Old Boys Notes 2010 - 11

Page 1

Issue 200 2010-2011

Past Presidents

1888-93 R.W. HINTON

1933-34 J. LUCAS

1974-75 C.J. ROBINSON

1893-96 W.J. JONES

1934-35 L.P. BATSON

1975-76 D.G. KENWARD

1888-93 r.w. hinton 1896-97 W.C. WITT 1893-96 w.j. jones 1896-97 1897-98 w.c. witt S. PHILLIPS 1897-98 1898-99 s. phillips A.S.K. SCARF 1899-1900 W.H. BARKER 1898-99 a.s.k. scarf 1900-01 H.K. SELMAN 1899-1900 w.h. barker 1900-01 1901-02 h.k. selman H.G. DOWNER 1901-02 1902-03 h.g. downer C.E. NEWBEGIN 1902-03 1903-04 c.e. newbegin H.M. WAYNFORTH 1903-04 1904-05 h.m. waynforth J.H. TOWNEND 1904-05 1905-06 j.h. townend H.A. HARMER 1905-06 h.a. harmer 1906-07 W.A. LYTHABY 1906-07 w.a. lythaby 1907-08 G.J. FREEMAN 1907-08 g.j. freeman 1908-09 H.F. BROOKS 1908-09 h.f. brooks 1909-10 V.J. MOULDER 1909-10 v.j. moulder 1910-11 E.J.G. SMEE 1910-11 e.j.g. smee 1911-12 1911-12 c.j.l. wagstaff C.J.L. WAGSTAFF 1912-13 1912-13 w. paddock W. PADDOCK 1913-18 1913-18 w.c. brett W.C. BRETT 1918-19 1918-19 w. paddock W. PADDOCK 1919-20 1919-20 h.b.p. humphries H.B.P. HUMPHRIES 1920-21 1920-21 rev. f.j. kemp REV. F.J. KEMP 1921-22 1921-22 rev. w.h. braine REV. W.H. BRAINE 1922-23 1922-23 k. mcmillan K. MCMILLAN 1923-24 1923-24 j.n. green J.N. GREEN 1924-25 h. parker 1924-25 H. PARKER 1925-26 h.h. chaplin 1925-26 H.H. CHAPLIN 1926-27 s.h. norton 1926-27 S.H. NORTON 1927-28 g.c lundberg 1927-28 G.C LUNDBERG 1928-29 h.e. dulcken 1928-29 H.E. DULCKEN 1929-30 l.j. haskins 1930-31 1929-30 a.c. mann L.J. HASKINS 1931-32 1930-31 s.e. wavell A.C. MANN

1932-33 w.f. serby 1935-36 J.E.G. MOODY 1933-34 j. lucas 1936-37 P.G. MACDONALD 1934-35 l.p. batson 1937-38 D.L.I. EVANS 1935-36 j.e.g. moody 1938-45 L.J. GOOCH 1936-37 p.g. macdonald 1945-46 H. NORMAN 1937-38 d.l.i. evans 1938-45 l.j. gooch 1946-47 W.R. CLEMENS 1945-46 h. norman 1947-48 W.H. CROSSMAN 1946-47 w.r. clemens 1948-49 F.H. YALE 1947-48 w.h. crossman 1949-50 A.G. JENKINS 1948-49 f.h. yale 1950-51 Dr T.W. TAYLOR 1949-50 a.g. jenkins 1951-52 A.N. BONWICK 1950-51 dr t.w. taylor 1952-53 S.H. BEAN 1951-52 a.n. bonwick 1953-54 S.E. PHILLIPS 1952-53 s.h. bean 1954-55 T.N. McEVOY 1953-54 s.e. phillips 1955-56 G. BATCHELOR 1954-55 t.n. mcevoy 1956-57 P.C. BROOKER 1955-56 g. batchelor 1957-58 G.G. LLOYD 1956-57 p.c. brooker 1958-59 F.A. JACKMAN 1957-58 g.g. lloyd 1959-60 L.J. MILLER 1958-59 f.a. jackman 1960-61 Rev. A.M. MANN 1959-60 l.j. miller 1960-61 rev. a.m. mann 1961-62 C.G. GARDNER 1961-62 c.g. gardner 1962-63 K.H. BLESSLEY 1962-63 k.h. blessley 1963-64 M.J. JACKMAN 1963-64 m.j. jackman 1964-65 J.B. BLOWFELD 1964-65 j.b. blowfeld 1965-66 D.A. BLESSLEY 1965-66 d.a. blessley 1966-67 D.W. WELLS 1966-67 d.w. wells 1967-68 E. CINNAMON 1967-68 e. cinnamon 1968-69 J.S. ALEXANDER 1968-69 j.s. alexander 1969-70 E.T. PURCELL 1969-70 e.t. purcell 1970-71 N.A.H. JAMES 1970-71 n.a.h. james 1971-72 E.H. AMSTEIN 1971-72 e.h. amstein

1931-32 S.E. WAVELL

1972-73 R.A. BENGE

1932-33 W.F. SERBY

1973-74 P. ALTERMAN

1972-73 r.a. benge

1976-77 L.F.p. alterman BROWN 1973-74 1977-78 J.A.R. BEAUMONT 1974-75 c.j. robinson 1978-79 B.H. McGOWAN 1975-76 d.g. kenward 1979-80 P.J.l.f. brown STEVENSON 1976-77 1980-81 A.G. BUCHANAN 1977-78 j.a.r. beaumont

1978-79 b.h. mcgowan 1981-82 A.T. WHITE 1979-80 p.j. stevenson 1982-83 C.R.B. JAKEMAN 1980-81 a.g. buchanan 1983-84 D.A. JAMES 1981-82 a.t. white 1984-85 B.A. GOODMAN 1982-83 c.r.b. jakeman 1985-86 G.T. WHEAL

1983-84 d.a. james 1984-85 b.a. goodman 1987-88 P. ALTERMAN 1985-86 g.t. wheal 1988-89 N. FORSYTH 1986-87 j.g. stagg 1989-90 A.F. COOPER 1987-88 p. alterman 1990-91 P.J.S. VACHER 1988-89 n. forsyth 1991-92 A.J.S. ALEXANDER 1989-90 a.f. cooper 1992-93 P.J.p.j.s. vacher EGAN 1990-91 1993-94 M.J. BOVINGTON 1991-92 a.j.s. alexander 1994-95 A.K. DAWSON 1992-93 p.j. egan 1993-94 m.j. bovington 1995-96 R.M. KIPPS 1994-95 a.k. dawson 1996-97 C.R.B. JAKEMAN 1995-96 1997-98 J.R.r.m. kipps WHITTENBURY 1996-97 c.r.b. jakeman 1998-99 A.E. MORRIS 1997-98 j.r. whittenbury 1 999-2000 A.M. NEWTON 1998-99 a.e. morris 2000-01 H.E. COUCH 1999-2000 a.m. newton 2001-02 A.J. PHIPPS 2000-01 h.e. couch 2002-03 D.J. BROWN 2001-02 a.j. phipps 2003-04 G.J. MACFARLANE 2002-03 d.j. brown 2004-05 D.J. HEASMAN 2003-04 g.j. macfarlane 2005-08 A.P.S. NEWMAN 2004-05 d.j. heasman 2008-10 H.A. HYMAN 2005-08 a.p.s. newman 1986-87 J.G. STAGG

Foreword by Jon Corrall, OHA President


ou may not be familiar with Goethe’s poem ‘Dauer im Wechsel’ – Permanence in Change – but you will appreciate the sentiment. Whilst change we must, and that is both a good thing and a serious challenge, we must also hold fast to those things which are dear to us. And so it is with the OHA. At the beginning of the year we set ourselves certain aims which are important for the future development of the OHA. First and foremost we want to improve our communication with Old Haberdashers, and this, of course, means an effective and interesting website and the electronic newsletter. Our Secretary, Martin Baker has been very active in bringing this about, and we have made dramatic progress. These days we require improved email communication. If you have not been receiving emails from the OHA, please make sure we have your current email address, or that of someone who can pass on messages to you by completing and returning the form enclosed in these Notes. Alternatively, you can email Martin Baker at martin.s.baker768@btinternet.com. If you wish to continue receiving information by post, please state that on the form too. Martin’s postal address is on the back cover of the Notes. We hope you have enjoyed the first two electronic Newsletters, but equally amongst the examples of ‘Permanence’ I commend to you this year’s magazine. Our view is that for many people there will always be a place for a printed magazine, and there is no substitute to leafing through an attractive publication without the hassle or expense of printing off a copy from the computer. As well as the Editor, Alan Newman, I wish to thank the designer, Jonny Burch, Peter Vacher, Keith Cheyney and Simon Gelber for their help in producing the magazine as well as the many contributors. If you have any suggestions for future publications, please send them to Martin Baker. The magazine reflects the range of activities organised by the OHA this year. Sport thrives, with OH rugby stronger than it has been for many years. But we have also sought to develop our social programme. The annual dinner, held once again at Haberdashers’ Hall, was a great success, and we have also tried to extend the range and variety of events so that we can appeal to all ages and tastes. While the Clubhouse in Borehamwood remains our base we also organise events at venues elsewhere in London and outside it as well. If there is a particular activity you would like us to organise, then please get in touch, and we will do our best. Our principal aim must be providing

opportunities for members to remain in contact and meet in an enjoyable environment, whether it be for a reunion or to enjoy a shared interest. I am grateful to the OHA Executive and to members of its subcommittees for their work, notably to Martin Baker, our Secretary and to Dr John Wigley who has been very active in his role as our new Treasurer as well as his more traditional one of Historian. Harold Couch and the Relocation Committee have continued to work hard to progress this complex project and David Heasman and Alan Phipps continue to make sure that the Clubhouse and Ground are in as good a shape as possible. I would also like to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of all the officers and committee members of the OH sports clubs. Last and definitely not least, I thank Mel, Pauline, Kelly and Natalie for their dedicated service and fine catering for all at the Clubhouse. Enjoy the Notes and let us know what you think. We are always pleased to hear from you. And remember that up-to-date information about the Association is always available on the website, www.oldhabs.com

old boys notes



Contents 1. . . . . . Foreword 3. . . . . . Editorial 4. . . . . . OHA Dinner 5. . . . . . Old Lags Lunches 6. . . . . . Fathers and Sons Dinner 9. . . . . .

Fifty Years at Elstree: 1961-2011

10. . . . . Developments on Elstree site since 1961 p6

10. . . . . Map of the site 12. . . . . Hampstead to Elstree by John Wigley 15. . . . . The move to Elstree: Physical Education by David Davies 16. . . . . The move to Elstree: Early Days by John Rolfe 18. . . . . A Day and a Year in a Schoolboy’s Life by Tony Alexander


19. . . . . The Dunton House Shield by Jon Corrall


21. . . . . The move to Elstree: Music by Alan Taylor 24. . . . . The move to Elstree: Science by John Carleton 26. . . . . Interview with Margaret Taylor by Jon Corrall 28. . . . . p10

Where Are They Now?

30. . . . . Obituaries p15


35. . . . . OH Club Reports Rugby, Golf, Lodge, Cricket


p21 p26





Editorial Alan Newman


elcome to this edition of Old Boys’ Notes which is the 200th in the series. This high number was reached as the Notes were for many years included as a section within Skylark, the school magazine which was published termly. It became a separate publication by agreement with the School some 15 years ago. I expect the Notes to evolve once again to reflect the fact that both the OHA and the School are using digital media to communicate with and provide information to old boys more frequently than this annual


publication can achieve. Indeed, there is no “News from Elstree” section this time to avoid duplicating the on news published in the School’s Skylight termly newsletter and also on its Facebook page, both of which we welcome. As usual, we include reports on the activities and events of the Old Haberdashers’ Association and the associated clubs – Cricket, Golf, and Rugby - as well as the OH Lodge. Naturally, our feature articles focus on the School’s move to Elstree, 50 years ago. These include a description of the background and planning for the move by Dr John Wigley, Mrs Margaret Taylor’s personal memories given in an interview with Jon Corrall and commentaries on the Elstree Science and Sports facilities by John Carleton and David Davies respectively. Tony Alexander (1962) recalls his role as a pupil in the move and the Opening Ceremony. We also pay tribute to the lunch trolleys that were a memorable feature of daily life at Elstree for 20 years. We are very grateful to all our contributors and also to Keith Cheyney, the School archivist for his assistance in providing contemporary photographs. Jonny Burch (2004) once again must take the credit for the compilation and design of the Notes and we also thank Marstan Press our printers for their prompt and efficient service. Personally, I was reminded as I researched material for these Notes by how much as pupils we took for granted the quality and range of facilities provided to us at Elstree. Indeed these have been much expanded and enhanced in the last 50 years. While the high quality of HABS’ education ultimately depends on the teaching, there is no question that the Elstree “campus” plays a fundamental part too. I hope that these Notes help to inform our younger members and remind our older members of the foresight and vision of Dr Tom Taylor and all those involved in the move to Elstree. Enjoy reading them!

old boys notes


OHA DINNER 2011 by John Wigley


he one hundred and thirteenth annual dinner of the Old Haberdashers’ Association was held at Haberdashers’ Hall on 18th. May. As always OH regulars met in a nearby pub, then joined scores of old friends to reminisce over champagne in the Hall’s spacious ante-rooms before sitting down to a fine meal in the sumptuous dining room, hung with oil paintings of the Company’s many benefactors and worthies, including one of Robert Aske, the school’s founder. Our guests included Bruce Powell, Master of the Haberdashers’ Company, Danny Hochberg OH, Chairman of the School Governors, Deborah Knight, his immediate predecessor, Jeremy Goulding, former Headmaster, John Carleton, former Second Master, Matthew Judd, Acting Headmaster, and Anon Meyer, School Captain. This year is the fiftieth anniversary of the school’s move from Hampstead to Elstree, so it was fitting that our guest of honour was Margaret Taylor, wife of Dr. Tom Taylor, Headmaster 1946-1973, who did so much to inspire and accomplish the move. She was greeted with a standing ovation, a heartfelt tribute to Tom and to herself. Andrew Tarpey brought his customary skill to his duty as Toastmaster. John Carleton entertained us with memories of 1961, Bruce Powell informed us about the Company’s many schools, Anton Meyer brought us up to date about Elstree, Jeremy Goulding put Elstree (one of his three headships) into context, and Jon Corrall, the OHA President, capped them all with his well-chosen remarks, including congratulating Seb Taylor on his role as Captain of Sweden’s Rugby Team. A surprise innovation was showing a video of Keith Dawson, dressed in black tie and dinner jacket in his Devon home, who had first taught at Elstree in the early 1960’s, and who had returned as Headmaster for the late 1980’s and much of the 1990’s. A true friend of the OHA Keith had promoted close relations between it and the school, and he used his “video speech” to hope that they would continue. By common consent the 113th. dinner was one of the very best in recent years, aptly shown when Tony Alexander rose to propose an impromptu toast to Andrew Tarpey for organising the event so well, and by the fact that so many of those who responded with a round of applause followed Tony to the pub to enjoy the extension that Andrew had negotiated. Guests of the OHA: Bruce Powell (Master Haberdasher), Mrs Margaret Taylor, Mrs Deborah Knight (First Warden), Mike Jeans (Hon Member, OHA), Daniel Hochberg (Chairman, Boys’ School Cttee), Matthew Judd (Acting Headmaster), Anton Meyer (School Captain). Nigel Alexander (71), Tony Alexander (61)*, David Alterman (79),Philip Alterman (49)*, Simon Alterman (75), Ian Baker (60), Martin Baker (78), Michael Bovington (51)*, John Carleton (S), Simran Cashyap (05), Keith Cheyney (S), Andrew Chilcott (66), Robert Clarke (90), Harold Couch (54)*, Robert Crabb (70), John M Davis (59), John Davis (G), Jordan Dias (03) ,Brian C Edgill (47), John Egan (56)*, Ernest Eng (47), Michael Ezra (72), Bob Foster (69), Andrew Fox (OHRFC), Anthony Gershuny (72), Jonathan Grant (G), John Hassan (70) , David Heasman (59)*, Harry Hyman (74)*, Rodney Jakeman (61)*, Richard Jakeman (G), Nick Jones (OHRFC), Greg Kahn (75), Daniel Kaufman, Michael Lessani (00), Mark Lloyd-Williams (S), Graham Macfarlane (61)*, Andrew Mackenzie (G), John Magowan (63), Stephen Marks (88), David McCalley (72), Colin Mendoza (78), Jonathan Mogg (OHRFC), Alan Newman (74)*, Andrew Newman (82), David Nordell (72), Peter Oppenheimer (55), Daniel Ostermeyer (00), Gerald Ostermeyer (G), John Parker (56), Alan Phipps (68)*, Roger Pidgeon (67), Kelvin Pike (45), Ian Sanderson (OHRFC), Ronald Scarles (48), Bruce Silvester (79), Roger Skinner (63), Ian Smart (58), Cliff Smith (G), Bob Stagg (72), Tom Stagg (01), Andrew Tarpey (97), Jim Tarpey (S), Seb Taylor (Capt, OHRFC), Laurence Thackwray (05), David Tricker (G), Peter Vacher (55)*, Amit Varsani (01), Simon Wallis, Donald Wells (48)*, John Whitehead (G), Doug Whittaker (S), John Wigley (S), Jason Zemmel


old boys notes


Clockwise from top left; Past Presidents lunch; Retired Members Lunch; Ladies Lunch


he last Saturday in March saw 20 Past Presidents gather in the Clubhouse for a lunch hosted by President Jon Corrall. Jon took great pleasure in welcoming everybody to the Clubhouse and mentioned the great contribution the late Eric Purcell had made to the OHA. Graham Macfarlane reported that eight Past Presidents had been unable to attend but all had sent their apologies and good wishes. An excellent lunch followed which was enjoyed by all, prepared with their usual efficiency by Pauline and her helpers. Jon provided an update on developments within the OHA after which there was time for more conversation among friends before we were able to add vocal support to the promoted Rugby XV - a fitting end to the day.

Past Presidents Lunch: Those present (with year of presidency) were: A.J.S. Alexander (’62) 1991/92 P. Alterman (’49) 1(73/74 & 1987/88 M.J. Bovington (’51) 1993/94 D.J. Brown (’68) 2002/03 J.A.Corrall Current H.E. Couch (’54) 2000/01 P.J. Egan (’56) 1992/93 N. Forsyth (’45) 1988/89

D.J.Heasman (’59) 2004/05 C.R.B. Jakeman (’61) 1982/83 & 1996/97 D.A. James (’47) 1983’84 G.J. Macfarlane (’61) 2003/04 A.E. Morris (’55) 1998/99 A.P.S. Newman (’74) 2005/08 A.J. Phipps (’68) 2001/02 P.J.Stevenson (’46) 1979/80 P.J.S. Vacher (’55) 1990’91 D.W. Wells (’48) 1966/67 G.T. Wheal (’55) 1985/86 J.R. Whittenbury (’56) 1997/98


Apologies: K.H. Blessley (’32) 1962/63 A.K. Dawson (Hm 1987-96) 1994/95 B.A. Goodman (’39) 1984/85 H.A. Hyman (’74) 2008/10 N.A.H. James (’47) 1970/71 R.M. Kipps (’55) 1995/96 A.M. Newton (’53) 1999/2000 A.T. White (’46) 1981/82



round six times a year a group of OH ladies meets for a friendly, informal get-together at the Clubhouse at Croxdale Road. We have a good lunch (at a great-value price of £10) provided by Pauline, Natalie or Kelly together with a glass of wine and much cheerful chat. Our group includes wives and widows of OH and school staff and we especially welcome Margaret Taylor and Pat McGowan among them. We are now in our 10th year of holding lunches and newcomers with any Haberdasher connection are welcome to join our happy band. Our next lunch is 6th October and our Christmas lunch will be on 8th December. Do contact Tessa Alterman 020 8346 3620 or Patricia Vacher 020 8428 6060 if you would like to know more.


hese Clubhouse events are now an established part of the OHA calendar, albeit that those who come are rather disparagingly described as Old Lags. Oh well. We hold six lunches a year with the Christmas gathering a key highlight. So who is eligible to come? Any Old Haberdasher who enjoys good company, a pleasing meal and stimulating conversation. We regularly attract 50 or more to the clubhouse and the age range is wide; our lunchers sometimes travelling great distances in order to track down a decent, value-for-money lunch. So you’re bound to meet someone who you knew or who knew you. Or both. Old faces and new faces, in other words. We’re delighted to welcome newcomers, or visiting OH from overseas and increasingly, former members of the school staff. Many of these august gentlemen are described as ‘Termites’, which means that they taught at the school for one hundred terms or more. If nothing else, their presence means you can get your own back for all the indignities they imposed on you. Seriously, they now form an important and cheery element within our core numbers. Indeed, Jon Corrall, until recently the School’s Second Master and a regular attender at our lunches, is this year’s OHA President. So who knows to what dizzy heights others might aspire? We meet at 12.30 for a 1.00pm lunch – three courses plus coffee for £10.00 – all prepared and presented by Pauline Howard and her team in our elegant if time-worn Clubhouse at the Association’s sports ground in Croxdale Road, Elstree, Herts. Remaining dates for 2011: Tuesdays, 13 September and 18 October, with the Christmas Special on Wednesday, 7 December. Are we on Facebook or Twitter? No, but we are on the OHA Website: www.oldhabs.com. If you’d like to know more and wish to join us, contact Peter Vacher on 0208 428 6060 or e-mail: petervacher@onetel.com.

old boys notes


A demonstration of Association values Fathers & Sons Dinner -Friday 4th February 2011 by Andrew Tarpey


llow me to let you, dear reader, into a little secret. I have been managing the annual Fathers & Sons dinner for ten years now and, to be honest, it’s quite an easy gig. Keen attendees, little admin and – crucially – the catering side is a doddle. All I have to do is phone up Mel and Pauline a couple of days before the event and tell them how many are coming. They let me know the planned menu, which I then print out ready for the night. The attendees, well, attend, we have a great evening and we all go home again, eager for the following year. Easy. Pride before a fall, Tarpey. Which unfortunately is exactly what happened – not to me, but to our beloved steward, Mel Howard, who came an absolute cropper just a few days before the dinner and seriously injured his hip. Catastrophe! With no Steward, how can there be a dinner? I was preparing to phone the attendees to explain that we would sadly have to cancel this year’s gathering. But that was to badly underestimate the strength of Mel and Pauline, and the OHA spirit itself. I was promptly called by Pauline saying that yes, the show would go on and to leave it all to her. Really? Was she sure? Absolutely. And so, the show did go on, on the very day that Mel was transferred out of hospital and back into the Clubhouse flat. Pauline and her daughters Natalie and Kelly worked wonders to ensure the evening was another triumph. Prawn cocktail made way for a heart-warming joint of lamb followed by Eton mess (surely someone somewhere has created a Haberdasher mess?). Throw in wine, coffee, cheese & biscuits and port and there’s enough there to cheer up any and every soul on a February evening. Your correspondent then tortured the assembled with another barrel-scraping selection of “jokes” (for example: what do you call a tree playing the guitar? Spruce Springsteen. What do you call a gangster who picks you up by your underpants? Wedgie Kray. Ad nauseam...) and proposed the toast from sons, to fathers. Rodney Jakeman kindly replied with the toast from fathers, to sons and the throng diffused gently toward the bar and fire to continue discussions late into the night. It was then my genuine privilege to present to Natalie the result of an impromptu whip-round for Mel. A very handsome sum was passed over and we soon had word back of Mel’s touching gratitude. There was the true spirit of the OHA for all to see. The funniest line of the evening goes to Rodney who, in a reflective after-dinner mood with glass in hand, turned and asked his son Richard “Where did we go on our honeymoon? Oh, hang on, you weren’t there...” However, the most heartfelt line was delivered by me in the afterdinner speech where I paid a “Huge tribute to the support and professionalism of Pauline, Natalie, Kelly and the whole team to say the show must go on and turn out another


old boys notes

wonderful meal for us to enjoy. You manage to work your magic every year, but this really was something special. Thank you.” If you are not on the mailing list for this dinner, and would like to be, please e-mail me at mail@atarpey.com.

Attendees Philip Alterman (’49) Simon Alterman (’75) David Alterman (’79) Andrew Mackenzie (G) Peter Clarke (G) Robert Clarke (’90) Keith Edelman (’68) Nick Edelman (’98) David Griffiths (rtd Sch) John Griffiths (’82) Rodney Jakeman (’61) Richard Jakeman (G) Alan Mushin (’55) David Mushin (’74) James Mushin (’94) Alan Morris (’55) Alex Schonfeldt (G) Bob Stagg (’72) Tom Stagg (’01) Jim Tarpey (rtd Sch) Andrew Tarpey (’97)


Dr T.W. Taylor in front of Aldenham House

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old boys notes

FiftyYears at Elstree 1961-2011

John Lear gives a metalwork lesson

Developments on the Elstree site since 1961


ver the last 50 years, development of the facilities has been continuous with the addition of several new buildings and extensions. These have considerably improved the facilities available to pupils and staff. The main developments are listed in the table below: But, perhaps the most important change on the site was the building of the Girls’ School on the rugby pitches (known as the Park) next to the Boys’ School. This opened in September 1974. Below is a list of new school buildings added on the Boys’ site and the years they were built. Library and Brett Study Hall . . . . . . . . 1969 Geography, Science, Technology and Arts (later replaced by Aske Building). . . . . . . 1971 Seldon Hall & TW Taylor Music School. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1975 Bates Dining Hall. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1980 Preparatory School. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1982 Sports Hall. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1985 Bourne Hall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1992 Aske Building. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2004


old boys notes

old boys notes


Hampstead To Elstree by John Wigley


aberdashers’ has moved twice, from Hoxton to Hampstead, and then from Hampstead to Elstree. The second move was the result of a fortuitous combination of personalities and circumstances. Dr. Taylor, Headmaster 1946-73, decided on the very day he was interviewed for the post, 15 January 1946, that “If I get the job, I’m going to move the school.” Shortly after he took over, on 1 May 1946, he found that it had been the Governors’ policy to consider a move since before the war. In 1946 they asked him to move the Preparatory Department to Chase Lodge. In February 1949 they considered moving the whole school there, in May the Ministry of Education’s

Above: Dr Taylor presides at Opening Ceremony on 11 October 1961

Board of Governors in 1950, fully supported a move, but he and the Board concluded that Chase Lodge was too small, so declined to draw up detailed plans, instead fostering modest refurbishment and expansion in Hampstead. However, influenced by celebrations to mark the fiftieth anniversary of opening the school in Hampstead, in December 1953 the Governors set up a Site Sub-Committee. In February 1954 it concluded that “it was desirable to find a new site” and by the end of March had persuaded the Haberdashers’ Company which “agreed to it in principle”. In 1955 Dr. Taylor reminded the Governors which parts of the Hampstead school the Ministry had found inadequate, and stressed “The chief need is to find a new site in the

“If I get the job, I’m going to move the School” Dr Taylor’s promise in January 1946 inspection report stated that Chase Lodge in Mill Hill, the site of the school’s main playing fields, was “a more suitable site”, and during Speech Day in July Dr. Taylor told the parents that he hoped to move the school there. A move was desirable for many reasons. The Hampstead school was bomb-damaged, routine maintenance had been neglected during the war, increasing pupil numbers were leading to over-crowded class rooms, nearby districts were losing their social status, and boys were commuting to and from school during the rush hour on crowded and unreliable public transport. Col. P.C. Bull, appointed Chairman of the


old boys notes

country.” Identifying one proved difficult. In April 1956 the Site Sub-Committee negotiated with Lord Aldenham to take a 12-months option on a ten acre site adjoining Stanmore Station. In May W.R. Clemens, an old boy of the Hoxton School, one of the Governors, heard rumours that in two years time the BBC was likely to put Aldenham House, near Elstree, and its surrounding estate of about 100 acres, up for sale. His information was correct. In May 1958 the Governors learned that the BBC had decided to sell, so informed the Company, which approved their intention to buy “with enthusiasm” and so moved

quickly, negotiated over the £37,000 asking price, and on 9 February 1959 bought Aldenham House and 61 acres of land for £31,000. Financial and other planning had begun in 1956. The Company’s architect, James Caldwell, calculated that the cheapest possible new school (including a hall with two sides entirely of glass, and without a dining room) would cost £350,000 and estimated the total cost of the project at about £480,000. The Governors hoped to provide £245,000 from selling their buildings and land at Hampstead and Mill Hill, to borrow £130,000 and to raise £100,000 from a public appeal. Colonel Bull, now both Chairman of the Governors and Master of the Company, laid the foundation stone at Elstree at 3.00 p.m. on 29 October 1959. (He died early in 1960 and is commemorated by the P.C. Bull Memorial Prize, awarded to each year’s School Captain.) John Carleton, who was appointed to teach Chemistry in 1960 and retired as Second Master in 1998, recalls “During the Summer Term of 1961, after the exams were over, senior boys and teachers packed books, paper, art and craft materials, even chemicals and apparatus, and benches and plumbing from laboratories, on to the back of an open 3-ton lorry, sat on top of the boxes, and were driven out to Elstree. When the lorry had been emptied, we went back for the next load- this took many days, even with the final support of a fleet of removal vans for the really heavy items. Not only did these activities save money, but the pupils and staff working together in this joint venture derived real pleasure and a sense of satisfaction that their efforts were helping to create their new home.” On 11 October 1961 the Lord Mayor of London opened the new school, and closedcircuit television was used to transmit the ceremony from

Dr Taylor showing model of Elstree site to senior staff in1958

the hall to a marquee in the grounds. Although term had begun a fortnight late not all the buildings were ready and, weather permitting, assemblies were held in the playground, with Dr. Taylor speaking through a loud hailer. In fact, the school’s accommodation was barely adequate, since it had become clear that although Aldenham House could contain a boarding house, it was too small and too unsuitable for the many other facilities that had been proposed for it, including an arts and crafts room, six other classrooms and Dr. Taylor’s living quarters. Fortunately for him and his family the Governors had subsequently agreed to provide a house in the grounds, and it was designed by his wife Margaret. In 1959 the Governors had decided that “The Sixth Form Block should be the central feature of the new buildings and should include adequate Sixth Form rooms grouped around the Library.” Yet there never seemed to be enough rooms and sixth form lessons were sometimes taught in the wings of the Assembly Hall stage and in the Boarders’ Reading Room. The Preparatory and Junior Schools initially shared accommodation in what was sometimes called the BBC Block, because it had been built during World War II when the BBC used Aldenham House. However, Music had two dedicated classrooms over the Assembly Hall foyer and Science and practical subjects (art, pottery, metalwork, woodwork) had specialist classrooms, although most other subjects were taught to Ordinary Level in 12 generalpurpose classrooms situated around the cloakrooms and kitchen. John Carleton remembers that “They were designed in six pairs, with large sliding doors to enable each pair to be opened to form a large room for House assemblies. However, the doors were not very soundproof, so that boys sitting at the back of one room could listen to their own lesson and the one in the next room. At lunchtime the sliding doors were opened and the rooms were used as House dining rooms, one for each of the six Houses. The catering staff wheeled in heated trolleys from which they served the meals. House prefects cleared up and rearranged the rooms for afternoon lessons, but teaching usually took place in the aroma of cooking lingering in the air and pieces of squashed vegetables on the floor.” Teachers found that afternoon lessons there were a hazardous and sticky experience, making frequent trips to the dry cleaners an occupational necessity. Nor was the situation satisfactory for the boys, because from time to time the food seemed not to travel well between kitchen and classrooms. Peter Barry, who came to England with his brother John when their father was appointed to the Canadian High Commission, testified that “Our first week at Habs. was a blur, but we do have fond memories of gracious masters and welcoming new school chums. Our first lunch, however, was an experience we remember with less enthusiasm, for this is when we met new friends named ‘Spotted Dick’, ‘Yellow Peril’ and ‘What the – is that?’ To this day we are not sure how it happened but we soon became used to the local cuisine and to the great fun that was Habs.” Without John Rolfe’s work as Transport Officer many boys would not have reached Elstree at all. In 1961 a small number of coaches served only four pick-up points and stopped outside the main gates. Indeed, the roads and lanes around the school were so peaceful and quiet that about 100 boys and teachers cycled to school, leaving their machines in the extensive bike sheds. So remote did the school seem to some coach drivers that Richard Ambor, who sat the entrance exam at Hampstead, and so was one of the original intake in Hertfordshire, remembers “school buses full of pupils shooting round the countryside looking for Elstree”. The new school was organised on a House basis, each House being a forum for activities and a haven for

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pastoral care. Each not only had its own double room, but an adjacent cloakroom and office, although the latter were also departmental offices, so many teachers gravitated to the Staff Common Room. Dr. Taylor equipped it with a billiard table, rightly thinking that one would make the SCR a focus for social life, especially so because light refreshments and newspapers were available there. Other changes were legion. Rowing, fostered by Dr. Taylor in 1946, was ultimately a casualty of the move. The annual Gilbert and Sullivan


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Open-air morning assembly before the Hall was ready for use in Sep. 1961

opera soon withered in the rural air, but music and drama luxuriated in the Assembly Hall, which had a fly-tower and stage fit to rival many theatres, and grew ever more polished and successful. Most sports, freed from the tiresome journey between Hampstead and Mill Hill, and benefiting from the new gymnasium and swimming pool, flourished. The CCF no longer prepared boys for National Service (abolished in 1961) and gradually changed its character, with less emphasis on drill and more on adventurous training. Not all the initiatives endured. Archaeological excavations led by Professor Swinnerton (Dr. Taylor’s father in law) were eventually abandoned, bee keeping was soon deemed too dangerous to continue, and the School Press did not long survive the departure of its mentor, Lawrence Broderick, now a highly successful sculptor. One lasting change applied to the sixth form curriculum, for Dr. Taylor pioneered the teaching of general studies and in 1962 Habs. hosted the National Conference that founded the General Studies Association, which almost inevitably elected him chairman. Encouraged by the 1963 Robbins Report, which supported the expansion of higher education, Dr. Taylor recruited teachers to specialise in sixth form work and to coach the growing number of Oxbridge candidates. In October 1963 the Ministry of Education sent in another team of inspectors. Their report commended the “wisdom and courage of the move” from Hampstead to Elstree. It noted that pupil numbers had risen from 735 to 1071, at 11+ there were five or six applicants for every place, that the “system of selection is good”, so 90% of boys entered the sixth form, and that whereas from 1946 to 1948 the school had won four open awards at Oxford and Cambridge, from 1961 to 1963 it had won 29. The report praised Dr. Taylor and the 65 full-time masters: he “has done excellent work, and shown devotion to every aspect of school life and willingness to experiment. A school like this needs men of high quality and it seems to have them. The staff is of high calibre.” It continued: there are “very good relationships between Masters and boys”, the “House system works excellently”, the “boys are lively minded, vigorous and full of enterprise”, and “Music and Drama” are outstanding”. It was not uncritical of the school’s buildings, almost brand new though they were. The assembly hall, and the physical education and art, woodwork and metalwork facilities were stated to be excellent, as were the kitchen and staff common room. However, it considered the 11 science laboratories to be too few and too small, the library and sixth form rooms too small, deemed that English, Geography, History, Maths and Modern Languages needed subject bases, and felt that the Preparatory School merited a building of its own. The 1961 move from Hampstead to Elstree was certainly a triumph for Dr. Taylor and the Governors, and the 1963 report definitely guided the fifty years of development that followed.The acres of grassland and woods on the Elstree estate gave Haberdashers’ a new and more spacious existence. Aldenham House, approached through ornate gates and up sweeping, tree-lined drives, impressed all who saw its mellow brickwork and stately interiors. The Boarding House attracted the cachet of more traditional public schools. Estate, House and Boarding, and evermore teaching accommodation, influenced Haberdashers’ atmosphere and character. They provided an exceptional environment for teaching and learning, stimulated the curricular and extra-curricular work of pupils and teachers, and produced a new image of the school, moulding parental and pupil perceptions, so that its name bore a reputation for all-round excellence and success.

The move to Elstree: Physical Education by David Davies


hen I joined Haberdashers’ in 1959 the Physical Education department consisted of David Thomas as head of department and me. The major games were generally run by members of the academic departments. All decisions on facilities had been taken, but the move to Elstree saw a shift in organisation and changes to staff in charge of the various sports. David Thomas became Director of Physical Education, absorbing the work previously done by Bill Crossman in coordinating interschool fixtures as Chair of the Games Committee. After many years in charge of Rugby Dai Barling handed over to John Everson (Geography) and Leo Guidon (Modern Languages) took charge of Cricket. With the Preparatory Department moving from Flower Lane to join the main school at Elstree Alan Bell, i/c Games at the Prep., became part of the P.E. Department. The new 25 yard swimming pool with diving facilities, a well-equipped modern gymnasium, and adjacent

changing facilities, all provided a much improved working environment and were a great success. However, the pool proved problematic. The school inherited a caretaker with Aldenham House (Mr. Pugh) who was expected to take on the school boilers and care of the pool. Sadly this had serious consequences. The temperature of the pool fluctuated from icy cold to sauna level and the air conditioning proved quite inadequate. Despite this school swimming progressed and diving and water polo began to develop. The pool was a fine facility for John Dudderidge (who had taken part in the 1936 Olympics), whose Friday evening Canoe Club prospered, and for the Boarders who used it at weekends.

David Davies takes a swimming lesson

On the games front initial conditions were to say the least also problematic. The pitches had been poorly laid and the drainage was imperfect. Bob Packer took over as Head Groundsman from Mr. Galley, who retired after many years in charge at Chase Lodge. In the summer before the move Bob spent one day a week out at Elstree. In the first

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year he and just one assistant worked very hard to make the pitches playable. However, despite the drawbacks Rugby thrived with 4 XV’s at senior level and age group teams throughout the school. At that time the rugby fixture list was heavily weighted towards south of the school, e.g. St. Dunstans, Eltham College, City of London, Trinity Croydon and Bancrofts. Over the next few years, with transport across London becoming more difficult, a major shift in fixtures became inevitable. It was not easy to break into established fixture lists and we went as far away as Coventry (King Henry VIII’s) and Loughborough before finally establishing fixtures with Merchant Taylors, Mill Hill and University College School, etc. Cross Country was well established at Chase Lodge, where Barry Goater (Biology) had been joined by Michael Palmer (English), an international steeple chaser, to coach a formidable team. This continued at Elstree, where access to the countryside was obviously very much easier, both for regular practices and competitions. This in turn had a great effect on Athletics where Barry and Michael joined me in summer to coach and encourage school middle distance runners. Despite having only a 300 m. grass track Athletics was of a high standard. Cricket had good facilities and a pleasant environment at Chase Lodge, so the move was challenging. In the first season there was neither pavilion nor score box and the nets were very basic, although they were in the idyllic setting of Aldenham House and its surrounding trees. However, Bob

Packer worked tirelessly to improve the First XI square and outfield, and with keen and enthusiastic staff, and lots of lunchtime and after school practices, one’s memories are of thriving and successful school cricket at all age levels. There was a successful Rowing Club at Hampstead, traditionally run by members of the Modern Languages department, at the time of the move by John Percy. The club rowed on the Thames and consisted of a very committed group of staff and boys. It continued at Elstree but suffered from extra travel to reach the river and from staffing pressures, and eventually the decision was taken to call it a day. The Fives Club lost its court by the move and it was sometime before courts were built at Elstree and the club flourished again under Alan Taylor (Music). In contrast, the tennis courts at Elstree were completed early and were used on Wednesday afternoons in the Summer Term before the move. Thus the tennis teams continued without any hitches or breaks in their traditional achievements. My memory of the move to Elstree is one of great enthusiasm and enjoyment in school sport and of an ability to overcome any temporary shortcomings in the new facilities. In the first few years at Elstree we were fortunate that many appointments to academic departments provided the school with a wealth of staff able and willing to give their time to assist and to run the school’s sports activities. Many of them played at a high standard themselves and not only contributed but encouraged the boys to reach the highest possible standards.

The move to Elstree: Early Days by John Rolfe


he move from Hampstead to Elstree meant that the school’s catchment area moved north and parents who lived well to the south were somewhat concerned about the increased journey time to school. Dr. Taylor characteristically brushed these fears aside by declaring that the new coach service would be able to deliver the boys to school in much the same time. At the end of the summer term staff meeting he announced that I, being a Geographer, would know about any potential problems and subsequently Cronshaws Coaches, the games transport provider, were contracted to connect with the local railheads, i.e. an early and late coach from Edgware and Stanmore and further coaches from High Barnet and Borehamwood. The service itself was well supported from the start, but the coaches were obliged to set down in Aldenham Road outside the main gates- there was not even a pavement. A coach park was needed urgently and somehow the necessary funds were secured later, though on a much smaller scale than today when some 26 coaches pull away at 4.15. Separate early provision had to be made for the Prep boys who moved from Flower Lane to Elstree, and it was not long before coaches at 5.30 were arranged for boys staying on for


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after-school activities. From day one Mr. Ron Hearn (now 85 and I am told no longer driving coaches) still master-minds his company’s operations- a true friend of the school. As the catchment area spread north and eastwards Mr. and Mrs. Michael Rice of Finchley Coaches have served the school well for over 40 years. On the coach park itself the ex-porter of the now defunct Mercers’ School was succeeded by Mr. and Mrs. Ken Jerred who became friends of the 1800 pupils who, after the Girls’ School moved to Elstree in 1974, used the coaches every day. Dr. Taylor believed that Aldenham House could be adapted for boarders. He sensed that there was a demand from parents abroad, those with children in the armed forces and diplomatic service, and from many others, for either termly or weekly boarding. Applications from 80 boys aged 11 to 17 were accepted and the huge task of coping with their arrival was entrusted to three members of staff: David Thomas and his wife Helen, John Percy and his wife Brenda, and me and my new wife Margaret. None had any previous experience of boarding. When those of us who were going to live in the house first saw it, most of the windows were still bricked up

Some Sporting Memories As a cross-country runner, I found greater interest at Elstree - more interesting runs than just around the playing fields at Mill Hill. This was something I took with me to University (Durham) where I ran for the University cross-country team - lots of hills to train on there! If school training had been restricted to plodding around Mill Hill, I might not have sustained the interest. by Ian Ker (1958-65) Being a weekly boarder was ideal even though the accommodation was a bit spartan. Having the use of the sports facilities to ourselves in the evenings was great and for me and compulsory homework periods each evening made me work and do the homework when, otherwise, I would have been tempted to laze around and/or watch TV. When I look at the athletics track I can recall those boring hours that I and the others in my SSU class spent laying the athletics track and excavating the old mansion on which the boarding house stood (Penns House I seem to recall). For a 14 year old, the sports facilities were fantastic, far better than at Westbere Road, and, of course, we did not have to traipse up to Chase Lodge once a week for cricket or rugby. by Anthony Lazarus (1959-66)

following its use by the BBC during the War. Dormitories had to be fashioned within the house without moving a single wall of this historic building. Personal wardrobes were made by Geoff Hickman and his colleagues and boys in the Handicraft Department. Eighty single beds were purchased and catering was extended from the main kitchen, managed by Miss Saville. A sick bay was headed by a new matron, Mrs. Dilys Pawsey, and arrangements were made for cleaning and laundry. The covered garage was temporarily full of furniture, honours boards, and other items from Hampstead. The Headmaster’s study and the school office had to be up and running for the start of the Autumn Term. I can still remember the arrival of those 80 boys and their parents, checking their kit lists against their luggage, young first formers literally in tears on our sofa, totally homesick from day one. Martin Sorrell (now Sir and head of advertising giant WPP) was appointed Head of House and was the only boy to have his own room. The boys breakfasted in the Old Refectory, with a daily contest to see how many cornflakes each could pile into a cereal bowl, frequently accompanied by the familiar smell of burning toast on the domestic toaster reserved for sixth formers. They had the shortest journey to school for 8.50 a.m. registration. Most of them joined in after-school activities, supper was at 6.00 p.m., followed by Prep. and then free time when they could use the school facilities. It was hardly surprising that they achieved success beyond that of many day boys. On Fridays half of them returned home for the weekend and those who stayed in the house enjoyed films in the Assembly Hall on Saturday evenings. On Sundays they attended morning service at St. Nicholas Elstree and in the evening services were conducted by the house masters or visitors in

Opening Ceremony in the Assembly Hall

the Old Chapel. On Long Sundays when most went home or out for the day, the remainder were usually entertained to tea by the duty housemaster and his wife. Before long, very special relationships were forged within the close-knit community. Two years after the move to Elstree the school was struck by the winter of early 1963. It was special because, like the winter of 2010-11, it was so long and so very cold. My wife and I returned from Christmas spent in Surrey to our home in Aldenham House only to be stuck in our Mini in a three foot snow drift at the main gate. The whole campus was knee-deep in the white stuff. It was, of course, school holidays and we needed basic provisions, so we walked along a beautiful snow-clad Carriage Drive to Allum Lane. A journey normally covered in twelve minutes took an hour. We found bread, milk and Wellington boots in Borehamwood, but when we returned to the school we were exhausted. Resident staff rallied round, often pooling resources. With road and rail transport halted, Dr. Taylor reluctantly agreed to close the school altogether for three days whilst paths were cleared, water pipes thawed, heating restored, kitchen supplies secured, and buildings declared safe to use. When term began the original 1961 buildings, largely prefabricated, with little or no insulation in the walls or ceilings, and single-glazed large windows, gave little succour to the staff or boys, although despite being given an original life span of 25 years, they still survive in places. Rugby football on the ice and snow bound pitches was out of the question for several weeks, but the gym and pool allowed P.E. to continue and the Barry Goater-led cross country team ran on regardless.

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A Day and a Year in a School Boy’s Life

September 1961 to July 1962 by Tony Alexander


t was with “some trepidation” that I made my first “official” journey from my home in Golders Green to the green veldt of Elstree and the new Haberdashers’ School; not my first visit, I should add, as under the stoic control and leadership of John Rolfe, geography master, several of us “mature chaps” had been seconded (actually volunteered!) to move chattels and furniture from Westbere Road to the new site in Elstree just after the end of the 1961 summer term. We were all tough then - no health & safety concerns 50 years ago – riding “shot gun” on an open Austin 10 ton lorry, expertly driven by John Rolfe from Cricklewood to Elstree and holding down a flapping tarpaulin over the “treasured items”. After unloading we returned to Westbere Road, sometimes with a stop off for “lemonade” at the Plough, Elstree or the Royal Scot, Apex Corner, Mill Hill, to refresh the parts that other “lemonades” could not reach. So here I was standing on the platform at Brent (now Brent Cross) Station, with my pal John Hammond, who was going to be a boarder, waiting for a train to take us to Edgware, where we would pick up a coach that would transport us to the new Elstree site. I remember with affection how the headmaster, Dr Tom Taylor, sent parents detailed instructions for the amazing logistics operation which got boys from all over London to various underground stations to pick up the waiting coaches to the new site. A tremendous feat in itself, with several hundred boys involved which all worked from day one. We duly arrived, were segregated into Lower, Middle and Upper school groups, with sub prefects and prefects delegated to take the register and show us to our new form rooms. These were “open plan” house rooms, which opened up to form dining rooms at lunchtime. I seem to remember


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The Lord Mayor inspects the CCF Guard of Honour comprising (L to R): Breen, Jakeman, Edwards, Alexander, Rumbold and Martin.

that the meals prepared in the new school kitchens were a definite improvement on the fare previously experienced at Westbere Road. The form rooms did not have conventional desks, only lockers around the corridors to store your books and belongings, plus of course your “indoor” brown shoes to change into. “Outdoor” black shoes were a nono punishable by detention or worse. My first Calverts housemaster was the late John Dudderidge and my “new” form master was John Everson, nickname “Jumbo” a pretty good rugby player to boot, think he had played for Harlequins, a most approachable and amusing geography master, which was my favourite subject and we got on well. The school hall had not been completed, so morning assembly was held outside by the “tuck shop” in the upper school playground. With autumn approaching, the wind blowing and the megaphone not working, not much information was imparted, but we coped. In fact the first few weeks at Elstree were one of acclimatisation for both staff members and pupils; this was different for everyone and there was a great deal of “bonding” between all of us, helping the new boys, exploring the grounds, pushing the boundaries of “out of bounds” areas, like the Battle Axes, The Waggon and Horses etc. I’m not sure if much schoolwork was done in that first term as I remember spending a great amount of time in the school library, under the stewardship of the new librarian, Keith Cheney. We certainly hit it off well, when he told me in no uncertain terms, to behave or to “get out of his library”. Keith who is now the School and OHA archivist and I, often chuckle together about those early days when we meet at OHA gatherings. Friendships formed all those years ago still endure today - long may they continue! The climax for me during the first term at Elstree, was

the preparation for the opening ceremony as one of those selected to be in the CCF guard of honour, under the command of Major “Tat” Hewson and CSM, Mike Breen. We became “drill perfect” and our uniforms, boots, rifles were spotless for our great day. I don’t remember much about the ceremony itself, which took place outside the newly completed hall. Dr Taylor, the Governors, the Master and Wardens of the Haberdashers’ Company and of course the guest of honour, Lord Mayor of London Sir Bernard Waley–Cohen walking slowly down the path from Aldenham House after a splendid lunch accompanied by Major Hewson. We were called to attention by CSM Mike Breen, presented arms, then back to attention. The Lord Mayor and Dr Taylor proceeded to inspect us all followed by the assembled entourage. It was all over in a flash, the Lord Mayor then unveiled the plaque to commemorate the official opening, made a short speech and disappeared inside the hall, followed by the distinguished guests for the welcoming speeches. We got a “well done” from Major Hewson and Mike Breen, followed, I think by “tea time”.

The Dunton House Shield by Jon Corral

O The Battleaxes Very important was the riteof-passage created by the proximity of the Battle Axes pub. Strictly out of bounds of course, but come the final day of the final year of school it was off with the uniform, out of the Butterfly Lane gates and into the pub for a drink that, if not technically legal (not all of those in the leaving year were 18), was at least not able to be punished as a breach of school rules. I remember (so I can’t have had that much to drink) driving away from the Battle axes that day in friend’s opentop car with three of us sitting up on the back of the rear seat cheering and waving - but I presume we had quietened down a bit (not to mention sitting down) before we got to ‘civilisation’ as we weren’t pulled over by the police. by Ian Ker (1958-65)

f all the House trophies awarded at the end of each year - those for Work and Conduct in the three sections of the School, the Crossman Shield for House Competitions (named after Bill Crossman and mentioned by Margaret Taylor in her interview) - everyone knows that the Dunton is the most important. When all the points for all the activities and performance are added up and the points for punishments subtracted, the House with the most points across the whole school for the whole year receives the Dunton at the final assembly to the cheers of the whole school. The successful House Captain staggers off the stage beneath the weight of this enormous trophy. But who was Dunton; when and why was the shield awarded? No-one knows - until now, that is. It may surprise you to learn that he was not a famous member of staff or a Headmaster or a long-serving Governor. C.E. Dunton was a School Captain in 19171918. As with all the best Haberdasher initiatives the award was the work of the boys themselves; in this case senior pupils because ‘It occurred to certain members of the 6th form that the School was in need of a Challenge Shield, to be awarded to the House which manifested the greatest activity in all branches of School work.’ And so nearly a hundred years later, something which was introduced in the final year of the Great War, lives on very much in the spirit which its donor intended. We have remained faithful to the spirit, if not the letter, of the extensive conditions, carefully set out in that wonderfully self-important and legalistic way, typical of

As a relatively “non-academic” pupil, sport was top of my agenda and I played rugby for the 1st and 2nd XV’s, vying for a second row position in the firsts with Bill Lewis, the school captain, but enjoying my time in the seconds under the captaincy of (Sir) Martin Sorrell, now well known as the CEO of WPP plc. In the Easter term of 1962, I began to play rugby for the OHRFC “Extra B” and “C” XVs on a Saturday afternoon as rugby had finished at the school and under- and over-18’s were then allowed to play together. This led me on to many years of enjoyment playing Old Haberdashers’ rugby as well as to many long-standing friendships. From a personal point of view, I remember being invited back to the school by Dr Taylor on the occasion when my late father, Terry Alexander, a school governor, Past President of the OHA and deputy mayor of Barnet, was to be introduced to the late Princess Margaret. This was indeed an honour, but sadly I had to decline as I was domiciled in far off Newcastle –upon – Tyne, but the thought was there.

Haberdasher 6th formers, and captured in the rather forbidding clause: ‘The scheme set out here is not to be altered in any way except if a meeting of the House Captains and Vice-Captains, under the Chairmanship of the School Captain, who must not represent his House, determine to do so by a majority of at least two to one.’ Interesting that we have become less democratic over the years in our decision-making. Also of interest are the areas which attracted points. Not surprisingly, the CCF, or Corps as it was then called, had a particularly important role. The Sergeant-Major – no doubt the most senior pupil rank – scored an impressive 24 points, the same as the School vice-Captain. A prize Cadetship at Woolwich scored a mighty 30 points, the maximum for any activity and equivalent to School Captain or a University Open Scholarship. A ‘skilled shot’ accrued 18 points for his House, the same number as were awarded for receiving school colours in cricket or rugby on THREE occasions. Thereafter there are points for virtually every position in the school from Editor of the School magazine to School Charity Treasurer, and a few form prizes for academic achievement, but only to the best. We can rightly claim that these days all boys have the opportunity to contribute to the success of their House through good work and House activities, and to penalise their House through punishments or poor work. In 1918 the competition was monopolised by the ‘High-Flyers’ and mainly through achievement in School rather than House activities. And so I suspect that since 1918 we have developed a greater sense of the role of the individual within the House, and the pastoral, extra-curricular and academic support the House offers. But nevertheless we must be full of admiration for the vision of those 6th formers in 1918 who in every sense were looking positively to the future and proudly reporting the initiative in a school magazine which also carried sad photographs of Haberdasher pupils ‘Killed in Action’. How true the sentiment expressed at the time that: ‘It is hoped that in future the scheme will provoke the same eager competition that it has awakened this year (1918).’ Just ask Mr Hardman.

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The move to Elstree: Music by Alan Taylor


hen I arrived at Hampstead in April 1961 the school was practically already on the move. There was excitement and apprehension in the air as the move grew closer, especially as rumour had it that new buildings at Elstree were not completely finished. Nevertheless in between driving minibuses full of boxes to Elstree and packing up materials not needed for teaching purposes, some sort of routine carried on. The Music Department looked forward to the move, because at Elstree we were to have a dedicated space of two classrooms and four instrumental teaching rooms. At Hampstead, teaching class music effectively and imaginatively was extremely difficult, although much good work was done. Many will remember the porta-cabin-like hut with its oppressively low ceiling and sweltering heat in summer that served as a classroom on the edge of the playing field. Instrumental teaching was carried on in a couple of small rooms above the tuck shop. Better acoustics and sound insulation were only dreams and development and expansion were not possible. After an extended Summer Holiday, the arrival at Elstree in September was an interesting experience. The new buildings were certainly not finished and parts were left to be completed later. These included the Assembly Hall and so the first assembly took place in the open air. Unfortunately the new Music Department was part of the assembly hall complex, situated above the hall foyer. Pianos stood on concrete floors and no cupboards could be installed until the flooring was laid so nothing could be unpacked. Memory seems to have blocked out what was taught (and how!) under these conditions, but we did what we could. At the distance of 50 years all these teething troubles seem as of

School Hall at Westbere Road

little consequence: Tom Taylor’s great vision in moving the school to Elstree quickly began to bear fruit. Musically the move was of huge significance. The first benefit, and probably of foremost importance, was the increase in space. For class teaching there were now the two classrooms, separated from each other by four instrumental teaching rooms. Class music teaching could be fully reformed and many practical and academic activities could take place. One noticed very soon a change in attitude on the part of the pupils towards the subject. The new approach to teaching Music meant that there were many other benefits and extra curricular activities began to flourish as never before. The large Assembly Hall stage enabled the chambersized choirs that were the order of the day at Hampstead to expand into a choral society of nearly 200 voices and exciting works such as Verdi’s Requiem and Bach’s B minor Mass could be tackled. There was also space in the Hall for much enlarged orchestras to support the singers. Another spin off from the increase in class music (in which singing was an important part) was that many boys found that they had good voices and so could contribute to the choirs, which rehearsed to a high standard in the new facilities. A pleasing number of singers were soon awarded Choral Scholarships at Oxford and Cambridge. Four instrumental studios, although small and without sound proofing, meant that more boys could be encouraged to learn to play instruments, taught in small groups and individually, and numbers quickly increased. In time this meant that instead of just one orchestra, more were possible, rehearsing in the extra space provided by the new school. As the numbers grew planning lessons became easier and soon more instrumental tutors were needed.

old boys notes


In 1962 the 4 manual Willis organ (purchased before the move by Dr. McLellan, my predecessor, from Hove Town Hall, just before it was destroyed by fire) was installed in the Assembly Hall and ceremoniously opened with an inaugural recital by Peter Hurford, the then organist of St. Albans Cathedral. Organ pupils now had a monster of an instrument on which to hone their skills and organ scholarships to the ancient universities eventually came the school’s way. The Preparatory School’s arrival at Elstree entailed a considerable expansion of the Music Department’s work in that, unlike many other departments, Dr. Taylor asked us to teach not only the main school boys but also the 7-11 year olds in the Prep. This was a wonderful opportunity to ensure real musical continuity throughout the eleven years of a boy’s life at Haberdashers’. The lack of space at Hampstead had restricted largescale performances, and although many Gilbert and Sullivan operas were expertly performed in the school hall, anything on a larger scale took place elsewhere. In the late 1950’s Haydn’s Creation was performed in the Duke’s Hall of the


old boys notes

Middle and Senior School Tuck Shop at Elstree, 1961

Royal Academy of Music, and the annual Carol Service was held in St. Martin in the Fields. Despite the move to Elstree, it was held there until the school (and choir) became too large for the church and it was moved to St. Albans Cathedral. Some will know that Dr. Taylor was chairman of one of the executive committees of the National Youth Orchestra. He was passionate about Music and Drama. His foresight in moving the school to Elstree, and providing marvellous facilities, including an Assembly Hall stage the size of many in the West End, allowed both those arts to flourish and become major factors in the lives of the boys. By the early 1970’s Music had developed to such an extent that the original department above the hall foyer was bursting at the seams. It was hugely fitting that just before his retirement Tom Taylor was able to set in motion the planning and funding of the magnificent new department- the T.W. Taylor Music School, which he himself ceremoniously opened in 1974, so once again his foresight ensured that Music would continue to flourish at Haberdashers’ for years to come.

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The move to Elstree: Science by John Carleton


he science laboratories at Westbere Road had the advantage of being in a separate purpose built block, (often referred to by the boys as “The Kremlin”). The rooms were spacious, had high ceilings and were reasonably soundproofed, but too few in number for the growing size of the school. At Elstree all of the new buildings were designed with acres of glass, low ceilings and flat roofs, a combination which in summer made them hot and difficult to ventilate as well as causing noise transfer problems. In heavy rain the felted roofs tended to leak and so buckets became a common sight in corridors and classrooms, a situation which was not fully resolved for over twenty years. The science department had been designed with six “junior” class laboratories (to hold up to 28), five for “senior” classes (up to 20), and one general science lecture room (up to 28). In addition there were balance rooms, stores, preparation rooms and staff rooms. By the standards of the time, and particularly with regard to the financial constraints associated with the move, the department was well set up. However, there were problems, not all classes could be taught in the most appropriate laboratory and some lessons had to be held in ordinary classrooms outside of the department. As the size of the school grew, and with it the number of classes in each year group, it was soon realised that for the benefit of both pupils and staff the distinction of “junior” and “senior” as applied to rooms should be removed and, as far as possible, each master would take all of his classes in the same laboratory. The result was better class responsibility and time saving before and after practical sessions, though there was overcrowding with some classes of 26 being taught in a room designed for 20. In the late sixties many changes were taking place in science in the world at large and this fed down to the schools. Electronic balances took the place of the old two pan scales with boxes of weights, resulting in more accuracy, less effort and a great saving in time, also two balances took the place of 14 of the old type, freeing a great deal of space. Ever inventive, the masters themselves turned such spaces in to libraries, studies, practice rooms and even a fully equipped biochemistry lab., complete with new plumbing and electrics, all in their spare time. In 1970, thanks to the generosity of The Anonymous


old boys notes

FR Smith takes a Physics lesson at Elstree with Mr Gaite the technician looking on

Benefactor, two new buildings were erected; one to provide much needed extra space for science, a multipurpose workshop for practical design, a lecture room with raked seating capable of holding a whole year group and a new base for the geography and geology departments. The second block provided a base for English, including a drama room, a base for history and another for modern languages together with an audio laboratory. These were opened by the then Secretary of State for Education, Mrs Margaret Thatcher in September 1971. The new science facility provided physics with three excellent laboratories and a much needed store/preparation room, where pupils could select their own equipment for practical sessions. Biology doubled its space by taking over two of the former physics labs and a preparation room. The science lecture theatre was not timetabled but available to all departments and societies for their own activities by advance booking. Practical design was a new activity, part of the general studies programme, and included work in electronics, hand crafts in wood, metal and plastics, analysis of problems and designing solutions. The 1960s were a time of keen interest in the motor vehicle and courses in car maintenance were part of the GS programme. For this purpose the new workshop had a car inspection pit and an “old banger” on which theory could be put into practice. Also the workshop and pit were put to great use, out of school hours, by members of staff. Although the GS car maintenance courses were always oversubscribed, some pupils expressed interest in an academic way but could not see the point of getting dirty hands as long as father paid the running costs! What part did Dr Taylor, a non-scientist, play in all this? He listened carefully to any proposals for change, asked very searching questions, but would then give his full support and encouragement for a well thought out scheme which would be beneficial to the pupils and could be achieved at a reasonable cost within the overall balanced budget.

Lunch in the Classrooms by Alan Newman


ne of the most striking features of the Elstree facilities when they were first opened and for the next 20 years was that pupils’ lunches were served in the six houserooms from heated trolleys rather than in a dedicated dining room. This feature was considered to be very innovative in 1960 and also avoided the cost of building a dining room. John Carleton (former Second Master and Head of Science) described the houserooms and their dual role as dining rooms. “They were designed in six pairs, with large sliding doors to enable each pair to be opened to form a large room for House assemblies. However, the doors were not very soundproof, so that boys sitting at the back of one room could listen to their own lesson and the one in the next room. At lunchtime the sliding doors were opened and the rooms were used as House dining rooms, one for each of the six Houses. The catering staff wheeled in heated trolleys from which they served the meals. House prefects cleared up and rearranged the rooms for afternoon lessons.” Some old boys recall the system approvingly: John Nuttall (Russells 1967-74) wrote “The House dining rooms were good as they engendered a house spirit which would have been harder to do otherwise. Having said that, I remember somebody once saying that the floor in Russells was clean enough to eat from, to which someone else (not me) replied “yes, but that doesn’t mean you have to provide the food as well”. The lunch trolley system was planned and installed by WM Still. a well-known catering equipment company. Their publicity material proudly said: “At the new Haberdashers’ Aske’s school which has no dining room, lunch is served directly in the class rooms. The system … provides for the transportation of complete meals from the kitchen to the class room in a heated trolley. The other trolley has an insulated water container and shelves for the glasses and cutlery. The first sitting is served 10 minutes after morning lessons finish.” While the manufacturers were pleased with their design, the system had many disadvantages especially if one had to use a house-room in the afternoons. John Carleton described the after-lunch drawbacks vividly: “… teaching usually took place in the aroma of cooking lingering in the air and pieces of squashed vegetables on the floor. Teachers found that afternoon lessons there were a hazardous and sticky experience, making frequent trips to the dry cleaners an occupational necessity.” Mark Stocker (1963-74) agreed “I remember thinking that there was a real lack of assiduousness in cleaning the tables and the patina of food lingered till 4 pm. “ As Andrew Kleissner (Hendersons, 1964-1971) describes, the system also suffered from the limited capacity of the trolleys and the lack of servicng space in the houserooms. “Talking of lunches - the system was pretty chaotic. The last morning lesson finished at about 12.55 and the heated trolleys would be waiting to get in. If the lesson ran at all over time there would be other boys milling around outside. It would be difficult to get out of the classroom as, once

the doors were opened, everyone would be trying to get in. House Prefects were theoretically in charge but, of course, they might not have arrived by then. Things were especially problematic if you wanted to attend a Society or had to go to Choir Practice at lunchtime. These started at 1.15 pm. If you had to come from the other end of the School you might find a long queue waiting and then it was touch and go whether you’d make first sitting for lunch. At about 1.05 the trolleys would run out of food and return to ther kitchen for restocking, at that point you could probably give up on any hopes for lunch. Neither Mr. Taylor nor Mr. Clulow took prisoners as far as the choir was concerned!” For those, like me, who only experienced lunch in the house-rooms, being able to enjoy lunch and other meals in a proper dining hall would have represented a wonderful luxury. On the other hand, if you only joined the School after 1980, the idea of not having a dining hall must seem unimaginable.

‘At the new HABS which has no dining room, lunch is served directly in the class rooms. The system which was planned and installed by WM Still & Sons Ltd, provides for the transportation of complete meals from the kitchen to the class room in a heated trolley. The other trolley has an insulated water container and shelves for the glasses and cutlery. The first sitting is served 10 minutes after morning lessons finish.’ WM Still & Sons Promotional Material

Cupboards I well remember the move to Elstree. It was at the end of my third year at the school. The first inkling we had of the impending move was during woodwork classes when “Lofty” Hickman got our class (and presumably several other classes as well) to make the wardrobes for the boarding house and insisting that they were finished in double quick time or else! My woodworking talents were not great and when I moved into Aldenham House as a weekly boarder I was horrified to find that one of the wardrobes allocated to the room I was sharing bore the hallmark of my handiwork. Believe it or not, but the wardrobe remained intact and did its job. by Anthony Lazarus (1959-66)

old boys notes


Interview with Margaret Taylor by OHA President Jon Corrall


e were delighted to have you as our guest of honour at the OHA dinner this year on this 50th anniversary of the move to Elstree. As Headmaster, Tom was President of the Association and is a legend in the history of Haberdashers’ because he had the vision to move the school to its present site and to create the school we know today. Jon Corrall (JC) - How was life different at Haberdashers’ from the previous school? Margaret Taylor (MT) - We used to live in Bath and we were very happy there. Tom enjoyed the music there. It is a beautiful Georgian city. Tom was sad to leave Bath but was very excited to be coming to Haberdashers’. When we first moved we had to buy somewhere to live and we bought in Hampstead Garden suburb, and remained there until the Headmaster’s House was built some years later after the move; it was the last thing to be finished. Tom had a difficult journey to school and it was very inconvenient for the girls as they had to get to Edgware to North London Collegiate, and in order to catch the bus from Golders Green they had to cross Hampstead Heath and then walk at the other end. It kept them terribly healthy. JC - What are your most vivid memories of the move to Elstree in 1961? MT: First of all there was the planning. I remember Tom on a Friday evening or a Saturday morning together with two members of staff drawing up the plans for the new school. Tom bought, (and later sold) some lorries in order to move all the musical instruments, the school records and apparatus. The boys and staff helped move all the equipment. I’ve read that it took three days to complete the move, but in fact it was much longer than that, and the whole experience was pretty traumatic. The old House (Aldenham House) was pretty scruffy and it smelt of old cabbage. You could see the muddy fields from Tom’s office. But it was quite central and he was very aware of what was happening in the school. JC - Did you and your family enjoy living at the School in Elstree? MT: We were never lonely. We had a big family and I practised physiotherapy. I needed that pocket money as the salary was not all that generous. We enjoyed a very full family life in school, and our daughters got on very well with the boys. On the other hand our daughters had great difficulty travelling to their schools as the Girls’ School did not arrive at Elstree until later. Before the Girls’ School was built we had a wonderful view across the field to the church on Elstree Hill. Liz, my daughter, used to live here with her husband who was very scruffy. Tom used to get reports that


old boys notes

there was a tramp around the campus, and he explained it was his son in law. JC - Did your life with Tom change much when you came to Elstree? MT: Enormously because there we were on the spot. He came home for supper and would then go back to school again in the evening. He used to do the timetable, using a huge pin-board – always dangerous with a lot of children around. As far as computers are concerned, I’m quite illiterate, but Tom would have loved computers. He would have been a real whizz-kid. JC - There was a Boarding house in those days. Did you as a family get involved in the boarding house? MT: I was given strict instructions by Tom ‘not to get involved’. Nevertheless our daughters and particularly Jenny used to invite boys back to the house on a Saturday evening and give them coffee and biscuits, as many as a dozen at a time, and they rather took over. No alcohol, of course. Peter Squire, who was the Boarding House Master used to ring us up, and say: ‘Has your daughter still got my boys over there?’ and he’d ask for his boys back. JC - Was there much socialising amongst staff in those days? MT: We used to invite all staff to the house every term – we did a tremendous amount of entertaining and there was no allowance for this. We paid for all the hospitality; it was all taken from the kids’ rations. People were very friendly, and I remember in particular when my father in his last years lived with us and was always invited to go and join classes and activities. He used to talk to the Prep boys about fossils which were his speciality. Tom loved the staff and the boys’ parties which were a regular feature of school life. JC - Which of the extra-curricular activities did Tom think brought most benefit and which of the activities did you both most enjoy? MT: Tom was particularly keen on drama and music. We toured the school play to Pforzheim and Offenburg in a coach and two mini-buses. Tom drove one of the minibuses and Ted Sproat the other. Ted was very popular as he made tea and coffee at every stopping point. Tom loved using his fluent but archaic German. I used to make a lot of the costumes. We took our son, Jeremy, and we put him on the stage with the others. Simon Stuart was quite happy to have my son as part of the crowd. The German pupils used to come back on exchanges. We were made very welcome in these delightful cities of half-timbered houses and vineyards stretching down to the town, and wondered what they would make of Borehamwood. In fact they loved it! They stayed with families and used to go down to the pub! As well as music and drama – Tom played the piano well, and we played duets, but I wasn’t good enough! -Tom was also keen on the model railway society, though I think the model railway no longer exists. Sport was not really his strength, but he always went out to support the school teams. I never really understood rugby and found it very cold. Matron used to make delicious scotch pancakes, and when our children went out to watch the rugby I had to stop them scoffing the lot as they were made for staff. JC - What sort of school do you think Tom was trying to create? Did he feel he had succeeded? MT: At the beginning Tom had a very difficult relationship with the Chairman of Governors, and he thought he was

going to lose his job. But later, despite frustrations, he generally got what he wanted. He was very happy at the school. It was a great thrill for Tom to realise his ambition and create the new school. He was a very private person. He never discussed school business with me – unlike some of the staff and their wives! – but I know he was particularly proud that the school at Elstree entered a new league after the school had been struggling somewhat in Hampstead. Habs became a top public school. He felt that establishing music as a major part of the school’s reputation was an important achievement. JC - Which members of the teaching staff did Tom feel made a particular impact on the school? MT: He worked very closely with Bill Crossman (who had a House shield named in his memory) and Dai Barling. Bill thought Tom a bit liberal as Tom was reluctant to cane boys. Tom hated having to beat a boy. Bill Crossman used to do this for him without a second thought. JC - What was Tom’s relationship with the anonymous donor who funded many of the new buildings? MT: Tom’s other great contribution was to find the anonymous donor who gave so many buildings to the school. Mr Diggins, as we later were able to disclose, did not want his own name associated with the buildings, but he did name the Seldon Hall after his agent. I met him once

and found him very courteous and charming. Tom was very proud to have the music school named after him. There is a bronze bust of Tom, made by Laurence Broderick in the music school, and I have a cast of it as well. He was an Old boy, and Tom though he should follow this up, and he did follow it up and suggested all sorts of projects such as the music school. The school would not be the place it is today without the anonymous benefactor. JC - How did Tom relax at the end of a school day? MT: He never did relax. The school was his whole life and he did not want to retire, but at 65 the Governors insisted. He then took on a consultancy job in London until he was 70 and earned more money at that than he had as Headmaster! We also put on concerts in the Hall with very famous international artists, including the Yehudi and Hepsibar Menuhin, Myra Hess and Vladimir Ashkenazy. The Hall was always full for these top-class concerts and the boarders helped with parking. I was particularly annoyed when the Menuhins were here that Tom could not join us for lunch as a boy in the boarding house had gone missing. JC - How has the school changed over the years? MT: It is not really my place to answer this, but it is a great thrill always to be made so welcome and to know that Tom was instrumental in setting up the school as it is today. It really was his life-time’s work.

Boys walk through the quad past the assembly hall soon after the move.

old boys notes


WHERE ARE THEY NOW? We invited some Old Habs to let us know what they have been doing since leaving school.You can see that there is no such thing as a typical Haberdasher!

Dr Rasheed Zakaria Rob Nothman

Kevin Alavy

Neurosurgeon; School Captain 2000, Meadows

Journalist & Broadcaster; 1986

Media analyst; 1989-96, Hendersons

After leaving Habs I studied medicine and neuroscience at Downing College, Cambridge winning a Whitby scholarship. After 3 years I transferred to the Queen’s College, Oxford to read clinical medicine, winning a HobsonMann scholarship. I worked as a junior doctor in London (where I played football for Old Habs when I could!) before gaining a specialist training post in neurosurgery at the internationally renowned Walton Centre in Liverpool, recently featured in the BBC documentary “The Brain: A secret history”. Training as a neurosurgeon is really tough, the hours are long and the surgery is gruelling and stressful. However it’s enormously rewarding when things go well and Liverpool is a vibrant city with a fantastic neurosurgery unit. I think in retrospect the science teaching and lab facilities at Habs were great and certainly gave me the knowledge and enthusiasm for basic science that I needed to go on and read medicine at university and beyond.

I’m tempted to describe myself as a bit of a fraud. While other esteemed Old Haberdashers can chart a stellar career filled with academic excellence and an exemplary work ethic, I have managed to indulge my passion for sport by hoodwinking BBC Radio to send me to every major sporting event from the Olympics to World Cups, from Augusta to Wimbledon, from Royal Ascot to Lords. What’s more I’ve been paid for the privilege. Hard work? Pah! Classmates will confirm there was a constant soundtrack to playground football at Habs. It must have been a touch irritating for them, but I developed the knack of commentating while I was playing. A career in radio is what I aspired to, and with that in mind, armed with decent A-Levels, I spurned my University offers to join the BBC six weeks after walking down to the Habs Coach Park for the final time. Nearly 30 years of BBC work have followed – the last fourteen in a freelance capacity as broadcaster, producer and trainer. Enthusiasm necessary – luck essential. And when you’re walking down the emerald green fairways of Augusta, or gazing out from the Test Match Special commentary box at Lords, you’re reminded of that PG Wodehouse line; “This is like going to heaven, without all the bother and expense of dying …..”

I did my GAP year at IBM, which was a great introduction to the world of work and what was at the time the nascent e-commerce industry. Then I completed my education at Warwick University, where I took a First in Economics. I’ve worked in the media industry since. My great passion at Habs was sport and I’ve been fortunate enough to find a niche where I can combine my love of sport with my maths skills. I Co-Founded an agency called futures sport + entertainment and have been there for the last nine years. We advise companies on the value of their investments in sport. That ranges from evaluating a shirt sponsorship deal in football to the value to a broadcaster of buying TV rights. The work is very diverse and takes me around the world, and along the way I also met my wife! It also gives me the opportunity to appear widely on TV and radio and giving live interviews on-air is always a good and fun challenge. I also continue to keep in touch with academia, via the mentoring I do of current students at Warwick and the LSE.


old boys notes

Ashley Blaker

Charlie Betteridge

Peter Lewis

Comedy Writer and Producer; 1993

Managing Director; 1965-75, Meadows

Diplomat; 1986

You may think writing and producing comedy sounds a good job but then you haven’t worked with TV commissioning editors. Most people’s jobs are named after what they do most. Bakers bake bread so they’re called bakers despite making the odd sandwich and icing some cakes. The main thing commissioning editors do though is not commissioning and really they should be called ‘Rejecters’, and there should be a Chief Rejecting Editor for Comedy at the BBC. Take them a great idea for a new comedy show and the chances are you will hear one of the following – A. ‘I love it but I don’t think it will find an audience on our channel’ B. ‘What a shame, BBC Manchester are developing an identical idea’ C. ‘I wish I could buy it but I’ve spent all my money for this year’ D. ‘Hmmm could Justin Lee Collins present it by any chance?’ The all-time classic – ‘I think it’s a bit niche for us’. No, I have no idea either. And finally, my favourite: F. ‘This feels like it should be on BBC One-And-A-Half ’. In fact, I’ve heard this so many times with relation to what I thought were excellent ideas that I’ve become convinced that they should actually launch a channel called BBC One-and-a-Half and that it would probably be really good.

I studied PPE at Oxford but spent most of my time on the rugby pitch and athletics track, playing for the Freshmen and Greyhounds against Cambridge as well as being President of the Athletics Club, gaining a Blue in my second year. Thereafter I joined Procter & Gamble in Industrial Sales, originally working around the London and SE Area. This also allowed me to play for OHRFC, where I was Captain from 198284. During this time I started working as Export Sales manager for P&G commuting weekly to Switzerland and Germany, which was where I met my future wife. P&G sold the industrial laundry business in 1985 and after a brief spell back in the UK, I returned to Germany full time in 1989 setting up a factory in Osnabrück before moving to France in 1993 to run the business there. Three years later I crossed the border again and have since lived with my wife and two daughters near Offenburg in the Black Forest, which I first visited on the German exchange from Habs in 1972. As M.D. for Central Europe, I still travel fairly regularly but ensure that I get back to the UK to watch some of the England rugby games along with my OH contemporaries. My brother Jim (1967-1976) left the UK around the same time and lives in Tuscany running a

Mr Corrall finally caught up with me at this year’s School vs OH cricket game, 25 years after I left school still owing him an essay on Thomas Mann, I think it was. He made me promise to write this piece instead. Dr Wigley was also there but thankfully I don’t think he recognised me as the bloke who never handed in his essay on voting reform. That could be because I’m about twice as heavy as I was then. For that I have my sedentary lifestyle to thank, commuting from Hampshire into the Foreign Office where I have worked almost since graduation. Along the way I’ve married and had three children, by way of studying German at York and Regensburg then postings to Berlin and Washington. I owe much of this to the indulgent teaching of Messrs Corrall and Tyler who encouraged me in the only subject I was ever any good at school, and set me on the track to study German and join the diplomatic service, even though I rarely did any homework. (Jon Corrall adds that Peter was one of the best Germanists he taught, and that not doing any work seemed to do Peter no harm. He obviously knows something we don’t.)

Ashley Blaker’s latest show - ‘The Matt Lucas Awards’ - comes to BBC One (or maybe BBC One-and-a-Half) in January 2012 starring the eponymous fellow Old Haberdasher. Before then you can see the pilot at bbc.co.ukcomedy; http://bbc.in/lv6i8g

old boys notes


Obituaries 30

Eric Purcell An Appreciation by Peter Vacher


ric Purcell embodied the best of Old Haberdasher values. He gave willingly of his time for the Association’s various activities, initially as a player for the OHRFC and more occasionally as an OH cricketer, then as a committee man and clubhouse bar manager, and latterly, as co-organiser of the popular Retired Members lunches held at the OHA’s HQ. He was proud of his time at Haberdashers’ (he was Captain of the Lower School) and of his family, and absolutely committed to the Association and all it represented. Moreover he was held in great affection by his peers and by all who came to know him. Having done well at school with both rugby and cricket, it was probably inevitable that he would gravitate to the OH rugby club once the second war was safely over and he had been demobilised from the Royal Engineers. Eric’s first season for which records survive was 1945-46 during which he played eight times for the AXV in the back row. Two years later he was still in the AXV but as a wing or full-back. In later years, as his career in civil engineering occupied him more and more, his rugby appearances dwindled and he played his final game for the CXV in 1954-55 as a fly-half when he scored two tries. It was continuing back trouble, sustained not on the rugby ground but rather surprisingly on the dance floor that effectively curtailed Eric’s rugby career. As to his participation in OH cricket, Nobbly Tanner’s meticulous records showed that Eric first played for the 2nd eleven in 1950 and then for the 1st eleven in the following season, with three more appearances in 1952. He resumed after a 20-year hiatus, appearing for both the 1st and 2nd elevens until 1978. Rather gratifyingly he and his son Nigel, also an OH, played in the same side a number of times in the mid-1970s. Away from the rugby ground and the cricket pitch, Eric served the Association as an Executive Committee member and then as joint-Secretary from 1956-59 before continuing this important job for a further two years as its sole holder. A career move then required Eric and his family to relocate to Waterlooville (he was seconded to the Admiralty) for a number of years; once back, he took on the demanding role of OHA Dinner organiser and ran the clubhouse bar, this in the days when the rugby club regularly fielded half-a-dozen sides and the clubhouse was thronged every Saturday. The vital service he gave to all aspects of the OHA was recognised when he was honoured as our President in 1969. Eric’s professional life was as a Chartered Civil Engineer. In 1966, he joined HM Factory Inspectorate (later incorporated into the Health & Safety Executive). He had worked previously in the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works. He served in the Specialist Construction Branch of the H&SE where his role was as an internal consultant to general inspectors who carried out inspections and enforcement. Later he moved into construction policy work, eventually retiring in 1987. Highly regarded both professionally and personally, Eric was then retained by a demolition company as an engineering consultant and

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mentor for a number of years. He was Chairman of the Association of Former Inspectors in the mid-1990s I came to know Eric best when we devised the idea of holding lunches for retired Old Haberdashers at the clubhouse, calling on the culinary skills of our resident stewards Mel and Pauline Howard. These are now better known as Old Lags lunches and continue to regularly attract 50 or more OH and former members of the school staff. Eric’s role was to connect with old friends on the phone, take the money at the door and ensure that fellow OH of various vintages had a good time. This he accomplished with his customary good humour and gift for friendship; he was helpful, uncomplaining and wonderfully supportive, but without ever seeking praise or special attention. The respect and affection in which he was held was never more evident than at his funeral which was attended by 40 or more Old Haberdashers and their partners and many of his professional colleagues. Our sympathy goes to his widow Pauline whom he had married in September 1950, and to their daughter Angela and son Nigel, and their extended family. Eric Thomas Purcell was born 10th August 1927; died 8th January 2011

Eric seen top left of this rugby photo


ichael Bukht, who has died aged 69 after a period of ill health, successfully led a double life. Some knew that his worlds of Classic FM and the “crafty cook” overlapped, and some did not. He would not have minded either way: what mattered was his nose for detecting the popular and a keen ability to deliver entertainment, which led to significant success in his different endeavours. While television made him a household name as Michael Barry from Food and Drink, his greater impact on broadcasting came through spotting a gap in the provision of classical music: he was one of the founders of the national commercial radio station Classic FM in 1992, and its programme controller for five years. Bukht was not a musician, but was determined to apply the formula of popular music stations to the classical world, giving the audience what he reckoned were the essentials of companionship. He considered radio stations to be disseminators of information, entertainment, ideas and wit. He thought that an audience did not like to be challenged all the time, just some of it, and there was a time in the day for this: the evening. Commuters needed the time, the weather, the news – all interspersed with movements of music, though not usually whole works (again, except for the evenings). Mozart, he said, understood this piecemeal approach to performance of his works, with not all the movements all of the time, and so what was good enough for Mozart was good enough for him. When commercial stations had come to London in 1973, he was programme director of Capital Radio, and he applied the popular principles he had honed there to the more sober presentation of classical music, delivered until then primarily on Radio 3. Bukht was born to a Pakistani diplomat father and a domestic science teacher mother whose family came from south Wales. After Haberdashers’ Aske’s school, north London, he went to study history at King’s College London. In 1963, he became a BBC trainee, starting in drama, and moving to the Light Programme soap Mrs Dale’s Diary. He worked on the pilot for the World at One before switching to television, where he was part of the original team on the Tonight programme, working with Cliff Michelmore, Alan Whicker and Brian Redhead. At the age of 25, he became programme controller of both radio and television for the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation, returning to the BBC after two years, in 1969, to edit 24 Hours and then special projects, including the supervising of the following year’s election coverage. In 1972 came the start-up of Capital Radio, and he went on to be programme controller for the GWR group. With the chief executive of this network of independent local radio stations, Ralph Bernard, Bukht thought up the idea of Classic FM. It was the era of the Three Tenors, and commercials with memorable music – Hamlet cigars, British Airways – so the pair decided there was mileage in making classical music more accessible in a popular format. The BBC was worried about this impostor in the middle-listening marketplace, not just in the more academic halls of Radio 3, but at Radio 4 and Radio 2 as well. Indeed,

Michael Bukht TV chef known to Food and Drink viewers as Michael Barry, the ‘crafty cook’, and a co-founder of the radio station Classic FM From The Guardian 7 August 2011

Bukht always maintained that Classic FM and Radio 3 were not rivals, and that his audience would largely come from elsewhere, not least because he needed a larger listening public than could be taken from Radio 3. Bukht enjoyed needling these bastions of culture but wished them no ill. He thought straightforwardly that there was room for another station, and one that he and others would like. His format of chat and short but complete bits of music (no parts of movements or fading) was initially successful until there was a disastrous attempt to export the format, and the station tried to recoup its losses through extra advertising, which in turn alienated listeners. Bukht remained as programme controller until a stress-related illness caused him to step down to a consultancy role in 1997. However, while his successful formula has inevitably been modified, his basic vision for Classic FM has remained constant. Buhkt’s popular touch was underpinned robustly by a completely professional approach to business, slightly at odds with his avuncular and homespun alter ego of Michael Barry. In the late 1980s and early 90s, he was one of the key elements in the presentation of BBC2’s Food and Drink, the easy- viewing programme of cookery and wine-tasting. His cooking veered away from the flash, and he provided a relaxed, homely presence, enjoying puns and interacting with his fellow presenters Chris Kelly and Jilly Goolden. In 1996, he was appointed OBE. He married the actor and dancer Jennie Jones in 1964, and is survived by her, a son and three daughters.

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eslie Sussman MBE was a distinguished former Mayor of Barnet who served as a councillor for 45 years and for 38 of them represented Finchley Church End ward. He was an active member of the OHA, latterly as regular attender at Old Lags’ lunches and had also served as a governor of the school. Leslie was born in September 1928 and attended the school in Westbere Road from 1939 to 1946 following which he served for three years in the Royal Air Force. He was a director of his family clothing business until he retired in 1983. His time in local government began in 1961 when he was elected councillor to the former Hornsey Borough Council, followed by the London Borough Of Haringey four years later. In 1968, Leslie was elected as councillor for the ward of Finchley, which later became Finchley Church End, where he remained until his retirement in May 2006, the same year he was given the title of Freeman Of The Borough. He was awarded an MBE in 1996 for his services to Barnet. Leslie’s commitment to the community extended beyond local government. He was a governor of many schools, treasurer of the 19th Finchley Scout Group, and served as district president of the Finchley, Friern Barnet and Golders Green district scout council. He was also a rugby player and referee. He is survived by his wife Adrienne, who was also awarded an MBE in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, and his three children. The mayor of Barnet, Lisa Rutter, said: “Mr Sussman was a devoted servant to government and the borough and a particularly distinguished former mayor. “Not only was he incredibly hardworking, Mr Sussman was extremely popular and highly regarded on both sides of the council chamber.

Leslie Sussman MBE 1928-2011

Michael Beaman 1935-2011


e are also sad to report that Michael Beaman died on 11 July 2011. Michael was an active member of the OHA who played a leading role in running the OH Golf Society for many years and held the offices of President, Secretary and Treasurer at various times. He also played rugby for the OHRFC. We hope to provide a full obituary in the next edition.


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Martin Searby 1939-2011


artin Burton Searby (OH 1949-56), a leading cricket writer died in Venice on 13th June 2011 while holidaying with his partner of 20 years, Hilary Woodward. The funeral took place at Dewsbury Moor crematorium on 30th June and was attended by many friends and colleagues including such cricketing luminaries as Derek Pringle, David Constant, John Holder, Vanburn Holder, John Hampshire and Barry Leadbetter. Former Lancashire cricketer, David Green, gave an address. Martin was born in Pontefract in 1939 and moved to London as a boy. During a 50-year career Martin Searby covered Yorkshire County Cricket matches in the 1970s and 80s and was a familiar face at county grounds. His career in sports journalism spanned over half a century - he became cricket correspondent for Radio Leeds and went on to write about the team’s triumphs and losses for The Star in Sheffield, as well as for the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail. In 1985 he received the Wombwell Cricket Lovers’ Society Cricket Writer of the Year Award, and in recent years collaborated with Geoff Boycott on a book and his website. Martin was a loyal member of the Cricket Writers’ Club and he always held in particular affection his Yorkshire cricket colleagues. John Jeffers (OH 1948-54) wrote the following personal appreciation: “Martin had fulfilled his life’s ambition by spending his working life as a cricket correspondent. He was renowned

for his trenchant and sometimes extreme views but always provoked amusing and provocative argument. He was charismatic, charming, irritating, loveable but sometimes a problem to his friends among whom I am privileged to count myself. I first became acquainted with Martin while we were at Westbere Road and remember one occasion in an English lesson when Martin stood up and read an essay that he had written and Mr Moody, the English master, pronounced “Searby, that was so good that I will give you fifteen out of ten.” I must confess to having started Edgware Rovers whilst at school and Martin joined us together with Malcolm White, Gordon Butler, David Wildman, Brian Hopkin, Barrie Boatman, Michael Hunt, Ken Banham, Les Joseph and others to form a very successful team that played initially in the Wembley Youth League and later in the Southern Olympian League. During this time, Martin was torn between starting as a cub reporter with Reg Hayter’s agency and playing football on a Saturday afternoon. He overcame this by playing for us and contacting someone who had been at the match that he was supposed to have been covering and asking them what happened. Martin was married twice before meeting Hilary. A sad loss but a memory that will leave us smiling!”


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News from Habs


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OH Club Reports

Club reports title page

OH Rugby


he 2010/2011 season will live long in the memory of all of those involved with Old Habs RFC. Promotion from Herts/Middlesex 1 the previous season had seen Habs reach the London leagues for the first time and they were full of anticipation for the season ahead when they took to the field on 11 September for their first match against Cheshunt. Few of the players or other members of the club could have foreseen that victory against that Cheshunt team would be the springboard for the most successful season in the club’s history, with a league title for the 1st XV and the re-emergence of a 2nd XV, who between them won 29 of the 33 games of rugby they played throughout the season. The 1st XV winning the London North West 3 league title with 2 games to spare was all the more enjoyable for the poor start to the season they endured. Despite a fairly comfortable win for the season opener, they then went on to lost 2 successive games against Fullerians and Barnet Elizabethans. It was only in their first home game against Datchworth that Habs light a fire under the by this stage unsuspecting opposition – leading to a run of wins which saw the men in magenta play and beat every other team in the league that they encountered until finally losing their 14 game winning streak against Finchley in March. The highlight of the season was a top of the table clash against Fullerians in a mudbath of a game at Croxdale Road which saw Habs put on a ferocious and controlled display to beat the team in second place 18 v 3. A great number of players had very good seasons, several had exceptional seasons. Habs had a front row that was peerless in the league and meant that scrums were at times a formality. Strong jumpers and good throwing were responsible for a lineout that was untroubled and from this strong forward platform the powerful running from forwards and backs alike and continual quick phases meant that the superior fitness (if not size) of Habs prevailed against most that they faced. Few teams in the league could have many complaints as Habs ended the season comfortably top point scorers (681) and

Captain Seb Taylor playing against Cheshunt


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PLAYERS DURING THE 2010/11 SEASON (In order of number of games)

with the most resolute defence giving away fewer points (226) than any other team. Several new players came into the team and were welcome additions. Captain Seb Taylor led by example all season, scoring more tries than any other player, and more importantly being the man that organised, played and lead the team with a passion that seems to know no limits. He should be proud of the season he had and can take a great deal of the credit for the club’s current upward trajectory. The 2nd XV played their first game in ten years under the leadership of Harry Turner who did a fantastic job bringing the team together and finding fixtures all season, with the team winning nine of their ten games and scoring at a phenomenal rate along the way. The result of this success is a place in the top tier of the Herts/Middlesex Merit Tables for the 2011-2012 season. The development of the 2nd XV and its importance in the forthcoming season is of paramount importance to the club’s prospects of consolidation and success. What made Habs’ season stand out is that the teams are run by and enjoyed by the players. There are no mid-week training sessions, no coaches and no politics. All players are welcome at the clubhouse and many of the newest recruits commented on how welcome they have been made to feel at Croxdale Road. In the same spirit, Habs always did their best to be a gracious away team and were often found in good spirits in the opposition’s clubhouse long after their hosts had gone. An end of season tour to Berlin was a roaring success with 27 men travelling to Germany to play little rugby and sample a great deal of the local produce. The social side to the teams is flourishing in a fashion complimenting the strides that have been taken on the pitch in the last few season, and that is a pleasure for all involved. It is, after all, the enjoyment of a Saturday together, on and off the pitch, that makes rugby such a fantastic game. All those involved at Habs will hope that the 2011/2012 season brings more of the same.

Seb Taylor (Captain) Andrew Sanderson Nick Jones Francis Booth Ian Sanderson Jamie Flanagan Andrew Gray Rob Dickson Andrew Fox Jerry Nicholas Bobby Forrest Christian Brown Harry Turner Hayden Cameron John Mogg Randal Whittaker Simon Tabb Brian Butterwick Charlie Harris Jared Smith Nathan Williams Scott Chatterton Dan Atkins Tom Adams Anthony Beilin Dan Kaufman Travis Leon Alex Taylor Sammy Ross Dan Mitchell Robbie Sloan Alex Murphy Dan Gaunt Martin Reeves Mike Richmond Pete Archer Simon Jones Simon Wallis Tom Weightman Aquil Sohail Toni Chan Will Dobbin James Warner Matt Hall-Turner Ali Metcalfe David Hall Rob Rendle Ewan Ferguson Andy Spanring Andy Storey James Lyons Richard Butterfield Dave Chesham James Farrell John Chetwood Christian Corney Stuart Richmond Michael Woods Duncan Grocock Steve Blundell Graham Cole Chi Yeo Dan Radcliffe James Robson Matt Spencer Oleseye Ashiru Jason D Ross Stapleton Nick Moore Matt Binns Sam Borland Dan Marks Harry Taylor Mo Dulloo Joost Sandstra-Bennett John Montagu Henry Mitchell Chris Getty Max Garth

Clockwise from top left: Scrumming against Old Fullerians; Line out v Cheshunt; Champions! Team photo before last match of season.

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OH Golf by Alan E Morris


he annual mid-March visit to Hunstanton resulted in us losing to the local team with their intimate local knowledge of the course. It is always important for the society to be there, because the Grafton Morrish final is held there, and at Brancaster, in Sept/Oct. This year our team of low handicappers has again qualified for the final held there on 7th- 9th October. John Lidington is to be thanked for a wonderfully run Spring Meeting at Hammonds End, Harpenden. The Hollybush team won the cup for the six best stapleford scores. The 18 hole winner for the day was Mike Douglas, with next two places Peter Mackie and Robert Clarke. Our teams at the two triangular matches at Moor Park in May and June came second in both. Robin Matthew ran the annual Chorley Wood match on 6th July. Hospitality by the successful home team was much appreciated. The School Match on 7th July was also run as a triangular format. This year Mid Herts GC was chosen. Those playing were Staff: Julian Hails, Andrew Keenleyside, Ryan McIntosh, Andy Ward, and Parvesh Patel (guest). Boys: Joey Charles, Ed Curtis, Aiden Kovenklioglu, Yash Patel and Amar Vaghera (capt). OHGS: John Abbott, Peter Annett, Robt Clarke, Grahame Davies, and Peter Mackie (capt). The staff, under their leader Andy, won handsomely, with the boys second. It was noted that Peter Mackie won both of his matches and Andy Ward scored an eagle on the ninth. The strength of school golf continues to blossom. • Our annual participation in the Old Cholmeleians Festival at Highgate GC will be teams of six. Light lunch at 12-12.30. Contact Alan Morris on 01494 722385. • The Autumn Meeting as usual at Gerrards Cross GC will be on Fri 23rd Sept. Meet at 8 for 8.30 for 18 holes in the morning followed by ten holes in the afternoon. A good traditional lunch and prizes. Contact Peter Mackie on 07973 799541.

• The Hollybush will run a match against us on Tues 4th Oct at Porters Park, Radlett. Contact Robert Clarke on 01582 761986 or Office 01895 845403. There is great sadness to report the loss of Michael Beaman and the loss after several years of treatment of Michael Cohen, our member at Hendon GC. Michael Beaman was a tower of strength in the society, being Secretary from 1977 till 2000, and at that stage was President and also treasurer and secretary. He was a member at Moor Park GC. Michael Cohen ran our Summer Meeting at his club at Hendon for many years and was captain at Hendon GC. Our condolences go to their families and friends. They will be so missed. Do contact Alan Morris on 01494 722385 if you wish to be included in the golfing events.

OH Golfers at Temple Hill Golf Club in July 2011 Back row: Les Brown (guest,) Chris Scoble (guest), Es Hitchcock, Marshall Lawton, John Matthewman. Front row:Mark Rawlinson, Alan Morris, Peter Mackie, Robert Clarke and Huw Stevenson.

The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Lodge


he Haberdashers’ Aske’s School and Freemasonry have enjoyed a long and distinguished association over many years. The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Lodge (No.3362) is now in its 103rd year. The Lodge has a very special, friendly, Haberdashers’ feel with the significant majority of the Brethren of the Lodge being Old Boys. We have members representing the recent and not so recent eras of the school’s past, including this year’s Master, David Wolff, who was at the school in the 1930s, right up to our newest members who attended the school during the 2000s! We meet four times a year on a Saturday at the prestigious Freemasons’ Hall in London and enjoy friendship and goodwill in a delightfully relaxed ‘Habs’


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style. Our charitable activities continue and this year we have donated £1800 to Hospicecare, £250 to the PraderWilli Syndrome Association and £500 to the Metropolitan Masonic Cyberknife Appeal for St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. Our Ladies’ Luncheon is usually held during the summer in Aldenham House when family and friends join members of the Lodge to enjoy good food and company, with an informal tour of the grounds thrown in for good measure! We would welcome enquiries from any Old Boys over the age of 18 years. The Lodge secretary is Paul Youngman who can be contacted on 07768 255283 or via email on paulyoungman@enterprise.net The Lodge website is at www.haberdashersaskeslodge. com where further details of our activities including background, dates and further contact details can be found.

OH Cricket by Robert Clarke and Simon Gelber


he season opened and immediately saw success with a convincing victory against Northwood. The Old Boys restricted the visitors to 168 for the loss of 7 wickets in their allocated 53 overs with Simon Gelber taking 4-63 in 18 overs and Sami Ali nipping in with 2-25. Akash Christian made short work of the target in knocking up 105* as O.H. cruised home by 6 wickets. The following week saw cricket played in some of the most inclement conditions imaginable – a thoroughly unpleasant afternoon, bitterly cold with the threat of rain but not enough to drive us from the field. Misery was completed with the Old Boys fielding an incomplete line up due to poor availability but saw a stirring performance in the field with Elizabethans dismissed for only 160,t the batting however, did not match the task and we were left holding on for a draw at 114-7. The following week Bayford and Hertford batted very competently to overhaul the O.H. total of 227-7. Joe Williams anchored the Old Boys’ innings with an impressive 99* but was unable to get the extra run to reach three figures due to Nick Shorts facing the last three balls of the innings hitting two boundaries and a single. Bayford were never under any serious pressure as they got home with four overs to spare. So on to a sunny Botany Bay and with Nick Shorts taking five wickets and Christian three, the home team’s 213-10 looked a very chaseable target. Solid contributions at the top of the order from Akash again, Joe Williams and new recruit Jon Shaw saw the Old Boys well placed at 173-4 but the innings stalled leaving three runs being required off the last over with wickets in hand - a single off the first ball and then a wicket, two to win off four balls - sadly not a bat was laid on ball and the match ended as a draw with O.H. a run short. Two bad weeks of weather followed and Bushey arrived at Croxdale Road and Akash, in sparkling form, hit a scintillating 195 out of the Club’s 290-8. Bushey’s somewhat bizarre innings saw the visitors playing extravagant, risky shots throughout and succumbed to 206-10 when a draw was well within their capabilities Mid-June, and a really impressive O.H.C.C. win against Hitchin. The home team was contained to 208 on a very good wicket, unable to get on top of the slow bowling partnership of Grant Traub (2-47) and Simon Gelber (369). Despite the shock of Akash going first ball Jon Shaw blasted the Hitchin bowling for a stunning 106* in an unbroken partnership of 159 with veteran Rick Harris who carried his bat for 57*. Amazingly, in retrospect, this was to turn out to be the last Old Boys’ victory of the season! Naughty boys Hatch End arrived at Croxdale and made the Old Boys struggle throughout. None of the batsmen were able to break loose and a final total of 190-9 was not much more than par but a couple of early wickets and it appeared that victory might be possible but dropped catches and Hatch End were let off the hook. A week later and Akash was back in the groove making an accomplished 144 out of 268. Frustratingly and not for the only time in 2010 the Old Boys fell a wicket short reducing Parkfield and Headstone to an unconvincing 1719 with the last pair holding out for four and a half overs denying O.H. a well deserved victory. Sami Ali struck early and took 5-48 in 16 overs and Akash again contributed with the ball ending with 3-31 in 13 overs.

The Old Boys then produced their worst performance of the season. It could have been so different when Broxbourne were 97-9 and in deep trouble but somehow through a bit of luck and a few missed chances they put on over a hundred for the last wicket and their eventual total of 205 was always going to be a challenge. This did not do justice to the seam bowling of Sami Ali who in taking 6-36 in 16 overs destroyed the top order. What happened thereafter was just a case of a ‘bad day at the office’ with only some gutsy resistance from the tail getting the O.H. score to partial respectability at 119. Then a familiar story as the Old Boys rattled up 257-2 at Leverstock Green in 50 overs. Christian this time scoring 104 and Joe Williams making no mistake, sailing past the hundred mark with a fine 120 and sharing an opening partnership of 188. Despite another five wickets from Sami (5-44) Leverstock Green got away with a nine wicket down draw, the last pair this time surviving four frustrating overs. With the dry spell at its peak the Old Boys arrived at a brown Hoddesdon, a batting paradise and not exactly the place to turn out one short! However both Sami Ali and Simon Gelber rose to the occasion with Sami taking five wickets and Simon four both off 19 overs and bowled out the home side for a massive but by no means ungetable 303. Akash went off like a man in a hurry and in partnership with captain Matt Shorts got the Old Boys in a position to make a serious challenge but at 170-2 wickets started to tumble, Christian for 101 and Shorts for 55. It was left to veteran wicket keeper Simon Friend to entertain in the final overs thrashing a whirlwind 34 as the Old Boys finally capitulated for 248. Still 20 points for an afternoon’s work was not an all together bad return. And then it happened again – Old Haberdashers 180-9 in their allotted 53 overs, against Berkhamsted on a sporty Croxdale Road wicket. Three wickets each for Ali, Gelber and Christian and then in the penultimate over, a thin edge, an easy catch to the keeper, a win and thirty points but the ball went on the floor and another team escaped with a ninedown draw! The weather changed and frustrated the O.H. Against Southgate Compton six wickets from Akash and the visitor’s total of 186 looked within reach but with the reply at 41–1 and cruising, the heavens opened and that was that. Returning from Devon the Club travelled to eventual promotion team St. Albans West Indians and in a somewhat controversial match the home team chased down the Old Boys’ 208-8 (Laxman Ruthirapathy 64, Sami Ali 47) with four wickets and four overs to spare.

A fantastic place to play cricket – Heathcote C.C. at Knightshayes Court, Devon

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The penultimate weekend saw West Herts, in relegation difficulties, arrive and post a decent 229-4 but with the O.H. response at 181-3 there was surely going to be only one winner. Then Christian was out for a sparkling 142, the batting got stage fright, the net tightened and after a couple of controversial lbw decisions and some bad shot selections the Old Boys were out for 213 and another possible 30 points had been thrown away. So it was important that the final match of the season against Luton Town and Indians was played positively. All was going to plan with a massive O.H. total of 291-8 anchored by Akash’s 121 and Jon Shaw 102, seemingly way out of reach of Luton. At 119 for 8 victory again seemed to be only a matter of time with 15 overs to be bowled, but the tail battled hard and the score reached 156 before another wicket fell. Surely this time the O.H. would seal victory and when the ball was skied to mid-wicket with an easy catch in the offing the season looked as if it would end on a high note. To sum up the whole year in an instant the catch went down and for the fifth time the tenth wicket was elusive and a victory was missed. All in all a most frustrating season with early potential unfulfilled, but for five wickets and a handful of runs in some vital matches the Old Boys’ 1st XI might well have been pushing hard for one of the top four places but it all ended up very much mid-table. 2010 marked the 50th year of the Old Haberdashers’ Cricket Club tours to Devon. It had all begun in 1950 when one of our then regular opponents, Sudbury Court informed us that they were unable to fulfill their commitments in the West Country. Seeing the quality of the fixtures and realising that all the hard work had been completed the Old Boys grabbed the opportunity and began a tradition that apart from a short hiatus between 1972 and 1977, continues to this very day. The early part of the 2010 tour was blessed with fine weather and our hosts on Sunday, Chard scored 180 in their allocated 40 overs. The tourists replied with 60* from Bob Clarke, earning him the man of the match award and then a brutal 73* from Christian to seal victory in some style. So on to the delightful Kilmington ground and another entertaining game in the history of this fixture. The eight O.H. bowlers restricted Kilmington to 210-6, a stylish 85 from Deepak Kapadia meant the Old boys were well on target but then Akash hit one straight down mid-off ’s throat and it all went awry and a slightly disgruntled veteran O.H. skipper went to the crease with two required for victory. A kicked leg bye from the last ball meant an even 210-9 draw. Another first in the liturgy of close finishes between the two clubs. Tuesday saw a new fixture at the delightful Heathcote C.C. in the grounds of Knightshayes Court, a National Trust property. The early home team batting demolished the Old Boys’ bowling and ran up an impressive 102-1 off 19 overs. However, their opener fell on 99 and the O.H. slow bowling got on top and Heathcote were bowled out for 200. At 87-5, the reply was not looking particularly healthy but then Stuart Haring playing the innings of his life, (60*) and Akash (80*) first stabilized the situation, then positively prospered and saw the Old Boys home in some style with a five wicket win and time to spare. The historic county ground of Exeter saw another exciting tour match with the visitors posting an impressive 236 in 40 overs, Khurram Manzoor topscored with 64 and Nick Shorts stroked an impressive 45 but on this occasion the O.H. bowling could not contain Exeter and a couple of


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dropped catches were to cost the Old Boys with a loss by 4 wickets.And then to another of Devon’s loveliest grounds at Chagford and this time O.H. posted 240-7 in their 40 overs with Matt Shorts sparkling with 147. Then it started raining, or to put it more accurately and then it started raining even more heavily and that was it for the West Country Tour of 2010.Chagford never got on to the field and after raining all night the Sidmouth match was abandoned at 11.00 am with the weather still foul and with little prospect of play The 2nd XI had a new look in 2010 with a fresh intake of players from the School as well as some university students coming in at various stages of the season. However, a slow start with three straight losses looked distinctly unpromising with us unable to finish teams off, but from that low point things started to improve and finally a victory against Harpenden Dolphins side in week 4. The first half of the season was difficult with player availability not always being reliable but there were positive aspects; Abid Khan hitting 100* against Monken Hadley and 68 against Broxbourne in a record 10th wicket partnership; Mithun Kailavasen starting strongly with 82 against North Enfield and 4-42 against Hatch End. The team also showed strong character and determination to recover from 32-5 to 196-9 against Allenburys, in a match that ultimately ended in a draw. With the additions of Arjun Dasgupta, Joe McCormick, Arjun Sofat, Kishan Dias and Atham Sivakumar the team started to play some good cricket and at Parkfield, Ali Abbas and Danish Jalali bowled beautifully with Danish picking up the season’s best bowling figures of 6-15 in dismissing the home side for 125 and O.H. cruised home by six wickets. Rickmansworth, two weeks later and the new boys showed us how to win convincingly, Joe hitting 51* and Vivek Patni (still only 16 years old) hitting 31* and it was off to Hoddesdon. Oz, Naveed, Abid and Danish bowled well to restrict the hosts to 167 on what, as the 1st XI found the previous week, was a Karachi like wicket. Luke Tullo and Arjun Sofat, in scoring 56* and 86 made a good attack look ordinary and the O.H. strolled to victory. The team were nearing the top four and were next away to bottom side North Mymms.The skipper managed to manipulate the opposition into batting first in seamer friendly conditions and they were bowled out for 163, following which Abid again showed his aggressive talent by scoring 93* to see O.H. home after only 23 overs. With promotion just 15 points away the season then took a disappointing downturn and ended in something of an anticlimax. After being rained off against Potters Bar, the Old Boys lost, drew and then lost the last three games. However, even then there were some encouraging signs with a superb century by Arjun Sofat, who in scoring 104, hit several enormous sixes, several easily clearing the sightscreen!

Left: Akash Christian in action – but bowling this time. Chard, August 2010 Right: Nick and Martin Shorts in Devon, Sami not quite bending down at first slip! Chard again.

The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School Nurturing Excellence

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