been helping masters to escape. This must stop at once"
Garrard, Garton, Gasser, Goman, Gooday, Hall, Halse, Hankins, Harris, Hawkyard (Miss), Hawkyard (Mr), Haye, Henrahan, Herrington, Hibbert, Hitchcock, Hobday, Holme, Howard, Jones, Joyner, Kenyon, King, Laughton, Law, Lawson, Little, Littlechild, Locke, Long, Mair, Marney, McBeath (Mrs), Metcalfe, Millington, Mills, Mitchell, Montgomery, Moss, Mullenger, Nash-Mills, Bob Norton, Margaret Norton, Ough, Parr, Pattern, Paxton, Pearse, Peasgood, Poole, Porter, Pouliquin, Poulton, Pugh (Mr), Pugh (Mrs), Purchase, Pye
Mr Roger Garrard
English and Housemaster New Hall
Encouraged us to read widely. I am grateful to him for that.
I've always found that appreciation can be a long time coming. As a day pupil, I never really appreciated Mr Garrard's perspective as a housemaster until the final couple of years at the school when I got to know him better. He was always supportive and took great pride in the House's achievements - I think we all unwittingly benefitted from his helmsmanship. He always managed to get out to see us perform, particularly when coming in muddy and triumphant from the sports field. He got me bitten by the amateur dramatics bug and I've enjoyed the odd acting foray with the greasepaint ever since.
The only teacher I had who could really teach maths well.
Stephen Farthing (Canterbury, 62-70)
Was it Mr (RIP) Garton that always said "at
the end of the day" at the end of every sentence?
Mr Garton, or Zot, as he was fondly called, used to take us for statistics A level. I was SO hopeless at stats, but he never lost his rag with any of us. He tried hard to keep us focused on 'linear progression' but failed miserably!
Liked to wear short skirts. Left to join the civil service.
Dave Goman was deeply moved by the supportive messages he received from former students and staff during his period of illness prior to his death in March 2005. Dave gave instructions that the collection at his funeral should be given to the Bursary Fund of The Wymondham College Trust. A group of past-students decided it would be a good idea to supplement this fund by way of an appeal to those who knew and respected him as a friend and teacher and that part of the fund could be used as a College Technology prize in his name. If you hold the same regard for Dave and would like to make a donation to the fund then please send your cheque, payable to "The Wymondham College Trust" to:
Secretary to the Trustees
If you are a UK tax payer then you could enhance your donation by using a Gift Aid Form which can be downloaded from the Trust web site at: www.wymondhamcollegetrust.co.uk/trust.htm
I was fortunate enough to be part of the "Goman Empire", and still work in engineering.
One of the many benefits that I enjoyed as being a member of the "Goman Empire" was the gentlemens agreement that allowed members to take refuge within the engineering dept when they should have been attending the fortnightly chapel service. Entry was conditional to a). spending the time at the drawing boards & b). supplying Dave with a satisfactory mug of tea. If the tea was up to standard Dave would, in return, deny having seen you that morning to anybody sent out to seek those skiving chapel!
The sacrifice of my religous education certainly paid dividends as I left WymCo with both Technical Drawing & Engineering Design "O" levels and a hunger for engineering.
Andy Hale (75-80)
'Daish' Goman was decent as long as you went to work at Rolsh Roysh, which I did incredibly! Malcolm Fairhurst (Gloucester - chemistry) coined the term 'the Holy Goman Empire' for the tech drawing dept.; hence 'I'm off up the Empire.'
He taught Engineering Science/Drawing. He was always rabbiting on about finding practical solutions to engineering problems, so one day a group of us decided to give him a problem to solve. He had a small 3 wheel vehicle, motor bike engine, 2 seater, may have been an early Morgan ['twas a Bond; see the Staff Cars page - Ed.] - anyway, we lifted it in to one of the spaces in the hot water pipes which were about 2 or 3 feet above ground level and I think the 'squares' were a form of expansion/ contraction devices - well his little vehicle just fitted. Then we waited in hiding for him to come out, & when he did he was not amused, but I think he did see the funny side later. Actually, I think - on reflection - he was a big influence on my choice of career and I did always recall his 'practical solution' theory which has stood me in good stead.
I can't remember who I had for TD, but I
remember the most feared words as Goman was heading from the "elite" Engineering
Drawing class through our TD lesson; "Right, Gather Round." He would then
proceed to point out everything that was wrong about whatever that person
happened to have on their drawing board, from the pencil smudges onwards.
I do remember Daish telling us ad nauseam about frying eggs on Spitfire wings in the desert. Or was that in a film? And Daish using valuable lesson time to allow us kids to demolish walls in what was to become the Engineering Design block. Bliss and very cathartic.
I remember the back of his hand was covered
in little black spots where he tested the sharpness of his pencil by stabbing
himself: "if it doesn't go in fairly painlessly, it can't be sharp enough".
Sid Sidey (6H)
He certainly had a thing about drawing the number 2 correctly but he was also adept at putting a chisel point on your 4H pencils. Us mere students were not trusted with knives for such an operation.
Did anyone else ever use the dye-line printing equipment that was in the first side room of 16? Surprised I did not end up blinded by the UV or gassed by the ammonia.
Isn't it odd that such an obscure subject as Technical Drawing attracts so many mentions? But then, Dave Goman was such a fanatic and had such an irrational view of the importance of his subject!
I too got a lot of criticism from him about the quality of my lettering (and everything else I did in TD, come to think of it). I can remember him going on about how pupils in other schools had to do their drawings in the workshops with a board balanced on their knees and, because we had these wonderful facilities - proper boards, parallel motions, hatching machines (!) etc. we had no excuse if we failed his subject. Of course, I did fail and he treated me as a leper as a result and wouldn't even let me re-sit it.
He always used to go on about how important TD was if one wanted to follow a career in engineering. In fact, on my mechanical engineering degree course, they taught us all we needed to know about understanding technical drawings in three one hour sessions. Thus the hours I spent in the TD room (yes, the old mortuary) rank alongside those spent cross country running or doing athletics as the most pointless of my school career!
An even more obscure subject was Engineering Design, and yet, as years have gone by, I have found that it was THE most useful subject I studied. As a mere female, the intricacies of house wiring and plumbing and numerous aspects of basic engineering were not covered in any other course. Jasmine & I were, I believe, the first girls to do the course and were the first female members of the Norwich Engineering Society!
Does anyone know what happened to Daish as I, for one, owe him in a big way.
Margot, I'm with you on this one. Having had Daish's attention to detail drummed into me (along with stories about frying eggs on Spitfire wings) in both Tech Drawing and Eng. Design at 'O' level, I had a great head start at Uni. Not quite sure how that helps me in my current trade (printing and binding), but I do still favour a 6H as my weapon of choice.
That 6H pencil would, of course, have to have the famous Daish "chisel point." I lost count of the number of perfectly serviceable pencils I ruined in the process. After my futile attempts to attain the "chisel point" profile with a modelling knife (fashioned out of a piece of sharpened hacksaw blade as I recall) and sandpaper, it was hardly long enough to use for pencil cricket (remember that?) - let alone drawing the all important "construction lines."
Furthermore, Daish's utter devotion to getting the engineering message across was impressive - for some reason, still lodged in my brain is his story about Rolls Royce Merlin supercharger shafts twisting through 180 degrees as the torque loaded up.... "and that Gentlemensh, is what I call torshonal shtressh."
I recall Daish Goman all too well! The problems that he set for practice were always claimed to be out of the recent degree level papers and the ripping up of Paul Schofield's Tech. Drawing O level answer in the middle of the examination saying that 'it wuz not good enough, lad!' Paul had to redo all of the paper in the time remaining (and still passed).
Most of all, I recall that he taught a methodical way of thinking rather than a formulaic way and I will always be grateful to him! His lessons were fun and you always felt that you learnt something if only that a Spitfire could have its wings ripped off if the bolts holding them were not sufficiently stress tested!
I lost my British Thornton Slide Rule in the Sixth form (we all had expensive calculators to do the sciences). Some six years later, Chris Sayer was standing in front of Kett telling everyone how to keep their possessions safe and secure. His speech went on for ages and then, as an example, he produced an item from Lost Property to exemplify his meaning. You guessed it; my slide rule, complete with both stickers and name scratched in the grey case.
Re Daish, I probably knew him longer and before most - if not all - of you. I was in his classes for O & A levels for 5 years ('59 to '64). My view is he was probably the best teacher I ever had and was responsible for me choosing Engineering as a career. Sure he had idiosyncrasies which are easy to poke fun at, and I'm sure he would be amused himself at the various comments, but his philosophies are spot on.
I still sharpen my pencils the Seeley way !
Did you know he was an avid Norwich City Football Club supporter? During the 1958/59 season, Norwich, as a club in the old 3rd Division South and close to the bottom of that league, had an amazing F.A. Cup run when they beat Manchester United and Tottenham from the 1st Division and Cardiff City and Sheffield United from the 2nd Division. They met Luton Town from the First Division in the semi-final. The first meeting was a draw and the replay took place on a midweek afternoon when we had a lesson with Dave Goman. At that time, radios were absolutely forbidden, nevertheless Dave let it be known that he fully expected there to be a radio in class on the day of the replay! I can't remember who supplied it but someone did and we kept tuning in throughout the lesson. Sadly Norwich lost that match and I have never seen anyone look more disappointed than Dave.
I still have my technical drawing set that I purchased at Jarrolds, as well as the propelling pencil that was all the rage at the time. I remember Dave Goman as being the owner of the place where we could skive out of games by working in the workshop ... not that we did much work ... usually fooled around with the cleaning tank where we could spin up ball bearing races using the compressed air and then let them loose to race around the room. Of course Dave was not there at these times.
Daish's utter conviction that Technical
Drawing and Engineering Designsh were by far the most important subjects taught
in the College has already been remarked upon by others. He would often say
'Nothing is too good for my ladsh' and we were supplied with very high quality
and expensive German Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencils and rubbers. Due to
Daish, I still use Staedtler Mars equipment today and very good it is too.
We each had an HB, a 3H and a 4H with a conventional point at one end and the
infamous Daish chisel point at the other for doing our faint 'construction
linesh.' The final lines were done with the HB but I can't remember what
the 3H was used for . Perhaps someone can tell us? He also arranged for us
to get swish British Thornton slide rules at a discount although we had to pay
for those ourselves (also mentioned elswhere).
A famous Daish quote was: 'Rubric says' . Who is the Rubric guy I wondered, until I worked out that he meant 'it says in the textbook.'
At lunchtimes in Gloucester, all the prefects would have lunch with Seeley at the staff table while the other staff would sit randomly in the prefects' normal seats on the other tables. Not so Daish, who was so important that he had his own permanent seat at the middle table and woe betide any other member of staff who tried to sit there (not that I remember any even daring to try to do so). This was a problem for me, as that meant I had to sit next to Daish every lunchtime for a whole year as we all had fixed seating positions for the year. I wonder if that is still the case now? While his stories about the stressesh and strainsh on Rollsh Roysh Merlin enginsh are pretty interesting the first few times, they did get kind of boring after a whole year!
One great thing which Daish did was to organise really interesting Engineering Society talks and outings. He had a good relationship with Lotus Cars, which were based just a few miles down the road at Hethel. As a result, the legendry Colin Chapman of Lotus was a constant visitor to the College and gave us some fascinating talks, particularly as the Lotus Formula One team and their driver Graham Hill were doing really well at the time (late 60's). Chapman was a very innovative designer who was really in the same league as Alex Issigonis who designed the Morris Minor and the Mini. Chapman's innovations would find their way into his road cars and his highly successful Formula One racing cars. For example, the idea which soon became universal, of having the engine bolted to the back of the chassis and actually forming a structural part of the car (which is now standard) was first seen on the Gold Leaf Team Lotus 49? of about 1968. Lotus Formula One Team was at that time sponsored by John Player cigarettes and Gold Leaf was one of their more popular brands. Even in those unenlightened days, cigarette adverts on racing cars could only be a certain maximum size. However, by painting the whole car in the distinctive gold and red colours of the Gold Leaf packet , the whole car effectively became an advert, even though the actual adverts themselves were relatively small!. Now all teams do this, but Lotus controversially did it first.
You are right that the 4H was used for construction lines. The 3H was used to do the final drawing lines. The HB was used for lettering and arrow points etc. Having mislaid my British Thornton slide rule, I recently bought another one on Ebay. The children are amazed that I can complete their maths homework quicker with a slide rule than they can with a calculator!
Daish pencils ... to be used only for TD for students aspiring to be design engineersh - not draughts(pc)persons. Use of:
4H chisel, as you correctly stated Ian, for guide/construction lines.
3H for final lines, by ruler, of projections etc.
HB for free hand drawings and also for the free hand drawing of borders and titles etc.
On pain of Daish use these pencils for other
purposes! An apoplectic fit would be the result of use for pencil cricket.
No rulers allowed for freehand drawing ... and he would check by viewing under
UV light. I remember drawing the set square. "Have you used a ruler
Ellish?" (he could see my freehand 4H guide lines). " No shir (alright, I said
sir not shir)" shaid I. He checked anyway ... he
didn't approve of my brief association with Laura Helm for whom he obviously had
a soft spot. I adopted a suitably affronted attitude ... just as if I ....
Do you recall clutch pencils? They were a street cred item.
Technical drawing lessons in the old mortuary. The constant smell of ammonia from the dye-line machine which was in a small room just to the right of the main door. I think that this room contained one of the few telephones on site. I was not one of his favourite pupils. Little aptitude for the 4H sharpened with a chisel and honed on a piece of glass paper (O level Grade 7 Failed). Seem to remember that he either had a slight speech impediment or a set of poorly fitting teeth, because when the phone rang he would set off saying "sorry lads, just going to sit on the phone," but to me it sounded like "Shorry ladsh, just going to shit on the phone." Distant memory only. Perhaps the years are playing tricks on me. But no smoke without fire.
I attended Wymondham towards the end of his career there, and met him outside the old library in Norwich one night. He was very civil to people.
He obtained cross-hatching machines just before GCE ... "thish'll save you a lot of time."
Actually Dave didn't like me very much ...
mostly on account of my brief association with one of his classroom favourites -
Laura. I did gain a lot from TD though. People are still amazed at
how straight I can draw a line (he once used his UV lamp to search for evidence
of ruler drawn guidelines for my engineering square drawing). I still
apply the lessons learned in planning work for the various projections;
orthographic and others that the onset of senility has stolen from my memory.
Who remembers..."If the linesh don't meet ... make them! It'sh not cheating...it's adjushting!"
Brian Ellis (PS - Sorry about the liberal seasoning with h's ... but you just don't get the flavour of the man without them)
Just an hour ago I was drawing out a rough plan of a set of
shelves when my wife asked me why I always put a border and title box around
such plans, even if I'm not going to keep them. Then I logged on to
WCPP to read
the news of Dave's death.
I teach my pupils how to draw straight lines parallel to the edges of the paper... I still use different pencils for different purposes. I cannot list all the little things he taught me and I hated TD and had huge problems with it yet I remember Dave Goman fondly. A wonderful personality a special teacher and a great influence.
With regard to physics, did he really say
that "Scientists are sissies! Engineers test everything to destruction!" ... or
words to that effect?
"If it's not in BS 308:1953 you can't use it and don't mix upper and lower case printing."
I was greatly saddened to hear of the loss of
Dave Goman. School was a very difficult time for me personally, and although I
wanted to stay on through the sixth form and take A levels, personal
circumstances made this impossible. Dave was amongst the few who realised this
and did their utmost to assist. He recognised that I had an interest and ability
in draughtsmanship, and was able to match my abilities to a professional field
in which I have worked ever since. Like many other of his past pupils his
‘little black book’ extricated me from the painful world that was WyColl, and
propelled me into the world of work at the end of my fifth year in 1972. I owe
my career to him. May he rest in peace.
He was a brilliant teacher and his emphasis
on both accuracy and practicality were a great influence in my own life and
career( as a topographic surveyor). I was one of the first to take O level
engineering science under Dave - he loved being a pioneer.
Ian Logan (1953-60)
Outstandingly good at understanding his students needs - in my case, rescued my dismal french to achieve a reasonable pass.
Had the advantage over most of the other language teachers of having spent several years in a French speaking environment (French Canada). Was very understanding of problems and everything a form teacher should be. Was in the RAF section of the CCF and also coached cricket. Started with a moustache but shaved it off one holiday, much to our surprise. His knowledge of Classical Art was very good.
A teacher I remember who taught us nothing actually, but was a great source of hysterical mirth was the English teacher Mr D.A. Halse. Was it only our class (yes, we did end up with Froggy Garrard!), or did he tell everyone that his initials stood for Demetrius Androcles, and that his war record (he was a twenty-something hippie) consisted of special Naval missions wherein he would confuse German submarines by putting flannels over their periscopes?
Cannot remember much about him except that he was form master to a first year form which contained all boys.
Played the organ at chapel and was fond of bright clothes which he wore for these occasions. Liked to play jazz and had a private disc cut of which he lent me a copy to take to a music lesson. Married Miss Parr.
Miss Hilda Hawkyard
Miss Hawkyard (whose brother also taught at WC) was housemistress of Worcester and also taught needlework. She had a broad Yorkshire accent and one of her famous sayings was "Now girls, if I ever see anyone wearing red and yellow together I would jump out of the window." I have never forgotten that useful piece of fashion advice and if I see anyone wearing the 2 colours I have a bit of a giggle. I heard that she died some years ago of a cerebral aneurysm whilst still teaching there.
Julia Nicholls (1963-70)
In her Yorkshire accent: "hand over all your red underwear Susan Corser - you look like a harlot!"
I had accidentally fainted in Communion and my red underwear was exposed as I was being removed from the Church. Sadly I didn't own any white stuff, which caused something of a crisis!
Hilda's other well-used sayings were:
"If I won the pools, first thing I would buy would be pure silk lin-ger-eee."
"I'll put yer all in a bag and shake yer all oop!"
"Don't put pink and yellow together because it's like blancmange and custard."
Hilda was my form mistress in the General 6th (for those of us who got too many O-levels to stay for another year in the 5th form but not enough to do A levels). Although I was, to put it euphemistically, academically unsound at the time, Hilda was very encouraging to me and was one of a select few members of staff to make me feel that all was not lost and that there would be plenty of opportunities to catch up. She was right of course - I got my degree anyway, despite the best efforts years previously of some of the other inhabitants of Wymondham College.
A Yorkshireman and Housemaster of North (later York). In recent conversations with several of his old charges, I've discovered that he was either liked and respected, or disliked and feared, with not much of a grey area in between. He and I didn't get on and I found his strictness, in comparison with the other Housemasters, oppressive. The House wasn't a happy place for me at any stage.
Herb Atkins (1958-64)
When I was in the 5th form we (maths class) all put money into a pot to buy Jack Hawkyard a new briefcase. At that time he had a real scruffy item which matched his tatty gown which he frequently used to clean the blackboard. I remember his total embarrassment (I think we gave it to him on his birthday).
'Drac' Goodson had a 5 o'clock shadow that could have been used instead of a wire brush to clean rust off iron. Jack was always embarrassing him (in class) by giving him sixpence to buy a razor blade.
David 'Eddie' Edwards (1957-62)
My housemaster from 1960 until he left - not a moment too soon as far as I was concerned. He was somebody with whom I could not get on and and never managed to gain any respect for at all (although I have no doubt that the feeling was mutual). He appeared to have little patience with people who were a bit slow academically and, seemingly, lost little opportunity to make people feel small with his withering sarcasm. Being in York House during his reign as housemaster was, to me, a particularly unpleasant and, occasionally, frightening experience and was undoubtedly one of the bigger contributory factors to my failure at school. It was largely due to him that, as a junior, I ran away (only to be recaptured in Thetford). One small crumb of comfort to me was that I found out recently that apparently he was a Lancastrian; having to be in charge of York House must have been the ultimate ignominy for him. I can only say that it would have been no more than he deserved.
Miss Haye was a hateful bag and taught History when the great Mr Powell was Head of Department.
Was the local vicar, but did some teaching of RE. He was a bit more distant than Mr Anderson.
A witty and amusing RE teacher, but he had a nasty streak in him. I remember he used to tap boys on the head with a board rubber, until their hair went white, and once in punishment for some minor misdemeanour he humiliated a girl in my class by making her empty the contents of her blazer pockets onto his desk at the front of the class.
Christine Plume (Dellino)
Mr Robert Edward ('Ted') Herrington
Metalwork and Geography.
I still use the skills he taught me to this day when working on my old motor bikes.
Stephen Farthing (Canterbury, 62-70)
Known as 'Dibble' - see Nicknames page and Roll 1 of 'WC Paper.' He left at the end of the Summer Term 1968. Ted has posted this on FriendsReunited: "After leaving the College I spent one year at Nottingham University after which I took up a Head of Dept. position at Ipswich School until July 1992 when I took early retirement, since when I have had a total hip replacement (in 1994). I am married to Sally (daughter of Anthony Buckeridge - author of the Jenning books) and have two daughters, Tracy and Nicola."
Very strict against talking after lights out. Told us how several of the teachers has got their nicknames (one of his, 'Flo' was because he walked round with a large torch like a lamp (hence 'Flo' after Florence Nightingale). Came down particularly hard on us after the sixth form imposed a two minute silence at breakfast in protest against one of their number being expelled for going to the girls' houses in the middle of the night. He showed us just how awkward things could be if we did not toe the line. However he later apologised to us juniors, saying he knew it was not our fault what had happened, and that we would have faced even worse from the sixth form if we had not done what they had said.
Took John Ord and I to a great lecture on chemistry and fireworks in Cambridge, followed by my first ever Chinese meal and to her house where we met her husband who, as I recall, was blind.
Stephen Farthing (Canterbury, 62-70)
Mr Graeme Hobday
Does anyone, I wonder, have a snap of Garth (Graeme Hobday) in his beetle-crushers? Is he still alive, even? I owe him as much as I owe anyone, and remember his principled indignation when Cambridge rejected Lawrence Burdett (head boy in about 1959/60). 'They think you're peasants', Garth told us, 'but you're not'. Myself, I must admit I almost fitted the description, though.
Name withheld by request
In the mid 50's the main German teacher was 'Garth' Hobday. He was a terror. This was the first time I had seen 'brothel-creeper' shoes; with thick crepe soles that were silent, so you never knew he was behind you until you got a slap.
Miss 'Fifi' Holme succeeded Miss Brunning as Second Mistress, taught French and kept a packet of cigarettes in her desk drawer (until it disappeared one Sunday - and, yes, I do know something about that, and so do X, Y, and Z).
Only came across her when she stood in for a sick teacher. Seemed quite kind. Married Mr Brand.
A Welsh lady who became Mrs Rees over the summer holidays. Tended to dictate notes, not trusting us to write them ourselves (she was probably justified in this)
The great Doc, who I never appreciated properly and played up something appalling. God knows he had reasons in plenty to send me to the Senior Master or whoever, but never did. I was lucky enough to meet up with him some years later and get the chance to apologise for being so vile. Bless him, he told me I had nothing to apologise for.
Quite a small lady in stature and one of only a few who did not wear a gown. She once gave me 3/20 for poetry recitation, which was probably par for the course, as I stutter.
Member of the "Ice Cream Man" club, those teachers who wore a white jacket for the summer term, leading to the theory that they had part time jobs as ice cream men in the summer holidays.
Mr Laughton was Wy Col's very own Lional Jeffries, except that he taught maths. He also appeared regularly on TV as a weatherman.
Taught me maths in my first year. A redoubtable lady with a very loud voice who, upon reflection, was probably much younger than she appeared to me at the time. Despite shouting a lot she was actually a warm-hearted soul - I remember she would always call Charlie Smith 'Menace' as he was always about 3 weeks ahead of the rest of us with the maths and she had a bit of a job to set him work which would slow him down a bit.
Had a very good throwing arm at cricket, and I remember him throwing a ball directly from the boundary to just above the stumps on more than one occasion when playing for the staff (I believe they had a team which played competitively other than against the "Boys").
First team rugby coach. Had the ability to spot talent. Turned me from a wing in the fourth year into a prop in the fifth year (this was reasonable, as I ended up playing for Norfolk under 19s in this position the year after I left school and subsequently had an Eastern Counties trial). Asked one boy why he was wearing carpet slippers at the beginning of our fourth year, but having seen him kick for goal made him first team full back the next year (Jonny Wilkinson eat your heart out). Incidentally the boy’s boots were white, as opposed to the normal rugby colour of black. Did not panic when one boy tripped and broke his leg in a games lesson, organising things very quickly to take him to hospital. Rumoured to be able to speak French fluently.
Mrs Little was voted 'most attractive teacher's wife' for several years in a row. Rumour has it that she taught French before she got married and had children.
A wonderful coach, of significant personal rugby ability. It seemed to me that he had the ability on the rugby field of Cassius Clay (aka Mohammed Ali) in the boxing ring. I remember practicing with him, playing in centre, when he just stopped, stood still, held the ball above his head, waited for all the charging first team to pass, and carried on. It’s not just judo which uses the energy of opposition against them.
Adrian Dubock (1961-68)
Mr Stan Littlechild
... and a very good singing voice - Tim Briston
Mr Locke - I recall doing Trigonometry in the 5th Year (1980/81) and being shown a formula for determining whether sines, cosines or tangents were positive or negative, depending on the angle to which they were applied. Although he told us that the mnemonic for this was All Science Teachers Count, his fondness for a cigarette led somebody else in the class (you know who you are, Ian!) to alter this to All Smoking Teachers Cough! I may not remember exactly how to use it, but it's stuck in my mind ever since.
Nigel Utting (1976-81)
Mr Richard Long
Chemistry with 'Bunny' Long
I have to confess that I remember relatively little of what went on in the various classes I attended, but one or two incidents stand out in my mind concerning chemistry lab practicals.
Mr Long managed to teach me enough chemistry to pass my 'O' level - at the second attempt - but in lab practicals he was a bit of a disaster. We used to keep score of the number of experiments that were "successful" or "failed." To keep up his "successful" average we would allow him to light his Bunsen burner several times. Those of us who sat in the front row of the lab benches would remove their Bunsen burner gas tubes from the gas taps, and push them onto the water taps (these were the sort that had an arched outlet like an upside down letter J ). They then made excellent fire extinguishers with a very good range.
One day Mr Long had us all gather round the top desk, where he had some glass cylinders filled with oxygen, so that we could see the effect of burning things in ordinary air and then in oxygen. Things like wire wool were pretty spectacular, so too was burning phosphorus. I seem to remember that the phosphorus was kept in a glass jar and was in pellets about 12mm diameter and maybe 25 mm long, and immersed in what looked like oil. He removed a pellet of phosphorus from the jar and cut a piece off with a scalpel returning the large part to the jar. The small piece was placed in a small metal dish (maybe 10 mm diam.) set at right angles on the end of a long metal rod. About 150 mm up the rod was a circle of metal that sealed the top of the glass cylinder when the dish and rod were inserted into the oxygen. Phosphorus burns in air without having to be lit (Incendiary bombs during the war had a mixture of Sodium and Phosphorus in them. Squirting water on them put out the phosphorus but ignited the sodium). The phosphorus for our experiment burned pretty well in the air, however, as the phosphorus was being inserted into the oxygen it commenced burning very fiercely, sputtering as it burned, with small pieces of burning phosphorus being shot in all directions. One of these landed on the back of someone's hand (I don't remember whose). I have never seen anyone move as fast as Mr Long! Putting the boy's hand under water was the first step, but to remove the phosphorus he had to use copper sulphate solution which he had in another glass jar (at least I'm pretty sure that's what it was, perhaps some chemistry guru will correct this!). It must have been extremely painful.
He had wanted to demonstrate the way that hydrogen and oxygen would combine (explosively) by having two glass cylinders - one with hydrogen the other with oxygen, putting one on top of the other outside in the pit near the labs in the sunshine. Unfortunately that experiment had been banned the previous year (can't think why!).
I don't remember what it was we were supposed to be making, I think it was Nitric Oxide, but the experiment consisted of a conical flask, full of concentrated Ammonia solution, with the outlet connected to a glass tube with platinum gauze in it and then into another conical flask with water in. The Platinum gauze was heated by a Bunsen burner fitted with a flame spreader, the tube resting horizontally on the spreader supports. I think air (?) was blown into the flask with the ammonia in with the resultant ammonia passing over the hot gauze where it was broken down, the resultant gas being collected under water in the second flask. We never got that far. Everything was set up ready when we entered the lab, we all gathered round the equipment and the Bunsen burner was lit. For a few seconds everything was fine, but suddenly the entire set of equipment was smashed on the floor of the lab (I think Mr Long had caught his sleeve on the top of the ammonia flask and dragged it off the bench as he turned away). There was a stunned silence for a couple of seconds until the ammonia fumes reached us, then a mass stampede outside! The end of chemistry for that day.
On another occasion we were in the lab at the western end of hut 40, with its entry door in the middle at the end. There were several rows of benches much like the other labs, with the teacher's podium at the farthest end away from the door. The experiment was to produce sulphur dioxide by heating (gently) concentrated sulphuric acid containing copper turnings over a Bunsen burner, the resultant gas being collected over water. Mr Long set up the experiment, lit the gas and went to the back of the room to fill up some wash bottles. I was sitting near the back that day, quite near where Mr Long was filling the wash bottles. I think we had been giving him a bad time that lesson and he was in a very bad mood. I was watching the experiment. The gas was turned up too high and the sulphuric acid was starting to boil nicely, I said "Sir!" "Quiet boy!" came the instant reply. "But Sir!" ..... followed a fraction of a second later by an almighty explosion as the flask of sulphuric acid exploded. A mushroom cloud of black vapour rose to the ceiling of the hut and gradually spread along it. As the gas cooled the vapour descended upon us, Mr Long refused to let us leave the lab until we had all suffered enough from the fumes - he was very angry with us.
I suppose it was an interesting way to learn chemistry; you certainly didn't forget your experiments in a hurry!
Graham Haw (1960-65)
Miss Elizabeth Mair started at the College in 1961 as an English teacher and left (temporarily) in 1966 when she married Mr McBeath. She returned in 1971 and retired in 1993, having served as Westminster Housemistress, Senior Mistress Housewarden (Peel) and Senior Deputy Principal.
An enigma. Great and inspiring History teacher. Frightening and intimidating when off topic. My sister’s housemistress. Strict is the word.
Stephen Farthing (Canterbury, 62-70)
As 'Stevo' Farthing writes, Miss Mair was 'a great and inspiring History teacher' . More so 'cos she was actually in the English Dept! Very apt that she made 'Macbeth' come alive cos that is who she married! He who adjudicated the 'Mair Cup' competition the year the fab (a very 60's word) Gloucester House rock band strutted their stuff.
As Headmistress, she was forever getting girls like my mate Jackie Gibbs to kneel down in mid-college while she measured their skirt height above the knee. It had to be less than two inches. Jackie and the others would wander round with a great roll of skirt around their waists so that they could yank their skirts down rapidly if they saw the Scottish battleaxe approaching.
If she'd been on Mel Gibson's 'team,' then Edward Longshanks would have given up and gone home pretty well immediately. She was a really good English teacher though.
Miss Mair (she married but I've forgotten her later name) - aka The Hag - patrolling school/house dances and measuring the distance from a girls knee to her skirt line. And... she would even make some of the girls bend down as though to touch their toes and check if they were showing any cleavage! Scout's honour!!!
Christopher 'Mouse' Moore
I had no idea that Miss Mair had returned to the school after becoming Mrs McBeath. She was our housemistress in Westminster and we were terrified of her. We Westminster girls were ruled with an iron rod and frightening Scottish lectures. Westminster shared Elizabeth Fry Hall with Wells who had the liberal, vague, disorganised but kindly Miss Croft [believe this should be 'Colls' - Ed.] as housemistress. The Wells girls got away with murder and were totally undisciplined so the contrast was stark. There were connecting doors between the 2 houses in the larger dorms and a very tempting key in a glass fire case right next to it. One several occasions we tried to get the key out without raising the alarm as to get through to Wells meant freedom, debauchery and fun. Miss Mair wrote on one of my reports "Julia seems to delight in being the bad girl of the First Form". On another one she put that she had "been exceedingly disappointed with Julia's behaviour this term". I had no idea what I had done as I had really tried hard not to be expelled that term. I was of course too scared to ask her but when my parents saw it they went ballistic and rang her up. It turned out that she thought I had done something which I had not done, and another girl, who looked a bit like me, was the guilty one. I never took it up with her but I lost a lot of respect for her. She should have asked me about it and dealt with it then. I think the whole incident laid the foundations of the strong sense of social justice I now have.
Julia Nicholls (1963-70)
Two memorable quotes:
"When out of school uniform, don't wear patent leather shoes, so the boys can't see your knickers"
"Avoid standing on a highly polished surface" (- ditto -)
She obviously had had no contact with YUK, aka Eric Dudley, our genial physics master and local weather forecaster. What I am talking about is mirrors, which he explained very well - a large mirror is needed to reflect anything!
"Anon and Harmless"
A Welsh rugby-playing sadist, who would yell "Tense your stomach muscles boy!" before punching you in the guts. As you crumpled, he'd scream "You are pathetic boyyyyyyy - pathetic! Bunny hop round the rugby pitch!" Oh what fun he was .....
In the first year he made Baker swim in the nude while the girls were playing tennis or whatever outside the pool for continually forgetting his trunks. Baker didn't mind at all, although I think some of the girls did. I'm certain Baker deliberately forgot his trunks on purpose.
Also in the first year, Marney told us we had until the end of term to be able to swim a length under water. Those who came up to the surface gasping for air before reaching the other end of the pool would get the bamboo pole whacked down hard on their heads. This certainly motivated us to succeed, although I thought the idea of the pole was to save people, not nearly knock them out!
He used to drive an Armstrong-Siddley and really fancied himself. [Probably still does - Ed.]
Well covered already (above). I’ll never forget the day that he discovered that bullying went on in the school. So he gave us some self defence lessons in the gym. And asked us to report any bullying to him so that he could resolve the issue. Cripes – did he really expect us to report him to himself?!
Stephen Farthing (Canterbury, 62-70)
Geoff Quest once told us that the insufferably ebullient Marney had duffed Dick Bawden on the shoulder on their way to the Staff Room in 39, not knowing that Sap had been a boxer. Sap unexpectedly dealt him a return blow in the solar plexus, which doubled him up.
Re Ian's observations above; Terence Marney's
car was a black Sunbeam-Talbot saloon with - at one time, I recall - a hole in
He was dating a Welsh chemistry mistress at the time. The two-tone Armstrong-Siddeley was Derek Staveley's; he bought it new in about 1959. Both cars used to be parked alongside the Workshops, not far from the Club.
I can confirm Terry Marney had a black Sunbeam Talbot, but he later had a Ford Anglia, cream and green I think.
A frightening inspiration for "no pain, no gain". Under him I flourished as a fat boy with no capability to a first team player at 15 (not permitted nowadays, I believe) to when I left - 3 seasons as first team rugby player. And never fitter in my life since. I was a member of the first team - I was hooker, always my position - who played Millfield on the trip mentioned by another ex-pupil. And yes, we went to pubs after the Millfield game - but I had not yet developed any taste for beer. So it was a bit wasted on me. But I was impressed with the carved wooden balls and skittles in the traditional Somerset pub. We had to start the game early because Gareth Edwards (scrum half for Millfield) had to leave immediately afterwards and go and play for Wales (who were IT at the time). And we were winning the game, but the (Millfield master) referee kept the game going 10 or 15 minutes longer than we were used to, and in that time our (excellent) stamina lagged, and we lost. That's how I remember it!
I remember Marney stimulating one to greater efforts, by pulling the (undeveloped) sideboards on both sides at once to impress a particular point. He had no problem with boys who tried. He couldn't abide those that did not.
I remember PE lessons with fun cricket behind the huts and the road to the A11, where there were two sides, and we'd toss a coin who would bat first, and which alphabetical order. He would be Zacharias if we chose to bat in reverse alphabetical order, and Abel if the reverse.
He taught me that I could do anything I wanted to.
Adrian Dubock (1961-68)
See also Miss Mair, above
The nastiest treatment I had from a teacher was at the hands of Mrs McBeath, who had me and another dorm mate dragged out of bed during the first year as prime suspects for a series of unpleasant crimes which were being carried out in the House. Necklaces and special toys were being stolen and damaged. I was interrogated (yes interviewed in her office with a desk lamp shone at my face in the room which was otherwise dark) and told that I might as well confess because THEY knew I had done it and my friend had confessed anyway so I might as well confess too. Then I was sent into the other room with Mr Mac who gently talked about how disappointed my parents would be.
They had 'no alternative' but to suspend me when I wouldn't confess and we were sent home. You can imagine the pain and bewilderment I felt. I can never hear 'Yesterday' by the Beatles without being back in that moment in the blink of an eye. In the end the 'crimes' continued to be perpetrated in our absence and they discovered it was another dorm mate who was carrying them out (a casualty of a nasty break up of marriage I think; she became a day pupil).
We (Parents and the two of us) received a full and grovelling apology from Peanut in his office. Mrs Mac never could look at me without chagrin/hate/dislike/contempt (perm any two at least). The legacy for me was a serious sense of self doubt when confronted with an absolute view.
But Hey ho, I get a little stronger every day.
Mrs Blackdeath was nice to me once (and only once) when I fainted in chapel. She helped me back to Peel and sat me in her front room with a cup of tea before questioning me on the possible reasons why I fainted.
The lights outside his
study in hut 39
(now somewhere under New Hall)
1. The 'We have girls and boys of both sexes in this school' quote given in the W.C. Paper (rag mag) was actually made by Metcalfe on 'Down Your Way' with Franklin Engleman on Radio 4, when the programme visited Wymondham. I distinctly remember him saying this when we all listened to the programme in Gloucester. It may have still been called the Home Service then (now Radio 4).
That's entirely consistent with him asking Alleyne Wright and me whether we were sisters. I guess he had a problem with anything to do with sex!
2. Then there was an instance in the 1950s, at a Speech Day, when Muz said 'I would like to thank you all individually, as a group.'
Ed. (reported by John Turner)
I can certainly remember him saying that but can't recall whether it was speech day or whenever. In fact I think he used to use it fairly often, I remember it quite clearly and still occasional refer to it myself 'As my old headmaster would say etc.' (he certainly had quite an impact on our lives!). This, of course, was the 1960s when I was there. I always thought it was such a ridiculous thing to say, but perhaps he did it on purpose to see if you were still awake!
3. I do remember that when he came into a classroom, the door would start to open (no knock of course) and an arm would appear, raised in the manner of a Hitler salute, and a booming voice would utter the immortal phrase "do sit down!" as he appeared around the door. Nobody had, of course, moved anyway!
4. 'Dooo carry on!' - used under similar circumstances to No. 3.
Every morning he would walk from his house into school. Every morning the boys in York and Gloucester would wait in trepidation. Why? Because sometimes he would wish you a "Good Morning" and return to his own thoughts, but at other times he would draw you in to conversation as you walked in to school. This happened to me on 3 or 4 occasions, and he was always careful to ascertain where you would be leaving him, so he could judge when to end the conversation accordingly. Despite these occasional chats with him I have no recollection of what they were about.
If the first XV were at home on a Saturday he would walk down the drive that ran to Morley Hall to watch them, stopping off to watch any game on the sloping pitch on the way (and shouting advice from the touchline as to where we should be standing). I also remember that the staff had about 3 duckboards to stand on one side of the pitch, and that some staff would manoeuvre themselves as close as possible to him.
Occasionally he would talk to the school after assembly. On such occasions the staff had obviously been forewarned, because they would not get up and walk straight out from their seats at the front. At these times the same thing would happen every time. He would go over to the lectern, put both hands on it, pause, take his glasses off, put his hand on the lectern a second time, pause a second time (presumably building up suspense as to what the problem was) and then begin his speech. No matter what the problem was or what the speech was about it would always begin with the same words, namely "Some boys have been….." What some boys had been doing varied, once it was "Some boys have been eating Fish and Chips in Wymondham out of newspaper" some crime, he continued "It's not that I don’t like fish and chips, in fact I like fish and chips, but not out of newspaper".
I was surprised that in writing about RVM nobody mentioned that he often began his post-assembly harangues with 'It has come to my notice . . . ' or that when he broke in on some activity when showing round a guest he would urge people 'Do carry on!' and then complain afterwards if they did - at least when I was playing the piano in Butler Hall. Music criticism, I suppose; he had no ear for it.
In the Cadet Force picture, the lanky Naval Officer was Lieutenant 'Spike ' Millington of York House staff. He was thrown out of the school for helping to produce the unofficial rag mag 'WC Paper' (Roll 1) and for writing a parody of the daft things that went on in the school ('A Fairy Tale'). He was a nice guy - too good for that place really.
'Spike' Millington, the German teacher who left after the first WC paper came out, sent me a postcard that summer to congratulate me on getting a '1' in German O level (only one other person in living memory had achieved this, but I was just living up to my reputation as a 'lick'). I was really touched, but it struck a slightly odd note because he addressed me as 'Dear Ord,' so even he couldn't quite break from the formal WC stranglehold. However, a great bloke and an inspirational teacher. I can still remember his naughty method for remembering which prepositions take the accusative, and I managed to struggle to a meeting in Dusseldorf last week because remnants of what he taught us are still there 30+ years on. It would be nice if you could post a version of this on the site if only to balance some of the more unhappy memories.
[Mr Millington's departure (to Bristol University for a post-graduate course) was announced in the 1968 College Magazine, which was published before WC Paper Roll 1 - Ed.]
Our Bio teacher was the long-suffering David Mills. I loved the subject, but found the lessons slightly less interesting than my current book and used to use the raised part on the front of the desk to disguise my book as I turned the pages over. By some feat of split concentration I believe I used to be able to answer the questions he posed to check if I'd been listening!
I cannot remember this science teacher's first name, but I remember that I always felt sorry for her - she was such a mouse and absolutely unable to control a class. In 1979 she had the misfortune to teach Course 52, my own, which contained a number of real characters including the unforgettable Andy Ireland and the other protagonist of this story, Robert Bridge of Lincoln.
We were one day studying Brownian Motion, where smoke particles are viewed through a microscope and can be seen bashing into each other. Robert that day was very angry about something, probably just teenage angst, or perhaps Miss Mitchell had said something upsetting to him. We knew when he was in his upset mood because as usual he had gone very red in the face. Under one of the benches lining the wall of the mobile classroom was a box - a large box! - full of polystyrene balls a little smaller in size than a tennis ball. Robert suddenly left his desk and went over to the box. "Robert, what are you doing? Sit down immediately!" said Miss Mitchell. Robert ignored her, picked up some polystyrene balls from the box, straightened up, and hurled them at her whilst yelling out repeatedly "Brownian Motion! Brownian Motion"!
All hell broke loose. Soon the classroom seemed to be just one blur of white plastic balls as everyone left their places, grabbed as many balls as they could and after hurling them at Miss Mitchell, started hurling them at each other (Miss Mitchell herself had ducked down on all fours under her desk). It was truly glorious! Shouts of "Brownian Motion! Brownian Motion!" rang out from about 25 throats as the blizzard continued unabated. In the end it stopped when poor Miss Mitchell I think started crying. Soon thereafter we were assigned Diddy Dorling as our teacher and Miss Mitchell faded into memory. I hope she recovered!
Mr Stan Montgomery
There were three types of Teacher at Wymondham College.
Sadistic and dangerous (fortunately in the minority);
Strict but fair, most of the time (the majority);
The genuine “nice guys” (few and far between in the perception of a young lad!).
Stan was very definitely in the latter category. He came to College every summer in order to coach the “elite” of our cricketers, particularly “Seeley's Boys.” He was himself a former “First Class” cricketer and had, to the best of my recollection, played County cricket for Glamorgan and Worcester. He had also played football at a senior level (cannot remember for whom), and had been the Trainer for Norwich City FC.
As I was middling-to-useless at cricket, I had little contact with him until the opening of the Sports Complex, complete with swimming pool. As the inception of this facility greatly increased the workload of the Sports Department, it was decided to give Stan a full-time post looking after the new facilities, particularly the swimming pool. Swimming was my great passion, and was one of the few sporting activities that I really excelled at, having spent a considerable time in the Far East prior to attending WC. I became Captain of the College Swimming Team and Stan became both my Coach and friend.
His regime of coaching consisted (apart from hours in the pool) intensive circuit training in the Gym, including weight training. It was punishingly arduous, but you always gave a 100% effort, because you believed both in Stan and what he was helping you to achieve. His favourite saying when putting you through your paces was “Keep going until you are SICK otherwise it’s NO GOOD!” which you frequently were! At this point he used to say to me,” Turner-you THRIVE on hard work!” (not a statement ever bestowed upon me by my Academic Masters!).
I recall vividly the time when I had just completed a two-hour “Montgomery” training session, and decided to visit the Coffee Bar which was located at the front of the sports hall. Here we were allowed “association” with GIRLS! To my delight, my then girlfriend, who in the interests of Chivalry shall remain nameless, was there.
I decided that a little bit of extra 'Training' would be very nice, and we sneaked into an adjacent cloakroom in order to facilitate it. At a somewhat compromising moment, Stan walked in. He didn’t say a word, and walked out again presumably in disgust. We both had visions of instant expulsion! A few minutes later, when we had guiltily returned to the Coffee Bar, Stan came in and beckoned me over. “This is it,” I thought. He winked at me, and said “ Feeling better now, boy?” Nothing more was ever said!
Sadly, by the time I was in my last year at College, Stan was suffering from some degenerative condition of the spine. I lost touch with him after I left, and often wonder what happened to him. Perhaps some one can tell me? It spoke volumes for the man that the lads knew as “Stan!”
Patrick Turner (South/Gloucester 1959 -1965)
Received in December 2005:
One of your correspondents was wondering whatever
became of Stan Montgomery, a former teacher / coach at WC, and invited
anyone to help. Well perhaps I can add a little.
On my arrival at University College, Cardiff in October 1969, Stan was coaching the soccer club and senior team in particular. He was then (or soon later became) also a staff coach of the FA of Wales and worked on many courses training young aspiring coaches, myself included. I seem to remember he was also involved in some way with the Clifton soccer club in Bristol which I understand was a "nursery" team for Bristol Rovers FC.
During the 4 years I spent at Cardiff, I learned a great deal about football and man-management from this kind-hearted and generous man. Despite a long-standing leg injury (knee, I think) he continued to enthusiastically and actively participate in practice sessions and training, driving us endlessly to higher levels of fitness and skill.
He always attended our matches and, on the touchline, never shirked from a vigorous verbal defence of his team of long-haired (definitely) and scruffy (quite probably) students against the abuse from opposition fans.
It was no coincidence that during his tenure as coach, the University won the Welsh League Second Division title, were runners up in its first season in the 1st Division, and performed creditably during their first season in the Premier Division.
Stan lived at that time in Llanishen, Cardiff and I had promised myself to look him up if I ever went back to that fine city. Regrettably, I recently learned that Stan had passed away a few years ago. I am sure he is much missed by those who knew him.
For my part, I was interested to hear of Stan's time at WC and not surprised to hear he was held in high regard by your correspondent.
A search in Google should lead you to a Cardiff City FC site which lists among others, a photograph of Stan in Cardiff in the early 1950s with a perhaps more famous namesake, Field-Marshall Lord Montgomery of Alamein.
Perhaps you would be kind enough to pass this small amount of info to your alumnus ?
Thanks in advance and best regards,
Stan had a successful career as a centre-half with Hull, Southend United and Cardiff City. He played for Cardiff City 231 times until 1955, then had a season with Newport County and subsequently Llanelli in the Welsh leagues. He made his county cricket debut for Glamorgan in 1949 after some prolific feats with the bat for Barry C.C. In his first season with Glamorgan, Stan secured a place in the county's middle-order, and he marked his arrival in the first-class game with a career best innings of 117 against Hampshire at Bournemouth. There is a photo of Stan with Cardiff City FC in October 1959 at http://www.gtj.org.uk/en/blowup1/32162.
Stan died on 5th October 2000 in Cardiff hospital after a short illness (age 80).
Mr Derek Moss
Ol' Mossie was a great guy, although I stretched his patience to the limit the year after I'd left WyColl when he let me come back for the sailing weekend on the Hustlers from How Hill, after I'd joined t'army. Steve Coe, Dave Samuel, myself and a couple of others got pissed at Potter Heigham (drinking from Watneys Party Sevens through straws!) and took to firing a catapult in the dark at other Hustlers (that contained Tim Lloyd, Mike Claydon, Grant Scott et al) on the other side of the river and sending quant poles on a downstream journey. We also got kicked out of the amusement arcade by the bridge - no longer there - for tipping the machines to try and get the money out of them.
We were rudely woken the next morning by Mossie, along with members of the local Constabulary and promptly arrested for breaking the window on a hired cruiser with a wayward missile (shades of the Yanks, eh?) and taken off to Stalham Police Station for the morning. We escaped with a caution, after I, being the only one in paid employment, had to write a cheque to cover the damage excess for the boat hirers - all of £10 in those days. Seeing as I was on about £17 a week, it represented a hefty slice of my earnings.
Funnily enough, Mossie never spoke to me for the rest of the week and I've never seen him since that time to apologise. None of the others paid me their share of the £10 either! I believe that a brief allusion to the episode was made in the CCF report in that year's school rag (1976), if anyone still has a copy.
I do quite a lot of work at Potter Heigham for the owner of Herbert Woods and every time I'm over there, I can't resist looking over to the spot where, for the only time in my life, I've been arrested.
It all seems so long ago ... blimey, it is!
Mr Bob Mullenger
The third York house housemaster in 3 years in the 60s (following Doughty and Wigney), he made the very good decision to take the door off the end room (where the lockers were). In the previous two years this had been the domain of the fourth and fifth years. Enough said.
In his time the house acquired a snooker table (though for some reason the juniors were only allowed to play billiards), a strange form of class discrimination. His approach to discipline was quite tough, and arguing with him was not an option. Also in his time a strange custom was introduced of having cups of tea in the break between the end of school and teatime.
His comment about me on my last report "He is good at practical work, but average at academic work" just proved that the reverse was true when I had left the closed environment of the school, as I achieved the top grade in all my subsequent accountancy exams on the way to qualifying as an accountant. On the whole his influence on my life was neutral.
Mrs Mullenger was a very pleasant lady, whose 'spreads' when we won any trophies became the stuff of legend.
Professional, knowledgeable, (a member of the Linnaean Society?). Got me interested in environmental issues.
Stephen Farthing (Canterbury, 62-70)
AKA 'Gut.' Head of Canterbury House. Bob and I had a difficult relationship during my stay. I found him pretty intimidating most of the time. I suspect that I was a little too insular for him to work with.
Stephen Farthing (Canterbury, 62-70)
I can't believe that more hasn't been written about 'Gut' Norton, who used to terrify everyone in the Games and PE sessions. He was very free with the hearty slap around the head and I remember him getting into hot water for putting a boy through some plate glass during one of his blazing furies.
Stewart Wigg (1969-76)
Mr Norton - I am also surprised more has not been written about him - are we all still terrified? The expression "Slug's blown up" would mean another temper explosion had taken place. These events were spectacular if they were not directed at you, but in my case they often were!
There were countless run-ins between the Nortons and myself. Jimmy Niblock and I were getting a bit too friendly for their liking, and we were made to sit outside Slug's office, with our knees facing away from each other in case some misdemeanour took place. This was probably after Mrs Norton caught us having a goodnight kiss in the courtyard - Jimmy legged it, leaving me to face the music! On another occasion, I decided it would be a good idea to spray the front of my hair silver for some official photographs. It wasn't noticed until they were developed, and the spray was confiscated. I didn't get it back. My mother realised I was not exaggerating about this man when she phoned to tell him that I would not be returning after an exeat as I was ill in bed. He argued with her that I was at Wymondham, 50 miles away, as he had seen me!
Slug blew up with increasing velocity when the fire alarms went off regularly around 1973/74 after lights out. No one was daft or brave enough to own up, but anyone with any wit may have noticed that the girls from one particular dormitory were in their nicest bedclothes, warmly wrapped up, and in full make up!! The culprit was usually Nicola Smith, who would do anything for a dare, and didn't need much egging on.
It was also commonplace to borrow other people's clothes to relieve the boredom of wearing your own all the time. On one occasion, I borrowed a brown jumper with stars on it from Steve Homewood, and a group of us went into the woods and found the cadets assault course. Being a cocky know all, I swung across this smelly slime pit on a piece of rope, and refused to listen when Tim Purt told me not to let go because I hadn't got my balance. Needless to say, I fell in the slimy pit, in the borrowed jumper. The biggest problem was getting back to the house without being noticed by Slug, or anyone else in authority, as we had all been "out of bounds". The group gathered round, but it can't have been pleasant, as I stank!
I hope these memories will bring a smile to someone.
In November 2003 we asked whether Bob Norton had ever been an East Housemaster .....
In the latest update there is a query as to
whether Bob Norton was Housemaster of East boys in the 1950s. I can't confirm or
deny that but I do know that he lived at the end of Dorm 25 for at least part of
the mid to late 1950s, because that was my dormitory for part of that time. You
probably recall that hut 25 housed boys who were an overspill from the main
House dormitories. I was in 25 for my first year (1954/55) when Alan
Pickstock was in charge of the hut, and again during part of the period from
1957/60 but I can't remember whether it was for all of that period or not.
However, it was during at least part of this second period that Bob Norton was
in living at the end of 25 and, I believe, in charge of it.
Not much help but it might spark off someone else's memory!
Tried to teach me to play cricket, was not very successful at this. This was due to my lack of ability at cricket rather than his lack of ability as a sports teacher.
In the first or second year, we were playing rugby down on the Jungle Pitches - unfortunately I can’t remember who the teacher was who was refereeing. Anyhow, I was having an unenthusiastic rugby-playing day that day and shirked a tackle, at which point the game was stopped and I was made to perform said action in a proper and decisive manner. I obviously had my “awkward” head on that day (come to think of it, that was most days) and deliberately did the re-tackle with about as much enthusiasm as the first time, with the result that, again and again, I was made to re-do it; and, again and again, I deliberately flunked it. Eventually, I was told one time too many to do it yet again, at which point, sotto voce (or so I thought), I said “Oh, just piss off” as I turned to commence my run-up once more.
“What did you say, boy?”
“Did you say “piss off” to me?”
“Don’t lie to me, boy, you can run over to Mr Norton and tell him exactly what you said!”
Gulp. With heart in mouth and ever-increasing feeling of impending doom, I found my way to the pitch near Morley Hall, where Gut was refereeing. Eventually, he saw me standing on the touchline and demanded to know why I was standing there and not playing.
“I’ve been told to tell you by Mr xx (it’ll come to me in a bit) that I told him to (muttered) “piss off”, sir?”
“You said what?”
Muttering again: “Piss off, sir”
“WHAT DID YOU SAY?” he bellowed, at which point his game had completely ground to a halt and 30 other pairs of eyes were swivelled entirely in my direction. Even the birds stopped singing and the wind dropped completely, no rustle of leaves to be heard. A post-apocalyptic silence, in fact. But, maybe that’s just false memory syndrome (or contextual embellishment!) coming into play J.
Oh well, in for a penny and all that, I bellowed back, albeit in a pre-pubescent squeak: “I TOLD HIM TO PISS OFF, SIR”
With that and following his remonstration with the teams who, collectively, had dissolved into fits of laughter, I was made to run around the perimeter of the pitch, until the end of the game, at which point he intended to “deal with” me.
For 30-odd minutes I trotted around that perimeter, fearing what would be the outcome of my ill-advised outburst. Would I be up before Muz and expelled? Would I be slippered? By the time the game was over and Gut had called everyone playing rugby that day over to form a cabal - with me stuck firmly in the middle next to Gut and the other teacher, desperately avoiding eye contact with anyone and everyone - I was literally a quivering wreck, convinced that my time at WyColl had come to an abrupt end and that I would be packed off home that very evening (which was no doubt the very feeling that he wanted to engender in me).
Gut launched into a long spiel about bad behaviour and bad language and how neither would not be tolerated and that the penalties for transgression would be swift and brutal, ending with “..and this boy here, had the temerity to swear at Mr xx (nap, still no recollection!) for merely being made to do a proper tackle. We don’t behave like this, so what have you got to say to Mr xx, boy?”
By this time, I have to admit that I had lost it and had started full-on crying and just managed to stumble out a sob-filled and – I regret to say - grovelling apology to Mr xx in front of the entire rugby-playing fraternity of that afternoon at great loss of face (or so I perceived), following which we were mercifully dismissed, without further punishment being meted out to me. I promptly legged it to the changing rooms, got changed in double-quick time so as to avoid Gut and, from that point on, kept well out of his way. Interestingly and thankfully, my sobbing episode was completely ignored by my peers, who just thought it was really funny that a) yet again I’d lost my temper (there was obviously a theme..) and b) had actually sworn at a teacher – oh the anarchy of it all!
Gut was bloody scary before that episode and, to my mind, was doubly-so thereafter. But, other than in his vicinity, it didn’t curb my temper or outbursts, it would take more than Gut to tame me (oh, I can be so brave now!) … :-)
The following interview was published in the 1987 College Magazine:
Mr. Robert Norton has been an invaluable member of the College since 1953. Even after all this time he can still remember his first impression of the school. "I arrived by bus from Norwich, they dropped me off at 'The George'; from there I walked up the lane to the school. It looked very similar to the RAF base I was previously at in Lincolnshire, and as I was happy there, I felt that I would fit in and be happy here."
Three years after he arrived at the school, he married a Miss Wilkinson. His first impression of her was that she was lively, vivacious and creative, and this is what he liked about her. It was not 'love at first sight', but this came later as more of the eventual Mrs. Norton's qualities were revealed.
While in the RAF, which he joined at seventeen, Mr. Norton did a war-time course at Southampton University, and wanted to go to either Oxford or Cambridge after this. One of his 'claims to fame', is that, if he had gone to Oxford, Richard Burton would have been on the same course as him! He had a somewhat embarrassing experience in the service when taking a reading, whilst navigating, of what he thought was a light on the ground. He realised five minutes later that the angle had not changed, and it had moved with them. It then dawned on him that he had been taking the reading of a wing light!
It is difficult to summarise in a short space all that Mr. Norton has done for the school over the past thirty-four years. He designed, and spent many hours, with the help of pupils, building cinder paths by the area which is now the cook-freeze unit. He also marked out all the sports fields himself. He spent most of his weekends and nearly all his spare time in this work, and this was in addition to being a housemaster, first of all in the nissen huts, then with Canterbury House boys in half of Kett Hall, who eventually merged with Westminster House girls to form Kett House in 1971, the first mixed house, with pupils from 11 to 18. Always keen to accept new challenges, it was Mr. Norton who became one of the first Housemasters of a Sixth Form House in Lincoln in 1978, a post he held until last Summer. It would be interesting to discover just how many pupils have been in his House over those 33 years. Is there any man anywhere with a longer service as a housemaster, and in such varying forms? We feel sure Mr. Norton's record of service here is unique.
He enjoys teaching sport as well as English, and has no preference for either, as they are both creative and 'allow you to express yourself in different ways.' He also recently organised the Sponsored Day events, showing how dedicated he is to the school. One of Mr. Norton's last enterprises at the College has been the organisation of three reunion dinners for past pupils. The warmth of their regard for him was made only too clear on these occasions and it is with something approaching awe that we say farewell to him and to Mrs. Norton.
I remember Mr. Norton well as he was my House Master (Kett) and PE teacher. Although I always got on well with him, he had an awful reputation for frequent and enthusiastic exercise of corporal punishment.
I remember one occasion when he became especially irritated. It was on a wet PE afternoon when we were supposed to be watching Rugby videos. Mr. Norton happened to spot a group of boys playing cards at the rear of the Sports Hall. For a middle-aged man he was very fast when he wanted to be! He promptly hurdled over the rows of seated boys in a performance worthy of the Olympics until he got within boot length of the offenders and then proceeded to administer appropriate chastisement! I always felt it was the ultimate irony that Mr. Norton finally retired in the same year (or very close) that corporal punishment was abolished in state schools (1986).
Graham Wilson (1969 to 1976)
Mrs Margaret Norton
Housemistress + Dom. Sci.
Previously Miss Wilkinson
My housemistress in Kett from 1972-74 when I left. I got on very well with her although I know others disliked her. She also taught Cookery and I remember her sayings to this day, such as “beat the egg, not the bowl” and “chop, slice, chip, dice” when preparing vegetables. Her strict no-nonsense approach to cooking has stayed with me and I often wonder what she would have made of today’s TV celebrity chefs.
Christine Plume (Dellino)
The following interview was published in the 1987 College Magazine:
Our interview opened with the obvious question ... "How long have you been at this school?" "Oh dear, . . . well I came in September ... in 1953, straight from College." Her first job has lasted thirty-four years, apart from a small break spent bringing up her two children, Mark and Kate. She spoke of her many memories of the College with warmth and happiness, describing it as she first knew it as just nissen huts, with plenty of trees, lawns and flowers everywhere.
Mrs. Norton does not need encouraging to talk about 'the old years' - "It was great fun because we were all young - young and mad - it was lovely." 'Mad' is an apt description of 'Mrs. N.' when she was young, judging by the stories she told us. Mrs. Norton volunteered a friend of hers, Gill, to occupy a position at the College; she did this because she knew they would have a 'whale of a time' and they did exactly that. One time they were caught by matron having sack races up and down the covered way in red mail bags. The matron had been expecting to have to shout at noisy girls misbehaving - instead, to her surprise, she found two teachers!
Mrs. Norton also used to incorporate her cooking skills with her practical jokes. When the men teaching craft came in for coffee one break time, they demanded sausage rolls. So Mrs. Norton decided to make them sausage rolls with sawdust, flour and oatmeal in place of sausage meat. She then baked them in the usual way, and at break time she handed them out to the staff. Most of the 'sausage-rolls' were eaten, but, still not completely satisfied, Mrs. Norton and Gill decided to send one to Mr. Goman who had not witnessed the joke. He ate them quite happily, not noticing anything odd at all. When he was eventually told of their fibrous content, he became very worried and even visited the doctor because he feared wood splinters would cause problems. The men later returned the joke by making Mrs. Norton's coffee with milk and gravy browning. Before she could drink it she was interrupted by a pupil, and when she returned she picked up the wrong cup of coffee and drank it!
By 1956 she was very happily married to Bob. She found herself being automatically transformed into a matron herself because she now lived in one of the boys' houses with her husband. She recalls how she caused a stir by employing a Danish au-pair girl to help in the Nortons' part of the boys' house. They were living then at the end of the old Hut 25 and this is where Mrs. Norton brought up her two children. Here she experienced flooding during the bad weather and lack of central heating in the winter, apart from a World War II army stove to heat the room, but despite all this Mrs. Norton enjoyed the novelty of living in a nissen hut, a very close-knit and happy environment, and Mark and Kate could not have had a happier childhood. Everyone was young and all the mothers would ask each other advice!
The Nortons then moved to Kett Hall. One night they woke up and realised that the gymnasium was on fire. Mr. Norton bravely went to rescue sports equipment while Mrs. Norton stayed in Kett with Mark to ensure pupils were not alarmed if they woke up. "I was very worried about Bob, but luckily he burnt only his hands." She recalls too how Mr. Norton spent a lot of his free time clearing the park to provide pitches for various sports. At one point, during the summer, dynamite was needed to remove a particularly large root. "The root came hurtling towards us and appeared to be following me - bouncing around behind me. I thought that it was going to be the end."
As you will have gathered, Mrs. Norton is still going strong. She is a busy lady who has always had close contact with the pupils, and Mr. and Mrs. Norton have organised various trips to Wales, camps at Holt Hall and even took a mixed group to the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. She remembers how certain Clubs were popular in the old days - such as Geography Society which showed films." It was a mixed club and it was dark, so it was bliss! It was the most supported Club in the whole school." Another favourite was the Saturday Night Dance held in Butler Hall which Mr. and Mrs. Norton used to run. French chalk had to be put on the floor because of the style of dancing. This caused a dirty dust after the dance - "we were constantly pulling people apart and telling them to behave!" Mr. and Mrs. Norton have also been very involved during the recent sponsored events, and the College owes them both a great debt for all they have done and for the good fun it has been for both staff and pupils.
Update: Mrs Norton sadly passed away on July 11th 2017. Ann Hoare who was a member of staff from 1974 to 1994 has written a personal tribute to her:
I first met Margaret in 1974 when Adrian and I came to Wymondham College to live in Cavell Hall, one of the school’s mixed boarding houses. Margaret and her husband Bob were in Kett then later Lincoln Hall. She and Bob were two of the staff whose hard work laid the foundations for what the school has become today. Both were appointed in 1953 and retired in 1987.
I admired her- she always had a lovely smile, a kind word and an affectionate greeting. On one occasion I was very flattered when someone on the phone said I sounded like Margaret Norton. However that could not be, as she was a red rose and I am a white one! When our son Jonathan was in hospital for several weeks, Margaret would often take me there after she had delivered Kate to the High School.
The staff in the Domestic Science and Craft, Design & Technology Departments were a happy, united bunch. They had their coffee together and I’m sure the happy atmosphere was sweetened by the little treats Margaret provided.
On one occasion, Margaret played a joke on them. They had demanded sausage rolls and she baked them with sawdust, flour and oatmeal instead of sausage meat. Even so, Dave Goman ate one without noticing anything at all. It was very well seasoned!
I was also the parent of one of Margaret’s pupils. She thought he was a ‘messy worker’; she was right. He still is! But he is a good cook. We enjoyed the sausage rolls he bought home from her class. Plain old sausage meat was not good enough for Margaret. She added chopped fresh onion and chutney to the mix. Try it!
Once I was almost a pupil. I supported a boy with special needs in her class. Part of the lesson involved learning how to cut a tomato correctly. Margaret was very discreet when I cut mine the wrong way and my charge copied me. I mentioned this ‘tomato incident’ to her recently and she said that her ‘tomato lesson’ was the one most recalled by many ex pupils too. Margaret’s high standards were combined with good humour, understanding and discretion
Margaret had impeccable taste in clothes and furnishings. At one stage each boarding house was allowed to choose new curtains for the dining and common rooms. I absolutely loved Margaret’s choice.
Some months ago I was in Wymondham surgery when Margaret came to sit beside me. She told me about her terminal illness. She was very composed, although I cried. Her zest for life has kept her alive much longer than the doctors predicted. She died at home on 11 July. Her son Mark was with her. She will be greatly missed by her family, good friends, colleagues and ex pupils, particularly from the 1950s and 60s, who regarded her with great affection and respect.
|Margaret and Bob's retirement in 1987||Lincoln Hall being opened by Dean Acheson, former American Sec. of State 1958||A domestic Science room in 1955||Margaret and Bob in 1955|
Miss Madeleine Ough
A delightful, petite and pretty young lady who was my form mistress and English teacher in 1A (1958-59). Let's face it, anyone who writes me up in my first report as 'bright, intelligent, co-operative and popular - a thoroughly likeable boy' gets my vote! She was appalled by our writing and made us start again by forming individual characters rather than carrying on with our spidery and erratic joined-up styles. I still write in a similar way today.
In the Summer term of 1959 our class performed a scene from Midsummer Night's Dream in the Pit and I think the lower years were dragged along to watch. I was Bottom .... 'the raging rocks and shivering shocks shall break the locks of prison gates and Phibbus' car shall shine from far and make or mar the foolish fates' .... off the top of my head after nearly 50 years!
Something else that stuck in the memory was Ken Bowman making an unkind remark about her; along the lines of 'little Miss Muffett' or something similar.
She left to get married after one year at the College.
Was my form mistress for one year. She instituted a system of making two people stand by the blackboard at the front before she arrived in the morning. If anyone talked they had to write their names on the board. Simple you say. Do not write any names down? No! If she arrived and heard talking and there were no names on the board those at the front got punished (lines). We got round this by posting a lookout, until she was spotted coming down the "Covered Way," at which time we would be quiet.
Miss Barbara Pattern
Didn't Mr Paxton have a tandem? He also had a very strange way of marking Latin prep that seemed to be more complicated than the language itself!
He had a cute dog too - that also had the same coloured hair as me. It was a spaniel type thing.
I feel guilty for cheating in his classes now. He thought I was good at classics, but I was just good at cheating. When I did my O' Level and got an "E," he thought a serious mistake had been made and was going to ask for a re-mark on my behalf. I managed to persuade him not to and told him I'd think about retaking it - which of course I didn't as I couldn't sit there again for 2 hours and not write anything ;-)
I remember Mr Paxton as a gentle and quiet teacher who I have no bad memories of. He ran a board game club from his family's chalet and taught some of us a home-made game using marbles and glued-together dominoes, which was almost childlike in the fact that it was for no other purpose other than simple enjoyment; unlike most games.
He wrote a message on one of my WyCol
magazines which I have never had translated from the Greek - I think I'll need
to do that now.
Sad news indeed, and so young, too.
Poor Mr Paxton received rather unmerciful treatment at our hands when we formed part of that really dodgy course 22 Sid. I remember trying some fairly underhand acts of sabotage with you and Claire (the mad curly haired girl from Kett who used to listen to Terry Wogan AND sniff gas from the pipes in the science block- or maybe she sniffed gas BECAUSE she listened ...). The particular episode which shames me to this day is having him beside himself because we'd hidden his keys.
He always used to tell jokes at lights out in
the dorms, when he was on duty, although we did get him to stop for a while
after he got in a strop with us for giggling uncontrollably when he tried to
tell us about "the princess and the pea." He never got beyond that sentence.
Despite several admonitions, we just got worse and off he went in a mega huff. Why we found it deliriously funny, I'll never know. I think it was as much that it was pissing him off as anything.
He was, as you all say, a nice, gentle guy and a good teacher of Latin; not that I appreciated it at the time. It was only when I came to learn Español that I'd wished I'd paid more attention to Caecilius and what he got up to. Mr P est mort...
He was definitely the best type of person to have teaching at a boarding school. He was kind, understanding and patient. He would also run clubs which he thought would be of benefit. The musical appreciation society was one thing he was interested in, and he also started a debating society for first years. When the second years tried to hijack this (it was mixed) he sent them packing very quickly. His biggest contribution to societies was the astronomical society, and he organised a trip to see Patrick Moore speak in Norwich, as well as the annual trip to the Science Museum in London, where he would turn a blind eye to the jeans and tee shirts we had packed in our rucksacks, and leave us to wander around the museum. Funny, he never questioned too closely what we had done, as long as we got the coach back on time. We never told him that the most interesting gallery in the whole museum was based in Carnaby Street.
Mr Tom (?) Pearse
Came from Gresham School I think, also had a daughter Jane at WC; one or two years older than me. - Tim Briston
Replaced Mr Wilshire. Though he was attached to York I do not think he lived on the school premises. Had the thankless task of looking after school walks, for which he used a car (I presume all the masters did this).
A very pleasant, quiet lady.
Mrs Porter (later Miss McKinley) taught English in the mid to late 1970s. Seven words are enough for anybody who remembers her; "Sit down and get your books out" - delivered in strident Belfast tones. Also reputed to have dived for cover under a table once after hearing a bird scarer sounding, though this is somewhat unsubstantiated!
Nigel Utting (1976-81)
How did anybody pass French? The only teachers I remember were Monsieur Pouliquin, who wrote down a French slang word for "breasts" for us then somewhat oddly proceeded to eat the paper.
Iain 'Sid' Sidey
Good teacher. Would stop and pick pupils up whenever he passed us going to Wymondham on an 'exeat', sometimes ending with several in his car. This contrasted to others, who would laugh as they passed you.
Arrived in the 70s with an exhuberant personality in class that pushed his students to really think - quite often arguments raged and ranged well off the subject matter - or so we thought - but we learned to think, react and marshall our viiews very succinctly under Mr Pugh's tutelage. He also had a mischievous streak that was much appreciated.
Thorough and hard-working german teacher - Mrs Pugh put us through the ringer, but was always there to help, cajole, and encourage us to get the grades.
Mr Roger Purchase
He was one of the kindest, understanding teachers in WC who helped me through some difficult times.
Stewart Wigg (1969-76)
Taught the CGS rather than the college. Was always very friendly to everyone and had a nice personality. He was very tall indeed. Moved at some stage to teach at a school in Norwich. He was popular there as well because my landlord's son attended the school and we talked about him together.
I was in Miss Pye's (her maiden name before
she married Froggy) Maths set for four years in the early 60s. I remember
her as a strict but kind and inspirational teacher who laid the groundwork for
my success at A level and my degree (although that was in Physics). I
never understood why she didn't teach beyond O level. Those of us who
chose Double Maths at A level had to adjust to the rather different teaching
styles of Charlie Parker and Jack Hawkyard.
Malcolm Williamson (West/Canterbury 1959-67)
Wymondham College Remembered