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No 92 / January 2021

The Old Stationer

Number 92 - January 2021

OSA Photographic competition - "holiday/schools out"

Winner: Sixth Form Summer Holidays in 1952.

Peter Doust poncing about on the bow while the others battled with the

controls. Not sure how we got our hands on a big sailing boat.

Runner-up. 1959 at the Dolphin Holiday Camp in Brixham. The Boys

in the Band. Mike Smithwick, Alan Graver, John Willliams. Cidge Cole

and Richard Osborne

The second OSA Photographic Competition

had as its theme “HOLIDAYS – School’s

Out”. We were looking for holiday portraits

especially if they related to School Holidays.

The theme of “Holidays” was chosen as this

is when we all have fun and we hoped that

the photographs would reflect this. A lot of

us did not have cameras in the early days of

our school life, and they were pretty basic, so

we did not really know what to expect in

terms of entries. However, we received 23

entries from which we chose a winner and a

runner-up. The winner is to get a bottle of

champagne, presented to him at the AGM

in May 2021 where it is our intention to

display some of the entries.

We used the following criteria to choose the

winner: composition, originality, interpretation

of the theme, technical quality and

most importantly – how did an entry stand

out from the crowd.

And the winner is John Wheeler for his

entry, “Sixth Form Summer Holidays in

1952”. Peter Doust poncing about on the

bow while the others battled with the

controls. Not sure how we got our hands on

a big sailing boat” (pictured left). It clearly

shows Stationers having a great time on their

holidays and fits the theme well. The

photograph is not too busy, is well framed,

has the sail as the prominent feature, has an

interesting sky and has a reflection in the

water that adds to the interest of the


The runner-up was from Les Humphreys,

“1959 at the Dolphin Holiday Camp in

Brixham”. The Boys in the Band: Mike

Smithwick, Alan Graver, John Willliams,

Cidge Cole and Richard Osborne” (pictured

left). Clearly Stationers having a great time

with innovative headware. Not sure where

these items had come from, but we hope that

they were clean!

Look out for the details of the next OSA

Competition in this edition of The Old

Stationer so that you can enter too.

Tony Moffat and Peter Thomas

T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

The Old Stationer

Number 92 - january 2021




Stephen P Collins

85 Love Lane, Pinner,

Middx. HA5 3EY

✆ 0208 868 7909

: spc@woodhaven.me.uk


Daniel Bone

56 Union Street, High Barnet,

EN5 4HZ ✆ 0208 441 1162

: dan.bone@civix.org.uk

Honorary Secretary & Past President

Peter R Thomas

107 Jackdaw Close, Stevenage,

Herts. SG2 9DB ✆ 01438 722870

: peterthomas561@outlook.com

Honorary Treasurer

Peter Winter

5 Oakways, Warrington, WA4 5HD

07795 450863

: prcwinter1@btinternet.com

Membership Secretary

Roger Engledow

118 Hertswood Court,

Hillside Gardens, Barnet, EN5 4AU

07817 111642

: osamembers@gmail.com

Honorary Editor

Tim Westbrook

7 Goodyers Avenue, Radlett,

Herts. WD7 8AY ✆ 0845 8724001

: tim@timwestbrook.co.uk

Website Off icer

Peter Gotham


: peter.gotham@gmail.com

Honorary Archivist

David D Turner

63 Brookmans Avenue, Brookmans

Park, Herts. AL9 7QG

✆ 01707 656414

: daviddanielturner@gmail.com

Event Managers

Roger Melling

43 Holyrood Road, New Barnet,

Herts. EN5 1DQ ✆ 020 8449 2283

: rmelling76@gmail.com

Peter A Sandell

11 Maplecroft Lane, Nazeing, Essex,

EN9 2NR ✆ 01992 892766

: peter.sandell@hotmail.co.uk

Honorary Auditors

Chris Langford, Dave Cox

Ordinary Members

Andreas H Christou

22 Woodgrange Avenue, Bush Hill

Park, Enfield EN1 1EW

07722 117481

: andreashchristou@yahoo.com

Peter Bothwick

52 Hither Green Lane, Abbey Park,

Redditch, Worcs. B98 9BW

✆ 01527 62059

: pedrotres@hotmail.co.uk

Tony C Hemmings

5 The Mount, Cheshunt,

Herts. EN7 6RF

01992 638535

: hemmingsac@hotmail.com

Clubs & Societies

Football Club

Liam Gallagher

38 Hadley Way, Winchmore Hill,

London N21 1AN

07793 220472

: liam@network-stratigraphic.co.uk

Golf Society

Roger Rufey

07780 450369

: rrufey@gmail.com

Apostles Club

Stuart H Behn

l67 Hempstead Road, Watford,

Herts. WD17 3HF

✆ 023 243546

: stuartbehn@hotmail.com

Luncheon Club

Roger Melling

Details as previous column

SC School Lodge no. 7460

Michael D Pinfield

63 Lynton Road, Harrow,

Middx. HA2 9NJ

✆ 020 8422 4699 07956 931174

: secretary7460ugle@gmail.com


Publishing Adviser

Tim Westbrook

Details as above

Design & Production Manager

Ian Moore

Homecroft, Princes Gate,

Pembs. SA67 8TG

✆ 01834 831 272

: ian@outhaus.biz

Printed by

Stephens and George


Regular features

Editorial 4

Dates for the Diary 4

President's Address 5

Correspondence 11

Special features

The transformation of Stationers' Hall 10

OSA Library archive goes into storage 11

Staff remembered 16

Alan Dallman 19

Sydney Charles Nunn 20

Writing Music Paul Bateman 22

Life after Stationers Stephen Chaudoir 24

Conzooming beer Tony Moffat 25

Ferme Park Yards RegDavies 27

Cecil Newton War memories 28

A curious incident at Stationers' Park 29

Further recollections of the Rhone

Canoeing Trip in 1966 30

Homeward bound Richard Smith 31

English is a crazy language 31

Origins: Bolt Court Walk 32

By Rail Trail to the 2019 Cycling World

Championships in Harrogate 34

My brush with the law 37

Embarrassing moments 41

Coincidencies 44

Our trip to Paris D Maclean 45

Fire threat in California 47

My favourite walk 48

Me and my motors 50

Clubs & Societies

Golf Society 6


Class of '54 7

Reunion Covid Risk Assessment 7

Reunions should be annual 8


Puzzle Corner 57

Membership Report 57

New members 57

OSA Photographic Competition 2 & 63


Peter Sargent 58

Robert Gingell 59

John Olorenshaw 59

David Waker 60

Hugh Alexander 60

Reg Wells 60

John Dickens 61

Supplying items for publication

Text: Please supply as Word or typed documents if

possible. Images: Supply as original images or hi-res

(300dpi) digital files in tiff, jpeg or eps format.

Post or email to the Honorary Editor, Tim

Westbrook. See Committee list for address details.


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2


Welcome to the New Year and let’s hope that 2021 sees a

route back to normality for us all. The cancellation of most

OSA events and activities during the year gave rise to the

prospect of a very thin publication but my plea for members

to contribute content generated a tsunami of articles for issue

92. My heartfelt thanks to all of you who have made the

effort to sustain our magazine as a thriving forum for your

stories, recollections, anecdotes and correspondence. I am

particularly pleased that you have responded with articles on

my proposed themes of “embarrassing moments”, “my brush

with the law”, “what a coincidence” plus “me and my motors”.

Please feel free to extend your contributions in the next issue.

Regrettably, even though this is a bumper magazine I have

not been able to accommodate everything that has been

submitted so my apologies to those who have had articles

held over to July.

Members of the golf society were able to play 3 fixtures due

to the natural social distancing of the activity and I am pleased

to report that we trounced the Stationers’ Company team on

their home course at Abridge to secure the trophy for another

year. The committee has adapted to the necessity of virtual

meetings which have been conducted successfully on Zoom

and you can rest assured that the affairs of the Association are

being efficiently managed on your behalf. Sadly we have to

report that several members have died in recent months

including two past Presidents, John Dickens and Peter Sargent

and our subscribing membership has now dipped below 500.

The committee is reviewing its focus on securing new

members from school entry years that are currently underrepresented.

I am pleased to report that after years of discussion

with Haringey Council and delays due to lock down we now

have a commemorative plaque erected at Stationers Park on

the site of the school in Mayfield Road to inform visitors of the

historic link to the Stationers’ Company’s School. The front

cover photo taken in December shows our President Stephen

Collins and Past President Peter Thomas officially “unveiling”

the plaque. In addition to the Covid disruption we will not be

able to use the Hall in 2021 due to a major programme of

refurbishment and we are currently exploring alternative

venues. Members of the committee will be visiting Cutlers‘

Hall, very close to Ludgate Hill to evaluate its suitability for

our events and we will be communicating arrangements for our

AGM and Annual Dinner in the near future.

My best wishes to you all for a happy and healthy new year. I

am off now to book an end of lock down haircut!




As mentioned in last Summer’s issue of the Magazine, we had

scheduled our 2021 AGM & Annual Dinner for the 26th March.

However, with Government restrictions on public gatherings still in

place it is becoming increasingly unlikely that we will be permitted to

hold our Annual Dinner on that date. We have therefore scheduled

Friday 21st May as an alternative date and opted for a lunchtime

event in accordance with your preferences indicated in the recent

Members’ Survey. With the closure of Stationers’ Hall for refurbishment

throughout 2021 we have been offered Cutlers’ Hall as an alternative

venue, just a few hundred yards from Stationers’ Hall in Warwick

Lane. If restrictions are still in force by next March and we have to

postpone this event until May, our AGM will be held electronically in


We will send you an email in the New Year with details of the AGM

and Annual Lunch with a booking form. Therefore, please notify

Peter Sandell of any changes to your email address. In the meantime,

we will provide regular updates on the OSA website.

Online magazine archive

Every school and OSA magazine since 1884 is accessible in the

Library on the OSA web site. Have a look and see what was

happening in your school days. Password: 0335OS-wwwOSA



Sunday 29th August 2021 - 12.30pm


Friday 10th December 2021 at Cutlers’ Hall


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2


For obvious reasons, I have very little to report by way of

activities over the nine months that I have been President. The

only regular event to have taken place is the annual Golf Society

prize giving. We were also able at last to stage a series of walks

around the Bolt Court area, suitably socially distanced, as

reported elsewhere in this magazine. And, as reported in the

Editor’s introduction, we have at last been able to erect a plaque

on one of the remaining outer walls of the school commemorating

its existence on that site for 90 years. Thanks must go to Tim

Westbrook for his persistence with Haringey Council to achieve

that belated recognition.

Nonetheless, your Committee has been active via Zoom. Decisions

were inevitably taken to cancel President’s Day and the Christmas

lunch. Discussions took place about what to do with the OSA

archives while the Hall is undergoing refurbishment, and we are

grateful to Dr Nick Henwood for making free storage available;

record cards, which are the most frequently consulted part of the

archives, are now at the home of our Archivist, David Turner. We

also had preliminary discussions about how to use the very

generous bequest of £10,000 to the Association from the late Sir

John Sparrow. All Committee officers have now drawn up job

descriptions and ‘disaster recovery’ plans.

Membership has dipped slightly below 500, and we have been

considering how to launch a membership drive to attract in

particular the large number of Old Stationers in the 50-60 age

bracket who have not joined. Our website and Facebook page

will play key roles in this effort, and I urge existing members to

look at the website from time to time to keep abreast of what the

Association is doing. And of course we hope that, if and when

Covid restrictions are sufficiently eased, it will be possible to

revive the very successful series of year reunions that have

become so popular, from which new members can also be sought.

That is all I have to report; so I thought I would use the remainder

of my allotted space to reflect on my time at the School, and more

especially on one teacher. A few years ago, one of my predecessors,

in his Presidential remarks at the Annual Dinner, began by

exclaiming “Bonjour, mes élèves”, to which we all responded

“Bonjour Monsieur”. “Avez-vous faits vos devoirs pour

aujourd’hui?”, he continued; and following the inevitable “Non,

monsieur” came the unforgettable “Quel dommage!” Most, if not

all, of you will know that those were the words of Bernard Davis,

the French teacher known as ‘Beaky’ or, in my day, as ‘Beak’. I’m

pretty confident that virtually all members of the OSA would have

encountered him, because he began in the School in 1931, when

he was appointed to take charge of the then preparatory

department, and was there until near to the School’s demise (it

isn’t clear when he left, but Robert Baynes’s history of the School

reports that “he was one of the most bitterly angry with those who

encompassed the School’s closure”.)

Now, he was not my favourite teacher, and I only had lessons

from him for a year or two (though I did go on his 1964 visit to

Paris, my first trip abroad). But his personality made him

unforgettable; and in particular I have found that many of his

expressions have popped into my mind from time to time over

the fifty years since I left the School. I began to feel grown-up

when my feet touched the ground when I stood up. Although it’s

a long time since then, time flies: you can’t, they go too fast. When

I make a mistake, I feel like Sally slapdash. I try to avoid speaking

bilge, barge, balderdash, poppycock and piffle, but there are times

when I realise that I am suffering from inspissated crassitude.

Even though common sense is a very uncommon commodity, I’m

not as green as I’m cabbage-looking. If a boy was playing with his

ruler, he would be told that the last boy who did that died by

inches. And, bless my soul and liver, who can forget that a cedilla

is the submarine sign because it’s under the C?

And I will conclude with a joke he told that left many of us

scratching our heads until realisation dawned. A French student

who had studied English

obsessively came to London

convinced that he was totally

fluent in the language. On his

first day, he saw a billboard that

read: “My Fair Lady: pronounced

success”. He took a gun and shot


Finally, let me express the hope

that you are all faring well in this

very strange time, and that we

will be able to gather together

for the AGM and Annual

Dinner in the spring. It will not

be in Stationers’ Hall in any

event, because of the 18-month

refurbishment that commenced

at the beginning of November

(see separate article by Tony

Mash); we are in touch with the

Clerk of the Stationers’ Company

to identify an alternative venue.

Best wishes for the New Year.

Stephen Collins



T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2


Sadly, probably the first, and with luck and a good vaccine, the

last year our Society has been blighted by a wretched virus called

COVID19 which decimated our programme and in the end

limited us to only three meetings.

We are fortunate that golf is a natural socially distancing activity

which meant the OSA ‘A’ team was able to scrape last year’s mud

off our boots, set the sat-nav for darkest Essex and do battle with

The Company for the prestigious silver trophy while adhering to

Covid protection measures. The event took place on July 9th at

the delightful and challenging Abridge Golf Course courtesy of

Mandy Baker, a regular player for the Company who works at

the club. The lush verdant fairways were a pleasure to play on and

the weather, being a mixture of sun and showers provided a

pleasant context for the day’s play.

It was close to 5pm when both teams returned to the club house

for the presentation which preceded dinner. Mike Kerlogue, the

Company’s team captain gathered the score cards and cloistered

himself in the corner to calculate the result while the rest of us

enjoyed a reviving pint or two and reminisced about the highs

and lows of our individual rounds.

Soon, Mike took the floor waving his computer generated spread

sheet and a respectful silence descended on the room. Then with

a poorly disguised grimace he announced that the Company had

amassed 193 points while the OSA had accumulated a stonking

258 representing a drubbing of unparalleled proportions. With an

ashen face and trembling hands Mike handed the trophy to a shell

shocked Roger Rufey who stoically avoided an excess of

triumphalism in his acceptance speech. Two of our players, Bruce

Kitchener and Peter Bennett scored an impressive 42 Stableford

points but Bruce won the best score prize on a count back. The

Roger shows off the trophy from our match against the Company

best front 9 prize went to Peter Russell, one of our newer recruits

as Peter Bennett had left for home and thankfully, Mike awarded

himself the best back 9 prize as a small consolation for his team’s

disappointing performance. Those that stayed for dinner enjoyed

a welcome roast beef meal and a drop of vino to sustain themselves

on the journey home. The two captains agreed we would try to

book Abridge for the return fixture next year as it was enjoyed by

winners and losers alike.

In conclusion, thanks to Roger Rufey, Mike Kerlogue and

Mandy Baker for arranging the event and a special mention to

Tony Mash who gallantly agreed to play for the Company while

promising not to score too many points!

Our next meeting was at Aldenham where we played for the

Pairs Cup. This was a really hot day and not everyone managed

to complete the course. However, the cup was won by Bruce

Mike Kerlogue best back 9 award

Peter Bennett wins The Covid Cup

The Players

Roger and Bruce with the pairs trophy

Kitchener & Roger Rufey with 45 points and with Peter Russell

& Mick Flinn runners up with 41 points. Highest individual

score on the day was Bruce Kitchener with 40 points with Tim

Westbrook in second place on 35 points.

Our final meeting at Mill Green Golf Club was due to be the

Three Ball Trophy, but given how few of us were able to play, we

agreed to play a singles Stableford competition for the COVID

Cup. This will hopefully be a one off event for all of us never to

be played for again. Peter Bennett was the winner with Peter

Russell the runner up. Tim Westbrook and Colin Watkins both

won prizes for nearest the pin.

This year there were fewer people available to play than since I took

over from Peter Bonner as your secretary. The reasons were simply

that the risk of playing was understandably too great for some


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

members; injury prevented others, and simply the fact that despite

our looks, many of us are not as young or as fit as we used to be.

We are lucky at the moment to have three players in our ranks

who are friends of mine and have played with us before. If they

had not been playing at Mill Green we would have had to cancel

with only 6 people available. My friends are happy to join our

ranks for next year and no doubt there will be more support from

our regulars, but we really do need to expand our numbers so that

we can at least make a minimum of 12 players available each time.

Please can we have more support from younger members and it

is worth remembering that we have a society handicap that is

adjusted to the scores at each meeting and has given the higher

handicap members an opportunity to challenge. We also use a

seeded method to arrive at both pairs and three ball competitions

so that everyone has a chance of being on a winning team.

Above all however we enjoy both the golf and the friendship

throughout the summer that all of us remember from years of

competitive sport in our youth.

We look forward to seeing you all again next year.

Roger Rufey + Tim Westbrook



Our Class of ’54 were so pleased with The Artillery Arms as the

venue for our reunion last year that we re-booked it for this year’s

reunion. Then along came COVID-19 and the pub was closed

for many months during the lockdown and only reopened in

September. Because of the Government’s restriction on the

maximum number of people meeting to six, we needed a Risk

Assessment and this was provided by Roger Engledow (see


Notwithstanding our efforts to be safe, Fuller’s Brewery, who

own The Artillery Arms, still cancelled our booking because we

were expecting 12 Old Stationers’ to attend. However, Roger

Engledow and Bob Harris had a pint or two at The Artillery

Arms and sweet-talked Amelie, the Manager, into allowing us to

have our reunion of the 12 people who said that they would like

to attend the reunion. The conditions were: two tables of six each

to be socially distanced giving plenty of ventilation, table service

only, masks to be worn when moving about and no mingling or

man hugs (would we do that?). So we were back on.

In the end, only eight OSA members attended, on two tables of

four each. The “fear factor” so loved by the newspapers was not

going to stop us even though we are 77 years old – and counting.

We can do risk assessments with the best of them. There was a

problem naming the two tables. One table wanted to be Table 1

which left the other to be Table 2. They were having none of that

and announced that they were Table A. So be it (Photographs 1

and 2).

We had Carmella in the bar downstairs pulling the pints and

good table service from a nice French waitress (Lucie) who

hailed from La Rochelle. The tables had a list of the Fuller’s

beers on offer so we could order easily (Photograph 3). Not a bad

setup at all.

The food was great: fish and chips; burger and chips; lamb pie

and chips which was nice and spicy with a separate jug of gravy.

This, and Fuller’s beers, are why we go there.

This was the first trip into central London since March for all of

the group except Bob Harris and Roger Engledow. Everyone

reported that their travel on trains and tubes was uncrowded and

not at all concerning. Tony Moffat reported that his bus was “full”

(but each pair of seats with only one passenger allowed) and the

driver refused entry to further passengers. Andy Wick was still

driving each week into Smithfield Market at 1 am to collect meat

supplies for his local butcher. Most of us had cancelled planned

overseas holidays during the lockdown period: Alan Williams to

Florida, Bob Harris to Denmark and Sweden, and Tony Moffat

a cruise to the Black Sea. But Ron Johnson had managed a recent

holiday in Santorini – where he stayed in a (very posh) cave with

its own plunge pool. No quarantine on the way in or out.

There were various reports of encounters with COVID-19. Ron

Johnson was sure that he and his wife were sufferers in the early

days, though not tested and fortunately not seriously unwell.

Andy Wick’s wife also had all the symptoms, but again untested

and recovered. Tony Hemmings has had the flu jab so, if he feels

ill in the future, he can rule flu out and guess he has COVID-19.

Memorable events during lockdown included clearing his garage

(Roger Melling), watching his granddaughter score a hat-trick

(Tony Moffat), climbing the Old Man of Coniston (Roger

Engledow – that’s a mountain, not a local resident) and a three

generation swim to an island in Derwentwater (Bob Harris).

Roger Engledow’s daughter, Lucy, is buying a house with a cellar

and he asked us “If you had a cellar, what would you use it for?”

Some of the answers were: growing exotic mushrooms and

selling them (Roger Engledow), Tony Hemmings said that he

could not do that because his cellar would be small and therefore

he had “not much room” – groans all round, Tony Moffat would

use it as a wine cellar to which Roger Engledow said that it

would be “whining”. Enough of the puns!

We had the usual toast to absent friends and fortunately no news

of any losses during the last 12 months. Apologies for absence

were received from: Doug Fussell, Ray Humphreys, Geoff

Dawes, Tony McKeer, Richard Woods, Mike Hiron, Richard

Phillippo, Paul Edwards, Roy Stevenson, Graham Ling, Bob

Townsend and Martin Brown, We ended with quiet rendition of

the School song in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines.

Bob Harris and Tony Moffat



The following risks have been identified in relation to a group of

6 getting together to enjoy a drink and a meal to celebrate our

joining the Stationers’ Company’s School in 1954.


That attendees catch the virus following their attendance.

Attendees pass the virus on to our fellow Old Stationers.


This is considered to be low for both risks.


The following actions will help to reduce both risks to low levels.


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

Bob Harris, Alan Williams, Andy Wick and Ron Johnson.

7 Bar staff will take orders for additional drinks so that it will

only be necessary to leave the room before departure in order

to go to the loo. Food, which has been pre-ordered, will also

be brought to us.

8 Any singing of the school song must be done very quietly, in

order to avoid projecting anything from the mouth further

than usual.

9 We should leave at a time that will enable us to travel home

before stations and trains become busy in the afternoon rush


10 No-one should turn up if they have any symptoms of the

virus, are self-isolating, or know that they have been in

contact with anyone who either has the virus or are selfisolating.

They must also inform the organiser if they develop

symptoms within 7 days after the event, so that all attendees

can be informed.


Tony Hemmings, Roger Engledow, Roger Melling and Tony Moffat.

List of Fuller’s beers available to order.

1 Attendees will travel mainly by train as the location is within

walking distance of Liverpool St and Moorgate National Rail


2 Travel will be out of rush hour times when trains are relatively


3 All attendees will wear masks whilst travelling.

4 The organiser will register a mobile phone number so that

attendees can be contacted should an issue arise after we have

left the venue.

5 Attendees should use hand sanitiser when arriving and after

each visit to a loo.

6 After buying the first drink attendees should immediately go

upstairs to the allocated room. A seat should then be selected

and retained.

The first 1954 reunion was 18 months in the planning stage,

even with some help, and took place on the 50th anniversary, to

the day, of our arrival at the 4 playgrounds off of Denton Road.

Of the 100 who arrived in 1954 some 30 turned up at a buffet

lunch at a pub in Holborn. Everyone thought that it had been a

great success and should be repeated. Unfortunately, when I said

that someone else would need to organize it, apparently, they had

all turned their deaf aids down!

Anyway, 5 years later I agreed that, again with some help, we

should hold the first of our annual reunions. It is so much simpler

to hold it every year. Once you have a distribution list of interested

people you simply book the venue for a year hence when you leave

and then send a few emails. A “suitable” venue for us involved – a

convenient location, no deposit, a dedicated room, no pre-ordering

of food and some quality real ale. Not much to ask for really. The

search for such a venue was fun but did not take long. Unfortunately,

after a number of successful get-togethers at the Cheshire Cheese

in Holborn the pub was closed for building redevelopment. Some

may remember the descriptions of our search for another such

venue which ended with the next reunion being held at the

Artillery Arms, just off of the City Road; convenient for anyone

coming into either Moorgate or Liverpool St stations.

Then, along came 2020 and covid-19. When the national

lockdown was eased pubs were allowed to open. But the Artillery

Arms did not. Could we go somewhere else? What we probably

needed was an outdoor venue, e.g. a pub with a big garden, but

they are few and far between in a “convenient” location. The only

name that came up was Ally Pally but I did not know whether

they had opened as spectator events were still not allowed. After

some weeks all that the Artillery Arms website said was that it

would open “soon”. So I thought that I would also check the Ally

Pally website. They were planning to open on Thursday and

Friday evenings and at weekends. Not much good for a Tuesday

lunchtime reunion. However, emails cost nothing so I explained

to them what I was looking for. I was soon exchanging emails

with their catering manager regarding a private use of the Palm

Court on a Thursday lunchtime in September, on the basis that

they would be opening the outside area in the evening. They

usually serve a couple of real ales, one brewed locally. Their

intention was to have 4 street traders serving food some of which

would turn up early to serve us.


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

Wow, we might actually get a reunion in 2020! So I put the idea

to the 27 names on my distribution list. Some are not well

enough to make a trip to London regardless of covid-19, some

were definite “no” because of the virus, some were not yet sure but

10 were up for it. That seemed a good start but maybe not good

enough. I had email exchanges with some of those not sure. I

suggested that London Overground after a National Rail train

would avoid the use of buses or the tube, and that if they wanted

to delay the journey home we could visit Stationers Park. (This

had been an idea for the reunion by organizing a picnic there. I

did respond that the only way I could carry enough beer for a

reunion was in my stomach. Anyway there were too many other

potential issues with this suggestion.) However, this is very much

a personal decision that people had to make and it wasn’t for me

to put any sort of pressure on anyone.

I now suspected that we would be unlikely to get more than a

dozen so went back to the Ally Pally contact to ask what he

thought would be a minimum number. The answer was 16,

which is around what I had expected. So I had to politely thank

him for the interest he had shown but we would not be able to

get 16 there.

Shortly after this the Artillery Arms announced their re-opening

date. A quick visit by Bob Harris (he lives nearby) established that

yes we can continue with our booking. This really was becoming

a roller coaster ride as the rule of 6 was then introduced. Another

visit to the pub and discussion with Amelie (the French manager)

established that she would accept 2 bookings of tables of 6, so up

to 12 could attend. The only difference was her request that we

pre-order food from a limited menu – a small price to pay (no, not

the menu price). A further email to the distribution list received

12 positive replies. Perfect, you might think so all was put in place.

A reunion for 12 was less than usual but after all in 10 years’ time

we might be grateful for a dozen. Indeed who knows what the

situation might be next year.

However, the roller coaster continued. We received an email

from Fullers head office cancelling our booking. That was our

original around 20 booking and Amelie quickly confirmed that

she was happy with the arrangement. Infection rates then

started to escalate across the country, including London. I had

produced a covid-19 risk assessment for walking football to

meet a few words in a long document produced by the

Government when indoor team sports were banned. I adapted

this to a reunion for two groups of six. However, the rate of

infection increase in London was a worry and, over a couple of

days, four people now felt that the risks had gone beyond where

they were happy to travel into London. I couldn’t disagree as it

is very much a personal decision based on their own health and

family concerns.

So, as of today (Tuesday 29th September), Tony Moffat will be

informing Amelie of the food choices of eight would be

“reunionists”. Will Boris announce a local London lockdown in

time to thwart our plans? Will we end up with just one table for

six (so not breaking any regulations)? What other unforeseen

event could stop us?

If I’m lucky and still well enough to read it with you, we might

all be able to enjoy reading a report on the 1954 ANNUAL

REUNION next January. If no such report follows this article

you will have to think back a few months to work out why it did

not take place.

Roger Engledow


It is 1921, King George V is on the throne, there is a coalition

government in power led by David Lloyd George, the Car Tax

Disc has just been introduced and Spurs beat Wolverhampton 1-0

in the FA Cup Final. Meanwhile, in the half-time changing room,

the team-talk to the Stationers’ First XI by the coach, moves to a

more sombre mood and a few home truths are firmly expressed.

This extract from the April 1921 issue of ‘The Stationers’ School

Magazine, provides an insight into the characters that played for

the School’s first team in the 1st Division Shield. It would appear

that the author of this review could be just as forthright as the

MOTD pundits we are all familiar with today. Although I am

sure, in his time, it would not have been delivered in the comfort

of a warm tv studio seated around a coffee table.

Peter Thomas

Eve Rose celebrates her 90th

birthday with Gordon


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

The transformation of Stationers’ Hall

2023 marks the 350th anniversary of the rebuilding of Stationers’

Hall after the Great Fire of London. Over this period, successive

generations of Stationers have enhanced and improved this

historic building, the third oldest Livery Hall in the City of

London; including re-facing the Hall in stone in 1800, completely

rebuilding the eastern wing and creating a new entrance in 1885

and reconstructing the Court Room in 1957 after war damage.

However, early in the 21st century, it became apparent that

further work needs to be done to make this grade 1 ancient

building fit for purpose in a very different world. As the focal

point for the UK Communications and Content industries, the

Hall needs to be more accessible, more flexible in its use and

more environmentally sustainable.

After extensive research, planning and negotiation, the Court of

the Stationers’ Company recently took an historic, once-in-ageneration,

decision to go ahead with a transformational project

at a total cost of £7.5 million. The Hall will therefore be closed

for redevelopment from November this year with an expected

completion date of Spring 2022. This will be the most important

refurbishment of Stationers’ Hall, since it was rebuilt after the

Great Fire of London and will ensure that a transformed

Stationers’ Hall will be open for business well before its 350th

anniversary and for many years thereafter.

For those who know the Hall layout well, a second entrance in

the garden will provide step-free access to a new reception and

cloakroom area and a lift that will stop at all the major function

rooms, revolutionising access in a building that contains some 16

different levels.

This second entrance will also allow two separate events to take

place in the Hall simultaneously, making its use much more

flexible for visitors, members and commercial clients. A

modernised kitchen will provide the capacity for multiple events

and events in the adjoining church.

The space above the Court Room, now vacant after the creation

of the state-of-the-archive storage and reading rooms in the

Tokefield Centre, will be available for use as three separate

meeting/break-out rooms or as one much larger function room.

All the major function rooms will be fitted with air cooling, a

pre-requisite in the hotter summers that we have been

experiencing recently; creating greater comfort for those

attending events and better protecting the fabric of the Hall and

its contents. At the same time, improved insulation and proper

temperature control will significantly reduce the Hall’s carbon


The school archives held currently in the basement of the Hall

and the portraits of our past headmasters currently on display on

the library staircase will be moved to other premises while the

building work is proceeding. The early painting of the school

building currently in the lobby of the Hall will also be removed

for safe keeping. Space will be made available for the return of

the archives to the Hall in 2022 should the OSA so wish it, and

the paintings will find new homes elsewhere in the transformed

Hall complex.

Sadly, it will not be possible for the OSA to hold its AGM and

annual dinner in the Hall in 2021 and it would probably be

better to postpone the 2022 AGM and Dinner to April 2022. In

any event, the Stationers’ Company looks forward to welcoming

the OSA back to the Hall in 2023 to remind us all of the strong

bonds that exist between the Company and the Old Stationers’


Any members of the OSA who would like to make a donation

to the Stationers Hall Charity to help fund the Hall transformation

are invited to contact Pamela Butler at hallcharity@stationers.

org for further details.

William Alden

Tony Mash


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

OSA Library Archive goes into Storage

With the refurbishment of Stationers’ Hall, scheduled to begin

on 1st November, the builders had other ideas when we received

a call from the Hall in mid-October to inform us that work had

already begun in the basement and that our archive needed to be

removed immediately. Our archive had been stored for many

years in a walk-in cupboard in the porters’ rest room, accessed

from the Gents toilets! But now we were in a mad panic

organising its relocation to a temporary home for the next

sixteen months. We had already made preparations, having

received several offers of storage and transportation from our

members. OSA member, Nick Henwood (1964-‘71) kindly

offered the use of his storage facilities in Northampton where

our archive would be safely housed until work at the Hall was

completed. The next day, Tim Westbrook and I headed up to the

Hall in a hired van to load up the archive and take the long

journey to Northampton. The Association has amassed a unique

collection of archive, containing our library of School and OSA

magazines dating from 1884, historic silverware, donated School

photographs, commemorative booklets and SOBA and OSA

Committee minutes (some beautifully hand written in ledgers

dating from 1903). We hope that when our archive returns to the

Hall it will find a permanent home in the Tokefield Centre

where it can be viewed by visiting Old Stationers and prove to be

a useful resource for family researchers.

Peter Thomas 1967-‘73

From Tony Bathurst

Hullo Tim,

Thanks for your message; sorry for not

replying sooner. Yes, the Tin Pot School

was a funny old place in my time (c1943-

1948). I shall have to dig into my piles of

old magazines to find out what I said for

the OSA mag 80, but a few random

memories have been stirred up by your


In those days it was deemed necessary to

limit pupils' view of the outside world, so

the tall narrow sash windows, opened and

closed (occasionally) by ropes, made it

impossible to see much other than a strip

of sky. I remember gazing out at the

drifting clouds and wishing it were possible


to see God - it would make understanding

so much easier! In much later years when

we moved to a mature house in Bridgwater,

I was inspired to take each such window

out in turn and strip it and its frame down

to bare wood, removing many layers of

paint which had hindered their opening

and closing, and repainting: a long job but

the reward was windows which could be

opened and closed with one finger. The

quality of the original woodwork was


Unsurprisingly, your list of teachers was

entirely different from mine, although I

knew Miss Frowd because she was head

when some of my nephews and nieces

were there. I particularly disliked one aged

lady, no doubt filling in for wartime

shortages, who walked with a limp and

who delighted in reducing a pupil's selfesteem,

or so it seemed to me. She went

with us when we temporarily moved to

sheds in the playground of Crouch End

School (because a 'doodlebug' had landed

on the railway viaduct and caused damage

to the school roof ). At the other end of the

scale was Mrs Shaw, a much younger and

more energetic and sympathetic person for

whom one was pleased to do one's best.

Her husband accompanied a group of us to

a summer holiday somewhere in a southern

county - Peter Lack was in the group. Mr

Shaw took us around and showed us all

sorts of country things which townies like

me enjoyed greatly.

There were attempts to keep some of us


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 8 5

amused during the summer holidays by

organising games and parties. During one

such party, one of the lads threw a bread

roll!!!! A teacher whose name eludes me

was furious (she had a prominent mole on

her face...) and made the boy eat the roll.

That taught us, or me anyway, a lesson;

food was at a premium during the war.

In winter the one-third-of-a-pint milk

bottles were tested on arrival by birds - tits

probably - who pierced the bottle tops to

sample the cream (milk was not usually

homogenised in those days).

I was reminded that at Stationers' (1948-

1953) there were still members of staff

who had seen the School through the war

(ask my brother for a few reminiscences)

but, as with Mrs Shaw, there were one or

two younger ones and I particularly

remember John Becker and his friend

Geoffrey Barnard who between them did

a lot for school activities outside the

classroom, particularly in the field of

music, but it was John's language teaching

which I remember most and I have often

said that I would not be living in France

now without it. He instilled in me a love of

languages in general and in French in

particular, and although I have never had

to use German I feel I could, even now,

soon get a grip of it if I did.

I could probably go on, but other people's

memories are not always of interest to

others, so I will put my pen down, blot this

carefully and send it on to you (no 2 1/2d

stamp required!).

Best wishes


Dear Anthony,

I noticed in issue 80 of the OSA magazine, an

article you wrote about Tin Pot School which

I attended with my brother around 1955 –61.

Interestingly, I have been in email contact

with Alan Barnard as he has submitted an

article for the OSA magazine 91 and not only

did he attend Tin Pot but his father taught me

in class 4 which was in a separate building

half way up Alexandra Gardens.

Teachers were:

Class 1 Miss Elliott, Class 2 Miss Harris,

Class 3 Miss Thompson, Class 4 Mr Barnard,

Class 5, Mr Walters, Class 6 Miss Rogers.

Head teacher Miss Frowd.

The caretaker was a tiny man called Mr

Wing. Happy days!


Tim Westbrook

A Break in Lockdown

Dear Tim,

How was 2020 for you? Does it feel like the

longest year ever? Can you remember what

life was like back in February? Ahh, those

carefree days of wondering how the new

prime minister would bring the country

together, if Liverpool could be caught in the

Premier League, finally exiting from the

EU and, on the news, something very

strange going on in China…

How our lives suddenly changed. Did you

suffer badly in lockdown from FOMO

(Fear of Missing Out) or get round to

doing things you’ve always wanted to?

Have you perfected Mandarin? Passed

Piano Level 8? Learnt all the words to the

national anthem? Finished War & Peace

or (re)started Ulysses? Or have you run out

of excuses and finally got round to those

niggling home repairs?

I, along with millions of others, embraced

the latter, and one sunny Sunday even

promised my wife that I would shave off

my lockdown beard that evening, after

completing a landscaping project in the


Alas, although DIY normally involves a visit

to B&Q for me it was a drive to A&E. (It

seems I can no longer rely on my gymnastic

tumbling skills when I fall from a ladder.)

On the plus side, I’ve never seen A&E so

empty; on the minus side, two breaks to my

collarbone were confirmed. Yes, it was a

rather extreme step to avoid shaving.

After the shock came six weeks of inactivity

(and I still didn’t start War and Peace), but

it was a happy ending when surgeons

decided that I am healing naturally hence

an operation is not required.

So, what a surprising 2020 it has been. Not

least of all that after all my years of

competitive and adrenaline sports I broke

a bone for the first time. And in case you’re

wondering, every doctor has professionally

resisted the urge to link my name with my

injury. Serious applause to the NHS.

The conclusion I’ve reached from reflecting

on a year of pandemic and lockdown: stay

calm, stay home, work on home (if you

wish), don’t go out (unless it’s B&Q), don’t

go to A&E, protect yourself (if you can)

and hope for a better 2021.

Very best wishes

Danny Bone

Hi Tim,

As Andrew Dunlop states the picture of

the victorious Meredith House Athletics

Team on page 27 of the last magazine is

one of a series. Phil Geering tells me that

his brother Mick has some of the others

which celebrate Meredith House winning

the Cock House Cup in 1961/1962 for the

first and, I believe, the only time. I am told

he has sent them to you.

Seated on Joe Symonds's left in the picture

is Mick Geering, our House Captain.

After all these years I can still recall my

first House Prayers in the School Dining

Room in early September 1961. Joe

Symonds spoke for a few minutes and

then handed over to Mick who gave what

was the first motivational speech I had

ever heard. He said that we would come

first in athletics, football and cricket and

we would pick up a satisfactory number of

points for our school work. What always

let us down was our disciplinary record.

Improve that and we would win the Cock

House Cup. We duly did and the trophy

was ours.

The only other motivational speech I ever

heard at school was when Gus Thomas

told us, at the beginning of the fourth-year,

how he would ensure that we all passed 'o'

level English. Certainly, in my case he

turned out to be correct.

Kind regards,

Derek Mitchell

Meredith House 1961/1968

Dear Tim

More on Andrew Dunlop’s 1962 Meredith

photo on p.27 of the last issue. The

grizzled veterans flanking Joe Symons are,

of course, Geraint Pritchard and Mike

Geering. In the back row, second left, is a

less celebrated member of our cohort,

David Ison, sprinter, erratic pace bowler,


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

and Liberal Party activist – a rarity at the

time. He had a career in advertising but

subsequently realised the secret ambition

of many an OS by running a pub in Wales.

He then moved to Gloucestershire, semiretired

and in indifferent health. We had

played together in the Highgate CC

drinking elevens of the 60s, alongside such

OS luminaries as Bob Beckley and Derek

Pyrke. I last saw him at a county match in

Cheltenham in 2005; Keith Knight and I

attended his funeral two years later. My

abiding memory is of keeping wicket –

warily – to his wayward thunderbolts.

Best wishes

Mike Heath

Dear Tim

I can give you some assistance with the

photo on p27 of Jo Symons and Meredith

House athletics team.

The person at the far left of the second

row up is my younger brother, Martin

Henfrey (1958-65) who was a keen athlete

and was indeed in Meredith, as was I.

Martin died in 2008. The person on Jo's

left is I believe one of the Geering brothers

(Mike?) who were both great athletes.

Hope this helps.

Tony Henfrey 1956-63

Dear Tim,

It may be heresy but I’m actually enjoying

the Lockdown. My daughter-in-law

Annie, a computer savvy American lass

who lives in Ayr, Scotland, found a

volunteer group operating near our home

in Ilford. Naturally Rita and I were

delighted, both of us being on the

vulnerable list. A quick phone call got us

registered with the group. Before the day

was out we had offers to do our shopping

from three generous souls. We decided to

ask Jayesh to do the weekend shop and

Shaz to do the midweek one. Not only are

they wonderfully helpful, but they turned

out to be very interesting characters in

their own right

Jayesh graduated from Oxford with a

mathematics degree specialising in

actuarial analysis. He works for Lloyds

evaluating risk, and costings for commercial

insurance contracts. One of his hobbies is

reading Sanskrit texts in the original

language. Shaz and his family have been in

Dubai for his work, but recently returned

to the UK. Unfortunately Shaz obtained

work with BA before the Lockdown, and

now faces the unwelcome prospect of

losing his job. Fingers crossed for him.

I am trying to work to a pattern. Breakfast,

then 15 /20 minutes Spanish with Rita.

Sort out my Emails, respond to Facebook

postings/messages, finally domestic chores.

At 12.30 we watch the second half of

Bargain Hunt. Rita and I are amazed at

how frequently the expert's? valuations are

way off the mark. Lunch and watch the

1.00pm news.

I usually spend the afternoon, until supper,

working on my article The Huguenot

Contribution to Early Modern Freemasonry.

I have written 6,600 words, but

have come to the very time consuming

part at the end of the paper. I have the

names of ninety Huguenot Freemasons,

members of four London Lodges. I am

endeavouring to tabulate the names, with a

brief summary of each one's profession

and their connection with one, or more, of

the twenty seven French churches in

London circa 1720-1730. The on-line

records and church registers of The

Huguenot Society are a great help.

The time taken to extract information

about any individual is very variable.

Sometimes I get a result very quickly (e.g.

Dr J T Desaguliers/Solomon's Temple) or

very slowly (e.g. Mr Dumoulin/Prince

Eugene Coffee House (Lodge)). The last

one cited took me almost four afternoons

to complete, with seventeen Dumoulins to

choose from, not helped by the fact that no

initial was given for the first name. That is

typical of the sometime casual record

keeping in the Grand Lodge Minutes of

the day. I have recently completed the last

entry, and now need to sit back and mull

over the wealth of information I have

extracted so that I can come to some

meaningful conclusions.

I have also submitted two articles for an

anthology being produced by the

Brentwood Writers’ Circle. Rita is busy

writing a children’s’ story. We have given

each of our volunteer shoppers a copy of

Rita’s “Gotcha Smile”, a delightful story

about little Clarine’s struggle to become

accepted at her new school. I have also

given each of them a copy of my story

“City Fox” which is intended for eight to

twelve year olds. It is available as a Kindle

version on Amazon.

I try to spend some time pottering in the

garden to take advantage of some of the

very sunny days that have occurred in

April and May.

An amusing incident happened a few

weeks ago. My neighbour’s son has two

rather large white rabbits. One of them

escaped into our garden by squeezing


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

through the narrow gap between a fencing

post and the back wall of our garden. I was

rather alarmed when I saw him nibbling

one of Rita’s prized Carnation plants. I

shooed him away, but he came back, and

started nibbling at the lawn. This wasn’t so

bad, but I could not trust him to feed solely

on our lawn. Fortunately a little black cat,

who visits our garden, started to stalk the

rabbit so he scuttled away, squeezing beside

the fencing post back to his home garden.

I cut some thorns, stuffing them into the

gap, and, as I thought, preventing the

rabbit from entering our garden again.

The next day I spoke to my neighbour,

asking if his son’s white rabbit had returned

home safely. Alas the rabbit was lost.

Nobody knows where he has gone. Has he

rejoined Alice in Wonderland, or ended up

as a tasty meal for a local fox?

Hoping you stay safe and well.

Best wishes,

Nigel Wade

Hi Tim

Hope you are keeping well and in business

during these difficult times

Just received another magnificent magazine

and have reprimanded myself as I was going

to submit a couple of photos which would

have got people racking the memory cells.

Only disappointment was the number of

Obits of people who I knew fairly well, Sir

John Sparrow, Harold Perry, Mike

Andrews and of course Bruce Donaldson

who I got to know through the Vets


I also have a copy of the photo on page 27

and it was indeed Meredith House when I

believe we won all the Athletic shields but

not the Cock House cup unless that’s in

the front row. The Cock House cup took

into consideration I recall, work and

conduct which pulled us down rather.

I think I can add most of the names but

just a couple short if anyone is interested.

Back Row: Ray Faulkner; Ison ( I think)

Minch; me; Dave Rawnsley; Thomsitt;

Durrant (??).

Middle row: Henfrey (??) Geraint Pritchard;

Jo Symons; Mike Geering; Geoff Holmes;

Graham Eldridge.

Front Row: Davis; ??; ??.

You had Trotman who was probably one of

the front row?

I will look out a couple more photos with

"names of the Past"

Hope to see you but i have a shoulder

injury that is impeding (????) my golf so it

may be next season.

All the best

Chris Langford

Hi Tim

I have been speaking to Mike Geering

which prompted me to dig out the photos

I promised you.

1 Stationers School 1st team of 1962-63

which went through the year undefeated

Back Row; Bob Gray; Chris Langford; Colin

Munday; Colin Hall; Mark Thompson; Russ

Miller; Stan Holmes

Front Row: Barry Groves; Keith Mullender:

Peter Saunders; Bob Margree; George Allen.

2 OSFC 1st team - I believe first team to

be SAL Champions

Back Row: Bernie Kelly; Dave Cox; Chris

Langford; Mike Fletcher; Colin Munday;

Charlie Cruden.

Front Row: Ian Snelling; Keith Ranger;

Alan Rowe; Tony Taylor; "Windy" Griffiths.

Frank Abbot i believe also played but had

a broken arm/shoulder at the time of the


It was my 1st year playing Officially for

the old boys and what a great team I was

lucky to join. Bernie had been captain of


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

Barnet (Athenian League Amateur at the

time) when they played Southampton in

the FA cup, and 5 others had played Senior

amateur football but found the social side

of OSFC too strong a lure to miss out on.

Hope you can use this some time.

Chris Langford

Dear Tim,

In early July I sent you a photo of the

Struer party of Easter 1961, which I

discovered when pursuing the Meredith

House Athletics question. I promised to

send you some follow up narrative. I do so

now with many apologies for the delay but

we have had major medical distractions

which we are only now recovering from.

I have identified most of those present in

that photo (below) with one exception.

Front row between Barry Groves and Alfie

Elliott. Perhaps others could help. Also,

there are several OS presidents in this


This group, comprising mainly the year of

1956, was the nucleus of the 1961/62 first

eleven which I was honoured and fortunate

to captain. I think that we only lost a

couple of games, but won the return

fixtures, as was the case in the two previous

years under Tony Taylor and Dave Cox.

Both of those were exceptional teams,

captained by exceptional sportsman in

every sense of the word.

However, only the 1962/3 team were truly

Struer Party

invincible, from recollection drawing their

first match but winning the remainder. A

different league in every sense of the word

to their namesakes some 40 years later.

They were the first and, I believe, only

school first eleven to go through the

season unbeaten.

Looking at this photo evokes so many

great memories of what were 4 halcyon

years for the school first eleven. Only a

handful of losses in approaching 100

games, culminating in that unbeaten

season. Quite something!

If you do reproduce the photo in the

magazine I hope that it gives as much

pleasure to others as it has to me and

brings back only happy memories to those

lucky enough to be directly involved.

If you need any more info please call me.

Keep up the good work.

All the best.

Mike Geering


I often wonder (Gus Thomas might have

told me it should be, ‘I wonder often')

about this game. Isn't the internet



I also found this, specific to Wood Green

but nothing to do with the game we played:



Worth a mention in the mag?

Take care

Malcolm Wandrag

Dear Tim

Thanks for Issue 91 of the magazine. As I

was flicking through it, I was pleased to

come across the programme for Cakes and

Ale which brought back many happy

memories, not least of the ever-urbane

"Doc" O'Connell sitting at the piano and

playing the most amazing jazz arrangements.

I played the part of Lord Salisbury and

sang a very non-pc song encouraging

smoking. One equally non-pc verse went:

It comes here from America, that far and

distant place,

Out there the people chew it with

contortions of the face,

But of course the poor Americans are not a

civilised race!

Still smoking keeps a man at peace.

Then there was the charming first former

who sang

I'm a little girl from Mossywell Hill

That's the place where I was born.

At the other end of the social scale were the

two Villains:

We thought we were cornered last Monday

at three,

When we murdered a master most


But as nobody minded, they let us go free!

We're Villains, Villains, horrible, blood

thirsty Villains!

Some of the torturous lyrics were well up

to Noel Coward's standard.

For example:

The only way to work and be content is

to come and be a Stationer's apprentice.

Or the hard-up King James

I feel I'm only half a king

With only half a crown!

Happy Days! It would be interesting to

hear other people's memories of the

Centenary Year.

Brian Wilkinson

1952 - 1959


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

Staff remembered - “The Old and Bold” - John Leeming

I joined Stationers’ in 1964 at

the age of 22. I was one of four

new staff who joined that

autumn term. The others were

Charles Zarb (French), Charles

Yessayan (Mathematics) and a

Mr Williams (also French)

whose first name I forget. Tony

Hudson (History) may have

joined that year too. The only

one of those three I am still in

touch with, albeit irregularly, is

Charles Zarb, now in his nineties and enjoying good health in his

Belsize Park home. Charles Yessayan passed away some years

ago, also in his nineties at the time, but I have lost track of Mr

Williams. He would probably be in his eighties now.

I have been thinking about the many colleagues I have known

throughout my 20 years at the Mayfield Road establishment.

There were a great many ‘ships that passed in the night’ whom I

never got to know well, and whose later destinations I know not.

In 1964 many of the staff were, as Robert Baynes described

them, the ‘old and bold’ – men who were in or nearing their

sixties. It’s a testament to the magnetism of the School that many

of them continued beyond the minimum retirement age,

exemplified, of course by Herman ‘Joe’ Symons, who ruled the

roost until he was about 66.

The Language Department was in the charge of an elderly Frank

Dash with ‘Beaky’ Davis, also in his sixties, fronting French, and a

new kid on the block, Adrian Constable, leading the teaching of

German (and later Russian). Mr Betton, another sexagenarian,

taught Latin I had just missed Mathematician Laurie Buxton, but

Mr Bartlett (‘Peanut’) was a well-respected sixty-something

member of that department. Again, I was too late for the legend of

Beaky Davis

the Science Department, Mr Baxenden (‘Bax’), and Henry Grant

was by then filling the bill. He was not yet sixty, but shared a degree

of lethargy with some (but by no means all) of those who were. He

led physics, and Bill Rees, another sixty-something, led biology.

After Mr Rees’ retirement Godfrey Cremer filled the slot. I took

over chemistry from Dr Andrews, more by luck than judgement.

My memory of some first names is less than perfect. The older staff

were generally referred by their surnames only (usually preceded by

a ‘Mr’ when addressed by younger colleagues), and they did the

same to others (“Look here, Leeming old boy …”).

Staff of 1966


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

WAC Rees officiating at Swimming gala

Young Stan Read was Head of Geography, with long-serving

near-retiree Leonard Topley his number two. Head of History

was a younger, but somewhat distant man whose name escapes

me for the moment. He was succeeded by Peter Filleuil and later

the eccentric Tony Hudson. Mr Filleuil became first Head of

Sixth Form on the adoption of the Pastoral system in 1967, and

later moved to his native Jersey to take up a headship (I think),

but died at a relatively young age. I filled his shoes as Head of

Sixth Form after Mr Filleuil left. John Morris was Head of

English, and John Thomas, another sixty-plusser who also

taught Latin, was a determined colleague of Mr Morris, and with

whom relations were not always smooth!

Also in that age bracket were John Lloyd, Head of Art and

Rodney Naylor, in charge of technical subjects, as was Harold

Parker (‘Park’), the charismatic lab technician, who had a stroke

and died in 1968. Music was in the hands of a younger man,

Norman Rimmer, who is still around in his eighties, and Sid

Holmes, also approaching retirement age, kept his gentle eye on

those who organised PE and games.

And there was Commander Cutler, of course, stalwart of the

school office, and who was in much the same sort of age-bracket.

Charlie Street, the Caretaker (who would be known as Site

John Leeming, Peter Glynn and Harold Parker

Manager today) was rather younger, but he sadly died in harness

in around 1981.

That period was more than half a century ago. All those ‘old and

bold’ have long since passed away, of course, and looking at a staff

photo taken in 1966, it is sad to see that a number of the younger

ones of that era have gone, too. My partner-in-chemistry-crime,

Peter Glynn, an Old Stationer himself, passed away at a very

young age. Keith Hewitt, who taught art, left us many years ago,

and Roy Court, Head of Maths, died fairly recently. Roy’s widow,

Ann, who also taught maths at Stationers’, is, to the best of my

knowledge, still in the Crouch End area. There were some older

staff who joined on comprehensivisation in 1967, such as Arthur

Rumney, Mr Salter and Gwyn Williams (“If anybody speaks, I’ll

take my belt off … ”) who are also no longer with us.

Other ‘original’ colleagues from that era whom I know about are

Adrian Constable, who moved to Hartlepool in 1983, leaving

behind his charming wife Thelma, who then joined her old flame

Mike Holley (physics) in the Watford area.

The school continued for nearly two more decades, and a great

many colleagues passed through during that period. I am in

touch with only a very few. Mike Fitch, another Old Stationer,

John Alley and Norman Rimmer

Mr Salter


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

Micky Fitch has forgotten the formula for Sangria!

became Head of Chemistry after I moved up the ladder, and he

is living in retirement near Hertford. He is not in the best of

health, but remains active and gets around. Mary Pryor (art)

spends most of her time in Cambridgeshire, having moved on to

a deputy headship at the successor school, Langham, following

the demise of Stationers’.

Diane Dungate (music) moved to the Norfolk-Suffolk borders

several years ago, and, like the other survivors, is enjoying

retirement. Charles Zarb I’ve already mentioned, and I

occasionally see Francis Evans, another teacher of French, who

still lives quite near the old school. Brian Rainer (Technical and

maths) moved to the Langham, where he became a popular yearhead,

before moving to the south coast in 1994.

It’s sad that a few younger colleagues who joined later – the less

old but definitely bold – have passed on since leaving Stationers’.

Caroline Scott (geography) moved to Quintin Kynaston School

in Camden, then had a change of career, studying for a science

degree, then obtaining a doctorate following research into green

algae. Sadly, she died a couple of years ago. Derek Reid (German

and English) took over the English Department at Stationers’

after the retirement of John Morris, and moved to St Thomas

More School in Wood Green after leaving Stationers. Sadly, he

passed away a few years later, and I have just learned that John

Ollerenshaw (maths), who was at the school when I first joined,

died last October. He and Geoff Dolomore were walking

companions along with Mr Palfrey (before my time) and ran

school trips abroad. They both moved to Forest Hill School,

where I did my teaching practice before joining Stationers’.

Martin Roots (art) died a few years ago, and there were two other

maths teachers, both named Rao, neither of whom is still with us

as far as I know. Another popular staff-member was Ian Paterson

(drama and English), who was responsible for a number of

successful school dramatic productions in the 1970s and ’80s. He

continued his good work at the Langham, but was not in the best

of health. He took early retirement and died in the 1990s. Also

gone are Mr Barnetson (who I think lived to be nearly 100) and

Brian Burchell (Head of Lower School in the early ‘80s)

I used to meet with the late Geraint Pritchard quite often, and

was pleased to have been able to enjoy a last meal with him in

Harrogate just a few months before he died in 2018.

After the closure of the School, Robert Baynes held annual

gatherings of the new survivors at his home in Mill Hill – the

new ‘Old and Bold’ of the 1980s – until he himself passed away.

After a gap of some years without regular get-togethers, in 2019

Mary Pryor gathered together as many former Stationers’ staff as

she could muster, to hold a little celebration of the life of Geraint

Charlie Zaab and Geraint Pritchard

Pritchard. We met in a Crouch End pub, and I was very pleased

to catch up there with Clive Blenkinsop (English), Maggie

Butterfield (art), Vera Boles (library), Wilney Cochrane (English),

Nava Jahans (English and support), Jackie Maynard (clerical and

medical), Chris Murray (maths), Richard Quarshie (English),

and Ron Rook (PE).

Others who I know (or suspect) are still around include John

Bath (history), Peter Bennett (PE and games), Diane Dibsdall

(science technician), Geoff Dolomore (maths and physics), John

Eastman (English), Richard Farrow (geography), Maggi Fisher

(English), Maurice Freedman (chemistry), Mike Hanoman

(biology), Marsden Hubbard (PE and games), now back in

Wales, Peter Huke (English), Ian Keast (RE), Monica Lazaro

(art), Geoff Perry (chemistry), Mrs Mohammed (Maths), Mike

Smethers (economics) and Sean Wilkinson (geography and

Deputy Head) and Graham Woods (science technician).

Maurice Freedman moved to a school in East London where the

infamous Dame Shirley Porter was a governor, and the last I

heard he was running his own estate agency in Cornwall.

Stephen Moore-Bridger also taught chemistry at Stationers’ for

a short time, and I think he may be the same Stephen Moore-

Bridger who was a contestant in the BBC’s Brain of Britain

competition a few years ago (but didn’t win the title). I had lost

touch with John Bath (History), but he phoned me out of the

blue last November, and is still living in Muswell Hill. Peter

Huke took time away from teaching after leaving Stationers’ in

about 1980, travelling round the world overland in an adventure

that took him to New Zealand (“… my first encounter with

civilisation since leaving Calais.”). He later returned to teaching

in Britain.

Clive Belenkinsop and John Young in the Queens Crouch End.


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

Jackie Maynard

I’m sure I have overlooked a number of people, to whom I

apologise, and there must be many I have no information about.

Maybe there are readers who can update the list and fill in some

gaps in my knowledge and memory.

And then there’s me. I have lived in Walthamstow since 1976

and keep busy, fit and active as I approach middle age (or so I like

to think). I moved on to the Langham School as a member of the

Senior Management Team after Stationers’, thence to a nonteaching

post that ended up as Computer Systems and Data

Manager at Nower Hill High School in Harrow, where Simon

Hensby was Head and Geraint Pritchard was Deputy. Simon’s

life, like Geraint’s, came to a sad and untimely end following the

onset cancer.

I retired completely in 2005. On learning of my impending

retirement, a colleague said, “Make sure to do everything you

want to before you retire, because you’ll be too busy afterwards.”

Such is indeed the case, and I suspect that my many retired

former colleagues find themselves enjoying happy, busy and

fulfilling retirements.

I occasionally have to remind myself that many of my former

students are also enjoying retirement. In my first year at

Stationers’ I taught the fourth, fifth and sixth forms only (years

10, 11, 12 and 13 in today’s terminology). I find it a sobering

thought that all those youngsters are now 70 or over. Life passes

by quickly. Enjoy it while you can.

John Leeming

Alan Dallman

I have only moved half a mile from where I was born in 1937,

My schooling was Rokesley, St. Mary's and nearly Tollington -

not quite enough marks to get into Stationers but my father put

this right after a visit to Hornsey Town Hall so I joined my

brother, David, who had been at Stationers for three years, I was

not so scholarly as David but did my best. Spent four years in the

company of Messrs. Thomas, Holmes, Barnard, Topley, Naylor

and Rees plus Mr. S.C.Nunn who all tried their best to educate

me. At the end of my fourth year term on he way home I

telephoned my father to tell him I had left school and had a job

with W.H.Smiths in Crouch End - my father was not pleased. I

spent two years with Smiths and then fate took a turn; my father

met the manager of a newsagent in Weston Park who had the

opportunity of buying the business but lacked the capital, so dad

took a chance to invest in his son. As National Service loomed it

was decided for me to be employed at the shop for the two years

at £8. a week. I spent my National Service in the Air Force and

after training was sent to Thorney Island which is near

Portsmouth. Once there I got the job of running the library in

the evenings and the bonus was no parades or guard duties and

home every weekend which I spent working in the shop. After

finishing National Service we formed a partnership for the

business which lasted 27 years and during that time we acquired

two more newsagents, a sweet shop, a sub Post Office and a toy

shop. My partner wanted to retire so we sold up in 1984. I then

set up a garden maintenance business which my daughter and

two grandsons now run. I was married in 1963 to my wife, Anne,

and we bought a house in Wood Vale with a three-quarter acre

garden(we are still there). Over the years we have opened our

garden for charities which was run by the National Gardens

Scheme; we opened for 34 years and had on average two or three

hundred visitors over the weekends; one year after publicity in

the Evening Standard we had nearly 800 people. I had joined the

London Gardens Society which ran a competition for the best

garden in Greater London. I entered the garden in the large

garden section for a few years and finally in 2010 won the cup.

We had a visit from HRH Prince Edward who is Patron of the

society and he was accompanied by various dignitaries - quite an

event. We are now in our later years, house too big and garden

too much. We did think of downsizing but as we overlook

playing fields and woods we feel we are already in the country,

not London, So looking back I feel privileged to have been a

student at Stationers. Lots of happy memories in my short stay.

My final comment is how on earth did Jeremy Corbyn and

Bernie Grant manage to close a wonderful fully equipped school

and demolish it, very sad.

Alan W. Dallman

Norton House 1949 - 1953

Winning Garden

Prince Edward congatulates Alan and his wife


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2


HEADMASTER 1936-1962 – By Clive Farmer

Sometime in 1952 or 1953 at

morning assembly the

headmaster, Sidney Charles

Nunn, known to the boys as

“Josh” ( Joshua son of Nun)

spoke of an incident during his

service in WW1. He told of

leading his men before dawn

along a communication trench

towards the front line. the sky

lit up by an artillery barrage.

His sergeant, a few paces

behind him, remarked “Proper

Brock’s Benefit tonight, sir”.

The Headmaster said he turned to respond to the sergeant, there

was a crump and a shower of earth and the sergeant was no more.

This anecdote stuck in my mind and after I retired, I resolved to

learn more about Sidney Nunn’s family background, his military

service, and his teaching career. Here is what I discovered.

Early life.

Sidney Charles Nunn was born in Ipswich in September 1896

and baptised early the following year. His parents were Frederick

Nunn, a police constable, and Emma nee Lucas. Their house still

exists in Pauline Street, a small, terraced property with the front

door opening directly on to the pavement. Sidney had two

siblings, Mabel, born in 1902 and Herbert born in 1909 (whom

I have not researched).

By 1911 the family fortunes were looking up. Frederick had been

promoted to police Inspector and the family had moved to

Hartley Street in Ipswich.

Sidney seems to have been a studious boy, attending The Ipswich

Secondary School for Boys in Ipswich in 1908 and being

appointed Head Boy in 1912. He was clearly attracted to

teaching as a career and was appointed an assistant teacher at the

same school for the period 1914-1915.

Military Service

His service started as a private soldier undergoing basic officer

training in the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps from

August to December 1915 and he received his commission as

2nd Lieutenant in December 1915. He joined the 2/12th

(County of London ) Battalion London Regiment, a Territorial

infantry battalion known as the Rangers. He was promoted to

Lieutenant on 01/07/1917 and then to Acting Captain , a rank

he relinquished in December 1918.

He spent the period from December 1915 until February 1917 in

training and helping to prepare the Battalion for war service. It

was often the case that new recruits, in addition to training,

needed much improvement in their physical fitness before they

were ready for the rigours of trench warfare on the Western Front.

In February 1917 Sidney left Southampton with the Battalion

bound for Le Havre. The War Diary noted that on the two

Troopships there were nearly 1,000 men, 35 officers, vehicles,

horses, and bicycles. He served with the same battalion

throughout his service, entirely on the Western Front, apart from

a couple of spells of leave. He was wounded twice, the second

time near Amiens in May 1918 during the last great Allied

offensive which led to the German surrender. There still exists a

poignant letter from Sidney to the parents of a soldier in his

company who was killed in action near Cambrai in what he

described as an unsuccessful attack in September 1918. Sidney

was demobbed in March 1919 and was awarded the British War

Medal and the Victory medal.

During the War, the Rangers suffered 1,200 men killed in action.

Their battle honours included Passchendaele, Cambrai, Amiens,

and the Hindenburg Line. As with many well-known battalions

they also had a steam Locomotive named after them.


In late 1918 Sidney took leave to return to England and marry

Daisy Crane. The two had probably known one another for

many years as Daisy had lived in Pauline Street where Sidney

was born and she was also a school teacher. They had a daughter,

Joan, born in 1921.

Teaching Career

Sidney’s first teaching post was at the school he had attended as

a pupil, Ipswich Secondary School for Boys (also known as

Northgate Grammar). He was there during 1914-1915. His next

post was as assistant master at Cheadle Hulme secondary school,

Manchester in the early part of 1915 before starting his military


After his demob and before resuming his teaching career Sidney

obtained a BA Hons then an MA studying at Downing College

Cambridge between 1919 and 1921. He then resumed his career

with a teaching post at his old school , The Municipal Secondary

School for Boys Ipswich between 1921 and 1923. He moved to


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

at Hornsey but still suffered from occasional bombing in the area

and the absence of many of the teaching staff on military service.

In 1941 Sidney achieved the unusual distinction of having been

commissioned in two different arms of Service. The London

Gazette records his appointment as Acting Pilot Officer Training

Branch, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, this no doubt

connected with his command of the School Air Cadets. He was

later promoted to Flying Officer and resigned his commission on

his retirement in 1962.

The re-organisation of the Education

system and financial matters

the High School Dorking and remained there until 1926 , then

to the County School for Boys, Harrow until 1930.

In 1926 Sidney and colleagues took a large party of school cadets

on a trip to Belgium, visiting Brussels, Waterloo, Zeebrugge and

Ypres. This town had been reduced to rubble by 1918 but by

1925 had been entirely rebuilt using War Reparations funds

imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. We cannot

know what Sidney felt at returning to the area where he had

experienced so much, perhaps some lines from a poem by A P

Herbert might suggest his thoughts.

“We only walk with reverence this sullen mile of mud

The shell-holes hold our history and half of them our blood“

His career was clearly on an upward path, as he obtained the post

of Headmaster, The County School, Godalming in 1930 where

he remained until the high point of his career in 1936 when he

was appointed Headmaster at Stationers.

The War Years 1939-1945

The early years of Sidney’s time as Headmaster were very

eventful. The new school extension was completed by 1939 and

also the acquisition of the playing fields at Winchmore Hill

(which were given over to air raid shelters and trenches as soon

as war was declared). As Head no doubt Sidney would have been

heavily involved in these matters. The declaration of war in 1939

led to major changes in the School’s organisation. In 1939

Sidney, some of the teaching staff and around 300 boys boarded

the train for the Queen‘s School, Wisbech where they stayed

until 1942. Various reports suggest that the evacuation and

settlement of the boys in Wisbech (which also took in several

hundred other evacuees) was well planned and organised.

From 1942 until the end of the war the school was re-established

From 1944 onwards there were far-reaching changes to the

categorisation, management, and financing of the country’s

system of education. It seems that Sidney had to become part

politician, administrator, and negotiator rather than Headmaster.

The Stationers’ Company is said to have suffered some financial

losses because of enemy bombing in London causing property

damage and decisions to sell assets at the low end of a rising

property market. This meant that the Stationers’ Company could

no longer provide all the necessary financial support to the

school and it became state aided.

From 1945 until his retirement in 1962 Sidney provided his

Department Heads with a steadily increasing degree of authority

and encouraged flexibility in teaching methods, subjects and

approaches while maintaining high standards in educational


Pupils regularly gained open awards to Oxford and Cambridge

and other universities and new subjects were introduced. The

gaining of pilot’s licences, trips to various countries in Europe

and Russia, involvement in archaeological digs, the teaching of

Russian and computer studies all confirm innovation and

modern thinking.

Sidney kept his hand in as a teacher when time permitted, taking

classes in religious education into the early 1950s.

Retirement and his final years.

Sidney retired as headmaster in 1962 after 26 years guiding the

school through some of the most turbulent times in its history.

Little information can be found about his activities post 1962

apart from a mention of cataloguing work at Stationers’ Hall and

involvement in careers advice.

He died in 1974 after a lifetime of service to his Country and to

education. His wife Daisy died ten years after Sidney in 1984.

Clive Farmer


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

Writing music – Paul Bateman

In the last edition of the magazine (no.91) I wrote about my ‘life

in music’ and thought it might be good to follow up by honing

in on a few details about my various activities, starting with the

one that takes up most of my time, especially in our current

situation - writing.

I rarely compose these days as I find it almost impossible to come

up with anything that hasn’t already been written. So my creative

instincts are assuaged by almost unending arranging. The nonmusicians

amongst you may be wondering what this means –

what is an ‘arranger’; what is an ‘arrangement’? Well, think for a

moment about a well-known tune like ‘Happy Birthday to You‘

or ‘God Save The Queen’. Any musical accompaniment for these

tunes will sound fairly straightforward with the chords (the

harmony) and the rhythm (the ‘beat’ or pulse) being almost

always played exactly the same way. However, with a bit of

imagination these elements of music can be changed. Imagine,

for example, changing the rhythm of God Save the Queen by

playing a Waltz rhythm underneath, or maybe even a Tango!

Both are perfectly possible. Then imagine what a jazz musician

would be tempted to do with the chords of either of these –

changing them drastically to produce a completely different

sound world, atmosphere, ‘groove’ if you like. The possibilities of

playing around with any piece of music are endless; transforming

it into something completely different. Many will be conversant

with the world of ‘covers’ in popular music, where different artists

or record producers have played around with an original song

and produced their own ‘version’. This is much the same as I am

doing though most of my work has involved writing these ‘new

versions’ for symphony orchestras.

Although I composed and arranged a few things in my 20’s and

early 30’s I didn’t really start arranging full time until my late 30’s

– 1989 to be precise. I recounted the story in my earlier article

but just to recap, I was asked to arrange ‘Luck Be A Lady’ (from

the musical ‘Guys and Dolls’) for a singer’s album, to be recorded

by the Philharmonia Orchestra. Those of you who have attended

West End musicals may have noticed that the number of players

in a theatre ‘orchestra pit’ is considerably less than in a symphony

orchestra and their make-up is very different too – probably very

few string players where a symphony orchestra will have 40 or so,

probably more ‘rhythm section’ instruments (keyboards, drum kit,

guitar, bass guitar) and woodwind players who have to play

multiple instruments (flute/clarinet/saxophone) called ‘doubling’

and this rarely happens in symphony orchestras. So, if your brief

is to have a symphony orchestra play what is usually played in a

theatre pit it has to be drastically re-written to match the very

different line up of players. Up to that point I had written very

little for symphony orchestra and frankly had a lot to learn about

the craft so went out and bought various books on the subject of

orchestration (how to write for orchestra) and taught myself.

A few things helped a lot – the fact that as a student I also

studied the cello meant that I already had a good idea of what

worked when writing for stringed instruments. My study of

singing also helped in my understanding of the necessity for

woodwind and brass players to take a breath! (There are plenty

of arrangers who forget this!). Finally the study of scores by the

great composers which had been going on since ‘O level music’

at Stationers’ was an underlying experience that also helped my

understanding of which instruments to combine with which, in

order to make things work well for a big orchestra.

Put simply, imagine a high note played by a trumpet, which can be

very loud, played at the same time as a low note for the flute, which

can’t be anywhere near as loud. It’s therefore a complete waste of

time writing the flute note down low as it just won’t be heard

against the trumpet. There are hundreds of similar comparisons as

each instrument has its own characteristics and colours and you

have to know not only which can be successfully combined but also

how the different sections of the orchestra (woodwind, brass,

strings and percussion) can combine as groups. It’s a bit like an

artist who has a massive palate of colours and a huge variety of

styles at his or her disposal and where the possible combinations

are literally endless, which is where one’s artistic judgement comes

in, moulding all these elements into a satisfying whole.

That one arrangement in 1989 was so successful that it led to

thirty years of non-stop arranging. I only once had to go to an

‘audition’ for this kind of work. At that time Reader’s Digest

Records recorded a huge amount of popular classics and light

music and the London recording sessions were organised by the

great American arranger and conductor, Charles ‘Chuck’


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

Gerhardt (sadly no longer with us). I had to go to his house in

Sussex with my score of ‘Luck Be a Lady’ and the CD of its

recording as he was looking for new arrangers and I had been

recommended by the recording engineer of this particular

recording. Chuck listened whilst following my score, looking

very gruff and soon barked at me “this reminds me of somebody”

(long pause) “Me!” No surprise - I got the job – over thirty pieces

to arrange and conduct.

And so it has gone on, since then writing for the albums and

concerts of so many wonderful artists including Sarah Brightman

(several albums), Lesley Garrett (albums and TV series’) The

Three Tenors, José Carreras, Joseph Calleja, Piotr Beczala, Sir

Paul McCartney, Sir Bryn Terfel,. Blake, Charlotte Church,

Jason Howard, Tito Beltran and many more.

Silva Screen Records also commissioned many works from me

including ‘Christmas Choral Classics’, an album for choir and

symphony orchestra. It may not be well known that albums of

Christmas music are always recorded in the summer! In this

particular instance, as this was for large forces I had to commence

the arrangements in March, so was completely immersed in

Christmas all over Easter and up to the end of June, finally

recording it all in Prague during a very hot August. It made me

realise what Christmas is like in Australia! In writing that album

I also discovered that, to my surprise, the big symphony

orchestras have found it difficult to find arrangements of carols

to suit their line up. The arrangements have therefore had a good

‘after-life’, being hired out for many, many concerts, particularly

those promoted by Raymond Gubbay Ltd.

Currently my best customer is British violinist Daniel Hope.

Though he lives in Berlin he is music director of the Zurich

Chamber Orchestra and the New Century Chamber Orchestra

of San Francisco. These orchestras are mostly just strings (with

him playing solo violin) and he is endlessly requesting new

arrangements from me.

In 2018 he commissioned a suite of songs from West Side Story

for solo violin and strings. This was an interesting commission as

the music is still in copyright which means that permission to

even start has to be obtained from the publishers. In this case we

had to deal with the Bernstein Estate who are well-known for

being very challenging. Having finally been granted permission to

start I then had to submit my score to their ‘house’ arranger for

approval. When that hurdle was overcome I had to submit the

score and all the orchestral parts (for all the different instruments)

to their proof-reader for his minute scrutiny within their own

house style. The whole process took the best part of a year and I’m

pleased to say that I attended one of the first performances in

Essen, Germany, last year. Next year it will be recorded by

Deutsche Grammophon and published by Boosey and Hawkes.

Finally a word about the tools required for all this. Some of you

may remember a thing called a pencil, often used alongside a

rubber and a ruler. This was how I started out with those

Reader’s Digest arrangements in 1990. Only a few years later

software started to appear that did the job rather impressively

and I took the plunge. Up to 1996 I didn’t even own a computer

so when I decided to buy what was then called ‘Sibelius 7’ it

meant buying not only the software but also a computer and

printer. In those days Sibelius 7 was written only for an Acorn

computer so that’s what we had to buy. A few years later it was

re-written for PC and Mac. The program was written by twin

brothers Ben and Jonathan Finn (hence the Sibelius name, being

a Finnish composer) who were simultaneously studying music at

Oxford and Cambridge Universities and who both also had great

interest in computer programming. They saw a huge opportunity

in the almost non-existent market for music writing software

(though the program ‘Finale’ was already emerging in the US)

that was user friendly for musicians with little experience of

software. It was a great success and many of us arrangers took to

it as it saved a lot of writing time and produced parts to give to

the orchestral players that looked like published music. I worked

with the Sibelius programme non-stop for twenty years but the

company was bought by American company Avid in 2012 who

decided to sack the entire software developing team (in Finsbury

Park!!) and hire cheaper chaps in the Ukraine. This prompted

Yamaha, who own German company Steinberg, (who make

recording software) to re-hire this British team and give them 4

years to write a brand new program to compete with Sibelius and

Finale. This they have done and it’s now been out for four years

and many former users of the above two programs have migrated

to it. It’s called Dorico (with the accent on the first syllable) and

is named after a 16th century Italian music engraver called

Valerio Dorico who printed first editions of the music of

Palestrina in the early 1500’s – a bit of printing history that

should appeal to us Stationers! The new program has been able

to take advantage of the software developments that have

appeared in the first decade of this century, the earlier two having

been originally written in the 90’s, so there are improvements in

every aspect. It was however a steep learning curve but well

worth it in the end.

I hope that’s shed some light on a generally unseen aspect of the

music business. André Previn described arrangers as the ‘unsung

heroes of music’ (thanks André). Next time I’ll try to explain

what on earth a conductor is doing. Better look it up.

Stay well dear friends. Warmest wishes to all.

Paul Bateman


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

Life After Stationers’ - Stephen Chaudoir

I was appointed head teacher of Whitstone, a small Somerset

Community Comprehensive Secondary School, located in

Shepton Mallet, to commence in September 1993.

I retired early, aged 55, therefore, I was a head for 13 years and as

the school grew in popularity significant developments resulted.

It certainly was the best job I ever had; the most challenging but

also the most rewarding.

It is relevant to include some background to my head teacher

appointment by the governing body, in May 1993.

I grew up in an educational home background whilst at

secondary school. Rather unusually, as my widowed mother

married my Stationers’ first year form tutor: Rowland Betton

(Head of Classics); which meant I left Stationers’ after only four

terms in January 1964, to attend East Barnet Grammar School.

The start of many competitive games between the two sides! I

always seemed to bowl faster and straighter against the old

enemy!! It would be inaccurate to say my home life was a

forerunner to my career, in fact Rowland tried to put me off,

which only made me determined to succeed, but not in classics.

I remember the first day at Stationers’, as one boy was so nervous

he was sick in the main hall. Needless to say we all felt sorry for

him, me less so as I was allocated the seat in front of him as my

Form One desk!!

I had attended Highgate Primary School transferring to

Stationers’ with John Lambert, Roger Cavanagh and Ian Gillies.

The process of transfer was hardly detailed. Mum went to a

parents’ meeting in the previous July. Apart from one banda sheet

of paper listing uniform and PE kit required all she remembered

was that the building was old, on a slope, with small windows

and a long walk from the bus stop in Hornsey! Not that I was

aware at the time, but all these experiences tended to shape

aspects of such systems when running my own school some

thirty years later.

At 18, I applied to teachers’ training college: Redland in Bristol,

(now the University of the West of England,) to study Geography

and Physical Education after passing Geography, History and

Economics at advanced level.

We spent some time in schools during those initial three years

before I gained a B.Ed honours degree in Geography from the

University of Bristol in July 1973, which was also the same

month Jenny and I were married. Rowland died in the January of

that year.

One of my fourth year Geography students on teaching practice at

a large Bristol Secondary school was Gareth Chilcott a past

England prop forward. A chatty character even then. He was quite

sympathetic, however, when I turned up wearing sun glasses on a

wet November Monday morning having fractured my skull playing

hockey the previous day with a wonderful black eye as a result!

So September 1973 saw my career commence in an 11 to 18, five

form entry Hertfordshire Comprehensive School as a Geography

and PE teacher. Within two years I was very lucky to be appointed

head of department. Four years later I was in the same position in

a brand new Norfolk High School, in the days before the national

curriculum so it was possible to set your own geography curriculum.

The department introduced a 16 plus system that was a forerunner

to GCSE. During those four years in Norfolk I studied for a part

time master’s degree in Education at the Centre for Applied

Hornsey U/11 High jump champion, 1962

Research in Education (CARE) at UEA. Learning never stopped,

and often seemed to be curriculum orientated.

From Norfolk I gained curriculum related positions in two

Somerset schools. After ten years, I was appointed head teacher,

having been first reserve on the short list. The chair of governors

had spotted my competitive spirit and deliberately shared that

fact directly with me! My ten years in the two Somerset schools

prepared me for the best job ever. During that time in addition,

I also helped organise a national education development (OCEA)

as well as introduced records of achievement in Somerset

secondary schools.

As a head you are faced with various challenges daily. Your

reaction may depend on experience but very often there is no

time to discuss, only time to act, often in public.

When I had to talk to the whole school in the morning assembly

when one of our older students had died the night before, I don’t

know how much my own family circumstances influenced what I

said. In discussion with the head of year subsequently it was

difficult to remember what was actually said but the appropriate

atmosphere was very relevant for that day and we were able to

work with EPs (Educational Physiologists) very successfully with

First day of headship, not much grey hair at 42.


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

Postretirement aged 55,

changed hair colour!

achievement for a small Somerset comprehensive.

bereaved students. It was

the quietest day in school I

had ever known.

It is also appropriate to

record some of the school’s

record of achievement.

In 1997, one of our year11

students gained twelve A*

grades at GCSE level,

making him the top student

in the country, (front page

of The Times) some

Interestingly, our Primary liaison work was much admired, and

significant involvement by the head teacher was recognised as a

major contributory factor in increasing our intake numbers.

In 1999, the school was recognised in the annual national Ofsted

report as one of a number of improving schools. A little vague, so I

telephoned the inspection team to discover whether there were

other successful schools in the South West. The response was a little

hesitant, then he enquired if Shropshire was in the South West? It

turned out we were the only school in the South West to gain that

accolade. School improvement is, of course, the head’s major

purpose. We were fortunate to gain more money for Information

Communications Technology (ICT) and Science teaching through

Technology College status; the team approach worked. New

forceful staff, and revitalised colleagues, who were invigorated under

the new management style, made all the difference.

Therefore, I do feel my sporting background especially as a team

member was significant in my relationships with colleagues and

students; not many secondary head teachers run the basketball

team and umpire cricket matches.

One exchange of words was to prove interesting at an after

school basketball training session. All the students were aware I

am a type one diabetic as I took assemblies for our health week,

so when I suggested to the basketball captain he should “keep an

eye on me” as 4.00pm, was a difficult time to control blood sugar

levels. He needed to check I was not talking rubbish at the

coaching session. “How will I spot the difference?” he said!

I chose to retire when I could still innovate, juggle plates, play

league cricket, appoint competent staff, raise standards, make

kids believe they could achieve, and manage a budget. Type one

diabetes has its own challenges, and so I did not want to go on

to the bitter end when my performance could have deteriorated,

so early retirement on an actuarially reduced pension was a

sensible course of action. Also, I had experienced three Ofsted

inspections in those thirteen years, four would have been greedy!

Headship was my life for thirteen years, I have not returned to

school since, and the governors are in the process of appointing

the third head to follow me in the ten years since I left.

Let’s hope the first reserve wins the day!!

After retirement, for five years, I worked in the Devon and North

Somerset Advisory Services as a part time School Improvement

Partner (SIP) as well as a tutor/lecturer on a Foundation degree

sourced by Worcester University in Somerset.

I finally fully retired to cricket aged 65. Still playing Somerset

League cricket for Castle Cary second team and Somerset


My first game for the Somerset over 60s team was against

Cornwall, LBW for 99 was a good start, bettered by 117 not out

the following year. I have now “matured” to an over 70s team


Stephen Chaudoir


Previous editions of The Old Stationer have described how four

of us (Roger Engledow, Bob Harris, Roger Melling and I)

searched for a venue for the reunion of the Stationers’ Class of ’54.

We later expanded this to include visits to historic and notable

pubs. The idea was to drink beer and enjoy each other’s company

in interesting pubs. Our next expedition was to have been pubs

around Muswell Hill, but this was aborted when COVID-19

came to town. However, being the inventive Old Stationers’ that

we are, we decided to continue meeting virtually using the video

conferencing facility Zoom and drinking beers at the same time

– who says blokes can’t do more than one thing at a time. This

was christened as “Conzooming Beer” by Roger Engledow.

Bob Harris agreed to organize the Zooming and suggested that

the four of us get the same beers to conzoom at the virtual

meeting and compare tastes. These beers were from Greene

King: Old Golden Hen (light in colour, hoppy taste, 4.1% ABV),

Old Hoppy Hen (a pale beer full of hoppy taste, 4.2%) and Old

Speckled Hen (darker, malty taste, 5%). This last beer was first

brewed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the MG car

factory in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. The factory had an old run

around car, often parked outside the paint shop, which was

spattered in paint known as the “Owld Speckl’d Un” which gave

its name to the beer “Old Speckled Hen”. Apparently, there is a

resemblance between MG’s logo and the Old Speckled Hen

label. Not a lot of people know that!

So, on 3rd July we cozoomed our beers, each with different styles

of glasses. The conversation naturally revolved around how we

were all coping with the lockdown due to COVID-19 whilst

looking forward to the pubs re-opening on 4th July. Perhaps our

idea for our next live meeting “in the flesh” in pubs around Muswell

Hill could be back on. We also discussed holding the OSA Class

of ’54 reunion at Ally Pally if we could not go to The Artillery

Arms. Outdoor venues had the advantage of not being numbers

limited, but clearly would be dependent on the weather.

Our next conzooming was on 7th August, with Roger Engledow’s

choice of beers from Oakham Ales based in Peterborough: JHB

( John Hudson Bitter, pale gold, 4.2%), Inferno (another gold

coloured beer made from 5 different hops, 4.4%), Citra (hoppy

with a citrus taste – no surprise there, 4.6%) and Bishops

Farewell (Roger Engledow’s favourite, smooth rich and fruity,

5%). This last beer was brewed in 1996 in honour of William

John Westwood on his retirement as Bishop of Peterborough.

Bishops Farewell has the distinction that it pioneered the use of

the USA “Cascade” hop in the UK - the variety that launched

the craft beer revolution.

My choice of beers for our meeting on 4th September were those

from the Adnams’ brewery located in Southwold, Suffolk. The

brewery is very close to the picturesque Southwold Lighthouse

which gives its name to the first beer that we tasted: Lighthouse,


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

a classic amber beer and a good one with which to start our

conzooming at 3.4%.

Whilst drinking the amber nectar, the picture of a lighthouse on

the label reminded Bob Harris of the time in the 1980s that he

was consulting for the three General Lighthouse Authorities:

Trinity House responsible for England & Wales, the Channel

Islands and Gibraltar; Northern Lighthouse Board responsible

for Scotland and the Isle of Man; and the Commissioners of

Irish Lights responsible for the whole of Ireland. These days the

lighthouses are automatic, but previously they were manned by

lighthouse keepers. Their maintenance duties involved: cleaning

the lenses and windows, winding the clockwork mechanisms,

maintaining the fuel supply, operating the fog signal when

required and trimming the wick. For this last reason they were

often known as “wickies”. Bob was told by one “wickie”, that

there was an allowance for “obnoxious duties” one of which was

for shovelling s**t into a storage pit in the lighthouse to get it out

of their small toilets. There was also a larger allowance for “very

obnoxious duties” for emptying that pit into a tender when it

came to restock the lighthouse and take away any undesirable

material. It’s surprising what you learn when conzooming beer.

That part of the Suffolk coast has been eroded by the sea for

centuries. Nine miles south of Southwold is the lost town of

Dunwich. Dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, it was the capital

of the Kingdom of the East Angles. It is known as the “Lost City

of England” and “Britain’s Atlantis”, as the harbour and most of

the town have been lost to coastal erosion and great storms. Most

of the buildings present in the 13th Century are now beneath the

waves including eight churches. It is said that, on stormy nights,

church bells can be heard from beneath the waves. Only a few

buildings are left in the town now and they may disappear by the

end of the century.

Our second pint was Ghost Ship which takes its inspiration from

Adnams’ 600-year-old haunted pub “The Bell” and tales of old

smuggling ships along the Suffolk coast. It is a ghostly coloured

pale ale, has a much stronger taste of hops and is stronger than

Lighthouse at 4.5%. If you fancy buying a bottle in your local

supermarket, watch out you don’t buy the 0.5% version!

Bob wasn’t finished with stories about faeces and told us about a

recent tennis match against a team which included two consultants

from the local hospital. Having a pint after the game, it transpired

that one of them was a gastroenterologist and a leading expert for

faecal transplants. The hospital receives faeces from a donor,

centrifuges it to get the good bacteria and he injects it into the

stomach of a person with gastric problems so that they have good

bacteria in their gut instead of horrible ones. Apparently it is one

of the most successful treatments for patients suffering from

antibiotic resistant infections. Very interesting!

Adnams like to name beers after places or events and our next

beer was no exception. It was Broadside (a dark ruby red beer, but

a bit powerful at 6.3%) brewed to commemorate the Battle of

Sole Bay. It was on 28th May 1672 that the English and Dutch

fleets fought at Southwold Bay (called Sole Bay). The home fleet

was supposed to be an Anglo-French fleet commanded jointly by

James, Duke of York (later to become James II) and the Earl of

Sandwich. However, the French never turned up to fight and left

it to the English to beat off the Dutch on our own.

Bob told us another story about Ghyll Scrambling that he did;

organised by Keswick Extreme Outdoor Adventure Activities on

the shores of Derwentwater. Ghyll Scrambling, also known as

Gorge Walking and Canyoning, involved going on a journey

down a steep and rocky mountain river. Safety equipment was

mandatory and included: wet suit, trainers and helmet. After

marching up the valley, the group dived into a pool of water and

then made their way down stream; walking, swimming, sliding,

diving and jumping up to five feet along the stream. The group

that Bob was in comprised 15 people and two dogs. The collie

dog rounded people up so that there were no stragglers, whilst

the other one barked at you until you jumped when told. Bob

counted them all out and counted them all back with no injuries.

An interesting way to spend a couple of hours.

Our last discussion, as we finished the beers, centred around the

choice of venue for the OSA Class of ’54 reunion about which

you can read in this issue of The Old Stationer.

Tony Moffat

A screen shot of our Zoom meeting. From top left clockwise: Bob Harris, Tony Moffat, Roger Melling and Roger Engledow.


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

Ferme Park Yards

One of my memories of the school was the occasional sound of

wagons crashing at the nearby marshalling yard. Another was

looking out over the myriad railway sidings from the Hog’s Back

path. What was the history of the yards and how did they function?

Essentially coal explains both their growth and their demise.

The Great Northern Railway (GNR) was promoted in the 1840s

in part to carry coal from Yorkshire to London. By the 1870s the

existing freight yards between Kings Cross and Finsbury Park

could not cope with the traffic and to expand them was

unaffordable scope. So in 1882 the GNR purchased land on either

side of its main line between Finsbury Park and Hornsey for new

freight facilities. Since major earthworks were necessary to

produce an area of flat land, the yards did not open until 1888. In

the meantime a new station was opened at Harringay in 1885 at

their south end. So when the new school building opened in 1894,

the yards were already established and there was a station nearby.

Between 1891 and 1894 expanding traffic required the building

of further sidings. The whole complex then became known to

railwaymen as Ferme Park Yards, extending on either side of the

main line between Harringay and Hornsey stations. They were

connected by a flyover, to avoid crossing the main line on the

level. The yards to the east of the main line were known as the

‘Up Yards’ and those to the west as the ‘Down Yards’. (In railway

terminology ‘Up’ is the direction towards London and ‘Down’

away from it.) On the up side, close to Hornsey station, a

locomotive depot was opened in 1899, mainly to house tank

locomotives working in the adjacent yards. The final expansion

came in the 1930s with more sidings and a wagon repair depot

at the south end of the Down Yard, below the Hog’s Back path

By 1900 the Up Yard sorted freight arriving from the North.

Here wagons were separated and marshalled into trains to

various depots in the London area. Some went to the GNR’s

depots at King’s Cross, Farringdon Street, Blackwall and Poplar

Docks. Others travelled south of the Thames to such depots as

Hither Green, Bricklayers’ Arms, Herne Hill and Brentford.

Coal dominated the traffic; a single week in the 1900s could see

over a hundred trains leave, hauling around 2,000 wagons of coal.

Each helped serve London’s power and pumping stations, gas

works, factories and domestic fireplaces. Further important

traffic flows were bricks from Peterborough, vegetables (especially

potatoes) from Lincolnshire and fish from Scotland.

From the 1920s the Down Yard was principally concerned with

holding and marshalling empty wagons, particularly those

returning to collieries for reloading, In addition it made up

freight trains to travel north carrying loads unsuitable for express

transit from Kings’ Cross Goods Depot. In 1925 some 71,000

wagons were dealt with in the yards but by the late 1950s it had

fallen to just over half of that. Although an obvious target, the

yards did not suffer greatly from bombing in World War II.,

although night work had to be performed without artificial

lighting. The flyover was damaged by a bomb in October 1940

but was quickly repaired. The approaches to the viaduct were on

brick arches; on the Down side these provided air raid shelters.

The bridge section of the flyover, becoming life expired, was

renewed in 1962; the fall in its use meant it could be reduced

from double to single track.

Declining rail traffic from the early 1950s ultimately closed the

yards. Principal causes were the growth of road haulage and the

decrease in demand for coal. Oil and gas could be used to provide

power for industry and domestic central heating. Natural gas

replaced production of town gas from coal. By Autumn 1966

coal workings to and from Ferme Park had ceased. Tracks in the

Up Yard were removed in the early 1970s. Its site was used for

the depot and associated sidings for the new electric suburban

trains. The Down Yard had seen some contraction in 1959 to

allow the erection of a cold store. An estate of warehouses,

initially rail-served, followed in 1968-9. What then remained

was used for servicing sidings for main line passenger trains. This

situation remains substantially unaltered.

But an explanation for the crash of wagons is necessary. Some

marshalling yards use hump shunting whilst others use flat

shunting. In hump shunting wagons are propelled up a gradient

to the hump. Once over that, the ground falls away, enabling the

wagons to reach their destination in one of the sidings by gravity.

In flat shunting the whole work is done on the level. Consequently

the locomotive propelling the wagons has to push them with

sufficient force for them to reach their destination. Ferme Park

used flat shutting in both Up and Down Yards. Unfortunately

the Up Yard was hampered by a gradient of 1 in 280 at its north

end, a hindrance to wagons which were all pushed into the yard

from its south end. No doubt over time drivers developed an

expertise in how hard to push the wagons. Most of the time they

were successful but occasionally the wagons travelled too fast,

hitting those already in the siding with a loud crash. And thus

disturbing the calm of lessons at the school.

Reg Davies


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

Cecil Newton War Memories



Royal Tank Regiment, treacherously killed in action at

Ristedt, Germany by the SS on 9th April 1945 aged 22

years. Beloved elder son of the late Katie and Frederic and

brother to Owena and Cecil. In proud and loving

memory, always remembering your great sacrifice for

peace and freedom.


Liverpool was not only a large port before the First World War,

it was the centre of the world cotton trade. My father started his

career with Weld & Co Cotton. He was sent out to Bombay in

1912 and became manager. Katie Thomas, my mother went out

to India to join him and started a family, Owena in 1920 and

Frederic in 1922. My father resigned from Weld & Co in 1919

and returned to the UK, soon after added, to the family in 1923

with another son, me, Hugh Cecil.

On the return from India a flat was found at St Georges Square

near Victoria, London then moved to 26, Elmcourt Road, West

Norwood SE 27 with a final move to 160 Dukes Avenue

Muswell Hill N10. In the meantime mother’s family rallied

around. Owena went to stay at Plas Medd with Uncle Teg, her

brother and Auntie Lena and daughters Margaret and Joan,

Frederic went to stay at Chwaen Goch, with her sister Auntie

Owena and Uncle William who had a son Gwlym and I went to

stay at Llanrwst with Auntie Blod and Uncle Jack who had a

daughter Gwen. The friendship between. Gwen and I lasted a

lifetime until she died in a care home in Llandudno. It was at

Llanrwst that I was introduced to the world when I was taken up

the hill to watch the eclipse of the sun 1926.

The farm at Chwaen Goch before the war was primitive; The

WC was situated outside in a small brick building at the rear of

the farm house. The privy had two holes side by side. I could

never work out whether this was for two people to use at the

same time. What it did mean was a long and freezing walk

sometime in gale force winds in the middle of the night from a

warm cosy bed.

Sudney, the domestic, woke the household up early to the sound

of wooden clogs clattering on the flag stone paving in the dairy.

Fresh drinking water was available from a spring in a meadow a

distance from the farm house. There was wing on the farm house

for the stables and above the stables accommodation for the men

who worked on the farm accessed by a wooden open staircase.

My Uncle William was very much of the scene, working on the

land, looking after the sheep and cattle with Toss the sheep dog,

hedging and cutting down nettles with a scythe together with

hay making and the harvest.

What I did not realise that it was the end of an era never to



Eventually the move to Dukes Avenue Muswell Hill was the

commencement of settling in after the return of my parents from

India. When of school age, Rhodes Avenue School, was

convenient primary school, although a fair walk as was Muswell

Hill Broadway, the church St Saviours, and Stationers’ the

secondary school. Rhodes Avenue School had not been long

built and was very modern, single storey with large Crittal

windows. Our form mistress was Miss Cox and a formidable

disciplinarian, if a pupil was not behaving or attending to lesson,

the pupil was called up to the front of the class, their sleeve

pushed up to expose the arm for a vigorous smacking.

Alexandra Palace was easily accessible with extensive grounds

and a sizable lake for sailing model boats and messing around.

One of the four towers was pulled down to eaves level and a TV

mast erected. Frederic had an occasion to talk to the engineers

erecting the mast. They asked if he would like to visit the top,

which he did.

Locally near Rhodes Avenue School a modern open air Olympic

style swimming pool was built. At Durnsford Road frequent

visits were made and we all became good at swimming. It always

seemed to be sunny weather, chasing around the pool and

flicking towels at each other.

There was no TV but frequent visits were made to either of the

cinemas in Muswell Hill, the Odeon or the Ritz.

From the news shown on the screens it was obvious all was not

well internationally with scenes of the Prime Minster Neville

Chamberlain standing in Downing Street waving a piece of

paper and exclaiming Peace in our Time, a gesture he regretted

afterwards. The family responded to the times; 160 Dukes

Avenue became an Air Raid Wardens Post, the front door

protected by sand bags and a phone installed with a metal plate

fixed to the front gate, Air Raid Warden. After the primary

school Frederic and I went to Stationers’ Company's School and

Owena went to Trinity High School. Major Huck was the

headmaster at Stationers’ and soon after our arrival he was

succeeded by S C Nunn. All the masters wore gowns. The

possibility of war loomed nearer and whilst we were on holiday

in North Wales we learnt that the school had been evacuated to

Wisbech Cambs. A decision had to be made by our parents to

either return or stay in North Wales but it was decided to go to


Our host was Mr Brown, a local butcher. Mr Gallimore, a master

at he school was the billeting officer and I was recruited as an

assistant to him when I was not sitting at my desk. Brother

Frederic often went to help at the butcher’s shop. With a war on

and supplies being short Mr Brown lived off the land if he could,

ie: sat in the sitting room with the window open and the life

support of a cigarette catching pigeons. This was accomplished

by a large garden sieve operated by a stick and a length of string.

It was very successful but sea gulls were not welcome so had a bit

of a rough ride.

Mr Brown had to register for military service at Kings Lynn and

decided to cycle there... He was perplexed that passing motorists

knew what his mission was as they were waving at him; he soon

found out when he saw his blazing jacket ignited by his pipe put

in his pocket still smouldering.

They were a very pleasant couple and made us feel at home as all

the other hosts did where we stayed. One of hosts was the

Davies, who lived in a large house on the road to Kings Lynn. Mr

Davies embraced a life style of many years previous with a stove

pipe hat and a Daimler car. They had a 3 year-old son Martin.


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

One day he went missing and a search was made without success.

Just by chance a manhole cover was lifted by the back door and

there he was sitting comfortably.


My parents were volunteers for the Civil Defence so were busy

fitting gas masks at Rhodes Avenue School in the evenings. A

telephone was provided and the front step sandbagged. After a

year the war started, incendiary bombs were dropped and a baby

was killed a few doors away when a doodle bug cut out and came

down. An anti-aircraft gun engaged the enemy from the railway

line at the rear of the garden. We collected the shrapnel from the


Sister Owena was the first to volunteer joining the WAAFS and

was posted to Radlett where there was a Beam Bending unit.

The German planes followed a beam to their target and the unit

bent the beam with the result the bombs were dropped

harmlessly in the Wash. Frederic was the next to volunteer and

joined the Westminster Dragoons. It was a tank regiment and in

peace time a territorial regiment. When my turn came I

volunteered for the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards a cavalry

regiment converted to an armoured regiment just before the war.

Owena survived the war, married Basil, a Major in the Rajputana

Rifles and badly wounded at Monte Cassino, Italy. Frederic was

transferred to the 5th Royal Tank Regiment. He was treacherously

killed in an ambush by snipers a month before the end of the war

at Ristedt during the campaign to liberate Bremen. As for me, I

was indeed pursued by good luck. You are lucky to be alive wrote

a recipient after reading my book ‘A Troopers Tale’; landing 5

minutes before the main assault to capture a blockhouse,*

involved in the thick of the Normandy fighting, Market Garden

the Arnhem fiasco and then the endeavour to get into Germany

via the small frontier town of Tripsrath already well defended by

elite German troops. We spent the night in a trench dug in front

of the house and left with the house erupting in a ball of fire

under hail of eight Moaning Minnies direct hit We entered the

small town and the end of the war for me with a smashed left leg

and a bullet in the back jumping 3 metres from a blazing tank

into a sea of mud and crawling into a nearby house. That was not

the end of the story as it was not until the end of the day I was

rescued to have medical attention on a Bren gun carrier. Back in

the UK enroute to Leicester chest hospital the leg plaster was

taken off in error to discover the leg was infected with B welchi

- gas gangrene.

* Troops who landed on D Day June 1944 were awarded the Legion

d’honneur by the French authorities


It was over and slowly adjusting to normal peacetime but it was

not until the end of 1945 that I could decide on a job. Looking

at the destruction I decided to take up the career in building as a

Quantity Surveying and was accepted and after a year qualified.

I found a job at Fleetwood Eversden and Partners and after a

year changed to Bare Leaning & Bare. The senior partner Hector

Wilson asked if I would open a branch office at Swindon which

I accepted and was with them until I retired. I found a building

site in Aldboune Wilshire which a bought for £250.00 brought

up a family with Joy my wife who died in 2012. The location is

lovely and quiet now as I write this in 2020.

Cecil Newton

Stunning Landscapes

from Les Humphries

We live on Wolf Grove Road, a county road, a couple of miles

out of Almonte. It runs through a section of the Canadian

Shield, a mass of granite rock, totally unsuited for farming, but

liberally covered with forest and swamp. Homes along this road

exist in small clearings amid the surrounding bush. My neighbour

is one of the few whose swamp features a pond fed by spring

melt and kep in place by a beaver dam on a downstream

neighbour's property.

I walk the dog on the shoulder of our road and pass the

neighbour's pond just about every day, all year round. In winter,

the pond freezes over, while, in summer it plays host to beaver,

turtles, deer, mosquitos and the occasional bear. Winter and fall

afford the best variety in terms of colour and contrast, so I've

attached a shot of the same scene, taken in winter, plus a shot of

the location as seen from the road. Hope this is of interest.

Les Humphries

A curious incident at

Stationers’ Park

In 2018 I helped to organise a reunion celebrating 60 years since

joining Stationers’. I was tasked with finding a suitable restaurant

in Crouch End so my wife and I went there on a Monday

lunchtime – schoolboy error as most were closed. So not to waste

the visit, I suggested we go and see where Stationers’ school had

been and where I had spent 7 years of my life.

As we drove slowly up Mayfield Road we were flagged down by

a young woman in a hijab who was clearly distressed. It appears

she had been in Stationers’ Park with her sister-in-law and their

three children and after strapping them in the rear seats, the

doors had locked automatically with her keys inside. The


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

children were aged 4, 2 and 9 months, and were beginning to

become distressed, so we started singing nursery rhymes to keep

them amused. We noticed that our versions didn’t always match

Mum’s culturally aligned ones.

The spare sets of keys were with her mother in Barnet, so her

sister-in-law set off in her car to retrieve them. We then called

her breakdown service. Unfortunately cars have advanced since

you could use a ‘slim jim’ to jiggle the pop-up buttons to release

the lock. Having no success there I called the Police whom, I am

pleased to say, arrived within 10 minutes. They set off to Muswell

Hill on ‘blues and two’s’ to intercept the sister-in-law and speed

up the process, whilst we continued to sing nursery rhymes and

perform an impromptu puppet show.

Sometime later the police returned with the key and opened the

car, much to the relief of mum and the three kids. Not before

time as we had exhausted our repertoire of children’s


Peter Miller 1958-1966

Further recollections of the Rhone Canoeing trip in 1966

I too have some recollections of this trip, some vague and some

not so. The trip started with a problem before we had even left

London, that meant I nearly did not make it.

My parents had offered to pick up Charlie Zarb and take him to

Victoria station, so we duly arrived at his house or flat, I cannot

remember, in plenty of time. He was not ready so we went in and

after I think nearly an hour he was ready. He picked up a file with

all the paperwork for the trip, then his money and then said passport

and picked it up, to which my Dad gasped as we had left my

passport at home in Southgate. A decision was made that Charlie

would get a friend to take him and me to the station, while my Mum

& Dad made a dash back to Southgate to get my passport.

Charlie and I duly arrived at the station and it was going to be

touch and go if my Dad would get back before the train departed.

We were travelling with another school party on the same

holiday and they were on a group passport. As time got nearer to

the train departure (they were on time in those days) it transpired

that one of the other party pupils had had an accident and was

not coming, so there was a possibility to go as him. The train

departed and I left Victoria station as Patrick Sabini on the other

school’s group passport.

My father arrived at Victoria station apparently to see the rear of

the train disappearing out of the station, having broken all speed

limits possible.

So we finally got to France and Lyon by perhaps some

unconventional means. I have some vague memories of the

holiday, unfolding the canvas canoes from the trailer, preparing

them each day and going in some sort of flotilla down the river,

as Roger says camping at night. One recollection I have is at one

stop a local farmer coming to the campsite with a cart stacked up

with fresh cherries and we all bought quite a quantity and ate

some that evening, but, when canoeing the next day, cherry

stones being ejected from various canoes as we progressed down

the river. I remember going past Avignon and under the bridge

For many of us it was our first encounter of foot pad squat loo’s,

not what we were used to at all, nor the swarm of flies and smell,

despite many of us having been on numerous Scout camps and

digging our own latrines, (Public Health and Health & Safety,

what‘s that in 1966?).

I also remember, I think, from Arles we went to the Pont du

Gard and swam in the river. The sailing was good sailing and

canoeing on the Med and then we returned, I think by train in

couchette compartments.

Although my parents posted my passport to the last campsite, it

never caught up with me and I came back as Patrick and my

passport arrived home a couple of weeks later.



T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

Homeward Bound

If you’re looking for

something to cheer you

up at Christmas, try

Homeward Bound by

Richard Smith, a beautifully

told feel-good story

about a grandfather and

his granddaughter who

long for purpose and

connection. Sharing a

passion for music, one of

them hopes to revive

missed opportunities of

the past, the other is

looking forward to a

future career.

George is a recently widowed seventy-nine-year-old. He nearly

made it as a rock star in the 1960s, but now his son-in-law is

trying to shunt him into in a care home and he is not ready to

go. Tara is his teenage granddaughter and she's taken refuge

from her bickering parents by moving in with George.

George has never revealed why his music career stalled and

no-one knows just how much the disappointment of opportunities

missed still gnaw at him. He craves one last chance, even at his age.

When opportunity presents itself, through the appearance of a

long-lost distant relative - whose chequered past should set

alarm bells ringing - he can't resist.

For Tara, living with her grandfather is a way to find her own path

and develop her own musical ambitions. She isn't prepared for the

clash between different generations and living in a strange house

full of her grandfather's memories - and vinyl records.

They get off to a shaky start. George takes an instant dislike to

the sounds from her bedroom that seem more suited to

Guantanamo Bay than anything he would call musical. But as

time plays out, they find more similarities - neither know how to

operate a dishwasher - than differences, and parallels across the

generations slowly bring them to recognise their shared strengths.

Author Richard Smith was a Stationer 1960-67. Following a career

in television production, Homeward Bound is his first novel.

Richard Smith

English is a crazy language

Having lived in Germany for 45 years many keen locals have

often confronted me with questions regarding various aspects of

the English language. Certains areas of confusion begin to arise

with the influence of American filtering into our own English.

In these days of superfluous prepositions used as in “watching

on”, “rise up” or “heading up” or even “entering in” I have found

difficulty supplying a convincing answer as the following text

may help to illustrate.

Let's face it - English is a crazy language.

There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither

apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins were not invented

in England nor French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies

while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we

find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and

a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers

don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is

teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese.

So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one

amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all

but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian

eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I

think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum

for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a

play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship?

Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise

man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the

unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as

it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in

which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects

the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at

all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when

the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. - Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick' ?

Alex Flemming 1964-71


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2


In October 2019 we arranged a series of guided walks ‘Down

Memory Lane’, around Crouch End and the former school site

(see issue 90 of the magazine for a write-up). These were well

received, so we decided to follow up with walks centred on the

site of the original school in Bolt Court in the City: ‘Origins’.

Initially planned for last April, Covid intervened, but at long last

we were able to stage a series of socially distanced walks in

October this year led by the same excellent guide, Karen


The theme of the walk was the printing, publishing and

bookselling trades that led to the formation of the Stationers’

Guild in 1403. The heart of that business was originally in St

Paul’s Churchyard and what is now Paternoster Square. We

learned that the Stationers played a small part in the destruction

of the old St Paul’s in the Great Fire of 1666, because they had

used it for storing vast amounts of stock at a time when the stone

building was surrounded by wooden scaffolding. We walked into

the square through the transplanted Temple Bar (resurrected in

recent years from its neglect in Theobalds’s Park following its

removal from the Strand in the nineteenth century). Prior to the

war the area comprised lots of small alleys known as Paternoster

Row. The square, which now hosts the London Stock Exchange,

boasts an apparent replica of the Monument; like its doppelganger,

it also commemorates a great fire, this time that caused by the

Blitz – though its real purpose is to disguise a ventilation shaft.

Our next stop was of course Stationers’ Hall, situated just south

of St Paul’s off Ludgate Hill. We were fortunate to be able to see

the exterior of the Stock Room no longer encased in the

scaffolding recently there to enable roof repairs. The Hall itself

(dating from 1606) is now closed for up to 18 months for major

refurbishment. The plaque commemorating Wynkyn de Worde,

who brought printing to that area having learned his trade from

Caxton in Westminster, was pointed out, as were St Martinwithin-Ludgate,

now part of the Stationers’ Hall estate, and the

plaque signifying the site of the Ludgate entrance to the City.

The River Fleet still runs underground at right angles to the

bottom of Ludgate Hill with the old London wall having stood


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

parallel to it. We stood at the bottom of the hill and learned

about three prisons that stood close by – Ludgate Prison for

clergymen and liverymen, the Fleet Prison which stood on an

island in the river itself, and the Bridewell Prison, on the site of

the old Bridewell Palace which Henry VIII had vacated because

of the stench from what had become an open sewer.

Next came the St Bride’s Education Institute, which has become

the London Printing College with reputedly the best library

about printing anywhere. The Bridewell Theatre opened in the

same building in 1994. Close by is the Wren-built St Bride’s

Church with its celebrated wedding-cake steeple. Famous as the

journalists’ church and for celebrity weddings, it is also the burial

place of Wynkyn de Worde.

We next came to Fleet Street proper and looked at some of the

former newspaper buildings that followed in the wake of the

world’s first daily newspaper, the Daily Courant, established in

the eighteenth century. The Daily Express building, built in 1932

under Lord Beaverbrook’s ownership, is now occupied by

Goldman Sachs. It is surrounded by a black curtain wall in Art

Nouveau style which is not actually load-bearing (and was called

the ‘Black Lubyanka’ by Private Eye). A little further along Fleet

Street is the former Daily Telegraph building, erected in 1928. Its

style is very different, being based on Egyptian motifs, reflecting

the fascination with Tutankhamun that characterised that period.

Another Egyptian-themed building, just off Fleet Street, is the

old Northcliffe House, first home of the Daily Mail – by the

same architect as the Daily Express building. The first home of

the Sunday Times, founded in 1822, is in a parallel street, as is

the building in which Samuel Pepys was born.

Next door to Northcliffe House stands a building on the site of

the former Greyfriars Monastery which used to house a wood

printing machine, and there are a series of etchings on the

exterior of the building showing in detail the printing processes

and machinery, as well as the construction of Northcliffe House.

Around a corner, in the basement of a firm of solicitors, are

remains of the Whitefriars Monastery crypt, and nearby is a

covered passage, called Magpie Alley, which displays on one wall

the history of printing from Caxton to the present day.

Close to the hearts of journalists – and indeed to many Old

Stationers – are pubs, and there are several still in the Fleet Street

area that were frequented by denizens of particular newspapers.

The Tipperary, for example, was a favourite of News of the

World journalists, whilst Ye Old Cheshire Cheese appealed to

the bloodhounds of the Sun. And in passing that pub, on the

north side of Fleet Street, we came towards the climax of our


First we came into Gough Square, famous for Dr Johnson’s

House, opposite which stands a statue of his favourite cat,

Hodge. In one corner of the square there is a building which, we

were informed, was on the site of the original playground of the

Stationers’ Company’s School. And then we rounded the corner

into Bolt Court itself. The School stood there between 1861 and

1893. The actual site of the school is occupied by a building put

up in 1912, long after the School had moved to Hornsey. The

current building is covered in scaffolding, but the blue plaque

marking the site of the original school, only put up in the last few

years, is just visible. The guide read from parts of the 1873

prospectus of the School which emphasised that they would not

take boarders – reinforcing the intention that it should be for the

sons of those in the printing and allied trades working in the

vicinity of Stationers’ Hall.

Thus we came to the end of a fascinating walk, which I certainly

hope that we will repeat in the future for anyone whose appetite

has been whetted by this account. And we shall also plan future

walks in London and maybe other cities wherever OS may have


Stephen Collins


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

By rail trail to the 2019 Cycling World

Championships in Harrogate – Les Humphries

particular, an abandoned section of the Shropshire Canal at

Cerney Wick. The round stone lockmaster's house overlooking a

green pool was redolent more of a moated castle than the

residence it now was.

Leaving Cirencester, it was a quiet A435 climbing gently for 24

km via North Cerney to reach Seven Springs, after which

followed a long bumpy descent into Cheltenham. During the

latter, my map took wing. In now busy traffic, the rest of the day

was spent using road signs and waypoints to navigate around

Worcester en route to Droitwich, the overnight stop. A

remarkably level route affording tantalising glimpses of the

Malvern Hills and the Cotswolds it was broken only by a

I was intrigued when an episode of 'Escape to the Country' in

the Cotswolds brought participants down a section of the

Mercian Way. It stuck in my mind when I learned that the World

Cycling Championships would be taking place in 2019 in

Harrogate. What better excuse I thought than to take a devious

route to Harrogate using the national Cycling Network, taking

in the Mercian Way.

So it was that in mid-September I set out on the first leg of my

ride, after lunch with brother Ray in Goring on Thames. The

ride comprised 64 kilometres along the Ridgeway, an ancient

track running from Ivinghoe to Avebury. It started well - up the

western slope of the Thames Valley on firm if bumpy hard pack,

affording sweeping views across open downland. The route

undulated gently across the

downs but in some places

got progressively more rutted

as a result of motor cycle


After 8km of this, it was

evident that Swindon, the

destination, would not be

reached before before

nightfall, so the rest of the

journey, via Farnborough,

Lambourne and Ashbury

was completed on quiet local

roads. After the climb to

Farnborough, it was easy

rolling to Ashbury, whence

the Icknield Way ran high

along the edge of the

Chiltern escarpment before

descending to Swindon. 70

km for the day.

The first part of the next day

was spent navigating the

bike route out of Swindon.

This took up much too

much time. By noon with

less than 24k on the clock, it

was pub fare at the Eliot

Arms in South Cerney. The

morning wasn't without its

highlights, however, in

Lockmasters Cottage


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

crossing of the Avon at Eckington. Regrettably, the National

Cycle Route I had so much wanted to engage was largely

bypassed. 114 km today.

The next leg to Ironbridge started without the benefit of a map,

so once again it was a matter of puzzling out the Google

overview and asking for directions. Morning rain made for

gloomy going. Back on a readable map at Bewdley, it was

lunchtime and the Severn Valley Railway was in full cry,

complete with steam locomotives, sausage sandwiches and a

mobile pub. The sight of four different trains pulling in and out

of that station was a trainspotters‘ delight. In the absence of an

Ian Allen spotters‘ manual, I was content to enjoy a beer and


Now on relatively quiet, B roads, it was a climb up through the

Wyre Forest and on down into Bridgenorth. A carnival was in

full swing, despite the continuing showers. Amid a sheltering

throng, Costa was suffering a melt-down, but ultimately I

managed to get a coffee. Centretown, in the castle ruin, a dance

group was taking the floor to the music of a band. Overlooking

the river Severn, a cable railway afforded access to lower town.

Open to pedestrians only, the cyclist was left to roll slowly down

steep narrow streets to the river.

The Mercian Way finally revealed itself at the Severn bridge.

Running along the west bank it led narrowly through a muddy

wooded section of the Apley Estate. After passing two former

stations, it finally emerged at the Coalport bridge. At Coalport

Youth Hostel, the overnight stop, a strategically placed hose

outside the bike stable washed off accumulated mud. A good

meal and a choice of wine made for a relaxing finish to the day,

in total, 74 km.

Rain continued to threaten the next day, which was spent

exploring Coalport, Coalbrookdale, Blists Hill and Jackfield. In

the narrow gorge of the river Severn, these little villages were the

birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, following the discovery

by Abraham Darby of a method of smelting steel using coal and

limestone instead of charcoal. Ironbridge, the centrepiece of the

gorge is the first of a string of museums detailing the smelting

process and related industries including mining, cast iron

fabrication, pottery and tile manufacture.

A significant feature of the gorge is the Hay Inclined Plane, a

cable railway linking the Shropshire Canal with the River

Severn. Running steeply down from Blists Hill it transported

loaded barges to Coalport, counterbalanced by barges going up.

The rails remain, remarkably preserved following its closure in


Blists Hill is a Victorian village theme park based on original

industrial revolution structures including a colliery, a blast

furnace and machine shop. A large water transport component

featured an icebreaker used to keep the Severn Estuary open to

winter traffic. Rain precluded the usual re-enactor activity,

leaving visitors to linger in the tea room. 16 km for the day.

Tuesday September 10th promised cloudy skies and more rain.

National Cycle Trail 55 afforded traffic free appeal into Telford

but such appeal as there was got lost in an unfathomable maze of

urban trail options. The final straw came in Donnington where,

shared with the footway, trail users were prompted to dismount

at roundabout intersections.

Now disconnected from NC55 a detour east of Lilleshall led

down a delightful if somewhat puddlesome lane over the

Hay Incline

BridgnorthCastle Hill Railway

Shropshire Canal to Haughton. After drying out over lunch at

the Bell, a further detour yielded the narrow, tree fringed

Derrington Greenway, running to Stafford. Amid busy afternoon

traffic through town the rain stopped. Now it was quiet A518 to

Uttoxeter, where, at its red brick heart, coffee, cake and

collectibles kept welcome company at a vintage shop.

Secondary roads across the vale of the river Dove led through

Rocester and Mayfield to Ashbourne. The town centre was

empty, and with the visitors bureau closed, I was left to fathom

out my own way to the Carleton House Hotel. It turned out that

this took in the Tissington rail trail to the charming village of the

same name. The hotel was reached by a detour onto busy A515.

In the absence of a chef that evening, it was necessary to order in

a pizza from Ashbourne. The pizza was forgettable but

fortunately, the bar was open, so the evening wasn't totally

without compensation. 118 km for the day.

The next day started well, continuing north on the Tissington

Trail to Parsley Hay. Smooth gravel, commanding views across a

landscape of rolling green hills fringed by stone walls, made for

easy pedalling. At Parsley Hay a trailside shop offered coffee

snacks, repairs and bike rentals. A few trail users on mountain

bikes were gathering there for an outing.

After coffee, it was south on the High Peak Trail, heading for

Cromford. This trail, even more spectacular than the last, features

three incline railways. Originally built by a canal company, steam

powered winches pulled waggons up the steep pitches, leaving

the level sections to horses. Subsequently, horses were replaced by


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

High Peak Trail below Longcliffe

steam locomotives, including one which took in the 1in14

incline at Hopton Top.

At Hopton where a narrow gauge line served a nearby quarry, a

stone marker bore witness to the source of 180,000

Commonwealth Graves headstones. After Hopton, Middleton

Top, a working museum, showpiece of the trail, was closed, and

the winding engine, silent.

The final incline, a panoramic descent from Black Rocks

commanding magnificent views above Cromford, finished at the

trailhead where a crash pit awaited any wagons that broke away.

Those that made it down intact unloaded at the Cromford canal.

The railside workshop is now a museum where visitors can enjoy

snacks at picnic tables and watch the narrowboat carrying

tourists from Cromford.

Time limitations precluded visiting Cromford, Richard Arkwright's

mill complex, so it was a matter of continuing on the

towpath in the afternoon sunlight towards Ambergate. Leaving

the tree shaded bank of this abandoned section, I joined traffic

on the busy A6. Crossing the river and leaving the A6, a quiet

side road climbed steeply west out of the Derwent valley. After

picking through a maze of narrow lanes around Shottle, I

experienced a flat on the narrow descent into Idridgehay.

Faced now with the sudden realisation that I was missing a repair

kit, (left at the hotel), I started walking back towards Ashbourne

along the busy B6023. A passing cyclist, on his way home from

work, seeing my problem, stopped to help. He very kindly gave

me his last patch. Using

my room key to expose

the tube, I fixed the flat

and continued on the

busy A517 towards Ashbourne.

In the dark now from

Ashbourne, a good front

light illuminated the

Tissington trail back to

Carlton House. This

time they had a chef but I

was too late for dinner. It

was fortunate that there

were a few slices of last

night's pizza left to eat.

These I shared with two

A Commonwealth Graves headstone other guests who were in

Dene's Quarry

the same boat. While this had been the most scenic day of my

trip, it did not come without its price.

90 km for the day.

After yesterday's issues, a 100km plus ride across the Peak to

Burghwallis was questionable but the train from Buxton looked

promising. Once again, it was the Tissington Trail to Parsley Hay

and the well signed bike route through the lanes over the moors

to Buxton.

I took the dayliner to New Mills, lunched at a pub and continued

by rail through Sheffield to Doncaster. Then in busy rush hour

traffic along the A19 to the Burghwallis cut off, I arrived in good

time at my relative's residence. Steak dinner and quiz night in

good company at a local pub made for a perfect end to the day,

total : 24km.

After leaving at 9am next morning, on the last leg to Harrogate,

threatened rain revealed itself within the hour, but not before I

had experienced two more flats. This time it was quite evident

that there was a problem with the front rim. A split in the

sidewall, it was patched with a boot. Continuing on in the lanes

through Womersley, Beel and crossing the Aire & Calder

Navigation near Knottingly , I reached Hillam, where roads had

been closed for the Junior Worlds. I missed the race but enjoyed

lunch at the Crosskeys pub anyway.

Continuing on through Sherburn and Aberford and along the

A1 service road to Bramham, I met up with another cyclist.

Bobby Brown, of the Yorkshire Road Club. We rode together

towards Wetherby. As we chatted, the rain started up again and

I experienced yet another flat. With Bobby escorting I continued

gingerly on the front rim to All Terrain Cycles.

The folks there were very helpful in fitting the new tyre over a

very tight rim (which I swore to replace as soon as I got home).

Bobby pointed me towards Harrogate and I joined busy traffic

on a highway awash with rain, avoiding the temptation to take

the rail trail and risk wet gravel. 66 km covered today.

I met up with my sister and brother-in-law at their camper van

in a downtown Harrogate site. We spent a sunny Saturday and a

soggy Sunday as spectators among the crowds at the downtown

finish of the World's. After more days than I care to remember

cycling in the rain, I empathised totally with the shattered

remnants of the Elite Men's field who struggled so bravely for

over 250km to the race finish.

Les Humphries


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2


Ken Stevens

My brush with the law was a very modest, understated affair

when I got honey-trapped an aeon ago not long after leaving

Glasgow homeward for London. There I was scorching the

tarmac in my Ford Escort – no, not that model but its 1172cc,

100E sidevalve predecessor with a three speed gearbox. The

windscreen wipers were operated with the “spare” vacuum from

the inlet port and so they barely crawled across the windscreen

when accelerating or climbing a hill (couldn’t do both at the

same time). Coasting downhill, the wipers wope so furiously that

they seemed to be trying to break free.

Motorway provision was a bit patchy at that time and significant

portions of the journey were on ordinary roads. We were

approaching a village that flanked the main road and noted with

delight that it now had a dual carriageway bypass, which we

turned onto. Thinking that it was an opportunity to make up

some time in the next couple of miles, I put my foot to the floor

and my speed rose to nearly 40 mph, just as I noted a police car

gaining on me. With incredible skill, he managed to overtake me

in his Morris Minor and pulled me over. I wasn’t exceeding 40

mph, I whined. He just pointed to the nearest small 30 mph

repeater sign and booked me, scarcely concealing his joy. The

wild west aspect was enhanced by my licence endorsement being

by Paisley Sheriff Court.

Peter Miller

In April 2010 my wife and I were visiting our younger son,

Howard who was living in Kampala, Uganda.

On some days we used to take him to his office, where he worked

as a Development Economist, so we could have use of his rather

battered 4x4 for outings. Traffic in Kampala is appalling, with

‘might is right’ seemingly being the only rule of the road. One

day Howard forgot his pass so we drove back to his office, or

rather attempted to. Before it had been easy as he was with us,

but now we had to remember the route. Not surprisingly we got

lost and I made a U turn just before a Police checkpoint. I

realised my mistake when I looked in the rear view mirror to see

a young Police Officer chasing me with an AK-47 in one hand,

shout ‘Mzungu (white man) STOP’. When he caught up with us

we were faced with an angry and armed young officer demanding

to know what I was doing.

I had recently retired from the Metropolitan Police as an

Inspector after 33 years service, though was still employed by

them in a civilian capacity. I would like to think it was my

charming him as an ex kindred spirit which got us through, but

it probably had more to do with waving Howard’s Government

pass and my driving licence under his nose. In any event he was

very friendly in the end and we shook hands, and discussed

Police pensions (well I did, I’m not convinced he knew what I

was talking about though he did compliment me on my

understanding of Ugandan English).

A week later we were still in Kampala, there being no flights out

due to the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud. We were driving on a

three lane urban highway choked with traffic, when we were

again stopped by the Police. This time it was a female officer and

it appears we had gone through a red traffic light. It was news to

me as I hadn’t seen any lights. This time I didn’t have Howard’s

government pass with me. She asked to see my driving licence

which I duly showed her, but refused to let her take possession of

it, wondering whether I would ever see it again. She gave us

directions to the nearest Police station, and said she would follow,

but I wasn’t happy doing that either. So the Sergeant was

summoned. It’s amazing how a friendly smile and a handshake

can diffuse a situation. Again we ended up talking Police

pensions, and left on friendly terms, our supposed misdemeanour

being forgotten.

Alan Green

Some time last October 2020 Tim suggested that a contribution

may be made to the then blank pages of the January 2021

Magazine. One of his headings was “ A Brush with the Law “ so

I thought I might add a few words but from the sentencing side

as opposed to those who transgress.

In about 1989 with time on my hands I wondered if it were

possible to become a Magistrate. I duly applied and provided two

referees who were each given almost a book length form to

complete as to my background. I then attended an interview in

early 1990 which was unusual in that two people faced me and

two sat behind. As part of the process I was supplied with a

typical case in which the son of the Mayor leaves a football

match with his mates and they cause minor damage to an elderly

person‘s garden and issue words of abuse to the owner. The only

one apprehended was, of course, the Mayor's son. What would I

do, they ask, and quick as a centre forward I reply by saying that

if he had run a bit faster none of this would have happened.

Realising that this was not the right answer I muttered “only

joking“ and then suggested he might be banned from future

football matches, pay some compensation to the elderly guy, and

do some service in the community. My quick thinking may have


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

saved my bacon. Next procedure was for me to visit ten

magistrate courts in London, introduce myself and sit in the well

of the court and begin the learning process of what goes on.

Sometimes at the end of the day or at lunchtime I would be

asked how I had enjoyed the day and on maybe two occasions I

was invited behind the scenes. This process took some two years,

and after a final interview I was sent a very formal letter, in early

1992, advising that I was now a Justice of the Peace.

I then lived in London’s West End, close to Regents Park, and

was allocated to South Central Division which encompasses the

Courts of Camberwell and Tower Bridge. At that time it was

thought best, certainly so far as London was concerned, not to

live in your area of jurisdiction. Camberwell was then the busiest

court in London and if any new means of processing were to be

tried out then Camberwell was the pilot court. As an example

when video links were first used from prisons and police stations

they were first experimented from Camberwell. Hence we had

many visits from the current Justice Secretary and I met Lord

Faulkner several times on his regular inspections. Camberwell

had about 100 Lay Magistrates who are the unpaid lot and some

five Stipendiary Magistrates, now called District Judges who

have a legal background and are full time employed. They sit on

their own and we sit as a Bench of three or perhaps two. For

obvious reasons two are not acceptable for a trial. Our division

was headed by a Justices Clerk, maybe twelve support staff, a

listing office of twenty or so who are compiling case lists with

only a few hours notice and the ten or so Clerks who are the

main judiciaries within any Court. They do not control the court

but are there to advise if required.

My colleagues were generally a pretty similar and equal mix of

gender, average age about fifty, white, verging upon professional

and middle class. We did have union officials, builders, a cab

driver but all mainly white collar. Many of the women having

enjoyed bringing up their families and never having worked

outside of the home, decided to have a go and, I think, they

found it difficult. In my opinion it would have been better to

have had a more widespread choice from the workplace. But who

can give up the time and younger people who do so diminish

promotion chances.

So how does it work? Camberwell had five courts and three at

Tower Bridge. At each venue Court Number One was reserved

for District Judges who would deal with more complicated

matters and maybe where a celebrity appeared. The latter

perhaps being their choice as often press took their seats.

Together the Magistrates Courts deal with over 95% of all

criminal cases. Most matters are summary only, can only be dealt

with in the lower court, some are either way and can be dealt

with at lower level or at Crown Court and the greatest crimes

murder, arson, rape, etc are indictable only. But every crime is

heard first at the Magistrates Court.

Our day would start by arriving near to 9.30am to learn to which

court you have been allocated, who you are to sit with and then

to collect or often wait for the day’s list. The need to wait is

brought about by the pressure on the list office to type the lists

that very morning. So often you enter the Court at 10.00am,

where everybody respectfully stands, clutching a list which you

have had no opportunity to peruse. You will say good morning

and sit, at which point your Clerk will invariably say “just a few

extra matters before we start the list, search warrants being

applied for from… Police Station, Overnight matters, Proceeds

of Crime Order which needs urgent dispatch etc etc”. Then we

get to the list and it can start at any number. Someone is led into

the dock, the usher is directing other defendants to sit near the

front of the Court and in, for example Court 2 at Camberwell,

there could be 30 plus people in the well of the court with the

public gallery accommodating several more. But somehow it all

gets done. In the afternoons in Court 2 would be trials but I

would always check in the morning as to which were going to be

effective. No point, as it could happen that two trials are listed

each of possibly four hours duration. So you would cancel one as

early as possible to save all the parties coming to court.

In order to maintain your JP role you only have to sit 13 times a

year, say once a month, which I regard as verging upon

incompetence. But they were the rules.

I used to sit once or often twice a week. In 1996, four years after

I began, I was made a Presiding Justice which is the one who sits

in the middle and does the talking. It is something you apply for

and involves interviews and videos of yourself trying to do the

job and being assessed by senior colleagues. Not everyone wants

to become a PJ and some that do fall by the wayside. The initial

sittings as PJ are a cause for concern. Am I allowed to interrupt?

Can I ask questions? What do I do with the chap chewing gum

who insists on wearing his baseball cap and keeps his hands in

his pocket? The defence lawyer looks me pointedly in the eye

and makes reference to a legal issue which, if he is correct, would

let his Client leave the building free of any guilt or blemish upon

his character.

First time you sentence in public is difficult. You are handed a

what you might say leaflet but far better to speak without any

script. And the first time you send someone to prison means

taking a deep breath and assuming your most serious expression.

I volunteered for after hours search warrants and that Mr Green

became very popular, with the nearby courts, as I had moved to

living almost next to London Bridge Station. Only Lay

Magistrates sign these warrants, the Stipendiary or District

Judges decline, on the grounds that they may be too tired for the

next day’s work. Normal telephone calls were early morning

especially for the TSG (Territorial Support Group) as they like

to batter down doors when folk are most likely to be asleep. I

became almost too popular but did get my own back after having

once been called at 5.00am, and then of course you can't go back


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

to sleep, and eventually two burly uniformed guys knocked on

my door at 9.00am. “‘Ello Mr Green, sorry bit late, come for

Warrant”. I replied that I was not even going to consider it as no

longer out of hours and I would be breaking the law if I were to

sign. After a bit of “we’ve come a long way, this guy’s a real

criminal, can’t you please help”, I said no you can only now apply

to a Court and with some muttering they went on their way.

Throughout the Judiciary there is a right to Appeal all the way

until you reach the Supreme Court and I sat on Appeals from all

of the London Magistrates Courts. I sat at Inner London,

Southwark and Blackfriars Crown Courts and you sit with a

fully qualified Judge who, after the Appeal is concluded, will

invariably ask you your decision first before he gives his opinion.

These sittings were in addition to the lower court. I also found

myself as Secretary of the Inner London Magistrates Association,

a body which represents the interest of all the London Courts.

So I was a bit of a glutton for punishment.

I finished up as Deputy Chairman of South Central Division in

2018 and was compulsorily retired in 2020 on the inescapable

ground of age. On the eve of your 70th Birthday is your last

sitting and when mine finished about 6.00pm, you knew as you

left the building, that never again would you be able to climb

those stairs from the secret entrance at the rear of the court.

During my twenty years one would visit most of the Prisons in

the London catchment and The Young Offenders Institute

(Borstal) at Feltham. I used to go to local schools and explain

what we did. I remember once, and this, of course, is South

London, a nine year old shouting out “my Dad’s in for GBH!”.

May I table a few memories?...

Having a most disruptive male defendant who decided to leap

from the dock with a view perhaps to throw a chair at me. Quick

as a flash our usher left the room and found an able body of six

policemen who quickly secured the defendant and dragged him

towards the door leading to the cells. But as they reached the

door with the chap struggling and shouting they all turned as

one and bowed to the Bench.

A case involving a young lady staying at a Bail Hostel. There are

categories of Bail Hostels and this was one of the very worst with

conditions bleak and unfriendly where the homeless stay for

minimum periods. The young lady had been visited by a

boyfriend, who not unusually in South London, had pulled a

knife. There was a witness who appeared to say what she had

seen. A frail elderly lady and I asked where she lived. The answer

was in room 10 just across the corridor and that she had been

there for ten years. I said there are better places for you to live

whereupon the Clerk remonstrated saying not my concern. But I

prevailed and with the ushers help the lady was found a route to

a new and better home.

Forty year old male, mental age of ten, who was accused of an

interest in young boys and our job was to find him another

Hostel as he was subject to severe bullying in his present home.

Condition of his bail was to remain in a Hostel pending his trial.

He appeared before us about 4.00pm and I noticed an elderly

couple in the Public Gallery and I asked if they were his mum

and dad - answer Yes.

So the Clerk shopped around and we found a Hostel in Cardiff.

"Well that’s it", said the Clerk "nothing else on the List"… Court

Rise “No”, I said “how’s he going to get to Cardiff?” “Not your

problem, Sir, he will be given a train voucher on the way out from

the building”. “No”, I said, “I require a social worker to travel with

him”. “Well”, said our learned Clerk (who may have been booked

in for the Millwall v Arsenal floodlight match that evening),

“better that he goes into the cells overnight as we won’t find a

social worker at 5.00pm”. I said I was willing to try, said my

colleagues could go home and I would stay in Court with or

without the Clerk until a social worker arrived. And I said to the

elderly parents “come and collect your son and take him out for

something to eat and he is bailed to come back here by no later

than 6.30”. End result it all worked out. But you have to

remember that it is Your Court and sometimes common sense

has to prevail.

Remember joining one of the most exclusive Clubs in the UK.

For one guinea I joined The Inner London Crown Court Dining

Club where when at Court you could go and dine at minimal

prices in the Judges restaurant and you could help yourself to a

sherry or two from a large cauldron on a wooden bench. Almost

Dickensian and menu was normally boiled beef and carrots. You

would dine with maybe ten other Crown Court Judges, most of

whom remained in full regalia, who whilst accepting your

presence had very little conversation. They do, I fear, lead a very

lonely life.

I was picked to go to Liverpool to report upon a new experiment

with combining all the judicial processes in one building. It

contained a Police Station, listing office, Probation, legal backup

with a Duty Solicitor and two District Judges. All housed in a

deprived location and in a number of portacabins hastily put

together. Idea was after an arrest for the defendant to pass

through all the channels and, if custody the answer, a van would

be at the end to transport the culprit directly to his future home.

Speedy process and useful to act as a deterrent. Don't know how

it panned out but seemed a good idea.

With the other Committee Members of the Inner London

Magistrates Association we were invited to experience a normal

half days work in a Police Launch patrolling the Thames. What

a great day out. We cruised from Houses of Parliament through

the Thames Barrier apprehending some drug dealers en route.

Five of us and five of them. But very surprisingly the man in

charge at their Wapping base said, after his introductory talk,

that he was a true Londoner having attended the Stationers’

School. I can’t remember his name but I sent him info about

OSA, invites to things and social functions, but he never took the


And finally there was a local plain clothes policeman, who was

often in court, and we knew each other by sight only. In the

morning we would sometimes board the same bus at London

Bridge. On each occasion he would nod briefly, allow me to get

on first, and then he would sit on the seat behind me. A sort of

guardian but we never spoke.

Whats happened to Camberwell Court? It was to be totally

refurbished at vast cost and as I have some property knowledge I

sat upon the thought process. Despite large sums of money spent

upon fees, the idea collapsed. It has been vacant for a few years

but last year was purchased by the Criterion Group who propose

a redevelopment of 400 affordable housing units each of 398

square feet. Hardly enough room to swing a small cat.

Likewise the Listed Tower Bridge Court was closed and has now

been converted to a very smart boutique Hotel aptly named

Dixons. Business of both spread around London but directed

primarily to the enlarged court at Croydon.


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

I am sure some of you have been on the Bench and my comments

may bring back some memories. There may be a few of you

young enough to take the plunge and hope my words do not put

you off. For those who want any reading matter may I recommend

‘Summary Justice’ a most excellent paperback written by Roger

Farrington a Camberwell colleague.

N C ‘Fris’ Friswell

I had an interview with ‘Beaky’ Davies about what I might do

when I left Stationers. He didn’t mention engineering as a

possibility but, nevetheless, that is where I ended up; working for

the Electricity Board as a Student Apprentice. It just suited me

and I thoughoughly enjoyed my first 20 years as a professional

electrical engineer. Promotion usually meant that one applied for

a post and had to move to a different area. Faced with a bit of a

stagnation in employment in the Electricity Supply Industry I

decided to change direction and joined the newly-formed Health

& Safety Executive (HSE) as a specialist electrical safety


My work included inspecting workplaces for risks from electricity

and investigating electrical accidents. This is where I came into

contact with the Law! HSE was built on the previous organisation

of the Factory Inspectorate. There was a new Health & Safety at

Work Act but electrical safety in factories depended on the

Electricity Regulations of 1908. For a long time there were no

specific regulations for electrical safety in the ‘new entrant’

workplaces such as shops, offices, schools, etc.

If there had been a serious transgression from the electrical

safety requirements of the Regulations or the Health & Safety at

Work Act this would often lead to a prosecution. When I joined

HSE, there was no Crown Prosecution Service; Factory

Inspectors were empowered to prosecute. If it was especially

serious, such as a multiple fatality, a barrister might well be

employed to prosecute. Theoretically Electrical Inspectors had

the same powers but, as far as I know no prosection was ever

taken by an Electrical Inspector. Our role was usually as Expert

Witness. This put one in an interesting position as an employee

of the prosecting authority I was expected to advise the

prosecuting Inspector on the electrical technicalities and how

they tied in with the legislation but, once in Court, I was

expected to have a non-partisan role in assisting the Court to

understand the technicalities. Sometimes the defendant company

would put forward their own expert witness and ocassionally this

resuted in seriously diverse opinions (and in one case I was

involved in, downright lies).

One of the ‘games’ played in the Court process was for the

defence to try to destroy the expert witness. This was in the days

before experts were registered and, as an expert, one had to watch

for a threat to your reputation at the same time as assisting the

Court in the case. Nerve-wracking at first, I grew to enjoy the cut

and thrust of the prosecution process. We usually won our cases

because we were careful only to proceed if we knew we were on

firm ground, but sometimes we lost, resulting in a serious inquest

back at the office.

Inspectors also got involved in the other sort of inquest; the formal

enquiry by a coroner into the death of someone. An electrical

fatality at work would result in an inquest, sometimes with a jury

but sometimes without. I really enjoyed a good inquest. They were

usually much less formal than a prosecution although they are

always tempered by sadness that it involves someone’s death.

Sometimes a coroner would visit the site of the accident taking the

Inspector with him, better to understand the technicalities and

often the Coroner would ask the Inspector to sit with him for the

same reason. Unlike in a criminal court, witnesses would be

allowed to be present throughout the proceedings, giving a better

picture of the circumstances of the death.

After some years working at various places in the south of England,

it looked like I was unlikely to move again. At the time, there was

(and still is) a shortage of magistrates. I was still with HSE but in

a desk-bound job so I decided to apply to become a local

magistrate. I was not, of course, allowed to sit on cases involving

the HSE. The Civil Service allowed their emplotees paid leave as

a magistrate for at least 26 half-days a year but this was delendent

on one’s manager. My boss (whose office was 200 miles away) was

quite happy provided I still did the work he wanted.

Initially I sat on run-of-the mill court cases as a ‘winger’, one of

three magistrates, the most senior taking the chair for that

session. The cases included minor crimes (eg, theft, burglary,

shop-lifting, criminal damage, assault and motoring offences).

Just as HSE prosecuted their own cases, so did the police, the

Inland Revenue and various other organisations. Not long after I

joined the Bench, this changed and the Crown Presecution

Service took over as prosecutor. I have to say that, viewed from

the Bench, this was not always an improvement. Motoring

offences prosecuted by the Police had not always been presented

well but by and large the particular authority knew its business

better than the CPS prosecuter who sometimes struggled.

Meanwhile our local court had been joined for administrative

purposes with two other local towns and all the motoring

offences were dealt with by one of those and so we lost that

particular workload.

Offences by children and young persons were dealt with by

specially trained magistrates in the Youth Court where attempts

were made to make the proceedings less formal and forbidding.

These cases were held in camera as were the proceedings of the

Family Court which I joined after the appropriate training.

When the Children Act came in, the family court took on a

slightly different flavour because some of the work had previosly

been done in the higher courts. The Local Authorities who were

often involved, particularly in care cases, invariably employed

barristers to present their case and these lawyers thought that

they would win their case by lambasting the magistrates.

To me, the Family Courts were a different world. So far I had

been involved in cases which were usually done and dusted at one

sitting and were straightforward factually based decisions. Such

cases may be memorable for various reasons but one seldom felt

uncertain about the outcome. I related to family cases in a

different way. Often children and vulterable people were involved

and the outcomes were much less clear cut. For the first time I

found that I was ‘taking it home with me’ and I would be

thinking about the case outside court. This was not helped by the

fact that the decisions were often spread over two or three court

sittings and involve children taken away from their parents.

The work of the three courthouses was gradually merged over a

period so that the magistrates were expected to sit at one of the

other courts from time to time. This was supposed to improve the

‘efficiency’ of local justice but I was never convinced. At that time

Civil Servants had to retire at 60 whether they wanted to or not,

so I was retired but continued as a magistrate. I lived within

walking distance of my local Court but if I was sent to one of the


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

other Courts I had to drive, usually through the school-run traffic

to be at the court by 9:30. This went on for some time until, on

one ocassion I was send to another court 15 miles away for an

everyday run-of-the-mill court sitting at the same time as a

magistrate from that same town was sent to my local court for

similar run-of-the-mill duties. Having had enough of that sort of

stupidity in the Civil Service I decided that I had had enough and

resigned. As I had only served 14 years instead of 15, I forwent

the engraved glass goblet that long-serving magistrates got locally

when they retired. They were good times but I had had enough.

Harlow via a Police Cell

In our teenage years we found several avenues for socialising. Bob

Harris and Roger Engledow were regulars at The Maurice Jay

School of Ballroom Dancing in Wood Green to learn to dance

and to meet younger members of the opposite sex. We also

attended several Whist Drives where we developed our cardplaying

skills, but where the members of the opposite sex were

not so young. On one evening we won a bottle of sherry between

us, although we were only 17 at the time. Roger remembers it was

as a result of volunteering to dance an “excuse me” waltz, but Bob

believes that it was a prize at a Whist Drive where we swapped

the top prize of a frozen chicken for the sherry.

Soon after we won the sherry, both sets of our parents separately

decided to go away for a weekend and left Bob and Roger to look

after themselves at home. The intrepid pair (rather ahead of their

time) came up with a cunning plan worthy of Baldrick. They

planned to catch a bus to Epping Forest one evening and walk

through the forest to see Ken Saunders, who had moved to

Harlow with his parents some time earlier. This would involve

walking through the night!

The plan included stopping at a park in Edmonton to borrow a

strange sign which said “Greyhounds need to be led” (which

would make them rather heavy to race). We set off with a torch

each, the bottle of sherry and Roger also brought a pair of pliers.

However, whilst on the bus we decided not to get off at the

Edmonton park but continued to the end of the bus route near

Chingford, and then set off on our walk through Epping Forest.

The walk seemed to be successful as early in the morning we

reached the outskirts of Harlow with a torch each, the pair of

pliers and an empty sherry bottle – but fortunately, as it turned

out, without the sign.

It was still only 4am and we were looking for somewhere we

might rest before waking the Saunders family. Soon a large

building with a blue light outside it was spotted – which when

we approached turned out to be a police station. Unfortunately,

we walked round it the wrong way so that when two policemen

returning from their patrol saw us it looked as if we were walking

away. They asked what we were doing and we responded by

asking for directions to where Ken lived. The policemen

suggested that we should go into the station with them. We were

happy to do so. We were then asked to empty our rucksacks and

explain why we had the items therein. The pliers were of

particular interest to them.

Roger explained that the shoes he was wearing had nails in the

heel and the pliers were in case they became a problem. Indeed,

one had been pulled out as it was becoming painful. A likely

story! But it was actually true - Roger had used the pliers for

exactly that purpose. The police were not convinced and at that

point we were separated for further questioning in individual

police cells. Both of us would have told the same (true) story

anyway but having told it whilst we were together made it easy.

We were both being told the same thing by the officers

interviewing us: “Your mate is now telling us the truth so you

should now do the same”. So we did: by repeating what we had

already said and no more.

While were in custody and still at an unearthly hour on a Sunday

morning, our older brothers at the family homes were each

woken up by a phone call from Harlow police. They were able to

confirm our identities. Another truth we had told them. We were

then fingerprinted and informed that we might be charged with

“carrying housebreaking implements by night without lawful

excuse”. We were finally allowed to leave but warned that if any

nefarious activity was reported in the area then we would be


We were released from the cells and left the police station, and

we did get to Ken’s house at around 8am. I don’t remember much

about what we ate for breakfast or how we eventually got home.

The punchline of this story is that we were told by the police

interviewers that the only reason we were being allowed to leave

was the fact that we were attending such a good school.

Bob Harris & Roger Engledow



For many years I was a roving correspondent for The People

newspaper. It was a role that took me to some of the oddest and

most exotic places on earth, from Tahiti to Timbuktu.

Whenever I set off on my travels, the editor insisted that, where

possible, my dispatches should follow some kind of theme. One

assignment was labelled “Islands of Magic” and involved trekking

round the world to places like Tonga in the south seas, Robinson

Crusoe Island, off the coast of Chile, the Galapagos Islands off

the coast of Ecuador and even the Falkland Islands, years before

they hit the headlines in the war with Argentina.

Closer to home, and inspired by the popular TV series “Upstairs,

Downstairs,” I took a look at the social divisions in modern

Britain. The contrasts involved spending a night amid the

luxurious splendour of The Ritz hotel in London and surviving

a wet weekend in a grotty caravan in Bognor Regis.

On another occasion I set off “In Search of Romance.” In a world

full of uncertainty, conflict, poverty and unhappiness, was there

anywhere where the spirit of real romance had managed to

survive? And if so, where was it?

The quest took me first to the boulevards of Paris, then on to

Rome to revive memories of of “La Dolce Vita”. Next stop, Sidi

Bel Abbes in Algeria, in the steps of the French Foreign Legion

as portrayed in the 1939 film “Beau Geste.” Then it was

Casablanca, adopting my best Humphrey Bogart accent and

stumbling around cocktail bars muttering : “Play it again, Sam.”

By the time I reached Vienna I was struggling to keep the series

going. Maybe there was a whiff of romance and bygone days in


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

the air, with musicians in the park playing lilting Strauss waltzes.

But on its own that wasn’t going to be enough to fill a page in

The People. I needed something to spice things up. Seeking

inspiration I wandered around the streets until I found myself

slowly climbing skywards on the giant ferris wheel in the Prater

amusement park. And it was as I gazed at the unfolding city

below that it suddenly struck me. It was one of the carriages on

this very wheel that was the setting for one of the most

memorable scenes in a famous film “The Third Man,” set in

postwar Vienna. Out of the darkness in the swaying cabin

stepped the villainous Harry Lime who had somehow come back

from the dead.

It was stretching it a bit to suggest that the stark old black and

white film portrayed Vienna in a romantic light. But the movie

throbbed with the atmosphere of the city in those dark days, a

mixture of menace and mystery and intrigue. I found myself

softly humming the film’s haunting soundtrack , The Harry

Lime Theme: dum-dee-dum-dee-dum-dee-dum….It had

become a world wide hit, selling half a million copies, the simple

melody plucked out on the strings of a little known instrument

called a zither, played by an Austrian musician named Anton

Karas who had also shared the tune’s international acclaim.

Anton Karas! Who better to revive the mood and the mystery

surrounding that cinematic drama filmed in 1948 among the

shadowy streets of Vienna?

Back at my hotel, I consulted the concierge. “Herr Karas,” he

responded doubtfully. “He would be a very old man now. He may

not even be alive. He has not been heard of for many years. After

the film came out he became a bit of a recluse because some

people blamed him for becoming part of a story that portrayed

Vienna in such a bad way. But I will make some inquiries.”

I went out for a coffee and when I return the concierge greeted

me with great excitement. “I have tracked down Herr Karas,” he

said. “He is living in a mountain village about two hours drive

from here. We have a car and a driver who can take you there.”

So I set off the next morning, with a local photographer in tow.

It was February and as we headed into the hills a persistent

snowfall turned into a near blizzard, the car sliding dangerously

on the icy roads.

Worried by the worsening weather, the driver wanted to turn

back. But I was a man on a mission, and desperately dismissed

his doubts. Emboldened by the promise of a large tip, he agreed

to press on.

Somehow managing to keep the car on the road around

treacherous mountain bends we finally skidded to a halt outside

a modest bungalow.The door was answered by a diminutive, grey

haired old man.

“Herr Karas?”

The man nodded. I introduced myself and, with a slightly puzzled

expression, he shook my hand and ushered me warmly inside.

For the next two hours, accompanied by occasional bursts of The

Harry Lime Theme on the zither, and with the snowstorm

battering the windows, Anton Karas took us back back 25 years

to the days in 1948 when Vienna was still struggled to shake off

the shadows of World War Two.

The Third Man film told the story of small time American crook

Harry Lime who faked his own death to escape arrest for stealing

supplies of penicillin from military hospitals and watering it down

for sale on the black market, the diluted drug often leading to the

deaths of those who were treated with it, many of them children.

Anton Karas was playing in a tavern in the wine growing district

when the film’s director, Carol Reed, arrived there for dinner.

Intrigued by the zither’s distinctive tone, the film maker had the

idea of using it as his soundtrack.

Invited to sit down with the director and listening to what Reed

wanted, Anton took a menu from the table and on it scribbled a

few simple opening notes which he then plucked out on the

zither for Reed’s approval: dum-dee-dum-dee-dum-deedum……

Carol Reed hugged him in delight. And so the unforgettable

Harry Lime Theme was born.

Elated by my own encounter with the elusive zither man, I shook

Anton’s hand and prepared to leave. Already the exclusive story I

would write for The People was taking form in my mind: “In a

snowbound Austrian mountain village today I found the

forgotten Fourth Man of Vienna……”

As we stood on the doorstep, Anton said: “Mr. Smith, you have

asked me many questions today. May I now ask you one?”

“Of course,” I replied.

“Why would you come all the way from London in such terrible

weather to see me?” he inquired.

Puzzled, I said: “Because you are the famous Anton Karas.”

“Yes,” he said. “But why did you come all the way to Austria?”

Even more puzzled, I said: “Well, because this is where you live.”

“But there was no need,” he told me. “Every Tuesday and Friday

I play in the tea room at Bentalls department store in Kingstonon-Thames.”


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

My most embarrassing moment:

‘Swell to Great!'

My time at Stationers was cut short owing to a family move to

Hastings. Nevertheless, I have many memories of my time there;

games lessons and rugby matches at the Winchmore Hill playing

fields in freezing conditions, urban ‘cross country’ runs, choir

concerts in the crypt at St Paul’s and the odd Saturday morning

detention(!), overseen by the implacable Mr Symons.

I started as a first year at Frobisher Road Annexe (now North

Harringay Primary School), off Green Lanes and not far from

Turnpike Lane tube station. The transition from Grammar to

comprehensive education in Harringay had taken place a couple

of years earlier. This provided an interesting blend of long

standing and fiercely traditional masters and an influx of young

progressive teachers, which must have resulted in some interesting

staffroom dynamics, to which naturally we were not privy at the


As far as I remember it was just the first year pupils accommodated

there. I had been learning the piano for several years and was

requisitioned to accompany hymn singing in assemblies.

It was over 50 years ago so memory fades, but there must have

been one day each week when no-one was available to play for

assembly at the main school. I had had some experience of playing

the single keyboard or manual pipe organ at the church in Palmers

Green which my family attended which was deemed sufficient to

be let loose on the significantly more powerful two manual model

at Mayfield Road! The upper of the two keyboards was known as

the ‘Swell’ manual and the lower, the ‘Great.’ Pitch and timbre is

controlled by stops which emulate orchestral instruments and

when open, air passes through the pipes which creates the sound.

For the Stationers‘ organ these varied in length between 2 and 16

feet, the shorter resulting in a higher pitch. In hindsight, it was

perhaps a rash decision to unleash a small 11-year-old on such an


Mr Rumney, the teacher in charge at Frobisher Road would ‘whisk’

me by car through Crouch End to the ‘Upper School’ and take me

back to rejoin my peers after assembly. I may have been given one

opportunity to practise, but once again memory fades. However, I

can still recall how nervous and daunted

I felt the first time as I sat alone in the

organ loft in front of the console, whilst

the whole school filed into the Great

Hall to sit in their pre-prescribed places

according to the badminton court

markings. With trembling fingers I

pulled out a selection of stops in

readiness and wobbled through ‘Praise my Soul the King of


I gradually gained confidence and after a few weeks plucked up

courage to experiment using both manuals - and the pedalboard!

When in the second year we moved to Mayfield Road I played

for assembly more regularly and was given special dispensation to

practise during lunchtimes. I often escaped to the organ loft to

avoid the boisterous behaviour of the older boys on the terraces.

It must have been the last day of term when the chosen hymn

was to be ‘Jerusalem.’ I had been working hard on the introduction

and felt confident as the organ produced a powerful sound when

all the stops were deployed. Just as the last verse ‘Bring me my

bow of burning gold’ was about to start and as tradition dictates,

I planned a thicker texture and surge in volume. To this end I

pulled out the swell to great coupler stop which links the two

manuals. This enables both keyboards to be played simultaneously,

with the notes of the ‘swell’ keyboard eerily depressed by unseen

fingers. The normal extent of a stop is about 6 inches, however

and to my horror, on this occasion it continued to emerge from

the console! After withdrawing it about 18 inches and with no

indication that it was approaching its full extent, I decided that

something was definitely wrong. The anticipated dramatic

increase in volume for the hymn’s climax was non-existent!

I felt the blood drain from my face and a sinking feeling in my

stomach as panic overwhelmed me. I have no recollection as to

how I fumbled my way to the end of the verse hoping desperately

that the obvious lack of crescendo would be attributed to my

inexperience. I pushed the very wobbly stop back in as far as it

would go and made a swift exit…

I would like to apologise profusely to the organist who next

played and may well have felt responsible for this malfunction

and of course, whoever undertook the repair.

Sadly the organ is no more. It was

rescued prior to the demolition of

the school and relocated to the

independent Upper Chine Girls’

School in Shanklin IOW. There, to

my knowledge its life was extended

briefly until 1994 when Upper

Chine merged with Ryde School.

Andrew Clark 1969-1971

Building site blunder

I graduated from University in 1975 and got a job as a navvy on

a local building site to repay all my student debts. It was a massive

project building a new council estate near Archway with three

entrances where supplies would be offloaded from delivery lorries

and taken to the various storage areas for subsequent access by the

tradesmen. It was hard work for a spindly youth and I soon

realised that the best job in the team was fork lift truck driver. He

whizzed around the site sitting in a warm cabin avoiding the

swamp mud and driving rain with no danger of any strenuous

activity. The incumbent driver was a lunatic Irishman who was

constantly being warned about dangerous driving and I guessed it

was only a matter of time before he got sacked. I befriended the

site fitter and one evening I persuaded him to show me the basic

operating controls just in case there was a vacancy!

Sure enough, a couple of weeks later Seamus crashed into a


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

lot longer than expected so a back-log of supply lorries had built

up at gate 1. Instead of driving back through the site which was

fairly congested I decided to drive out into Dartmouth Park

Road even though it was morning rush hour. I waited at the exit

for a couple of minutes but no cars volunteered to let me out even

though my cab could be clearly seen above the row of parked cars

so I nudged forward into the road assuming the traffic would

have the good manners to stop and let me out. Well a car did

stop, but not voluntarily. The forged iron forks of my truck

entered the front near side wing of the Ford Granada just above

the wheel arch and ended embedded in the rear door. It must

have been a strange experience for the car driver to go from 30

mph to stationary in 3 feet without realising why or how. When

he got out and saw his pride and joy impaled on my forks he

became very angry, aggressive and threatening so I fled to the site

agent’s office to seek sanctuary. The general manager went to

placate the driver who was being restrained by 3 burly builders

and after a heated exchange came back to talk to me. I was of

course embarrassed that my inexperience had caused such an

incident and I was expecting a P45 but incredibly he was very

understanding and supportive, realising that I was still in shock

he gave me the rest of the day off to recuperate.

Tim Westbrook


Ken Stevens

I’ve had so many coincidences that they stopped astonishing me.

Three of them relate to old Stationers, the first two around fifty

years ago and the third a mere couple of decades or so back.

Number one was a guy in my year who I came across on three

occasions: in a pub near St Pauls Cathedral; in the paddock at

Snetterton race circuit in Norfolk (I wasn’t feeling too sociable,

having just crashed the motorbike!); and lastly encountered while

strolling along Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow.

The second instance was while leaving after a performance of the

Edinburgh Tattoo, having attended with the rather lovely

Scottish lass who is still scurrying around the house to this day.

There was – oops, nearly said his name – with a nice young lady

and we chatted for a moment or two, though I felt he was a bit

subdued in his manner. After returning to London, a mutual

friend passed on a request that I should erase the encounter from

my memory, as it was not his fiancée.

scaffold tower and two people were injured so he was frog

marched off site and the works manager needed a new fork lift

driver, pronto. I seized the opportunity and after a five minute

test drive was given the job. All went well for a couple of days

and then…….. I was asked to go to gate 2 to help unload a

scaffolding lorry which was quite a tricky operation and took a


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

Lastly, I and another lad from the 1956 intake, David Freear,

took around sixteen years to discover that we lived in the same

fairly large village near Reading. He had an early morning

commute along the M40 to northwest London and my haul was

M4 to west London. It was only after retirement, when both of

us signed up for an OSA annual dinner, that we found out from

the late Tony Reeve that we were unwittingly “co-habiting”. We

meet up for lunch in the local pub and he has even bought a

round occasionally.

Outside of a school context, the biggest coincidence was a chance

encounter with neighbours we had been friendly with in our

Bedfordshire village, They moved to Cornwall and we decamped

to Shetland. A few years later, visiting London, we were strolling

across the grass in St James’s Park, when another family crossed

our path. It was the ex-neighbours; a few seconds difference in

timing and we would have been unaware of each other.

Brian Whitehouse

Tim, in my life I have had more embarrassing moments than I

care to remember, and enough co-incidences to ponder whether

those ancient Greek gods are still up there directing our ways.

Herewith is a combination:

Many years ago my wife was heavily into cat breeding; showing

and organising of breed events. I built in our garden a cattery

with sixteen pens where the studs (both ours and visiting) and

queens were accommodated. The spare pens were made available

to friends and family, to save them the hassle and expense of

arranging commercial bookings.

After a while, friends of friends would ask to place their own pets

too, at which point we said “Look, we’re not a charity. We need

to cover our costs.” This gradually morphed into us taking more

boarders; often referred to us by local commercial catteries when

they were full.

One lady going on holiday was, let us say, very precious about her

little black cat, and demanded to inspect the pens; would we be

on 24 hour duty? (We could see the pens from our kitchen

window). Her cat “Absolutely must not be fed ‘ordinary’ cat food”

and we must call her mobile in the event of emergencies. Short

of the building being struck by lightning, this was unlikely.

Next morning, being Saturday, she headed off to the airport. We

assumed Manchester since we lived in North Wales, but (Sod’s

Law) it was Gatwick.

We also knew that (failing lightning etc) the cats would be

perfectly safe and well while we headed off for the day, to Slough,

for my sister-in-law’s wedding.

At 07.30 we pulled into Frankley service station on the M5,

crossed the almost deserted car park and ascended the steps.

Whereupon, the doors opened and who should emerge?

Yep! Holy Moley!

“Who’s looking after my cat?” She shrieked.

Quicker than I could lie to Gus Thomas, I cobbled up a story

about a family emergency. “My sister-in-law’s partner is in a very

dangerous condition (well he was going to get married!) and we

need to get there fast before it’s too late”

We assured her that our daughter was at the house and well

experienced in cat care, and we would return that same day.

We rushed off as she gave us a Gus ‘don’t believe a word of it’

glare. I didn’t hear her say “Detention!” But needless to say, her

sweet little cat never stayed with us again.


In 2019 while I was at Lord's, watching a match with a group of

Middlesex County Cricket Club supporters, the group

conversation during the tea interval turned to WW2.

My neighbour at that time, Brian, said "I was born and brought

up in London during the war". I said - "So was I". Brian - "What

year?". Me - "1940". Brian - "What month? Me - "May". Brian

- "What date?" Me - "27th". Brian - "So was I".

Quite a coincidence to be sitting next to somebody who was

born on the same day as me. We couldn't go to Lord's in the

2020 season but I met Brian in September at the match between

his club (Hampstead) and my club (North Middlesex), where we

exchanged tales of disappointment about our respective planned

80th birthday celebrations that we'd both had to cancel.


In 2015 my wife, Rosemary, and I celebrated our Golden

Wedding and we left Sydney in late March for a cruise to the UK

followed by six weeks in the UK and France. All had gone very

well until Monday 1st June 2015 when we left England for

France. As with December 7th 1941, our journey to France will

go down as a day to be remembered in history although on a

much smaller scale. The experience would be added to Rosemary's

bank of "not to be repeated events" like cruising up the Thames

in 1965 and camping in Scotland in 1966.

We set off from Gerrards Cross on the 9.44 train and we arrived

at Marylebone in plenty of time to transfer to St Pancras on the

205 bus and catch the 12.01 Eurostar. So far all was going well!

However, on arrival at the St Pancras international station

something was clearly amiss. The line of passengers for the

Eurostar stretched in a very long queue throughout the station.

We joined the end and before long came the announcement that

due to a suicide between Ebbsfleet and Ashford there was a

major delay to all trains in and out. Some people in the queue

Our Trip to Paris


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

were off to catch a cruise - which for them would be an unlikely

event! The messages went from a delay to a suspension to

nominated cancellations. Our train was assigned to the

cancellation list. The announcements suggested that if we didn't

need to travel then we should not otherwise we should seek a


We held a council of war and decided that we should can the trip

that day and seek a new booking for the 2nd June. We adjourned

to a hotel that I had visited a few weeks before for my class

reunion. It was close by and seemed perfectly adequate. We

approached the reception desk and enquired after a vacancy. The

young man hearing of our plight took the initiative and said that

instead of staying there that night what about trying to find a

flight to Paris. We tried and tried but many other Eurostar

passengers had got there before us. We could get a BA fight at a

premium cost of about £700 plus the taxi to Gatwick plus the

fares the Paris end. That alternative was vetoed and so, we looked

at ferries. Dover to Calais was the shortest crossing and I thought

that there would be no problem catching a train to Paris (we later

found out that such trains no longer exist - they have been

rerouted via Lille without asking my permission).

From the station we caught a cab to the Ferry Terminal and to

our fortune a ferry was due to depart at 4.30 taking 1.5 hours for

the crossing. On this ferry we had a two great pieces of luck.

Dinner was about to be served and we overheard three young

people who had also been on the cancelled Eurostar sat near to

us discussing their solution to reaching Paris that night. One was

a young female tour guide who was very familiar with France, the

second was a young male Oxford graduate on his way to a

conference and the third a young female new graduate who was

in Europe on holiday. They had discovered that there was an

evening train from Calais to Lille where another train would

take them to Paris however there were two problems:

1. The fare was very expensive for the Calais to Lille part and

2. There was less than 2 minutes between the first and second

trains and if the first train was late they would be marooned in

Lille for the night.

They had contacted a taxi company and had been given a quote

for a cab which was cheaper than three train fares. Rosemary and

I overheard this and asked whether they might be interested in

including us in the taxi ride. Their costs would be considerably

reduced and we would have another leg of our journey to Paris

covered. The taxi met us at Calais and drove us over 100 km to

Lille. We arrived there with over half an hour to spare and having

purchased our tickets for the TGV train from Lille to Paris we

had time for a quick drink before boarding. This part of the trip

was supposed to take about 90 minutes but it ran 20 minutes plus

late and we reached the Gare du Nord at 11.45pm. There were

two queues for taxis – a prebooked queue and a normal taxi

queue which was very long even before our train had disgorged

its passengers. We were in for a wait of at least 40 minutes when

an opportunist cab driver approached us and offered us the

chance to jump the queue for a fare that was daylight robbery. In

order to fulfil my vows to Rosemary I agreed reluctantly and we

sped off to our hotel arriving at about 12:45am.

It was the end of a very long day! We were over 10 hours late.

David Maclean 1952-1959


Our President, Roger Melling and I visited Cutlers’ Hall

yesterday, to view their facilities and seek dates for next year’s

OSA events. The venue is impressive, and although smaller

than Stationers’ Hall should comfortably accommodate both

of our events.

Their calendar for 2021 is already starting to fill up and

consequently, their Hall is not available for the dates we

agreed for our events at our last Committee Meeting.

They have therefore confirmed that we can hold our Annual

Lunch on Friday 21st May. They will hold our original

reservation for the AGM & Annual Lunch on 26th March

until further notice.

Peter Thomas


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2


This happened only a month after they finally contained a

60,000 acre wildfire just 10 miles from our mountain top retreat.

We had to evacuate for five days for that fire!

I heard a truck engine yesterday about 4.00 pm and thought it

was the UPS van. When I went to the front door I could see that

it wasn‘t, not with all the red flashing lights. As I walked out in

front of the house I could see other fire trucks coming up the

drive. We had to move our parked cars to clear a space for them

to manoeuvre into the corner nearest the top end of the canyon.

I estimate that there may have been as many as 60 people here.

At first they weren’t even sure where the fire was and we were all

looking down the canyon at the clouds of smoke billowing up.

There were two spotter plans circling and then a helicopter

arrived to search and identify the source before going off to

collect water.

The firemen were all watching and waiting so I assumed they

were confident and not worried about their ability to put it out,

and I wasn’t ready to evacuate again. They were waiting for the

helicopter to drop its water bombs as they didn’t want to get

close to the fire location and be dumped on from above. In total

we had 9 fire trucks and four special white pickup trucks. This

included fire engines tankers, EMV and personnel carriers.

The helicopter made a number of trips to fill up with water then fly

low over our redwoods and drop its load into the woods. I was

getting phone calls from neighbours and we had some find their

way through the woods from Vine Hill to come and get a look at

the action. A very social event at a time when we shouldn’t be social.

Eventually they were ready to go down the canyon to meet the

fire on the ground and a column of yellow clad firefighters

snaked their way down from above carrying sections of hose that

extended from their tanker, and brush clearing tools. While the

Indians were whacking brush below, the chiefs were standing

around with their cell phones communicating from our mountain

top. A good job Verizon works up here, although they did have

professional radios too!

By 9.00pm they concluded that the fire was out and it was safe

to go home, but they came back at 9.00 next morning and went

down the canyon again, just to make sure. They said the fire

burned about one tenth of an acre, and was under the path of the

PGE cable-run down the canyon, although they didn’t see any

sign of equipment failure. They also said that the burn spot was

so remote that they didn’t suspect ‘foreigners” sneaking into the

woods for a secret smoke or other purpose. The ending opinion

was fire by cause unknown! In fact nobody has even identified

whose land it was that hosted the fire.

Thinking back it was great to have such support available so

promptly. Many of these firemen had been involved in the recent

wildfires beyond Ben Lomond and Felton, and included vehicles

from Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley and Cal Fire. They found that

their Knox key worked perfectly to open the two gates on

Timber Ridge Lane. They cut the lock on the SV water tank site

to access the hydrant there.

Overall a great success, heading off a potential fire disaster too

close to home! Thanks to all involved. Maybe we should organize

a neighbourhood walk to find the site and celebrate a win for the

good guys!

Simon Westbrook

Pics below: California fire fighting and fire engines on Simon's front drive.


Aston Village and the River Beane

Distance 5 ½ miles – Time 2 hours

Nearest Post Code SG2 7HP - OS Explorer Map 193

I had intended to share with you a walk in Broxbourne Woods,

Hertfordshire. However, the recent outbreak of Covid -19 and

subsequent Government restrictions, preventing me from driving

to a place to exercise has put paid to that, so that will have to wait

for another day. Instead, I have settled for a walk I regularly enjoy

around the village of Aston and the River Beane, which is local

to my home. We begin our walk at Chells Park, Gresley Way, on

the eastern side of Stevenage. Incidentally, Gresley Way is named

after Sir Nigel Gresley, the railway engineer, who lived nearby at

Watton House. Stevenage lies on the London and North Eastern

Railway line where many of Gresley’s locomotives were in

service. It is the last stop for many trains, travelling from

Scotland and the North East, before terminating at King’s Cross.

Back to our walk, as you come out of the main entrance to Chells

Park you will see on the other side of the road Lanterns Lane.

Head off along the lane for about 400 metres until you come to

a turning on the right-hand side, Long Lane. Follow this road

until you arrive at Poplar Farm and the junction with Tatlers

Lane, where you turn left into the hamlet of Aston End. After

about 500 metres you will see a ‘No Through Road’ sign on the

right which leads you down a track, terminating at a pair of metal

gates. Next to these is a Kissing gate leading into a grass paddock,

T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2


follow the footpath in a south eastern direction across the field

to a footbridge over Aston Brook and onto Aston End Road. (At

the southern end of Tatlers Lane there is a small village pond

which has now dried up and has become overgrown with weeds.

This takes me back to my childhood days when the pond was

brimming with water and wildlife. During the school holidays, I

would often stay with my cousin in Stevenage. On warm

Summer days we would walk across the fields to the pond to

catch tadpoles, which we kept in jam-jars and fed with raw bacon

suspended from a cotton thread. At the end of my holiday my

mother would come and collect me, and we would return to

Hornsey by steam train, with me holding onto my jar of precious

tadpoles. They were housed in our garden shed at Rathcoole

Gardens until they were large enough to be introduced to our

garden pond, I do not remember many of them surviving).

Returning to our walk, continue along Aston End Road, then

turn right into Benington Road and straight ahead is the 13th

century church of St Mary, but we are going to take an immediate

left into Aston Lane. At the end of the road turn left into

Stringers Lane and you will come to a junction, take New Park

Lane, leading out of the village. Before you reach the Community

Hall, there is an entrance to a footpath on the right-hand side of

the road. This path follows the perimeter of the field leading

down to the River Beane. From the ridge you get a good view of

the Beane Valley. The Beane is a seasonal river, dry for most of

the year and is only evident as a fast-flowing river after persistent

rain in the winter. At the bottom of the field follow the footpath

running parallel with the river, after 1.5 kilometres you will arrive

at Ford Lane with a ford and footbridge, cross over the road and

continue along the path next to the riverbed. After a further

kilometre you will see another footbridge on your right, shortly


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

after this is a gap in the hedge on your left. Emerging on the

other side of the hedge, the footpath continues around the edge

of the field. On your left you will pass an embankment, if you

climb up to the ridge you can see a small reservoir over the other

side. Returning to the footpath there is a slow incline up and over

a hill where the main path intersects another footpath. Turn left

here through a gap in the hedge and through the Bridle gate to

walk up the hill to New Wood. This field is regularly populated

with rabbits which reminds of a story told to me by my late

Grandmother. Her family came from a farming community near

the pretty village of Kersey in Suffolk. During WW2 when

rationing was at its height, the family diet was sometimes

supplemented with game from the Suffolk fields. Her brother

would send rabbits up to London, which were shot in the fields

where he worked. He would wrap brown paper around the waist

of the carcass, apply an address label and ‘thruppenny’ stamp

before posting. Next day the parcel would arrive at our house in

Hornsey, handed over by an unperplexed postman, with the

rabbit’s feet and a head hanging out of the ends of the package.

I often wonder what remarks were made at the various sorting

offices along its journey.

Once you arrive at New Wood, keep to the right and take the

path leading out of the wood. Turn left into Holders Lane and

where it terminates take a right turn into Long Lane which leads

to Lanterns Lane, returning you back to Chells Park and our

starting point. There is the opportunity to add a visit to Box

Wood to your walk where you can discover a spectacular display

of bluebells in the Spring. The entrance to the wood is about 1

km, north on Gresley Way and consists of 60 acres of ancient

wood with a nature trail, children’s play area and zip line. In the

adjoining Pryor’s Wood there is evidence of earthworks from a

medieval settlement.

Some of the footpaths on this walk are on privately owned land.

Although the landowners allow walkers to use the paths and

clearly mark out the routes, they do still reserve the right to

refuse access. However, it is always best to check the relevant

Ordnance Survey map beforehand to distinguish between public

rights of way and footpaths on private land. The walk is

moderately challenging with parts of the route on country roads,

although quiet with just the occasional car passing.

Towards the end of the walk, if you turn left instead of right at

the junction of Holders Lane and Long Lane you will find The

Crown Pub which has a large pub garden and barbecue pit. Their

Lunch Menu includes, Fire Pit Half-Chicken £13.50, Cauliflower

and Chickpea Curry £12 and Pizzas from £8. Inside, a spacious

bar serves the award winning, New River Brewery ‘Twin Spring

Ale’ (4% ABV), ‘Harpoon IPA’ (5.9% ABV), ‘Restoration Bitter’

(4.6% ABV). Outside the back door is a quaint ‘Horse Park’ with

a hay rack and tethering rings for horses to rest whilst their

riders’ take refreshment inside, at the bar.

Peter Thomas


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

Me and my Motors

Achtung Messerschmitt!

No tales of exotic machines, I’m afraid, as my budget never

allowed for that sort of thing. My penchant was for three

wheelers, of which I owned three at various times. I happened to

notice number 1, a Messerschmitt, in the Cheltenham local

paper and bought it for fifty quid in the early 1970s as an

interesting curiosity. The name and its fore & aft configuration

hint at its origins, with wartime German aircraft manufacturers

no longer allowed to ply their trade postwar and so lending their

names to affordable cyclecars. The Messerschmitt aircraft factory

in Regensburg took up production of the Kabinenrollers (cabin

scooters), initially the KR175 and then upping the capacity to

200cc in the KR200. There was also a fast Tiger with a 500cc

twin engine and four wheels, though otherwise styled like the

KR200. The Heinkel and Dornier tags also lingered on in this


necessary so as to remain aware of some drivers approaching

from the opposite direction veering over the centreline as they

lost focus while thinking “what the &@%$ is that?”.

Upon moving to a village outside Bedford, for commuting into

London, the ‘Schmitt became workday transport to & from the

station. At first, I annoyed fellow commuters because it wasn’t

heavy enough to operate the rubber bars to raise the car park

barrier but I quickly worked out that if I charged up and then

slammed on the brakes, it produced sufficient pressure to raise

the barrier. One day, I did this successfully as usual but then

stalled the engine. Unfortunately the metallic sensor was mounted

too high on the barrier column to register our continued

presence. A bubble car’s bubble does actually pop if poked by

something like a car park barrier.

The Messerschmitt’s major recreational outing was participation

in three years of ACU National Rallies. So as to enter into the

spirit of things, I removed the bubble, which left my weather

protection at similar level to a full-frontal motorcycle fairing.

Each time it hummed faultlessly round the 600 mile route in the

allotted 24 hrs, plus the mileage to the start point and home from

the finish. The illustration of a checkpoint card gives an idea of

the sort of routes required.

Messerschmitt and me

It had a very awkward gear change via flexible cable that was

difficult to use with any degree of finesse, particularly bearing in

mind that it was operating a standard up-and-down motorcycle

gearbox lever, rather than the H of a car gear operation. You

classic car owners might weep as I recount how scrapyards were

at that time full of ancient vehicles and you could just scramble

over heaps of them in searching for the parts you wanted. It

didn’t take me long to find a suitable handbrake lever with a

matching long operating rod, from a 1940s/50s car. That enabled

a straight run from hand lever to gearbox lever, with a much

better “feel”. There were no complications like reverse gear. Being

a two-stroke engine, it was happy to run in either direction and

so had two sets of contact-breaker points. Turning the ignition

off and then turning it anticlockwise restarted in reverse.

Theoretically, it could go as fast backwards as forwards, though

it was not advisable to try this.

At 60 mph max in favourable conditions, it wasn’t very fast

though it felt like it, being close to the ground, and driving it

required a grounding in science and psychology. Science was

because of the need first to steer slightly right towards a passing

HGV to counter its aero “bow wave” and then slightly left to

avoid being sucked across by its slipstream. Psychology was

National Rally route card

After a while, morning traffic near the station was becoming a

bit cloggy, so I switched to two wheels. I felt quite entrepreneurial

at selling the Messerschmitt for £110, more than twice what I’d

paid for it. I have a twinge of regret at noting the current prices

as upwards of £10,000!

Vehicle number 2 arose from the need for an extra vehicle in the

course of transferring north, and as a little activities workhorse

once established there. I easily persuaded myself that a Reliant

3/25 van advertised in the local paper was meant for me. So I had

a Del Boy van a year before “Only Fools and Horses” came on TV

-- oh, and by the way it wasn’t a Robin and the latter is a Reliant

Robin, not a Robin Reliant. There, got that off my chest. Sadly,

that’s one car that somehow never got into a family photograph.


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

Several years later and now back south again, a guy at work was

selling threewheeler number 3, a Bond Bug with a sportylooking

wedge-shaped body, mounted on a standard Reliant

chassis, though the engine was tweaked slightly and it had alloy

wheels. That became my commuting car for several years. The

name arose from Reliant’s takeover of the Bond motor company,

previously manufacturers of the Bond Minicars, a sort of

mechanical pony & trap.

Bond bug

That mixed name origin gave rise to a nonsense rhyme that I

wrote for the Bug Owners Club many years ago.

Lovebug - a tale with a sting in it!

Did you hear about the Bug who lived snug inside a rug

in a lane beside a lily-padded pond?

He strode fearless in the road with a rather pretty toad

of whom he was inordinately fond.

The toad was very willing and thought the bug quite thrilling,

so they made love in the middle of the street

- both lost within each others’ hearts, oblivious to cars and carts,

whose wheels ran safely round their prostrate feet.

As their passion reached its peak, a threewheeler low & sleek

sped down the road but saw not what they’re doing.

They thought that they’d survive; that its wheels would round

them drive

but its middle wheel abruptly stopped their wooing.

The moral of this tale is that safe sex must prevail,

if you’re going to hug a toad beside a pond.

Though she may be compliant, you can never be Reliant

on the eyesight of a Bugger in a Bond.

Thereafter my life revolved on four wheels, though with fond

memories of three.

Ken Stevens

The Mercedes Gelandewagen

or G-Wagen

In 1995 I bought my first one a 1981 280GE which was a bit

tired but on day of purchase it did get me back from deepest

Cornwall to the Cotswolds. It was only with us for three years.

In 2003 bought the next one, a 230G, which was sat in Long

Acre bearing a for sale sign. I met the owner the same evening

who was a Clerkenwell Jeweller, a price of £2650 was agreed, and

next day took it back to Cotswolds. We owned this car for

thirteen years until it was stolen in 2016 and dumped in

Gloucester Docks. Insurance company were at a loss to agree

value but we settled at £8750.

The present one, see pictures, is a 1994 300 GE which we bought

at Auction in Poole in April of last year. At its time the 300 GE

was top of the range, electric windows and electric sun roof, and

the car was warranted at 79,000 miles. In the four years before

our purchase if had only completed 930 miles. We have spent

monies such as total new exhaust system, and all the rest, but it

is our pride and joy. When we read through the car's history I

saw that last owner lives outside a small Somerset village and in

the late sixties I used to live in the adjoining house! Which was

a few hundred yards away. He runs a property company and , like

me, we are both Chartered Surveyors.

It is a lovely vehicle. Pleased to hear if any reader has one.

Nowadays they are a bit different and can cost close to £150,000!

Alan Green

Can Spurs win the Premier League - again?

If I were to ask that question of the supporters of another well

known North London football team the answer would probably

be “no chance”. However, this story is not about rivalry between

football clubs, it is about one day in history. My history. The day

was Sunday 7th May 1961.

I was reading a newspaper article recently, and the columnist, I

don’t remember his name but he seemed like a nice chap, was

referring to Spurs position at the present time of second in the

Premier League. He said that next year 2021 would be sixty years

since Spurs last won the football league. It reminded me of where

I was on Sunday 7th May 1961.

My father was terminally ill with cancer and was in St Joseph’s

Hospice in Hackney. We, at the time lived near the Turnpike Lane

end of West Green Road. My father was a lifelong Spurs supporter.


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

We, my mother, my sister Beryl and I visited him frequently, and

on this particular day it was the day after the Cup Final. Spurs had

won the cup against Leicester at Wembley 2-0. Goals from Bobby

Smith and Terry Dyson. They had in fact ‘done the double’, quite

an achievement for any team. The team was Bill Brown, Peter

Baker, Ron Henry, Danny Blanchflower (Captain), Maurice

Norman, Dave Mackay, Cliff Jones, John White, Bobby Smith, Les

Allen and Terry Dyson. Manager Bill Nicholson. I confess I don’t

have ‘Hemmings’ brain so I did look these up. Naturally, my Dad

was highly delighted that his team had achieved both the F A Cup

and the Football League in the same year.

After our visit we made our way home. I was driving my father’s

1948 Vauxhall 12. 1442 cc front bench seat, four doors and those

chrome Vauxhall inserts either side of the bonnet. However, at

some point we found ourselves going along Tottenham High

Road and crowds were beginning to gather along the pavement.

While I was thinking what to do and how could I get out of the

way, a policeman stepped out in front of me. I suspect by then

the team’s open top bus was probably some way behind me. I

don’t remember the policeman’s exact words, but it was something

like “Oi, you can’t come down ere”. He then parted the crowd on

the pavement and ‘suggested’ I turn into this ‘convenient’ side

road. I did as I was told, you would! wouldn’t you. Behind me the

crowd closed ranks like the waters of the red sea.

I stopped to take stock of our position. No sign of the policeman.

Stop and search was not so popular then, and he had achieved

what he wanted, namely to get this idiot out of the road. It was

then I realised the road we had turned into was, in fact, a no

through road. It opened out onto what was then a fairly new

housing estate. Ahead of us I could see cars parked outside

houses and flats, so there must be a way out. The only problem

was, that between us and where the cars were parked was a series

of long steps. They were about five or six feet long and a drop at

the end of about four to five inches. I think there were about five

or six of these drops. Naturally my mother and sister both said

“You can’t go down there”.

Those of you, and there may be some, who remember the 1948

Vauxhall 12 will know that it was a big old car, fairly high off the

road, although not a four by four of today’s standard, pretty

tough. My reply to my mum and Beryl was “Well, I’m not

stopping here all day until the crowds have gone”, notwithstanding

my own support for Spurs.

So, while the Spurs bus, the players and the Cup went along the

High Road, I mounted the pavement and gingerly drove the car

down the steps to where the cars were parked. I very soon spotted

an exit route and made my way out of the estate to a proper road,

and then to home.

My father died on 17th May 1961, my mother died twenty years

later in April 1981, and my dear sister Beryl sadly died in March


So can Spurs win the Premier League in 2021, if only for my Dad?

Doug Fussell

1954-1959, Caxton House (Right Back sometimes)

My first car - John Taylor

My first car, an Austin, nineteen twenty nine

The “7” it was and it really was mine

I was still at the school then –

About to start work

The car cost ten pounds

Two weeks wages, a clerk.

I took it to pieces, and cleaned every part

Then put it together, a real work of art

A handle to start it, not easy to stop,

As the brakes were so small

(though 7 horse power was top !)

I was legal to drive, though my skills weren’t the best,

As the crisis in Suez had curtailed the test.

So I cruised round the town, and felt like the boss

As the constable said , “Are you Stirling Moss?”

But a year or two later the engine exploded

The water had frozen and the block had eroded!

I sold to Dave Cowling , (my year at the school)

He lived round the corner and thought the car cool

Dave worked on the “7”, which got a new look –

He made it a special

So this picture I took



T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

Me and my Motor

I bought this car in the summer of 1966, having left Stationers’

in January of that year. It was a 1935 Morris Eight Tourer, and I

was very proud of it. It cost me £55 and my first task was to strip

the engine down and replace the shell bearings. I kept it through

university and had many adventures in the three years I owned it.

Once I was on my way to the M.O.T testing centre in Aerodrome

Road, Hendon, when the front wheel came off and overtook me,

bowling along the pavement on Hendon Way. I managed to get

the wheel back on and drove home, suitably chastened. It seems

I had forgotten to tighten the wheel nuts.

Another time I was on my way home from Southend with two

friends when the brakes failed. A gasket had blown and the brake

fluid drained away. In those days we thought nothing of driving

back on the handbrake and gears - a different era. I sold the car

three years later for £70 to an American as I needed the money

to emigrate to Canada.

Forty years later and back in London, I began wondering what

had happened to my old Morris. My elder son was due to get

married on the East coast of the U.S. and I fantasised that it

could be his wedding car. I wrote to the Morris Register, a club

for owners of Morris vehicles manufactured before 1940 and

received a very quick response. They had it registered to a Gerald

Strange, living in Indiana. I wrote to him and received a

comprehensive history of my car that he had owned for 39 years.

I won’t bore you with the details suffice to say the condition of

the car seemed to have mirrored his married life, in that it had

two periods of dereliction after his two divorces. But he had

brought it back to life (albeit in an Americanised livery) having

success at various car shows and taking it on the Indy 500 circuit.

Sadly it wasn’t practical to transport it to the wedding, and they

used an old Land Rover instead.

Peter Miller 1958-1966

My offering for "Me and my motors".

A photograph will be forwarded separately.

"In 1955, I was serving as a navigator on a Canberra squadron at

RAF Gutersloh in Westphalia, Germany. During my national

service, I had owned a 500 cc Rudge motorcycle and flown solo

in a twin-engine aircraft (an Airspeed Oxford) - but I had never

driven a motor car.

A German car salesman brought a 1937 Mercedes 170 V

cabriolet on to camp to sell. As soon as I saw the car I knew that

I wanted it. He suggested that I test drove it around the base but

I declined, not wishing to show my ignorence of cars, on the

excuse of no insurance. After I agreed to buy the car and the

salesman left, I sat in the car checking the controls and then drove

for about half an hour around the camp without any problems.

The car was very well built: a strong chassis and a coach built

body with wooden framing and floor. The wings were hand

beaten, there was no fuel pump - the petrol tank was in the

engine compartment, high up behind the dashboard feeding the

carburettor by gravity. Instead of grease nipples, a plunger to the

left of the brake pedal activated an oil reservoir which distributed

oil to the items requiring greasing. It had to be depressed every

100 kilometres. The car lacked a heater, but during the very cold

winter of 1955/56, when the Rhine at Cologne froze, I fitted a

heater purchased from a local scrapyard - Mr Champion's

German lessons were indeed useful.

On registering the vehicle with the British military authorities, it

became H 414 BZ (BZ for British Zone). I brought it to

England in 1957 where it was re-registered as 41 UUU. I

reluctantly sold it in 1959 when I was posted to Singapore. If

only: I understand the a similar car sold some years ago at an

auction in Switzerland for a sum in excess of 250.000 Euros and

there is a similar model in the Mercedes Museum at Brooklands.

I did not own another open car until this century when I ran a

three litre Mercedes CLK cabriolet. Happy days."

John Miller

My Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

I always vowed that I would never buy a Jap car. Indeed when I

was in the Hiroshima museum with my children and

grandchildren who were sympathising with the Japs I drew their

attention to a plaque on the wall in which they referred to the

Nanking massacre in which they complained that the figure of

about 300,000 that they massacred was entirely wrong and it did

not exceed 30,000! Irrespective of figures this was a crime but

they did not even offer an apology on the plaque.

So when I bought a farm in Cyprus 15 years ago I was perturbed

to discover that a Jap mobile was included in the inventory.

However this ugly truck is now 27 years old and is in regular use

taking fruit to the market or doing the airport run as it is so easy

to chuck the cases in the back. It is utterly reliable and has never

broken down but I will not disclose the make as I have no wish

to promote it!

In Cyprus we have controlled pedestrian crossings but you never

sit waiting for them to change to green when there is no one

crossing. As soon as the pedestrians have cleared the front of


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2


your car you drive off and if you approach the red pedestrian

lights and there are no pedestrians in the vicinity you do not stop.

If you do you will hear a lot of honking behind you from angry


In the 1970s in the days of the TR3s and the Mini Coopers I

could never afford an American Sportscar but now at the age of

85 I felt it was time for a bit of excitement. So I bought a 1975

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray with a large 5.7 V8 engine with

outside exhausts. Stupidly I bought it blind without sending a

mechanic to check it as it was far away in Devon. The seller had

imported it from Kentucky and assured me it was a good runner

but the brakes would need attention. So when it arrived on a low

loader I took it for a spin and the steering was very difficult

because the power steering was not working and when I put the

brakes on went straight up onto the pavement! So that‘s when

the expenditure started and it gradually got worse until the stage

when we managed to open up the headlamp covers on one side

discovering impressive looking twin headlamps and the other

side a complete void without any fixing and a couple of wires

hanging out. So I made the decision to keep it as it is and even

the fact that the windscreen wipers failed to work do not worry

me as I would neve drive it in the wet. Because of its age you do

not need to pay any road tax or get an MoT and the insurance is

only £140. When this model was first introduced it would do 0

to 60 in 3.5 seconds but the tyres in those days could not cope

with the acceleration so the engine was detuned. So I had the

original Rochester quadrajet carburetor fitted and it now burns


Best wishes to all

David Hensher 1945-1950

My name is Andreas Christou and I attended The Stationers’

Company’s School or famously known in Harringay as Stationers’

as we knew it in the summer of 1980 (To me, it does not seem

to be that long ago…).

I always loved cars and remember seeing a Ford Capri 3.0 litre S

(Sport) racing up and down Burgoyne Road and that reminded

me of The Professionals TV series, on my way to school… The

Capri was the closest car you could get to a Mustang (Talking of

Mustangs, who can forget Steve McQueen and the Bullitt

Mustang?) that was a British car and had the long bonnet and

similar styling with much cheaper insurance! There was talk

going round that an episode of the Professionals was filmed

around Hornsey. I need to make time and watch the whole series

and see if that is true.

I remember in the summer of 1982 a boy from another class was

telling everyone he saw a “Dukes of Hazzard” car in the industrial

estate off Tottenham Lane which can be seen from Chettle

Court. After school, we all walked together and indeed it was

true, there was a white, muscular looking car in the car parking

area. I went up to it and it was a Dodge Challenger with black

leather interior (Most cars had cloth or vinyl). That started my

love affair with American muscle cars as I just fell in love with

the outrageous styling.

During the last years of school, around 1983 where the Old Ale

Emporium pub at the bottom of Burgoyne Road and Green

Lanes now sits was a car dealer. He always had lovely cars in

there, nothing too fancy but sporty cars like Ford Capri’s (You

can tell I like them!) and RS2000 Escorts etc.

At that age, us Stationers’ boys began to forget about bicycles and

get into cars and motorbikes as an extension to our ego to be cool

and to attract girls, especially the Hornsey High variety. A

classmate of mine called Ercan actually “Borrowed” his father’s

(he was on holiday) Granada 2.3 litre Ghia and drove to school

in it. He then took us for a jolly around the school boasting that

the car had power steering which was unusual in those days, up

Mayfield Road and then raced down Denton Road aiming to get

to the magic 100 mph figure and slamming on the brakes not too

short of the adjacent houses. It was incredible fun then as 14 year

olds but now of course it was a little reckless and we should not

have been encouraging him…

During the third year at Stationers’ we even built a go kart from

spare parts and every Thursday afternoon a huge gathering of

boys would wait their turn to drive around the lowest tier of the

school playground in an anticlockwise direction. For those of us

who were Comprehensive boys, that was the area next to the

metalwork huts with the entrance to Denton Road. The next set

of huts were for pottery classes (We had amazing fun throwing

clay around much to the annoyance of Ms. Lazaro) and the last

set of huts was for English and my classmates remember Mr.

Williams well and his tales of WW2. He used to draw a phallus

on the blackboard to windup other schoolboys on their way to

the upper building…

For all other Stationers’, that was the wilderness that sat between

Stationers’ and the Hornsey Girls school according to Tony

Moffatt as per our conversation in the Cockpit once.

Sometime in 1984, on the way back from school and going down

Burgoyne Road with my class mates from School (Marios

Markou, Desmond Anglin, David Waugh, Williams, Panikos


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

Theodolou and others) we were approaching Green Lanes and

unusually we were on the right hand side of the road when by

chance we looked into the car dealer and there sat a beautiful, red

and very swoopy shaped car. I knew it was an American car as

nothing else looks like that and we all looked at each other

amazed at what we saw.

We went into the shop to have a look and I remember the person

who was in there cleaning another car telling us about it. It had

a massive V8 engine, the body was fibreglass and this custom car

even had a TV in it! We peered through the window and could

see the TV set (which was black and white) between the two

seats in the back of the car. The interior had a big handle for the

shifter (Automatic if memory serves) and a steering wheel that

stuck out far into the cockpit and it had the obligatory CB radio

which was used in its day.

The owner of the shop then started it up and it sounded

amazing! I was transfixed by what I saw and heard and I have

never forgotten it. If only we had smart phones back then…. The

car in question was a Corvette Stingray C3, which was in

production from 1969 (the year I was born) and was a coupe.

The hood or bonnet opened backwards and in there sat a huge

engine which filled the engine compartment. I do remember the

owner telling us that the engine weighed as much as a mini!

I thought the Ford Capri 3.0S or Triumph Stag sounded good

but there was no comparison with the Corvette. I left the shop

and my head was constantly turning back to see it. I told other

Stationers’ who were milling about it of the Corvette and they

flocked to see it too.

At school, I was good friends with Jason Tanner whose father had

a 1973 Pontiac Le Mans V8 and would drop them off at school.

It sounded great as it accelerated up the hill and the sound

reverberated around the school and all of the Hog‘s Back area.

Another TV show that most people our generation have heard of

is Knight Rider, a sleek black Pontiac Trans Am with artificial

intelligence that talked and drove on its own. At the time it was

unheard of and the stuff of science fiction dreams. I waited a

while in life and now own a late 80’s Trans Am with a high

performance V8 package that Jack Adamou used to work on for

me. I would like to imagine in future this car is retrofitted with

Google self-drive technology and I can just sit back and let it

take me for a drive…

The school car park, which is the lower building for us

Comprehensive boys and Hornsey Girls school for the older

generation was a place of interest for us boys as we were growing up

into adults. I remember Mr. Bennet had a red Ford Capri and drove

it to the playing fields. Sometimes he would take the odd student

too who bragged about getting to Winchmore Hill “In style”.

Mr. Leeming used to have a blue 1970’s Renault estate and drove

from the lower building to the upper building for lessons and

back down again. The odd time he was kind enough to give us a

lift to go up to our next lesson as we had back to back lessons

which started within five minutes of each other.

Recently I went back to the site and walking up the hill now

seems much harder than when one was a boy….perhaps the

gravitational pull of the Earth has changed since the 1980’s as it

is definitely harder than I remember…..

Mr. Ahmed the Chemistry teacher had a red Mark 2 Escort and

always left the handbrake off when he parked it. Students would

push the car into the wall and wait for it to come back and then

kept ramming it into the wall again to see if they could damage

it….that sounds awful now but for us teenagers back then it was

just a bit of fun and he was not really well respected which may

account for it.

Lastly, who could forget Ms. Jahans and her yellow Robin

Reliant? She drove it like she did not give a Carlsberg XXXX and

always had her dog Benjy with her. Many students would try and

tip the car over and thankfully never succeeded in doing so. Once

Mr. Fitch came running out from nowhere with a massive stick

and everyone fled as fast as they could as he must have seen their

antics and no one messed with Fitch! From what I know, she

offered a lift to many students and no one took it up unless she

was driving them home after some misdemeanour…

Fast forward to the future and I am an avid car collector now

only limited by space and of course the wife who is thankfully

very understanding but not as understanding as I would like….

I own two Three litre Ford Capri’s now, one of which I have had

since 1991 (Purchased from a classmate from Stationers’) and a

mark one which I bought and forgot about. Only when the

person sold his house to move abroad did he drop it off to me

and that re-ignited my memory and thankfully I still have it.

They do need restoring and I am planning on doing that in the

future when the children are older and possibly in retirement. On

the plus side they have rocketed in value now and it is nice to see

they are appreciated and shed their boy racer image.

I also have a custom modified C4 1984 5.7 litre V8 Corvette that


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

Here is a picture of the car at the Enfield Pageant show and

at the Robin Hood pub

once belonged to the Saudi royal family I drive occasionally but

having moved house, got married and having a young family has

changed that. Since it has sat still for a while it has developed a

fuel injection and overheating issue and so I will get around to

sorting that out.

I still keep in touch with Jason Tanner and we talk about cars

regularly. Many people know his brothers Chris and Steve who

also were well known for owning American Cars. Also Jack

Adamou, 1977 intake from Stationers’ (who used to live in Ridge

Road) is a big American car collector and very knowledgeable

and a great mechanic and it is great that we share a common


About five years ago I heard about a 1975 Corvette Stingray 5.7

litre V8 convertible with full service history that was for sale in

Canada from a so called “Friend”. The car had one owner from

new and a full service history. I was not sure about buying it as I

was not able to see it in person but eventually I took the plunge

as I always wanted this shape Corvette – the same as the one in

the showroom except in convertible form and without the TV.

Without going into it too much, the whole thing was a scam and

I lost a lot of money with no car to show for it. However, me

being who I am fought back and am glad to say I got my money

back and also found the car using my Detective skills. It was

located in Ontario, Canada and was in a workshop belonging to

a well-known race car builder.

I bought the car and it eventually came over to the UK (I used

to watch the ships GPS tracker in real time on their website) and

then picked it up after paying a mass of taxes on it. Thankfully it

was in good condition or what Americans call a driver.

It passed the MOT with nothing needing to be done to it, to my

astonishment, but thankfully having one careful owner helps. It

has been resprayed since as the front nose cone and rear bumper

were damaged in transit (the car was not tied up properly in the

container) and I drive it when I can, to shows.

Of course having a forty five year old car is not without their

needing maintenance. The power steering pump regularly leaks

on these models if not used regularly and will need replacing or

rebuilding. One can opt to change it to rack and pinion for a

better driving experience but it detracts from the original driving

experience. The exhausts need replacing now as after forty five

years they have done well!

Basically you can never stop spending money on them but part

of the fun is doing things yourself and actually enjoying the fruits

of your labour. I spent months under the car stripping the chassis

and painting it to protect it as well as respraying the wheels the

original colour and the brake callipers etc. Ideally I would like to

strip the whole front end and powder coat the suspension etc but

you need time and money in abundance which I do not have just

yet as I have a demanding lifestyle because of my job.

During 2020 and the Covid pandemic all car shows have been

cancelled much to the annoyance of my children who love to take

pictures with the car and then shoot off to the fun fairs leaving

me to talk to others to my heart’s content.

One of the best features of this car for me is that it has a

wonderful and pleasing shape, it is not too muscular or brash and

most people make nice comments about it. I particularly like the

fact that unlike supercars they are still relatively affordable and

are not snobbish in any way. People who own Corvettes do not

look down on others and actually support each other, knowing

that all different models are unique.

I run the North London and Herts Corvette club and used to

meet with other members and talk all things Corvette but alas no

one meets now and the car sits in the garage snug as a bug in a


I start it up regularly, I enjoy detailing the car and have recently

used ceramic coatings to further protect and enhance the finish

of the car. I do enjoy sitting in it with the roof off and having a

beer or two often in the company of my wife and or daughters. I

thought about installing a projector to watch Netflix, YouTube

etc but my wife has refused to allow that as I may never leave my

man cave and be seen again.

The paintwork and seats have taken a hit as my children jump in

and out of it but it is a car to be driven and not a trailer queen

that gets towed everywhere. The drive is superb, you feel so much

more of the road than modern cars and it has no fuel injection,

complicated electronics and computers to go wrong. Being a

basic car it is easier to maintain and the parts are relatively cheap

as they were mass produced but you normally wait two weeks for

parts to arrive from the USA.

Having an eye on the future means that from 2030 there will be

no more fossil fuelled cars being produced. If one day petrol

stations disappear then I may have to install an electric engine

into it to keep it running rather than it sit in a museum. At the

moment it does about 10 mpg and when hammered that drops

to about 5mpg hence why long trips are not favoured and local

shows work better for me. Also sitting in traffic is not ideal as

they do tend to overheat, especially on a hot day but other than

that they are a dream come true for many of us.

I wish the upper school building was still around, as I would love

to have taken a picture of the Corvette Stingray there with me

next to it, to satisfy myself that I finally managed to achieve one

thing I wanted to in my life, which I promised myself I would do

at school.

Hopefully when the pandemic ends and we have the President‘s

Day or an OSA committee meeting, I will bring it along.

If anyone wants to talk about cars or motorbikes (I am getting

into them now) please drop me a line and I will be happy to talk

to you.

Andreas Christou


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2


Word Search – PUBS Around crouch end


SECRETary's report

Since last report To date

Paying members at 1st Jan 2020 485

Life member 1

Honorary members 11

New members 4 8

Deaths (7) (17)

Re-instalments/Resignations 1 (2)








The following are all anagrams of Premier League Stadiums

Greek Sudoku






The Sudoku puzzle

below is rated “Easy”

but, to make it more

interesting, has the

numbers 1 to 9 replaced

by nine Greek letters: α,

β, γ, δ, ε, λ, π, σ, ω.

To solve the Sudoku

Puzzle, fill the grid so

that every column, every

row and every 3 X 3 box

contains all the symbols.

Good luck. The solution

is on the inside back


4 new members have applied to join since

the last magazine report. They are Neil

Parkyn, Rodger Filbee, Christopher Alves

and Richard Smith.

The death has been reported of a further 7

members: Dennis Lofts, Peter Sargent,

David Waker, Robert Gingell, Mary

Anderson, John Dickens and Peter Cook.

All members due to pay a subscription for

2020 have now done so, although David

Chelsom has decided not to continue his

membership beyond this year.

I note, on checking back to the July

magazine an inconsistency in my report. I

tried to send it to Tim in plenty of time

but there was then a surge of both new

members and deaths, which led to multiple

versions of the report. The eagle-eyed

amongst you may have thought that one

new member died soon after paying up.

This is not so! The new member omitted

from the list was Trevor Stevenson and the

last death notified before publication was

that of John Heale.

Roger Engledow

I have been notified of the following deaths of

people who were not OSA Members but were

connected to the School either as pupils, staff or

friends of the OSA: Simon Baynes, John

Olorenshaw, Leonard Cole, Reg Wells and

Steve Turney.

Tim Westbrook


Graham Eldridge

School years 1959-1964

Graham's biography

arrived too late for

inclusion but will

appear in the next



T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2



Richard Smith

The careers advice from Stationers’ was,

‘Join the RAF or be a teacher’. Instead, I

spent the best part of fifty years in film and

video production. Rowan Atkinson

cajoling a stone to give blood and an antismoking

Smoker of the Future commercial

-made in homage to Blade Runner and

that landed up in a British Library

Propaganda exhibition - gained most

attention (and are still on YouTube). Later

work for government and companies, in

education, communications and public

relations, took me to North Sea oil

platforms, Arctic, Soweto, Brazil, Nigeria,

Angola and Cameroon, and up Elizabeth

Tower to Big Ben – to name but a few. I’m

now the worst tourist as I expect the

priority treatment I received when

directing a film!

My own company, Take 3 Productions,

established itself over four decades, but

when I was sixty-nine and interviewing

teenage mums younger than my two

daughters, I began to wonder if it wasn’t

time to let someone else have a go.

As hard as our school tried to drive every

last drop of creative writing from me, I’d

always craved writing a novel. With that in

mind I sold the company and Homeward

Bound has duly been written and published

and I’m on my second. According to Lee

Child, I’ll need another five before getting

any kind of recognition, so having left

Stationers’ in 1967, I’d better get a move on!

I live a goal kick from Arsenal Stadium

and my wife and I are season ticket


Richard Smith

Peter Sargent

School years 1946-1950

Peter Sargent passed away on 9 August,

followed two days later by his wife Pat.

Peter had been admitted to hospital a few

weeks earlier, having suffered a stroke. This

was followed by other complications, all on

top of various medical problems previously

suffered. Despite these problems, Peter

had become Pat’s carer and still managed

to carry out some engagements, particularly

attending lunches of The Apostles Club,

of which he was chairman.

Peter attended Stationers’ School from

1946 to 1950. Previously he had lived and

been educated in India, where his father

was an officer in the British army. He

attended boarding school, which was

several hours and a couple of train journeys

from his home. It was this experience that

earned him the nickname of “Punjab Pete”.

He also acquired a love of Indian food,

which lasted for the rest of his life; Saturday

evenings were “curry nights”.

Peter’s contemporaries at Stationers

included Mike Saunders, John Lettin, Sir

John Sparrow (obituary in the last Old

Stationer magazine), Peter Moses and

Gordon Rose. Peter’s very close and longstanding

friend, John Langton, also

attended Stationers but was a couple of

years older. They met at the Hornsey Old

Students Youth Club, the main attraction

of which was girls! Thereafter they did

many things together, including learning to

dance – apparently another great way to

meet young ladies. In 1953 John married

Brenda and in 1956 Peter married Pat. The

friendship continued until recently, when

advancing years restricted their activities.

After leaving school, Peter did his National

Service in the RAF when, by all accounts,

he played a large amount of hockey. He

was a keen hockey player; good enough to

play for Kent. He was a loyal member of

Tulse Hill Hockey Club where, after many

years of keeping goal, he graduated into

becoming an umpire.

After National Service, Peter attended the

London School of Economics where his

path crossed that of Sir John Sparrow.

They became very good friends and to the

best of my knowledge John was one of the

few people to whom Peter would defer.

Eventually a career beckoned and he

worked for Arthur Young, Ever Ready,

Grand Metropolitan, Barclays Bank and

Englehard. Typical of Peter, he made and

retained friends from all those organistions.

His roles were finance-based and he

travelled the world on business.

In 1977 Peter helped Chris Calvert, an

engineer colleague from Peter’s Arthur

Young management consultancy days, to

acquire a soft drinks company based at

Walkern near Stevenage. The business was

heavily dependent on the sale of soft

drinks sold in returnable bottles through

corner shops. The advent of the nonreturnable

plastic bottle sold by

supermarkets led to a dramatic fall in sales.

Peter encouraged Chris to diversify and a

plastics injection moulding business was

purchased and moved to Walkern. When

the Walkern site was sold for residential

development, a similar plastics business,

Ellis Patents, based near Malton in North

Yorkshire, was acquired and the two

businesses were merged and became viable.

Peter remained a shareholder and director

until his death and always took a lively part

in board meetings. Despite the change of

business, Peter always referred to it as “The

Fizz Factory”.

Peter was a Chartered Accountant, but he

always proudly maintained that he could

not add up! This apparent shortcoming

did not stop him from asking at least one

question of the Treasurer at every OSA


Peter had “Stationers” running through his

veins. He was an active committee member

of the OSA for many years and was

President in 1975-6. He became a Freeman

of the Stationers’ Company and progressed

to become a Liveryman and served for

some years as a Renter Warden. He and

Pat were regular supporters of the

Company’s social functions. He was a


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

long-standing member of The Apostles

Club where his verbally combative nature

was frequently observed. He was still

chairman at the time of his death. He was

a founder member of the Old Stationers

Cricket Club.

Peter’s long involvement in the OSCC was

all-embracing. He played for many years

and always took care of the Club’s kit. It

was a family affair in that Pat scored and

made wonderful teas, ably assisted over

many years by various wives and girlfriends.

Pat was always “in charge”. The one thing

that Pat could not control, however, was

their pack of Dachshunds - there were up

to six of them at any one time. On many

occasions, “dogs stopped play!”. Peter’s love

of the club was apparent in his booklet:

“The Old Stationers’ Cricket Club – 1950-

1989 – The Story of 40 Cricket Years”.

Peter, Pat and the dogs were also everpresent

on Peter Bullen’s tours to Norfolk

and Hampshire.

Peter’s generosity was demonstrated by the

lavish lunch parties that he and Pat held in

their garden every year to celebrate the

Club’s anniversary. How we managed to

play cricket at Broxbourne cricket Club

after such hospitality is beyond

comprehension. Peter and Pat also hosted

annual lunch parties at the Old Fire

Engine house in Ely. Initially the guest list

comprised OS friends, but gradually the

guest list extended to friends made


Peter’s love of cricket took him to Lord’s as

an MCC member, where he would sit in

the Pavilion, behind the bowler’s arm, with

Messrs Saunders, Bullen, Andrew, Lettin,

Wilkins and other friends. It was a serious

cricket watching day but with lunch,

including wine, on the Nursery ground

and dinner with our ladies in the evening.

After retiring from hockey umpiring, Peter

acquired a season ticket at Spurs. After one

season, he persuaded me, without much

difficulty, to join him. A couple of seasons

later, we decided to splash out and become

members of The Centenary Club. This

included padded seats with arm rests next

to the Director’s box and a plush lounge

for dining and drinking. Most particularly,

we found ourselves sitting next to Tony

Cole, whom we soon discovered was a

fellow Old Stationer and Chartered

Accountant. A friendship soon developed

and led to City lunches in the close season.

Peter is survived by his sister Pamela and

his nephew Ralph.

Peter was, by his own admission, “an

awkward old so and so” but was also an

interesting, generous and loyal friend. He

will be missed by very many people from

all parts of his life.

Chris Wilkins

with thanks to Ralph Colman, Brenda

Langton and Chris Calvert for their


Robert Gingell

School years 1958-1965

Robert was born in Islington on 20th May

1946 to George and Margaret. He was one

of 3 children of the family and is survived

by his sisters, Veronica and Joy.

Elliott & Hadley are his sons from his first

marriage to Linda. He later married

Marion in March 2012. The family are

held together now by Bob’s sons and

partners: Elliott & Leah and Hadley &


Bob had worked as a Sales Account

Manager at Spillers, Allied Lyons (a

favourite of his sons because they always

had lots of cake samples at home!). He

performed similar roles at Stateside,

Hygrade Foods and finally at Natures Way

– from where he retired.

Outside of work he enjoyed playing Golf

and watching or listening on the radio to

football. He was a Gunners fan and, back

in the day, he used to play. He also liked

watching Cricket & was a decent Squash

player whilst living in Leighton Buzzard.

It’s fair to say he was a sports fanatic,

always watching and listening to any sport

he could.

Bob was a ‘Larger than life’ character. He

always liked listening to music and liked a

dance at the Legion. He wasn’t self-centred,

though, he was always so generous with his

time. Looking after his family, friends,

everyone and anyone who needed help. In

fact, he was often so busy looking after

others that he forgot to look after himself.

He loved to read and enjoyed cryptic

crosswords. He also loved a “bad” joke.

Children and grandchildren alike

appreciated the relentless bad jokes and

puns. He was making us all laugh, no

matter how old we were!

Bob was a true gentleman and a big part of

the lives of everyone that knew him. He

was an interesting and intelligent man and

we could always have a good chat about

everything from history to politics to

football. He was always there for his family

and friends and will be missed terribly.

Elliott Gingell

John P Olorenshaw


Sadly, JPO was unable to attend our

reunions in recent years as he lived some

distance from London and his “couchsurfing

days” were over. However, for those


former colleagues and students who were

able to be there, he hoped that the

occasions would stimulate splendid and

forgiving memories, from both inside and

outside the classroom. As he himself later

related, particularly on the table tennis

table, where some staff honed robust

linguistic skills during their lunch break -

all verbs were irregular! – and as Mr Lloyd

used to say: ‘Winners in’ - an apt mission

statement, even today!

JPO was pleased to receive our Old Boys’

news and commented that it was especially

good to have positive feedback on the

Whitsun school trips - after more than 50

years! He also recalled how ‘Dollars’ & ‘the

Palf ’ were splendid walking companions, as

were the youngsters – Plan X!! However,

he noted from pupils’ school memories and

subsequent careers that overall the appraisal

of ‘’seven years in the life of ‘’ was mixed and

that, as envisaged by Aristotle: “the roots of

education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet”.

On a personal note, JPO owed a great debt

of gratitude to Laurie Buxton for taking a

chance on him in 1961. JPO taught

Mathematics at Stationers’ from October

‘61 to July ‘65. He went on to Forest Hill

School ’65-’68 where Geoff Dolamore was

Housemaster, before locating to Sweden,

to see what a properly funded comprehensive

system could achieve. Who could

have anticipated the opportunities that

beckoned after the fall of the Wall in ’89?

The British Council established duallanguage

schools throughout Eastern

Europe during the ‘90’s in a wave of

optimism and JPO worked both in

Hungary & Czechoslovakia between ‘91

& ’98, where he enjoyed experiencing the

zeitgeist first hand.

JPO finally retired to Devon where he

passed away on October 16th 2020 at the

age of 81 after a fairly prolonged illness.

Colin Williams

T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

David Waker

School years 1951-1956

David was in the same year as me although

I recall he was about six months younger.

Anyhow although our paths at school did

not seem to cross too much I did get to

know him well because we were in a group

who would go to the old Harringay Arena

where we watched the Harringay Racers

play ice hockey in the winter and speedway

racing in the summer against clubs such as

Wembley, Crystal Palace and Bell Vue etc

etc. Does anyone remember the speedway

riders Vic and Ray Duggan, Norman

Parker, Split Waterman, Steve Isen etc.

Another opportunity to gather was at

Spurs on match days in another group

which I think included the Tonies McKeer

and Hemmings and someone called

Meredith. As I recall we all applied for and

got a book of tickets for every single match

staged at Wembley in the 1966 World

Cup. The total cost was in the region of


Anyhow David left Stationers in 1956 and

went to work for C T Bowering Insurance

Co in the city and signed up for tuition

with a view to taking the exams of the

Chartered Insurance Institute. He actually

passed these with flying colours and at that

time became the youngest person to pass

their fellowship examination which was of

course the highest qualification they had

to offer.

Whilst with the Company he played football

for them in the London shipping league.

Leaving the Company round about the late

60s he went into partnership with another

Bowrings man. Sadly that partnership

broke up and as if to compound his bad

luck at that period his wife died in her early

30s leaving him with three young children.

I lost touch with him for many years but

heard from a mutual acquaintance that he

had joined OSA fairly recently and I was

looking forward to seeing him again but

unfortunately he passed away before this

could happen.

David Turner

Hugh Alexander

Dear Frances and Harriet,

Thank you for your kind invitation to

attend Hugh's funeral. I regret that I'll be

unable to come, though, due to my walking

and travelling difficulties, but I'll be with

you in spirit at the time and I send my

condolences to you and all your family.

Tim Grollman had telephoned me last

week and I was so sad to hear that our

close friend, Hugh, had passed away. He

was perhaps the most intellectual of our

little group of O.S. (Old Stationers), a wit,

down-to earth and complimentary.

I was so pleased that he was able to come

to my lunch gathering and visit to the site

of the school and old haunts at the end of

October; and he arrived early, which

caught us out! He seemed so much in good

health then. He never minded coming all

the way up from Somerset to join us there

or at The National Liberal Club.

I stayed with him 2 or 3 years ago at

Williton in his caravan for the nights in

his front garden as he was refurbishing his

house. He lent me cartoons about present

day situations which he had cut out from

Private Eye and The Spectator, and I

copied and shared them with others; they

are extremely amusing!

Yes, Hugh, Alice, you will be very much

missed and I will have happy memories.

As a line in the School Song goes: 'Still

you are Stationers, far as you roam!'

God Bless!

Richard Hudson

Reg Wells

1930 – 2020

Reg Wells, who passed away in Devon on

June 28th 2020, aged 89, was a wellknown

figure in Scouting in Hornsey and

later Haringey. I am sure that many

Stationers who joined the Cubs and Scouts

at the 66th North London/Pax Hall Scout

Group, meeting at Pax Hall in Park Road,

will have fond memories of Reg as their

Scout Leader or Group Scout Leader.

Although not a member of the OSA, he

had attended OS events as a guest of the

late Laurie Darby, his predecessor as

Group Scout Leader.

Reg was one of those boys evacuated with

the school to Wisbech during the war,

although he also spent part of the wartime

in Cornwall. He lived his early life in

Hornsey, where his father was caretaker at

Rokesley primary school. He was a skilled

metal worker by trade, involved among

other things in designing and

manufacturing military hardware. He was

a very sociable and “hands-on” person;

many friends and acquaintances

appreciated his ability to repair and make

things in the workshop at his house in


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

Enfield, where he spent most of his

married life with wife Jean and children

Debbie and Daniel.

Reg was quite a motoring enthusiast; in

his younger days he was keen on rally

driving and navigating. Another of his

great interests was hiking. Since 1980, I

and several other OS, including Jim

Townsend, Jim Mulley and Derek Spencer,

have walked what must amount to several

hundred miles with Reg. Our walks were

in and near London, especially the Chiltern

Hills, in Hampshire and in Devon, where

we enjoyed the hospitality of Reg and Jean

at Moretonhampstead to where they

moved about 15 years ago. Reg’s stories

and his good company will live long in the


Richard (Dick) Hersey

Simon Baynes

I have to report that I learned today that

Simon Baynes, Robert Baynes' son, has

passed away in the last week. Simon was a

member of the congregation at St Albans

Cathedral and his death has been reported

in their weekly notices,

With best wishes,

John Rowlands

Peter John Cook

Roger Engledow received a phone call

from William Alden, the Company Clerk,

to report that Peter John Cook died in

October. Peter’s wife had rung William

with the sad news.

I would be very pleased if you could

include my husband’s obituary in the

school magazine. He spoke so fondly of

his time at Stationers.

Anne Cole

Leonard Cole

School years 1941-1945

Leonard Alan Cole, BSc (Eng), MIEE,

Stationers’ School 1941-45, died May

2019, aged 90 years.

He attended St Mary’s Primary School

Hornsey before going on to Stationers’

School. He trained as an Electrical Engineer,

worked in Westinghouse Brake and Signal

Company, went to Sri Lanka in 1955 until

1966, bought an electrical business in

Brighton where he worked until he retired.

His elder brother Stan attended Stationers’

School and a cousin Keith Hewett, he was

in the same year as Brian Murphy and

Peter Jeffreys, uncle of recently deceased

Stephen Jeffreys.

Spoke very highly and appreciatively of


Survived by his wife and two sons.

Thanksgiving Service was held at Clayton

Church in Sussex and ashes scattered in

Sri Lanka

Anne Cole

Denis Lofts

I have been informed this morning that

Denis Lofts died at the age of 91 in

August 2018. Roger Engledow

John Dickens

1929 – 2020

Good Morning Tim,

Very sorry to have to inform you I have

this morning received a telephone call

from Ian Dickens ( John's son), advising

that John passed away yesterday at the

grand age of 91 (which he achieved last

month). He had recently attended hospital

for a skin cancer procedure and appeared

to be doing well but then suffered two

infections and breathing difficulties.

As you are probably aware, John was living

on his own in East Barnet where he had

been coping remarkably with his total loss

of sight and limited hearing.

Ian has promised to advise funeral

arrangements when known, which I will

forward (though it's my recent experience

that attendees are likely to be restricted to

30 at most). I have informed him that if he

wishes to send any eulogy or tribute given

at the funeral the Association will be

prepared to publish it in the next available

issue of the magazine.

All the best for now

Peter Jarvis

John Dickens - A tribute

John was a child of the 1920s – just: born

on 30 October 1929, down in Hornsey. He

came from a poor background but gained

a scholarship to Stationers School, and in

later years was very active in the Old

Stationers’ Association, serving a year as


He did his National Service in Libya, and

then worked in the City of London for an

export company. That involved travelling

all over the world in an era where travel

was neither easy nor common, including

Bahrain before it was developed, various

African countries and the Caribbean.

Sadly, the political situation in Libya

meant he never got the chance to go back,

something he always wanted to do.

Later John set up his own export company

and had an office in Prince’s Arcade just off

Jermyn Street, which he enjoyed immensely,

especially the many lovely local bars and

restaurants. Rowleys in Jermyn Street

remains a family favourite to this day.

In 1955 John got married to Joan Barnes,

and in the early 1960s first Alison and

then Ian were born.

John’s work schedule meant he sometimes

had to be away from home; but it brought


T h e O l d S t a t i o n e r - N o 9 2

some home benefits too. He worked on the

Parker and Palitoy accounts, so their toys

would often feature when it came to

birthday and Christmas presents.

John played regular snooker at Barnet

Conservative club with his brother in law

Ken - although it has since come to light

he was a paid-up member of the Liberal

party! Apparently the dynamic duo of

John and Ken were hard to beat as a match

pairing; but there was no love lost between

them when they played against each other.

Tragically Joan died in 1974, aged just 43.

John often talked about her in the times we

spent together; and it was clear how much

he loved her, and how much he still missed

her. I wasn’t surprised to hear from Alison

and Ian that John often mused about how

different their lives would have been if Joan

had lived; how she would have enjoyed and

loved the grandchildren, and so on.

In retirement John used to go into Trent

Primary School in Cockfosters one

afternoon a week to listen to children read

– and he loved chatting to them as well.

The Head said, “he was warm, friendly,

and meticulously polite.” Those words will

be no surprise to any of us who knew him.

In the late 1990s John faced another really

difficult time, when he lost his sight. But

despite the challenges he remained fiercely

independent, continuing to live alone with

great help and support from his carers. I

know he would want to particularly

acknowledge them, and say a huge thank

you for all their loving care and support.

He really enjoyed the Potters Bar Blind

Circle, especially the musical evenings, and

loved getting up to Christ Church for the

Wednesday morning services and a good

chat at the café afterwards.

He also continued to love cricket, even

after he could no longer see the ball. He

was responsible for getting Ian sponsored

for MCC membership, even though he

regretted never pursuing it himself. Even

until this last summer, he remained for

many years a regular visitor to Botany Bay

Cricket Club, where he was able to meet

with fellow Old Stationers and many other

cricket enthusiasts.

So John’s life was a life with many ups and

downs. But one thought that always struck

me about him was his thankfulness. He

never complained about his blindness or

his other hardships; he was always grateful

for our company, grateful for all who cared

for him; and above all, grateful to God.

Chris Edwards

Christ Church Little Heath

supper club. Whilst Allan played the role

of Front of House Mary was to be found

in the Football Club House Kitchen

cooking one of her extensive range of

delightful meals. All the preparation work

for these were done at home in her kitchen

in Hemel Hempstead following which

they were loaded into the car for

transportation to Barnet for cooking. Mary

was always embarrassed when, at the end

of the evening, she was asked to leave the

kitchen and join the diners to receive a

well-earned vote of thanks. Then,

sometime after ten PM and the diners

having departed, the cutlery, plates, glasses

and pots and pans all had to be washed

and packed away before the two of them

were able to journey home for a wellearned


As I recall Allan was also expert in

persuading a range of interesting speakers

to join us, often for little more than the

promise of a good meal.

Allan died in 1991 and sometime later

Mary moved to Stamford, Lincs to be

nearer her family.


George Sprosson

Dear Roger

I can confirm that George died a couple of

years ago. He acted as my accountant at a

pub I owned for his last 10 years of

working life and was a big man right to the

end. I'm afraid I do not know enough

about his life outside of accountancy in

order to provide an obit.

Nigel Chamberlain

Mary Anderson


I have this last week heard about the death,

on the 24th July at the age of 97, of Mary


Her late husband Allan was, for many

years, a very active secretary of the

Association. Many will fondly recall that

one of the duties he took upon himself was

the organisation, at Barnet, of a monthly

Steve Turney

School years 1972-1978

Film and TV industry executive

Steve Turney has died aged 59, after

contracting Covid-19.

Turney was senior vice president of

sales and acquisitions for Londonbased

producer-distributor Power


He was taken ill last week and died

in North Middlesex Hospital,

London, on November 18.

Steve attended the school between

1972 and 78.



Whether you are an experienced photographer, or just one

who takes the occasional photograph with your mobile

phone, this is the photographic competition for you. Any

OSA member can enter up to three photographs which they

should have taken. The theme this time is – “Animals”. The

photograph can be of any animal: dog, cat, pet tortoise, lion

on safari, fox digging up the lawn, the world is your oyster.

Yes it could be an oyster! But no birds please. I am sure you

have some photographs that would suit. If the animal is

doing something interesting that would be great.

To Enter

Each photograph should have an “interesting” title, relevant

to the theme, and be accompanied by the sender’s name,

postal address and telephone number.

Send your digital or scanned photographs (colour or black

and white – or even sepia), as a 300 DPI JPEG file, to Tony

Moffat at: a.moffat@ucl.ac.uk

For those of the “old school” without

access to a scanner; send hard copy

photographs, which will be scanned

and then returned to you, to: Tony

Moffat, 22 Pig Lane, St Ives, PE27

5NL. Please use a piece of cardboard in

the envelope to protect the photographs.

Closing date

31st October 2021. Entries will be

acknowledged by email, telephone or


Image editing

Images may be digitally enhanced to optimise a photograph,

remove scratches etc, but significant elements of the picture

should not be added or removed.


Judging will be carried out by a panel of judges who will be

using the following criteria: composition, originality, interpretation

of the theme, technical quality and most

importantly – how does your entry stand out from the

crowd. Like referees’ decisions, some people may disagree

with the judges’ decision, but their decision is final.


The winner will be announced in the January 2022 edition

of the Old Stationer and will receive a bottle of champagne

at the AGM in March 2022 when some of the entries will

be displayed.

Publication of Entries

By submitting an entry, you agree that

the photograph(s) may be published in

The Old Stationer and on the OSA

web site.


Any queries, please contact Tony

Moffat at the email address above or by

telephone on 01480 764285.

Go on - have a go! Looking through

your old photographs will be fun

anyway. If you don’t have anything

suitable, why not go out and take some.















The Old Stationers’ Association

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