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.
Comments about this page

Hello Ian I was at Canterbury briefly during the time you mentioned. I believe your friend at that time was Davidson? Pescod taught Maths and his favourite line was " easy isn't it" I gave Mac the nickname Prof when he was at Willows juniors he was a big friend of Derek Massey. I am still in touch with John(Ted) Allen as we both now live in Sussex.He went from Canterbury to Art school. I moved on to Wimbledon Technical College as my father thought a break from my existing friends would help my education. I remember Miss Hoyle and Mr Morse the French teacher, who had many run- ins with a boy called Broadhead. We filled his desk with paper planes then threw one when the master was writing on the board. When he looked round we pointed at Broadhead. When he opened his desk Broadhead's face was a picture. Even he had to laugh. Don't get too much sun Ian

John (ginger) Taylor.  

By John Taylor
On 15/07/2021

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