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walrus
cheshire
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91 of 104  Fri 17th Mar 2017 1:14pm  
Member: Joined Dec 2011  Total posts:223

Here's a combined tale of a failed school trip and a concert. In early 1963 I was in my final term of a very unremarkable career at Caludon Castle. We had a decent man, Mr. Matthews who put a great deal of effort and enthusiasm in attempting to inspire us for an appreciation of music. Mr. Matthews was normally very placid, almost absent minded and put up with our obvious lack of interest and our poor manners with good grace. He did however occasionally explode with a kind of manic fury if provoked too far and could be terrifying in his rage. Sort of safety valve I think because within seconds he would carry on as though nothing had happened. His passion was Gilbert and Sullivan. I have no idea if there was a curriculum that he should have followed but G and S was all we ever did. For several weeks he had us singing a piece from the Pirates of Penzance. Over and over again - "With cat like tread, upon our way we steal, with silence dread our cautious way we feel" and so on. Then one day he revealed his dream to us. He had arranged a bus for the following morning to take the set to a school choir festival. We were to perform our piece on stage! He was very excited. I don't know why because he couldn't have been hearing what I was hearing. The following day we boarded the Corporation double decker. When the bus reached a convenient point I decided that I wasn't singing on any stage in what promised to be a car crash so I jumped off as we slowed for a corner. A couple of others did the same. I got on with a school free day. The following morning I learned that my action was contagious. Out of a set of 42 or so only 4 stayed on the bus to reach the venue. Nobody from the school staff said a word. Nothing was ever mentioned about the incident. No recriminations, detentions, canings, shoutings at. Mr. Matthews must have simply ignored what we did. Some time later at a subsequent music lesson Mr. Matthews announced that we were in for a special treat. Three boys in our set were going to perform an excerpt from the Mikado. We all looked around the room to guess who was missing. Mr. Matthews opened the classroom door and then went to the piano and began the introduction to "Three little maids from school are we". To our jaw dropping amazement ******, ********* and ********* dressed in exquisite Japanese costumes, fully made up and bewigged shuffled in on platformed sandals. They had taken the parts of Yum-yum, Peep-bo and Pitti-sing. For a very short time there was a kind of puzzled silence while we processed the scene. Remember it was 1963, we were 15 year old boys in an all male school. We were pretty well ignorant of sexual matters, especially anything considered different. A harsh, restrictive social morality prevailed, at least in public. Everyone conformed as far as we knew. Ordinary working class boys did not wear female clothing, especially foreign female clothing. The silence didn't last long and the set erupted into a jeering, sneering, insult throwing mob, worthy of anything Golding could have imagined. Many times I've remembered those boys, their courage to perform in front of crass juvenile fools. Some of us at least should have had more sense. Even after 55 years I feel embarrassed about my scorn for those lads. I wish I could sincerely and deeply apologise and assure them that I admire what they did. Showed an interest, got involved, learned and rehearsed, obtained props, put themselves out there. Real guts. I hope you've had a successful life.
School Days, memories & outings
Roger Turner
Torksey
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92 of 104  Fri 17th Mar 2017 11:06pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2014  Total posts:572

Walrus, don`t know if my dad (George Turner) was still teaching at Caludon then, but certainly that tale didn`t come to my notice. Sounds like a scene from "It aint half `ot mum". But school life can be pretty tribal and I am sure your experience isn`t unique, I know, I was at a training school where there was uncalled for beastliness meted out to someone (sotto voce whispering of the lad`s name en masse) I agree you look back and the self loathing and embarrassment is still fresh, something akin to "drunken remorse". rite of passage, I suppose the psychos call it!. If it cheers you up, I can reveal my dad`s leaving do was held at Kenilworth Rugby club, hosted by his `mates` Dai Davies and Ben Vickery, I had to pick him up, it was obviously a bawdy do and they virtually "poured" him into the car. Cheers
School Days, memories & outings
covgirl
wiltshire
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93 of 104  Sat 18th Mar 2017 12:07am  
Member: Joined Jun 2015  Total posts:63

I was at Whitley Abbey in the 60's and we went on a few trips, all educational, London museums, Madam Tussauds and the Planetarium, a couple of times, Lichfield Cathedral, Dudley Zoo and castle once, someone was bitten by a camel so we didn't go again😁 every year we too went to the Royal Show at Stoneleigh, always on a Thursday, I loved it, it was usually very sunny, and sitting in the sun eating ice cream or a Camp iced coffee, just great, much better than double maths or gym. There was a trip skiing but quite expensive at the time so I didn't go, that's all I can remember apart from a couple of local ones to see the Lunt Fort and Coventry Cathedral and St Mary's Guild Hall. Lots of fun these trips, the guys rushing for the back seats of the coach, one girl with a paper bag at the front, and teachers desperately trying to keep control, happy days
School Days, memories & outings
walrus
cheshire
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94 of 104  Sat 18th Mar 2017 9:10am  
Member: Joined Dec 2011  Total posts:223

Thanks for your response Roger. I'm afraid I can't recall George Turner, Caludon was a very large school and many staff were not familiar. Ben Vickery was my housemaster in Segrave and Taff Davies was my housemaster in Clifford, might he also be "Dai"? There were at least three Davies and several more Welsh teachers. As for the Mikado incident, it was simply one of countless alarums and excursions (see Moderators, I'm still on topic) that occurred at the old alma mater. Ted Brown, who passed away fairly recently, took us on a day trip to London in '63. There was no educational value really, we just went to see some of the sights. He was a good bloke and I think he was giving us a jolly before leaving school for good. When we got to Euston we sort of went where we wanted with the instruction to meet up for the train back. A good day out.
School Days, memories & outings
NeilsYard
Coventry
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95 of 104  Sun 28th Oct 2018 8:29pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:1952

Visited my mum today in Allesley Park. Almost forgot about the view from Torbay Road/Winsford Avenue Thumbs up I think that must be the highest point around Coventry? (it was certainly a pain walking up Torbay every day from school!) Post copied from topic Three Spires on 30th Oct 2018 1:07 pm
School Days, memories & outings
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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96 of 104  Mon 29th Oct 2018 2:16am  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:3250

What school would that have been, Neil?
School Days, memories & outings
NeilsYard
Coventry
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97 of 104  Mon 29th Oct 2018 2:52am  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:1952

St Christopher's, Dream. Thumbs up
School Days, memories & outings
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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98 of 104  Mon 29th Oct 2018 11:09am  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:3250

I guessed as much Neil, being our local school when we lived in Lincroft Cres. Caught sight of the three spires most times when on the bus into town. My two went to St. Johns on Winsford Ave (affiliated with Blue Coats). It is a small world after all.
School Days, memories & outings
NeilsYard
Coventry
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99 of 104  Mon 29th Oct 2018 7:02pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:1952

Wave Indeed Dreamtime. I have no idea why I did not go to St John's. My mum lives right on the top of Torbay Road - St John's and even Allesley Hall are a lot nearer but for some reason the silly Council map deemed us in St Christopher's catchment. Should not complain though really - it was a good school and I have some nice memories from there.
School Days, memories & outings
Skybluedave
Crewe
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100 of 104  Mon 29th Oct 2018 7:21pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2015  Total posts:22

St John's - me too ☺
School Days, memories & outings
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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101 of 104  Tue 30th Oct 2018 12:35pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:3250

Skybluedave, did you get a palm cross at Easter time? My daughter (now a teacher herself) still has hers and has had it laminated (1967'ish)
School Days, memories & outings
Skybluedave
Crewe
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102 of 104  Tue 30th Oct 2018 7:22pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2015  Total posts:22

Hi Dreamtime - Yes indeed I did. Can also remember as a school walking up Winsford Avenue in procession to St Christophers Church for the main religious occasions (Revd Macpherson was the Vicar), and seem to recall that the laminated palm cross was quite sharp at the tip. I was at St Johns during your daughters time (1965 to 1970) before moving on to Bablake, although many of my classmates went on to Blue Coat as you mentioned in an earlier post. St Johns was no more than a 150 yard walk from home. Despite the years, I can remember many of the teachers - head teacher Monty Morris (later succeeded by Mr Woodhead), Mrs Bebbington, Miss Bryce, Mrs Crecraft, Mrs Catford, Mr Cogley and Mr Chamberlain. Many, many happy memories. By coincidence, my eldest son is also a teacher, sadly not in Coventry but at a Primary School in Fleetwood.
School Days, memories & outings
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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103 of 104  Wed 31st Oct 2018 3:34am  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:3250

Yes, you have it all in one. Mr Morris - I walked up Winsford Ave. one cold snowy morning (no bus on the roads that morning), he was all togged up with a muffler and his wellies. I will have to remind her about that day. My son Ashton only reached Grade 1 with Mrs Howarth as we left in 74' to come here. I remember too Mr Woodhead, he started whilst we were still there. You may or may not remember Tracie (Shepherd) but she was there during your years too. She was only at Blue Coats for one year. Tracie has just completed 36 years of teaching and tells me that's long enough for anyone to suffer 'mummies' little darlings.' She has them all wearing bat's wings for morning assembly today. Oh the joys of teaching!!!
School Days, memories & outings
Skybluedave
Crewe
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104 of 104  Fri 2nd Nov 2018 9:26pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2015  Total posts:22

Dreamtime - you could certainly say that Mr Morris was a character. I don't recall him taking any lessons but he was always present at morning assembly with a rolled up newspaper in hand as a warning for anyone not joining in when required. I can also remember the waft of cigarette smoke whenever you were near the Teachers room/office, most of it probably generated by Mr Morris himself. My parents always said he was a good man which is good enough for me. I can remember quite a few of my classmates by name but not Tracie. Maybe we were in different classes? Sounds like she deserves a medal after 36 years of teaching! I can't say that bats wings made an appearance at St Johns all those years ago, the focus back then from memory was more on Bonfire Night and pestering the householders on Winsford Avenue with a penny for the guy. Also the bonfire that was built on the waste ground close to the school and the fire brigade arriving to put it out because someone had set fire to it too early.
School Days, memories & outings

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