Memories of Canterbury School

1955 - 1959

By Ian Love

I recall playing playing rugby against Hurstpierpoint, a rather posh residential school in Sussex. On arrival we were met from the coach by our opposite number & taken to their room for refreshment & to get changed. They were very well coached & skillful but we got amongst them and disrupted much of their play which I think was a new experience for them. Afterwards we were again taken to their rooms to shower & then on to the " refectory " for a meal. It gave me an experience of the type of education available to boys from a privileged background, which I would not normally have had.

I did not keep in touch with my friends at Canterbury largely due to  living in Cheam & in 1958 moving to Banstead, where most of my friends lived. However when playing rugby against Ottershaw School in Surrey which was run by the SCC. I met Phil my opposite number, who lived on St Helier and had obtained a scholarship. I have never forgotten the sight of  Mr Foot the Headmaster ( a relative of Michael Foot MP ) standing on the touchline in a mortar board & gown. An imposing sight! On leaving school Phil & I both joined Sutton Rugby Club and remain close friends.

My father Ron a Joiner worked on St Helier doing housing maintenance. I think his depot was in Middleton Road or somewhere near. He later became a staff welfare officer for the GLC. My mother Winifred was a teacher at a school in Lower Morden Lane. She later became head teacher at a school in Wallington.

When I left Canterbury I obtained an engineering apprenticeship with Johnson Matthey. My base was Poland Street in Soho, which in itself was an education for a boy fresh up from the country. The skills I learnt at Canterbury helped me to obtain my apprenticeship & pick up some of the skills quite quickly. We used to produce precious metals for the west end jewellery trade & smelt scrap jewellery into ingots for assay. 

In my twenties I decided to make a radical change and trained as a teacher. My special interest was teaching practical skills to adults with a learning disability and latterly autism. I subsequently held a number of posts the last one as General Manager of The Sussex Community Autistic Trust.

Like most other schools then Canterbury had it's share of bullies. I remember one lad Ronnie David who was in the C stream. He had learning disabilities, downs syndrome & could not read or write. This led to him being picked on which really upset him & reduced Ronnie to tears. It led to a group of us in my year ( including some tough lads ) agreeing if we saw this we would deal with it. It did lead to some punches being thrown but put a stop to it. If my memory is correct Ronnie made the tea & coffee for the staff & how he remembered all the combinations I just don't know.

Some of us helped one another to cope with subjects we struggled with. One example I remember is ( while Ebi Roiser ) our woodwork master was out of the room, I helped Mac Macnamara (the prof ) by cutting some of the joints for him in return for him helping me with my algebra homework. Algebra was & still a mystery to me.

Bob Beagle our history master was a great teacher (he was also my next door neighbour ) I became very interested in The Industrial Revolution in large part due his ability to bring the subject alive.

Mr Pescod ( cannot remember his subject ) organized some dances inviting girls from The Willows School to come. He was a giant of a man but made dancing look so easy. I was probably one of his greatest failures in teaching us to dance. 

I was trying to recall the four houses the school was divided into. I think they were Tabard, Beckett, Chaucer & Yeoman ? but my memory is rather vague.

Having retired I now live a happy life in Crete with my wife Karen.

Ian Love.

This page was added by Ian Love on 05/04/2021.

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.