LECTURES

Page updated 15 March,2007




We had various visiting lecturers, invariably in the Assembly Room on the Tewit Well Avenue side. At the end of a lecture by a guest speaker one of us had to stand and propose a Vote of Thanks for (so-and-so) - for his/her interesting talk about (such-and-such) - and this had then to be seconded by another of us.

In the 1940s and (certainly) early 1950s, a Mr Ashton came to tell us about the political history and activities of various countries and always had blackboard-size maps to illustrate his theme. These maps were what we would, today, call flip charts and I suspect he drew them himself. Great Britain was still the administrator of much of the world then and the majority of postage stamps carried the King or Queen's portrait. I suppose the lectures were interesting but I was always more fascinated by the maps. Looking back on these lectures, I can only presume that Mr Ashton toured schools, endlessly repeating the called-for lecture; this is not to say that Mr Ashton was anything less than a very competent lecture who knew his subject.

K C Winsor, a Senior Prefect, writing in the Easter Term,1949, edition of The Rocket records one lecture,

"Mr Ashton’s Lecture
On Wednesday, February 9th, Mr Ashton paid us another visit to lecture on
“Far Eastern Problems with China, Malaya and Idonesia (sic).”
It was a very interesting lecture, and it gave us an exact picture of the present situation in those countries.
A vote of thanks was proposed to Mr Ashton, by Gordon Smith.
K.C.Winsor"

Another report in the same edition of The Rocket was,

“Mr Cecil J Allen
On the 16th February, Mr Cecil J Allen, the famous railwayist, came to Norwood and gave us a very facinating (sic) lecture on “A Hundred Miles an Hour by Rail,” beginning with the first engine that was built by a Frenchman named Cugnot, and ending with up-to-date engines. His slides were very good, especially those of the sleeping car. Mr Allen had slides of American engines as well as English, and this showed that the Americans have not built their engines as neatly as the English, although they are much more powerful.
We were very glad to welcome some of the committee of the Grammar School railway club, and their leader, Mr Hall, as well as our old friend, Mr Bowtle.
After the lecture J R Rowland proposed a very hearty vote of thanks.
G Smith”

The "slides" mentioned in that report were lantern slides of course, and not 35mm as may (still) be shown today; Britsih lantern slides were glass, three and a quarter inches square. Cecil J Allen was a very prominent figure in the railway world and it must have been an achievement for Charlie to have him lecture at Norwood. I wonder whether Charlie berated G Smith for his emphasis on "English" engines when I am sure he meant to say "British" engines! Mr Bowtle was the District Scoutmaster.
Many of Mr Allen's books through the 1950s and '60s are listed in the web site link shown above.

Two ladies, Miss Margaret Haig and Mrs Gertrude Trede, came to play medieval instruments. At this distance in time, their activities seems very Arty & Crafty.

Charlie gave his weekly Geography Lecture in the Assembly Room - it was a "Lecture", not just an ordinary classroom session. You can guess that the railway routes figured prominently in these talks.

Paul Thompson recalls:

I can remember only one lecture; that was by a very earnest gentleman who lectured us on the Soviet Union (or it may just have been Russia). The details are a bit vague, but I recall him showing us maps and quoting statistics about what fraction of the Earth’s population they represented, and the area of the Republic(s?) as a fraction of the total inhabitable land mass. The lecture ended with a vote of thanks and the usual expression of appreciation. There may have been other lectures in the junior school, but that’s the only one that made an impression.



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