Kevin O'Carroll (1964-70) writes:
Tom Hilton in
1957 School Photo
was very interested to see the photo of the 1969
staff...it released a flood of memories!. I could go on at great length
about a good many of them, but I've selected a few snippets which hopefully
will trigger more in the minds of those who read them, and also induce a
smile or two. Bearing in mind that ALL kids are to a certain extent cruel
when relating anything about their schoolmasters, I've mentioned the
nicknames by which they were (affectionately!) known at the time. The
cruelty only becomes apparent once they've grown up of course!!!
"Genial" is a word which always springs to mind
when remembering him as he was then.....then I remembered the canes........
I reckon he is so fit for his age now because of
two things: the exercise afforded by the wielding of the those foul engines
of punishment, and secondly...all that walking up and down Drift Road hill
in Wallington....he lived at the top, and the pub was at the bottom!
H.S. O'Neill ("Nellie", plus one other...)
Was always bringing in "inventions" to his Physics
class....made from toilet rolls, pipe cleaners, chicken wire etc.
Great!...they worked!, but.....he claimed that, given a piece of
Plutonium, he could make an atom bomb from the things that could be found in
an ordinary, everyday household !........wonder what his
house was like?
He had a damaged hand which
I seem to recall he said had been shot at by a Spitfire of all things! Ed.
Who remembers the "boy gauge" in his
workshop?.....a fiendish device on the front of his workbench to "align"
boys whilst demonstrating to an assembled horde in front of it. If I
remember correctly it was sharp at the business end, and simply cleared a
semicircle of civilised radius from among the aforementioned horde. The man
was a woodworking genius!
I remember his favourite
saying - "don't waste wood boys, it doesn't grow on trees" Ed.
Top left Cliff
Street next to Ellis with Bob Gilbert front left and Roy Daysh
He told wonderful stories, often of a seafaring
nature, and very often involving his Uncle Evan. Sometimes known to have
taught some Geography too!
Was probably the inspiration for some of Elton
John's spectacles later on. And in 1973 I bought his house in Fareham from
A brilliant musician who bore a remarkable
likeness to Neil Sedaka, especially at the piano, of which he was master.
Saw a fair bit of him after leaving, usually at the Limes, with one or two
of my contemporaries. Whatever became of him?
A wag! and a "mastermind" contestant in the mid
One of the lads, because I think at that time he
was a lad....fresh from Uni or teaching college or whatever. Always spoke
and did everything in a hurry, and often more interested in football than
French. Very good player too.
Mike Bayliss (1958-65) writes:
Michael - Kevin's thoughts sparked off some of my
own. Although the 1969 photo was taken some four years after I had left
Price's, I knew or was taught by a number of the masters in it, although
there are also a number of younger ones I never knew.
There can't be many Old Priceans who weren't
taught by Tom! I had him for just the two years leading up to O-level
Chemistry and my main recollection is that, having explained the laboratory
method for doing whatever the experiment the day was, he then told us how it
was done by industry in the real world. This we encouraged, as it delayed
actually doing any work. My main recollection of his sterner side was when
one of the buglers in the CCF band took his bugle mouthpiece, minus the
instrument, into the cloakrooms, inserted it into one of the long metal
tubes running along the coat-racks and sounded Reveille! The acoustics made
it echo round the building. Tom came rushing in, furious, but was most
perplexed at not finding any culprit with a bugle! (If you're reading
this e-mail, Tom, now you know!)
Another chemist, know by our generation not as
'Dome' but 'Gunge', which I understand was an abbreviation of 'Gunga Din'
although no-one knew why. (Does anyone out there?) As younger boys, we
were all a bit scared of him and his mantra of "It's your job to know these
things!", said in a voice that always reminded me of Mr Growser in the
'Larry the Lamb' children's serial. (Good grief, how these things come
back when you start reminiscing like this!). He always seemed to start
lessons by telling us what we had done last time and were about to do next
time, so there was never very much time actually to do the lesson in hand.
He went up markedly in our estimation when we were told he had once played
professional football for Arsenal. Whether this was true or not I am not
sure (I suspect it might have been for the Reserves) - but we were very
impressionable at that age.
Another character who terrified the younger boys
(me included at the time). He was always nicknamed 'Twitch' as I recall -
his nervous tic together with his rather cold manner made me feel later on
that he was actually extremely shy underneath. I had him for Latin for most
of my time at Price's, including A and S level. He was very assiduous and
put himself out to help you if he thought you were trying - but, as Kevin
says, he always seemed rather aloof and remained so even with VIth formers.
He told us he had previously worked for the Coal Board, which I always
thought an odd thing to do with a First in Classics, but there you are. The
one bit of humour I recall from him is his theory that schooling happens the
wrong way round -children should go down mines and up chimneys when they are
young and love getting dirty, but should then start their education in their
twenties, which is when they usually start saying they wished they had paid
attention at school. I think
this was said as a joke, but ....
Woodwork and technical drawing master
extraordinaire, and a real nice guy as one grew older and got to know him
better. He was i/c the RAF section of the CCF which, as he was actually
an Army section captain, always struck me as as slightly perverse of
him! My abiding memory is the appalling
smell of his fish glue boiling away in little iron pots in the old green hut
which served as the woodwork shop!
Unlike Kevin, I never thought Bob looked like Neil
Sedaka - but then I knew him since we were both seven years old. He and I
both attended Funtley Primary School, along with Nigel Davies (and when am I
going to get that e-mail, Nigel?). Bob's father was headmaster there, and
we all went on to Price's together. He and I played quite a bit of music
together at the time - Bob on piano, me on flute. I also would like to know
where he has got to - he's somewhere in the Far East, I have been told.
That will have to do for now. But when are we
going to hear more of the old time 'greats' (Bert Shaw, Royds Jones et
al) - not to mention more about Tom! Let' s hear from more of you out