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King Henry VIII Grammar School

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bohica
coventry
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1366 of 1379  Tue 8th Aug 2017 9:34am  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:214

According to the KHVIII F/B page, Taffy James has passed away.
King Henry VIII Grammar School
Bags
Saltash
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1367 of 1379  Tue 8th Aug 2017 5:23pm  
Member: Joined Jul 2013  Total posts:100

He must have been cracking on a bit. Used to live in the same road as him in Kenilworth, Woodcote Avenue in the very early 70s.
King Henry VIII Grammar School
bohica
coventry
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1368 of 1379  Tue 8th Aug 2017 6:12pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:214

86 I believe
King Henry VIII Grammar School
PhilipInCoventry
Holbrooks
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1369 of 1379  Sun 27th Aug 2017 8:22am  
Moderator: Joined Apr 2010  Total posts:3824

Hi all, This pic is in today's Telegraph picture memories. I don't believe it needs a title. Thank you M.R.
King Henry VIII Grammar School
Roger Turner
Torksey
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1370 of 1379  Sun 27th Aug 2017 4:33pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2014  Total posts:463

No Philip, Jeff Vent doesn`t need a caption except it did say he had put in 50 years in 1999. I don`t recall ever being taught by him, I was there 1947/51, but he used to coach us at cricket after school, if I remember correctly the nets were set up alongside Spencer Avenue. I don`t think it was for any specific team, I think it was for anybody who just turned up. He was a nice, affable chap.
King Henry VIII Grammar School
MisterD-Di
Sutton Coldfield
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1371 of 1379  Mon 28th Aug 2017 1:38am  
Member: Joined Sep 2011  Total posts:873

I was never taught by Jeff Vent either during my years at KHVIII, (1964-71) and I don't think I can ever remember even exchanging a single word with him during those seven years. However, some of my friends were, and I would say he was something of a 'Marmite' figure in those days. The lads who were good at his subject had no problem with him, but anyone struggling would get a rather harder time from him. This was very common in that era, as many of the teachers had little time or inclination to help those who didn't grasp everything immediately. I was aware that Vent was in the habit of prowling around the playgrounds and communal areas during lunchtimes, looking for people who were doing anything of which he disapproved. He had the nickname 'Sneakysoles' at that time, and was best avoided. He wasn't the only teacher who did that, of course. Another teacher of that era who has been mentioned recently is Taffy James, who has just died. On another KHVIII website there were some gushing compliments for his time as deputy head, and later head at the school. However, others have added a touch of realism for balance. In my time there James was just a teacher, and again I was never taught by him. However, for some reason a couple of my friends and I had him 'on our case' when we were about 4th formers. I never took much notice in school assembly as it was mainly religious stuff, and used to stand there taking no part. This incensed Taffy and he would strut around barking at us afterwards, which we found quite funny as he was small in stature with an ill-fitting baggy suit, looking faintly ludicrous. He was the embodiment of a martinet. At one point he would just come and stand next to us during assembly to watch what we were doing. Eventually we simply stopped going to assembly altogether. I can only presume that he mellowed in later years and, as the whole school changed, took on a more positive attitude to the pupils.
King Henry VIII Grammar School
bohica
coventry
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1372 of 1379  Mon 28th Aug 2017 9:18am  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:214

I personally despised both of them. Interestingly, the other site you mention has removed a few posts that suggest other than the pair of them ought be canonised.
King Henry VIII Grammar School
PhilipInCoventry
Holbrooks
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1373 of 1379  Mon 28th Aug 2017 9:23am  
Moderator: Joined Apr 2010  Total posts:3824

Hi all Wave The telegraph article addressed him as, "Mr Jeff Vent has worked at King Henry VIII school, Coventry, for 50 years. 27th August 1999". I only ever knew him as Mr Jeff Vent. Even as recent as the last decade when he invited me to assist with the school music, which unfortunately & sadly I couldn't, as I had fixed commitments elsewhere, our exchange of correspondence used Mr. throughout. I suppose that my upbringing at home had as much to do with how I addressed people. With just one exception I cannot remember nicknaming or name shortening any member of staff. Mr Brotherwood was the one exception as he tutored me for months on end over a period of several years at Paybody hospital, where he was affectionately know as Sgt Bilko. Titles, like Mr, Miss, Mrs or Ms as well as military titles are a topic in themselves. Over the years I have visited businesses where even as late as the seventies, it was commonplace to find military titles on office doors. I remember an office in our local council house in the early sixties that had "Major Richards" on the door name plate.
King Henry VIII Grammar School
MisterD-Di
Sutton Coldfield
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1374 of 1379  Mon 28th Aug 2017 2:45pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2011  Total posts:873

On 28th Aug 2017 9:18am, bohica said: I personally despised both of them. Interestingly, the other site you mention has removed a few posts that suggest other than the pair of them ought be canonised.
Many of the lads at the school back in the day would have been happy to see them canonised. Provided that you mean they should have been fired from a cannon! Lol As for nicknames, I would say that the great majority of teachers had one. Some were just diminutive first names, such as Maxie Gordon or Alfie Crocker. Others were rather more perjorative, such as Slug or Piggy. But no boys would ever have referred to those in conversation as 'Mr Hughes' or 'Mr Shore', as they would have been laughed out of school. Roll eyes
King Henry VIII Grammar School
bohica
coventry
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1375 of 1379  Mon 28th Aug 2017 5:12pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:214

I very nearly stuck one on Taff on my very last day. He was saved by a mate of mine pulling me away. We'd just finished our last exam and were walking down the corridor by his office when he appeared and screamed out my name. I looked at him and he bellowed, "There are people taking exams here. Show some respect and be quiet, they need to concentrate." My response was very quiet and close up, "Yes you stupid little Welsh "$^*9. And if you shut your mouth they'd be able to." I was quite a few feet away when he again bellowed, "When you fail your exams, don't you dare come back to me asking to resit." At that point my mate grabbed me and bundled me down the stairs. That man had adequacy issues.
King Henry VIII Grammar School
MisterD-Di
Sutton Coldfield
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1376 of 1379  Mon 28th Aug 2017 6:36pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2011  Total posts:873

Bohica - I couldn't agree more. He was a perfect example of 'small man syndrome'. His lack of stature seemed to make him want to be a bully, it would seem. I was considerably taller than him at 16, as were some of my friends, and he did seem to have a problem with taller lads. He was one of a number of teachers who loved prowling around looking for trouble, and people they may be able to punish. Jeff Vent did this, as did Fisher and Skermer, another 'small man syndrome' victim. I certainly don't think it applies to all people of short stature, just ones with chips on their shoulders about it. For example, 'Dickie' Dawson was a tiny chap, but definitely one of the few nice guys there back in the day.
King Henry VIII Grammar School
Earlsdon Kid
Argyll & Bute, Scotland
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1377 of 1379  Mon 28th Aug 2017 9:37pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2017  Total posts:13

Thank you all for the memory prompts for the teachers and their idiosyncrasies! I must have led a charmed existence as I was relatively untouched by them all in spite of my involvement in various nefarious activities. Maybe I was just good at not getting caught! I visited the school in 1985 during a trip home from the middle east and was kindly given an impromptu tour the school by Jeff Vent. Somehow it seemed so much smaller than I remembered it as a pupil only fifteen years earlier, although the main stairs handrails had been fitted with extensions to prevent taller students falling over them, or maybe it was required by new safety regulations? I don't recall. Interestingly it must have stirred some deep memories as for a while afterwards I had dreams of being required to attend classes again but having great difficulty in fitting into the traditional combined desk and seat unit, having grown slightly larger during the intervening years. It may be wise not to follow this train of thought any further! I particularly enjoyed the free expression encouraged by TW (Tick) Watson during art classes, occasionally with very messy results. I did once quietly murmur "tic-toc-tic-toc" as Tick walked past the line of pupils waiting to be allowed entrance to the art room, encouraged by so-called friends. The result was quite 'explosive' and after spending twenty or so minutes standing outside in the yard, Tick escorted me back to class with an appropriate and good humoured reprimand. I did not repeat this prank!
King Henry VIII Grammar School
Bags
Saltash
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1378 of 1379  Thu 31st Aug 2017 10:05am  
Member: Joined Jul 2013  Total posts:100

I have to admit to not liking Vent or James. I found James a martinet and Vent to be more than a bit creepy and a man who only liked his favourites. Dickie Dawson was a very nice humane man as were both his sons who were there at the same time as me.
King Henry VIII Grammar School
forgotten most of this
sutton coldfield
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1379 of 1379  Mon 16th Oct 2017 8:31pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2015  Total posts:10

I also did not like Taffy or Vent. The only thing I remember about Jeff was his glasses which were rimless octagonal lenses I think. I had him a few times for French and he was not interested in me since it was never a good subject for me, and I was not in any cricket or rugger teams, so I was written off. Years later he got in touch with my parents in some sort of plea for funds for the school wrapped up in an old boy get together, but I told my Mum to tell him I wasn't interested. Taffy did look for trouble and got pleasure from handing it out.
haven

King Henry VIII Grammar School

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