Your chance to share some memories of days on the "Common"
just send your memory by email to Doowlrahc@aol.com
and I will include it. If you are trying to contact anyone please post it
to the same address and I will include it on the page.
I will not post any email addresses of people as this is how you end up
with loads of spam in your inbox.
This is your message board start using it:
Wallow in the warm after glow of Memory Lane
Reunited after 50 years
Gerald Connelly Steve Nicholls
Full story on the front page Home
Some memories from Robbie Dunn
What a fantastic surprise in receiving your e.mail and with so much detail as well, not too sure if I recalled all those Teachers in the correct order of Classrooms although I remember most of them, I had only been at the Common about one year when it was decided to have the famous Ice-Cream wagon stationed at the playground entrance, and it was very popular although if I had any money I would go across to the little Tuck Shop across the main road. Did play football at the bottom right of the playground at dinner times, coats were the goals and a tennis ball was our football, Clive Hewlett and his Brother Roy from Aldbourne always played with us together with Dave Rushen, again from Aldbourne Dave was one of the lads who brought an OXO TIN with his lunch in and one one day I pinched his sandwiches, cheese and pickle, horrible they were but when in need, now that would be around 58 years ago so still remember things like that. M.S.M. always fielded a strong and competitive Cricket Team although I never made the grade but one Lad who featured and was an incredible bowler was Terry Whatley, think he lived at Ramsbury and a couple of years older than me and his younger Brother Gordon is my age, not too sure if all my names are correct as I did mention previously that the music Teacher was Mrs Turner but after cooling my brain slightly I’m sure it was Miss Birch as I always remember that we both share the same Birthday! When we had our School Triangular Sports Day and we travelled to either Tidworth or Andover Mr Lindsay used to drive one of Waltons Coaches, probably not many people knew that however he used to race against other drivers and take short cuts and he always arrived 1st. Another School activity was walking into Town to the Swimming Baths, an open air swimming pool and freezing, no facilities to get dry just old rickety huts and no lockers, well how time has changed, last week I took my Grandson (9) to our local Baths and it was like Palm Springs, what is expected today, they have Saunas, Showers, Hair driers, Pop music, Restaurants and Coffee Bars together with a fully equipped Gym, think we missed out during our time but hey! its fantastic now. After our School Reunion 20yrs ago Jackie Prout posted me some picture of former Pupils and I will try and send them to you and see what you think?. One other Lad who I remember was Tony Goodsen, and think he moved to Brinkworth for a while, he was always up for a laugh and also Knocker Knight who used to live around Five Stiles Road, I did work with him for a short time on a Building Site at the back of The Roebuck in Elcot Lane.
Paul, that’s all I have for now and keep dry, not too bad today up here in Lancashire but fingers crossed.
Oh yes! However did we learn anything while being surrounded by nuts, bolts and concrete, but we did, not sure if today’s “Health & Safety” Executive would be too impressed but after all it was a wonderful growing-up experience, my sentence at M.S.M. was between 1957-61. We arrived by courtesy of Walton’s Coaches which picked us up from Ogbourne St. George and when we did have a heavy snowfall it was greeted with delight that Walton’s Coaches were unable to get through. Mr Taylor (Headmaster) quickly made his mark me or in fact it was the 6 marks he made on my backside on more than one occasion, I stumbled along in Grade C throughout my 4 year welcome and never saw or got to the reaches of Higher Grades ,so what I’m 70 plus and alive and well. My best subject result over the 4 years was a 1st in Gardening, wow! How did I manage that, well it must of been those Dirty smelly Clogs we had to force on our feet and without any help from Mr Brimacombe however in my final year something clicked in the Maths department and may be Mr.Hughes was the Maths teacher and his Classroom is situated next to the “office” I used to sit next to Dennis Harrison and he seem to have all the answers in Maths so did learn a lot from him. One of my really disappointing day’s was in my History Class with Mr Griffiths, I’m afraid History and me did not go well together and falling behind with the work and falling asleep Mr Griffiths gave me one almighty crack around the head from behind and kept me back after the bell went to end the lesson so not only did he have a free go at me he knew that my bus had left and a long walk home of around 4 miles. Mrs Copsey was amazing and she had us making thinks that were in recognizable, like the Potters Wheel with its usual slab of Clay thrown on and attempting to make pots of some description, well you can imagine the mess, recon we had Handicraft on Tuesday’s as at the same time the Girls from our class had Domestic Science and when the bell went we would race over to the Girls and help the taste what they had made, they were not happy!. I think the Music Teacher was Mrs Turner, now she was a lovely person and really helpful. Not sure who was the Science Teacher but Mr. Evans rings a bell, going into the Lab was horrendous and seeing all the Bottles and Jars filled with experimental Organs preserved in water, ugh! Bunson Burners and Test Tubes was fantastic to me even though I recon I was never too sure in what I was doing. Like most of the Boys we had to endure cross-country weather we liked it or not, running down the hill at the back of school did not go well and often nip into the gaps between the Bushes to steel a short cut, how come their is always someone watching you and end up getting the dredded cane again. Once a year (every year) 3 Schools participated in a Triangular sports day with Tidworth and Andover, now that was right up my street as it kept us away from lessons for a day, fabulous. Still remember most of the Boys and Girls at that time, Anne Talmage, Beryl Crew, Mavis Bull Ann Curtis Anita Barry Robina Cully Rosemary Heath and Rachel Farley and the Boys John Batty John Slade Brian Sawyer Brian Cooke Peter Povey Gordon Werrell David Crombie Keih Paradise Richard Doore and not forgetting Roy “sluggo”Morgan. David Cartman I recon was my best Friend who also lived at Ogbourne but he sadly died over 20 yrs ago. I moved to St.Helens Merseyside in 1968 but still visit Marlborough at least twice a year and play Golf at Marlborough,Tidworth and Ogbourne and how refreshing it was to come to the Common in 1996 to join many of our School Chums from our time at M.S.M. to commemorate the placing if a plaque to signify of us reaching 50years. God Bless to you all and hope we can meet up again very soon.
Robert “Robbie" Dunn
Hi, would it be possible to send me a copy of my admission in the register, my name is Michael Colin Chandler and I would have joined Marlborough Secondary Modern School in 1964, I have been looking at the page for 1961 and I recognise a lot of names from there, sadly I had to leave Marlborough in 1966 after the death of my father and we moved to Somerset where we are now, but my heart is still in Marlborough and I visit often to attend my fathers grave. I have lots of happy memories of my years at Marlborough, the headmaster was Mr Taylor, some of the teachers I remember are, Mr Lindsay (English) Mr Hughes (Maths)
Some memories from Mark Clements
Very kind of you and very interesting. I actually couldn't
remember which address I was living at when I first went there so that
Sadly I know of at least 5 MSM pupils who joined at the same time
as me who have died...most of those dying over 30 years ago when very young
relatively. I think it was seeing one of their names on the roll list that
brought that to mind. Carpe Diem
I remember Mr Lindsley and being quite nervous of his menacing
manner in the English class...made me focus on spellings though. He did a
thing where we students looked in the dictionary, found an obscure word and
he would give the spelling, origin of word meaning etc ...quite a feat. I
was one of the transition pupils who in 1974(ish) moved to the Grammar
school building for our last 2 years when it became comprehensive.
I can't forget the freezing cold outdoor swimming pool either. We had
a (stupid looking back) craze of standing at the top of the playing field
bank, taking many deep breaths then crouching down and holding your breath
until you effectively passed out and fell forward down the bank...what was
that all about. I also remember the 'grass test' but can't quite remember
what pinning someone down and stuffing their mouth with grass was supposed
to test for? It was a really rural schooling with sex, drugs and rock and
roll off my (And most other pupils )radars.
Photos, I'd love to have some from that period but sadly have
none...other than I may have one somewhere of me in my school uniform in a
friend's garden. I suppose it is because those were the days of possibly not
having a camera (and certainly not taking it to school) When you had the
film in a month before you'd taken the 27 shots only to find the film hadn't
wound on or fingers in front of shots etc. Actually you have just reminded
me I do have some poor quality photos somewhere..am sorting out so will bear
you in mind..of our school trip to Switzerland. It was with Mr Bishop the
metal work teacher and Mr Ron Evans the woodwork teacher. I may even have
somewhere a few of our school trip to Paris(One of my first trips abroad.
French teacher was French, can't remember her name but she was married to Mr
Cook from Deacon's the jewellers...Mrs Cook might be a reasonable guess?
All Very Good Wishes
Email from Philip Harwood
Don’t know if you remember me from the Cross Keys? Thought you might like to see the attached. Hopefully the write ups explain all. Sobering to know a lot of the people shown are now dead! Steve Walker, Ed Peers (his mum taught at MSM), Wilf Hart, and Ross Edwards are all gone.
My wife has recently died and discovered quite a treasure trove of cuttings from the Marlborough times. Must are MGS and Wye House connected but there are other bits like the 1971 Boxing day pram race for instance that might be of interest?
I found this article in the archive of the Swindon Evening Advertiser
Brian Hamley with some of the nude and semi-nude artwork at the Wyvern Theatre in 1975 that so outraged some members of the theatre’s club who unsuccessfully demanded their removal
First published Wednesday 20 August 2014 in News by Barry Leighton
“ON this day in 1957,” the Advertiser dutifully reported a couple of Saturdays ago, “Brian F Hamley of Southampton Street, Swindon caught an 8lb 4oz bronze bream in Queen’s Park.
“Using a roach rod with a line of 5lb breaking strain,” our tiny fragment of nostalgia continued, “he took nearly 20 minutes to land the bream, which was believed to be the biggest taken in any waters around Swindon for many years.”
Suddenly, I am grinning from ear-to-ear, my interest piqued. I don’t give a fig about fishing. Couldn’t tell a kipper from a carp. Nevertheless, this silvery droplet of news from our On This Day column evokes a stream of warm, fleeting memories.
It is surely a reference to THE Brian Hamley. You know, the one who sparked controversy with an exhibition of – gasp – nude drawings at the Wyvern Theatre. The one who transformed his end-of-terrace Swindon house into a community recording studio and called it Bull’s Hit.
The one who invited aspiring musicians of all ages to: “Come around and play – it won’t cost you a penny.” The one who released a vinyl LP showcasing the work of Swindon musicians and called it, with a hearty chuckle, Songs From Pigland in deference to our origins as a hill-top farming community.
It has got to be him, the bighearted nurturer of Swindon talent be it artistic, musical or otherwise. The local jazz drummer who liked to be known, with a hint of self-mockery, as Brian ‘Slim’ Hamley.
The Swindon art teacher who called on education chiefs to provide guitars, drums and amps instead of pianos for school music lessons because most kids found them ditchwater dull.
The life-long Town fan who loved yelling his head off at the County Ground. The latter-day beat poet who composed and read “adult-themed offbeat poetry in an offbeat manner” on Swindon community television.
Of course it is him because – and this is the clincher – the on-line archives of Swindon Viewpoint TV have footage of “Brian Hamley bringing us the fishing news straight from the riverbank in August 1979.”
Ex-Commonweal pupil Brian was 16 or 17 when he wrestled that scaly monster from the drowned bicycle-infested depths of the Queen’s Park Lake 57 years ago. His son Gareth still possesses the said specimen.
Fast forward to the early Seventies and Brian not only continues to land decent-sized denizens from our local lakes but has also landed a job – after a spell at Marlborough Secondary Modern – as head of art at Hreod Burna School.
When his prowess as a talented artist gains him an exhibition at the Wyvern he again comes to the notice of Adver readers. “Brian’s nudes cause a walk-out at theatre club” we trumpet in March 5, 1975.
Some of the 20 pen and ink works that Brian has displayed at the venue have angered the more straight-laced members of the Wyvern Theatre Club.
The poor dears brand these works “obscene” and call for the offending material to be immediately removed before storming from the premises in disgust, presumably in search of smelling salts.
Brian is pictured in the Adver looking cool, bemused and bearded with some of the less explicit paintings in the background, although a stray nipple can be viewed. He is puzzled but unrepentant. His critics, he decrees, are “old headed fools” while his nudes, it is decided, should remain in situ.
Controversy soon beckons again… news that Brian is to oversee a public mural prompts an outraged local councillor to rant that the town doesn’t want any more of Brian’s, or anyone else’s “off-beat stuff.” Brian’s response is to invite this self-appointed guardian of public taste to come along and help paint the thing.
Another smidgeon of news from our On This Day column nicely sums up Brian’s attitude towards recognising and encouraging local artistic talent: “On This Day in 1977… Swindon fireman and artist Wally Holland gave his first ever exhibition at the Wyvern Club thanks to his daughter Janine’s art teacher.
“Janine showed one of his pictures to Brian Hamley at Hreod Burna School and he suggested the Wyvern exhibition because the oil painting was so good.”
It was the late Seventies when I first met Brian. He was a hirsute kind of fellow who resembled, in my eyes, a roadie for the Grateful Dead. As the years rolled on he adopted the guise of a Bohemian… which is pretty much what he was.
Around this time he was publicly calling for schools to be supplied with small recording studios instead of acoustic pianos because music had become boring and meaningless to most teenage pupils.
His pleas, strangely enough, were ignored by education bosses so he created his own home studio and for many years invited musicians – from schoolkids and up‘n’coming local groups to veteran musos – to hang out, jam, rehearse and record. “Come and have a look,” he said to me in 1979.
It was easy to find Brian’s house in Manchester Road. The gable end boasted one of the biggest advertising hoardings in Swindon, much to his amusement. The studio, as I recall, was a room at the back of the house encased in mattresses for the purposes of sound-proofing while chaotically littered with a haphazard array of salvaged, borrowed and battered gear.
Pete Cousins, one of the musicians who recorded there and whose 30 year-old Teddy White combo first emerged from the jazz-rock Electric Swing sessions at Brian’s pad, later described it as a “a rag bag junk pile boot sale assortment of equipment.”
Whatever it was, Brian managed to squeeze an LP’s worth of tunes from Swindon groups circa 1979/80, and issue 1,000 copies of the LP, Songs from Pigland – one of which recently went for £55 on eBay.
Always a big figure on the Swindon music/arts/culture scene, there was a genuine sense of loss when Brian – who taught for many years at Swindon New College – died from cancer at just 55 in 1995.
One of his three sons, Brendan, says: “He was an inspirational guy and was just such good fun to be around with a huge appetite for life and an uncanny knack for making extraordinary things happen.
“Dad lived around his passions – music, art, poetry, Swindon Town, angling and boating.
“He was most passionate, though, about encouraging his friends, students and family to live life to its potential and was always willing to help and connect people to each other and to new ideas.”
Hat’s off, then, to Sir Brian of Pigland!
Stephen Nicholls recalls:
My abiding memories of Marlborough Secondary on the Common are still vivid.
I attended the school from 1964 to 1968. Only the first year was spent up on the common.
The chaotic jumble of army 'nissen huts' as I always referred to them left a deep impression on me.
We were using ink wells with nibbed pens we had to dip. In 1964!. Unbelievable!. Being left handed, you can imagine what that meant. Ink spots and smudges. I was always being told I was careless and untidy, I was teased and bullied mercilessly every day.
Even some of the "teachers" made fun of me.
Fortunately we were only there for the first year of my attendance. We moved to the brand new school building in Chopping Knife Lane in 1965. However, this did nothing to assuage the treatment I got from my fellow pupils/teachers.
This sorry state of affairs continued for three disparaging years until about 1967.
By then, most of the bullies had left and I was able to settle down to some semblance of normal existence.
If you want the blunt and brutal truth, I hated every minute of it. By the time I went there, most of the so called teachers were ex military who were only there to pad out their pensions anyway. They weren't really interested in us.
They definitely should not have been in the positions that they were in!
I well remember Lindsley the english teacher delighted in taking the mickey out of me and making me look stupid in front ot the other kids. Hamley the art teacher was no better. I couldn't wait to get out.
There is no point looking at it through rose tinted glasses.
There are times when you have to tell it as it actually is/was.
Thanks to a combination of Mick Eyles & Fiona Lindsley here are some photos that in some cases need names adding, I enclose the email that came with each image.
There are certainly parts of Stephen's memories that I can empathise with, certainly some of the Teachers were square pegs in round holes and just doing time until retirement and the pension and the kids were a inconvenience. Those double lessons of Maths and Science that were a closed book to you and nobody took time or interest in you if you were struggling.
The thing that I remember above everything was friendships formed and your classmates.
What were your bad memories about life on the Common?
Hi Paul, Have managed to find some more old photo's for you, will send
them as I get them scanned, will have to send them single because they
come from an album from Fiona Lindsley the daughter of Gordon
Lindsley, she has kindly said that you are welcome to post them on
your site. Gordon's wife Barbara has recently died and Fiona has been
clearing out the house, so here we go. This one is from St Mary's
Infants School in March 1959, Richard Lindsley is 4th from the left in
the front row, lots of names to be added there.
If you can spot any of the suspects please send in the details to Doowlrahc@aol.com
This is a rare one. R J ( Jim ) Brimacombe, teacher on the common
1954 ish until the early 60's he used to live at Bridge Cottage
Lockeridge. Pity it's not a bit clearer, I remember him well he used
to enjoy eating, usualy found dinner times down the street with a bag
I don't know if they were all teachers from MSM but I do know their names.
L to R, Jim Brimacombe, Barry Hughes, Gordon Lindsley and Ted Bennett, the
photo was taken in 1961.
I don't think they were discussing school matters
more like cars.
Any Info on the gentlemen in the picture?
I can remember Mr Brimacombe. He took us for gardening a few times.
Mr Bennet I think taught geography. Chris Cable.
Gordon Lindsley with school gang in North Wales 1960, no names though.
I think the picture is a little bit later 1963-64
I recognise Paul Young in the middle stood on the rock holding the mug, I have sent Paul a copy of the photo
to see if he recognises anyone else.
Another from North Wales Easter 1959, from the left,
April Clarke, Wendy Roff and Pam Herring
Another gang of lads from 1959 North Wales
1959 North Wales
Wendy Roff, Diana Slatter, Gordon Lindsley and others
1959 North Wales
Gordon Lindsley and Wendy Roff
1959 North Wales
Diana Slatter, Wendy Roff and others
Can anyone give some names to these North Wales pictures
This is 1959 Lake District.
Diana Slatter PE Mistress in charge.
Diana Slatter PE mistress at MSM 1957-1959 in the lake district in 1959
If you can name anyone in the photos please email them to me at
Thanks Mick & Fiona looking forward to any others that might turn up.
Sec Mod versus Grammar School Football 1963
Willy Lawson sent in this memory
Anyone remember the game? Did you take part in the Match? If so drop a line to the site.
I'm afraid I'm an imposter on this site as I went to the Grammar School down in the Parade. However, if you'll turn a blind eye, I came from Avebury and the chat in our village boys team was often whether the Sec Mod could beat MGS at football - I was outnumbered 10-1 in the arguments! In 1963 I was made Colts XI football secretary and so I approached Sec Mod to see if we could arrange a game. Sure enough a match was fixed up on the Rec one Sat morning on the basis that MGS genuinely played their Colts team only. A least 10 spectators poured in for the game, nearly all Sec Mod supporters and we were continually booed and jeered!
However, MGS won the game 4 - 1 to settle arguments once and for all and the abiding memory for me was scoring from about 18 inches when a shot came back off the bar and then getting barracked for timewasting by booting the ball so hard that it went through the open gate onto the Burbage road and rolled all the way down to the George Lane junction. The only Sec Mod player I remember that day was Colin Martin who scored their goal, perhaps some others remember the game?...........
Then & Now
Alan Gray aged 13
Then & Now
Betty Smart (now Stratton) MSM 1956
Pat Challoner (now Fitzpatrick) MSM 1956
Chris Cable 1960
Chris (On the Left) 2011
Paul Charlwood 2011 (Still looking for a school photo)
Les Gale MSM 1949-1952
School Reunion Saturday 8th October 2011
Daytime 11am to 4pm, School Reunion Disco 7pm-11pm
You are invited to St John’s in Marlborough for a Reunion Day for all ex-students of St John’s, Marlborough Grammar School and Marlborough Secondary Modern Schools. Following our hugely successful reunion in 2009 before the two old school buildings were demolished, many people have been in touch asking us to repeat the day, giving you another opportunity to meet up and this time to see the new school as well. This year we’ll be open during the day and then again in the evening, for a School Disco to remember!
St John’s will be open on Saturday 8 October from 11am to 4pm for all ex-students to come and meet old friends and look around the new school, and again from 7pm-11pm.
A nominal entry charge of £3 per person will be made during the day (if you are bringing your family, children are free). This will give you access to the school and a free guided tour of the new building. Refreshments will be available all day and lunches will be on sale in the restaurant. If you want to arrange to meet up with friends from your year group, you can book a classroom at St John’s. The cost of booking a classroom is £10 per hour (we are sorry but you will not be able to take food or drink into the classrooms).
We will reopen the school at 7pm for a School Disco to remember. Radio Wiltshire DJ Mark Jones, a St John’s student during the 1980s, will return once more to DJ at our 1980s-themed Disco. Licensed bar available. Tickets for the evening are £10. During the day you can pay on the door but evening tickets are on sale in advance. For Disco tickets, or to book a classroom during the day, send a cheque (Disco £10 per person, Daytime room bookings £10 per hour) and a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Reunion Disco, St John’s, Marlborough SN8 4AX and we will send you your tickets/confirmation.
Please let us know if you are planning to come by emailing email@example.com
Tell us your name (and if you have changed your name, what it was at St John’s), your email address/phone number and the year you left the school. We plan to publish lists of names/years (but not contact details) of people planning to come so that others from your year group can plan to meet up with you. If you do not want your name to appear on a list, please let us know.
All the money we raise on the day will be added to our fundraising for our tennis courts and all-weather pitch - the two areas that we haven’t yet been able to complete at the new school. So not only will you have a great time, but you will also be doing your bit for the young people of Marlborough!
Updates and more details will be posted on the St John’s website very soon www.stjohns.wilts.sch.uk
Any questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope to see you there!
A Message from Mike Jones who along with his brother Phil attended the Common 1959/60
A Message from Chris Read nee Lane
Just a quick email to let you know I spent a very happy hour last evening down ‘memory lane’ having found your excellent site of the old Marlborough Sec Mod on the common. Congratulations on your efforts. it really is excellent.
When I have some time I will reminisce with you in more depth. In the meantime I saw a ‘memory’ from Tony Leveika (NZ) He mentioned the Jones twins, of which I am Mike (my brother Phil being the other half!!) Phil moved to Australia in 1982 whilst I live near Salisbury.
I do not know how old Tony’s email memory was, but in case he is still wanting to get in touch my email is email@example.com and Phil’s is firstname.lastname@example.org My wife’s sister lives in Nelson NZ and we were out there for a holiday in 2004.
Tony was wanting other names in our class C 1959/60 (apart from the one’s Tony remembered) Having chatted to Phil this morning we remember, Tony Curtis. Barry Ellis. Robin Payne. Paul (noddy) Nossent. David Smith. Jill Wykes. Suzanne Green. Tony Skoof and Peggy Percival (who Phil tells me is Mayor of Marlborough)
Phil and I arrived at MSM during the latter half (of 1959/60 term (April) having moved from Gloucester so I am not sure if we would be in the starting register but in case we were our DOB was 17/07/48 so we were just coming up for 12 yrs old. I would love a copy of the register anyway to remind me of all the names I have forgotten!
We left school in the summer of 1963. I came top in class, Peggy Percival was 2nd and Phil was 3rd, but I think it was very close with only a couple of points between us.
Kindest regards, and keep up the good work
I have sent Mike's email on to Tony and was able to find the enteries in the school roll.
I was on the common from early 1965 until I finished school in Easter 1966 at 15. I remember Mary Miles she was from Mildenhall (Minal) and the cold winter in the huts. My name is Christine Read ( then it was Christine Lane) my sister who was a year behind me was Judith Lane. Sylvia Read also from Minal went to the School and we were in the same class. I have been married to her brother Richard for nearly 42 years and we now live in Australia. Would love to catch up with anyone who was there about this time and maybe even see a record of my sister and I in the register from 65 -66. or some pics. I didn't like school much but enjoyed my time at Marlborough. My other brother- in- laws (who were a little younger) also went there, their names are Talbot Read and Mark Read.
I was able to help Chris with some of her enquiry
Sorry for the delay in replying to your email, I have been away on holiday.
With the information you provided I have managed to find variouss enteries on the school registers for you.
Christine Lane roll number 2683
Judith Lane roll number 2682
Talbot Read roll number 2559
Sylvia Read roll number 2528
Pauline Read roll number 2529
At this moment I cant find an entry for Mark and I added Pauline as I remembered her from my class when I was on the Commom.
Mary Miles still lives in Marlborough in St Margarets Mead just off of the recreation Ground. I can definitely agree with you it was bloody cold on the common especially if you had to walk one end of the school to the other for your next lesson.
Was there another Read brother who worked on the farm and played football with the Roberts brothers from Poulton on the outskirts of Marlborough on the way to Minal, Dave I think if so, I played in that team with him.
Thanks for the email, Yes my brother in law is David Read and he was friends with the Roberts brothers and worked on the farm. He also worked at the butcher shop in Marlborough, he lives here in Australia with his family, we all live in Queensland. I might have got Mark wrong as he might have been a bit young. Pauline is also my sister in law and lives in Sussex and Sylvia and her husband live in Spain. Richard and I live in a lovely place called Hervey Bay in Qld and I have been a nurse for 33 years, at present I am completing a university degree in nursing (never too old !!!)
Thank you so much for the info I really appreciate it and maybe one day we can get back for a reunion.
If you remember Chris and would like to get in contact please drop me an email at Doowlrahc@aol.com and I will get you in contact.
A message from Robin Ponting has just come, thanks for letting me know that the Visitor's Book is not working and your interest in the reunion. I have now fixed the Visitor's Book.
I tried getting on the visitors book but unable to for some reason.
I do have good memories about my time at the school. One that I do remember is that when out doing cross-country and going around the back of the golf course was keeping an ear out for golf balls. If any appeared it was considered good sport to either pick it up and throw it in the hedge row or stamp it in the ground!
Also there was Jimmy Addison, a very keen model flyer, who used to occasionally bring a model to school and test fly it at lunch breaks. Another memory was having to walk from the school as far as the parade for swimming lessons in the open air pool. It was usually quite cold in there. I expect most ex-pupils will remember the visits to the school dentists. That was never a pleasant visit either.
Well that's about all for now
Sue Owen sent in this message.
Just found the site, great fun. here are some names I remember, Edwina Davies, Pat Green. Jean Cleall, Janet Chidsey. Ellis Davies, Maudie (Heather)Edwards, Irene Gough, John Dobie, Michael Jones, Mary Miles. I'm Sue (nee Owen) now Sculley. I hated school & remember the common very well.bunking off & going into town was best but you had to go back to get the bus back to Aldbourne & Baydon. I've enjoyed a trip down memory lane. Looking for more pics.
If you spot your name why not get in touch with Sue, just send me an email.
Just had this message in from Mike Chandler who attended MSM from 1964
Mr Griffiths (Geography) Mr Evans(Woodwork) Mr Jones(Metalwork) Miss Ruddock (History) Miss Davis (music) Mrs Peers(French) Mr Williams (Science) Mr Endley (PE) the huts on the common are a vivid memory, buckets to catch the water when the roofs leaked in heavy rain, walking from hut to hut in all winds and weathers to attend different classes, it was great fun at the time and we enjoyed it. I remember the ice cream van coming in to the platground at lunch time, can you imagine health and safety allowing that now? Its been lovely looking at your site and I will no doubt spend a lot more time perusing it in the future, thanks very much, Mike Chandler
Mick Eyles came up with this aerial photograph from the 1940's
Found this, I know it's not very good but it was taken in the early 40's. The old school buildings can be clearly seen at the bottom. It goes right up to the clump like this. Unbelieveable. Mick.(Outlined the school site)
This message has just come in from Sally Stapleton, do you know where any of her old friends are that she mentions? If you do perhaps we could get them in contact again.
Does anyone have any photos of the Old School?
LOVE THE SITE OF THE OLD SCHOOL,I WENT THERE FROM 1961 AND LEFT 1964 AS WE MOVED TO BUCKINGHAMSHIRE MUCH TO MY DISLIKE, I QUITE LIKED THIS SCHOOL AS I HAD LOTS OF FRIENDS THERE, I WAS AT RAMSBURY JUNIOR SCHOOL FIRST, SOME OF THE PUPILS I REMEMBER WAS MAUREEN MAY MAUREEN KIRBY,LINDA DAVIES, PATRICA GREEN, PAULINE TALMAGE AND MY BEST FRIEND WAS VALERIE SMITH FROM, FIVE STYLES ROAD, MARLBOROUGH.I USED TO LIVE NEXT DOOR TO MAUREEN KIRBY IN AXFORD.
IF YOU HAVE A REGISTER OF WHEN I STARTED I'D LOVE TO HAVE A COPY OF IT AS I'M DOING MY FAMILY TREE.
I REMEMBER MOST OF THE TEACHERS THAT HAVE BEEN MENTIONED BY OTHER PUPILS.
ARE THERE ANY PHOTOS OF THE SCHOOL IT SELF ?. I REMEMBER THOSE COLD LONG WALKS FROM ONE CLASSROOM TO ANOTHER, MY NAME WAS SALLY STAPLETON AND MY BROTHER WAS ALSO THERE HE WAS CALLED ROBIN STAPLETON SADLEY HE PASSED AWAY IN 2002. I HAVE JUST TURNED 60, BEEN MARRIED ALMOST 37 YEARS HAVE THREE CHILDREN AND SIX GRANDCHILDREN SOON TO BE SEVEN.MY ELDEST GRANDSON IS IN HIS FIRST YEAR AT HIGH SCHOOL. I LIVE IN YORKSHIRE NOW.
I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM ANY OF MY OLD SCHHOL FRIENDS IF THEY REMEMBER ME.I REMEMBER SOME OF US CALLING THE SCHOOL, THE PRISON ON THE HILL, I NEVER REALY LIKED SCHOOL BUT WHEN I THINK BACK MARLBOROUGH WAS THE BEST ONE I WENT TO AND I WENT TO 3 DIFFERENT SECONDARY SCHOOLS AND 9 JUNIOR SCHOOLS
Pete Francis has kindly sent in a collection of Certificates from School Days, these certainly bring back a memory or two.
Thanks for sharing Pete.
Gerald Waldeck has just sent in a message after finding the website
I have just come across this site, I was at the old school on the common between 1959 and and '64, not sure about the leaving date. I didn't leave Marlborough until 73. It would be nice to chat to anyone who remembers me from those times. I have some photos of a school trip to Switzerland that I guess must have been about 62 or 63.
If anyone remembers Gerald and would like to get in contact with him please send me an email at Doowlrahc@aol.com, I will get you in contact.
As soon as the Switzerland photos come in I will post them on the site.
Chris Cable who was in East House has just sent in a message and wonders if his old friend
Clive Hewlett is around?
Mick Eyles has been brave and sent in one of his old school reports.
Has anyone else got any reports or school work tucked away they want to share.
Hi Paul, As you can see I wasn't the brightest bulb in the box, but I
really think I should have been a carpenter or maybe a gardener.
( no not a gardener)
Here is Dave (Taffy) Richards Report from Summer 1955
Are there any more out there?
From Clive Goodman:
I read with interest your `mini blog` re: some of the characters on the teaching staff, I tried to post a message but this machine would not comply, I will have to once again place myself at your tender mercies and hope that you can transcribed them to the page for me.
I recall the rather pompous "Assy" Haines, the archetypal ex R.A.F. bod who felt that education was completely wasted on the likes of us riff raff, Miss Ruddick, always pleasant and kind, Evans the wood, "You will be doing some maths boy" Jim Cullis the rural science man, Brian Hamly the art teacher, who used his desk like a drum, and the ruler as a stick, John Endley was always pretty fair, but then I was an athlete so he had a vested interest, he was ok though, he would enter into conversations with you, which many of the teachers felt unable to do. There was of course dear old Katie Brent the handicraft person, one of the most formidable was Miss Copsey, and you could hardly breath without drawing attention of her hawk like gaze.
I can also recall Jim Beasant and Spike Channing, whose tireless efforts gave us somewhere to play, and kept us warm during the winter months, when the prevailing inclemency made the common a place akin to the artic tundra. Another very formidable character was Mrs Smith, the head honcho of the dinner ladies, or as she was known to a few as `Comrade McMothersmith` such was the austerity of her sense of humour, we fully expected to see her seated atop of Lenin’s tomb on May the first.
In the early years there was a bloke called Brimmacombe, an interesting character, but save the best till last, John Forward, a maths teacher, whilst I languished in the `C` stream, our work completed such as it was he would read to us, the first book he read to us George Orwell’s Animal Farm, which even then sowed a seed within what passes for a brain, and led me to read extensively of political matters, and finally laid me on the doorstep of the Cynical school of philosophy, to which to this day I am still a fervent devotee, you have probably had a go at the great Diogenes yourself if you haven’t I recommend that you do, I suppose it was the fact that we on the common were classed as the cannon fodder part of society, I mean the first thing we were told was as we met in the assembly hall on that fateful first day, was " just because you have failed its not the end of the world " so whilst the Grammar school despite already having a reasonable building were given a new one, we were condemned for another four years in Stalag Luft ala common, so it was easy to see where the real priorities of those with the money jobs and power actually were.
I wonder if anyone out there still has the ruler, rubber and the dreadful dippy ink pen that was issued to us by Bert as we sat in the art room on that gloomy September day in 1961, get that on E Bay Boyo. Enough rambles for this unearthly hour of a Monday, its a lovely day, and all I have to do is clean up the bothey, and strim the grass around the fishpond, do I feel lucky you bet I do!!.
Love and Peace Clive Goodman
The School Layout Part two (I think) by Paul Charlwood
Aged 59 years & 5 months ex 1a, 2b, 3b, 4b & 5a
I have been trying to think of what was where on the “Common” when I first entered that unusual seat of learning (I must admit I didn’t know how unusual the conditions and site was. I don’t think you do when you are a kid?)
Starting from the Children’s Hospital side of the Common the first building you came upon at the back gate entrance was “The Office” the headmasters office Bruce (Burt) Taylor and his secretary Joan Foulke (Her husband Oscar (American) was Landlord at the Red Lion at Axford). The Office was the only time you got to see the school trophies whilst bending over or holding your hand out for six or three whacks for heinous crimes such as smoking, disagreeing with a teacher,or having a rough and tumble. The other time you go to go to the office with out offending was when in the 4th year you had to do "Office Duty" or be the schools dogsbody for the day running errands.
The classroom on the left was Mr (Ticker) Turner who taught English his chosen methodof punishment was his Malay Slipper. Really Mr Turner was an accademic who had no idea about children and how to impart his vast knowledge.
On the right was the Science block overseen by Mr (Smiley) O’Neil. I cannot remember an awful lot about him, except he was nominally in charge of sex education, those sex lessons confirmed that the girls were far more mature & knowledgeable than the boys. I do remember that from the lobby the bell was sounded for the change of lessons.
On the left was the Old Boiler house(without a boiler) where Jim Beasant & Tom (Spike) Channing used to perform their minor miracle of keeping us dry and warm, if you were male and found guilty of some misdemeanour you could find yourself on the coke heaving gang and coke scuttle filling duties. Some tried to get put on this duty on purpose to get out of lessons and occaisonally score a fag off Jim or Spike. Next to the Caretakers Kingdom was the Green House where we murdered over watered and occasionally got things to grow.
On the right of the path was I think Mr Forward’s classroom a teacher who I only had when another teacher was off ill. On those odd occasions it was like a ray of sunshine in the middle of a storm, the only lessons I really remember as fun. Sharing this block was Mrs Bartley the Geography teacher who seemed to quite like organising school field trips. I can remember Southampton Docks. The Canal at Wilcot and also the nature reserve at Milk Hill the Radstock Coalfields and Glastonbury.
The next block housed Gordon Lindsley a very complex man with a chip on his shoulders he blew hot and cold. He was very much into Boy’s Own stuff camping, climbing and Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme. On the other side of the block was English teacher Mrs Phyllis Hughes whose teaching methods and attitude came from a Dickens’s novel. The whole class reading out loud then taking it in turns to read a page at a time, from such riveting novels as The Cherry’s build a Galleon and Heidi. For me the top hat was learning a poem a week and reciting it back like a load of Parrots, an act that was single headedly guarantied to turn young people off of literature for life.
Now one of my favourite rooms on the left side, the music room with Mrs (Beatnik) Davies. I enjoyed this room because of the anarchy and mayhem and the amount of laughs that were generated without any consequences. I remember that Beatnik tried a different approach by promising us a recording of some really cool music for us to listen to and appreciate, would it be the Beatles or The Stones?
Yet another disappointment in our young lives, The Life Story of Louis Armstrong (before he recorded Wonderful World)
On the right was the Library in truth the cast offs that people didn’t want or need, the pre War Encyclopaedias were a particular favourite of mine. Joined onto this room was the art department it's was firstinhabited by Mr Fairburn who also doubled up as the Technical Drawing teacher and taught art with the passion of a technical drawing teacher. Brian Hamley who personally I thought was a top man later replaced him, although not the most energetic of men, he loved music (a very good drummer) had a good sense of humour and seemed to enjoy life and have little respect for authority. He was also a Swidon Town supporter.
In the bottom part of this site was the gym area, two converted garages that leaked like sieves and were the domain of Mr (Basil) Beazley a bluff Yorkshire man who only had time for the top 10% and later John Endley who people seemed to get on with a lot better. The playground (Boys Only) originally a motor park and parade ground was werewe let off steam, relived great sporting moments, settled scores and got away from the whole drudge of lessons for a while before having to troop back to the dreaded double maths. Before returning to class one had to avail themselves of the facilities and joys of Block 19 the loos come changing room for boys if girls were using the Gym. I always remember that some people always went there to eat their sandwiches (Kept in OXO tins) at lunchtime, what was that all about? (I often wondered if they ended up as lavatory attendents?)
The other building was by the main entrance an old single storey building that had the grand name of the Caretakers Bungalow (although it was uninhabited) which doubled up for medical inspections (remember the TB Jabs/Polio Jabs and the like) A certain pupil who was supposed to bring the next victims from around the school for the medical people got bored while hanging about and amused himself by removing tiles from the floor and wall and stacking them very neatly, Mr Taylor was not amused.
I will try and summon up the old grey matter and post about the other side of the school in the next few days.
6/10 Must try harder, spelling & punctuation need work
Here are some memories from Anthony Goodson
Hi to anyone who remembers me! I went to the common school 56 through to 59, when I then left the area.
My memories are of a cold bleak barracks type place with teachers to match. I had one rgular mate at school,
John Battey we spent most of our time together, helping each other out of scrapes. I remember getting the strap
for fighting where on one occasion we ended up in the caretakers cabbages, and being carted to
the hospital over the road from the school (forgotten the name) when I fell on the ice and knocked my self out.
Also its where I found my first girlfriend, although I think she felt different, I remember spending my pocket money
on sweets and giving them all to her, her name was Mavis Bull and I would love to make contact just to say hi.
My favourite lesson was science we spent our lesson making model airplanes. I can't think of any more right now
but am sure I will later.
Regards from Tony Goodson.
P.S. I would love to hear from any one
If anyone knows any of the names mentioned in Tony's message or you are one of those names,
please contact me at Doowlrahc@aol.com and I will get you in touch
Result Hi, I'm Jane Page (married to Casey) and I'm writing on behalf of Mavis Bull who does not have a pc. Tony Goodson said he'd like to know what she's up to now and by co-incidence I bumped into her today whilst shopping. She asked me to say hello and to let you know that she lives in Swindon, is married and has a son and grandson. She would like to know who (if) you married and whether you have children and what you're up to these days. She is also very keen to find out what happened to her old friend Beryl Crew whose parents used to run the New Inn at Manton so if you or anyone else knows her whereabouts can you let me know and I will pass the info to Mavis. Many thanks.
Tony's Reply (You can seen his picture on the Photo page)
Thanks for mail I am over the moon, and appreciate all the hard work you put in.
I am delighted to hear about Mavis, I assumed that all these years she still lived in Avebury, I also lived in Swindon for many years, recently relocating. Just a few words that may be of interest, Mavis was my first schoolboy crush although I suspect she never realised it, all my pocket money, which in those days was very limited i spent on Mavis in the form of sweets, spangles as i recall. I remember telling all my school chums that she was my girl friend; I know that she used to talk to me but I suspect it was due to free sweets. She had a friend called Pauline Garrett. Very strangely at some point in the late 60s i without knowing worked with Pauline’s step brother Malcolm Chivers in Berwick Bassett, I mentioned on several occasions the fact that i went to school with Pauline (i should say here that Berwick Bassett is next door to Avebury) who was a friend of Mavis’s, but he never revealed the connection. Then in 1999 I again by coincidence worked with Pauline at Readers Digest in Swindon. This was the first time i met her since leaving school, after a lot of chat she told me that she had more or less lost contact with Mavis. I often thought of Mavis as you do, wondering how life was treating her and what did she look like. I would dearly love you to pass on my regards and just say I would love to see a current photo of her, if that is allowed. I will include a current photo of me that you can pass on (if that’s allowed also). Look forward to a reply. A little bit about me, happily married, 3 children, no grand kids now aged 60 and retired. Lived in Grange Park Swindon. I had my own business in Calne. My daughter lives in Darlington, we loved the area so much we moved there in 2001. Once again many thanks and hope you will pass my mail on and look forward to a reply.
Regards from Tony
Anyone else want to send in a picture of how they are today?
While doing some research I came across this article from the Marlborough Times which I have reproduced
Marlborough Times Friday March 18th 1966: Off the Record by Townsman
The storm clouds whipped across the sky. Rain threatened as we strolled down to the banks of the river Kennet at Ramsbury. The sharp cruel wind howled mournfully through the trees and carelessly blew the hair of the girl standing next to me across the face. The river swollen by recent rains, hissed menacingly like a snake furious as it thrashed its through the little weir at the Hitches, It was a miserable day for a walk by the river. But it was a different story last summer. After a balmy summers day in June, two young Ramsbury lads decided to go for a swim. One of them got into difficulties and would have almost certainly fallen victim to the under currents in the river, but a young girl dived into the 15 feet deep water and saved him.
Besides me on the bank that depressing March day last Thursday was that brave girl, 15-year-old Christine Braxton. She had the day off from School-in the morning, she had visited Marlborough Magistrates Court for the first time where she was presented with the Royal Humane Society’s Honorary Testimonial for her courageous act. But beside me on the riverbank she casts her mind back to that day in late June and relived the moment that made her not only a heroine of Ramsbury but all the district. “It had been a pretty normal day” she told me “I came home from school and did my homework and then decided to go for a walk with a few friends. We went along the High Street and then just decided to go down to the river.”
“We sat on the bridge as we watched the boys swimming. Suddenly they started swimming into a very deep part were the currents are difficult. They got into difficulties and Graham (Graham Browning 12, whom she saved) started going under. The other boy managed to get into the bank.” “I didn’t really think” I just ran all the way to where he was, took off my shoes and socks and jumped in.”
Most people know Christine rescued the boy and gave him artificial respiration. But what’s is generally not known is that Christine only held a Learners Certificate for swimming and had never done any life saving.
Christine and her friends were the only people around to see the boys’ plight. The next day she was back at Marlborough Secondary Modern School, she told a few friends but next day the Headmaster had been told.
“But” said Christine who lives with her Mother and Father at the High Street Ramsbury “I didn’t think it would cause so much fuss.” Christine has got another “Prize” to receive for her brave act- her Headmaster is giving her a holiday to Switzerland this Summer. But Christine who also won a Special Red Cross award earlier reckons life in the small village of Ramsbury is “pretty dull”.
Clive Goodman has had some thoughts on 60s Teaching methods!
As with the charter of the B.B.C. the aim of a school should be to educate, but inform and entertain as well, in this most ideal of situations a child could not only learn, but also make sense of what they had learned and then put it to some use.Of course not all of us learn in the same way, as humans we are different, my memories of the methods, if that’s what they were at the Common, were that for the most part we were treated very much as ovine quadrupeds, similar to those who were flogged of at the annual sheep fair that was held on the common.
The first `visual` we experienced at the Common was those wonderful hymn sheets, suspended as they were from the ceiling of the assembly hall, one right at the front the other halfway up the aisle itself. It was often the avowed aim of certain individuals to launch prune stones at the sheets during the chaos that was the lunch time, as I recall only one boy even succeeded, and was coerced into a confession by `Evans the Wood`, he then got another two boys to lower the stricken sheet for the offending chap to clean it with a damp cloth, avidly supplied by Mrs.Smith the lead dinner lady, who appeared to gloat at the boys misfortune, probably thinking that the score was being evened up a little for all the japes that remained undetected.
When you think about it I can hardly recall the Common being ablaze with colour, my memories are almost monochrome, not even the art room offered any visual stimulation, there were of course maps in the geography rooms, but little of anything anywhere else. In the geography lessons a very stern Mrs Bartley would produce the `duplicator`, a formidable piece of equipment, almost the size of a two gallon container, she would vigorously turn the handle and blank maps would appear, to handed around to us in the class so that we would then mark on the maps the towns and cities that we had been told of in the previous lessons. Poor old Page was really in a fix one day, as he as usual was not paying any heed whatsoever to what was going on and just sat there mind a blank, however up pops the ever helpful Christopher Morris, who told Casey where all these places were, only for poor old Page to discover at the end of the lesson that he had been the victim of a very cruel practical joke, yes Morris had told him to mark Southampton, where Liverpool should be, and Bristol where Newcastle should be, and so on and so forth.
In the science lab we had the benefit of `light boxes` natty little things which would be plugged in and light up so that we would then learn the rudiments of reflection, refraction, for the most part when `Smiler O’Neil` was unsighted they were used as a `laser like device` to attempt to deprive the person sitting opposite of their eyesight by shinning it in their face. Also in geography we had slide shows on the still projector, this was great fun as of course the lights were switched off, cue another bout of silent mayhem, which included propelling paper pellets with elastic bands, extremely very rude gestures, to no one in particular, and the attempted mutilation of anyone’s genital area by whatever means, but all of this was carried in silence, unless the unguarded yelp of pain from a victim was audible enough to invoke the intervention of Miss Chute or Mrs Bartley. We were studying a part of Africa and looking at the lifestyle of the people living around the Table Mountain area, a slide appeared of a hut made of reeds and leaves, right on cue Casey Page, who’s efforts to goad and denigrate Dave Bowden has no boundaries or taste, blurted out "that’s Bowden’s house", generating howls of laughter.
Only very rarely did we get to see a real film, I can recall us all being marched to the hall to view the government information films on the terrors of T.B. and being proselytised into having those really terrible jabs, much time was passed in the playground with pupils making comparisons of how their reactors were reacting.Sometimes the youth employment service would show up and show films about the wonderful world of work, but on these occasions Bert would be in evidence, and he was the catalyst to promote the very best of behaviour, even Roston Crook used to behave when Bert was there. Again in the science lab was the venue for film education, with both Williams and O’Neil often using this aid, I can recall the anti smoking film with Williams popping during the showing, and yes you’ve guessed to have a drag.
So then with the exception of books there was little or no stimulation of the visual variety, but when I attended parents evenings for my own children the school wa ablaze with many and varied pictures, posters, notices, displays of pupils art works and the like, perhaps it was due to the walls being so damp that they would never stick I do not know, but the place was drab.
Stan Griffiths the history teacher would often get out of type and show creativity, this he would do by painting very colourful and graphic pictures of bit of history, one that sticks in my mind is a work called early dwellings, which of course Page had hours of fun with, strangely though we never actually did study anything to do with early dwellings.
A little akin to the phrases `joined up Government and `ethical foreign policy` in todays speak.
I rest my case.
Love and Peace Clive John Goodman. 1.b 2.b.2.c3.c 4.c.4.b then freedom (No we loved it really ...did we ???)
A Contribution from Chris Mac
The best days of your life? Some were, others best forgotten.
That building held more secrets than a world war two operations room.Cold,damp not the place to look forward going back to after running up to the Water Tower on a wet, cold January morning with a detour round the edge of the Golf Course for the golf ball hunt.(Pin money folks)
The bungalow at the top of the path, Bert’s office I only went there once for the cane, stood outside with 2 others, can't remember who but it was a long wait. Can anyone stand up and say it was me?
Fire monitors I think we were there to set the place on fire, objective was to get the fires so hot that the classroom could not be used due to being too hot, problem was if they got too hot they melted into the floor. They were not happy bunnies.
(Mouch) 1B, 2B, 3B Register monitor I used to hate the walk to take the register down, knock on the door and stand and wait until he decided to let the door monitor open the door to let you in and then stand their looking at what the cat had dragged in, me trembling from head to toe. 4B who was picked as one of his door monitors yours truly. What power to open the door and see others standing there in that position Trembling. Great.
He was one of the best Form Teachers; the other one who sticks in the mind was Lindsay (the slipper)
Mr Forward the book reader until he threw a wobbly and all hell broke loose didn’t learn a lot with him did we!
Mr Haines.(Maths) Someone always wound him up and when he was it was a very small classroom nowhere to hide.
Miss Ruddick (RE) I think, you were lucky to get a front seat in that class, but she was very good because she would sit on her desk with her feet on a chair so all could see, even us smaller one’s at the back. See What!
O’Neil (Science) This bloke was nuts I thought unless you were into his subject, some of us had some Liquid Oxygen one day to test a tennis ball, dip in then it smashed to bits, very good but we had more fun burning holes in the bench with it. That was science.
Richard Osler recalls:
Sorry that I don't have any photographs or reviews - however, I do remember taking part in a play called "The Crimson Coconut" and this was during December 1961 if my memory serves me correctly. Also in the play were Jim Addison and (I think) Leonard Skinner. I was in 4B at that time.
Does anyone remember the "The Crimson Coconut" or have any photo's. Was it a Gordon Lindsley production?
Clive Goodman replied:
I do in fact recall the `Crimson Coconut` I think it was my first play at the Common, I recall a rather contrived explosion when the object of the title duly went off with a little bang right at the end of the play, more than that I realy cannot recall, apart from a cast member getting a good laugh when she entered the stage via the wrong door, producing a rather good ad lib, or it may even have been part of the direction, she said "wrong door" in a very exagerated accent, sad eh to be able to recal such drivel after all these years.
In another message from Richard after sending out the his entry in the 1961 Leaving Register:
That was a quantum leap back to Christmas 1961 when I left. Very interesting to see the leaving registers. Thank you. I probably have quite a few memories from back then. The problem is, that I have difficulty remembering what happened several hours ago! Actually, I arrived at the school after spending the first eleven years of my life in London. The school seemed to be just a collection of ex-army huts on the hill, and having just arrived from a school with it's own theatre and swimming pool, it was very disheartening. That, coupled with my London accent made me stand out like a sore thumb, and I managed to get into quite a few scrapes. I was in Gordon Lindsley's class and because of my knowledge of aviation and my desire to join the RAF, I enjoyed being one of his pupils, (his RAF background fascinated me), but I still managed to get the slipper on the hand on occasions.
I remember the Maths teacher Mr Hughes (Mooch). He was quite a dour individual and wore a cloth cap. I will put my mind to it, when I have some time, and I am sure that I can provide a few anecdotes from that period.
Ron Ebrey (M.S.M. student 1951 to 1955) Recalls
I am on holiday and was doing a bit of surfing the net when I came upon the M.S.M. site. I can go back further than most of the contributors to the memories page. I lived with my parents, grandfather and two brothers in No.7 hut Marlborough common from 1945 to 1951, and remember the huts being converted in to the school. The first school I attended was St. Mary`s infants in Herd St. and then St. Peter`s boys school where Mr. Lovett was the head master. I remember (Bicky) Bristow, Mr Lunn and Miss Shelton as my teachers. I failed the 1tothe plus so the Common was for me. My parents had moved by this time to Ogbourne St. George where my dad ran the garage and cafe. M.S.M. school was divided into two with a road running through the middle. On one side of the road was the Assembly Hall which doubled up as a dining hall at lunch time. Near it were the woodwork and metal work classrooms and the girls domestic science classroom. There were also a couple of further classrooms. On the other side of the road was the sports field and gymnasium plus the main toilet block. Most of the classrooms and the headmasters study were on this side of the road. The headmaster was the one armed Bomber Brown who it has to be said was the most sadistic individual I have ever come across. Bomber would take assembly in his mortar board and gown and would scared the living daylights out of any one who crossed him. The headteacher was Mr Taylor a much nicer and career teacher who later became headmaster. Other teachers were Mr. Mower, Miss Jenkins, Mr.Brimacombe and Mr Evans. I left school with about enough education to get me a job in Swindon but only just enough. I carried on my education at night school but it took me ages to catch up with my elder brother who had attended the grammar school. The war had only ended a few years before the school was built so the facilities in the huts was very basic and the education authorities must have had a very difficult job to recruit teachers. My memories of the `common` are happy ones and still have a school photograph taken in 1955 of all the students and teachers plus programmes and school reports. Also, I remember the first line of the school hymn `Play up the school our dear old school our best to thee help us to yield........... Good Luck with the site and happy new year to all.
Ron Ebrey (M.S.M. student 1951 to 1955)
Cross Country. (Clive Goodman)
Most classes , especialy the boys, were made to go on cross country runs as part of the twice weekly P.E. classes, I have to say that Mr Endley was not quite so hot on this as was his predecessor Mr.Basley, but suffice to say between the two of them we all had more than our fair share of running around what was then a nine hole golf course.
The Head of the common seemed particularly keen that the annual cross country races , senior and junior were held each year, in both cases we were lined up on the goal line of the lower soccer pitch, by Haines, or Endly, who would hold a white hankerchief in the air, and upon its being lowered would signal a stampede which could only resemble a scene from the film Zulu, except we were all white and carried no form of intimidating weaponary, how times change, ( perhaps an edit I don`t care if you don`t).
I of course along with all the other mostly reluctant participants followed a ridiculouse pace, knowing that full well, by the time we reached the bottom of the first gulley on the golf course, we would, that is the non runners, knackered.
The rest of this endurance test was carried out by each participant in thier own individual way,some quite sensibly jogged others ran then stopped, then ran, then stopped, some ran more tha stopped, others stopped more than ran, whilst those with the natural ability to do so, competed for the honour of being first home.
The only race we all ran, was when we approached Berts office, on the last leg,comming down from the water tower, and circumnavigating the perimiter fence, then running parralled to the main road to enter the playground past the caretakers bungalow, (who did take all those tiles and stack them), I recall the two high jump stands being placed about twenty feet apart, to form a funnel which would usher you into the gym, at the entrance to the funnel old Griffiths would give a postage stamp size card bearing a number, this indicated the sum of you efforts, my lowest was 45, and the highest 67, well I was in puberty at the time, spotty face and all !!.
That being done,it was into the gym or be ushered to block 19 to change, no shower, I bet Waltons, Stouts, Smiths, and Barnes, the coach operators had a fine aroma permiating around their charabangs as they conveyed the weary contestants homeward that day.
But hey as Mac Maclaughlin said to me a we dallied for a while, "Goody were missing double maths" what a perceptive character he was.
Talking of Mac, what a brave bloke, he used to love soccer, but had a bit of problem, during games no one ever tried harder to impress to get into the school team, I must say as well that he was activly encouraged by Chris Morris, who was probaly the best player in the shcool, each week Endly would pin the selected team up in the gym door, all those with a vested interest would rush up at the end of the day on a Thursday, we had to rush before Royston Crook had the chance to work his satircal oracles next to our names, Mac would also join us to see if his name was present among us, for a few weeks he was overlooked, one week though we were short, he got picked, and to his eternal credit once in was rarely left out, played on the wing did Mac, had a nice corner kick and a more than a half decent cross.
On the Saturdays that we played away, we were reqired to meet in the parade, by Bakers the jewler, if anyone is interested I still have a ring box which bears the name and three digit phone no. of T.C. Baker the jewler.
These Saturdays were fun as it gave the boys a chance to try and inpress the girls, as for the most part we had little or no contact with them, the good looking bastards like Bowden and Morris, were always well ingratiated, whle others such as myself were hopelesly side lined, no change there then !!!.
The other schools we played against were varied and a fair distance to travel, Tidworth, Southbroom, West Lavington, Calne, and of course Pewsey.
Not a great place for cricket was the Common but we did have a share of pretty good athletes, there of course Chris Morris, who was good at anything, Patrick Kiely, David Pike, but above all was Stuart Cook, who was head and shoulders above us all.
I think the only occasion we ever won the Alderman Free America cup was was when a team of very few, which included Bernard Darcy, Morris , Kiely, Pike, Graham Richards, myself and probably a few others, triumphed over adversity to win the annual three way contest with the Grammer and the College.
The day of that victory was wonderfully embelished by some of the highest japes I ever took part in, I don`t think I have ever to this day laughed as much as that day, but as they say here in Wales, what goes on tour stays on tour, so that all you`ll hear about that, but realy each time I drive ast the College, I think about the outrageous behaviour and how Bert never got to hear about it, perhaps he did and chose to ignore it as we had returned victorious for a change.
Sport like so many aspect of our education on the Common was basicaly hit ad miss affair, I think the rule was if you any good you could join and do it, but for those who were not imbued with any apptitude toward sport, well you had to feel sorry for them.
We did recieve a few cursory lessons from Endly and Beasly on how to kick a football, and to be fair to Endley he would take time on showing you how to hold the jevelin discuss and shot, but with the paucity of the facilities, and the time it took us to get to the lesson and get changed, it left very little or no time for any real instruction and practice on the art of throwing, kicking, jumping and running.
It must, in a way bear testament to the character of the many who did suceed at County level that they were able to even compete let alone enjoy the odd moment or triumph as they often did, when you think of what passed for so called facilities.
So just a passing rambling insight from a jaundiced point of view of sporting life for the Commoners, if this generates any thoughts or urges to disagree, or even a heatec agreement, please join in, I bet old `Charley` is well hacked of that the site has gone so quiet of late, so from one in the land of the peoples voice, lets hear from you.
Love and Peace Clive ( Goody)
That brought back some memories and a cold sweat thinking about the cross country, or as some of us approached it an exercise in golf ball collecting and retailing to Stan Griffiths for 3d or 6d depending on condition. Clive a cracking piece, come on guys you must have some sporting memories to share?
We are now reaching even further, in fact New Zealand. Anthony Leveika writes:
Hi I looked at the Marlborough Secondary Modern site with interest, I attended the school 1959-1963, the messages brought back many memories of the teachers even though there are many whom I can not remember their names, one I didn't see mentioned was Miss Copsey, who had a very long nose and whose usual form of punishment was to threaten to either stop teaching and say we would have to explain to the head when he came on his rounds why there was no teaching or teacher present or else made the person stand out in the halway where that person would be collected up by the head and go up to the office.
The real purpose of this message is I would like to know what the school is now called as I would like to contact them, I am researching my family history and I would like to get hold of my school records, my family came to New Zealand in 1965.
Thank you for any help you can give
I was able to furnish Tony with his old school records and some information that might help him in his research. My father (Vic Charlwood) knew Tony's father "Alf" back in the early 60's when they both worked at English Farms, Rockley just outside Marlborough.
Hi Paul, Thank you for the welcome e mail and attachments, it was most interesting, what a small world, I remember Vic very well and his Spaniel, Dads name was Alphonsas but he was called what you said plus Alf, the article that you mentioned in the Farmers Weekly do you remember when that was it would be wonderful to get a copy of it, I may be able to get one from the Farmers weekly archives.
One half of the farm shooting rights were let out to a Doctor who used to train up gun dogs every day, mainly English setters, he was a wonder to watch.
I believe that the farm has been sold several time since we were there and the road is now blocked off.
Mum died in 1967 and Dad died over 20 years ago. which is why I wanted the school records as I was hoping I would find out what other place we lived in, I think there were four or five cottages before Top Temple. I have sent an e mail to St John, but it doesn't sound hopful from what you were told. My sister Naida also attended Marlborough until we left For NZ.
I will see what photos I have, a lot was lost as Dad remarried.
You are welcome to put my e mail on the web site, I was in the C class all the way through, I have been trying to think who my class mates were, There were the Jones twins, Patrick Mason( O,Connor) David Walker, Paul a Belgian boy, Angela Page, Timothy Bedlington that's about all I can think of I can see other faces.
In the winter we used to run water down the tarmac in front of the gym so it was frozen the next day for sliding on.
Regards for now
Hi Paul, Thanks for the latest email and Nadia's schol info, your site certainly has made me remember my school days and the people there I will keep an eye on it and pass the site name on, the internet is a very usful tool I would hate to be without it, I would never have got where I am with the family research without it, I have met distant family members from all over the world who are researching different branchs of my tree and we have been able to exchange information and help each other.
I have sent e mails to to the schools so hopefully I will hear something in the next week or so.
Cheers for now
If anyone remembers Tony or his sister Nadia and would like to contact them drop me a line and I will get you in touch. Does anyone have information or contact with any of the class mates Tony mentions?
Further musings of a practical nature from our Celtic rural affairs correspondent Clive (Percy Titchmarsh) Goodman
Relaxing Downtime, Practicalities.
In terms of escaping from the mundacity of the daily grind of Maths, English, and the other associated subject matter, the `practicles`were an opportunity to do any of the following, be creative and inventive, hone ones skills for a later in life job opportunity, scive or just piss around and have a laugh, the later I fear being the preffered option for many of us.
Metalwork and Rural Science were the curicula of the first formers, we had to wait untill we were in the hedonistic second year before we could sample the delights of the man of whose homeland I now inhabit, Evans the wood, "you`ll be doing some maths boyo".
It seems to me that the doctors of spin were at it in the days before the Rev Blair and his cohorts made it part of daily life, Rural Science,was really another term to get us gardening.
Charlie, sent me a very amusing e -mail the contents of which illistrated perfectly the dangers generated by some of the more wayward antics in the metal work room, yes certainly anarchy and hot metal were rather a lethal combination in the unstructured minds of us young, priapic,and energetic group such as we.
The teacher for Rural Science was the affable Jim Cullis who as Charlie mentioned would stink out the whole school by sterilising soil, or as Page would annoyingly call it dirt, always to be upbraided by the ever patient Jim Cullis, there was the double digging, the early potato experiment, when Cullis would painstakingly try to teach the correct terminology, chats, they were the waste, wear, were the crop as he would call it, all studiously seperated into sizes, each variety kept seperate from one another, well in theory anyway, untill Cullis had his back turned, then we would strike, Casey to the fore, followed by Bowden, Morris, Preece, Mula, Goodman,Crook, and Stagg, these spuds were thrown around with such reckless abandon that for no real conclusion would ever emerge from the experiment.
One particular incident has stayed in my mind for all these years, and probably produced the second best laugh I ever had at the Common.
We all trouped in wearily one to begin the double gardening, the day was overcast, windy and dry, Cullis announced that we would ,in pairs with one wheelbarrow per pair, transfer, some soil, from what was quite large heap next to the shed where all the tools and barrows were kept, this soil,or dirt according to Page, was to be deposited in the old static water tank, which was a delapitated brick lined hole on the right of the road that seperated the two halves of the school, it was probaly about two hundred yards from the gates where we crossed the road.
The diivision of the male part of 4b, was always a self fulfilling prophecy, like bloody swans it seemed we paired of for life, or for the duration of life on the Common anyway, Page and Bowden, Mula and Preece, Stagg and Mac, Morris and Goodman, I`ve often wondered what Chris Morris did for fun while I was down in the C stream for a year, who did he take the piss out of then ?
Cullis was strident in his instructions to us,any messing around, and the hammer would fall, a visit to the Head Master was almost an inevitable outcome on this one.
So kitted out with a shovel each, and a barrow between the two, off we set to the heap of `dirt`in line we awaited our turns to fill up our barrows, as each pair had completed the filling of their barrows, off they went on the five minute hike up to the disused static water tank, now this is were it all began to unravel, Cullis hade made it plain that there should be, if operated correctly,no barrows in the tank, oh well, he got that wrong then did'nt he !!!.
As Chris Morris and I were on our way up, Stagg and Mac were on there way back for the second load, it was plain that they were not to very well impressed with what they had been unfortunate to witness while they were tipping there barrows contents into the said tank,
The expletives would in the very best Germanic Anglo Saxon and were copiouse in there use, the body language was distrought and the voices were trill to say the least, as I looked ahead of me I could see what could be best descibed as a ` mellee`, black blazered youths,disapearing then reapearing, from the water tank, which must be said had not contained the liquid which bore its name for some years, Page and Bowden were weak with paroxims of laughter, we left our barrow at the bottom of the grassy bank which ascended to the lip of the wall where we were supposed to be tipping the contents of our barrows, the barrow of Mula and Preece was at the bottom of the tank, with the contents of at least three other barrows covering it, but this was not all, Crook, Bowden, Page were busily orchestrating the next deposits, I forget who were the unfortunates at the bottom of the four to five feet drop at the bottom of the tank, desperatly attempting three primary abjectives, one was to remove the soil off the barrow, the second was to extricate both the barrow and themselves, from an increasingly desperatesituation, a trip to the Head Master, was the third I imagine they were trying to survive, when someone spied the approaching Cullis, all hands were at the pump and the offending barrow and its two soil covered opreatives were duly restored to above ground terra firma, Cullis was not not entirely convinced that his well thought out operation was going completly to plan, but the lack of concrete evidence would this time prevent him unleashing the wrath which would send a few Bertwards !
To the best of my now hazy recollection the remainder of the lesson passed without too much other undue incident,save of course the occasoinal collision, some glancing blows, some very near missses, and some of the more determind and headstrong, were very much of the head crash on variety.
What realy does stick in my mind was the abject `coolness` of one Casey Page, who`s ability to create mayhem and chaos knew no bounds, but his ability to abdicate all responsabilty, and laugh loudly at his completed handywork was indeed a tonic to us all.
I wonder did this guy ever get the cane ?
I will draw this piece to a close now as its gone on a bit, it is one of my favourites, rest assured it has been recanted oft to the burgoning Goodman prodginy during their formative years, producing much laughter on the way.
Clive as always a good read, with many laughs along the way, you are dead right about "Casey" Page he was made of asbestos. I look forward to your further musings on the "Practicals". Has any one else got memories from Woodwork, Metalwork. What about the highs and lows of Domestic Science and Needlecraft, there must be a story or two you might want to share!
Twas the Season to be Jolly by Clive Goodman (Welsh Thespian)
Having read Rob's fabulous contribution to the site, and my recent recollection of two scenes from the "Crimson Coconut" I thought I would recant what detail I could concerning my own forray into the "amdram" scene on the Common.
As with all the Christmas end of term jollies the play was traditionaly concieved, managed and directed by the embullient Mr Gordon Lyndsey, who of course was the form teacher of 4.B, and the custodian of the annual dip into the wonderful world of dramatic entertainment.
In all fairness he led a discourse of sorts into which play we could actualy perform, but thinking back, our class was hardly overflowing with natural thespian talent, in fact the reverse would be rather more aptly describe us, we did of course have an abundance of very funny and witty individuals, many of whom could be depended upon to produce a wry and mordant comment as the situations arose, the late Valerie Ward, Linda Raisey, Jennifer Daley amongst the girls, and the usual suspect among the boys, Bowden Page, Morris, Preece, and one in particular who had more than a natural talent for looking side ways at life, one Derek Mula, whose wit often confused many of us as he was pretty much one of a kind.
So following a limited discourse, it was decided to have a go at a play called the `Bloaters`, I knew this play as when I did my 3C. banishment we did it as part of a class study thing with Miss Chute, not that I was ever in the running for a part in the epic, my part in the whole thing was arrived at by defualt that could only result in a combination of dynamics that a class room of pubescent teenagers could promote.
The play was a light comedy, based on snobbery and the class thing, I think the nucleus of the plot was that the young girl in the poor family, was going to bring home for tea a rather well to do friend for afternoon tea, but for tea on that day the poor family wrere having bloaters, which I think is some sort of dead fish which you get out of a tin.
The part I landed by defualt was of the poor girls little and somewhat iritating brother, how wonderfully cast I hear you say !
The cause of this was that "Pedro" Preece was oringinaly called upon by Linno to play this part, but in order to gain an element of realism he had to don a pair of short trousers, well Pedro you may have held this secret close to your breast for a few years now, but cometh the hour cometh the man, you bottled it dear boy, he was given a few days to mull it over, but in the end the thought of bearing his marbled pins to the whole school proved a bridge too far, and he had his multi million pound contract annulled by mutual consent, and was withdrawn from the production.
But who was to play the part of the little git now that the star was unborn, some bastard nominated me, and Linno at his now ingtratiating best, said something like " Goodman you don`t mind do you ?" so that was it.
Mula volunteered to produce a suitable garment and the scene was set, rehersals began in the classroom sometimes during lunch break, Richard "Roman Nose" Mabbutt was crowned stage manager and off we went.
All through rehersal Linno was a bastard commenting that this was without doubt going to be the worse show he had ever had anything to do with, so that made us all feel great I can tell you, this along with messrs Crook, Morris, Page, Bowden, and Beasant, giving it large about the short trousers bit, and life was fun, happy days my foot.
I remember one part of the play I was to sit obediently on the floor next to Beryl Chapman, her off the "titian hair" I was under very strict instructions to sit very still, of course little gits do not sit very do they ? So a little physical reminder was called for, all for the sake of art you understand, a gentle little physical reminder was all it was during the dress rehersal, but on the day of the first performance itself she unleashed what could only be described as an equivilent to the hammer of thor which Ingimar Johhanson visited upon poor old Floyd Patterson during their fight in 1959, I literaly saw stars, but of course could do nothing as " the show must go on" as they say (bitch)
As much as Linno derided the play and its actors, there was one teacher who was in post I think to teach the remedials in progress one and two, his name has left me momentarily, I think it was Mr Carter ?? (any offers), he had seen the dress rehersal as he was the makeup man,, he was afusive in his praise and actualy quoted Linno by telling us what he had been saying, probably slagging us all off in the staff hut I wouldn't wonder.
The cast for this escapes me, but bear with me please, Sally Odie, played the posh girl,Llinday Raisey played a part I think it was the Mother,Beryl Chapman the big sister (thug), and the one and only without doubt the hottest ticket in town that night, Derek Mula, who played the part of a rather pompus man consumed by his own importance (totaly out of character of course), he was the father.
Meanwhile the ever present and dreadfully helpfull Heir Mabbut was "in charge", some of the girls had gone to some lengths to procure on loan some posh vitalls, cakes biscuits, all part of the spead, which I think included fish paste sandwiches, all of which was supposed to be returned to the domestic science room for a celebratory consumption by the cast and supporting crew, but as with most things when Royston Crook was around, life was never as simple as that.
He and his rapaciouse cohorts had gathered at the stage door, oh hark at me, well the door at the back of the stage, to heap ritualised abuse on us all, I was on good form that day, deflected the verbals, by saying that on Richard Mabbut's say so all the food could be eaten as it was only going to be thrown out anyway, imagine the scene as this not insignificant mound of food was eagerly and unceremoniously devoured by the members of 4B. who were not involved in the play, as I vacated the staff hut having now thankfully got back into `Slopers the Outfitters" ` best black grey uniform slacks, I heard the shout and scream of a very irate cast ( female) berating Heir Mabbutt for his neglect of duty, ah those were the days.
But yet Christmas was almost upon us, twas the season of goodwill and no malice was going to last, the folowing term was going to be the last for many of us, and we would depart into the unknown world, a drama of the more realistic type, which in my case proved to be more, far more dramatic, than any the "Bloaters" would or could ever hope to serve up. Hey does anyone recall the OXO tins around the footlights used to give better reflective light on the stage, what will they think of next, black balzer, white or grey shirt, grey or black trousers, school; tie, black shoes, soon it will the Annual Dinner and Awards evening at my beloved Trefil R.F.C., and guess what I`ll be wearing, save for the tie , yes the same, the very same, they say in these parts what goes round comes round.
Love and Peace Goody.
Fads Fashion, Phases and Passions.
Growing up, if indeed we ever did during the birth of the swinging sixties, was never going to be that straight forward, much was changing, many influences were being imported from the States, music being the primary factor, but many of the other changes in attitudes and fashion were also primarily instigated from across the pond.
Of course the one of the major backdrops to all this was the Profumo affair, when much ado was laid bare to the general public, confirming once and for all, that those we once classed as betters, were in fact not that much better, and could have classed as more immoral and debauched than we .
The daily revalations concerning Christine Keeler, Mandy Rice Davies, Stephen Ward, Lords Ladies Viscounts, and members of the rather hapless MacMillan Government, all seemed to have their hands caught very firmly in the honey jar, mind you we had lots of names for it, but intercourse ? nope that was a new one on me at that time for sure.!
Sex and all its ramifications was of course a driving factor in much of what fourteen and fifteen year old did and said at that time, but as you get older and wiser of course you realise that sex is probably the most intimate sensitive, recipicral, act that money can buy !
That being so fashion at the Common was of course largly restricted by Berts very strongly enforced uniform policy, but the ingenuity of priapic youth did much to circumvent the system, some of the boys were able to coerce their parents into providing them with the very tightest of trousers, there were a few instances of `splitting` when playing football in the playground, in that case it was off to the needlework room courtesy of a thing called Miss Ashcroft, sit there amid the girls and sew, this was of course when the legs were caught in a tackle, if a P.J. Proby occured it was probably off to the staff hut, were privacy of a sort could be facilitated.
As for the girls, they delighted us boys on many occasions, with the wonderfull mini skirts they wore, and of course around the sixty two, sixty three era the onset of the kinky boots arrived, almost all the girls wore them ,and not one pair the same as I recall, O`Neil the science teacher was one day aghast when told by one young female how much a pair of these boots actually cost.
Another strange, well to a boy anyway, fad , was the baskets that many if not all the girls had for a while, it's not easy to describe these, but they were oblong in shape, with the hadle rising from both sides, one teacher told us that they had derived from a device for taking chickens to the market with, but then they would tell anything.
The major combatants on the battlefields of conformity amongst the boys, were those of whom would imitate thier heroes in terms of the hair, the likes of the Hughes, male and female, Haines, Brent, Grffiths, and of course Bert would take no messing with this one, as soon as anyones hair began to approach the collar he would be told to get it cut and soon.
I remember one day waiting outside Mrs Bartleys room on the path, to go into geography, when a passing Bert Taylor spotted Royston Crook, Bert had in his hand a rolled up document of sorts, using this as an extension of his hand he literally stuck this document into Royton's hair and said "haircut and soon" and disappeared almost as soon as he had appeared.
Even now following all these years, I hear his `Bobness` singing `The Times They Are A Changing` and think of the massive discomfort these teachers were feeling at that time, they could probably see their beloved thought control regime disapearing before thier very eyes.
The boys went through many phases during my time at the Common, usually connected with playtime and wherever possible persued with every effort, untill Bert decided enough was enough, and promptly banned them.
The first thing was the marbles, everyone went absolutley marbles mad, I would imagine that Ducks toy shop must have all but sold out of these little glass balls, this was followed by one of the most amusingly devestating phases of all which was the water pistol era, it in all probability began quite harmlesly one day with one boy just having one on him and soaking another boy, but within days it seemed that almost every boy had one, this fad was rather unique as the antics were not only confined to the playgound, at the change of lesson as we travervsed the narrow pathways to our next period, the boys would break away and run to the nearest water, there was one at the rear of the gardening hut, and another near the old caretakers bungalow (yes who did rip and stack those tiles, come on own up we will find out one fine day), and having recharged the weapon, the contents would be either emptied on some unsuspecting defenceless first year pupil, or store up for subversive use in the next lesson.
The last phase I recall was that of the elastic band, these were due to the somewhat windy conditions on the site, confined to use within the classrooms, I think I have mentioned before being struck very painfully in the face by an ink soaked paper pellet during silent reading while languising in 3.C. in Mrs Hughes class, and in that situaton a chap was powerless to do anything in terms of retaliation, even in the event of being able to indentify the miscreant in the first place.
Once a year the the teachers were on watch for any antics during playtime on the boys side when the itinerants of the showmans guild arrived during October for the annual mop fair.
The varders,caravans and heavy lorries would all take up residence on the Common, some right up close to the fence near the infamouse block 19, almost as famous as Stalag Luft 14, is that place, successive head boys, Colin Martin, followed by Raymond Nash were placed on Gault alert, as it seemed it was he and his followers, my brother Cliff amongst them would spend as much time as they could either eliciting facts regarding families amd lifestyle aspects, from the show people, these of course were deeply significant sociological questions, such as `you have six children where do you all sleep` hoping of course for some salaciouse detail, to the very basic of `where do you go for a shit ?.
My brother Cliff once told me that one of the people they regularly tried to goad was called `Apsey Ludo Harris` which appeared to generate a great deal of levity from Andrew Gault and his cohorts.
In concluding this I would through the exellent offices of the ever patient and respectfull Paul Charlwood beg the question what did the girls do for fun during their playtime, please don`t disappoint me by saying you all sat around talking about your favourite Beatle, it must have been very difficult for the girls in those far off day as we had no great socio role models such as Jade Goodey and Paris Hilton, or do I do them an injustice ?
So then as the short sighted old lady of fete goes to sharpen her pencil, and the tomcat of destiny`s pupils begin to dilate, we say goodbye once again from the land of song, hoping that the world will forgive us for giving the world Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones, all this when we had the likes of Dylan Thomas, and W.S.Davies, there are parts of this fair land you know where the only concension to levity is a striped shroud, thank goodness they are a good way from here, hey why are those ducks sitting on my roof, do they they know something I don`t ?.
Take care everyone love and peace Goody.
Assembly and Parking by Paul Charlwood aged 56 years & 10 months
The amount & quality that Clive (Taff) Goodman has contributed and made me laugh out loud, has shamed me into completing my second effort in remembering some facets of school life or my miss-education. Bits that Clive has mentioned and people’s kind emails have jogged my memory.
The road that ran between the two parts of the school was the drop off point for all the buses that brought the victims of our school from the far flung points of the compass, the wilds of Baydon, the sophistication of Aldbourne, refined Ramsbury, the majestic splendour of Axford and Stitchcoombe & Sound Bottom, Mildenhall that metropolis with its hustle & bustle, the Ogbournes set on the mighty river Og, the environs of the Kennet Valley, with ancient and mysterious Avebury, Beckhampton the capital for asking directions, the Kennet’s famed for its clan warfare, Lockeridge, Fyfield & Manton where the monied people lived. Heading South to Oare & Clench Common the dangerous bandit border country of the sworn enemy from Pewsey. Not forgetting those walkers and bike riders of Marlborough who puffed and panted from “The Mead”, Poulton and Cherry Orchard. If the journey on Walton’s, Barnes, Smiths coaches was not risky enough once you had debussed, you had to contend with various teachers cars who used the road as an ad-hoc car park, doing impressions of Stirling Moss at 8-40am Monday to Friday. The deadliest amongst these was our Welsh History Wizard, Stan Griffiths, most probably as he was having a conversation with his beloved Welsh corgi Megan. Running Stan a close second was Gordon Lindslay who turned up with various cars, the common denominator was they were all very large (What would Freud have made of that?) they were driven like a German Staff car trying to get to the front ASAP, not dissimilar to the way Linno taught. Most genteel was Miss Ruddick with her Wolsley Hornet, I think her softly, softly approach was due to the fact she taught Religious Knowledge and allegedly it took double figures to pass her test. On one famous occasion Linno’s car was sabotaged on the last day of term when a bag of sugar was added to his petrol tank, which in technical terms buggered up his engine.
On following the path into the top part of the school, you espied the Gardening Plots of Jim Cullis, where vegetables of all types were supposed to grow with varying degrees of success, many an unhappy hour was spent double digging. Just beyond our answer to Kew gardens was the Assembly Hall a long building with peeling green paint on corrugated tin with two main doors for entry, the first and closest to the stage was for 1st & 2nd years, the rear was for 3rd, 4th & 5th year (Did that contravene our Human Rights). Every morning we duly assembled for the start of the school day, minus non C of E religions who met in the newest mobile classrooms, thinking back perhaps we should have declared that we were practicing Druids, with tendencies for human sacrifice, just a thought. The school choir under the musical direction of Miss (Beatnik) Davis assembled on the stage ready to blast out a selection of 10-12 dirges that were practiced on a regular basis with no noticeable improvement. The boss would stroll in and give the notices for the day, such as “It has come to my notice boys are eating sandwiches in block 19, this practice will cease, as it is unhygienic”. “Royston Crook report to the Office after assembly”. The last edict was fairly regular occurrence for some poor individual. Then the singing of the dirges began with little enthusiasm, expect on the occasion when the Hymn sheets hanging from the Hall ceiling had two different songs on them, from memory We plough the fields and scatter on the front one and All things bright and beautiful on the back one, it sounded more musical and was approached with more enthusiasm than our usual efforts. I think Richard Mabbutt got it in the neck for that one as he was duty page-turner and choir member, but I can assure you he was stitched up. Dick Mabbutt was innocent OK. Another event that comes to mind was when the piano played with gusto by “Beatnik” was sabotaged, a few strings snipped and a cushion added to damp the others out, my lips are sealed as to who carried out this heinous crime, but they were in 4b. We continued acapella on that day, The other highlight or in some of our cases the lowlight and introduction to stage fright was when we got to the fourth year we got to read the lesson at assembly, usually something from the new testament, as the old testament had to much begating and strange practices for young ears. In my case I had been practicing my piece parrot fashion for days, 8-55am troop into the hall sit on chair by lectern, finding out what colour adrenalin is, get up to do my bit, that rotten aforementioned sod R Crook and his cohorts had been in the hall at 8-35am and ripped out my much rehearsed pages, Oh how I wish I was a Druid. That day I found out what the expression of winging it meant, so the throng had the birth of Christ around Easter, did I get it in the neck from Miss Ruddick, she was convinced I had done it on purpose!
The Hall was also used on very rare occasions for other purposes, I can remember the Army giving a film show as part of a recruiting drive, there we were children of the Sixties, love and peace and there was Mooch Hughes (Deputy Head/Careers Master/Head of hard Sums/Swiss Holiday Club/Foreign Body dangling from end of Nose, permanent) urging us to give serious thought to joining up, and meet people from exotic countries kill and maim them and catch embarrassing anti social diseases. Mind you if you came from the wilds of Whittonditch Bottom it was a fairly attractive prospect. The other very rare occasion was a school dance, I say rare it was a bit like Halley’s Comet and about as regular. Towards the end of life on “The Common” we had a couple of dances as fundraisers for the swimming pool project at the new school, hands up who got to swim in it?
The first dance had Dave and the Diamonds performing, all the 60’s music you know and love and was played with Mick Palmer belting out vocals and Pete Long strumming up a storm. The strange thing was I can’t remember one boy dancing with a girl all night we were so naïve, put on a kindergarten dance today you would have to have staff on duty with cold hosepipes at the ready.
The second dance had an opener of Brian Hamley on drums with a student teacher on guitar doing some jazz; I think a lot of people, including staff were blown away by how good a drummer Hammo was, he is probably having a jam session wherever he passed onto. The band that night was Brian Presley on drums, Steve Hart on bass, Cyril Dene rhythm guitar and Dave Seymour lead guitar and vocals, how can I remember it so well, there was also a compare for the show, one Paul Charlwood. Sitting in the warm afterglow of reminiscence I am reminded of J M Barrie
“God gave us our memories so that we might have roses in December.
SONGS OF OLD AND TUNES OF GLORY, OR " WOT WE DUN IN SEMBLY"
Singing hymns and going to the toilet formed a sizable part of a chaps daily life on the Common, the ever vigilant Charlwood inspired me to write this, with his confession to the sin of the Hymn sheet scandal, which thankfully now has been fully resolved after all these years, we may now sleep peacefully in our beds.
I hope this list inspires people to jog their own memory, as there are bound to be some I have overlooked, the original intention was to follow the ecclesiastical calendar, and line the Hymns up with the festivals as they unfold during the year, this for some reason was not easy, so being a lazy fat bastard these days, I chose the softer option of placing them in good old alphabetical order.
Abide with me
All Glory laud and Honour
All people that on Earth do Dwell
All Things Bright and Beautiful
Angels From The Realms Of Glory.
As With Gladness Men Of Old.
Away In A Manger.
Bless Are The Poor in Heart.
Come Ye Thankful People Come.
Daily Daily Sing The Praises.
Glorious Things Of Thee Are Spoken.
God Be In My Head.
Guide Me Over Great Jehovah.
Hark The Herald Angel Sing.
Holy Holy Holy.
How Sweet The Name Of Jesus Sounds.
Immortal Invisible God Only Wise.
In The Bleak Mid Winter.
Jerusalem The Golden.
Love Devine Oh Love Excelling.
Loving Shepherd Of Thy Sheep.
Now Thank we all our God.
Oh Come All Ye Faithful.
Oh Come Oh Come Emanuel.
Oh Happy Band Of Pilgrims.
On Christmas Night All Christians Sings.
Onward Christian Soldiers.
Praise My Soul The King Of Heaven.
Praise Ye The Lord.
Rejoice the Lord Is King.
Stand Up Stand Up For Jesus.
There Is a Happy Land.
Thine Be the Glory.
There Is A Greenhill Far Away.
What A Friend We Have In Jesus.
We Plough The Fields And Scatter.
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night.
We Three Kings.
Ye Holy Angels Bright.
Writing this up, I can still hear the dulcet, yet very loud voice of Miss Ruddick, who with gusto used to sing each morn, there was `Beatnik` up on the stage at the piano, the ` choir` standing behind Bert, occasionally the routine would be broken a little by some wayward individual offloading some flatulence, although the more confident among us would do this during the daily rendition of the Lords prayer, (no names here),.
In closing this can anyone remember the daily prayer that Bert recited, I think it began with something along the lines of "Teach we beseech thee merciful Lord, to lift thy countenance upon us, and so on, any offers?
So as the cleaner of fete approaches the bidet of destiny, and the piranha of doom awaits,
We move on to other things, crazy how time plays tricks on the memory, as I cannot recall the Hall being painted green, I always thought it was black, strange that.
Love and Peace Goody.
Those were the days
That’s the place I used to work, when I was a wild young Turk, now its a museum of industry, school kids smell of detol and pee, so went the song by Richard Thompson, seeing the coverage of the closure of Ducks toyshop in Marlborough, made me think of not only the wonderful hours I spent there as a child, but where will the new generation of `Airfix` kids get their fix, assuming of course that they still indulge in building models.
Whilst e-mailing the eminent Mr `C` the other day I realised that I had attended no fewer than five primary schools, East Grafton, St Peters, St.Katherines, Winterbourne Monkton, and Ogbourne St.George, from where I was sent to do my stint on the Common.
Of those St.Peters, and Winterbourne Monkton, have changed use, and Ogbourne has been demolished and re built.
The common site has of course been razed, and seems now to be further placed into the clutches of the ever expanding Golf Club, who’s altruism for the poor ad the underprivileged within the town, is of legendary, (some mistake here??) Proportions.
Off the Common and to work, in order, Prouts Garage on London Road, now something else, Maundrells Farm, Ogbourne St. George, now houses, Manor Farm Sharcott, derelict, Pewsey Hospital, now Houses, Ely Hospital Cardiff, now Houses, Lansdown Hospital Cardiff, now offices, Whitchurch Hospital Cardiff, due to close very soon, Bryngalss Hostel, Newport, now houses, John Fielding House Cwmbran, now houses, Hafod Dawel, Nantyglo, now flats, Greenacre Hostel Tredegar, closing this year and will be redeveloped to housing.
Thus I ask is it me? Is it I who doth place the Indian sign on almost every place I enter, that it is doomed, or is it that despite what we would rather think, the pace of life and therefore change is now at a pace which is out of control?
In a time where banks are failing and being bailed out by us, yet the people who saved with Fairpack hampers received nothing, it makes one think, yes is was a bit scary when we all left the Common, to put our dreams into reality, but I for one do not envy the youngsters of today, yes o.k. Cocaine and cannabis are a lot cheaper than I our day, but apart from the interest, flat screen T Vs convenience foods, easy sex, stabbings in the street, endless music channels, what have they got?
Must go have to put my repeat script in for me beta blockers.
Love and Peace Goody (not Jade)
Clive has a good point think back to all the places you have worked and what are they now? Do they still exist?
I have just received a couple of emails from Robin Spring, that I reproduce here with his permission. I have passed on Robin's details to Tony Goodson.
I have just found your site, via the local paper, and was I amazed. To see the information you have already collected is good reading, but the piece in the “The Commoner” was my essay, MY FIRST DAY AT M.S.M. I remember writing this but over the time never thought I would see it in print.
I would like to introduce my self. Robin Spring, born on January 05 in the year of 1941, so I would have been at M.S.M. from approx 1952? I lived in the village of West Kennet, spent all my childhood there then after leaving school spent working with a company travelling all over the country. then got married , two children then lived in Swindon before moving to Chippenham.
When living in Swindon I worked with a Tony Goodson, I wonder if this is the same person mentioned in your letter pages. I was the Transport Manager and he was a Cheese Supervisor both working for Anchor Foods Ltd, I do not remember him at the M. S. M. but I would like to know if it is the same person.
I hope you can get in touch with me, my e-mail address is; MORRINE.SPRING@SKY.COM
Thank you Paul for your reply, very interesting to see the school register, and my school roll number!! how about that. Please add my email to the site, and perhaps I may hear from some of the ex pupils. It would be very interesting to see what some of them are doing now. Some names I do remember, Richard Johnson, Christine Blanchard & the Frayling twins amongst many. I used to play in goal for the school football team along with Gerald Smith, except when we got beat 10 nil against a school from Cirencester we had a very good team. I remember being very proud to be playing for the school first team.
Also a thank you for passing on my email address to Tony Goodson, if it is the same person with whom I worked with it will be great. My son who lives in Newcastle-upon-Tyne visits your site now just to see if he can spot my name.
Many thanks Paul,
Regards Robin (Spring).
If you remember Robin why not get in contact?
David Pike dropped me a line with a few memories from the 60s
3 stories I remember.
A certain young 'sex idol' to the girls was Perky Bunce who had a lot of female hearts fluttering, and was told by Mouch (Mr Hughes) one day to get his hair cut by the next day or he would be marched to the barbers. Next day came and no Perky. Oh how the girls wailed, that Perky had ran away and how much they adored him. Next day came and Perky presented himself at school. He told us that he had gone fishing with his dad. Even Miss Ruddick was pleased to see him, I wonder why?
Another time I recall was one day we were lined up for a class after dinner and Kenny Chessall was saying that he was thirsty. Perky, upon hearing this, offered Kenny a bottle of white liquid saying that it was milk. After a few doubtful moments Kenny took a swig only to discover it was furniture polish.
Were you in music lessons with Beatnik Davies when we had to sing?! a song with the line " Oh my sal, she am a spunky girl"?. When we got to that line all the boys looked at Sally Odie. She turned a beetroot colour in embarrasment.
I left the camp early as Mouch visited my parents one holiday and advised them it was in the best interest for me to have early parole. So for the first two weeks I was marked absent until somebody told them I was working in Marlborough College. Actually I was in the same dept. as Chris Maslen, another fellow inmate of Stalag.
All the best to you, and other educated ladies and gents
David Pike (Manton)
This has just come in from Jenny Westall nee Tuck, I think we all have a Stan Griffiths Story!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hi, I’m Jenny Tuck nee Westall, it was nice to see Chris Mac in pictures from the reunion, he is married to my cousin Christine, we used to spend many happy times together in our youth, but I married and moved to Melksham so we lost touch. I also saw a photo of Sheila Clements she was a classmate, as a matter of fact it was Sheila who told me about this site which I have enjoyed I must say. Reading through the stories brings it all back, things you may have forgotten, I could picture all of the class rooms, also remembering assembly, don't know if anyone remembers a poor unfortunate choir girl fainting, whilst on stage one day? Well of course that was me poor little Jenny Westall!! . Apparently, Bert was heard to say we'll soon get rid of that character; unfortunately I fell into the back of the piano. BOY did I have a face, I had to have X Ray and time off school, luckily nothing broken, a very sore face and hurt pride, but I never gave up on the choir as I loved singing and still do. When I think back to our classrooms each one had some item for punishment, cane, slipper, ruler, anything that came to hand really. I used to get shut out in the lobby, as Mr Griffiths used to call it, for talking. Change the guard he used to say get out in the lobby. Terry Way, got hit round the head one day with a bible his poor ear came up like a cauliflower, but he never hit us girls. I have a photo of myself from my school days I will have to look it out and send it in. I'll contact you again soon fellow school mates, bye for now from an Aldbourne Dabchick XX
If you remember Jenny and would like to make contact again just send in an email and I will pass it on.
Just to prove the site works and manages to get people back in contact, here is a message from Robin Spring,
Hello Paul. My family and myself are keeping well thank you , it was good to hear from you. Thanks for the info on John Fleet, we have been swopping e-mails thanks to you, very interesting to hear from people from so many years ago. Mick Eyles has also been in touch, telling me about the time I broke his nose playing football and his mother saying I was a rough goal-keeper for hurting her little boy. Good days long gone. A wonderful site Paul please keep up the good work. Glad I found it.
Many thanks, Robin (Spring).
Glad to be of service, I am sure Robin, John and Mick will have loads to catch up on.
A message from Holland
Greetings from Holland I was at MSM 1950 to 1954 it was great seeing so many people who I went to school with.I know Ron Ebrey we were friends and neighbours living next to the school. But I have not seen Ron since leaving school. Betty Fleet was in the same class as myself and her brother John I also remember David Leney.
Would you please sent me a copy of the 1951 numbered photo. I have a copy of the 1954 school photo which I will send to you. Keep up the good work I will be touch soon
1511 LG. Oostzaan
If you remember Pat and would like to get in contact with him just drop me an email and I will pass it on.
I was able to put Pat and Ron Ebrey in contact again.
Some more interesting Memories from Clive Goodman.
FINGS WART I LERNT IN DA COMMON
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I was thinking the other day as we all do, while the present Mrs G and I indulged ourselves with the wonderful Daphne on Eggheads.
The question on “Eggies” concerned Archimedes, and the wonderful displacement vessel, Mrs G seemed a tad impressed with my answer and asked how I knew all about this fellow, I recalled that it was Bert Taylor no less, who was pressed ganged into taking 4b for science whilst O’Neil left and Williams arrived.
“So” enquired the present Mrs G "what else did this most illustrious educational establishment learn you, this of course got me to thinking, instead of all the pissing about, from which we perfected our survival skills, there were occasions when we did actually come away with some little pearls of wisdom.
So not withstanding the theory of displacement, other gems I learnt were as follows, Mrs Bartley taught us about some folk who lived in a place called Umtata, who were primarily nomadic, and lived in huts called Yurts, of course the redoubtable Mr Haines who took us for English, taught us the rudiments of the English language, nouns, are names he would thunder, verbs are doing words, and adjectives are describing words, so we were then set endless lots of essays, sentences etc, to embellish this newly accrued knowledge, or not as the case may be.
In science O’Neil took us through nature study, I learnt about camouflage, warning colours, and mimics, boring as hell to a pre pubescent priapic spotty faced individual, we were then taken into the wonderful world of light, reflection, refraction, and radiation, much fun with the light boxes.
When Bert took us for Science of course we all behaved, as you did in his presence, we did a bit of chemistry, acids and alkalis and the like, I think he was so appalled by our end of year exam results, he felt like giving up his noble profession, or committing suicide,
English with Lindslay was a blur, depending on his mood, he could have you all one by one speaking on a given subject to the class, for three whole minutes, I chose snakes and to my complete surprise and satisfaction was commended by the great man.
History with Griff, so very uninformative, but very entertaining, a lot of pre history, and not a lot of the blood and gore of the battles of King Richard and his ilk.
Art, Fairburn did his best, bit I was far more pre occupied with settling upon the attention of the female of the species, Hamley was a little brighter, but the fundamental fact was and still is, I could not draw, and none of those two blokes ever tried to teach me.
Music was always absolute mayhem, singing if one could call it that, `here we sits like birds in the wilderness`, which quickly received a translation into ` here we shits like turds in the wilderness`.
Beatnik, ah the wonder of that woman, her best ever stunt was near one Xmas, when we were murdering `Oh Holy Night`, in her temporary madness she slammed down the lid of the piano, and stood to attention and sang, `Oh holy night the Stars were Shitely Brining`, generating much hilarity along the way.
Handicraft with Katy Brent, what was that all about? , Maths with Miss Copsey, was a danger area.
Miss Rudick, taught us about all matters biblical, I learnt about some bloke who sat in a tree to hear Jesus preach, we were then set the task of illustrating this momentous event by drawing a picture of it, Casey made the grade in some style, by attaching a speech bubble to our Lord, who was using some pretty common language, to encourage this chap to leave his tree, although the hapless Miss Rudick was not amused, the class was enraptured, Casey rides again.
Woodwork, Evans, very strict, but sadly dovetails and cross halves were not for me, metalwork, poor old master whoever he was just did not get it, it was mayhem and how anyone was never maimed or killed was a wonder to behold.
Rural science or gardening I have already documented the epic of the water tank, and Paul has put down his account of the annual wrecking spree that was the early potato experiment,
oh Cullis did teach about capillary action. I’m sure I did learn more than set out here, but as with us all the university of life teaches us all more than any formal education ever can and did.
The way I look at my own ties to academia is much the same now as it was then, we are all very much grist to the mill, taught the basics so that we could be part of the industrial machine, whilst those who education was paid for in those exclusive public schools went straight to the top no matter what their abilities, we see it now, with probably the thickest group of politicians I think I have ever seen, but that’s another story, bent or what?
Love and Peace Clive (Goody)
Thanks Clive, if I remember correctly the Metalwork Teacher's name was Jones during are stay on the Common and he used to do the daily commute from Swindon on a Honda C90.
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