Friday, December 9, 2011

The School Orchestra 1960

Thanks to Paul Williamson for this photo from 1960..

Back row left to right, John Bolster, ADThorn (VIOLA) Bill Griffin, Howard Braithwaite both clarinet, Ken Foy, Jim Lovatt, R T Morris Centre row ? then Martyn Hawthorne who became head boy 1962/3 and returned in later years to be the PE Master ? Ken Hammond, Paul Williamson, John Breeze (Violin Teacher) and then at the end of the row Graham Spencer, Front row Wood, Des Turner, Thomas and not sure of the rest, some will come to me later. The picture was taken in 1960.

Please Note
We previously said this photo was from 1961 but David Partridge has pointed out  -
That would be in 1960, Mr Morris died that year! I played in the orchestra the following year, we had a woman violin teacher who came from Kidderminster.

Paul Nicholas Williamson  The orchestra continued until I left in 1963, but the main teachers of the string and woodwind left, Foy and Breeze. Plenty of the teachers could play the piano but not anything else. The school orchestra performed at many a church fete and we had jelly and sandwiches after we had played. I think Kinlet was one place we played at. Just for the information Howard Braithwaite was brill on the clarinet and he is still playing in a orchestra in Wales, as for Martyn Hawthorne, yes parents did run a paper shop as a second Auntie/Uncle ran a shop further up the road until he had to sell up after losing on the greyhounds.

Steve Webb James Lovett kindly gave me free lessons on the church organ at St Elizabeth's Catholic church in Cleobury, as I was the designated organist at Midnight Mass on at least one occasion. Ken Foy used to give me clarinet lessons.

David Partridge Is the boy near the centre of the front row Chris Elkington, fiddle player and opening bowler?

David Partridge The other opening bowler at that time was appropriately called Ball I think.

From The Boarder (School magazine) - July 1961

" 7th July 1960 - At the request of the Vicar of Brockleton, the school orchestra gave a concert at the Parish Church. A solo was given by cellist D. Squires; his fame like that of the school orchestra extends beyond parish boundaries."

" 30th September - The school orchestra and choir performed at the Kinlet Church Harvest Festival Service. Several of the congregation afterwards commented how much they had enjoyed the musical arrangements and on the quality of the boys voices."

"2nd March - Annual school Eisteddford. After a tremulous treble solo by Graham Baker, the school settled down to enjoy a cultural afternoon. the competition proved a close match between Mortimer and Dudley, with Mortimer finally winning with a magnificent final chorus from the whole house. Miss Kerslake adjudicated and her comments were both wise and witty."

"1st of June - The Choir and Vth year historians paid a visit to Gloucester. The choir went to sing at the public school's choir Festival. the historians went to study the city's architecture, with particular reference to a very ancient monument, which, as a sideline, sells light liquid refreshments."

Here is a better photograph of the orchestra - 

On a more sinister note Ray Smith, who was at the school at this time, has informed us in some detail about the unfortunate deeds of teacher Ken Foy (back centre with glasses). While he may have been a talented musician as indicated above, he was imprisoned for child abuse. Ray explains - 

" What follows is the events that led up to me blowing the whistle on Kenneth Foy. I can't remember why, but I was wandering over to the old air raid shelter that was behind the ablution block, and I found my mate sitting on top of it crying his heart out. I asked him what on earth the matter was and at first he didn't want to tell me, but I knew something was very wrong, this wasn't a lad that was having a bit of a sob because he had just been given the cane or something, he was really in a bad way. 

Eventually after much persuasion he told me that Foy had been interfering with him, now this didn't come as any great surprise to me, because for as long as I had been at the school Foy had habitually been sidling up behind lads, (including me), he would put his arms around a lad and press himself against the lads buttocks, he only did it to me the once, because I pulled away from him and gave him a very meaningful look, and I think he got the message. Anyway, when my mate told me what had happened, I went ballistic, I was all for going to Alan Thorne there and then, but my mate felt so ashamed, and upset that he made me swear not to do so.

Time went on, and as far as I know he didn't interfere with my mate again, but I may be wrong about that, however the day came when I had just walked into the dormitory, and sat on my bed, but had not removed my shoes, Foy walked through the dormitory and saw me sitting on my bed with my shoes on and started gobbing off at me about it, I think I said something about me having just that minute got there and that I was just going to remove my shoes, and he got even more gobby, so I think I told him to 'fuck off'. He wasn't what you would call my favourite teacher, and thinking back I may have been trying to engineer a confrontation, though at the time it didn't occur to me. He then ordered me to go and stand outside his room in the Annexe and he would deal with me there. I went and stood outside his room and he came along a few minutes later, went into his room and came out holding a chair leg, he then told me to bend over and that he was going to tan my arse with it, now please bear in mind that I was a big lad for my age, and I wasn't afraid of him, in fact I hated his guts, and if he had pushed it I would probably have wacked him, but I just refused to bend over, and I also gave him a few choice words, I then went back to my dormitory and sat on my bed fuming, next thing I know is Alan Thorne came up to me and asked me what was going on? I told him that if he wanted to punish me that was just fine, but I wasn't bending over for that queer bastard Foy! Tanky looked completely stunned at this outburst, but great credit to the man, he just said I think you had better come along to my room and tell me what is upsetting you. So I did, and I told him about my mate and that Foy had been interfering with him, he then sent for my mate and told me to go and sit on my bed and wait until he told me otherwise. My mate walked past me on his way to see Alan Thorne, and I just said to him to tell the truth, and he did. All I can say about what happened after that, is that the police where called in and Foy was arrested and taken away.
Alan Thorne gave me a bit of a pep talk afterwards bless him, and said that if ever there was anything at all bothering me ever again, I was to go to him. As to anybody else on the staff being involved in sexual abuse of the lads, I know of none, physical abuse?? Not that either, but then I never considered the cane or a slipper across the bum as abuse, some of us deserved it from time to time.

So there it is,  I have only told you what I know first hand. Cheers, Ray. "


  1. Seeing the photo of Foy brings back memories (not good ones though)

    Our class went plum picking in one gardening lesson in the fruit paddock near the headmasters cottage, Foy gave us a warning that under no circumstances were we to jump up and grab the branches and pull them down to reach the fruit, as the wood is very soft and the branch would snap.

    All was going well with the picking - one plum in the basket one in the mouth etc - I saw some fat juicy plums higher up and as we were not allowed to climb the trees I jumped up and grabbed a branch with the inevitable result that it snapped off at the trunk and just hung there. At the end of the lesson I failed to report the error of my ways in the mistaken belief I would get away with it.

    At tea time the same day as we were nearing the end of the meal I saw Foy come out of the staffroom and I began to sh*t myself knowing I was in trouble. Sure enough he asked which member of Upper 3 that had been plum picking during the afternoon lesson had broken the branch, reluctantly I put my hand up and was asked to report to his room later in the evening. I got a few Jap slaps on the backside but knowing now what I didn't know then I got off lightly.

    Original M28

  2. Back row 4th from right is me Philip Lynch (Oboe). Great memories.