Monday, February 27, 2012

Echoes from the Past - Three photos from 1967

Charles Joyce says -
"These are three shots of Cleobury school around 1967.. I discovered then recently by chance, they were never printed due to errors of the photographer. The swimming pool scene, displays a double exposure that superimposes and presents a classic echos from the past. But look at the texture of the water that brings the picture alive, with the famous water tower breaking the skyline. The lads in the pool are Frank Dutton, Ralph Aldous, Steve Tearse, and Pete Wan looking cool wearing the shades. The other lad I can’t identify, any ideas? (Ralph has identified him as Alan Packham - yes I think that's right! -ta Ralph!). The camera used was Carl Zeiss Ikon Jena , featured  in previous displays captured these magic moments in time.

The 2nd shot is of Charles Joyce taken in front of the dining room , notice the volley ball net just visible to the extreme right, pity the shot is out of focus.

Here is a second version of this picture - still out of focus but an attempt to correct it!

The 3rd shot is the cricket pitch, with the water tower breaking that skyline. Viewing from left to right ; new block ( Forest Lodge) now demolished, The Dining room/ Staff room, Classroom block, behind the Gym( converted to a metalwork workshop( now demolished) 5th form classroom/cricket pavilion.

Charles suggested some music for the post - "The Rolling Stones recorded the “ Last Time” another 60s classic, which was a favourite of mine."

"Didn’t  Perry Como record “ Magic Moments” , which might appeal to the more mature members of the school! Those magic moments in time, great memories." Says Charles!!

Well Charles we like to please here at Radio Wyredfarm! Er - was this the kind of thing you were thinking of? It was the 60's but sadly it wasn't quite like this being an all boys school!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Initiative Tests - Thumbing around Radnorshire

Before we start our journey around Radnorshire - a few quotes from former pupils about initiative tests - 

Paul Starling
In the last summer that I was there the class was tasked to go as far as we could in pairs. The point was to research something we found. Transport was your thumb Lek and I went to cornwall to research the tin mines. I think we had 5 days to get there and back. Don't think schools would do that now.

Trev Teasdel 
Think it was called the initiative test. We went around Radnorshire researching the history of some of the villages. Think we were 15 at the time. I'm pretty sure the schools wouldn't be allowed now and you'd think twice about hitching these days.

Peter Melhuish I remember it well Tony Kemp and I went to Somerset using our thumbs, some of the other lads were taken by there parents, much to the schools digust. However this did not come out until after the event.

Lauri Lindsay Paul Beresford and I went to Somerset. We arranged a ride on a truck from the greenhouse company just out side of Bewdly. A bunch of us later were asked to join this company's float in the annual Bewdly carnival. The theme was Hair the musical. Back to the initiative test, rained all the time, first night in the tent we were rained out and ended up sleeping in a cell at the local police station.

Trev Teasdel  I think they did track us - we had to phone the school every night and keep to the route more or less and we had to check in with a group that were camping in the Elan Valley with the scout staff. If we didn't ring in I guess that would have triggered the alarm.

Lauri Lindsay I seem to remember a story of 2 boys trekking up to Scotland where they visited a fish processing plant and the were offered a trip on a trawler into the North Sea. Of course they didn't call back for permission and all hell broke loose when they weren't heard from.

Richard Graham....In 1960 the Initiative Test was the baby of the Duke of Edinburough.You were given a list of tasks to complete but you had to do 3 main tasks.My partner who I cannot remember decided that our 3 would be:
Go down a coalmine.
Tour of the Daily Sketch in London.
Fly in an Airplane.

To get us in the mood for trip around Radnorshire - a song by Trev Teasdel

Throw Down My Pack 
" Give me my pack, i'll be on my way
The lakes of this land are now dry
It's been a good soldier in its day
but its eyes have no water to cry"

A song I wrote in 1973 - Throw Down My Pack - relevant to the story below in someway.
The song is available on Sound Click and the lyrics can be viewed there also.


Sumanbhai Patel
Quite a few former pupils have related memories of going on an Initiative test during their final years at school. It seems pupils went far and wide to different parts of the country, some as far as Devon and Cornwall and some got up to things that weren't part of the plan (as far as the school was concerned)!

My initiative test  took us into Wales and so not so far from the school. I had in mind that it happened in the spring on 1966 when I was 15 and in my fourth year but I remember writing a song lyric on the first night of the initiative test and I didn't start writing them until i spotted the the lyric to Simon and Garfunkle's Dangling Conversation in Record Songbook - a monthly magazine which had the lyrics to current pop songs in. Checking on the internet the S & G single wasn't released until September 1966 - so either we went in early autumn 1966 or later in the spring of 1967. It happened at the same time as the scout group camped at Rhayader which Ralph Aldhous dated as 1965. 1966 sticks in my mind so perhaps it  early autumn 1966.

I was teamed up with Sumanbhai Patel and after tea one night, with tent and rucksacks on our backs, we set off towards Cherry Orchard with the remit to travel around Radnorshire and gather some source materials about the towns and villages we passed through in order to write an extended essay when we returned. Our instructions were to ring the school each night and, as the scout group were camping in Rhayader, to check into the camp when we got to Rhayader and stay one night there.

It was still light when we left but the sky was overcast and brooding and darkness was looming in the distance. Thus we didn't set out with all the joys of an adventure, it was a little cold and the packs were heavy and the journey uncertain. However it didn't seem to take us long to get a lift and and soon we were standing in a lay by in the middle of the Clee Hills. Our first port of call was Knighton in Radnorshire but it was unlikely that we would reach it straight away, having first to pass through Ludlow and we were aware, given there wasn't much traffic at that time of night, that we may have to camp on Clee! Alas another lift came by and took us through Ludlow and well on the way Knighton to a village. It was shadowy dark by now and our driver pointed us down a dark narrow lane and  told us that there were farms down there where we might camp for the night.

The farm
Amazed to have got so far on our journey on the first night we began to trek down the long winding lane looking for signs of life and somewhere to camp. We came to a row of cottages on the slow bend and knocked on one of the doors to ask if there was anywhere around that we could camp. A man answered the door and we were taken aback as he had a large lump on his neck. This spooked us a little in the shadowy wilds but the man was actually very nice to us and pointed us to a farm down the lane where, he told us, they would let us camp for the night. Sure enough a little way down the lane we came across the farm and the farmer took us up to a field on the hill where we could camp.

It was now pitch black and cold and we were hungry and tired and still a little spooked. After the tent was pitched and sandwiches eaten, I began to write one of my first lyrics - it was called Lonely Valley and although I don't still have it, the title gives a picture of what we both felt that night. We figured, as there wasn't much else to do, that we should just go to sleep and get an early start in the morning. And that's what we did!

Knighton Hotel
Next morning we woke up bright and early, refreshed and opened the tent. Our world had been transformed! Bright sunlight greeted us and the view of the valley from the hill was staggering. The air was fresh and we tasted freedom and open space. A cereal breakfast and off we trecked once again. It felt so good to be out of school and tasting freedom. As far as i know, we just travelled the rest of the day to knighton but i can't think why it took us so long, give the distance wasn't that far and the next two days we would cover far greater distances. Nonetheless, my memory kicks in again about 6pm in Knighton. Patel and I are walking through Knighton, exploring, observing and looking for a cup of coffee. Everywhere is closed by now, it's past 6pm but we light upon an Expresso Cafe and wearily enter. There are motorbikes outside and 'teddy boys / rockers and greasers inside - all looking at us - both 15 year olds! The jukebox was pumping out 50's rock n roll and seemed to evaded all attempts at moving into the sixties. However we encountered no problems there and drank Expresso (forbidden at school because of its associations with bohemian lifestyles probably). We did a little more exploring and wonder where we might camp for the night. Outside the Knighton hotel in the High street, we encountered a group of local residents sitting outside, chatting and drinking and ventured over to ask if there was anywhere to camp nearby and they invited us to join them, buying us crisps and drinks (none alcoholic of course!) and asked us about our journey. After a while they introduced us to a bloke who took us in his car to the outskirts of Knighton - he owned an orchard - picture here and let us camp there for the night.

The orchard 
It was still early evening and light and the orchard was quite pleasant. The feelings we'd had the night before were completely gone. We had made friends with the locals, were being catered for and the journey had been great. So far we hadn't cooked anything. Here was a test and we screwed up big time! Patel couldn't get the gas canister onto the gas cooker and so passed it me. I've no idea why as I was just as useless at it as he! I managed to pierce the blue canister and thinking I had done it easily, let go of it. Wow! that canister took off into the air, flying around in circles and leaving a vapour trail all over the grass. It was great fun until we realised our host might not be too pleased at the gas trail all over his Orchard lawn and that we might not now have enough gas to see us through the week! I ventured forth to the house to apologise and grovel but he was a really nice bloke and told us he needed to mow the lawn and all traces would soon disappear. He helped us load the spare cylinder and showed us what we had done wrong. It never occurred to me to twist it as well! Soon tea was brewing and food cooking. Here we encountered our first cultural difference! I was taught to make tea putting the milk and sugar in last. Patel was a little upset, saying i should put the milk in first. I explained that I was taught the proper way to make tea by my mother. He said "Where does tea come from?" I said "India or China" he said "Where do i come from?" I said "India" he said "Right - I should know then how to make tea!". We laughed about it and I suppose it doesn't really matter but i still like to put the milk in last!

Up with the lark in Radnorshire - another song from Trev to get us on our way - 
Just Before Dawn
"Breeze blowin' through the trees
Squirrels squatting on their knees
Trying not to freeze
Just before dawn...
Then silence vomits an almighty roar 
A thousand vehicles and maybe more 
Stampede the main arterial lanes 
To face their daily stresses and strains"

Full lyrics and download on sound Click - Here 

Next morning, our task was to gather leaflets, booklets, anything we could find that would document our visit to Knighton and account for it's history and geography so we could complete and illustrate our write up when we got back. After finding whatever it was we found (and is now forgotten!) we set off on the road again -

This time our task was to get to Rhayader and visit the Elan Valley, where Coventry, Birmingham and the City of Coventry school got their water from. It was quite a long distance and we had to check into the scout camp that night at Rhayader and stay the night. The day was sunny and the open landscape and distant hills put us in a good mood. Again we felt free from the shackles of school, walking and talking along stretches of the road, getting lifts part of the way, sometimes in a posh sixties vehicle and at other times in a rough farm vehicle or fifties car. We encountered no problems with the lifts and learnt a lot from the conversations as we sped along the rocky country lanes.

Elan Valley
Eventually by mid afternoon we were deep in the hills looking down on the Elan Valley, walking across the bridge trying to get some leaflets, booklets on the reservoir. It was very impressive but it was impossible to cover the whole of the area as we had to make it into Rhayader and then find the scout camp in time for tea. We were pleased to find the camp and get some scran to eat but our new found sense of freedom was temporarily suspended. We sang around the campfire, scout songs (well I think I faked it actually) and then pitched our tent to sleep. School discipline was maintained at the camp and clearly most of them were enjoying it, some of them getting extremely wet during their activities. Mr Mathews was a nice guy - he was my biology teacher and we got on well and next morning he was taking the minibus in to Llandridod Wells to get some supplies and took us on the first leg of our journey. Some of the other pupils came along to help with loading and it was fun. 

Llandrindod Wells
Our task for this day was pretty big - from Llandrindod Wells (after collecting source materials) was to make it through to Presteigne and then back to the school. A tall order, dependent on good lifts. I think we had a plan B - to camp out one more night if we couldn't make it back of course and would have to phone the school to let them know.

We didn't do too bad for lifts, walking part of the way with our packs and getting substantial lifts. We checked into Presteigne between 3 and 4 pm and walking into the small town, we stopped a women to ask where the town hall was - we needed to gather some materials. So happened she was the Vicar's wife and was taken by the fact that I was as blond as Patel was dark and that we got on so well. We never encountered any racism while travelling around Wales - everyone was more than friendly. i was familiar with North Wales, as my maternal grandfather came from Llandudno and the family often visited wales during the holidays, staying at the Holiday camp in Rhyl one year, touring with the caravan along the coast to Angelsey, down to Snowdonia and everywhere inbetween. I had picked up a booklet of welsh pronunciations and took an interest in the history of the places we visited, much like we were tasked to do on this initiative test.

The Vicar's wife was wise enough to know that two 15 year old school boys travelling with packs would be very hungry at this time of day in Presteigne and she was totally right. She invited us to the vicarage for tea and cake and they talked to us about many things - the localality, travels abroad and our mission! Then we stopped for dinner with the proviso that the Vicar, who had access to the town hall, would take us to find some booklets on Presteigne's history. It's the one piece of source material I still have and some photos and pages from it are posted here below this article.

We left Presteigne between 6 and 7pm, having had a good time and some great food. Now the task was to get back to the school - up through Knighton (once again) and out to Ludlow and Clee Hills and to Cleobury and the school. Could we do it? We were entirely in the hands of good lifts. I don't know how we did it but did it we did! My next memory is being on Clee Hill, the same place we got a lift on the way from. We stood in the dark and cold and for a long while we were thinking that plan B might be the only option. We looked around to see where the nearest phone box might be when out of the blue a vehicle appeared and was heading to towards Cleobury. I think we ended up lugging our gear up over the Glen and railway embankment and cutting across the school field. Done that, done in and got the T Shirt - we were back and in time for supper!


The Route around Radnorshire

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Literature Club - Colin Partridge

David Partridge 
"....the highly thought of Mr Colin Partridge, related to mugwump, guardian of the 'conkerbonker, candlelit reader of 'The Hound of the Baskervilles', elicitor of ludicrous excuses for being nominally late for meal times, and all round 'good egg'? I sometimes wonder whether you contributed to the writing of 'Dead Poets Society'?"

Thus enthused former pupil David Partridge about his English teacher Colin Partridge (no relation) who taught at Cleobury Mortimer 1959 / 61. Colin did much more than just teach English at the school, he brought it alive for his pupils and facilitated and encourage both reading and writing with the establishment of the Literature Club and a school magazine - The Boarder. Colin, who went on to be a Professor of English at the University of Victoria in Canada has written his full story for this blog  - Here

This is from The Boarder - Issue 4 July 1963 - The magazine edited by Colin.

" As in previous years, this club has been functioning excellently. the high attendances at each meeting show that this is so, and, with the choice of story read it is not surprising.

The stories range from novels by famous authors to short stories by lesser known, but equally good writers. The Hound of the Baskervilles proved to be the most popular of all, but The Inn, The Copper Bowl George Fielding Eliot, The Pit and the Pendulum  Edgar Allan Poe , The Fly and John Wyndham,  Female of the Species - Rudyard Kipling were not far behind - the last named perhaps because it was X Certificate for the Upper school only!

The creator of the club, Mr Partridge, is also the reader of the stories and he can turn a seemingly dull story into one more exciting. I think the addition of some home made stories by boys in the school would be the next step in the growth of the literature club."

N. Blackford - Form Upper 111

Colin Partridge has recently sent me his reflections on the Literature Club

"Adapting and abridging a story or novel for public presentation taught me to discern the key dramatic elements in writing and speaking. This skill, acquired through teaching literature at the school, remained with me for life. In later years, when giving lectures, tutorials and seminars at universities, this acquired sense of drama structured my effort and enlivened communication. But I always missed the taut audience expectancy which, with laser-like speed, could transform into palpable collective excitment when relating a narrative in a classroom at the City of Coventry School."

And since this post was published - Colin has clarified some of the stories and novels studying in the Literature Club -

Neale Blackford may have confused some material in the article -
I've just found in my library here one of the anthologies I used: The Mystery Book, editor H. Douglas Thomson (1934). I had relished this book, after finding it in a used bookshop as an adolescent in the late 1940s, and delighted in sharing my reading-thrills with pupils a decade later.

I recall using Wilkie Collins' classic Victorian story "A Terribly Strange Bed" and that had an impact on the listeners. Other stories from the anthology possibly used were Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Speckled Band", Lord Dunsany's "A Night at an Inn", Bram Stoker's "The Judge's House."

H.G.Wells' novel "The Island of Dr Moreau" was the most popular of all presentations but I can't remember if I abridged and read it in class, or at the Literature Club, or both. (Dr Moreau was made into a film around 1979 and I've often wondered if former pupils recalled the reading and went to see the film.).

"The Fly", possibly French in origin, was the original story on which the horror film "The Fly" with Vincent Price was based. Can't recall the author but the story was appreciated perhaps because the film was not then available to young audiences; it's now a cult movie. It may have come from the First or Second Pan Book of Horror Stories, published around 1960.

Can't recall "The Female of the Species". Kipling invented the phrase in a poem but I would not have used the poem. I remember working on something by Wyndham who was very difficult to edit/shorten/dramatize - so difficult I didn't present him a second time. Maybe something from the Pan Book of Horror Stories...? My copies of the books have not survived.

I certainly read a great story from world literature which brought gasps of fear in candlelit wintry darkness. Again, as with Collins and Dunsany, the setting was an inn. (Did listeners identify the boarding school with a country-inn?) The story is a classic in Romanian literature - I.L.Caragiale's "The Easter Torch" - still superb to read and ruminate upon. And I was planning to use Pushkin's "The Queen of Spades" as a follow-up but for some reason kept deferring and never read it."

The Hound of the Baskervilles - Trailer 1959

Trailer for The Dead Poets Society

Some more memories from Colin Partridge

"Reading Michael McAvoy's article in The Boarder brought back memories of editing the magazine at the small desk in my room in Mortimer House in the warm spring of 1961. I had completely forgotten..."

"I've been reminded of Ludlow by the BBC television series on Towns by Nicholas Crane. I recalled taking some of my V form literature class in May or June 1961 to a performance of Macbeth, which we were studying for O levels, at Ludow castle. The experience has always remained an "event" in my life - on a beautiful sunny spring day seeing a Shakespeare play about seizure of power in a castle, near an area in the grounds where English administrators had governed my native Wales for several centuries... And, returning to school for a late meal, the students seemed visibly impressed after hearing the dark words and seeing the grim deeds against the grey walls and towers of a real castle. . . But I can't remember how we travelled: did I drive a small group in my car or did somebody else drive us to Ludlow and back in a larger vehicle? "

"My thanks to David Partridge for his kind reminiscences. I read them aloud at a party with former university students here in a pub at christmas. Nobody could guess what a "conkerbonker" could be. I think the word was directed from nature to a teacherly instrument by a young student with a satirical eye and a gift for writing superb English - Neil Blackford. Whatever became of Neil...? " Colin Partridge

Monday, February 20, 2012

Staying Alive by Colin Partridge

Colin Partridge taught English at the City of Coventry Boarding School 1959 to 1961. He was only there a short while but his teaching and approach to discipline are legendary among ex pupils who remember him. Along with his teaching Colin also ran the Literature Club (likened to the Dead Poets Society) and the school magazine - The Boarder, which he edited.

Now retired, Colin was born in Cardiff 1934 and obtained a B.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Nottingham before teaching at the City of Coventry School and then as an assistant lecturer (and later lecturer) at the University of Manchester (1963). He emigrated to Canada in 1968 where he was appointed assistant professor in the University of Victoria's Department of English. Professor Partridge's publications include Thunderbird (1979 Catalyst Press), Modern American Fiction (1979), Will Warburton (1981), The Making of New Cultures: A Literary Perspective (1982), and Minor American Fiction, 1920-1940: A Survey and an Introduction (1984),  George Gissing: the critical heritage 1996, Civil Disturbances (2000). - Senso, a translation of the novella and discussion of the film - Tristana, a translation of the novel and discussion of the film - Yuri Trifonov: the Moscow Cycle - Moonshine Sketches of a Small Campus

Below, Colin has submitted an evocative autobiographical piece of writing called -

 S T A Y I N G    A L I V E

Craddock St. Cardiff
I started school in my native Cardiff in 194O walking with a brown satchel over one shoulder and a plain cardboard box dangling from a white string over the other. Inside the box was a gas mask.  Arriving in class, excitedly practicing for an air-raid, we would try speaking through the tight black rubber. We laughed at our nasal voices or peered at each other through the eye-holes astonished by the laboured sound of our own breathing. Staying alive in a gas-mask demanded effort.

When the light bomber planes came in 1941 women and children rushed from redbrick Victorian houses to arched steel air-raid shelters erected in the gardens. Men held candles or torches, guiding them before going back to the street to stand in doorways near buckets of sand or water. The gantries and tall cranes of a steelworks dedicated to armaments production loomed over the area. It was the objective for enemy pilots. The works had been built on firm ground; the terraces of workers housing stood on marshier land. Water seeped into the scientifically designed shelters rendering some useless and forcing neighbours to share. In candlelit darkness squatting on small chairs or a bunk-bed, conversation rose and fell, interspersed only by an occasional “Jesus save us” from an aged female voice. The increasing roar of approaching aircraft engines usually brought louder prayers and, after an explosion, tangible silence.

"36 Aberystwyth Street, Splott, Cardiff was exactly behind the house (now demolished)
where I spent my childhood. It is an almost perfect replica."
One night several bombs struck the primary school at the end of the street. As children we were delighted. But the middle-aged husbands and fathers acting as civilian firefighters did an efficient job. Only the third level of the school was destroyed – and never rebuilt. Classes resumed within a week and the school functions with extended facilities to the present day.

In 1944, during the last raid on the city, an incendiary bomb almost annihilated the street. But instead of hitting the slate roof of the next-door house and setting alight the wooden rafters, it fell onto the pavement inches away from the brick front-wall. My father – a middle-aged gantry-crane driver at the steel works and volunteer firefighter at night – told me it protruded like an arrow stuck in stone. He had grabbed the fizzing bomb and pressed it into a bucket of sand provided for such a purpose. The perfect round hole made by the incendiary in the stone pavement remained, ignored by all, until the whole area – works and houses – was demolished in the 1970s to turn the factory land and working-class suburb into an industrial estate.  

Moorland Primary School - The squat school deprived of its 3rd storey.  I was born and lived in a house on the street which led into the school. It has vanished and the land of the former street has become part of a small park. Author, Journalist and Presenter John Humphreys also went to this school.

By the 1970s much had changed in my life. I had completed military service receiving wonderful training to become a Russian translator, studied English and American literatures at Nottingham University, taught English at Cleobury Mortimer, attended graduate school for a year in the United States and another year at London University, obtained a doctorate, lectured for five years at Manchester University, decided that academic opportunities were limited in Britain and emigrated from Liverpool to Montreal on a liner filled to capacity with mostly British emigrants including 450 female teachers. The crossing held moments of high interest, especially as we approached the Canadian coast sailing at night through massive icebergs, trying not to think of the Titanic and yearning for human warmth.

It was summer 1968. Most migrants had planned to settle in Ontario but my destination was far-away Victoria, British Columbia, on the West Coast of Canada. I had to travel for days by train across country.

I was moving from insular confinement to vast space. And unknowingly, I had taken a job at a new university where students were vibrant with American pop-culture, intoxicated with political causes, experienced in the use of marijuana and anxious to administer the university. Small groups were vociferous, bringing forth ever larger demands for recognition of their rights. Leaders wore Che Guevara berets. Followers shouted eloquent slogans. Crowds assembled outside lecture-rooms and invaded faculty meetings. But, although the students claimed they were socially repressed, I had never met so many young people who already enjoyed so much freedom…

They were part of a larger movement which was not understood at the time.

Over the following decades it led to student empowerment. Young people were seen to have human rights. They need not be foreordained to live by institutional rules. They could assist in governance and share adult responsibilities.

If bureaucrats in Coventry in the 1970s had understood this international democratizing trend, the City of Coventry Boarding School might have become the scene of a great educational experiment. But the school was closed and an opportunity irrevocably lost.

In Canada by 1975 student challenges to university governance had diminished. A newly elected provincial Labour government in British Columbia had given students, elected by their peers, seats on the Senate and the right to attend and vote with faculty on administrative committees at universities throughout the province. The system remains and the University of Victoria has benefitted from student presence and commitment.

Victoria, like Harrogate and Cheltenham, is known as a retirement town. From all over Canada, the retirees come seeking peace and quiet. After seven years of student unrest, when the protesters gained what they wanted, quiet returned.

And in this more sedate post-1975 environment I slowly climbed the academic ladder publishing articles and books, mostly on literary subjects. As a side-line, I attempted creative writing but with no financial success.

The university has grown; its reputation is established.

And I, now old, feel happy that, in a small way, I have contributed to its life.

But staying alive, even without a gas-mask, still demands effort.     

Colin Partridge

Additional Photographs

The Old Library in Singleton Road - "Here I gained my love of reading and literature.
Although dilapidated, the single-storey old library is still a handsome building matching the architecture of the primary school."

Hinton Street - Distinguish between the old houses with elaborate doorways and newer ones which are more functional.
The newer ones, 1948-ish efforts, replaced houses that were bombed.
(The site provided a bomb-patch playing-ground in my post-war childhood!)

Aberystwyth is the ONLY street that remains of the demolished suburb of similar terraced
workers houses that extended, row after row, about a mile in depth.

The extent of bomb-damage extended to larger houses in adjoining Marion Street 
where the difference in building styles can also be read.

Looking up Hinton Street and the park

Aerial view of Splott - Cardiff showing the area where Colin Partridge grew up.

Shirley Bassey also grew up in Cardiff.

Colin Partridge commented on the photo above -
"I yesterday learned that Shirley Bassey was born and brought up at 132 Portmanmoor Road. This was the main road onto which all the lesser streets, like Aberystwyth, opened. On Portmanmoor Road the houses were larger. The photograph you posted of the road and the girls with the skipping rope startled me. The image was so familiar, including the head of a watchful grandmother poking out of the front door. Even the outlines of the bomb damage are a part of my consciousness. I waited for many a bus to town standing nearby staring at that gap in the road..."

By contrast - Colin's now lives in Victoria

Some memories of Colin's teaching at Cleobury Mortimer from David Partridge (one of his pupils and no relation).

David Partridge 
"....the highly thought of Mr Partridge, related to mugwump, guardian of the 'conkerbonker, candlelit reader of 'The Hound of the Baskervilles', elicitor of ludicrous excuses for being nominally late for meal times, and all round 'good egg'? I sometimes wonder whether you contributed to the writing of 'Dead Poets Society'?"

"Perhaps Mr Partridge's greatest legacy ought to be as the originator of virtual corporal punishment. The punishment would take place in the masters study, the cane was used to violently thwack a convenient pillow while simultaneously the miscreant screamed a blood-curdling but entirely bogus howl of pain.The miscreants would be so delighted with the procedure they were unlikely to re-offend, while the uninitiated pupils within earshot were so terrified that they too would remain on their best behaviour.
Effectiveness total; Violence nil."

Three Photos from Chris Harden c 1958 / 9

Photo courtesy of Chris Harden

Steve Webb I can identify just 3 of the subjects on this photo. Reg Morris, (headteacher,) of course is back row on the left: teacher Wally Clark is back row on the right: the guy on the front row in the middle is Malcolm Grant. The picture, which is taken on the quad in front of the Dining Hall, was probably taken in 1958 or 1959.

Paul Williamson Malcolm Grant was house captain of Blount in my first year which was 58.

Chris Harden
Richard Harden, front row second from left - Not sure of date.
John Harden, front row third from right - Circa 1958

Chris Harden

Friday, February 17, 2012

Terry Walker's Riley Imp

Art teacher Terry Walker
Art teacher Terry Walker, who started teaching at the City of Coventry Boarding School c 1962 was renowned for his 'Racing green' Riley Imp.

Riley was a Coventry firm  -
" Riley was a British motorcar and bicycle manufacturer from 1890. The company became part of the Nuffield Organisation in 1938 and was later merged into British Leyland. Today, the trademark is owned by BMW.

Riley Imp like Terry's 

Riley began as the Bonnick Cycle Company of Coventry, England. In 1890, William Riley Jr. purchased the company and renamed it the Riley Cycle Company. Ultimately, the portfolio included cycle gear maker Sturmey Archer. His teenaged son, Percy, began to dabble in automobiles. He built his first car at 16, in 1898, secretly, because his father did not approve. It was the first car seen on the streets of Coventry. By 1899, Percy Riley moved from producing motorcycles to his first prototype four-wheeled quadricycle. In 1900, Riley sold a single three-wheeled automobile, but the company could not yet be considered an automobile manufacturer.
In 1903, Percy Riley began the Riley Engine Company, also in Coventry. At first, he simply supplied engines for Riley motorcycles, but the company soon began to focus on four-wheeled automobiles. Their Vee-Twin Tourer prototype, produced in 1905, can be considered the first proper Riley car. The Engine Company expanded the next year, and Riley Cycle halted motorcycle production in 1907 to focus on automobiles. Bicycle production also ceased in 1911.

In 1912, the Riley Cycle Company changed its name to Riley (Coventry) Limited as William Riley focused it on becoming a wheel supplier for the burgeoning motor industry, being an innovator of detachable wheels.

In early 1913, Percy was joined by three of his brothers (Victor, Stanley, and Allan) in a new business focused on manufacturing entire automobiles. This Riley Motor Manufacturing Company was located near Percy's Riley Engine Company. The first new model, the 17/30, was introduced at the London Motor Show that year. Soon afterwards, Stanley Riley founded yet another company, the Nero Engine Company, to produce his own 4-cylinder 10 hp (7.5 kW) car. Riley also began manufacturing aeroplane engines and became a key supplier in Britain's buildup for World War I.

In 1918, after the war, the Riley companies were restructured. Nero joined Riley (Coventry) as the sole producer of automobiles. Riley Motor Manufacturing came under the control of Allan Riley to become Midland Motor Bodies, a coachbuilder for Riley. Riley Engine Company continued under Percy as the engine supplier. At this time, Riley's blue diamond badge, designed by Harry Rush, also appeared. The motto was "As old as the industry, as modern as the hour."

Riley grew rapidly through the 1920s and 1930s. Riley Engine produced 4-, 6-, and 8-cylinder engines, while Midland built more than a dozen different bodies. Riley models at this time included:

Saloons: Adelphi, Deauville, Falcon, Kestrel, Mentone, Merlin, Monaco, Stelvio
Coupes: Ascot, Lincock, Gamecock
Touring: Alpine, Lynx
Sports: Brooklands, Imp, MPH, Sprite
Limousines: Edinburgh, Winchester
The Riley Brooklands was one of the most successful works and privateer racing cars of the late 1920s and early 1930s, particularly in hill climbs and at Le Mans, providing a platform for the success of motorsports' first women racing drivers like Kay Petrie and Dorothy Champney. It was based around Percy Riley's ground-breaking Riley 9 engine, a small capacity, high revving engine, ahead of its time in many respects. Its longevity is illustrated by Stirling Moss's early racing success after WW2 in pre-war Riley's. But by about 1936 the company had overextended, with too many models and too few common parts, and the emeregnce of Jaguar at Coventry was a direct challenge. Victor Riley had set up a new ultra-luxury concern, Autovia, to produce a V8 saloon and limousine to compete with Rolls-Royce. Meanwhile, Riley Engine Company had been renamed PR Motors (after Percy Riley) to be a high-volume supplier of engines and components. Although the rest of the Riley companies would go on to become part of BMC, PR Motors remained independent. After the death of Percy Riley in 1941, the company began producing transmission components and still exists today as Newage Transmissions."

" Riley Imp Roadster. Introduced in 1934, The Riley Imp used a twin carburettor version of the Riley Nine 1,056cc hemispherical head twin cam four-cylinder engine. In the 1934 Le Mans 24 hour race 3 Riley Imps all finished in the top 20, and one was 6th overall." Read / view more  at this link below -