Rye Old Grammar School, High Street, Rye. Date of photo unknown. (Photo courtesy of local historian Paul Draper)
Peter Ewart adds:
This photo appears in Rye guides just before and after the First World War (they were usually undated). It was presumably taken after 1887, when the sundial was removed to its new site at the rear of the Town Hall, having been positioned in the school building’s central gable in 1831 when presented to the town by Col de Lacy Evans.
Interestingly, a flagstaff appears to jut out from the bottom of the oval space previously occupied by the sundial, with a small flag or pennant attached. It’s not crystal clear but I’ve examined another copy of this same photo (pre-WW1 Adams of Rye guide) & it’s definitely there. It even occurred to me that it might be the protruding hand of the sundial itself, which would push the date of the photo back, but looking at photos of the Town Hall sundial, I think this unlikely. I’m not sure I’d noticed this flagstaff before. Perhaps the flag belonged to the Working Men’s Conservative Club, who occupied the premises in Edwardian times after the school move to The Grove. Or is it just an old sellotape blotch on the photo? Don’t think so, as it’s a little clearer in the photo in the guidebook.
In J.L. Deacon’s 1914 Guide, there’s a “front-on” photo of the building – no sign of the flag pole!
So 1887-c1910. If I dig out any earlier examples of the published photo we might get it a bit more exact, but not by much.
Mermaid Street School
The above picture is of a School Group taken at the school in Mermaid Street, Rye. It must have been about 1916, and somewhere in the picture is Wilson Saunders, the uncle of my wife Christina.
The school in Mermaid Street had been built as The Mermaid Street National School in 1867, and at that time took both boys and girls, but by 1891 the girls and infants went to the school in Lion Street (then known as Red Lion Street), and the Mermaid Street school took boys.
We think Wilson is the boy in the second row up, fifth from the left, but we’re not entirely sure. Has anyone information regarding the group?
It would also be interesting to know if there was any sort of uniform
Peter Ewart adds:
Nice photo. Definitely no uniform Chris – it was a struggle for some of them to get any decent clothes to wear and the poverty which hit the pupils in 1914-18 (when the school struggled badly) is noticeable in some photos compared with the Edwardian period. After the National School was built in 1867 it fell in with the Board School system after Forster’s 1870 Education Act and became a council school after Balfour’s 1902 Act. It doesn’t look (to me) like William Sprigg Walker in the background and it would be interesting to know which Standard is photographed here. The school leaving age was raised to 14 in 1920 – these boys look as if they could be in the top two or three standards. I can’t recall offhand if I’ve seen this particular photo but 1916-18 certainly looks feasible – but so would the late Edwardian period.
Jo Kirkham adds:
Arthur Woodgate told me about it when he was giving me his ‘Rye Memories’. He was there from 1917-1927. (Born in 1913, he died aged 101). He said: ’There were no school meals in my time, but there was a kind of school uniform. Many parents, including my father, objected to being told what their children must wear. However, thanks to my mother, I did eventually get a round peaked green cap with a red R.C. S. (Rye Council School), on the front and a green jumper.’
Rye Grammar School 17 June 1931
Rye County Secondary Modern School badges – c1955
Samples for approval and then adopted – photo courtesy of Paul Rogerson
Rye Grammar School badge – c1938
Photo courtesy of Paul Rogerson
Rye Grammar School Prefects Badge – 1963
(Photo courtesy of Heather Rendall, nee Bather)
Rye Grammar School Prefects Badge – 1963
(Photo courtesy of Neil Perry)
Rye Pottery Bowl presented to Miss Turner
ROSA presented this bowl on 14 November 1975 to Miss Turner, former Deputy Headteacher at RGS – known affectionately as Aunt Matt. The sail of the boat has the initials AM in tribute – a symbol of her setting off to pastures new. Aunt Matt subsequently gave the bowl to Eve Rogerson, Paul’s mother. Eve was the long-serving Secretary of ROSA, as well as having been Secretary to the headteachers at Rye County Secondary Modern School.
Photo and comment courtesy of Paul Rogerson.
RGS war memorial: 1939-1945
The late Eve and Les Beeney
Eve (formerly Eve Rogerson) and Les Beeney were great stalwarts of ROSA. Eve was Secretary to ROSA for a number of years. Eve was also employed as School Secretary at Rye County Secondary School, working first for her father, Mr Blackman, who was headteacher for many years, and later his successor Roger Rothwell. Eve’s two sons, Mike and Paul, were pupils at RGS.
The first 8 girl scholars at RGS 1908. The press cutting is from 1959 or 1960. (Contribution courtesy of Margaret O’Neill)
The Headmaster’s Residence, Ascham House, The Grove, Rye What year was this? The house is still there – but no longer available for the headteacher! Those were the days.
RGS 1926 – with thanks to Carol Tredget for her kind donation of this photo for the ROSA archive
The pdf version here will allow you to zoom into the photo RGS 1926 pdf
Rye Grammar School 1927 – photo courtesy of John Breeds
Rye Grammar School Form IIIA: Spring Term 1927 – photo courtesy of John Breeds
John Breeds adds:
I actually knew at least three of the people in the Form IIIA photo:Ken Breeds was, of course, Roger’s father and was the Postmaster at the Rye Post Office for many years.
Dick Burnham sang with me in both Rye and Bodiam Church Choirs. He ran a hotel at Bodiam for some years, retiring to Appledore where he lived well into his 90s.
John Smith was, of course, Rye Town Clerk when it lost its Borough status in the early 70s. He was also an RGS/TPS governor and Grand Master of the Wellington Lodge!
RGS staff – pre WWII or at Bedford. The legendary Miss Turner (Senior Mistress) and Dr Jacobs (Headteacher) third and fourth from right, front row, respectively.
Close-up of Miss Turner and Dr Jacobs
Rye Primary School Staff 1946
Photo and comment courtesy of Rye’s Own
‘Rye Primary School in Ferry Road had been opened in 1938 and remained open for most of the War. In 1946 a new headmaster came to the school, Maurice Beevers was to play a great part in the rebuilding of the spirit and determination of a new generation of Ryers. With a team of dedicated teachers he created one of the finest primary schools in the whole of Britain.We are fortunate indeed to have been loaned the photograph by Brenda Kennard of the staff at Rye Primary in February 1946, very shortly after Mr. Beevers took over at the school. Back row :-Pictured from left to right back row :- Mrs. Bodilly, Mrs. Morris, Mrs. Candler, Miss Frere, Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Stone. Front row :- Mrs. Lee, Miss Jordan, Miss Baker, Mr. Beevers (Headmaster), Miss Welfare and Brenda Kennard (nee Heights) (clerical assistant) who sent in the photo.’
Rye Primary School
How many of these pupils became ROSA members? The site of the former Primary School has been a source of debate and uncertainty over many years now. Originally earmarked as the site for supermarket. Then a possible new site for Rye College. Now a proposed site for housing.
Rye Secondary Modern School staff/senior pupils – 1950s?
Rye Secondary Modern School Staff – mid-1950s (Headteacher Mr Blackman, holding hat, middle front row)
(Picture courtesy of Colin Dorman)
Rye Secondary Modern School Staff – c 1955
(Picture courtesy of Paul Rogerson – the Headteacher, Mr Blackman, was his grandfather and his mother, Eve Rogerson, was school secretary.)
Eve Rogerson, Mr Blackman and Miss Welsh (Deputy Headteacher)
(Picture courtesy of Paul Rogerson)
Saltcote Boarders – 1951
Saltcote Place then
Saltcote Place now
The Saltcote Pippin
Jim Holmes has sent the following information about the Saltcote Pippin Apple
RGS 1931 (with thanks to John Breeds). John’s father, Denis Breeds, is on the back row, eighth one from the left.
RGS October, 1938: Tercentenary year
RGS October 1938 – Photo 1 (Courtesy of Margaret O’Neill and Roger Huxstep)
RGS October 1938 – Photo 2(Courtesy of Margaret O’Neill and Roger Huxstep)
1949 – BFI Archive film – ‘ The School Farm’
Rye County Secondary Modern School Young Farmers Club – 1949 film produced by Les Holmes, teacher at RCSM. Please note: the film, which is half an hour long and part of the British Film Institute’s free archive, does not have a soundtrack, but has some fascinating shots of the school. Watch it here
Digging the first spadeful for the RGS School Hall – 1956
RGS Speech Day 1958
RGS Speech Day 1958. The two people behind Dr Jacobs seem to have nodded off!
6th form and staff? Year?
This was originally titled RGS school photo 1950s – but Catherine Ford (nee Boyce) says it was taken in Bedford to where the school was evacuated during the war. Her father, Peter Boyce, who went on to teach at Rye County Secondary School and Thomas Peacocke, was evacuated to Bedford with other RGS pupils.
RGS School Photo 1955 – Courtesy of David Swaine
RGS School Photo- 1957
RGS School Photo – 1959
(With thanks to Ted Blundell)
(Ted Blundell is 21st boy from the right hand side of this part of the print, third row from the top)
(With thanks to Richard Jones)
U5th 1963 Revue
I don’t ever remember being known as “Lolly” Lane, how funny.
Hilary says:I think that may be me with the curlier hair though it’s not easy to tell – I suspect the girl; with glasses is Judy – a Canadian girl who joined at the same time as me in Autumn 1962 but she left after that one year and returned to Canada. I was the kangaroo in the “My boomerang won’t come back” skit and Alison Banks donned a short sexy leopard skin drape as I recall.Judy and I sat behind you Lesley in the Upper Va classroom – right hand side next to the window as you face the front. You gave me a couple of your lovely tulip sketches.I have attached a pic of me on the Geography trip earlier that summer – taken at Edale.(see below)
RGS Inter-school Quiz Team, 1964
Left to right: Peter Buchan, Roger Whyatt, Roger Huxstep, Terence Barden. With thanks to Roger Huxstep for providing the picture. Roger points out that his surname was spelled incorrectly on his name plate!
RGS Sixth Formers at Glyndebourne – 7 July 1964 (?)
L to R: Jim Holmes, Gill Rothwell, Christine Oates, Jenny Burke, John Breeds RGS House Pennies Race, 22 June 1965
This event was held to raise money for the 6th Form Common Room Project
Leasam House Christmas Party – 1963
With thanks to Bob Carter for supplying the picture and the names and to Peter Eade (Head Boy at Leasam at the time – 1963) for correcting the original entry in November 2017.
The boys are getting ready to welcome their partners for the evening, some of whom were girls from Saltcote – a special evening! The date of the event was December 1963 – and not surprisingly, there was a Beatles theme for the evening.
Back row— Peter Eade “Dumbo” Howes
Roy Forward Eaun Thomson
John Bryden (Housemaster) Bob Carter Alan Webber Brian Hurford Michael Bennett Godfrey Talbot
Michael Slater Michael Grainger Paul Tree Michael Sinclair “George” Searby Desmond Lambert Fraser Kilpatrick
Antony Lambourne Michael Chesman
Upper 6th – 1965 (Photo courtesy of Hilary Hamilton)
Above: John Apps in interesting pose. Below: Peter Buchan, Carol Springford, Jenny Bell (Photo courtesy of Hilary Hamilton)
RGS School Prefects 1967
Tim Rothwell adds: I can put names to some of the faces, but sadly not all. It would be good if we could put some names to the ?s.
Back row from the left: Marion Weller David Smith ? Charlie Noakes ? Chris Williams Lynne Huxstep (I think)
Second row from the left: Cherry Bazalgette Pamela Blair Colin Strange ? ?Eric Brook-Dowsett (?) ? Martin Williams ? Tommy Hales
Front row from the left: Lark …. Sue Shepherd Bill Perry Gilly Winterbottom Nick Marshall Lynne Crosbie (I think) Digby Hobson (Head Boy) Sue Ritter (Head Girl) James Phillips (Leasam Head Boy) Cherry Tottenham
RGS School Prefects 1967
Back Row from the left: ? Charlie Noakes ? Chris Williams Lynne Huxstep (I think) Colin Healey Ann Hodgson Tony Harwood ? John Clay
Second Row from the left:? ? ? Martin Williams ? Tommy Hales Carol Springford Teddy Guiver Lynne Morgan Tim Rothwell Felicity Saunders
Front Row from the left:Nick Marshall Lynne Crosbie (I think) Digby Hobson (Head Boy) Sue Ritter (Head Girl) James Phillips (Leasam Head Boy) Cherry Tottenham Alan French ? Peter Chapman Mary Neve Diana Lovell (?)
Thomas Peacocke Lower and Upper Sixth Form – 1972
(Photos courtesy of Catherine Ford (nee Boyce)
Cathy Ford (nee Boyce) has put some names to faces as follows:
Left to right top back row Jon Forrest. Arrived in the 6th form from Madagascar and on leaving went to St. Paul’s Cheltenham.
Just in front and to Jon’s left in dark jacket and tie I think is Nigel Peck.
Starting with the standing row of girls, from left ? ? ? ? ? Anne Moss. ? ? ? Sue Clarke. Jane Burke.
Seated on chairs from left ? ? ? Sue Handley. ? Sally Kinnis. (spelling). Sandra Barnes. ? Ruth Kendel Stan Jones. Alf Buttery. Hilda Dann. Winn Allen.
Seated on the ground from left ? ? Judy Killen. ? Francis Cox. ? Jane Band. Nicky Williams. Catherine Boyce. Angie Alford. Sally Burke.
Thomas Peacocke 1973 or 1974
Thomas Peacocke Upper and Lower Sixth Forms – 1971
Photo courtesy of Mark Griffin, who was in the Upper Sixth. Mark says the photo includes some of the Falkland islanders that were then attending the school.
Sheila Boston has put some names to the above photos.
Phot courtesy of Pul Fuggle. Paul has identified some names in the photo:
Vicky Peckham Kevin Ransom Mark Hullock Michael Le Fevre Nigel Evans Robert Small
Mark Griffin Melanie King Ian Duffy Nic Coyne Julie Woodward Brian Jempson David Osang
Vicky Ashby Sally Ashby Debbie Padgham Nic Bridger Richard Winkworth Angelica Campion
Alison Maish Tim Rook Julian Whoolley Peter Moore Ralph Popple Margaret Regandanz
Thomas Peacocke – Building the Sports Centre
Photo courtesy of Ted Taylor
More Memories from Rye County Secondary School
Roger Rothwell at his desk in Rye
Roger Rothwell was the headteacher of Rye County Secondary Modern School from 1958 until 1967. He left to become headteacher of Tideway Comprehensive, Newhaven, where he remained until his retirement in 1979. But he and Daisy, his wife, always retained a great affection for Rye they are buried together in Rye Cemetery. Their daughter Gill (now Perry) and son Tim attended RGS and are ROSA members – Tim is currently Chairman of ROSA.
Tribute to Bob Huxstep, teacher at Rye County Secondary Modern School by Jim Hollands, Editor, Rye’s Own – from May 2008 Rye’s Own.
Bob Huxstep – as he was in WWII – he was awarded the DFC
Bob Huxstep taught at Rye County Secondary Modern School and later became deputy headteacher at Thomas Peacocke School. Bob and Babs Huxstep’s son and daughter, Roger and Lynne, attended RGS.
‘There are very few people in this town over the age of forty who were not taught by Bob Huxstep. He was one of those few very special people one meets in a lifetime whose example leaves a lasting influence. He was modest to the extreme and even though we pressed him, in those schooldays of the early fifties, about his adventures during the War he only commented that he was in Bomber Command but that was all. This made him a hero in our eyes (most young boys then were dreaming of a career in the R.A.F.) Had we known he was on his way to play for Arsenal when the War broke out he would have been placed on an even higher pedestal. Bob Huckstep was one of Rye’s greatest sons, an outstanding teacher, spectacular sportsman and a very fine man.’ Jim Hollands
Reproduced by kind permission of Rye’s Own
Christmas Dinner for the Older People in Rye – Part of Learning to Live
‘Learning to Live’ was an initiative set up in the 1960s at the Rye County Secondary Modern School which introduced pupils to the world of work. Among the staff shown here are Tony Tookey (top right), Phil Heath (Education Welfare Officer) (top left), Wyn Allen (top right) and Mrs Woollard (at the table)
Mr Smith (left) and Mr Blacker (right) . Two stalwarts of the Rye County Secondary Modern School and later Thomas Peacocke Comprehensive
Learning to Live Motor Mechanics – working on Harold Dorman’s car.
Cathy Ford (nee Boyce) has provided the above photo. Cathy is Peter Boyce’s daughter =- Peter Boyce tight metalwork at RCSS and Thomas Peacocke. Cathy adds:
‘I always thought that RCSS was a happy, well run and interesting school to attend, even though I was only I was in the C band which was geared to taking CSE’S but I felt strongly, even then, that the Learning to Live, P(?) band and the remedial classes were very well catered for. There was a lot of social interaction with the wider community in Rye and villages where these children came into their own. It wasn’t all about exams.
With this in mind I think Dad (Peter Boyce) saw a wider need in the metalwork dept. and branched into motor mechanics for those boys who were interested, much supported by headteacher Roger Rothwell’s endorsement and enthusiasm.
The photos show Mr Dorman’s Morris Minor being rubbed down and being prepared ready for spraying. Mr Dorman is rubbing down the door paintwork and Dad is doing technical things to the front wing. The boys worked on the less precise operations initially until they gained the necessary skills. It wasn’t only cars they worked on, I remember a big old blue and orange Fordson tractor in the workshop too.’
Rye Secondary Modern School New Road School Site Swimming Pool
Headteacher Roger Rothwell and Deputy Betty Chapman open the swimming pool at the New Road School Site
Swimmers celebrating the newly-opened New Road swimming pool
(The above pictures courtesy of Colin Dorman)
t Pupils using the swimming pool at the New Road School Site
The swimming pool used by all schools in Rye at one time or another, was built in 1961 following public donations and a campaign called ‘Let the Children Swim’. The pool is now sadly covered in trees and undergrowth. On 25th July 1962 a tragedy occurred when RMS 1st year pupil Glenn Butler was killed by lightning whilst standing by the side of the pool.
RGS – Physics Classes
Identification of pupils updated by Adrian Gotts – June 2020. Adrian adds: ‘Happy Days. I loved Physics and Mr White was a great influence. I studied Electronic Engineering at Uni. and ended up with my own company designing TV broadcast equipment. I still look back fondly to the dances in the St. John’s Ambulance Hall with the live band: were they the Vivas?’
Photo courtesy of John Breeds
Part of RGS material rescued from the archive cupboard at the school and, sadly, water damaged. Here is a photo of a LVIA Physics class from 1968 (Taken by Mr Tony White, the Physics Teacher, who sadly died in 2015. Mr White regularly attended the ROSA lunch at the Mermaid and will be missed at future lunches.)
Back row: Jan Fisher, Peter Clark, Peter Smith, ?, Adrian Gotts.
2nd row: Alfie Glaysher, Neil Barnes, Michael French, Malcolm Harris, Peter Jones, Richard Turner (with Peter Smith behind him), Pauline Elliot
Front: Elaine Williams, Vicki Duclos, Jane Cole, Mary Phillips (with Graham Ashdown behind Mary Phillips)
1962 1st year physics class, L1, RGS
Another badly water damaged photo taken by Mr White – of a First Year Physics class in 1962. Courtesy of John Breeds. Barry Fuller says this was his class. He has identified:
Back row: Girls (from left) ? ? Vicki Brown Yvonne Richards (or possibly Kay Baldock) ? ?
Front row: Boys (from left) Pete Clark John Arkley David Cotterell Adrian Gotts
Working hard at A-level revision (!) – 1968
Picture and comment courtesy of Peter Ewart. Peter adds:
‘This picture, dated June 1968, shows three Upper 6th pupils revising for their A Levels ( a bit late!) in sunny weather by the seat in the little garden alongside the tennis court between the front of the old school & Love Lane. L to R: Lyn Nesbitt, Peter Ewart & Denise Pemberton.’
Thomas Peacocke pupils in 1977 – 1982 leavers
National Tree Planting, Thomas Peacocke: 1985
Art class – when and where?
Boys’ sewing class: Thomas Peacocke – with teacher Mrs Hobson
Girls’ woodwork class
Unofficial (!) 1960s reunion at Adrian Gumbley’s home – 2012
Left to right:
Tim Rothwell, Gilly Winterbottom, James Phillips, Cherry Tottenham, Jane Wonham (nee Cole), Adrian Gumbley, MaryClare Loretan (nee Phillips)
Image copyright Kitty French Trust
Still Life with Blue Flowers (Wax Resist, 1988) by Kitty French (1924-1989), RGS art teacher. As well as being a much liked and respected school art teacher, Kitty French was highly regarded as an artist in the Rye Community and further afield. Her work continues to be displayed in the Rye Art Galleries.
1960s reunion at the school – October 2015
All – over 100 – including these former pupils, had a great time at this very successful event.
The leavers of 1996 held a reunion at the school in July 2016
Thomas Peacocke Staff – ? year
(Photo courtesy of Ted Taylor)