Copyright © Ray Crowther 2004
Tom Hood School Reunions
Extracts from Emailed/Personal Memories
over the weekend reminded me of the so-called bombhole on Wanstead Flats, close
to where we had our games lessons. I remember it being a place to hide during
part of the run was crossing the road that ran through the flats. There was a
ditch you had to cross that was just narrow enough to jump if you were in good
condition. When it rained the thing filled with water. Mr Simons made the
rugby team run through the damn thing. I still remember that Welsh bastard
screaming. “You jump that DeAngelis and your on detention!” He was quite a
hoot. He would turn up for rugby training in a brand new pristine track suit. He
would collect the ball and charge down the pitch at you yelling for you to
tackle him. Again no tackle then detention. Just as you were about to lay him
low he would then yell: “Get this track suit dirty and you're on detention.”
Yes, I can
remember the last weeks at school disappearing to the bombhole with a huge crowd
The bomb hole was also called the cat and dog.
Do you remember when we were in the 6th form common room someone
setting fire to Tony Clayton’s newspaper while he was reading it? It became
quite a blaze before the inside pages turned brown. I reckon so did his
underpants as he tried to stamp it out. Now who was the evil chappie who did the
deed - I think it was Buddy.
Poor Mr Morton (Sam) (mole) - I think he died soon after we left
he was very ill when he taught us.
Just like to throw in a memory of Bob Chaplin and co. Do you
remember the RE lessons with Mr Robinson? They were usually a riot. I forget his
nickname but at that time I was sitting next to Alan Huggins. Bob Chaplin and co
would sit at the back and start up a small model diesel engine. Also we would
throw chalk at his back and one lesson he said “you would not throw that at me
if I faced you”. Big mistake he was showered in chalk.
Ray (Crow) recalls going to the S.W.Essex Tech to do A level
Chemistry and Physics. I used to go with Crow as we were the only ones doing
chemistry at A level. We went in the mornings and were joined by the rest in the
afternoon for physics. Crow and I used to find physics very boring and sometimes
fancied the afternoon off, so on one occasion we had the idea of putting a note
up saying the lesson was cancelled. We wrote the note and stuck it on the door;
it fell off, but as luck was in our favour that day, the lab technician came out
saw it and stuck it back on the door. All we had to do was tell everyone that it
was cancelled. Any doubters could see for themselves. We had a good afternoon
Anyone remember using the phone in the tech to ring the phone box
on the main road and when someone answered we would tell them there was a hit
man coming in the next car which we described to them?
from Don Grunbaum about Mickey Titmus:
classic was when a teacher (Janice Brooks?) asked what puberty is. Mickey
replied “that's when you get hairs growing...(long pause)...under your
arms”. Collapse of class laughing!
from Pauline Saunders about Mickey Titmus:
in French once we had to tell Mrs Wingfield in French what we did when we got
home after school. Everyone else said things like I eat my dinner or watch
TV etc. Michael said “Je frappe mon frere”.
the Squash Box. It was an alleyway beside the boy's outside bog where the upper
school used to cram first year pupils and charge into them.
also “High Jimmy Knacker.” Brutal wall game. Two teams. One team received
first. A young innocent
play just to fulfil this role, stood with back to wall while first player bent
forward theatre cow style and placed head firmly against private parts. A second
player placed head firmly up the backside of first player and so on until a line
of lads bent forward with head between legs of guy in front was formed all
braced by the unsuspecting testicles of the first year against the wall. The
second team would then one by one fling themselves along the line of backs
landing legs astride as far down the row of backs as possible. This leap was
accompanied by blood curdling screams of “High Jimmy Knacker” from the
players and screams of pain from the poor bastard against the wall! The object
of the game was to collapse the enemy line or to resist the mounting weight of
players. The object for the poor shit on the wall was to emerge with his
testicles intact. “High Jimmy Knacker” was banned by the authorities when we
were fifth formers due to the high rate of personal injury involved, and
protests from some of the first formers parents.
also had a very violent game called scrum, not very original but describes it to
a ‘T’. Take one tennis ball and however many girls that were there,
could be 50, might be 100!! As far as I can remember it was everyone for
themselves; someone had possession and everyone else leapt on them and dug away
until someone else got the ball and the whole process started again.
Squashed or flattened girls staggered away. Many a finger was dislocated
and bruises appeared in weird and wonderful places. It finally got banned
by Gladys, because someone broke an arm or a leg! Shame we all missed it, and
they say today is more violent! Sounds like our school 'incubated' violence, I
hadn't realised until now!!
scrum really clearly - it was great fun. You could get really involved in
it! I seem to remember that Gladys wasn't too pleased about us all
trampling her rose bushes under her window. I reckon that was the real
reason it got banned. Do the other girls remember a kind of tagged version of
“he” where when you caught someone they got added to the line until there
were loads of you being dragged around the playground, with the one on the end
really getting thrown around. Not as violent as scrum, and only
occasionally stopped by whoever was on playground duty that day.
remember Mr Nicholas, used to teach us History I think. He developed some
illness that meant he had to use a walking stick. However, he used that
stick as a means of abusing a lot of our class if we a) got any questions wrong
or b) answered him back. I can remember him walking round the class
lashing out with the stick if we did not do as he said. On the other side
of the coin though, do you remember the hell we gave Mr Robinson (RI Teacher)
when we used to load up with ‘sugar pip’ sweets to aim at him when he was
taking a lesson?
had congenital spit disease!! He punctuated his words by ejecting spittle in all
directions. His classes were always notable by the ring of empty seats around
him at the front. I was/am an atheist and missed the RI till 5th form but in the
sixth form he ran classes on world religions, which I attended and have to admit
were very interesting. If you could ignore the steady stream of liquid and his
other idiosyncrasies (ducking at the whistle of an approaching fruit sweet) he
was quite an interesting lecturer. It's sad that so many good teachers are lost
because of their physical appearance or mannerisms. We kids were very cruel!
used to hate everything we did except singing. She used to terrify everyone. I
remember when we used to take it in turns to sneak to the shop (was it called
Charlie's?) to get jubblies and woe betide you if she was looking out the window
and caught you. She used to rap on the window and you'd be shaking in your
playing cards for buttons, only the buttons were the ones on your clothes, and
we played against the girls. One incident that comes to mind was when Ann
Boardman had lost sufficiently to have all the buttons on her blouse undone, and
Ding-dong came in, so all the cards went into our laps. She said “Ann
Boardman, if you stood up now, what you are playing with would fall on the
floor.” Truth be told that if Ann had stood up the falling items would not
have just been the cards!
you are correct we did meet. It was about 1972. I did work for 3M at the time
and also lived in Wickford. One of the jobs I did at 3M was to take over from
Roy Castleton. A "G" lad I believe.
been reading the mail on Bus routes with increasing interest Does anyone
remember Russel Owen - He and I used to regularly go on Twin Rover Tickets to
Bus Spot all over London. - Became quite expert on the infrastructure of London
Transport. How Boring! Russel if I remember correctly was a ‘difficult’
pupil and was ‘removed’ from the school cc 1963. Anyway, I have been raiding
the loft and have found old bus passes issued by London Transport via Tom Hood.
think I remember Russel Owen. I think he lived in Redbridge. In the first year,
he and others boys, used to stand up at the back of the class to look down the
low-necked blouses of Miss Perchick when she bent over and she seemed to do that
all the time. Russel lost his place at Tom Hood in the third year. He had been
warned, but did no work and basically was a disruptive influence. Dave, you have
forgotten Geoff Goodyear who also came at 13. He used to sit next to Bob Chaplin
in 5A at the back on the left with those 'Rockers', greasy motorbike blokes
Stubbs etc. I went out with Geoff just as we were leaving school. Got
‘together’ at the end of term visit to Windsor we kept in contact for some
years. When I was eighteen, we went to ballroom dancing classes in Walthamstow.
remember frequently visiting a record shop in Leytonstone High Road (Taylors).
Three singles at 6s 8d each used to come to a nice round £1.
conversation of buses reminded me of the fun we used to have in the summer when
we used to get sent on the bus to Ashton Playing fields for games. I can't
remember whose bright idea it was, but at one stage all those of us on the top
deck would rush from one side of the bus to the other as it went round a bend in
the hopes that the bus would go round on two wheels (seemed like a good idea at
the time). I do remember us all getting moaned at by a teacher, but the
details have vanished with time. Does anyone else remember this with some
topic of teachers, I do remember that Miss Kerrison and the other DS teacher
(can't remember the name - she had dark hair) used to follow Mr Nicholas down
the road to the bus stop giggling like a pair of 14 year olds. At the great age
of 12 I remember thinking that they were pathetic, but then I didn't
particularly like them or their subject which may have coloured my judgement!
anyone remember the English Literature teacher we had in either the 4th year?
She was youngish and had dark hair, and made the long poems seem much more
interesting by reading them in different accents? And speaking of
Literature, does anyone else remember sitting in Miss Kavanagh's Art room
reading selected passages from Lady Chatterley's Lover, thoughtfully provided by
Pat Perry? It was usually a lunchtime activity!
the Ashton bus very well. It was one of the things I was good at. The top deck
got quite good timing the lunge to the other side of the bus for maximum effect.
was Alan Gray, I think; he had a device to measure the angle of the dangle.
all usually knackered by the time it came to actually "do games."
frightening now, especially considering the state of the bus.
blue and yellow double deckers? No I don't remember them at all :-) It was
the bends on Lakehouse Road that were the scene of the attempts. God knows what
would have happened had we succeeded.
I pass the playing fields (or what's left of them) alongside the M11 I remember
going there, and trying to avoid playing sport of any kind.
english teacher you are referring to is, I think, Janice Brooks. I got on very
well with her, and still have a dictionary she gave me as a prize. I don't think
her face fitted and she left after only a year.
thing I remember about Kate Kavanagh's room is spending most lessons doing lines
as I hadn't done my art homework.
anybody remember the system devised by Mr Symons for taking the register for our
class, though I don't remember which year it was. Each morning, we all had to
call out the number against our name in order but in different languages,
Swahili being one of them. This inevitably resulted in us always being late for
assembly. He was eventually ‘spoken to’ by Miss Cole.
has copies of their school reports? Just dug mine out and some interesting
1st Year -
Form I.3 - Form mistress: E L Reid
comments: “His place at this school will be withdrawn if this unsatisfactory
set of results is repeated.”
2nd Year -
Form II.1.S - Form master: I J Simon
3rd Year -
Form III.1.G -Form master: D Gregory
4th Year -
Form IV.G - Form master: D Smithers
5th Year -
Form V.G - Form master: J H Flowerdew
6th Form -
Form master: D R Williams
1st year to Upper Sixth was P Claydon, then in last term G E Hackman.
I have got
the following information from the London Transport Museum.
Abridge to Leytonstone (Green Man) and Woodford Bridge to Victoria (Monday to
Saturday- ran in two sections) Abridge to London Bridge Station (Sunday) via
Chigwell, Woodford Bridge, Wanstead, Leytonstone, Stratford, Bow, Mile End,
Whitechapel, Aldgate, London Bridge, Lambeth Road, Lambeth Bridge.
Aldgate to Leyton (Baker's Arms)- Daily, via Whipps Cross, Leytonstone,
Stratford, Bow, Mile End, Whitechapel.
Victoria Station to Wanstead Station (Monday to Friday - not evenings) via Hyde
Park Corner, Bond Street, Oxford Street, Holborn, Bank, Aldgate, Whitechapel,
Mile End, Bow, Stratford, Leytonstone.
the 18th November 1964 all these routes changed as follows:
became Abridge to Aldgate on Sunday; Woodford Bridge to Victoria on Monday to
Saturday with school day journeys working through from Chigwell.
was extended daily from Leyton (Baker's Arms) to Leyton (Gloucester Road)
Lake was right about the 10 going to Woodford.
now to be removed!
Do I also
remember correctly about Crow's? antics in TD - when a guy by the name of Alan
Gray took a photo of the ‘object’ in question?
Waters, Don Grunbaum, David Johnson and Eric Churchyard had a mini reunion at
Tom Hood on December 14, 2001.
us, Valerie Waters, Eric Churchyard, David Johnson and myself, went to Tom Hood
yesterday (Friday 14th) and spent 3 hours wandering around the old school and
talking to Del Craske, one of the assistant headteachers.
the original building is still as we remember it, especially the ground and
first floors. The top floor has been remodelled inside, particularly on the
boys' playground side, where the typing rooms used to be. That is now the
library. The classrooms now have carpet, but the corridors still have the wood
the staff room, none of the “specialist” rooms are still used for what we
knew. The old needlework room is now full of Apple Macs, for example.
is very much as we knew it, but the hall foyer is now the kitchen with a new
dining hall alongside where there used to be houses. This block also has science
labs and toilets. The boys’ toilet was disgusting! The hall is much as we
remembered, and Eric took the opportunity to play the grand piano, which is
still there but sadly in need of some TLC. Eric also brought along a digital
camera and will be posting the photos on the yahoo group site for your
girls’ playground no longer exists as such, as that side of the school is
where most of the development has taken place with awful late 60s and early 70s
buildings that are falling apart in contrast with 'our' bit. We didn't go around
the new parts.
playground on the boys’ side has been extended around the hall so the bike
racks are long gone, as is the caretaker's house where Jack Roper used to live.
The peculiar game of squash that used to be played is no longer possible, but
football played with a tennis ball has survived, with bags and jackets
traditionally forming the goals. No water fights as the drinking fountain has
been removed. Some of the graffiti from our time survives, but I couldn't find
my own. The children are very much like we were except for their skin colour and
the languages that they speak. They were polite and slightly curious. They had a
lot more freedom than we had in our day.
woodwork and metalwork rooms are now used for drama. The outside boys' toilets
are bricked up and the wooden screen outside the entrance has gone, but the site
of the squash-box survives. Nobody was playing High Jimmy Knacker.
sat and chatted with us for about half an hour or so. As he's been there since
the early seventies he knew some of our teachers. He's still in touch with Ivor
Nicholas and is going to pass our regards on to him.
to leave after about an hour of the visit, but Eric, Valerie and I finished the
day at Tesco’s near the Green Man (via Eton Manor due to my mis-directions!)
talking for about 2 hours over a drink and snack.
Tom Hood 1959-1966 by Don Grunbaum
My eldest sister (Roberta known as Bobby) was in the 5th form
when I started in 1959. The first thing I remember is the meeting where I went
with my mother and my brother (Bill) who was also starting at the school, having
passed his 13+ at the same time that I passed the 11+. I only remember 2 other
pupils from my primary school going to Tom Hood; Valerie Waters (an old flame!)
and Les Long (last seen working at Kelvin Hughes in Hainault).
1966 - The terrible trio by Bob DeAngelis
The 60's were a time of change all right. I moved into the world
of senior school and trying to make a place in the world. I nearly made it as a
professional gambler. My memories are much as Don Greenbaums. (you don't use
your nickname I see Don..?=0)
I for my sins was one of the terrible trio remembered by Don. I
am “Buddy” DeAngelis!! The nick came from my first day at school when I was
hung on the railings and told to sing a song or get a good kicking. Ever being
one to recognise a good deal when I saw one I chirped out “That'll be the
day” by Buddy Holly. The name stuck and is still used by my friends from the
She used to scare even the “wildest” of pupils. Everyone
could read music after a short time in her class. One couldn't choose not to be
in the school choir, if she had decided you were suited!! Practice was in the
lunch break; she always had a cup of coffee, and a bar of Milk Tray, which she
ate walking up and down the aisles of the classroom.
1961 - Mr Robinson by Christine Folwell
Alias Juicy Robinson!!! The R.I. teacher who had a problem with
his teeth; the front row always got wet!!
1966 - Gladys Cole by Don Grunbaum
Would have looked more at home at Hogwarts with a pointed hat.
1966 - Mr “Mole” Morton by Don Grunbaum
Taught me maths that lasts to this day. Who can forget “congruence rock”? Lovely man who also played the piano very well. As he played in assembly I'm certain that he wasn't Jewish!
1966 – “Ding Dong” Bell by Don Grunbaum
Evil Geography teacher, who would not have put me in for O level
except that I did so well in the mocks. Once sent me out of the room for being
facetious - I had never heard the word before. Also wouldn't let you take your
blazer off if you were wearing braces!
1966 - Harry Windus by Don Grunbaum
Taught me Technical/Engineering drawing that still helps me.
Loved puns! Lived in Woodford Bridge. Sadly he died not long after we left.
1966 - Mr Robinson by Don Grunbaum
Known as The Spitting Image, because of his lack of saliva
control, and his habit of saying “You See” between every phrase. Taught (or
tried to teach) R.I. as we knew it then.
1966 – “Big Bill” Williams by Bob DeAngelis
A true giant among men. Inspired fear with the whiplash sarcasm
that smashed young minds into infinite shame. He was my form master in the sixth
form and ingrained in me a sense and understanding of history that has stayed
with me all my days. A veritable inspiration. He also helped to keep me on the
straight and narrow in my wilder days and introduced me to rugby as a more
acceptable form of using up that angry energy.
1966 - Gladys Cole by Bob DeAngelis
The heart and drive of the school. She was as terrible and
relentless as a winter storm and as stubborn as a mule. She was also extremely
proud of the school and its pupils. My life is also scarred by the memory of
that fateful day when she asked me what could possibly be more satisfying then
really great classical music and I shakingly replied really great sex. I learned
a great deal about raw anger that day.
1966 – “Mole” Morton by Bob DeAngelis
Ah Sam, I owe him so much. He was totally incapable of
controlling a class of kids but had an almost psychic power that made mindless
imbeciles understand and enjoy the world of mathematics. Sam gave me a joy of
numbers that have stood me in good stead and helped me achieve the
qualifications that led to the good life I enjoy today!