"We could do with a noticeboard for reminiscences -
like who got caned by whom, etc! And did anyone know
who benefitted from the "Voluntary Fund"

YOU'VE GOT IT:.........





OGs of later years may be interested to see how their masters looked when younger.  

Starting at the then Head Boy, "Weedy" Evans on the left, I remember them as "Meir" (Spelling?) Rabson, Dr "Wolfie" Wolfenden, Green, Peter Harris, Snell, "Knocker" Noakes, "Bill" Owen, Percy Prior, "Bill" Spooner, "Doggy" Druce, "Tiger" Tim, "Click" Cole, Mrs Willoughby (School Secretary), "Pip" Piper, The Duke, "Gob" Foster, Harding, Cole, "Toffy" McKenzie, Donaldson, "Ted" Holden, Rees, "Ernie" Ellis, "Max" Capper, Can't remember, Frenchman I believe, Gerroult, Houslop and Farndell.

Missing from the picture was "Tiddler" Whale. (E & O E - Not bad after 54 years eh?)   The picture features Peter Scolds, 2nd row, 7th on the left of The Duke, who stuck his tongue out and got punished later.   "Gob" Foster had the misfortune to sometimes spit when talking and could never understand why boys eschewed the front desks, "Pwhaw! (Spit), what are you boys all sitting at the back for? Come down to the front".

Poor Wolfie, totally unable to control his music classes. He mainly held them in the Assembly Hall by the stage, and boys once kept disappearing under, and re-emerging from it through the stage doors when his back was turned and he couldn't understand how the class continually changed in size that day.

  We put Snell's desk on the edge of the rostrum once too often and over it went when he came in and put his books down. The result was the entire class was strapped by The Duke because no-one would sneak on the culprit. He took his gown and jacket off, rolled his sleeves up, and we each got three of the best. Everyone was trying to be last since it was thought that he would tire after the first twenty or so - it didn't work out that way, he was getting into his stride by then. Strapping never did us any harm whatsoever, it was preferred by the culprit if there was a choice between that or lines or detention.  

Percy Prior had a little Austin 7 Ruby Saloon. Once some of sixth formers carried it to the lily pond in the garden and left it standing in the middle of it.   I've already mentioned a memory of Knocker and Tiger with the Erskine House picture so I won't repeat them.

Max Capper was something else. An avowed communist who used to slip in propaganda film of advances in the Soviet Union, one boy did a "V" sign in the projected light onto Stalin's face on one occasion which went down well with the class. Max's wife stood as the communist candidate for the Balham constituency in the General Election. Some of us came to his class on polling day wearing red ties or red squares in our top pockets. Fred Butcher, who became an RAF pilot on high performance fighter aircraft, and another lad called Gower, who was killed in a motor cycle accident in his early twenties, and I had the front bench in Max's lessons at one time and we took advantage of the fact that Max gave most of his lessons on the hoof, as it were. This gave us the chance to creep our bench forward and push Max's desk and chair up to the wall so tightly that he couldn't get into it when he eventually came to sit down. Max didn't strap but he'd hit you round the head, or rap your knuckles with a ruler if he was holding one.  

Cole was a very good history master who could really draw you into the period. He once had our class of hard nosed 13 year olds held spellbound with a tragic story which left us trying to hold back our tears at the end of the lesson. Nobody moved straightaway when the end of period bell went, we were transfixed.

  Ernie Ellis was the former headmaster's brother who was past it when I was at the school. He used to sleep on a campbed between lessons and "Dob" Dobson, an ex pupil who was working his way through an English degree while employed as a physics lab technician, would have a note of his commitments and wake him each time. He would come into our class rubbing the sleep from his eyes. When we were doing magnetic field experiments he would go to the door and call down the corridor, "Dob! Dob! Fetch the good magnetometers Dob" God knows what the poor magnetometers were like, the good ones were bad enough.  

I'm sorry, I've gone on long enough and probably bored you rigid. They were good days really and, despite our unruly behaviour many boys achieved high academic distinction, and others have completed worthwhile careers and professions. Corporal punishment did us no harm, and authority was respected without question, although it was sometimes tested but getting punished for it was, we agreed, a fair retribution.  

Regards - Malcolm Hipple   05/06/01

The 1947 photos, taken after I left showed some of the staff that I remember, but I failed to recognise any of the pupils, with the exception of Richard Mabey, the younger brother of one of my contemporaries and friends.   At my age memory begins to pale, but a few names I can recall are :- Peter Mabey, Peter Brewer, Albert Emptage and a chappie named Smalley, whose christian name eludes me.   The staff I remember are:- Henry Ellis, "Tiddler" Whale, "Bill" Spooner (sometimes known as "Loeffler"), "Goofy" Gear, "Sam" Hall (he always whistled with his esses -Massachusetts was a veritable birdsong) and "Pip" Piper.  Then there was Gerroult, who went off to war in 1940 and hadn't returned by the time I left.  Oh, and of course, Ernie Ellis, the head's brother - probably the most ineffectual teacher at the school.  

g.wallis 09/09/01


Can't let you young whippersnappers have it all your own way so I will try to identify some of the masters from the 1960 photo - starting to the left from Merlyn Alty, the school captain we have:

Can't remember (good start); Terry John - (Geography and PE); Mr D Williams; Joe Foan (?); Can't remember; ditto;

Johnny Edmunds (English) who went on to become a BBC television newsreader and then an academic at Aberystwyth University - he had a birthmark on the back of his neck like a beerstain. Some years later a fellow Old Grammarian, David Godden, was doing some musical work at BBC Bristol and knowing that Johnny Edmunds also went there occasionally, asked a technician whether he knew him "you mean the bloke with the beerstained neck?" was the reply;

Can't remember (Divinity); "Click" Clarke - with an "e", stories of whose eccentricity are legion. A fellow classmate called Fretwell had a serious acne problem so Click christened him "Spotwell"; "Chimp" Alexander (PE), lover of cold showers - for you, not him; Mr Penfold (Maths) - was mystified why on the blackboard in every classroom was written "PITT" - little did he know that it stood for "Penfold is the thickest";

"Mekon Man" Delin (Maths) on account of his large balding head; Can't remember: Harry Cramp (Science) guardian of the cycle racks "Has it got a label" was the cry - he would prowl the dinner hall in search of uneaten custard; "Toff" McKenzie (Latin and Greek) who taught me more English Grammar than the English masters but who just could not understand why pupils needed to resort to Brodie translations;

"Gob" Foster who had sadly been the victim of a stroke but this did not prevent the sadists from squirting water pistols into his jacket pockets; Mr Cooley (German and Deputy Head) prowled the corridors looking for boys to beat but had a surprising line in self-mockery "Castelli, where's your homework?" "Please sir, I had a migraine." "I've stamped on boy's heads for less than that." Also the owner of a superb Riley motorcar; 

Walter "The Duke" Langford (Headmaster, JP and member of the Headmasters' Conference) ruled through fear - was known to cane a whole class for unruly behaviour - believed fervently in the Cadet Corps, once in you couldn't get out; Can't remember; Mrs Dipsdale (English) the first woman teacher "What does this mean, Miss, "That portion of Man that, like the lamprey, hath neer a bone in it?" Who was the monitor trying to keep back the usual unruly line of third formers in the dinner queue ("Keep back, keep back!") who found his hand up against her chest (No, it wasn't me);

Meer Rabson (Maths) "You silly damn fool, you've given me the wrong logarithm; Harry Pack (Latin and Greek); Mr Pope (English) defender of T S Eliot; Aubrey "Strawberry" Williams (French) driven to a nervous breakdown a few years later; Can't remember; Can't remember; Ken "Dobbo" Dobson (English); Dennis Lanham (French) who went on to become headmaster of (I think) Highbury Grove Comprehensive;

David "Max" Capper (Geography) reputed to be a fervent Communist and to have been on Hitler's death list if the Germans had come; "Pants" Turner so called because his underpants hung down beneath his tennis shorts; Mr Gowland - he of the park keeper's suit; "Pilot Officer" Bridger - "Yates, why aren't you wearing boots?" "Please sir, my grandmother thought they were lumps of coal and put them on the fire"; "Monty" Everest (History"; "Dai" Taylor;

Amongst those missing were "Fanny" Farndell (Art) who convinced me I could get O level Art and I did (just); "Dan" Collins of whom much was said but all libellous and Bill Spooner (German) who retired about this time. If you look at the photo on page 3 of the history of BGS "Staff at camp in the 1920s", Bill is 4th from right in the front row.   I could also name some of the boys!

 Brian Austin 07/05/01

Is the first teacher a young Morris Hughes? MG

Further to my previous contribution, here are a few more things dug up from the memory:

When I joined the school as a "weed" in 1954, the senior geography master was "Jock" Riley,  a Yorkshireman. He addressed every boy as "Master" this or that so in my case it would be "Master Austin" but being a Yorkshireman he pronounced "Master" as in "bat". A couple of years later, in my younger brother's form, came a boy named Bates. As it happened, Jock did not teach that form that year but it was reckoned he would the following year. Everyone was on tenterhooks for the first meeting of Jock Riley and Master Bates. Alas, Jock left before it came about. There were those that speculated that he went to avoid the inevitable but who knows.

  Again, in one of my early years, there was a Prefects' Concert. This comprised some beatiful  satirical sketches about the teaching staff. The only one I can remember was a song sung to the tune of Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance No 1:  

"You can't do just what you like Tie a label on your bike Louts should never be In the library ......."

  The rest is gone, I'm afraid. The label reference is to Harry Cramp's insistence that all bikes had a label and the other to Click Clarke's oft repeated phrase when throwing people out of the library for supposedly loutish behaviour. However halfway through the concert was heard the voice of Bill Spooner, advancing from the back of the hall, "Stop this at once. This is going too far."  So, despite the Prefects' protestatons, it all came to a premature halt and no other was ever allowed, at least in my time. It is interesting to note that those participating would have been contemporary with the "Beyond the Fringe" quartet.  

Then there was Meer Rabson, ageing maths master. One day we blocked the keyhole of his cupboard with paper and he spent the whole lesson trying every key he had, and he had a lot, to open it. He didn't realise what had happened. The whole class was in hysterics, handkerchiefs stuffed into mouths to stop screaming with laughter. We also balanced the small bottom windows and left one of the upper ones open, knowing that Meer hated open windows and would slam it. Sure enough he did and the bottom ones fell open one after the other, bang, bang, bang, bang.  

The feud between Max Capper and Click is referred to elsewhere; Click would stand outside Max's room and peer in through the window, driving Max to fury. Click had a nickname for everyone: I was "Bert", Gordon Miller who looked slightly jewish was "Soloman".   Martin Powell didn't believe in taking bullshit from anyone, master or boy. When we were in the upper sixth he had a disagreement during cadet corps with Warrant Officer Colin Telling who was in the lower sixth. Martin refused to obey an order and just walked off. The next day he was summoned to see (Captain) Terry John who said "Look, Powell, I know that Telling is in the year below you." At which Martin said "Yes, Sir, there's nothing more to be said then, is there." and walked away. Nothing more was said.

He also famously challenged Johnny Edmonds about being over-friendly with pupils. JE who was our form master had organised a forum at which we were invited to submit statements about what we liked or disliked about the school. Martin submitted one that criticised masters for being over-friendly. Later JE took him to one side and said "That was aimed at me wasn't it, Martin".One day he walked into the room saying "Oh God, we haven't got Edmonds again, have we?" only to see him rise from behind an open cupboard door, looking pained.  

Brown ales in the corps hut, cross country runs that consisted of running out of the gym, round the corner into the hut for beer and fags and then after half an hour runnning "exhausted" back into the gym. Dave Cork being sick in Nell's Cafe after smoking a pipe but in such a way as to contain it all on a plate. Dick Sanderson being egged on to throw a mud encrusted boot through a (closed) window and doing it. Martin Powell's winged collars (Den Lanham was appalled - "my generation fought for years to get out of those things") and severe boston haircut. Eden, who would do anything for a bet - he once turned up for a scholl dance clad in gym shorts and army boots; he also waded fully clothed across the pond on Tooting Bec common.   to be continued - maybe

Brian Austin 28/09/01

Just read that one of your contributors could not remember the words to the song which was sung by the prefects at the prefects review.

Written by a guy called Paul Chown who made history by appearing on the Jerry Desmond TV show the $64,000 question (forerunner to Who Wants to be a Millionaire), answering questions on The Marks Brothers.

Words were sung to Elgars 2nd(?) Pomp and Circumstance March

Education is free Come to Battersea G
Dulwich College may have their fees to pay

We prefer the LCC

Don't do just as you like Tie a label on your bike
Louts must NEVER be In the Library
Come my boys Join our happy fraternity

Jim Biggin 07/10/01

Some reminiscences:  Hope it is of interest.  Would be great to hear from anyone who remembers me or the lads I mention.

I was a “late developer” and came to Battersea Grammar from Aristotle Secondary school with 6 “O” Levels.  The Aristotle Head Master, W.E. Earle, was a friend of W.J.Langford the Battersea Grammar Principle, as I recall.  I attended in 1957, 1958 and 1959.  I then spent a year collecting “O” Levels in Pure Maths, Applied Maths, Physics and Chemistry.  I then get “A” Levels in the first 3 of those (I couldn’t get the hang of chemistry for the life of me) and went on to Queen Mary College, LU.

I joined the CCF and rose to the lofty rank of Flight Sergeant.   I was the drill instructor, and was pretty good with the Lee Enfield rifle.  I got a gliding course, achieving the A&B certificates, and later was awarded a Flying Scholarship and got my Private Pilot’s Licence on Tiger Moths at Croydon – now horribly built over!

I remember the chemistry teacher, Prior (Pryor?), was in charge of the CCF.

There was an Army Cadet Force as well.  One year, a group of Army officers came round to conduct the annual inspection.  The main staircase behind those grand front doors was lined with kids.  The teacher who was the Commanding Officer of the cadet corps stood at attention just inside the doors.  The Army staff car drew up,  The driver jumped out, opened the car door and saluted smartly as the senior Army officer and his entourage debarked.  The officers then walked in a smart officer fashion to the front doors, one of the entourage leaned elegantly forward and grasped the big brass door handle, which promptly came away from the door in his hand.  (How the door handle had managed to remain in place up until this moment was a mystery.  Naturally, all faces assumed that very British expression which says “.. this disaster is, of course, not actually happening…”.   As I recall, the School CO, who was of course expected to remain at attention, somehow managed to ease the door open (without moving from the attention) just enough so that the Army officer could grasp it with his finger tips.

W.J. Langford became perturbed that boys were not wearing their school caps or, at best, were wearing them in an improper, rakish manner – back on the head and to one side.  He therefore decided to lecture the school on the subject during General Assembly, and to demonstrate the proper way to wear the school cap.  He obviously needed a cap to do this, and apparently was forced to borrow one from a young member of the school.  He placed the tiny cap squarely on the top of his head at the beginning of Assembly, and left it there for the duration.  He looked comical and the entire school, including the Masters, were aching in attempts to stifle their mirth.

Click was in charge of the library.  He insisted on total silence – even when he used a ruler to scratch his feet inside his shoes.  If a boy was, in his opinion, misbehaving, he would direct the culprit to “.. Boy, go to table 2!”  “Yes sir, which is table 2 Sir?”    “Don’t be a fool, Boy, go to table 2!!”  We never did find out which was table 2.

Click was also in the habit of walking around a classroom, knocking his hand on the wall and listening, for what we never discovered.

Your note about an Austin 7.

Some students put one such teacher’s car up on bricks.  The poor teacher got in, started the engine and started to shake himself back and forth to get it moving.  The car eventually descended onto the bricks, rupturing the fuel tank.

John Arscott:  had a unique method of memorizing stuff, basically by writing his notes in a structured way (to aid his photographic memory) and always on the right hand page of a hard cover notebook.

He was Rabb’s favourite math student, and I was his least favourite.  John sat in the front row and uttered “that’s right Sir” or “of course, Sir” on a timely basis. On the day of announcing exam results – I can’t remember if this was “O” or “A” level Pure Math, Rabb stood before the class and said that he was flabbergasted and deeply saddened to announce that Arscott had failed and Green had passed!

Fred Ward.  A good personal friend.  If anyone knows his whereabouts, please let me know.

Reason (last name, can’t remember his first).  One day we locked Reason outside a French window type door which opened onto a small balcony outside the Physics lab.  Jake, our physics teacher, came in, saw Reason spread-eagled across the door, and said:  “Reason, what’s the reason for this?”.

Rabb had a penchant for board dusters.  One day, a friend and I collected all the dusters we could from the other classrooms and assembled them in a pyramid on Rabb’s desk.  When Rabb entered the classroom, his eyes lit up, and he said: “To whom do I owe this honour?”  He then unlocked his cupboard and carefully placed all the dusters in it.  The other classrooms were without dusters for days.

Rabb was in the habit of going through a new theorem, putting a load of questions up on the black board, telling us to work through them, and then he would sit in his chair and go to sleep.  He would clasp his hands together and position them in such a way that as his head slowly sank down on his chest, his chin would eventually touch his hands and he would wake up. He would then say:  “Is everybody alright?  Does anybody have any questions?  Right, get on with it then!” and he would promptly go back to sleep, repeating the procedure all over again.

In view of his evident need for sleep, a friend and I decided to assist him in this regard.  There happened to be a Roman type play being put on the stage that week.  All Roman’s, of course, conduct there daily business while lying on a couch.  Just the ticket.  We discreetly removed the couch from the stage and placed it conveniently behind Rabb’s desk.  Rabb was not amused by this.  We owned up and returned the couch.

Rabb used to take a group of boys on a trip to the Continent every year (I never could afford it).  He would announce the next planned destination each year during General Assembly.  He showed his sense of humour one year by announcing that this year’s destination was to be “…not inappropriately…” the Isle of Rab.

David Green 1957/1959

I was there from 1959 to 1964 and can even recognise myself in the 1960 school photo together with some of the boys from my year (we were in the second year then and are in the second row of the photo).
Our year was infamous for the disruption we caused and led to Wally Langford refusing to make any of the boys prefects when we got to the lower sixth!

On one occasion we broke into the school late one night and after getting access to the roof attached various ladies undergarments and folding chairs to the flagpoles. The real problem for Wally seemed to be the fact that
someone had placed a master's cape and mortarboard hat on the memorial statues in the front gardens. This apparently was much worse than any damage that might have been caused to the school itself and for which all hell broke out.

I seem to remember that most events happened on Wednesday evenings and regular as clockwork at the Thursday morning assembly my name would be read out to go wait outside Wally's office after assembly to receive punishment for my supposed misdeeds. Fortunately Wally was always a very fair judge and jury and as he never, or at least rarely, had cast iron proof that I had been one of the culprits the punishment usually meted out was a stern ticking off.
I remember getting the smoking bug at about 14/15 and then applying myself to finding hidden nooks and crannies within the school where one could hide and have a fag.

I always remember Mr Gower telling us that for weeks they thought that we were playing truant until they eventually discovered that we were having a better time hiding and running them ragged. There were some truly amazing hiding places - under the school stage at both extreme corners, up in the roof under the water tanks, in the CCF stores or the radio hut, in the armoury, in the hut where the apron stage was stored, up in the projection room above the school hall.

What a wealth of memories.

I remember being heavily involved in building the set for the school play as it guaranteed one time off from some classes and also gave one access to the old hut where the apron stage was kept. If you arranged the various pieces of the stage correctly when you put them away you could build an amazing room right in the centre of the stacked pieces that was perfect for a bunch of guys to disappear into for a fag.

I remember a new Physics teacher, I think his name was Schofield but I will check it up, who wrote on my report "A jovial idiot, could do better." But who none the less let us all work on practical science projects. I decided to build a crystal radio and needed to go up on the roof above the physics lab to hang a very long piece of wire down as an aerial. This gave me access to the roof keys, which I promptly had copied and from then on I could go upstairs undetected for fags. The beauty of this was that once upstairs one could get under the water tanks and there was a chimney tunnel with a ladder which led down past the strange access panels in the little room next to the stairs on the top floor (the one with the weird plastic beehive attached to the window) and then down past the prefects room on the first floor and finally somehow down to the basement beside the boilers.

Anyway, enough of this rambling for now, but it would be great to hear from anyone who knew me at the school after all these years.
I will have to dig out my file of stuff from school days, I still have all my reports and if I remember correctly some Speech Day programmes etc.

Battersea Grammar School 1959 to 1964 Trinity (not that I ever did much for the House!)
Used to be from 28 Woodfield Avenue, Streatham, SW16. Telephone: Streatham 3749
Ahh, those were the days. All the best
Keith Ringle 21/06/01

The only respondant I recognised was Keith Ringle formerly of Woodfield Avenue(round the corner so to speak)
I looked at the 1960 photo and found a lot of faces.God what an ugly bunch!!! I must have been at the end of the fourth year going in to the 5th year in September. As usual it was my wife who found me-all ears and greasy quiff in the end photo near Gerald Griffin(Hoadly Road?) and Malcolm ???.
I also found Stanley Morris in the first photo(we still meet).He is standing next to Morris Braterman who unfortunately died this year.
Can't find David Norton on the photo( another friend who we still see.)Both still living in South London.

I've got a few bits of memorabilia-

A  page of the Streatham News from 22/11/1957 with all the BGS Prize Giving results.There I am in the  First Year Form Prize List(little weed  swot!) together with C.J.Thomas,D.G. Povah,J.J.A.Brown,R.Ensor,R.K.Griffin,S.B. Mc Kenzie,and
Some other bits in the newspaper are marvellous evocations of the era especially the ads.How about a Pye Television 17in. for 10s and 3d a week.Featuring a Gay Continental Cabinet and 13 yes 13-channel tuning( I thought we only had BBC and ITV then) from F.A.Parsons of Streatham High Rd.

Also a Speech Day Programme from October 1963.Again featuring in the ''A'' Level results with Barham,Bates( brilliant at Chemistry I remember),Bushaway(is this a real name?),Deighton,Marlow,Nieder,Braterman( a great combo of Art and Physics).I also managed to bag the R.A.Arthur Prize in Zoology despite failing ''A'' Level Zoo.(Weird or what?)

I have got a nice BGS School Mag.from Summer Term 1963.The expenditure accounts from the Voluntary Fund make interesting reading. Games Travelling �1 and Team Photos 7 shillings.Disgraceful!!.I demand an auditors report.

I can remember a lot of the masters good  bad and some, dare I say it, inspirational.Maybe not,highly influential is better.
 Harry Cramp (Physics) deaf and obsessional about bikes being labelled. T.G.John who reprimanded me for fighting with Michael Rothman(''you Jewish boys should stick together not squabble''-how humane!)
Pope or ''EPOP'' an authority on George Elliot, and super suave John Edmunds star of BBC News.
Apart from Aubrey(Strawberry) Williams who we drove to a nervous breakdown another one who used to collapse in tears was a woman Virginia Thatcher( anyone remember her?) who taught me A Level Botany.Bore a striking resemblance to Popeyes' girlfriend.Who was that  Welsh Geography master who always referred everything back to his time spent in Malaya.?Gave me and Richard Lindahl a rollicking for spending too much time listening to rock and roll and ''pop''. I still do.

Nobody has mentioned the school trips yet.I didn't go on the early ones to France( Fecamp or ''Fleacamp'' as it was known) but went on some great skiiing hols. to Austria in 62 and 63.Edmunds and ''Epop'' were our ''minders''.We went by train /boat/train/coach in a 24 hour trip of smoking,drinking and chocolate binging. I think the cost was about �30 (or maybe even less) including ski hire. I've got a black and white  photo of me ,Stanley Morris and Steven Simons(''Hymie'') on the slopes in dark shades trying to look like 60's smoothies.Marvellous stuff.

I think smoking was a school pastime.Its a wonder we didn,t have a club for it.Behind the pavillion,on the bus,and best of all our own'' smoking room'' which was never discovered as far as I know.This was approached through the projection room above the main hall.  We had deckchairs out on the roof and an electric kettle.Gerald Griffin,Richard Lindahl  ??? White,and me were founder and sole members.A mug of Nescafe and a Gold Leaf between lessons in the 6th.Aaah what bliss.!!!

Sports- Cross country ugh cold and muddy- another chance to sneak a fag on Tooting Bec Common.Best of all was being allowed to go ice skating on Wednesday afternoons at Streatham Rink when we were in the 6th.Frothy coffee afterwards at the ''Rumbling Tum'' cafe.Anyone remember it? How sophistcated.

Cadet Force - another abomination much beloved of our dear Mr Langford.Itchy uniforms,ill-fitting shirts,etc and oh the humiliation of being seen in the High Rd by  the girls from Streatham High.Being shouted at by your own mates who happened to have been made up to acting lance corporals.And what about playing soldiers at Pirbright ,throwing
thunderflashes-how puerile.

Music- I was a founder member of the BGS Pop Music Club.Still got the card and never looked back.This is where my musical tastes were forged.(Black Music).Used to sneak round at lunchtimes to Tony Cohen's(another pupil)
house in The Spinney to listen to Ray Charles.Tony, I recall, used to wear a beret a la Dizzy Gillespie.Pretty cool for 1960.

Anyway enough ''stream of conciousness'' stuff. Lets hear from the rest of you.There are a lot more out there. By the way I was in St.Johns House.

Kind Regards

John Landau  
john_landau@iff.com.) 01/10/01


The time that the sten gun was stolen from the Armoury - the CCF stood out in the playground all morning and no-one ever owned up.

Dobson was BGS and came back straight from University so he saw a lot of life!

Who was the teacher that organised the Big Band. - Great show at the end of my last term.

Did anyone go to the School trip to Italy in August 61? Florence - Rome - Rimini and Venice. I can still remember the tedium of yet another church. Some of us had left the school by then and yet we still had to wear uniform.

Golwling pestered us all to join the Scripture Union.

In the winter of 60- 61, they caught a large contingent of the 5 year in the caf� on Tooting Bec Common instead of cross country running. To my relief they gave us two extra periods of maths instead of games - much better for me that January and the common!

David Pennington 02/11/01

I was so pleased to find the Website you have created for old boys of BGS.I was a pupil there from 1952 until 1957 so let me add a few memories to those you have already collected.
I was a member of Spencer House, though as my school reports show, contributed practically nothing to the activities of the House. The House Master for most of the time I was there was "Percy" Pryor, who added some very terse remarks to that effect on those reports. Amazingly when my mother died in 1995,I found that she had kept all of my school reports, and some very embarrassing reading they now make. Most of my exam marks were so bad, I can hardly believe I made any headway in life.
However,my memories are entirely happy ones and I spent five great years there.I think I may have been the first boy to have been given permission,by Mr.Langford no less,to bring my motor scooter to school.I also remember well many of the masters mentioned by other contributors,not least poor Harry Cramp whose life I think we made hell! On one occasion we created so much mayhem that the entire form was marched to the headmaster�s office,where we were all promptly caned by "the great man" himself (since no one individually would own up to whatever crime we had committed).I also remember being taught maths by John Delin(also one time House Master of Spencer)who went on to become the Science Correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph.
Another contributor mentioned school trips and I was fortunate to join two trips to Fecamp,the "home" of Benedictine to which I remain an addict.Messrs Alexander and Penfold were our guardians on these trips,during which we nosed around old wartime fortifications,hoping,somewhat naively,to find a few dead Germans.I still have a photograph of the French school where we stayed and where we ate so well (given the less than savoury offerings I remember at BGS).Incidently,I still remember,word for word,the Latin grace Harry Pack used to chant out before we ate and the quite civilised eating arrangements, with a master at the head of each table.
When I left Battersea Grammar,I spent the next four years working for Lloyds Bank in the Strand;useful experience but deadly boring! I then joined the Beecham Group where I worked for the next twenty years or so,managing that Company�s pharmaceutical business, and resident in,East Africa,Iran (before,during and after the revolution) and in Indonesia.In 1983 I chucked the whole world of" big business"  in,and moved to Andalucia,east of Malaga.Together with my Spanish partner,we established a restaurant which we sold seven years ago and are presently enjoying a pretty quiet but thoroughly enjoyable retirement.
I hope this adds a little to the whole of your excellent Website,Mark,and thank you for rekindling some wonderful memories.
Yours sincerely,
Ron Godfrey 

Memories from '54 to '61:

Teachers: Rocket Stevenson's slicked-back hair and smarmy presentation of my worst subject—Music. I was pre-warned NOT to be in the choir and deliberately sang horribly off-key at the audition in a music lesson early on in the first year. Mr Gueroult, whom I had as a form tutor in 1A in 1954, but then he got ill and was supplanted by Mr Boddington, who took Craft lessons. Dr Tucker, who threatened to cane me for dripping blood from a sudden nosebleed on to my French book; who occasionally burst into song: Sur le pont d'Avignon, and another which had a line including the phrase danse en ronde sung with amazing verve. He had so much energy that man, and taught me so well that I remember lessons even today. An eccentric art teacher called Farndell, who aged visibly at BGS, part-bald . . . Sparky Watts's sliver of saliva that joined his top and botom lips in the corners, and was so ghastly to notice as he stood over your work. Jake Thompson, the physics equivalent of "Quack" Tucker in French, who tried to teach physics but could not find a way of getting through to the thicker members of his class (included me) Then Mr Castle, who gave up on the same task, telling us to do work from our text books while he disappearedd into a prep room for most of each lesson. There was a bunch of us who were not allowed to do chemistry A-level but forced into physics despite doing zoology and botany as the other two subjects when chemistry would have gone much better with them. None of that group got an A-level pass in physics; this was a case of administrative convenience for the school timetable usurping the educational needs of the boys! (1959 L6th)

Incident: With a lot of stage scenery propped up on the stage before (or after) a major production, there was an assembly taken by Langford, when a 15ft high piece of scenery caught the wind and blew over towards the staff seated on the stage. Cooley got up from his seat and with alacrity held up his hands to prevent it falling further, and almost succumbed to the momentum it had gained by the time it hit his hands. This was a magnificent effort, and he started to crumple beneath it. The school roared with mirth, 600 boys letting off rips of laughter—the best laugh we had collectively had, probably ever!  But it made Cooley so mad that he lambasted the entire school there and then, on the spot, and renewed it after all the other teachers had left the stage when the assembly ended.  

Peter Skuse 06/01/02

A few memories, Bolingbroke house 1965-70
Dobbo Dobson definitely had a cervical neck problem and once took a swing at me for "looking at him" in a corridor, I moved my head back slightly, he missed and  nearly fell over much to the amusement of all present, then he got very cross and more red in the face, (I'm not sure who used to get reddest, Twizzle Turner, Ned Bray or Dobbo). Perhaps a vote could be taken? Twizzle used to go purple and sweat. So off to Uncle Tom's cabin for stripes. Coolie used to generate some interesting colours when riled too. Does anyone remember the Swastika flag being hoisted on the flag pole for about 10 minutes and the School Action (or lack of) Union and the call for a strike painted on the Bedford hill bridge, was it Dec 19th? And anyone who didn't come to school that day would be suspended or expelled or something. 
               The model car club I remember well, we had a six hour race once in the hall instead of Joe Fone?Foan?Phone?'s woodwork shop, where once we trapped someone's wrists in the vices on the bench and left him there at lunch time!! I went on the BBC Blue Peter show ( Wow! Free lunch in the BBC canteen!) of the Dave? Marks inspired slot car racing track built in the woodwork shop. Joe, the only master ever to give me 96%, for woodwork. After school race meetings once a week, it was a good test track.
              I do remember our year being the first to do S.M.P. Maths. School Maths Project. Pam or was it Pat Greenslade in all her leggy splendour frantically reading up on it the night before bluffing each lesson, confessing to being baffled by it on one occasion. We had a different English teacher every week including Miss Dennis and also a BBC newscaster who used to come part-time. And who was that Canadian Physics master?? Does any one remember Tessa Marshall, Tom's daughter? ahem!
            Was there a Divinity teacher called Mr. Evans? Whose optical attire was akin to ends of bottles and was completely unaware of the conduct of his classes. I can remember kids smoking at the back of his class and he didn't notice at all!
           I did go on the ski trip to Austria, managed to lose a ski, I think Miss Dennis went, possibly Bridle, not sure, went to the Bath Festival in 70 and Hendrix at the Isle of Wight, those were the days! Academically and chemically disastrous though. I was not asked to join the sixth form. Thank God. Colleges had better facilities. 
         I don't see Mr Ainscough in the photos, excellent teacher, never went red or purple. I am sorry to read of Mr.Lovell's fate, he was a wonderful cranky Art teacher, just as they should be. The only A level I got. Ahem! Wild times in the Art block.
         Unfortunately the only 2 friends I have managed to keep in touch with all these years, Toby Parfitt (later Gourley) a great cricket player and Martin Walsh who went on to become an accomplished sculptor and teacher have both passed away. Both from Lung Cancer. Battersea Grammar school of smoking. 
         Would be happy to correspond with any 1965-70 survivors out there!
                                 Julian Williamson (Bill)

It is time this site got more interesting. I have had a good look at the 1971 school photo and my wife managed to find me on it. I can't see anyone else I know amongst the pupils. (Old age and psychological reasons for that) but THE TEACHERS.
I assume the teacher with no one sitting in front of him is Headmaster JIM COWAN. Jim retired in the same year I left and went to live in Nidderdale in Yorkshire.  He died very shortly afterwards but I heard his widow Else
Cowan on radio 4 less than a year ago talking about rural transport and rural isolation. (Somehow I knew when they mentioned Nidderdale that it would be Jim Cowan's widow)
To the left of Jim is "When I was in Malaya" Geography teacher "BEN HOWELL". Ben is famous for putting a telephone in a bucket of water. (There is someone out there who can relate the full story)
To Ben's left is Dobbo - English teacher also known as "Y-FrontY-FrontY-Front" because his underpants showed above his trouser belt.
Two to the left of him is another English teacher NED BRAY. Someone knows why he is called Ned.
Four to the right of JIM COWAN is Pat Greenslade - Maths teacher, the wearer of the shortest skirts in christendom and very very tight hot pants. A legend of lust for a young teenager.
Four to her right is ALBERT HALL - history teacher who used to always call us "gentlemen" and two to his right is TOM MARSHALL. Gym teacher with his own catchphrase of "Will you get off of my field". There is also the famous end of cricket season notice: BATS TO MR. MARSHALL, BALLS TO MR. BRAY.
This should be a start...... where are the others?
Mike Skinner 30/04/01


Ah the joys of my youth...

Being caned across my calf by Mr Evans-Jones, who, having lost several fingers in the war was incredibly inaccurate in his backswing..
Initiating the Thermit Reaction in the chem lab sink, welding the plughole up.Dropping a piece of phosphorous in a class mate's pocket (remaining nameless) and watching his blazer catch fire (avoiding the pun) as the oil ran off and the oxygen reacted.
Filling Morris Hughes' piano with fire extinguisher foam pre carol concert...
Anyone remember the following:
Barty Watts' pronunciation of.... (lot's of spittle now)...prrrrrrotien! Wacking Bill Bailey's fence and driving his dogs mad
Penny up the wall. Alfie Hall with his finger up someone's nose saying "riiiight gentlemen" Ned Bray's neck
Mrs Seal's kromski's..sausage meat wrapped in bacon and deep fried in batter, a healthy meal for a growing lad (Good grief!!!)
"Click" Clark dolloping custard on his salad mistaking it for salad cream. Tom Marshall smoking a pack of Woodbines during a football match.
Seeing how many we could get in the prefects' common room. Kimber's rendition of the Last Post every Memorial Day
Sliding your heel down the newly sealed floors when you came back from summer holiday
Joe Foan's woodwork class
The ceremonial launching of the blackboard rubber at whoever was talking
and...last but not least.....
Fat Jack

David Adkins 01/05/01

What about Alfie Hall's leaving assembly when he donned swastika armband- not quite PC eh? Or Cooley's when he wore a Viking helmet? MG

Can't remember them all..but, left to right: Lovell, Art teacher..went mad and forced into retirement when he threw a chair at a student. Miss Smith, Latin Miss Scudamore..most famous for receiving a dissected rat's head in her sandwiches (courtesy of Peter Barrell)
Long haired chap I believe was the pottery teacher? Ned Bray the cricket sweater
Plumbum Smith Dobo (dead now) Howell "When I was in Malaya"
Jim Cowan
Barty Watts
There's a few I can't recall Peter Croombe (maths) Alfie Hall Tom Marshall Mr Barratt (English)
To be identified...
Fat Jack Duckie Dearing Morris Hughes Jack Ingles Robbo Robinson (Physics) Bunsen Burrows
Twiz Turner Evans-Jones

David Adkins 02/05/01

What about Kenny(the chin)Kilburn,( Greek?), Daniels, Wragg( Spanish?) Dunky Waring( Maths)

This is brilliant stuff. What about the following:
Fanny Farndell
Buckthorpe (Buck teeth and a catchphrase of "Sit down, shut up and get on with your work")
Cyril Bridle (Geography)
Lewis - Took us on a geography field trip to Snowdonia.("You can always tell a football player - he's got no hair on his legs") = Lewis's legs bore a close resemblance to those of an orangutang
Who taught metalwork? (I had totally forgotten Joe Foan - he used to make boats and pot holders)
David mentioned Mr. Clarke. He was obsessed with the fact that it was Clarke with an e - and to prove the point any boy with a name ending in an E got 5% extra in their exam. (Dave Wingrove once got 105%)
There will also have to be a whole book on Fat Jack. I think we suffered numerous calls from undertakers - who had come to pass on their sympathy to Mrs. Lewis and take Jack away.
Ben Howell was once phoned at home and persuaded to put his telephone in a bucket of water.
I never knew it was Gerald Cooley - he was always Tom Cooley to us. In less enlightened times Tom would cane a whole YEAR for some heinious offence like "Looking at me in a funny way"
Revd Evan-Jones and Psalm 119

There is a lot more out there
Mike Skinner 02/05/01

Think it was Fanny that went mad and maimed the student now you mention it.
Completely forgot about Cyril...was he the guy who owned "Cheapo Cheapo Records in Soho? No wait..that was Cyril Stapleton.
How about "Bomber" Hart? Taught history and his bedsit was busted for making bombs for the IRA.
Metalwork, as I recall was taught (incredibly) by Mr Steele. Re: Mr Clark..do you recall he had the whole class arranged, good boys right front, bad boys back left. Thus one would be subjected to the following.."you boy. You have red hair. I don't like boys with red hair. Go to the bottom of the class".
(the entire ensemble moves to accommodate the new class positioning).
"You boy. What's your name"
"Stogtagliavich, Sir".
" Idiot boy. No-one has a name like that. Go to the bottom of the class"
(all rise...)

Don't understand the undertaker reference re: Fat Jack.
And the greatest accomplishment of my student career (now the World knows the culprit!) Painting "Bonnie Stamfee has a hairy minge" on the scenery flats shortly before curtain at the school play. You may recall the curtains opening and the horrified looks on cast, teachers and parents' faces...aaaahhh...a beautiful moment.

Looking forward to hearing from you..all the best.

David Adkins 03/05/01

The Fat Jack reference was to one night when someone sent an undertaker round to FJ's to collect his body. (This story is true).He lived in Royal Circus at West Norwood.
You are a silly boy as you keep typing Mr. Clarke's name without the E (or is this you wreaking horrible revenge)
Bomber Hart lived in Drakefield Road Tooting.
Cyril Bridle married Miss Dennis (an English Teacher). He used to mouch round the pubs at lunchtime (particularly the Hearse and Gloom) and ponce drinks off anyone who was drinking under age.
I think you may be right about Fanny Farndell (Mr. Lovell was too meek to attack anything).
Did you have "Royal Park" no waiting bollards as lampshades in the Senior Prefects Room? - If so they are mine and I'd like them back please.
I am sure this will trigger some more
Mike Skinner 03/05/01

Dobbo was a great character - he once asked a sixth former he was giving a lift to from a cricket match to move a wheel barrow that was behind his car; Dobbo had a bit of a stutter and tended to put his forefinger under his shirt collar and move his head away from one when he got flustered. The conversation went like this:
Dobbo - "Do move that grr.....please!"
6th F - "Sorry, sir?!"
D - "I said, 'Do move grrr.........!'"
6th F - "Really sorry, Sir, what was that?!"
D - " I said, 'Grrrrrrrrr..!!'"
6 F - "Alright, sir; very good, Sir!"

Both get into car. Crunch!
D - "I thought I told you to move that bloody

[Tribute to Dobbo - I think that I got
all the punctuation right in that dialogue!]

I remember Evans-Jones coming into the music room & saying to Hughes, "Beth ydych meddwl o'r prifathro heddiw" [slagging off the Head for assembly] & them both seeing me blush & realising that I understood Welsh!!!

David Stephen Butler 16/05/01

My first form master was smoke-fiend Tom Marshall. I clearly remember wandering into the gym at lunch-time, for some reason, to find him doing pull-ups on a bar with a fag in his mouth. Amazing.

Another gym memory was when Tom would declare that we were going to play "crab-football" - "Right,SHIRTS versus SKINS!"

I too had an amazing crush on Miss Greenslade and often wonder what she's doing now; and, of course, Fat Jack Lewis was the physics master from Hell but rather like Captain Mainwaring in his CCF role! 

As already mentioned, these two are icons but there again, Alfie "names & faces" Hall, Plumbum Smith, Kenny Kilburn, Harry Wragg, Cyril Stapleton, Scuds, Sparky Watts, Joe Foan, Mr. Laidlaw-Brown, Ken Dobbo, Ned Bray, the wonderful Twiz Turner (who once called me a "skunk" for cheating in a dictation test!), Bikky Baker, Harry Pack, Ducky Dearing and Mr. Croome are all up there. A special affectionate mention of Genghy Khan.

Myself, Alan Watkins, Kevin Brophy and Rick Laming amongst others would very often nip out and spend hours sitting in the Astoria Cafe (near the Odeon) smoking Rothman over cold cups of tea - smoking seems to be a running theme at BGS.

Also, I'm 99% sure that I was the first kid at BGS to have an ear pierced having been influenced by seeing "That'll Be The Day" at the ABC.

Peter Barrell has already been mentioned and I'd love to know what he's up to now - there was a tale of him being seen in the vicinity of St. Leonard's church very late one night carrying a large rolled-up carpet - apart from that snippet my memory fails as to the full story.

I also remember Dave Adkins and Mark Blackburne being the Smooth Geezers of our year - nice one chaps!

Gary Hartnell, 10/01/02


I found the web site from Google a few nights ago when I was away from home and looking for something to keep me occupied. Did it ever.

I read through some of the stories and was laughing so much at some of the memories they brought back that I couldn't get to sleep.

I now live in Canada having left the shores of blighty in 1982. What do I remember, first let me answer a couple of the questions asked by others:

Ned (Neddy) Bray was so named because horses bray!

The football like game we played on the wall was tupenny-hapenny football, probably later decimalised to 5P football.
The boy that Dobo asked to move the wheelbarrow was (I am 95% certain) Sheridan New. He was in my year and
told the story much as it was reported.

I remember one time getting changed after football. For some reason I had to give a message to Chimp. I went around the different change rooms looking for him, finally sticking my head in one door and calling out "Has anyone seen Chimp?" I wondered why they all laughed so nervously, when I turned around and found him standing behind me. "Oh, there you are Sir" I said. He didn't say a word.

I remember the look of surprise on Twizzle Turner's face when he gave me, probably his worst ever Latin student, a prize for chess. In his mind, ability at Latin was such an indicator of general intelligence that he simply could not conceive of anyone being able to play chess, but not speak Latin.

Does anyone remember Mrs O'Reilly. Not her real name, we just made it up, but she was one of the cleaners. A
lady of about 50-60 with a thick Irish accent, a number of missing teeth, and a patch of drool at the
corner of her mouth. She usually showed up as we prepared to leave and would start banging a few ankles
with her broom. Things would escalate when someone would throw a piece on paper on the floor in front of
her. This would always start her poking the offender in the ribs and demanding that they "Pick it oup", to
which they usually replied "No, you pick it up", after which all hell would break loose. On several occasions
the noise would even attract Tom or the Duke and we would make a hasty retreat leaving them to deal with
this poor woman babbling in irish.

I was surprised to see that no-one had mentioned the time when our prayers were answered and the school was
closed for two weeks because we ran out of coal for the boiler. It must have been around '63/4. I have no idea why it took so long to get a bit of coal, but it was wonderful while it lasted.

One big difference between the 1964 photograph and the 1971 photograph is the average length of the hair. The Duke would not permit long hair and Tom was often found patrolling outside the dining room looking for long hair. On one occasion the Duke took three boys up to Streatham High St. and had their hair cut in a very short back and sides style. One look at what had happened to them was enough to keep us from letting it get too long. After a warning from Tom, I got a crew cut, about a quarter of an inch long all over. That seemed to upset him as much as having it long, but he could hardly tell me to grow it longer.

Does anyone remember "Fag-end Freda". I forget what she tried to teach us, all I can remember is that her
fingers and teeth were all stained yellow, and she never carried less than 60 cigarettes in her bag. On
one or two occasions we managed to relieve her of a pack while someone kept her occupied at the back of
the room. I think it was her that fought off a row of "moon-rovers". These were self propelled devices made
from a cotton reel, elastic band, pencil and short piece of candle wax. She tried to break them by stamping on them, and then when she picked them up and put them on her desk, they all kept moving and fell off. She finally put them in the bin, but we could hear them still moving about.

Max Capper terrified us in the first year, but by the second year we understood that despite his shouting and gruff manner, he was mostly harmless. He used to write everything in an exercise book, in such large writing that he could only get one of two notes on a page. I don't know why he wrote it, as whenever he couldn't remember what he set for homework or what we
had done in the previous lesson, he never looked it up in his book. After giving us some work to do in class, he would usually get on with marking the homework. He would ignore a bit of noise, but as soon as it reached a certain point he would say "Err, hand up, boy talking!" and look around the room. We soon learned that nothing happened even if you put your hand up, he would just tell you to put it down again and get on with his marking. When he retired we were told that he got his nickname, Max, because he used to look like Max Baer the boxer.

There were many stories of the on-going battle between Max and Click, but I only witnessed it once. It was a nice warm day and all the windows were open. We were in Click's class, and Max was in the room below. As usual he was making a lot of noise and could be clearly heard in our room. Click stood on a chair and leaned out the middle window with the window pole and proceeded to close all the windows in Max's room.

I didn't recognise him in the photographs, but we had a chemistry teacher called MacNamara. One day he asked one of us to bring a patch of grass in after break so that he could show us how chlorine would bleach it. We all brought in great clumps of grass and covered the front bench with it. He thought it was hilarious and even brought other teachers in to see it. Eventually
the grounds-keeper brought in his wheelbarrow to take it all back and fill in the holes on the football pitch.

Who remembers the closest thing we had to a school song? The Duke's favourite hymn, Venite Adoramus (probably spelt wrong, I told you I was no good at Latin). Every Christmas we would have to practice it ready for the carol service. Even after he left and everyone gave up singing at the carol service, we still sung that song with gusto.

Jim Cowan was such a different man to the Duke. A good head and a nice man, but he sometimes looked a little bit lost and confused about what was going on around him. There had always been stories about Mrs Dipsdale and various staff members. Probably untrue, but good gossip all the same. At the assembly on the day that she left the school, Jim Cowan thanked her for her "services to the staff". He truly looked confused as the whole school and a few of the staff burst out

That's all for now, but I am sure more will come to me.


Peter Smith. 31/08/01

Some wonderful, side-splitting reminiscences amongst these pages.  All the smoking, canings and pranks inflicted by and on some pretty eccentric teachers vainly trying to give us an education and shape our futures.

Henry Hollinghurst whose attempts at teaching Latin were up there with some of the best West End farces of the day.  Mr West, a physics master who was always hugely  forgiving when we wrecked his fine experimental apparatus,
usually by plugging it directly into mains.  Streaky Williams' flagrant attempts to woo Maggie Dipsdale.  He even bought a Mk 2 Jag to further his cause by giving her a lift home every night.  And what about 'Crow' Miles, so called because, in his black gown with his swept back black hair, dark clothes and almost sinister manner, there was every resemblance to his feathered cousins.

 Other memories...catching a 49 bus up the far end of Tooting Bec common whist on a cross-country run and being threatened by the conductor with the police because I didn't have any money for the fare.  Being caught by Dan Collins smoking at Balham swimming baths and told to report to him for a caning which he postponed twice...then he died.  What a relief!  Always ending up on a Wednesday afternoon playing football in the 'scratch match', a privilege reserved for those with zero co-ordination and aptitude for the game.  It usually consisted of 4 a-side on a full-sized, muddy pitch at the far end of the sports field playing with a leather ball so sodden that if anyone was foolish enough to try and head it, usually got a mild bout of
concussion for his trouble.  After about 15 minutes of rushing from one end to the other, most of us would normally slope off behind the trees for a smoke to recover.

Our second year trip to Paris for a week with Twizzle Turner, Miss Scudamore & others still haunts me.  For most of us it was our first trip abroad.  The first major outlay was on duty-free cigarettes which were consumed almost before we hit Calais.  Once in Paris we variously got lost, became ill, nicked souvenirs, got chased by irate shopkeepers, tried French cigarettes, became more ill, and so it went on.

I went of a fourth year skiing trip with Jerry Robson & others.  I can't remember the master who organised it, but we teamed up with his wife who was taking a bunch of fourth year girls from Croydon High(?) to the same Austrian village.  Fabulous week.  One night after lights-out Jerry jumped out of his first floor room to escape the hotel for the girls' hostelry straight into a 12 foot drift.  It took us 10 minutes to dig him out.

For some reason, my abiding memory is of Streaky Williams in one of our early metalwork classes introducing us to metal files.  'This', he almost whispered, 'is a bastard rasp'.  The pause for effect was wonderful.  He glared at us still holding up the tool like some Olympic torch.  The first few titters turned to giggling, then to heavily surpressed laughter, until finally, in the space of a few seconds, the whole class broke down.
Streaky, completely straight-faced, called for immediate silence, then husked 'It happens every time'. 

Fond memories, fun times.


I still remember the dining room.  The juniors had to wipe the tables with slimy cloths and set the places for the next sitting. Each year you moved up a place on the table nearer to the master, getting more of the food served up from aluminium boxes. All was abolished in favour of self service before I had the chance of bigger meals or second helpings.   Remember Holloway being thrown in the big dustbin and his younger brother having stink bomb liquid poured into his bag in the woodwork room.   The school 'tradition' of throwing people over the wall. I didn't stay to the 6th form for the privilege of walking up and down the central staircase.   Reading the comments brings back memories of many of the teachers especially physics teacher Lewis, Alfie Hall History ,eggy Berman biology.     Lots of other small memories such as kicking footballs made of paper and cellotape. Cross country running through the mud of Tooting Bec.   Remember a class day trip with Mr Turner (French teacher) - visited a mill and then we went back to his place. Can't remember who but someone tried to catch his goldfish.     Still in contact with   David Harding St Johns 1968-75 Mike Bailey St Johns 1968-75 Philip Simpson Dorney or Bollingbroke? 1968-75     Lost contact with   Keith Tutt  Spencer 1968-75 Mike Hodges  Trinity? 1968-75 Michael Meyer St Johns 1968-75 John Leverett St Johns 1968-? Pete Johnson St Johns 1968- Scott Wilson St Johns1968- (solo singer) Colin Barratt  Erskin 1968-  

 Clifford Jones 27/09/01
Ben Howell - "I would like a full lesson of work from you this period", 2 Minutes later it was "Put your pens down and I'll tell you about the time I was in Malaya" and how hard the wood was!
Miss Corp - Insisted that we all stood up at the beginning of the lesson and greeted her with "Good Morning Miss Corp", This soon stopped when this was changed to "Mrs Corpse".
Jock Cressey - Seem to remember him being under the influence on more than one occasion and he would often drop kick any bags left in the aisle out the open windows once onto the headmasters car.
Seem to remember that Joe Fone the Woodwork man was very fond of  the French teacher
One of my favourite teachers was Mr Khan known affectionately as "Armoured Khan" a dab hand I did hear that some years ago he lost his family in a tragic housefire.
I always remember Peter Barrell who was in my class, He was always destined for infamy..On his first day he flicked a fishes heart at the teacher and was put on detention and never looked back.

John Simpson 29/05/01

I believe the French teacher was Miss Thomas. Wasn't there some rivalry for her affections between Foan and Farndell?


I used to run into an old BGS spanish teacher Peter  ' Plum Bum '  Smith as he had an antiques stall and used to frequent the many antique fairs around the area and he was also in touch with the French Teacher 'Twizzle' Turner.
Sadly I have not seen them for many years now.
I also heard some very sad news of the old weight - lifting  / wrestling coach Jack Ingle.  When he retired he moved with his Jamaican wife to Jamaica, then Florida, then Canada but tragically at Christmas 2000 he was killed in car accident. He was quite a character.

Does anyone know what happened the head master Philips ?
He seemed to be OK, but I later learned that when he joined BGS he had already accepted a hidden agenda to lead us into  becoming a Comprehensive (allegedly !!).

Julian Frankum 31/05/01


A few more memories triggered by the other messages about the '71 photograph, in which I eventually found myself.

There was a fellow called Chas Jafrelot (?) in the year above me, who was continually at war with Alfie Hall. Their conflict peaked one day whilst Alfie was standing in the playground outside rooms 51 & 52 and Chas, sensing the ultimate victory, water-bombed him from the second floor. The speed at which Alfie ascended the Science staircase was only exceeded by Chas's speed at decending the Main staircase to the first floor, and he successfully eluded capture by use of the stars at the back of the hall. He appeared, innocently, in the tunnel.

He also once drew a very life like caricature of Dunky Waring on the junior playground. It must have been at least 15' x 15'!   Mr Croombe (Maths) and his purple attire. I was told a few years after I'd left that he was a member of some sect, and that purple was his "rank". He was seemingly promoted a couple of years later, and dressed entirely in red.

Mr (Armoured or Genghis) Khan (Maths). He once gave me two pages of lines, but I cut it down to one by use of carbon paper and got away with it. A previous post mentioned that he lost his family in a house fire. I remember this being announced in assembly - perhaps the only time the hall was full, yet utterly silent. He returned after after a lengthy absence, but was never quite the same. He retired a while later, and worked in the ironmongers shop in Hildreth Street, Balham. I think it was the family business. Poor sod never had much luck - the shop was levelled by a gas explosion around 1985. Fortunately, however, he was not in it at the time. 

Lastly, I remember dining hall salt. To this day I still check to see if the top is securly fastened before use.      FredG 06/06/01

A couple of memories:- Pat Greenslade - taught me maths and yes, those hotpants and tight skirts were fun! (holistic education!) She had a blue A35 van which I bought from her for, I think, �35 in '69 or early '70. I remember this van with a mattress in the back and various girlfriends on Tooting Bec Common! Ben Howell - Geography and stories about Tom Mix (actor) and dried up waddies - it was the way he said it "wuaddys"

Another memory from further back. I was part of  the BGS slot car club which starred in an episode of Blue Peter. Two brothers, think they were called Marks, myself and a couple of other lads took the club circuit to BBC studios and set it up there. Our dressing room was next to the Top of the Pops one and Jimmy Savill was the DJ that night. I did become a senior prefect and together with others redecorated the SP common room (just off the stairs, I think) We wallpapered one wall with aluminium foil and painted everything else a deep purple colour.

Miles Snowdon 25/06/01


I seem to recall that Sir Bernard Lovell threw a chair at me once in Pottery - probably because me, Ron Flint and I think Alan Price kept shooting slip 'bombs' off the electric potter's wheel by putting it up to top speed. And although Streak Williams was the chief sadist-in-charge for Metalwork, does anybody remember Mr Plunkett??? Think that was his name. Gave me a thick ear for listening to Ann Jones win Wimbledon in'69, so I managed to cheat in the end-of-year exam and come second to top (can't remember who came first). And did anybody else buy any of Cyril Stapleton's LPs? I got Atomic Rooster and I think Sweet BabyJames - but then found they were the same price in the record shop near St Leonard's -what was it called? And will anyone finally admit to letting off the fire alarm at the end of each term when we broke up?

Finally,I am going to sue this site - I refuse to believe it's me in the photo next to Nick del Rio - don't know who's to my left. I know there were a few of us who were going to do something 'rebellious' - tongues out, hair down, that sort of thing. Simon Slatter was one I think, Steve Lord another? And of course Alan Price,who nearly managed to get me expelled when we ruined the contents of someone's desk at the back of one of Twizzle Turner's French classes. And someone here mentioned Miss Dennis - Gillian - being humped by Cyril Bridle, lived near the Crusaders youth club in Streatham Place. With her skirts shorter than Pat Greenslade's, white boots and thin blouses in the summer,English classes in Room 5 were eagerly anticipated -except when she was off and we had Ken 'Shirt Collar' Dobson. Anyone remember a placement teacher Mme Mahmood?  -third form French for me. I was threatened with expulsion again, think I did something to her desk.......

Collin Taylor 18/07/01

 What memories those names brought back."Fat jack" Lewis's opening statement 'my name's Mr Lewis but spelt "b a s t a r d" ' or something like that. Red Herring or Ducky Deering mention any topic and bang went the English lesson.The R.E teacher who's name escapes me but it was rumoured he got "very merry" on a school trip to France ??.Alfie Hall's leaving event I wish camcorders were around, you had to be there to believe it, " Eva and I are moving to Essex".   "Ring-it" Dobbo, "Fanny" Farndell, "Scuds" Scudamore,"Gengis" Khan (a good shot with either blackboard rubber or Maths textbook ). Yes I believe his house did burn down and his son injured.   The "fight" fiasco with I think Bishop's Thomas Grant school, teachers from both spread over Tooting common splitting up groups of more than three.Steve ? Williams slashing his wrist while climbing out a window to get a ball from the roof.   Last but by no means least Mr T. T. Lewis, " growing up in Wales I had two choices, go down the mines or become a teacher " I don't need to tell you what most uf us thought.His maroon Triumph Herald estate full of 1st years en route to Burntwood Lane.He was the last person I spoke to on the day I left, I can still hear him today "Goodluck... my God you've changed".   There are many more but a lot are already mentioned on your page. Just remembered Laidlaw-Brown, mortar board & gown.  "The happiest days of your life" ?? regards,

Chris Bull.  29/08/01

I too remember the Foan/Farndell/Thomas triangle and recall that we were probably quite well acquainted with the latest twists in the menage-a-trois by various covert sightings in the many boozers up and down Streatham High Road from the Pied Bull in the South to the Horse and Groom in the North.

Foan had quite a punch on him - he winded me for about half a lesson for calling him "Joe", although that was a lot politer than the alternative "Tampon", the derivation of which escapes me entirely.  Can you imagine such physical discipline being tolerated in today's climate?  His wrath in our lessons was usually reserved for Graham Lester whose incompetence with a chisel had to be seen to be believed. 

I am quite proud, in this time of hackers and virus-mongers, that in late 1974 myself, Eric Toll and James Hazell were quietly taken aside by "Crumble" Croome and advised that the school had had a call from the CID and unless certain pupils stopped making unauthorised break-ins into computers of TSL Ltd., Hatfield Polytechnic, University of London and half a dozen others, we would get walloped by the full force of the boys in blue.  In 1974 mark you!!  Hackers...pah!  Show 'em an ASR-33 teletype and they wouldn't know what to do!  There were some older blokes in the ring of computer infamy - I recall Trev Heartfield and Mick Someone else also having committed crimes against various systems a couple of years earlier than that even.

Lovell could well be the one who went mad - I remember him wearing a monocle standing in the middle of the pottery table and intoning "Don't do it, Laddie!" dolefully every time someone was caught feeding solid objects into the clay recycling machine, or making the 397th cast of a well modelled clay breast in the vacuum moulding machine.

I don't remember the divinity teacher Evans Lewis but do remember "Bikky" Baker who was extremely laid back and could be diverted into almost any topic under the sun by an appropriately cunning opening question.

The Chaz. Jaffers-Alfie Hall war was well recalled by someone, but I recall an equally bitter struggle by Alan Ghinn against Laidlaw-Brown.  The latter was nicknamed "The Fly" for his habit of wearing a cape at all times even after this practice had been abolished by Philips and Ghinn would intone this moniker behind his back every time it was turned, at which cue we would all join in.  This was also the opportunity to stripe his back with a nonchalant flick of a fountain-pen, although the gown made this a less effective attack than on most other teachers.  The monumental struggle went on until one day he abandoned his class, stormed outside to another teacher and complained that he couldn't keep order and the pupils were calling him "Bligh" - presumably with a reference to another more famous mutiny in mind.  His key phase to an unruly pupil was "Come here with your books" a which point you'd be sent to stand outside "Ben" Howell's office, although Ben never seemed aware that you were there most of the time
 I do recall that the nimbly minded Stephen Mead once wrote a play to be performed in an English lesson of which the only point was incorporating various teachers' catchphrases in the script.  Laidlaw-Brown's was the finale and reduced an almost hysterical 3ST to tears.  Dobbo was not entirely unaware of what was going on and to be fair, took it well.

I too recall the rumour about Crumble being in a colour-sect, but there was an alternative idea that it was some weird maths related fetish as "Dunky" Waring was also known as "The Pink Panther" after his habitual garb, and the tradition was maintained by Emyr "The Badger" Evans when he arrived, I think in Dunky's place.

How many of those irritatingly-striped blazers were ruined by secreting test-tubes of acid in the pockets and the bung working loose?  I went through two, to my remembrance.

A teacher I'd forgotten from the '77 photo; near the lhs of the second frame with an impossibly large collar is Smullen the Irish Economics teacher - he could always be relied upon for an off-colour story or two, I seem to recall.  Also in the third frame of the same is Pete "Harry" Wragge nicknamed for the famous jockey.  Can't remember what he taught.  Finally Chris Bull's recollection of TT Lewis triggered my memory - he was also known as "Boots" since his tedious Welsh reminiscences would always include the fact that when he was a lad, everyone had to go to school in hob-nailed boots.  Well remembered, Chris!

There's probably more, but I'd better get some work done!

Pete Dinham 23/09/01

Does anyone else remember standing facing the wall outside the prefects room and having to memorise the names on the war memorial as a punishment . I can still remember some of the names 25 years on shows how often I was punished by prefects!

Kevin Leach 02/09/01


Steve Lord

Yup, that's me with the dark hair hanging down all over my face - looking sullen and rebellious. Maybe we should index the images so people can point themselves out?


Arriving at the school and discovering I had a west country accent. Got beaten up and thrown over the wall.
Running Long Distance... boy that was hard work if you didn't cheat.

Custard. Pink Tart. Grey lumpy potatoes with hairs in them.

Taking a bull's eyeball from Physics/Optics wrapping it a handkerchief and pretending to Pat Greenslade that someone had poked my eye out.

Reference the 'hacking' story of Pete Dinham, I must claim a prior transgression... 1971 ? via TSL (Time Sharing Ltd) a PDP 10 accessed with a massive old modem at 300 baud (10% of the speed of modern modem). Three of us (Vishnu, Mick and myself) used to stay until 10:00 pm some evenings writing programs (storing them on paper tape).
Apart from doing our maths and physics homework on this supercomputer of its day, we used to write games and simulations, ever tried playing lunar lander on a teletype... in a language called Telcomp II I believe.

Well, a visit was arranged to TSL Ltd where representatives from the Education Ministry were coming to see what the next generation of computer scientists were up to. The terminals were set up in little cubicles back to back,so we connected two of them up via the serial port and ran a pretend 'Turing test' program.

The Education Ministry types were asked to type questions into the terminal and, unbeknownst to them, I was simply typing the replies from behind the wall. Needless to say they were impressed with the level of Artificial Intelligence we had
achieved (and which has probably never been equalled to this day). I believe the official project  was a 'draughts' program.

Anyways, as part of that visit (or was it another time?) the three of us were given a tour of the 'Computer room' where we met a long haired computer type who explained the setup. In those days, computer security was an unexplored country, and so the operator had handily pinned up a printout of all the logins and passwords on the
wall next to his desk.

While one of us engaged him in conversation I whipped out my pen and took down the entries with descriptions like 'admin' and 'technical director'. I even remember the TD's login. Jack and Booze! When we returned to BGS armed with this information we managed to hack into Hawker Siddley and United Friendly Bank plus a bunch of others. We basically had full access to all files on the system.

The three of us were called into see the Headmaster who said that he had been approached by the company and or the police and would we please stop hacking them! If Mick or Vishnu are around I'm sure they'd confirm this story. I wouldn't be surprised if they had been hacked again in '74 as theirsecurity was basically non-existent!


'Borrows, rhymes with Sorrows'. Anyone remember when he asked someone to stop smoking on the tube in one of the new no-smoking compartments! (How many fires were there on the tube when people were allowed to smoke?). The
guy just took him out instantly and he turned up at school looking fairly battered with a nice black eye. I also remember dropping chalk into test tubes full of hydrochloric acid to create a nice 'froth overflow' effect and, of course, blowing air into the gas lines for the bunsen burners, which had the rather pleasing effect of making everyone's burners go out one after
the other as the air reached each outlet. He did do a good line in explosive experiments though. Oh yes, and replacing the hydrochloric acid with tap water. heh.

Fat Jack. Physics master. He knew less Physics than I did, but he did have a way with 'cadets' as I recall.

Pat Greenslade. Should we start a fan club? I seem to remember having a permanent stiffy from the age of 13 until I left school. Her 'overtight' hot pants just made it worse. If they'd been any tighter she would have been twins.

Ken Dobson (Dobbo). As my 'Year Master' he accused me of showing schizophrenic tendencies on my first year report
(true). It did wonders for my self-esteem when I saw that. Immediately read 'The Divided Self' by R D Laing and decided I was saner than Ken was.

Alfie Hall. Adopted the 'Control through Fear' approach, by introducing himself with a litany of threats, but was actually a fairly good guy, interesting discussions of historical dynamics but I could never be bothered to learn any dates and so failed all my History exams consistently.

Anyone remember our 'Latin Mistress' (Miss Scudamore?) for a couple of years. One trick was to laugh for 5 minutes every time she said anything ending with 'as', like ambulas (promounced ambularse). She tried to join in the laughter - fatal mistake. Always felt a bit sorry for her. She was always having to call in Cooley to shut us up.

I remember the scene in the Art Room, people sitting around listening to Jimi Hendrix and Cream, CSNY etc. Popping into the Art Room toilets to smoke.

Our Maths master, forget his name, tall guy, used to pick on one pupil and reduce him to tears with sarcasm, unbelievably good aim with a wooden blackboard rubber. He would be writing on the blackboard, swivel round and launch in one fluid motion. Also had a habit of asking for your ruler so he could rap you across the hand with it. I deliberately broke mine in half so he only had 6 inches to swipe me with.

French Master, 'Twizzle' Turner? on, an, un, in, oo, ew, uew. He took us on a school trip to see some cows being milked on a farm somewhere. Very impressed with the sucking power of those milking machines.

Playing Football on the playground wall with coins, yup remember that. Also playing British Bulldog.

Tom Marshall, Gym Master: Chain smoker.. great role model for the sports oriented crowd. He used to stand in for missing teachers and would basically just reminisce with the class, excellent! Got very annoyed when I refused to play football.

Miss Gillian Dennis. Anyone remember taking a small hand mirror into the class for those 'walking the isle' moments?

Jim Cowan. Obviously suffering from Alzheimers or equivalent, he used to take assembly and forget what he was doing on stage then hand over to Cooley and wander off.

Joe Foan. I spent 2 years carving a fruit bowl out of TEAK????

Metalwork: 2 Years making a solid steel coat hanger!!!!

Mr Motion the Physics master? Am I imagining this?

I bought my first ever lump of 'pot' from someone I see in the photograph, for 50p! Acapulco Gold (Almost Legal now).

Steve Lord 28/10/01


I've been a bit quiet for a time but seeing the photo of the school from near the pavilion has prompted further communication. The field looks in an awful state - where was Tom Marshall (will you get off my field). In the first and third forms you did get the odd game of football because it was held at Burntwood Lane. In the other years it was cross country running. I nearly won once when I had the presence of mind to take some change and get a 49 up Tooting Bec Road. (For the smutty amongst us - yes the 69 went up Bedford Hill). Secondly to answer Steve Lord - this is becoming a Pat Greenslade fan club. All the teachers I had ever met up until then were either male, wore leather elbow patches, wore sensible skirts,were ugly or were the age of my parents. (In fact some qualified on all these grounds). Some of my compatriots named her "Flat Pat" - more of this bunch later.  I thought she was great - provocatively dressed in a school full of adolescent boys - she had more fun than we did. But this was in the days before page three of the SUN. Sign me up - as fans we should be respectful and call it the Miss Greenslade fan club. The bunch I was referring to were the trend setters who seemed to spend all their time in the artroom. They would always find LP's no one had ever heard of like Quicksilver Messenger Service or similar and rave about it. Us mortals (Trevor Mayhew was always there I recall) used to go up to Cloakes or even HMV in Oxford Street and listen to the LP (Sitting in one of the booths being REALLY cool). We would then come back saying QM Service were great at which point the trend setter would rubbish the LP and wax on about Captain Beefheart (I always thought this was Captain B. Fart). We would then go through the process all over again until we realised that the only good LP's accordingly to these trend setters were ones we had not yet heard. Finally the other great icon of this site is Fat Jack. (Lewis). I was the drummer in the band called Fat Jack that played at one of the summer fetes.  We had Bob Sellins on bass, Martin New on guitar and Graham Taylor on keyboards. Finally a question. Most smoking, rock music playing and lounging about used to go on it the Art Room under the watchful eye of Fanny Farndell. Yet as I remember it, the Head of the Waffen SS (Herr Cooley) used to regularly teach German in room 71 - feet away from the anarchy. How come?

Mike Skinner  25/11/01

I've actually just stopped giggling at some other pupils' recollections on your site.  Great work.  I hated most of my time at BGS when I was there but later on I realised I hardly ever spent a day without being
doubled up with laughter.
There are loads of memories so I'll just jot a few based on some bits I read from your site.  Mr. Lovell - Pottery.  We also called him Shovel after he attempted belting a pupil with one once.  He gradually became certifiable and, yes, it was him who threw a chair across the room at a kid which led to his dismissal.  The monika was classic!
I distinctly remember John Laidlaw-Brown and his antiquated method of teaching.  He loved to cane Hughie Pierre in the hallway for everyone to hear.  I remember a pupil called Patel (super-Pat) who received unnecessary humiliation from Laidlaw-Brown with his pronunciation of "verb".  The best Pat could make was "Werb". L-B continued relentlessly for some time, imagining the boy was being insolent. He later fell in love with late arrival Jason Swedlow from the US. for his
grammatical knowledge.
Scuds or Miss Scudamore I notice is named as a Latin teacher although she taught me maths.  (CSE).  I well remember also feeling sorry for her as we eaked out the lesson by responding hysterically to her quips.
Peter Wragg was my form master at one time.  He taught me French and Spanish.  I think he was the most likeable out of the lot.
What about Crazy Joe Vickers.  Another incredible sweater.  The games we pulled on him were legendary.  He taught us Latin.  Much like Scuds, he imagined our laughter was with him rather than at him.  I remember the desk shuffle towards the front of the class whenever he wrote on the blackboard resulting in 20 odd desks parked around him by the end of the
I'll always remember Physics Nazi Fat Jack who spelt his name to us on our first day B-A-S-T-A-R-D.
Jack Robinson (Physics) used to make you hold your arm out straight then bring his hand down from a 180 degree angle on yours - later adopted by the Harlem ghetto with the addition of the phrase "gimme 5".  A wonderful memory I have is Ali Ghinn feining pain to him then turning to us and cackling to reassure us.
Jim Marshall and his nicotine stains which earnt him "Greenhair".  He informed us of his personal preferred method of giving punishment as a size 12 slipper, but was never used to my knowledge. TT Lewis (or Testes Trouble), Geography, who wrote at 100 mph on the blackboard for you to copy lasting 2 hours straight.  The mere mention of rugby would give us breathing space for a few moments.  He had an extra long ruler which meant he could reach boys on the second row quite easily.
I was remembering recently Ian Statham (pupil) who was given extra homework by Hall - Adolph, Ade, etc.  History - he had to write an essay on a world leader of some sort.  Ian for some reason chose Adolph Hitler and got into bigger trouble.

This could go on forever couldn't it?  I'll leave you with these reminiscences for now and if any real gems spring to mind, I'll forward them.

Clark Tracey 14/11/01

Reading some of the stories from my era, I was interested in the number of nicknames for teachers!  Although some names seem to have stuck right from the start, others seem to have been constantly evolving. Our form seemed quite keen on inventing names, and at one time had a "Name Distortion Committee"; entry to which requiring the applicant to impress "the board" with an entirely original nickname of his own.

Some teacher's nicknames seemed to be indelibly written on their foreheads:

Fat Jack was always Fat Jack. I was terrified of that man!Dobbo was always Dobbo. All I remember is that nervous tick that appeared to be an attempt to pull his neck out of his collar. TT Lewis was always TT Lewis. I remember him telling us about him going to school in boots, and what a "cold hard world" we would find out there

Alfie Hall was always Alfie. I took my camera to Alfie's leaving 'do' and had photos of him in the library saluting with his stick-on moustache. I too remember how he'd always call us "genelmen", and how he'd warn us that if we didn't get our work done we'd have to come back and do it after school, and "if you don't get it right, you'll have to do it again. And again. And again. Until you DO get it right, and then you'll go!"But then our form had several variations (and a couple of entirely original names) for some teachers:Mr Khan was either "Gus" or " Gukken"(?) to us.

Mr Bray was usually "Sweaty Ned". I remember a strange fascination with the fact that looking from the side,  his neck didn't overhang his collar at all, but went straight up.Mr Robinson was "Grobbo". Clark's recollection of Grobbo's smackings takes me back: Any of us who'd experienced them found them relatively bearable - but to the uninitiated it looked a lot more painful than it was: So an easy and cost-effective way to attain hero status in the class was to do something worthy of a public smack from Grobbo.

Mr Marshall was not just Tom, but usually "Uncle Tom". We all wanted to see his threatened size 12 slipper, but no amount of goading ever produced it.Mr Hughes was simply (and naturally) "Taffy".

Other recollections

Mr Eade (maths?) A small chap we couldn't think of a good name for, so we'd simple shriek "EEEEADE!" whenever his back was turned.The "Fat Tech" This poor metalwork teacher got loads of stick for simply not retaliating or reporting our insolence to higher authority. We all thought he was a lathe setter who pottered around in the background while we blunted our bits and 'accidentally' left the chuck key in the chuck and turned the lathe on. James Hazell was particularly persistent and merciless towards Fat Tech, and I remember him coming to me in a state of shock one day announcing that he'd just discovered that Fat Tech was a teacher!

Sergeant Pepper. Metalwork teacher. (On the 1977 photo) Peter "Phil" Gill. Physics: He was our form master for some time. I've never forgiven him for refusing to explain to me (after an experiment proving that acceleration due to gravity was a constant by dropping two identical balls of different weights) why a balloon and a brick don't also fall at the same speed

Twizzle Turner: I remember spending the whole of one French lesson discreetly engraving "TWIZZLE" (with an appropriately upward arrow) on the front of his desk with a pair of compasses. I only just got this elaborate piece of artwork complete, and was very pleased with the result. Twizzle dismissed the class but asked me to stay behind so that he could see "what Ghinn's been engraving on my desk all lesson"! He made me try to scrub it off with soap and water after school

Crazy Joe Vickers had the habit of ripping off those glasses whenever he had one of his spluttering outbursts. A direct hit on the back of the head while he was writing on the blackboard would always do it. I remember those jumpers - and corduroy baggies too.

Doesn't anyone remember Tunnels? The fearful punishment for losing a ball - or doing anything that was considered to be a loss to the rest.. Once the cry "TUNNEL!" had gone up, you'd had it! You got chucked into the bin area and made to run the gauntlet while every kid in the playground lined up to give you kickings. The trick was to get it over and done with before half the playground knew about it.

Questions Wasn't there a teacher we called "Jock" Wallace who taught chemistry?

Was there a biology teacher called Daniels"?

Anyone out there suffer Spesh? (weekly report which had to be handed in at the beginning of every lesson, and presented to Ben Howell at the end of the week) I was for a long time the youngest kid in the school on Spesh. In the first few days at BGS it quickly got around the school that I could make powder exposives. I struck a deal with a third(?)-year boy, Peter Kidd, and made him some gunpowder. He somehow let the lot off in one go out in the field and caused quite serious burns to his face and eyes. I was summoned to Mr Cowan's office to explain my behaviour, and for a long time he flatly refused to accept that my dad had been agreeable to "a boy selling explosives at my school", and threatened me with instant expulsion. In the end I suffered the longest term of Spesh ever, plus the distinct disadvantage of being named and marked by all the teachers as a known troublemaker - two weeks into my secondary school education.

Was the Williams that cut his wrist trying to get on the roof the Dave Williams in the register?

Did anybody escape getting "Hot Poshed"? This was an occupation embraced enthusiastically by smokers anxious not to leave telltail butts around: Drop the smouldering butt in your mates blazer (!!) pocket. It was all the funnier if the victim was the last to notice. Sometimes a boy would be seen walking off the field for first lesson with smoke billowing from one of his pockets. This, I'm sure, was the most common cause of pocket damage at the school!

Alan Ghinn