Derek Meale: Caning and an explosion. added 24/9/2011.
Jim Franklin: A visit to the old
Ron Dolman: Memories of the staff.
Betty Maslen: Mrs. Parker and Athletics.
Brenda Russell: Tuckshop and Concerts.
Reg Everest: Fellow 1959 Pupils.
Pam West: An unusual school career.
Tony Collins: Teachers, pupils
and "Dusty" Miller.
From Gary Killick re. Marie South
Peter Raymond: Memories, Hepzibah
Menuhin and Rugby.
Bob Benbow: Fun at Downhills.
Peter Wood: Memories of pupils.
Ken Noble: Some teachers and pupils
Kenneth Watson: Old Scholars Association
and a History Lesson.
Doreen Bennett: Greetings from
Markham Bailey: Memories - and
was there a Model Railway Club?
David Strutt: Memories of teachers.
Others - Short messages and
Jim Franklin: A Visit to the "Old School" - 26/9/2001.
The Local History Museum at Bruce Castle had readily agreed an
appointment to look over the material they had relating to Downhills.
They did warn that there was not too much there and much of it was
incomplete. However "the odd register and admissions book may
be of interest". Still having friends living in the area, if
I visited them as well, it was going to be a full day, plus the
fact I had to work that evening meant there was not a lot of time
Prior to Bruce Castle, I took a look at the school. One aim was
to get some up-to-date pictures of it. Assuming it had not been
knocked about too much, we could take some new photos and place
them on the web site. You will all appreciate it is not easy to
get a good view of the buildings. You have to be on-site to get
a good picture - if anyone has access to aerial photography at a
discount, viz. free, get in touch! It had not proven possible to
ascertain exactly what use the school is being put. It turned out
it is now a day-centre for adults with learning difficulties. The
person in charge (who was using the Head's Office) was most welcome
and intrigued to think anyone had an interest in the place.
It was my first time back at the school in, say, 38 years. Walking
down the top path, it was as if it were only yesterday that I had
left. One thing that stuck home was that the place was so very small!
One must get a completely different perspective when young, or does
it change as you get older? The place seemed tiny! There have been
major internal changes, rooms A and B are now one and C has been
reconstructed. The decor is er..... "modern".
Nobody was willing to take the decision on whether external photographs
could be taken, I would have to ask the council. A return visit
to Bruce Castle is on the cards anyway, so it can be arranged.
The field is no more. At the top of the field, there is now a single
storey building run by the NSPCC. There is a remnant of the field
between the back of this building and the north side of the school.
The path along the north wall leading to the girls' playground has
gone, the grass now goes up to the wall. A small "extension"
protrudes onto the field from the NE corner. I was told the Huts
and the Woodwork/needlework rooms had been demolished.
The staff were aware someone was looking for the picture of the
"Beaverford"! More intriguing was that a few years earlier
somebody else had done the same.
The material at Bruce Castle has provided all the information to
complete the students list from 1946-61. Rita Read is a mistress
of understatement to say they did not have much. It was priceless
stuff. One had to very disciplined not to just sit there and swim
in a sea of pure nostalgia.
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Ron Dolman: Memories of teachers. 26/9/2001
Your Staff List was a real memory jogger and what a pity that it
only covered the years up to 1954. The names certainly brought back
N.S.Mercer was the kindest of men but us boys all trembled when
we were sent to his study for the ultimate punishment - the cane.
It had to be something quite serious to be sent to Mr Mercer.
I remember that we only ever had one school outing and that was
when it was arranged that 4B would have a day trip to Windsor. Of
course by that time we were nearing the end of our education at
D.C.S. and none of us had any vestige left of the school uniform
- not even the tie. Mr Mercer was horrified to think that we would
perhaps be on show to some Etonians and insisted that we should
go along to his study and go through his "lost and found" to see
if we could be outfitted in school colours to some degree. We ended
up looking worse than if we hadn't bothered - school caps perched
on our heads like peas on a drum, blazers with cuffs ending halfway
up our arms and not buttoning across the chest. A real Fred Karno's
Miss V.R.Davis took us for music and was so sincere in her love
for the classics that one could not help but be affected .
Mrs M.T.Parker was our English teacher and was a real sweetie with
a racy sense of humour. She made all of our lessons fun and her
reading list was a joy.
Mrs F.M.Raines was, I believe the Domestic Science teacher but I
am not too certain about that.
Mr E.Thomas was a Welshman with a very fiery temper especially when
someone electrocuted his specimen tadpoles by putting battery electrodes
in the water. Nevertheless he did his best with the poor students
that he had to work with.
I was never taught by Mrs S.A.Martinez ( I think that she took French)
nor Mr F.H.Baker but although verging on the stout side he was always
impeccably dressed and invariably wore a rose in his button hole.
In those days all the male teachers at least wore a tie and it would
be no bad thing if present day teachers took a little more care
with their appearance. It's sometimes difficult to separate the
pupils from the staff these days.
Mr G.P.Cole was our teacher of woodwork and where would we be today
without our grounding in mortise and tenon joints and basic tool
Miss B.G.Brooker. Barbara Brooker came to the school in 1948 ( I
think straight from Art College) and became the heart throb for
all the raging male hormones that were unleashed. She treated all
the boys gently and always had a kind word for everyone and managed
to keep control of her classes at the same time without bruising
Mr W.S.Oldland was my form master in 2B in 1947 and his claim to
fame was the double cupboard under the blackboard where he kept
his collection of canes all neatly arranged according to thickness.
He had the unenviable job of handing out punishment to pupils who
were sent along to him by the other teachers. You entered his class
room in great trepidation which was made worse when he opened up
the double doors of his cupboard with a great flourish and then
told you to select the instrument of your punishment !!
In 1948 and 1949 I was in Form 3B under Mr B.Brooke. I have a photo
somewhere of the 3B members and can send it if you have some interest.
By the way, in or around 1955 or 1956 Mr Hoskins arranged a reunion
for the class of 1950 in a room above a pub in Kings Cross. Do you
still have reunions ?
Looking again at the Staff list I see the name of Mrs J.E.Murfitt
who took form 1S for shorthand in our first year. I was a total
failure in this subject and came bottom of the class - end of shorthand
Mr A.G.Oak took us for P.T. (as it was called in those days) and
swimming lessons at the Municipal Baths. His favourite expression
was "kick that boy in" when one of us showed some hesitation in
entering the water.
Mme.D.V.Comet took us for French and although she was at the school
for only a year she taught us to speak with an authentic French
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Betty Maslen: Mrs. Parker and Athletics. 15/9/2001
What a wonderful web site. This is making me feel so very sad,
if only I could recapture my long lost youth. I am working my way
around the site, but I do have house work to do, and this is hindering
I have forgotten so much, but reading through the list of teachers,
I can recall so many; My favourite was Mrs. Parker. I have so much
to thank her for. She introduced me to the wonder of books, if nothing
else. I can recall her reading "Three Men in a Boat",
and doing all the different character voices, "The Diary of
a Nobody", etc. She also taught my eldest brother Lloyd Maslen
who is now in his early seventies.
I looked at the school register, I should be in the 1952 lot I think
because I recognized so many of the names (particularly the boys).
I was into athletics and held the record for the school sports at
Harringay for 100 yards and 220 yards for many years. Carried a
huge shield home after the competitions, bringing it to school the
next day. Was I proud. I was then approached by a coach from Highgate
Harriers to run for their club, this I joined and competed for about
four years I think.
I did not like school, well not the learning side, but I did have
some fun. This site has made me think back to those days, which
seemed so happy and carefree. I have passed it on to my sister Sandra,
and we are both reminiscing.
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Brenda Russell: Tuckshop and Concerts. 6/9/2001
Your web site is wonderful - it brought back so many bittersweet
memories. I haven't thought about the school for 40 years - but
your collection of photos and memorabilia bought everything back.
My sister Eileen & I attended DCs from approx 1950 - 1957. We
both left England and now live in Seattle WA - but we get back to
the U.K. quite often.
Does anyone remember buying honeycomb from the "tuckshop"
outside the school?
I have a class picture still from the first year at school - probably
about 1953 - I will try to get it to you to incorporate in the site.
Just thought about the yearly "talent concerts" - I'm
sure they were not called that - but every year the pupils would
perform a concert of their various talents. It used to be very good
- there were some very talented kids around - but I remember in
one instance a girl named Diane played the piano - and she played
"Unchained Melody" which totally shocked the faculty because
it wasn't considered "proper" to play a "pop"
tune - they probably weren't called that then. Anyway, every time
I hear that tune - and as you know it had a resurgence of popularity
with the film "Ghosts" or whatever the name was - I remember
Brenda (married name Slosky) has sent lots of photographs which
now appear on the site.
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Reg Everest: Fellow 1959 Pupils. 14/10/01
Hi to all you old Downhills guys and girls! A few memories about
some of the guys of '59 if anyone is interested - wish I could remember
something about all of them.
Ray Anderson. Knew Ray from about 5 - he lived in the same street
as me. He had lots of brothers and sisters.
Frank Aylott. Last I heard many years ago he was doing very well
in the timber import business. Lived in Blackboy Lane.
Malcolm Bone. The staunch Tory!!
Michael Briar. Chartered accountant. Lives in Surrey.
Eddie Brown. Went to the same junior school as me (Woodlands Park).
Great fast bowler in juniors.
Ray Callaghan. Was my best man at my wedding; Lives in Ascot, Berkshire.
Ron Capell. Lives in Berlin. We are in now regular contact (after
losing touch for 30 years) and I visited him there last year.
Ian Farber. The complete all-round sportsman. Lives near Peterborough.
Saw him a few years ago at my sister's 50th.
Ray Hooper, Mike Houghton, Rod James, Arthur Lewis have all emailed
since I logged with the friends web site.
Keith Rose. Good goalkeeper. Used to wear all-black kit (because
the Barcelona keeper of that time did- Ramellets I think)!
Roger Smith. Nickname of, 'Chucken' or at least in sounded like
that. Fabulous cricketer.
Bryan Stapleton. Still get to hear about him from time to time as
his younger brother (I think he also went to Downhills) lives near
my parents in Cheshunt, Herts.
James Venn, Paul Warren. I remember both you guys very well. Jim
had a brother - was it Peter. Remember Paul and Susan. Good cricketer
and goalkeeper. (Paul was pretty good too!)
Colin Webb. The ace mathemetician.
I knew some of 1960 intake as well. Steve Barnard is my brother-in-law.
Could say much more but I need to go and buy a new washing machine!
More another day perhaps. One of my abiding memories of Downhills
in the 59 year is how well the boys and girls got on with each other.
There was much mutual respect which was great.
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Pam West: An unusual school career.
I have just received advice of this web page having joined Friends
Reunited and can thank Les Beckwith for giving me the info. I joined
Downhills in September 1947 (I think) having just returned to London
after living in the Lake District for a year. I left in 1951 so
some of the current information is rather after my time. However,
I can recognise one or two names and would be interested to know
if anyone recognises my name which was Pamela West and I lived at
Grove House, Derby Road, then in Clonmell Road. Some of the student
names I remember are Walter Cohen, Ronnie Horstead, Alan Baker,
Iris Blair, Brenda Tozer, Doreen Eldridge and would be pleased to
hear from any of them if they are connected. I have found the web
site really interesting and will certainly be dipping in again.
Thanks very much for starting it up.
Does anyone remember the school doing A Midsummer Nights Dream possibly
about 1946/47? I remember it was excellent but no one has mentioned
Very pleased to read about the Beaverford - good work, will keep
my eyes and ears open when I'm out and about - you never known where
something might turn up.
My history with the school has become a little clouded - I joined
2 years later than I should have as I was living in the Lake District
from 1945 until 1947 and joined in Sept of that year. Unfortunately
going into the 1st year to catch up with my studies having been
educated at a village school for 5-15 year olds and not going to
a senior school as I should have done. This put me a little behind,
but at Xmas 1947 I joined all of you at the proper level. Rita (Bruce
Castle Museum - JF) was unable to find my registration - so
I feel a little bit of a misfit, but I have all my school reports
and appear on the photos - so I must have been registered somehow.
I attended the final party in 1963 - having only had a baby a few
months earlier I think I was still in suffering from the sort of
amnesia that comes with giving birth so it is a bit of a haze -
but I do remember it was a great evening.
in a later message...
I was actually born in December 1934, but had a strange entry to
the school. I passed whatever exam - 11 plus or something - while
I was at West Green Junior School which would have entitled me to
go to Tottenham High when I was 11 which would have been in December
1945 however, we moved to the Lake District and I did not return
to the area until September 1947 when I would have been 13 in December
of that year.
Needless to say I had lost the place at Tottenham High and my father
negotiated for me to go to Downhills, which I did in September 1947,
but I had to join the 1st year class of that year. While we had
been living in the Lake District my father would not allow me to
travel to Kendal to attend the High School there and I spent 2 years
in a village school teaching 5 - 15 year olds. I was already past
what the 15 year olds were learning and spent the time reading in
a corner by myself. So when I eventually came back to Tottenham
I was nearly 2 years behind, and I had to prove myself before they
allowed me to join my peers in the 3rd year. I took a special exam
Christmas 1947 and then joined the 3rd year and caught up with everyone
who I would have been with had a joined when I should have done.
As far as I can remember my father went to the Council Office at
the front of the Junior School in Philip Lane, so possibly my registration
was done there and did not appear on the actual school registration.
I must admit it makes me feel like a nobody, but I do appear on
the school photo and have all my school reports.
I believe I left school Easter 1951 but I am trying to find a testimonial
I received from Mr Baker and Mr Mercer before I left. Anyway enough
of me, I think the site is excellent and I am really glad I found
it. I have made contact with Ron Dolman, Irene Fox and Brian Raines
so far. I have always kept in touch with June Smeath.
I do remember that one of the plays done during my time at schools
was "As you like it", and if I remember rightly the lead
roles were played by the head boy and head girl at the time. Walpole
was the head boy I think it might have been Peter and the head girls'
name was Margaret. They went on to marry. Hope to be in touch again,
and would love to get into a Reunion if one occurs. (Before I get
past driving too far). Best regards - Pam Hills (West)
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Tony Collins: Teachers, pupils and "Dusty" Miller.
WOW! What a treasure! Thank you very much for this site, I never
knew of its existence till just now. I can't wait to show it to
Richard Burgess next time he visits me (He's not on the net). He
and I sat next to each other through most of the five years, and
are still friends today.
What a strange feeling to see the old school badge/motto and the
maroon colour again, not to mention the house badges Wilson, Mandell,
Semmons and Roberts. (I was in Semmons)
We often reminisce about school incidents, such as, when we got
bored during English lessons with Mrs Henfrey someone would only
have to find an excuse to mention firearms on some pretext or other
and we could then relax for the rest of the lesson while she related
a domestic incident concerning finding her husband's service revolver
in a cupboard. Also our form teacher Mrs Leech, who although short
in stature could drag the largest fifth-form boys across the room
by the hair on their temple. Her husband was a doctor and when I
showed an interest in things medical she kindly gave me a small
medical dictionary which I have to this day.
Taffy Thomas the science teacher was a martyr to his subject as
the class played him up mercilessly. He usually retaliated by sending
the offending boy (only boys did science then) out of the room with
the words 'get out, you lout'. Needless to say, that phrase was
trotted out audibly by us in a suitable Welsh accent whenever he
wasn't watching us.
Anyone remember the insolent chant 'boydidum'? (I won't go into
the origins of that one.)
Perhaps I missed him, but I haven't found Ronald Prince in the students
list. (He's on now - JF.) It may be that he started after
the 1951 intake, but I certainly remember him. He broke an arm falling
off the leaning tree at the top of the playing field.
Looking at the photo archive's 1951 intake group I'm pretty sure
I can positively identify the boy on the other side of Maureen Pell
from Mr Baker (Be afraid, be very afraid) as my old mate Leonard
Actually, another thing I remember was being sent to Mr Baker by
'Dusty' Miller to receive THE STICK for swinging on the bar over
the steps to his cellar. On the way there I got to thinking and
questioning a caretaker's authority, so just didn't go. I never
heard any more about it. So I'm still owed a caning!
Tony Collins '51 - '56
Mrs Leech was a real feisty lady, I think we can all agree on
that. Ron Prince was not the only one to get hurt falling out of
that tree, Kay Gregg (57) "did her arm in" doing the same
thing. "Dusty" was quite capable of dishing out his own
"corporal punishment," he must have been in a mellow mood
that day. - JF
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From Gary Killick re. Marie South.
Hi I'm Gary Killick, my auntie is Marie South, a lovely old lady
who lived in Tottenham when she was a young girl. She went to school
at Downhills Central between c.1945-1950. Her sister is my
mother Jean South (now Jean Killick) married Gordon Killick (son
Does anyone remember them? If so please get in touch. I'm sure they'd
love to hear from you.
Please post any replies to us at the Downhills web site and we
will forward them on to Marie through her nephew. Click
here to email us.
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Peter Raymond: Memories, Hepzibah Menuhin and Rugby. 9/12/2001
I have just come cross the web site for Downhills Central School
and it is quite magnificent.
I arrived at DCS in 1961 and luckily, the students list survives.
Just to read through the names sets the brain tingling as connections
are made and long buried memories rush to the surface.
I was in 1F with (I think) Miss Francis as my form teacher and my
house was Semmons. I forget my 2nd year, but it was Mr Gates in
3D. The 4th year was very different as the local education hierarchy
tried to do comprehensive on the cheap and merged the school with
South Grove, moving the school to the old Tottenham County School
building by the municipal baths. What a great idea that was! (sarcasm
& irony). I still remember having to walk the length of Philip
Lane between lessons, as the old premises were still used for some
Well apart from the ones I noticed on the site there were - Miss
Flowers (Music) - Mr.Ossowski (French & Games) - Mr Keckwick
(also French), Mr Francis (I forget his subject but he played the
Captain in HMS Pinafore and was Miss Francis' brother. For a short
while in about 1964 there was a Geography teacher, who also took
Games, who played Rugby for England I forget his name.
Does anyone else remember the prize giving on Nov 15th 1961?
Hepzibah Menuhin was the celebrity guest. She gave a speech and
presented the prizes. The reason I know the date is that I received
a prize on that occasion.
Here is the inscription page of the book (The Time Machine - HG
Wells.) I wonder which teacher did the calligraphy? - Mr Hill perhaps.
DCS was a fine school with a few pupils going on to university.
In my first or second year a London regional TV programme had 3
DCS student - 2 boys 1 girl - taking part in a discussion about
going to university. The first time I had seen anyone I knew on
a TV screen - very exciting.
School productions I remember too - "Pinafore" and "Trail
By Jury" were great - but I also recall "The Monkey's
The only other Central school I am aware of is in Waterloo near
Liverpool where a building has the legend "Waterloo Central
School" spelt out in red brick.
There were plenty of other Central Schools around, originally
three in Tottenham. I'm told there was one in Dartford, Kent, near
where I now live. Vera Moxon ('55) from DCS, taught at the George
Spicer Central School in Enfield - JF
Reg Everest's comments, 8/1/02:
Regarding Peter Raymond's memories, the rugby teacher he refers
to was 'Butch' Wightman (can't remember his actual first name).
He played for Coventry. He won at least one England cap - I remember
seeing him on the telly against Wales at Cardiff Arms Park. I also
remember playing touch rugby on the school field. I tripped Ron
Capell with my foot (as opposed to my hand) and Butch gave me a
good slap round the head (I didn't know then that tripping like
that was a big no-no in rugby). Since then my 2 sons have played
rugby so I now know you can bite peoples heads off but you certainly
Hmmmmmm.... I always thought it was a shame Rugby was not
one of Downhills' chosen sports. Being one of natures "bigger
lads", I was infinitely better at it than soccer or cricket.
After leaving I actually played for the County School old boys side,
the Old Tottonians, with Dave Smith. - JF
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Bob Benbow: Fun at Downhills. 17/01/2002
"When I was a kid my parents moved a lot - but I always
found them" - Rodney Dangerfield
Having spent 4 years at Downhills junior school, I arrived in the
autumn of 1958 in a maroon blazer four sizes too big brought from
Keevans, and my first pair of long (and I mean l-o-n-g) trousers.
They hung in folds around my legs. The first day was the initiation
ceremony when you were liable to have a variety of things done to
you by the 2nd formers. Being thrown into the stinging
nettles was one ordeal I remember undergoing. However, with so much
redundant material in my trousers, my legs were well protected.
There was a guy in the 2nd form at that time whose name (I think)
was Fleming. He was regarded as the school hard man. It was he that
orchestrated (literally) a welcoming session for 1st
formers which involved being herded en mass into the boys bogs and
taught to sing the first few verses of "Eskimo Nell" on
pain of having your head shoved down the bog. When the noise attracted
the attention of the duty playground teacher (Mr. Hill), the boys
from the 2nd form disappeared, leaving us to face the
More accurately it was Mr. Hill who faced the music, being greeted
as he was by a chorus of angelic choir boy voices rendering in full
flood words we had been told never to use, whose meaning we could
not have fully grasped. I knew from that day on that I was going
to find my time at Downhills more liberating than I had realised.
Bizarrely the same thing happened when Peter Zecchin and I turned
up as freshers at Queen Mary College seven years later (except there
was no coercion, and by then we knew all the verses and their meaning).
I got to thinking this might be a routine whenever you made a career
change, but alas it was not to be.
One of the first teachers I remember was 'Taffy' Thomas. He took
us for chemistry (down in the junior school building?). For some
reason I have this image of him always with his nicotine-stained
finger up (in the air, that is) emphasising that an atom was the
smallest indivisible particle known to man. Obviously he must have
been out when they bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
It probably had something to do with his increasing deafness. To
be fair he never let it stop him from teaching, and a good teacher
he was. I really admired his bravery, bearing in mind that in those
days, hearing aids were not the discrete packages they are today.
Taffy's looked more like a 1930's telephonists headset, together
with a control box the size of a small coffin with dials and lights,
strapped to the chest and 'hidden' under the coat. About as unobtrusive
as a rabbit with a howitzer.
How quickly 11 year olds lose their innocence. Armed with three
verses of Eskimo Nell, nothing was going to stand in our way. Taffy
was forever adjusting his hearing aid to cope with variations in
sound levels. Someone suggested that on a given signal we should
all stop actually talking and start miming. The result was immediate.
Taffy turned up the volume as high as it would go, no doubt making
a mental note to re-charge to two accumulators that powered it.
At that point everyone in the class reverted to making their usual
fearful racket. And I can remember poor Taffy desperately trying
to pull off the device around his head before he was completely
deafened. I got the feeling this was not the first time the trick
had been played. The idea was probably passe.
Chemistry was good fun. We used to connect the water hoses to the
Bunsen burner and soak the ceiling. That got the plumber out on
at least one occasion. And during a lesson about combustion, who
was it dared to light up a Players Weight (6d. for 5 from the corner
shop). No sooner was the fag alight than Taffy called the culprit
to the front. With smoke issuing from every orifice, the boy threw
the dogend into a sink of water and made his way in a fog of smoke
to the front of the class. "Were you talking boy?" demanded
Taffy. I'll leave the rest to your imagination. Suffice it to say
the headset was ripped off again because of the hysterical laughter.
I started in form 1M. Mr Hill was our form teacher, and Mrs Martinez
our French teacher. Fortunately in our early innocence, we did not
understand double entendres relating to the use of the French tongue.
Mrs Martinez was a lovely lady with a highly interactive (for those
days) teaching style. This involved getting people to converse in
French as much as possible. "Bonjour mes enfants" she
would attack you with as she walked in to class. "Bonjour madame"
we dutifully replied. "Blackwell, ouvre la fenetre sil vous
plais". I was thinking "do me a favour, its already 10
below in here with all the windows shut!". "Oui madame,
mais certainment." "Merci, ah, Benbow, ouvre la porte
sil vous plais." " You are joking. You do realise this
is England in December!" Never having had the courage to challenge
authority I responded "Oui madame, mais certainment."
It wasn't until some years later when I first went to France that
I understood why she had trained us to do this. I found myself opening
all the doors and windows in my hotel room, owing to garlic induced
And who can remember the first lesson on the facts of life? Human
biology teaching at its best! Designed to suppress useful questions
by extending the use of analogies to the point of being nonsensical
- Anything to avoid saying what actually happens. And let's face
it, when I was 11, not many people seemed to know. The whole thing
was destined to confuse rather than clarify. There were no pictures,
which would have been really interesting. Just diagrams from which
I could make out absolutely nothing. In fact we were forced to copy
drawings of male genitalia of such monstrous proportions that it
must have either been based on a freak, or drawn by a very optimistic
woman. Either way, I certainly persuaded myself that I must be deformed
not having anything that looked remotely like the diagram, I was
And then there was Mr. Osowski, when I was in the third year. I
cannot remember how his name was spelt: I couldn't even pronounce
it at the time let alone spell it. I think he was Polish. He was
either a supply teacher or he had a very short contract. He certainly
had a very short temper. He was probably used to children doing
what they were told. Incredibly he was teaching us French. His stock
phrase was "up the lot, out!", whereupon the whole class
were herded to Mr Fisher's office for misbehaviour. I think the
Head got fed up with it in the end, but us pupils never tired of
it. It became an unspoken challenge to provoke Mr Osowski to this
I can vividly remember sitting next to Roger Legget. Roger was asked
to enunciate some verbs, so he decided to deliberately mispronounce
them. It went something like: "Ger swiss, Chew as, Eel as,
Alas, Now savons, Vow saviz, Eelsont, elsont." By the time
he got to the end, we were all desperately trying to suppress our
hysteria, made all the worse because two boys were already standing
out the front with their back to the class for misbehaviour (I think
it was Blackwell and Bowers). All I was conscious of was their shoulders
moving up and down as they tried control their laughter. In the
end the pressure was irresistible, and there was an explosion of
laughter (what a relief) over the top of which could be heard "up
the lot, out!" and another walk to the head's study began.
It was Roger and I who, in the third year, experimented with playing
knock down ginger on a truly biblical scale. This involved tying
several knockers together (door knockers I hasten to add,) and pulling
them all at once. The weakness with the plan was that it required
a spiders web of string draped across the road. Even in 1960 there
was a chance that a car would come along and spoil the moment. Predictably
enough it did. There was this high-pitched twanging sound followed
by a series of crashes and clanks. The car managed not only to remove
the string, but several door knockers in the process. It should
have been back to the drawing board for another go with a lighter
grade string, but as there were no knockers left, there didn't seem
I remember the geography hut. What was the name of the geography
teacher? (Mr. Jenkins). He used to bring each lesson to a close
with the expression "Put your things together and go!"
much to my amusement and that of the girl I used to sit next to
and share this early double entendre with. Maybe some of the human
biology lessons did rub off on us after all. I wish I could remember
It was the same girl who came up with, "Smoke Old Holborn,
To Obtain A, Cigarette Altogether Harmful", when Geoff Rowe
set the class homework to come up with a mnemonic for basic trigonometry.
That certainly stuck in my mind, although I suppose it wouldn't
be politically acceptable now.
I used to sit next to Peter Zecchin in Geoff's maths class. To say
there was a fair amount of collusion between us over the maths homework
would be an understatement. On one memorable occasion we both got
a question staggeringly wrong through some obscure reasoning. However,
both our answers and workings out were identical. I remember Geoff
writing across mine "see Zecchin" and across Peter's "see
Geoff taught us some memorable things. I still can prove that 2
= 1. Comes in very handy in an argument. You know that bit when
you get to "well you'd argue that black was blue and two equals
one!" Well, have I got news for you baby! It also leads to
some interesting variations - like the two-armed bandit, the military
one-step and George Orwell's 'Two legs good one leg bad' (as my
missus keeps reminding me!). And what about shouting "Eight!"
on the golf course, and watching everybody duck.
My memory of PE (or PT?) was about avoidance. I was one of those
people who was always chosen about second from last for the team.
I had skinny legs, but also having size 11 leather football boots
(the ones with screw-in studs) made me look more like the lower
part of Olive Oil (some may wish to extend the analogy further,
but jealousy will get them nowhere!).
Miss Allison was our first PT teacher. Us boys always complained
that she stayed in the changing room while we were getting changed.
Certain that she was hoping for a glimpse of our parts that other
beers can't reach, we would try to keep ourselves covered by pulling
down our vests. That was the only item of clothing that still fitted
us at the end of the term, being long enough by then to conceal
a cruise missile, let alone what we had to offer.
And then along came Phil Francis or Plum, a fairly accurate observation
regarding his dimensions, and not those you might immediately associate
with a PE teacher. But whatever Phil lacked in shape he more than
made up for in cunning. I remember a boy in our 3rd year
class being flash and not paying attention during one of his lessons.
Phil threw the ball at his head and told him to shut up. The boy
was tempted to show his contempt by heading it back, only to find
that it was a medicine ball. I think that's what they mean by 'knocking
sense' into somebody. After that the boy was a half-wit, so that
was some improvement. (No names no pack drill.)
Plum played Captain Corcoran in HMS Pinafore, and later the judge
in Trial by Jury. The plaintiff was played by one of our fellow
6th formers, Christine Rudd.
During the legal proceedings, the judge flirts with the plaintiff,
and eventually, when the legal bodies are unable to resolve the
issue, declares "Put your briefs upon the shelf, I will marry
her myself!" Now I don't know what became of the briefs, but
those words turned out to be truly prophetic, being as Phil and
Christine were married awhile after.
Talking of Gilbert and Sullivan, it was Evelyn Flowers (as she then
was) who encouraged the most unlikely crew of lads and lassies to
perform HMS Pinafore. I have never met anyone before or since, with
such a natural ability to develop and nurture talent, especially
in those who thought they had none. To this day so many people have
Evelyn to thank for what has become their lifelong interest in music
and singing. It was a tragedy that such colossal ability was lost
so early to cancer.
Gobby Gates took us for maths in the sixth form. Thanks to his dedication,
he eventually got me through my A level. He always had an apologetic
manner. On the first day of a new term, we traditionally played
tricks on the teacher we thought were highly original, but they
must have seen many times before. A classic was to tie together
all the dusters from various classes and leave an end draped innocently
over the radiator. I played the old 'Swan Vestas match in the end
of the chalk' trick. It worked really well, but what made it side-splittingly
funny was Gobby saying something like "oh I'm sorry, the chalk
seems to have caught light".
Who can remember the railway that ran close to the school, on the
line from South Tottenham station via Seven Sisters to Ali Pali?
There used to be a massive interchange platform at Seven Sisters,
which saw about four passengers a year. No wonder Dr. Beeching took
an axe to it!. And then there was the flea-pit Cinema at West Green,
Watch this space - more to come if you are not bored stupid already.
Bit like being back at school.
Bob has a fan in Linda King (nee Hilyer), who has sent in the
I have just read Bob's message, what wonderful memories. I've been
in stitches reading it (unfortunately I was at work at the time
and work for the mental health services in Hull - unless I explain
to them what I've been laughing about I may be sectioned under the
Mental Health Act....!!)
Regarding Phil Francis, he married Chris Rudd in August 1968. I
was one of the bridesmaids...!!
I was so sorry to hear about the loss of Geoff Rowe and Miss Flowers.
I really do believe the best days of your life are at school but
try convincing the younger generation. 4/4/2002.
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Peter Wood: Memories of pupils. 9/4/2002
I see Gillian Smith is listed in 1957, I believe that she married
class mate William (Bill) Bentley who lived near Seven Sisters.
Also Gordon Metcalf's cousin (Adrian perhaps) joined DCS after a
year or two, same age as Gordon and I believe that both of their
parents were identical twins making Gordon and his cousin almost
like identical twin brothers themselves. Gordon could be pretty
wild at times but his cousin was a lunatic (a friendly sort of lunatic
I seem to remember).
Then there was Vernon Northover who moved out to Cheshunt. His Dad
worked on the railway. Some of us formed a group called "Syze
9". Vernon was lead guitar, Mickey Wheeler was rhythm guitar,
I played bass guitar very badly, Peter Berry on drums and Pete's
younger sister also wrote and sang on occasion. We were crap
until I left, then they got better.....
Some of us had motor cycles in the 5 & 6th Forms, there was
me with a BSA, Mickey Wheeler with a Puch, Anthony Creasy had a
James, Gordon Metcalf had a BSA, and petrol was 4 shillings a gallon.
Because I worked in Halfords on Saturdays, many of us had Halfords
Crash Helmets at 25% off including Mr (Gobby) Gates son.
What I hated most were the outdoor toilets, what I liked best was
the spirit and the Park. We used to have to do cross country runs
in Downhills Park but because I knew the park like the back of my
hand I could pass all the check points by only doing about a quarter
of the distance by walking through the woods rather than running
through the Park.
In my last year the school moved to the other end of Philip Lane,
next door to Tottenham Municipal Swimming Baths, so swimming took
an up turn in the winter and we often went to the Lido in Lordship
Lane in the summer as a group. I remember losing my trunks diving
off the top board of the Lido but recovering them before I had to
get out. We used to go to the many Dance Halls around Tottenham
at weekends, had some good times.
Our 6th form room was the girls' craft room overlooking the girls'
side of the playground, separated by the geography hut. I suppose
as 6th formers they trusted us.
But why did I behave so badly on occasion? Miss Quass was always
sending me to see Mr Fisher. I tried so hard at French but it wasn't
my forté at all. More into electronics, radios and motorbikes
which drove my mother balmy, and a few of my female friends.
I would like to contact Tony Creasey, Janet Baxter, Judith Benson,
Richard Preston, Kath Levett, Irene Hedges.
Cheers - Pete (Woody) Wood.
Of the above, Ricky Preston joined the Army (REME I think). None
of them have yet surfaced on Friends Reunited, but it should be
just a matter of time. - JF
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Ken Noble: Some teachers and pupils remembered. 26/3/2002.
Dear Friends of DCS - This is Ken Noble from the 1958 intake. I
have just been given this address by Clive Hall. What a real pleasure
to open up the site and see photos of so many old school friends.
I have recently been in touch with Bob Benbow & read his brilliant
memories of school. (See above.)
It brought back vividly so many marvellous memories. Looking at
the photo of the teachers of the time brought a lot of Bob's writing
to life. Reading Mr Rowe's (I can't bring myself to call him Geoff)
biography was wonderful. He was a great teacher, he, Mr Dunhill
& 'Gobby' Gates really did get me through my maths 'O' level.
I also vividly remember Miss Quass often known as 'Quacker' for
some reason! I remember we used to stand in line outside the classroom
prior to lessons starting & Brian Wells & I throwing breadcrumbs
outside the door for 'Quackers' delectation. We did do some very
Brian Wells & I used to write short plays. One of them called
'Full board & fun' we actually got to put on the stage in front
of the whole school. I remember well that Miss Francis was the prime
mover in this.
I am still very much in contact with Roger Leggett & will be
his best man when he marries in April.
Since leaving DCS I have remained at the same company for 38 years.
Originally it was Gestetner, a large employer in the area, (where
I did my Draughtsman apprenticeship) & since being taken over
about 4 years ago it is now called Ricoh (a Japanese company). I
look after the sub contract & site services part of the company
at Wellingborough in Northamptonshire.
I live in Kettering & have been married for the past 32 years
to Sue who is a superintendent physiotherapist at Kettering General
Hospital. We have two children, Joanna (28) & Louise (25). Both
gained degrees, Joanna a BSC in IT & Louise, who is a teacher,
It was good hearing about old times from Bob & Clive, and now
I've found this site I look forward to hearing from others.
My very best wishes to you all - Ken Noble.
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Kenneth Watson: Old Scholars. 6/2/02
First of all my congratulations on a splendid web site, its almost
45 years since I left Downhills in 1957 and your site has brought
back many happy memories of my school days in the UK . Together
with the Friends ReUnited site it has given me the opportunity to
make contact with old class friends in Canada and the UK and reminisce
about events, teachers etc of 50 years ago.
I don't know whether you aware that in the late 1950s and early
1960s there was a very active old scholars association that was
very actively supported by Geoff Rowe. The primary role of the association
was to provide activities and a regular weekly meeting place for
the ex-scholars as they first left school and those of us who stayed
on over the years to help run it would meet for a pint or two at
the Blackboy at the end of the night.
Besides running the regular weekly meeting activies the association
ran one or two reunion dances; one in particular I was involved
in at the Angel in Edmonton. It also had a quite active Drama group
and in the late 1950s and very early 1960s put on several comedies
that ran over 3 to 4 nights and were very well supported both by
the school and the old scholars association. I have long since forgetten
the names of each of the plays or all of the players except the
last one that I was associated with, possibly because I was mostly
involved with back stage needs but on this occasion was lent on
to take the lead role. I have sent a photograph which I think includes
almost all of the players in this particular comedy which was entitled
"Widows are Dangerous". (Click
here to see the photo.)
PS Is it known whether any of the teachers from the 1952-57 era
are still alive today?
More from Kenneth Watson: a History Lesson. 22/6/03
Here's a litlle bit of history trivia that you might find interesting;
I found it a lot more interesting than the history class of Henry
Winbourne (known fondly as Windbag). He of the heavy horn-rimmed
glasses and black Colonel Sanders goatee who taught history to form
1A at DCS in 1952-1953, and in whose class I had the misfortune
to fall asleep. For which dastardly deed I paid the supreme penalty,
a visit to "Basher" Baker who expressed some sympathy for and understanding
of my predicament; however I recollect the fingers and palms still
Next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water
temperature isn't just how you like it think about how things used
to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s:
Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath
in May and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were
starting to smell so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide
the body odour. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when
getting married. Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water.
The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water,
then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the
children-last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty
you could actually lose someone in it - hence the saying, "Don't
throw the baby out with the bath water."
Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath.
It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the dogs,
cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When
it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip
and fall off the roof - hence the saying "It's raining cats and
There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This
posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings
could really mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big
posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's
how canopy beds came into existence. The floor was dirt. Only the
wealthy had something other than dirt, hence the saying "dirt poor."
The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter
when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep
their footing. As the winter wore on, they kept adding more thresh
until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside.
A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway,hence a "thresh-hold."
In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle
that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and
added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not
get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers
in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day.
Sometimes the stew had food in it that had been there for quite
a while - hence the rhyme, "Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold,
peas porridge in the pot nine days old".
Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special.
When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show
off. It was a sign of wealth that a man "could bring home the bacon."
They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit
around and "chew the fat."
Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid
content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing
lead poisoning and death. This happened most often with tomatoes,
so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.
Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom
of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top,
or "upper crust."
Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would
sometimes knock them out for a couple of days. Someone walking along
the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They
were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the
family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if
they would wake up - hence the custom of holding a "wake."
England is old and small and the local folks started running out
of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would
take the bones to a "bone-house" and reuse the grave. When reopening
these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks
on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive.
So they thought they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse,
lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it
to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night
the "graveyard shift" to listen for the bell; thus, someone could
be "saved by the bell" or was considered a "dead ringer." And that's
the truth... (and whoever said that History was boring)?
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Doreen Bennett: Greetings from Down Under. 19/8/2002
Hello to all at Downhills. My name when I was there 1948-1952 was
Doreen Bennett, now living in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia have
been here since 1969.
Whilst travelling out here on the 'SS FAIRSTAR' one of our fellow
travellers was Theresa Willett (1948), she and her family were going
to Lismore in New South Wales, I do not know her present whereabouts.
Your Website is excellent, bringing back many memories, names and
faces, particularly the staff photo for 1951.
Anyone wishing to write or coming out to Aussie land would like
to catch up with you. - Regards, Doreen Ferguson (Bennett)
We have Doreen's Email address, you can pass any message to her
through us. (Click here to
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Markham Bailey: Memories.
I thought I should write to inform you that both Stanley Benwell
and I, after failing the eleven plus exam at Woodlands Park School
in1949, were both moved on to South Grove Secondary Modern School
in September that year, however for some (unknown) reason we were
later both moved to Downhills in July 1951. This caused us problems
with the considerable backlog to catch up on things such as 'French'
etc. I was unable to make the grade and after a mere six months
I was moved yet again to Page Green Secondary Modern. The overall
result of this was that I not only lost touch with many of my friends,
but that my mother and father were hard pressed to pay for the uniform
etc, which received so little use.
Stan and I lived only two doors from each other during this time,
and yet I have not seen or heard of him since . Is it likley that
any records exist that might throw some light on this rather strange
experiment? as after all this time one would like to know the reason
Although I was only at the 'Central' for a short time I have many
memories, most of them good! For a start, does anyone else remember
the mock elections? In '51 three boys (names long forgotten) were
chosen to represent the three political parties and from then on
the whole thing was run as if it was the real thing, even down to
a few bouts of spin, plus a few other tricks the present (real)
government have yet to try. Tottenham was, and still is a Labour
stronghold and behind the scenes pressure was being applied to "vote
Labour...or else". Even back in those days I was not one to follow
the herd and decided to enter the spirit of the thing and vote for
the candidate who put up the best show, which included a speech
in front of the whole school. In the event I voted Liberal, purely
on the strength of 'my man's' performance (and nothing to do with
the real party). Once my so called friends found out I duly received
some 'hard labour'!!! Which convinced me of the wisdom of the secret
Then there was the time I fell foul of Mr Vos, one day he informed
us that during the (then recent) nationalisation of the railways
in 1948 the Pullman Carriage Company had also been taken over. This
I knew to be wrong, and I raised my hand, and told him so. He was
not best pleased to be challenged, demanding to know how I could
possibly be right, so I told him of a book I had at home. I was
then instructed to bring said book to school in time for our next
class. A few days latter I presented him with the object in question
in front of the class (with the relevant paragraphs underlined in
pencil.) By this time tension in the class was electric and the
silent few seconds it took him to read them seemed like hours...
Suddenly he slammed the book shut, and promptly struck me over the
head with it!! Apart from ordering me to sit down, nothing more
was said concerning Pullmans... Don't you just hate a bad looser?
One annoying feature of the school was that one could take either
Woodwork or Art class, but not both, which seems daft. But as far
as Stan Benwell and I were concerned this was no great hardship
as between us we constructed and painted a Punch and Judy type puppet
and marionette theatre (Stanley was into puppets in a big way).
Can any one remember the show we put on in the school hall...and
was it as bad as I seem to remember it to have been? Lastly a message
to the unknown person who stole/borrowed my watch from the changing
room...Any chance of letting me have it back now, or are you still
too tight to buy your own ?... ( What's the betting he voted labour
I remember once c.1951 during a science lesson with Mr Thomas that
copper sulphate was gradually introduced into the fish tank, which
turned the water bright blue! The class in general were highly amused,
which is more than can be said for poor Mr Thomas, who was rather
upset, as were we when we found out that it killed all the fish.
On another occasion 'we' the class, (form 3C) were taken for Religious
instruction by Mrs Martinez. On our arrival at the classroom she
was not in attendance and in no time one or two pupils started raiding
the desks for pens, these then had the nib tips broken off, (leaving
two rather sharp projections) and were then thrown upwards to be
impaled in the classroom ceiling. This came as something of a relief,
as in the not too distant past such improvised weapons had sometimes
been directed at me! In the event this new craze was immediately
taken up by the rest of the class, so that on Mrs Martinez arrival,
and seeing the newly planted forest of pens sprouting from said
ceiling, we were duly informed that she was going to report the
incident to Mr Mercer... Hardly had the door closed behind her,
when the air turned black with flying Bibles, and anything else
to hand. Came the return of 'The powers that be' there was not a
single pen to be seen, and the entire class was quietly studying
'the good book'!
There were other ways of teasing Mrs Martinez during such classes,
and that was to trap a wooden ruler under the desk top and then
flick it, which made a lovely 'diga-diga-diga' noise ! It was the
work of a moment to flip the ruler back into the desk and remain
undiscovered and as far as I know she was never able to catch any
of the class red handed. For some reason I always got top marks
for Religious Instruction, for the life of me I don't know why.
At the end of the day I just hope see had rather better control
with the girls.
When it came to flying missiles (rather than missals!) I was standing
near the entrance to the coal-hole one day next to a boy who was
busy throwing a dart about, and getting bored with inanimate targets
he started aiming at the feet of any passing boy. Most of them managed
to jump out of the way, but one poor chap ended up with it embedded
in his ankle. Even these many years on it makes me feel sick at
the thought of it. I don't suppose the boy involved was best pleased
I remember that under the delightful Miss Brooker, we were not only
introduced to amateur dramatics, but she also asked each of us to
write a short play, and a few of the selected ones would be staged
in front of the school . To my delight my humble effort (which was
based on a scene from the Will Hay film "Oh Mr Porter")
was one of those chosen. Sadly it was not to be for at the end of
January 1952 I was moved away to Page Green School, ending my chance
of becoming a well known playwright come plagiarist forever.
The Model Railway Club - Looking through some back numbers of the
Meccano Magazine for 1943 recently I discovered that Mr TW
Hancock (teacher at the school from 1937 to 1946) had approached
Meccano Ltd with a proposal to set up a Hornby Railway Company Branch
at the school and this information was featured in the February
issue of said publication. The June issue, under the heading "Recently
Incorporated Branches" lists "Downhills Central School---Mr
D Farge, 6 Clonmell Road, Tottenham, London N.17" and subject to
'Branch' rules Mr Hancock would have been designated 'Chairman'
and "Mr Farge" (almost certainly a pupil) would have been
Branch Secretary. The club was allocated the number 444. As yet
I have found no other information on what in effect was a school
model railway club which most likley met outside normal school hours,
and I wonder if anyone out there knows anything of it? If you are
interested I can supply copies of the above and also additional
information on the HRC Branch organisation.
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David Strutt. 16/02/2005
I have recently discovered the D.C.S. website, and have been gripped
by the nostalgia so graphically illustrated and written regarding
the school life of Downhills Central School.
The photo album showing the ‘huts’ annexe across both
playgrounds, and the woodwork/needlework timber building were real
I can almost hear ‘Curly’ Cole’s voice “C’mon
you boys” ! as he looked down on the queue for woodwork lesson.
Memories of playtime/lunchtime playground football (tennis ball)
were also stirred. I think Jimmy Thorn and I were the top dribblers
at that time. I guess we were the Ronaldo & Robben of our day.
The trouble was I could never play as well on the field with those
knobby toe-capped boots, and heavy laced (ouch!) footballs. The
propensity for playtime probably affected my academic achievements
but the teachers (bless them) persevered under Headmaster
Nick Mercer – who's cane in the cupboard gained much respect!
A kindly man though. The teaching staff of my day have previously
been well documented but certain personalities remain in the memory.
I started in form 1a under Miss Hanlon. I was in Mandall house.
Miss Coda (English) although diminutive, somehow managed to control
and get good results from the burliest boys! Her Dad had a hairdressers
shop in West Green Road. ‘Babs’ Brooker (Art),
always a relief from heavier subjects and easy on the eye of course.
Taffy Thomas (Science) who should have a medal for surviving lessons
of controlled chaos at times! And of course, Geoff Rowe. I read
with interest his son’s account of his teaching career. Geoff
certainly had a meaningful and fulfilled life. His prowess with
mathematics and sport were remarkable. I met him in the same football
team some years later. I also wondered how many years ‘Dusty’
Miller served as caretaker? My journey to and from school was walked
via Downhills park to my home in Stanmore road.
I hope to visit my old haunts later this year, but am aware that
visiting Downhills park, Lordship Rec., West Green Road etc. could
be courting disappointment or sadness. I now live in Stevenage
Best wishes to anyone who remembers me. - David Strutt
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Derek Meale: A caning and an explosion (24/9/2011)
I joined the school in 1945, late in the term due to coming back
to Tottenham late in the year having been evacuated during the War.
Other students I recall in my year were: John Batsford (whoes parents
owned a Fish & Chip shop), Derek Tunicliffe (his father was a baker)
and Edna Skavington (not sure of the spelling).
I was one of 5 caned by the headmaster on stage in front of the
assembled school. The offence: we had stopped to listen to cricket
on the radio in a baker's shop. We had been walking back to school
from a swimming pool lesson (at the local baths). Our delayed arrival
had gotten the teaching staff all worried over what had happened
John Batsford and I were given the task (probably a punishment for
another misdemeanour) of clearing up the science lab after a lesson.
We poured various substances into the sink...and it blew up! The
sink was completely destroyed, John was temporarily blinded, and
my ears rang.
The four houses are remembered. At the time my house, Mandall, had
no motto or emblem. The house members decided to design a motto
and logo for the house and my idea of clasped hands, and 'House
of Friendship' was, I believe, adopted.
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Some short messages
From Peter "Legs" Lowman - Never did I think I would
see the day when a DCS website was available. Well done to all concerned.
DCS was school of bright, funny, outrageous, creative miscreants
and it is great to see that many have managed to prosper beyond
expectations. Re: "The Govt Inspector." - This was quite
an amazing success and I remember Henry Jaques with great affection.
He was one of the few teachers that seemed to know how to get us
working above expectations. We were a motley crew but we managed
to perform a Nikolia Gogol play.....whatever next!"
Peter was still complimentary even after I managed to spell his
name wrong! I don't think anyone would take issue with Peter's assessment
of Mr Jaques, he was an all-round decent sort who really understood
people. - JF
From Colin Croker - Like quite a few other people I have come across
I married a school girl sweetheart. (Just heard that Margaret Howett
married Lloyd Simpson). Although we went to DCS, we really "met"
during the school trip to Switzerland, which is outlined in the
newsletter on your site. I have to congratulate yourself and Roger
on the site, you have done a magnificent job. I read through it
all last night. Funny how names from the past come back, first the
name has recognition, then slowly memories begin to form. Trouble
is I remember most of the names, but can't put faces to most of
It's called "Anno Domini", mate. - JF
From Brian Clifford - Hello...........Although I have been enjoying
very much exchanging messages through Friends ReUnited - finding
this Downhills Central School web site is just wonderful. It has
bought back terrific memories - reminded me of names long forgotten
(no longer) and Oh, how I wish that on leaving school at 15 I had
not ditched all of my school friends. Where are you Keith Crawford,
Geoff Vivash, Tony Wright, Neil Bannister, Valerie Pugh, Patricia
Fisher?.... hey ho.....So, whoever is responsible for putting this
web site together two words from me - thank you....Some five years
ago - passing through Tottenham, I visited the school. Same school
hall, classes, the headmasters office, the Domestic Science kitchen
that faced the field - now or then the cashier office....... And
as for that school hall and gym - I never did manage ever to climb
a rope to touch the top rail. I remember dashing across the hall
at dancing lessons - always managed to end up with Audrey McNally
or Barbara Hepworth - I'm not complaining!....So - another day today
in the wonderful world of the Internet - I'm now living in Kent.
I miss Tottenham, though it's not the same. ....Let's all keep talking
to each other....My very best regards - Brian Clifford.
You are not the only one that never climbed to the top of the
ropes - JF.
From David Masterson - Many thanks for the website - I happened
across it via Friends Reunited after my wife was looking up her
old school. I decided to look up Downhills and ... there you were!
It certainly brought back a lot of memories (most of them good)
- faces to names I had totally forgotten. I was there between '61
and '65 so mostly remember the County School building, but one of
the most vivid recollections I have of the original school was when
the Cuban Missile Crisis came to a head. That afternoon we were
doing technical drawing and very few of us could concentrate on
the matter in hand. We seriously thought that World War 3 was going
to break out, and wondered if we would make home before the Bomb
dropped! And then there were the 'bog raids'...! I lost contact
with everyone after leaving, apart from Tony Willis, who moved to
Wales. After a brief period with Harris Lebus Furniture in Ferry
Lane, I worked for the Post Office/BT for over 25 years, until made
redundant with many others in 1991. Since then I have worked for
the NHS in Clinical Audit. Since 1970 I have lived in North Kent.
- Dave Masterson (Roberts house)
From Kenneth Carvely - I guess no one ever knew who put drawing
pins in the hall piano. One April Fools Day Mr Fisher announced
the hymn during assembly and Miss Flowers played and suddenly stopped
as the piano gave an ominous twang, This was followed by the solemn
announcement 'There will not be a hymn this morning.' Later that
day I passed Geoff Rowe in earnest conversation with the Head. 'Some
fool put drawing pins in the piano hammers'. Dusty Miller kept watch
for me the evening before while I inserted them. I had the best
cover of all and only Dusty ever knew.
We'll not tell, Ken!
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