We have received these photographs recently. Is anybody able to identify the events and those involved?
Colin Albright – Cricket Fame and Paul McCartney and Wings
I was at Thomas Peacocke School from 1970 to 1978.
My parents owned the sweet shop in the Landgate called “The Candy Box” (now Rye Bistro) and my claim to fame was that back in 1976 I accidentally ended up one of the winners of a national “Find a Fast Bowler for England” competition. It was all over the press, and this is a photo of me down at Hove with the England Fast Bowler, John Snow. I think I was also on the TV too.
I played for Sussex U17 and Kent Colts in the end, but I didn’t do as well as I would have hoped. I’m still playing for a team called Blackboys which is a village just outside Uckfield.
I actually packed up when I was 21 yrs old and playing for Bexhill in Division 1 of the County League. I think there was a realisation that I wasn’t as good as I needed to be, and girlfriends started getting in the way, so I packed up.. In 1999, I started again at the age of 39 yrs old.
There is a slightly sad twist to my memories as Garry Blackman died a while back. I lived across the road from Garry, his Dad owned Blackmans the Newsagents, and I cycled to school every day with Garry, but we share a very apocalyptic moment in time together, and I think his brother Steve may have also been in on this.
Back in 1976 or thereabouts, the old Regent Cinema had just closed down and was empty.
We got the news that a certain local celebrity may be there, with his band, and sure enough, he was!, it was Paul McCartney and Wings rehearsing for their Wings Over America and world tour. So, myself Garry, his brother Steve and another friend called Lee, were down there every day after school or whenever we could, listening outside the stage door. Paul and Linda would come out and say hello, and I think there may have been photos of us with them in their open-top car..!.. They were the nicest people you could ever wish to meet.
I think we were there for 4 to 6 weeks during that summer… Just us!, could you ever imagine that happening today? Rye would have been closed off by the Police! – but there we were, just the 3-4 of us and Wings. Very hard to believe.
Garry was the only person who could ever support my “wild” claims, so really sad that he is no longer with us.
These were the happiest days of my life and its great to know that with this website I have a place to go where I can relive them.
Mrs Anne Sharp – née Anne Robina Eastwood
Robin Sharp has very kindly sent in the following fascinating memorabilia about his Mum, Mrs Anne Sharp – née Anne Robina Eastwood, who sadly died recently, just two moths before her 100th birthday.
Robin says this photo of his Mum was taken in Tivoli Gardens Margate in August 1939 and on the reverse his Mum has noted that she is wearing the RGS summer uniform.
The above is the examination timetable for the 1938 Oxford School Certificate Examinations. Robin says that pupils all had affectionate pet names for each other and his Mum’s was Auntie and you will see one wag has scripted this same on the 1938 timetable. Note eleven continuous days of examinations (apart from the Sunday) and examinations on a Saturday morning!
The above is the examination timetable for the 1939 Oxford School Certificate Examinations. And below is the link to the daunting Shakespeare examination paper taken between 9.30am and 11.45 am on Monday 17 July 1939. There were three further exams that day and in all eleven similar days of continual examinations in 13 days. How times have changed!
Postcard from Will Dunlop
Fran Mileman (Née Francesca Hutchinson) remembers her pocket money book from her Saltcote Days: 1967-1974
Chris Coleman recalls his days at Rye County Secondary Modern School
After I left school, I worked at the Kent River Authority as an Engineering Technician, attending day release at Brighton Technical College for an ONC in Engineering. I then did a full time BSc (Hons) in Civil Engineering at Brighton Polytechnic, eventually becoming a Chartered Engineer.
My career was spent on design and construction of sea defence and river flood alleviation works in Sussex, Bristol, Somerset and Essex. I retired as Principal Lecturer in Logistics Engineering at Anglia Ruskin University.
Rye does seem an awful long time ago and it has obviously been very difficult to visit for the last couple of years.
In 1960 when I reached the age of eleven I went to Rye Secondary School. At first I went on the bus but later I rode my pushbike with others, in all weathers.
My first experience with a proper library was at Secondary School. Until then my experience had been when boxes of books were delivered to the Mission Hall at Rye Harbour on a fortnightly basis. Mrs. Saunders was in charge and you selected the books from the boxes – not a great selection to choose from.
The picture shows me in the school library when I was Head boy.
The first thing that struck me when I went to the school was how big it was. I had school dinners and we ate in the canteen – a separate building. My memory is of a large mess hall, but upon seeing the place recently I was struck by how small the dining area really was. There was also a tuck shop where snacks could be bought at break time. It sold crisps, chocolate bars, chocolate biscuits and other really nice unhealthy food full of salt and sugar– but who cares.
At the time, kids from Rye Harbour were referred to as Harbour Ducks. I’m not entirely sure where this came from but the lady in charge of the cooking (I can’t remember her name) used to give extra portions to us from the Harbour.
I actually enjoyed my time at the school and I don’t think there was any teacher I didn’t like.
The school headmaster was Mr Rothwell, who also taught French; he was a survivor from a Japanese prisoner of war camp. He went on to be Headmaster at Tideway School in Newhaven and he lived in Bexhill, just across the road from my brother John’s house.
My first form teacher was Mr Huckstep, who also taught arithmetic. He was an excellent teacher and certainly was a good choice of teacher for those new to the school.
Mr Smith taught Chemistry and Mr Peters taught Physics. I was to meet Mr Peters again much later when I was working for the Kent River Authority. His house was on Fairlight cliffs and his garden was gradually eroding; I undertook a survey at the site prior to the erosion protection works which were eventually carried out at a much later date.
Mr Care taught Mathematics and it was he who ran the school philately club, giving me (and my son) a life-long hobby. Mr Blacker taught English and he was a real gentleman and strict disciplinarian. He owned a hotel business in Eastbourne and travelled by train every day to Rye.
Mr Holmes taught woodwork and he knew my dad and his daughter Judith contracted Polio causing a deformity to her thumb. Mr Boyce taught metalwork. As part of the subject some of us undertook a restoration project of an Austin A30 with Mr Boyce in charge. We also went on a school visit to Ford’s Dagenham factory and the thing that stuck in my mind was the sheer repetition and subsequent boredom of the factory line. I must have vowed then and there never to work in a factory.
The picture shows Christopher Dadswell and me in the metalwork shop. The picture was taken for a school publication, but whether it was ever used I don’t know.
Mr Dorman taught Technical Drawing, in association with the woodwork and metalwork classes. He was a Welshman and sang in the school choir.
Mr Evans was another Welshman and he was the PE master; it was him in charge of us on that fateful day in the summer of 1962 when the worst event of my entire school career took place. On a hot and sultry day we were at the outdoor swimming pool by the school field, the weather became hotter and heavier and black storm clouds were gathering. Eventually a tremendous thunderstorm erupted – we were still outside. Suddenly an intense flash of lightning came down with a loud crack and the air seemed to fill with electricity – we were stunned by the ferocity. Just a few feet across the pool, Glenn Butler, a fellow pupil, was struck and killed instantly by the lightning strike. I haven’t like swimming pools ever since.
Mrs Evans taught music and she was petite in contrast to her husband. Other teachers included Mr Lewis, Mr Downs, Miss Maisey, Miss Chapman.
Every year the school held a harvest festival. Harvest festivals are held in September or October as a celebration of all the food grown over the summer period and a chance to show gratitude for all the hard work and effort put in to harvesting the crops.
This is the 1964 festival. For some reason I’m on the stage (second from left)
In my penultimate year I was a School Prefect and in my final year I was made Head Boy. Amongst other things prefects were responsible for safety at break times and for supervising pupils during wet breaks in classrooms.
As Head Boy I was responsible for the prefects. It was also the Head Boy’s job to keep the lesson times. I had to leave lessons a couple of minutes early and go and press the school bell button. I also had to signal the end of break with the bell, so the school was run to the timing of the Head Boy’s watch.
I had to represent the school on open days and other events, such as sports day.
I was almost the last HeadBoy of Rye Secondary Modern School as the following year the school was amalgamated with the Grammar School to become the Thomas Peacocke School, now Rye College.
Saltcote Girls – Summer 1974
Sarah Ayers (Wenger) has sent in the following two photographs of Saltcote Girls in the Summer of 1974
Thomas Peacocke Choir – Summer 1975
Here is the link to the video: courtesy of the Rye in Old Photographs Facebook Page.
It will take a little time to download.
The conductor is (we think) Lois Benton.
David Gasson (Thomas Peacocke 1973-1975) has added the following:
I recognise Judith Crouch from the front row. I think it was for BBC’s Songs of Praise, broadcast in January 1976.’
Still photos from the video courtesy of Colin Albright
Saltcote Girls – 1950s
This is a photo from the Saltcote Place website https://saltcote.co.uk/
Mary White (nee Kielman) who was not at Saltcote but at RGS from 1953-1958 has identified one or two as follows. Any others suggestions?
In the back row, the first two girls are Marlene Hotchkiss and Felicity Montague-Scott who were both in my class. The third one, I am fairly sure, was called Judith. I can’t be sure, but I think second and fourth from the left on the front row are Gill Lauder and Rita Gasson.
Sarah Ayers adds:
I have put the names of some of the girls that Mary White sent. Vicki Brown is new and the dog called Hennessy.
Tim Burgess remembers an embarrassing incident!
I recall an incident at Rye Grammar School around 1956. I was very interested in agriculture and, whenever possible, would travel round the farms in Wittersham to help with special projects. One day after school I went to A. Chester-Beaty’s farm at Owley, to observe and assist the dehorning of his large herd of Guernsey cows. I was given the job of administering the tranquilizing pills as directed. This is a two handed job and so I had the pills in my pocket.
When the job was over, I went home and next morning hurried to catch the bus. One of our first classes was history with Miss Getley in the ground floor room, second on the right entering the original front door. During the class I was sneaking Smarties into my mouth. One Smartie was not the same and I realized I had ingested a cattle tranquilizer. I laid my head on the desk and was quite out. Apparently there is nothing in the teachers hand book to cover this. I was taken to Dr.Jacobs office and had to explain the situation. The vet. was called. I believe it was Dr. Ogle, who advised “I should just sleep if off”. I don’t recall that there was any after effects, either physical or disciplinary. I never got to apologise to Miss Getley, but perhaps someone could tell her that I do!.
Sarah Ayers remembers Saltcote, Thomas Peacocke, Leasam and Friends
Sarah Ayers, who was at Saltcote and Thomas Peacocke in the 1970s, and now lives in Switzerland, has sent ROSA the following photos and memories. Sarah’s brother Timothy was at Leasam and the connection with Saltcote continued in 1991 when her grandmother lived there after it became a home for the elderly.
This is the key to the walled gardens at Saltcote. The gardens were on the Saltcote side of New England Lane ( Saltcote Street). Photo kindly donated by Paul, one of the present owners of Saltcote
Saltcote Dining Room
This photo was taken at Saltcote place in the dorm of Amberley in 1974. Frankie’s father took this photo. From the left is Frankie Hutchinson, then Melanie Rodaway and to the right is Liza Gilmore – Ellis.
Signs from the RGS days of Saltcote. Photos kindly donated by Paul, one of the present owners of Saltcote.
This photo was taken at Saltcote in 1976. The photo was taken by Frankie Hutchinson’s father.
Christmas at Saltcote – 1977
This was our dining room. We all decorated Saltcote for Christmas 1977. They were the most lovely memories.
Christmas Dinner at Saltcote 1977.
Saltcote at Christmas time. On the top of the photo is Carolyn Ashdown. Then Sally Boustead below Carolyn. Vicki Lelliot and me on the right.
This is me in the needlework room at the lower school. I made this dress and you can see me wearing it at the Saltcote Christmas party.
This was taken at Leasam House in the summer of 1976. We were invited for tennis. I am with with my tennis racket, Vicki Lelliot behind me and Sally Boustead on the right. The other girl I can’t remember who she was.
Tennis at Leasam.
Trevor Paine on the school playing field.
This photo was taken at the 6th form concert 1975. Peter Hayward & Richard Moore was the interruption known as Daphne between the sketches.
6th formers at The Bedford Arms, pub in Rye.1976?
The Globe Inn, Military Road, Rye 1976.
Jo Ciccone with the P.E. teachers.
I am in the middle of the photo. I am with two sports teachers.
A day out with Liz Black and Trevor Paine.
Me and my friend Jo Ciccone, 1970. Jo was a day girl and lived opposite the school.
This is Jo’s house – some years later!
This is me being silly at Saltcote before going to school.
This was taken in the playground. Jo Ciccone, Vicki Lelliot (Saltcote) & me.
From the left is me, in the middle is Vicki Lelliot ( Saltcote )and Jo Ciccone. Jo’s father was mayor of Rye and had the Spar shop opposite the Post Office.
This was taken at day school where the tennis court were. From the left Vicki Lelliot ( Saltcote ), Carolyn Ashdown (Saltcote ), me & Trevor Paine.
These tennis cups I won at school and Saltcote. Singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
This photo was taken in the sport field at school. From the left me, Elizabeth Black ( Saltcote ) and Trevor Paine.
This photo was taken outside the 6th formers building. From the left, I can’t remember the boys nor the girl. Then there is Vicki, me and Carolyn.
Mum and me outside Saltcote 1990.
My grandmother and me at Saltcote in the common room, 1991
Time of Change!
Colin Woods recalls his experience of attending all three secondary schools in Rye in the late 1960s
Food For Thought – 1963
Lake District Walking Holiday
‘Room at the Top’ – Last day of Summer Term, 1961
Those who were at RGS on the last day of the Summer Term in 1961 will probably remember the furore caused by some members of the Upper Sixth who on their final day at school decided to mark the occasion by putting dustbins on the school roof, with the legend ‘Room at the Top’. This was the title of a film starring Laurence Harvey that was on general release at about that time. The reference was meant to be to the fact that by the Upper Sixth leaving RGS there would be room at the top of the school. For some reason, this was misinterpreted by Mr Buttery and he was not best pleased to say the least! I was at the end of my first year in L2 and can remember being told by the Prefects to go on strike and not sing at assembly, an instruction that was later rescinded! But the final assembly was a very solemn affair!
Chaz Mitchell has very kindly supplied this picture of the offending dustbins!
RGS School Sports Day and Fete – 1963 (possibly 1962)
Heather Rendall (nee Bather) comments.
The event /fete John mentions was a May Day Fete in 1963 that the L6 organised for Oxfam which had started only the previous year. It has to be 1963 as we would have been sitting O levels in Easter/Summer 1962 and would have had no time for activities such as organising a Fete Easter 1963 would have been the last term as Lower 6th and all the time in the world to waste !
Datch was a larger than life character who burst onto the RGS scene; was it at 6th Form or did he come the year before? Remember the Knight of the Burning Pestle? And the Ballroom Dancing Society or How to Allow Leasam and Saltcote time [close] together without any one objecting!!! He helped organise the May Day Fete and his skills as a carpenter went along way in setting up booths etc.
Roger Rothwell (Head of RCSS) remembers in 1993 the staff of 1959
Ian McLachlan (who left RCSS in 1958) has supplied this letter that Roger Rothwell (my Dad) sent to him in 1993. There are some family references which will not be of interest (Ian was a neighbour of my cousin Jean) but the list of staff names may bring back memories. Has anyone got the photo that my Dad refers to?
School Report RCSS – Jill Black (nee Woods)
Jill has kindly submitted this extract from her first school report at Rye County Secondary School – Summer Term, 1964.
Memories from Christopher Coleman
My name is Christopher (Chris) Coleman and I was head boy at Rye Secondary Modern School from 1965-1966.
My wife (Christina Sherwood) attended Rye Grammar School and below are some annotated photos from the ROSA website that I have sent in showing our names. (Cath is Catherine Sherwood).
I notice Glenn Butler’s name and I remember the tragic events of his death very well. I was standing on the other side of the swimming pool when he was struck and killed by that tremendous lightning flash. Christina recalls that they were watching a film in the Grammar School Hall at the time and she remembers the event.
I am now retired after a Civil Engineering and University lecturing career , and we now live in Chelmsford in Essex, with our four children and eight grandchildren all around.
Rye Grammar School – 1959
Rye County Secondary School – 1961
Rye Grammar School 1963
Rye Secondary School 1963
Rye Secondary School 1965
Friends at the gate to the playing fields: 1966
This picture was taken at gate to playing fields. Left to right ?, Denise ( Nonny) Stonham, ?, Mick Collins, Sam Ford, Will Eldridge. Photo by Steve Lamb. 1966. (Courtesy of Sam Ford)
1970 – Shell Conservation Competition
Catherine Ford (nee Boyce) remembers Thomas Peacocke’s entry into the Shell Conservation Competition of 1970.
In 1970 Colin Green, head of Leasam, entered the school for the above competition. We were selected to be in the final. It was held in London and Peter Scott of Slimbridge fame was one of the judges. I think I was drafted in as the token girl as I certainly had nothing to do with trapping and identifying any of the mammals and birds. We posed for the photo taken at Leasam for the local paper.
We stayed at The Waldorf on the night before the presentation, that’s us outside early next morning picking up suitcases and making our way to the venue (see below). I think Shell must have paid for us to do so.
I’ve made a short speech at the presentation; Colin Green had written it, he wasn’t taking chances. We each said something and one of the boys pointed to the relevant places on the three dimensional Leasam map. Very low tech.
We didn’t win but we were one of about six national finalists. We were each given the Shell Conservation book for that year as a prize. Here are some photos.
Above: Photo taken by the press at Leasam at one of the conservation areas. The two boys at the top left of the photo are moving a very heavy bird hide.
Above: Outside the Waldorf Hotel. Left to right: Alan Gordon-Jones, Colin Green, ? , Catherine Boyce, ?, ? , Simon Knight
Memories from the 1960s
Colin Swan has sent in these photos. The top photo is RGS Sports Day 1965. Sue Murphy faces the camera, Pete Buchan has his back to it and Terry Barden is to the right.
The photo on the left shows (from left to right) John Apps, Martin Rowley and John Hooper – spring/summer 1966.
The photo on the right, circa 1966, shows Andrew Page with a fly whisk and Robert ?. As Colin says, he is not sure what tableau they are trying to portray, but it is probably politically incorrect!
Film of Rye in 1952
This is not directly ROSA related, but it may bring back memories of Rye (and Battle, Eastbourne and Hastings) in the early 1950s. There is no sound as it is a cine film. It is part of the British Film Institute’s free archive. You can view it here
Musical memories updated
The edition of Rye’s Own for February 2018 has an item about pop groups in Rye in the 1960s, and the Ryetoffs, who were featured here a few months back, get a name check.
This has led Roger Huxstep, who played guitar in the Ryetoffs, to provide the following memory.
The Ryetoffs – 1964 (Photo courtesy of John Breeds)
The Ryetoffs were one of a number of groups (as they were known in those days) that sprang out of the Rye Schools in the 1960s. The Ryetoffs included Melvyn McGann, Pete Buchan, Michael Eldridge and Roger Huxstep. The drummer was Tony Lambert, from Bexhill. Roger adds that drummers with a full kit were hard to find in those days!
Other groups were Tom Thumb and the Fingerprints (including Adrian Gumbley, Paul and Mark Murray, Kenny Stunt and Dave Fountain) and the R-Kives (including Colin Bourne, Tony Harwood, Robert Cheesmuir, David Turner and Tim Rothwell).
ATC and the ‘W’ Girls – c 1960
Having read the memories submitted by Heather Rendall (see below), Eric Bourne has sent us this photograph of the ATC squadron around 1960/62 with the 3 “W” girls.
Heather and Gill Perry (nee Rothwell) and Neil Perry have identified some of those in the picture. Who are the others?
Back Row: 2nd from left, Jonathan Kingdom; 7th from left, Nigel Hatcher
Middle Row: from the left: ? ? (Possibly) Chris White Nick Marshall Roger Huxstep Roger Nicolle Colin Hills John Walmsley Nick Farrow Eric Bourne ?
Front Row: from the left: Paddy Clarke Neil Perry David Robinson Bob Huxstep (RCSS teacher) ‘Tommy’ Thompson (RGS teacher) Mr Maby (RGS teacher) Gary Parkhurst (Laboratory Technician) . Vic Pennell Brian Heighes
Gary Parkhurst (third from the right, front row), sadly died recently – see Obituaries.
Memories of Dianne Williams and Ricky Spencer
Heather Rendall (nee Bather) remembers her friendship with Dianne Williams and Ricky Spencer, who, along with Judith and Gay Breeds, lost their lives in the Hither Green Train Crash of 5 November 1967 (see General and History pages).
Kevin Williams’s memories of his sister Dianne in the 2017 ROSA Bulletin brought back so many of my own.
We were a gang of five in the Photographic Club: Di, Pauline (Hartwell) and me, Heather (Bather) along with Ricky Spencer and Alan Richards. The photo below was taken at Rye Harbour in 1961 on one of the Photographic Club’s outings. I cannot now recall who took the photo – it is, oddly enough, the only one I have of my school years – no selfies in those days. It would have been either Ricky or Alan.
Getting nicked – teachers’ names past and present
Chris Williams was a Sixth Form pupil at Rye Grammar School for three years from 1965-1968, one of a small but splendid group who needed to repeat their Upper Sixth classes
After leaving Rye and plying my trade as a teacher of History, I eventually settled in Lincoln as a senior leader in a large secondary, Lincoln Christ’s Hospital School, for over two decades. I stepped down in 2007 but remain on the staff in a part-time role involving international projects and historical records.
Up here in Lincoln we have a thriving school archive in which the key figure is Peter Harrod, school goalkeeper in the 1950’s, then a teacher and teacher-trainer at Bishop Grosseteste and today a prolific writer of articles about Lincoln Christ’s Hospital School and its five predecessors dating back to 1090. These articles are on the school website and often appear in ‘The Lincolnshire Echo’. My main role is accumulating post-merger (1974) materials and trying to ensure that all photos have names, dates and captions, and other bits are collected for future generations to analyse and use. Digital records, instant messaging and various data protection requirements are making this a more challenging task than in the careful days of yesterday, but we have to try. It is remarkable how many loft clearances lead to the donation of items which families no longer retain, and we are fortunate that there are two rooms in the existing school designated for archives. One was donated (!) a decade ago by Charles Garton, a former pupil, academic and obsessive collector of Lincoln School memorabilia. This triggered other building improvements. This smart space is also used for governors’ meetings and interviews. The other room is happily isolated in аn obscure area of the school and is unsuitable for anything other than storage and the tiniest of tables for the archivist
Peter also publishes articles written by others, including a recent and formidable one by another old boy, Barry Baldwin, about staff nick-names, hence this piece for ROSA. In today’s state schools there seem to be very few nick-names in a rather drab world of ‘Sir’ and ‘Miss’, but it was a different story two generations ago. Many of the nick-names were obvious but as a taster I have copied a short section of Barry’s article to you for reference and, I hope, amusement
“Some had to be content with first-name references. Mr J. Phillips was universally ‘JOHNNIE’, Mr C. Hewis ‘CLIFF’, Mr Parr ‘ HECTOR’. More versatile was Mr John Shirley, ‘JACK’ to some, ‘JIM’ to others – why this dichotomy?
As every man with his name at that time, Mr F. Bailey had to be ‘BILL’ – You all know why.
“Mr H.W.W. Wood had the classiest moniker of all, ‘ BOSKY’, thanks to a line in Shakespeare, “ Look how the sun doth rise upon yon bosky wood” (or words to that effect). Mr Wood did not have the world’s sunniest disposition, but a poetic tribute suited him as a great lover of verse, especially Tennyson’s.”
My secondary schooling was totally in East Sussex, initially at Lewes County Grammar School for Boys from 1960 to 1965. Memorable nick-names there included ‘Beanhead’, ‘Creeper’ and ‘Ivy’ for the very tall linguist, Derek Ives, ‘Dilly’ for Eric Lavender and ‘Sniffer’ for geographer, Mr Nichols, presumably because he did just that. And one can only speculate why a woodwork teacher merited the name ‘Thunderguts’. The very Welsh ‘Dai Jones’ was of course ‘Killer’.
Classicist Mr Taylor apparently earned the title of ‘Spud’ when he was responsible for the LCGS contribution to the ‘digging for victory’ campaign in 1939-1945 war by annexing part of the school field for potato production. When another Mr Taylor joined the staff he was inevitably known as ‘Spud Two’, or was it ‘Spud Too’?
I was at RGS for just three years from 1965-1968 and struggle to remember teachers except those who taught me. ‘Alf’ Buttery, ‘Stan’ Jones, ‘Charlie’ Silver, ‘Hilda’ (Dann), ‘Ma’ Gettley and ‘Donald’ Darby were presumably based on real names, and perhaps used out of a combination of affection and respect or simply mundane convenience.
I could only think of two outside this pattern. ‘The Rev’ was Mr Gaunt and there was ‘Mrs Ug’ whose real name was beyond our powers of pronunciation. Tim Rothwell has now reminded me that Sidney Allnutt was ‘Gus’ while PE teacher David Holness was of course ‘Muscles’. At least one more is known to me, but this is аn open website. Decorum and a little restraint are needed in the interests of good taste and indeed the feelings of descendants.
Mid-century most teachers had a nick-name, but 50 years on modern pupils struggle to mention a single one in the second decade of the new millennium . Gone are the days of the automatic designation of Millers as ‘Dusty’, Whites as ‘Chalkie’, Clarks as ‘Nobby’ and Carpenters as ‘Chips’. Perhaps young people in mid-century had more time on their hands. Maybe television and social media, or exam pressures and Ofsted, have destroyed this sort of creativity. Could it be a result of increased cocooning and the growth of our risk-averse society? Is it or was it a predominantly male obsession? Are there pockets of tradition lingering on, perhaps in selective schools or the private sector?
I wonder if other ROSA members with memories longer than mine and roots going deeper into the Rye community, can add a few more names in the weeks and months ahead.
Chris Williams, known as ‘Bald Eagle’ by pupils at Marple Hall, Stockport, in the late 1970’s / early 1980’s. Now a semi-retired consultant on international partnerships and joint archivist at Lincoln Christ’s Hospital School
17th December 2017
Tim Rothwell adds:
Some of the staff at Rye County Secondary School, where my father Roger Rothwell was headteacher from 1958 to 1967, also had nicknames. As far as I’m aware, my Dad did not have a specific nickname (although I may well be wrong!), although he said he was probably known as the ‘Old B……..’!
I do remember George ‘Clicker’ Blacker and Harold ‘Tom’ Pearce, who sadly passed away earlier this year.
What other ones were there?
My memories of Rye Grammar School (1965 – 1968) – Virginia Hill
Written by Virginia Hill in June 2017
“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances,…” As You Like It , Act II, Scene VII, by William Shakespeare
Writing my school memories after more than fifty years, many of the characters named have already made their exits, but others are still in touch with me, including Guy Black, whose own thoroughly enjoyable memoirs of Rye Grammar School have sparked my memories and have prompted me to add my own. Also in touch with me now is Barbara Wingrove (nee Newman), who was an early school chum from age 11. She has sent me a photo showing us standing side by side, grinning, in a school photo from the early 60s. Sadly, I have lost contact with all my other schoolmates.
My reminiscences are greatly assisted by my diaries and other records (mainly a family magazine) over the period I was at Rye Grammar School/Thomas Peacock Comprehensive. Because of these original documents, I am able to describe a lot of incidents/events/people in substantial detail. After my first (autumn) term at Rye Grammar School, I started a family magazine in January 1965, from which I will now quote extracts (all extracts are italicised, and I have made little attempt to correct errors) from my news stories relevant to my Rye school days. Please enter this virtual “Tardis” and travel back in time with me, going through the years 1965 to 1968.
“Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school.” As You Like It , Act II, Scene VII, by William Shakespeare
Extracts from my contemporary magazine and contemporary diary entries (including most original spelling, grammar and punctuation errors, unless they impede understanding)
Last Thursday, Virginia Hill, form L2 at Rye Grammar School’s representative, refused to run in an important cross country race. She said that she was tired and did not feel “up to it”. Maggie Smith won the race with Nicola Parkinson close behind her. It would have been her third run this term. Many other would-be competitors stayed behind on account of the weather. By V.Hill
Virginia Hill of Rye Grammar School has scored 9 points in her Interim report. The nearest to her is 8 points scored by Elizabeth Weaver. She said “I have still got Physics and Needlework to come and I am sure that I will not score much on those subjects” She is already 2 points ahead of her highest score which was 7. (A list of full results follows which I will not include here – author’s note)
Elizabeth Weaver of Rye Grammar School bet Virginia Hill that she would beat her Interim score. Virginia accepted the challenge and they agreed that if Elizabeth won Virginia would owe her a byro and if Virginia won Elizabeth would owe her a pencil. It turned out to be a draw – 11 all so they exanged the articles. By V.Hill
Virginia has bad fall in gym
On Monday, 1st March, classes L1 and L2 were all in the gym of Rye Grammar School. It was the last lesson. Miss McBride, the PE teacher, had divided them into 3 groups, one for the “horse” and one for the “buck” and one for the trapeze. Virginia was in the trapeze group and was so eager to swing on it that she tripped and fell against some forms, nearly knocking herself out. She was able to count 4 bruises and her right hand little finger stung and throbbed. By V. Hill
Tadpoles, tadpoles everywhere!
Miss J. Foster gave Miss V.Hill three tadpoles on Thursday. Unfortunately, V.Hill spilt the whole contents of the jar – including the tadpoles – over herself. There were tadpoles, tadpoles everywhere and the English teacher was soon going to come in to teach L2 their lessons. What could she do? Hurriedly she told her friends to return the squirming tadpoles to their jar and rushed to the washroom for some paper towels. When she came back, all her friends had replaced the tadpoles in their rather waterless jar and so she got swiftly to work mopping up the water and squeezing it into the jar. Suddenly the door opened and Miss Allen, the English teacher, strode in. The tense atmosphere was broken by a rather “trust you”-ish laugh from the English teacher. The lesson was on drama and the class proceded with the lesson – Virginia Hill sharing her friend Janet’s desk rather than her wet one – Virginia was really rather lucky as the next two lessons were Games and she could take off her wet dress. By V.Hill
Meryon wins music competition!
On Thursday, Rye Grammar School had their annual Music Competition. It lasted almost all day and was judged by Mr Maxwell, a well known newspaper reporter of Rye. The competition was between the three houses, Peacock, Meryon and Sanders. The first “class” took place at 9:30 in the Hall. It was the piano solo for the Lower School. First Jennifer Hales played a pleasant, simple tune for Peacock, the Maureen Marshall played for Sanders and after that Janet Foster played her winning piece (she won). Then there was the lower school solo sung by Susan Mason of Peacock, Marilyn Purrington and a boy called Breeds. M. Purrington won. The Middle school then had their turn, Mary Jailer came first for Peacock in the piano solo and Judi Grievesland came first for Meryon in the singing solo. At the moment Meryon of course was in the lead. But in the instrumental group Peacock came first catching up with Meryon. Then the Upper school had their turn while the Middle and Lower school had lessons. In the afternoon Peacock was becoming excited as they were only 17 points behind Meryon. The next events were the part-song and Junior House Choir. If Peacock could win them both she would have won the whole competition. The part-song was called Tom Bowley. Part songs are sung only by selected members of the Houses tension rose when Peacock won it. Only the House Choir to go! The songs for the house choirs to sing were Marianina and Swansea Town. First Sanders sung them, then Meryon, then Peacock. Sadly the order was Meryon first, Peacock second and Sanders third. BY V.Hill
PEACOCK HAS MOST PENNIES
At Rye Grammar School the 6th formers decided that their Common Room was not good enough. They told the headmistress and various teachers and eventually they decided that money must be raised to build one. First they had a thoroughly successful auction and then a penny race. In this race, each house lay down some pennies they had collected. The house that could make the longest row of pennies would win 2s 6d worth of pennies towards the next race. (Author’s note: this would have been 30 pennies, as this was before decimalisation) Well, last Monday the race began. Miss V. Hill Had collected 22 pennies over the weekend – 2ft 2ins when laid out (Author’s note: about 66 centimetres) – and so she laid them down on the red line for Peacock. After this many others put down theirs and to their surprise and joy they won by twice as much as any other house!
CAN SANDERS DO IT?
Last week we told you about the money-raising penny-race which Peacock won. This Monday there was another penny race. Peacock was winning from the start, and, surprisingly, completed the whole line – although they had many other pennies they could not put more down though they wanted to. This time, Sanders house came close behind and Meryon lagged behind.
Some boys came to the Peacock line of pennies and searched for old bun pennies. When they saw one they would exchange it for a modern penny. In fact the Peacock penny-line became a pot of honey with a lot of hungry wasps buzzing round!
PEACOCK NOT IN NEXT RACE
“Give Sanders and Meryon a chance and do not join in the next race” their headmistress Miss Dan asked Peacock, and so Sanders posted posters on the wall saying “Knock Peacock off its perch”. Can Sanders do it? By V.Hill
This Monday another penny race took place at Rye Grammar School. They had already had two, and this one was to be very important. This time Peacock and Sanders drew, but Meryon still hung very much behind. Both Peacock and Sanders finished their courses and started again, making two layers of pennies. These races were important because they brought the 6th Form Common Room Collection to £104, 12s 4d! Rye Grammar School has achieved their first 100 pounds now. The next money-raising effort is to be an Upper School Dance this Thursday, with the two pop groups: The Ryetoffs and Tom Thumb and the Four Fingers. (see below for full report) By V. Hill
On Thursday, Rye Grammar School held its late-night dance. It lasted till 12.00 with music provided by two pop groups. £25 pounds was raised making the total amount of money for the 6th form common room £129, 12s 4d
DISAPPOINTING PENNY RACE
On Monday, Rye Grammar School had another of their pennyraces. This race was rather special, as representatives of the press were going to take photographs. Instead of holding the race in the girls playground, they held it on the grass field in front of the Biology Laboratary and Domestic Science rooms. Also, instead of having three separate rows, one for each house they had only one line consisting of a Meryon 1 yd strip, a Peacock 1yd strip and a Sanders 1 yd strip (Author’s note: 1 yd = 3 feet) and put all the strips together. Not many people had brought pennies, and so their headmistress, Miss Dann was disappointed. Sanders leaped ahead from the start, while Peacock lagged 2nd and Meryon had hardly any pennies. The next race will be held in a fortnight. This week, The Sussex Express will publish a photograph of them. By V.Hill
At Rye Grammar School a sale of Prefects was held in aid of a 6th Form Common Room. All the Prefects dressed up and were bidded for in the hall 25s was paid for one of them. The ‘bought’ prefect was made to run errands for the buyer for 3 days after the buy was made.
A feast was held in honour of Janet Foster’s birthday on Friday at Rye. The 14 guests invited each brought some food, drink or both. This resulted in cakes, buns biscuits, ginger beer, sweets, sanwiches, lemonade, pears and apples. Among the guests invited were: Maureen Marshall Carol Langley, Joanna Boreham, Carol Seymour famous beaty queen, Merryn Beard, Virginia Hill, ed of Flame and Barbara Newman, ed of Flint.
After eating this kingly feast we gave Janet the bumps (14 of them) and cleared up the mess. I have never seen food disappear so quickly as on that day! The feast was held in the girls playground at short break. By V.Hill
VIRGINIA AS VILLAGER IN PLAY
Virginia Hill is in the school play “Boy with the Cart” by C. Fry as a villager. All through the entire play she says three and a half lines only! The play is about a young boy, Cuthman, whose father dies and he is left without a penny. He then builds a cart and wheels his mother all through the land looking for a place to live. At last he builds a church and settles down.
LEMONADE FOR SALE
Virginia Hill has decided to take a bottle of lemonade to school each day and charge 2d a cup for anyone who wanted some. She started doing this on Monday 11th and by the end of the week earned 10d. The lemonade is made by her mother.
COMMEMORATION DAY IN RYE CHURCH
The Rye Grammar School Choir has been practising for last Tuesday (12th October) when Rye Grammar School held their annual Commemoration Service in Rye Church. Unfortunately no Flame reporter was present and a full story cannot be told. It is known, however, that the choir sang the round, Dona Nobis Pacem (give us peace) the Bell anthem and many other hymns and songs. The Choir is very good.
V.HILL HURTS FOOT
When Virginia Hill played Netball at school the Thursday before last she somehow sprained her arch and every step she took hurt her left foot. She got it bandaged up and treated with Wych Hazel. Within 2 days it was better again.
“BOY WITH A CART” AT RYE
Virginia Hill was a villager in her school play called “Boy with a cart”. On Tuesday 7th the dress rehearsal took place in the afternoon. For the 1st time in her life Virginia wore make-up. The costumes were about 13th century, and all the actors had to act barefoot, BRRRRH! Then they all filed into the hall. The play was performed “in the round”….Instead of acting the play on the stage it was acted in the middle of the hall surrounded by chairs. No scenery was used. The leading parts, Cuthman, the boy and his mother, are played by Kay Baldock and C.Tremeer. The dress rehearsal was a considerable success.
The first performance on Wednesday the 8th was also a fair success. Only one need for prompting arose in the beginning. This performance was for the Lower School only and ended at about 3.30. Virginia was not nervous as she did not mind acting to her friends (mostly) She has not got a speaking part. The second performance on Thursday the 9th made the actors more nervous as they were performing before an older audience. But there was no need for prompting and the play was excellent.
The third performance on Friday the 10th. This was a public performance and Virginia’s parents were going to watched it. It started at 7.30. To be able to attend it Virginia was invited to Janet Foster’s house for tea to pass the time. They had to be back there at 6.30 and so they set out to catch the 5.55 bus to the town. They arrived at the school at 6.15 and went straight in to get their costumes and change. Then they were all made up by Miss Bonner, the costumes manager, before they rushed off to the hall. In the hall they had to make their way in pitch black darkness past the audience to their entrances. Then the lights slowly came on……..
This time the play ran through without hitch, but the actors seemed more nervous and hurried their lines slightly. Also, chairs kept crashing to the ground in the middle of important speeches and the audience kept on coughing.
Otherwise the play was a great success and afterwards Virginia was driven home by her parents with her make-up still on.
The performance on Saturday was the best performance so far. At the end Kay Baldock and C.Tremeer presented Miss Allen and Mr Gaunt the producers with a bouquet of flowers and a 10s 6d book token. By V.Hill
Virginia Hill has now to do exhausting ski-exercises to prepare her for her 2 week trip. By V.Hill (Authors note: this refers to a Rye Grammar School trip)
1st CONCERT FOR VIRGINIA
Rye Grammar School organised a school party to go to a concert in Rye by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Virginia Hill and Janet Foster were among those who decided to go.
The day arrived. Janet Foster went to tea with Virginia and then they both walked down Mill lane to wait for transport. This was at 6.40.
They were soon on their way into Hastings. When they reached the White Rock they went inside. The concert was very good.
NAKED LADIES ESCORT TRAMPOLINE THROUGH SHOWERS
At Rye Grammar School a strange thing happened in the Games lesson on Thursday. The trampoline had been taken down to be washed (only the cloth part) in the changing rooms. It was laid out on the floor and scrubbed with AJAX and then it was hung on the pegs to dry. After the lesson the girls had to carry it through the showers for a rinse! It was “great fun!” By V.Hill
PRIZE ON SPEECH DAY
At Rye Grammar School on Monday 14th February it was Speech Day. Virginia Hill was especially excited because she was getting a prize. The first lesson that day was Latin, which had to be endured until 10.00 when all Prizewinners and members of the School Choir had to go to the hall for seating arrangements. At 11.00 after short break they had a run through etc. till lunchtime. After lunch they filed into the hall again for actual Speech Day. Virginia’s mother came to watch. Mr Cammaerts, Principal of the College of Leicester was the prize giver. Soon he is off to Nairobi to work there. Virginia’s prize was a book by Alan Garner called Elinor. Mrs Hill bought Virginia some special sweets as an extra prize afterwards.
Rye Grammar School is definitely going comprehensive. Rye Secondary School will become a school for 10-12 year olds (or so it is thought). Mr Buttery, the headmaster of Rye Grammar School, has called a meeting for all parents about this subject on Monday 14th March.
SCHOOL PLAY IS GREAT SUCCESS
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday (24th to 26th March) the Upper School members of Rye Grammar School’s excellent Drama Society put on the play “The Lady’s not for Burning”.
The performances lasted 2 and a half hours, and were in three acts. Mr and Mrs Hill, who saw it on Friday night thought that it was very good indeed. J. Apps and Jane Allbeury played the leading parts of Thomas Mendip the soldier who was sick of life and wanted to be hanged and Jennet Jourdemayne the beautiful woman thought to be a witch and condemned to burn at the stake. The play is a comedy by C. Fry and it was very well done indeed. There was only one minor prompt in Friday’s performance that not many people noticed.
VIRGINIA IN U13 ROUNDERS TEAM
Virginia Hill has been picked for the U13 (under 13) Rye Grammar School Rounders Team. She is playing 1st deep at the moment but at first she played 2nd deep. On Saturday 30th April she caught the bus into Rye to play in a match against Bexhill Grammar School. Bexhill really were an excellent team and they beat Rye 15 and a half to 2 and a half! The following Saturday there was another match, but the captain of the team, Helen Barker, wanted to give another girl a chance to play in the team in place of Virginia. She asked Virginia to be a reserve, but she refused as it might mean travelling all the way into Rye by bus for nothing. It turned out, however, that the match was postponed as it was raining. By V.Hill
FISHING AT SCHOOL
In the Biology lesson at Rye Grammar School, the class of L4 went fishing for Sticklebacks. They put on boots and coats, fetched nets, jars and bowls from art rooms and stores and set off merrily to a stream in the school grounds. The class was divided into groups which went to different parts of the stream. Two of the groups had no luck at all, one group caught 12, one caught 3, and the last caught one stickleback. When the class returned to the Bio lab three fish tanks were filled and the three lucky groups chose a tank and emptied their catch into it.
At Rye Grammar School L3 and L4 have been making Curried Eggs and Mince. L4 only made Curried Mince but L3 had the choice of Curried Eggs or Curried Mince. This is very advanced for these classes as they have only had Cookery for two terms. Virginia ate her Curry at school. It was delicious as they (it was made in pairs) only put half the amount of curry powder in!
SPORTS DAY AND A VICTORIOUS PEACOCKE!
Peacocke won the cup on Sports Day with 410 points. Saunders was not far behind with 399 and Meryon came last with 392 points.
PEN-FRIEND LETTER ARRIVES!
Most of the girls and some of the boys in L4 at Rye Grammar School asked for pen friends about 5 months ago. Now, quite a lot of girls have received letters including Virginia Hill. Her French pen-friend’s name is Claire Porvuauer and she is 14 years old and in her third year of French. She has a “watching dog” as she puts it in the letter and lives in Montmartre in Paris. She finishes the letter (which arrived on Monday 7th Feb) “ I hope to have an answer to write each other” !!
On the whole her French is very good. A peculiar coincidence is that Claire studies the same subjects as Virginia’s father teaches – Latin, Greek and English.
Virginia hopes to be able to write a good letter back to her. By V.Hill
We have been doing interesting thing in the lessons:- dissecting sheep’s eyes (Physics), examining blood through a microscope (Bio) producing booklets in History and making Plaster of Paris collages in Art.
Got B for R.K. (Author’s note: RK = Religious Knowledge) & Geography. Terrible French test. Nobody got over half marks.
….got B for Hist. Bio. & Maths.
M3 PRODUCING ELIZABETHAN BOOKLETS
M.3. are doing rather interesting things in their History lessons. Their teacher, Miss Getley, devised the project. The class divided into groups and chose an Elizabethan subject, e.g. Ships, costume, housing e.t.c. The groups then proceeded to make booklets on their subject. One group, Virginia Hill, Janet Foster, Carolyn Moss, Elizabeth Weaver and Gillian Mitchell, chose Elizabethan costume as their subject. They divided it into 10 sub-divisions, Royalty and Nobility, Hair and Headress, Middle Class and so on. This gave each person two things to work on, and each person hopes to produce an average of 10 pages on her allotted subjects. This means that in the end they should have an 100-page thick booklet – or is this too much to hope for? Virginia’s subjects are: the Lower class, and the summary, general introduction and general secretarial work.
M3 GIRLS COMPLETE BOOKLET
In the last FLAME there was a news item about a booklet on Elizabethan Costume which a group of girls in M3 were producing. On Friday 24th Feb. they completed it all except the index. It has a total of exactly 60 pages which means that each girl contributed an average of 12 pages. Miss Getley, their History Mistress, told them that their booklet contained the best illustrations and congratulated them on their effort. They were the first to finish.
FUSS ABOUT NOTHING
“Twat”, the form master of M3, Rye Grammar School, has earned a reputation for his ruthless giving out of lines and detention. He lived up to this reputation when, on Fri. 17th Feb. he came into the form room, Room 7, in the dinner-hour and caught about 10 girls staying in when they should have been out. It was still not 1.00 and most of the girls were under the impression that they were allowed to go into their form-rooms before 1.00. However, “Twat”’s ears were deaf to excuses and he gave each girl 100 lines to write out, long lines too! Virginia Hill was one of those girls.
Rye Grammar School’s yearly school play was ‘Romeo and Juliet’ this year. With two good actors in the starring roles, the play was a success, especially the excellent performance of Juliet (Kay Baldock). Unfortunately the audience was very small in all the showings, which was a great pity as lots of hard work had gone into it. My parents and I had three very good seats in the balcony, and we enjoyed the performance very much.
COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL BUILT
Rye Grammar School will be no more when this Summer Term ends. It will be totally Comprehensive then, and will be called ‘The Thomas Peacocke School’. Many new buildings are going up.
“And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow.” As You Like It , Act II, Scene VII, by William Shakespeare
I am 15, going on 16, and I am starting to get interested in BOYS. It is September 1968.
I stop writing the family magazine, and instead write agonised entries in a private journal.
“From now on, forms are divided into houses, so that, instead of U.V.A I am in U.V. Meryon. I changed houses because I had no friends in Peacocke. Now I’m with Liz its much more fun. Our form teacher is called Mr Blacker. He’s come over from the modern school and is so funny that Liz and I can hardy stop ourselves from laughing at him in class. (We sit at the front, too!). He holds himself very upright and sort of stutters before he speaks. He is always making a fuss about how messy our form room is or how bad our behaviour is, but he tells us off in a very reasonable, polite way. He is always saying “I, I, I, I think this room would be better if it were more tidy, don’t you agree? Don’t you think so?”
Today at registration, I tried to throw a piece of paper in the basket but missed, and (I couldn’t help it) I muttered Damn! very quietly. I thought he hadn’t noticed but HE HAD, and after calling out our names he made me pick up the paper, and said something about it being a very bad thing to do.”
From then on, most of my diary entries relate to my social life, to going out with boys, and to my teenage crushes and agonised feelings of rejection. There are no more entries relating to Thomas Peacocke Comprehensive.
Education now and then: a comparative assessment
19 years of teaching in the public sector in England inevitably influences my assessment of the quality of the education I received at Rye Grammar School. For instance, in the sixties there was no “sex education”, although the Biology classes provided some opportunity for a good teacher to explain “the facts of life”. As a result, I was hopelessly unprepared for puberty, including the female version – the onset of menstruation. (I woke one morning while staying with a relative and was horrified to find blood on the sheets. I had absolutely no idea what had happened).
However, there was a great deal of sports provision – regular “games” every Wednesday afternoon (hockey, tennis, rounders), or “gymnastics” if the weather was poor. In addition were the gruelling cross-country runs. The best way out was to plead illness, which I did on at least one occasion.
For me, the most valuable part of my education at the school was the opportunity to take part in school theatrical productions. I took part in plays such as “Boy with a Cart”, “The Lady’s not for Burning” and “The Royal Hunt of the Sun”. Do many state schools offer this now?
Something else I well remember was the sheer pleasure of being taught how to forge my own ring in the metal workshop. This was quite an advanced thing to offer girls in those days. From the 70s onwards there were of course, increasing efforts to open up various subjects to both sexes, but in the 60s this was a rare and valuable opportunity for girls to do metalwork.
Girls were expected to attend “Domestic Science” classes, which I mainly remember as the place where I learned to make “French toast”, a cheap and quick way to make a tasty meal/snack. We also had “Needlework” classes, quite useful in the days when we had to repair or make our own clothes.
Talking of food, I have vivid memories of the school canteen. We were served a proper hot meal, complete with usually excessively boiled vegetables, followed by a stodgy pudding with custard or semolina. Some of these puddings were given nicknames by my schoolmates such as “dead baby”, “spotted dick” and so on. I must shamefully confess I loved the food and became quite plump after a few years of it, before becoming more fastidious in my early teens and trying to get skinny like Twiggy! (It must be remembered that the backdrop to my schooldays was “the Swinging Sixties”.)
As for “political correctness”, it was then unheard of, and the extraordinary 1965 “Prefect Sale” in aid of raising money for a 6th form common room, would almost certainly not be permitted today!
Finally, there was then no such thing as “General Studies”, “Life skills” or social studies. The curriculum was mainly based on the academic concept of the traditional grammar school, aiming to prepare students for university entrance or for the entrance exams of civil service, or other structured careers. Hence the inclusion of Latin in the curriculum – then a required ‘A’ level for the most “elite” universities. The grammar schools were vying with fee-paying private schools, trying to offer poor but bright youngsters a similar education, and similar chances (on a tiny budget!).
More about me
My parents were living in Tanzania (then called Tanganyika) when I was born. My father worked there from 1952 to 1963. He was a “Resident Magistrate” expected to administer justice in the country, which had been a British “protectorate” since Germany lost the First World War. It had previously been German East Africa. After Tanganyika gained its independence in 1961, British presence was wound down and my father lost his job. Shortly afterwards, Tanganyika merged with Zanzibar and became Tanzania. This is where Freddie Mercury was born, making him, in a sense, my compatriot (retrospectively).
Returning with my family to England in 1963, at age nine (nearly ten), was a big culture shock for us all, but especially for my older brother, I think, because he had spent more time in Africa than I had.
My father found a temporary job working in a saw-mill, and my mother worked for a while in a local factory. Both jobs were way below their skills, but bills had to be paid.
England really did feel like a foreign country, and it took time to adapt. No wonder my Rye school chums found me strange …..in particular, my accent (or lack of) and certain vocabulary must have seemed odd. And the first winter was so cold, and so much snow! We were used to living near the equator, where the only snow was to be seen remotely on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
We settled in Westfield, initially renting a flat in Yew Tree House until my parents bought a bungalow in Mill Lane. We had always lived in bungalows in East Africa, so at least this felt familiar. After three terms in the local primary school, I passed the 11-plus and was admitted to Rye Grammar School.
I have to say here that I have my mother to thank for this success. There were few schools in Tanzania at that time, so it was actually my mother who taught me to read and write. My passing the 11-plus is proof of her success in these efforts. Father also provided great encouragement with reading, providing us with good quality books, as well as wonderful gramophone records and toys. (There was, of course no television or radio in Tanganyika).
Westfield is quite far from Rye, and my parents only had one car, which dad needed for work, so I travelled to and from the school by bus every school day. This was a considerable journey, lasting at least 35 minutes, but I soon learned to utilise the time as a chance to do my homework, thus freeing up more time for other more enjoyable activities at home. I became quite expert at writing on my lap during the journey. The trick is to look out of the windows regularly to avoid motion sickness.
My father soon found a post as schoolmaster (of English, Latin and Greek) at a local prep school, and my mother started working full-time at the Department of the Environment in Hastings. She had to get the bus to and from work every day, and was home later than I was. My two brothers were able to attend the school my dad taught at, though Robert Hill, my elder brother, did also attend Rye Grammar for a short while. This was the start of great sacrifices made by my dear parents over many years to work hard and “scrimp and save” in order to give their children a good education. I don’t believe they ever afforded a holiday abroad since returning to the UK.
Perhaps due to the influence of my parents, I was a languages person from the start. At Rye I was able to learn French, German and Latin, and my English studies were enhanced by the after school drama club and by active encouragement of participation in poetry reading competitions. I achieved a top grade in ‘O’ level English, and decent grades for Latin and French. Therefore I was advised by Miss Dann, then the headmistress, to take English, Latin and French ‘A’ levels and aim for university entrance for an English degree. I will never forget my “career guidance” session with Miss Dann in which she pronounced firmly that I would need French because the UK’s future was “in Europe”. This was well before the 1974 referendum that led to the UK joining the EEC, as it was then called, so I should say that Miss Dann was pretty astute politically.
Well, I followed her advice and did take those ‘A’ levels. My wonderful parents made considerable sacrifices to ensure I could go on a number of school trips, including two skiing trips in Austria (which helped my German), field trips to old Roman sites (to help my Latin), a trip to the Norfolk Broads, and two weeks in Paris to help my French.
However, the late sixties’ “culture” side-tracked me from my studies. To be precise, I wasted a lot of my free time in the discos of Hastings. As a result, my ‘A’ level grades were ‘E’s – one step before fail. Although I was nevertheless offered a place on an English degree at Queen Mary College, London, I decided I had had enough of academic things and would go instead to Art College and be “creative”.
Art College in Hastings, of all places! It really wasn’t very good. So I went to London to “seek my fortune”. In London I worked in low-paid jobs for a few years before realising I needed a degree to have any hope of a decent career, and so I went to University (actually a polytechnic then), and then to teacher training college. I started teaching in 1982, mainly Business Studies and IT, and later Computing (after finishing a part-time course in that subject).
Honourable mention must go here to Mr Latimer, a Maths teacher at Rye Grammar who helped me improve my Maths. I was so bad at Maths before taking ‘O’ levels, that I was put in his remedial class. Mr Latimer had a war injury and thus walked with a limp. I am sad to relate that he was mercilessly teased for this by some of my classmates, who even would hurl ink at his jacket when his back was turned (we used fountain pens then – the school did not issue ballpoints, though we could use our own). Mr Latimer was extremely patient and kind, and explained things to me brilliantly.
Yes, it was this teacher who enabled me to solve algebraic equations, which until then had reduced me to tears. I thank him today, because without my Maths ‘O’ level, I would not have been admitted to the teacher training college to take my PGCE, and could never have taught numeracy or statistics, let alone have understood Boolean Algebra, or have been able to teach Computing ‘A’ level.
In 2004 I retired from teaching in the public sector and switched to teaching English (as a foreign language) on a freelance basis. I moved to Germany and taught English there for seven and a half years. So those German classes at Rye Grammar School really helped! I now speak German fluently and have even acted as a translator, German to English for a news website.
RGS Form LIV – 1962
Signatures from Tim Rothwell’s LIV classmates – 1962.
This is the last page of Tim Rothwell’s Interim Card for the Summer Term, 1962, signed by some of the members of Class LIV.
The signatures are:
Tommy Hales, Christine Ladley, Susan Shepherd, Martin Williams, Colin Bourne, Guy Black (who now lives in Northiam), Irene Burke, Digby Hobson (who lives in North London and came to the 2015 1960s reunion), Tessa Tryon (now Tessa Scott, who lives near Vancouver), Teddy Guiver, Nigel Savage, John Clay (who lives in Bath and came to the 2015 reunion), Janet Mercer, David Smith (who now lives in Abingdon), Eric Igglesden (who lives in Canada), Peter Goodsell (who came to the 2015 reunion and is a regular at the ROSA Annual Lunch – he lives in Kent), Lynne Morgan (who lives in Street, Somerset, and came to the 2015 reunion), Sue Palmer (who sadly died three years ago), and Judy Barnett.
If anyone has news of any of the other names, do let ROSA know.
Royal Visit to Rye – October 1966
Video from Youtube – many thanks to Sandra Delemare for finding this. Please join the ROSA Facebook page if you haven’t already done so – see Links page
You can watch the video of the Royal Visit here
Rye United FC and the Rye schools connection
Courtesy of Peter Ewart, a former Rye United player himself, here is the programme for the Rye United (1st XI) v Selsey match in the Sussex County League Division One, played on Saturday 22 April 1967 – 50 years ago.
In the Rye United team that day were at least four former Rye scholars – Malcolm Tree, Vic Pennell, Peter Goodsell and Derek Baldock.
Football on the Salts disappeared for a while, but now it is back thanks to Rye Town FC, who have been promoted, as Champions, to the Premier Division of the East Sussex Macron Football League in their first season. They have also won the Hastings FA Junior Cup and the Robertsbridge Charity Intermediate Cup, a great treble in their first season. You can follow the fortunes of Rye Town on their Facebook Page
Nick Marshall: RGS 1960-67
has sent the following resume of his life so far:
‘I was academically average, but did ok in a variety of sports, as a result of which Muscles (Mr Holness) told me to become a PE master! My only careers advice at the time and so I did as I was told (and that was a first!!).
I found myself at Nonington College (attached to London University) where I studied the Art and Science of movement for three years – which included contemporary dance (stop chuckling) modern gymnastics and all the major games! Biology was an additional programme of study which I thoroughly enjoyed. I completed my studies (successfully) and in June 1970 flew to America to coach soccer in a Summer Camp. Back to the UK in September and spent 6 months selling advertising space!
In March 1971 I began teaching at Priory Road Boys Secondary School as a PE Master. Married Sue in August and we shall celebrate 46yrs this August!!! We went to Bilbao (for whom I played rugby in the Spanish National Cup!!!) to teach in Sept 73 and onto Las Palmas De Gran Canaria in Sept 74. We returned to the UK and I spent a further 4yrs at Priory Road before transferring to the William Parker Comprehensive School for another 8yrs ending up Head of House and Head of the Careers and Guidance Department.
In Jan 1988 I moved to Hastings College of Arts and Technology where I took up the post of Director of Marketing, taking on the additional role of Student Services in ’94. I spent an enjoyable and challenging 10 years there before moving on to pastures new! A couple of years as an independent consultant before a complete career change again!!!
In the mean time two daughters arrived – Hannah now 35yrs and Rebecca 41yrs!! Three Grandchildren are now frequent visitors!!! But we do escape two or three times a year to our house in Andalucia!!! Sue and I have lived in the Old Town of Hastings for 42 yrs and don’t intend to move!!!! Any old scholars who are in the area are welcome to visit and anyone who wishes to use the Spanish house can look me up on Facebook for details!
Now that I am too old to take part in my favourite sports of rugby, cricket and football, I fish!!!!! And for my sins, I am Chairman of the local angling club that attracts over 400 members a year! I am also a trustee of a wonderful school in The Gambia, created in the memory of a close friend of mine (please Google ‘The Don McMath Foundation School’ and see for yourself). I can certainly confirm that by helping others not so fortunate as oneself, helps keep ones feet firmly on the ground!!!!
Paul Turner remembers
Paul Turner has recently emailed the following:
‘I started my Grammar School education in Lewes, my father moved us to Northiam when I joined RGS about 1947/8. A brief resume of our (family) life appeared in a RGOS newsletter a few years ago. If you can find it , would you reprint it and ask if anyone remembers me to get in touch at email@example.com ‘
Articles concerning Paul were contained in the 2009 and 2010 ROSA Bulletins, available on this site. For ease of reference, we reproduce them here. Do get in touch with Paul if you remember him.
2009 Bulletin article
An appeal from Paul Turner – Just had to make space for this piece as the ethos of the bulletin is for old scholars to keep in touch. Paul came late to RGS after starting in Lewes, then, moving to Northiam when his father cane out of the army. Paul came to the Jacobite lunch from Wiltshire, but, the date had been changed. He hopes to come along again in 2010 but would really like to meet up with some contempories from the villages of Northiam, Beckley and Peasmarsh. In particular Pat Paine from Wittersham who moved to Kenardington when she got married. Paul moved to Brighton Tech after completing his school certificate but has promised a life chapter for the next edition. For now, I think he is pleased that ROSA exists and there is a possibility for some serious reminiscing. So, if you remember Paul Turner please get in touch or make arrangements to attend the Jacobite lunch in May – Editor.
2010 Bulletin article
A Life Chapter by Paul Turner – I was born in Lewes, and started my Grammar School education there , before moving to Northiam when my father came out of the forces and took a building business. I only spent about 4 years at RGS, the School was back from Bedford, moving on to Brighton Technical College for Building studies. I did not excel at any seat of learning but through hard graft have had a successful life-family, work and play. Meeting you all at reunions I wonder why I need to keep in touch- all of you who I have meet were far brighter than I, there are many who I would very much like to know how their lives have panned out. I belonged to RGSOSA for many years after I left, and received newsletters from the Will Dunlop era., but somewhere along the line I lost contact for many years. We (family ) have moved about – for years we owned a Building company in Wales-we both worked for W.H. Colt of Bethersden and went with the agency for them for the whole of Wales.. I finished my working life with Thamesdown Council (Swindon).. I rejoined ROSA a few years ago, the first newsletter carried a report on the Jacobite reunion and carried the name of Edwin Sutton among others, he was a best mate at school , sadly I only met him at one reunion. My passions are Welsh Rugby, our 1972 VW Camper, the Swindon and Cricklade railway where I work part-time, restoring rescued railway buildings, a member of the Swindon Male Voice Choir and of course my wife and family. Keep smiling.. Paul Turner
Remembering Peter Boyce
Mr Boyce taught me metalwork at Thomas Peacocke School and I am particularly saddened by his passing. He was a wonderful teacher back in the mid 1980’s when I blundered through my early stages of academia, gaining a single CSE in Metal Work. Now this doesn’t sound particularly impressive, but Mr Boyce set me on the path to become a Chartered Mechanical Engineer with an ingrained love for metal forging, metal working, tinkering and the smell of a workshop.
He was a bit of a fearsome character but had a tremendous capacity to bring the very best out of his students (if they played the game) and though I certainly would never say it to his face I admired him greatly. It was Mr Boyce teaching that help me gain the best CSE practical exam result in the South East in I think 1986 !
I still greatly highly value the small copper jugs I made in his classes back in the 80’s all of which still take pride of place in my office at home, better yet, the two fire pokers I made in his class are still used in my home.
A Thomas Peacocke Student from the 1980s
Have heard of the passing of Peter Boyce, a true legend amongst teachers and pupils in Rye.
An ex-pupil, evacuated during the war, his sense of humour was drier than the Atacama desert. In front of a class of children he would hold them spellbound. A strict disciplinarian, he, quite rightly believed that ‘you can’t teach a class until they’re listening to what you have to say. So once you have their attention, make sure that what you say is worth listening to.’
I’m sure that all who knew him will have anecdotes about the man, I have so many.
‘Arriving late in my class, one of our ‘rough diamonds’ was asked by his friends, before I could ask the same question, ‘Where’ve you been mate?’
The gloomy reply was, ‘I’ve just been Boyced’, which went a long way to explain why he didn’t immediately sit down!
Sad news indeed (about the passing of Peter Boyce) – not many of them left. I knew his wife hadn’t been well for sometime and visited him about 18 months ago. His humour was still intact.
He was my nemesis during the first three years at the Sec Mod, where ever, when ever, what ever bug…ring about I was involved in, he seemed to be there witnessing my every move.
Will Dunlop and Icklesham Casuals
How wonderful to open the new website for the first time and then be greeted by the unique face of Will Dunlop on the front page. In my short time at RGS in the late 1960’s I met ROSA’s founder through Icklesham Casuals Football Club in which he was also a central figure. Having played a school match on the Saturday morning – yes, Saturday – it was home for a quick lunch and then down to a pick-up point such as the front of Rye Station. The pick-up was invariably in a dark and dirty crew van, probably with no seats, except for those taken by Will and Bert, usually the driver up front.
Playing in the green and white quarters of Icklesham Casuals III in Hastings League Division V was a formative experience. At Icklesham we had proper changing rooms but occasionally in away fixtures we found ourselves in alternative accommodation such as the public bar of a pub, perhaps The Plough at Udimore, or a former hen house. Some matches were played on angled pitches from which sheep were being cleared as the teams arrived, the field often rutted and sometimes embedded with ice in the potholes. And the scores were sometimes more like rugby than soccer. My first match was as a last minute goalkeeper in an 11-0 home win, the second as a forward in a 16-1 defeat somewhere distant like Biddenden. We were happy in Division V out of five, the right place for enthusiasts with limited skills. Overall, I think I played 50 matches before leaving the area, but these gave me my proudest sporting moment, a ceremony at the White Rock Pavilion in the late 1960’s. The 3rd XI captain was unavailable and so I was asked to step up and receive the ‘Sportsmanship’ award on behalf of our side for, as I remember it, the entire league of some 90 teams. This apparently reflected the marks awarded by the referees based on the lowest number of fouls and bookings.
Wherever you are now, Mr.Dunlop, I hope the football is still played in the right spirit, that the farms are bountiful and that you’re enjoying the company a lot of ROSA alumni and alumnae, not to forget the odd pint. Once met, never forgotten”
RGS 1965-1968, then a secondary History teacher and Deputy Head near Lincoln. Now a semi-retired international school partnerships consultant and Chairman of the Nettleham Woodland Trust
RGS School Magazine Covers
1964 RGS School Magazine
1964 RGS School Magazine
A scan of the cover of John Breeds’s RGS magazine from July 1964 with signatures of many contemporaries (some, sadly, no longer with us). See if you can find Ricky Spencer, Dianne Williams, Roger Datchelor and Christine Oates. Also Paul Vincent, Kate Hagan, Gill Perry (nee Rothwell), Neil Perry, Paul Brann, Mark Bianchi, Malcolm Tree, Mick Seeley, Clive Skinner (in Russian), etc. etc.
RGS 1965 School magazine
A scan of the cover of John Breeds’s RGS magazine from July 1965 with signatures of many ‘famous’ contemporaries including Melvyn McGann, Pete Buchan and Michael Eldridge, John Walmsley, Alan Richards, Paul Oliver, John Luck, Joyce Care (Gustard), Penny Glenn, Karen Hollebone, Sally Luck, Noelle Kirby, etc. etc.