Dear Fellow Old Wolvernian,
As I type this, I wonder whether this mailing will reach you in the new format of a folded Newsletter, or whether technology will evade me and you will need the usual A4 stapled pages! Well here goes nothing…..
Not having written to you earlier this year, I find that there is much information to impart and I wonder wherever is the best place to start?
Keeping with exciting news; after great deal of consideration and visiting of venues the committee has unanimously decided that a change is as good as a rest (and an annual dinner never rests!) and this year we will be holding our annual dinner at the newly refurbished Gainsborough House Hotel, Bewdley Road, Kidderminster on Saturday 15th November2008 at 7pm for 7.30pm. There is a perfect banqueting room with plenty of room for our after dinner Disco and a comfortable and roomy lounge bar for a quiet post dinner drink. We will be offering the red carpet treatment to you all and greeting you with a complimentary Bucks Fizz. Those of you who have to travel, or decide to make a weekend of the evening, will be impressed by the en suite bedrooms, may of which overlook the adjacent park, visit www.gainsboroughhotel.co.uk for a taster of this cool new venue right on our doorstep.Enclosed with the Newsletter is a reply slip for booking places at the dinner. Please note that there is a cut off date on the form; so please make sure that you fill it in and return it with your cheque as soon as possible.
Being held at Wolverley High School at 5.30pm on Saturday 15th November 2008 to commemorate those OWs that have fallen in conflict since the First World War. Please feel free to come along and pay your respects, whether or not you can also make the Dinner.
The AGM – your chance to have your say about the Organisation and takes place immediately prior to the Dinner at the Gainsborough at 18:15hrs.
Please put Friday 15th May 2009 in your diaries for golf and dinner, or just dinner, at Wharton Park Golf Course, Bewdley. Full details will be posted on the website as there will not be another mailer in the interim. If you wish to book a place, please call the Secretary on 01299 272210.
Garden Party 2009
Again, please put Saturday 4th July, 12.30pm in your diary for the Garden Party. Full details available from the Secretary or via the Website.
Those of you who attended last year’s dinner have passed on many positive (and kind) comments that you thought it was one of the best evenings we have held in recent years. There was a good turn out from all eras and the banquet room was a hubbub of conversation and laughter; the band who followed allowed those with the energy to do so, to dance away, what was left of the evening and the rest of you seemed content to tap your feet or put them up in the quietness of the bar.
Having had the wettest August on record, you may not be surprised to read that the Golf Tournament due to be held on the 16th May at Wharton Park was rained off, as the club had to close the course as the weather was so bad! We apologise once more to all of who were due to play; but rest assured we are organising another event for Friday 15th May 2009, when Will Gardner may or may not be reprised of his Champion’s Title and the Golf Society Cup – a fine piece of silverware for anyone’s mantle piece!
Garden Party 2008
Regrettably your Secretary could not attend the Garden Party this year, which was held on July 5th. The Parents Association organised the Party with a Spanish theme – complete with paella lunch. This is the first time in many years that I have missed the GP, and it was particularly galling as I think the proposed OWA stall of “Fling a Flip Flop” would have caused a storm! The Garden Party was well attended event by the School community, but sadly not many OWs made it to the Party this year. We hope that more of you will be able to make next year’s garden party on Saturday 4th July 2009 at 12.30pm – 4pm. Please refer to our useful dates section on the reverse of the Newsletter.
Your Association is in the reliable hands of a very willing but slightly under manned committee. We’d be really grateful if you can commit to joining the committee for a total of four meetings a year; or if this is not possible, perhaps you have a skill or business enterprise that you think can help us in refining or adding to our events? Please contact us if you think you can help us.
Please remember to use our website. I’m indebted to Richard Jackman for all his work in administering the site and making sure it is up to date and thanks to Richard we now have a growing gallery of pictures on the site. If you have photos from school we’d be grateful to receive these electronically (email@example.com) or send them recorded delivery to the Secretary in the post – with your name and address – and we’ll scan them and return the originals to you by the same safe method.
Michael Clunas has very kindly scanned the Sebright House Books for us; thank you, Michael for undertaking this not inconsiderable project!! This is now available on disc – if anyone is interested in a copy of the book, please contact the Secretary, there will be a small charge of £5.00 for disc duplication plus postage.
Heathfield has achieved another set of outstanding GCSE and Key Sats results this year. Congratulations to one and all! Also since I last wrote to you, Heathfield has some exciting news in that it has formed a partnership with the newly named Heathfield International School Bangkok, Thailand. At the present time this collaboration has had no impact on the OWA, but I suspect we may find ourselves with a spin-off branch in years to come. We wish the new partnership every success!
Down Memory Lane
I am very grateful to K P Stanworth of Penkridge for the following account of his school days at Sebright in the 1930s (perhaps you will be inspired to share your School – Heathfield and Sebright – memories with us?)
“Your reproduction of the letter you received from Ross Bellamy made me cast my mind back and dredge up a few items which might be of interest, though probably well known from other sources. I recognise some of the Staff names from my time (I was at Bury Hall from 1930 – 1938) and can add a few. “JAR” ROBINSON – I do not recall him teaching Geography – he was the Latin master. In my day, Geography was in the hands of L.J.C. DAY (a gentle creature but a good teacher, who also covered Art, known in those days as Drawing!)
E.A.N. JEFFS tried, without much success, to teach me advanced maths in the 6th form. Unfortunately he was only able to spend about 4 hours per week with me and the subject required at least 20! Consequently, when I reached Cambridge, a huge gap became apparent between where the school finished and the University began.
G.J. (I think) PHILLIPS. I remember as Housemaster of what we knew as Sebright House, which must later have been renamed in honour of Stanley Baldwin, who performed the opening ceremony when the school was new (1932) In his day Knowledge and Understanding were words used by the Headmaster and picked up by Mr. Baldwin as the theme of his address. Mr. Phillips was also a “strangulated” tenor who took the leading parts in the G&S Operas produced every 2 years.
CORNWELL (not Cornwall). I also remember, though not his orange allergy.
L.S. (I think) HARGRAVE taught maths to the lower forms and ran the Cadet Force, which later became the OTC. He was assisted by MR. PALMER who, I think, taught History. W. HANCOX taught French and German (occasionally). Mention of the OTC of course revives memories of Sgt. TOM SAYNER – a great character and highly efficient. I have no doubt that many, like myself, benefited from his training when it came to taking up commissions in the forces.
Mr. Bellamy appears to be a little out in his chronology when writing of Sebright becoming a Public School and the accession of Eric Knight house. Admission to the Headmasters’ Conference came at some time in the mid-thirties. I well remember that (Big Deal!), we were given a half holiday in celebration! Eric Knights house had not become part of the school by the time I left in 1938. Indeed, as far as I remember, Eric Knight (Chairman of the Governors) was still alive then. As I understand it, the house was bequeathed to the School on his death.
Another Governor whose name I recall was MR. GRAZEBROOK, who was another of the local big-wigs. I don’t know where he lived but I supposed could conceivably have been at what is now Heathfield. There was also a MR. WICKS (I think) who used to come at exam times (School Certificate and Higher School Certificate then) and act as Invigilator.
Going back to the School itself, the reason I went to what was then Wolverley School, was as the result of conversations between my parents and those of JACK and DONALD HEWSON. DONALD was on his way out, at the top of the school, when I entered at the bottom. He took a big part in the Old Wolvernian Association for many years.
As I stated above, I was at Bury Hall, starting at the very bottom and finishing at the top – as Senior Prefect of the School for my final year. The Housemaster, when I joined was E.A. GAUSSEOR, who taught Physics and Chemistry and ran the Ruby and Cricket teams. He retired, I would suppose, about 1935. He was succeeded by a man whose name I cannot recall, who was a complete wimp – the house started to go down hill. We got rid of him in fairly short order to be succeeded by another man whose name I can’t remember but he had the right ideas. By the time I left in 1938 things were beginning to look up again.
The Matron was MOLLY BARNES, a dragon of some renown. She must have retired about 1939 or 1940 because she surfaced again as Red Cross Commandant for an Officers Convalescent home established at Stretton Hall which is about 3 miles from Penkridge. I am not sure how long she was there, but she was still there when I returned from overseas in 1945. Funnily enough, she wasn’t so much of a dragon when met on equal terms.
At that time (1930) the school itself was at Bury Hall, four-seater desks, with forms to sit on were still in use. I suppose we must have transferred to Sebright in about 1932.
The only other members of staff I remember at Bury Hall was GEORGE GREEN, gardener and general handyman and BILL PORTER, Caretaker, who was the bugler on Armistice Day each year, when the school attended the short service and 2 minutes silence in the middle of the village.
Thinking of Bury Hall brings back one or two memories, one of which you may not care to know! In 1930 there was a toilet block in the corner of the playground but at that time earth closets were provided! Water closets came along in about 1931 or 1932. The other abiding memory is of the large German Howitzer which stood, quietly rusting away in the corner of the playground. No doubt you know the story of that! [The Secretary would be grateful to receive any further information on this.]
The 25 yard rifle range was at Bury Hall and continued to be used all through the thirties. I think the OTC was not based at Bury Hall in my day, there would have been many advantages if it had been. On that subject, I too have memories of Habberley Valley, though not of the Assault Course which must have been built later. I recall going to camp at STRENSALL, RUSHMORE AND TIDWORTH. I finished up as Quartermaster Sergeant, the Cadet Sergeant Major being F.S. GOLLAND, also of Bury Hall who, I seem to remember being told was killed during the war.
R.C. LUCAS was Headmaster when I joined and also acted as Housemaster at Woodfield. He could be stern but, in the main, was quite an amiable character – I think he only beat me once in my early days! He had a daughter, Gwen, who usually helped out in the Gilbert & Sullivan shows. Mrs Hargrave also used to help, as did Mrs Oakes, wife of HARRY N. OAKES, the part-time music teacher, who produced and conducted the shows. RCL himself took the parts presently played by John Reed, such as the Duke of Plaza Toro, Sir Joseph Porter K@ B and Mayor General Stanley. Minor female parts were played by sufficiently large trebles! Singing practices were held in the 1620 schoolroom in the middle of the village.
I have memories of many contemporaries, of whom a few are listed below:-
J.H. VERNON – left at about the same time as I did and went to Worcester College, Oxford to study Law. I believe he became a Solicitor. A strong runner Centre Three Quarter.
J.W. (JOCK) BANNISTER – whose home was, I think, in Pedmore. He had an elder brother GEORGE, a redhead, who left in 1930-1931.
JACK DOWNING – at the top end of the school when I went in at the bottom. Came from Stourbridge and subsequently became an auctioneer, a noted G&S who subsequently became a pillar of the Stourbridge Operative Society. I subsequently saw him at Stourbridge Town Hall as King Gama in Princess Iola.
TOM W. DAVIES, – who came from Blakedown, where his father kept the pub.
CHARLIE BENNETT – had a fearful stammer, which I think improved over the years.
F.J.W. (JOHN) MURDOCH – from Wolverhampton, who subsequently became my brother-in-law. He is dead now (so is my sister). He started in a bank in Wolverhampton and joined the T.A. He was called up on the outbreak of war and came to Penkridge with the 2nd/6th South Staffs – hence the marriage! He was subsequently commissioned in the Worcesters (back to school again!)
THE BACHE BROTHERS – three of them. R.E.H. (BOBBY) was the eldest – not very large but a very tough scrum half. L.S. (LESLIE) was the middle one, I don’t remember much about him and even less about the youngest – who I think might have been DENNIS. I think they came from the Stourbridge area.
PHILIP POOLE – two or three years older than me – definitely a farmer’s son – known as PIGGY!
TOM HOSKISSON – head of the house when I first arrived. I don’t remember much about him, apart from being terrified of him!
TWO EAMES BROTHERS – prominent in what was then the Cadet Corps – again about 8 years older than me.
The above were all at Bury Hall and I could go on but will list a few from other houses who stick in my mind.
STAN BOLLINGTON and DESMOND WHITEHOUSE, who transferred together from Queen Mary’s Grammar School, Walsall at the age of about 15. Stan went on to become a dentist, practising in Cannock. I don’t know what happened to Desmond. They both belonged to what was then Sebright House.
CEDRIC and NORMAN HUMPHRIES – Day Boys both talented cricketers. They both played a few times
for Worcestershire. I recall seeing Cedric play for the School against Bridgnorth Grammar School, whose team at that time included CYRIS WASHBROOK, later of Lancashire and England. There seems to have been quite a high proportion of pairs (and trios) of brothers. I suppose this may well be connected with the fact that the fees were very low, since the school was highly endorsed by income from the properties in Bethnal Green, acquired by William Sebright during his time in London. The properties were, I suppose, lost in the blitz, which resulted in fees increasing no doubt contributing to the school’s downfall. I believe that in pre-war years the Old Wolvernians ran some form of charity for the benefit of the children of Bethnal Green.
I forgot to mention that R.C. LUCAS retired from the Headmastership at the end of the Summer term 1938, at the same time that I left. It fell to my lot, as Head Prefect, to make a presentation to him on behalf of the boys and the staff. We gave him an armchair and an illuminated address which I had to deliver which had been signed by every master and pupil. [Secretary’s note: This is the beautiful bound book that was so kindly returned to us, via an antiquarian who had received a boxful of books for sale circa 2000; the miracle of the web had meant they were able to track down the Association.] This brings to mind the other public duty which fell to the Head Prefect – that of reading the second lesson at the Annual Founders’ Day service “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might, Put the whole armour of God…etc). It still sticks in my mind.
Other prominent names were:- HIGGS and WOODFIELD. G.D.(GEOFFREY) SHOWELL. I came across Geoffrey again in later years, he was Managing Director of the family firm of EDWIN SHOWELL & SONS LTD of STIRCHLEY, which was taken over by the company of which I was Director and Secretary. A few notes about me – in case anyone might be interested! From Sebright I went to CHRISTS COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE, where I read Maths for one year (unsuccessfully!) and changed to Natural Sciences for a second one. When the war came, by virtue of being in the University OTC, I was accepted for a commission in the Tanks but then failed the medical because of my eyesight. This happened about twice, at which stage I decided to volunteer for the RAF with the idea of becoming a driver or something similar, but was accepted for training as an Armourment Officer. The training took me to MANBY, in Lincolnshire where I met the young lady who became my wife. After training I was sent to ST. ATHAN in South Wales and then posted overseas. I had a gentleman’s war, the only excitement being when the troopship I was on got in the way of a torpedo, but we got away with that one. My overseas service took me to Egypt, Sudan, Cyprus, Italy Yugoslavia, back to Italy and then home in September 1945. At this stage we were married and in October 2005 had our Diamond Wedding Anniversary. I was demobbed, as a Flight Lieutenant in July 1946 following which I did a short business training course at Wolverhampton Tech (they call it a University these days!). and was then taken on as a trainee by JOSIAH PARKES And SON LTD of Willenhall, lock manufacturers, being taken on to the staff after a year. I stayed with them until my retirement in March 1984 at which stage I was a Director and Secretary of the company, which by then was a member of the CHUBB GROUP. On the way I qualified for 3 professional qualifications (and managed to pick up top place in the Final Exam of the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants (now the Cost and Management Accountants). That’s enough boasting!.
Finally, a few odd memories that have been flooding back while I have been writing this.
1. Swimming in the River Stour on hot summer days. Why we didn’t all contract Typhoid or something equally horrible I can’t imagine.
2. The occasion when the old tithe barn at the top end of the village was burned down. This was serious as, I believe, it was of historic interest, being of “CRUCK” construction and was presumably a listed building.
3. Playing tennis on the grass court on the aquaduct field – a privilege restricted to prefects. No hard courts had been constructed at that time.
4. Travelling to away matches in BILL GREENHILL’S coach at a stately 25mph. I was in the Rugby XV for a couple of seasons and was scorer for the Cricket X1. (I was never any good at cricket so I think I was given this job in order to preserve my dignity as a senior!).
5. Dress – weekdays – blue serge 3 piece suit, stiff collar, tie black or in-house colours and BLACK BOOTS! The wearing of shoes was a crime – I never got caught! Sundays we wore black jacket and striped trousers and, again, BLACK BOOTS.6. Half Term – Sunday on which we had the choice of leaving after breakfast and returning in time for Evensong or attending Mattins before leaving and returning in time for supper at 8pm. I presume that Heathfield get a week these days!
7. Visiting – parents were allowed to visit on match days, plus Sports Day and Founders Day.
8. Food – plain but nutritional I suppose – at least we seemed to keep healthy. In my case, if you are hungry enough you’ll eat anything!
Thinking of health the Sanatorium was at Bury Hall – a timber and corrugated iron building in the kitchen garden. I know nothing of its amenities as I was never in it. The only time I got an infectious disease was when we had an epidemic of German Measles, when so many of us had it that the Sanatorium couldn’t cope so we had to be moved around and all put into one segregated dormitory.
One late item of trivia that occurred to me – the half-holiday we were given on one day each Summer so that we could attend Worcestershire’s home cricket match at Kidderminster. This entailed a foot-slog up the hill out of the village, down Sion Hill and up Chester Road to the cricket ground and of course, back again. Quite a trip on a hot day – see Item 5 DRESS above!”
I am sure you will agree K P Stanworth’s memories are fascinating and what is equally remarkable is his vivid recall of those memories and details from 72 years ago, but as Mr Stanworth says “once started, [it] took over and acquired a life of it’s own!”.
Thank you once again.
Hubert Colin Rose (Sebright 1950), 37 Oakleigh Heath, Hallow, Worcester, WR2 6NQ
Andy Beadsworth (Heathfield 1983), 23 Warsash Road, Warsash, Southampton, SO31 9HW; Mbl:+44 7867 806070; Skype: andybeadsworth
John Haden (Heathfield 1983), 40 Park Road West, Wollaston, Stourbridge, West Midlands, DY8 3NQ; 07823 531267
Dr Tim Cowell (Sebright 1960), Tithe Barn, Rookery Lane, Sidlesham, Chichester PO20 7ND; firstname.lastname@example.org
Rober Soloman (Sebright 1952), 23 Berrow Court, Gardens Walk, Upton-upon-Severn, Worcs, WR8 0JP; email@example.com
Paul Davis, (Heathfield 1979), Riverside Hotel, Riverside Drive, Branston, Burton on Trent, Staffs, DE14 3EP; firstname.lastname@example.org
New email address for Malcolm Mackenzie; email@example.com
Adrian Read (Heathfield 1982), 29 Melrose Avenue Pedmore Stourbridge West Mids,DY8 2DD
Jonathan Herbert (Heathfield 1985), 1 Aintree Close, Kidderminster, Worcs, DY11 5ED; firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Orstone (Heathfield 1976), PSC 557 Box 653, FPO AP 96379, USA; email@example.com
Steve Truelove (Heathfield 2001), The Brackens, 2 Orchard Grove, Kinver, W. Mids, DY7 6LL; firstname.lastname@example.org
Hannah Gregory (Heathfield 2003), 103 Castle Road, Cookley, Kidderminster, Worcs, DY10 3TD, email@example.com
Nina Burkett (Heathfield 1985) Cefn Rhos, Sladd Lane, Wolverley, Kidderminster, Worcs, DY11 5TE
George Sidaway (Sebright 1946), Callow Hill House, Callow Hill, Worc, B97 5PT; firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick Woolley (Sebright 1970) The Cottage, Threshers Dean, Headley, Epsom, KT18 6LJ, Nicktheosteopath@aol.com
Rob Henderon (Sebright 1963) 15 Harrogate Road, Eastham, Wirral, CH62 8ES email@example.com
Steve Davis, (Heathfield 1976) 14 Little Gull Close, Southfields, Northampton, NN3 5BU firstname.lastname@example.org
Eugene Hudson, (Heathfield 1979) Severn View, Buildwas Road, Ironbridge, Telford, Shrops, TF8 7BN, email@example.com
Dr William Beeston, (Sebright 1955) 5499 Forest Hill Road, Victoria, BC, V9E 2A8, Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org
In the Wolvernian Know
Guy Timmis (Heathfield 60-70s) writes to let me know that this son, Oliver who was a pupil at Heathfield from the age of 3, is now reading Medicine at Girton College, Cambridge. We wish you every success, Oliver!
A H Hughes posts “I do not recall a French master Mr Ken Corfield. I do not recall the Bursar Mr Perkins. Above all, I do NOT recall (the late) Mr Ken Gimson! – who was he?” [Anyone shed any light? Before my time I’m afraid, Sec]
Congratulations to Mrs Stephanie Powick (nee Herbert, Heathfield 1983) on her marriage to Ian earlier this year!
Congratulations to Allan Wood (Heathfield 1982) on his pending marriage, 2nd December 2008, to Miss Claire Risely!
Tim Cowell would be interested to hear from anyone with news of or the contact details for Roger D Jones (Sebright 1960); email@example.com
“I wonder if any of the lads remember our days canoeing on the River Severn (Bewdley) back in the sixties; or the Arduous Training with the cadets in mid-Wales, including 2/lieut Bob Duchart I have very happy recollections of all those things and enjoy sharing reminiscences. I was Biology master; housemaster of Bury Hall for a couple of years after Arthur Butterworth, then O.C. of the CCF from about 1964 to 1966. Great Days and now I’m retired to Warwick. Cheers Hugh Jones”. Hlkjones@talktalk.net
Andrew Sutherland posts “I was a boarder at Bury Hall from 1961-63. I only managed to get into the school as that dear man Henniker-Gotley could not believe I got 0% for my common entrance algebra exam! I would love to hear from any old boys from that era at Sebright, names that spring to mind are: Kevin Hancox (a good pal) Onslow, Smith, Mason (had the most comprehensive collection of Elvis LPs ever!) Small brothers, Titmus, Lawrence, Colley (From the Lebanon who used to bring back the most exquisite dried apricot sheets), Inge, Groves, Wright, Adams, Anderson et al. All the best to everyone. (Only claim to fame plunge champion 61-63 beating arch rival Pugh). firstname.lastname@example.org
Howard Jones wrote that “I knew Clive (Gimson) very well when I was Director of Art at Sebright. I taught there till the school closed. Did you know that Clive moved to the westcountry to become Headmaster of Blundells? I too moved close by to teach in the University of Plymouth. I only retired two years ago. French Master Ken Corfield on leaving Sebright I believe went to work for United Nations in Paris. You can see a little of what I have been doing meanwhile by visiting our website: http://www.artadventures.org.uk/ . I would be pleased to hear from anyone who can remember the final days of the old school!
Welcome back to the Association to Jeremy Pewton (Heathfield 1982) , who along with his contemporaries, Mark Timmins, Adrian Pardoe and Adrian Williams attended their first dinner last year.
John Simmonds has been researching the Sebright Coat of Arms and I’m grateful for his information which we have posted on the website.
Laurence “Rufus” Williams Sebright 1943-1947 kindly wrote to me about the death of his old friend, I.Robin “Mouse” L. Morom, who started at Sebright in the Spring of 1943. “Robin lived in Redditch, and as I lived in Cheshire, we did not see much of each other, but met up a few times and more recently called in to see him en-route home when visiting London based relations. We kept in touch over the years, always exchanging Christmas Cards and when we did not get a card last year, I tried to contact both Robin and his wife, without success. Rather belatedly, in 2007, I then found that Robin had died the year before, only four months after his wife, June had died” .
Lawrence Bruce Farmer, on 29th September 2007
Clifford Thomas Kitson, 6th October 2006
D C Moyle, Stratford on Avon, in 2007
David Muffet OBE, (Sebright 1938) – there is a wonderful account of David’s life on our web site.
John Palfrey (Sebright 1933), Stourport on Severn, in 2007
I do hope you will be able to make it to the dinner this year, for who of you who come regularly you will, I’m sure, be pleased with the change of venue; for those of you returning you know it will be fun, and for those of you (and you know who you are!) who haven’t been before, come and find out what you have been missing!!
Please do keep us informed of any changes for our database. My contact details:-
OWA, Bridge House, Bewdley, Worcs, DY14 8JX, tel 01299 272210, Fax 01299 272222;