Copyright © Ray Crowther 2004

Barclay Junior School '59

Kathleen Oliver (Dealhoy)

I now own and run a small farm breeding Alpacas in Devon.

Jan Blackhall

Following an honourable discharge from Leyton County High School in 1966 with A levels in Bunsen burning, joined-up writing and sums, Jan attended City University and graduated in Civil Engineering in 1970 with a BSc in joined-up concreting and sums. He spent a year after that in the Educational TV production unit at City, operating cameras and doing screen graphics.

A period of three years in West Wales building roads/learning Welsh followed that and in 1974 he joined Milton Keynes Development Corporation where he spent 18 years on the planning team bringing such delights as the Shopping Centre, Energy Park, Central Station and Campbell Park to the community.

Following the closure of MKDC in 1992 Jan joined the planning team at London Luton Airport and was involved in the master planning and construction management for expansion plans still being implemented. In 2001 he transferred with other team members to Capita where he is presently working as an Aviation Consultant in a posh address in Bloomsbury.

He lives in a north Bucks village near MK. His interests are gardening and music (anyone need a good bass player, 10 years experience in Jazz/rock/blues, own equipment?).  He and his wife Anita, who is a teacher in MK, are dinkis.

Pamela Bedding (nee Wright)

Went to Leyton County High until I was 16 having moved to Ilford when I was 13 as my father retired from his job at Whipps Cross Hospital.

Spent one year at South West Essex Technical College on a Secretarial Course  but I was hopeless at shorthand!!! My father died during that year which I found very traumatic.

I then went to work for Unilever in London where I stayed for 2 years.   If I had not left I think I would have thrown my typewriter through the window of the typing pool.

I then became a student nurse in 1967.   I qualified three years later.  The contrast between office and hospital were extreme but I had no regrets. As students we had little money but we worked hard and played hard.   Some lasting friendships were made and next year we are having our re-union in Florida.   Food for thought!

I met Alan during the latter part of my training and we moved to Colchester and married in 1971.   We have lived in Colchester ever since and I have nursed on and off ever since.

My son Paul was born in 1974 and my daughter Jane in 1978.

My main loves are travelling, gardening, bird watching and dancing.

My aim is to win the  lottery, retire, have a place in the sun, a place by the sea and time to enjoy all my hobbies.  Dream on .....

Bob Curry

Bob Curry – changed his name when he was 16 because he could not say the letter ‘r’ and when trying impress the opposite sex wobbit cuwwy didn’t quite sound the part.

I left Leyton County High and went on VSO to Southern India where I taught Indian history!!!, and my worst subjects at school – Games !!!French, Art and Science. I was also Assistant matron at the school, an Anglo Indian school based in the beautiful Nilgiris Hills. During the year I helped run a food expedition, taught English as a foreign language in an orphanage and caught every disease possible. I returned somewhat soberer and went to Keele University where I studied History, politics, Russian and Statistics. It was a great four year course and I further avoided employment by being employed as Secretary to the Students Union. I then intended to be a teacher but wanted some industrial experience – because my careers’ advice as the county high had been so crass. I started of as an accountant for Royal Doulton in Stoke on Trent which was a disaster and then ended up in Personnel management the one career I had intended to avoid). Stoke was a wonderful place and I ended up helping to organise the Stoke on Trent Arts Festival.

At the point of going to Teachers’ Training College, I discovered that I enjoyed management and stayed. I spent a year at Durham Business School and then went to work in construction at Fawley refinery. I was in Industrial Relations and found it surprisingly tedious. I became engaged to Celia whilst there. I then went To Somalia to work for Booker Agriculture on developing sugar estates. I went there initially on single status – then discovered that I could have gone there on married status. I invited Celia to come out and get married in Nairobi, Mogadishu or the Seychelles…..and received a reply on a scraggy Somali telegram that said ‘You made me wait now you wait…’ One year later we married and Celia joined me in Somalia, then Papua New Guinea. Eventually we decided to set up in the UK and I went to work for Matthew Hall( Now Amec) in Oil Plant and Oil well Construction.  I was there 5 years and we were living in Bedford. One day I decided that I could not accept spending 20 minutes a day trying to get out of Bedford Station car park and so we moved to Somerset where I worked for Plessey Underwater Deterrents….or in English for the trident missile project. That was true boredom.

I then spent 3 years in consultancy and then decided to change direction and went to work for the NHS in Yorkshire. The office closed and I moved to be head of Business at University College Scarborough. After 3 years that merged with Hull and my job disappeared so I went into consultancy again. The lesson is that any employer I have had has been taken over…!

I have been doing a lot of work training in the Inland Revenue, with Corus, Consignia and with Time Computers. For a brief time I was Head of Personnel for them and then went across to their Internet company…and worked my way out of the job…and returned to Consultancy. Meanwhile I have decided to train as a maths teacher which I am doing in between consultancy work. Celia is head teacher of a primary school which for her is a break from the aspirations of our 16 year old daughter Katie, who wants to be a nurse and our 18 year old son Oliver who wants to be a punk rock star. (At a recent interview he said he liked punk music and Frank Sinatra….poor mixed up kid) .

I look forward to the reunion as it will be full circle returning to Leyton after my travels.  I have lived in 32 different houses and still have itchy feet. I currently live between Ripon and the A1 in a small village called Melmerby. Ironically I had a phone call last night from Phil lane (anybody remember him?) He was at Canterbury Road infants) to advise me that there was a job for a personnel officer at Leyton County High School ….!

Joan Martin

When I left Barclay primary school, I went to Leyton County High School, leaving at 16 to enter the world of banking, with Westminster Bank – as it was then, before its merger with National Provincial Bank.  I spent two years in the branch in Wanstead High Street before deciding that I was not making enough progress so took myself off to the City and West End where I worked in fashion.  It was an exciting time because it was the time of the mini and hot pants and one of the designers for our fashion house was Mary Quant.  I shall always remember the day when she and her husband, Alexander Plunkett Green, were looking for someone to model one of their latest creations in our head office showroom, where I worked.  I often worked late and was then a size 12 – the size in which we made all of our samples (never been that size since, unfortunately!) so when I was located in the nearby toilets, I was asked to put this multi coloured jumper on and go to the showroom so that our buyers could see what was on offer.  Imagine my embarrassment firstly when told it was not a jumper and to take off my skirt because it was a mini dress and secondly, having done just that, to see the reflection of my rear end sticking out from this mini dress in all the showroom mirrors!  My modelling career was short-lived, alas, no Paris cat walk for me…….

The fashion world is a frenetic one and I left, exhausted and dizzy from never knowing quite what fashion season I was in (we designed and made summer clothes in the previous Autumn and Winter clothes in the Spring……I think).

I had a year to eighteen months of uncertainty, working for an American company in the City and for a variety of agencies in the centre of London before settling on a career in the public sector, where I still am today.  During this time, I worked for a short while as a volunteer at the Theatre Royal, Stratford with Joan Littlewood, the producer, on a “theatre in education” project.  That was fascinating.

I liked the idea of working for the local community, away from the profit motive and although I shall never make any millions, I feel sure that I made the right choice, for me.  I like the political dimension even though I feel that there is really no room for party politics in the local Council Chamber.  I started my public sector career with a London Borough (Hackney) and when my personal circumstances brought me to Sussex I moved down to the South Coast, joining a District Council near to Brighton, in 1978.

I love the area and made the mistake of moving to Hampshire for a couple of years in the early 1980’s.  I soon moved back and now live in a village between Chichester and Arundel, within sight of the South Downs and a mile from the sea.

I regretted, in later life, not going to university when I left the grammar school, but, in the 1970’s, I returned to college (North East London Polytechnic in Walthamstow, as it then was, and the Anglian Regional Management Centre, near Chelmsford).  There I obtained my professional qualifications and am a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.  I work 30 miles from home, in Horsham near Gatwick Airport, and am the Director of Personnel Services for a district council employing 550 + employees.

I should like to retire soon although I suspect I shall have to go on until I am sixty.  I would like a better balance in my life so that I can spend more time with my family (who all live in Epping) and friends and doing the things I just do not have time for because I find my job all too consuming – of time and energy.

My interests outside of work are the theatre, cinema and the arts; gardening; driving; travel (mainly in the UK but I do love Italy and have holidayed there many times); visiting National Trust properties and gardens; playing the keyboard and, most of all, eating out with friends!  

Patrick Bennett

After primary school I went to Monoux in Walthamstow – according to my mum a “better school”. I wasn’t terribly happy there and left at 16. Over the next 20 odd years I had lots of different jobs including and in no particular order: fireman 4 years, community worker 7 years, lorry driver, bus driver, clerk, barman, labourer, youth worker, photographer. I also spent time travelling and perhaps the most memorable time was in 1971 when I and my girlfriend hitch-hiked round Europe for 4 months. It was the thing to do back then. Now it seems nobody does it. It’s years since I saw a hitch-hiker.

While all this was happening I’d moved from London to Lancashire, back to London then Bedfordshire and finally to Manchester, where I still live. In 1985 I got into teaching English as a foreign language and in 1986 spent a year teaching in Italy. In 1987 I started working at a college of further education, eventually becoming a full-time lecturer. I left in 2001. In 1996 we bought a house in France and I now spend about 4 months a year over there. The rest of the time I’m a house husband and part-time research interviewer. We eventually hope to retire to France.

I met my wife in 1972 and we became “an item” in 1974. Our son Tom was born in 1981 and our daughter Lindsey in 1988. In between we got married.

Well there you are, 44 years condensed into a couple of paragraphs. It sounds kind of dull but really I think I’ve had a wonderful time, been so many places and met some great people. I also feel extremely lucky to have been born when I was and seen and lived through the sixties and all that. The 1950s when we were at school seem like ancient history seen in black and white but I remember those times with affection. Times when we played in the street all day or up Epping Forest. When the sun always shone, when you could leave you front door unlocked. Now where did I leave my rose-tinted spectacles…

Susanne Chumbley

My life began on the 5th October, 1947 in the German Hospital, Dalston. Bow bells rang out announcing the birth round about tea-time. (Cream cakes, strong tea and chocolate biscuits - an excellent time to be born). Not a lot happened until I was 18 months old - a move to middle-class Leyton (Colchester Road), attendance at a kindergarten somewhere over the Hackney Marshes and a picture in The Times with little Ronnie as this was the first German inspired nursery to be sited in this area and we were the first little 'angels' to climb onto the slide in the nursery playground and slither all the way to earth for all the posh Times readers to see. I can't imagine how all this happened as I hate heights. Minor catastrophies followed - hit in the eye by a swing, finger nearly chopped off in a sliding window, parents divorcing and several child-minders. Then proper school.

Infants at 5 years of age. I still couldn't accept that school was good for you, fun and necessary. All I can remember about the Infants is doing maths cards with Mrs. Isaacs, ticks and meeting Ray Bartrip. I remember Mr. Marshall and Miss Common (orange hair and pink lipstick). Then it was the Juniors and Mr. Henderson - he seemed to dislike little boys? He seemed quite nice really, but he always had chalky white fingertips and a funny way of folding an arm across his chest and digging his elbow into his waist.

Next came Raines' Foundation Grammar School for Girls, Stepney Green. This was not a jolly experience even though the other girls were good friends, I was always skiving off. On one of my expeditions into the great free world, I found the side gate to the school was locked and so there was no alternative but to climb over the railings. It was winter, I was wearing the compulsory navy blue raincoat with the belt tightly tied.
Unfortunately, on my descent the tip of one of the railings caught in my belt at the back and I was left suspended. The outcome was very undignified.

Left Raines' after GCE's and found a great job in Smithfield - driven around in a Silver Cloud Rolls, etc. Got married. Moved from Essex to Berkshire and spent most of my time working in schools and colleges. I've also had my own businesses - Grave Care, Hinton Hatch Lettings and at the moment I have a take-away baguette and sandwich bar on Bracknell Railway station (SoLoCo). All of this will come as a surprise to old Patrick as he owned up to thinking I was too dim to get a degree (2:1 Hons. Reading) but this was only in retaliation to me telling him I thought he had all the makings of a brilliant second-hand car salesman. The move from Essex to Berkshire took 20 years to get used to and just as I was getting used to it, I met Ray Bartrip once again and have moved back (on and off) to Essex.

Life at the moment is still a little unsettled, but I seem to spend a great deal of time looking at Ray's paintings and listening to Ray play piano (blues/boogie woogie). I think the Barclay Jam Band should start up - Joan? Jan? My daughter, Alexis, is just about to give her job up as a Personnel Officer as she wants to tread the boards. So, it looks as though I might have a new role as Promoter.... Any advice on A & R gratefully received.

Just thought I would mention that I think it's brilliant that Ray Crowther is writing about us and the areas we know. I've read both books (spot me if you can - I'm only joking). He had promised to sign both copies at the next Eagle meet - please queue from the left in an orderly fashion.

Love to all and I'm really looking forward to meeting up again.


P.S. Must apologies to everyone who gave me their address and telephone number last time. I haven't been able to get in touch as I had my bag stolen last August and I lost everything.

Ray Crowther

From Barclay I went to Tom Hood, where my performance wasn't exactly up to anyone's expectations, at least for the first six years. I suppose I was a bit naughty at times and perhaps too dedicated to non-school pastimes like bus spotting and ten-pin bowling. I failed every mock 'O' level, was threatened with expellation, and then miraculously recovered to scrape through six subjects, adding a couple more in the lower-sixth. Performed to standard for 'A' levels - failed all the mocks, and then scored a school record (at the time) for marks in the real things. So shocked was everyone that University hadn't been considered remotely possible, but ended up getting to Reading, initially studying Chemistry, and then swapping to Cybernetics & Maths, in which, after 2.9 years of malingering, I scored a 2:1.

Started my working career in the Operational Research department at Ford Motor Company in Warley and lasted there 11 years, two years of which was spent in Cologne. Frustrated with Ford's view of desktop computing, I left and started my own computer company with another Ford colleague in 1979. There followed three years of poverty as we ploughed back our income into growing the company. Started out writing software for microcomputers and selling the hardware and services to go with it, but since 1997 just concentrated on developing and selling Human Resource software. Sold the company in September 2004 and retired to the countryside.

Married Jane in 1972 and thereby have two wonderful grown-up daughters, Caroline and Rebecca. Separated in 1983, divorced in 1992 and married Christine in November 2004.

Since graduation have lived in Wanstead, Ilford, Epping Green, Braintree, Cologne, Witham, Hatfield Peverel and now Tolleshunt Major (near Tiptree) since October 2004.
Recreationally have been actively involved in motor rallying as a navigator/co-driver for over 30 years (under the pseudonym of "Crow" - yes the nickname lives on), jogging for 18 years (including a couple of London Marathons) and personal computing - at the nerd level - for always.

Started fiction writing in 1999. Something I'd always wanted to have a go at, but never faught mie speling and gramer skils wur goode enuff. Anyway, have written three novels "The Nearest FarAway Place", "Panglossian" and "Schoolfrenz" which have been published. "Schoolfrenz" is a thriller that centres upon a school reunion website of the same name!

Lesley Worts

I moved to Leytonstone from Dalston in 1957 and joined Barclay when I was 9.  It wasn't easy being the new girl to begin with and I felt very much the odd one out.  I was left handed, all my writing had loops and tails and I had been taught to call the teachers "Sir" and "Ma'am".  I remember Mr. Hutchings and Miss Shepherd, the sewing teacher, did all they could to correct my odd London ways.  I also remember that I had started to learn fractions in London and I had to sit and wait in the Maths lessons until you all caught up! (and then overtook me no doubt.)

Do you remember being told who had passed the 11+ in morning assembly and then being allowed to go home and tell our parents?  Can you imagine that happening today?  I went home in a state of shock having convinced myself that I had failed.   When I got to our back door in James Lane it was locked.  I banged on the door and called for my dad. By the time he had got down the garden to open the door I was in such a state I couldn't speak for crying and he thought I had been attacked in Epping Forest!

I went on to Leyton County High with several of the other girls.  I arranged to walk to school on the first day with Valerie Saywell and we continued to do that until we left at 16.  We are still friends now and get together on an irregular basis to catch up on news.

I left Leyton County High at 16 and went to Loughton College of Further Education to do a Secretarial Course.  At 18 I became the Secretary to the Financial Director of Abbey Life. I stayed there until I was 21 and moved to South Africa with my husband, Alan Linger, who was one of my brother's friends and had attended L.C.H.S. for boys and previous to that Barclay.

We stayed in S.A. for 4 years and llived in Johannesburg where I continued working as a Secretary.  When we came back I had my two children Clare in 1974 and Michael in 1977.  While they were still very young I took my "A" levels in English and Sociology and then in 1980 I went on to take a teaching degree and taught at  primary level.  I lived and taught in Brentwood for 25 years.  I have now been divorced for 10 years but have a great new partner Mike.  Last Christmas  we sold the house in Brentwood and moved to an apartment in Docklands.  This has given me the excuse I always needed to leave the stresses and strains of teaching right behind.

These days I spend two days each week inputting Jamie Oliver's recipes on to his data bank for him, which although not the most challenging work I have ever done is quite an exciting place to be.  The other days I play golf or catch up on all those treasures in London I always promised myself I would see one day when I had the time.  I feel I have come back home. 

Ray Mayers

On leaving the safety of you lot in 59 I was sent to a school in Bethnal Green called Parmiters ( apparently I did not pass the 11+ with enough marks to go locally but with enough to go to a grammar school that nobody has ever heard of ) This was a bit of a culture shock to say the least but I grew up very quickly here – especially after meeting the young ladies from St.Victoires Convent School who we used to meet for lunch .

Having left school at the tender age of 16 I started my career in the City by joining the head office of the London and Manchester Assurance Co. as a junior mortgage underwriter. Got engaged to the office girl and then disengaged after a couple of years. Got totally p’d off with office life and equally poor salary and decided to do something different.

Joined London Transport as a bus conductor ( doubling the salary ! ) then became a driver after 6 months – now age 21 . Had a great time for approx three and a half years , then a chance phone call from my old boss and I was back at the Insurance company. Met my first wife there and had seven years of marriage before getting divorced ( no gory details of lust and debauchery I’m afraid – we just grew apart ). Fortunately there were no children so we parted company very amicably.

The Insurance co then moved to Exeter and I started work with the investment bank of JP Morgan where I have been up to the present.

At a party approx twenty two years ago I met a young lady from Braintree ( 14 years my junior - what a cradle snatcher !! ) - we were married two years later and have three children now aged age 17,15, and 13

We still live in Braintree in north Essex and have one budding footballer – he plays for Braintree Town U18’s, one head girl and one red headed female lunatic.

Regretfully I do not have any old photos of myself as they seems to have been lost in the many moves over the years ( I had hair then too )

Brenda Griffiths (nee Smith)

On leaving Canterbury Road I went to Leyton CHS for Girls. In 1964 I left to join the Royal Bank of Scotland and worked in both the Trustee & Income Tax Departments in Trafalgar Square for five years, attending several training courses. It was fun in those days to be working in the City. I left the Bank to start a family and have three children and four grandchildren. I currently live in Waltham Cross and have worked in my present position as Credit Control Supervisor in a busy department of twenty staff for several years. Unfortunately (fortunately) my first marriage ended in divorce in 1978 and I married John a year ago at The Ware Priory. Here ( are a few photos my son took. I will not accept responsibility for damaged caused to your PC if you decide to view these. We went on honeymoon to Venice for three days then across the Italian Lakes for 10 days.

Through FriendsReunited I've also managed to find several friends from High School including my best friend and bridesmaid who I lost touch with in 1969. It is all very emotional. My Brother who is five years older, and went to Canterbury road, has managed to contact two of his friends who used to live in Hainault Road.

Mike Grundy

After Barclay, Leyton County High, and Southampton University (BSc Physics), I embarked on a career in finance and from 1970 spent three years with Arthur Andersen & Co. as a trainee tax accountant. In 1973, I moved out of London and joined the actuarial firm, Watson Wyatt LLP (as it now is), in their pension consultancy division in Redhill, Surrey, for a quarter-century stint.

As a Londoner born and bred, I never really took to living in the commuter belt, and gradually inched my way back towards the Smoke via Sutton, ending up in South London at Balham (Peter Sellers’ “Gateway to the South”) in 1980, the year that I met my wife Hilary. We married in 1984 and have two children: Thomas (b.1986) and Camilla (b.1988). We still live in Balham.

Approaching the millennium, Watson Wyatt had expanded almost twenty-fold and I was increasingly unhappy with poor work/life balance as the ‘long hours’ culture had taken increasing grip. I decided in 1999 to downshift, and I left to paddle my own canoe in property renovation/dealing. I have no regrets about that decision - except perhaps not making it sooner!

With the second child off to Uni in a few months [written June 2006] Hilary and I are looking forward to ‘reclaiming our space’ and getting some of ‘our things’ off the back burner.

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