Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Motor Mechanics - by Charles Joyce

In our final year 1967, a new subject came about - Motor Mechanics. Charles Joyce explains -

Do you remember Mr Chopping 'Pranger' by nickname, buying an old car which was used as a project, for motor mechanics and learning to drive, I still remember Dean Revel kangarooing up the school yard, and Francesco Fasulo taking bits off the engine, and forgetting where they came from. I don’t think it ever ran after that. We used to practice driving it up from the Woodwork shop to the bike sheds and having weekly motor mechanics lessons. i seem to think it was a Morris Minor Shooting break but can't be sure now.

After final exams, there was about a month or so until the end of term and until we left  - we had the choice of catering, the kitchen experience, or Gardening or something else, it must have been a 4th year initiative . I think Alec Hudson went on to do catering at Henley College when I was there.

No Particular Place to Go by Chuck Berry was a popular song while our year were there in the 60's and conjures up the spirit.

No Money Down - Chuck Berry

No Money Down - Chuck Berry
As I was motivatin'
Back in town
I saw a Cadillac sign
Sayin' "No Money Down"
So I eased on my brakes
And I pulled in the drive
Gunned my motor twice
Then I walked inside
Dealer came to me
Said "Trade in you Ford
And I'll put you in a car
That'll eat up the road
Just tell me what you want
And then sign on that line
And I'll have it brought down to you
In a hour's time"

I'm gonna get me a car
And I'll be headed on down the road
Then I won't have to worry
About that broken - down, raggedy Ford

"Well Mister I want a yellow convertible
Four - door de Ville
With a Continental spare
And a wide chrome wheel
I want power steering
And power brakes
I want a powerful motor
With a jet off - take
I want air condition
I want automatic heat
And I want a full Murphy bed
In my back seat
I want short - wave radio
I want TV and a phone
You know I gotta talk to my baby
When I'm ridin' alone"

Yes I'm gonna get that car
And I'm gonna head on down the road
Yeah, then I won't have to worry
About that broken - down, raggedy Ford

"I want four carburetors
And two straight exhausts
I'm burnin' aviation fuel
No matter what the cost
I want railroad air horns
And a military spark
And I want a five - year guarantee
On everything I got
I want ten - dollar deductible
I want twenty dollar notes
I want thirty thousand liability"
That's all she wrote

I got me a car
And I'm headed on down the road
No money down
I don't have to worry
About that broken - down, raggedy Ford

Food for Thought ( School Meals ) 1st course - by Charles Joyce

Charles Joyce invites us to lunch at the City of Coventry Boarding School - 

Each mealtime was preceded by one of the three house captains ( Blount, Dudley, or Mortimer ) by saying grace. These were the usual - 

“ for what we about to receive, 
may the Lord make us truly thankful, 
and what we have just received, Amen."
Grace was sometimes translated to an agricultural theme concerning pigs, a little unkind to domestic staff, I’m sure they did their best with the budget available!

Jim Lovatt, Blount house master taught Music and Divinity, and a man of the cloth. Often liked to say grace in Latin, 

Benedictus Benedicat  per Jesum Christum dominum Nostrum,"
 ( translates to ; Blessed is he and may he bless this food through Jesus Christ our Lord." I only know of the first two words being used.

And wow  betide anybody pulling their chairs away before grace was finished.

The order of food collection was designated by House, Blount, Dudley, Mortimer.   A boy from each table would queue and collect the food in aluminium rectangular containers and taken back to tables to be shared out equally between 8 lads, the practice of undermining the portions of food in the tins, leaving a visual display looking like the White Cliffs of Dover, and the last share may be somewhat short of a full portion. 

Matron sometimes stood guard making sure we were not being overfed, with her cat perched  on her shoulder. When surplus food became available, a mad scramble from serving lads to take any food back to the tables. First and second courses were generally served in this manner.Talking at mealtimes was aloud, but only a designated times given the signals from a bell , rung by the duty house captain for that day,

Lunchtime was attended by staff and their spouses, a long wooden dining room table, and domestic staff would serve the meals. Q. Was it the same food ?

I  recall when only arriving at the school in Jan 63, Mr. Choping ( pranger)  had a problem with the general behaviour of the school in the dining room, and gave everybody 100 lines, which had to be in on a certain time, heads of table collected from each member of his table, What a complete waste of time !

Meal times : Breakfast 8.00 - 8.30 . Lunch 1.00 – 1.30 . Dinner (Tea ) 5.00 - 5.30. Supper , was that before or after prep ? (After Prep Charles (Ed) 9pm?

Terry Walker ( the art teacher ) did produce a staged production of the mealtime  routine  , with the music to William Tell overture, which I thought at the time was funny, with some of the older boys dressed as waiters.

I Think “ Food glorious Food “ has already been discussed, The play Oliver, springs to mind, which Terry produced as well, with pictures. As for music, Shakespeare : an army marches on its stomach, and if music be the food of love, play on.

525 songs about food, I shall leave it up to you, Boiled beef and carrots. Charles Joyce

Ralph Aldhous Sounds about right Charlie. You forgot the bells though (the bells...the bells). One to speak and two for silence.

Mash Potato Love - Chubby Checker - 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Back in time to schooldays at Wyre Farm - Cov Telegraph

Came across this from 2010 in Coventry Telegraph.

In this post I have included quotes from Reg Holliday (via the Cov telegraph and Quotes from Ken Short 9also at the school roughly the same period)

Reg Holliday of Styvechale, Coventry, wrote in the the paper -
c1951? Is the rubble on playground from new swimming pool
or Elan Valley pipe-laying??

Reg shared some of his memories from 1946 to 1950. 

He said - 

"All the dormitories were named after different areas of the city - Radford, Earlsdon, Stoke, Bablake and Gosford."

The names of Dormitories/ Houses in the 1940's to 1957 when Wyre Farm became City of Coventry. NB -  This is the correct order. On an earlier photo I had the order wrong!  This is how ken Short remembers the order 1948 - 52. earlier reports mention also Mercia and Godiva houses - have no info on them.

The names of Dormitories / Houses after 1957

This is confirmed by others such as Ken Short, there's mention on the BBC site about the war years that there was also Godiva and Mercia.

Ken tells us that  Bablake was a half-house. " Earlsdon was the No. 1 House..we won the cross country shield (Senior & Junior), Football cup, Cricket cup, Eisteddfod cup 3 years running (There was no Rugby then nor female pupils..pity)"

"In my day none of the houses were divided, the first dormitory (both halves) were Earlsdon, as were Gosford, Radford, & Stoke. Bablake was a half dormitory. For all sports the names of Bablake were put into a hat and then shared between the other 4 houses. I cannot remember the exact number of pupils to a dormitory, it was about 60, 30 in each half sleeping in bunk beds, with wooden lockers in the middle, which we used to use as table tennis tables. "

I was a resident at "Wyre Farm Camp School" from from 1948 to 1952. I still remember my house number E16. I have fond memories of "The Glen", going down to Cleobury Mortimer on Saturdays with a weeks pocket money 1/-, one shilling or 12d or if you like 5p. With that I bought a bottle of pop, went to the local cinema "The Barn" and still had enough to get a cream cake from the High street bakery, and a postage stamp to write home with. I remember playing cricket and football agaist teams like "Harry Cheshire" in Kidderminster..."Christopher Whitehead" in Worcester. "

" Another tit-bit. Only the teachers & school prefects were allowed to enter the dormitories via the end doors, us lower cast boys had to use the side door. The grass triangle between the dormitories and the hospital was STRICTLY off limits."

Reg Holliday mentions in the article

There would be weekly inter-dormitory competitions with the winners given a day trip to a local area of interest,” he said.

“The boys all looked forwards to Saturday – during the week it was forbidden to leave the grounds.
But on Saturday the boys could withdraw a limited amount of money from the school bank and head straight for the tuck shop. Then they would stroll into the nearby village of Cleobury Mortimer to see a black and white film at the cinema – an old converted barn.

Reg was a member of the school choir – but being in a rural location their only ever performances were on Sunday mornings supporting the small local choir.

The teaching team consisted of nine tutors who lived at each end of the five dormatories.

He remembers two headmasters: Mr Martin who retired in 1948 and Mr Davies. They lived in the relative luxury of a spacious bungalow in a quiet area just inside the school entrance.

Most pupils were aged 10 and 15, and for the majority it was their first time living away from home – so there were a lot of tears and some even attempted to run away."

Reg remembered: “Those who did never got far, the nearest bus or railway station was miles away – and teachers or older boys would always find them.”

The last Sunday of every month was visiting day and more tears as parents would arrive in fleets of Coventry Corporation buses. It took time to settle in, but after a couple of months firm friendships had been made and life was good."

Ken Short " Mr. George Langley was my teacher for the first two years, then it was Mr. Archie Lambley, who was also my house master. Visiting days for ones family was the first Sunday of the Month. I remember Sunday parades to Cleobury Mortimer or once a month to Nene Savage. Playing for hours in "The Glen". I have fond memories of playing football against Cleobury Mortimer School, they played on a farmers field where his cows grazed, when one headed the ball ones face was covered in cow shit...happy days, it still brings a smile to my face. I also remember on visiting days I would book a Sunday meal at the "Fox inn" a Mr. king was the landlord, bloody hell I'm travelling back in time now."

Ken Short
" I was a resident at "Wyre Farm Camp School" from from 1948 to 1952. I still remember my house number E16. I have fond memories of "The Glen", going down to Cleobury Mortimer on Saturdays with a weeks pocket money 1/-, one shilling or 12d or if you like 5p. With that I bought a bottle of pop, went to the local cinema "The Barn" and still had enough to get a cream cake from the High street bakery, and a postage stamp to write home with. I remember playing cricket and football agaist teams like "Harry Cheshire" in Kidderminster..."Christopher Whitehead" in Worcester. "

Swimming Pool

Reg was particularly interested in the swimming pool because his father was a member of the committee and instigated the idea.

Reg has supplied the photographs including one of the opening ceremony.

Although it was an open-air pool and unheated - it was welcomed by the majority of pupils who looked upon it as sheer luxury,” he said.

Ken Short (who was there 1948 - 52) tells us - 

"In 1949 and Mr. Morris became headmaster. It was he who took the first swimming lessons in the newly built swimming pool. I remember helping to break the ice at the first lesson. He would sit in an armchair with gloves, scarf and overcoat and tell us to jump in (63 years later I can still feel the cold wind coming down the valley from Clee Hill). I think it was built in 1951"

"When I was there the cricket scoreboard was situated where the swimming pool was going to be, when the pool was built it was placed on the paved area of the pool"

Michael Billings When i was there from 1954-1958 the Cricket Scoreboard was just in front of the block next to the swimming pool which was where the maids stayed. (The canteen staff).

Ken Short
Here is one for the OLD boys. Before the swimming pool was built, who remembers the spot on the river where a diving board was fixed to the bank and roots of trees where we used to go swimming, always supervised by a teacher. 

Oggly Boggly,  It was a farm in the middle of Wyre Forest. Before the swimming pool was built, every summer the a selection of boys were marched through the forest to this farm, it had an ancient sheep dip which was full of water. We were told it had not been used for dipping sheep for 20+ years. It was our swimming pool. We played in it for hours, walked around the farm, then marched back. This stopped once the swimming pool was finished. Great times had by everybody.

Further Memories in late 40's early 50's

Ken Short
"Does anybody remember the gardening area that ran alongside the cricket pitch boundary ?, I spent many a long back breaking stints there"

Rosemary Webb Rehill I remember the vegetable garden down by the headmaster's cottage. Didn't there used to a hut there for the scoreboard? The veggie garden was then moved up to the left of the new buidling but that was later.

Michael Billings
The top sports field hasn't been mentioned to many times so thought i'd share my memories. Directly behind the water tower was the long jump/triple jump pit. At the top of the field beyond that was the Senior Football Pitch. Behind the drive after the row of cherry trees was the high jump pit and from there to the top of the field the Colts Football Pitch. To the left of this was a small brook and then the school vegetable plot which Taffy Evans liked to grow Raspberries on along with tomatoes and marrows. Around the Senior Football Pitch was the running track for sports day and between that and the long jump pit was a marked out 100 yds sprint track. The triple jump pit had to be extended when Tom Merry jumped out of the end of it. Seem to remember he jumped 38-40 ft. He went on to the Kidderminster & District Sports and Worcestershire School Sports finishing up with Mick Ellis at the All England Championships at Durham. Tom's daughter is Catherine Merry an England athlete until she retired after getting married to a French athlete.

Paul Nicholas Williamson Arghhh yes the top field, Michael you are right with all of your placings of the long jump pit,high jump pit, football pitches and the school plots.The farm behind the top field was Skellerns farm could be wrong there.

 As for Tom Merry per haps the best sportsman to have been at Cleobury as he came second in the All England Champioships in the triple jump and this after being stung in the ankle during warm up,I'm sure he would have won if it hadn't have happened.Tom jumped 44 feet 11 inches to win the Kidderminster and District trials and it became a school record and would have stood for ever, I was there watching as it was the first time I had ever seen the triple jump, the only person who might have beaten it was Tom's younger brother Peter who came to the school for only a couple of years only to leave early and he too was very good at the long jump.

Chris Harden Tom's younger brother, Pete was also an amazing athlete - an absolutely devasting sprinter and what a rugby winger. I have many memories of Pete's prowess in athletics and other sports.

Paul Norman Some people might say that Cleobury's best sportsman was Nigel Hawthorne, who as I recall was goalkeeper for one of the England Youth teams. Eventually came back as the sports master.

Paul Nicholas Williamson Michael, Catherine won a bronze medal in the 400 metres Olympic games in 2000 Sydney.Kathy Freeman from Oz won and if Catherine had beaten her she wouldn't have got out of OZ.
Paul, it was Martyn Hawthorne, you have mistaken him for the actor easily done after all these years, Martyn and I played together in the same team after we left School, Ryton United and we won the league then we moved to a team called Phildown Dynamoes which had a lot of old boys in the team and we won a few cups and leagues in fact we were quite a good team for the standard we played in.

Pete Day See, this is where I lose touch. In my day there wasn't any football pitches. WE PLAYED RUGBY, a mans game. Not poofy football.

Trev Teasdel - This article from The Boarder explains
City of Coventry Boarding School: Rugby Football - A New Game at the School in 1960

Paul Nicholas Williamson We must have been ac/dc one term of rugby and one term of footie, this all came about in my third year as we played footie all the time when I first went there. We took some fearsome beatings at footie but it was the other way round when it came to the egg shaped ball.I even ended up playing rugger for Cheylesmore Old Boys on Saturdays and footie on Sundays until the knee gave in.

Raymond Bothwell ‎5 a side on the tarmack, outside the dining hall. I lived in cheylesmore for several years, Silksby St , The Park Pailings, and finally Meschine St,

Michael Breslin ‎....and then in the 70's, We played both and there was an option. In fact many of the Rugby players enjoyed a game of footie also. There wasn't a footie school team per-se but a challenge from Lacon Childes in the village and a couple of other "local" schools was always popular. The long jump/Triple jump and 400 track was behind the top ablution block. There was also a type of Pavilion behind/attached as well which had a cricket score board on display. There were two cricket quares, one inside the running track and another on bottom field in front of the dining room. Two rugby fields were marked out overlapping the running track either side of the cricket square and another rugby pitch was marked out on top field or 'top pitch'. Hats off to the ground keeper who kept the squares in tip-top condition all year round although they were roped off during the winter months to avoid being punctured by rugby boots with sharp nylon edges....they were brutal on the hands in the scrum, especially when it was frosty. (I played Hooker - ouch)

Michael Billings One of the teams we played at Football was Catshill Grammer School of Bromsgrove and i remember going to Droitwich to watch another match. If there was room on the coach a few spectators were allowed to go. I always put my name down to go and watch. Does anyone remember the coach out trips to Kidderminster Town Hall to see The Birmingham Symphony Orchestra or at the same venue a cricketing evening with Tom Graveney, Peter May and Godfrey Evans who played for England as wicket-keeper.

Paul Nicholas Williamson Yep, Michael, Kidderminster town hall to see the CBSO, one year at the interval I went round getting autographs of the musicians and I even went into the main room where the conductor and lead players were having a cup of tea. SAD.that I should remember that, I wonder what happened to the programme with all the autographs on, must be worth a fortune !!!!

Michael Billings Many years later i managed to get a signed autograph picture of my favourite all time girl singer Brenda Lee. Night Out theatre restaurant in Birmingham. Have shook hands with Bill Haley, The Jordainaires and 2 of Elvis' original backing band Guitarist Scotty Moore & Drummer D J Fontana, Brenda Lee and for the ladies in the group actor Steven Seagal amongst many others. Even Cliff Richard signed his autobiography for me.

George Forrester Tom Merry- what a nice lad he was, although he was older than myself he always treated us yougsters with respect. He had a younger brother at the school, whose face I can still see, but name I cannot remember.  Michael Ellis, good all round sportsman, a Head Boy who left in somewhat difficult circumstances as I recall. It was a Mr Chinn, who was the Director of Education for Cov schools, who awarded me the prestigious certificte for comming third in the shot put 1959 !

Chris Harden George - Tom Merry's brother was Pete, a truely nice guy

Ken Short Aahh....Memories, fading with time

Rosemary Webb Rehill Walter Chinn, a tall very scary man! I remember we had to behave when he came to visit!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Wyrefarm's First Headmasters - Mr Donaldson and Mr B.Martin

Mr Donaldson 1940 - 42 - 1st Headmaster
Note : This article was revised September 2012 as new information came in.

NB at Oct 2013 - I intend to review this post soon as i think we've ironed out a few things - but here's the state of findings in 2012.

The school's first headmaster was Mr Donaldson 1940 - 42 and was the pioneering headmaster that got the school started. We don't know what happened to him, it's possible he got called up in 1942 as did several other teachers at the school as the war effort developed but we can't be sure. It is thought that he was keen on the cane and discipline. 

Mr B. Martin We don't a lot about Mr Martin either but what we have managed to glean is here.

Ex-pupil Ken Short (who was at the school from 1948 to 1952), tells us -
What I remember of Mr.Martin was that he liked to run a tight ship. He stayed in the background, Mr.Morris was his figurehead. Mr.Martin was unapproachable, mild mannered but still a disciplinarian. It was always Mr.Morris who seemed to organise things, one hardly saw Mr.Martin except for morning assembly. Even Sunday services at Cleobury Mortimer or Nene Savage was led by Mr.Morris, never Mr.Martin. I can never remember Mr.Martin strolling around the school, only Mr.Morris. Oh yes one other thing, on sports day Mr.Morris was an ever present, no sign of Mr.Martin"

We think Mr Martin was head teacher from 1942/3 to 1948/9 (Ken short tells us it was 1949 when Mr Martin died ( Reg Holliday thinks he retired in 1948 so we are not sure which is right!). Mr martin was replaced, we think, by Mr Davies who was it seems headmaster from 1948 / 9 to 1952/3 when his deputy head - Mr Morris took over and Mr John Lowe became deputy head until 1957 when he left to become headmaster of Willenhall Wood Junior. 

Mr Morris was Headmaster 1953 to 1960 and oversaw the transition from Wyre Farm Camp School to the City of Coventry Boarding School in 1957. Deputy head Mr John Lowe was replaced by Mr Lambley in 1957 and was deputy until 1964 when he was replaced by Ken Williams.

During the war years the intake of boys gradually increase as shown on this BBC article - 
Records show that the boys were mainly from schools in the town and factory areas of the city and by December 1942, 283 boys had been relocated to Wyre Farm. It is assumed that most of the boys had lost their homes, or parents, or both. By the end of May 1945, 584 boys had moved through Wyre Farm.

Through the post war years in to the early 1950s as the city was rebuilt and food rationing was eased the intake of boys continued and by April 1948 over 100 boys had been accommodated at Wyre Farm. By January 1950 this number had increased to over 1200. From 1950 onward the records show that boys were accommodated for shorter periods of time perhaps out of term time to give them a change from city life and chance to enjoy the fresh air and countryside of Cleobury Mortimer.

"When I first attended Wyre Farm Camp School (W.F.C.S.) the headmaster was Mr. Martin, I think he died in 1949 and Mr. Morris became headmaster."

However, we do have some conflicting accounts on this site - 

In this Coventry Telegraph article - Back in time to Schooldays at Wyre Farm  Reg Holliday who was there 1946 to 50 remembers 

two headmasters: Mr Martin who retired in 1948 and Mr Davies. They lived in the relative luxury of a spacious bungalow in a quiet area just inside the school entrance."

According to Reg Mr Martin 'retired' as opposed to having passed away and he introduces yet another potential headmaster - Mr Davies! 

A further confusion occurs in the press report of Mr Morris's death - here

You'll notice it says that 'Mr Morris became headmaster in January 1953, on the retirement of Mr B. Martin'

However, Ken Short says
"As far as I can remember Mr.Morris took over from Mr.Martin long before 1953, I left school in 1952 and Mr.Morris had been head for at least a year or two. As to Mr.Martin, died or retired, it was announced at the first assembly of new term that Mr.Morris was the new headmaster, rumour was of Mr.Martins untimely death. As for him retiring in 1948 that is wrong, I remember Mr.Martin, a small grey haired man, and I never started at WFCS until 1948, and he was head while I was there for at least 18 months or so, I believe this will confuse you even more!"