Kevin O'Carroll (1964-70) writes:

Tom Hilton in 1957 School Photo

Hello Mike....
was very interested to see the photo of the 1969 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!!!
Here goes:
Tom Hilton
"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!

O'Neill centre

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.


Briscoe ("Jewy")

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

H.E.Ellis ("Buzz")
He told wonderful stories, often of a seafaring nature, and very often involving his Uncle Evan. Sometimes known to have taught some Geography too!
Cliff Street
Was probably the inspiration for some of Elton John's spectacles later on. And in 1973 I bought his house in Fareham from him.
Bob Gilbert
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 70's.


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.
Tom Hilton 
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!)
Ron Garton
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.
Bruce Vail
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 ....
Cyril Briscoe
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!
Bob Gilbert
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 there!
Yours ever,


The Society of Old Priceans for staff and pupils of the former Prices Grammar School, Park Lane, Fareham, Hampshire founded 1721 demolished 1989.

Society of Old Priceans

Secretary and Membership Secretary