Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Welcome and Index

Hello and welcome to this blog about The former City of Coventry boarding school at Cleobury Mortimer, also known as Wyre Farm Camp School. The former school is of course now known as the Pioneer Centre.  The school is part of a wider social history of camp schools created in 1939 by the National Camps Corporation (NCC) and was one of 50 proposed and 39 actual Camp schools - you can read more on the post about National camp schools.

This post will ride on top as an intro - so scroll down for both new and older posts or - click - Index 

INDEX TO POSTS - The reason I've moved the index is that the list was getting a bit big - it now has its own page. I've arranged all the posts into categories to make material easier to find. i suggest you open the index in a separate tab so you can move between pages more easily. (The Newest posts are also in the sidebar).

The discussion has been going on via 2 Facebook pages - I Survived Wyre Farm School (the school's original name) and on City of Coventry School. Memories have been used, interestingly, to re-explore the area, look into aspects of local history and geography and how the area and the school has changed over the years. Stand alone pages in the tabs Above - About - School Photos - List of Pupils 64 -66 etc.

Bookmark this site then it's easy to find.
CONTRIBUTIONS - of Thoughts / Photos or Information  can be sent to us via e mail at

NEW WYREFARM PHOTO BLOG - I've created a new blog just for the relevant photos of the school without all the blurb (except necessary annotations). It's new and therefore developing but will group together all the photos of the school, pupils, sports, staff, area. Link is

The Webbs c 1957 

Charles Joyce c 1967 (Note the Coat of Arms design changed!)

Lauri Lindsay c 1968


The Value of the Site
Some times our memories don't match the facts identically. The internet has united us geographically and provided the means to share and compare memories with pupils who may have been at the school at different times / decades. The internet has also provided the means to look things up, check facts, identify locations and find out it's history. So - far from just a nostalgic look back on our youth, there is some real learning and research going on and the building of a much bigger picture!

Trev Teasdel


Sarah Baker -School Photos from 1968 - 72

Sarah Baker got in contact recently to share some of the material belonging to her father, Mr Baker a teacher at the school c1968 - 72. It will take a while to sort out her material but watch this space. If you follow the school facebook pages you may have already seen them - here a few to start off with.

Sarah says Thank you for adding me to the group. I was never a pupil but I did live at City of Coventry School for the first 2 years of my life. I am the daughter of the late Philip Baker, who was a young and newly qualified master of geography and games from 1968 to 1972. I was born in November 1969 and came home from hospital to be greeted by the boys in my Dad's house, they bought me a teddy bear from the toy shop in the village and I still have it. At some point I'll dig out Dad's photos, which are mainly sports teams and Oliver! with a few of me as a toddler with the boys. My Dad also kept a diary at the time and there are daily reports of the antics of his pupils ! I have no memories of my own (I was just 2 when we left) but I am back in Shropshire for a little holiday next week and thought I'd try and pay a visit.

Sarah Baker says - "My late Dad, Mr Baker, with a very junior looking rugby team. No date given but will be between September 1968 and July 1972. Dad died in 2010 "

Dane John Mooney "I think the the chap back row 2nd from right ,surname was Naylor ? That's me 3rd from right on back row."

Tim Naylor "Back left is Richards,Henderson then to the right of Bruce Naylor is Foster, I can only remember Andy Hudson front row...he played till he was 50."

Paul Norman "At a quick glance I thought it was Alan Thorne!"

Chris Burrows "Not big enough or fearsome enough"

Sarah Baker Thank you. He loved coaching rugby and cricket. He was still playing cricket himself well into his 50s but had to leave rugby to younger men !

Tim Naylor At some point he was in the annex....and an excellent rugby coach

Sarah Baker In 1972 we returned to Devon, from whence they came ! He taught at Bradfield School near Cullompton, a senior boarding school for boys with special educational needs (known very un-PC as 'The Educationally Sub-normal' in the 1970s). When that school amalgamated with the version for girls in 1975 we moved to Teignmouth and then from there in 1977 he went on to become a live-in deputy head of a special school in Winchester, Hampshire and later the headteacher of the junior special school nearby. He retired in the 1990s and died in 2010 aged 72.

Martin Hull I remember your father as Mr Baker, I didn't know his first name, and I think he lived in a flat at the end of Junior Mortimer House. I remember everyone in the geography class writing to Cadbury's to get some information on Cocoa and hopefully some chocolate samples!

Sarah Baker Yes we did live in a flat that joined the dorm I think. When I was a baby my parents would go and dine with the other masters and their wives and the door between our flat and house would be left open so the boys could keep an eye on me ! Childcare was a bit different in those days....but I lived to tell the tale. We also had a black spaniel called Jane who growled if boys she didn't like approached my pram 

Sarah Baker "My late Dad, Mr Baker, with a cricket team and the scorer (on the far left). No date given but somewhere between September 1968 and July 1972. Before she died, several years ago, my Mum was trying to tell me something about the scorer, she remembered his name quite clearly (I don't sadly) and was trying to tell me that there was something 'special' about him but I never could quite understand what she meant. Maybe someone knows who it was."

Lauri Lindsay "Sarah the scorers name was Robert Boyce, nick name “Click” ( the sound his walking sticks made when he walked).

I remember your Dad very well. He was a nice guy, don’t ever remember him getting mad or upset at any of us."

Sarah Baker "That sounds like Dad  He was always calm and steady, never easily wound up or angry. He really enjoyed working with you boys and got a lot of satisfaction from his job. Thanks for your kind comments Lauri."

Raymond Bothwell "I remember Clicker Boyce,,,, nice lad .."

Peter Melhuish "The scorer was Boyce cannot remember his first name he had Polio so walked with sticks, nickname was clicker.
Also in the photo Bill Partridge, Garry Coulter, Terry Hudson, Steve Hudson."

Sarah Baker "That's why my mother referred to him as 'special' then ! I wonder what happened to him...and the rest ? Thank you very much for adding some names and information 

Chris Burrows Boyce was in the Scouts too.
He was an excellent swimmer and won prizes at the District Scout Swimming competition.

Peter Melhuish Other names Messenger, Worrall.

Peter Ingram-Tedd Back row, 2nd from right ... it certainly looks like Gary Coulter but I thought he left in July '68, same year as me.

Sarah Baker Maybe he had a younger brother who looked similar ? I'm pretty sure this can't have been taken any earlier than September 1968 as Dad only qualified in the summer of that year and left St. Lukes Teacher Training College in Exeter, but there's no-one left alive in my family who can verify that sadly 

Peter Melhuish He stayed on an extra year to improve his exam results.

Sarah Baker "Oliver asks for more ! My Dad, Philip Baker, played Mr Bumble and is far left (overacting  ) in this photo !"

Sarah Baker "I think this was the full cast photo of Oliver! My Dad, Philip Baker, is centre (Mr Bumble), wearing statement hat ! My Mum, who played Rose the maid (whilst a bit pregnant with me) is the head in the mop cap, back row 3rd from left. (Last photo from me for a while but I will find others in due course  )"

Trev Teasdel "Yes, I think Rosemary,the Bursar's daughter posted some photos of Oliver and she is in that photo next to the guy with the top hat and Aileen Parker, the head's daughter, is in the same row, to the left with the longhair. Thanks Sarah."

Rosemary Webb Rehill "Ha! I knew I knew your dad! Such a sweet guy! Very gentle and kind."

Sarah Baker "Thank you...he was just that  Before he died he said he hoped that all the many hundreds of people he'd met in his life would just think of him fondly...nothing more, nothing less. He was my Daddy, so obviously I think that but it's good to know that others, from a long while ago, felt the same. (Stop it now, getting leaky eyes !)"

Sarah Baker Rosemary Webb Rehill which one are you then ?

Rosemary Webb Rehill I’m to the right of the art dodger!

Sarah Baker My Dad was Mr Bumble, massive hat and sideburns, sang 'Boy for Sale' in a very deep baritone voice and over played his part quite a bit I imagine  . Have posted 2 Oliver! photos in the last hour. Have a look at them. Were you in the whole cast photo I wonder ?

Sarah Baker Mum was also in Oliver! She played Mr Brownlow's maid, who I think was called Rose. (I played the bump under her frock  !)

Rosemary Webb Rehill Yes! I played Nancy.

Sarah Baker Really, that was you ?! I remember looking at the photos of Oliver! with Mum and I was confused that some of the girls were really girls, as there were no girl pupils at the school, and she told me that several of them were the older daughters of staff. She told me about you playing Nancy and being a bit of a star !

Gary Coulter Sarah Baker I played Mr Brownlow...I think the cricket photo was the same year, or a year before.

Sarah Baker Gary Coulter...ha ha ! So my Mum, pregnant with me played your maid  ! I think cricket photo was same year summer of 1969. Dad started teaching at C of C in September of 1968, by which time the cricket season would have been over so the cricket photo ought to be the following summer. I think Oliver! was 69 also because the film came out and was a hit in 68 and I believe schools started putting it on the year after.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

"Reader shares incredible school photos from Wyre Farm in the 1950s" Coventry Telegraph

"Reader shares incredible school photos from Wyre Farm in the 1950s"

New article in the Coventry Telegraph ByLeigh Mencarini 
29 MAR 2018  -

"George Martin, known as Bert, shares old photos of his childhood pals from the camp that became City of Coventry Boarding School."

As far as I know, George Martin has not been in touch with us here or on the Facebook page. Feel free to join our Facebook page George, if you see this. Link is here

"He writes: “Here are some photographs that were taken at the school around 1955 or before. “I went there in 1951 and left in April 1955. The headmaster when I went was Bert Martin, subsequently I acquired the nickname of Bert."
Bert Martin - 2nd Headmaster at Wyrefarm Camp school. Mr Martin took over from the first head Mr Donaldson c 1942.
George Martin says “His deputy was Mr Morris, who later became headmaster. I believe he was killed in a car accident after I left."
Correction - Actually Mr Morris died of heart trouble in the main hall Noember 1960.

The school was first known as Wyre Farm Camp, as Coventry City Council had set up the boarding school in Shropshire after the National Camps Corporation said ordinary youngsters from crowded cities should be given a taste of the countryside life.

After the Second World War, the school changed its name to Coventry Boarding School and became popular with children of servicemen posted abroad. It closed in the 1980s.

Actually it became The City of Coventry secondary Boarding School - shortened to The City of Coventry School, later in 1957.

George Martin of Whitley shared these photos with the Coventry Telegraph from 1955 with Head teacher Mr Morris.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tribute to Stuart Tranter

Sad news from Sonia Tranter -
Stuart Tranter

 "Hello Trev. It's with sadness I let you know that Stuart Tranter, my husband passed away on Thursday 15 February after a battle with cancer of the osophagus. His funeral is on Monday 26th at 1pm in Coventry crem, charter chapel. 

Stuart and I came along to the last reunion in 2013 and he loved every minute showing me around and telling me all the escapades he got up to!! We took quite a few photos of the group there, but I cannot get access to them to show on this page. He had good memories of the place and having an older brother (Paul) there made it all the better.
I remember the name Mr Chopin mentioned a lot!!

I will close his Facebook account shortly, but seeing he was a member of the "I survived wyre farm school" I thought I'd inform you of his passing
Sonia Tranter"

Sonia also sent us this little bio of Stuart Tranter

Stuart left school to work as a butcher for the co-op. His first job was chopping up lambs which he found a bit crazy as the weeks before he had been hand feeding some at the local farm that he did quite a bit of work there. He met me in '74 and we married in '79. He retrained to go into industry as a Turner, which he then used to get into company's such as, Talbot, Motor Panels and lastly Land Rover when he retired on medical grounds due to a very bad left knee. 

We bought a place in Spain and enjoyed the last 12 years making it a place for all the family to visit as often as possible. Stuart was known as a "do-er" and enjoyed investigating how things worked and ready to help solve all kinds of problems ("how would Stuart approach or do this"?) was often said. He was active in the cub scouts for a long time too with the Coventry 46th. He often said that City of Coventry Boarding School, gave him a good grounding and ethos. He was right! He was kind and very thoughtful to everyone, and I was honoured to feel cherished by him. There is a huge void, but I will do my best to carry on his ways.
Stuart Tranter What a good time we had. I am the one in the middle of the stock


Friday, January 12, 2018

Photos from Paul Blundell c1966

Air raid shelter behind the ablutions being filled in c 1966.

Mr Harper - Swimming lessons

Recreation room

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Recent Uploaded Photos of the School.

A few pics taken recently  from the school Facebook Page "I Survived Wyre Farm School".

Photo is from Bill Vesper, there from 1951 until 1954.

The photograph is of a marionette performance organised by one of the teachers who was known as ' Potty Watts' (a real nice guy).In the photograph the people are (from left to right) David Brown, Ken Andrews, Bill Vasper (that's me) Gwyn Evans, Sparks, Watt, Bob Vasper and Maurice Quin.

Photo Via Keith Ison

Trev Teasdel
 "Mr Morris - (Head) on the right back"

Mick Gajic "looks like Martin Hawthorn, head boy when I was there, sitting in middle blonde hair."

Paul Nicholas Williamson "Martin Horobin, Trev Dodd. Martin Horobin was House Captain for Mortimer Sitting, second from right. The chap with the glasses on is Stuart Graham, younger brother of Richie."

Ian Elmer "Isn't Elmer on the end left as you look."

Photo from Dill Holmes

David Stuart - Kempster is the one with his head in stocks. Tranter too?

Rosemary Webb Rehill "Pete Germaine!!! Ha!! Those were the days!"

David Stuart "Clive Kingsley-Smith facing camera Pete Germaine. "

Dill Holmes Guy lying on deck I think was Derick Champion , chap on right I think was David Ott or Rankin"

Photo by Mike Godwin.

Photo above and below - Paul Blundell

Photo from John Kitchener

Roy D Christon Radford House 1951

John Kitchener I was at Wyre Farm from 1951 to 1954 and I think the photo was around 1952. I was in Radford Dormitory and Mr Musgrove was the master. I am second from the right. the good looking one. My Cousin Peter Storrie was also in the same dormitory but at the other end.

I remember a big lad called Judge who now lives in Leyland Lancashire, and another lad called Franze muller but I have no idea where he is nowerdays. I am retired, 73 years old and live in Thornton Cleveleys Lancashire. I spend a lot of the summer in my static caravan in Brecon South wales.
Nice to hear from you.
Kind Regards
John Kitchener

Roy D Christon Just found my school reports for 1951/53 teachers were Daddy Hadfield. Mr Ham, Mr Richards, Mr Martin Headmaster.

Mad Carue I remember Daddy Hadfield, Mr Martin, Mr Cosgrove, Lambley and Langley , I was in Radford but can’t remember the Masters for certain, The names Ham and Richards ring a bell but that’s all.

Roy D Christon Daddy Hadfield was housemaster in Radford House the low numbers. 

Nigel Tuckey SS Uganda.

Dill Holmes Correct, docked at Malaga l think. 
Lisburn was the first stop, I can't remember which year though, more likely 70.

David Stuart Think you are right 70 remember Chris Green nearly through me overboard because I fixed his deckchair to collapse and he trapped his finger in it.

Nigel Tuckey I was on another one in December 71. We flew and toured around Venice before the ship left for Athens, Rhodes, Haifa, for Jerusalem & Bethlehem, and back to Venice.

Adrian Rosenlund Hudson There was also one in the late 70's, which i couldn't go on, but Jon Steane did.

Jon Andrew Steane Yes I did go on one, but it was March 1980, started in Yugoslavia, and went to Cyprus, Turkey, Santorini, Crete and finished up in Venice. George and Mrs. Parker went along to keep us under control. Now if I remember correctly there was Mark Babb, MarkShekespear, Rob Wood and Aubrey Wood, Mark Watson and Dean Watson, plus two more whose names escape me. Oh yes and I remember Sally Watson, not from the school but from Alcester. And I wonder if one of the other guys (who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty) remembers Mandy Bond?

Mark Shakespeare I remember that as well. Got us away from School for a while. if i am correct, we also went to Egypt. We docked in Alexandria and visited Cairo and saw the pyramids.

John Billing no, but I have vague memories of canoeing down the Wye...

Stuart McDonald John, canoeing down the Wye was the only trip I recall. Fishy Place ran it and I think Grubby Mush Harper was the other staff member on the trip. I was in a canoe with Phil Stevenson.

Photo from Dil Holmes

Keith Ison Steve Mosey second from left middle row Pennington front row with stripped top.

Dill Holmes Harkin front left?

Keith Ison Yes looks like Steve Harkin his older Brother Rich was also at the school.

Photo Stuart McDonald

Stuart McDonald I believe it was likely 63 or 64, but don't have a date on the back of the photo.

Deli Kurbaga Mick Oh Yes Brings them Flooding Back up Clee Hill on a Sat with your Packed Lunch. Pack of sausages from the village Shop, light the fire and cook them up there. Great Times.

Stuart McDonald I can confirm it was the side of Dudley House, I was in Dudley.

Christopher Applebey The path in the foreground leads to a gateway onto the roadside footpath. Just before it is a bench. Those of us who attended Methodist chapel (just to the right of where the dark car is parked in the middle of the photo) would wait on the bench until the one Methodist teacher (Baz (Ollie) Matthews) would turn up and then go in. If he didn't we'd bunk off church! Non-Conformists 1, C of E 0.

Photo from Mike Godwin.

Photo from Andy Gibson

Andy Gibson Yeah, that pic was '78 or '79 I think. Colour was the new black, as it were!!!

Hadrian Wall Speaking of old technology, does anyone remember Mr. Rowlands coming into the class with a tape recorder and asking each pupil to state his name? I was horrified at how I sounded. It was the first time I had used one.

Tony Baker That looks like Arley where railway goes over river Seven.

Andy Gibson It could well be, Tony, as I remember a trip to the Severn Valley Railway.

Martin Hull Victoria Bridge, Arley.

New book by former pupil Paul Rees

Pictures below of the play from Paul Blundell

Photo from Jade Weaver

Hiya my grandad (Peter Gilberthorpe)
Is trying to find old friends from school 1953-1958 message me if anyone knows him , thanks x
From left to right , Dennis Naughton, Micheal lacy,....,David Scrivens ,...,Peter Gilberthorpe,....,teacher was Walter Clarke .

Tony Baker Yes I remember him, same class. Wally Clarke took us through from 2nd, 3rd and fourth year. John Davies is also in the picture, on the right of Dave Scrivens looking from front.

Ken Hammond He was House Master of Blount, before Jim Lovatt. He had a spaniel that would find dirty socks in your locker.

Tony Baker Spaniels name was Descant, now how's that for a memory.

Ken Hammond Amazing, I remember that if someone got 'the slipper' off Clarke, you could see an imprint of the Dunlop 'badge' on their backside.