OLD PHAROSIANS’ ASSOCIATION
New Series No. 60
Officers of the Association
The Future of the School
NEWS OF THE ASSOCIATION
The Annual General Meeting, 14th September
Soccer match, School v Old Boys
The Annual Dinner
Our three Old Pharosian Kent cricketers
Cricket match, School v Old Boys
Committee meetings, 8th March and 17th May
The School in the 1930’s by John Le Prevost
One Man’s Taj Mahal by Scott Gardiner, O.P.
Correspondence on The Future of The School
NEWS OF THE SCHOOL
The School Organ and School Music
Coming events in school music
Retirement of Mr N.S. Horne
NEWS OF INDIVIDUAL OLD BOYS
Other Old Boys
OFFICERS OF THE ASSOCIATION
|President:||W.R. Fittall, Esq.
55 West Hill Road, London SW18 1LE
|Vice President:||R.C. Colman, Esq.
Ivy House, Church Path, Mongeham. Deal
|Secretary:||Philip Harding, Esq.
6 Chestnut Road, Elms Vale. Dover CT17 9PY
|Treasurer:||Ian Pascall, Esq.
45a Bewsbury Cross Lane, Whitfield, Dover CT16 3EZ
|Editor:||K.H. Ruffell, Esq.
193 The Gateway, Dover CT16 ILL
|Membership Secretary:||R. Gabriel, Esq.
St. Edmund’s School, Old Charlton Road, Dover CT16 2QB
|Assistant Secretary:||C. Henry, Esq.|
|Archivist:||S. Wenborn, Esq.|
Committee Members: all the above officers and the past president, J. Le Prevost
the acting headmaster, N. Slater
the head prefect,
staff representatives: D. Murray, K. Chambers
OP representatives: M. Palmer and P Burville (to 1991)
M. H. Smith and R. Winter (to 1992)
T. Sutton and R. Gabriel (to 1993)
The Newsletters have not for many years asked members to send donations in support of school causes that have the approval of the Old Pharosian committee.
Recently the committee provided about £500 for computer equipment. Our remaining assets stand at about £5,500, providing annual interest between £500 and £600, the cost of producing and posting the two Newsletters each year. The Association can not give away the seed corn and continue to produce crops whereby we live.
Peter Prescott and Bill Collard are two life members who experienced the hospitality to us offered for at least four war-time years by the school and community in Ebbw Vale.
Anyone who was there will recall the steel-works that occupied the valley floor. These have been cleared away and are to be replaced in 1992 by an ambitious Garden Festival.
The intention is to provide benches bearing suitable inscription to recall the wartime years when the Dover County School for Boys was given shelter, homes and school in Wales.
Bill Collard has undertaken to coordinate the response from Old Pharosians to this intention to make a gesture of thanks. He has written to a number of men who were in the Ebbw Vale and response is under way though as yet insufficient. Your school survived the war because of the kindness of people in Ebbw Vale and if you feel like sending a cheque, however small or large, address it to Mr W Collard, 3 Crescent Drive, Brentwood, Essex, CM15 8DS.
THE SCHOOL ORGAN
There is an article elsewhere in this Newsletter about the history of music and the school organ. You can read of the strenuous efforts led by Mr Whitehouse to raise funds so that the new school building should have an organ, installed in 1932.
Almost sixty years on, the old lady is having breathing troubles. Some years ago this Association produced £1,500 from its Jubilee Fund, matched by £1,500 from the Parents Association, to finance a major overhaul.
Every one of you, given due thought, will appreciate the immense value of the organ to daily school assemblies. Some of you will have become organists: others have become teachers of music.
Mr Davies, the present Director of the school’s music, is making a modest request for £300. The Association has some 650 members. Please send something, probably by cheque in favour of the Old Pharosians Association, to the editor Mr K.H. Ruffell, 193 The Gateway, Dover, CT16 1LL.
He will gladly gather your offerings and pass the proceeds to Mr Davies.
THE FUTURE OF THE SCHOOL by your editor
You may have had school lessons, usually historical, that set our a subject under headings – CAUSES, EVENTS and RESULTS. The method is not inspiring but has some merits of order and clarity.
Falling birth rates are at the bedrock of the trouble, the Department of Education and Science says that secondary schools’ numbers have fallen by a million since 1980, with around 700 schools closing or amalgamating. We are not alone in our difficulties but we are at the sharp end. This is certainly a time of crisis in the school’s history.
A decade ago we had some 700 boys in the school. About 110 came in every year divided into four 1st forms who worked their way up the school to a 6th form of about 180. In 1980 the Boys and Girls grammar schools were the only Dover schools in the state system that offered academic courses leading to Advanced Level work and higher education. Entry to the grammar schools was keenly sought.
At the present time only about 18% of Dover’s 11 year old boys are regarded as suitable for grammar school. The figure for girls is about 23% because girls aged 11 years are found to be more mature than boys. Selection for grammar school must be on suitability, irrespective of gender. At the Sevenoaks area at least 25% of 11 year olds are chosen for grammar school education. It is said that 25% is the over-all average across Kent.
Reduced number of students results in reduction of finance. Before this formula funding the grammar schools were given favourable financial treatment due to greater expenditure on books, equipment and much else. Those favoured days are gone and now funds depend on number of pupils with additions for those over 16 years.
In consequence of shortage of students and formula funding a new competitive drive to attract available students has developed between schools. This competition has been increased by the greater number of Dover schools offering advanced courses.
Falling rolls and finances together with competition for available students caused the governing bodies of the two grammar schools to take action.
The first Dover casualty was the demise of Castlemount Secondary school whose number of students fell so fast and far that the Secretary of State closed the school.
Our head and governors voted that their school should accept the suggestion of the area education officer that we move into the Castlemount buildings so as to be near the Girls grammar school. A public meeting killed this idea because we were being offered inadequate facilities and parents said they would withdraw boys if this solution were accepted.
There have subsequently been some private meetings and public meetings about projected merging of schools, followed by controversy in the local press. Public meetings have been well attended and chaired by leading personalities in the educational committee of Kent County Council. The area education officer has explained very fairly the situation and possible developments. He has been patient, long suffering and open minded.
Throughout these deliberations, in private and in public, Kent education authorities have been supportive of grammar schools. Kent is not an authority renowned for generous expenditure on education. But at this time a new grammar school is being built at Herne Bay and Kent has told us they will not see our grammar school sink for lack of funds.
Kent education officers and the governors of both Dover grammar schools all favour one solution. The Boys and Girls grammar schools should amalgamate: where, when and how is yet to be decided. Dissenting voices come from the staff of the girls grammar school: and a minority of parents.
The simplest development is for new buildings to be constructed on our land, “Greenfield” sites elsewhere have been considered but are much more expensive. Amalgamation of the two schools would produce a strong, viable co-educational grammar school with around a thousand pupils. Kent would arrange finance for this re-organisation. Some amount like one million pounds would be found to refurbish our present buildings and surroundings.
“Opting Out”, i.e. taking Grant Maintained status with funding from central government has been looked at with some favour by the Girls Grammar school. If this path were followed, the merger, we are told, would never be possible.
Competition for students and finance has become ever more acute. There is now a Roman Catholic Comprehensive school drawing students from a populous neighbourhood in Dover and from a wide area beyond. Our neighbouring Astor School takes whole page advertisements in the local press announcing sixth form advanced courses, academic and vocational. They have about a thousand students and expect soon to reach thirteen hundred boys and girls.
Both grammar schools lose by the counter-attraction of Manwoods School at Sandwich. This is now co-educational, has maintained a fully traditional extra-curricular programme and can not fail to draw students from Deal which is five miles from Sandwich and twice that distance from Dover. Some Dover girls go to Folkestone for technical education. Some boys are now being attracted from our catchment area by the Harvey Grammar School which, like Manwoods, has maintained all that is traditional of grammar schools.
Within our own school Mr Neil Slater, headmaster with but a two year contract, has to maintain a contest on multi-various fronts. The saddest is the necessity, by shortage of funds, to reduce teaching staff. Yet he can say, as can the Dover girls grammar school, that academic results as shown by examination achievements are every bit as good as ever. Music and art and drama, as described elsewhere in this newsletter, are strongly active, as is the cadet corps. The boys are, for the most part, of good appearance and character.
There remains one condition more painful and urgent than all hitherto described. It is the terribly damaging uncertainty and indecision. Someone, somewhere, presumably Kent Education Committee, must arrive at decision and action.
There is one favourable development to report. The head-teachers of the boys’ and girls’ grammar schools have put their plans together and have correlated sixth form timetables to their mutual advantage in the next academic year. Who can say where these first steps may lead in the years ahead?
Kent Education Committee is meeting next month and may reach decisions that can determine the future of this school.
The Editor’s views on
To begin with, I was born into a co-educational family, two boys and two girls. By natural laws most families are co-educational: and the amount of education within the family must not be under-estimated. I suggest that Good family + good school = good education.
I have a description of a good school as one in which the processes of teaching and learning are efficiently conducted in an atmosphere of good human relationships.
From my ages of 5 to 11 I attended a co-educational primary school. Are there many primary schools that are not co-educational?
Then I transferred to a quite good grammar school for boys. Studies and games were what mattered. Match results were read out at Monday morning assemblies and if the 1st XI lost the score was not announced and headmaster said “the 1st XI made a mistake”.
AT the age of 19 I went to University College, London where males and females were roughly equal in numbers, status and ability. I learned a good deal apart from geography and economics. Then, equipped with a degree, I spent a year at another co-educational college, preparing to teach.
Armed with paper qualifications as a teacher I emerged in 1936 when teachers were being axed rather than appointed. However in 1937 I very fortunately landed at a rather impressive Dover County School for Boys. War clouds gathered and in 1940 a train took the Dover County School for Boys and the sister school for Girls away to South Wales. The teaching staffs were centrally placed on the train to enforce separation of the sexes, the girls from the front of the train getting out at Newport and the boys going on to Ebbw Vale.
From 1940 to 1946 I was away from education; but returning to Dover I discovered many new developments. Mr W E Pearce was an outstanding teacher of physics and the Girls school had no physics teacher. Mr Pearce described this as an interesting development that had come too late in his life to be exciting. Over subsequent years the co-educational trend has gathered pace. Girls have come up the hill and boys have gone down for joint dramatic and musical enterprises that have been so much the richer for being co-educational. Girls have sailed and joined the Cadet Corps.
In my own department of geography and geology it became my practice to take a party away at Easter on a field-work experience lasting almost a week. I wanted my daughter at the Girls school to share in the field-work so I went to the Girls school and asked if their sixth form geographers would like to come with us. For some dozen or more years we continued this shared experience. There were sometimes 80 or 100 of us living in a Holiday Fellowship house, often working in teams of boys and girls, learning from each other. There was one occasion that stands out in my memory. At about 9 o’clock one evening a group of about thirty boys and girls had gathered on a landing in the house where several staircases converged. I sat and listened as a hot and strong argument proceeded on the endless theme “There is no God”. The chief protagonist for the motion was a headstrong 19 year old girl. I did not think she was leading my boys astray. She was making them think and form their ideas.
In course of time Kent and my school told me to retire because I was sixty-five. Mercifully, the Folkestone School for Girls took me in and I very much enjoyed this new experience. We are told that girls tend to mature rather earlier than boys: and I once wrote on a 14 year old girl’s report “She may be the brightest scholar I have ever taught”. They were all very kind to me and I have on my desk a cricket ball given me by one class after I had taught the law of diminishing returns by reference to my cricket scores over advancing years. When I became 70 I was again put out to grass.
However, I taught subsequently in co-educational Dover College: and I now do tutorial work to male or female students who want an advanced level grade to get into a co-educational college and open the way to careers now open to male and female on terms of equal opportunity.
Eton and Harrow, Roedean and Cheltenham Ladies College remain as islands above the rising tide of co-education. Most public schools, colleges, universities, almost all comprehensive schools educating the vast majority of the nation’s teenagers are co-educational. Are they all wrong?
The Dover County School, when founded in 1905, was ahead of its time in being co-educational. There were already in the school’s Ladywell buildings a Municipal School and a Pupil Teacher Training Centre. So Mr Fred Whitehouse inherited and continued with both girls and boys. Mrs Turnpenny proceeded from that school to college and now, approaching her hundredth year, she frequently comes to Old Pharosians dinners. She may have been the first lady in Dover to graduate and she has lively memories of her co-educational schooldays.
There were in those Edwardian times some strange rules. Kent inspectors required that there should be separate exits, one for boys and another for girls, onto the recreation area, now a bowling green. For a short time the boys were told they could walk around this area in one direction while the girls walked in the contrary ambulation. In 1910 the Kent inspectorate decreed that separate Girls and Boys County Schools should be established.
The next historical development is rather shaming to male readers. Mr Whitehouse was very influential at Maidstone: and in 1916 he persuaded Kent to build for his boys the Frith Road School: while the girls continued to occupy a small building known as the Art School in Maison Dieu Road. It is my impression that Mr Whitehouse soon perceived that traffic in Frith Road was a growing nuisance and the restricted site had severe limitations. So he planned to move to the edge of town, the Astor Avenue site with “impressive buildings and excellent playing fields” as the present area education officer has described them. The Frith Road site was thought to be not good enough for the boys: but with an added storey for home economics it would do for the girls. So the matter has rested for some sixty years and Kent is now proposing to make recompense.
In St Mary’s Church is a window showing the first school recorded in Dover. Money was left for six boys to be taught under a building in the area of the Market Square. Boys were taught with a view to becoming choristers or clergy. How the world of education has changed and will continue to change, mostly for the better!
In the present 20th century we have moved into an age when every authority advertises its equal opportunity beliefs and practices. Both Dover Grammar School staffs are appointed on this basis.
Not surprisingly the proposal made by Kent to the Dover Grammar Schools is that the young shall have equal opportunity to learn together.
Quite rightly the Girls school staff want to see what buildings for them are on the drawing boards. If hesitations and fears are found to be groundless then two rather good grammar schools with current problems can become one strong, viable grammar school with perhaps a thousand students, a co-educational school of tremendous potential. The nation has need of its grammar schools.
NEWS OF THE ASSOCIATION
OLD BOYS DAY
Notice is hereby given that the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING of the Association will be held at the School on SATURDAY 14th September 1991, commencing at 11.00 am.
1. To read the notice convening the meeting
2. Apologies for absence
3. Minutes of the previous A.G.M.
4. Matters arising
5. Treasurer’s Report
6. Secretary’s Report
7. Election of Officers and Committee
– President: the committee will propose that Mr Reg Colman, Vice-President 190-91, be elected President for 1991-92
– Vice President: the committee will propose that Mr Frank West-Oram be elected Vice-President for 1991-92
– Assistant Secretary
– Newsletter Editor
– Committee Members (the two retiring members are M Palmer and P. Burville)
8. Any Other Business
ANNUAL SOCCER MATCH
An Old Pharosian XI will play against the school at 4.30 on Saturday 14th September. Any Old Boys who would like to play should contact Mick Palmer. 12 Hazeldown Close, River,’ Dover. CT16 ONJ.
THE ANNUAL REUNION DINNER
14th September, 1991: 6.45 for 7.30
A separate sheet of paper giving details of the dinner accompanies this newsletter.
These are times of change of great consequence to the school and the dinner gives opportunity to meet with friends of times past and also to learn of impending developments for the future. Ladies are always very welcome and if we have a company of 150, about one third will be ladies. Most age groups of Old Pharosians are represented.
The accompanying paper gives details of the menu which, by request. includes the option of a vegetarian meal. You are of course welcome to make requests about the seating plan. The earlier you reply, the more helpful you will be to the organisation of the evening.
OUR THREE OLD PHAROSIAN KENT COUNTY CRICKETERS
Extracts with kind permission of the publishers, A and C Black from THE HISTORY OF KENT COUNTY CRICKET CLUB by Dudley Moore. 1988.
Career records for 1st class matches for Kent
|ASLETT. D.G.||17||73.7||4 for 119|
|CRUSH, E.||89||38.1||6 for 50|
|PENN. C.||93||35.22||5 for 52|
Aslett scored his 221* against Sri Lanka at Canterbury in 1984. He also scored 146* on his debut for Kent against Hampshire at Bournemouth in 1981.
In a Sunday League match Aslett and Tavare put on 170 for the third wicket against Worcestershire at Folkestone in 1983.
In a Natwest Trophy match Aslett and C.S. Cowdrey scored 110 for the Fourth wicket against Hampshire in 1984.
In early June of this present season Penn took 8 wickets in a 4-day match against Surrey at the Oval. The Daily Telegraph described him as “the impressive Penn”.
School v Old Boys
Friday 5th July at 6 p.m. on the school ground.
Jack Kremer is again very kindly collecting an Old Boys team and if you would like to play please contact him at 37 Old Park Hill. Dover. CT16 2AW.
Committee Meeting on Friday 8th March.
The President. William Fittall. was in the chair.
Treasurer reported that a folding machine had been purchased for the school at a cost of something over £300. This left our assets standing at Woolwich Building Society £5,348 Lloyds Bank £254 Peter Burville raised the matter of purchasing some computer equipment which would be useful both for the school and for his work for the Association. The cost of £500 had been agreed at the last AGM.
The matter needed consideration because two Newsletters each year cost between £500 and £600 and this should be met out of interest received from our capital assets.
Eventually Mr Colman moved that the computer equipment be bought, Terry Sutton seconded and a majority voted in favour of the purchase.
The Newsletter Editor reported on the response to phone calls and letters as a result of the articles concerning the school’s future. Editor reported that the Newsletter had cost almost £300, helped by the kindness of Wyndgate School, Folkestone who carried out the final stages of production and made no charge. A letter of thanks would be sent from our secretary.
The next Old Boys Day on September 14th was discussed: but with so many important aspects of the school’s future still undecided the final arrangements could be held over until the committee met again in May.
An Old Boys V School cricket match would be arranged for an evening in the first week of July.
Peter Burville and Sidney Wenborn, archivists, reported that with two helpers, they made progress in accumulating records on disks, making progress with past material at a rather faster pace than new material is created.
Nominations were sought for a Vice-president. 1991-92 and the secretary was asked to invite Mr Frank West-Oram.
All the above matters were regarded as routine in anticipation of developments in the Future of the School.
Headmaster Neil Slater reported that the Vice-chairman of Kent Education Committee had promised that money would be found to build extensions to our existing buildings so as to accommodate the Girls Grammar School if they would agree to merge the two schools in some way to be determined. Our governors and the governors of the Girls Grammar School had voted to accept the proposed merger. The joint governors had arranged a meeting in the Boys Grammar School hall on 21st March for interested parties.
It was known that the acting headmistress and some members of her staff were at present opposed to the merger.
The uncertain future, particularly for the Boys’ school, was having a discouraging effect on parents. Neil Slater had visited primary schools and spoken to heads and 11 year olds as well as sending letters home.
If the merger did not go ahead there were other options available, including Opting Out. Mr Slater felt that Kent Education Committee would support the school financially and in other ways through the next three or four years before any form of merger could be completed.
EBBW VALE GARDEN FESTIVAL IN 1992
Under Any Other Business the committee was asked to consider a suggestion from Peter Prescott and Bill Collard that the school and Old Pharosians should arrange at this festival some remembrance of our school’s stay in the valley through four years of the second world war.
It was agreed that any Old Pharosians who went to Ebbw Vale and would like to support the intent to make some token of gratitude by contributing to participation in the festival should write to Bill Collard at 3 Crescent Drive, Brentwood, Essex, CH15 8DS.
The next committee meeting was fixed for 17th May, the day before the May Ball.
Committee meeting on Friday 17th May
The President, William Fittall, was in the chair.
The Secretary, Philip Harding, sent apologies for absence due to duties at Harvey Grammar School where he teaches.
Peter Burville reported on progress with storing information about school and old boys. Two teams each of two old boys were using hardware recently purchased by the Association for about £500, though disks had not yet arrived. On Old Boys Day, 14th September, the material already stored would be available to deal with any inquiries members would care to make.
Treasurer reported that our balances stood at £5,348 in a Building Society and £367 in a current account at bank. We were receiving benefit of covenants but he could see that some undertaken four years ago would soon terminate.
Newsletter editor spoke on two appeals for financial help that had been proposed by members for committee consideration. Approval was given for the appeals to be given prominence in the July Newsletter.
Arrangements for Old Boys Day on 14th September were discussed and the Secretary would be asked to prepare a fully informative paper to accompany the Newsletter.
Mr Neil Slater spoke about the slow and difficult developments in negotiations for the school’s future. A summary of the present position appears elsewhere in this Newsletter, but committee listened sympathetically to the headmaster’s current and continuing difficulties in dealing with reductions in number of boys and consequent loss of staff, finance and breadth of operation. Headmaster emphasized that in academic success, in drama and music he could report favourably.
The meeting ended at 8.30 and several members visited an exhibition of art work done in the school.
During the meeting, members had noted that Mr Nigel Horne is to retire at the end of May. He is by long service to the school since 1953 a life member of the Association who serves on the committee. Thanks and every good wish to him, Mrs Horne and their son were expressed.
THE SCHOOL IN THE 1930’s by John Le prevost
“Will you do something for the Newsletter on the Thirties? Alfred Gunn is doing the Twenties.”
“Yes, of course, Ken!” and then came the doubts.
The school song speaks of ’40, years on, but gracious, this is 60 for me! I’ll never remember sufficient detail. Then came a whole jumble of flashbacks: faces, incidents, festivals, activities, excitement and trepidation. Each as it recurred recalled another, until it was like a rushing flood of memories. How to control the tide long enough to give a picture of my nine years’ experience (1927-36) of the School, barely a tenth out of the school’s total life to date?
Somehow a school photograph dated October 1930 has survived among my goods and chattels through all the turmoil of 6 years war service at home and abroad, service for 11 years in the Far East in HM Colonial Service, marriage and a family of four, and five challenging jobs in education in different parts of the country since 1957. What better place to start – 412 boys and 22 staff, with my own year, 47 strong, slap along the middle line!
We were firmly established in our second year in Frith Road, and Ladywell was a memory of exciting passageways into the Town Hall (especially on Speech Days), long treks to sports fields, Luxton’s “Little Nell” and our own authoress reading “The Three Desmonds”. She, dear “Rooker”, also produced “The Pied Piper” and the Watch Scene from “Much Ado About Nothing”. A second language learnt through phonetics, had introduced us to Mr Smith’s French wife, so tiny and yet to have the baby we were to see later wheeled by the proud father to Astor Avenue as we prepared to move. But Ladywell was over, and Latin and Cadets, fives and crazy rushing games on a large playing area, lines of crouching boys playing “Hotch, Finger on Thumb”, and the steady approach of the great trek of Astor Avenue were now our life. Already more time was being spent on the playing fields up there. Our sporting peers began to stretch their muscles in under 15 teams and already cast eager eyes on the notice boards which abounded and we became used to house meetings every term. New teachers appeared and we became aware of others waiting for us in the wings.
The White House on the Hill was taking shape quickly and it seized our imaginations. Set over against the Castle and our Pharos, its multiplicity of terraces intrigued as we watched from the distance (we were kept well away until it was safe and ready) – imagine: a Geography room, a floor of Physics and another of Chemistry labs, wood and metal workshops, changing rooms with baths for games, dining room and kitchens, a beautiful hall with a stage at one end and a music gallery with an organ. So what, it’s always been there – true now, but for us then, it was a new revelation!
And what use we made of it! At last, we were together again and, like a symbol of our continuity, we were reunited with O.M.R. guardian of the school through 2 world wars, who had cared for us in Ladywell and now was to be with us until my year left in 1936. Just two impressions of the Opening Ceremony – the Cadets drawn up on the top field as a Guard of Honour – the minutes pass and now a rustle of excitement as those on watch note a movement at the gate on Astor Avenue. The parade is brought to attention ready for the Royal Salute, and a rather tatty black car, containing an advance party of 1 local police officer arrives – we are stood down to await once more the Rolls Royce and HRH the Duke of Kent. Then a quick change of location to the Hall.
Some of us in our uniform have taken our places with the rest of the Choir in the gallery and watch our small, but great, white-haired Headmaster (Whitehouse indeed!) escort this tall gangly royal Prince from under us up the centre aisle between the gathered ranks of boys, parents and dignitaries to the stage. Little did we realise then the way in which the Duke and many of those present were soon to die at the end of the Thirties.
There were for us no premonitions, Harassment by media and propagandists was still some years ahead. Throughout the school life, there was always a sense of urgency about the programme of work, of games, of music, of drama, and a wealth of other activities. As boys we reacted to the dedication of every staff member with ready enthusiasm. Of course there was competition, though I’d rather call it “challenge”. I suppose there were some who felt out of things and unable to join a particular group. But then this was but another human problem to be understood and accepted – we couldn’t all be in the first XI. And there were perceptive members of staff able to support the “left outs” in a host of excellent services to their fellows: bookstores, libraries, tuck-shops, armouries, sports gear, lab-assistants and many other ploys. Of course, we were affected by life outside school, family events, carol singing round Dover with Rotary, Henry Hall appointed to the B.B.C., cinemas full of Music (Bing Crosbie, Broadway Melody); we even had our own exponent of Bing’s skill in the class, though no television. Europe became clearer to us, but it was a new enthusiasm for us, not as a threat. Yet there were breaths of alert – the local garrison, then four battalions strong, became more active, though the kitchens were still largely horse-drawn on manoeuvres; rumours of rays at Swingfield which cut out passing motor engines, much later to become clear as our first radar alarm system; visits to coastal defence searchlights and flights at RAF Manston. There must have been some talk amongst us about a possible threat. Then one morning early in 1936, on early duty at the steps from the playground, I looked out over the town to see the silver shape of the “Graf Zeppelin” sliding almost level with me along the Folkestone Road valley, out over the harbour and on a SE course towards N. Germany full of exciting, menacing inevitability. But as boys during this period, we only read our future in the Pharos each term: the Valete and news of Old Boys indicated our future, and they followed reports of our activities during the previous term. The Past was in review at Speech Days and Remembrance Day parades. The Present was all important.
We moved with growing confidence towards the Future. This was a good balance set by a good school, and was long to guide us through the every-increasing and apparently unstoppable speed of change in life’s circumstances, when Balance became more and more difficult to maintain.
As I return to my photograph of 1930 and see those “visions of boyhood which float them before me”, I am still amazed at the skill and leadership of those teachers, everyone of whom played their part in preparing us for work and war and beyond: planning constant opportunities for us to experience practical leadership, responsibility and organisation. Each set standards to ensure we achieved patterns of thought and expression and could evaluate out own and others’ work. All of which was made truly practical for us and not just an academic course in ethics. I have often consciously thought of one of other of them when setting out a programme or analysing a problem or even using a blackboard or administrative diagram. I am only one of 412 and those twenty-one men and one woman, in the very middle of us all, had seen so many come and go during their years of service. An incredible achievement, which perhaps they doubted during times of routine struggle, but which I hope from time to time they were able to allow to warm their hearts with the thought that it was mightily worth while. My web is only one of the 412 life webs in the photograph – all individual and yet touching on mine. My tapestry has of course bright patches which shine out more vividly for me, but the pattern of the Thirties had a warmth and a companionship that still warms me in moments of recollection, and at Annual Dinners and AGMs.
I was not asked to write about the Nineties, but the Thirties at this school led me towards the Nineties. Every good school prepares for the Future.
One man’s Taj Mahal
A few bricks in a wall or one man’s Taj Mahal From the Project Manager for construction of the DOVER HERITAGE BUILDING
Editor’s introductory comments
In the past year or two I have been meeting Scotty Gardiner on the Dover cricket fields and on the construction site of the Dover Heritage Centre, a very remarkable building constructed on top of some of Dover’s Roman remains.
When he was at school I knew him as a rugby player and swimmer: and I recalled that he and two or three others went to Queen Mary College, London where they gained engineering degrees.
Through contacts over the years, because he is a life member of the Old Pharosians, I knew he had a wide experience of engineering so I asked him to write this article.
Long before the time came at school when one must make the decision on a career I knew that I wanted to build things.
Quite what I wasn’t sure and, at one time, toyed with aeronautical engineering – those were heady days with broken sound barriers and flying bedsteads – before deciding that it was a bit too technical.
My recollections of career advice in those days are that it was rather a function of knowing the right questions to ask, which I didn’t, and so it was that I made up my own mind.
Civil Engineering it was to be and there arose vision of roads, bridges and harbours appearing invitingly with the occasional Taj Mahal thrown in for good measure.
A struggle through Sixth-form maths examinations aided by messrs Coulson and Jacques and Physics guided by Tom Walker led to a place at Queen Mary College, University of London in the company of several other refugees from school life Barry Crush, Peter Marjoram and Ken Marsh.
Three years flew past – years of mixed elation, despair and eventual relief – before I emerged with a degree in Civil Engineering and a great excitement for the future. Bridge design and construction in the South of England followed by land irrigation and drainage in West Pakistan occupied the first five years before I passed the Professional Examination of the Institution of civil Engineers whilst working on a 2000 megawatt Power Station contract in Lancashire. Changing from heavy civil engineering works I became a site Agent on the construction of housing estates’ infrastructure in the Liverpool area, where my boss was the owner of Red Rum, and later a site Agent in Northern Ireland. There, amidst the green hills of Antrim, I was involved in building reservoirs and pipelines for water supply and simultaneously, in the heart of Belfast, the construction of a tunnel under the River Lagan for the Gas Works.
Major roadworks followed in Skelmersdale New Town and dock-works in Liverpool for the Seaforth, Container Terminal before a pending takeover bid for the Company made me take evasive action by again changing my employer.
This saw me back into Power Station construction – this time as Chief Planning Engineer on a £60 million contract near Chester – and, three years later, on the £200 million underground Power Station at Dinorwic, Llanberis, North Wales.
Variety is the spice of life, so it’s said, and I had some more of that spice as Chief Planning Engineer during construction of a large section of the M25 Motorway near Potters Bar where bridgeworks were a major feature.
That being completed, I was called into the Company Head Office in Wirral, Cheshire, to take charge of company contract cost control and work in conjunction with the Estimating Department. This was a different world and although vital experience it was not quite the same as being outside building things. However, after a couple of years the recession of the early eighties appeared and my role changed once again.
In this instance, my role change was of my own doing within the Company in that I perceived a lack of Marketing awareness in the Company and the need for somebody to locate and pursue possible contracts.
Thus I began the move into Marketing which latterly saw my promotion to National Co-ordinator for the Major Projects Division in the U.K. It was odd, in a way, to find myself in a position I had never really sought and I seemed to be moving farther and farther away from the “real” world of construction and into one where it was only talked about.
So, in what may not appear to be an entirely logical decision, I decided to get back to my roots, so to speak, and go back to the sharp end.
Life sometimes takes a strange turn and thus it was whilst trying to persuade my Company to let me out again, somewhat unsuccessfully, I spotted a report that construction of the Dover Heritage Centre was about to begin.
Dover! I’d heard of Dover, hadn’t I? Well, out of curiosity rather than any special intent, I wrote off and a couple of interviews later found myself back in Dover as Project Manager in charge of construction of Dover’s biggest ever venture, not to say Dover’s most controversial.
A most interesting and challenging two years have now passed seeing the successful completion of the Project – The White Cliffs Experience – and the beginnings of what we all hope will be a revival in local fortunes.
I will have many abiding memories of my time on the Project not the least that of being presented to Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, at the Official Opening.
Coming back to Dover after so many years with only fleeting visits had several spin-offs. Not only was I able to meet again many old friends but I got inveigled into playing cricket for Ken Ruffell’s beloved Dover Cosmopolitans.
Many old friends are sadly no longer with us and I almost put myself in the same category by turning out to play rugby for the Old Boys against the School where I was elected captain by dint of being the oldest on the field.
Coaching at the Dover Rugby Club, where I played many years ago, proved very interesting but I have gained much pleasure from coaching the under 12 team where many of the boys are in the old School and showing great promise for the future.
However, once again I am at a crossroads in my career and not quite sure what the next project will be or where but, in this industry full of uncertainty and interest, there is one thing for certain, there’s never a dull moment.
There’s always something tangible to look back upon and always something exciting in the future and should my horoscope call for a move to pastures new I shall look back on this too brief spell in Dover with considerable affection – until the next time.
Alistair (Scotty) Gardiner Dover Grammar School 1951-1957
CORRESPONDENCE AND PHONE CALLS ON THE FUTURE OF THE SCHOOL.
from Old Pharosians after the last Newsletter
The school should advertise and market itself. If the school is considering Grant Maintained status it should get on with the matter at once.
“Moving the school seems impossible to contemplate, the potential destruction of a happy part of my life.”
“It is not nostalgia or reaction to feel that the fight would be emotionally easier from the present site… If at any time letters to the County or MP seem sensible let me know.”
“The buildings are vital to achieve the best possible results.”
“You can understand the steaming I felt when I heard of the threat of the school having to move… If there is a fund to which I could contribute I should be pleased to have a form of covenant as it seems to be the most effective way of giving support.”
“I was very depressed to read about the struggle the school is going through to survive… Do let me know if I can be of any help.”
“Whatever happens we must all continue to support the school with money and our time. If there is anything I can do to help you have only to ask.”… “If an advertisement costing £400 were being considered, surely there are twenty of us who would each produce £20.
Letters and/or phone calls have been received from:
|Vic Alcock||Leslie Lane|
|Ted Baker||John Le Prevost|
|Clyde Binfield||Ken Marsh|
|L. Bishop||Rt. Rev Kenneth Newing|
|Harry Blackford||Rev. Bryan Owen|
|Adrian Boynton||Peter Piddock|
|John Catt||Peter Prescott|
|Bill Collard||Frank Seely|
|Philip Ewer||Terry Sutton|
|William Fittall||Ralph Turner|
|Peter George||Darren Wilmshurst|
|Denis Gibb||Dick West|
|Peter Jull||Paul Wood|
The editor would be glad to be informed of the addressed of these members: .
C.F. Askie., S.J. Colman, K. Gill. P. Jubb, A.J. Knott, T.W. Lucas, J.P. Marriott, A.J. Mercer, C. Reed, L.C. Segol, D.J. Thurston.
NEWS OF THE SCHOOL
Presentation of the play ENTERTAINING STRANGERS March 1991 Mr Michael Thomas is the school’s Senior English master and also master in charge of drama.
In the programme he wrote “In a play where over forty actors play at least seventy parts, much support and organisation is called for. The cast comprised 26 boys ranging from the 1st year to the upper sixth, some appearing for the first time, others able to claim they are veterans of several productions.” There were also 18 girls from our sister grammar school.
What the producer did not say was that the school’s stage with its equipment was disregarded. The curtains remained closed. The apron stage in front of the curtains was used once or twice but most of the action took place on the hall floor, or rather on two or three low platforms each used to represent very different family homes, one prospering in the brewing business and the other failing with religious fundamentalism until the dread disease, cholera, brought death to Dorset in the eighteen-fifties.
The conflict of ideas was well displayed as lighting switched from one platform to another: and back projection displayed appropriate scenes on a screen placed centrally above the performance.
The audience sat upon tiered box-platforms built as a raked auditorium close to the action, so close that audience felt involved in all that happened. The silence that followed the first impact of the word ‘cholera’ was splendid theatre.
The two principal performers deserve every praise. Tim Spence improved as his portrayal of the intolerant priest changed in time of trouble to compassion, and self-sacrifice.
Natalie Coulson portrayed the contrasting commercial zeal of the period. She aged beautifully, partly by her acting and partly by the skill of the make-up department. Among the smaller parts, Lisa Ruthven caught the eye by her very natural stage presence. The Mayor of Dorchester looked absolutely right all the time. The costumes were first class.
No actor or actress failed to play his or her part. At times when west country speech was quite rightly attempted, the diction forfeited clarity.
The director must have worked for at least sixth months, planning, developing and training so many young people in so many parts. They will remember this production that was so ambitious and very successful.
THE SCHOOL ORGAN AND SCHOOL MUSIC
In 1926 the school was in the Frith Road buildings but Mr Whitehouse already had plans to move to a new site on Astor Avenue.
Mr Whitehouse had a lively interest in music and he wanted an organ for the new school hall. Only one other state school in Kent is known to have an organ.
Since the school had been first-formed in 1905, opportunity was taken to use 1926 as celebration of a 21st birthday.
The headmaster suggested “birthday-gifts for the school organ”, an idea that raised £500. Further contributions raised the total to £600 and then a school bazaar in the Town Hall produced a further £355. Over five pages of Pharos on December 1926 were filled with names of contributors.
At last the organ was commissioned on 28th September, 1932: and has since been used virtually every school day for its invaluable part in the school’s religious assemblies as well as for teaching organists. It is not possible to list the boys who have become organists. Some have become church organists and others have made careers as teachers of music.
Apart from Mr Whitehouse who “taught us singing and cheered us up” as one girl pupil has recalled, music in the school’s early years was taught by Mr A J Taylor, the borough organist.
When the school moved to Astor Avenue and had an organ, music teaching was in the hands of Mr “Weary” Willis. There are many Old Pharosian organists who were trained by him. He had a school orchestra whose weekly rehearsals were described by members as “great fun”.
Mr Philip Dale was briefly the next music master from 1952 to ’53, to be followed by Mr Kenneth Best from 1955 to ’77. He was a first class, most sensitive pianist and organist.
He was parish organist at St Mary’s Church in the town where his devoted work was recently remembered posthumously by placing a plaque beside the church organ. Kenneth Best was the first to take the school’s carol service to Charlton church, a great step forward that has been continued to the present time. For many years Mr Best had to teach in the quite unsuitable great hall but in his later years a specialist music room was built and school music has made full use of this facility.
When ill health caused Mr Best to retire he was succeeded by the youthful Mr Adrian Boynton on his first school appointment. His dynamic enthusiasm and high standard of musical ability illuminated many distinguished productions and concerts. His choir of boys, Old Boys and girls sang services in the great cathedrals of our land and the choristers were always asked to come again. The organ and church music were probably Adrian’s greatest loves and many of his pupils won organ scholarships or musical distinction at Oxbridge or academies of music. Mr Boynton followed Mr Best as organist and choirmaster at St Mary’s, where now the succession has fallen to Stephen Yarrow, Old Pharosian, who learned his skill on the school organ.
The instrument has been used for recitals by Dr Wicks of Canterbury cathedral and members of the Kent Association of organists. Inescapably, hard use over the years since 1932 has weakened parts of the mechanism. In the early 1980’s the Old Pharosians combined with the Parents Association to finance a major reconditioning, the cost being in excess of £3,000. Today the school’s music is directed by Mr Richard Davies who says that the organ needs further treatment that would cost some two or three hundred pounds. An appeal is made to Old Pharosians who may wish the school’s organ to continue for teaching and for its value to the school’s daily assemblies.
On Saturday 8th June in Charlton church the school choir and a guest orchestra performed a concert of sacred music. The main work was Faures Requiem, as well as ‘0 clap your hands’ by Vaughan Williams and ‘Five mystical songs’.
NOTICE OF FUTURE EVENTS
Saturday 6th July at 7.30 in the school hall Organ recital by the school’s director of music, Mr Davies.
Friday 19th July at 7.30 Music for a summer evening in the school hall.
Tuesday 17th December at 7.30 in Charlton church, the school carol service On the following evening the school choir will join with 750 voices to sing the Messiah in London’s Albert Hall.
RETIREMENT OF MR N S HORNE
Mr Nigel Horne came to the school on his first teaching appointment in 1953 after graduating in English and obtaining a Certificate in Education at Southampton university. He was then a slender young man keen on cross-country running. He has remained slender: and his family often spend holidays walking.
Another youthful enthusiasm was for opera; and he would sometimes go by train after school to Sadlers Wells. His love of music and the Italian language have remained with him and he will, no doubt, carry these pleasures into retirement. He has taught English Literature with quiet enthusiasm and great success. His pass rate with examination candidates has been outstanding. He wished to retire earlier this year but was persuaded to stay until his candidates were safely in the examination hall.
He has been in turn head of department, master in charge of the sixth form, and more recently, the school’s deputy head.
In all these capacities his quiet, considerate outlook on life has been of tremendous value.
Anyone serving the school for twenty-five years is rightly regarded by the Old Pharosians as entitled to Life Membership. So Nigel has willingly represented the staff room on the Association’s committee. >From 1953 to 1991 is a long working life to devote to one school. He was dined out by his colleagues at the end of May and all of us will thank him and wish a very happy future to Nigel, his wife and their Old Pharosian son.
NEWS OF INDIVIDUAL OLD BOYS
George Took died on 5th May. He was at the school in its earliest years and was helpful when the school’s history of those times was being recalled. He saw Bleriot land in 1909 and was himself a member of the Cinque Ports flying club as well as a driver of racing cars. He had been a member of Dover Town Council and a President of the Rotary Club. He worked in the family firm of leather merchants, retiring in the 1960’s to his home at St Margarets where he became an expert in the birdlife he saw on the cliffs and in the gardens. He leaves a widow, two sons and a daughter to whom we offer our sympathy.
Other Old Boys
Captain John Allingham (1974-82) is in the Royal Army Medical Corps with the 5th Armoured Field Ambulance. He is a doctor stationed in the desert, living in tents on the back of two armoured track vehicles, fed and watered by what they can carry.
M A Barnett has won a Navy Scholarship (Engineers) in open competition.
Phil Blackman (1969-74?) is working for British Rail in Deal and as a side line organises distribution of all those free samples that fall through our letter boxes. If anyone knows of a nice sub post office for sale he would be interested.
David Coleman (1961-67) who lived in Deal and was at one time in school cricket 1st XI is a minister in the Church of England and now has charge of the church of St Lawrence at Eastcote, near Harrow, Middlesex.
Richard Field (1977-84) spent a year after leaving school making a world tour. He then went to Hull university where he graduated in geography and economics. He is now working in the Coventry-Birmingham area but his interest in “Green” attitudes may lead him to work in that field.
Richard Goodwin (early 80s) has joined the Metropolitan Police and is pleased to be stationed at one of the busiest stations in south-east London.
Keith Hamilton (1957-61) came to us at 6th form level having previously been at Astor School. He went from school to L.S.E. where he took a Ph.D. For 23 years he was at the University of Wales lecturing on International Politics. Now he has transferred to the Foreign Office where, as a Civil Servant he works in the Historical branch of the Library at the Record Office. He edits a journal “Documents on British Policy Overseas” and recently published a biography of Lord Bertie of Thame.
Peter Jull (1969-76) I am working at Barclays Bank in Deal where my job title is Lending Officer but I spend most of my time trying to persuade people to pay back what they have already borrowed. I was recently elected a parent governor at Deal Parochial School and am having to learn about education from the “other side”, particularly budgets.
S. A. King (1946-52) called at school in January, his first return visit after nearly 40 years. He has been in the Police service until he retired in 1985, since which time he has been working in the social services. He left with the school eleven copies of the Pharos saved from his time in the school.
Leslie Lane (1979-86) wrote before departure to work for his company in San Francisco. After being head prefect he went to St John’s College, Oxford where he read Chemistry for “four glorious years”, finishing with an Upper Second degree. He had been captain of Boats at St. John’s and a member of the Oxford Squad in 1989. He works for Bain and Co. and is leaving their office in London’s West End to go to 1 Embarcadero Centre, Suite 3400 San Francisco.
K May (1959-64) phoned school in January. He lives at 9089 Ceder St., Mission, British Columbia, Canada, V24 5X4. He works in a Federal Penitentiary as a Senior Warder cume Probation Officer. He is not happy with the Canadian Prison Service and is contemplating leaving and possibly taking an English degree by part-time study.
John Pain obtained a B.Sc. 2i degree in Physics at Nottingham university and is staying there for a Teacher Training Course.
Colin Plews (1976/1-77/8?) has joined his brother’s insurance broking business in Canterbury to open a new branch.
Peter Prescott (1937-43) lives in Oxford where he has retired after being deputy head of a middle school there. He was with the school when in the war years at Ebbw Vale he met a school girl Barbara Leighton, who is now his wife. He would like to plant a tree or in some other way take part in an Ebbw Vale garden festival, about which there may be news elsewhere in this Newsletter.
David Scopes a recent head prefect, has passed out from the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, as a midshipman. When at school he was senior cadet in the CCF as under officer in the RAF section. He has now been appointed to the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible and is flying to the USA to Join her for four months fleet training. He will then join the RN Engineering College at Manadon, Plymouth where he will study for his degree before rejoining the fleet as an engineering officer.
Terry Sutton, M.B.E. (1940-47) Dover. Express deputy editor, was awarded the MBE in the New Year Honours List. His late father Norman Sutton was Editor of the paper for 15 years and spent 45 years with the paper. Terry is due to retire in 1994 when he will have followed his father for almost the same period. Terry has been Secretary and President of the Old Pharosians and is a present committee member. He is also a governor of the Girls Grammar School and involved in a host of other activities in the town. The honour is well deserved. In April the Dover Society gave a celebration dinner to recognise the honour of Terry’s award.
Mick Tomlinson (1969-74) was last heard of sewer engineering for Thanet District Council and judging by the holes in the road there must be very busy.
Darren Wilmshurst (1976-83) is now an Assistant Manager at Lloyds Bank in Sandwich. He has recently completed his banking diploma which entitles him to be an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers.
David Winter (1983-88) spend two years at the South Kent College in Dover where he took a Business Studies Course. He then proceeded to the University of Essex where he started last October on a degree course in Economics.
Paul Wood (1969-71) is now in charge of several off-shore gas platforms in the Leman field so he has moved from Aberdeen to Lowestoft.
In the Queen’s Birthday Honours O.B.E. to John Clyde Goodfellow Binfield for services to the community in Sheffield and for services to the YMCA. He is head of the History department in Sheffield University and a Life member of the Old Pharosians Association.
At a recent meeting of Kent Education Committee a recommendation was approved that a merger of the two Dover grammar schools should be pursued in new buildings on a new “greenfield” site.
The matter will be taken further in October when the local area education officer will report on possible sites.
Below is shown an copy of the school O.S map