I went to Downhills 1956-62. After a career in engineering project management, I
am embarking on a new career as a lecturer in Information Technology. I married
Pearl Hadwick, who attended Downhills 1956-61 and have two grown up children,
As there was not a web site for the school, I though I would start one, hoping
help would come along. It soon did in the form of Roger.
Interests include Shooting, Fishing, Cycle Sport, Real Ale and convivial company.
On the artistic front, I collect late 19th/early 20th century crested ware,
specialising in examples from the City of London.
I hold the old school in great affection. It provided me with a great start in
life and it is a pity it is no longer there. It would have been nice to be able
to repay the debt, so to speak.
JIM WROTE THE FOLLOWING WHEN THE WEBSITE WAS CREATED IN 2002:
"Education..... by which means alone we are rendered fit
members of well organised society".
The Central School system was created after the First World War
to provide selective secondary education outside of the existing
Grammar Schools. Grammar Schools provided a "classical education,"
Central Schools had a vocational bias to suit the needs of industry,
which was beginning to require large numbers of skilled professionals
and managers. They provided a unique opportunity for able students
to achieve academic qualifications, which otherwise would have been
denied them. Downhills, like all other Central Schools, had all
the features of a fee-paying school; a special identity of its own
and a house system to encourage friendly competition in all aspects
of student activity, academic and sporting - elements all sadly
Alas, our school is no longer with us. It succumbed to the introduction
of the Comprehensive system. However the spirit of the school is
still very much alive and resides in its former students. This site
is aimed at all those who started at Downhills Central School on
or before 1964, when it occupied the Philip Lane site, or joined
one of those classes during the period of amalgamations in the mid
Seeing again the buildings, the old school badge and other items
of uniform is very evocative. The design of the badge is a stylised
representation of the Water Tower that stood at the top of Downhills
Park Road. The school colours were maroon, gold and black and the
school motto was taken from the school's initials "DCS"
- "Duty, Courage, Success." There are pictures of badges,
scarves, etc in the Photo Album section of this site, together with
photographs of the buildings.
It was a "spur of the moment" decision to create this
web site, a mad, idle moment subsequent to joining the Friendsreunited
web site. It had been a re-occurring thought over the years since
the internet came into being, but the creation of Friendsreunited
was the real stimulus. I am a database person and, when we started
this site, was by no means a web designer. However Roger Beckwith
quickly came on the scene and the general appearance of the site
and most of the graphics are his work.
Just as a school is not only bricks and mortar, a school web site
is not "new-fangled technology." It is the sum of all
the contributions from former students, both in the form of physical
material, which can be displayed - photographs, school magazines,
etc. - and anecdotal material - stories of events and incidents,
which can be related to inform and amuse the reader. So please continue
to search out that photo from the loft or that long forgotten event
from the back of your mind.
If you fancy writing just one more school essay and you have memories
of some aspect of Downhills life that you would like to share, please
start writing now and send the result to us. (You don't have to
complete the paper in two hours and are allowed to consult any source
of information that you like! Everyone will get top marks).
We are, of course, in no way intended to be in competition to the
Friendsreunited web-site. Perhaps you have found your way here by
the link on that site. If not, and you're not yet registered there,
we strongly recommend that you do so. It's the best way of getting
in touch with old school friends. Registration is currently free.
If you want to email someone you have to pay £5 but that then
allows you to send emails to as many people as you wish for a year.
Names marked by an asterisk on the School Roll are already registered
on Friendsreunited (or in contact with us) and can be contacted.
Information on this site is not definitive, it will certainly contain
errors. Please feel free to submit corrections and suggestions.
It is your site!
Acknowledgements (so far)
Roger Beckwith for processing the material
for the archive and photo pages, a monumental task. Paul Warren
produced the graphic of the school badge. Contributions to the content
of the site have been received from Ray Hooper, David Adamthwaite,
Andrew MacLellan, Brenda and Eileen Russel, Clive Hall, Iain McNab,
Bob Holder, Ron Dolman, Christine Peak, Pam West, Irene Fox and
many others. The pictures of the school were provided by John Cunningham
and Tony Collins.
A significant contribution has been made by
Rita Read of the Bruce Castle Museum, Nr Bruce Grove in Tottenham.
Rita has provided an "open house" to us and is obviously
keen for the material held by the museum to be seen by as many people
as possible. The Internet in general and our site in particular
provides the perfect opportunity to do just that.
I started at the school in 1956, leaving in 1961. After taking A-levels
elsewhere I started working in BBC Radio. Following a lengthy battle with
cancer in the early 80s I decided the best career plan was the earliest possible
retirement, a scheme I duly carried out a few years ago.
My main interests are oil painting and classical music (as a listener). I display
some of my paintings on my web site and also show a selection of photographs of
a village with which I have family connections. These photos show the village over
a period of about a hundred years. I'm also working on archiving old family
photographs in an attempt to bring some order to them and to preserve them for