Friday, September 30, 2011

An Arial Photo of Cleobury Mortimer 1963

Michael Breslin sent an arial photo of Cleobury Mortimer c 1963. The school is in the top left. Thanks Michael..

And from c 1966 / 7 - an aerial view of the school 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Robert Vickers ROWLAND - Headteacher to 1964

Robert Rowland
Robert Vickers ROWLAND was head teacher at the City of Coventry Boarding School 1961 to 1964.

UPDATE - January 2012
In this revised post, Alison Rowland has kindly provided a photo of Robert Rowland, some corrections and further information. Additionally I've added some new links to magazines that mention him and some material from The Boarder 1961 (The magazine of the City of Coventry Boarding school)

The photograph was taken in his office at the school, I think in late 1963/early 64

David Partridge, one of the pupils in the early 60's remembers him fondly " Mr Rowlands had been a student at Gottingen University before the war and then a bomber pilot in WWll, difficult time for him I think. He was very good news, and he also taught French rather well."

Contribution from Alison neĆ© Rowland (Thank you Alison)
Woolverstone Hall

Somewhere, I have a full obituary for my father which appeared in Janus, the school magazine for Woolverstone Hall, the school where my father taught before becoming Head at C of C.  My father won an exhibition to Cambridge, but did not take this up because of the outbreak of war.  Following his war service first as a pilot and then in intelligence, he attended The University of Birmingham where he obtained a First Class honours degree in German.  He went on to do a teacher training qualification, winning the Cadbury Prize for Education, and then spent time studying at Gottingen University (not Heidelberg, as mentioned by one of your contributors), before beginning a career teaching modern Languages.

My mother, Barbara, continued to live in Cleobury Mortimer after my father’s death, until she died in 2001, aged 79. She is buried, along with my father and my sister, Susan, in Neen Savage churchyard – a place full of memories. My mother forged a long and lasting friendship with my father’s successors at the school, George and Margaret Parker."

Robert Rowland is remembered at Woolverstone Hall via the Rowland Memorial Prize -
" A new prize, the Rowland Memorial Prize, will be competed for for the first time this term. The fund from which this prize will derive is made,up,of contributions from members of the teaching and administrative staff who worked at Woolverstone Hall with the late Mr. R. V. Rowland, and from the Old Boys' Association. It will be awarded to the winner of an annual essay competition, set by the deputy Headmaster on a subject of general rather than specialised interest."

It's clear from an article that appeared in the Coventry Standard in 1964 that he had envisioned a better future for the school " "This is not a monastic life....I would like to organise school dances but there are not enough girls in the nearby area" He also had a vision for developing a 6th form." 

From the City of Coventry school magazine - The Boarder (Issue No 4 July 1961) we read, in the editorial
" ...we look forward to a new period in the school's history - a period which will be inaugurated when Mr RV Rowland takes over headship in september. He has already spoken of his keeness to come to the school and our best wishes go to welcome him."

And from page 4

Mr Rowland at the 1961 Cross country presentation (by the chair).
With the death of  Mr RT Morris an era in the history of our school ended; with the coming of Mr RV Rowland, the new Headmaster, a new age begins, the exact outlines of which will not be visible for some time.

Mr Robert Vickers Rowland is of Welsh extraction but was born in Birmingham and attended school in Solihull. Soon after leaving school war broke out and he went into the RAF and became a pilot. When the war ended he studied at Birmingham University and took a degree in German. Afterwards he did postgraduate work at Oxford and in Germany.

He has taught in a number of schools, the most recent being Prince Henry's school in Evesham and Woolverstone Hall. The latter is a boarding school run by London County Council and is similar in some respects to our own school.

When I asked him for his first impressions of the boys, he said that it was their neatness which was most notable. He said he was impressed by the tidiness of the school and also the general politeness he met whilst walking around during his visit to the Founder's Day Cricket Match.

With some trepidation I asked him if he had hopes for the school. He smiled and in a loud voice said, "Good gracious, yes." He went on to say that he wanted new buildings and to ensure the school maintained its good record. He also expressed a wish to cultivate new interests in the school and was keen on furthering the development of the social committee."
M. McAvoy - Form Upper 1V

Also from the same magazine -

(Twenty one Years A School (1940 - 1961) Extract.
"In June of this year the school celebrated its twenty first birthday. Parents, friends and old boys were invited tot he school and at luncheon Mr Lambley, the Acting Headmaster, welcome the visitors and made brief references to the history of the school.

Mr Rowland then introduced himself and said that he hoped that the support this function received would be offered to other school activities in the coming years. He added that he had never seen before so many representatives of different aspects of school's life gathered at anyone function."

Robert Vickers Rowland's grave - Neen Savage Church
Sadly he died February 28th  - Rosemary Webb Rehill recalls " Bob Rowland had been visiting a boy who was in jail. He was on the M6 and rear ended a broken down lorry. The big scandel was that he was "over the 8". The sad part was that Barbara Rowland had just had a baby (Jonathan)......Bob Rowland had three children, Sue, Allison and Jonathan. He came to City of Cov. after Mr.Morris had a heart attack in the assembly hall during a play. I think? it must have been early 60's. late 50's. Sue was the same age as me. After Bob died in that tragic road accident. The Rowlands moved down to a house in the vicarage in Neen Savage. Barb. Rowland bought land from Jim Davis (I'm guessing insurance money) in the village and had a small house built. Sue was killed in a tragic road accident a few years later in Kinlet.."


While doing a search on the internet related to the school I came across this obituary to Bob Rowland -

ROWLAND. Robert Vickers, died February 28th, 1964, in a car accident. He was Headmaster of City of Coventry School, Cleobury Mortimer. He left a widow and three children."

The quote is from The Silhillian - The Silhillian is the magazine of the Old Silhillians' Association. It includes news of the school, messages from the committee, news of old boys, reminiscences of School, news of the Old Silhillian sports clubs and obituaries of Old Silhillians and former masters.

I found a pdf version from 1964 on the internet -

To look through the pdf version on line click the link below -
Robert Rowland was a pupil at the Solihull School - a British Independent school situated near the centre of Solihull, West Midlands, England. 2010 saw Solihull School celebrate its 450th anniversary since its foundation in 1560.


In 1560 the revenues of the chantry chapels of St Mary and St Katherine were diverted for the endowment of a school for boys. The revenue of the chapel of St Alphege was added to the fund six years later enhancing the capacity of the school. The education remained based in teachings of The Church and the desire to turn out 'respectable, thoughtful, successful young gentlemen'.

Samuel Johnson
In the 17th century it became a boarding school and the number of pupils grew. The school became more notable and well thought of due to the involvement of several prominent families. Much of this development came under the Headmastership of Rev. Richard Mashiter who, in 1735, was famously elected ahead of Dr Sameul Johnson, the celebrated author, essayist, and lexicographer. Johnson was passed over because the school's directors thought he was "a very haughty, ill-natured gent., and that he has such a way of distorting his face (which though he can't help) the gent[s] think it may affect some lads in the pursuit of learning". The successful applicant Mashiter was, by marriage, related to the aristocratic Holbeche family and his daughter married John Short, a well-respected surgeon in Solihull who would go on to serve the school as a Feoffee for 57 years. Short's six sons were all educated at Solihull School and became professionally and socially successful. One of whom, Robert Short, rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the army of The Honourable East India Company and later became 54th Lord of The Manor of Solihull. Due to a strong affection for Solihull School he expressly recommended it to his fellow officers and peers, according to the diaries of Caroline Clive.

In around 1879 the Feoffees were replaced by a board of Governors who allowed £4,345 to be made available for an architect, J. A. Chatwin, to be commissioned to build a new school on a new site for 80 day boys and 20 boarders. Upon the building's completion in 1882, the school relocated to the new site on the Warwick Road from its previous location on the edge of Brueton Park. 'School House' is now a grade II listed building. Expansion continued on this Warwick Road site into the 20th century. Over the course of the 20th century the school grew steadily from 200 to nearly 1000 pupils.

Read More here -

Solihull School boasted two known Silhillian poets, both who had houses named after them - it could be that Bob Rowland was in one of these house but so far no information on his life at the school.

One house was " Jago (Maroon) - named after 18th-century poet and Old Silhillian Richard Jago. Jago went up to University College, Oxford and then returned to Warwickshire, eventually entering the clergy."

Richard Jago - Poet. Born at Beaudesert near Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire where his father was Rector. He was educated at Solihull School and University College, Oxford, becoming friends with both William Somerville and William Shenstone, the latter having a lasting influence on his life and work. On leaving university he became a curate at Snitterfield, Warwickshire.

His poetry gained him recognition and patronage, but he continued to spend most of his time at Snitterfield and ornamented the vicarage grounds, influenced, no doubt, by the enthusiasm for landscaping of his friend Shenstone. At his own request he was buried in the a vault in the church.

Richard Jago is remembered for his poem Edge-hill, or, the rural prospect delineated and moralised (1767). This is a long and rambling work in four books describing the famous Battle of Edge Hill during the English Civil War in 1642 which took place on a ridge in south Warwickshire. It has some clever descriptions set at different times of the day and contains many references to the local scenery. He recalled his Solihull schooldays in Book III.
Source (there are links to his poetical works on this site).
Also more information on Richard Jago can be found here -

He afterwards referred to his schooling there with these lines,

"Hail, Solihull! respectful I salute,
Thy walls; more awful once! when from the sweets
Of festive freedom, and domestic ease,
With throbbing heart, to stern discipline
Of pedagogue morose I had return'd
But tho' no more his brow severe, nor dread
Of birchen sceptre awes my riper age.
A sterner tyrant rises to my view,
With deadlier weapon arm'd."

The pedagogue morose was one John Crompton (1704–35) and the sterner tyrant the literary critic and his pen. From there, in 1732, he went up to University College, Oxford, taking his MA degree in 1738.

The full text of the poem and others by Richard Jago can be found here

Another poet with a house named after him at the school was - " Shenstone (Black) - named after 18th-century poet, Old Silhillian, classmate and lifelong friend of Jago, William Shenstone. Shenstone went up to Pembroke College, Oxford and then returned home to manage his family's estate."

More of William Shenstone here -

Son of Thomas Shenstone and Anne Penn, daughter of William Penn of Harborough Hall, then in Hagley (now Blakedown), Shenstone was born at the Leasowes, Halesowen. At that time this was an enclave of Shropshire within the county of Worcestershire.

Shenstone received part of his formal education at Halesowen Grammar School (now The Earls High School). In 1741, Shenstone became bailiff to the feoffees of Halesowen Grammar School.
While attending Solihull School, he began a lifelong friendship with Richard Jago. He went up to Pembroke College, Oxford in 1732 and made another firm friend there in Richard Graves, the author of The Spiritual Quixote.

Shenstone took no degree, but, while still at Oxford, he published Poems on various occasions, written for the entertainment of the author (1737). This edition was intended for private circulation only but, containing the first draft of The Schoolmistress, it attracted some wider attention. Shenstone tried hard to suppress it but in 1742 he published anonymously a revised draft of The Schoolmistress, a Poem in imitation of Spenser. The inspiration of the poem was Sarah Lloyd, teacher of the village school where Shenstone received his first education. Isaac D'Israeli contended that Robert Dodsley had been misled in publishing it as one of a sequence of Moral Poems, its intention having been satirical, as evidenced by the ludicrous index appended to its original publication.

In 1741 he published The Judgment of Hercules. He inherited the Leasowes estate, and retired there in 1745 to undertake what proved the chief work of his life, the beautifying of his property. He embarked on elaborate schemes of landscape gardening which gave the Leasowes a wide celebrity, but sadly impoverished the owner. Shenstone was not a contented recluse. He desired constant admiration of his gardens, and he never ceased to lament his lack of fame as a poet.
Shenstone died unmarried.

From his poem the School Mistress

" In every village mark'd with little spire,
Embower'd in trees, and hardly known to fame,
There dwells, in lowly shed and mean attire,
A matron old, whom we schoolmistress name,
Who boasts unruly brats with birch to tame;
They grieven sore, in piteous durance pent,
Awed by the power of this relentless dame,
And ofttimes, on vagaries idly bent,
For unkempt hair, or task uuconn'd, are sorely shent."

The full text and other poems by William Shenstone can be found here along with other poem.

Another copy of  The Silhillian has been found on the internet - this time from 1935 while Robert Rowland was still a pupil. There is a  small mention of him receiving a certificates on page 150 and mentions of other Rowlands from Shirley in Birmingham (using the 'Find' button.). Follow this link to view the pdf file for this magazine -

More Photos from Paul Norman c 1966

Mr Pearce with B/Row Mansell, Hudson, ? , Worsley, Norman, Rees
F/ Row Dubziek, Mason, Storer, Lovatt, Pickering, ?

Stan Webb (Bursar's Son) Comments on Cricket -

I'm not particularly proud to admit it, but I have found in an old notebook a few details of 2 staff v pupils cricket matches.

Steve Webb ?7 July 1966. Pupils all out for 65, (regret, no names.) Staff as follows:- B Powell- caught- 1, M Chopping- caught- 6, E Webb- run out- 33, Mr Bullock- not out- 15, G. Place- run out- 3, D Pierce- LBW- 0, G Hinchliffe- bowled- 1, J. Davis- caught- 3, S Webb- LBW- 0, C Webb- not out 4, G Parker- did not bat. Staff won by 2 wickets.

Sarah Williams Eric did well.

Ralph Aldhous Who was Mr Bullock?

Rosemary Webb Rehill Dad was a HUGE cricket fan. Looking back I remember he spent more time watching the test match on telly than he did in his office..

David Partridge Ha, They might have held it a year earlier when I was opening the bowling!

Rosemary Webb Rehill Trev. I have NO idea who Mr.Bullock was....never heard of him!

Steve Webb ?13 July 1966. Childes SM School staff all out for 59, (regret no names.) CCS staff team as follows:- M Storer- caught- 9, M Chopping- LBW- 4, Reece- bowled- 5, E Webb- bowled- 0, R Mason- LBW- 1, B Powell- not out- 21, D Pierce- bowled- 18, P Norman- caught- 0, Packham- not out- 2, S Webb- did not bat, J Lovitt- did not bat. CCS won by 3 wickets.

Rosemary Webb Rehill Ah Paul, you got a mention!!! That's Alan Packham....I remember him too!

Sarah Williams Mr Bullock wasn't the man who lived at Little Wyre (the other cottage on the school site) was he? Ex-army, I can't remember what he did.

Paul Norman Oh the shame - caught for 0!

Sarah Williams It was probably extreme bad luck Paul.

Paul Norman You are very kind Sarah

Sarah Williams I've noticed that many cricketers are the victims of extreme bad luck.

Rosemary Webb Rehill I miss cricket! brilliant game! We did watch the World Cup Rugby! brilliant stuff!

Back row - Barry Hinchcliffe, Julian Omernick, George Dziubek, Mr Pearce, Alec Hudson Dave Mansell. Front row - Tony Shepherd, Roger Mason, Pete Lund, Hamish Wilson, Mick Storer, Adrian Rees.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The 'New' Building c 1966 - Photos

In 1966 the Coventry Evening Telegraph visited the school and took a number of photos. If anyone has the press cuttings pleased upload them and let us know.

Paul Norman added this photo to Facebook of the Common Room in the (then) new building c 1966.

This was a picture that appeared in The Coventry Evening Telegraph in 1966. It was the common room in the new school block - the people from left to right are: The table tennis mob - Mick Storer, Spud Taylor, Kev Sadler, Andy Ward. The snooker boys - Phil Stevenson, Paul Norman, Roger Mason.

c1966 in the new Biology lab (later part of the Forest Lodge after the school became the Pioneer Centre) also from Coventry Evening Telegraph
Form teacher was Barry Mathews - in this photo - 
Back row L to R Trev Teasdel, Frankie Fazulo, Tearse. Nigel Underwood, Hudson?
Front Row L to R  Robert Woodward, Charles Joyce, Woolridge, Shepherd, Moore.

Dormitory in the new block c 1976
 1st on left, Nigel Fisher, 4th from left was Nathan Johnson, 5th from left, was Phil Herd also from Lancashire.
Photo via Nigel Rigby

City of Coventry School - October 1980 Group Photo

Thanks to Adrian Rosenlund Hudson for uploading this photo of the school of 1980 on City of Coventry school Facebook Page

In this photo Adrian Rosenlund Hudson, Mark Beetson, Mark Romanov

Adrian Rosenlund Hudson  with Mark Beetson, Ravinder Bains, Aubrey Wood, Paul Nash, Mr Hansard, Mark Romanow, Mr McCarthy, Mr Cummings, Dave Kent, Alex Whyte, Mr Chopping, Adrian Mulhall, Jimmy Nelson, Mr Alan Thorne, Rob Wood, Peter Nicely, Mr Plaice, Mohammed Razza, Justin Romanow, Warren Stevens, Mr Murphy, Patrick Arnorld Jones, Gawaine Robinson-Stevens, Mr Burcher, Dexter Brown and Gordon Thomas.

Jon Andrew Steane, David Allan Finch, Dave Egan and John Brown.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Research Material

I did a quick Sunday morning search of Google Books. There are many out of copyright and searchable books on the site which can be viewed or downloaded as a pdf file alongside many with only a preview or snippet view.

I did a quick search for both Wyre Farm Camp School, Cleobury Mortimer and City of Coventry Boarding School.

A few items came up all of which only had a snippet view. I'll post the snippets here in case anyone wants to track down the relevant journals in libraries or antiquarian bookshops. They relate to the buying of the school, the staff and circuit training!

Here are the snippets and journal titles -

1. Electrical times: Volume 130 
No cover image
1956 - Snippet view
City engineer and surveyor. Town Hall, Bradford. Bredbury and Romiley UDC 69 houses to be built on the Cherry Tree ... Elwy Rd. Coventry EC Recommended to acquire Wyre Farm Camp School, Cleobury Mortimer, for use as a boarding school. ...

2. The Electrical journal: Volume 157 1956 - Snippet view
BELFORD, NORTHUMBERLAND: County Council to build secondary school at Belford at a cost of £60 000. COVENTRY: Education Committee recommended to acquire Wyre Farm Camp School, Cleobury Mortimer, for use as boarding school.

3. Papers by command: Volume 11
Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons - 1956 - Snippet view
The Board are grateful for the special consideration given to such men in the filling of residential vacancies at Wyre Farm, Cleobury Mortimer, a camp run by the National Camps Corporation, Ltd. At the end of the year eight men from ...
More editions Add to My Library▼

4. The effects of a six week programme of circuit training on the ...
John Dennis Brooke - 1965 - 184 pages - Snippet view
The sample was selected from the total population of boys, 13-15 years of age who were attending the City of Coventry Boarding School at Cleobury Mortimer. They all had homes in the City of Coventry, England. Selection of the school ...


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Snow Scenes in Cleobury

Some of you remember the snow drifts at the school in 1963. Here are some photos via the BBC site of the snow in the area, mostly from 1947. The photos are in a slide show

The History of Cleobury Mortimer

The Cleobury Mortimer Local and District Society website is well worth a visit for those of you interested in the local history beyond the school. You can find them here

In particular, the group have made available The History of Cleobury Mortimer by The Reverend Samuel Auchmuty who was the last person to complete a history of the town, which he did in 1911, after fourteen years as the parish priest. In 1996, M & M Baldwin, of The Bookshop in Cleobury Mortimer, re-published Auchmuty's work in order to make it more acessible to the growing number of those interested in the history of this south Shropshire town.

Now the History society, by kind permission of M & M Baldwin, have made the edition available to read online as a e book.

You can view / read the book via their site here -

On their site click the above book cover in the side bar to access the on line version.

I contacted the Cleobury and District History Society and sent them a link to this site and got a reply from Robert Hodge, the chairman.

Thank you very much for your mail.  Your site is very interesting and it is nice to see some of the material you have.

Thank you for linking to our site.  I have returned the favour and have added a link to yours.  It will appear shortly on the Links page.

If you or any of your co-ex pupils would like to join the Society, please come along to one of our meetings held at Neen Savage Parish Hall on the first and third Wednesdays of most months (see website).  You would be very welcome.

Best wishes

Robert HODGE

Two Photos from Paul Norman

The team 1966 - from Paul Norman

The team of 1966.
Back row: Rishworth M. Sadler. Omernick. Lund. Revell. Underwood. Wan.
Front row - Wilson. Norman. Rees. Mason. Storer. Dzuibek. Taylor
Seated - Hymers. Packham. Lovatt.

Arsenic and Old Lace - School Play 1966

And the curtain call also from Paul Norman

Coventry Archives - The Wyre Farm School Files

Michael Breslin " I just found out from Herbert Art gallery and Museum that they have all of the old School records as shown here. I also found out that the school was sold by Coventry City 9/7/85 for 20 000 Pounds to the current owner. (After Manpower Services was unable to make it anything successful since 1982). So anyone who wants to view the old school records, the Ref is CCE/SCH/224 - Let me know what you find."

More info here on the archives site -'Wyre%20farm%20camp%20school')

Friday, September 16, 2011

How jars of jam helped make life a bit sweeter for Wyre Farm evacuees Read More

From the Coventry Telegraph July 2010

PENSIONER Bert Gummery Bert, aged 82, who lives in Bonds Court in the city centre’s Hill Street, was one of the first evacuees to arrive at the school in 1940 as bombs rained down on the city.

"I was one of the first intake of evacuees there. I remember arriving at the school clutching a jar of jam – we were all allowed to take a jar of home-made jam with us with our name on which were able to have at meal times. I also recall a photographer taking our picture; I have kept a look-out in the Telegraph in the hope that the photo might appear, but it hasn't. I would love to see a copy if anyone still has one.”

Bert has happy memories of his time at Wyre Farm at Cleobury Mortimer: “We were all put into houses named after districts in Coventry – I was in Earlsdon house – and we slept in house dormitories in bunk beds. We had lessons each day and played a lot of sports and games, especially football and cricket. I can remember us marching down to the village to church and also going to a cinema in the village. It was strict; you had to behave yourself just like at ordinary school, but we enjoyed it and mother used to visit every month from Coventry.

Bert, known on the Coventry darts circuit after playing in the Chapelfields and district league for more than 40 years, went on to serve in the Army in Italy and later worked at the city’s Robins and Powers flour mill and Coventry Radiators press shop.

Wyre Farm Camp School was established just before the start of the Second World War after a government quango was set up to investigate the poor health of city children. It decided to establish boarding schools around the UK to offer city youngsters an opportunity to live and study in a more beautiful environment. In 1957 the school was taken over by Coventry City Council and became the City of Coventry Boarding School. It closed in the 1970s and fell into decay, but after extensive renovation is now in use as an outdoor pursuits centre.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Random Photos of Cleobury and area on Photobucket

Cleobury photos from this photo bucket

Clee hill Village

Friday, September 9, 2011

Cleobury Mortimer Revisited

Keith Ison and Mick Gajic, once again, return from Cleobury with some documentary evidence of our misspent youth!!

Keith Ison with Tony Booton

More to follow as the lads upload them...

Nursing Old Memories with The Choppings

Caught on camera - Keith Ison and Mick Gajic dropped in on the Choppings today

Mick (Dragan) Gajic with the Choppings

Keith Ison with the Choppings

And as well all remember them in the 60's

Taken from a group photo, hence the thumbnail.