then emigrated to the US.

    A Coutts boy-seem to remember we often won the top house cup!!!

  18. I arrived in September 1964, was allocated to Villiers House and a form room in the “new” science block. We all decamped to Long Ditton in September 1965 and a new and progressive Head to go with the wonderful new buildings.
    Dave Littleproud’s list of staff brought back some memories…to add a few more…

    Hackett (Chopper) Chemistry
    Bas (Ek) Hunt, Latin
    Colin “Tree” Attree, ? Biology
    Jo Turner, Art – from the Stables
    “Herr Pfifer” – German and the subject of a nasty bit of racist abuse in the summer of 65 when one day all the dinner money (collected at the table every day) was offered in pennies and halfpennies, just because he was Jewish.

    Well, I left in 1970 with reasonable A Levels, went up to Uni and managed a vaguely respectable degree. Still in contact with a hand-full of my year.

  19. Colin Brightwell

    My goodness … stumbled on this blog from Cyprus one balmy evening in November. So many names, so many memories, not many that good unfortunately. No good at rugby or opera so that left me a bit of an outsider. Fortunately could run fast so managed to avoid the ‘holly bush’ initiation!
    Now just about retired but hanging in there to keep my brain ticking over. Still in touch with Tony ‘Tufty’ Hall after all these years. Any ‘Old Surbs’ in Cyprus?

  20. Colin Munday

    Let us hope others discover this blog and keep it going; and apologies to David Littleproud in not correctly crediting him for the teachers names. How did you remember so long ago? amazing, I can’t remember what day of the week it is!

    Further reminices: A school dance, can’t think we had that many. Since no girls toilet, Doig donated his private one. On Monday morning when he went to use it, found a condom in there-perhaps that was the last dance we had. What would now be called a pipe bomb, place in a crevice in the playground wall, loud noise but not much damage. At least someone was paying attention in the chemistry class. As Robin Hendy said the grounds were truly magnificent-probably wasted on us neanderthals. The older boys and therefore bigger ones were placed together in the same stream-probably when in the L5, they loved to line up and clear the grounds of all us smaller fry-prefects just watched.
    Seem to remember that Turner got his nickname because when we wound him up in RI, which was as often as we could, he would bounce around the class calling us a “bunch of filthy scum”
    What memories-keep it going.

    Only in contact with one friend from those days-and that was because the blog got me to do some detective work. Keith Piggott, a year behind me, but a friend before Surbiton. Went to Camborne School of mines, and of course had to leave the UK when he was finished at college. Years in Zambia (think still Northern Rhodesia when he went there), then OZ, up in Cairns gold mining. Now a successful gold mining executive in Mexico, with interests in other countries as well. We hope to meet up in Tucson, Az in the near future. We can the reminisce about our favorite pub, The Swan in Thames Ditton, now a shadow of its former self. Then a free house (rare), with 2 full sized snooker tables, a parrot and wonderful sausages. The good times!!

    Colin Munday

  21. Chris Rippingale

    Attended 1962 – 69

    remember many of the teachers named plus

    ‘Zoro’ Zetter – History
    ‘Bomber’ Lancaster – french; what imagination!
    we called Gus Hillier ‘Ted’ corporal punishment specialist; deputy head in my day.
    remember motor bikes in assembly; sadistic prefects; great Xmas lunches, a lot of freedom in the 6th and overall a great time

    Chris ex Coutt

  22. Colin Munday

    The name Hillier brings back memories of him walking around in the math class and randomly and for no reason swatting us on the back of the head with a wooden ruler-I’m sure it was all legal in those days. He was a certified sadist, but must admit he taught me a lot of math.

    Is there ever a gathering of Old Surbitonians, or are alumni events purely a U.S. invention and regular occurrence?

    Colin Munday

  23. martin rhoades

    I was at Surbiton County Grammar 1951-1955.
    One master I remember, not mentioned thus far, was Mr Boskovitch ( Bosky). He took Latin I think, or Maths, or possibly both.He was unfortunately cross eyed which made it difficult to tell when he was berating you or someone else. I was in Coutts and being a below average scholar I left at 16 from form 5G. ( I was told that the 5th form was usually 5A (Arts) or 5S (Science) but that year there were so many dismal scholars they established 5G (General). I played cricket for the Old Surbs at Cobham for a while. I seem vaguely to remember that Mr Bidmead later became Mayor of Surbiton. I still live near the school and it is a pale shadow of the grandeur that we all knew.

  24. Colin Munday

    My memories think that it was Sid Capper who was called bosky because of his cross eye. He taught french and had a very high rate of saliva production. Unfortunately in our youth we used to make fun of him; his class control was very weak. But as we sought of matured we then called him Sid. He was a nice man.

    Can anyone confirm my memory or is it failing as I suspect.

    Colin Munday, located in South Eastern Pennsylvania.

  25. Paul Range

    Dear Colin,
    I was at Surbiton County Grammar from 1952 – 57.
    I have no idea why I looked up Surbiton County Grammar but delighted to find that others had too. I believe that we may have well been in the same class for a while, because your name is familar. Well done to Dave Littleproud for remembering all those names, my memory is limited to A J Doig, Bert Foreman, Alan Bolt, Sid Capper, Scum, Keats and Fry – oh! and Hillier with his ruler!
    Paul Range (Coutts) Now in Witterings, Sussex

  26. Colin Brightwell

    Martin, there is nothing wrong with your memory. ‘Sid’ was as you described. As you say a nice man, but probably in the wrong job. Ironically, French turned out to be my best subject but this was down to ‘Jock’ Lonsdale. He ruled by gaining respect but if that didn’t work, sheer terror! A brilliant master, for me anyway.
    No-one has yet mentioned Eddie(?) Morgan, who used to ‘coach’ Rugby. No idea if he taught anything else. From my recollection he spent most of each afternoon prostrate on a wooden bench!

    Colin Brightwell, Villiers, Woking & Neo Chorio

  27. Colin Munday

    As I mentioned in a previous post; Jock Lonsdale once took us to Switzerland (only the French area of course!!); maybe I think also on a school trip to Paris, as I do remember Versailles, Fontainbleu, etc. He was a great teacher, but took no guff from any of us. He used to say that if we failed “O” level french and then came to him for help, he would say “get behind me Satan” Well I did fail, but thanks to his help I finally passed. Fond memories of a really good teacher and man.

    Colin Munday

  28. Your memories are better than mine. Hi, Paul Breeze here from Coutts. Left in ’64 with Doig telling me that, “I had a lot to repay the school.” Hmmm. I got along with Ted Hillier OK – could have been related to the army cadets. We now live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
    Paul Breeze

  29. colin munday

    Now this is really weird-at least to my way of thinking. Latin class with Harris-ide. He gives us a test. Translate this.
    Marcus adsum iam forte
    Quintus aderat

    Struggled for a long time, couldn’t do it. But a couple of brighter (at least in latin) class members could. Was a Harris-ide joke:-

    Marcus had some jam for tea
    Quintus had a rat.

    Now I was either 12 or 13 at the time . Why this still sticks in my mind after all these years is completely beyond my understanding. But I did give up latin as soon as I was allowed!

    Colin Munday

  30. Robin Hendy

    I empathized with Colin Brightwell about being an outsider. On further consideration I believe the problem was that we all lived so far apart. I had to catch a train and bus from Worcester Park. I remember visiting Roger Rimmer’s house in Oxshott and Maslin ( I think they owned Transatlantic Plastics) His family lived in St George’s Hill Weybridge. I only ever visited their houses once. It wasn’t conducive to making friends ; the distances were too great. They were the only two fellow pupils’ houses I ever visited. I remember visiting Stonehenge with the school. We went by train, I have a recollection of somebody bringing a stone back on the train with us. ( a bit bigger than a rugby ball).

  31. colin munday

    I think you are spot on Robin about lack of closeness. I also lived in Worcester Park, geographically more Old Malden. Walked 10 minutes to Malden Manor station, caught train one stop to Tolworth, and then the 406 0r 415 country bus to St. Marks Hill. And what a pain getting home from the playing field. But think I actually enjoyed it. About 15 started to bicycle to school, which took half the time. But the only grammar school options then were Tiffin, Kingston grammar or Epsom-all required bus or train travel.
    Cycling was the way we managed to see each other outside of school. No car at home, so up to onself to have an outside social life.

  32. Dave Littleproud

    Well wot alotta memories!!
    trouble is Littleprods ‘s memories do not pay the rent!
    Anyway I guess I’m just one of thse people who remembers useless in formation. No that’s not fair: Iam lucky enough to remember a lot about what was a significant part of my (our) lives. I have spoken to old surbs through friends reunited and I am suprised that they have forgotten such a lot. To show how sad I am I still have some exescise books and some text books -o level maths books which i am trying to get my 16 11/12 son to try. I also have the school magazines published during my time at the school.
    I domt’ remember Colin Munday. perhaps he might mention some of his peers particularly the prefects.
    I remember- Colin Brightwell, Roger Rimmer,Robin Hendy, Bob Maslen( yes Robin you are right Bob’s parents owned alovely house on the St Georges Hill Estate in Weybridge and Transatlantic Plastics in teddington by the river and itv studios-me, ‘arry Arbour and Mick Hammond worked in the summer of 1961-I learnt a lot there-but not about plastics- although I did nearly lose a finger!) I remember the trip to Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral ( Tony(Ernie) Moss caught a mouse in the cloisters) and to Old Sarum.
    Paul Breeze was at Kingston Poly a year ahead of me. I had forgotten “Zorro” Zetter,anice man as in deed most of them were. I will agree -Ted Hillier was some form of sadist-one story was that he hhad been prisoner of the Japs and the experience had affected him. “Eddie” Watkins taught woodwork and maths, rode a sit up and beg bike and had apenchant for hitting you with the edge of a steel ruler if you had the temerity to ask questions -things got so bad that a group of us 12 yr old almost compained to the headmaster-we didn’t. “Eddie” also escorted us to Kingston swimming pool-on one occasion Tony Moss was given a galvanised bucket and ordered to swim to the midleof the pool to retrieve some snot that was floating there-every time Tony catches the snot the bucket fills and Tony gets dragged to the bottom of the pool-loses the snot and has to start again – bit like that marvellous story by Victor Borgia.Alan “Nutty” bolt had been a prisoner of the Germans and had run an orchestra in whichever stalag- a nice man.
    Be good to hear from you guys
    Merry Christmas

    Dave Littleproud

  33. colin munday

    Looks like I was 4 years ahead of you David, so no wonder you can’t remember me-also think I was pretty forgettable!.

    The few names I can recollect are Barry Harris-he was head boy in my last year. “Fanny Price” hooker on the rugby team-he dad was a great supporter; Leonard Eggleston and Clifford Potter. I am sure that over time I will remember some more-but who knows.

    A Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all you Old Surbitonians out there in the electronic ether. We are a dying breed, both literally and figuratively!

    Keep the thoughts coming

    Colin Munday, freezing in Chester County Pennsylvania.

  34. colin munday

    I hit the mother load of names. My mother kept nearly everything associated with school, and I inherited them, including notices from Doig about me failing various subjects.

    So here goes, my peers in the 6th form-at least those who made it to the prize and award programme in March 1960.

    Eric Clement
    Peter Davey
    Anthony Davis
    Leonard Eggleston
    A H Green
    Barry Harris
    Michael Herbert
    Peter Hogbin
    William Ison
    Ian Juniper
    John Laing
    Anthony Marsh
    Frank Nowell
    Clifford Potter
    David Rickard
    Christopher Rumsey
    Roy Sage
    Peter Saunders
    Andrew Thompson
    Derek Yalden
    Nevile Cruttenden
    Colin Herridge
    Terence Price
    Michael Whalley

    Remember a few more faces. Roy Sage a gifted musician. A H Green got into Wadham Oxford-no christian names just intials-perhaps too good for the rest of us hoi polloi. Unfortunately none of the contributors names showed up in progress prizes, Pirates of Penzance programme, etc.

    I also have a lot of report cards. Especially liked the comment from my parochial school (Malden) head teacher in 1951. “He is too easily satisfied with his own work”!! Nothing changed over the years!!

    Colin Munday, now 12 fahrenheit outside.

  35. richard day

    Iwas looking at myself in the mirror yesterday morning.I saw that I was wearing Grey trousers white shirt,and my deceased father”s Hook and Southborough Bowls club tie,which is identical to my Egmont tie.Not much changed from 46 years ago,so with the thought of SCGS in my head,I found myself reading ablog by Gaffer Munday,freezing in Pennsylvania,while I am in sunny South Carolina.How many of our generation left England? I have great memories of SCGS,Iremember going to a great party at keith Piggots house when in the 6 th form,also remember Phil Lucas making a total fool of himself at the same party.

  36. Colin Attree

    Just chanced upon this reference to my name. How amazing that there are people out there who still remember me from those distant days in the biology lab. The list of other teaching staff brought back memories too.
    (Colin Attree: staff 1965 – 69

  37. Dave Littleproud

    Go Surbs Go!!
    This site is getting interesting–yeah yeah I know it’s christmas -haven’t we bunch of saddoes better things to do? probably yes, but christmas is atime to think of friends and get gooey. Any way today 30 Dec I had coffee with an old Surb, whose daughter is friends with my daughter -they both go to the same school.
    In reply to Colin Munday I remember most of the names on his list-all big boys to me. Keith Masters was headboy during my first year 1956-1957. What happened to John Oborn? a very nice fellow who ran the Christian Union. some time aftwer I left SCGS I bumped into Brian Cresswell in Kingston-by then I was ahead taller!
    Anyway Colin you should ask Dave Ashwell if theres any room in Malibu-must be warmer than Pennsylvania.
    This year I have had dinner and a pub session with Roger Taylor, first meeting in 40+ plus years, however Rog and I go back before SCGS to primary school(Latchmere). I’v also spoken to Stefan Dreja, Hugh Williams and John Beck.
    For Richard Day–was Keith Piggott a chunky rugby player, dark hair that stoodup in a semicrewcut, heavy beard- also worked part time delivering groceries by van for a shop in Berrylands?
    A pleasure to know that a former member of staff is around. I wonder what happened to those guys?
    It’s true Ihave other things to do!!
    Happy New Year to you all and I hope more join in!

    All the best


  38. keith piggott

    Incredible Surbiton (Villiers) 53 to 60 great place.
    Proud to have gone there.
    Also greatest rubgy team around, remember Ecclessone and Harris in the centre doing the scissors. Davies the coach, chem master. I played on wing as I was fast on track, 220 and 440 yds, got relegated to seconds after doing a big up and under, under our posts.
    I am still in contact with Steve Triggs. lives in Phoenix Arizona, Bob White unfortunately died last year in USA. also was very friendly with Ray Cawthorne and the Aussie Burhop. The “brag” club. Colin Munday and I have recently re established contact.
    My mother is still alive and living in the famous party house, 2 weeks I seem to remember, glad you all had fun. I remember mother remarking on her return how clean the house looked. Took two days with lots of mucking in by all to clean the place. The next door neighbours never spilt the beans.
    As Colin says I now live in Mexico, still mining, after being in Zambia 10 yrs and Cairns, Oz 20.
    I remember Doig and his glasses, Sid Capper and his fag and Fernyhouse, french masters. Also Bidmead, who said that with 12.5% in Latin in the lower fifth, that Latin was not my subject. Wish I had studied it a bit better as would have made it easier in S America. Capt Hillier and Major Lefevre Maths
    I was in the G & S operas!!
    Happy New Year to All Old Surbs Urbs

    Keith Piggott

  39. Will Hartje

    I was there during the transition from Surbiton to Thames Ditton (62-69) Remember the G&S operettas well, I was in Patience (chorus), The Mikado (Peep Bo),and Yeoman of the Guard (Kate). We’d put on three performances to full houses each Christmas. The operettas died when the school moved to Thames Ditton and Doig retired.

    David Littleproud created much of the scenery for The Mikado, good job Dave…:-)

    Chris Rippingale was in my year though I’m not sure we were ever classmates but I have some recollection of him.

    To add to the teacher’s list were:

    David (Bernie) Shaw math – about the only normal member of the staff

    ?? Curtis french

    R D Major geography and music – assisted “Nutty” Bolt with the G&S operettas

    Other things I remember – Ken Bidmead was a Hull City supporter, Bernie Shaw was Brighton and Hove Albion Fan, he commuted from Brighton!

    Didn’t play in the rugby team- I was a football fan/player and didn’t like rugby much also had other obligations on weekends (competitive sailing), but I did run in the cross country and athletics teams and was in the school choir.

    My first (2B) form teacher was “Sid” Capper. he was just like Mr Magoo, what a riot, the next year it was “Keats” Cocks, he wasn’t any less senile and just as deaf.

    In 1962 I would get to school early that I could train spot outside the School entrance above “Surbiton Cutting”. The line there was the last line using steam trains on mainline passenger services in England.

    The school changed drastically in character when it moved, it lost it’s sense of tradition.

  40. Dave Littleproud

    apologies to Keith Piggott for my description of him! I’m quite stunned that “himself” appeared on cue!
    I had a felling i had got it wrong and Keith’s email confirmed it. However I am now of the opinion that I was thinking of Harold Picton,who left probably 1959-60?? regarding physical descriptions Bas Hewson was of the opinion that I had a green beard -ah the warped eye of the cartoonist!!
    Kind of Will Hartje to give me the credit for the Mikado set -however Imust say that although I was heavily involved the credit for the best part of the set design and painting must go to Howard (Nelly) Neldrett, who was also an accomplished musician being a guitarist with a group called”TheGremlins”.and wowing the audience at a competition with his saxophone playing. Wow that was one sentence.
    The other SCGS group was “The Electrons” starring Nick Graham and Dale Wrightson and tall kid with fair hair and glasses.

    Happy New Year

    Dave Littleproud

  41. Will Hartje

    Colin Munday’s recollection of Jock Lonsdale reminds me of his famous phrase used to excoriate a pupil that mis-pronounced a word – “Forty million Frenchman can’t be wrong” he would bellow as he then gave the correct pronunciation version of the word.

    I also recall, after the move to TD, John Junor, a fussy little man with a whiny voice that taught math. I remember one occasion when Steve Spooner turned up late to his class. He was returning to school after a few days absence because his home in West Molesey had been flooded and he had not been able to get to school.

    Junor snapped at Spooner “where are your books, boy?” to which Spooner responded with a totally deadpan delivery.. “They’ve been condemned, sir”.

    We all cracked up, it was hilarious. Junor had no answer to that one. Spooner’s books had been contaminated by the flood waters and the health authorities declared them unusable…LOL

    It was the most original excuse I ever heard during my school years.

  42. Dave Littleproud

    Some poor kiddy came in with a similar exscuse when hi s mum’s washing machine flooded the kitchen and he stopped to help clear up the flood. “Jack” Skene (geography-in that big room in Braemar)had ajob to keep a straight face!

  43. richard day

    So many memories being stirred up.Masters- Eddie Watkins pretended o teach us Maths in the 2 nd form,ithink he got a free pass because he played for Cardiff when they beat thAll Blacks in 1938.Harris-Ide lived on ahouse boat at Hampton Court.Fred Parrot agreat teacher(english).Alan Cadogan taught biology,and A level botany,also ran Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme,he told me that I would never make it at University,well ,asI tell my children,Inow have more degrees than a thermometer.Mo Morris taught biology,andzoology,and ran the 2nd xv.Which reminds me I played for the Old Surbs 3rd xv in the early 70′s with no less than 5 Courtneys,also Roger and Conrad King,and Alan Dowsett.Still get a kick out of listening toG&S,remember going to the Railway Tavern after aperformance dressed as a pirate or some such.How strange(queer?)that Doig could pull off an opera at an all boys school.Alan robinson ran the lighting as I recall.He and I were at Edinburgh together,we wre the first to head so far north,although we were joined b y the Kanis brothers and Paul Latham,and my brother in law’s brother David Baldwin ended up further north in Aberdeen. The isolation which was brought about by having such a large cachement area for the school I think was aproblem for all of us , those that lived in my area were Terry Loftus,Ian Scott,Rich Goddard,and David Ashwell.I have lost contact with all but Dave Ashwell,he as already mentioned lives in Malibu,where he paints ,extremely well(who can forget his famous portrait of Edith Bidwell).

  44. Dave Littleproud

    It’s late so I’ll be quick. Richard Day said what alot of memories stirred. We all spent 5 to 7 years on the top of St Marks Hill- in my case one in nine years of my life. Should we not put all of these memories down -it seems sad that all those years should go-the history of SCGS??

  45. Dave Littleproud

    For Richard Day in particular– for the rest of us in bemusement!! Was this the guy with the steel ruler who tried to teach us maths and woodwork??
    He couldn’t have been 40 in 1956??!!

    Eddie Watkins
    Personal information
    Full name Edward Watkins
    Date of birth March 2, 1916 (1916-03-02) (age 92)
    Place of birth Caerphilly, Wales
    Rugby union career
    Playing career
    Position Lock
    Bedwas RFC
    Cardiff RFC
    National team(s) Caps (points)
    1935-1939 Flag of Wales Wales[1] 8 (48)

    Watkins began his club rugby days with Bedwas before moving to first class side Cardiff. In 1935, Watkins was chosen by Cardiff to face the touring New Zealand team. Cardiff were hoping that a strong pack containing Watkins, Les Spence and Gwyn Williams would give the club an advantage against the All Blacks, but were soundly beaten in an exciting game.[2]

    Watkins gained his was first cap for Wales in 1935 again against New Zealand. In a memorable game, Wales turned around a losing scoreline in the last ten minutes to beat the All Balcks 13-12. Watkins was not selected for Wales throughout 1936, but was back for the final two games of the 1937 Home Nations Championship. It was a poor campaign for Wales and Watkins, with Wales losing all matches during the 1937 campaign. Watkins was reselected for the 1938 Championship, playing all three games. The opening game was against England at the Cardiff Arms Park, and under the captaincy of Cardiff team-mate Cliff Jones, Watkins was involved in his first Home Nations victory. In 1939 Watkins took part in his last Home Nations campaign, and although missing the game against Ireland, he was still a member of a Wales Championship winning team as Wilf Wooller’s team lifted the trophey with wins over Ireland and Scotland.

    [edit] International games played


    * England 1938, 1939
    * Ireland 1937, 1938
    * New Zealand 1935
    * Scotland 1937, 1938, 1939

  46. Richard Day

    That is the same Eddie Watkins,he left the school in around 1958 to teach at aschool near Esher.He and Fred Parrot were also in charge of boxing.I last saw Eddie playing squash at Surbiton Squash Club with an equally large genleman,quite asight.Correction as to Dave Ashwells portrait .Itwas of Edith Bidmead.By the way ,it is 85 degrees and sunny inCharleston,S.C.

  47. Robin Hendy

    Happy New Year. I am impressed by your memories. I remember Edward Pearce who wanted to become a missionary. A few years later I spoke to him on a chance meeting at Waterloo station. Edward was working for the GLC. I went into the City and came across Keith Swan who was working for Paine Webber’s US arbitrage. Richard Day mentions the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. I remember the school arranged a sports afternoon to see who would be eligible to enrol in the scheme. I got the Gold Award and received the medal from Prince Philip. I helped with the D of E scheme over the years and when I recount my competitive selection in the fifties, in this all- inclusive world my story is greeted with horror. From memory only, about 10 pupils were selected to enrol in the Award at Bronze level. In those days there was not a D of E scheme for girls.

  48. Dave Littleproud

    I’m pleased that Robin Hendy made it to the city -I remember him talking about bulls and bears in 3(b??)- he also had a Simplex gear on his bike while the rest of us had Benelux and we all aspired to Campagnolos. Happily shaking Robin’s memories of competitive selection for Dof E I am pleased to say that my daughter is working towards the Gold Award. She also attends a grammar school as did my son, both of them being duly selected at 11+ in 2003 and 2004.
    I remember being upset that only sporting types were selected for D of E-still I suppose in the late fifties they were still looking for empire conquering types.I do remember Eddie Pearce-he was related to one of the maths teachers. I also remember Keith Swan. What i do find eerie is tha according to wikipedia Eddie Watkins is still around!! good luck to him -he must have done something right-wish I knew what it was!!

  49. colin munday

    Happy New year to all.

    I also remember like Richard Day going for a drink in the Railway tavern after a G&S production-but dressed as a policeman. In those great days as long as you had money they would serve you, of course none of us had cars then. Think I was a lager and lime boy in those days. It took me living in Newcas’le before I began to enjoy more worthwile brews, especially Newcastle Brown Ale, or “journey into space” as the geordies called it. That was in March 59, but Richard wasn’t in the program ( I told you my mum kept everything) so Doig must have put that production on again-when was yours Richard?

    David Littleproud is spot on in suggesting that all these memories be kept alive. What we need is a SCGS web site, before this great school is just a footnote in the history of Surbiton. These means someone with the necessary skills and time to get it going. I’m sure Kevin Davis would allow us to transfer the comments to a dedicated web site, these and future contributions, along with class and teacher lists ( Surrey Education Authority, or whatever it is called now must surely have piles of info gathering dust somewhere). photographs, etc;etc. could provide a fitting tribute to our days on St. Marks Hill. There must be amongst us a web designer, computer expert who could start it up. Any suggestions?

    Also get your friends who were there, to start contributing. I e-mailed Keith Piggott about the site-and we got an immediate contribution.

    And to Richard Day, can’t remember you, sorry-but thanks for remembering me. You must have been in the class behind me since keith invited to you “the party” . It’s normally sunny here in the winter, but always colder than SC. But I will take our winters over your summers any time!

  50. colin munday

    I also remember like Richard Day going for a drink in the Railway tavern after a G&S production-but dressed as a policeman. In those great days as long as you had money they would serve you, of course none of us had cars then. Think I was a lager and lime boy in those days. It took me living in Newcas’le before I began to enjoy more worthwile brews, especially Newcastle Brown Ale, or “journey into space” as the geordies called it. That was in March 59, but Richard wasn’t in the program ( I told you my mum kept everything) so Doig must have put that production on again-when was yours Richard?

    David Littleproud is spot on in suggesting that all these memories be kept alive. What we need is a SCGS web site, before this great school is just a footnote in the history of Surbiton. These means someone with the necessary skills and time to get it going. I’m sure Kevin Davis would allow us to transfer the comments to a dedicated web site, these and future contributions, along with class and teacher lists ( Surrey Education Authority, or whatever it is called now must surely have piles of info gathering dust somewhere). photographs, etc;etc. could provide a fitting tribute to our days on St. Marks Hill. There must be amongst us a web designer, computer expert who could start it up. Any suggestions?

    Also get your friends who were there, to start contributing. I e-mailed Keith Piggott about the site-and we got an immediate contribution.

    And to Richard Day, can’t remember you, sorry-but thanks for remembering me. You must have been in the class behind me since keith invited to you “the party” . It’s normally sunny here in the winter, but always colder than SC. But I will take our winters over your summers any time!

  51. colin munday

    I also remember like Richard Day going for a drink in the Railway tavern after a Pirates of Penzance G&S production-but dressed as a policeman. In those great days as long as you had money they would serve you, of course none of us had cars then. Think I was a lager and lime boy in those days. It took me living in Newcas’le before I began to enjoy more worthwile brews, especially Newcastle Brown Ale, or “journey into space” as the geordies called it. That was in March 59, but Richard wasn’t in the program ( I told you my mum kept everything) so Doig must have put that production on again-when was yours Richard?

    David Littleproud is spot on in suggesting that all these memories be kept alive. What we need is a SCGS web site, before this great school is just a footnote in the history of Surbiton. These means someone with the necessary skills and time to get it going. I’m sure Kevin Davis would allow us to transfer the comments to a dedicated web site, these and future contributions, along with class and teacher lists ( Surrey Education Authority, or whatever it is called now must surely have piles of info gathering dust somewhere). photographs, etc;etc. could provide a fitting tribute to our days on St. Marks Hill. There must be amongst us a web designer, computer expert who could start it up. Any suggestions?

    Also get your friends who were there, to start contributing. I e-mailed Keith Piggott about the site-and we got an immediate contribution.

    And to Richard Day, can’t remember you, sorry-but thanks for remembering me. You must have been in the class behind me since keith invited to you “the party” . It’s normally sunny here in the winter, but always colder than SC. But I will take our winters over your summers any time!

  52. colin munday

    sorry for the triple post. never got confirmation that the first effort had gone through. So I hit the submit button again. You can see I,m not the man for a web site!

  53. Dave Littleproud

    Look on the bright side Colin-you could have ordered 111 packets of rice krispies from Tesco’s

  54. Ivor (Fritz) Davies

    1942-1946 Wartime memories – air-raid shelters- picking-up shell fragments en-route to school- the Dig for Victory garden organised by geography teacher, Neil Holdaway – buzz-bombs and the evacuation to Atherton, Lancashire.
    I recommend the book ‘The First 21 Years of Surbiton County Grammar School’ by A. J. F. (Bert) Forward.
    My photocopy from Kingston Museum and Heritage Service.

  55. Robin Hendy

    Dave, Incredible memory you have after all this time. I believe we were both in the same class for about a term I was vying with Anthony Arbour for the dubious position of being bottom of the class. Do I remember correctly that you took a couple of weeks off school and came back as a prodigy in modern languages? I remember there was a compulsory boxing competition when I first got to the school. I was paired to fight Cox who was some sort of school boy champion. I remember getting into the ring amid all the shouting. Before he had even a chance to lay the first punch, one of the masters threw the towel into the ring and stopped the fight. I suppose I’ll never know whether I could have won!!

  56. Dave Littleproud

    Dear Robin

    I remember you very well.
    I thought we were in the same class for longer than a term.
    However I think the original Sep 1956 groups were split halfway through th spring term. I don’t know about your academic prowess but I do remember ‘arry Arbour used to get p****ed of with me if I beat him in English or History–remember we joined SCGS in 1956 at the time of the Suez Crisis–we used to call ‘arry Nasser!! I haven’t seen him since 1968.
    You mention my memory-I’m still pals with a great big ginger chap called Alan Kemp and he can’t remember a thing!! However my memory has never paid the bills!!
    I was no language expert I had a struggle to get “o” level French- Iwas one of those too thick to do Latin- well fancy having 36 different ways of spelling “big”–iwas sent off to do technical drawing-a variation of which I did all my working life.
    The only language expert I can remember was a guy in our year called Peter Ward, a big tall lad with slicked back dark hair-one weekend in the first year Peter finished the whole Latin text and from thereon seemed to do nothing but languages at a much higher level than the rest of us -I don’t know what happened to him. There was a guy in the year above us , a Dutch kid called Hans Mock who was red hot at languages but he stayed with his year group.Yeah I remember John “boxing” Cox.

    Sometime I will try and make a list of those in our year-there were 90 of us!!

  57. Richard Day

    Gaffer iam crushed that you do not remember me.I was 2 yrs behind you,we went on a school trip together ,to Paris.We also went to S. of France on a rugby tour in1959.David,Hans Mock was Swiss,he was in th e same group as me doing botany and zoology A levels.He was one of those smart fellows who accelerated.

  58. Richard Day

    Boxers:Ken Player,Oscar Wright,Gordon Jackson,Alan Ridley,John Cox.

  59. Robin Hendy

    Dear Dave , You are right I’m sure we were in the “b” stream probably throughout my school career. I also had to give up Latin after the first term. My father complained to Doig as I wanted to be a doctor.However Doig said that even though my Latin marks were quite high, my French was so bad that I had to drop Latin and concentrate on French. I also did technical drawing. I remember that my smudged efforts always incurred the wrath of the master, (Harvey?) On one occasion we had to plane a piece of wood to make it square, however mine ended up as a wedge shape so he hit me on the head with the wood. This was a fairly common teaching method in those days. It certainly didn’t do me any harm as the modern educationlists contend. There was one brilliant student in that class, Wood ? I do remember Alan Kemp with his ginger hair, thanks for putting the name to the genius in languages, Peter Ward. Harry Arbour decided to read and learn the Encyclopedia Britannica. He started with Aardvark and just kept going, sometimes to the annoyance of the masters when he used words with which they were not familar. His writing was almost unreadable despite the elevated content.

  60. At SCGS 53-60, Egmont.
    My thanks to Keith Piggot for guiding me to this.
    One of the few names I recognise is Colin Munday who seems to be a prolific blogger if you’ll pardon the phrase! I think we started together in 2e. Colin I last saw at the end of our hitch trip round Europe with Keith & Ian Burhop.
    Blog encouraged me to search out my copy of the school mag from 1960. Photos include Taf Davies & Rugby XV, Doig & Bert Forward with prefects (not me), The Gondoliers (R.Rimmer as the duchess, D.Brown as Casilda), Gold Award winners (not me), & a last look at Braemar before demolition. By the way I think there is a Braemar Club in existence.

  61. David Cooper
    The school was a disgrace. Some great teachers, and some sadists like the wretched Hillier. Anybody know what happened to him? It can’t be nasty enough, as far as I am concerned.

  62. richard day

    Some people have no sense of humour.Found an old photo,taken in Paris on arugby trip inI think 1960,Barry Powell,Mike Courtney,Chris Brand,Jim Lofting,Rich Goddard,Ginger Gill,Phil Lucas,Quentin Finch.Lots of fun.

  63. Dave Littleproud

    re Richards last -Although I’m from the class of ’56 I remember some of the names. Was Jim Lofting a tall fair haired guy?

  64. Richard Day

    O.K.,now where was I.(have been busy saving lives and stamping out disease.)Dave- Yes Jim Lofting was tall and fair haired.He subsequently captained Old Surbs 1 st XV.Also famous for bringing chocolate sandwiches for lunch.

  65. I am the daughter of Frank (Francis) Bowry who attended SCGS from 45-51/2, then went to Kingston Art Sch taking a degree in Architecture. He used to bike up from Worcester Park and I am trying to piece together bits of his life from that era, as he sadly died 2 yrs ago. I wonder if anyone has any recall of him? He was always drawing and a very gpod artist till the day he died!
    Lovely to read all the blogs. I have a school panoram. photo of him at SCGS, so is there anywhere I can scan and post it?

  66. Oh no! Not Roger (Zip) Rimmer!!! Roughly 1955ish to about 1962?
    Before saying anything whatsoever, I wish to tender to everyone who had the misfortune of being in the same class as I, my profound, sincere and unreserved apologies for my behaviour during my entire school career. No excuses, I was just a horrible disruptive little urchin who had missed a turning following my mum dying the year I went to Surbiton, so whereas I do not pretend or try to advance the notion that her passing was the cause, it certainly didn’t help in settling me into any learning curve, with or without attitude. I remember many fellow pupils and am really pleased to have discovered this site. Whilst a memory defect which resulted in having virtually no recall (and this is no phoney wheeze to explain away alcoholic amnesia) although being careless enough to mislay a half-gallon or two somewhere down my gullet in the pub over the road during the Pirates (I tried to sing Ruth, the piratical maid of all work) a touch of AA might have been contributory to what was described in the pertinent school magazine as ‘Why, even Ruth found a favourite verse in her song which she insisted on singing over and over every night’ when really, it was little or no recall. Never mind.
    I remember Dave Littleproud of course and in addition, Colin Brightwell, David Cooper (trumpet) David Morgan (soprano) Nils Polden (sopranoish contralto) Ken Webb (Lovelace, ginger hair) Woody who lived at Cobham, John (Dowos) Woods, Wimbledon, John Horrocks, Mick ‘Ammond, Tony Harryman, Robin Hendy and Keef Swan both of whom I met in the city at various times when I was doing law, Richard Mills who was same year/different form, and I seem to recall as being an absolute flyer and extremely intelligent, didn’t he become a barrister? – David Gillman, Eddie Hughes who joined the school later than most and on account of whose massive build and strength, the ceiling plaster in the assembly hall was in a state of constant modification due to his propensity for hurling full size medicine balls vertically at it either after or immediately before gym – he had a tobacconists in Esher? – John Keutaneous and John Cox both pretty ace boxers in the team at the time of Leonard Dable who won the Langham Statuette for being the most scientific young boxer and who can ever forget the ever smiling, violin playing, punch any adversaries lights out within four ropes – Oscar Wright! I could go on and on since whereas I have had very little or no recall, my memory of distant past was recently described as ‘nothing short of phenominal’ and were I able to make a contribution to any Surbitonians website, it would be my pleasure so to do. I remember masses of relative information and if jogged, would no doubt recall more and more.
    Briefly, I left Surbiton in 1962, was structurally re-arranged in a RTA outside Chessington Zoo almost immediately, did six and a half years in law, got so bored that I left, went to work for Associated Newspapers, got even more bored and split the scene for Canada having bumped into Tony ‘Arold Arbor who had already been and who explained that I would be even more bored with California and armed with this utterly vital information from our budding politician, I set sail from Princes Port, Glasgow for Canada on the 28th May 1968. I followed the usual pattern of mining, building skyscrapers, logging camps, playing in groups, oil rigs and a whole host of other kicks to earn the pennies to enable me to move about this jumpin’ green sphere before trying and succeeding in settling down but this didn’t work either.
    Consequently, I am still tearing the arse out of it and sincerely trust that there are some more of you old Surbitonians who are of similar vintage and without one leg in the box as well?
    I don’t want to say too much over the www. but would be more than willing to meet up with any old fellow pupils although I well realise that this might not be reciprocal. C’mon guys, let your hair down and jump out of your Conservative pants and say ‘hello’. I just know there will be rakes of blokes out there who will have some outrageous tales to relate?

  67. It’s Zip again! I didn’t click the appropriate box at the bottom so – Yes, notify me of any follow-up comments via email. If they get too ‘heavy’ though, I’ll do a runner!

  68. Dave Littleproud

    Another delusion shattered ! I always thought I enjoyed Zip’s classroom entertainments – still if he feels the need to apologise who am I to argue with an old gentleman? Great to hear from you Roger – you seem to have had a lively interesting time (cue for ” waiter !! three more brandy and sodas” anyone remember that?)
    ‘Why, even Ruth found a favourite verse in her song which she insisted on singing over and over every night’-I have the very quote in front of me-even more damning I have a picture of someone dressed as an Italian Duchess!!
    I obviously moved in the wrong circles- I do not think I have met any random Old Surbs since I left
    perhaps they hide when they see me coming!!!??
    I remember all the names you mention- I’ve been trying to compile a list of the class of ’56. you have helped with 4 names leaving 6 to go- assuming we started with 90. For what its worth I have “The Surbitonian”–1957, ,1959, 1960,1961,1962, ,1964.
    Why do I do this at ungodly hours-far too late it’s tomorrow!!
    Keepin touch Roger -great to hear from you!!

  69. Roger A. Rimmer

    Old Gentleman? OK, like most in our year, I join the ranks of OAPs this time which is just amazing. To quote Eubie Blake – ‘If I thought I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.’ But ‘Gentleman’ – that’s maybe laying in on a bit thick like Gus did. I have had and am continuing to enjoy a lively and interesting time as I hinted above. I saw a carved wooden plaque on the wall of a cricket pavillion in a village up the valley from where I live which read ‘And when the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name, He writes not that you won or lost, but how you played the game’ and have drawn much inspiration from this expression.
    Referring as I did to David Morgan and Niels Polden as being in the soprano/contralto range was incorrect. I should have described them as alto/soprano which would have been nearer the mark. Whatever, both had superb voices.
    Masters that impressed were Alan Bolt (Nutty) mentioned above and a saintly man by the name of Mr.Walmsley (Wormo)who would appear immaculately dressed, usually in his gown with the upright stature of a guardsman and all the quiet demeanour of the gentleman I feel sure he was. Disciplining unruly, spirited boys must be a thankless task and we were a pretty unruly bunch, but I have found throughout my life in the outside world, that the men who have impressed me most, have been those who have employed their brains to guide their fellow men and boys, rather than those with sticks.
    Head boy was Keith Masters, notorious for his exocet type crash tackle on the rugby field and a contemporary of Brian Cresswell, Jim Harding, Michael Pay and ‘Modern Music’ – a bloke called Morley? – but they were seniors at the time I was engaging in co-ordination of rolling dustbin lids across the playground at break and contact was only made through the operettas. They were my only flirtation with cross-dressing and I never quite understood Doig’s preoccupation with getting young boys to dress up as females and go on display. I can’t help but feel that King’s College exploits the beauty of the unbroken male voice in a rather more appropriate manner each Christmas but maybe that’s a stuffy attitude?

  70. Colin Brightwell

    Dave, you are looking for 6 names. I don’t think I’ve seen Richard Graham referred to above. He was one of those guys who was annoyingly good at everything. Sporting wise he was an excellent bowler in the ‘Brian Statham’ mould. He went on to be a pilot with British Airways and as far as I am aware, now lives in Cyprus.

  71. Dave Littleproud

    Colin -thank you -still need 6 names since I had Roy Reynolds down twice ! Stupidity -not a Freudian slip!! Was there a Ray Swann as well as a Keith Swann?? Re “Zip” Rimmers thoughts on A.J . Doig’s penchant for boys dressing up as girls I think the 50s were a more innocent, gentler, kinder age – I know my parents worried less about me than I worry about my kids now. I heartily concur with the comments about Mr Walmsley -he taught me maths in LVB in that room opposite the main door – it later became the secretary’s office. I don’t ever remember Mr Walmsley ever raising his voice-and we had Hughes ,Harriman and Hammond in that class and me – I still have the geometry set I bought from Eddy Hughes – Joe Turner was the form teacher- head boy was a guy called Hind.

  72. Colin Brightwell

    Dave, yes. Ray was Keith’s cousin if my memory serves me correctly.

  73. Dave Littleproud

    Thank you Colin!
    Can any one in the class of 56 remember ? Was there a kiddie called David Brohn or something similar – a small chap with glasses?

  74. Robin Hendy

    Dear Dave, Yes I remember him. I think he played a musical instrument. Not certain about the name, David Brown? When I lived in Avondale Avenue, Worcester Park (circa 1959), David had three maiden aunts who lived next door to me. They were very reclusive and I don’t think I ever saw them. Good to hear that Roger wrote in. My family lived in Oxshott for many years. The local history books had much to say about the illustrious Rimmer family.

  75. Roger A. Rimmer

    Dave, Jim Lofting, I believe was in the year above us and was indeed tall and fair haired. I spoke with him in 1993 when he was visiting a neighbour at Oxshott. Jim was a contemporary, I believe, of Buster Faulkes, Tony Maybey? Nigel Husband and his younger brother Roger, although these latter two were of course in different years. I literally bumped into Roger H. on either West Georgia, Howe or Burrard Street in Vancouver in 1967ish.
    Robin, thank you for your comment about the family which is most kind. I am not sure about the surname ‘Brown’ either. My recollection is that Casilda was sung by David Morgan to whom I referred earlier but this may be erroneous. I think that the last time you and I met was in the city in 1967 and the last time I spoke with Anthony Arbour in 1968. I remember Eddie Pearce as well. Very quiet pleasant lad. What about Hughie Laing? He had an elder brother in the school and he used to go hop picking near Ticehurst in Kent during the summer holidays. He was mates with a lad called Ford who was a year above us and notorious for having successfully earthed a megavolt electricity cable to see what would happen which resulted in the lad’s partial deafness? Others will know about this – perhaps Hughie himself may make a contribution. The point made earlier about the catchment area for pupils is in my view, a most pertinent one, since other than via the classroom, few knew each other prior to induction. I recall feeling pretty intimidated by the apparent impersonality of such a large gathering of pupils after primary school, which was only reinforced by this means. Anybody remember David Burton (Lovelace, like us Dave)? He was in Ruddigore along with Norman Lucking (Coutts) and Nellie Neldrett referred to above whom I heard playing bass with Malcolm Penn on drums with various personnel from a group called The Sidewinders that backed Little Stevie Wonder during his visit to these shores.
    I tend to forget negatives that occur in life and move on. Thus, all my memories of the old school are mainly happy ones, although clearly it was not always too pleasant there. Consequently, I find it rather a shame to hear the comment from David Cooper (Villiers, I reckon) above, even though some aspects of school life probably were a touch basic. Life is what you make it. I do hope that those still taking oxygen who have not so far contributed make the effort for we all must have more time behind than in front.
    I reckon that the hey-day of the school must have been a year or two before ours since the rugby players mentioned above that gave the school such a formidable reputation on the field were older pupils who had either just left or were sixth form when we joined? I find it great to read this blog which hopefully is only just in bottom gear. Come on lads, let us all hear from you.

  76. Richard Day

    On a philosophical note,what was so wrong the Grammar School System,that they have all but disappeared? I have been blessed with the very best of educational opportunities at 4 major Universities,but the foundation was the 8 years I spent at SCGS ,for which I am profoundy grateful. Talking of opportunities,David Morgan,he of the fabulous voice.went to Cambridge on a choral scholarship,studied medicine,and became a Dorset,of course he had amajor talent ,but singing in the G&s operas honed that voice.

  77. Dave Littleproud

    Thank you guys I now have a listof 87 names for the class of ’56. I’m only assuming there were 90. I don’t think I’ve added people from other years but it was all a long time ago.
    David morgan played /sang Rose Maybud the 1956 production of Ruddigore and in the 1960 “Surbitonian” there is a photo of David in the role of Casilda and Roger Rimmer as the Duchess. A David Burton sang in Ruddigore. I remember Hughie Laing turning Holy Joe green with a graphic description of Hughie falling onto spiked fence and having stitches in both sides of his arm -Hughie was always falling out of things and breaking bits of himself.
    In answer to Richard’s comments about the demise of grammar schools I think it is the politics of envy–if I can’t be an artist in Malibu like Dave Ashwell why should anyone else ? -my own belief is that we should all be able to be artists in Malibu -but Dave knows i can’t paint.
    Living out in the backwoods we have been lucky we still have grammar schools-we moved here before we had kids. Both my son and daughter had a choice of 4 grammar schools within arange of 15 miles-the standard varies -the most popular , most successful,school is always 8 times oversubscribed–people are voting with their feet. I don’t know the perfect school system but it ain’t wot we got now-one size doesn’t fit all. If Ididn’t enjoy my time at Surbiton it was probably my own fault -education is wasted on the young !! there were many opportunities that I didn’t grasp and also lots of the academic stuff.

  78. Robin Hendy

    On the philosophy of education. Like Dave I didn’t realise the opportunities which were being offered. I wasn’t aware that the school had an operatic society until I watched the brilliant performance. I found at the beginning that some pupils had already studied French at their prep schools. Therefore the initial lessons went so fast while I was trying to ascertain the logic of a female table, the others had moved way ahead. My children were educated in the private sector. When I put my son down at birth for Eton, my wife and I were interviewed by his future house master (to be appointed in 13 years’ time). I quote “when a boy comes to Eton we make it a priority to find out where his talents lie, it might be brick laying”) To illustrate the point the only subject my son got an A in at Eton was jewellery- making. Long-term planning and giving children lots of different opportunities in small numerical classes. If the state sector followed these simple rules I could have saved myself a fortune in school fees and in my opinion, children would be more fulfilled and better educated. However after school, what one does with one’s life is down to oneself. Grammar schools have served generations of children very well. The argument that they only selected the top 10% is easily remedied . Grammar Schools are a fanastic brand name, the demand is 8 times (D.L) the supply. If Tesco were running the education system instead of the inept politicians, Tesco would open more Grammar schools, they would also use the Millfield model giving places to sporting children. This supposes that all the school sports fields are not closed down first. The model is endless, with schools for musicans etc. These measures are about catering for children, not some mythical all inclusive politically-correct education system which has now failed so many children. I am currently reading the “History of the Hoare Banking Dynasty”and came across the following : “Henry Hoare had completed his Cambridge Education by the age of nineteen, graduating with a double first from St John’s ” This was in 1822, the opportunies are endless. It is a pity dogma impedes our childrens’ progress.

  79. Malcolm Penn

    Hi everyone … stumbled across this quite by accident. What a blast!!! I was there 1955-1962, Egmont House. Was in the express (-X) stream for O levels so were only 11 or so in our class. Dave … that teacher list of yours brought back memories, so did some of the other names. Used to live next door to the Swanns in Tolworth; was the drummer in the Electrons with Bas Hewston and Nick Graham and later merged with Gremlins with Len Neldrett on Guitar. Still keep in touch with Len, currently in Madrid. Chris Preston was also in my class plus Dick Gamage (yerar below?). So many memories … it was an incredible experience !!!

  80. Dave Littleproud

    Thank you Malcolm. Are you the tall fair haired one with glasses or is the alzheimers kicking in-me not anyone else! Thanks for the mention of Barry Hewson- I now have 2 names to find to complete a list of 90 for the class of ’56- I’m still assuming there were 90. Please send my regards to Len Neldrett-Madrid sounds good. I remember Robin telling me about “Bulls and Bears” -sinc he has been such a succesful matador I regret not paying attention at the time. I very much like Robin’s comment about letting Tesco’s run the schools. However grammar schools cream off the best leaving the independent schools and the comprehensives to take what they are given-our local independent and comprehensive schools have similar results. In any soap operaa or drama school is always portrayed as a place for chaos and mayhem not a place for learning. During inclement our locla radio station present a school closure as something good -not something to be regretted. Education needs the same pr that any other product on which we spend loadsa money gets-back to Tesco’s -perhaps we should have Saatchi and Saatchi promoting the virtues of education- media directed at children should always show education as something to be enjoyed not something for nerds and swots -the Bash Street Kids should not be heroes. I’ll put my soap box away!

  81. Dave Littleproud

    ps too much philosophy -let’s stick to memories -or not? or as well?

  82. Colin Brightwell

    Hi all, change of theme. I’d be interested to know where life has taken everyone. I left Surbiton with just 6 ‘o’ levels after struggling for a year with ‘A’ levels. Bert Forward (what a nice man) advised that I would be better to go into business and undertake specific training in insurance or banking. Thankfully avoided the latter and entered articles to train as a Chartered Accountant in the City. Boy was it hard! Qualified in the end but only after an almighty struggle! Rose to the dizzy heights of Finance Director in a couple of Vehicle Leasing and Management subsidiaries of major banks. Am now mostly retired but still do work for an Executive Search firm that once headhunted me! Married Lesley in 1970 and moved to Cranleigh in Surrey. Subsequently moved via Jacobs Well and Mayford to Horsell where we now reside for approx 7 months of the year with the other 5 months being spent in Cyprus. Have two children Natalie (36) and Matthew (34).

    Only in touch with one Old Surb, Tony Hall who was my best man at our wedding. He married Pam in 1968 and ran a property management company up to about 3 years ago in West Byfleet. Now manager of Guildford Hockey Club 1st eleven, he splits his time between Woking and France where he and Pam have a cottage. His son Danny played for the GB Hockey team in three Olympics and although retired from International hockey, now plays for East Grinstead in the Premier League.

    Thinking about sport, Dave, another name for you, Stephen Pedder. Not sure when he was at Surbiton but was certainly my age as he played goalkeeper in a football team that I started when I was at Surbiton (boy did I get in trouble for that). Think he must have come to the school later than the rest of us. He was a nutter as most goalkeepers are. The last I heard of Stephen was that he was working as a groundsman. I also heard that at a time when he was unemployed he was arrested for being drunk and disorderly and when the magistrate wanted to know why he wasn’t working Stephen replied that he was a shepherd and was finding it difficult getting a job … in Kingston! Sorry, I’m going on a bit but another name has sprung to mind, John Horrocks. Talk about association of ideas! I tried to fix John up with a blind date with Pam, yes the very same young lady mentioned above. He couldn’t make it so when I bumped into Tony Hall in Bank underground station on the way to work (he was a trainee Chartered Surveyor at that time) he agreed to go on the date. The rest, as they say, is history! I have a feeling that John also wasn’t at Surbiton very long but can’t be sure.

    Look forward to hearing other potted histories that I’m sure will be an awful lot more interesting than mine!

  83. Roger Husband

    Must have been about 1956 to 1960.
    Yes, I was at school there but actually got my education later in Canada.
    If anyone remembers me (doubtful as to quote one teacher, Wilf? – ‘he seems to reject every social and academic aspect of the school’), if you do it’s probably the painful altercation I had with dear Dr.Turner in the playground, from which I learned
    ‘It’s not British’ and ‘An Englishman never tells a lie’. For some reason I had handed him a water pistol and told him it didn’t shoot backwards…
    Have rarely run into old Surbitonians, an exception being Roger Rimmer, you omit to mention Roger that in 1970 your E Type Jag was confiscated by an over zealous official and we bought it back for a mitigated fine of $50. (I’ll send you the photos).
    Am in third career (blame SCGS, obviously cant hold down a job)… 25 years as an architect, presently running a video production company, specialising in school events… strange….

  84. Roger Husband

    Would be interested to hear of anyone else living in the Vancouver area.

  85. Roger Husband

    It just occurred to me. Vancouver is one of the beautiful areas in the world. Between here and the capital, Victoria, on Vancouver Island, and also in Howe Sound are the Gulf Islands. I once found anchorage for the night at one of the nicest and least developed. Problem was its name – Keats Island…

  86. Dave Littleproud

    Come on Roger! He wasn’t that bad – I think he had a kind heart -in my case I think they had some pretty unresponsive clay to mould. My wife worked in Vancouver in the ’70s – she said it was a beautiful place.

  87. Roger A. Rimmer

    Good job us ‘Rogers’ have a mischievous sense of humour. I sort of wondered if that would be dredged up. As I recall, I was endeavouring to negotiate with the arresting officer and you were dancing around with your camera requesting the officer to ‘move in a little closer’ and ‘can I have one with the two of you………etc.’ which wasn’t the essence of tact at a time when I had temporarily lost my motor. Any copies of photographs would be most welcome but without revealing my email address to everybody on the internet, I do not know any other means by which I can tell you where I am these days Roger. I certainly don’t mind any of us chaps (ie, Old Surbs) knowing one bit, but the whole world – no thanks – the spam would be worse than Monty’s, not to mention a foot in the door on potential identity theft. Maybe Dave Littleproud can help? Delighted to hear of all the other names mentioned, particularly Steven Pedder, Bas Hewison and John Horrocks.
    With regard to ‘other potted histories’ referred to by Colin (you seem to have had a most interesting life and continue to do so – well done Colin), it is quite an idea. Trouble is, the most extreme, and thus likely the most interesting will likely have been lived by many who don’t spend much time on or have access to – the internet, for whatever reasons? I missed out on the marriage scene by design as a result of reading Bacon’s Essays on the way over to Canada and found his expression of ‘hostages to fortune’ to be rather intimidating at a time when I was just starting to accumulate. Also, I believe that even if all other intoxicants are made to keep quarter in the life of man (no more jokes Rog please) the one which I have found the hardest to resist is freedom to which I have adhered throughout. But there again, the single life doesn’t suit most. I have said enough, but sincerely hope that other fellows pick up on this blog as it is a bit of a blast – I reckon. However, now Roger H. has fired up, I could be in all sorts of trouble and propose to keep a low profile – lols.

  88. Peter Pocock

    Hi to you all…

    Just when I was beinning to think I was a bit weird, searching web sites for nostalgia, I found myself here, and have been reading the blogs, totally entralled.

    Unlikely anyone out there actually remembers me (1953 – 1961, Egmont), because, apart from a couple of brief appearances in G&S productions, and getting famously beaten up in a House Boxing tornament by Keith Beeks, I spent most of my time keeping a low profile.

    I can add a few obsure names to the list of teachers, not yet mentioned:

    Monsieur Michaud – French Teaching Assistant
    Major Lefevre, a Captain Mannering lookalike
    Rupert Rose – senior physics
    Masters – a quiet dignified teacher of carpentry
    “Scrog” Haywood
    “Barry” Bucknell – assistan art teacher

    Contemporary pupils, with apologies to those I have forgotten):
    The Courtney twins
    Hedley Stovold
    Colin Bridges
    Richard Venables
    Robin Millet
    Viv Gunton ( a now retired former Concorde pilot)
    Niels Polden
    Michael Hind
    Graham Hatherley
    Brian Boyce
    Humphrey Weedon
    Roy Wernham
    John Edwards
    Bob Langstaff
    Tregurtha, Trigg, Coates-Smith, Honeysett, Stunnell,

    Left SGS in 1961 with the requisite A levels but was lured into industry rather than further academia. Spent to first 20 years in various major food companies in marketing, then, in 1983 recklessly moved to Saudi Arabia, where I spent the next 25 years doing basically the same but getting paid more.

    Unofficially retired 2 years ago, and moved to Dubai, opening up my own modest trading company, and am able to spend more time with my daughter and the 3 grandchildren.

    Would love to hear from anyone out there who remembers me.

  89. Dave Littleproud

    Got you Mr Pocock! Neatly sandwiched between Bob Liebermann and’on a chair, Ron Ladd!!-I don’t think Major Lefrevre would be impressed as being likened to a Captain Mainwaring lookalike. My perception of him is as a pukka officer type -I have to admit my experience of the officer class was rather limited when I was eleven – Major Lefevre left for pastures new in Rhodesia in 1957.
    Roger R – in order to retain your anonymity you could get Roger H to post the damning evidence to a “poste restante” in a distant town. or go through Friends Reunited. There are ways of not getting spam -my home grown computer guru might know.

  90. Roger A. Rimmer

    Thank you Dave – good suggestion. Hopefully Roger H. will be monitoring the blog from time to time and will pick up on it.

  91. Dave Littleproud

    Hi! Roger R! What are you doing on the internet in the middle of the afternoon? have a practice run -send something to me –
    c/0 Newent Post Office
    29 Church St
    GL18 1AA.
    Any way Roger H sent 3 emails pretty quickly.

  92. Roger A. Rimmer

    That’s excellent Dave. Hopefully Roger H. will see it and respond. I’ll send you mine tomorrow as the post will have gone already. Thanks for this. We go back a long way – copper pipe pyrotechnics, a scooter accident and chasing the same birds – you know – all the usual stuff.

  93. Richard Day

    Dave are you implying that Ron Ladd was short? Iremember hat he had a large collection of Ruby Austens in various states of disrepair in his mothers back garden in Epsom,he was constantly working on the.I remember that he Chris Brand and I drove to Notting Hill to buy yet another one,the seller was a large West Idian gentleman ,who introduced us to the pleasures of weed. I was in the class of 1954, and I do remember You Peter P.You have jogged my memory re some of your classmates.Hedley Stovold was part of the Group that caught the 65 bus at Surbiton Station,he lived some way past the Zoo.Bob Langstaff was also part of that group,he ended up at Sandhurst.Humph Weedon I last saw in Toronto in 1975 at Quentin Finch’s house.My potted history- like alot of others found my way to Canada wher e afer a creer in research wnt to Medical School.Got tired of the cold weather and trained in Obstetrics and gynaecology in Charleston S.C where I have resided for 30 yrs.Keep up with Dave Ashwell,he and I are vying for the record of most marriages for Old surbitonians.However now happily married (as is Dave) for anumber years,with one son Chris,36,and 3 step children.

  94. Dave Littleproud

    Dear Richard, Yep!! I remember Ron as one of the few prefects that up to age 13/14 I didn’t have to look up to. You could also ask Peter Pocock who was standing on his right in the prefect’s photo. Ron was also a head shorter than Roy( ?) Gill. I rest my case my lord! Any way I remember Ron as a very nice fella and I hope he has enjoyed the past 40+ years as much as most of us seem to have done. Lot’s of you seem to have gone via Canada to success. My sister in law has enjoyed Nova Scotia for over 20 years and my wife enjoyed working in Vancouver. I remember all the names you mention although you and they were older than me. I did ” o” level art with Hedley Stovold’s little brother.

  95. Roger Husband

    Does anyone have the official school photos of 1957/8/9 or 1960? Also the Rome Olympics trip (1960). I have some slides taken on a school trip to Paris, probably 1959, Martin (Mac) Macara “holding up” the Eiffel Tower and a small group at Versailles, Osborne House on the Isle of White, and another unidentified trip. If anyone is interested my son assures me there are non revealing options for sending by internet.

  96. Peter Pocock

    Thanks Guys for your replies.

    Having lost all school photos over the years sorry that I can’t help in identifying anyone that way.

    For the record, poor old Stovold actually lived way beyond Leatherhead and had arguably the longest commute of any SCGS pupil in history.

    Ron Ladd had I believe a rather serious wasting disease, and during the time I knew him, and for a few years after leaving school, he was literally getting shorter year by year.

    Apropos nothing at all, didn’t Jock Lonsdale have a son at the school?

    Who was the ‘science’ teacher with blond curly hair who rode to school on a drop handlebar racing bike?

    Surprised, in references to Ken Bidmead, no-one recalls his terrifying command of the stationery cupboard in Braemar, where he would literally examine each page of an exercise book before agreeing to issue a new one.

    Loved the detail about Eddie Watkins. My main memory of him was his P.E. classes in the Hall. He got us lined up by house, then marching and countermarching up and down for 35 minutes. Regularly, at some point he would ask for a volunteer with a bike, to go out and buy him some cigarettes.

    Anyone remember that pointless exercise around Form 5, when you had to spend the day outside Doig’s office on “Bell Duty” , ringing the bell to end each period, running errands for the Secretary and avoiding Doig’s stare.

    Sorry – rambling.

  97. Richard Day

    Peter-I think the science master that you are thinking about was Mr.Stubbings,but he taught maths.He also started us playing squash,at which Hans Mockand David Morgan were stars.He also tried starting a rowing club,but left the school before it could take off.I remember afew pleasant sunday mornings rowing on the Thames,with boats borrowed from Kingston Rowing Club (then based at the old Turks boat house.Other rowers were Dave Ashwell,Ginger Gill,Lincoln Waller.I am pretty sure that Jock Lonsdale had 2 daughters but no sons.However Nick Napper dated one of the daughters.They lived i Thames Ditton,just down the road from Th e Swan.Segue to Keith Swann-did he meet his demise as aresult of amotor -cycle accident.Malcolm wre you a neighbour of Phil Lucas on Red Lon Rd?

  98. David Goodyear

    I’ve just discovered this great website. I was at SCGS 1954-1961. Trumpet player in the school orchestras and in the G&S productions. Now in Taunton, as is Brian Cresswell who still runs the Somerset Rural Music School.I remember Jock Lonsdale introducing himself to Egmont as our new Housemaster “Boys, I want you to know that I weigh thurrrteen stone – and if you are sent to me with three Entries,I shall cane you. And every ooonce of that thurrrrten stone will be behind each strock of the cane”.Names I remember of guys in my year include David Morgan , Andy Pay , Philip Jago , Michael Shields , Michael Warburton….. I lived in Claygate. I went into Science teaching and did well. Then went into the Baptist ministry. Am now retired but tutor Science 1:1 , play in the Mid Somerset Orchestra and teach Trumpet. I also still preach once or twice a month. Do you remember Wilfred Sing (“Wilf”)?. I think he taught French but was also musical.

    David Goodyear

  99. Dave Littleproud

    Roger R ! Safe delivery! My bright idea works – not a common occurence out in the wilds but I’ll let it run til the p.o. complains.
    Moaning about spending the day outside the H.M.’s office? Lordy Peter! A day at Mrs Gambling’s beck and call-Wow!! They only let me do it once -I suspect it was because I disrupted every class by demanding that the dinner numbers tallied!
    Yes I remember the trauma of prising a new book out of Ken Bidmead-I also remember him wandering the corridor of an express train returning from a schooltrip with a confiscated waterpistol in each hand! My cry of “Biddy the Kid” remained unpunished.

  100. Peter Pocock

    Hi Richard,

    I remain totally convinced that there was a young Lonsdale around at the time – something of a ‘tearaway’. Help me out someone. In any event, even if it is proven that Jock had no sons, at least I remember at one point he had a bicycle equipped with a “magic motor” built into the wheel.

    The Swan who died in a motor bike accident was, I think, Victor Swan.

    David – I remember you well boarding the old 42 train at Claygate with your trumpet case. You must have known Humphrey Weedon – a fellow trumpeter.

  101. Dave Littleproud

    Here is my “class of 56″ -Iapologise for any christian names my failing memory has missed-but I can put faces to names. Thank you Roger Rimmer for providing the missing piece -Nigel Froumin-last but not least!!

    MICK REED ariel leader

    —– MILLER—ginger hair
    ——? CARTER
    ——? WHITE dark hair

    ???? FRY

  102. Dave Littleproud

    Peter -I have a vague memory of Jock with some form of moped -must have been the French influence – I have some school magazines -when I get a working scanner!!!
    Roger H-see my 31/03/09 -happy to do same for you! It worked and I had a most enjoyable telecon with Roger R.
    Apologies for any anomalies/omissions on the list.

  103. Roger Rimmer

    I reckon Rowley’s christian name is Richard and Neldrett, I feel sure is Leonard? No mention of Eddie Hughes or Tony Harriman whereas Colin Brightwell appears twice. Well done for all your efforts Dave. Speak to you soon.

  104. Dave Littleproud

    Eddie and Tony weren’t in the original classof ’56 Tony joined in 3B and Eddie in LVB-so ho! who have I missed? -Colin appearing twice does not entitle him to a bonus!!

  105. Malcolm Penn

    Hi Richard (and others) … sorry for the delay replying. I lived at 58 Bond Road, Tolworth, the Swanns lived next door at 56. I remember Victor’s bike accident well … it really broke his Mum. I guess he was only just 16 or so. I was in the Class of 1955, left in 1962. Don’t remember Phil Lucas from Red Lion Road. Moved from Tolworth to Sevenoaks Kent in 1972 for work reasons and stayed here ever since. Visit the old school site and the area recently … Kingston’s been destroyed, almost unrecognisable … The Red Lion Pub and Railway Tavern are no more, although The Swan In Thames Ditton still is. Most of the Tolworth area is unchanged except for 20mph speed limits and traffic bumps and other calming measures. My old gaff still looks much as it was when I grew up there. Dug out an LP made of the school choir and orchestra conducted by Alan Bolt made during 1960-62 at St Marks Hill Church and the school hall. Quite an epic. Will get it converted to mp3 when I get the chance. Got a book of cartoons drawn by by Bas Hewson somewhere “The lazy Monkey’s Handbook” about Mr Rose, the mad physics teacher. Not much else survived … except the experience!

  106. richard day

    First:congratulations to D.Littleproud on gathering his list of class mates.I am up to about 20 for my group so far.Finally I have someone in my cohort who does not have anything better to do than cruise this web sitethank David Goodyear.David we were in the same class all the way to the 6 th form,but I seem to remember that you left after completing the lower 6 th.I remember well Mike Shields,When we dissected the dogfish in A level zoology,his dissections were a beauty to behold.As to Wilf Sing,he was our 3 rd form master,he also taught us french and latin.I absolutely agree re Kingston,a charming riverside town totally destroyed.

  107. richard day

    I am going to be in Phoenix ,Arizona on April 17 th for a long weekend,if you are out there Steve Triggs give me a call-843-723-0373

  108. Paul Stevens

    My experience lasted from 1963 to1966.Mr.Fry took us for rugger ,with Peewee Hunt,a fine practioner with the size 11 plimsoll during Latin.Scored two tries against Tiffins,my highlight.I can only remember Kelsall,who sadly died at Surbiton station,Corbett,Williams,I can’t seem to see anyone else from this era.Is any body out there.How about Simon Lever,hair was so long they would’nt let him in the 1965 panoramic photo,and the guy who managed to be photographed twice in the same snap.Merry memories.

  109. I attended from 1961 to 1965, at which time we moved to Canada. I remember Hunt, but I had Bidmead (handy with the ruler) for Latin. Fond memories of the long bus rides to rugger. Masters I recall having are Coutts (Keats) for English, Sid Capper for French, Cox for Physics, Busby for Arts, Jack Skene for Geography. Good memories of the Gilbert & Sullivan performances, not so much the cafeteria food!

  110. Clive Nunn

    Egmont 1953 – 1958

    YES!! Best Blog ever- linked here from a random Wikipedia surf. SCGC Site? Yes please. Quick first (maybe last!) look at me – another fast track GCE student who ended up in 5G!! 5 GCEs took me into RN for the next 27 years, then Shipbuilding followed by Nuclear, where at 66 I still am. Sod the Labour Party.
    Some names – Cubin, to whom I aplogise for beating up during House boxing (I’m sure I thumped Pocock at some time as well!) Chris Brand who did the same to me. Not new, but the Courtney twins, Michael and I being the scourge of the Chemistry lab , Mike (Spinks?) who did a sub 65 minute TT (cycling always my main sport). Trev Birmingham who was reputed to run a market stall in Kingston; Meyhew, the only sod to eventually beat me (soundly) at both 880 and mile; Radford? who did the same at 100 and 220; Derek Rosam; Samuel, who had a bespoke Carpenter Fixi; Johnson, who I think I spotted on Friends Rsome years ago; Richardson, who got caned by Doig in Assembly, Geoff. Wood from my town (Walton) and a great pal. That’ll do for now, but here’s some memory triggers – Surbiton Lido, Hinchley Wood Girls Grammar, train commutes to Surbiton via Waterloo, Harrison Marks magazines in the shop opposite the Station, Nonsuch Park, Sack Jack campaign and a rally Sunbeam Talbot Alpine parked on Surbiton Hill.. Finally, wasn’t the main school building Alsbury House or some such?
    Never been to Canada.
    Fabulous days, isn’t youth wasted on the young!

  111. Amazing after all these years that most names have come up on this blog, but allow me to fill in some gaps :: On the 5th Year split I ended up in 5S2 & was buddies mainly with the Andrews brothers , Timothy & Robin who lived opposite me in Guildford Avenue just around the corner from the School — the reason why we are not so well remembered by the ‘Littleproud ‘ congregation is because we specialised in the ‘Art of Festering ‘ ! This consisted of strolling round to the school to sign on then slopping back to Rob Andrews for morning coffees & avid discussions on all things pubescent as well as listening to the latest Modern Jazz. Joining us in this almost daily torpid state were Graham ‘Chas ‘ Hill , Robin Wayne , Howard Sheppard , Barry ‘ Baz ‘ Hewson, Mick Warren , who also lived around the corner , & guest appearances from Tony ‘ Harry ‘ Arbour , Colin Stanley ,Terry Connolly ,Mick Chandler , Gerry Mercer , Stefan Dreja , Nigel Froumin , John Gosling , Mick Hoad & several of those mentioned by other in previous ‘ Blogs ‘. Seeing Roger Husband’s Notes above reminded me that I sat next to him in Latin classes given in Aysgarth , ground floor by the then new ‘squeeky voiced ‘ Pee Wee Hunt. John Gosling in our class at that time was a bit of a school hardman & Roger Husband as I recall was rather slightly built & somewhat timid. A row betwen these two erupted to the extent that Roger overcame his fears & laid into JG & to much cheering coming out on top with Mr Hunt only an onlooker . Matters then subsided but , starting with the back row the class gradually dissapeared out of the classroom windows leaving the ‘squeeking ‘Mr Hunt with a severely depleted class. Seeing Dave Ashwell’s name reminds me of the cross country runs with also Malcom Cross — Cross & Ashwell lived close to the playing fields from whence these runs started & the course went past one of their houses unbeknown to the sports staff so , pop in on the outward leg , have tea & join in fthe pack for the homeward sprint full of running! I think it was Dave Ashwell’s house that featured in the Surrey Comet one day for ‘ having an Elephant in the Garden ‘ as one had escaped & trundled across from Chessington Zoo.

    Chas Hill , Howard Sheppard & I , sometimes Rob Wayne & Tony Arbour & when in the country , Baz Hewson meet up most Fridays in the WychElm , Elm Street ,Kingston upon Thames if anyone wants to turn up on spec & say ‘ Hello ‘ .

  112. Peter Pocock

    Hi Clive – welcome to the site.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if you did thump me – people have been doing that to me for years!.

    A few more names you may recall from that era – Upwood, Jim Dodson, Tony Lebras, Spittle, Tom Corn, Pendleton, Trog Norton, assorted Ashtons, Venables, Millett, Boyce, Morrell, Pope, Dillow, Brian Mullins, Nigel Peake, Niels Polden, Richard Gill, Ian Burhop, Bob Lieberman, Lewis Levin

    Trevor Birmingham – yes, the only boy in 2C with a real moustache, and staggeringly ‘well-hung’.

    By the way, briefly made contact with Mick Courtney last year. He is a pillar of the community in Claygate, serving both as a local councellor and a senior officer in his Church.

    One final memory – does anyone recall the day the ancient and disgusting Sports Pavillion mysteriuosly burned down at the Playing Fields at Hook?

  113. Clive Nunn

    OK Peter, got you now. Maybe “thump” goes further than I actually managed!
    Found Mick C on Claygates Website, might get in touch – never sure after so long, what do you think?; Officer of the Church? he must have reformed – or not! Thanks for names – Nigel Peake, lived in Esher beside the railway. Had a physical peculiarity rumoured to be similar to Hitler’s……. teach him to stamp on my carrot patch (remember the allotments?). Levin – invented the Full Brazil – the Hook pavilion baths allowing no secrets! Probably why they were burned down. Another name, Peter White, who I think had a younger brother at SCGS.
    As for G&S I was in two productions (chorus! with Polden as lead) before my voice broke, then found myself as a second violin in the main orchestra.
    Many more memories flooding back – more blog later if anyone cares!

  114. Peter Pocock

    I feel sure Mick Courtney would like to hear from you. I might be interesting to learn what happened to John & David Courtney.

    I remember the allotments only by name. Personally never ever ventured around behind that huge brick wall. I do remember Colin Bridge
    ( now an accomplished Clarinet player in a major
    Orchestra), being an ardent gardener able to do stunning things with a rake and trowel! Never saw any actual vegetables grown there.

    Must have been in the same two G&S productions (Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance). At least with my girth and appearance, I only ever had to sing in the mens’ chorus.

    A few more names that you might remember:
    Roy Wernham (a former Ombudsman, and now also heavily involved with his local Church – what is it about SCGS training?)
    Brian Harding
    Steve Triggs
    Hughie something
    Mike (Angus) Hind
    Lincoln Waller ( spoke better French than Jock Lonsdale)
    Graham Hatherley
    Graham Pirnie
    Tony Maybey

    By the way, where are you living these days?

  115. Dave Littleproud

    The www has been buzzing ! Trawling through the 1957 “Surbitonian” for mention of Clive Nunn—sorry mate!—I find one more name for my class of ’57 in the House Boxing results-Absolom-Idon’t remember him unless he was a small 2nd year. I also found Brand in the third year boxing –Courtney M duffed Courtney J, Turner did for Mick Hoad ( who, last I heard from Stef Dreja ,wasn’t very well) –Gerry Mercer beat Smith B
    Mick Chandler beat Hans Mock. Looking at the names of the prefects and the sixth formers I am reminded of how large they seemed to me and I was not a small 11year old- to some of my smaller peers they must have seemed like giants.
    Surbiton Lagoon -now a housing estate- the main school was Albery House I think. Yes youth (and Education !!) is wasted on the young –oh for my 18 yr old body with the scars and laughs that I accumulated over the following 40 plus!!
    In reply to David Hall I must say how bemused and amused I am at “Littleproud “and “congregation “ being used in the same breath-however we are a broad church and prepared to forgive and welcome all lost sinners who have found the true path!!-I shall rely on Messrs Courtney and Wernham to resolve any theological issues that may arise. I recognise most of the names you mention in your “festering “ group-Graham Hill was at primary school with me as was Howard Sheppard who joined SCGS in the sixth form from Hollyfield Road. I am afraid that I do not remember yourself and Messrs Stanley, Connolly and Gosling. Not appreciating Modern Jazz I would have been a bit hoi polloi for your group- I think I was more into motor bikes !! I did have coffee at both Rob Waynes and Rob Andrews-most congenial hosts they were. Do you remember Stefan Dreja organising “JaZz at the Oak” in Maple Road? I heard from Hugh Williams, who joined SCGS in the sixth form,told me that Mick Warren had died and that Rob Wayne had lost his brother. To continue being maudlin Tim Pines and Mick Puggard-Moller were killed in car crashes –Quentin Finch was killed trying to land a helicopter on an oil rig.
    Lighter vein –Myself ,Dreja and Wayne plus one other used to sit in the back row of one of those rooms just off the entrance hall of Albery house. When “Cyril” Parsons was trying to teach us maths we would play air guitar a les Shadows–one summers day with the French windows open Stefan’s chair got tossed into the grounds –he goes to get it –we lock the door on him! 5 minutes Stef is trying to explain to Cyril heicoming back in the classroom carrying a chair. Poor Mr Parsons — we were so unkind to him-I bollock my own son for such behaviour! –as we said youth and education…….
    Once worked for the same company as Mick Courtney about 20 years ago –me in Bristol, him in London.
    David please convey my best wishes to the Friday night conclave –if ever I’m in Kingston on a Friday night I will turn up, but why the Wych Elm?
    Pity about the Hook Pavilion- surely a gem of it’s type- all the nails sticking out of the floor like reverse studs! It should have been listed—wonder who done it ?
    Re Peter Pocock’s last, I remember most of the names-I even have photos (when I get a scanner!!) even though they were my seniors and can put faces to them-except for Steve Triggs and Tony Maybey (this name seems very familiar -but not a face)

  116. Peter Pocock

    Its question time folks….

    Having yesterday celebrated being born in 1942, I got to thinking just how many utterly unimportant facts about SCGS I could remember. As you can see, I have definitelty gone a bit crazy, but here goes:

    What make and colour was the car Doig dr0ve?

    What was the name of the poor old Groundsman at the ill-fated Pavillion at Hook?

    Which short-lived English Teacher went to live in Mauritius where he got the job of “mystery voice” on Mauritius Radio version of 20 Questions?

    Who coined the phrase ” “who’s feminine – my Aunt Kate’s Canary ?”

    What was the Cadet Corps’ secret training weapon, kept locked in a garage at the side of Aysgarth?

    Where was the “Pound Annual Sale” held and by whom?

    Why does no-one seem to remember the Libary with its cozy little club of Nerds who spent all breaktimes, classifying utterly boring books. Who was the “Librarian”

    What was a “Yik Man”, and can you still draw one ( tricky question)

    How many “entries” were given for not wearing the dreaded School cap?

    There was an apology for a tuck shop set up, lasting only a few months. Where was it located?

    What was the most popular lunch (?) served in the Dining Hall and as a follow-up, where did the Sandwich Boys sit?

    What brand of cigarettes was the most popular at SCGS?

    Sorry – “er Indoors” just looked over my shoulder and commented that I had totally flipped. As usual, right of course.

    Answers on a postcard please.
    Dave – please get a scanner – can’t wait to see some old faces

  117. richard day

    All right Istill have a library book in my posession.Tuck shop at the end of the physics lab.Sandwich boys ina downstairs classroom in Braemer.

  118. Peter Pocock

    Two correct so far Richard. Can’t think of any titles there that were worth keeping, and certainly not for 40 odd years.

  119. Dave Littleproud

    Ok Peter
    A J Doig’s car–pass
    Groundsman –Mr Jolly-used to sell soft drinks
    Cader corps secret weapon –25 pounder field gun
    Library –for a man with a grammar school education you’re a bit scathing about books -I well remember the rush to get to the library to read the latest “Eagle”-”Paris Match” was not commonly found in my end of Kingston and I was a devoted fan of “Punch” almost on arrival at SCGS-I’m grateful to the library and those nerds who made the books easy to find-but then again I have always been a bookworm-my book collection is grounds for divorce in our house-oh the answer to your question—D.W. Adams, R. Barnes, Tony Cator, W Perfect, R Stuart, G C Smith, P Dawson, R Venables, P White, A French, J Edward, A Robinson and R White all under the watchful of Mr Parrot- who, I think, went to live in Mauritius!! Do I get “Nerd of the Year 2009″ ??

    One entry for not wearing a cap.

    The tuck shop was at the end of the physics lab -I think it closed down because it was robbed.

    most popular lunch was probably “yesterday’s” potatoes served up fried-I was well enamoured of the butterscotch tart-for institutional food I think the cooks did quite well.

    I only get away with this because “er indoors “is out working keeping me in the manner to which I have become accustomed-she thinks I’m a bit flipped too!

    Printer is a bit dodgy-kids need it for school work –Yep I still got one of each GCSE and AS levels looming next month so scanner could come with new printer -must see what home grown computer guru says.

    Richard -write out twenty times in your general book Braemar-Braemar etc

  120. Dave Littleproud

    Hey Peter- I’ve still got my “O” level maths book and some of my exercise books Mauritius!! Do I get “Nerd of the Year 2009″ and Bar or at least with Oak Leaf Cluster -Croix de Something ??

  121. Dave Littleproud

    Hey Peter- I’ve still got my “O” level maths book and some of my exercise books. Do I get “Nerd of the Year 2009″ and Bar or at least with Oak Leaf Cluster -Croix de Something ??

  122. Peter Pocock

    Not bad Dave! You passed on only one. As I recall, Doig had cute little pale blue Austin A40, more suited to a Midwife’s runaround than a Headmaster’s vehicle.

    Would have awarded you the title of Mastermind 2009, but for the heinous crime of nicking school property.

    Glad to see that the “Yik Man” has not yet been identified.

    For the record, where did you find the full list of Library staff. Adams, I recall was a genial Prefect in his 3rd year in 6th form, mercilessly taunted by everyone. Library was probably his only safe haven.

    Just unearthed a complete set of original ‘O’ level exam papers for 1958, and ‘A’ level for 1960. Looking back at the subject material, with the possible exceptions of French and German, it is hard to see any relevance to life over the next 40 years. (Probably more my fault than SCGS).

  123. Dave Littleproud

    Peter my memory seems to be quite good but not perfect-I could remember that one of the librarians was a ginger fellow but not his name – the list comes from the 1957 edition of “The Surbitonian” which confirms that the afore mentioned gentleman was Tony Cator-a nice chap.
    During the demolition of Braemar about 1960 Alan Kemp and I were cycling past when we noticed that the remains were on fire. We parked ourselves on a window cill to watch it burn. When the police and fire brigade arrived they were not impressed with our having not informed them. As we emphatically told them ” you don’t get a chance to watch your school burn down every day”-it was replaced with a gym and a design and technology block –pity.
    On the surface those “O” levels told the world that Peter had a brain-underneath they were a window to show what a great interesting world is out there -trouble is that education is wasted on….Perhaps the staff/sysyem were unable to use it in that way? Why was I happy to see my school burn down –why did I find it all such a drag—not all my fault –but not all theirs either.
    Shut up David! -too philosophical this early in the morning.

  124. Peter Pocock

    Never to early in the day for a little philosopy Dave.

    I know all that stuff about education broadening the mind and creating a questioning mind, and of course that’s true. My beef is that so much of what we were expected to learn/remember was irrelevant but was treated as being the most essential knowledge, to be absorbed and stored away for future use. ( The saddest day was when Masters, the quiet dignified teacher of carpentry sadly died. That was the end of my possibly useful training in how to cut and plane a tent-peg.)

    Where’s the learning in being able to conjugate Latin verbs? Who amongst us routinely identifies and proves congruency in triangles? (OK – I bet someone out there does it for a living). What use was the ability to recall the names of the first 10 Vice Presidents in USA? Who but Fred Fenyhough ever saw the relevance of debating whether or not Corneille was more “unvraisemblable” than Molliere?

    When it came to such esoteric topics as Fletcher’s Trolley, Boyle’s Law, Log Tables, Hydra and Amoeba, my case rests. ( I lie – I once got a Trivil Pursuit question on Boyle and his law).

    Perhaps all I am saying is that probably education in general in the 50′sand 60′s was treated as an end in itself, not just in SCGS, and probably because we never needed to worry about finding good jobs after leaving School/University, there was little attention paid to career advice – if you exclude Bert Forward’ often puzzling guidance.

    Having got that off my chest – I consider myself truly fortunate to have been at the school, and am eternally grateful to the assorted staff who for the most part, did a good job. With or without the data bank of knowledge they gave me, I have had a full and satisfying life and career, and perhaps most telling of all, have the self assurance to put my thoughts down on a public forum – which would have been unthinkable as an 11 year old fresh out of primary school!

  125. Roger Rimmer

    I agree with Peter. “Trivial Pursuit” just about sums it up. I commenced gathering all relevant and pertinent information upon leaving school. Upon being asked recently, ‘how’s life?’ I replied ‘absolutely marvellous thank you – particularly when you consider the alternative’.
    But there again, I am fortunate to be probably one of the happiest people alive – that is, as far as I am aware.
    It is with regret however, that I have to say if I am scrupulously honest, that I cannot put hand on heart and say that this wonderful status quo is really and truly anything whatsoever attributable to my time spent at SCGS apart that is, from having had the privilege of being taught on sadly only rare occasions by the saintly Mr. Walmsley to whom I have referred herein above and who left such an impression upon me as a man of real stature so as to leave me effortlessly capable of invoking sobriety, respect and honourable behaviour plus a veritable plethora of other considered virtuous modes of conduct when the occasion demands [even during a continuing vigourous lifetime spent in pursuance of all those things money cannot buy - without a television by choice, with alternate intervals listening to music, reading, some travel or work at home with seasonably appropriate interludes for dedicated dissipation.]
    It is regrettable that I was unable to witness these exemplary characteristics in few if any of the other members of staff to any comparable degree. I was lucky in life to have been handed at a young age, the ability to perceive men of calibre even at a distance and to be sensitive enough so as to understand what it is to be able to ‘feel’ an one enter a crowded room. Such a man, in my opinion, was old Wormo.

  126. Peter Pocock

    On a more mundane level, Roger, what subject(s) did Walmsley teach. I can see him clearly roaming the pathways, in, I agree, a fairly dignified manner, but I never actually met him in the classroom.

    By the way, I believe his son, Martin was a 6th former, around the mid-late 50′s – also tall, dignified and extremely charming.

    Surely though, there were a few other candidates for ‘sainthood’. Alan Bolt and Geof Harris-Ide were at times eccentric, but normally courteous and professional. Jock Lonsdale epitomised fairness, and was at the same time, a good and entertaining teacher, who made no concessions to suburban Surrey prejudice against his accent. In his somewhat surly way, Slug Rigden had a special presence, and was arguably the best prepared teacher in terms of organising his materials and establishing learning objectives. Given half a chance, and a better set of dentures, even Sid Capper had a few good points!

    Yes, there were sadists, bores, and frankly, staff who were simply not suited to the profession. Maybe that was the point. Maybe that was the preparation for life outside SCGS – the world is full of saints, sinners, sadists, bores, mediocrities and relatively normal people!

    By the way Roger, I too lived in Oxshott ( Sheath Lane). Did you ever know the Balkwills or the Thompsons?

  127. Colin Brightwell

    Peter, Mr Walmsley taught maths.

  128. Roger Rimmer

    Once again I agree with you Peter although I was not taught by either Jock or Slug so am not in any position to comment. Alan Bolt was an excellent man whom I knew indirectly through the sister of a friend in East Horsley with whom he used to go riding. No, I didn’t know the families you mention although I can remember you being in Sheath Lane.
    Mr. Walmsley taught Mathematics and caught me red handed making a disruptive device in class. The first thing I knew was a heavy hand placed firmly on my shoulder accompanied by the quiet question ‘Now Rimmer, what seems to be the problem?’ (pointing to my work with his other hand) He proceeded to run through my recent progress commenting that ‘this was right, that’s correct’ etc., etc., and then lightly thumped me on the shoulder with a clenched fist saying ‘come on – get on with it’ and making no reference to the gadget which he didn’t even confiscate! That was the very moment, I learned respect from this master and was the model student. I responded completely to positive correction. Any man who took a stick to my butt thereby confessed to me that not only had he failed completely as a teacher to inspire me, but had also failed utterly as a man in that he was effectively bullying a teenage boy. I was frankly, frightened by Lefty but disgusted by Gus who in the words of a neighbour at Oxshott, ‘just liked hitting people’ – a view I find hard with which to disagree.
    I was well behaved during English Literature with Nutty Bolt also, since he responded to any wise cracks by commenting as to whether they were sensible or not. He was partly responsible for my lifelong love of Shakespeare although I have to thank mother initially for singing sonnets to me in my cot whilst playing unaccompanied Bach on her violin. This was also my introduction to spontaneous improvisation which led on to a lifelong love of bebop and some successive forms of contemporary jazz.
    So ‘yes, of course’ there must have been other good teachers there and I suppose my opinion was teinted by the fact that old man Rimmer was General Secretary of the N.A.H.T. in Claremont Road, Surbiton for a while which Doig must have known about since they were in touch with each other about ‘the boy’. By this means however, I had direct information about salaries and what was said back stage.
    As long as I can remember, teachers have grizzled about the Burnham Scales (as it used to be) and their low pay whereas when you looked into it, they had a comparatively cushy deal really. A friend of mine with whom I used to imbibe all too frequently told me straight that he went into teaching for the wrong reasons – the high rate of pay and the long paid holidays which gave him time to enjoy his hobbies. Yet there are still teachers moaning about their lot!!! I put it down to the limitations of academic goggles. A year in the outside world of commerce might perhaps prove beneficial to any complainant?

  129. Clive Nunn

    Well, this Blog was fun, and getting better – a crowd of sexagnarian schoolboys reminiscing over old times.
    Then along comes Mr. Rimmer.
    I read the first submission right from the (incorrect) Maurice Chevalier quote, with growing disbelief eventually tempered by pity whenI got to the self delusional claptrap at the end. Response? Ignore it, as I usually ignore the psuedo-intellectual ramblings of Steven Fry, who at least has the excuse of a bi-polar personality disorder.

  130. Clive Nunn

    Well, this Blog was fun, and getting better – a crowd of sexagnarian schoolboys reminiscing over old times.
    Then along comes Mr. Rimmer.
    I read the first submission, from the (incorrect) Maurice Chevalier quote, with growing disbelief eventually tempered by pity when I got to the self delusional claptrap at the end. Response? Ignore it, as I usually ignore the psuedo-intellectual ramblings of Steven Fry, who at least has the excuse of a bi-polar personality disorder. Then came Submission 2.
    NOW I have to take exception. Rimmer you are NOT happy! All that underlying vitriol and hatred coupled with so much rambling verbal candy indicates that you may have a deep seated problem – you should perhaps seek help.
    One of your ill thought out and offensive comments however needs a specific response.
    My daughter, one of the many fruits of my 46 year marriage, is Assistant Head (that is a type of Teacher) at a 1000+ student Secondary school in a seriously deprived inner city area. Other, more knowledgable, readers will know just what that entails.
    That’s more than enough for now – can we get back to basics? or is this the inevitable end to a good idea…….
    Anyone else have an Ian Allan trainspotters book?
    And somebody else must remember Hinchley Wood Girls School……….

  131. Roger Rimmer

    Peter, I missed answering your last question. The family names you mention both ring a distant bell but I cannot say I remember either really. I knew most of the people in that part of the village by house names since that was where one of my rounds was. I would have delivered your papers if you used Weedons? June obviously wrote the house names on the papers in preference to the recipient’s surnames so I never came to know who was who.

  132. Colin Brightwell

    Clive, with only 6 ‘o’ levels it is probably not suprising that the more oblique references in your post have gone over my head. However, your rudeness hasn’t. Everyone has the right to express their views and everyone has the right to respond, but not in the rude and obnoxious way that you did. If you are unable to present your views in a respectful way then I suggest you keep them to yourself.

  133. Peter Pocock

    OK Clive – down to earth…..

    Vaguely remember the “Anarak and Tizer” group at the end of the platform at Surbiton station. Probably wrong but the names Coates-Smith, Tregurtha, Pendleton, Kitcher and Bridge stand out as regulars.

    For the more sophisticated amongst us, there was an Ian Allen Bus spotter book too – how about that for a pointless exercise.

    Do you remember a particularly tough kid called Shepherd. Used to ride a snazzy racing bike when not causing mayhem.Very intimidating but I eventually managed to avoid being attacked by him by discovering that we had a shared admiration for Fats Domino.

    Just had another ‘flash-back’. In our first year, Geography was taught by the venerable Neville Holdaway. He had the conviction that geography was by far the most important subject taught in the school, and was obsessed with how we looked after our weighty geog. ring binders.We all had to buy boxes of file hole re-enforcers, and Bambi staplers to maintain the pages in pristine condition. There were daily inspections, and hours spent instructing us on how to use coloured pencils to achieve an even finish ( you had to rub the colouring with blotting paper). Sadly he died later in 1953 I think, handing over to a much more tolerant Jack Skene.

    Anyone remember Noble – a music teacher with an amazing baritone voice. Also just had a vision of a sad faced, evil hearted prefect called Maud.

    I always thought Hinchley Wood was a co-ed school, Clive. Rough bunch as I recall – the boys actually played soccer.

    Hope that’s brought the site back to your expectations Clive.

  134. Roger Rimmer

    Colin – ‘only 6 ‘O’ levels’ ? I’d have said that was pretty good considering, if I remember correctly, you needed just five to enter articles in law provided that three of the five were Mathematics, English and English Literature. I imagine, but don’t know since I didn’t enquire, that the other major professions would have had similar requirements?
    Maybe you should have been in a higher class?

  135. Colin Brightwell

    Hi Roger, accountancy required either 5 passes at 6 or above in one sitting or 6 in two. I got the latter. Got 4 in the first sitting and two in the second, including art which I took as I knew I wouldn’t have to revise for it! Didn’t expect to pass it though and when the miracle happened, noone was more suprised than me!

    As to being in a higher class, I think my struggles at A level showed that I was where I should have been!

  136. Dave Littleproud

    Gently boys, gently!! We have all made a long journey since we stepped off of Surbiton Hill Road for the first time. Our years there gave each of us different perceptions and the ensuing nearly 50 years have emphasised,changed rejected or “whatever” those perceptions. On this website we have all returned to a mutual collective root–obviously from different directions. We have all had different kicks and cuddles which have made us who we are. If we read between the lines more than was intended to be said then let’s try and be kind.
    Ok sermon over -lets get back to this fun website –all welcome –as I said we are a broad church.

  137. peter pocock

    Well said, Dave.

  138. Dave Littleproud

    Colin is correct. Mr Walmsley did indeed teach maths very well -I never heard him raise his voice and I sat next to Tony Harriman -not good for either of us– one day I brought in the “crying bit” from one of my little sister’s dolls -you know you tip it and it goes “waaaaahhhh!!” Any teacher would have killed us!!
    A lovely man -we didn’t deserve him but he was what many teachers should have been. Iwas told very early in my time at SCGS that “Gus” enjoyed hitting people for no reason and that one should steer very clear of him.
    “Slug” Rigden was on the surface quite dour-as i progressed through the school Ifound him to be a kind , amusing man. In the sixth form he became a sort of tutor to me seeing me through a few traumas.
    At the end of term when he retired the whole school spontaneously burst in to “For He’s a jolly good fellow” and repeated it 3 times. The only time in my memory that a retiring master got that appreciation.
    I don’t think it was ” trivial pursuit ” (in fairness one of my favourite games ) at SCGS -it was to open windows -funnily enough some of the things that Peter Pocock mentions I have had to use-the survey of India was carried out a series of triangles-maybe even a congruent one -something “Holy Joe taught me in about 1958 I used “in action” in about 1992. I did have to google “Fletcher’s Trolley”-which was probably quite handy if one was designing road surfaces or tyre tread patterns and how did one do big sums before calculators?
    Life is an educational journey – SCGS was one of the first faltering steps -give Colin’s teacher daughter credit for what she is trying to do-I know I couldn’t do it. Like our teachers she probably has some pretty dodgy clay to mould.

  139. Dave Littleproud

    Sorry I mean’t Clive Nunn’s daughter.

    “Life is an educational journey – SCGS was one of the first faltering steps -give Colin’s teacher daughter credit for what she is trying to do-I know I couldn’t do it. Like our teachers she probably has some pretty dodgy clay to mould.”

    Silly David !!

  140. Roger Rimmer

    Sound comment Dave.

  141. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Hello boys I hope you don’t mind me butting in on your sureal little world , my mind is still a teenager but my body is now a pensioner ! I wonder if any of you remember the school cleaners? My great aunt Ivy Collins was one, you might remember her from her hair which she plaited and then wrapped around her head, she was a bit of a prangster herself with a wicked sense of humour so she loved all the antics that you got up to! Is anyone prepared to own up to the lobster down the toilet after all these years? Does anyone remember Keith [Spud] Bird he left in 1961, I was his girlfriend at the time and I remember going to a dance at the scool after first having a drink in the Railway Tavern? I went to Hollyfield, I passed my 13 + and went into the art group which attracted students from all over surrey , including Eric Clapton from your school. We used to hang out at 35 Ewell road and at break times Eric ,Chris Dreja and Tony Topham used to play their guitars and so the “Yardbirds “were born.

  142. Peter Pocock

    I just knew someone out there would have found a use for congruent triangles. Hopefully Google Earth has finally put them to bed.

    Roger – re your stint as a paperboy, I think the Balkwills lived in “Small Lodge” (or was it “Red Lodge”). He was a very senior executive in BBC, and as such had probably the first TV set in Oxshott so maybe he didn’t need a daily visit from the whistling Paperboy.

    Back to nostalgia ( or retournons a nos moutons) as Jock used to say). I notice on re-reading the blogs that apart from the occasional mention of Scum Turner’s rantings, no-one seems to recall how truly terrifying they could be. He literally changed his personality, during a Scum Fit, and became violent, dangerous and unpredictable. On one famous occasion help arrived in the form of Fernyhough I think, who was passing the door and felt obliged to come in to see what was happening.
    After a few whispered words, Scum calmed down.

    The sad thing is that he probably had multiple Scum Fits in the course of an average day. Wonder what he was like at home.

    Delighted to hear that Slug Rigden got an ovation on his last day, Dave. Great teacher, whose appearance belied a very good sense of humour, and seemingly, compassion.

    Did anyone out there ever have the curious experience of having Doig teaching them. He used to make unexpected guest appearances, ostensibly to teach Maths, but quickly changed the topic to a series of weird ramblings, obcure quizzes, and general Doig thoughts on very little. ( on one such quiz, he asked who were Alan Silitoe and John Osborn. One bright spark infuriated him by saying that they both played for Chelsea)

  143. Colin Brightwell

    Hi Ros, don’t remember Spud that well, but do remember playing football with him for Giltec with Tony Hall amongst others. Small world!

  144. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Hello Colin I am so glad somebody remembers him, after scgs he went to Manchester Uni to study civil engineering,we kept in touch until 1967 when I married, I have recently made contact with one of his cousins through Genes Reunited,who told me he is now in New Zealand. Yes he did love his football! I think he may have worked on the building of the Channel Tunnel but that has not been confirmed yet, you are a great bunch of lads and I love this website, keep it up, Ros

  145. richard day

    Ros -Spud was in my class from 2b onwards.Jock Lonsdale always called him Monsieur Oiseau. I last saw him in the Fish and Chip shop on Ewell Rd opposite the old Police Station,in about 1968. He was one of the good guys.

  146. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Thank you for that Richard, yes I hope he still is one of the good guys! His parents had a newsagents in Surbiton Hill Park and he spent a lot of his time delivering papers. I think I remember Tony Hall, was he a goalkeeper?keith belonged to Kingston Boys Club so I might be getting mixed up with his friends from there. If I ever get in touch with him I will definitely tell him about this blog.

  147. Colin Brightwell

    Hi Ros, no, Tony was a ‘not so dynamic’ midfield player…lacked a bit of pace! In fact he is still as quick as he was then! By the way, Tony’s nickname was ‘Tufty’. Might jog a memory or two. He lives in Woking now.

  148. Dave Littleproud

    I was lucky enough to have escaped the sight of a full scale “Scum Fit”-I know that me and my peers had been warned about him on day one at SCGS. I was howevr ver lucky -He once me accused of cheating in one of his exams ( I wasn’t)-Idenied it and waited for the “fit ” -perhaps the gravity of the occasion calmed him -all he did was to say that he would punish me by docking 50% of the marks I had already got. And that was the end of it -pheeewww!
    But why on earth did we put up with him? He was a grenade with the pin out. His whole personality was on a perpetual short fuse. Did none of us say anything to our parents? How did he behave with his sixth form pupils? Why was there no inter group monitoring among the teachers?
    I think I spent more time in abject terror of “Gus” in GCE year than I did learning maths. Brrrrr!

  149. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Hello Colin, my apologies to Tony,I must have lost quite a lot of brain cells in the last 47 years, the only Tufty I remember is the Tufty Club!I could never keep up with the pace ,but I can be pretty dynamic, or do I mean manic, when it comes to researching family history.”Oh to be in Kingston Record Office now that Spring is here”, I am exiled in Suffolk where my husbands roots are, but my family have been in Surrey at least since the 1600s. Sorry I am getting boring now, have a good day boys.

  150. Roger Rimmer

    Dave: Entertainment value? Surely everyone who witnessed a full scale fit wondered whether he was going to actually flip right out permanently? It was a first for me.

  151. Peter Foster

    I joined in 1954 and left in 1960. I can recall many of the names in the previous posts. Keith Piggott and I flew to Paris in an old Dakota one weekend for a p***up when we should have been revising for the exams. One of my many favourite recollections were the saturday night jazz balls held in the school hall.
    I was the unlucky guy handed the test tube containing the residue of the highly explosive mix of Nitrogen Triodide scattered across the stage when Doig slung his bible down on the lectern on the last day of term. I was pushed out of the rear door by a senior prefect and told to scat as chaos ensued behind me.

  152. richard day

    Mention of the Yardbirds by Ros started a whole new trip down memory lane. One day in 1961 or 1962 the music scene switched from Trad Jazz to Rock and Roll.One Saturdy night we were at Eel Pie Island dancing to Acker Bilk,next week it was the Rolling stones..When the Stones got big then there were the Yardbirds.I remember being at the Anchor in Kingston listening to the AnimalsI am sure that every body has ther own experience of th e shift in the Zeitgist.,which of course did not involve just the music,it was clothes ,the food ,the pill.What a great time to be growing up..

  153. Dave Littleproud

    Well fellas, particularly Peter Pocock, try this link and let me know what happens

    pc advisor may have to advise a bit more!!

  154. Dave Littleproud

    hmmmmm seems to work!!

  155. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Well Richard now you have done it! I went with some school friends in about 1962 to Eel Pie Island to see the Yardbirds, and the Stones were playing there as well,, when neither of them were very well known, perhaps I was biased but I didn’t think much of them, and my opinion hasn’t changed much over the years, although I do like Rock music, and will dance to anything. I still have all my vinyl records and a Dansette to play them on, it’s a real mixture of music styles from the fifties onwards, and my children added to the collection in their teenage years. I remember going to a trad jazz dance at Kingston Baths , and I still have my copy of Acker Bilk’s ,Stranger on The Shore that Keith bought me, we were so lucky to have so much to choose from, even my husband says that the sixties were a very special time,and he only really liked Folk and Classical! I think we were all very lucky to have been teenagers then, I just hope I will still be around to see what my grandchildren will be into in about 10 years time, I hope they have as much fun as we did!

  156. Peter Pocock

    Dave, given my lack of IT skills I opened it with some trepidation – wow. That bought back a few memories. (I had forgotten how much I hated wearing glasses and used to take them off at any opportunity even if it meant I couldn’t see a thing). Many thanks.

  157. Dave Littleproud

    Peter, it worked for me but it only had to go a few inches -you ,I believe, are a bit further away!! It was not as easy as I had hoped -although I can copy text to this site I haven’t solved it for images -I tried to send an image to Dave Ashwell by email to no avail so i had to send an attachment -so far it ahsn’t been rejected -but Dave hasn’t replied yet. howeve I shall send more pictures.

  158. Peter Pocock

    Just a thought Dave – if computers had been around in the late 50′s, I wonder which of our intrepid staff would have been most suited to teaching IT.

    It would have needed someone with a logical, analytical mind, interested in modern technologies and able to deliver a clear message – mmm…..

    My nomination would be someone like Sid Capper, or possibly Eddy Watkins.

  159. Dave Littleproud

    Peter- there is a poem -the theme of which is that had the young Helen of Troy had been laughed at while dancing there would have been no “Iliad” and no “Odyssey”-just think what Eddie watkins and his tent peg could have done to a young Bill Gates!!
    Dear old Sid-I think he would have liked IT- might have helped us appreciate French more.
    Now imagine Scum with a recalcitrant (wheeee! first time since Feb 1945 that I have typed “recalcitrant”) computer or calculator-I expect he would have burnt them at Eddie Watkins tent peg- I’ve just got it -he was a combined reincarnation (wheee!!etc) of Ximines and Torquemada-can’t you just see him in 16c Spain in one of those pointy hats ??
    Will get down to posting more pictures.

  160. Peter Pocock

    Wouldn’t mind a picture of Ximines – who was he? Even Google doesn’t seem to have heard of him

  161. Dave Littleproud

    Peter-obviously-# Francisco Ximénez de Cisneros, archbishop of Toledo 1507 – 1517–I thought everbody knew that-he’s well referenced in the Monty Python sketch !
    Seriously -sorry my spelling and Spanish pronunciation had slipped -the next wikip ref calls him Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros-but I read about the Spanish Inquisition peripharally around my A level history.
    If you google this ref “Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros” there is a picture.
    Still imagine Scum in a pointy hat -armed with a rack and red hot pincers!!

  162. Peter Pocock

    Got him now. Looks a bit like Scum trying to be calm, and the ‘group shot’ on the wiki page could well be an SCGS Staff meeting.

    Fortunately, my A level history was all about US history from Independence to the Civil War, as interpreted by Bert Forward – much more entertaining.

  163. Dave Littleproud

    Yes I had the luck to do that bit of history with Bert- (too much John Wayne and a bit of reading meant that I knew more about the Alamo than he did )-but I also did European 1660-1914 with Zorro and English 1660-1914 with Slug. I wish I had appreciated it all more then.

  164. Dave Littleproud

    ha ha it works -nothing scurrilous but apologies to Keith Masters!!

  165. Dave Littleproud


  166. Dave Littleproud

    so why won’t it pickup the link??

  167. Dave Littleproud


  168. Peter Pocock

    Dave I am lost for words. Apart from the fact that every pic. was either upside down or at best sideways on, a truly amazing collection. (OK, I bet somewhere there’s a little button that enables you to rotate, but I had to resort to twisting the laptop around)

    Speech Day in the open air in the grounds? Whatever happened to the Coronation Hall at Kingston Baths?

    Prefects in 1963 with no Doig or Bert in the photo?

    Fernyhough looking much older than I ever remember him.

    I believe Michael Basman went on to become a Chess Grand Master.

    Those wonderful Surrey Comet photos of the G&S productions ( Is there still a Surrey Comet).

    Terrific stuff.

  169. Dave Littleproud

    Peter-I was so chuffed that I had managed to get them on
    this site that and that I had a rhythm going that Imissed that little point -still done it now. Could do with titles too-I’m creased up with a vision of your audience wondering why you are juggling with your laptop!
    Perhaps I’ll redo them.
    Any way glad you enjoyed them.
    Does anyone out there have the magazines 1957-58 and 1962-63 and a scanner? -and indeed any other “Surbitonians”

  170. Dave Littleproud

    The Braemar Club
    The Braemar Club was established some twenty years ago by two rugby/cricket stalwarts of ‘yesteryear’, Pete Newland and Dick Blackman.
    Within the ranks of our membership are many former players of The Old Surbitonians rugby and cricket clubs and other non-players who are also former pupils of Surbiton County Grammar School.
    We are not an Old Boys organisation but do provide contact for old friends with similar interests and are the guardians of the Memorial Board on which are printed the names of former schoolboys of Surbiton personally known to some of our older members. The ground is dedicated to these Surbitonians who lost their lives in the service of their country (1939-45).

    Braemar is not an exclusive club but is open to any former players of Old Surbs/CSA who are recommended for membership. Present membership is about 100. Any former player who would like further information please contact either Pete ( 01296-730516 ) or Stuart (014834-769150).
    Stuart R. Davies & Pete Newland

  171. Dave Littleproud


    1-Albury house-1959

  172. Dave Littleproud

    BINGO!!-watch this space

  173. Brian Lay

    I was at Surbiton County Grammar School from 1949 – 1955 (yes I was another one who stayed on for an extra year to get enough ‘O’ levels. Have just spent an enjoyable couple of hours reading through all the above (what else is there to do when you are approaching 71??). I remember all of the teachers mentioned and was the recipient of a Gus Hillier bash on the back of the head just because “I am in a bad mood”. Remember many of the famous rants of Dr Turner but also the great teaching and dedication of most of the others.
    Any one out there remember the Majic Lantern art shows put on by Mr Busby. I wonder for how long this venerable machine continued.
    Having looked through the names of the pupils there are a few I recognise having played for the 1st
    XVI as hooker in the 1954-55 season (I was the short fat one with fair hair).
    I seem to remember a few more from that season,
    Dave Hughes, Eric Russell, Dennis Cottrell, Ray do Jardine etc.
    Also remember the King brothers mentioned above, who if I remember correctly were great water polo players.
    I was glad to see mention of the tuck shop in the Physics lab, because I actually helped ther in 1955.
    My only other cclaim to fame is that in 1958 whilst doing my National Service in Schleswig (North Germany) we played against the Navy at Keil. We beat them something like 36-34 and a guy on their team scored all 34 points. He was the late, great Carwyn James, a Welsh Rugby int ernational

  174. Dave Littleproud

    Open Link then click on image which you can copy as you wish

    1-Albury house-1959

    2-1957 Seven-a-Side

    3-Cresswell- 1957

    4-Polden 1957

    5-House Boxing 1957

    6-Prefects 1958-59


    8-Sports Day 1—1959

    9-Sports Day 2—1959

    10-String Trio-1959


    12-Aysgarth -1959

    13-U14 1958-59


    15-1st-XV 1959-60

    16-Prefects- 1959-60

    17-Braemar –G&S-1959-60

    18-Colts XV 1959-60

    19-Braemar-how sad- 1960

    20-D of E 1960

    21-Prefects 1960-61


    23-1960-61-2nd XV-G+S

    24-Prefects 1961-62

    25-Squash-Colts 1962

    26-Chess-Speech Day 1962

    27-G + S 1961-62

    28-Prefects 1963-64

    29-ThomasMore-Mikado 1964

    30-1st XV 1964

    31-Rugby- Devonia 1964

  175. Dave Littleproud

    Lordy!! Ialways wanted to be moderated!!

  176. Dave Littleproud

    Open Link then click on image which you can copy as you wish

    1-Albury house-1959

    2-1957 Seven-a-Side

    3-Cresswell- 1957

    4-Polden 1957

    5-House Boxing 1957

    6-Prefects 1958-59


    8-Sports Day 1—1959

    9-Sports Day 2—1959

    10-String Trio-1959

  177. Dave Littleproud

    Open Link then click on image which you can copy as you wish

    1-Albury house-1959

    2-1957 Seven-a-Side

    3-Cresswell- 1957

    4-Polden 1957

    5-House Boxing 1957

  178. Dave Littleproud

    Looks like site won’t let me post links to piccys
    2-1957 Seven-a-Side

  179. Dave Littleproud

    one at atime works it seems -ok patience is a virtue
    3-Cresswell- 1957

    4-Polden 1957

  180. Dave Littleproud
  181. Dave Littleproud

    5-House Boxing 1957

  182. Dave Littleproud

    6-Prefects 1958-59

  183. Dave Littleproud

    8-Sports Day 1—1959

  184. Dave Littleproud

    9-Sports Day 2—1959

  185. Dave Littleproud

    10-String Trio-1959

  186. Dave Littleproud
  187. Dave Littleproud


  188. Dave Littleproud
  189. Dave Littleproud

    16-Prefects- 1959-60

  190. Dave Littleproud

    17-Braemar –G&S-1959-60

  191. Dave Littleproud

    18-Colts XV 1959-60

  192. Dave Littleproud

    19-Braemar-how sad- 1960

  193. Dave Littleproud

    21-Prefects 1960-61

  194. Dave Littleproud

    23-1960-61-2nd XV-G+S

  195. Dave Littleproud

    24-Prefects 1961-62

  196. Dave Littleproud

    25-Squash-Colts 1962

  197. Dave Littleproud

    26-Chess-Speech Day 1962

  198. Dave Littleproud
  199. Dave Littleproud

    28-Prefects 1963-64

  200. Dave Littleproud

    29-ThomasMore-Mikado 1964

  201. Dave Littleproud

    31-Rugby- Devonia 1964

    That’s it-there must be a better way-it all adds up to a 3MB attachment-still I tried

  202. Dave Littleproud


  203. Dave Littleproud


  204. Dave Littleproud


  205. Dave Littleproud


  206. Dave Littleproud


  207. Dave Littleproud

    quiet out there !!

  208. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Hello Dave,how about this , if you look at Hollyfield Road School photos on friends reunited you will see that they carried on the Gilbert and Sullivan tradition when they moved, I remember going to see the headmsters wife in the Merry Widow and the Mikado so that’s probably why.
    I noticed Alan Duff in one of your pics, he was in my class at Bonnerhill juniors, and I think he may have been the school cricket captain that I bowled out one day! Anyone know what happened to him? I also think David Cossell went to your school? I left Bonnerhill in 1958.

  209. Dave Littleproud

    Hi Ros! You a welcome sight -I thought my plethora of pictures might have blown the site in view of the earlier threats of being “moderated” -seems all is well!

  210. Dave Littleproud

    I have been talking to a chap called Stewart Davies who helps run the ” Braemar Club”. He tells me that Alan Bolt, now 90 years old, visited the Cobham Rugby club recently.

  211. Dave Littleproud

    this does not seem to work -try again

    2-1957 Seven-a-Side

  212. Dave Littleproud

    Advise me if any more don’t work

  213. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    hello Dave, it looks as if everyone has left the country, will you turn the lights out or shall I?

  214. Dave Littleproud

    It must be the shock of those photos-I’m glad you’re there Ros -I was beginning to think that I had blown the site up or something-you confirm I didn’t

  215. Peter Pocock

    Hi Dave – sorry for the silence but have been surprisingly busy lately. By the way, what happens when you are ‘moderated’?

    Actually saw our famous SCGS Lib Dem parliamentarian, Andrew Stunnell on Sky the other day. Seemed totally dwarfed by a rather aggressive Labour MP, and had little to say at all – just as I remember him at school. (sorry Andrew if you ever read this blog. On a lighter note do you remember those famous cross country runs at Hook, in freezing weather, when we used to always come in last, usually with Colin Bridge and Hedley Stovold?).

  216. Cliff Harrison

    Dave, thanks for all those pictures, they certainly brought back a raft of memories after almost 50 years. Braemar and Aysgarth were lovely buildings to be taught in, pretty draughty and cramped, but soooooo interesting. Remember the narrow back stairs in Aysgarth? The old servants’ staircase I presume. I certainly remember the old G&S operettas, I appeared in one every year I was at SCGS, save for the year I missed the Mikado (’55 I think). Never progressed beyond a very mediocre chorus presence. I remember that during rehearsals one year Barton was playing the piano, but then Doig suddenly appeared and decided he wanted to take over, sitting himself at the second piano in the school hall: however Barton was not one to be intimidated by a mere head, and continued to play without interruption. The duet, in very poor unison, continued for some considerable time, to everyone else’s amusement or embarrassment (depending on viewpoint!). Does anyone remember the House dramas, very late fifties as I recall. Villiers production was Two Gentlemen of Soho, I was landed with the part of Inspector, it was so long that nobody else was keen. Very happy memories of Bert Forward, Jock Lonsdale and poor tormented Sid Capper (who taught Russian at Epsom evening classes). Gus I never found as masochistic as some others have recalled, a very troubled man as a result of several years in a Jap POW camp I think. A message for David Goodyear, if you are still watching: I seem to recall you worked in the secretary’s office before you went off to uni, I spent a couple of months on front door duty around the same time after I had completed my January resits for some A level exams, since I could not actually leave the school until the end of that term. I think the powers that be felt I would be less disruptive there than remaining in class. Cliff Harrison

  217. Cliff Harrison

    One further event has just come to mind – did anyone else go on the trip to Rochefort in around 1956, it was an educational exchange with “eleves” (sorry, no accents on my keyboard) from the Lycee Pierre Loti, with whom a number of Lower IV year pupils had been corresponding. I remember the trip out to the (?) Ile d’Oleron to sample oysters, and to a local USAAF airfield to watch engine tests on piston and jet engines.

  218. Pete Foster

    Hi Cliff , yes I was on that trip to Rochefort-sur-mer in april 1956. I think Henson, Neville Unwin, and Johnson were on that trip also and we all had our photo taken with Fred Fernihough under the Eiffel tower. I stayed with the assistant Head master Ms Dauriac et famille not far from the famous transbordeur bridge. I recall that a reception was held at the town hall where I accepted a glass of celebratory champagne and suddenly the world started spinning as I was introduced to the wonders of alcohol. I also remember the trip to the oyster beds and regurgitating a raw oyster, disgusting. The airfield was probably French as I remember them proudly showing us the first French jet fighter the ‘Ouragan’. Other highlights for me were a trip down to Bordeaux with all the family in their beat up old 2CV when the engine expired and they simply bolted in a ‘recon’ within a few hours, the overnight train to Paris crammed with USAAF servicemen and seeing for my first time a colour television demonstration in the window of a Paris dept store. Cant recall if it did my French any good but highly enjoyable. Also recall we went to Oxford by train that ¥ear, any one recall?

  219. Pete Foster

    Forgot to mention that if anyone on that trip wants to relive that visit the old french film ‘Les jeunes filles de Rochefort’ is occasionally served up on TV showing the town and surrounding areas and crumpet in 1956!

  220. Pete Foster

    Woops sorry, for 1956 read 1967. Just found the trailer on Youtube.

  221. Peter Pocock

    Hi Pete,

    I remember a trip by train to Oxford and even had some photos to prove it, but don’t remember you. How was it organised – by year or by some other complicated formula. also remember a staggeringly boring steam train (?) trip to Salisbury, Old Sarum and Stonehenge. Curious thing is, I don’t recall any masters accompanying us, though I am sure they were there aplenty.

    Anyone out there remember the ACF summer camps with Hillier and Lefevre, in exotic hotspots like Gosport, and the Army Drill Hall in Farnham
    (last minute venue change because of the Suez War).

    Finally a somewhat isoteric memory – some time in the Lower 6th ( 1959?) we had an exchange teacher from Winchester College for a term, at the end of which, we went for a day in Winchester College – wow – so much for history and priviledge. Probably an experiment never repeated by Surrey County Council.

  222. Cliff Harrison

    Peter. Yes, I remember the guy from Winchester, I seem to recall he was a very agreeable disposition, and wore ankle-high leather boots (rather than shoes) which was certainly a novelty in those days. Cliff

  223. peter pocock

    I was always told to look up to a public school teacher so probably never saw his stylish boots!

    The name J.E.Mollison springs to mind – was that the guy?

  224. Dave Littleproud

    Peter/Cliff -I rember the name Mollison -tall guy fairish hair-sports jacket -or am I wandering?
    Peter -as an unsophisticated 12 ywar old I thoroughly enjoyed the trip to Stonehenge .Salisbury and Old Sarum.
    In those days you could walk all round the stones,touch them , sit on them. In about 1965 on a camping trip with a mate-big Mick Smith from Hollyfield Road, we cooked our supper in the /stonehenge car park and when everyone had gone about 7..30 -STEPPED!! over the fence and wandered around a totally empty Stonehenge -can’t do that now. On the same trip we went to Old Sarum and as it was closed assaulted it from the ditches and wandered round it . I remember being well impressed with Old Sarum even as a 12 yr old.
    While in Salsbury Cathedral Tony Moss caught a mouse in the Cloisters. Somewhere along the way we bought water pistols which after soaking people on railway stations were rapidly confiscated 1 Ken bidmead appeared in our compartment with a pistol in each hand – my cry of “Biddy the Kid ” went unpunished.
    Up until that time I had only been to Hayling island -day trips -Tower of London and Hampton Court. Foreign travel and foreigners were beyond my ken -I remember we used to joke that wogs began north of the Thames and South of the bypass and in deed my world was bounded b those visible borders-ain’t times changed.
    There was also a trip to Stratford upon Avon-memory flash -Bert used to collect themoney in weekly instalments in that classroom just inside the backdoor of Albery house-Main school-wash rooms were just across the corridor- next classroom along the corridor was junior science lab- then up the stairs to Holy Joes drawing office -the staffroom was up there somwhere.

  225. Pete Foster

    Did someone mention a connection beween SCGS and Public schools? It was probably not well known but in 1955/6 several third formers were selected to sit the open scholarship exam for entrance to Charterhouse School. I was one of the third-formers selected and everything went OK until I was eliminated at the penultimate stage. The third-former who won the scholarship was Colin Wilcox. His other claim to fame was that he was the ” Bisto Kid”. He was contracted by his parents to a city advertising agency and his face appeared in magazines and on hoardings everywhere. His whiter than white image even appeared on a 20 foot high PERSIL advertisement hoarding on the railway embankment just outside of Surbiton Station, (the shirt didn’t stay white for long). I recently watched an Antiques Roadshow on TV when a member of the public entered carrying a 1950s Hornby-Dublo train set in a box. The Roadshow specialist explained that maximum value lay in the state of the packaging and held up the box. There on the lid was a picture of our Colin , frozen in time, holding a model engine, an advertising icon in his own lifetime. So come on Colin if you are out there tell us what a public school education did for you.

  226. Keith Watling

    Is there anybody out there who is reading these pages who went to SCGS in the late 60s? I was a pupil there from 1965-1972 and made the move from St. Marks Hill to Thames Ditton during my first term. My arrival at the school also coincided with the arrival of a new Headmaster named Mr. Eric Waller who was to eventually oversee the transformation of the school to a sixth form college named Esher Collge. I have only good memories of my time at SCGS where I studied a wide curriculum and gained 11 ‘O’ levels and 3 ‘A’ levels before gaining a place at Southampton Univesity where I read Physiology and Biochemistry and eventually a PhD in Neuropharmacology. I was also an avid sports player throughout my seven years, and eventually a regular member of the 1st cricket eleven and rugby fifteen. I am happy to compare notes if anyone wishes to correspond. I now live and work just outside of Boston in the United States where I moved in 1994.

  227. Roger Husband

    Thanks to whomever got this website up and running, what memories.

    Having dug through my old photos, the ones I was looking for (mainly slides) remain elusive. The seven I did locate are not great – mainly from contact sheets! However they have had some work and are on my website ( SCGS. A password would have been a good idea – we couldn’t have anyone from Tiffin’s or Kingston Grammar getting access -but it didn’t work. This is PC based and I have mainly Macs where things do usually work but even then not first time. Anyway Doig’s facial expression assured me so long ago that my horizon’s were limited if I couldn’t even ring a bell on time…

    Does anyone remember when that exchange teacher from Winchester College passed an art book around the class, I think it was in Asgarth?
    When he got it back there were a number of additions to the drawings, mustaches etc. He told us what a despicable bunch we were (guess he was right)

    Yes, I remember D.E.M. Hall. You went out on a limb for me once Dave. I was sick one day (not unusual), shouldn’t have come to school. Only declared my condition during a French test (that I had probably not revised for) and you testified to Fernehough that I had been ailing earlier.

    Then there was Hall D.J. We mercilessly tormented poor Mr.Hunt. Whenever he turned to write on the board we started stamping feet, then stopped when he turned round. One time a single shoe contact continued and he frantically ran around the classroom to see who the culprit was.
    David’s feet were conspicuously up in the air and he was banging his football boots behind him. Funny the things you remember.

    Enough of my rambling, I must get back to my task, I was instructed to remodel the kitchen and the ceiling is presently supported on temporary jacks.

    Anyone coming to the Winter Olympics here in Vancouver next year?

  228. Dave Littleproud

    Great Roger! I thought I was doing well to have put photos on to scanner and then on to web -you would have made a better job.
    Iimmediately recognised Mick Chandler in the first photo -Burns reminded me of Ricky Mills in my year -the unknown was Derek Jones 1957-62? I think Derek went to Australia-as did Mick.
    Yes funny things-one poor new teacher during his first chemistry lesson (he also taught maths and was Eddy Pearces brother in law or cousin in law) finiished up enlarging his writing on the board to about nine inches high. We also had great fun mispronouncing our surnames- Idon’t think he spoke to us again! Poor Mr Mollison’s artbook you bunch of barbarians!!
    Keith ! Any idea what happend to any of the teachers of your era -mine was 1956-64

  229. Baz Hewson

    Dear Old Surbs of the 50s & early 60s !
    Just discovered the reunion-initiative and delighted. I would be glad to hear from old mates on Now retired and living healthy and happy in Austria next to the last alp in the Alps.
    Baz Hewson
    PS: Animo et fide pergite (Lion of St. Mark)

  230. peter pocock

    In an effort to see if anyone is awake out there, here’s another memory. So far, Geography teacher Jim Bath gets one fleeting mention by Dave, early on.

    Surely someone remembers the large wide Board Ruler he used to flourish, and which he called
    “Clicky-Bar”. Always found him a somewhat menacing character – all smiles on the outside, but a tank commander’s mentality lurking just below the surface.

  231. Dave Littleproud

    yes I’m awake -not easy to sleep with hay fever -it’s that time of year again.
    Jim Bath never taught me so I never saw him in panzer hunting mode -funnily enough I had an architecture lecturer called Jim Bath at Brixton School of Building.
    I’ve just been talking to Peter Newlands of the Braemar Club 01296-730516-he has alist of club members -70 or so -might be of interest to some of you-Ian Calori is amember-Len Eggesston, Roly Herbert, Dave Hughe, Courtney brothers.

  232. Cliff Harrison

    Peter. Just for the record, my memory of Mr Bath was as my form teacher in the sixth form, and also as Economics teacher. As you say, not to be totally trusted, but I got on fairly well. Has anyone any memories of the ancient groundsman at Hook, Farr seems to be the name that comes to mind. And Pete, my everlasting memory of the Rochefort trip was of Fred Fernihough sleeping full length on one railway carriage seat, and all us kids having to make the best we could of what room was left. The train heating was on full, and it really was the most uncomfortable night I had ever spent. The train kept stopping in the middle of various shunting yards all the way down from Paris. Does anyone still keep in touch with anyone from Rochefort, I’ve tried to trace my old penfriend but without success.

  233. Dave Littleproud

    Cliff I thought the groundsman at Hook was Mr Jolly.
    The school gardner was a fellow called Chris–he was a pal of John Woods-1956-1961/2.

  234. Peter Pocock

    Now this is getting serious. Way back in April, I smugly asked the question about the name of the groundsman at Hook, completely sure that he was called Farr.

    Dave came back like a shot with “Jolly’. I didn’t challenge you at the time Dave, but now Cliff also recalls a Farr. Strangely both names are familiar but can anyone provide the definite answer

  235. Dave Littleproud

    There may be a mention of the groundsman in the “surbitonian”- and we three can’t be the only ones with an opinion-open to the floor!!!!
    now tipping with rain -silver lining is it will relieve my hayfever!

  236. Pete Foster

    Peter, can’t say for definite but as I remember it the guys name was Jollie. Cliff, just found an old diary which records that the exchange French teacher who accompanied us as far as Paris was monsieur Pouvre. My diary records that on visiting the local Rochefort art gallery our guide waved towards their most prized masterpiece, a wrestling mass of ‘naked ladeez’, whereupon Hendriksen detached himself from our group, wandered up to the painting and proceeded to examine the quality of the brushwork from a distance of 6 inches through his thick glasses. TEE HEE!. As far as locating my old pen friend Claude, I tried to contact him on behalf of our 13 year old next door neighbour Moira who had developed a crush on him and wanted to contact him urgently but he never replied. He did however leave me his copy of ‘Light and Shade’ a photographic study by Harrison Marks purloined from the shop at the bottom of St Marks Hill!

  237. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    A while ago somebody wondered where the SCGS records might be, so I got in touch with the Local History Room in Kingston and they only havea photocopy of the book “The First Twenty-One Years,Surbito County Grammar School”. After phoning the Esher College and Surrey County Council, I got back to the History Room and spoke to Jill Lamb the Archivist who said that theschools are not giving the log books etc. to them which is very upsetting,so perhaps you had better bequethe anything you have to them in your wills! I told her about this blog and she said she will look at it and let us know if anything else turns up. I just wondered if Kevin Davis would be interested in joining the search? I wonder if there is anything in an attic at Hollyfield, or if Mr Doig had them!

  238. Dave Littleproud

    Well done Ros ! What does Jill Lamb mean about log books? -yes I got the “First twenty one Years “-Igot my copy from Surrey Archives but no further joy!

  239. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Hello Dave , the school log books that I have looked at in Suffolk are mostly Victorian and they contained information about attendance, misdemeanours and punishments and a diary of the school year, they also state when a child started school and their address and sometimes when they leave it says who they went on to work for etc. I don’t know if they carried this on into the 20th century?

  240. Dave Littleproud

    Ros -What reaction did you get from Esher College?
    When did school logs start?

  241. richard day

    Definitely Mr.Jolly.

  242. Dave Littleproud

    ok Richard 3-2 to us !!-which were your years -a little ahead of me I think- i was ayear below Dave Ashwell -I sometimes email him

  243. Peter Pocock

    I bow to the majority – Jolly it is.

    Still have this strong image of a Mr. Farr mowing pitches. Could he perhaps have been groundsman at the Old Surbs ground in Cobham?

    B the way Dave – anything of interest in Bert Forward’s memoirs?

  244. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Good morning Dave,the logbooks probably started around 1870 when the national system of education came in which was prompted by Forsters education act, although there are records before that from church schools charity schools and dame schools etc. I do,nt think Esher College were very interested they just said that they don’t keep any records after seven years, but it might be worth finding out if they have a history department to try and get them interested. I wonder if the rugby club at Cobham could help as they seem to be interested in the school history?

  245. richard day

    Dave I was at SCGS 1954-1962.3 yrs in 6 th form,I was a late developer.Finally was awarded a a book onprize day 1962 (held in the grounds in the summer,unusually)I still have no ides why I acheived this honour,but Dave Ashwell told me that he overheard some masters sying that I had been at the school for so long that I deserved something.Ros when you mentioned Bonner Hill my 66 year old heart started racing,the girls at that school always seemed so good looking,and a little racy.

  246. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    well Richard I think you will have to ask Keith(Spud) the answer to that one!

  247. Cliff Harrison

    Peter. Don’t throw in the towel just yet, I think you were the year ahead of me. I started in 1954, and finally left in 1962 after an extra half year in the sixth form, just to get a few qualifications! I think Farr was groundsman at Hook until perhaps 1956 or perhaps a little later, he was pretty ancient by then, a short guy who I’m sure had a bad limp or some other peculiarity when walking. (Incidentally I hadn’t noticed his name mentioned in the earlier posting, so it did come fresh to my mind). Perhaps Jollie was the next one in line. And Pete, thanks for the extra Rochefort memories, I was standing next to Hendrikson at the reception at the town hall, and he was far keener on eating and drinking all the way through the French national anthem. Was there something called the Gladys Dare School of Dancing nearby, just at the top of the road that led to the back footpath to Surbiton Station? I recall the few weeks at the height of the summer each year when we would be allowed to use the gardens and grounds behind the main building over lunchtime, in the scorching heat the grass was so much nicer than the tarmac and concrete of the playground areas.

  248. Peter Pocock

    Thanks for the life-line Cliff. I’d hate to have been wrong. Your explanation makes sense – the names Farr and Jolly are inexpicably linked in my mind, with Hook.

    It really makes us seem old, when we fondly remember long hot summers.

  249. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Yes Cliff the Gladys Dare School of Dancing was in Ewell Road, it was a bit posh for us, we went to Kay Stevens in Kingston and later in Hook community centre when I was 16,we wore black leotards with little frilly skirts then(that one is for you Richard)! The path to Surbiton Station is called South Terrace,I can remember pushing my son down there in 1971 ish.

  250. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    If anyone is interested you can download Google earth street view free and take a virtual drive around all your old haunts in Surbiton etc, although it should come with a government health warning when you see what they have done to some places! Ewell Road hasn’t changed much though. Once you have street view go to Google Maps and the world is your oyster as they say.My great grandparents used to live in Surbiton Terrace,which was down the side of the Waggon and Horses pub opposite the Assembly Rooms in Surbiton Hill Road, but that has gone completely, does anyone know if the pub is still there?

  251. Dave Littleproud

    Ros -you took the words out of my mouth- however and paricularly for Cliff -google the old school grounds with trepidation –I nearly wept!!
    Ros remember that chip shop in a narrow sideroad between Ewell Road and Alpha Road-run I think by an Irish lady called Mrs Mulvighill?

  252. Richard Day

    I have a feeling that the afore mentioned Colin Wilcox went to Gladys Dare.Hence his career as th Bisto Boy.Ros I grew up in Hook ah the memories.I have been watching tennis all week,from Wimbledon,I get horrbly home sick for our little corner of North East Surrey at this time of the year.When growing up the weather always seemed so good at the end of June,the evenings were long,you could here the siren song of Surbiton Lagoon,or the Upper Deck ,just by Hampton Court Lock.The only problem was –end of year exams,O levels,A levels.Who could care about studying?

  253. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Sorry Dave I don’t remember the fish and chip shop although Keith might,I am sorry to tell you that Alpha road is no more although I do remember a shop down there that was run by a couple of, sorry this is not politically correct,midgets,they used to stand on a wooden box to serve you. I think they pulled it down because it had a bad reputation and it was a blot on the landscape! It is now called Howard Road and they filled it with social housing and sheltered flats for the elderly, and my poor old Mum ended her days there after the council took away three bedroom houses from people who were living on their own in the late seventies.I am sorry Richard but I am not a tennis fan but my husband loves it but I will walk down memory lane with you if you like, I will be 16 after GCEs, how old will you be ?As we are in the middle of a heatwave shall we go to the Lagoon?

  254. Dave Littleproud

    Alpha road ran from Berrylands parallel to Ewell road. there thrre cul de sacs Smith Howard and Britannia roads coming of Alpha road to toward King Charles road. There were a number of narrow roads leading to Ewell road from Alpha road-the chip shop was in one of these. I remember the little sweet shop run by the midgets -they had runways about 2ft 6 inches above the floor to pu t them at our height. About 1959 one of the locals won £1200 on a quiz show -alot of money in those days and in that area which was a bit rough.

  255. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    According to my 1960 map of Kingston and District the three roads leading from Alpha to Ewell roads were Shalston Villas, Richmond Grove and South Place, and then there was Browns Road that went right through to King Charles Road. You must have lived close by to know the area so well,or were you slumming? Did you go to the Fishponds, my mum loved it there, and we also used to go to Claremont gardens and paddle in the pool. I was the youngest, after dad came home from the war, so mum had more time to do things with me while the others were at school.

  256. Dave Littleproud

    Yes Ros-bang on -Smith and Howard roads were parallel to Browns road. My friend Alan Kemp lived in 37 Berry lands – so I spent a lot of time round there. and school was close by. I remember going to Claremont paddling pol when i was very little -on the 602 or 603- which were the buses I later used to get to school. Never went to fish ponds- Oakhill woods yes!

  257. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    I don’t know Oakhill woods Dave where is it?Were the 602 and 603 trolley buses? Did you ever discover The Sanctuary it was opposite Shalston Villas in Ewell Road I think it is still signposted it is absolutely beautiful there we used to go when I was in the art group at number 35 Ewell road it was a great place to sketch and generally get away from it all,like an oasis of calm. By the way 35 is still there looking very smart now perhaps it should have a blue plaque as Eric Clapton went there!The fishponds is next to Hollyfield Road by the way.

  258. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    I don’t know Oakhill woods Dave where is it?Were the 602 and 603 trolley buses? Did you ever discover The Sanctuary it was opposite Shalston Villas in Ewell Road I think it is still signposted it is absolutely beautiful there we used to go when I was in the art group at number 35 Ewell road it was a great place to sketch and generally get away from it all,like an oasis of calm. By the way 35 is still there looking very smart now perhaps it should have a blue plaque as Eric Clapton went there!The fishponds is next to Hollyfield Road by the way.

  259. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    whoops! I don’t know how that happened.

  260. Dave Littleproud

    Ros- 602 and 603 were indeed trolley buses.
    Oakhill woods -google Oakhill Grove Surbiton Surrey.

  261. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Well fancy that Dave, I will just remember it as it was then I won’t be disappointed!Both my Grans lived in Tolworth so we used to go to Surbiton on the 65 and then get on the trolley opposite the Odeon and get off at the Red Lion..

  262. Dave Littleproud

    Bernard Kanis
    -Surbiton County Grammar School —- 1957-1964?

    KANIS Bernard (Edinburgh / Tranent) Peacefully, in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, on January 30, 2009, Bernard, aged 63, loving father of Ivan, Stefan, Sonja, Django and Margot and their families. Funeral service to be held in Warriston Crematorium Cloister Chapel, on Monday, February 16, at 11.30 am, to which all family and friends are welcome.

    Bernie -a very nice guy – I am sure that all “Old Surbs” will join in expressing their sympathy to Bernie’s family-He will sadly missed by all who knew him.

  263. Richard Day

    As we all contemplate our mortality,and this is the third death recorded inthis blog.How many others are there from the ranks of our contemporaries?Two thoughts.1)as team doctor may iremind you all to keep exercising,check your cholesterol levels ,and gentlemen have your PSA level checked,ladies have annual mammograms and cervical smears.2) Bernie Kanis and I overlapped at Edinburgh,he was a dental student.We would bump into each other fairly frequently,he always had asmile on his face and thoroughly enjoyed his life.His brother John,attended Medical school at Ednburgh,subsequently became Professor of Medicine at Oxford.There are alot of Old Surbs out there who have quietly done well in their chosen professions.

  264. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    I second that Richard, and I would like to add don’t smoke! My husband had a heart attack at the age of 58,he gave up smoking immediately but the following year had a mental breakdown and I am now his carer, so if you can’t do it for yourself do it for your loved ones.

  265. Dave Littleproud

    yours truly is trying to hold back the ravages of time -I haven’t eaten anything I like for three weeks -still I hope to be able to get into my suit eventually!-
    Yeah Richard and Ros you are both right

  266. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Eating healthily is not about punishing yourself and eating tasteless food Dave,there is so much lovely fruit and veg about this time of year, stir fries are brilliant, just think of your 10″ plate as a clock face,1to 6 is veg7 to 9 is meat, fish etc ,10 to 12 rice pasta couscous etc. Here is my recipe for healthy fish and chips,any white fish, dip it in beaten egg and fresh breadcrumbs,5or6 big fat oven chips or homemade wedges,and any type of peas you like including mushy ones! Bake the fish and chips in the oven together until golden brown, go easy on the ketchup! At least be glad that you’re a man because you’re allowed more calories than a woman!

  267. Dave Littleproud

    Thanks Ros-not among my favourite tipples! -the great thing about Surbiton County was school dinners which to me meant no one breathing down my neck making me eat those disgusting 1950s vegetables. in the fifth year we could go in to Surbiton in the lunch hour -which meant steak pie chips (and beans for the pluted bloatocrats who could afford the extra 6d) + tea for 1/9d in a cafe called( I think) George Henrys situated in St James road Round the back of Surbiton Odeon( now a Waitrose I think). One of the main attractions apart from the freedom and the juke box was the excitment of wondering what you would find in your steak pie -stone , rusty nail , paper clip ,unidentified bone ,fubaprite(geological term), rubber band etc. On one occasion Bert Forward caused panic by arriving on an emergency mission to roust out some kid.
    No Ros it’s not that bad -I would still kill for a kitkat chunky or 6-but Iam being careful and sensible-I have eaten fairly my diet has not been all abuse.
    Richard!- can you get a Full English Breakfast out there in the backwoods?

  268. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Due to having frequent migraine’s from the age of 12,and the constant quest for a few pain free days I haven’t eaten chocolate apart from the odd white Belgian one, since i was a teenager,and over the years i have given up so many things that caused problems,but I have recently given up all sweeteners and sugar,and now I find that if I do taste anything sweet it is so sickly, perhaps this might work for you? You can really taste the natural sugars in things as well, it makes eating a whole new experience, almost s…!

  269. Roger Rimmer

    Well done Dave! I hope you derive as much, if not more benefit from the system as I have. I agree with Ros regarding really tasting natural sugars again. White sugar burns out your taste buds – equivalent to putting the old 5 star in a lawn mower! Stick with it bud.

  270. richard day

    Ah the full English! That is atreat I defer to my visits to the U.K.But there is a real food culture in the Southern U.S.Shrimp and grits for breakfast is very hard to beat,especially shrimp you have caught yourself with a cast net the same morning.My wife ,however is adicted to Dave Ashwell’s famous “Green Drink”.Surbiton Odeon is indeed aWaitrose now,and thereare actually 3 or 4 decent restaurants in Surbiton.Constantly amazed by the variety and quality of food available now compared to those 1950′s vegetables.

  271. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Shrimps for breakfast sounds nice Richard,but what exactly are grits? Glad to see the old Odeon has gone up in the world I think it was B &Q in the late 70s.I used to go to saturday morning pictures there and in the late 50s The Star ran a competition for each Odeon to have a childrens choir, which I joined and guess what Surbiton won!,We went for a meal in London,It might have been at the Dorchester,we were each presented with a certificate by J Arthur Rank and later that day appeared on the Wilfred Pickles Television Show!We used to rehearse in the Frank and Peggy Spencer Dance Studio in Victoria Road.

  272. Richard Cripps

    I attended SCGS 1958 to 1965 (Villiers), surviving the experience without academic distinction but I subsequently prospered and am now retired in Alexandria, Virginia, USA.
    Most of the existing contributors seem to have attended a little before or after me, and I have seen very few names of pupils that I recognize. The teachers are a different matter, though, and the memories came flooding back! I’d like to share some of my own impressions.
    First, some more names:
    Campbell – chemistry.
    Carpenter – PE, not sure what else.
    “Buddy” Holly – economics.
    Sentence – english (honestly!)
    “Bunny” Warren – physics.
    There was also a bearded individual who had the nickname “Ahab”, but for the life of me I can’t remember his actual name.
    I thoroughly concur with the opinions previously expressed concerning Dr Turner & Ted Hillier. Oddly enough there existed for some years a website dedicated to the former, posted by one of his friends, describing what a wonderful person he was. It now seems to have faded away. As for Hillier, my main concern was that he didn’t seem to be totally competent in his subject – I remember more than one occasion when the class was having trouble with a problem and he was unable to solve it himself. He would also sometimes light up a cigarette in class. Another of his quirks was that he had memorized the entire 4-figure log table!
    Ken Bidmead was also notorious for his volcanic temperament in the classroom, but on one weekend I was persuaded to help him with some charity work and he couldn’t have been more pleasant throughout.
    Another one we dreaded was “Polly” Parrot. He seemed to spend most of his class time screaming at us. Fortunately I had to endure him for only a couple of terms before he emigrated to Mauritius.
    My memory of “Bernie” Shaw was that he was brilliant at his subject but totally incapable of controlling his classes. On one occasion there was so much uproar that Ted Hillier walked in and restored order by caning a number of the boys on the spot.
    But enough of the negative. Many of the teaching staff were true gentlemen and while others had their eccentricities I’m sure that all were doing their best to educate and inspire their frequently recalcitrant charges. By the early sixties a significant number were nearing the end of their careers – there was copy of the first year’s school photograph (1927) hanging in the main building and Cocks and Capper were in it – and that led to the school being seriously understaffed by 1964
    particularly in science subjects. There was only one physics teacher where previously there had been three.
    You couldn’t ask for a finer teacher than Jack Skene, but he had an odd way of pursing his lips while he talked so that every time he pronounced an S he generated a whistling sound which many of the lads thought was hilarious, particularly when he used terms such as Stevenson’s screen!
    Jock Lonsdale’s principal catch phrase as I remember it would be attached to the end of any warning he had issued; “….and that would be MOST UNFORTUNATE. For YOU!” He lived, as I did, in East Molesey and rode to school on an NSU moped that would frequently buzz past me as I cycled along Summer Road in the morning.
    There has been discussion of Jolly the groundsman. He definitely was in place by 1958, and as has been mentioned he made some loose change on the side by selling us post-game fizzy drinks which he kept in a refrigerator in the pavilion. He was never seen after the fire so presumably he was held responsible for it.
    It is worth remembering that the school performed much of its own printing work. There was a large printing press at the back of the Art Room and its operation was performed by the printing club under the stewardship of Mr Busby who instructed us in the mysteries of gallys, fonts, typesetting and other aspects of the craft that have now been rendered irrelevant by the computer.
    Was anyone else aware of the school model railway? Another activity supervised by the multifunctional Mr Busby, it would be set up over three or four weekends per year when the art room tables would be rearranged and a vast amount of Hornby-Dublo 00 scale 3-rail equipment would appear from the depths of one of “Uncle Bill’s” cupboards and be assembled thereupon. When complete it completely filled the art room and featured three stations, a marshalling yard, a locomotive depot and around a dozen locomotives with appropriate rolling stock. He kept this as a semi-clandestine operation for around a dozen older boys as it was all his own personal property and he wanted it handled only by those that were sufficiently responsible.
    As for news of former pupils, I have little to offer. At first I tried to stay in touch with a few friends but we all went off in different directions. I remember Tony Arbour spouting in school debates, and he subsequently served as a liberal studies lecturer at Kingston Polytechnic before his political career took off.
    In 1965 I was accepted as a technical apprentice at the Hawker-Siddeley factory at Ham. There on the same program I encountered two ex-Surbitonians, Dave King and Barry Lewendon, neither of whom I’d really had much contact with at the school. Dave was appointed Apprentice of the Year in 1970 and much to my amazement I succeeded him in 1971. Dave stayed with Hawkers, Barry eventually went to the Machine Tool Research Institute in Derbyshire and I embarked on a rambling engineering career encompassing paint spraying plants, automatic valve control systems, electrical equipment for use in flammable atmospheres and finally domestic appliances.
    That’s probably enough for now. If anyone out there recognizes my name, I’d be pleased to hear from them.

  273. Peter Pocock

    Welcome to our humble site Richard.

    You were probably a lowly second former as I was entering 6th form, so fairly unlikely our paths crossed directly. However – some great memories.

    Gus Hillier was as I recall, one of the last people to smoke using a cigarette holder, which served only to make him more threatening.

    Its an interesting observation about the ageing teaching staff. It never really occurred to me that teachers actually got old and retired, like real people. Even more curious, apart from Ken Bidmead’s minor celebrity of a wife, and the fact that Jock Lonsdale produced a son who was also at SCGS, I guess I assumed that the staff were all confirmed batchelors ( Sorry, just remembered Slash Heymans showing us photos of his wife and himself astride a giant motorbike on a trip around Europe).

    Didn’t Sentence have a curious way of walking ? I have a vision of him, in full gown, mincing along on tip-toe?

  274. Richard Cripps

    Thanks for the welcome, Peter! I don’t recall Mr Sentence having any obvious peculiarities at all, otherwise the lads would certainly have picked up on them; he never even acquired a nickname. I remember him as one of the gentlemen who spoke to us as normal people, kept us interested, never needed to apply any discipline and consequently obtained excellent results.
    I’m not even sure that you would have encountered him – he joined the school around 1961/2 to replace A. J. Hayward (another gentleman) on his retirement.
    Another teacher name just dropped out of my memory banks – Staples (is anyone writing these down?) He also joined during the early sixties but I don’t remember much about him.

  275. David Goodyear

    Was the guy with the cigarette holder Gus Hillier or his fellow uniformed Captain(?) Lefevre. I think they both taught maths and ran the army cadets.

  276. Richard Cripps

    I do recall Hillier using a cigarette holder. Lefevre must have been before my time.
    Now that I’ve got rolling on this, I keep thinking of other teachers. Fairly late in my time, I think maybe 1963/4, the school acquired a lady biology teacher by the name of Mrs. Russell. For the authorities to have assigned a lady to teach biology to a school full of sex-obsessed adolescent males was a reflection of the teacher supply situation at the time!

  277. Dave Littleproud

    Hmmmm! We have one Richard in Georgia and one in Virginia and we still don’t know what “grits” are!
    Carpenter taught sports and biology ( his lecture on vd to me and my 14 year old mates still makes cringe –he probably thought he was still a young subaltern trying to keep his troops on the straight and narrow –still at least he spared us the pictures -we all swore undying perpetual abstinence!!!) –he also helped Gus with the cadets.
    Iremember “Bunny” Warren berating us for being so useles and telling us that we would never survive in the world outside.
    I thought we knew the contents of “Uncle Bill’s” cupboards-I never knew a thing about the train set.
    The name Barry Lewendon is familiar-couldn’t put a face tho!
    I met “Slash” Heymans ( how did he get that nickname -Idon’t remember him raising his voice !!) in 1966 in Venice where he was living.
    Staples taught art -I don’t think he enjoyed it very much-His replacement was a bearded case straight out of art school -such enthusiam – a truly inspiring teacher -can’t remember his name -anyone doing art from sep 1963 should remember him -he had the sixth form calling him by his christian name.
    I think both Hillier and Lefevre affected a cigarette holder.
    I remember Mrs Russel-ithink she’s on the photo I posted -she rapidly became pregnant.

  278. Dave Littleproud

    Richard Cripps -in the summer of 1966 Iwas doing the washing up at Hawkers

  279. Richard Cripps

    “Grits” is a kind of porridge made from corn meal. Better than it sounds.

  280. David Goodyear

    Does anyone remember the name of the teacher who was enraged by the pong of calcium carbide and ink? If you added calcium carbide powder to the ink in the inkwells (Braemar memory this) it produced a foaming mixture of acetylene gas and goodness knows what else. One of our number used to do this before a lesson started. On arrival this particular manic member of staff went up and down the rows of desks inhaling at each inkwell trying to find the culprit.It was wonderful entertainment and nobody ever seemed to get caught.Who was the acetylene inhaler? Did it happen in your class or was this unique to our group. Richard, you were in the same class as me . Do you remember? Was it Wilf Sing or Keats or……?

  281. Dave Littleproud

    Thanks Richard I’ll look forward to a tasting- I think I have moved the other Richard to another state-not Georgia I think it’s South Carolina.
    Anyway other Richard what is Dave Ashwell’s famous “Green Drink” ?
    Ros -Frank and Peggy Spencer-I remember the names -brown notice board??

  282. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    How is the healthy eating going Dave?I did get fed up with waiting so I Googled Grits and yes I would like to know what the Green Drink is too, I expect Richard Day is busy healing the sick or out shrimping! Peggy Spencer now lives in Suffolk or Norfolk she is well known for training the Penge formation dancing team of Come Dancing fame. By the way my husband grows sweetcorn and if you cook it in fast boiling water for 5 minutes straight after you pick it, it is fantastic and very healthy if you don’t smother it in butter.I have been enjoying the input from the new recruits, almost makes me wish I was a boy!

  283. Peter Pocock

    Dave, I think Shlash (or Shlasher) got his knickname from the fact that his attempts to beat recalcitrant pupils were simply very mild taps on the head – always something of a surprise because he was a big beefy guy, who looked capable of decapitating you with a single blow.

    He was also amazingly easy to be diverted from his subject. A simple question, usually about his traveling experiences was enough to get him to abandon the lesson entirely, in favour of something that really interested him.

    Didn’t sport a very racy goatee beard at one stage?

  284. Peter Avis

    Digging into the long past, by surprise I come across this Surbiton County Grammar School memory box. In fact, I was seeking information via Google about the “venerable” Neville Holdaway (as one old boy remembers him), who taught me during my attendance at the school between 1942 and 1947.

    Indeed, our silver-haired geography teacher was a brilliant communicator: I was fascinated to learn from him about such places as the lush Riverina district of Australia, a country that would otherwise have left me unexcited (but later I fortunately discovered its rewarding wines). I somehow learnt many years ago that Mr Holdaway had another life, never displayed before us in school. He was, in fact, a writer of detective stories, doubling up as a respected Marxist historian! See the attached evidence that I have just now at last garnered and would like to share:


    N. A. Temple-Ellis (1894-??), pseudonym of N(eville) A(ldridge) Holdaway, was an English author, Marxist theorist and schoolmaster. “One of the ablest Marxist writers we possess” says George Orwell in The Road to Wigan Pier. In 1935 he was co-writer of the book Marxism together with, among others, GDH Cole.

    In 1929 for The Inconsistent Villain the author was awarded first prize in Methuen’s Detective Story Competition, the judges being Bailey, HC, Knox, Ronald and Milne, AA. His series detectives are Montrose Arbuthnot and Inspector Wren.

    The Inconsistent Villains (1929)
    The Cauldron Bubbles (1930
    The Man Who Was There (1930)
    Quest (1931)
    Six Lines (1932)
    The Case in Hand (1933)
    The Hollow Land (1934
    Three Went In (1934)
    Dead in No Time (1935)
    Murder in the Ruins (1936)
    Death of a Decent Fellow (1941)


    Another discreet Marxist among our Surbiton teachers was art teacher Bill Busby, a sensitive and discreet man who seems to have been appreciated by all who sat at his feet. He never brought his politics into school, but when I discovered them I offered myself as an adolescent helper in the Kingston council elections of October or November 1945, in which he stood as Communist candidate. He got several hundred votes, but wasn’t elected. Nowadays, I campaign in Brighton for Green candidates who do in fact get elected. So, some progress there.

    For the record, those of us who were at school during the Second World War must remember the assemblies that were from time to time preceded by a tribute by the headmaster to a former pupil killed at the front. Such occasions have not ended in our schools.

    I remember, too, that we sixth-formers had in turn to give a reading, each morning for a week, from the Bible: I got permission to select my own texts, which were of anti-establishment flavour and taken from the New Testament. In journalism, I have delved into biblical texts from time to time ever since.

    My close school friend of those years, Peter Pulzer, will no doubt have similar recall. Now Professor Emeritus of Government at the University of Oxford and an Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College, he is probably the most illustrious of those of us who went to the school at the top of St Mark’s Hill sixty-five years ago. Apart from his respected tomes on German-Jewish history, he deserves recognition for having led the successful opposition to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher being granted an honorary degree of the university in 1985. The opposition, he said, was to express “our very great worry about the way in which educational policy and educational funding are going in this country”.

    So our modest Surbiton school, ostensibly no revolutionary academy, was in one way or another a seedbed for enlightened thought in the later years of the twentieth century. Glad to have been a little part of the story, and greetings to anyone out there who was around at the same time.

  285. Dave Littleproud

    For the record, those of us who were at school during the Second World War must remember the assemblies that were from time to time preceded by a tribute by the headmaster to a former pupil killed at the front. Such occasions have not ended in our schools.
    Re PeterAvis’s comment about acknowledging fallen pupils –I once suggested to my children’s primary school headmaster that the yearly school commemerationof Remembrance Day might be made more personal and relevant for the kids if they could wear any family service medals-fathers, grandfathers etc- I was told in no uncertain terms that such suggestion was not acceptable because it would be unfair on those whose fathers, grandfathers did not have medals. PC was more important than heroes and family history!!
    My kids were at primary school 1997-2004-I have tried to explain to them and shown them Granddad’s medals and they have heard Grandma’s tales of the blitz.
    While I am in soapbox mood- putting aside the rights and wrongs of the current war in Afghanistan (my paternal uncle was bombing them in 1927-I think he had a go at the Iraquis as well) I think it would be approrpriate if our media should give a greater profile than mere numbers to those soldiers of our allies who are being killed in the same war.

    Yeah Slash had a very cavalier beard.

  286. Peter Pocock

    Hi Dave.

    I agree completely with your sentiments. Perhaps you should have explained to them that not all medals were awarded for Galantry, and that all WW2 servicemen were entitled to
    ( and most probably claimed) medals which simply acknowledged their presence in certain theatres of war, and as such are just as significant.

    Whilst I am not a great approver of all things American, I do admire the way they treat adolecent performance at least. My eldest grandson is at the American School of Dubai. Whenever they have competitive sports or athlethic activities, they all get a medal, simply for having entered, and completing the event. No-one is singled out as being the winner. That’s my kind of reward system. Boy – I would have collected a shirt full of medals on that basis.

    For Peter Avis – thanks for the insight into Neville Holdaway’s extra curricular activities – it explains a lot about his obsession with detail and perfection. In his final years, he was actually quite a bad tempered guy, and whilst not known for corporal punishment, had a nasty temper- not helped by the fact that in 3C, our Form Room was the Geography Room in Braemar, and he demanded incredible standards of tidyness !

    Couple of names for you Peter, which may be after your time: Peter Ransom ( major Rugby player), Peter Marsh, both from my humble village of Oxshott, and Ian Irvine, who looked as if he might have been the role model for the hero in “The Fifth Form at St. Dominics”. All probably there towards the end of your time at SCGS.

    Rumour also had it that Fernyhough was a pupil, and subsequently a teacher – was he around in your time?

    By the way – given that winter 1947 was one of the
    coldest on record, what was it like

  287. Peter Pocock

    Hi Dave.

    I agree completely with your sentiments. Perhaps you should have explained to them that not all medals were awarded for Galantry, and that all WW2 servicemen were entitled to (and most probably claimed) medals which simply acknowledged their presence in certain theatres of war, and as such are just as significant.

    Whilst I am not a great approver of all things American, I do admire the way they treat adolecent performance at least. My eldest grandson is at the American School of Dubai. Whenever they have competitive sports or athlethic activities, they all get a medal, simply for having entered, and completing the event. No-one is singled out as being the winner. That’s my kind of reward system. Boy – I would have collected a shirt full of medals on that basis.

    For Peter Avis – thanks for the insight into Neville Holdaway’s extra curricular activities – it explains a lot about his obsession with detail and perfection. In his final years, he was actually quite a bad tempered guy, and whilst not known for corporal punishment, had a nasty temper- not helped by the fact that in 3C, our Form Room was the Geography Room in Braemar, and he demanded incredible standards of tidyness !

    Couple of names for you Peter, which may be after your time: Peter Ransom ( major Rugby player), Peter Marsh, both from my humble village of Oxshott, and Ian Irvine, who looked as if he might have been the role model for the hero in “The Fifth Form at St. Dominics”. All probably there towards the end of your time at SCGS.

    Rumour also had it that Fernyhough was a pupil, and subsequently a teacher – was he around in your time?

    By the way – given that winter 1947 was one of the
    coldest on record, what was it likE

  288. Peter Pocock

    Hi Dave,

    Completely agree. Maybe you hould have told them than perfectly ordinary soldiers, never commended for gallantry were entitled to
    campaign medals simply acknowledging that they were in a certain place at a certain time.

    Personally I quite like the US system that refuses to acknowledge outright winners, and instead rewards everybody who takes part. My eldest grandson is at the American School of Dubai, and collects pockets-full of medals just for taking part in athletic and sporting events. Boy – I could have filled my shirt with such awards.

    For Peter Avis: Thanks for the insight into Neville Holdaway’s extra curricular activities. It explains a lot about his obsession with detail. For the record, towards the end of his life, he became very bad-tempered, and unpredictable, not helped by the fact that as 3C, the Geography Room was our Form Room, and he took a fanatical pride in its tidyness.

    Peter, a couple of names that may just be in your era:

    Peter Ransom – Rugby star
    Peter Marsh – not sure what he was at school, but later Unilever star
    Ian Irvine – finally School Captain, but a possible role model for the hero of ” Fifth Form at St. Dominics”.

    BTW Peter, given that 1947 was one of the UK’s coldest winters, what was life ike at the top of St. Mark’s Hill that winter?

  289. Dave Littleproud

    My father’s own war was less “exciting” than many-for some reason he got the Africa Star-closest he got to Africa was St Nazaire, western France from where he scuttled in June 1940 after dodging the advancing Hun-he escaped on June 17th, nearly three weeks after Dunkirk, –he was one of those who watched the “Lancastria” sink with the loss of 5000 lives. Still you don’t get medals for retreats and things which have “D” notices slapped on them. Manston Aerodrome during the Battle of Britain was apparently a bit hairy.
    After that however I think that my mother living 200 yards from, and working in, the Hawker Aircraft factory in Canbury road Kingston (behind the Regal cinema) was in far greater danger for far longer-and war workers seem to get no recognition-just remember how long it was before war widows were allowed to march in the remembrance day parade.
    Adolf even fired V2s at little baby me!! My kids being 16 and 17 I can look round at a school function and realise that I am the only one present who has been bombed by the Luftwaffe.
    How many of us carefully wrote down our parents experiences of those six years? –I know I didn’t.
    Peter if I find the photo of me in the winter of ’47 i will show what it was like -did you ever have whale meat and powered egg?

  290. Ken Percival

    Tried to post a comment before – was denied – at SCGS 1960 to 1967 – I can debunk the urban myth that Eric Clapton is an Old Surb ! Should I continue?

  291. Roger Rimmer

    Go Ken, go! You could have a look at: – ?

  292. Peter Pocock

    Whale meat – yes, but in a pricy bar in Tokyo in the 70′s. Powdered Egg – yes, and those endless omelettes that were about all it was fit for.

    Other wartime (and post war) treats included Virol, Ministry of Health thick Orange Juice concentrate, Cod Liver Oil, liquorice Imps, dried bananas, Spam, tapioca, condensed milk, home made dripping, tinned Jam from Australia or S.Africa, and Little Miss Muffit Junket. Probably all a lot more healthy than much of today’s fare.

  293. Ken Percival

    Looked at all the old photos on this site and it brought back great memories – Arriving at the school that September day in 1960, aged 11, was awesome – coming from primary school as top dog and then being at the bottom of the heap with all these grown men! that’s what it seemed like anyway.

    But to start with I feel compelled to debunk Eric Clapton before we Old Surbs are accused of plagiarism. In EC’s autobiography (2007) he went from local school to Hollyfield school (surbiton) at age 13 which was about 1957 or 1958. He says he passed the 13+ exam to get to Hollyfield but I am sure Hollyfield was a secondary modern school – certainly SCGS took in 13+ exam successful candidates when I was there – I was 13 in 1962 and remember a handful of boys joining my year. I cannot see why Hollyfield should have been a 13+ exam destination in that case. EC continues that he passed A level art at age 16 (1960 or 1961) at Hollyfield which also housed the junior (feeder) dept of Kingston College of Art. He then joined KC of A central and dropped out shortly after to concetrate on music.

    The myth about EC and SCGS arose in 70s when there was no internet to quash it in it’s infancy – it has continued (apart from EC autobiograph) and is now firmly planted in the internet (Wikipaedia and stars biogs)

    The facts of the matter are :-

    In the summer of 1966 SCGS moved to Thames Ditton (over the Summer holidays) In september 1966 or maybe a year later, Hollyfield School moved from Hollyfield Road (at bottom of hill in Ewell road near the King Charle’s Rd intersection) up to the vacated SCGS at St Marks’ hill.

    Certainly, by 1966, Clapton was well on the way with his music but his old school had simply moved location after summer 1966. I recall in the 70s or 80s that Japanese coach tours were stopping at St Marks school to see EC’s old school but I dont know why SCGS was substituted as his alma mater – perhaps it suits EC not to debunk the myth himself but it is surprising that no Hollyfield school old boys/girls have reclaimed him.

    So the early blog about EC sleeping in the stable block is not quite right. Hollyfield school was built in those post war prefabricated single story buildings like the govt buildings around the area (Hinchley Wood etc) But St Mark’s hill grounds had a stable block – as your face Allbury House front entrance (assembly hall to the left) the stable block was to the right side of Allbury separated by a small courtyard. I think the stable block was a form of sixth form common room – when the removal men came in Summer term of 1966 the stable block attic was cleared – an enormous pile of empty fag packets accumulated over 35 years!

    So, I can’t see EC ever having set foot on St Mark’s hill site as a pupil – he may have visited his old school since it moved to St Mark’s Hill but that, I am afraid, is the extent of his connection with SCGS!

  294. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Hello Ken, I was a Hollyfield pupil who passed her 13 plus and went into the art group! I have stated earlier that Eric was in the year above me and we spent most of our time in the studios at 35 Ewell road, next to the fire station,perhaps you might find my earlier musings of interest, although Hollyfield was a secondary modern school it was quite progressive where the arts were concerned and I was very lucky to be a part of that, not being particularly academic, but even with our reduced curriculum as we had 21 periods of art per week ,I did manage to leave at the age of 16 with3 o’levels, and then went on to college in London for 2 years.

  295. Ken Percival

    Dear Ros,

    having discovered this website it took a while to go through all the threads but I have revisited your 9th May message where you mention EC – but you also seem to think EC came from SCGS to Hollyfield for the Art curriculum in that message which I regard as wrong. I did not mean to be disparaging about Hollyfield and the 13+ exam – It is now clear that Hollyfield had special status with its Art specialism. As I said in my previous long message, SCGS took in 13+ exam passers, in my year that would have been 1962. I passed my 11+ in 1960 at primary school in Kensington – my parents then moved to Kingston in June 1960 – my last few weeks at primary school involved bussing it to Hammersmith and then to High St Ken. Being from a different Education Area when I did my 11+ it meant that Kingston allocated me to SCGS – my mother had been gee-ed up to think I should have gone to Tiffin Boys but there was no argument – I would not have changed going to SCGS – I really enjoyed it and it fitted in with my poor original East End roots. Tiffin would have been too posh for me – the Old Tiffs website has an Oxbridge section. This demonstrates that they were regarded as the premier state grammar school in the area – Kingston grammar school, being independent and fee paying, would be top of the tree but limited access. SCGS was regarded as the true working class grammar school for the area – certainly by the time of my intake – In fact my intake year of 1960 included a sizeable number of 11+ near misses who got in after an interview with A J Doig and the pupils’ parents. At SCGS I was never beaten by Tiffins at Rugby – from Under 12′s to 1stXV – this was always a source of pride by the rugby masters who took my age group all the way through the seven years from 1960 – Fry was under 12′s – Harris Ide was 13′s – under 14′s was led by an Australian whose name I cant remember – Colts was Baz Hunt – 4thXV was Rupert Rose – 3rd Xv was another physics master Tudor his name was I think, 2nd XV was Mo Morris and Taff Davies was first XV. I believe immediate intakes below me carried on this success to a great extent and the Old Boys also had the upper hand over Old Tiffs – they have now discontinued fixtures – OTs languish in the lower leagues of Surrey while Cobham are at the giddy heights of London 1 – the last boxing day fixture between Old Surbs/Cobham and Old Tiffs was about 3 years ago – mismatch and dwindling player numbers at Old Tiffs put paid that fixture by mutual agreement.

  296. Ken Percival

    Having looked through all the threads again I can add some background to the Braemar Club. About 20 years ago Old Surbs were going through the doldrums as regards membership – Esher sixth form college was coed and rugby and cricket had almost disappeared (golf and soccer came into prominence) such that no new members joined the old Boys. Old Surbs had had a reprieve when Old Hinchleians folded and their 20 strong membership transferred to Old Surbs, we all knew them socially so they fitted in well – some of their better players had already joined to get better rugby. This was a bit of a false dawn so by 1980 the Old Boys decided to change to open format Cobham RFC – the cricket section continued for a few years under Old Surbs banner but they went the same way and have now folded (remnants have joined Effingham and leatherhead) In 1980 the rugby section started mini rugby in a very small way but now is oversubscribed – the Youth section is very successful (that would be the age group 11 to 18 which would be the same as the school in the old days) and the senior section is also riding high (London 1 on the margins of semi professional) The new clubhouse (replacing the 1963 clubhouse) is enormous and sumptuous and the car park on Sunday mornings (mini rugby) looks like Guy Salmon’s forecourt !! When I visit, once a year from Ireland, I have slight misgivings about the set up – a rich playground that I would not be able to access as a young person these days because of my schooling and background – So I regard my education at SCGS as invaluable – the 11+ and rugby took me in a better direction than I could have possibly hoped for. I have friends at Cobham who pay six grand a term (plus add ons)per child (Typically at Danes Court in Oxshott) just to get the same level of education I got at SCGS – believe me I have supervised their homework on visits. Anyway, back to Braemar club, As the old Boys were declining and morphing into an open club the older members drifted away and it took the suicide of Fanny Price to prompt some of the older members to set up the Braemar club to look out for and make welcome the true school Old Boys and stalwart non school members by invitation. Fanny price was found in his smoke filled car in his garage where he had a final look through his school and Old Boys memorabilia before slipping away. All very poignant.

  297. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Well Ken I only said that Eric came from SCGS because that was what the old surbs were saying,I did not actually know because most of the people in the Art Group came from schools all over Surrey,there were very few who were already at Hollyfield.I also went out with a few boys from Tiffins and SCGS boys were much better!

  298. Ken Percival

    In ECs autobiography he says that the 11+ was traumatic – he and his fellow pupils were bussed to some big hall from his Ripley primary school and made to sit test papers all day. Born in 1945 that would have been 1956 I guess. So, he went on to St Bede’s secondary modern school in nearby Send village and took 13+ (in 1958) and went to Hollyfield. As you say, Hollyfield’s Art excellence attracted people from all over Surrey and so, I would surmise, EC must have passed 13+ to leave St Bede’s to go to Hollyfield; a choice influenced by a demonstrable aptitude and passion for Art.

    It is ironic that by 1960 (my year of intake) SCGS were filling places with near miss 11+ ers; was that demographics? surely not in the baby boom era – perhaps primary education standards were going down by then ! EC does not mention SCGS at all! As I say, it’s all a blurring of Hollyfield’s move to St mark’s hill premises.

  299. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    I don’t know if it was true but I seem to remember something about the fact that more girls than boys were passing the 11 plus and when I took it the first half of the test was fine, but the second part was as far as I can remember, logic problems the like of which I had never seen in my life before. Now whether this was a ploy to weed out the girls or not I don’t know but I was 3rd in my class at the time and my eldest sister was at Tiffin Girls! That was in 1958.

  300. Ken Percival

    Dear Ros,

    I think it came out recently when state papers were released under 30 year rule that boys had a lower pass mark for 11+ otherwise mostly girls would be eligible if you equated supply of places with demand. The educationlists’ thinking was that girls were more mature than boys at age 11. Modern day education jargon now demands that “failure” is not in the vocabulary now – it’s “delayed success”

  301. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Well I never !As I was only 10 when I took it, does that make me extra mature! Ha Ha!And there I was thinking I was a failure!My sides are splitting now!!

  302. Richard Cripps

    I don’t have a copy of Eric Clapton’s autobiography, but I did read some snatches from it in a bookshop. I saw a reference to “…walking to the arts annex on Surbiton Hill Road.” I don’t recall any other educational facility on that road. Did Hollyfield students use the SCGS art room for some of their classes? I never heard of that happening, but it would explain Eric’s presence in the building (or stables!)

  303. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Richard I can honestly say that in the three years that I was in the art group we never went near your school in the daytime, but as I was going out with an old surb I did go there on the odd weekend, but that was nothing to do with art!Perhaps whoever wrote that didn’t realise that at the top of the hill it became Ewell Road but I can verify that we were constantly walking between the annexe and the Hollyfield Road site.

  304. Ken Percival

    Well – since my recent intervention on this blog I seem to have upset two of its main proponents – Dear Ros – your reaction to the 11+ when I was a boy the first day at infant school was the worst – no mammy but after a couple of days it was where I wanted to be. Then you went to be bottom of the heap in primay school, but you got through it only to become bottom of the pile in secondary school! third level education was a bit more liberal though , certainly in the 60s, although I think women had the better deal – they had access to all years whereas us male freshers were struggling to make an impression ( I went to Kent @ Canterbury) Anyway – the point I am trying to make is that nowadays it seems that all young people are being conned – ie leave Hatfield “University” with a media studies degree and 20k student debt and the poor student is completely unprepared – in fact it turns the current educational thinking on its head – “delayed failure” !!

  305. Ken Percival

    Dear Ros, I realsie I lost the thread in my last message – I think you must have had the best of the 60s – Eel Pie island etc – I was too young to experience the scene first hand but I now realise I was at one of the epicentres but did not appreciate things – SCGS was still locked into the 50s and War years

  306. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Don’t worry about it Ken you didn’t upset me,. after all we extra mature people have got to stick together.I am off to bed now good night.

  307. Dave Littleproud

    I’m sure that there was a Hollyfield annex along the Ewell Road-Chris Dreja of the Yardbirds was an arty fellow from Hollyfield Road.
    Try this link

  308. Ken Percival

    EC’s autobiography confirms what Ros says – The annexe along the Ewell Rd was Hollyfield’s facility not SCGS –

    reference previous threads :-

    Jock Lonsdale’s son went to SCGS – Gordon Lonsdale was in my intake year – 1960. I also heard that Fernyhough was pupil and teacher – I believe he played for the Old Surbs, as a proper old boy when the club was “closed” membership which would confirm his ex-pupil status.

  309. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Okay Dave ,how about this, Chris Dreja was on the electoral roll for Suffolk 2002 to 2006, in 1995 on April 8th the Yardbirds played at Colchester Leisure Centre including originals Chris Dreja and Jim McCarty. My best friend Dot who was in the art group too sent me the cutting, she also told me that Chris was making a good living photographing food for advertising and cookery books and magazines, quite interesting as his family ran a delicatessen in Victoria Road Surbiton.I will give her a ring later and see if she has an update.

  310. Peter Avis

    Wartime memories, cold days, Mr Holdaway and other matters….

    Yes, that was a rude winter in the early months of 1947. The school was closd for several weeks, as the heating system didn’t work. It impeded our preparation for the summer exams. There had been other impediments in the years before the end of the war : evacuating classes and continuing lessons in the air raid shelters when the alarm sounded for approaching doodle bugs (as long as you heard their croaky engines, you knew you were OK; when the engine cut out you waited for a bang in less than a minute).

    And yes, we had whale meat, and powdered eggs, and digging for victory, and holidays at home (there was a gorgeous summer or two in the forties) and constant tuning-in to radio reports from the war fronts throughout the world.

    Now, for the enigma of our teacher Mr Holdaway, who becomes more intriguing the more one researches into his life and career. Neville Aldridge Holdaway, who was writing detective stories from 1929 and Marxist philosophy in the 1930s – before diligently teaching geography at Surbiton in the 1940s and 1950s – must surely be the same Neville Aldridge Holdaway who was mentioned in despatches at the age of 26 in 1918. See this extract from the supplement to the London Gazette, 16 September, 1918:

    Lt. Neville Aldridge Holdaway, Manch. R.
    For conspicuous gallantry and devotion
    to duty. When this officer observed that
    the officer in charge of an important ad-
    vanced post had become a casualty, he im-
    mediately went up through a heavy barrage
    and took command. He organised and con-
    trolled the fire of the garrison with such
    effect that the enemy began to waver, so
    he promptly advanced, inflicting severe
    casualties; but, finding them too numerous,
    he withdrew, after ascertaining their dis-
    positions. His courage and coolness
    throughout the whole operations were very

    When I met Neville Holdaway 25 years later, he was a silver-haired quietly-spoken gentleman wearing, I think, a “Ronnie Barker” brown cotton coat like a shopkeeper in a hardware store. He pinned up daily copies of “Soviet War News” on a board in the corridor. Nothing controversial about that at the time: “Uncle Joe” Stalin was our ally in the war against Hitler and his monstrous malefactions against his own people were unknown, hidden or forgiven…

    Oh, and the Eric Clapton mystery: has anybody thought of asking the chap himself where exactly he went to school?

  311. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Peter just mentioned Doodle Bugs,family legend has it that one fell on the sewage works in Marsh Lane Surbiton and my aunty was “powdering her nose” at the time and her rear end took the brunt of it!

  312. Ken Percival

    EC’s autobiography – early years section – he was dreading going to a grammar school either in Guildford or Woking so when he sat the 11 + he was not motivated. But a master at St Bede’s secondary school recognised his art talent and EC says he tried hard at 13+ and was successful, going on to Hollyfield.

    I suppose that there is the outside possibility that EC initially went to SCGS for a very short while – thus giving credence to the stable block anecdote – and then was allowed to leave for Hollyfield where his art talents were appreciated, this all being done on the quiet which would have been the modus operandi at that time (no public expulsions) Certainly he admits to a lot of bunking off at Hollyfield as well (going to pubs and Bentalls to listen to records) and, in his book, is ashamed that he was thrown out of Kingston School of Art after 1 year (lack of portfolio) – His pride in getting A level Art at 16 seems to be the only celebration of his academic life. So, it is quite feasible to me that he would skip over anything to do with SCGS; much like anyone would do in their CV, where the time gap is easily covered. I don’t think EC would be inclined to amend his record now, though; A reliable eyewitness is needed!

    On a similar vein I heard the story that the Kinks drummer, Mick Avory, went to SCGS – his wikipaedia entry shows him born Feb 1944 in East |Molesey which was certainly in SCGS catchment area or it was in my time (1960 intake)

  313. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Well Ken all I can say is,as we had no luck in finding the SCGS records, perhaps they have the Hollyfield Road records in the Local History Room in Kingston, and they might say if E.C.started there in the Autumn term 1957 when he would have been 13 and a half,apart from that I cannot help,all I know is that he must have been in the art group in 61/62 beacause he became friends with Chris Dreja and Tony Topham who were in my class and were founder members of the Yardbirds.

  314. Ken Percival

    A few years back Peter Marsh (Old Surbs stalwart) gave me the membership archives which went from 1930 through to late 70s – The school would give him a list of names and addresses of leavers from the school so that Old Boys could be encouraged to join. I handed over the records when I moved to Ireland. I did look through them quite carefully out of curiosity and I am sure I would have noticed anything like EC of Ripley. When I next visit Cobham (probably October) I’ll try to get access to the records again.

  315. Dave Littleproud

    Ken re your last -Ishall ask the guys running the Braemar club about your very interesting point.

  316. Hi Ros … re the doodle bugs, I was a mere babe in a pram at the time but my Mum recalls one cutting out and heading straight for our house in Bond Road Tolworth one afternoon only to veer off at the vewry last minute and land 100 yards away at the corner of Douglas Road and Tolworth Park Road demolishing two houses. I was covered in glass from the blast but slept through the whole thing and thereby lived to hearby tell the tail!

    Ken … this would have been my intake year at SCGS and I’m pretty sure that Mick was not in it.

  317. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Hello Malcolm, how very interesting, my dad’s mum lived in Tolworth Park Road ,Ellerton Road end at the time, and my other gran lived in Hamilton Avenue. I have a large photo of a party in Hamilton Avenue on V.E.night. At Christmas time all the family would gather and sing all the wartime songs into the wee small hours and all the memories would come flooding out,I would sit quietly in the corner and soak it all up like a sponge,happy days,there is just my brother and me left now.

  318. Dave Littleproud

    Malcolm -my protection against V2s was piece of hardboard over my cot! Seems to work!

  319. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Barry Bucknel would have been very proud if he had thought of that one Dave,better than sitting under the dining table like my family!

  320. Ken Percival

    Saw a reference to the entry system at SCGS – I vaguely recall that if you got 3 entries then some form of awful punishment was meted out. After that did the slate get wiped clean or was it 3 entries per term? It was quite terrifying so I managed to keep below the radar. I suppose it was like yellow card then orange card then red one. I remember Rickard causing a constitutional crisis when he got two double entries in one day to go with his already 2 entry total. The danger was that he had single handedly devalued the whole system. Poor old Taff Davies (Coutts housemaster) had to cane Rickard publicly at House meeting; Taff was a nice man and not a sadist!

  321. Richard Cripps

    Rickard? That name rings a bell. Did he have red hair and glasses? If it was the boy I’m thinking about, he probably deserved it.
    The system that I never understood was that by which the houses were graded annually. Once every year there was an announcement in assembly that such-and-such house was top house with so many hundred points. The only visible effect of this was that the order in which the houses were arranged for assembly was shuffled around. What the points were awarded for and who was counting them remained a mystery to me I would have been pleased to score some points for villiers if I had known how.
    Now there follows a story which may be apocryphal. It was recounted to me shortly before I left. I can’t believe that it could have occurred while I was at the school as there would have been the most violent repercussions for all, involved or not. But like all the best stories, the teller insisted that it was gospel.
    Bill Busby drove a Volkswagen Beetle which he habitually parked backed up to the front door of the school – the one through which no pupil was allowed to pass. One day a couple of prefects tied a rope to the back bumper and secured the other end to one of the pillars of the portico. What was supposed to happen was he would start to drive away and be brought to an unexpected stop. In practice, the bumper was yanked off. Presumably they weren’t studying engineering.
    One of my classmates named Colin Wyver once claimed to have ridden his motorcycle around inside the assembly hall, but that was on a Saturday morning when he should have been putting up stage lighting and there was no authority figure within earshot. Apparently tyre marks were left to be remarked upon on Monday morning. Colin joined the RAF on leaving the school and subsequently made Squadron Leader.
    The nastiest bit of vandalism I heard about was when someone peed into Jack Skene’s rain gauge, which seemed a rotten trick to play on such an admirable man. It wasn’t surprising that some teachers became rather testy with time.

  322. Malcolm Penn

    Hi Ros … we were in No 58 one house down from the corner of Bond Road and Tolworth Park Road (opposite Thorogoods the builders yard); the Swans were next door in No 56. The rocket hit the semis on the corner of Douglas Road and Ravenscar Road opposite the Douglas Road Hall where we used to walk up the road fto rom Tolworth Infants/Junior school for lunch. The bombed site was derelick for several years, well into the 1950s and was a great source for pram wheels etc for building the obligatory carts etc, but you had to be quick off the mark to get the best pickings! Sadly just me and my sister left now too but my mum made it to 93 … hope I’ve got her genes!!

  323. Dave Littleproud

    Why if Bill Busby was a closet leftie did he drive the biggest car -a very large black thing called a Railton, which was the one I seem to remember was attached to the portico not his Beetle -anyway it was a very unkind thing to do to a to one of the best people on the staff. I can think of other people who were far more deserving of such a fate.

  324. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    good morning Malcolm ,either you get up early,or like most of the old Surbs you have gone abroad. I have come to the conclusion that is probably why we are in such a mess,come back”your country needs you”! My Gran, Mrs Dobson at that time lived at no. 16 Tolworth Park Road,next to Thorogoods ,who she rented the house from.She was a real character,and one of her talents was for brewing home made wines,and my dad said the rhubarb one could blow your head off! It was a good thing dad didnt drive,because he always came home from there in a very merry state!

  325. Malcolm Penn

    Up early I’m afraid, comes with having remarried (3rd time) with two young kids ages 8 and 5 … I was one of the ones who resisted the temptation to emigrate, although some days I feel I ought to have cut and run the way our country’s currently being run into the ground.

    Do you remember the corner grocer shop opposite Thorogoods and your gran’s on the corner of Tolworth Park Road and Bond Road just where the pillar box was? There was a cobblers and green grocers on the opposite corner and another grocer and news agents at the Ellerton Road end of this parade of shops? There was also a co-op store round the corner in Ellerton Road so three grocers in the matter of a 100 yards was quite amazing.

    The shop was taken over by a very colourful elderly lady in the mid-1950′s; tough as old boots and swore like a trooper. Originally a fish-monger’s wife, she once told me the story of how her husband had inconveniently dropped down dead one busy morning in their fishmonger’s shop so she propped him up in the corner and carried on selling until things quietened down! With all the local competition and than the first dawn of the early supermarkets she had a tough time making ends meet and would think nothing of hurling a can of beans at a sales rep if he upset her when she was stressed out. I worked there for several years delivering groceries on a classic grocer’s bike and serving in the shop … along with SCGS, another of my life-changing learning experiences !!!

    I seem to remember Rhubarb wine was a favourite home brew back in these days … seems it was easy and cheap to make and would blow your head just by sniffing the cork!

    Going back to your first comment, what is quite cool, looking back through this site, is how well at lot of the pupils from SCGS at that time have done with their lives, and across a wifdw variety of fields. It really was a truly unique character-building experience, something that the Tiffins or KGS kids would simply never have been exposed to. Not sure whether it was the hotchpotch of buildings, the Railway Tavern across the road, the rear gardens and the escape route down the bank into town or the wildly diverse eccentricity of the teaching staff and for that matter many of the pupils. What ever it was they must have been doing something right!

  326. Ivor Davies

    I remember Neil Holdaway’s attention to detail for he suggested we count the errors in a ‘Dig for Victory’ poster near the Ewell Road bridge.

  327. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Glad to hear you stayed Malcolm,perhaps the others went abroad because the public scool boys got preferencial treatment over here? I do remember there were shops opposite grans house,but as i only really saw her on Sundays ,I never went into them,I was only 10 when she died in 1957,but my brother was 5 years older and he spent a lot of time with her,he would go fishing in the Thames and caught eels,and she would cook and jelly them!” I know what you mean about young children depriving you of sleep,we look after our 3 year old grandson 3 days a week,but he is on holiday at the moment and it is heaven! I agree with you about how well the old surbs have done,as my mum always said”the cream will always come to the top”.

  328. Cliff Harrison

    Does anyone remember the name of the school caretaker who lived in the cottage alongside the main gate? I seem to remember that he was a bit of a miserable s*d when he was on duty, but then who wouldn’t be with a crowd of kids like us around.

  329. Dave Littleproud

    bald guy with glasses -always wore a brown overall-don’t think I ever heard him speak!

  330. Ken Percival

    Dear Richard – yes that was Rickard!

    The house points system must have become a little more transparent (or less opaque) in my day because it was based on a variety of competitions such as house rugby, cricket and other sports (tennis, table tennis, I think) There was also an inter house Art competition; I submitted the same picture for a couple of years – on the third year Busby (the judge) disqualified it – he became suspicious the previous year that it was not a new piece and had secretly marked it on the reverse – I did not notice but he did! I lost Coutts a couple of house marks for that!

    I also recall the rigmarole of the school uniform – lumpen felt type blazers from Bryants in Tolworth or Chessington that used to lose their shape after a week, especially elbows that grew huge bulges. Then there was the ritual of the gold braid around the blazer when becoming prefect – I am trying to work out whether it went all round the collar as well. The prefects with the gold braid looked like holiday camp reps – black coats in our case. But then the coolness of making senior prefect. No gold braid and you could get a proper man’s blazer of superior material. Could senior prefects remove the school badge as well? They seemed to look more like men or masters than pupils, just the school tie as a discreet sign of who they were. There were two styles of senior prefect in my day – grey flannels with turn-ups and black brogues or straight flannels with chelsea boots>

  331. Peter Pocock

    Senior Prefects in Sports Jackets and Flannels? No wonder they had to move the school from St. Mark’s Hill! They probably looked very ‘grown up’ in civies and a leather satchel, or were they also allowed to carry their books in an Eddie Watkins style Khaki haverstack.

    Yes, the famous gold braid did run completely around the collar & lapels.

  332. Dave Littleproud

    Malcolm- what do you mean ? “our country”?
    Re V2s-my uncle was too lazy to get out of bed to go to the shelter -eventually decides discretion is the better part of valour and dives under the bed whereupon the ceiling comes down- and ceilings in those days were heavy.
    Re Eric Clapton-an old Surb friend who went out with one of EC’s exes tells me that EC did not go to SCGS.
    My theory– could the building in Ewell Road used as Hollyfield’s art annex have been the fire station’s stable block in a previous life-if one looks at google maps and points the little yellow man in the right direction the said building is right next to the relatively more recent fire station-my grandfather used to drive the horse drawn fire engine in Kingston at the turn of turn of the 18/19 century.
    My pal also tells me that Ec and young lady mutually deciduing that relationship is not going anywhere moreor lees simultaneously send each other “Dear John” letters EC does with his whatever R&R stars doe with such things –girlfriend keeps hers and forty years on sells it on ebay for four figures.
    I recently read the relevant page in EC’s autobiography and he doesn’t say he went to SCGS.
    I had found the book in a charity shop and regrettably did not buy it.

  333. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    I don’t know if 35 was originaly a stable block Dave, but my mum told me that she used to go there for domestic science lessons,and she said she hated black leading the grate,that would have been in the mid 1920s,she went to the school down the Tolworth end of Ewell Road.

  334. Keith Watling


    I have submitted a number of messages to this site in recent week, but am concerned that they are getting through?? I have submitted both some comments and some questions – let me try again. Confirmation that you have at least seen my email would be appreciated.

    First my comments:

    I attended SCGS from 1965-1972 and as such was part of the last first year intake that attended the school at St. Mark’s Hill. I started in Sept 1965 and can remember catching the bus from my home in Chessington to Surbiton and getting off at the stop outside what was then Surbiton Odeon (now a Waitrose). I then had my daily walk up St. Mark’s Hill to the school. I also recall that the school’s playing fields at that time were located off Somerset Avenue in Hook necessitating a bus ride which, fortunately for me, took me almost home. As an aside, I still remember my first ‘Games’ lesson when I was introduced to the sport of rugby – a milestone in my life given that I was to spend the next 20 years playing the game to county level and on both sides of the Atlantic. We had split into groups based on houses (I was in Lovelace), with everyone wearing the appropriately coloured jersey, and were being shown the rudiments of the game by one of our teachers. Having mastered the art of passing we moved on to tackling at which point our teacher (young guy who taught Maths – can’t remember his name?) demonstrated said skill by tackling (needless to say) one of the smaller boys in his group. Unfortunately, he went someone overboard in his demonstration and succeeded in breaking the arm of the young lad whom he had selected – a boy by the name of John Stagg. I’ve never forgotten it! However, returning to my point, I can only remember spending one term at St. Mark’s Hill before we moved to Thames Ditton which is at odds with Ken’s recollection that the move took place in the summer of 1966.

    Also – a comment on the stable block, which I recall was being used at the Prefects’ Common Room during the term I was at the old school which probably explains the profusion of cigarette packets Ken refers to.

    I was always under the impression that EC had attended Hollyfield and that his only connection with SCGS was as a result of Hollyfied taking over the St. Mark’s Hill site when SCGS moved to Thames Ditton.

    I recall the gold braid on the Prefects’ blazers when I started SCGS in 1965, but it had gone by the time I became a Prefect in 1971. Likewise when I became a Senior Prefect in 1972, the plain blazer had bitten the dust.

    What about the wearing of caps? I remember failure to do so when travelling to and from school was an offence commonly picked up by Prefects and one for which ‘lines’ (usually due the next day) were a common punishment. I do, however, recall that in my very first assembly in the big old white house at St. Mark’s Hill in Sept 1965, the new Headmaster – Mr. Eric Waller – restricted the wearing of caps to just the first and second forms. Up until then I think the caps were compulsory up until the fifth form?? I can still remember some boys burning their caps on their last day as second formers. Any one have any comments/similar recollections?

    Now my question:
    Does anyone know the origins of the names of the four SCGS houses? I seem to remember there were some streets in the Surbiton area named Lovelace Gardens, Villiers Avenue and Egmont Avenue, but I can’t recall a Coutts ???, but where did these names come from? Where they former mayors, politicians…………? Anyone know the answer?


  335. Dave Littleproud

    Mrs Burkin was obviously not tweeny maid material-my Aunt used to polish the front steps with red cardinal polish to such a pitch that they were lethal.
    Coutts was after the banking firm-Villiers was after the royalist family a scion of whom was killed on Villiers road during the civil war. the Dukes of Buckingham were members of the Villiers family- hence the pub.

  336. Richard Cripps

    I too recall making the annual trek to be equipped with the next year’s regulation school garb, although I was dragged down to Esher and I thought that the shop name was Bardwells. In practice the fit of a blazer was rather academic at a time when we were all going through a period of rapid growth, and cuffs that covered the knuckles in September might be halfway to the elbows by the following July. Growth might not always be uniform, either – at 16 I was 6 feet 2 inches tall with a 29 inch waist and 33 inch inside leg, which offered a challenge in purchasing trousers.
    One shortcut that my mother discovered was that it was possible to purchase the school badge on a small square of cloth as a separate item which could be stitched onto an independently- purchased plain blazer, thereby overcoming to some extent the earlier-mentioned cost/quality issue with the regulation garment. Now I need help here, because there was also a period when the house colour was displayed as a stripe on the edge of the top pocket, but I really can’t remember whether that started or finished during my residency. In my case it was dealt with by sewing on an appropriately coloured ribbon which I think was also provided by the authorised outfitter. I don’t recall it applying during the sixth form, but I may be wrong.
    As for the cap, yes, Mr. Doig required it to be worn up to and including the fifth form. There was a beneficial design change after the 58/59 year when a large blue ring on the top was eliminated. It was probably still better than being at Tiffins, whose boys were obliged to wear straw boaters in the summer term.
    For the first couple of years I commuted by train from Hampton Court which was a prefect-free route so after boarding the train at Surbiton the cap could be safely rolled up and stuffed into a blazer pocket. An additional reason for this practice was that on one occasion I failed to do so, stuck my head out of the window (remember when trains had windows that opened?) and said cap sailed off and was never seen again.

  337. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    No Dave ,my mum did not go into service,she was too busy looking after the children that my grandparents were fostering, and working at the laundry,which was behind Tolworth broadway. Our school uniform was also supposed to be purchased from Bryants, most people bought the ties and badges from there, but the colour burgundy,was a bit of a challenge, you have never seen so many variations on it in your life at school assemblies! The Duke of Buckingham was our Local pub, many a time I waited outside for dad to bring me a packet of crisps with a blue salt bag in it or one of those hard “dog” biscuits(arrowroot I think).
    when they were digging in Villiers Road, I think in the 1960s, they found skeletons and helmets from the civil war battle, it is probably in the local museum now. Our school houses were Elgar (blue),Faraday(yellow),Tennyson(green),and Raeburn(red),and for house points we got credits and debits.

  338. Ken Percival

    I was sure the move to Thames Ditton was in 66 but I now accept 1965 as the move; it’s funny how passage of time can play tricks on the mind. I took my driving test (by the assembly rooms) in July 1966 and I thought I had returned victorious to the old school grounds rather than Thames Ditton. Also I remember looking at the adverts for the world cup finals at the old school – seven quid for standing tickets to 3 group games then the knockout games. I only took the England group games package for 2 quid I think- what a regret now! I also recall the house colours as a flash above the breast pocket school badge and also I concur with the sentiment about having blazers imposed on me which I would grow into plus the reusable badge.

    I think the EC business can be put to rest by this site now – a blurring of Hollyfield and SCGS by virtue of the common grounds of St Mark’s Hill. But it is surprising how many websites give EC potted history with this version of his schooling.

  339. Keith Watling

    Glad to learn that my recent email was received!

    A quick comment on the coloured house flash above the breast pocket of the school blazer. I have a photograph of the Colts rubgy XV for the 1968-1969 season in which I note we were all sporting blazers with house flashes. I recall the ties were also different depending on your house, and likewise your wrap and your rubgy jersey. Also in the photograph is a very hair-challenged ‘Baz’ Hunt who I recall taught Latin and was apt to ‘slipper’ boys in the class using a very tatty, old-fashioned plimsole that he carried around in his briefcase. He was also renowned for his use of the expression ‘Trouble at home, boy?’ seemingly being of the opinion that an inability to memorize Latin verb endings was a function of an unfavourable family dynamic rather than sheer idleness. While on the subject of rugby, I have very fond memories of my 7 years at SCGS during which time I hardly missed a game. I can recall the masters who looked after the teams as follows; Under 12 XV – Mr. Fry (Biology), Under 13 XV – Mr. Harris-Ide (English and Latin), Under 14 XV – Mr. ‘Nobby’ Hall (Gym), Colts XV – Mr. Hunt (Latin), 2nd XV – Mr. Mo Morris (I think? – Biology), 1st XV – Mr. Hodgeson (French) who took over from Mr. ‘Taffy’ Davis (Chemistry and Coutts House Master) who had run the 1st XV for many years (so I gather), but was prepared (reluctantly) to let Mr Hodgeson have a go. Does anyone recall these masters and have their own stories/recollections?

  340. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Does that mean that I can claim a victory for Hollyfield in the E.C. affair,and as he and all the rest of us in the art group had passed our 13plus,does that put us on the same level as your school?

  341. Ken Percival

    Dear Ros – I think you can bask in the glory of Hollyfield school and it’s enduring and improving academic status as well as the EC matter!

    In a previous message I said that, in my year of intake 1960, near miss 11+ pupils were taken in after interview with Doig. In the early 80s I bumped into Harris-Ide and baz Hunt in the Waggon and Horses; H-I had retired but Baz was at the new reincarnation of SCGS – the sixth form Esher College. I think it was Baz who told me that in the 1960s the writing was on the wall for SCGS in it’s then current format as a boys grammar school. The labour Govt were pushing for comprehensive schools and the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames did a deal with Surrey County Council to hive off SCGS out of the borough – This had a two fold purpose – RBK then had just sufficient grammar schools to accommodate the local 11+ pass rate (Kingston grammar school and Surbiton High School for girls being independent) with just Tiffin Boys and Tiffin girls as state grammar schools in the borough and RBK has managed to keep these in place. Meanwhile SCGS at Thames Ditton would eventually morph into A sixth form co – ed college when boys were stopped being taken in – what late 70s? This meant Elmbridge then had it’s own type of selective education school; for A levels only but now with some GCSE courses. This then left the St Mark’s Hill grounds vacant, which had only just been modernised, with the demolition of Aysgarth and Braemar and new blocks so Hollyfield was catapulted up the hill with the brief to become RBKs flagship comprehensive to satisfy central govt! I now see that Hollyfield is well regarded in the area with places oversubscribed. The state grammar schools (the Tiffins) thrive as well especdially as a House of lords ruling that RBK cannot confine places to local people and that outsiders to the Borough are eligible to compete for places. Meanwhile Esher college enjoys a similar reputation of excellence by being oversubscribed. So, poor old SCGS was caught in the middle – not the best boys grammar school in the area and not co-ed to cope with modern education thinking! But I would not have wanted to go anywhere else though!

    Keith! I had forgotten that the tie was House coloured and I also forgot about the scarf which had house colours running through it. I think that’s why senior prefects looked so cool – plain black blazer – no badge and a simple tie of repeated Lion of St Mark logos with no House colouring.

  342. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Thank you Ken, not bad for a girl who was born in a council house, and I got O level English,and my husband who went to Glyn Grammar did not. I knew there was a reason why I went out with grammar school boys!

  343. Ken Percival

    Dear Ros,

    I remember Glyn Grammar school from playing them at rugby but I cannot remember where they are – is it over Croydon way perhaps?

    SCGS could be described as the working class grammar school – I would anyway when I went there – a big proportion of my intake were from council estates and thus SCGS was truly in the spirit of ability rather than background – my Dad was in the met police and we lived in police accommodation until 1960 when they phased out “tied housing” and gave them generous cash allowances to go and buy their own places!

    A couple of years ago I got on the top deck of a no 87 bus from Kingston Hill into Kingston, passing Tiffin Boys – the playground was full and I observed that the vast majority were Asian, including Sikhs, and Chinese (probably from the South Korean population in New Malden). Earlier in that week I had been in my Mum’s local newsagent in Tudor Drive, Ham, where the owners, Mr and Mrs Patel, were very excited about getting their daughter into Tiffin Girls. I think this entirely reflects different cultural attitudes to education these days – such differences not really in place in my day when education was highly regarded right across the social spectrum.
    Reinforcing this view, in my opinion, is that Kingston is currently regarded as the premier Chav town in the UK (do a google on chav+town+kingston) with its emphasis on cheap retail consumerism, fast food outlets and violent night life! David Cameron talks about “Broken Britain” – I certainly think it has fragmented along easily identifiable fault lines, though.

  344. Keith Watling


    Glyn Grammar was over near Epsom and Ewell. I can recall playing both rugby and cricket against them


  345. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Yes that’s right Keith,sadly it has now come down in the world,a comprehensive now i think. The only sport my husband liked to play was tennis, and as for football, as he is 6 feet 4 inches he was always stuck in goal!I am afraid Ken that lots of Suffolk towns are going the same way as Kingston, it takes all the character out of them.I do’nt agree about being being working class at a grammar school,when my sister was at Tiffins,she wanted to do languages,but was told that you had to be in the Aor Bstream to do it, and her parents would never be able to afford to send her to university any way! I think the rest of us were much better off at Hollyfield.

  346. Ken Percival

    Dear Ros,

    Re your sister – she went to the only state girls’ grammar school in the area (Tiffin girls) – Surbiton High School for girls being the independent one – in the case of the boys’ sector there was Kingston Grammar school ( I think they wore the straw boaters in the summer because of their rowing tradition) then Tiffin boys who had a strong Oxbridge connection then SCGS. So, by the time of the 60s, SCGS, third in line in the Borough as a pure boys school versus Hollyfield (co-ed with a grammar stream) then Hollyfield was much better placed to survive and blossom than SCGS in that time!

    On a lighter note – I think SCGS should be credited with a major contribution to modern language! In my day the bright ones got put into the X stream (X for express) This long preceded the current RAP/gangsta speak vis a vis Xhibit as da main man in “pimp ma ride” on MTV! I think the world should be told!

  347. Ken Percival

    In previous messages I have relayed what my (younger) Esher based friends are having to do to keep up with education of their children – 6 grand a term plus add-ons to get the same education as I did at SCGS! it seems to all boil down to discipline – the parents at this school sign up to a non-violent but draconian discipline system with the parents incentivised cos they are paying through the nose!

    Anyway, this particular school will accept those who have the right and modern credentials – Graham Le Saux (ex Chelsea FC) being a point in question – he was vilified (Robbie Fowler of Liverpool FC) for going on a boys’ weekend as being “queer”. Now John Terry is sniffing around the same school for his children – and now he is staying with Chelsea he probably will be welcomed with open arms! So it goes to show that money these days, rather than pure ability, carries more weight – JT’s relatives (mother or mother in-law and sister or sister in-law) were recently, allegedly, arrested/cautioned for shoplifting in nearby Weybridge shopping centre! This school is a main feeder for Cobham RFC (formerly Old Surbs RFC) – how times have changed!!

  348. Keith Watling


    I was interested in your comment that ‘SCGS could be described as the working class grammar school’ and wondering if you were aware what criteria would have been used for determining which grammar school a boy went to having sucessfully passed the 11 plus. I attended St. Mary’s C/E Primary School, a small school (pulled down years ago) located about 200 yds from the entrance to Chessington zoo and attended by no more than 100 pupils. I, together with 2 other pupils, had the good fortune to be selected by our class teacher for ‘extra tuition’ such that we were prepped for the exam (something I think teachers would never get away with today). Two of us passed, but whereas I obtained a place at SCGS, my fellow passer was given a place at Tiffin boys from whence he went up to Oxford and became a successful playwright. Any idea how we ended up at different schools? Did Tiffin get the boys with better pass marks or did SCGS get the brighter sparks? Or was it the luck of the draw? I’d be interested in your (and anyone else’s) thoughts.


  349. Dave Littleproud

    Keith-if you look at my post of April 3 2009 in which I give a list of the class of ’56 you will see that 9 boys went to SCGS from Latchmere Primary-I don’t remember anyone from that primary going to Tiffins-Iwould have presumed that we didn’t get high enough marks in the 11 plus-I myself only got in on a resit. Maybe it was where you came from and who your parents were- that was my father’s theory.
    Sadly I didn’t appreciate what I had at SCGS-as I have said “education is wasted…….”
    Never mind we seem to have survived.

  350. Ken Percival

    I cannot give any hard facts about SCGS intake – only anecdote and snippets :-

    As mentioned before, Old Tiffs have a subsection for their Oxbridge alumni which, to my mind, shows that they had sufficient successful candidates over the years. I don’t think SCGS had more than an occasssional Oxbridge entrant. I thought that Head Boy was chosen on the basis of Oxbridge potential – certainly in my time (60 -67) the only sporting type head Boy I can remember (and I stand to be corrected) was Bob Brittle; thereafter they seemed to be the best academic ones who made Head Boy.

    In my year of intake there were several near miss 11+ pupils (after interview of parents with Doig) so Kingston was oversupplied with grammar school places for boys _ I doubt if Tiffin Boys took anyone other than 11+ passers. I moved to Kingston immediately after 11+ and was allocated to SCGS no argument. perhaps Tiffin boys had their own feeder schools – ie those schools that prepped the boys in the 11+ better than others such schools being semi exclusive I would imagine. Certainly to get into Tiffin Boys now is highly competitive with access from outside the borough to be accommodated.

  351. richard day

    Are you all implying that selection to our lcal Grammar schools was based on class .In england,in the 50′s and 60′s,what an idea.I grew up in Hook.Went to Moore Lane Primary Junior Mixed.{I still love that name).Most of those who passed the 11 + went to SCGS,afew went to Glynn,and a few others went to Dorking.Of the girls ,most went to Roseberry in Epsom,although my sister went to Tiffins,I later had friends who went to Tiffins ,but none lived in our Predominently working class area.I do remember that when we took the 11 +,parents had to fill a form which they could list their choices of school in order from 1-3.I always thought that in order of preference SCGS would be No 4,after Wimbledon College.Tiffins and Kingston Grammar.A question for Keith Watling.Are you related to Snowy Watling? He was a great friend growing up .We worked at the Zoo together on Saturdays,earned enough money for a night out at Eel Pie Island.He was the first person I saw with a pair of Winkle Picker shoes,hand made from Stans in Battersea.

  352. Ken Percival

    Dear Dave,

    I moved to latchmere catchment area (Tudor Drive) just after 11+ and just before SCGS. So I got to know some of the Latchmere alumni (mainly the Thorogate brothers). I heard about the Kongston and District primary schhols soccer competition which always seem to end up with latchmere and tolworth in the final. How did Latchmere get on over the years; the tolworth boys at SCGS seemed to crow a bit. I remember being told that the final was played at the old Richmond Rd ground of Kingstonian FC – A big pitch for under 11s!

    Back to SCGS – I recall that we all started off doing Latin but only those who went into the Xpress stream carried on to O-level. I think this was to try and get a couple of Oxbridge candidates by A levels. But most Tiffin boys did latin to O level. By the time of the mid 60s when the explosion of new universities came about, then latin was not necessary for entrance, apart from Oxbridge still.

    I did not know you could put down 1-3 for boys grammar schools from being out od the area. I suppose you had to be a brave family from working class background to put yourself up to Kingston grammar and the straw boater in the summer!

  353. Dave Littleproud

    Funny -Apart from my cousin who is 12 years older I
    never knew a Tiffins boy. Looking back I think “hoi polloi” level declined with entry into the sixth form-not that I noticed at the time.
    Richard -what is Dave Ashwell’s “green drink” and how is he? I fear the piccy I sent him may have been too much. I’m pleased to see his exhibition is still on the net.
    I took on board your comments re health -exercise not quite up to speed -trying to work up courage to brave embarassment and go to gym.
    Diet failure today-friend Helen finally seduced me with her chocolate cake-which should be on the list of banned substances!
    Yeah -whoever chained Uncle Bill’s Railton to the portico ripped off the back bumper.
    Anyone know what happened to “Holy Joe” Turner, the Art teacher and how did he get that nickname? One of the majority good guys.

  354. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Hello Richard, nice to have you back again. You are not going to believe this but I also worked at the zoo, it was probably 1963/64, my friend Dot and I ran the refreshment kiosk nearest the entrance, we had great fun, but I remember bank holidays were exhausting, we lived on ice cream and hot dogs, because we didn’t like the staff canteen! Did you go to the Christmas parties in the big house?I also want the recipe for the green drink!

  355. richard day

    Green Drink;apple,ginger.carrot.parsley,kale or cabbage.celery.Put in a centrifuge type juicer to extract the pulp,drink the juice.You will live for ever! Ros were you part of he group that sat on the wall next to the church yard by the Kenya coffe house? I was never invited to the xma party at the zoo,but you must have worked there with Dave Acomb,his first real job following SCGS was there.

  356. richard day

    Before I forget.Fred Fernyhough was not an old surb.He did play rugby for the Old Boys.The Old Boys would extend an invitation for any teacher so inclined toplay for them.Allan Bolt was another ,in fact he ended up refeering for the Old Boys lower teams for many years.

  357. Dave Littleproud

    Apropos friend Helen’s chocolate cake -her family called it “cardiac cake”-sort of “weapon of mass infarction” !!

  358. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    We often used to meet in Bentalls silver cafe for a milk shake or ice cream soda,or for a coffee in a cafe by Kingston railway bridge Richard. The green drink sounds as if it would make a nice stir fry, or a soup, and it would give you the added bonus of all that roughage! We only really saw the lads who delivered our supplies at the kiosk,and we never seemed to bother with surnames,I remember one chap called Rod and he drove a red sports car! Yes I know and he was!!

  359. Keith Watling


    I am not related to Snowy Watling and have never heard of that nickname within the family. My father was Harry ‘Jim’ Watling who lived in Chessington for most of his 82 years and had a lifetime association with Chessington Cricket Club whose playing fields are still located just past the Zoo on the Leatherhead Road towards Hook.

    Regarding Ken’s comment about doing Latin at SCGS, I can confirm that the subject was compulsory when I started at the school in 1965. I recall being taught by Kenneth Bidmead – a former major of somewhere I believe? I also recall that at the end of the first year, boys who were struggling with Latin were forced to drop it and required to take Technical Drawing in the second year as a replacement (can’t recall the name of the master who took the TD classes?). Accordingly, there was something of a stigma associated with doing TD because it meant that you weren’t bright enough to do Latin. I’m not sure if this situation prevailed at other grammar schools, but I wondered if it had anything to do with the fact (so I’ve been told) that the UK did not produce a good crop of engineers in the 80s and 90s. I’d be interested to hear comments from others – especially any engineers amongst us.


  360. Dave Littleproud

    Keith-poor old “Slug” Rigden (before your time -he retired in 1963-lovely man) had to suffer my inane attempts to appreciate latin- I date my surrender to the moment I realised there were 36 different ways of spelling big!! As you off I went to learn the intricacies of technical drawing at the knee (if you remember he was well over 6ft) of “Holy Joe” Turner. I did eventually became a structural engineering draughtsman-funnily enough in about 1995 I had to use for the first time ever something “Holy Joe” had taught me in 1958 to show the autocad operator how to do it!!
    I know of Old Surbs who became engineers but whether they skipped latin??.
    AndyStewart, a latin scholar, clad in motorcycle gear once metaphorically tweaked the nose of a rather snotty “lunchbox” and his family by giving a near perfect translation of a latin inscription in a church we were visitng.
    Other than interest value I personally have never found latin to be of any use
    I believe that in the last 5 years a”Times ” correspondent, a latin scholar, in an obscure part of central asia found that the only local with whom he could converse was the schoolmaster also a latin scholar.
    With hindsight I regard learning latin as part of my fairly well rounded education which I still try to keep going.

  361. Dave Littleproud

    Richard-green drink looks interesting -how about the proportions??

  362. Richard Cripps

    I actually requested in my parent-teacher interview at the end of the third form year that I be allowed to study technical drawing, and I well remember my house master, “Zorro” Zetter, firmly telling my parents that I was in the A stream and therefore it was more important that I continue with Latin.
    The eventual result was, once I commenced a technical education as part of my Hawkers apprenticeship, I had to spend two terms of evening classes at KCFE to gain an ONC in drawing so that I would qualify for the OND in engineering classes in which I was enrolled for the rest of the week!
    I finally dumped Latin in the fifth form when Economics was offered as an alternative following the arrival of “Buddy” Holly, a most enthusiastic and stimulating young teacher who encouraged the noisiest forms of active participation in his classes.
    As for the Latin knowledge I did acquire, well, I never did meet an ancient Roman on an oil rig.

  363. Dave Littleproud

    Richard C-wrong industry mate -you should have gone into olive oil about 2000 years ago!
    Even tho I had GCE Technical Drawing I still had to repeat it for ONC and then again as part of my Civils degree-don’t ask. Any way drawing is how I earned my crust.
    I did C&G Autocad at the beginning of my 2nd half century.
    Seriously -I regard any random bit of information as the cigarette you put behind your ear for later -might come in handy-even 37 years later!

  364. Peter Pocock

    “Nihile est – in vita priore ego imperator romanus fui……….”

    Useful little phrase that confuses the hell out of the Emiratis, and I use it often ( Thanks to Google not Ken Bidmead).

    Another perhaps more memorable one, out here in Dubai might be ” puella in longa herba est”, but reporting it would probably result in the poor girl getting arrested, then deported for immorality

  365. Dave Littleproud

    “puer magnum in puella est” would get her into even more trouble -ok for one year 1956-57?
    Is there really “longa herba” in Dubai-don’t get confused with “longa vipera”!
    An Italian engineer with whom I worked was always a bit suspicious about “illegitimis non carborundum”.
    You weren’t the one doing naughty things with his horse were you ?- now that could get you into trouble with the “Horse Rangers of the Common wealth”.

  366. Richard Cripps

    I too subscribe to the view that there is no such thing as useless information – but was it worth spending four periods a week for twelve terms to acquire it? Another fringe subject that was fed to us in the sixth form that I have had much more use out of was Scientific German, and I wish that had been started much earlier.
    Incidentally, during one year on entering the form room on Monday mornings we would find Greek on the blackboard. Who was teaching Greek, and to whom?
    I regret to admit that I formed the uncharitable opinion that Latin was persisted with because the school had a number of masters who would have been out of a job had everyone who wanted to quit Latin been allowed to do so. Did Bidmead or “Pee Wee” Hunt ever teach anything else?

  367. Dave Littleproud

    “Slug” Rigden taught history as well as latin -he and I had much greater rapport with the former than the latter-I’m glad that I showed him I wasn’t a complete waste of his time. We once asked him what he did in the holidays and he told us that he visited many of the historical sites that occured in what he taught us. I now find myself doing the same thing.
    “Geoff” Harris-Ide taught English as well as latin.
    Maybe in their youth you had to have latin to go to uni to read any degree.
    “Wilf” Sing taught other languages I think.

  368. Keith Watling


    I was interested to learn that ‘Zorro’ Zetter (taught History, right?) had been a House Master. I think that during my era (1965-1972), ‘Taffy’ Davies (Chemistry) looked after Coutts, ‘Bunny’ Warren (Physics) had Egmont, Warmsley (Maths) started off looking after Lovelace, but after he retired was succeeded by Mr. Doig – aka ‘Ginger’ (History) while ‘Baz’ Hunt had Villiers. Can you or others confirm? House assemblies were also held on Thursday mornings I seem to recall.


  369. Richard Cripps

    A slip of the mouse, Keith. I meant form master, the one who took the register in the morning.

  370. Murray Church

    I attended SCGS from 1945-53. I am amazed at the lack of recall by all the contributors above. I do know a lot of detail about the School in those first years after it became a State School. I knew most of the masters mentioned & a few others too. I was House Captain of Egmont 1952/53 and Bert Forward was the Housemaster at that time. I experienced the transition from AGF Willis to Doig who came from Rokeby and was generally regarded as a disaster by us seniors at the time. I have just mentioned a few things and will try and find time to put the rest on paper. If Alison Burn should read this, I knew both her father, Frank, and her mother, Myrna, well. I went to school on the train from New Malden to Surbiton for at least 7 years and went on and studied Architecture with him at Kingston. If Alison wishes to contact me through my e-mail address, I shall be happy to have a chat about her father, whom I last saw in 1997. I now live in Cornworthy, Devon, after spending all my working life outside the country.

  371. Keith Watling


    Yep – that’s more like it – couldn’t imagine ‘Zorro’ being a House Master. Funny little man, I recall, who had summarized everything you needed to know to pass O’level History in an extensive handout. However, he didn’t expect you to learn everything, but rather sought your input as to which parts you were interested in. He then advised if learning your ‘preferred section’ was sufficient to get you through the exam.

    By far the better History teacher was a master named Mr. Doig (not related to the former headmaster) who had a limited head of ginger hair – hence his nickname Ginger. Great guy and a great teacher who always taught wearing a gown – ran the Under 13 cricket XI during my time (65-72) and became House Master of Lovelace sometime during that period.


  372. Dave Littleproud

    What do you mean Mr Church?-lack of recall indeed!
    “I have only just begun to recall” -I think I know who I’m plagiarising -anyone care to confirm?
    Keith-I vaguely remember ” Ginger” Doig -must have been in my last year. “Zorro” was more my era- A nice man – he put up with a lot. The more I look at this site the more I think what a great bunch of people (most) teachers were.
    To spend 3 years reading a subject you adore followed by 40 years trying to enthuse a bunch of generally unappreciative oiks to see what you mean-they must have had patience in spades.

  373. Keith Watling


    Couldn’t agree more with your comment that we had a great bunch of teachers at SGCS. Although my era (65-72) was after yours (I think?), you may recall some of the teachers whom I remember as being especially caring and likeable: ‘Taffy’ Davies who taught Chemistry and was House Master of Coutts – he was a graduate of Bristol University and had run the 1st rugby XV for many years although he stepped down during my era to make way for a new, younger guy named John Hodgeson who taught French. I think Taffy never really got to grips with the changes the school went through in the 60′s as it moved from its formal, public school practices (ie caps, prefects, house system, masters wearing gowns, public canings) to the more relaxed system under Eric Waller that saw it gradually morph into a Sixth Form College in the 70′s. Another one was ‘Bomber’ Lancaster (French) with whom I had a lot of contact on a account of our shared passion for cricket. He ran the school 1st X1 of which I was captain for my last two years. He was simply a wonderful man – not sure what he was like at teaching French as I was never in his class, but either while either practising with us in the nets or umpiring our matches he was a delight. Last, but not least, was ‘Jock’ Lonsdale (also French) a Scot with a true passion for teaching and an ability to exert a class presence that ensured attention without fear – unlike ‘Gus’ Hillier (Deputy Head and Maths) whose teaching style was intimidating to the point of being inhibitory to learning. Someone else in these pages has mentioned the rumour that the Japs had done something to him during WW II – a story that was around during my era. Anyone else have any recollections of these guys?


  374. Dave Littleproud

    Keith – I was SCGS 1956-1964. Idon’t remember Lancaster being called “Bomber” can’t think why not-seems blindingly obvious – He taught me English-very scathing when I got 2/10 in the English
    half-term tests -very quiet when I got 10/10 for History- he always seemed very quiet to me.
    It’s beyond me why a protest group wasn’t foprmed to have “Gus and “Scum” sacked-they were psychos in 1956- any comments on them Murray?
    Not being a scientist I didn’t know “Taffy” well-always seemed a nice bloke and seemed well liked.

  375. Richard Cripps

    “Intimidating to the point of being inhibitory to learning.” Yes, that sums up Gus to a T. Although I do remember one or two boys occasionally coming up with some outrageous cheekiness, to which his reaction was simply guarded amusement; and on one occasion I was directed to perform some extra-curricular tasks under his guidance and he really wasn’t a problem – sarcastic as always, but helpful and encouraging. The story about him having been a Japanese POW was circulating during the sixties, but I don’t know if anyone ever had the courage to ask.
    Scum was also a useless teacher, and his temper was legendary. His technique in Chemistry was to dictate the notes which we were expected to write down verbatim. We would then hand in our exercise books and he would mark them on handwriting and spelling. This led us to refer to Chemistry as “handwriting class”.
    He could be better in RI if you showed an interest. He once consumed half a period when I asked him a question about Joanna Southcott’s Box. He was a strict Creationist – according to him the Bible was to be taken literally, and any evidence to the contrary, particularly the theory of evolution, had been planted (either by God or the Devil, not sure which) to test our faith. Once we cottoned on to that we could keep him occupied for hours without the risk of being slapped around the head.

  376. Dave Littleproud

    “Gus” a prisoner of the Japanese was certainly current in September 1956-perhaps Murray Church can throw some light on it?
    Perhaps “Scum” and “Gus ” were planted to test our faith?

  377. Cliff Harrison

    As I recall, it was Fred Ferneyhough who explained to our class (about 1954 or 5) about Gus’s background in a POW camp, commenting in guarded terms about how brutal it had been (not surprising, considering what other people had recorded about the experience). I think he was my very first form teacher, 2C in ’54, but I found I got on reasonably well with him. A lot of his shouting and temper seemed to be a front, but I never saw any evidence of real sadism etc that others have implied. There were some very good teachers at SCGS, Forward who saw me through my sixth form days, Jock Lonsdale who certainly honed my French, Williams (a Welshman as I recall) whose determination saw me eventually catch onto German, a young guy called Smith who taught Physics or Biology around ’58, plus Fred of course. In fact most of them were pretty human on a one-to-one basis, away from the pressures of the class. I don’t remember anyone having a good word for Doig, so self-important and seemingly far removed from pupils and staff alike, his approaching bulk clearing a path ahead of him wherever he went. Does anyone remember when Bert got married to a young nurse (?) in about ’60 or ’61?

  378. Murray Church

    Scummy Turner joined us half-way through my time at SCGS, from Hollyfield Rd. School, which was still in Hollyfield Rd. at that time. We knew in advance that he was coming and how pleased they were to get rid of him. He was renowned for his sarcasm and calling inept people “scum”. When I was in the 3rd Year 6th, he used to join us in the Attic of Aysgarth and talk to us about Plymouth Brethren and other, in his view, serious matters. What he did not know was that he parked his bicycle at the Surbiton Hill Rd. entrance of Aysgarth, the saddle of which was the target for certain vulgar practices, i.e. the art of accurate spitting. Mike Manson was the most accurate. Gus Hillier was certainly as described and very sarcastic and sadistic, although I do not remember anything worse than facing it out with the occasional troublemaker – it never came to fisticuffs. I also remember him for the mercy killing of an injured bird which had flown into the window of the 6th Science room in the Stables, by carefully placing it in his hand, facing in the right direction and throwing it with considerable force against the wall. Somebody mentioned Sidney Capper – Bosky, who was indeed a very nice man and took the teaching of French very seriously. He used to take Advanced Level French with 3 members of the 3rd Year 6th Form – Sam Seager, Denis Cooper and Noel…? – the rest absconded to the loft where they poured water from milk bottles through a hole in the ceiling on to Sam Seager, who took it in good part. Although this was a fairly frequent occurrence, Bosky only once asked what was happening, to which Sam replied graciously that he had been sweating profusely.
    Bosky was also known for his singing prowess and was a member of New Malden Cooperative Operatic Society. His performance in The Arcadians was particularly notable. He also had an ongoing affair with Mrs. Clark, a rather nice, mature lady, who ran the School canteen from a temporary building located between Aysgarth and the school playground. They cut fine figures at school dances and always enjoyed friendly support from the boys.
    When I first joined Class 2C in 1945 in Braemar, there was a shortage of male teachers and my first class teacher was Maggie Parnham who taught us English and Maths and was otherwise renowned for marrying “Jack” Skene, the Geography teacher. Jack Skene had a magnificent Geography room in Braemar, which either before or afterwards was the Music Room, managed by Mr. Cocks, alias Keats. Keats’ tenure was ended abruptly when one of the pupils, who was later expelled for the act, set fire to his piano causing considerable damage to his part of Braemar. When I have more time, I will set down other memories for those who may have been my contemporaries, who do not seem to have discovered this website yet. I myself would still be ignorant of it and I am grateful to my brother, SCGS 1952-58, who drew it to my attention and who seems to have more time to read blogs than I do.

  379. Dave Littleproud

    During my time in Braemar (1956-1958) “Jack” Skene had the large front to back ground floor room and “Keats” Cocks had the room immediately above.
    Never was in Aysgarth- all three of those houses must have been impressive in their heyday -that lovely staircase in Albery house-did anyone ever slide down the bannister?

  380. Keith Watling

    A note to share my lasting memory of Mr. ‘Keats’ Cocks who I recall taught me English during my one and only term at St. Mark’s Hill (Autumn 1965) prior to the School moving to Thames Ditton (not sure if he made the move as I can’t picture him in the new School?) In any event, his ‘signature’ method of corporal punishment involved using one of his hands to hold a boy’s head close to his (Keats’s) chest while using the other to manipulate that most feared instrument of school boy torture – the chalkboard rubber! He would then use one of the rubber’s wooden corners to ‘tap’ a spot on his victim’s skull – a seemingly innocuous act until his ‘tap count’ reached 50 and above at which point it started to bloody hurt! Given that, as a rule, his class had yet to suffer the ravages of male patent baldness, any superficial bruising, swelling and serious scalp wounds were hidden by the unfortunate pupil’s hair thereby minimizing potential visits from outraged parents, the Police or the NSPCC – a cunning ploy indeed! Does anyone else recall – indeed, bear the scars – associated with this devious form of school boy scolding?

    Yours, with painful memories and tears in my eyes,


  381. Dave Littleproud

    Out raged parents, the police or the NSPCC?? -Fat chance!-my father’s reaction would have been that I had got what I deserved-after all his 1920′s teacher used to knock him across the room “wonderful man” he would say. There was no point in me complaining about “Gus” and “Scum”.
    Therefore I have always made a point of standing up for my own kids.

  382. Ken Percival

    I thought Lancaster’s nickname was “Noddy” because he kept putting a finger inside his shirt collar and tugged while nodding his head against the tugging; as though his collar was too tight for comfort

  383. Keith Watling

    Can’t recall ‘Bomber’ Lancaster ever being referred to as ‘Noddy’ during my time.

    I’ve also just found a copy of the 1966 ‘Surbitonian’ magazine. Not sure if anyone is interested, but alongside the expected reports from the school Rugby, Cricket and Cross-Country Clubs are summaries of the activities of the Golf, Swimming, Table Tennis and Sailing clubs. There is also a review of the school play ‘Macbeth’ by ‘Nutty’ Bolt and reviews of the school’s Musical Activites attributed to “VOISH” and the School Film “A Boy” written by J. Coxall. There is also a Librarians Report and short summaries from the Railway, Scientific, Aeronautical, Junior Debating and Debating Societies as well as the Christian Union, the Chess Club and the Bridge Club, plus a variety of poems and short essays written by pupils. If anyone is interested in more detail, let me know.


  384. Ken Percival

    Dear Keith,

    I was first year sixth form in 1966 so would be interested in more detail of 66 Surbitonian, especially rugby section. Ken

  385. Dave Roberts

    I was at SCGS 1966 – 73, I certainly remeber all the names mentioned by Keith Watling ( a name I remember but not the face ).
    I had the pleasure of the company of some of the older staff members Ginger Doig, Zetter,Sid Capper, Chopper Hackett, Malcolm Davies, KG (Glyn) Fry (my dad used to go to London Welsh with Davies and Fry)
    My brother was there too 1960 – 68 and I can confirm that Gus Hillier wore the same grey suit and brown brogues from the day he started to the day I left. I never found Gus too bad, perhaps he mellowed with age. We had a new physics teacher who made him seem positively benevolent – Dave (Lurch) Chambers, a real nasty piece of work who regularly emptied pupils briefcases over the floor. I’ll try and think of anything that might be remotely interesting and come back here later.

  386. Keith Watling


    I certainly remember Lurch – tall ‘bean pole’ of a guy who wore dark-rimmed glasses and had a very short wife. He was very keen on rugby and I recall he ran an under 16 XV during my time at SCGS (specifically the 1969-1970 season). Previously, following a season in the Colts under 15 XV (under Baz Hunt), players in the 5th form were lumped in with those in the lower and upper 6th to provide the pool of players for the School 1st, 2nd and 3rd XVs. Not sure why, but we were kept together for this additional year and were looked after by Lurch. Because I played rugby, I was in his good books and was never subjected to his frequent class bullying antics which, as you say, would have made Gus blush. He fancied himself as a bit of a winger and may have turned out for Old Surbs a few times?? I do recall how, when he joined in our after school practise games, we all tried to flatten him.


    How would you suggest I provide you with more detail of the 1966 Surbitonian, especially the rugby section?


  387. Dave Littleproud

    Bloody hell! Someone more benevolent than Gus! I can’t believe it.
    I’m on hols in Nova Scotia-now I know why all you guys emigrated-Canada -great country -nice people -about to experience hurricane bill!!

  388. Richard Day

    Dave,do not get me started on the shear physical physical beauty of the North american Continent.You could spend a lifetime exploring the East coast alone,from Nefoundland to the Florida Keys,then there are the Appalatian mountains,the Rockies,the high desert.I could go on ,but youy get the picture.

  389. Roger Rimmer

    Couldn’t agree more.

  390. Peter Pocock

    Welcome back Roger – was beginning to think something was amiss.

    Whilst I would readily agree that the US does indeed have some spectacular scenery, as I recall, the dear old British Isles, on a much smaller scale, has its fair share of natural beauty, which I miss greatly.

    What can compare with vaste green acres of Berrylands severage farm, the slush covered slope of St. Mark’s Hill, or the babbling brook surrounding the playing fields at Hook…

  391. Dave Roberts


    My recollections are certainly more relevant to you as our paths largely overlapped but some of the more senior ex-surbs may still be interested.
    I hope I can answer a few of your questions.
    I think that the maths teacher who broke Staggs arm could be Ken Jones, a mate of Lurch although nothing like him, I had him for maths and he was a really nice bloke. He was also a really good player, represented Middlesex.
    I have mixed memories of Nobby Hall, a big fit guy who taught PE and RE. Everyone found him a decent guy but during a games period of rugby I had a serious accident, broken collar bone, severe neck damage and concussion. When I came round, Nobby decided it was dislocated and tried to put it back! When I passed out for the second time, Glyn Fry told him that perhaps it was not the best idea to try again. Everyone knows what casualty is like – 5 hours lying on a trolly still covered in mud when in comes Dave Ayers, the guy who had tackled me (Rob’s kid brother – his nickname was omf) I thought ‘that’s nice he’s come to see me’. No he had been knocked off his bike on the way home.
    Technical Drawing (and metalwork) was Spike King who also taught Maths, don’t remeber much about him other than you could not leave the room until all the desks were perfectly in line.
    More soon?

  392. Richard Day

    I have been tussling with a big decision this week,and Irealised that when facing any decision of importance I use what I call Bidmeads Axiom.He must have said this a100 times during our Latin classes.Specifically:the word “iam” can mean now or already.Bidmead always stated to look really hard at the context of the word in the sentence,do this at least half adozen times,choose your translation,make sure that you are sure this is the meaning that you want,then and only then will you kno w that you should use the alternative translation.I promise you allthat this decision making process works in real life.

  393. Richard Cripps

    I also remember him saying frequently, “Be free with your translation.” Then he would get annoyed if you didn’t come out with exactly the result he expected.

  394. Keith Watling

    Ken ‘Biddy’ Bidmead taught me Latin in my first year at SCGS (1965-66). My favourire memory of him was his response to any poor boy who, when translating from English to Latin, mistakenly used the ending ‘…as’ (pronounced ‘arse’ as in puellas) which (as I’m sure you all recall!) is the accusative third person plural ending for first declension nouns – hope I’m correct at this point as I’m sure one of you will correct me if I’m not! In any event, Biddy’s response was either ‘You silly arse, boy!’ or ‘You are an arse, boy!’. Anyone have simmilar recollections. Also, hadn’t he been a mayor somewhere at some time?


  395. Richard Day

    Ken Bidmead was an Alderman on Surbiton Council,his wife Edith was Mayor of Surbiton.

  396. Richard Cripps

    I think he also had a block of council flats named after him.

  397. Dave Littleproud

    Dave Roberts!
    You mention that Technical drawing was taught by Spike King. In my time it was taught by “Holy Joe” Turner who also taught art. Any idea what happened to him?-For me he was one of the good guys.

  398. Dave Littleproud

    Richard Day and you expats!
    I’m back from Nova Scotia-absolutely beautiful- saw Kentville – Shelburne-Lunenburg-Chester-Annapolis Royal-sailed in Chester Bay-and many little places in between -plus a wet afternoon in Halifax! My next PHD is on the churches of NS! The difference between a Lunenburg dory and a Shelburne dory is …..Very sensible you ex pats!

  399. Dave Littleproud

    Coming from the back end of Kingston it always amused that a nice middle class area like Berrylands had such a good “nose” in the summer 1

  400. Dave Roberts

    I had Joe Turner for art and whilst he seemed a bit aloof, he was pleasant enough. The day we ‘accidently’ trashed his art room, I don’t know anybody who would have take it so calmly, I think he was in a deep state of shock. A quick recount of events:-
    Joe left us for a few minutes and a few bits of clay were flicked about, now as everybody knows, things escalate and within a few minutes, a full blown clay fight was going on, bigger and bigger bits being hurled at each other with great gusto. Then comes the call ‘He’s coming’ and we all sat there like little angels, he walked in and just stood with his mouth open, that’s when we all started to take in the scene – an explosion in a clay factory, it was everywhere. Huge ‘splats’ on the walls and floor and skid marks on the ceiling. Unfortunately things took a turn for the worst when he made himself a cup of coffee, my friend Clive had put brown paint powder in the coffee jar and white in the powdered milk, you can guess the result – ‘coffee’ spat out and total hysteria, how we weren’t all systematically loaded into the kiln and roasted alive I will never know. It only took a week of detention to get the room washed and repainted. Fair play to the bloke though, he didn’t seem to bear a grudge, never got a christmas card though.
    Happy days!

  401. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    It sounds as if you had a good holiday Dave,is it back to the healthy eating now? We were invaded by our children and grandchildren for the last few days of the school holidays,I find it absolutely exhausting these days!I lived on the opposite side of the track to Berrylands but I can assure you we still got the whiff! Marsh Lane divided us,and I can remember when I was a child in the fifties feeding horses in the field down there, when they extended and modernised the sewage works they used to have coaches full of health workers visiting it.The field by the cemetary was our playground,we used to build dens and have great fun,on summer evenings before everybody had TV’s,we would play cricket with the parents joining inand in the holidays would entertain them with shows, I am sure children today have too much provided for them, they don’t have a chance to use their imaginations.

  402. Roger Rimmer

    ‘I am sure children today have too much provided for them, they don’t have a chance to use their imaginations.’ I couldn’t agree more with you Ros. I am one of the lucky ones that grew up with no telly and have never had one – ever. Listening to the views of people with televisions, one could be forgiven for thinking that they sometimes curse the things for the quality of the broadcast content?

  403. Chris Leaney


    As a contemporary of Ken Percival’s (60-67) I experienced many of the highs and lows of the teaching staff in that time. I always had a great respect for Bert Forward (even if he was convinced that my name was O’Reilly – must have been the red hair and vaguely Irish surname, I guess) and recall being marched from the premises by him on the last day of one summer term for turning up in a Paisley shirt with a stand up collar. I tried to protest that I was wearing a regulation school tie so what was the problem?
    Fondest memories are of friends made during those years who appear from the woodwork from time to time – Mike ‘George’ Packwood (d.2002), Pete Sergeant and Nigel Dancer who I ran into for the first time in many years just after Christmas.
    Most bizarre memory is of the 1966 house music competition. I was in the Lovelace band with Howard Amor on drums, Pat Neal and myself on guitars and Terry Scrivens (or similar) on vocals. We were so bad (with the possible exception of Howard) that we were asked to do it again one lunchtime and duly obliged. It must have been the comedy spot….. Went on to improve (thank God) and spent 20+ years in a band with Mike Packwood (with occasional assistance from both Messrs Dancer and Sergeant). I seem to remember Ken Percival turning up at an audition as a drummer in Teddington around 1981.
    John Rodd, Mike Aust, Mike Anscombe , John Sammes, Colin Parratt and I will be attempting to make some vaguely musical noises at the Surbiton Assembly Rooms on the afternoon of the 12th September followed by a larger gathering at the Victoria in Victoria Road from about 7:30. Baz Hunt has said he will attend with ‘a number will want to be there if they can (about 8pm). You know of Mike Fifer;
    also hoping are Brian Lancaster (French and some English etc), Joe Turner (Art) if he can, Stefan Junor (Maths etc and some cricket and ? from 1965), David Shaw (Maths and Tennis etc – from about 1960); they will try to contact one or two others who might be interested ..if they can. Ted Warren from 1958 ,like me, but 9 years older, Physics, rugby ,scouts ,athletics) is not likely to be there as he lives a few miles away and is not confident after dark.’ Be good to see any of you who still have the ambulatory capacity!

    Keep smiling….

    Chris Leaney

  404. Dave Littleproud

    Chris !
    re the get together on Sep 12 when you say Joe Turner do you mean the art teacher from my era 1956 -64? if so do you have a contact number for him that you can give me or otherwise advise him of my interest.

  405. Chris Leaney

    Hi David,

    I believe he is indeed the man of whom you speak. The only contact I have is through Baz Hunt (via Mick Aust). Mick Aust’s email address is – I’m sure as unofficial convener of ‘Old-lags P**s-up inc’ he’d be delighted to hear from you.


  406. Dave Littleproud

    Thank you for that quick response.
    Using m y genealogical talents and other bits and the names in you post I contacted Stefan Junor, with whom I had a very entertaining chat.
    Stefan confirmed it was in deed the right Joe Turner and gave me his no. Had a great chat with him.
    I will contact Mick Aust re “Old Lags P***up Inc”
    Once again thanks for your post.


  407. Dave Littleproud

    Yeah-back on the healthy eating -no more 1/2 lb hamburgers -no more dribbling over Tim horton sticky buns -no more giant milkshakes -no more Subway mega sandwiches -no more panckes soaked in maple syrup with the bacon and eggs (They actually come with a fresh fruit salad)-avoid the grandchildren -go to Nova Scotia!

    ps why did I come back?

  408. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Dave,never mind,we all fall off the waggon sometimes, it was definitely in a good cause. At the moment my son and his family are thinking of emigrating to New Zealand, and as I do’nt know if I can fly with Menieres Disease,that could solve the other problem!Hope you enjoythe p*** up,Keith(Spud) would. The reason why you came back is because home is where the heart is, and we all have to have to have something to dream about.

  409. Chris Leaney

    Hi Ros, my wife and I spend 6 months of every year in NZ and the remainder in the South of England with our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren (1.75 so far!). I too have Menieres Disease and have found that long haul flights have only had a beneficial effect – for several weeks after flying the tinnitus disappears and the world returns to it’s former self. Don’t be put off!

  410. David Goodyear

    This is the day I started at SCGS 55 years ago on 8 September 1954. I was not thrown into the hollybush! Was anybody , or was the hollybush a myth?

  411. Roger Rimmer

    No David, it certainly wasn’t although I suspect that the fear of being ‘bushed’ was greater than the actual process. Holly is holly and is not that hard to endure, even as a new bug.
    To Chris Leaney: Thank you for that snippet Chris. I hadn’t realised that long haul flights can lessen the effects of Tinnitus. I shall have to go on more holidays elsewhere.

  412. Dave Littleproud

    I remember on 09/09/56 (first day) standing outside SCGS with Pete Ward (who I had never seen before) both in in absolute terror of being bushed -but both of us being quite big we escaped on that first day and I avoided it myself completely-can’t speak for Pete.

  413. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Chris,thank you for that,does it also cure Migraine?It sounds as if you have the best of both worlds. Our son goes to N Z at least once a year for his work, and he really likes the area around Christchurch,but he has old friends who live in Wellington.
    David Goodyear,you must have started on the same day as Keith (spud) Bird,do you remember him,he has been in N.Z. since the early 1970′s?

  414. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Does anybody else have problems trying to submit comments to this blog? It drives me absolutely crazy!!!

  415. David Goodyear

    I’m struggling to remember Keith. Maybe he was in another form to me . SCGS had 3 form entry and the first years were all in Year 2 , since Year 1 did not exist (who invented such a system?). I was in 2A , though this says nothing about me as the forms were not streamed at entry as I remember. Quite possibly Keith was in one of the other two forms. Now Ros, if you had been in my year I am sure I would have remembered you……..

  416. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    David I was nearly 14 in 1961 when I met Keith, so in 1954 I would have been 7with ringlets and a bow in my hair! What is it with you boys, you can’t still be frustrated after all these years?

  417. David Goodyear

    Ros, maybe it’s the memory of 7 years in the monastery on St. Mark’s Hill? However I’ve been married to the love of my life for nearly 43 years and she went to an all girls’ school , so maybe not too much harm was done! Hollyfield was co-ed wasn’t it?

  418. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Yes David,Hollyfield was co-ed thank goodness,but in the art group for some unknown reason we were not allowed to do biology! I have also been married for 42 years,to another Keith.

  419. Dave Littleproud

    Thank God we have rapidly got back to the peace and quiet of the marriage bed-I was afraid of the horses being frightened by an outburstof Nabakovian fantasy-after all this is a family website!

  420. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Okay Dave do you want to talk about 1960,s films now, what about Tom Jones or Breakfast at Tiffanys,just two of my favourites.

  421. Dave Littleproud

    Been a bit quiet! All that Nabakovian fantasy
    Ros -I think my favourite film of the 60s was The Magnificent Seven maybe Zulu but then I’m a fella. I always found it better to see the film then read the book-in the case of Mr Nabakov I read the book without seeing the film -thankfully! Moby dick is another story where my rule falls flat. Tom Jones was my set book for A level English -Hugh Williams and I skipped off games to see the film-great movie -but the book was better albeit a bit long for modern tastes.
    Currently I still enjoy a good action war movie -just been watching Memphis Belle-but Bridges of Madison County is also a favourite -great book -as is the sequel-funnily enough anything with Hugh Grant. Film is the greatest art form.

  422. Dave Littleproud

    I have made telephone contact with Joe Turner-he’s in good form. I hope to have a longer chat with him and learn more about old friends.

  423. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Sorry it has been a bit quiet Dave, my grandson has been sharing his germs with us again! I enjoyed both of your favourite films,especially Zulu, as my husband reputedly had a relative who was killed in the Zulu Wars,and my grandfather was in the Welsh Borderers in the Boer War,it is probably a bit girlie,but I really love musicals,right back to the 1930′s, but I think my favourite, for the music,is West side Story. I read a lot more now,I did get Tom Jones out of the library when I was a teenager, but didn’t get very far with it,perhaps I should try again, I have read most of the Thomas Hardy ‘s and his poetry,but usually in the Summer, because they are too depressing in the Winter. As you can see ther is a bit of a theme here, anything to do with history and especially social history.

  424. Richard Cripps

    A while back I submitted a list of SCGS teachers, which included one for whom I could remember only the nickname, “Ahab”. I still can’t bring his actual name to mind. In the mid-60′s he was in his thirties, average height, slim build and with a neat naval style beard. He taught French. Ring any bells with anyone?

  425. Dave Littleproud

    Ros -yes West Side Story is great -from the first moment of the titles using the sky sripprapers – I saw it in London with one of those “racy” Bonner Hill girls.Actually she wasn’t, just very nice-we were actually at primary school together.
    Richard -if you look at the photos I posted (the right way up ones) there is a fellow who fits your description. So if you would confirm or deny I could ask Joe Turner, who has the same photo.
    Richard do you have a sibling/relly who went to SCGS?

  426. Richard Day

    David I am in 2 nd xv 60-61,prefects 60-61 61-62.No siblings at scgs ,but John Tullet is a cousin.He was a year behind me.

  427. Richard Cripps

    To Dave Littleproud: Thanks for the suggestion! My eyes are watering after ploughing through the pictures you posted, but I think that I have found the guy. On 34-panamora-3-1963 (May 31), fourth in from the right. I ought to be in that picture somewhere as well, but I couldn’t find myself! Also, if I’m the Richard you meant, I had no siblings.

  428. Dave Littleproud

    Dear Richard- re your 03.52 04/10/09-don’t you sleep? Sorry about the eyes.
    Only guy with a beard is :-
    31 May
    -on 35 -three to “Jack” Skene’s left
    -on 35- two to “Scum” Turner’s right
    almost in the middle
    -on 36 -third in from the left
    -on 36 -two to “Scum” Turners right
    I will ask Joe Turner when next he has his photo handy.
    Joe is two to “Jack” Skene’s right on 35
    According to Joe French teachers were- Sid Capper- John Fernyhough -”Bomber” Lancaster-John Williams- “Jock Lonsdale and your unknown -when I mentioned “Ahab” he latched onto “Moby Dick” but couldn’t think of a connection. Joe knew of a Malcolm Cripps.

  429. Dave Littleproud

    Richard C -I am in the fifth row directly behind “Jack” Skene.
    Richard D-got you -with Clive Ffoulkes -Quent Finch-Dave Ashwell. How is Dave?
    John Keutenius and Dave Eastland were from my year -I was in the Colts 1959-1960 with them.

  430. Richard Cripps

    I’m in the US, remember! It was remarkable how nicknames would appear spontaneously upon a new master’s arrival, and immediately be adopted by all. In this case I think it came from his slightly middle-eastern appearance, hence “Ahab the Arab”. Anyway, thanks for doing the research.
    I vaguely recall there being another Cripps floating around the lower school, but he was nothing to do with me. It’s not an uncommon name in the area.

  431. Dave Littleproud

    Richard C-bit more of a sensible time -19.08 here-was that the guy you meant?

  432. Richard Cripps

    Actually, now that I’ve looked again, it isn’t. “Ahab” is smack in the middle of section 4 of the picture, third to the right of Jack Skene and fourth to the left from Mrs Russell. Which leaves me confused as to who the other guy might be…don’t remember him at all.

  433. Chris Leaney

    On a quiet Tuesday lunchtime in a sleepy South Coast town….

    My wife and I, having partaken of a genteel constitutional along the Worthing
    promenade, settled into the comfort of the Denton Tearooms on the pier for a spot of luncheon when who should walk in but the estimable Bas Hunt. He seemed to be on the same good form as displayed recently at the Victoria in Surbiton where a small gathering had taken place and told us that he had decided to drive himself down to the coast to catch the last of the early autumn sunshine. He had spent his post-operative recuperative period in
    the Worthing area following cardiac surgery 5 years ago and had a certain fondness for the place.

    He described himself as the ‘former dreaded Mr Hunt’ and went on to explain that in his first year of teaching at SCGS he had been given a really hard time by the 4th and Lower 5th. As a result of this brutal initiation he resolved to develop a reputation as a ‘hard man’ to avoid any repetition. Do we know of any 1954-56 intake who are prepared to stand up and be counted on this one?

    It would appear that he has had contact from one or two former in-mates who were unable to make the previous meeting and has arranged to make time for them. The whole reunion thing seems to have given him a new lease of life – humbling


  434. Richard Day

    I fess up.Baz Hunt taught me Latin when I was in the 5 th form.WE gave him a hell of a time.The unfortunate consequence was that I failed O level Latin,which I regret.

  435. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    What a naughty boy Richard! Does that mean Keith(spud) was guilty as well if he was in the same class as you?

  436. Had fun reading all the comments. Would like to get in touch with Len Neldrett. Can anyone help please?

  437. Malcolm Penn

    Hi Dale … sure can, send me an email to


    Malcolm Penn

  438. Richard Day

    Ros-Spud was not in my Latin class in the 5 th form.Latin was an elective class at O levelMost of my contemporaries chose not to do it.

  439. Dave Littleproud

    Hi guys and gal!
    I phoned Joe Turner the other day and found him a bit off his milk -I will phone him again in a few days and post an up date.
    Ain’t it great to have a decent pc-my previous was a bit rough.

  440. John Curtis

    I remember a prefect called “Eyebrow” Bately (?), who used to tick off first formers for not wearing their caps on the bus home. He let us off with a warning and didn’t take the matter any further.

    Mr. “Lurch” Chambers taught English. He had a large plimsoll as a threat of corporal punishment, but I never saw him wield it in anger. I was never taught by Keats, but everyone knew how to draw him: bald head, big nose, and a little bit of sticking plaster where he’d cut himself shaving. It had to be a left-facing profile for some arcane reason.

    Some of my contemporaries were: Roger Arthurs, David Ayers, John Budden and “The Doh” Docherty.

    John Curtis (Villiers ’67-8)

  441. Keith Watling

    Hi John (Curtis),

    I have to disagree with your recollection of ‘Lurch’ Chambers. Although he may have taught English ‘on the side’, the ‘Lurch’ I remember (a tall bean pole of a guy – hence his nickname) taught Physics. As I have mentioned previously, he was also very keen on rugby and ran the Under 16 team that I was part of in my 5th year.

    Keith Watling (Lovelace ’65-’72)

  442. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Hello Richard,what a pity,Iwas hoping to find a crack in his halo,still I don’t think latin would be much use in his line of work,did he do technical drawing instead? Sorry it has taken a few days to reply we have been to our son’s helping him repair his roof, he lives near the lake district where it seems to rain every day,and there was quite a gale blowing at the weekend!! Back home now for a bit of peace before they all arrive for Christmas!

  443. John Curtis

    Hi Keith Watling,

    D. A. Chambers was my Form Master and he despaired of my science ability. My physics teacher was definitely a Welshman called Davies, or Davis. He despaired of my physics so much that his comments on my report card ran over into the chemistry section. I learned the law of gravity the hard way, as fly-half in a very junior XV. Rugby and PE seem to have been led by a biology teacher whose initials were KGF. I don’t know if they were for biology lessons, or school dinners, but I have a vague recollection of rabbits in hutches between the tennis courts and the science building.
    John Curtis

  444. Keith Watling

    Hi John Curtis,

    I stick by my recollection that Dave ‘Lurch’ Chambers taught Physics as his major subject. As for a Welshman called Davies, that would have been ‘Taffy’ Davies who was in charge of the Chemsitry Dept and also House Master of Coutts. He may have taught Physics ‘on the side’, but his main subject was chemistry. He was a very nice guy – went to Bristol University and also ran the 1st XV rugby team for many years. The head of the Physics department was ‘Bunny’ Warren who was also in charge of Egmont House. As for ‘KGF’, they were the initials of Mr. Fry, another Welshman who taught Biology and PE, and ran the Under 12 rugby XV. He was my first year form teacher – I recall he smoked a pipe that he would insert into a permanent hole in the side of his mouth that seemed to have been put there for that express purpose! As for the rabbit hutches, are we talking about St. Mark’s Hill or Thames Ditton?


  445. Dave Roberts

    John Curtis / Keith Watling
    Malcolm (Taff) Davies and Keith Glyn Fry used to go to London Welsh on Saturdays with my dad so I knew them reasonably well. KGF used to known as Glyn as he thought it sounded more welsh. I well remember the permanent hole where the pipe went, I understand the muscles had contracted due to 40 years of having a foreign object stuck there. Bunny Warrens side kick was a Welsh wingebag (pains me to say it being Welsh myself) named Dai Jones who seemed to spend the majority of his time telling us about his latest ailment or the length of his most recent migrain. Lurch was definitely physics first, coming from Yorkshire he sounded a bit like Geoff Boycott, pronouncing the subject ‘Physeeks’. He was a bully of the highest order until you got into the 5th and 6th forms when he became really quite affable, he took great glee at bullying a poor deformed kid called Simon Lydbury which everyon thought was totally out of order but at least it meant you were out of his target.

    remember your name but can’t put a face to it. I was in Coutts from 66-71. I was in the same class as Roger Arthurs, went motorbiking with John ‘Bear’ Budden and Dave Ayers (mini Omf, later BogBag) put me in hospital with a well timed tap tackle. My main contemporaries over the years were:- Clive Denney, Ray Kent, Russ Procter, (Buster) Pete Cox, Steve Edwards, Neil Butterfield Chris Pritchard, Paul Lavender, Adrian Barnes, Tony Jenkins, Jeff Thomas, Dave Gillam, Taff Davies, Dave Leverington, Gary Shepherd, Paul Stanley, Graham Shorthouse, Richard Tilley, Neil Campion and Adrian Thomas . I’m sure there were lots more but the old brain ain’t what it used to be.
    The prefect you remember was Bob ‘eyebrow’ Batley, he used to play bridge with my brother, he was a really nice guy who commmanded respect by just being human, unlike some. unfortunately he confiscated my ‘NUFF’ card. Remeber those?
    The dear lady in the canteen used to pile massive amounts of food on your plate and just say ‘NUFF?’ at which point you held up your card or asked for more. Most prefects were satisfied with putting you in detention but not a guy called Paul Mangan who loved public humiliation, manys the time I stood in full public view with arms outstretched rotating them slowly for what seemed hours (about 5 minutes) but I suppose it was better than spending an hour writing out psalm 119 most of which I learned off by heart.

    Keith, through the vast variety of sports the school used to run, there are a few names that I used to compete with/against from your era that may ring a few bells. Gordon Pearce, Colin Duncton, Dave Nott, Quentin (Alf) Tupper, Ian (Ears) Ellis, Phil and Mike Fox and Gerald Blackmore.

  446. John Curtis

    Dave Roberts/Keith Watling

    I was only at Surbiton for one year, and bow to Keith’s memory about Lurch. My English teacher was probably J. S. Clements. Since my last post I have found a page of 50 autographs that I collected before emigrating to Canada. (I hope it can be posted on this site.) One of the signatories was David Roberts (Rob). Another was Simon Lydbury, whom I remember as intelligent and thoughtful–and never complained about his disability. I was at primary school with Roger Arthurs and David Ayers. Roger’s ambition was to join the Navy. I used to imagine Ayers joining the Paras and being the Peter Cook of the officers’ mess. There were two Barnes (not related), Nicholas and Adrian. It may have been Adrian who came from Slough and had cracking pace as a half-back. I was in Fry’s under 12′s and School X-Country Team. The rabbits would have been at Thames Ditton. I think it was either K. E. Doheny or Paul (Quackers) Clarke who refused to accept that pink socks were not part of the school uniform. When the currency was devalued/decimalised(?), I remember that several teachers all thought that they were the first to tell Michael Shilling that he was officially pronounced useless.

  447. John Curtis has recently sent me a photo of a piece of SCGS memorabilia dating from 1968.

    You are welcome to have this and can download it here.

  448. Dave Roberts

    Adrian Barnes was a superb rugby player, as was Chris Pritchard – saw them both play for Richmond (although not regularly) and once saw them on Rugby Special on BBC2. I had a beer with Paul Taylor many years ago in Chessington and he was a good freind of Simon Lydbury, after all he had been through, Simon tripped over in the street, banged his head and sadly died of a severe brain injury in his mid 20′s. The last I heard of Dave Ayers was that he had followed his father and brother Robert (omf) into the police. I didn’t know Nick Barnes real first name for years as everyone called him peanut. I remember Mike Shilling, he had a ‘famliy’ middle name of Westrup which resulted in the nickname ‘Jockstrap’.

  449. John Curtis

    Ayers Of The Yard: there’s a tv series in there somewhere, especially if he had a sidekick called Grace. Ayersy once spent a week telling everyone he was Jewish. He admitted later that he’d done it to deflect attention from the fact that his father was a policeman. As a copper’s grandson I understood the pressure to conform that made you want to find quiet ways of rebelling. I’ve got a group photo were Dave’s the only one who refused to smile. He managed to look three years older than the rest of us, staring at the camera as if he were trying to drill the lens out with his eyes.

  450. Dave Roberts

    John Curtis

    I remember Dave Ayers ‘jewish period’ saying that with a nose like his, he had to be, it was a fair old hooter. He really was a witty guy and could draw fantastic cartoons and caricatures. I had a look at your autorgraph page, a few more names I remember but that is the first time I have seen Eric Wallers signature without the words ‘must try harder’ in front of it.

  451. John Curtis

    Dave Roberts

    “Must Try Harder” could almost have been the school motto. It’s hard to believe that masters had a licence to push, bully and generally humiliate anyone who didn’t like school work. When I moved to Canada, British kids had two choices: (1) be classified by date of birth and repeat things that they’d already covered; (2) be classified by what they knew, and end up being 1 or 2 years younger than their classmates. Some of the younger teachers were weekend hippies who brought their guitars to school and sang to us. I met some relatives of R. J. Mole (Latin), while I was there, and they fell about laughing when I told them what school was like. We were saved by a trio of Aussies who taught in the British way, but were laid-back enough not to be seen as stuck-up Poms.

  452. Dave Roberts

    Reg Mole, what a legend! When he arrived on day one, I think we all thought that he would sink without trace. Anyone who arrives on an old bike with his briefcase held on by a bungee strap, bald head, glasses and wearing a battered tweed jacket with leather patch elbows would be the target of relentless mickey taking. We all underestimated what a thoroughly decent guy he was, treated us with a bit of respect and graced with a good sense of humour, actually made Latin bearable. Someone asked him somewhat jocularly if he would be playing in the masters versus 6th form rugby match, he replied in the affirmative that he would quite enjoy a run out. Played inside centre and the first time he got the ball, carved his way through to score – it appeared that he played for his university, even more respect earned.

  453. John Curtis

    On Nov. 5th, BBC Radio played an archive tape of a man who said he’d like to “tear down every ******* grammar school in the country.” I think g. schools can be justified all time they give employment to people like Reg Mole. Besides, you need a classical education to comprehend the polysyllabic obfuscations that emanate from the seat of governance.

  454. Dave Littleproud

    I began my stay at SCGS in 1956. By the time we arrived in the sixth form there was an element that saw grammar schools as “bad” because the superior education was unfair on those who weren’t at grammar schools. In my 16 year old naivety I couldn’t see why, if the grammar school education was superior, we couldn’t all go to a grammar school why didn’t the system only have grammar schools? furthermore we had all had the same chance by having sat the 11+. reactions to this made me believe that jealousy was a contributing factor of the anti grammar school lobby.
    50 years on with 2 children at grammar schools (yup out here in the back woods we still have them) I have seen no reason to change my mind. One factor of importance to the anti brigade is that the school is nearby -the educational standard does not seem to be an overriding consideration. There are buses and lift shares. I still believe losing grammar schools is a backward step -our education does need as hake up -what the answer is I don’t know -but something ain’t right-why can’t kids read ? Get off your soapbox Dave!

  455. Dave Littleproud

    random time check –ignore–pc problem

  456. Dave Littleproud

    solved -pc was set for canadian time -not gloucestershire mean time

  457. Ken Percival

    Just caught up on comments having missed a few months.

    Does anybody remember the Lab assistant; a quiet old man we called “Plum” because of his red face which was reputedly down to experiments blowing up. Somebody came up with the notion that he had been involved in the Russian revolution but I’m not sure if I remember that right. Simon Lydbury died the day after returning from the Old Surbs rugby tour to Georgia and South Carolina in 1980 – having partyed for 2 weeks. Did Dave Ayres have a younger brother Bob? If so then Bob joined the City of London Police and did his sergeants and inspectors exams in quick succession and was regarded as a high flyer. KG Fry organised the inter house boxing which was compulsory in my year of intake (1960) I remember one bout where KGF told the 11 year old protagonists to come out, touch gloves and start boxing on his command. Lerverdier had a red mist, came out and immediately head butted, groined and kicked his opponent and the bout was abandoned. Next year the boxing was voluntary. I also remember a yorkshire man who, I think, was called Clegg who took cricket. His stock phrase was something along the lines of “there are three ways to do something – the right way, the wrong way and my way – you’re going to do it my way”

  458. Dave Littleproud

    I was unlucky enough not to have been taught by Mr Clegg.
    Pals of mine who were told me that the first lesson went on the lines of “My names Clegg- C-L-E-G-G– three are ways to do things – the right way, the wrong way and my way – you’re going to do it my way” All in broad Yorkshire. Apparently these opening lines were the most pleasant things he said. My sidelined observation was that he was quite unpleasant. Luckily there were plenty of good guys to redeem teachings’s reputation.

  459. Richard Cripps

    Yes, I remember Mr Clegg – a really broad Yorkshire accent; though I don’t remember anything bad about him, I recall him as being quite an entertaining teacher. It’s interesting how our individual memories can differ. My recollections of his sayings are, “My name’s Clegg, C-L-E-G-G. There’s three ways to spell my name, the right way, the wrong way, and MY way!” More enigmatic was, “There’s three kinds of anti-aircraft, theirs, ours and mine.” Never did figure that one out.

  460. Dave Roberts

    Yes, I remember the lab assistant, we knew him as Jasper as well as Plum, his name was Mr Aston, he used to shuffle around muttering to himself and if anyone put their bag in the aisle he would kick it out of the way. One bright spark threaded a board ruler through his bag and jammed it so it wouldn’t move, Plum came along, kicked the bag and fell flat on his face. I heard the rumour about the Russian revolution but I think it was just passed down through the years and I also heard that he was quite an eminent scientist in his younger days. On another occasion Chopper Hacket conducted an experiment which resulted in a vast amount of noxious gas being produced so he put the beaker in the fume cupboard and carried on with the lesson, unfortunately, the other door of the fume cupboard was open Plum was overcome by the fumes and was found unconscious on the floor. I know he suffered a heart attack and Eric Waller announced solemnly in assembly that it was unlikely he would return to work, 3 weeks later he’s back, right as ninepence.

    Dave Ayers had an older brother Bob whose nickname was Omf – don’t know the significance –Dave was know as mini Omf for a bit, highly original, I know Dave was looking to follow his father and Bob into the police.

  461. Richard (George) Burns

    Don’t know how I stumbled on this site but it took me back down memory lane. I was at SCGS from 1954-61 and have nothing but fond memories of the place and the people.
    The violence of some of the teachers made life tense to say the least! I remember Keats taking me into the cloakroom for a smacking around the head with a ruler and plenty of ‘slipperings’ – with double the punishment if you moved your hand at the last moment. Others I remember with affection: Nutty Bolt with a round smiling face; a bi0logy teacher named Caduggan; a sports master Fry who would make a fool of you in the nets with his off-spin; an art teacher who drove a vintage car; and many more.
    When I was in 4A (my ‘pals were Terry Connolly, Dick Battenbury and Dave Ashwell) there was something called the ‘battle of the boot’ which involved an old rugby boot being fought for and hidden. It dominated a term until the headmaster got wind of it and the associated destruction and the challenge was banned.
    I remember Turner the Chem and RI teacher and the small blue books in which we got to keep notes of who begat whom. Biddy Bidmead used to hurl marked Latin note books (orange I think) across the class to the pupils. Gus Hillier taught maths and terrified everyone (I can picture a very pale thin face).
    In the sixth form I was a Chem/Bot/Zoo person and had a great time with some good friends: Paul Darby, Barry Keywood, Roland (Rolly) Herbert ( hooker for the 1st XV), Pat Morris, Malcolm Welstood-Easton, Adrian (Adey) Powell and Tony Bright. We seemed to pay 3-card brag for most of the day! I kept up with Tony B for many years and Paul and Barry followed me to University at Aberystwth and started a hugely successful folk/blues club.
    Other memories will start flooding back soon…

  462. Alan Cadogan

    I have just spent a fascinating hour reading though all of the messages and memories here – having just stumbled upon this site. I joined the staff at Surbiton for my first job in 1957. I remember my four years there with great pleasure. I was appointed to teach Biology and was surprised on arrival to have an A-level group and also to be timetabled to teach A-level Chemistry to the biologists. I suppose that my links with the Taffia – Malcolm Davies and Ken Fry – made it inevitable that I should have been roped in to run a rugby team – the Under-14s (and some great young players suffered from my training and refereeing – quite a number of them already mentioned in earlier messages here!). Mr Doig, who realised that I was willing to try out anything, dragged me into helping with the G & S (roping me into training the senior chorus – made up mainly of Sixth form rugby teams) and asked me to run the Duke of Edinburgh’s scheme – which resulted in taking a group of boys (again some already named here!) to Buckingham Palace for the first and second ever Gold Award presentions.
    It was fun to read through former pupil’s assessments of their teachers and I found myself agreeing with most of you. There were lots of really devoted teachers who shaped my career development and I recall with great pleasure Malcolm and Ken as well as Frank Walmsley (whose son had been at the school as Head Boy, captain of cricket and rugby and leader of the school orchestra. He later was an international athlete in the UK team, made major discoveries in antibiotics and joined his Dad and myself on the school trip to the 1960 Rome Olympics.), Alan Bolt (who I met again last year – now over 90 and still conducting an orchestra and leading a Hunt in the Lakes), Geoff Harris-Ide, John Fernyhough and Bas Hunt who started at the same time as me and with whom I am still in touch. The school produced some good science students and I am proud of the subsequent careers of several biologists that I taught (e.g. Derek Yalden, Pat Morris, David Morgan, Paul Harding and others).
    I left after four memorable years to teach in the Midlands then came to Bristol (where I still live) as Head of Science at a large state school and moved on to lecture for 12 years in Bristol University (and for one year at Durham University). I packed up my working life last year when I retired from the Open University (aged 74 – if you’re interested!). So I’m amused to learn that some that I taught are now themselves retired. Giving me time recently to make Safaris and visits to Antarctica and the Galapagos.
    Thanks to you and your comments that have brought back so many good memories – I’m surprised that my senile mind recalls so many of the names featured.

  463. David Goodyear

    Welcome to the blog ,Alan! I well remember your enthusiastic Biology teaching during the 5th and Lower 6th years (1958-1960), not least a memorable Field Studies week at Slapton.I met you briefly about 20 years later at a SUJB meeting in Bristol during my years as Head of Science at a Comprehensive School in Taunton .I also remember your musical interests as I played trumpet in the school orchestras and G&S productions. Now retired I still play in a local orchestra , and tutor Trumpet , the Sciences ,Maths and English on a one to one basis and live in Taunton.Great to hear from you! The Welsh are well represented in teaching.

  464. Graham Cooke

    I was directed to the site by someone claiming that Eric Clapton was a former pupil. To set the record straight, he was not. I assume the confusion has arisen due to the fact that Hollyfield School (which EC did attend) moved to the former SCGS site in 1965 when we all de-camped to Thames Ditton but this was after Clapton had left.

    I was in the last intake at the St. Marks Hill site before the relocation and have enjoyed reading all the recollections.

    Whilst my artistic talents are limited I can still knock up a cartoon in about five seconds that is instantly recognisable as Sid Capper by any former pupil.

    I am involved with the Thames Ditton and Weston Green Residents Association and we are about to publish an article with some reminisences of the School at Thames Ditton. The website is:

    A few facts –

    The skull bashing administered by Keats was know as ‘clumping’ and, yes, he was at Thames Ditton with his room opposite Spikey King’s metalwork shop (which is still there, now part of the College).

    Sadly, The Olde Harrow is no more – it awaits the bulldozer when developers manage to get a planning application approved for houses or flats – what is the matter with the younger generation, don’t the current students at the college drink enough to keep a pub going?

    A question.

    Why did Villers always win every sporting competition?

  465. Cliff Harrison

    Alan. It was so interesting to read your reminiscences, you mentioned John Fernyhough to whom I personally owe much during my years at SCGS – as a particularly inept pupil, I might add. I clearly remember the trip to Rochefort that he chaperoned in 1956, visiting our pen-friends at the Lycee Pierre Loti, it being my first trip abroad, (I spent much of my visit to Paris in the gutters collecting the strikingly colourful matchboxes that had been discarded). I also managed to knock over a large jug of water in the cafe at which we stopped for supper, before taking the overnight train southwards.Is he still contactable? I would dearly like to assure him that my school years were not totally wasted, though I’m not sure he or I would have agreed at the time. He did much to encourage my French, which was about the only subject that came naturally to me. Cliff Harrison

  466. Dave Littleproud

    I have just been talking to Joe Turner. Joe is going into hospital for “abrading” on his heart with a view to an eventual pacemaker. I know we all have our fingers crossed for him. Joe has sent me some panoramas of you lot which I will scan and post. He has also promised some photos sent to him by Bas Hunt which I will also scan and post.( I promise to try and get them the right way round!!)
    Joe also tells me that while watching “Flogit” one afternoon he saw Alan Bolt with his wife who was being interviewed.
    I see there that there was a brief message from Kevin Davies. On behalf of us all I would like to thank Kevin for allowing us to gazump his web site -much appreciated Kevin!!
    I agree with Cliff Harrison -I too would not have passed french without the encouragement of John Fernyhough-french was certainly not natural to me.

  467. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    To everyone who visits this blog, I would just like to wish you all a very merry Christmas,and a peaceful, happy and healthy new year. Take care, and we will all meet up again in 2010.

  468. Paul Harding

    I was moved from remotest Belfast into the 5th form at SCGS in September 1959. It was all a completely different world and I found it difficult breaking into a community of already long established friends. Just in case you can’t place me, I was the weedy specimen with specs, a stammer, a pre-Beatles haircut and a dinghy at Hart’s Boatyard.
    By the lower 6th life was better for me and the comparative independence of our form room in the stables meant that a good group developed, mainly Biology/Chem/Geog. Somebody mentioned 3-card Brag being a popular activity, but what about toast making on the gas fire (or in Mart Offor’s case toasted cheese)?
    Several familiar names have been mentioned from this group: Adey Powell, Paul Darby, Tony (Bertie) Bright, Rowley Herbert, George Burns and Pat Morris. Was Roger Taylor the same Taylor who was commanded to make Mo’s tea in every Zoo “lesson”? Richard Warwick was also in the group but, like Pat Morris, he was a bit studious. We did have one wild party at Richard’s house, but I think he regretted it afterwards. I found a faded photo of one of Alan Cadogan’s field trips recently, with Alan and 8 of us, including most of the above. I have a lot to thank Alan for – he got me interested in natural history again, especially on the Flatford trip, and I made that my career.
    I made a total hash of A levels in 1962, but a good reference from Alan got me a job with the Nature Conservancy in remotest Huntingdonshire. I kept up with some of the SCGS gang for a couple of years, and I remember a cabin-cruiser trip on the Thames with several of them. Subsequently I have totally lost touch with everyone, except that I have bumped into Pat Morris and Richard Warwick a few times when our professional paths crossed, and years ago I startled Alan at the end of my lecture to an IoB meeting in Gloucester.
    For Alan’s information I retired 6 years ago, after 22 years as the head of the national Biological Records Centre. I still have an hon. fellowship with the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, am involved with various biodiversity projects, and live near Cambridge.
    There must be a better way of communicating between ourselves than through blog comments on some aspiring MP’s website. Wish I knew how!

  469. Dave Littleproud

    I hope everybody had a good Christmas where ever you are and in whatever time zone!!!
    I wish you all a safe, prosperous and Happy New Year!!

  470. Dave Littleproud

    Paul Harding if you were a prefect you should be on one of the piccies -if so we can identify you and send the boys round!!
    Seriously I do not know the answer to swapping emails without maybe generating loadsa junkmail.
    a convoluted method I used was to advise one subscriber the location of a post office I used as a poste restante.
    It worked a treat. So if anyone wishes to contact me –send a letter to the p.o. named in my post of 31/3/09 mention you have done it on here and I will pick up the letter from the p.o. A bit long winded but in the absence of any better suggestion??? As I say -it works!!
    Maybe we worry overmuch about publishing emails-I know some people have -have they had any problems and wish they hadn’t done it??
    Interestingly I note that on here we are all more open than on friends reunited. I did try and publicise this site on f/r but there were no takers.
    Any how bright ideas gratefully received.

  471. Paul Harding

    Dave – Thanks for your various suggestions.
    I was far too imperfect to be a prefect – an academic failure, no interest in sports, too much time spent idling on the river, in pubs, etc!
    I agree, we seem to be commendably open with our comments. Let’s see if others think it is worth asking you to take on extra work.

  472. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    To Dave and Paul, if you want to find other ways of communicating, try Friends Reunited, where you could exchange addresses etc, or if you are both in the UK, try for the electoral roll.
    Hope this helps,Ros.

  473. Dave Littleproud

    Clever girl-ok try it!

  474. Mike Hubert

    Came across this site while looking for info on a Doodlebug raid on Chessington Zoo where I worked as a lad. The explosion killed one man & scorched the polar bear black. Ilived in Cheshire Gardens Hook. You Surbitonians cant half talk!Iwent to St Mary,s Primary on Leatherhead Rd. then to Kingston Grammar, if that is allowedto be mentioned on this site. Loved rowing from Thames Ditton to Hampton Court & back in 1947.I suppose Surbiton Grammar would have been alright. Regards.

  475. Dave Littleproud

    must have been cold! 47 was a rough winter-in 62/63 mates of mine walked from kingston to hampton court along the middle of the thames-

  476. mick brill

    well it’s great to see that a lot of my old school pals are still going strong, but i was quite sad to see that nobody remembers me!!!!!!!!!!!!
    i thought i had left quite a mark at surbiton if only for my participation in destroying the old green houses!!!!!!!!!
    i still remember being the only “twit” who owned up to it, and getting “6 of the best” for my honesty.
    Happy new year to you all from Rome.
    All the best,
    Mick “Brillo” or “Brillcream” BRILL

  477. Colin Brightwell

    Hi Mick, I certainly remember you. A good goalkeeper if I remember rightly! I assume I won’t get into the same trouble on this blog for mentioning the round ball game as I did at school for starting a football team (Ditton Athletic)! I’m still in touch with Tony Hall who you no doubt remember.

    Do you live in Rome permanently? I spent an excellent weekend there last February. Spend my time in the UK and Cyprus now. Best wishes from a very snowy Woking!

  478. mick brill

    hi colin,
    I’ve been living in Rome for more than 40 years now working as a musician and other related activities!!!!!!!
    Let mr know if you come over again.
    my e-mail is: michaelbrill@libero.
    Don’t think i’d be much good in goal these days!!!!!
    I too remember the creation of ditton athletic didn’t go down very well!! if i’m not mistaken they threatened to expel us if we didn’t stop it. am i right in saying we used to play at the Milk Marketing Board ground?
    all the best,Mick Brill

  479. mick brill

    ooops left out a bit of e-mail address.
    should be:-

  480. Colin Brightwell

    Hi Mick, yes there were threats made to those who both represented the school at rugby and played for Ditton Athletic, as when matches clashed, everyone, as far as I can remember, chose to play footy! We did indeed play at the MMB in Thames Ditton. My dad worked there and arranged for us to use it as our home ground (fabulous pitch if I remember rightly) as the MMB no longer had a football team. I’ll give you a call if I get back to Rome again. What’s the name of your band or are you more of a ‘sessions’ man? Any CD’s/DVD’s?

  481. Dave Littleproud

    Mick! i remembered you cos I got your name on that list of the class of ’56-you were easy to remember!
    Rome sounds good -not been there since 1966 when on tour of architectural gems -I even managed to get blessed by the Pope -by mistake I was in St Peter’s with the Rome branch of the whole international diplomatic corps -one hopes it couldn’t happen today.
    Colin why are you in snowy Woking when you could be
    in sunny Cyprus?

  482. mick brill

    Good to hear from you Dave,
    maybe it’s time for anther visit to Rome!!!!!!!! and get blessed again by a different Pope!!!!!!!!!!!
    I don’t say the sun is shining at the moment, but i think it’s only snowed 4 or 5 times since i came here in 1966.

  483. Really great information! I am glad I found this post on Google. I will be back to check your site more often.

  484. The product is as advertised on the internethighly satisfactory as to its ability to warm the bathroom for a comfortable shower. Installation was reasonably simple, and performance as expedted.

  485. Peter Pocock

    Hi Mick – any relation to Ken Brill, the scourge of 2C, in 1953?

  486. Dave Littleproud

    Peter!!! Hi —thought you had……??? Glad you are back on
    I know the answer but I’ll leave it to Mick.
    Anyway Happy New Year!!

  487. mick brill

    Hi Peter,
    Yes I am Ken’s “little” brother!!!!!
    I still remember the day i started at Surbiton County. People coming to look at me as if i was some kind of “freak”!!!!!!!!!
    By the way, if you have any idea of the whereabouts of my brother, please let me know as i haven’t seen or heard of him in years.
    all the best mick.

  488. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Hello Mick, I think I have found your brother Ken, still living in Surrey, would you like me to email the address and phone number to you?

  489. mick brill

    Hello Ros,
    I most certainly would!!!!!!!!!
    You obviously have a better source of information than anything I have managed to find from here in Italy!!!!
    Thanx very much,
    All the best, Mick.

  490. peter pocock

    Hi Dave,

    Sorry but still very much in the land of the living. Just off-line for a while, with a very sick PC, and problem only now resolved thanks to Santa Claus.

    Would be very interested to hear from Ken Brill, if you do trace him Mick. As I said, in 2nd and 3rd form, he, along with such characters as Keith Beeks, Jim Dodson,
    Trevor Birmingham, Dave Spittle, Gerry Long, Mick Gregory and Dave Shepherd, were a force to be reckoned with.

  491. Colin Brightwell

    Hi Dave, normally would be but had to go into hospital for an unexpected operation so had to cancel our trip. Have another 0p at the end of the month so won’t be there now until our next scheduled trip in March. Normally spend +/- 5 months a year there. Works well.

  492. Dave Littleproud

    Colin -sorry to hear that -look after yourself for the end of the month.
    Take care and I look forward to hearing all is well.

  493. Dave Littleproud

    Well Ros, I’m in -tho i don’t know what happened to the “Eric wos here” beginning that we used to have -all seems to be here on this site.

  494. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Yes Dave I seem to have got in okay this time too,let’s hope we don’t have any more trouble!

  495. Sorry guys that was my fault. There was a 24 hour down time for some site updates.

    Kevin Davis

  496. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Thank you very much for letting us know Kevin.

  497. Doug Lucie

    I hope nobody minds if an OT posts on this site – I have an excuse as I’m the other boy my old friend Keith Watling (Hi, Keith!) referred to way back in June or July last year when he was wondering about the intake criteria for Tiffins and Surbiton Grammar. Interestingly, I was from the Garrison Lane council estate, while Keith lived on the slightly more posh Leatherhead Road, but I found myself in a different world at Tiffins, which styled itself as a minor public school and tended to squeeze out the more unruly (ie working class) types by the end of the fourth year. I survived the cull, just, thanks to some enlightened English teachers who a) taught me in an inspiring manner, and b) taught me the invaluable lesson that much of school life is just a game – so much so that I, a semi-detached pupil at the best of times, ended up as deputy head boy! Then I fluked a place at Oxford and did indeed become a playwright, which I still am.

    Having read the entire thread here (a hugely entertaining read, even for an OT) there are so many coincidences I’d like to comment on, and I hope nobody minds if I address a couple of them. Regarding the date of the move to Thames Ditton, I have a very vivid memory of playing SG at rugby there in what I’ve always thought must have been autumn term ’65. It was our first ever game, and I was captain. We lost 44 points to nil. Scarred me for life…..does anybody remember that game?

    The Hollyfield conundrum – in ’70 or ’71, when I was working weekends and holidays at Chessington Zoo, the manageress of the Grill, where I was inexplicably the chef, was a Hollyfield (as she always called it) old girl, who’d known Eric Clapton there. She was rather blase about this and could never understand why some of us were so awe-struck by her erstwhile proximity to the great ‘Slowhand’….

    Many of the place and pub names mentioned are familiar to me, but the two I frequented the most, The Three Fishes in Kingston, and The Toby Jug at Tolworth, are sadly no more. Both were a joy for anyone mad about music, as I was. My eldest brother, Alan, played in groups throughout the ’60s all around the Surrey area – first in The Crusaders, then The Cosmic Sounds – anybody remember them? It was while searching the net for anything relating to their Rock’n’Rhythm Competition victory at the Surbiton Assembly Rooms in ’62 (I think) that I came across this site. Their win was clinched, I like to think, by my appearance on stage, at the age of 8 with a young girl of the same age, twisting to their version of ‘Put On Your Dancing Shoes’, although my brother puts it down to their note-perfect version of FBI. Anyway, the celebrity judge was film starlet Sylvia Sims, with whom we all had our photo taken, and which was duly published in the Surrey Comet – my mum still has the clipping. The point of this is that the week after next, I’m recording a new radio play with, amongst others, Sylvia Sims. I can’t wait to show her the clipping…

    So many memories have been stirred by this site that if I don’t stop now, I’ll still be typing away tomorrow! I hope nobody minds my slightly off-topic ramblings – I’ll just wish everybody the best and shed a silent tear over that 44-0 drubbing….


  498. Dave Littleproud

    Hi Doug-as I once said -we are a broad church. Rugby against Tiffins – I played 23 games for the SCGS Colts 1959-1960. We won 22 games very convincingly -the exception was when in a euphoric fit of over confidence we managed to hold Tiffins to a 3-3 draw-toughest game I ever played.

  499. Doug Lucie

    Thanks, Dave.

    Tiffins was an excellent rugby school – with the exception of the 1965 intake! We were a pushover, mainly because we were more interested in playing football in the Sunday league, so our Saturday rugby became an exercise in not getting too badly injured. The headmaster always looked like he was sucking a lemon when reading out our results in Monday’s assembly! We were a huge disappointment….

  500. Keith Watling

    Hi Doug,

    Email me at (not .com!). Look forward to hearing from you.



  501. Fascinating, I concord with your issue.

  502. Dave Littleproud

    More clues Evelyn?

  503. Dave Littleproud

    Colin B -how’s things -well I hope

  504. Colin Brightwell

    Hi Dave,

    I’m good thanks. Good of you to ask!

    Two operations have come and gone and I’m here to tell the tale. Gall bladder is well rid of and without drama. In and out in 24 hours! Thank the Lord for keyhole surgery. Hand operation also went well although it will be 6 months before it is working properly. Wife is driving me everywhere at the moment including up the wall! Have to allow 30% extra time to get anywhere!

    It’s a bugger getting old! On that front I’m an official Old Age Pensioner. Was 65 on 5th February! Am having my pension paid into my Cyprus bank account. What a struggle it was getting them to do that. You would have thought I was asking them to send it to the moon.

    Waiting for next month to arrive for our first trip of the year out to Cyprus, can’t wait to get some sun on my back. Also booked a holiday in Mauritius to celebrate our Ruby wedding anniversary. That’s in July. 40 years. Can’t believe it.

    Off to Farnham now to let the plumber in to my daughter’s flat. Will I ever get a day when I can put my feet up?

    Best wishes,


  505. Dave Littleproud

    Colin -good to hear that you are ok.
    According to wikipedia it is a non vital organ and you are ion company with several mammals and birds and lampreys( a surfeit of which King John died) in not having one.
    The hand sounds a bit more dodgy-you had better be nice to “her indoors”
    As to getting old -all I’m missing is my tonsils(last seen in 1950) and 5 teeth. Still got my hair. A young friend of mine >50 is not keen on the idea of “old” -so we have a mutual “assisted suicide” pact -sharing a taxi to the Severn Bridge!
    Seriously though my life ain’t bad-it turned out pretty well for me-I wouldn’t change it.
    Take care Colin –enjoy Cyprus
    All the best

  506. By far the most concise and up to date information I found on this topic. Sure glad that I navigated to your page by accident. I’ll be subscribing to your feed so that I can get the latest updates. Appreciate all the information here

  507. Dave Littleproud


  508. dave forward

    Dave Littleproud, I have found your Surbiton County Grammar School blog and read it with interest as I am writing the history of Hollyfield school having recently retired from there as Deputy Head. Part of the history includes a section on Albury House and its previous occupants including your old school. Would it be possible for me to use some of the photos of the old buildings Aysgarth, Braemar and the new Villiers etc which you have posted on this site? This will help to keep the “history” alive. Dave Forward (

  509. Graham Follett

    Just found this lot whilst whiling away yet another awful night both on telly and R4.
    I managed to waste 6 years at SCGS from Sept 57 to July 63, managing a meagre 4 O’s, but, in those heady days of the early 60′s jobs were two a penny, so secured a job in a bank that served me pretty well for 30 years or so.
    I was in Coutts, and the head was Doig, Deputy Bert Forward.
    Other teachers than figure in my memory:
    Sid Capper – brillian linguist, hopeless teacher
    Whistling Jack Skene – loved his lessons, he brought geog to life and ensured a lifelong love of the subject. Could take a joke, too – like stink bombs under his desk.
    John Cocks – Keats – English amd Music, who spat all over the place and said ‘err a hell of a lot – when bored we would count them.
    Sammy Sentence – English – a really decent bloke
    Mr Bidmead – a horror of a teacher, Latin and History I believe. Went on to become Mayor of Surbiton. To be feared.
    Joe Turner – Art – proud to bear the name of his idol. A good teacher who opened doors on art to me – though sadly I failed Art ‘O’
    ?? Harvey – another art teacher who coped with any shortcomings of pupils by shouting at them
    Gus Hillier – Maths and, I think, Physics. Kept control by throwing board rubbers – the wooden sort – at the ne’erdowells.
    ??Busby – Art – delighted in small boys – used to have a lunch time ‘club’ that become known as Busby’s Bum Boys.
    ?? Boult – Music – a weedy little man who stormed into the hall one lunchtime, when some prefects and quite a few Lower VIth and VIth were listening to records of such as Chuck Berry. he went off his trolley, and I think he confiscated the records – and I doubt that he secretly played them at home. More likely he burnt them. Don’t recall what happened to the prefects in charge of us.
    Chips Carpenter – Chemistry, I think, – set up a Madrigal Society that became quite successful.

    I left having made just one mark on the school, as my sport was as a highboard and springboard diver and I and a lad from Tolworth Secondary were the two top divers in the county atthe time – we both went to the famous Highgate Diving Club. So KG Fry, the senile PE teacher delighted in having me as a pupil – I transferred easily to gymnastics when the new gym was built in my last year.

    The classes I was in, show my paucity of academic achievement:
    2C, 3C, 4C, LVG, VG, then second year VG, as I only got 2 O’s at the first attempt.

    Class mates, friends –
    Arnold Pinder – School and county boxing champion
    John Seaton, Peter Garton, Ken Ives.

  510. Richard Cripps

    Oh dear, I do have to take exception to your reference to Bill Busby and his unfortunate reputation. Throughout my seven years at SCGS scurrilous rumours circulated endlessly about his supposed proclivities and activities in his cupboards; but I never heard of an actual case of a pupil having been subjected to any improper behavior. Certainly his avuncular style could be open to malicious misinterpretation, but I recall him only as a gentleman who took considerable pains to organize a wide variety of valuable extra-curricular activities. I for one was grateful to have the opportunity to escape at lunchtime from the playground and the thugs who roamed therein.

    As for the “Nutty” Bolt incident, my class had a completely different experience with John Cocks. He actually invited us to bring examples of currently-popular records to one of the music classes and play them to him on the record player, and he was duly regaled with examples of Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Buddy Holly. I don’t think that he enjoyed the experience particularly, but he was trying to understand the attraction of such music to the youth of the day. So he wasn’t quite such a crazy old coot as he appeared!

  511. Dave Littleproud

    I’ll go along with most of Graham Follett’s comments- I don’t remember Gus teaching physics -my memory is of “maths with fears”. Alan Bolt was a talented musician -I’ll bet that the confiscated records were being played at max volume-as teenagers do.
    Bob Whitely was delighted to spend one music lesson playing his Elvis Presley collection to Keats.
    Now I must stand with Richard Cripps-to my knowledge “Uncle Bill’s little boys” was an affectionate joke about a very kind man -I never heard of anything untoward-and I was at SCGS for eight years -Just remember this was not an Irish Roman Catholic boarding school in which the fear of god could be invoked -it was a school in which the pupils had started off intelligent enough to get in and whose parents, if not well educated themselves, were bright enough to see the advantage of a grammar school education. I think anything dodgy would have quickly surfaced. I believe that, like most of the staff, Uncle Bill was a nice guy with our best interests at heart-I think it a pity we didn’t always appreciate their efforts.

  512. Graham Follett

    I do agree, that Buzzer came across most benignly, and I only report what was said in my time there – 57 to 63.
    However, I know of a couple of boys in my class who would avoid him like the plague. I suppose nowadays they’d be considered as homophobic.
    There was also an English teacher – can’t remember his name, but I recall his face – who would rest him hand gently on a boys shoulder and leave it there for what seemed like too long, at the same time rolling up his tie and putting it in his mouth. I’m sure sex psychologists would have a whale of a time with that now. He was a small thin man with sort of curlyish hair and he wore a tweed jacket with elbow patches – not that that last item would separate him from the majority of teachers at Surbiton! But he gave me the creeps.

  513. Dave Littleproud

    Graham- you mean Geoff Harris-Ide- the tie rolling was a bit bizarre-like the rest he coached rugby-he always seemed ok to me -good teacher. Maybe I was naive in those days or perhaps nobody fancied me. Seriously tho’ I think in these paranoid days we look too deeply at what was probably totally innocent.
    I used to help with a local football team -if they got hurt you picked them up -quick cuddle -magic spit on the injured part and away they went -now some suspicious little mind would throw up all kinds of connotations.
    I can think of only three teachers who gave me the shivers and I will leave it there-they have been mentioned.
    If I don’t write again-Happy Easter to you all!

  514. Graham Follett

    Thanks, Dave – Harris-Ide, indeed. Having been the subject of a paedophile when I was 11 to 14, though not, I hasten to add at SCGS, I am perhaps a bit aware, on reflection, of what might have been. My instance was at the ‘hands’ of a very trusted, and outwardly respectable sports coach. When the game was up, al the sports club could do – in,what? 1960 – was ban him from the sport and advise the national body. That didn’t stop him from moving, as I understand it to a related sport, where his obvious expertise as a trainer would have been leapt on, I’m sure.

    But I digress. There were many happy times at Surbiton, and I have, through Friends Reunited to catch up with a couple of my old class mates, Paul Breeze and, the boxer I mentioned above, Arnold Pinder.

    I am forever indebted, as it happens, to ‘Old Doig’. I was recognised as someone falling behind in maths, and fora few weeks, with about 20 others, was kept behind once a week for extra maths with the head – I presume a maths specialist. Something magical happened due entirely, I think, to his teaching. Everything slotted into place, clicked and I never looked back. Now I still find maths a delight to tinker around with.

  515. Dave Littleproud

    Graham -now I know where you are coming from I can see your concern. I apologize if I appeared insensitive-I admire your courage in “letting it all hang out”. I hope you have not let it blight your life.
    I remember the name Arnold Pindar-I got friendly with Paul Breeze when I was at Kingston Polytechnic-I found myself in the year behind him-I also caught up with Jim Finlay again there-2 good guys.
    yes i had the pleasure of Doig’s extra maths-I am sad to say that it had little effect on me- I have enjoyed my kid’s education more than I enjoyed my own.
    The staffroom must have been fun with Doig asking assorted maths teachers why their charges were not cutting the mustard. I am convinced that my 5A was instrumental in driving a maths teacher “Cyril” Parsons in to the church. Pity -he was a nice enough guy.
    Why did we not embrace all that wonderful enlightenment with open arms?

  516. Dave Littleproud

    When in an earlier post I said that only 3 teachers gave me the shivers I meant in the sense of the physical or verbal punishment current at the time -nothing dodgy. I don’t remember Doig caning me.

  517. Les Thacker

    Just fallen across this fantastic memory lane site.
    At SCGS from 1950 -58
    Contempories from memory
    Kenny Player
    Stuart Davies
    Dave Morris
    Tom Brown
    Michael Pay
    Tony Gear
    Tig Herridge
    David Wade
    Tube Morley
    Most of above, all Colts and 1st XV players. Ken Player and David Wade great flankers, Stuart Davies a peerless fly half ( shame he was Welsh, might have got an England cap) all three represented the County and I seem to recall that Ken and David got English schoolboy caps.
    Had fantastic education (not cerebal) at Surbiton mostly spent playing rugby and running the tuck shop. A powerful appointment as I recall, as “Wagon Wheels” were on ration and were particular favourites of certain masters like Haywood. I seemed to remember always receiving good marks in Latin despite my total lack of knowledge of the language due to Haywards predeliction for Wagon Wheels. I recall also Haywood and the other senior classics master Rose ? spending their supervisory lunchtime duty periods wandering around the canteen conversing in Latin !
    Eddie Watkins coached the Colts team and if my memory serves me correctly at my advanced age, we had n’t lost a game since before WW2. Certainly he had us practising on Wednesday afternoons in Snow, hail and anything else that the weather threw at us. Still there was always the warm mud bath to look foward to at the end of the afternoon. As I recall SCGS had to be the best Rugby school in Surrey, probably only rivalled by Tiffin.
    Dr Turner (Scum) was a class act and we all looked forward to winding him up into a big one with eyes rolling and then losing it completely. A twice weekly cabaret act which would have gone down well at the Palladium.
    Sid Capper was another act to look forward to – locking some poor small defenceless unfortunate in the wardrobe/cupboard behind his desk would usually get the ball rolling.
    When I’ve managed to plough through this remarkable litany of memories from everyone I’m sure it will jog my mind and provoke a few more thoughts.
    Best regards to all Old Surbs

    Les Thacker

  518. Les Thacker

    Ooops , sorry at SCGS from 1951-1957

  519. Dave Littleproud

    Do you have a younger brother Chris?

  520. Les Thacker

    Yes Dave

    He joined the year I left so didn’t have the pleasure
    of introducing him to the bushes !

    My memory of Hayward was incorrect – it was Slash Heymans who was partial to Wagon Wheels and massaged my Latin efforts. If memory serves me correctly he was the son of a Belgium diamond merchant and once arrived on his Triumph twin motor bike one morning slightly ruffled , not his usual urbane self. His bike was an early model with a triangular instrument panel situated on the petrol tank. If you remember there were no self service garages in those distant days. The petrol pump attendant inserted the nozzle into the hole which once housed an ammeter and started to fill the tank result petrol onto a hot engine and a singed classics master .
    Alan Bolt also arrived in class one Monday morning also looking a bit secondhand. Apparently his daughter had ridden over him that w/e when he fell off his mount in front of her !
    In that era both masters and pupils were characters, a sad reflection on todays requirement of having to conform !

    Best regards


  521. Dave Littleproud

    Let me guess! You lived over by Kingston Vale and you brother Chris was pals with John Woods in my year going in to school on the greenline bus -you must be in some of the pictures.

  522. Les Thacker

    Yes Kingston Vale correct.
    I cycled to school everyday – could n’t be bothered with all the buses. Also had the advantage of not putting your cap on until bottom of the hill. Chris never communicated much to me on his school days as I went into Army whilst he was at SCGS. Must say what with SCGS and getting commissioned and looking after a platoon I had an education I’ve never regretted. Were you on the trip to Rochefort I think in ’56 ?. I missed it having broken my nose yet again at Rugby or Boxing, can’t remember but spent the whole of the summer with my French exchange student Jean-Pierre at his parents place. Interesting time as that’s when and how I met my future French wife.


  523. Dave Littleproud

    no not rochefort -never went on school trip-I was sep 1956-jul 1964-well educated me! What did you do in the army?
    How is Chris?


  524. Les Thacker


    Chris is in good form. Married like me, fairly young (I think that was the norm in those days) and has two sons.
    I originally with Bert Forward’s advice tried for Sandhurst but failed the written examination (too much rugby and little attention to the academic side whilst in the lower sixth ! ). However got called up and joined the famous RGJ now The Rifles. Had fantastic time learning lots of new skills, man management an essential (an art sadly missing in todays corporate world), using interesting kit and playing yet more rugby with some top class players. All that and being paid at the same time! What a great university. My youngest son spent 5 years in 40 Commando and since leaving has had a very successful career also.
    I was reflecting on reading through some of the blogs the very creative and differing methods of corporal punishment administered at SCGS by masters and prefects. Don’t think it did any of us harm. Not PC I know in our current culture but perhaps respect and discipline emanated from this practise that is so sadly lacking today.


  525. Paul Leadbitter

    I have just found this blog whilst googling idly from a hotel room in Mumbai.

    I was at Surbiton County Grammar from 1967-1974, during which period it changed to Esher College.
    My form teachers were (I think) Fry, Hodgson, (Nobby) Hall, Dave Chambers and Jock Lonsdale. Other teachers I remember were Eric “Wimpy” Waller, Ted Hillier, Basil Ignatius Hunt, Chopper Hackett, Taff Davies, Mrs Williams, Mr Walmsley, “Nut” Bolt, Mr Zaft, Mr Zetter, Geoff Harris-Ide, “Pop” Major, Jack Skene, PT Silley, “Bunny” Warren, “Deputy” Doig, Dai Jones, “Manny Joe” Fifer, Mrs Elks, Mrs Trevelyan-Jones, “Fripp” Junor, Reg Mole, “Mo” Morris (once administered corporal punishment on me with a croquet mallet), Sid Sentance, Joe Turner, Mr Buzby, Tom Mayhew, “Bomber” Lancaster, Mr Stannard, Mr Crouch, Dr “Scum” Turner, Mr Bayliss, Miss White and Sid Capper. I also fondly remember the ancient lab assistant, “Jasper” Aston, Grace “Nuff” and two German assistants: Bernd Link and, very fondly, Marianne Plonka.

    I suffered constant humiliation at the school, being small for my age, wearing glasses and having buck teeth. I was called “Rabbit Features” for much of the time I was there, and “Ronnie Corbett” for the rest of the time.

    But strangely, I still think those were amongst the best years of my life! I would love to hear from old friends from those years who might be watching these pages secretly. My email address is

  526. Dave Roberts

    Paul Leadbitter

    I remember you a little more than vaguely which is a miracle in itself after 45 years, bit busy today but check my postings around the end of October, I have similar memories although not with a croquet mallet. I found John Crowch one of the most approachable teachers I have ever met, a real nice guy. John Bayliss hated my guts from day 1 ( my brothers fault but I won’t elaborate) and blamed me and (or) Russ Procter for everything.
    Another of my cohorts which I shamefully forgot to mention earlier was a good old mate john Humm, the last time I saw him was on Waterloo station, he was 6’7″ !
    Two other teachers come to mind, Ralph Cook, looked like Omar Shariffe and said the word ‘basically’ at least once per sentence which was picked up on of course. In one lesson he got a bit tongue tied and the sentence (something like)
    “Basically, the basis for this was basically basically -I’VE GOT TO STOP SAYING BLOODY BASICALLY” but all in good humour. There was also a maths teacher Jim Maguire but I don’t remember too much about him other than he had a big thing about not leaning back on chairs so being the complete idiot I leant sideways on my chair. He put me in detention when someone ‘aided’me and I fell sideways with chair and desk and contents onto the floor (once he’d stopped laughing).

  527. Dave Littleproud


  528. Paul Leadbitter

    Dave Roberts!

    Yes, I am sure I remember you too. In particular, a party piece involving a towel in the changing rooms….

    … but moving swiftly on…

    I remember the approachable John Crowch, who quickly became a legend in the place for turning his RE lessons into early sex education lessons, including diagrams on the blackboard. I was incredibly frustrated, because I was left in Dr “I’ve seen boys CANED for less” Turner’s group, copying the scriptures in neat copperplate.

    I also remember “Basically” Cook of British Constitution fame, plus most of the names you mention in your Ocober 2009 postings. Particular mentions to:

    “Eyebrows” Batley. When I was a first former, I distinctly remember him having a Saturday job at our local Sainsbury’s in Esher. In those days, Sainsbury’s only seemed to sell bacon, eggs and cheese, and I remember that he was on the cheese counter, allowed to use the fuse wire cheese cutter. Respect.

    John Budden. A good friend of mine, with whom I had been at primary school, Great guitarist too.

    Simon Lydbury, RIP. I had heard that he had passed on, but I didn’t know what had happened before. One of those that was a lesson to us all.

    John Humm. Innately eccentric and very funny. Last I heard of him, he was a professor at Harvard or somewhere like that.

    I also remember from these pages: Procter, Maguire, Arthurs, Denney, Kent, Cox, Edwards, Butterfield, Pritchard, Lavender, Barnes (both of them), Gillam (“Linked In” with him today), Shepherd, Shorthouse….. and many more.

    Great days!


  529. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    I am still here in sunny Suffolk Dave,looking after our youngest grandson in the hols. The last time I was in touch I had “Swine” flu,I would not wish it on my worst enemy,but they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Richard Day has been very quiet? I recently contacted Alan Duff,an old Surb and Bonner Hill classmate of mine,he said he had looked at the blog.Keep up the good work,

  530. A little off the subject perhaps, but a request for people to think about the ethics of buying wetsuits. Please try and think about, for example, the materials your product is made from, the conditions of the employees where they’re made and the green credentials of retailers. And endeavour to recycle rather than discarding. Thanks!!!!

  531. Dave Littleproud

    what’s this guy on?

  532. Chris Leaney

    It’s the solvents from the rubber….

  533. Gosh, this has grown….left a post a couple of years ago and for some reason found my way back and have just spend an amazing half our skimming through.

    The one post that really caught my eye was from Keith Watling on 6 August 2009. He mentioned John Coxall’s film “The Boy”…I was one of the stars!! I’ve fond memories of it, taken on 16mm black and white film, no sound of course. It starred “PO” Phillips as the bullied boy, I was one of the bullies. I’d give a lot to see that film again, taken at the ST Marks Hill site and in and arround the woods between Thames Ditton and Claygate…

    He also mentioned the Avation Society. I was an active member, we published a magazine and raised 10/- for the Swimming Pool Fund.

    Also, posts from David Roberts….are you the David Roberts from Claygate, neighbour of Colin Humphris and Martin Barell?

    I’ll be back a bit more often…..

  534. Dave Littleproud

    Very good Chris -it took a moment for the penny to drop!

  535. Dave Roberts

    Peter Jenks.

    No I am not Claygate David Roberts, not so up market, I am the Chessington version, user of the heavily oversubscribed 152 bus to the Ace of Spades. I was at SCGS 1966 – 1972 in Coutts house.

  536. Paul Leadbitter

    Peter Jenks.

    I remember you, too. As far back as Claygate Primary School and the 1172 Esher Squadron ATC . I think you were a Flight Sergeant?

    I also remember Cadet Warrant Officer Colin Humphrys. I think he lived in Crediton Way, or somewhere round that area.

    I also seem to remember you having a stunning girlfriend who lived in Hinchley Wood!

  537. CLF

    Names to jog memories:RC “Dick” Naylor, Keith Thomas. Andy Fryer, Steve Mustoe, Howard Amor, RC Harris, Graham Sayers, Tony Calver, John Selwood, DV Smith, AR Harrison, Phil Harrison, ? Eyles, P “Bepo” Barrett, Dymond or Diment, Deluce, Tony Dallimore, Keith Owen, ? Ralph, Kirby, Pat Neale, Chris Leaney, Kenny Peercival, D Douthwaite, C Cuffley. Michael Black, N Chalmers Greg Coutts late entrant, A Hoawrd, John Rodd Roger Woollen. A Gomez late entrant J Hitch. Colin Bowes, Tony Ashfield, Chris Huband, A Freitag, M Redstone, Alex Hillier ? Kelleher, Southgate or Southcott, Johnathan Tack, Jeremy Richardson and there’s more.
    Does anyone remenber the challenge from Fleetwood School- Rugby and footbal tournament we won both and the second eleven also won 1-0?

    The trips to Betchworth, the little gang who took up dancing Melody’s near Richmond Road. Chris Leaney getting bitten by a squirrel.
    M Dunkley and the formidable Mick Dunjay and the Claygate mob.
    Alan Corker from Stoke D’Abernon. Where are they now. Sammy Waters older late entrant, the other Kev(in)Walters a year older and a guarantee of a few tries in each game, the Mitcham Grammar games. RC Harris and Ralph ending up going to hospital after crashing heads to tackle their scrum half as he scored a try.
    David Deacon demon bowler. Frank Hartfree latterly local businessman and councillor. A Kinloch who transferred to a posh school near Ottershaw.
    Phil Yeend, A Jake Jardine another Police family, A “Tony” Weekes, John White, N Graham.
    Is dave Little proud the guy who wore a drape tight trousers(emphasised his bow legs) wore winkle-pickers and was Arty in Villiers house? I think a year or so older. A bit unapproachable but a nice guy.
    Osborne the highly intelligent one and Osbourne of Lovelace House.
    Roger Trussler Molesey one to be feared a year older.
    Alan Duff god sport and prefect, the creep Sotheb-Smith a bully with his henchmen, A Stovold another known as a prefect far from perfect.
    Dick Fin(d)lay, Egmont athlete.
    That’s all for now , I look forward to any coments.

  538. Dave Littleproud

    Dave Littleproud did not wear a drape tight trousers(emphasised his bow legs) wear winkle-pickers and was Arty in Villiers house? I think you must mean Pete Cole who received several standing ovations for his renditions of “Be Bop a Lula” in the house music competition. Yeah Pete was a great guy-hopfully still is – the unapproachability was shyness -last heard of teaching art to hospital patients -a very kind guy as well – I went to Italy with Pete as my pillion rider, on my 650 BSA -along with Andy Stewart on his scooter-a great months holiday. Pete’s bosom buddy was Chris Hall-encyclypaedic knowledge of “New Musical Express” and who learnt to play an excellent game of chess after only three tries. I was renowned for being able to grow a full beard and suffering a permanent 5 o’clock shadow which Bas Hewson insisted was green. It is now gr–!!

  539. Chris Leaney

    A process of elimination leaves CLF as the indomitable Colin Fleming (or has age got the better of me?). I hadn’t quite forgotten the attack by the marauding squirrel – the scars are a permanent reminder after more than 40 years. As I recall Tony Dallimore and I were cycling to Mick Douthwaite’s place on the top of Kingston Hill (Kingsnympton??) when the squirrel – clearly stunned – landed at my feet. First thought – clearly stupid – was to pick it up and see if it was OK whereupon it mistook me for its assailant and retaliated.
    Tony Dallimore I occasionally see and still keep in correspondence with his ageing mother. Mick Douthwaite emigrated to Australia in the mid ’60s with his family and was tragically killed in a road traffic accident in 1982. As for the rest…….?
    There is a group (unofficially chaired by Mick Aust) that meets once or twice a year to share thoughts, beers and the odd (I do really mean odd) bit of musical nonsense. Stalwarts include John Rodd, Mike Anscombe, John Sammes, Colin Parrat and myself with honorary attendances (in the pub) from the likes of Baz Hunt and Mike Fyffer. If anyone is interested I’ll pass on the details of the next gathering when a date is announced.

  540. Paul Leadbitter

    Hi Chris,

    I vividly remember Messrs Hunt and Fifer, both of whom taught me. I would love to meet them again, so please post when the next event will be.

    I live in Hong Kong now, but get back to Surrey about once a year. It would be great to arrange a trip back when those two will be in attendance.

    Talking of Mr Fifer, who is a real gent, does anyone else remember the issue of the “Crown Topper” ads. He didn’t deserve that, but if it really was him (I still have my doubts), he should have known better than to do that as a teacher at Surbiton Grammar!

  541. Dave Littleproud

    Andrew Stunell????

  542. Karl Jackson

    Just stumbled across this blog trying to find some archive info about Surbiton Grammar, my dad, NICHOLAS JACKSON went there, born 1940 so circa 1951 to 1957, same time as Colin Herridge, did quite well in the rugby team. Unfotunately he passed away recently and i am trying to do a bit of a family tree so any info would be great.

  543. richard day

    Can anybody tell me why heskey played today instead oh Crouch?

  544. Dave Littleproud

    Hi Richard -great to know there is still life out there! I dunno -I went to a rugby school. Nice sunny weather here -if you are not a hay fever sufferer. And at 21.03 bst I still don’t know who won.

  545. David Pringle

    Pleased to discover this blog (via a link at Facebook). I was at Surbiton County Grammar School from 1961 to 1966. My family moved to the Midlands in the summer of 1966, just after I had taken my “O” levels; but undoubtedly I would have gone through the 6th Form at SCGS had we remained in the area. (So people who took “A” levels and left in 1968 should all be my contemporaries.)

    Unfortunately, I don’t see many of my year-cohort mentioned here; but in April 2009 one Paul Stevens (whose name I don’t remember, I’m afraid) said: “My experience lasted from 1963 to 1966… I can only remember Kelsall, who sadly died at Surbiton station, Corbett, Williams, I can’t seem to see anyone else from this era. Is any body out there. How about Simon Lever, hair was so long they would’nt let him in the 1965 panoramic photo…”

    I remember Kelsall vaguely. How on earth did he come to die at Surbiton station?

    But I remember Simon Lever vividly. Indeed, he was one of my friends. He was the school “rebel intellectual” in our year, and I’d love to know what became of him. Did he become a journalist, writer, rock star? Presumably not, or I would have heard more of him over the years…

    Simon Lever was one of a small group of us who passed books around in the playground. It began with Lady Chatterley, Mickey Spillane, James Bond and the like when we were very young, but later, when we were 15 or so, it got on to more heavyweight stuff. I remember Simon giving me some sort Pelican (blue-covered paperback) introduction to Freud and psychoanalysis. Also he got me to read The Ginger Man by J. P. Donleavy (rebel Irishry), Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (American negro sufferings), and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (more rebel Irishry, of an earlier vintage). This was our unofficial playground book group! It was probably more influential on me than most of what was taught by Bidmead, Sid Capper, Keats Cocks, et al., in the classroom.

    So I owe Simon Lever a lot. Where is he now?

    Other particular friends of his and mine were Gilbert Mance, Clive Uridge (both fairly unusual names) and more ordinary souls like Geoff Jackson and Christopher Lucy. Anyone remember them?

    Geoff Crowther is a name I seem to recall. He wrote here, also in April 2009: “I attended from 1961 to 1965, at which time we moved to Canada. I remember Hunt, but I had Bidmead (handy with the ruler) for Latin. … Masters I recall having are Coutts (Keats) for English, Sid Capper for French…”

    Yes, you definitely sound like one of my contemporaries, Geoff — but you’re wrong about “Coutts”: that teacher’s name was Cocks. Sid Capper always had spittle at the corners of his mouth, and couldn’t control the class. The periods when he took us were always chaotic. Remember that?

    A boy I particularly remember (and also associate with Simon Lever) is one who left on the dot of his 15th birthday — he couldn’t wait to get away and go to work for his father’s small publishing firm. His name was Patrick O’Connor, and he was a very peculiar, but stimulating, sort of person — tall, fattish (useless at games), and with a curiously grown-up, middle-aged manner. I really liked him, because he taught me about lots of things of which I knew nothing — old films, old music-hall artistes, and the arts generally. I kept in touch with him after he left, visiting his house in Richmond on a few occasions (at least once with Simon Lever in tow), and then, when I moved away from Surbiton, we remained pen-pals for a few years. The letters petered out when we were both in our early 20s, I suppose. I didn’t keep Patrick’s letters, but I wish now I had, because he subsequently became quite a well-known music critic for the press.

    I was immensely saddened to learn just recently that Patrick died of a heart attack earlier this year:

    He was a quite extraordinary person, utterly one of a kind, and he really ought to be counted among Surbiton County Grammar’s famous “alumni” — even though he left without taking any exams.

    But enough for now!

    David Pringle.

  546. Dave Littleproud

    David! you may remember that 5th and 6th formers acted as table monitors to the 2nd forms . I remember being table monitor to 6 little boys two of whom were called Lucy and Finlayson-Lucy had dark hair -I can’t remember if he was called Chris –nice lads,

  547. Dave Littleproud

    I had a very enjoyable coffee or two with Hugh Williams (6th form 1963-1965 A level art) yesterday -he is well looks prosperous and not too fat!!

  548. David Pringle

    Dave L: Thanks for the glimpse of my pal Chris Lucy when he was a nice little lad. Yes, he had dark hair. He also had slightly rabbity teeth, but was a pretty boy nevertheless. (I can’t say I remember the name Finlayson, but he may have been another of our classmates.) When we got to be about 14 or 15, Chris Lucy was quite precocious with the girls. I remember him claiming to have lost his virginity when he was only 14. We didn’t know whether to believe him or not. (Simon Lever muttered something about “glorified masturbation” — Lord, the things which stick in one’s mind!) I do wish I knew what became of both Chris and Simon. I think I saw Chris Lucy just once in after-years, when I revisited Surbiton in my late teens; but I never saw Simon Lever again after the age of 16.

    Steve Burry is another name I now remember. Geoff Jackson and Steve Burry were my “best friends” in the first couple of years I was at the school, 1961-1963. Afterwards I gravitated more towards people like Chris Lucy and the most unusual Patrick O’Connor. Geoff Jackson had an older brother also at the school — perhaps two years above us? Can’t remember his first name, but do you recall a Jackson who might have been in your year or the one below? This Jackson senior ended up as some sort of seriously-committed hippie living in a Welsh commune, I heard in later years…

    David P.

  549. Dave Littleproud

    David P-yes sounds like the same guy -he caught the 603 bus from the bottom of Cambridge Road by St Peter’s church. Well done Chris!

  550. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Well lads now you’ve done it,when you said that Chris Lucy had buck teeth and dark hair and definitely had a way with the ladies, I was not the one by the way,if he lived in Mill Street Kingston,he is the same one,and those teeth were definitely not good for kissing,I was probably only about twelve at the time, and can’t remember where I met him. If it is the same one I am very sorry to tell you that he was killed while riding pillion on his brothers motorcycle,and I have checked it on the G R O death records,he was seventeen. I do have very fond memories of him and I do hope he was telling the truth!

  551. David Pringle

    Ros: Oh, dear. I’m sorry to hear that someone named Chris Lucy died at the age of 17 in a motorcycle accident, but I don’t think this can be the same Chris Lucy we’re talking about. Didn’t you say somewhere in the huge stack of posts above that you were in the year below Eric Clapton at Hollyfield school? Eric was born in 1945. “My” Chris Lucy would have been born the same year as me, 1950, and he was still alive at least as late as 1968 because we were still corresponding, occasionally, at the age of 18. I no longer have the letters, but I have a diary I kept in 1968 which mentions letters from Chris Lucy and how I spoke to him at least once on the phone. We drifted out of contact with each other after that.

    By the way, my younger brother, Leslie Pringle, went to Hollyfield, and he has always claimed in after-years that he was “at the same school as Eric Clapton.” (Until 1966, when, as I’ve said, our family moved away from Surbiton.) But Leslie was born in 1952, and so must have been part of that school’s 1963 intake, by which time the great God Clapton was long gone.

    David P.

  552. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    I am very glad that it was not your Chris Lucy, David,but at the time it was a big shock ,these things hit you harder when you are young.
    I was born in 1947,and Eric was two years above me, as the art group spent most of their time at 35 Ewell Road annexe,and most of them stayed on for a sixth year to do A level art we probably tended to mix more,and that is how the Yardbirds came about. I left at the end of the fifth year in 1963,I will have to ask my best friend Dot if Eric still came around for lunchtime jam sessions.
    If you want to find your friend Chris try for the UK electoral rolls or White Pages for the USA, Australia and New Zealand are very good.

  553. Dave Littleproud

    David and Ros ( great to hear from you! ) I wondered why Chris Lucy living in Mill Street caught the 603 at the junction of Cambridge Road and London Road-I remember him usually being with his Mum who I presumed was on her way to work -there was no sign of an older brother and Chris never mentioned one during lunchtime conversations- a nice kid– I’ll try to pick him out of the 1963 panorama.

  554. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    I have just had a quick look at the B M D records and yours seems to be Christopher J. registered in the March quarter of 1950 in Surrey North, I found two marriages, although one could be a son with the same name,the first was in 1976 in Westminster, and the second in 1991 in Chichester,there were no deaths up until 2005. One wife was called Penelope and the other Atlanka,this may help with electoral rolls.Good luck!

  555. Dave Littleproud

    Yup -in the 1963 panorama on the extreme right hand picture Chris is diagonally behind Scum’s right shoulder and diagonally in front of Mick Puggard-Moller’s right shoulder- Mick was sadly killed in a car crash about c1969-a good friend and a great artist.

  556. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Well Dave as I knew my Chris in1959/60 ,he could have moved!

  557. Dave Littleproud

    Very good Ros ! One marriage in 1976 and a son with the same name marrying in 1991-bit close -could the name of the second marriage be Atlanta??

  558. Dave Littleproud

    Did C and A have children after 1991?

  559. David Pringle

    Ros: Many thanks for all your advice and help. Yes, Christopher J. Lucy sounds right, and a birth date in the first quarter of 1950 (like mine) sounds right too. So it seems as though he kept up his womanizing ways — a marriage in 1976, presumably followed by a divorce, and a second marriage in 1991. (I think 1991 would have been too early for that second marriage to have been his son’s — if he has a son. My son didn’t get married until 2005.)

    David P.

  560. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Dave and David ,I have just had a look and your Chris seems to have been an only child.

  561. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    David it looks as if he has three children from the first marriage and five from the second, wow I think I like him!

  562. Dave Littleproud

    ros -my 8.53 and my 8.55??

  563. Dave Littleproud

    after the papal productivity medal then? -think of all those sleepless nights and nappies!! and the school fees!!
    Was wife no 2 Atlanta ?

  564. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Dave it is definitely Atlanka on the index it will not allow me to view the original to compare,and the last child was born in 2001. Ask me another!!

  565. Dave Littleproud

    Why by 2003 were C and Atlanta living at separate addresses?

  566. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Yes Dave but think of all the fun in between, and perhaps they can afford a live in nanny!

  567. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    What is this about separate addresses ,the first marriage was in Westminster and the second in Chichester.

  568. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    Sorry ,yes wife number two was Atlanka.

  569. Dave Littleproud

    Apologies- Let it go -I have let my genealogical curiosity run too far-as I said – a nice kid-I hope all is well for him

  570. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    By the way David P as he did not get married until he was twenty six ,he may have had a son before!

  571. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    I hope if David tracks him down,probably in Chichester,he will forgive us for all this Dave?

  572. David Pringle

    Ros: Wow — eight kids! He seems to have been quite a breeder. Thanks again. I must see if I can contact him, maybe in Chichester.

    David P.

  573. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    It is Chichester registration district David so could be anywhere within that.

  574. David Pringle

    Dave L: This panorama photo you refer to … “Yup -in the 1963 panorama on the extreme right hand picture Chris is diagonally behind Scum’s right shoulder and diagonally in front of Mick Puggard-Moller’s right shoulder…” … I’m afraid I can’t seem to get your link from months ago to work. Is it possible you could send me that photo direct? If Chris Lucy is on there, then I’m sure I’m on there too, and probably all our contemporaries. It would be most interesting to see, and I’d be grateful. My email is:

    – David P.

  575. Hi David … I was at SCGS from 1956-1963. The extra year was because I was a young ‘recruit’, being a May birthday and they put me into the express stream for some unknown reason as I only just scraped through the eleven plus on the re-sit. Still, someone had to be at the bottom group in the class I guess!

    I ended up doing the 5-year O level course in 4, so when I finished my A-levels in 1962 I was only 17 and too young for university under the then rules of the game (great forward planning eh!) Spent the third 6th form year mostly goofing around.

    Been following this ‘blog’ for a while, occasionally contributing.

    Reason for e-mailing directly is re the school photos etc.

    How do I link to these to download them?

    Malcolm Penn

    PS …compared with the recent interchange re David; I fell quite inadequate. Only have five kids and three wives … way to go eh?

  576. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    David P, I have left a message for you on Friends Reunited,I use my husbands name!

  577. David Pringle

    Ros: Thanks, but I’m not actually on Friends Reunited! Maybe I’ll join, though. I joined Facebook just a week or so ago — which is how I ended up here, surprisingly enough. When I fed “Surbiton County Grammar School” into the search facility at Facebook, it pointed me to the Wikipedia entry on the school (highly inaccurate), and to this blog — so I came here and found all these fascinating reminiscences.

    Does anybody else here have a presence on Facebook?

    David P.

  578. Ros Theobald nee Burkin

    David P,unless there is another David Pringle who moved from Scotland in 1961 and went to SCGS,you are on there!It should come up in your mail list anyway.
    I have been thinking about all these marriages you boys have had, are you looking for miss perfect,because I can assure you,like mr perfect,she doesn’t exist!

  579. David Pringle

    Dave L: Many thanks for e-mailing me direct the relevant portion of that school panorama photo. Ah, yes, it evokes such memories!

    You said: “Yup -in the 1963 panorama on the extreme right hand picture Chris is diagonally behind Scum’s right shoulder and diagonally in front of Mick Puggard-Moller’s right shoulder- Mick was sadly killed in a car crash about c1969-a good friend and a great artist.”

    I’m afraid I don’t remember the name Puggard-Moller (and it’s surely a name to remember). Was he in your year at the school? Not mine, I think. Anyway, yes, I see Chris Lucy — not a very good photo of him, as it happens. So, is the master in the row in front of him, and a bit to his left, the one you call Scum (of whom I have no recollection)? And the teacher directly on Scum’s left — is that the martinet Gus Hillier? He looks a bit fierce. If so, see the boy directly in front of Hillier, with brushed-back, apparently Brylcreemed hair? That’s my friend Geoff Jackson. And see the boy directly behind and above Hillier? That, I think, is Steve Burry, who palled around with Geoff Jackson and me in our first couple of years at the school. Take a diagonal five rows back from Steve Burry, to the topmost row, and you see an older boy with glasses who also has brushed-back hair. I think that may well be Geoff Jackson’s older brother — certainly, he looks a bit like Geoff, though I’m only guessing here…

    David P.

  580. David Pringle


    I am indeed the David Pringle who moved from Scotland to Surrey in 1961 (but I’m back in Scotland now).

    Yes, I was briefly active on Friends Reunited eight years ago, in 2002. Evidently they’ve kept my information stored — which I suppose is what all these social-networking websites do. I never fully joined, though, or paid them any money as I recall. Maybe I ought to go back there…

    Anyway, some brief autobiography for you: I was born in Scotland in 1950. My family moved to Surrey in January 1961. We lived at 14 Orchard Gardens, Chessington. My brother Leslie (born 1952) and I attended Hook St Pauls primary school — in my case, only for two terms, because I then entered Surbiton County Grammar in September ’61. As I’ve told you, Leslie went to Hollyfield, probably starting there in 1963. We moved from Chessington to 75 King Charles Road some time in 1964 — so, very close indeed to where the school then was.

    In the summer of 1966 my father (a Scotsman on the make) got a new job, so we were off again — to Sutton Coldfield, near Birmingham, where I attended Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School until 1968. So my memories of Surbiton are somewhat overlaid with memories of Bishop Vesey’s (which was a very similar grammar school at the time). Things do blur…

    David P.

  581. David Pringle

    I’ve dug out from the attic the two copies of the Surbitonian that I still possess — the issues for 1965 and 1966. I kept them because they both contain pieces by me. In the second of those, my article “A Christmas Journey, 1965″ is about the cruise to the Holy Land some of us undertook aboard the SS Nevasa. What a pretentious piece it is, though — short on hard facts, and long on vague impressions. It’s signed “D. W. Pringle, V.A.” More interesting to me now is the piece which immediately follows — “Valete” by K. Bidmead. He writes about the three veteran masters who retired in 1965, Messrs Forward, Hayward and Dyer. (A. J. Doig, the headmaster since 1952, retired at the same time, but there’s a separate tribute to him, not by Ken Bidmead.) Old Ken’s piece gives us a precise date for when it all began:

    ” ‘Bert’ Forward was one of the four young assistant masters who met the first intake of the school, 69 boys, on 16th September, 1925.”

    He also reminds us that the school’s motto was Animo et Fide Pergite — with courage and faith press on. I’d forgotten that.

    When did the school “end”? 1973, was it, when it became Esher 6th Form College? So, it had rather less than 50 years’ life in total. Sic transit gloria mundi (as Ken Bidmead might well have said). History trundles on.

    David P.

  582. Derek Yalden

    Iwas at SCGS 1952-1959; I remember Colin Munday as the year below me, with Ian Colins and Cliff Pottter. I joined the last year of Willis’ headship, and then had to put up with Doig til I left, after a 23rd year in the 6th ( I took ALs at 17 so too young to go straight to University). Frank Nowell went on to become a lecturuer at the University of Reading, a parasitologist. I ended up spending 40 years teaching zoology at Manchester. My main memeories among the teaching staff are of Mo Morris, who sadly died rather young . He commuted from Fetcham near Leatherhead on a little pop-pop, which he also test drove round the biology lab. after decoking. I can also remember trying to race Jock Longsdale up St Mark’s Hill – he had a motor-assisited bicycle; but he was also an excellent French teacher. I could never afford his trips to Montreux, but I did, between LVI and UVI, cycle round northern France, plane-spotting, and used my best school-boy French to buy pastries. Taffy Davis taught Chemistry, not Biology. He claimed to have served on ground staff with 617 Squ, and to have known, distantly, Guy Gibson. Adrian Bolt is still with us, in Cumbria I think; there is a Braemar web-site somewhere, but I don’t (usuaally) spend time on this sort of thing, so haven’t found it.

  583. Peter Pocock

    Hi Derek,

    I am sure I remember you, but was junior to you by a couple of years. A couple of points from your letter however:

    1) I think you are being just a tiny bit modest about your 40 years teaching Biology at Manchester. I just Googled you and I see that, apart from having Wikipedia page devoted to your achievements, you must be the only Old Surb to have an Ethiopian Tree Frog and an unspecified Ethiopian Rodent named in your honour. Bet no-one from Tiffins or Kingston Grammar ever achieved that. I am seriously impressed.

    2) 23 years in the 6th form must be some sort of record!!!

    3) Wasn’t Bolt’s name Alan?

  584. John Davies

    SCGS 1958 to 65
    Been following this for a while, but only now inspired to join in by Derek Yalden’s contribution. Despite only being a weedy second former when DY was a prefect I remember him well – not only for Natural History Society expeditions to Black Ponds and West End Common but also for a particularly accurate clip round the ear for a short-cut across the grass, or some such transgression.
    I’m only in touch with one other of the 1958 intake – Stan Becker – (my brother in law).
    Anyone know whereabouts of Peter Howes?
    Keep up the reminiscences – I cringe at the memories of Dr. Turner and smile at memories of Keats……………………….


  585. Richard Cripps

    How about that! Stanley Becker was one of the 1958 intake from Park Road Junior School in East Molesey, together with Peter Goodenough, Chris Metcalfe, Peter Spurgeon and myself. I have to admit that I can’t put a face to your name but I do remember Stanley, he lived by the watersplash in Summer Road.

  586. Pete Foster

    SCGS 1954-1960 (Express form jumped 1 year)
    Hi Derek, I remember you as one of the more acceptable prefects a couple of years ahead of me at SCGS. Although we never crossed swords at SCGS I did get to meet you in the summer of 1959 when we both took summer holiday jobs on Poupart’s farm in Hersham to finance our respective continental holidays. We weeded seemingly endless rows of onions for 1/10d per hour while reminiscing over life at SCGS. That year I rode pillion to Venice and Rimini with my elder brother Mike who you may remember from primary school days. My memories of Mo Morris may be somewhat different than yours but also shaped my future. As a third former I was carefully negotiating the darkened corridor which led from the rear entrance to Albury House against the crowded flow of oncoming classes when two hands descended on my shoulders from the rear and I was propelled forward at high speed, being used as a battering ram. I was eventually released outside the biology lab and turned round to clock the offending B, only to find myself confronted by the red , ginger moustached face of Mo Morris. I thought Mo was going to explode- Boy what a temper. We both decided unconsciously, there and then, that Biology was not for me. For the interested I later qualified as a Radar Design engineer. Thank goodness Mo did not teach Maths and Physics,

  587. Dave Littleproud

    Hi Peter!-glad you are still with us.
    yes Alan Bolt was recently hale and hearty in Cumbria.

  588. Chris Leaney

    As promised, information from Mike Aust re:get together…
    “Our next get-together for a pint and chat will be on Saturday 4th September, at the usual venue, the Victoria pub in Surbiton, say from about 8 p.m. on. I have selected this date for purely selfish reasons, viz. I have to be in London the previous day to attend a ceremony at the Institution of Civil Engineers in Westminster where my eldest daughter is being presented with her certificates as a MICE and a C.Eng , so it’ll save me two trips ‘down south’ from rural Shropshire. Therefore all requests for alternative dates will be passed through the normal channels before being rejected!
    I will again be contacting Bas Hunt in the hope that a sprinking of ex-SCGS teachers will be able to join us.
    Look forward to seeing as many of you as possible”

  589. Dave Littleproud

    Chris – you must be very proud! Well done Miss Leaney!

  590. Ian Collins

    Well hello fellow Old Surbs! I did find this site some years ago but few of my fellow pupils had then taken up the challenge. My term of endurance was Sep 1952 – Dec 1957. AG Willis was the head until Christmas 1952, after which we had to endure the ministrations of the disasterous Doig. However I do look back on my 5+ years at SCGS quite fondly and, despite the efforts of a few of the masters, consider I had a very good education; especially by today’s standards.

    Gaffer, you old so & so, how on earth did they ever let you into USA. Good to see Ray Cawthorne’s name again. I’m still in fairly regular contact with Derek Yalden & Alan Church (whose older brother, Murray has posted here) and have only recently lost touch with Cliff Potter, who was my best man and I his. Must re-establish that contact.
    I am living in Wiltshire, next door to an Old Surbitonian, who will be 93 in a couple of weeks. His name is Harry Broadbridge and he was at the school in the 1930s, a couple of years senior to Alan Boult. Strangely Alan was my first form master (2C in the smallest form room in the school). Last heard, Alan was well, living in the Lake District and had not long retired as MFH of his local hunt. If I remember correctly the form list was: Cawthorne, R. (Chuff), Collins, I., Dillow. I., Donne Davis, P., Eggleston, L (Humpty). Froude, J., Gill, R., Harrington, P. (Harrry), Herbert, G.(Polly), Highley, S., Inwood, L. Layzell, A., Munday, C.(Gaffer), Pickering, P., Potter, C., Poulton,?(Granny), Rumsey, C., Smith, G., Sutton, M., Vimpany, J., Wicker, A. (Twick), Woollard, P.
    Who can forget Pete Harrington’s immortal lyrics addressed to Len Eggleston:

    Ha, ha, ha!
    Hee, hee, hee!
    Humpty’s nest in a rhubarb tree!

    I don’t quite remember Len’s reaction but even with his usual mild character, I suspect it was fairly violent.

    I’m sure that there were 23 in the class so I must have forgotten someone. Sorry whoever you are. If anyone remembers, I‘d like to know.
    Apart from Cliff, the only one I have bumped into in the intervening years is Tony Wicker, who was working in Basingstoke some 30 odd years ago.
    A lot of the names above are quite familiar. It was good to see that Colin remembered ‘Fanny’ Price, who sadly took his own life whilst depressed. It was his sad demise that was the trigger for the formation of “The Braemar Club”, mentioned earlier by Ray Cawthorne.
    Quite a lot of my year, were at junior school (St. Paul’s, Hook) with my wife of some 48 years, Pat Nash. I don’t suppose ‘Tig’ Herridge remembers being floored by her. She also remembers Fanny, Michael Herbert & Alan Howells as well as Dave Wade, who also lived in Somerset Avenue close to Pat. The youngsters of that road used to “invade” our school field in the evenings, week-ends & holidays.

    I notice that most remember Maurice (MMC) Cocks, better known as Keats for his frequent quoting of same. I learned some time ago that he also took his own life.
    I had some contact with Eric Waller, Doig’s successor, in the mid 80s, after I found out that the Marjorie Waller who I saw at a conference every year, was his wife. Then retired as principal of Esher College, he was still meeting Ted Hillier & Geoff Harris Ide for a weekly pint. A couple of years later he passed on and the following year Marjorie told me that Ted had gone as well. For all his terrorising of the lower school, I found him very amusing when he was my form master in the 5th. I also knew him as an ACF instructor a few years after leaving school and he was a totally different character, even if as sardonic. Alan Church could verify this as well.

    I wonder how many of the following party remember my organisation of the trips to the Coventry Air Pageant & King’s Cup Air Races 1956 & 7. I found the list for 1957: Church, Healey, Hutchinson, Munday, Piggott, Sutton, Yalden plus a couple of non-school types. It cost you lucky lads a whopping £1/0/6½d(£1.0271) for your return from Wimbledon to Coventry! Plane spotting was quite the thing then and I’m still a member of Air Britain.

    It’s quite funny to see the different views and opinions of various masters but perhaps that topic can hold over for another day. Hope I haven’t libelled anyone and would be pleased to hear from any of you. By the way, Dave Littleproud, Tony Wicker & I were also ex Latchmere Road! The only ones of our year to go to Surbiton!

  591. Dave Littleproud

    Ian -hi-if you went to Latchmere where did you live – I was in Cross Road near the barracks. Very sorry to hear about Keats -upon reflection -a nice man. I recognise many of the names you mention.
    General call — any one know what happened to John Oborn, I guess 1950 -1958 . Decent bloke who ran the Christian Union and read great stories at his lunchtime meetings.

  592. Ian Collins

    Hi Dave

    Lived (& was born) in Wolsey Drive on the Tudor Estate. Left in Oct 1956 and went to live in Worcester Park. Was at Latchmere from 1946-1952. We got thrown out of the Scout Hut on the corner of Tudor Drive & Park Road, where Form 4 was situated, at Easter. So I and some others were shipped out to Richmond Road School for the Summer Term before going to Surbiton.

  593. Dave Littleproud

    Ian-Scout hut is still there and is HQ for 1st Kingston Hill Scouts. I remember Mr Branson telling us about when he was there with Form 4-how during the snow the whole class ganged up on him. I seemed to spend 2 years writing out tables because I kept getting on his wrong side-then I finished up in his class! He kept a piece of wood called the “home rule” which was applied to my backside on a number of occasions-once when trying to stop him coming into the classroom.
    From Latchmere I remember Mr Pearson,Miss Audric,Mr Edmonds, Mr Price, Miss Madley ,Mrs Alexander.
    Miss Stanbridge was Infants head-with her assistant Miss Crow-teachers were Miss Ridout,Miss Mayall, Miss Farhall, Miss Evans-caretaker was Mr Bushnell.

  594. Ian Collins

    Dave – I am amazed that the Scout Hut is still there…Must have been rebuilt. It always gave the impression that it was near its life end when we were there. I was a 1st Kingston Hill Cub and the Canbury Residents Association used to hold social evenings there.
    The snowballing incident was in the winter of ’51-2; I was part of it. Branson was undoubtedly the best teacher in the school. Pearson, the headmaster, was strict but very fair and quite kind. The school secretaries were the Misses Crowe; the elder sister for the juniors and the younger for the infants (she was very manly, all brogues and tweeds and a baritone voice). Other teachers in the juniors – Miss Bayliss, Miss Simon, Miss Wills & Mrs Pearson who was not connected to the HM.
    In the Infants I remember Miss Mayall very well. She had what would now be called the reception class and always wore a floral overall and carried a long bamboo pointer. She also lived in Wolsey Drive as did Mrs Pearson. I remember Mr Price well. He specialized in Geography and his daughter, Elaine (a very pretty girl) was a classmate of mine. We only had Mr. Edmonds for handicraft; not a strong point for me. Miss Bayliss had Form 1A which became 1 when the three streams were renamed. Apparently the C stream was considered too demeaning. Miss Simon had Form 2. She was a little white haired lady who, I think hailed, from Germany or somewhere in c. Europe and had quite a pronounced accent. She read us ‘Emil & the Detectives’. Miss Wills had Form 3; a senior lady, very proper and well spoken. She was strict but also extremely kind; a first rate teacher. Miss Evans came to the school when I was in Form 3. She initially mostly taught Art. She must have transferred to the infants after I left. The infant teachers, other than Miss Mayall, when I was there were Miss Peppard year two and Miss Foster year 3. There was also Mrs Aldridge, I think but I never was in her class and can’t think how she fitted in to the organisation.
    Back in the juniors, Miss Audrich held the music sway. If you showed any musical talent you were ordered to report to her house (a rather large one in Upper King’s Road) where you were ushered into the studio, for extra practice! Wouldn’t be allowed these days.
    Oh well mustn’t turn this into a Latchmere blog but I must say that the lad I sat next to on my first day at school, in Miss Mayall’s class – Chris Wightman – is still a friend with whom I am back in touch after losing touch for about twenty years. Oh and there is a Latchmere website, by the way.


  595. Dave Littleproud

    Thanks Ian-did Miss Aldridge affect a hair style with earphone like buns on each ear? If you look at my class of ’56 list you will see there are 8 from Latchmere-you are right -it’s an SCGS blog.

  596. Ian Collins

    email me at idcollins at

    put the usual @ in for the ‘at’

    We can continue the Latchmere thread there.


  597. Ian Collins

    Gradually working my way through all the back blog.

    Good to see some other namrs I recognise – Pat Morris, who I bump into from time to time. I know he and Derek Yalden are still very much in touch.

    Trev Birmingham who I knew quite well at the time although he was a couple of years my junior.

    Do any of the older contributors remember Ron Cuthew who my have been some 5-6 years my senior. He was a neighbour of mine but had left before I joined in Sep 52.
    Also Alan Paine who was at least one year ahead of me. His twin brother Ken went to Tiffin. I knew both of them from my years in the choir of St. Andrew’s, Ham Common.
    Has anyone any knowledge of Dave Lacey? He was in my year and I first met him when I was moved out of primary school (lack of accommodation) to Richmond Road School for the Summer term before going to Surbiton.
    Dave & I used to go to Air Britain meetings at Caxton Hall, St. James’s once a month. must have been in the Winters of 56-7 & 57-8.

    Hope something turns up


  598. Here’s something different. Anyone thinking of a holiday ‘away from it all’ might appreciate this (otherwise it could be somewhat tedious)
    Haida Gwaii apparently rated #1 in the world by National Geographic – I concur. This was a letter I sent to my sister and others.

    Greetings from Haida Gwaii! (formerly The Queen Charlotte Islands)

    One opportunity to write, so here goes. Will send on return.

    This trip is the experience of a lifetime. We are anchored in a bay on South Moresby. 
    It’s a privilege indeed to find oneself in such a place.

    My role is slightly more than I expected… I was forewarned when the ‘captain’s’ wife observed what I was doing with “oh good, we’ve got another sailor on board”!  We are five in a fifty foot ketch, old acquaintances. The other two are interesting, Serge ran ops. for Nestle in different parts of the world. Fred is an environmentalist.  I am almost the youngest, the fittest and probably strongest, not where I am accustomed to finding myself on a boat. Such responsibility, can I take it…

    Mexico in March was fine, we were in an all inclusive hotel, unlimited booze, etc. We stayed in another Riu in Jamaica last year. This year was a ‘Riu Palace’, grossly opulent, architecturally absurd, but if you can get bookings in the exclusive boutique restaurants – palatial indeed.  Ann-Marie got us reservations most nights, Irish charm no doubt, also we seemed to have payed far less than others for prime rooms. Made the usual contacts one swears to keep in touch with and doesn’t (with some exceptions).    

    Montreal and New York later was a different slice of life. Sean is now back home from McGill, hair to his middle back, unique and puzzling but accepted amongst his peers. Both boys actively engaged for the summer, movie making related, but I see no income. Where did I go wrong?  Garden may be a disaster this summer, construction next door. Demo has probably started. Mustn’t think about it. 
    (ed. note:  disaster it is)  

    Captain requires me topside, look forward to hearing from you.

    Here are some (rambling and unfinished) notes on the trip. Read only if desperate!

    If you are interested, some of the video is spectacular.


    Arrived at Bella Bella by Pacific Coastal.

    This has to be the most unspoiled place on the planet,  no one else here at all. There is of course a downside. Satellite ‘phone reception is tricky, and no fresh milk or fresh anything from now on. Just fish -if we are lucky. 

    We are anchored outside Kent inlet, on the mainland, outside because inside, for the first time,  we were invaded by horseflies (actually deer flies but they don’t discriminate, humans will do. None here – except this one…) Wind is increasing to 20kts.  

    Last night was spent in Caamano Inlet, a peaceful place, two waterfalls, one reversing with the tide, never seen that before. I kayaked over and had my first real wash in a days, then swam across and braved the barnacles, to lie in the very hot sun on the rocks. 

    The first day after arrival I recorded the complete story of Potlatch from a young Haida I happened to have met earlier on the plane. This was done in a ‘Long-house’,
    vast and inspiring.

    Tonight, or more likely tomorrow,  we cross the dreaded Hecate Strait for Haida Gwaii, previously the Queen Charlotte Islands. Lunch was a great success, as are all meals, not surprising under such intense organization. No fish to date,  but tonight we have quite a choice for dinner as the freezer doesn’t seem to be functioning properly.

    Decision made, we cross tonight, the wind has risen to 22 knots’.

    To think we are crossing just like Captains Cook and Vancouver did. Radar bleeps traffic twenty miles ahead. Computer shows a rock at three o’clock to port, not marked. I have a thing like a TV remote in my hand that sends the boat to port or starboard with a click. Sorry old captains, I don’t do you justice….  


    All have gone ashore, amazingly one other boat appeared, US flag. I was going to kayak over and welcome them on behalf of her majesty, but they are clearly weighing anchor, hence  time for writing. 

    10th. We ‘ate out’ at  Rose Harbour. A back to nature group of fourteen dwellings on the only privately owned few acres in the National Park of Haida Gwaii. Not exactly fast food – Susan and Christine cooked what turned out to be expensive but very good – a crab based lasagna, all vegies home grown. Gust, from next door entertained us with both original and medley guitar numbers. Unique combo of Segovia, Pentangle and seventies rock, concert hall standard. A trip back to the sixties. Video tells the story better.
    Unusually frequent opportunities to sail not motor, rail in the water, great filming from the foredeck. Occasional whale siting (distant), seals, I missed the sea lions (ed. note, better ones later), puffins were a bit shy, few eagles as the salmon not yet running. Ravens galore. 

    14th. Yesterday we sailed to Burnaby Strait, where we have been buoyed overnight, calm. Long Kayak trips. Coast Guard checked us out, we complied.  Neighbours just informed me the C.G. are doing an underwater survey here today. Imagine, we have neighbours!

    Fishing going on up there, very successful, guess what’s for dinner?
    Here comes a thoughtful cup of tea. Too bad the regular has run out and this is scented – can’t win them all. Kayaked and met the ‘Island Roamer’ a large luxury yacht this morning. Had a delightful cup of real tea.

    16th. Just three more nights on board. Yesterday we were at Hot Springs Island, met by David, an elder called Kathleen who was making a traditional hat of great complexity, and a teen called Raven, in every way traditional native save for the braces on her teeth. 

    One more Indian village, Max and Aretha (she Haida) best yet info on the culture.
    There’s more to totem poles than one imagined. Saw Bill Reid’s grave.

  599. Bob Harris

    What an afternoon, I have just spent two and a half hours reading the whole blog. What memories as somebody else said it is now 43 years ago that I moved on from SCGS. Many names came back to me, especially three bloggers namely Ken Percival, Chris Leaney and Colin Fleming. Perhaps I should have hidden behind my initials “RCH”. Good spot to out “CLF” although I had spotted his name as missing from the list. Some how the dim distant memory always packaged Colin with Dick(Naylor).

    Two things struck me, firstly just how many masters there were and how easy it is to associate names with houses. Colin was Egmont, Dick:Lovelace, Ken:Coutts and I am not so sure about Chris, was it Egmont again? I am not going to write forever (I will write again once the memories return) but a few updates for Colin, it was Nigel Ralph, Mick Douthwaite (so sad to hear he has past, I do remember the “Douthwaite Roll” straight over the handlebars as he cornered from the Portsmouth Road into what I later learned was Thorkhill Road((I lived there 76-83)). It was Graham Cuffley and Martin Redstone. Ken to my eternal embarrassment I remember “borrowing” your bike and riding it into the back platform of a 265 bus in Hook Road. Finally today, Chris I have a vague memory of you heading off to work, as you left school, in a path lab or something similar.
    Keeping blogging and thanks for the memories.
    RC (Arsy)Harris (Villiers) nowadays a more reasonable Bob.

  600. Chris Leaney

    Well, Bob Harris….. seems like only?… err 40 years ago! Yes it was a Path Lab and after letting me out for good behaviour a few years back I’ve been recruited to commission a new IT system covring most of the labs in West London – no peace for the wicked! The only person that I’ve kept up any contact with is Tony Dallimore who is now based in Wellingborough. I was involved in a band with Mike ‘George’ Packwood until he died in 2002 – quite successful at the time (20 years of regular pub and club work so not at all to be sneezed at!). Now spending my time between NZ and UK chasing the sun and trying not to grow old gracefully!
    If you are still in the Surbiton area (or within travelling distance thereof) there will be a meeting of old lags in the Victoria in Victoria Road at 8pm on 4th Sept where Bas Hunt, Joe Turner and several other old members of the teaching staff will be joining us for a glass of foaming, nut-brown tonsil bath. ALL WELCOME……

  601. Paul Harding

    Can anyone give me contact details for Alan Bolt please? Email/address/phone.
    Thanks Paul (SCGS 1959-62)

  602. Dave Littleproud

    Paul H: I am a bit loath to publish my address etc on the net –likewise Alan Bolt’s details — however if you send me your details via friends reunited I will forward you what details I have. Cheers -Dave

  603. Dave Littleproud

    Bob H! My creaky grey cells are telling me that I and Len Neldrett were table prefects to messrs Chris Lucy, ??Finlayson and Cuffley.

  604. Bernard Robertson Dunn

    I had a chequered career at SCGS: 1957-1965.

    My family moved back to the UK from Singapore in 1956 and I went to Grand Avenue primary. Mrs White was a grey haired old lady who managed to coax me through the eleven plus – it required a “second chance” go at the tests but she somehow got me through. I lived in Berrylands and SCGS was my local Grammar school. I think my parents would have preferred Tiffins, but I had no regrets

    I have distinct and clear memories of my first term. Bushing did happen, but not to me.

    I was in Villiers and the intake was split into houses for the first term. One of the names I remember was Marcus Plantin who went on to fame in TV land

    Another was Michael Basman, who made a name for himself at school by selling enormous amounts of UNICEF cards at Christmas. Michael went on to do big things at chess

    After the first term we were divided into four classes according to ability. I ended up in 2D and dropped Latin in favour of technical drawing (taught by Mr Turner). I somehow got my act together in the fourth form and was put up a class to 4C.

    Technical drawing proved much more useful as I ended up at university (after repeating a year in sixth form) doing Electrical Engineering and getting a PhD in Control Engineering at Sheffield.

    The year I left to go to university, 1965, A.J. Doig retired and the school moved to Thames Ditton. I was very sad to see the school disappear because it was as though my past had also gone.

    Looking back, the school had amazing traditions. Teachers in gowns; houses competing in various ways, not just sport; a canteen for lunch (two sittings per day); rugby, which I played until I was about 15 and then took up swimming; the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which included a five day hike in the Brecon Beacons, shadowed by Fernyhough and Cadogan (I still can’t get used to them having first names)

    I now feel as though I got a real education at SCGS. There was a degree of freedom combined with quality teaching.

    I moved to Australia in 1972 and this is the first trace of SCGS I have come across on the Internet. The memories it has brought back are well worth re-living.

    A last note. I was known as Dunn while at the school. At university I joined my middle and last name and am now known as Bernard Robertson-Dunn.

  605. Peter Pocock

    Ground Control to Major Tom…………Anyone out there?

  606. Dave Littleproud

    if you’d watched independence day you would keep quiet -those earthlíngs are rough stuff!!
    funny i had a squadonn commander called major tom so radio procedure did sometimes get a bit frivolous
    good to hear from you pete

  607. Peter Pocock

    Hi Dave,

    I have this image of you lurking behind your laptop, waiting to pounce!

    Personally I check out the site daily and I get very frustrated at these long periods of silence.

    Lets start a new line of thought…. Does anyone out there remember a teach called Clegg? Probably around in 1957 -9. Looked about 50. Broad girth and even broader Yorkshire accent. Can’t remember what subjects he taught, but he did fancy himself as a rugby coach, and a leading authority on most subjects.

  608. Chris Leaney

    Hi Peter,

    ‘Clegg that’s C L E G G’ is a phrase that always comes to mind whenever I hear of anyone by that name. The deputy PM is about doing my head in at the moment.

    Our man at SCGS must have lasted into the 60s (I was around 60-67) and all I can remember is his rugby coaching down at Hook and him pacing around menacingly during assemblies. I guess he must have had a teaching role – possibly on the arts side and that’s why I never saw much of him.


  609. Dave Littleproud

    Clegg as in “my name’s Clegg —C-L-E-G-G –There’s three ways of doing a thing -the right way — the wrong way and my way and everything will be done my way” Apparently the first and most pleasant things he ever said He taught English (with that accent???!!) Well observed Pete – he also had a broad vertical forehead.
    for some strange reason these posts appear on my email so I don’t have to pounce –I’m being pounced on!

  610. Peter Pocock

    Great. Even as I read the “3 ways of doing things” I got an instant picture of the guy.

    On one famous occasion however I did see someone get the better of him.

    For some reason we went to Bushey Park to play against a team of kids from the US base there. (Remember it was pretty unusual for Yanks to be playing Rugby Football).

    Clegg was the ref. At one point in the chaotic game he blew his whistle to caution an American player for a foul.

    The kid protested violently at being penalised (in itself a recipe for disaster)

    Clegg stood to his full height and said: ” Boy – I’ve been refereeing the game for 30 years, so I know what I am doing”

    The brave young guy just stared him out and relplied: ” 30 years Mac, then I guess its about time you thought of quitting”

    Our Clegg was once speechless. Seem to remember they went on to thrash us.

  611. Dave Littleproud

    Peter-are we vaguely in the same time zone -it’s 19.02 pm here now!!!!
    Loved your last !!

  612. Dave Littleproud

    Peter-are we vaguely in the same time zone -it’s 20.12 pm here now!!!!
    Loved your last !!

  613. John Davies

    Apart from “the three ways of doing things…….” Mr Clegg would also point out, on his initial introduction, that a “clegg” is a word for a blood-sucking horse-fly. No one dared even a little snigger!

  614. Peter Pocock

    Dave – Dubai time 3 hours ahead of BST, though sometimes it feels like its 50 years behind.

  615. Dave Littleproud

    Hmmmm!! so a quick beer or brekky looks a bit “Dubias”
    –sorry couldn’t resist it!

  616. Cliff Harrison

    Peter. Yes, I remember that game, we cobbled together a scratch team of leftovers who couldnt make it into one of the four (from memory) existing teams. I don’t remember that particular Clegg incident, but I do remember them constantly jumping over us as we attempted to tackle them. And yes, we were soundly thrashed. I presume the American base moved out many years ago, can someone confirm?

  617. Richard Cripps

    One again the name of Clegg has surfaced. I remember him well, and as I mentioned in a previous post I don’t have any bad recollections of him, I found him generally amusing. He taught English, and possibly the reason that I found him acceptable was that he replaced “Polly” Parrot for whom I have no warm feelings whatsoever. Most of the other bêtes-noir that have been chewed over in this blog had at least a measure of entertainment value that has kept their memory alive, but this did not apply to Mr Parrot. Fortunately I had to tolerate him for only two terms before he abruptly departed for a position in, if I remember correctly, Mauritius.

  618. Peter Pocock

    Yes -it was Mauritius. Not sure how we got the news but I remember some time after he left, we heard that he had secured an interesting and appropriate part-time job as the Mystery Voice on the Radio Mauritius version of Twenty Questions…..

  619. Gary Shepherd

    Great to see some memories of the school – Dave Roberts was indeed in Coutts with me – you have a good memory for the names Dave and glad you remembered mine. I bumped into Will Hartje on holiday many years ago – he was a few years ahead of us – but we discovered that we had both been to Esher Grammar. I also met a teacher back in the nineties who taught at Esher College and said Baz Hunt was still there. Amazing really.

    I still remember quite a lot about my times there – I remember meeting someone who knew Simon Lydbury and apparently he died falling over in his kitchen and hit his head. He was an auditor at Kingston Council at that time I gather.

    Anyway – good to see this site and I will follow it and read up when I have more time – but I was glad to see it and had to post something. Good memory Dave – I am impressed!

  620. Gary Shepherd

    Dave Roberts remembers his collarbone being broken – I remember that clearly and Nobby Hall doing first aid. Put me off rugby for a bit !

    I seem to remember a sports teacher, old guy, we called Fritz I think. And another older teacher who retired while we were there – ‘Rob’ it was I think who used to ask him halfway through the lesson if we could have a rest and he always agreed. The physics teacher was “Bunny” Warren – his “bem pardon” still makes me laugh. English teachers – Mr Ashdown a really lovely guy. A mad American who we had for about a year – what was his name? A Mr. Bolt who was more like a country squire with his tweeds. Mr Hackett – better known as BC for reasons best kept out of print. “Deputy” Doig the history teacher (and my 6th form tutor) – ” a knock at the door and you were never seen again” that was one of his catchphrases. Crouching Johnny who admitted in class that he was a virgin and got away with it without any mickey taking. I can picture the Brit Con teacher with the moustache and “basically” every sentence. Lurch – I had forgotten him!

    Queuing at break for the tuck shop – heaven was having 2 packets of potato puffs, one in each pocket, to last you through to lunchtime. And I remember playing football all the time – Lev or Stan would bring the ball, sometime Shorty. I remember my one and only fight at school – with Terry Graves. I couldn’t back down and though I lost after quite a tussle there was a bit more respect for me after that – I was a bit of a mouthy so and so and probably deserved it. Bog bag, remember him, Simon Spinks too (worked in Manchester I think for a while), Budden in Spinx Rock Band, Rog Arthurs, John Humm – I will try and remember more and post them.

  621. John Sammes

    SCGS 1962 – 69
    Greetings! At last – both the time AND the inclination to plough through three+ years-worth. Here are a couple of indexes/indices of contributors, both by name and by era, which may (or may not) be helpful. It is likely to be Egg-Sucking for Grannies but searching for a name in “Find” on your browser will bring up all mentions of that person’s name in the blog. I have skipped all those clearly not ex-SCGS (except Ros, who I believe qualifies as an Honorary Visitor), and have only listed actual contributors in case other names are inaccurate. Please feel free to correct any anomalies.

    Attree Colin 1965 – 69
    Avis Peter 1942 – 47
    Breeze Paul 1957 – 64
    Brightwell Colin ?
    Brill Mick ?
    Burns Richard (George) 1954 – 61
    Cadogan Alan 1957 – 61
    Cawthorne Ray 1953 – 60
    Church Murray 1945 – 53
    Collins Ian 1952 – 57
    Cooke Graham 1964 – 71
    Cooper David ?
    Cripps Richard 1958 – 65
    Crowther Geoff 1961 – 65
    Curtis John 1967 – 68
    Davies Ivor (Fritz) 1942 – 46
    Davies John 1958 – 65
    Davis Kevin ?
    Day Richard 1954 – 61
    Farquharson Taylor Iain 1949 – 54
    Fleming Colin 1960 – 1966/7
    Follett Graham 1957 – 63
    Foster Peter 1954 – 60
    Goodyear David 1954 – 61
    Gover Roy
    Hall David E ?
    Harding Paul 1959 – 62
    Harris Bob RC 1960 – 67
    Harrison Cliff 1954 – 62
    Hartje Will 1962 – 69
    Hendy Robin 1956 – 62
    Hewson Baz ?
    Husband Roger 1956 – 60
    Jenks Peter 1964 – 70
    Lay Brian 1949 – 55
    Leadbitter Paul 1967 – 74
    Leaney Chris 1960-67
    Littleproud Dave 1956 – 64
    Mann Peter 1964 – 68 (63 starter)
    Munday Colin 1952 – 59.
    Nunn Clive 1953 – 58
    Penn Malcolm 1955 – 62
    Percival Ken 1960 – 67
    Piggott Keith 1953 – 60
    Pocock Peter 1953 – 61
    Pringle David 1961 – 66
    Range Paul 1952 – 57
    Rhoades Martin 1951 – 55
    Rimmer Roger (Zip) 1955 – 62
    Rippingale Chris 1962 – 69
    Roberts Dave 1966 -72
    Robertson Dunn Bernard 1957 – 65
    Shepherd Gary 1966 – 72
    Stevens Paul 1963 – 66
    Stickland Chris 1955 – 62
    Taylor Roger 1955 – 62.
    Thacker Les 1951 – 57
    Theobald nee Burkin Ros (hon vis)
    Walters John 1945 – 50
    Watling Keith 1965 – 72
    Yalden Derek 1952 – 59

    1942 – 46 Davies Ivor (Fritz)
    1942 – 47 Avis Peter
    1945 – 50 Walters John
    1945 – 53 Church Murray
    1949 – 54 Farquharson Taylor Iain
    1949 – 55 Lay Brian
    1951 – 55 Rhoades Martin
    1951 – 57 Thacker Les
    1952 – 57 Collins Ian
    1952 – 57 Range Paul
    1952 – 59 Munday Colin
    1952 – 59 Yalden Derek
    1953 – 58 Nunn Clive
    1953 – 60 Cawthorne Ray
    1953 – 60 Piggott Keith
    1953 – 61 Pocock Peter
    1954 – 60 Foster Peter
    1954 – 61 Burns Richard (George)
    1954 – 61 Day Richard
    1954 – 61 Goodyear David
    1954 – 62 Harrison Cliff
    1955 – 62 Penn Malcolm
    1955 – 62 Rimmer Roger (Zip)
    1955 – 62 Stickland Chris
    1955 – 62 Taylor Roger
    1956 – 60 Husband Roger
    1956 – 62 Hendy Robin
    1956 – 64 Littleproud Dave
    1957 – 61 Cadogan Alan
    1957 – 63 Follett Graham
    1957 – 64 Breeze Paul
    1957 – 65 Robertson Dunn Bernard
    1958 – 65 Cripps Richard
    1958 – 65 Davies John
    1959 – 62 Harding Paul
    1960 – 1966/7 Fleming Colin
    1960 – 67 Harris Bob RC
    1960 – 67 Leaney Chris
    1960 – 67 Percival Ken
    1961 – 65 Crowther Geoff
    1961 – 66 Pringle David
    1962 – 69 Hartje Will
    1962 – 69 Rippingale Chris
    1963 – 66 Stevens Paul
    1964 – 68 (63 starter) Mann Peter
    1964 – 70 Jenks Peter
    1964 – 71 Cooke Graham
    1965 – 69 Attree Colin
    1965 – 72 Watling Keith
    1966 – 72 Shepherd Gary
    1966 -72 Roberts Dave
    1967 – 68 Curtis John
    1967 – 74 Leadbitter Paul
    Brightwell Colin ?
    Brill Mick ?
    Cooper David ?
    Davis Kevin ?
    Gover Roy
    Hall David E ?
    Hewson Baz ?
    Theobald nee Burkin Ros (hon vis)

  622. charles clark

    many memories.
    please get in touch.
    i will post memories when i have time.
    have to say that i made some good friends but it was a crap school.

  623. Dave Littleproud

    Disagree Charles! I think it was a good school -it just had some dodgy clay to mold of which I was a prime example.

  624. charles clark

    OK you have every right to disagree. But a few observations.

    I was there between 1964 and 1971. I was there when Doig was head and during the move to Thames Ditton with Waller as head. I ended up as a senior prefect and house secretary for Lovelace House under the inept management of Ginger Doig.

    It was not dodgy clay to mold but the quality of the teachers and the regime. Most of this has already been documented here but made light of as amusing anecdotes. Jock Lonsdale boasting about the force with which he could cane boys? The sadism of Gus Hillier? The use of the slipper by most of the masters including those with anger management problems like Bas Hunt? The psychopathic temper and religious intolerance of Scum Doc Turner? Keats – Mr Cox – beating a boy around the head with a board rubber? Taff Davies beating Cripps in public during house assemblies directly in contravention with educative legislation at the time?

    My memories of SCGS were of fear, bullying, indiscriminate use of corporal punishment and appalling teaching. I remember hour upon hour of filling in the missing letters from purple Banda sheets we had to learn off by heart for history lessons. Masters smoking in class and often failing to turn up for lessons because they could not be bothered like Mo Morris? Masters teaching subjects that they did not know anything about such as Mr Fry teaching biology. Dreadful careers advice and virtually no assistance with university entry unless you wished to study law or medicine.

    I was lucky as I got cleared to a decent university where I changed course to psychology and I have had a very successful career. No thanks to SCGS where the staff refused to give references for psychology as it was deemed not to be a proper science. Indeed a pupil in the year above me was refused a reference for psychology and banned from biology lessons because he was German.

    Many good chaps at SCGS and some very good teachers. But was it a good school? I have spent my career as a forensic psychologist, an academic in a university and an adult education inspector.

    I find it hard to think that SCGS did much for me or others except as a survival experience. Too many old boys with the mantra “well it did not do me any harm”. Did it actually do anybody much good?

  625. Paul Leadbitter

    Well, I must admit that I find it quite shocking to recall the level of corporal punishment even as late as the 70s, compared with how illegal all that would be now. But at the time, I think I thought that that was normal for all grammar schools.

    I do, however, agree with the view that higher education and careers advice was completely lacking there. I did go into the Careers Room a few times. I remember it was just lined with university prospectuses (prospecti?) on a “help yourself” basis. No proactive interest or support whatsoever.

    In the event, I have now spent 32 years woking in direct marketing, living in four different countries. It hasn’t been at all bad, but I think I should really have been an accountant!

  626. Chris Leaney

    Having been subjected to most forms of corporal punishment that SCGS had on offer I can’t honestly say that it did any good. Yes I was a rebellious b*****d but I was never one to be involved in bullying or fighting (except being on the receiving end of the former from the 4th form when I was a lowly – and very small – 2nd form kid).
    At the age of 11 – having seen an episode of Emergency Ward 10 – I decided that my career path should be in the Medical Laboratory service and after ‘O’-levels decided to visit the careers office for advice. Needless to say there was absolutely none forthcoming – the best on offer was ‘go and get yourself a medical degree – which, by the way, you are not likely to get given your academic achievement so far’. Armed with this ‘challenging’ statement I went out and discovered the Institute of Medical Laboratory Technology (as was) and with it a job in a London Teeaching Hospital. When I informed Waller et al of my decision to leave halfway through ‘A’-levels the shakes of the head and shocked expressions said it all… ‘Not going to university – what a waste of our teaching skills’.
    Well, 40+ years on, a Masters degree and looking back on a very successful and enjoyable career that included a mid-life change of direction into Pathology IT I think I can say that I owe little of it to SCGS although many friendships forged there have endured through the years.
    Latterly I have had the pleasure of meeting up with Baz Hunt who has mellowed considerably over the years. He admits that his was a heavy handed approach partly brought on by an initial inability to control 4th year students who were only a few years his junior. There seemed to have been little in the way of mentoring for new teachers at the end of the ’50s and the likes of Gus Hillier and Doc Turner were hardly likely to set a good example to an impressionable young teacher.
    I wonder if any of us destined to be part of the ‘elite 10%’ really gained enormously from SCGS or any other grammar school when all is said and done – and how many will look back and say ‘I did it my way’ (sorry Frank!)

  627. I attended SCGS from 1959 to 1965.

    I don’t remember the names of most of the pupils who have either contributed or been mentioned here but there are a few exceptions.

    Starting with the prefects whom I encountered in 1959 I remember Peter Pocock and Vic Gunton very well. For some strange reason these two appeared to be good chums. Strange because whilst Peter Pocock was an extremely pleasant person whose regular kindnesses to me I well remember Victor Gunton was a most unpleasant individual who took a delight in hitting as many of us as he could lay his hands (sometimes to the apparent despair of Peter Pocock).

    Moving onto the teachers I recall that Brian Lancaster started at the school at the same time as me. Although he was initially known as ‘Bomber’ this changed to ‘Noddy’ due to his habit of jerking his head back at odd times. ‘Bernie’ Shaw I also remember as a nice enough chap though I believe that I made his life very difficult as he always felt he had to apologise before, during and after whacking my outstretched palms with a ruler.

    Strangely I have no recollection of Gus Hillier whom so many of my near contemporaries seem to remember so well.

    My favourite teacher was ‘Scrog’ Hayward. My least favourite was Alan Bolt whose loftily indifferent response when I mentioned to him that I was attempting to write a symphony remains with me to this day. Meanwhile I was deeply disappointed that Mrs Russell lasted such a short time as she was to my young eyes extremely fanciable.

    Of all the pupils mentioned on this site I think that the only ones in my year were Colin Parratt, Hugh Rickard and Roger Trussler. Roger was the official school bully for our year but as we all grew a little older, and the rugby-playing fraternity grew their muscles, he was subjected to some fearsome beatings and retired from his post. Part of his problem was that the chums who formed his gang were all rather weedy and could offer little or no backup in an emergency.

    Hugh Rickard was the most scary person I met at the school (teachers included) and I always took care to steer clear of him as far as possible. His voice was easily discernible during school assemblies as it was by a considerable margin the loudest (and best) during hymn singing. Another sinister guy was Howard Amor. Fortunately he was in the year below me and though I suspect that he was keen to take a poke at me I was blessedly always just that bit bigger than him which I guess was enough to dissuade him.

    Of course most of the violence came from the teachers. Dr Turner (‘Scum’) in addition to being a religious bigot was also a racist. I occasionally attended one of his classes with a boy from the 1960s intake – Hans-Gunter Freytag – and Dr Turner made a particular point of telling him that all germans were scum. Hans-Gunter always stood his ground and the rest of us would sit and watch these two verbally slug it out.

    Kenneth Bidmead was another vicious individual who made the mistake of whacking me around the head so hard that I ended up in hospital. My mother, who was a pretty vicious soul herself, visited the school the following day and threatened Bidmead with dire consequences if he ever touched me again. He didn’t.

    Talking of parents, on one of the parent-teacher evenings my parents introduced themselves to ‘Slug’ Rigden who simply said “Ugh”. Curiously this had a positive effect on my history studies as I went from bottom to near top of his class after this encounter and have kept a love of history to this day.

    The school chums that I best remember are:

    Tony Babbs
    David ‘Daisy’ Matthews
    Philip ‘Mud’ Blackman
    Pete Cole
    Jim Sheahan
    Clive Fisher
    Mick Dunjay
    Chris Jagger
    Clive Gillam
    Tony Hartley
    David Kenworthy
    Roger Webster
    Eldred Kirk
    Willie Ashton
    Kenneth Gould
    Gordon Sills
    Christopher Rackley
    Mike Preston
    Neil Taylor
    Bob Evans
    Bob Hughes

    Unlike most of the pupils who faced long bus or train journeys to get to school I actually lived just ten minutes walk from the school (in Surbiton Park Terrace). So I spent a lot of social time in Worcester Park where Tony Babbs (my best friend at the time) lived along with Chris Jagger and others.

    I missed a lot of opportunities that the school offered – why didn’t I get involved with the G&S activities for instance? I took more of an interest in the sports side until I was seriously injured at the Hook playing grounds in a high-jumping accident (yes really!) and was unconscious for about three days thereafter as a result of three operations to my shoulder on three successive days – my ‘lost week’.

    I now live in north London, run a video production company (KLA Film and Video Communication) and a video training company (Swanrose Video Training and Consultancy) and am married with two children and two grandchildren.

    I last saw Tony Babbs in 1992 when we ran across one another on a beach in West Wittering. Apart from that I haven’t seen anyone from the old school apart from Chris Rackley and Jim Sheahan (and Roy Gover on telly) since I left in 1965.

    This web page is a strange place to have an old school reunion. How very accommodating of Kevin Davis to allow it to run for which I am sure that we are all very grateful.

  628. charles clark

    I remember Hugh Rickard as being a very loud but kindly prefect unlike many of his contemporaries. I remember Marcus Plantin as being particularly unpleasant with his unctuous sidekick Miraur?

    The staff I remember include
    Jock Lonsdale – ridiculous Scottish accent in his spoken French and a sadist
    Bomber Lancaster – aka Nod rather meek French teacher
    Mo Morris – chain smoking tea drinking hopeless teacher of Biology and Zoology also ran the Scouts had rotten teeth and was generally unpleasant
    Bernie Shaw – cockney accent used to hit boys with ruler on the hand and taught Maths badly
    Julian Ashdown – inspirational English teacher but too nice a chap
    Bas Hunt – fat angry red faced taught Latin spoken in affected Italian accent and used slipper totally indiscriminately
    Gus Hillier – nasty little man with big red Volvo and sadistic
    Nobby Hall – aka gods gift to women taght RE and PE and how we laughed when he broke his collar bone
    Cox – aka Keats taught English and music totally mad and would spray saliva over the front two rows as he taught
    Bidmead – taught Latin and was pretty humourless
    Doig – headmaster when at St Marks Hill and apart from obsession with G&S little else to remember
    Waller – headmaster at Weston Green uncharismatic looked like a grocer was not amused when I set up a transvestite society using the school logo
    Chopper Hacket – one of lifes casualities always sucking on his filthy pipe shaking uncontrollably and got very excited when he beat little boys which was all the time
    Nutty Bolt – wtf? taught English and cultural studies and spent his time calling everyone darling strolling around in tweeds and driving a Landrover
    Mole – taught Latin and was actually a taupus IMHO
    Taffy Davies – hale and hearty Welshman taught chemistry and rugby also liked to cane and totally intolerant of any views contrary to his own
    Bunny Warren – gruff Physics teacher who did his best
    Jack Skene – dyed his hair, taught geography and whistled so we always asked him how to spell Mississippi for a laugh
    Silley – mad Geography teacher who authored a series of school books a violent and unpredictable man
    Jones – a greasy Welshman who taught chemistry and told me I would end up as a dustman or a politician
    Joe Turner – art teacher with lovely enunciation and perfect clean desert boots always
    Dr Turner – RE totally mad plymouth brethren racist religious bigot with uncontrollable temper called us scum rolled his eyes and referred to exams as eggs and ham marked our work solely on spelling mistakes and grammatical errors
    Bill Busby – art master in bow tie who always said I hope this will not affect our relationship before he beat you – idiot
    Doig – ineffectual history teacher who was housemaster of Lovelace when I was house secretary
    Herr Fifer – a very genuine German teacher who did his best and suffered the most appalling abuse because he was Jewish
    Spike – taught TD and metalwork and was a good maths teacher for the underachievers like me
    Rosie – the red faced lab assistant who would kick our bags out of the way of the classroom. Very interesting man with many tales about his background
    Sam Sentence – taught English and was virtually transparent
    Colin Attree – taught biology and botany a good teacher who was genuinely interested in his subject
    Fatty Smith – a most unpleasant overweight physics teacher
    Lurch Chambers – a most unpleasant overtall physics teacher
    Parrish – RE teacher also ran crusaders
    Fritz Fry – PE and failed to teach biology used to beat boys with a wooden splint

    Fellow pupils include

    Roger Bashford
    Peter Bridden
    Paul Cann
    Paul Cooper
    James Irvine
    Keith Jeffries
    Nigel Spearing
    Tony Duffy
    Barry Winter
    John MacMillan
    Chris Sammes
    Martin Veates
    Paul Felstead
    Martin Fentiman
    John Brown
    Tony Martin
    Duncan Sainsbury
    Trevor Dickens
    Robert Williams
    Simon Doble
    Kevin Hedley

    If you go onto the Friends United website and look up Surbition County Grammar School there is a school photograph of June 1965.

    I do have good memories of this time though. The wonderful Toby Jug Club with bands such as Led Zeppelin, Steamhammer, Chicken Shack, Groundhogs and artists like Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf. Eel Pie Island with Edgar Broughton band and Pink Fairies. The endless supply of drugs from The Three Fishes and L’Auberge. The excellent concerts at Kingston Poly, KCFE and the art school.

    The music scene in Kingston and the easy access to London – 100 club, Ronnie Scotts, Roundhouse was brilliant.

    I seem to remember some talk that Dave Davies of the Kinks went to SCGS?

    I do hope others contribute to this site as it is all very interesting reading.

  629. peter pocock

    Hi Stuart,

    Welcom to the blog.

    I am lost for words….

    Yes – Viv Gunton and I were very good friends, but I never thought of him as being particularly aggressive – anymore than I thought of myself as pleasant. In fact from the moment I got those 10 yards of gold braid sewn on the blazer, I tried my hardest to be a tyrant! Obviously I failed, but thanks for the compliment anyway.

    A bit puzzled at so many negative comments about Nutty Bolt. I always found him to be the perfect gentleman – perhaps a bit eccentric,but never a threat.

  630. Hi Peter

    Thank you for the welcome – I’m pleased to be here.

    Re V Gunton – I guess it all depends on your viewpoint. As I recall the decent prefects consisted of you, Stovold (didn’t know his first name – he looked fearsome but was also actually very pleasant) and another prefect whose name I now forget (he was dark-haired and into cricket). I’m sure that there were others but those are the ones that I remember.

    I look forward to seeing more reminiscences here and hope and expect to contribute as the mood (and memory!) take me.

    Has anyone considered asking Kevin Davis to relinquish the site so that it could be given a more appropriate title? I notice that he doesn’t use this site anymore for anything else.

  631. Richard Cripps

    I’ve been reading some of the more recent posts with a vague feeling of disbelief. Good Lord, were things really that bad? How could I possibly have survived seven years of that?

    One thing that surprises me is that some of the teachers who joined the school after my departure appear to have been as incompetent and as prone to use violence as those that I encountered. One would have hoped that by the mid-sixties things would have been improving in that area.

    I’ve been thinking back with the criterion, which masters’ lessons do I remember where the memory includes apprehension? The only names that invoke that feeling were Bidmead, Hillier, Hunt, Parrot and Dr Turner.

    Ken Bidmead tended to waste far too much lesson time discussing his dissatisfaction with his pupils, and could be inexcusably heavy handed when slapping anyone who had offended him around the head. In this day and age he would have ended up in court. But he did know, and appeared to enjoy, his subject and against all the odds I did (reluctantly) acquire a modest grasp of Latin under his tuition; and as I mentioned some time ago I once worked with him on some voluntary extra-curricular activity when he was as nice as pie.

    Ted Hillier: enough said already, probably. Yet many of the lads had a sneaking regard for him in an oblique way, and when it was announced that on Bert Forward’s retirement he would take over as deputy head a cheer actually went up! I left at that time, so was never able to see the results in practice.

    Now for Baz Hunt. I recall from an earlier post that his hard man stance was all an act. If so, it was a pretty effective one. The guy nearly gave me a nervous breakdown. At the tender age of 11 I could not figure out why one master needed to dish out quite so many lines and/or detentions to get the job done. On one later occasion he gave me a public dressing down for doing something that I had been instructed to do by another master. So although I know that other boys were happily accompanying him on extra-curricular activities such as Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions, I was never subsequently able to relate to him, and went out of my way to avoid him wherever possible.

    “Polly” Parrot appears to have been something of a transient. I just don’t recall him doing any teaching at all, just spending entire periods screaming at us about our incompetence and inadequacies. No tears shed when he left.

    Finally, Dr Turner: again enough said. An educational black hole.

    But Jock Lonsdale a sadist? Come now! One of the school’s most entertaining teachers, accent notwithstanding. The regular organizer of the annual (ostensibly) language-exposure trips to Europe, that were always well subscribed.

    I have noted criticism of Fernyhough, too, although my memory puts him in the firm-but-fair category. Certainly I don’t recall ever suffering at his hands. He excelled at mind games as a disciplinary tool, and one trick was to make a malefactor think that he was about to be slapped, without actually doing it.

    Other than that most of those teachers were simply characters, some more than others. Many contributors have grumbled about Mo Morris, but I always found him to be hilarious, sometimes on purpose and sometimes not. I well recall a biology lesson in which the objective was to persuade a bluebottle to walk over some agar jelly, then grow a culture from the bacteria so deposited. Mo duly produced a captive bluebottle under a bell jar, but in attempting to insert the petri dish the bluebottle escaped. We were then treated to twenty minutes of pure comedy as Mo charged around the lab attempting to recapture the insect, which included him climbing onto the lab bench and trying to sneak up on his quarry which had alighted on a fluorescent fitting. Believe it or not, he did get the thing back under the bell jar eventually and the experiment proceeded!

    If there was one master on the premises who was a puzzle to me, it was Bert Forward. That Beatles song, “Oh go away, leave me alone, don’t bother me,” might have been written with him in mind. He seemed permanently irritable and generally unapproachable, considering that he was supposed to be providing a number of advice functions. My career advice, when I was able to attract his attention long enough to ask for it, lasted about 30 seconds. I guess that after 40 years in the same school anyone would be a little jaded.

  632. Dave Littleproud

    I think that i may have opened this current can of worms by suggesting to Charles that SCGS was a good school. I said good not perfect. from what my daughter and her peers say , or do not say, I have the impresssion that her co-ed Grammar school is far better than SCGS-however the buildings are 14 years old -the year 7 intake consists of 120 of the “la Creme de Gloucestershire” who were selected from the 800 plus who applied. The staff and pupils have a strong work ethic. It is approaching what an ideal school should be. but there is forty years between them and i think we have to look at SCGS from what there was then- not our life experiences and current expectations think it should have been.
    I cannot disagree with many of the comments made about personalities -no one went anywhere near Gus without a feeling of apprehension. Peter P and I have discussed Scum with allusions to the more colourful characters of the Spanish Inquisition. Biddy I found rather unpleasant particularly his penchant for making us wait until he had finished his late class before allowing us to collect our books. Watkins was just a thug.
    Parrot and I never met. Morris and Davies were 6th form science which I never studied but i gathere they were quit jovial -Mo’s moustache made him seem a bit fierce.
    I remember Jock as a friendly sort. I would never have passed French without Fred Fernyhough’ s encouragement. Mr walmsley was a true gent and superb maths teacher-even with me, Mick Hammond Tony Harriman and Eddie Hughes he never raised his voice.
    Bert I found to be a dry sort – a superb teacher and very kind to me beyond his duty.
    Slug Rigden never held my negative latin skills against and imbued in me a love history that I never lost. Slug was a good friend to me during some 6th form traumas – I wish I had known him better.
    No it was not perfect and I guess we knew that but I believe that most of the teachers tried their best within the limits of their experiences and let’s not forget that some of them now would be well over a 100 -I think that dear old slug would now be about 112.
    What stick did his peers give the German kid for being German? Sure Scum was wrong -but the prevailing mood of the time -the war was still vivid for many people -and for Scum it may have been two wars.
    Looking back through my own personal retrospectoscope I can see SCGS’s flaws But in all honesty I know I did little at the time to make it better- mainly out of ignorance and because I was a child of my time.
    I’m not even going to rweread this!! WYSIWYG!!!!

  633. Cliff Harrison

    Could I just add a few opinions on the SCGS staff, who, let’s face it, had a pretty unenviable task in trying to teach such a variety of (largely) social misfits, (and I certainly include myself amongst them in my teenage years). I owe a lot to Fred Ferneyhough for his efforts to get me to enjoy French, and to Jock Lonsdale for perpetuating it through to my A levels. Gus Hillier I found largely bluster, underneath it all I often found he had a quite different human side – but then his wartime experiences were pretty horrific. Bert Forward, by the time I had him in the sixth Form, was probably looking forward to his impending retirement, (and also to his very young new wife, if I remember correctly, which led to numerous quips about him taking Phyllosan “to fortify the over-sixties”, I think their slogan went). Also agree with the views of Bolt being nothing but a rather refined but eccentric gent, certainly never saw any aggression in his manner. I once tried to help start Rigden’s car, a little Austin A30 I seem to remember, I wound the starting handle like a clockwork toy but to no avail, (quite a contrast with my father’s old 3.5 litre Jag which I was more at home with). Busby had a Railton, I think. Bidmead felt teaching was beneath him, he once gave me a major dressing down for some supposed transgression that I vehemently denied, however he justified his actions by saying that everyone in the class was equally guilty! Never did get into Latin, and it coloured my view of the not-dissimilar structure of the German language some years later, though Mr Williams (young Welshman) managed to bring me through all that.
    Does anyone remember the last months of Aysgarth, when we sixth formers started our own impromptu demolition of the place some months before we were officially due to vacate it, the staircase supports were gradually kicked away until eventually the whole handrail fell off. But what wonderful buildings both Braemar and Aysgarth were, so interesting and full of character, probably not ideally suited to teaching, but such a wonderful environment compared to what replaced them. I left just as the new building was becoming reality.

  634. Dave Littleproud

    Phew! I reread my last and realizing that I had stood up for Scum had expected a deal of opprobrium(?).What do I find? Cliff sticking up for Gus –funny old world.
    I can’t fault any thing Cliff says. (how long was your stretch Cliff? -would you be in any of the photos?)
    I remember the demolition of Braemar- halfway through said demolition Alan Kemp and I were cycling past Braemar and found it ablaze-We got a bollocking from the police and fire brigade for just sitting enjoying the fire rather than telling them. Smilingly pointing out that it was our school got us no sympathy!!
    Albury , Braemar and Aysgarth were totally unsuited to teaching. But those of us who were there will never forget them -will those who were educated in purpose built state of the art soulless 1960s schools remember them at all? -let alone with affection –I think not.
    I missed being a resident of Aysgarth but spent 2 years in Braemar -great fun-drinking water filtered through long dead pigeons and rats never hurt us.

  635. Peter Pocock

    I think Phyllosan claimed to “fortify the over-forties”.

    Other pieces of random trivia bought to mind:
    An ornate Front Door to Braemar, facing the street, but which was never ever opened.

    The disgusting toilets in the old stables in the courtyard outside the main school, and the equally disgusting grafiti thereon. (to this day I can still recall one curious statement proclaiming to the world that “Prakash is a w***ker”

    A tall unwordly music teacher called Noble, who stayed briefly as Keats’ assistant. Great baritone voice.

    The amazing underground cloakrooms in Albury House. Seriously spooky and often the scene of some very dubious activities.

    Lethal lunch time soccer matches, often maybe half a dozen different games, played simultaneously the length of and the width of the playground.

    Those wonderful mud baths at Hook, and the number of times bad weather demanded that rugger practice was cancelled and substituted with a sadistic cross country run, in studded boots along Claygate Lane.

    The rather posh little bound calendar booklets produced on Busby’s ancient printing press, listing all the term activities.

    Sorry, rambling.

  636. Cliff Harrison

    Peter, you are of course correct on the Phyllosan slogan. Interesting that you remembered the school diaries, I was given the honour (?) by Doig of compiling them each term during my last year at Surbiton, and then collecting the sixpences from my fellow pupils. It was a major job getting hold of all the various rugby and cricket fixtures. However, they were set and printed by an outside company, not Busby. I think he tended to do anything that needed a touch of class like the G&S programmes. Cliff

  637. Bob Harris

    It has been really interesting reading commentaries over the last few days, if someone not “in the know” were to read the comments it would appear that were were taught by a load of sadistic incompetants. Probably not quite how it was, certainly looking back now after 40 years, yes it could be painted that way; but one way or another most of us turned out well enough.
    Over the years I have had thoughts about my school days and the negative points, I guess here and now is the place to voice those thoughts. I feel really let down as far as my education (not my life) is concerned in that I had little career guidance ( a point raised often enough) and stumbled into Bot, Zoo and Chem in the sixth form to find three different types of teacher. Colin Attree a nice enough guy, young and keen made botany interesting but why on earth was I doing it? I appreciate the glories of nature but never liked gardening! Taff Davies was probably the best teacher at the school and no doubt knew his chemistry but I do wish he and others could have focused on turning out a pupil ready to engage with Uni. All that brings me on to Mo Morris. He taught just one lesson in two years and I have no idea why he bothered to do that. He also ran the 2XV rugby team and as far as I can remember just picked the team, he certainly never ever turned up on a Saturday morning to support, encourage or take responsibility. The guy is probably long dead and gone but you’re not going to tell me others in the management of the school did not know what was going on. They, one and all, should feel guilty about letting such a waste of space get away with what he did. Aged 16 & 17 I knew no better, later in life and better equipped I can assure you he would have have been promptly retired from his post. Bottom line guys, he really cheated us, but life is what we make of it so let’s get on with it.

  638. Dave Littleproud

    Saddo that I am- I saved this wonder of literature– this booker prize to come–this bane of GCSEs to come to a word.doc -163 pages!!!

  639. Paul Harding

    Some interesting reading in recent weeks.

    I have to agree with Bob Harris that Mo Morris was a total waste of space as a teacher. Any interest in zoology that I managed to maintain through 6th form (1960-62) was largely self-generated and through occasional contact with Alan Cadogan, a truly inspirational teacher. Alan taught botany in the 6th, which strangely I had elected not to take – more fool me. I failed A level Zoo but nevertheless managed to leave SCGS to get a job in zoological research.

    Careers advice has come in for some stick too. My comment would be “What was that?”. Never had any as far as I can remember. I found my zoology job advertised in a copy of a Cambridge newspaper, which just happened to be used as wrapping for a cabbage from a market!

    Even earlier, I had experienced bizarre and unhelpful advice from SCGS on subjects to study at A level. Having arrived from Ireland into the 5th form, I made a bit of a hash of GCEs. I was only just allowed to stay on for A levels, but was advised to take Geography, Economics and something else of no interest to me. I wanted to take Geography, History and Zoology, but was told that was insane, impossible, immoral, etc. Finished up with Geog, Zoo and Chem, but dropped Chem after L6th as I was 100% hopeless. Guess what main topics my career took me into – biogeography and historical ecology – I was trying to make a sensible choice, aged 16!

    The corporal punishment sagas are quite disturbing. In my 3 years at SCGS, I remember only ballistic blackboard erasers and the occasional clipping of ears. Managed to avoid both myself. My experience was of much less violence from teachers than I had experienced in Belfast. As I said in an earlier comment, I was one of a band of lunatics whose form room was above the stable. We declared UDI fairly early in the L6th and seemed to get away with it for 2 years with few visits from staff or perfects.

    Who was the Geog teacher in 1959-62 period? He taught me O level geology too. Stebbings / Stubbings? He was a pretty good teacher if you were interested, but a bit plodding in style.

    My overall impression was of a pretty mediocre bunch of teachers, many with some strange attitudes to teaching, life and people. For me, gold stars went to Alan Cadogan, Alan Bolt and the aforementioned Geog master.

    Anyone remember an occasional film club in 1960-62? Particularly remember seeing The Wild One (Brando as biker), but not sure how we managed to get away with it – must have been cert X.

    Anyone remember an embryonic rock band playing in the school hall one night in 61/62? I think Chris Dreja was involved so possibly an early precursor of the Yardbirds. His brother older Stefan was in my year.


  640. Dave Littleproud

    Paul- I was in Stefan’s year but I must confess to not being able to place you. The teacher you mention was, I think, Mr Stubbings who taught me English in the 2nd form. He ran the film club and I well remember the showing of ” The Wild One”-I remember feeling quite sophisticated watching “a banned film”. These days I doubt it would be given a PG rating.

  641. neil curtin

    I was at SCGS from 1953 to 1958, leaving for pastures new.

    My parents knew Willis and were thrilled I was going to his school, only to be disappointed that he had retired and the victorian thug Doig had taken took over shortly before I joined.

    Does anyone know when Doig’s age when he snuffed it and whether the circumstances of his demise were suitably unpleasant?

    Otherwise facinated to come across this site. I will definitely revisit, and happy to answer questions as well as ask them.

  642. neil curtin

    I was interested to read comments on the various teachers, and have made my views on thug Doig fairly plain.

    As Doig enjoyed administering pain so much do you think he was into S&M? Or maybe he was a paedophile? Maybe I should have offered him a sexual favour to get off (!) being caned? Ugh! second thoughts, I’d rather have ‘six of the best’.

    Anyway Gus Hillier used to walk up and down the second form slapping us on the face / head / ear as he talked. No reason for doing it other than to establish his authority and / or just because he enjoyed doing it. Another pervert.

    Bidmead, funnily enough, I quite liked, despite the self important bearing. Good latin teacher and got me interested in it.

    Though I remember Bidmead trying to get boys to ‘split’ on other boys for some misdemeanour or other, saying ‘this schoolboy honour is pathetic and wrong’. What a terrible thing to say to impressionable young boys.

    Enough for now. I’ll comment, maybe more positively on other teachers some time.

  643. Cliff Harrison

    Dave. I was there from 54 to Easter 62, I should have left in summer 61, but my A level results were so bad I did an extra two terms to get some qualifications, (with moderate success, I am relieved to add). Does anyone remember the tuck shop opening in about 56, at the end of the Physics prefab, (a window was opened for the purpose). What was the name of the school caretaker who lived in the lodge by the driveway entrance to the main school? A tall guy, pretty harrassed.

  644. Dave Littleproud

    Cliff. tall bald guy with glasses -always a wore a brown lab coat called i believe Mr Brooks –not agreat conversationalist I remember.

  645. Cliff Harrison

    Dave. That’s him, thanks for the info. In fact, once you managed to chat to him one-to-one, such as after school and weekends, he was much more human.

  646. Dave Littleproud

    Neil -i think your remarks about Doig were abit OTT.Sure he walloped us but as i have said some of us were “dodgy clay ” behavior wise as a swell as academically. Just remember at that time “birching”and the death penalty were still legal-not only in grammar schools.
    Doig was not the most pupil friendly character but like us he was a child of his time. the only time I remember him being pleasant was at half time through one of his G&S productions which was going particularly well.
    However I have it on “good authority” that if a teacher felt that a boy was not up to O or A level and should be asked to leave nine times out of ten Doig would ensure that he was given another chance.
    As to dodgy clay and behaviour one poor maths teacher must have gone home in tears every time he had to face VA 1960 -1961-why were we so unkind -I don’t know-he was a nice enough guy -might have been a good teacher-but we never gave him a chance.

  647. neil curtin


    I accept my remarks were a bit strong, but that’s how I felt and, believe it or not, still feel.

    I know hanging and flogging were legal at the time, but not for a minor offence, so I can’t even excuse him on those grounds.

    I base my severest criticism on a particular incident when I was about 14; there were others.

    I was at a SCGS fete / fair on a Saturday. We were all in ‘mufti’ – no requirement for school uniform.

    Three of us were smoking, quite openly, as naively, we didn’t think there was a school problem. It really never occurred to us, and being 14 we felt quite ‘cool’.

    Anyway, to our great surprise a very aggressive prefect ‘nicked’ us and reported us to someone or other. On the following Monday, we were seen by Bert forward. He said he ‘couldn’t deal with us’ as Doig was out that day, so he suspended us for the day.

    Next day we got severely caned by Doig who made a big deal of running across the room and laying in to me. Six of the best I think the moron called it.

    Now, I reckon that being suspended was OTT enough on its own and Bert should simply have left it until the next day. To also be caned for such a minor offence was outrageous. It still annoys me god knows how many years later.

    So, looking back, I reckon Bert was a wuss and Doig straightforwardly a cowardly bully. Like I said, maybe he was in to S&M or was a paedophile. Disgusting child molester that he was. I hope he is rotting in hell.

  648. Neil

    But did it stop you smoking?

  649. neil curtin


    Absolutely not. I smoked for many years. Might be feeling differently if the incident had any positive outcome whatsoever. It merely reinforced my rebellious streak.

    How should it have been ‘handled’ by SCGS, if at all? I thought it bhad bugger all to do with SCGS.

    If Doig had health interests at heart (and let’s face it most of the teachers, including Bert Forward smoked) he would have written to our parents without our knowledge, and the ‘punishment’ might have been an essay on why we shouldn’t smoke.

    Too subtle and effective for a victorian thug methinks.

    As it happened, and to complete the story, we did not go home on our day of supension, but rather spent time wandering around town and on the banks of the Thames. Open to abuse from any perverts or paedophiles knocking around, but that aside.

    We knew there would probably be a letter home from the school and we all agreed to rescue it from next day’s post, which by some miracle of the post office we all did successfully.

    So our parents never knew about the smoking or the suspension. We were all in dread of the subject coming up at parent / teacher evenings, but it never did.

    So we can add incompetence to Doig’s list of inadequacies. In addition to pointlessly thuggish child molestation.

  650. neil curtin


    Absolutely not. I smoked for many years. Might be feeling differently if the incident had any positive outcome whatsoever. It merely reinforced my rebellious streak.

    How should it have been ‘handled’ by SCGS, if at all? I thought it had bugger all to do with SCGS.

    If Doig had health interests at heart (and let’s face it most of the teachers, including Bert Forward smoked) he would have written to our parents without our knowledge, and the ‘punishment’ might have been an essay on why we shouldn’t smoke.

    As it happened, and to complete the story, we did not go home on our day of supension, but rather spent time wandering around town and on the banks of the Thames. Open to abuse from any perverts or paedophiles knocking around, but that aside.

    We knew there would probably be a letter home from the school and we all agreed to rescue it from next day’s post, which by some miracle of the post office we all did successfully.

    So our parents never knew about the smoking or the suspension. We were all in dread of the subject coming up at parent / teacher evenings, but it never did.

    So we can add incompetence to Doig’s list of inadequacies. In addition to pointlessly thuggish child molestation.

  651. neil curtin

    Sorry about the (nearly) duplicate post, but the site filter said the first version looked like a repeat and wouldn’t post it. I amended it and it went through, as did the first one!

  652. Dave Littleproud

    If he had been a child molester he would have given you a bag of sweeties!!
    Seriously I think the school reaction was totally OTT. Might have have been more effective if carried out in public -”pour encourager les autres”. Better still to have Mr Fry giving his lecture on the dangers of smoking which certainly made me think about it.
    I don’t know what the legal , if any, position was on smoking but it was certainly verboten on school premises and functions and while in school uniform. Bet you didn’t do it again.
    I repeat I think you were very hard done by.

  653. neil curtin


    I think the technical legal position was over 16.

    In my day, Fry was a regular pipe smoker and he had a mis-shapen lip to prove it!

    As I said, I wasn’t in school uniform, and was unaware it was ‘verboten’ out of school time. I wouldn’t have done it the first time if I had known it was such a big deal. We were in full view walking towards the main school building!

    Completely soured my already negative view of Doig who I despised with a venom, and led to me engineering my exit from SCGS to somewhere decent some 18 months later.

    Ironically, Doig tried to stop me going in the end, even writing an appeal letter to my parents and making an a speech about it at the end of term assembly. Maybe he regarded losing someone as a personal failure. Hope so, ‘cos it was.

  654. charles clark

    Mr Fry?

    Walking around smoking his pipe filled with Erinmoor mixture? With his two wooden splints for beating young boys? One with a zinc sheath to maximise pain?

    I think we need to be honest about what happened at that school. Forget the legality of it all – it was abusive. Pupils were humiliated and abused in a punitive way and in some cases a sexual way.

    The only positives were the camaraderie of pupils uniting against the regime. The teaching was poor, the staff were a very mixed bunch with some who were excellent and some who were personality disorded and probably criminally insane. Strong words? Maybe – I was beaten and banned from all RE lessons because I asked Dr Turner if there was any actual proof that god existed? I spent a whole year standing in the corridor when RE took place. There are countless examples of abuse and incompetence.

    I applied for medicine and was asked for three C grades from St Georges – an old friend of SCGS apparently. I did not get the grades as Mo never showed up to teach me, Taff was OK, Bunny Warren did not have a clue about the new Nuffield syllabus. I got two C grades and a D. I went on to Hull university and got a 2.1 psychology and have spent the last twenty years as a forensic psychologist and an academic before becoming an education inspector.

    It was a shit school but probably no worse than any other. Was Tiffins better? Or Kingston Grammar School? I suspect not.

    I hope we can continue to enjoy memories and reminiscencies but let us not be under any illusion that it was good. But are any schools good? Are they not just a vehicle for young people to focus their rebellion and mature as people? SCGS focussed me on blues music, rock music, sex, drugs, alcohol and a determination to champion the causes of those treated unfairly. I was one of those and I saw so many suffer at that school.

    On a lighter vein -

    Sid Capper – we used to eat sandwiches and smoke in classes as he was so short sighted

    Zetter – smackies? – complete arshole

    Rosie – Mr Aston

    Harris-Ide – used to play with his loose change in his pocket, whistle and play with his tie. I remember his caeser adsum iam forte gaius aderat. lol


  655. neil curtin


    Good post. Exactly how it was.

  656. Dave Littleproud

    Why didn’t we talk to our parents? My son was on to me like a shot if he thought he was being maligned unfairly-and I would fight his corner.
    I must have been very lucky , a goody two shoes and totally oblivious to my surroundings.

  657. David Pringle

    Dave L, and everybody:

    There’s a lot of bad-mouthing of the old school been going on here in the past few days!

    I was there for five years, from 1961 to 1966, and my memories are mainly positive. I received no physical chastisement that I can recall, and nor do I remember any of my immediate friends doing so.

    That’s not to say that corporal punishment didn’t happen, but it was only a small part of the school’s life in my experience. It was all a part of the wider society of the times — different times! You’ve got to try to cultivate a sense of historical sympathy.

    David P.

  658. Cliff Harrison

    Neil. The staff rest room on 1st floor main school building was always an absolute fug from ciggy smoke, yes, of course almost every master smoked. But the punishments were designed simply to try and make us kids toe the line. The worst I ever got was 200 lines, never anything physical (though Keats got a rollicking from my father for hitting me round the ear), though as the instigator of a variety of explosive devices in around 1961 I suspect that I would have been caned had the truth come out – but I think Doig didn’t believe I could actually be so naughty or inventive, so I escaped retribution.

  659. neil curtin

    David P.

    I was there from the early 50′s and I suspect this was the arse end of the victorian school ‘culture’ which revered authority and treated children like shit.

    SCGS was in my opinion at the arse end of the arse end in Doigs early years. In those years (don’t know about later) he was a pompous abuser with an exalted view of his own importance.

    Like the captain of any ship he coloured and influenced (encouraged?) the actions of his staff, some of whom were as perverted and psychotic as him.

    I think Doig was acting out Flashman’s role in J B’s Schooldays. Despicable turd.

  660. neil curtin

    hi all, on a lighter note……

    poor old ‘sid’ capper. he couldn’t help himself could he. he looked weird, got called sid or, more hurtfully, ‘bosky’. a very clever man, but could he teach? – nah.

    i remember one day some of us were on a bus and sid was on there too. he dropped an orange he was carrying and the bus must have been on a slope because the orange just kept rolling right up the bus floor. the sight of poor old sid nearly on his knees chasing this orange which kept moving out of his reach was hysterical. of course, sid kept serious throughout but we boys were just pissing ourselves. needless to say, none of us came to his aid.

    poor old sid.

  661. neil curtin

    me again

    got the old memory cells on overdrive now.

    i don’t remember how it came to the attention of our betters, maybe by some snotty prefect, there were plenty to choose from, but the dreaded masturbation and dicks got on the SCGS agenda.

    apparently this kind of sexual deviancy was rife in the 2nd / 3rd forms, and no doubt others, and Doig decided to tackle it head on. Apparently, a bunch of boys had been ‘caught’ doing naughty things in one of the toilets.

    so Doig did a tour of god knows how many classes giving us a lecture on this ‘activity’. well, he started by reminiscing that in his school days boys were actually measuring and playing with their ‘persons’ in class in full view of other boys.

    he knew such ‘practices’ were happening at SCGS and he was determined ‘it would stop’. i believe a select group of offenders were ‘punished’, quite severely i think, but i think he drew the line at writing to parents. he probably didn’t want to admit to such ‘practices’ at his school.

    well, can you imagine how the knowledge that Doig was on his rounds doing a lecture on ‘persons’ and ‘playing with oneself’ spread round the school like wildfire and was eagerly discussed and anticipated.

    there he was during his lecture, fat, pompous, gowned and looking over the top of his half frame glasses speaking in starkly serious tones. most of us could hardly keep a straight face and he bollocked us for that. but what a hoot.

    here i will pay respect to the era (1950′s) and society’s attitude to all things sexual. masturbation was generally considered deviant, depraved, very unhealthy and a serious piece of misconduct.

    if you watch the tv series mad men, which is set in the 1960′s and faithfully reproduces attitudes then, in a recent episode a yound girl was ‘caught’ masturbating and reported to her mother. oh dear, did the sh1t hit the fan! the upshot was that the young girl was sent to see the psychiatrist to ‘cure’ her.

    funny or what. LOL.

    more stories of our youth will no doubt follow. i don’t suppose anyone caught Doig having a quick one, maybe with old Scummy? what a picture!

  662. Dave Littleproud

    Neil-didn’t any poor innocent ask for a demonstration-me -I was worried about going blind!
    In serious vein Carpenter’s graphic talk to 4B on the horrors of VD had most of us swearing to eternal celibacy or at least staying away from women.
    Sure some of the teachers were swine -ask Eddie Watkins a question and he would lash out with the edge of a steel ruler. But not all of them.
    So why were we so unkind to those who were not swine -Parsons the maths teacher -Sid who tried so hard to teach 4B French -was it parenting ? Why did no one help an elderly gent, who you all knew was a decent sort, find his orange?
    Referring to an earlier post concerning Bidmead’s scathing remarks about pupil loyalty -Scrog Hayward was ready to dish out a collective punishment because the perpetrator refused to own up-however on the suggestion of one class member he willingly left the classroom to give the class an opportunity to talk the malefactor into confessing. Had said miscreant not confessed we would have taken the punishment -pupil loyalty was important. Still -shows what a decent person Scrog was.

  663. Dave Littleproud

    PS- any one source a braille keyboard ?- I have trouble finding the “j”

  664. neil curtin


    there were some good guys amongst the teaching staff. hayward was okay, but a bit vague. i liked fred fernyhough as i think he was a good teacher and i was good at french, even though he once threatened to ‘beat me up’ (twat – i was 12!). even gus hillier became human once he stopped the random slapping lark which was, presumably, to establish his authority.

    i thought bert forward was an old woman and fairly useless. keats (cocks) was tiresome unless you liked music. watkins was only a sports teacher. bolt only interested in music and rugby. scum was a lunatic – didn’t realise he was plymouth bretheren until i read it on here. i’m technically a catholic and as soon as i realised non coe’s could opt out i swiftly got a letter from my mother and bingo! no re for me. so i never saw all the scum buffoonery, only heard about it from other, envious pupils and sometimes heard it through the walls when he was in full flight.

    cox (pip) the scientist was fairly useless and we played him up something rotten. rose (unfortunate nickname of snot) was very serious and not that good. couldn’t wind him up though.

    they were overall a pretty motley crew, weren’t they.

    and prefects, don’t get me started on that! some good ones, a lot of self regarding over promoted dross, and many outright bullies. whoever gave prefects permission to administer corporal punishent to young boys? all wrong, even in the child abuse acceptance / encouragement world of the 1950′s. all a reflection on the arch sadistic bastard doigfuhrer i reckon.

  665. Paul Leadbitter

    When I passed the 11 Plus and was accepted for Surbiton Grammar, I remember being told in the street, by a pupil whom I knew and who was 1 or 2 years older than me, all about the “rules” under which I would be beaten (publicly and privately), respectively, by prefects, teachers, house masters, the Deputy Head and the Headmaster.

    At the time, I accepted that. It seemed quite reasonable. But today, and with memories of that “system” in action, I think it was all totally sick
    and obscene.

    I wish I could say it was “character building”, but I actually think it was closer to criminal.

  666. neil curtin


    as you can see from my posts, i entirely agree.

    the tom brown’s schooldays ‘model’ was probably etched in the minds of many grammar school teachers. and i suppose what was it, ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ was the motto.

    all ‘good for us’ and children would be ‘better for it’. funny how some people will excuse abuse on the highest of supposed well intentioned ‘principles’.

    whatever folk say on here it was actually illegal to abuse children, even in the 50′s and 60′s.

    i remember one pupil being caned in front of the whole school. what doigfuhrer did was to use the pe changing room at the end of the assembly hall, so we didn’t actually see it, just heard it. in a way that made it worse.

    i don’t remember what the miscreant’s ‘crime’ was (although i remember who he was but will spare him public embarrassment) but being flogged in front of 650 people wouldn’t have been done to a murderer or traitor at the time.

    i expect doigfuhrer abused himself for weeks after the excitement of that piece of depravity. disgusting piece of filth that he was.

    why didn’t the abused pupil tell his parents and create a stink? maybe he did, but 1950′s attitudes might have sided with the school on the basis they ‘must have had a good reason’. i don’t know, but quite possibly the pupil felt so ashamed he blamed himself, in much the same way as some women do, and probably did back then, when they are abused and raped.

    sorry if i’ve soured the memory of some SCGS former pupils, but maybe doigfuhrer and some of the teachers spent too long in pow camps.

  667. Bob Harris

    Ok Neil Curtin
    Time for the curtain to come down I think we all know how much you appreciated Doig!! but it is surely out of your system by now. Let’s have some of the more positive memories, there is always a good one to counterpoint the bad

  668. neil curtin

    bob harris

    were you a prefect?

  669. charles clark

    what an interesting exchange?

    it is a little bit like the current debate over the pope?

    yes well – we all know that you were beaten and abused but let us draw a line under that. let us think positive.


    sorry – cannot think of a positive at the moment.

  670. Dave Littleproud

    Neil -I’m sad that you had such a rotten time at SCGs and it’s good that you are willing to let it out let it out-but now, if you can, try to let it go -after all it was 40 + years ago and as Scarlett O’Hara says “Tomorrow is another day”
    Anyway Neil there were a lot of years after SCGS -how did they work out for you-me, although not shining academically or professionally, in my 66th year I feel pretty content.
    Take care -keep posting

  671. neil curtin


    i didn’t have an entirely bad time at SCGS but as i’ve found many times before and since, i do rail against and react very badly to bullying and harsh authority.

    i ‘let it out’ on here to see if my views and reactions were typical. from the posts before mine and responses received, it seems a fair few pupils felt as strongly as me. one even more so, talking of sexual abuse, though i saw none of that, except possibly any erotic pleasure the thugs may have taken from violating young boys.

    i suspect the anti group consists of pupils that were naughtier, and more outspoken, perhaps more extrovert than the majority, and that wasn’t going to be tolerated by a darkly victorian monster like doig and his stazi.

    from what i know about willis (and he was the main reason my parents pushed for SCGS) things might have been very different. but that’s life i guess.

    i was glad to get out of SCGS and moved on very successfully. i had a very good career mostly in sales and marketing, finishing up with a management buy out which went extremely well.

    i have an excellent family life with a daughter and two grand children. though i can see in my 9 year old grandson some of the ‘kicking over the traces tendency’ i know so well, and i will try to help him through that!

    thanks for you post and best wishes.

  672. neil curtin

    charles clark wrote

    “what an interesting exchange?

    it is a little bit like the current debate over the pope?

    yes well – we all know that you were beaten and abused but let us draw a line under that. let us think positive.”

    exactly charles. it’s like, apart from that Mrs Lincoln, did you enjoy the show?



    sorry – cannot think of a positive at the moment

  673. Peter Avis

    What an astounding revelation of vile, or at least unpalatable, practices emerges from the passionate exchanges between ex-pupils of Surbiton County Grammar School. I offered on this site (see July 21 and July 24, 2009) my own recollection of times even longer past, but they did not include the harrowing experiences recounted since by many others from a decade later.

    It does seem that one man – be it Hitler or, apparently, headmaster Doig – can be capable of creating, or promoting, a whole culture of repression in a society. The stories I read now do not recall my own earlier memories of the same school between the years 1942 and 1947, when a more benign AGF Willis presided over all our fates.

    On one single occasion, I suffered physical punishment at the school: a slight slap on the face for being lippy, from Bert Forward, my favourite teacher (I was shocked because I thought I was his favourite pupil, so it took me down a peg or two). Anyway, on leaving school, I remember being happy to go with my parents to a party for Bert hosted by the parents of my then friend Peter Pulzer. It was all very civilised, and I remember Bert Forward, with his mild iconoclasm, for encouraging my early critique of constituted authority and to carry such an attitude into journalism (which I still do).

    Ken Bidmead, then future Tory mayor of Brighton, was urbane and I never knew him to display the physical aggression described now by later witnesses. Sid Capper, of course, would never hurt a flea; Bill Busby was one of the nicest of many Communists I have known in many countries; Neville Holdaway, detective story writer and Marxist historian, was a bit of a dry stick with such a rich hinterland, but no threat to his pupils’ integrity. The black times on Surbiton Hill seem to have eluded us in those wartime and early post-war years. Did we live in a golden interval?

    Anyway, we often too easily say that the world was better when we were young. It wasn’t. Thank goodness, we don’t now accept physical violence against children. As we don’t send them (in England) to work in mills and mines. There is progress, and we can make the world a better place (though there’s a lot of work to be done).

  674. David Pringle

    Wise words, Mr Avis!

  675. neil curtin

    peter davis

    good post. i suspect a combination of the war years and a more benign headmaster provides the answer.

    as i’ve said, my parents knew willis and thought him ‘a really nice man and a gentleman’ and were disappointed to find he retired just as i joined the school.

  676. peter pocock

    Curious thing about Doig …. I find it hard to believe that he was the driving force behind sadistic and brutal disciplinary practices. My memory of him was of an intelectual and pompous snob, who probably felt that a common county grammar school was beneath him.

    Far from giving him the dubious credit of being behind it all, I remember feeling that he was totally out of contact not only with his pupils, but also with his staff. I cannot recall ever seeing him
    sharing a joke with other teachers. I cannot ever remember him walking the school, in conversation with his staff. I only see him sweeping majestically down the corridors apparently lost in his own importance. I doubt he even knew where the smoke filled staff room was.

    In the 6th form, we would occasionally discuss Doig, informally with the more sympathetic members of staff and I never once heard any of them rushing to his defence.

    My other memories of him where when he would unexpectedly arrive to take a lesson (usually, ostensibly Maths), and would then proceed to ramble on about almost anything he felt like. Bad tempered yes, except when he was making feeble attempts at making a joke. Indeed there was a time when it was speculated that he kept a bottle of Scotch in his desk drawer….

    Sure, he carried out his ritual canings, which may or may not have ‘turned him on’ but he certainly wasn’t into the violent and gratuitous violence meted out by the likes of Gus et al.

    This is by no means a defence of Doig, who was without doubt, a poor leader , a poor teacher, a poor communicator and a poor motivator.
    I very much doubt he even knew the names of more than a handful of pupils.

    In summary, his greatest failure as a Headmaster, was to be without emotion and without humility, and without any understanding of his role

  677. David Goodyear

    I have managed to find 10 happy memories of my 7 years at SCGS (1954-1961), in spite of the undoubted shortcomings of the place.

    The end of term hymn “Lord, dismiss us with thy blessing” for the obvious reason that it was the EOT

    The bus ride to Hook on games afternoons

    Playing in the school orchestras especially for G and S productions

    Trumpet lessons on the top floor of Braemar after school once a week

    Lunch hour in the school grounds during the summer terms

    School journeys : I particularly remember one to the Isle of Wight and a residential week at Slapton Field Studies Centre in South Devon as part of the A Level Biology course

    Inspirational teaching from Messrs Stubbings and Cadogan

    Good friendships

    An awareness that though the school was rightly or wrongly in the shadow of other nearby grammar schools, it was still actually a privilege to have passed the 11+ and so avoid the alternative options

    A year after leaving school being employed in the school office as assistant to the redoubtable School secretary Dorothy Gambling

    Perhaps others can add to the list.

  678. neil curtin

    peter pocock

    you wrote:

    “Curious thing about Doig …. I find it hard to believe that he was the driving force behind sadistic and brutal disciplinary practices. My memory of him was of an intelectual and pompous snob, who probably felt that a common county grammar school was beneath him………………………………..

    ………………..In summary, his greatest failure as a Headmaster, was to be without emotion and without humility, and without any understanding of his role”

    or put another way, a totally useless sadistic bully who should never have been put in charge of children.

    if he didn’t drive the sadistic practices, it is hard to see who did. there were plenty other thugs among his staff and prefects but i am quite sure he was the lead player / encourager.

    maybe you were never caned by this piece of garbage. he tackled it with the same enthusiasm and lack of decency as a bunch of drunken yobbos kicking an old man to death.

  679. charles clark

    Again some interesting posts.

    Bill Busby – I remember him eating his lunch inthe art room and accusing us of stealing his orange from his lunch box. He beat all six of us and then found his orange in his briefcase where it can had fallen from his lunchbox.
    I hope this wont affect our relationship laddie? What do you think?
    I also remember when four of us were due to be beaten by him for carving our initials on our desk. One of us stuffed a handkerchief down the back of his trousers only to be spotted by Bill Busby. He made the boy take down his trousers and pants and beat him on his bare bottom in front of the rest of us. This is a total violation of human rights but we were not aware of this at the time. A gentle well meaning communist? A sadistic pervert!!!!

    The bullying was rife. I know as I was at the receiving end for my first three years because I was fat and wore short trousers. I hid every break looking out for Omph and Sutherland who would seek me out and beat me up for being a fat kid. We had two Asian pupils whose life was hell especially one who had to wear a calliper on his leg. We also had one severely disabled pupil who used to be followed by others taking the piss out of him every break.
    I remember being a prefect where we had a fellow sixth former who was asthmatic and we used to force him into the prefects room and jump on the horse hair sofa until the chap collapsed with an attack. Such cruelty was commonplace. I was bullied and I am ashamed to say that I bullied.
    It was a cruel environment which made me tough but I know some who did not make it. Two of my contemporaries had breakdowns and left. Strangely enough one is now a very successful QC and the other a very successful retired businessman. Maybe the best outcome was to leave the school ASAP.
    Anyway – I have no axe to grind as I have had thirty years as a very successful forensic psychologist, academic, researcher and now an adult education inspector. I have done very well but all thanks to my university experience which was brilliant, truly educational and made me grow up.
    The only good thing about SCGS was the friends I made and the few I am still in touch with. The school, the teachers, the educational experience, was without doubt overall appalling. Cruel abusive educationally inadequate.
    That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.

  680. Peter Avis

    Apologies to Charles Clark for having evidently embellished the reputation of Bill Busby, who must have deteriorated in character and behaviour from the rather reticent teacher I knew in his young days, at the blissful end of war: “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!”
    I can’t explain the Busby phenomenon, unless it be another case – history records so many – of violence breeding violence. And I suppose we are all potential monsters at some level of our being, though happily many of us manage to keep the monster at bay. Engaging in this Old Surbitonians’ debate is a cathartic experience. Hope it does us some good.

  681. Can’t help thinking these current discussions have played well beyond their ‘sell by’ date. I was at the school from Sept 1955 through July 1963 and I never witnessed the systemic beatings, sex abuse etc alluded to in the recent blog exchange. Yes corporal punishment was practised; yes the school was not ‘politically correct’; yes the standards of teaching were mixed; yes the teaching agenda was biased towards classical red-brick university entrance; yes the buildings were far from ideal; yes Doig was a man with his own agenda; yes … blah, blah, blah.

    Now put all this into perspective. Yes capital punishment was the norm; yes homosexuality was illegal; yes racial abuse was the endemic; yes gang warfare – from Rachman to the Krays – was rife; yes we had National Service, with all of its associated boot camp abuse culture; yes there was social militancy and intimidation; yes driving home blind drunk was de rigueur; yes you always had a 10 shilling note strategically placed in your driving license in case you were stopped by the police; yes if you got a girl pregnant you married her;yes there was no sexual equality in the work place; and yes we were living in a Gene Hunt “hit first, ask questions afterwards world”. Yes, the world we were living in was far from perfect… truth is it still isn’t today, just imperfect in different, but equally abusive, ways.

    We were all very privileged to have been given the chance for an education denied to the rest of our peers and yes were also lucky to have been at the start of, and part of, the massive cultural revolution that was enveloping the post war society, from music, arts, literature, entertainment, cars, air travel etc. etc.

    I learnt great common sense and survival skills at SCGS, from avoiding the holly bush indoctrination to keeping your head down and keeping stumm when the proverbial hit the fan, also to stand my ground when the circumstances saw fit. I also learnt how to make the most of my chances and get the best out of what I had been given.

    I also gave up my seat for a woman on a bus – an act today that would probably see me prosecuted for ‘indirect sexual harassment’, opened the door to allow my elders to go first, was taught respect and decency for others and was scared to death at the thought of going blind! We also flew (or more accurately crash landed) model aircraft on the school grass area by the canteen, played conkers and indulged in other activities that today would keep legions of Health & Safety and Risk Assessment Managers in apoplexy.

    I look back on SCGS with a deep affection, warts and all, it was part of a process and has helped make me what I became, placed me in good stead to deal with life’s difficulties and helped me achieve my successes and deal with the failures on the way, skills I see sadly lacking in later generations. The ‘chaos and inadequacies’ of SCGS were a key part of this process, but life too back then was woefully inadequate by today’s enlightened standards.

    At the recent SCGS reunion at the Victoria in Surbiton, everyone there had made a real success of their lives; so too have the peers and contemporaries I still keep in touch with from my era and a lot of the people who have blogged on this entry.

    As for the diversity and quirks of the teachers; what a tremendous tapestry we were given for laughter and merriment; ideal material for St Trinian’s, Carry on Teacher, etc, etc. and yes these were all poking fun at what was the norm in this period of our lives. Can’t imaging be able to do any of the stuff we did then now… how sad, how sanitised. And yes, in our various ways, we did all help change the world; our job now is to encourage our children and grandchildren to do likewise to today’s injustices, including a fight against the toxic endemic culture of selfishness and instant gratification.

  682. neil curtin

    malcolm penn wrote:

    ‘Can’t help thinking these current discussions have played well beyond their ‘sell by’ date. I was at the school from Sept 1955 through July 1963 and I never witnessed the systemic beatings, sex abuse etc alluded to in the recent blog exchange’

    not sure i f you’re saying it didn’t happen or if it did. it was all part of a rich tapestry, and presumably, by implication, all jolly well good for the victims. made them better people, better able to face the rigours of life?

    i’m afraid no amount of excusing or justifying or post rationalising or ‘being grateful for the privilege’ excuses child abuse, not even in the homophobic, sexist, xenophobic racist days of the 1950′s. no, it wasn’t legally condoned then and isn’t now.

    let’s ‘move on’ by all means, unless others wish to share their experiences. but please don’t try to justify / deny the perversion at SCGS by painting it as a really okay 1950′s schoolboys’ adventure that made us better people.

  683. Les Thacker

    Thank you Malcolm for a balanced and erudite reponse to the recent postings. I had the benefit of both Messrs Willis and Doigs’ stewardship at SCGS and in my time 50-56 received a short quick punishment courtesy the cane from both. Can’t remember the offences but do remember the embarrassment of waiting outside their study waiting to be called in whilst it seemed the whole school filed past. Both were very different characters and had their own vision as to the school’s direction and curriculum.
    Also after leaving the school I completed the mandatory term of National Service where beasting in the first months of training was again not unusual.
    Of course in todays ‘Nanny State’ we do not tolerate such behaviour, where parents will now rush to complain at the slightest form of verbal correction to their progeny. Do not seem to remember either in those past times the litany of stabbings, muggings and worse in everyday life and in education establishments the daily assaults on teaching staff prevalent in todays’ society. Perhaps there is a moral there somewhere.

  684. David Pringle

    Les Thacker:

    I agree with you that Malcolm Penn’s contribution, a couple of messages back, was a good and wise one. You go on to say:

    “Of course in todays ‘Nanny State’ we do not tolerate such behaviour… Do not seem to remember either in those past times the litany of stabbings, muggings and worse in everyday life … prevalent in todays’ society.”

    I’d just like to back that up with some figures I found online. In 1960, according to official statistics, homicides in Britain were at their lowest point of the 20th century (“homicide” included the offences of murder, manslaughter and infanticide). Homicides per million population in England and Wales were:

    1900 — 9.6
    1910 — 8.1
    1920 — 8.3
    1930 — 7.5
    1940 (no figures)
    1950 — 7.9
    1955 — 6.3
    1960 — 6.2 **
    1965 — 6.8
    1970 — 8.1
    1975 — 10.3
    1980 — 12.5
    1985 — 12.5
    1990 — 13.1
    1995 — 14.5
    1997 — 14.1

    “Since the early 1960s the number of homicides per million population has more than doubled.” (House of Commons Research Paper 99/111, 21 December 1999.)

    I’ve double-asterisked the lowest point for homicides in the above list — 1960! It was precisely during the years most of us have been talking about here — the 1950s and 1960s — that the most serious sort of crime was at its lowest in Britain. Tough discipline in schools (and elsewhere) may well have had something to do with it.

  685. neil curtin

    dave pringle

    is the implication then that the abused children of the 50′s and maybe 60′s would have gone on to be murderers had it not been for thugs like doig and his stazi?

    i wonder why 1900 was so high given that all forms of corporal punishment were prevalent?

    would you be happy for your grandchildren to be severely birched for a minor misdemeanour either in the privacy of some pervert’s study or in public in the pe changing room while the school was in assembly?

    no, didn’t think you would. please don’t defend the indefensible with selective, spurrious statistics.

    it was abuse. it was wrong. end of.

  686. Alan Cadogan

    I have been fascinated to read the recent comments. I feel quite disgusted to read the memories of former pupils about some of my colleagues from long ago. As I arrived at Surbiton (1958), a newly trained teacher barely four years older than some of the pupils that I taught, I was happy with the teacher/pupil relationships that I discovered. As far as the Head was concerned I knew little of what went on in his study! However, he did tell me on the 3rd Monday of my first term of teaching that I should make a reputation by hitting a pupil that week! What did I know of such things? – there had been no physical punishment in my own shooldays and the only thumping I had ever done was on Welsh rugby fields. But I was obedient – in the Biology lab I hit a big lad (sorry DP) and never again in a longish teaching career did I ever lay hands on another pupil. I told Mr Doig and my housemaster Malcolm Davies that I disagreed with physical punishment and would attend assemblies but that on each occasion I would leave before any public beatings. Both agreed – probably thinking what a wet youngster I was. In a clash with Mr Doig I stated that I would not wear an academic gown in laboratories – he said that it was a requirement for all teachers – but I stood my ground, explaining the safety issues and stating that the official dress for the lab should be a white coat. Eventually he agreed and – lo most of the other scientists also changed dress to white coats immediately.
    I suppose that in an atmosphere of physical punishment most accepted it as normal and the only way to get discipline. That was true in many, but not all, schools at that time. I remember one colleague who started teaching at the same time as me. He was frequently in tears and totally unsuited – though he may have been good in another school. There were some amusing events – such as Sam Capper’s constant neurosis that he may have damaged a pupil by a slap and the time that one teacher slapped one pupil, not realising that the boy had to wear a wig – the wig sailed across the room and one can only imagine the horror that ‘Keats’ suffered.
    But there were so many good things about that school – I learned so much that I could take on to two more schools and then on to the postgraduate training of generations of Biology teachers at the Universities of Bristol and Durham. I did enjoy coaching a rugby team, working on the G & S productions, running the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme (and taking SCGS pupils to the Palace for the first Gold awards) and even the Staff/student plays – always a farce – with colleagues Bolt, Harris-Ide, Hunt and Fernyhough. On the subject side I was not really helped by my Head of Department – but was given a free reign to innovate by Morris – so we had a Natural History Society with field days and a week of Ecology on the Devon Coast for A-level biologists.
    I have happy memories of those four years with lots of good things – and there were some great kids and splendid teachers (Frank Walmesly immediately comes to mind – we took a group to the 1960 Olympics in Rome). I am saddened to read that some of the correspondents here did not think of their schooldays as ‘the happiest days of life’. Corporal punishment, thankfully,is now over – but one reads that bullies still exist in schools – but they are mainly other pupils.

  687. Gary Shepherd

    Since discovering this blog I have been thinking back a lot about my schooldays trying to remember more. I was at Esher Grammar as it was by them called with Wimpy as Head – the only Doig I knew was a really nice guy – some of his lines about History are still ingrained in me. There was one horrible science teacher whose name escapes me but was a psychopath and picked on a few weaker boys as we queued up to get into the lab (he never taught me so can’t remember his name). And there was Baz with his thrown blackboard rubbers, and Mr Silley with his long ruler which he used to thump on your head. And of course Gus – who walked into the room and everything would go grey . Apart from a thump with BC Hackett’s plimpsoll I think the fear of the cane kept me out of trouble.

    I was by no means a goody goody – and I used to love the breaktime ritual of being out by the back gate on the grass smoking Numbos or roll ups. And I remember some bullying – but not against me or by me – my fight with Terry Graves (although lost) gave me a little more credibility as I landed a good few blows and hurt him as much as he hurt me.

    But I don’t remember that much brutality to be honest – I remember some really good times, and a few good teachers, and by then I discovered girls to add to football and music as obsessions. Tiffins Girls – happy days ! Concerts at the Coronation Hall (anyone remember seeing Focus there?) and sneaky halves in the pub at lunchtime – we went through a phase of smoking pipes !

    School was kind of always there and you went there and accepted it, but life was happening and so many things to discover outside – so my happy memories are wrapped up with memories of stuff happening outside school. There was bad stuff too as my mum died while I was in the 6th form and the school seemed oblivious to this fact. But generally I don’t remember too much brutality – I guess the early 70′s were changing everything and it sounds a different place to the Surbiton Grammar regime.

  688. Gary

    One of the differences would be the choice of missile. In my day it wasn’t blackboard rubbers but milk bottles (those 1/3rd pint jobbies) that were hurled towards one.

    I was fortunate in that I always saw them coming and was able to dodge them in time.

    A previous post mentioned the blessed lack of excessive Health & Safety in those times. I broadly agree with that sentiment though a smidgeon of H&S back in March 1963 when I seriously injured my shoulder high jumping in an unsuitable pit (we were forced to use the side of the pit at the back of which was a rock hard mound of sand – this was end of Winter 1962-63 don’t forget) might have saved me from an injury the after effects of which are with me to this day.

    Perhaps if Baz Hunt hadn’t insisted on applying a splint to my forearm(!) and then advising my parents that I had been taken to Kingston Hospital (when I was actually taken to Surbiton Hospital) I might have less unflattering memories of the efficacy of the teaching staff.

  689. Pete Foster

    Alan Cadogan’s recollections reminded me of an incident in the mid 50′s. Dr Turner was demonstrating the properties of Sulphur to our class and had set up the chemical apparatus at the front of the lab. We all gathered round, pushing and shoving, while he poured the concentrated sulphuric acid on the copper turnings and collected the ensuing gas in a gas jar. As he turned sharply, to write the equation on the blackboard, his academic gown caught the retort stand and sent the apparatus flying. We all pressed forward laughing at his misfortune. Suddenly we all started choking and I found my lungs had stopped working. Realising I had only seconds of conciousness left I led the rampage for the door. I came to flat on my back on the grass quadrangle outside the lab with the other survivors. I felt like I had experienced the last days of Pompeii first hand. Great respect for sulphur dioxide, less so for Scum. Laugh I almost cried.

  690. Paul Leadbitter

    Gary Shepherd,

    I remember you. I was in the same year as you and Graves. But I don’t remember the fight.

    The psychopath science teacher you remember was Mo Morris. Whenever there was less than absolute silence in the queue outside the lab, he would suddenly throw the door open, grab the first boy he could lay his hands on, drag him inside and thrash him in full view of the others waiting outside.

    This became very counter-productive. Invariably, the “weaker” boys were forced to the front of the queue by their unpleasant classmates, and the latter started talking very loudly, in anticipation of the forthcoming explosive spectacle. Worked every time…

  691. neil curtin

    alan cadogan wrote:

    “………………As I arrived at Surbiton (1958), a newly trained teacher barely four years older than some of the pupils that I taught, I was happy with the teacher/pupil relationships that I discovered. As far as the Head was concerned I knew little of what went on in his study! However, he did tell me on the 3rd Monday of my first term of teaching that I should make a reputation by hitting a pupil that week!”…………

    well there you have it from the horse’s mouth. doig was a thug. a throwback to dark victorian times when monsters like him took a particular delight in abusing and violating children.

    he should have worked in a borstal or similar correctional facility. but maybe it’s as well for society that he didn’t.

    thanks for the post alan.

  692. richard day

    I must say I am a little saddened by some of the above posts.I am almost afraid to admit that for the most part iI actually enjoyed my sojourn at SCGS(1954-1962).Thoroughly agree with Malcolm Penn.As to Doig,it all changed for me ,when in an unguarded moment,at aG&S rehearsal,he told us that at University he was called PB Doig.PB standing for “prominent buttocks”. I have to stand up for Mo Morris,When I took A level Zoology he was engaged and quite frankly alot of fun.Alan Cadogan,you were abreath of fresh air.You took us to Slapton and gave me a life long love of natural history.As well,you gave us along list of contemporary English literature to read, I also thank you for that

  693. Keith Watling

    I was at SCGS from 1965-1972 and part of the 1st year intake that made the transition from Surbiton Hill to Thames Ditton. I think I attended the school at Surbiton for just the autumn term before we made the move to the new school, complete with its playing fields and outdoor swimming pool. I do, however, remember the old playing fields off Somerset Avenue in Hook which were especially convenient for me as I lived in Chessington at the time. I also recollect our first rugby lesson at Somerset Avenue when a master (Mr Cripps – Maths) while demonstrating how to tackle, ended up breaking a class mate of mine’s collar bone (I think his name was John Stagg?).

    I have been following the postings in recent weeks concerning the extensive bullying by teachers that evidently went on during the 50s and the early 60s and wanted to add a perspective from my somewhat later era. My recollection was that although some canings took place, notably by Gus Hillier in his office, the level of corporate punishment I witnessed was pale in comparison with what I have been reading about. I can’t help but think this had something to do with the new headmaster, Eric Waller, whom I assume took over from the (seemingly sadistic) Doig. Not long after starting at the school, I do recall Mr. Walmsley (then House Master for Lovelace)caning a boy named Jones in front of our form for carving his name in his desk, but thereafter such public beatings were few and far between.

    Taffy Davies (Master of Coutts), Bunny Warren (Master of Egmont) and Baz Hunt (Master of Villiers) were still there and to my recollection were very devoted and dedicated teachers. I think I had Bidmead for my first year Latin, but then he left/retired and I moved on to Harris-Ide and then Baz Hunt. I studied very hard and came away with 11 O’levels, plus I also played rugby and cricket through each of my seven years and ended up captaining the 1st XI under the supervision of the delightful ‘Bomber’ Lancaster who taught French. For my A’levels, I took Chemistry with Taff Davies (was Bristol the only University worth applying to?), Botany with a new teacher we used to call ‘Runk’ (I can’t remember his real name?) and Zoology under the deplorable Mo Morris who was no more a teacher than I’m a Dutchman! What a despicable man and a disgrace to his profession! His lessons simply consisted of his reading aloud various passages from text books that we were expected to write down verbatim with no opportunity for discussion or comment. I still marvel at the fact that I managed a B in zoology which helped me gain a place at Southampton University where I gained a first in Physiology and Biochemistry in 1975 and a PhD in Pharmacology in 1978. I have had successful careers in pharmaceutical research, scientific marketing and scientific business, but I often think back to how, given my academic and sporting interests, someone at SCGS should have directed me towards medical school. However, as has been discussed in previous postings on this site, career advice at our school was noticeable by its complete absence in spite of a ‘Careers’ Room’ (just off the Assembly Hall and down from Gus’s office, and a Careers’ Master named ‘Sammy’ Sentence who also taught English (what else?). As for Mo, I remember how we all laughed when we heard he had broken his collar bone while refereeing a school rugby match, especially as he did as a result of slipping on an especially frozen pitch while running out onto the pitch before the start of the game!

    Not sure if any of my class mates are reading these entries, but if any of you are out there, here are the names I remember from the countless times they were read out at form registration:

    Best, Bleach, Blowers, Broughton, Brown, Clark, Davies, Dawes, Dresch, Duke, Gledhill, Green, Issacs, Jones, Logan, McDowell, Norton, Phillips, Pickett, Rossum, Shimell, Stag, Titow, Toft and yours truly.

    When I left in 1972, there was still a 1st year intake, but I think that may have stopped in the mid-70s following which the school slowly transitioned into a 6th form college.


  694. neil curtin

    here’s a bit of elf ‘n safety 1956 style.

    you may remember there was a small white lodge at the entrance to the drive that led up to the main, white school building.

    this was used as a store room for all things military. as you know SCGS had its own army cadet force of which i was a member.

    i remember one lunchtime / afternoon that a number of us were for some unfathomable reason, allowed to go inside the lodge.

    well, apart from military uniforms and other supplies, the lodge had several rifles, yes, genuine .22 rifles. and, guess what, one of the boys found some – bullets. not blanks, but yer actual real bullets.

    one of the boys loaded up the rifle and shot the padlock off a metal case. another shot through a narrow pipe in the wooden window frame to the outside.

    can you imagine? the bullet that hit the padlock could easily have ricocheted and hit someone. the bullet through the window frame could so easily have hit someone – even a pedestrian walking up surbiton hill.

    some of us did a runner when the bullets started flying, but others stayed there enjoying the ‘fun’.

    make of that what you will. nobody got caught and as far as i know, nobody was hurt and nobody but those of us that were there ever knew, again, as far as i know.

    why were there guns and bullets on a school site? how did the boys get the keys to the lodge? why were we allowed in there?

    etcetera etcetera. beat that for a story!

  695. Cliff Harrison

    Neil. I though the armoury was alongside Aysgarth, just beyond the end of the Physics lab. I seem to remember there was a proper field gun in there, used by the cadets for training I suppose, with Gus as the leading participant.

  696. neil curtin


    you might be right on both counts, but as a cadet, i don’t remember the aysgarth armoury.

    i think the lodge was officially just an army clothing and harmless materials store.

    i have this graphic picture etched on my mind of this boy pointing the rifle at the pipe in the window frame, and firing it in the direction of surbiton hill beyond.

    absolutely amazing experience that still gives me the shudders today when i think what could have happened with bullets flying around!

  697. Dave Littleproud

    Neil-I vividly remember the 25 pounder in the shed/garage next Aysgarth-and I wasn’t a cadet- I figured I could be shouted at enough at home!-let alone by Gus and Lefevre on a voluntary basis-Gus tried to sell the cadets by telling us -”you will join”-as self confessed rebel,Neil, why did you join?
    I remember cadets pedaling home with .303 rifle on shoulder in order to practise rifle drill at home.
    When Busby found my name etched on a desk ( I can’t believe I spent however long to do it-bit of acarving marathon) he merely gave some sandpaper and told me to remove said signature-he did try to give me some career advice which happily I ignored.
    I only crossed swords with Doig once. Over some disagreement with a bus