OLD HUISH ASSOCIATION

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1960's

MEMORIES

TWELFTH NIGHT, the 1962 School Play.

Bob Pendleton was engaged in a search for Tom Pritchard and wrote to three of his contemporaries to see if anyone had any knowledge of Tom's post-Huish career. The initial enquiry came from Nova Osborne whose brother Nigel Osborne was a Huisher between '64 and '71. Nova, now Mrs. Brian Smith, wrote that she remembered Tom from the Sixties when they both went to St. Mary's church & youth club. She added that 'I was recently in Taunton visiting and met an old friend and we decided to try and get in touch with other people from those days...'.

Bob's enquiries prompted Pete Ewens to dig out a photo of the cast of the '62 school play, and Alan Saunders wrote about another play : the first, he thought, with real REAL girls. Today's sixth formers will have little idea what a breakthrough that was!

"As promised, School play...at Bishop Fox's circa 1962. Will's TN or what you will. Names from the past include Alan Saunders and I, the photo includes Paul Webber, Colin Foster, Richard Hardy, Rodney Hake, Roger Vickery, Alan Vian, Alan Crawford and Tom Pritchard(?)...etc.



The following review is from The Huish Magazine, Spring Term 1963.

TWELFTH NIGHT
Your critic will not deny that he faced with some trepidation the task of viewing and reporting on this year's Drama Club production. Contrary to what seems to be a popular assumption, Shakespeare is not an easy acting option, and "Twelfth Night", undoubtedly a sophisticated play written for a sophisticated audience, can be deceptively difficult.

He need not have worried. Indeed he was well satisfied with a delightful performance that reflected great credit on all who were associated with it . "Twelfth Night" is a happy play; and by their own gusto in performing it, the members of the cast were completely successful in communicating this happiness to the audience.

As last year, Chilcott, in the part of Viola/Cesario, was a great success. He shows a remarkable maturity in his timing and stage presence, to which must be added good voice control. "Twelfth Night" contains some of Shakespeare's most beautiful poetry. Chilcott did not forget that, and he saw to it that the audience also realised it. The same may be said of Coombes, as the love-sick Duke Orsino, and (to a lesser extent) of Foster as Olivia. His voice at times needed more inflection and occasionally he was a little stiff in movement; but he is to be congratulated on a very promising performance.

The sub-plot is concerned with the duping of Malvolio, Olivia's pompous and self-righteous steward. He was well portrayed by Poulter, though your critic would have liked to see him a little more formal and dignified. After all, Malvolio is described as a Puritan, and he might have been made a little more puritanical, to emphasise the contrast to the boisterousness of Sir Toby Belch. In this part, so suitable to him, Smith thoroughly enjoyed himself and delighted the audience; and your critic was pleased that he did not make Sir Toby a disreputable, drunken old sot. There is more to Sir Toby than that.

Among the other plotters, Peach, as Sir Andrew Aguecheek, was a triumph of casting. He played the genial "silly ass" to the manner born. One minor irritation to your critic (for which Peach was in no way responsible) was his poor wig of flaxen hair. Ewens made a delightful scheming Maria. With more experience he will learn to slow his tempo and (a common fault, this!) control his hands more effectively. As Feste, the clown, Minty started nervously, especially in his singing, but improved very considerably, particularly in his scene with the incarcerated Malvolio. Your critic enjoyed some excellent fooling in the letter scene, and a nice touch in the use of a pint pot as a candle-snuffer.

Once again it is impossible to mention all the members of the cast. That does not mean that they are not worthy of mention. Indeed, all are to be congratulated, not least Hutter, for his recorder-playing.

As usual, all the "back-room boys" played their parts with efficiency. Indeed, your critic cannot imagine them doing otherwise. Perhaps a special word should be said of Mr. Stock and his handymen for some handsome rustic appurtenances and a very effective fore-stage, which also served as Malvolio's prison.

For the sixteenth time we express our gratitude to Miss Craig for the use of her school. This will presumably be the last time. Our debt to her has grown with the years, and our acknowledgments are all the more sincere.

SPECTATOR.

The Cast List:
Duke Orsino: Philip Coombs
Curio (Lord attending Orsino): Alan Saunders
Valentine (-do-): Paul Webber
Viola: Lionel Chilcott
Sea Captain: Eric Scorse
Sir Toby Belch: William Smith
Maria: Peter Ewens
Sir Andrew Aguecheek: John Peach
Feste, a clown: Paul Minty
Olivia: Colin Foster
Malvolio: Edward Poulter
Fabian: Robert Cornford
Sebastian, Viola's twin: Philip Knighton
Antonio: Alan Vian
First Officer: Clive Dennis
Second Officer: Roger Vickery
Priest: Ian Cramp
Lords, Pages, Sailors: David Bellringer Robert Gwyther, Michael Hake, John Hamlin Richard Hardy, Leslie Hutter (recorder) Keiran O'Connor, Michael Pipe and Geoffrey Vian


A FEW REMINISCENCES OF MIS-SPENT YOUTH AT HUISH'S GRAMMAR SCHOOL

Mike Cull - early 60's

One of my earliest memories was arriving as a new-boy and being confronted by a certain Mr. Pleass who had known my three uncles who had previously been pupils at the School. My reputation as something of a musician had reached his ears. "We need someone else to play the harmonium for Assembly", he said as it seemed that Lionel Chilcott had been about the only pupil who had been able to master the "beast". From there on Lionel and myself took it in turns to "Fight the Good Fight".

I well remember Ron Tickner and Frank Cottam, who were the two Music Masters, bashing out duets together on the old chalk-covered upright piano in the music room. I used to like to get them "at it" by taking in pieces of sheet-music which I at the time considered to be unplayable. I would stand transfixed as one or both of them would rattle out the piece playing by sight. There was an obvious difference between their musical orientation as was ably demonstrated when I presented them both with my latest acquisition, a piece called "Russian Rag" which was written around the famous Rachmaninov Prelude. I thought to myself, "Neither of them will be able to sight-read THIS"! How wrong I was because they both played the piece immaculately, BUT whereas Frank played it in classical mode, Ron had the edge because he could syncopate which is essential when playing Ragtime.

Writing about Ron Tickner reminds me of one of the School Carol Services which that year had been held at Holy Trinity Church. In those days, if not now, the organ console was situated above the West door and on the day of the Service, we in the School Choir, including Bob Pleass, took our places in the upstairs stalls adjacent to the organ console. Just after the Service commenced, there was a strong smell of burning. Ron was acutely aware of this because the Academic Gown he had chosen to wear for the occasion had become draped over electric heating-pipes which ran along the balcony-rail behind the organ bench. The poor devil was trying to pull his Gown away at the same time as he was playing the Organ. Of course we all thought this was hilarious!

There was a Geography Master at the School whose name I think was Dickinson. We used to call him "Dicko". He used to get very excited if things were not going as he wanted them. He shouted so much one day that one of his dentures shot out onto one of the desks in front of him. I remember him dictating notes to us in one lesson. He would walk up and down the room between the rows of desks, looking at pupils' notes as he passed by. On this particular occasion he was talking about Australia and as he was approaching my desk he was speaking about the "Great Australian Bight" I thought to myself, "I'll get him going" and deliberately wrote "Great Australian BITE". It certainly had the desired effect as there was soon spittle everywhere!

John Aggrell was always game for a laugh. There was inevitably confusion surrounding his surname and in one moment of lucidity he revealed how one parent had always referred to him as Mr. O'Growl. One day when he was giving us a Biology lesson at the old Elmfield site, (now on the periphery of Richard Huish College), he brought in a sheep's heart for demonstration purposes. The heart was being passed from pupil to pupil for examination, and the boy next to me (nicknamed "Alfie" by John although I think the surname was Hall), sniffed it with his rather "pointed" nose. I could not resist the temptation and so nudged his hand so that his nose was pushed into the heart. John Aggrell noticed my action and, when the heart was passed to me, called me to the front of the class where he proceeded to rub the heart all over my face; ugh!! I never did find out the name of the film he featured in, although a recent conversation with the present Mayor of Taunton Deane has revealed a War-time history of John Aggrell which I certainly did not know of!

Update July 2015 - Ken Davidge emailed this to us : I'll think you may find that John won the DFC and Bar but I am not 100% sure. The story I heard was that he was flying a Wellington bomber over Germany when it was turned upside down by a flack blast. He managed to fly it back to the UK and land it, upside down, saving several lives. He lived in Batts Park, Sherford which were still military owned in the 60s and drove a Messerschmitt 3 wheeler that he gave me a lift in several times. His favourite saying was, and excuse the french spelling, "Vous etes ecume", which translates to you are scum. Your Ed. has done some research and Ken's memories are of course 100%, just that waht was said in those far off days by the school boys was not itself 100% accurate! My research on Johnny shows that he was Pilot Officer at the time of the crash - 7th/8th July 1940 - when his Wellington 1c ( 99 Sqn, a/c T2880) with him as co-pilot, and a couple of Canadians in the crew, crashed in South East Holland on its way to Cologne. All survived the crash, and all were taken prisoner. Johnny himself spent much, if not all, of the war in POW camps, mainly stalag luft 3 in Poland. I've not yet found a reference to DFC but he was Gazetted to Flt Lt whilst incarcerated.

Mike continues : A final memory of schooldays comes from post schooldays. I thought I had seen the last of the then Headmaster, Lieutenant-Colonel E.H. Peel Corbin when I left school to pursue a short-lived nursing career. I was mortified when as a student nurse on secondment to Musgrove Park Hospital, I was told to give a pre-op shave and suppository to the "patient in the side-room". On entering the room, who did I find in the bed? Yes, you have guessed correctly, as it was my old Headmaster of whom at times I had formerly been terrified. I think he sensed my apprehension but soon put me at ease when really it should have been me putting him at ease. Thankfully, I have never been one to bear a grudge!!!


In 2005, Phil Groves wrote :

Thought you might be interested in the attached photo from 1962. My name is Phil Groves and I was only at Huish for one year so I'm not sure I even qualify as an "old boy" but I did swim for the school...I'm the little one pictured to the left of our great leader E.H.Peel Corbin! Does anyone else recognize themselves?


I have stayed in touch with one other old Huisher, Kirk W. Huffman, who is now an anthropologist working in Sydney Australia. As for me, after working as a muralist for Lord Weymouth of Longleat ( yes, the looney one!) I moved to the U.S. in 1970 and pursued a career as a photographer and art director. I currently live in the Los Angeles suburb of Studio City. I have many memories of Huish. I fondly remember the "tuck shop" and its sticky buns, playing "bully" in the playground and generally annoying most of the masters.

Does anyone remember the Gym Master? I think his name was "Junker" ( it has been over 40 years, so I'm not sure). School legend had it that he had thrown himself under a boy who fell from one of the climbing ropes, breaking the boy's fall and his own back! Despite his injury, he reputedly returned to work within weeks and resumed his duties. There was another master whose favourite pastime was to grab boys by the ear and demand "what are you boy?" to which, the only acceptable reply was "Scum sir" "What kind of scum, boy?" "Lugubrious scum sir". I don't remember his name, or even what he taught but I'll never forget having my ear nearly twisted off!

Browing website, found the question by Phil Groves, asking if anyone remembered the gym master.

His name when I was there was "Jumping" Jim Junker. Looked a bit like Rolf Harris. Another legend is that he was in the Danish resistance during WWII and was smuggled out. His great push in the 6th form was blood donation. We all had to gather after morning assembly to listen to him - after 10 minutes (at least in my year), three lads were on the floor having fainted.

Huish's then being boys only, I was extremely enthusiastic about a notice from him one day advertising fencing in the all-girls school, Weirfield. Never succeeded with the girls, but I am still fencing when I can!



Andy Gize
Quantock, 1967 > 1972


GRAHAM BUSFIELD 1964 > 1971

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from Keith Busfield, concerning his late brother Graham, who has just recently died.

It is my honour to say a few words about my brother Graham, drawing upon many hours listening to Mum's reminiscences over the past week. Graham David Busfield, whilst two weeks premature, arrived 2 days later than hoped on 6th June 1953, just missing out on the Queen's Coronation celebrations. Born in Cuckfield, Sussex, he moved to Thornton Heath where he started primary school, and from there to Old Coulsdon. With Dad's work taking the family to Somerset, Graham briefly went to St John's Primary School Taunton. Graham was a very studious child. From a very early age, he wanted to be reading continuously, even at school playtimes. According to teachers' reports, his hand was almost always the first to go up with an answer.

At the age of 8, he saw a programme, in black & white, on germs which coloured his thinking and he went through a stage of continuously washing his hands. He passed his 11 Plus and went to Huish's Grammar School, Taunton. What a very apt motto - Spe Certa Quid Melius which roughly translates as What Better than Sure Hope. At Huish's he took part in various activities such as acting and stage management for plays such as Ibsen's Peer Gynt. Perhaps this sparked his interest in Norway as later he went off to work in Norway for a summer job as a silver service waiter in Ulvik.

He loved music and taught himself to play the acoustic guitar. Not easy when the neck of the guitar was warped. At the age of 10, he wanted to join a choir but this had to wait because of the move to Taunton, and he joined the choir of St Georges - that's Wilton not Windsor. From here he progressed to the tower, becoming a campanologist, or what most of us would call it, bellringer.

He then wanted to join St John Ambulance Brigade, and found himself doing first aid at venues such as Taunton Rugby Club, though he didn't understand the game of rugby. From this he started to take an interest in medicine. At school, his exams went well specialising in the sciences at A level. He did though fail his Latin O level, twice.

He loved the outdoors and completed his Outward Bound in the wilds of Dartmoor. His last holiday with Mum, Dad and me was spent going around Northern Scotland, at the end of which he left the family on a ferry at Dunoon to head South.

He went up to London to study medicine at St Mary's Paddington, working extremely hard whilst developing an interest in folk music and morris dancing including morris tours inů Islington. He celebrated his 21st birthday in a climbing hut in Snowdonia with myself and his fellow medical students singing songs from the likes of Adge Cutler and the Wurzels and the Dubliners. A highlight of his training was spending his elective in Alaska and the remote West coast of Canada.

Having qualified, he started work and met Joan. His next step being getting married which made him very happy. After a while they had their first child, Luke, then came Matthew, followed by Ronan, which resulted in a very full and happy family life. The boys have done him proud today.

He thoroughly enjoyed his medical career and always kept a sense of humour. The morning after he was taken in to hospital and a few hours before he died I sent him a text as I was travelling by bike across Dartmoor: "Do I gather you've been in the wars. Hopefully you'll be on the mend in hospital with lots of your fellow professionals looking after you. Get well soon and take it easy. Love Keith & Sue". Sadly he never got to read the text but as Luke/Matt who'd intercepted it reflected "Dad would have appreciated the sense of humour."

Let us finally return to the school motto - Spe Certa Quid Melius - What Better than Sure Hope. Graham may you rest in peace.




Ken Davidge added a few things for us as well: Tex Keane was a Pilot Officer in the ATC, he got the nickname because he wore texan style boots. The woodwork master everyone seems to have forgotten was Frank Bennetto, he had a home built kit car that the 4th years would regularly put up on bricks, it wasn't heavy. Ginger Rutt was no longer known as Ginger to the boys by late 1950s, He had lost a lot of his hair. Initially he was known Guts Rutt because of his corpulent figure but he objected and the 5th year in 1961 changed it around so Stug Rutt was born and lasted to his retirement. When he retired he was presented with a metre rule (his favourite punishment) with the names of the boys he had punished with said rule. I think I was number 7. Mr Baker (Gordon) was known as Twiddles and his wife was Pam (her real name), she is sitting beside him in the 1960s photo. I always thought they lived in Bishops Hull on the bend before the Tone bridge. It is a very grand edwardian house. I see no mention of cupboard which was below room 13 (the art room at the old school). Mr Bennett managed the cupboard where you went to get new exercise books and not many got away without a clout over the head for embellishing the covers. Major Polly was always known as Dick and very sadly I bumped into in Sainsbury's many years after I had left. He had become a very bitter old man and berated me for wearing a suit and showing off. I sadly shook my head and walked away. I can remember Jumping Jim Junkers well and his corset that protected his back.

STEPHEN AUBERT WRITES, January 2016 :
This is the first time I have visited the OHA website and I chuckled when I read some people's reminiscences. I wondered whether or not my name may have been on the metre rule presented to Mr Rutt as I was a regular recipient of a whack across the backside for getting caught smoking in the toilets or behind a big tree in the school playground. I would be sent to wait outside his office by a teacher or prefect, usually at lunchtime. When he returned from his lunch he would see me waiting, "smoking again Mr Aubert?" He would put me in a gentle headlock and lead me into the office where I would receive the customary whack.
My mother worked as assistant head cook at the school - having your mum working in the canteen ensured our table always got good sized portions so I always ate well at school. I left school to join the merchant navy as an engineer apprentice but that was short lived. I now own my own business , corner shop/convenience store in Plymouth and am looking to retire as soon as possible as I am now officially an OAP It would be nice to hear from anyone who remembers me.

Stephen Aubert
stephenaubert@outlook.com


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