Thursday, September 25, 2014

John Billing - Former Pupil and International Lyre Player.

John Billing was at the City of Coventry Boarding in the 1970's. Recently we have become aware that John is a talented Lyre player and teacher.

John was at the school and later at La Trobe University and became a music teacher and Lyre concert player. He's spent the last 18 years travelling the world giving concerts and teaching music.

John Billing has a website - http://www.johnlyre.co.uk/


John Billing 1968

John Billing 1977






More of John Billing on youtube if you click back to it. 

Rosemary Webb Rehill - That is so so interesting! I remember John very well. He was made head boy and turned it down.

Chris Applebey (Mr Pip Pip) - John is currently on tour in Japan but lives in the west of Ireland. After leaving Cleobury he moved from RAF Scampton to somewhere in the home counties and then Australia where he went to Uni. He has worked in Steiner schools and has a worldwide following of his work. A very popular boy who was always going to do well.

Peter Ingram Tedd - I remember John, same year as me and Pip. We were good friends. After we left CCBS we met up again in the summer of '68 when I went to stay with him for a few days in his parents' house at RAF West Malling in Kent. This was not long after the Beatles had made part of their film there, "Magical Mystery Tour".

Dennis Crowther - Clee Hill Poet and Folk Musician



"CLEE HILL. AKA - "Dennis Crowther's No. 1." English, March (4/4 or 2/4 time). D Major. Standard
Clee Hill
tuning (fiddle). One part. Clee Hill refers to both the height of Titterstone Clee, one of the highest hills in south Shropshire, or the village of Cleehill, Shropshire, which lies on the slopes. Titterstone Clee is in the range of hills called collectively the Clee Hills, and has been heavily quarried over the years. Writer J.R.R. Tolkien used to visit the area and some believe he modelled "The Shire" in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings after the area. Some have speculated - ("Clee Village being an inspiration for Bree in its character/location, and Clee Hill being an inspiration for Weathertop (you can see Clee hill from South Birmingham, and from Clee Hill you can see Snowdonia).") The late Dennis Crowther (d. 2007) was a poet, singer, mouth organ player from the area. Part of the melodic material from "Clee Hill" appears in the tune "Oh, Joe! The boat is going over," a melody used by morris/molly dancers from the Clee Hill area. Accordion master John Kirkpatrick recorded this tune (along with "Dennis Crowther's No. 2") at the Sidmouth Folk Festival, 1999.

Source for notated version: Shropshire harmonica player and entertainer Dennis Crowther [Callaghan].
Printed sources: Callaghan (Hardcore English), 2007; p. 32."


Dennis Crowther - From this site http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/82/a8413382.shtml
I have lived at Clee Hill all my life and was a runner for the Home Guard and was 14 at the end of the war. I used to go between the Clee Hill, Corley and Bitterley platoons. One of my lasting memories of VE day was being able to have lights on and a party in the Mission Room at the Knowle.

The Battle of Titterstone Clee
When Hitler declared war on this country
A messenger boy I would be
I was up on Clee Hill where I joined the Home Guard
Where armed to the teeth we would be
The lads in our mob were from all walks of life
All ready if Hitler did raid
And up by the Radar was Corporal Brown
Guarding his sheep with a spade
Chorus
There was pitchforks and pikes and hammers galore
To use against Hitler during the war
Then the Captain inspected our motley platoon
And announced that today, we’d be armed
With hammer handles direct from the Quarry
We lined up with grace and with charm
Then the Captain he asked Private Beddoe
Of his actions if under attack
He looked down at the shaft of his hammer
‘I’d put the head on,’ he answered back
Chorus
Then with broomsticks we pinched from the Council
We took the Brookrow first light
We mounted a Guard round Reynold’s Marrow
In case it got bombed in the night
Then the Baker took twelve of his bravest of men
And without the slightest of noise
They crept round the back of Will’s mothers
And took Silvington Tump by surprise
Chorus
The ode Hitler decided to poison the water
Which flows from the slopes of the Clee
They put old Billy Adams to guard the park spout
Stood there with his dung fork was he
He shouted out HALT! In the dead of the night
And when nobody answered him then
He charged the Park Spout with his dung fork
And captured five pubs before ten
Chorus
We did manoeuvres with the Hamers from Coreley
The first foot and mouth Calvary
They charged us with nuthucks and bicycle pumps
And ready for Hitler we’d be
We bought in our armoured division
A shipcratch from Cumberley Lane
And we routed them farmers from Coreley
And put ‘em back pickin’ taters again.
Chorus
The enemy came twenty miles from our shore
Herr Loiknant he said to his crew
‘Out there on that islands some queer goings on
Ve had better turn back that is true
For the British haf weapons I’ve ne’er seen before
Well advanced they all seem to be
They might blow us straight out of the water
And the end of the war it would be.
Chorus
So lets give three cheers for the lads of Clee Hill
Who put old Hitler to shame
Let us give thanks for a Broaduck and a Pike
And a sheepcratch from Cumberley Lane
For it was unconditional surrender
Once again all the church bells will chime
And we’ll put up our tack fore’er we hope
And bring peace and goodwill to man kind
Chorus
.................................
Lester Bailey playing Dennis Crowther




From the video - The World Famous Ashdown Mummers perform The Stomp from Clee Hill in Much Wenlock on our 2014 Earthly Paradise Revisited tour of Shropshire. The dance is courtesy of local historian, the late Dennis Crowther, who gave us the details in 1991, which he’d collected many years previously.



 Captain Swing , tune Dennis Crowther May morning at Laxton Castle Notts



Dennis Crowther had a book of poems out 1996- now out of print Reminiscences of Titterstone Clee


'The poems contained in this book have been composed by Dennis to capture a bygone era of work and characters.' The poems are: The Haymaker/ Tom Coxen's Last Move/ Old Habits Never Die/ The Storm/ A Day with the Hops/ Blackberry Boots/ Rusty of Clee/ Titterstone Clee/ Arthur Ore/ The Clee Hill Minstrel Band/ Burwarton Bill/ I Conna Find Ashford for Fog/ The Parsons Annual Ball/ The Last Load.


Dave Bradley of Worcester News wrote
"Dennis Crowther was without doubt one of the funniest men I’ve ever met. He was a natural comic.If you have never or heard of him, his poems of the countryside were superb. They were about people he knew and met and adventures he had. His poems about Bill the sheepdog and the hop pickers were two of my favourites.
Dennis was also a fine musician. I met him many years ago, and became reacquainted on the Sunday morning show when I used to play some of his poems and on odd occasions he would call in."

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mark Jeffries - Ex pupil and Ballroom Dancer

Some of those at the school in the 1970's remember Mark Jeffreies who was the 1970 - 74. Apparently Central News recently (September 2014).
he was on

Mark Jeffries runs Dancing Feet – Ballroom & Latin Dancing Classes in Coventry. Dancing Feet provides people with the opportunity to learn to dance Ballroom & Latin American dances in friendly and social atmosphere in and around Coventry.

Dancing Feet was started by Mark Jefferies in 2008, after he qualified as an IDTA dance teacher in both Latin American and Ballroom Dancing.

Mark Jefferies has a background is in theatre and performance that has been varied and includes:
Studying performing arts at Patterson Dance Academy from 1976 – 1978
Attending numerous dance and performance related workshops, residential training workshops etc
Voice coaching, acting and singing lessons over a number of years
2007 gained the IDTA’s Associate Teaching Certificate in Latin American Dancing and recently (July 2104) completed his Licentiate Certificate in Ballroom Dancing
Has over 20 years experience as a dance teacher working at a number of different locations, before starting his own school

Mark jeffries is also Showbiz editor for the Daily Mirror and has dong articles on Bruce Forsyth's Strictly Come Dancing

And is an article from Coventry Telegraph.
http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/strictly-coventry-dance-competition-training-7064977
Royal-court-hotel-2013-06
From Dancing Feet - This show dance video highlights some pupils from Dancing Feet performing at a recent Presentation Evening in November 2010. The music is from the musical 'Hairspray' and showcases Katie Staunton, Will Mann, Scott Wlliamson and Jo Martin. Choreography by Mark Jefferies
Mark Jeffries - Mirror Showbiz Editor with Bruce Forsyth


Mark Jeffries at the City of Coventry School

Mark Jeffries front row right in white in the school play.
Chase me Comrade 1973 or 1974
Back Row L- R: Mark Harrison, Jeff Stockdale, Stephen Hill, Robert Griffin, John Harvey
Front row L-R: Nathan Johnson, Phil Herd, ?, Chris Hill, Mark Jefferies
Directed by Art Teacher Terry Walker and Peter Germain


Mark Jeffries on the left in white.

Chase me Comrade
From Left: Mark Jefferies; Chris Hill; Stephen Hill; Nathan Johnson. Not sure who the "person" is sitting down.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Wyrefarm Boarding School Brochure 1955

Thanks to Roger McGee who sent me a copy of the 1955 school brochure.

We have the 1947 version on this site and the 1961 / 2 version after it had become known as the City of Coventry Boarding school. This version, which has the same cover as the 1960's version was from 1955, two years before the school changed its name to City of Coventry Boarding School. However the content is different, especially the photos.

Here it is pdf form on Google drive - you can view it, expand it or download it free if you click back to google drive.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Photos 1955 / 56 from Roger McGee

At the Reunion, Roger McGee brought in some photos and material that he rescued from the main hall at the school some time ago. I asked him to send me scans of the material. These are the photos I've received so far. They seem to be from around 1955 / 56 with headmaster Mr Morris featured on most of them. If any more arrive, I will add them to this post. The Brochures and magazine will be posted separately. Apologies to Roger - I got his name wrong originally. The URL still has the mistake in but I can't change that without redoing the whole post and some people have bookmarked it now.










Tom Merry winning the Cross country at the Memorial Park, Coventry.

The following are from the 1955 (ish) School  Brochure

Cycling Club

After Lights Out.

Puppetry.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Times Gone By - Video of the school through the decades by Keith Ison

This were put together by Keith Ison using some of the many photos found on this blog and on Facebook.





Charles Joyce's Reunion Pendant.

Charles Joyce, who now teaches engineering skills at Warwick University got his students to make a number of commemorative pendants for the school reunion 2014 using laser technology. Charles can be seen wearing one of these pendants which he gave out to all who attended. He is also seen posing with a guitar..!




And one of Charles Joyce back in the school days..




Tuesday, September 9, 2014

1964 Group Photo at Reunion.

The reunion Sept 6, 2014 was quite industrious with some of them having brought in photos and other items to share around, discuss and identify.

The group photo of 1964 has been uploaded a few times and people identified but this time it had colour indexing. I don;t have the sheet with the names on it (which was still incomplete) but no doubt it will emerge eventually but here are the photos.










School Reunion Saturday September 6, 2014, Part 3

And yet more photos by Keely Donald...





Tony Booton, Michael Billings, Stephen Donald.

The Choppings and Stephen Donald





Mick Chopping, ? , Dave Meacham







Graham Clarke and Stephen Donald